Orthodoxy in Dixie

ortho-dixie-thumbThanks to several correspondents for bringing this video to our attention. I actually came across it last week during my semi-monthly peregrinations on the ever-delightful Byzantine, Tx but because of time constraints, I dropped the ball and failed to post it. My fault pure and simple and a big thank you to those who kept it au courrant on Monomakhos. (Keep up the good work!)

Anyway, it’s seemed to generate some positive buzz and I must say that it is a joy to watch. I think you’ll agree.

Having said that, I am mightily impressed with the vision and technical expertise of the evangelism department over at ROCOR. Clearly, they have their act together. (Diocese of the South, are you listening?) There’s an old Greek saying that “the fish rots from the head.” The converse to this however must be that the body is invigorated from the head and if the eyes are ever-fixated on Christ, then we can expect wonderful things to happen.

When people are on fire for the Lord, creativity such the likes the world has never seen gets unleashed. (Think Gothic cathedrals, Byzantine iconography, Russian chant for starters). We have seen these past few years how the resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church has reinvigorated Christianity worldwide. Here we can see it in action in our little corner of the world — Dixie.

Did I mention that the production values are excellent?

P.S. I don’t want anybody giving me any nonsense about racism and such. Show me that one spot on earth that hasn’t been infected by it. Then show me that spot in which the people have repented of it. It’s only happened in America. And anyway, if Christianity is to have a fighting chance in this country, it’s going to begin in places like South Carolina and it’s going to happen because Orthodox jurisdictions are going to become part of the historic American nation — and not worry endlessly about what the Patriarchates of Ruritania and Bulbania feel about the correct way to make pirogi.

So if any Greek or Lebanese Southerners are upset because they weren’t included, they need to complain to their bishops. As for those of us in the Diocese of the South who are caught on the outside looking in, one way to get with the program is to stop putting out letters praising pseudo-Schmemannite pseudo-conciliarity and actually start doing what the Venerable Dmitri taught us. This video is a reproach to us above all else.


  1. Carl Kraeff says

    George wrote: “As for those of us in the Diocese of the South who are caught on the outside looking in, one way to get with the program is to stop putting out letters praising pseudo-Schmemannite pseudo-conciliarity and actually start doing what the Venerable Dmitri taught us.”

    Speak for yourself and your own corner of the world. We are doing what Archbishop Dmitri of thrice-blessed memory taught us. That is true in the Carolinas Deanery and certainly true in South Carolina. Y’all are so caught up in DOS/OCA bashing that you cannot see reality even if it is right before you.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Carl, I also remember the thrice-blessed Dmitri. I for one, cannot imagine that he –who pioneered the concept of sovereign dioceses–would treat the Primate as a lackey. One who would have to get his remarks vetted by Lefty Kishkovsky and the NCC before he could speak on Christian tradition.

  2. Archpriest John Morris says

    Once again, I stress my offense at the classification of the Antiochians as Lebanese. I am not Lebanese. I am an American. It is offensive when an effort is made to restrict us to one ethnic group. We have long ago become a Pan-Orthodox jurisdiction. The majority of our clergy are converts, our parishes, especially in the South are filled with converts.We have received whole parishes of converts into Orthodoxy.Alone among Orthodox hierarchs in this country, Metropolitan Philip had the courage to receive the Evangelical Orthodox into the Church. We were pioneers in using English in Orthodox worship in this country. Even the people of Lebanese ancestry have become more Southern American than Lebanese. At least respect us for what we really are and call us Antiochians, not Syrians or Lebanese.
    We should not be in competition with each other, but should work together especially when organizing missions. One jurisdiction should not try to build a mission by taking people from the mission of another canonical Orthodox jurisdiction. There is no place in Orthodoxy for triumphalism by any jurisdiction or ethnic group. Orthodoxy transcends ethnicism and national traditions.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr. I meant no offense. After all, Johnny Football is of Lebanese descent. And of course Fr Yatrellis in the video is of Greek descent. What I was reacting too was the chatter I’m picking up in which people from these jurisdictions are complaining because they weren’t included.

    • Sean Richardson says

      Fr. John: I agree with you that the Antiochian Church is not “Lebanese”. I belonged to an Antiochian Parish for years and the priest made every effort, and was quite successful in attracting converts. That being said, however, it is only when one steps away from the Antiochian Church for a bit, attends other Orthodox churches, to realize how truly Arabic the Antiochians are (as the Greeks are Greek and as, perish the thought, the OCA is Russian). The only place I’ve seen a real, serious, attempt to have any form of American Orthodox Church is within some of the former Evangelical Orthodox churches, and they are hardly hanging on.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Sean Richardson says, “The only place I’ve seen a real, serious, attempt to have any form of American Orthodox Church is within some of the former Evangelical Orthodox churches, and they are hardly hanging on.”

        Sean, you may want to drop in on Saint Michael’s Church in Louisville, St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, St. Elijah’s Church in Oklahoma City, and . . . well . . . anyway, there is a bunch of them.

        • Sean Richardson says

          Patrick Henry Reardon … I’ve been to St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh and St. Elijah’s in Oklahoma City (granted it was a number of years ago) and they were very far from being American in their feeling … for some who have specific ties to countries over-seas or who came from a heavily national or ethnic church, it may seem ‘more’ American, but for me, as a convert, they really aren’t, in my humble estimation (and yes, I know, some will disagree).

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I’m not sure we want to be “American.” I thought the point was to be “Orthodox.”

          • Patrick Henry Reardon says

            “I’ve been to St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh and St. Elijah’s in Oklahoma City (granted it was a number of years ago)”

            The “number of years ago,” Sean, is very much to the point.

            I have visited both parishes now and then over the past 20 years. They are VERY different now.

            Those of Middle Eastern extraction are a minority at St. Michael’s, and they, too, are very Americanized.

            As for St. Elijah’s, they have actually absorbed an entire Anglican congregation.

            Visit them now, and see what you think.

        • Same thing with St.George in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s nickname is “Ramallah West”.The GOA parish uses more english..This is fine though because Palestinians and Syrians are in the majority but I would not say the parish is friendly to converts. Most converts here attend the OCA parish with a few in the GOA parish

          • Patrick Henry Reardon says

            My personal familiarity with St. George’s in Jacksonville is ancient (1977), but more recent reports do confirm StephenD’s current impression of it.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            There is nothing wrong with ministering to Palestinian and other Arabic speaking immigrants in their own language. What is wrong is when keeping a foreign language is artificial for the sake of using parish as a means to preserve one’s ethnic background. From my experience, Arabic does not last long in most immigrant parishes of the Antiochian Archdiocese because I have yet to know an Arabic family that took the time and effort to teach their children the formal Arabic used in services. It does not take very long for the Arabic to gradually give way to English as the language of the parish. In my parish that was founded in 1906, we have a kind of museum case filled with items from the past. One of them is an Arabic service book. It sat there for many years until a visitor from the Middle East came to our parish. He called me aside and pointed out that the book was upside down. No one in the parish knew enough Arabic to know that they had put the book in the case upside down.

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              Father John Morris writes, “What is wrong is when keeping a foreign language is artificial for the sake of using parish as a means to preserve one’s ethnic background.”

              I do wish, truly, that we could all agree on that point. It seems so self-evident.

              I know many American Greeks in particular, however, who do NOT agree. I have tried to explain to those individuals that using the parish for the preservation of a foreign culture is a policy exactly 180 degrees at variance with the Great Commission. That is not just wrong; it is a very serious sin, for which certain folks will have to answer at the Throne.

              So far I have seen no traces of this perverse attitude in the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Antiochian parishes that preserve Arabic are made up overwhelmingly of immigrants from the Middle East. That is to say, their use of Arabic is inspired by a pastoral concern.

              At the same time, such parishes cannot reasonably expect other Americans to join them, even those Orthodox Christian raised—as my children were—in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

              I can cite you chapter and verse on this point, but it would probably not accomplish anything positive.

              Meanwhile, All Saints Church continues to be the only Antiochian parish within the city limits of Chicago, and our largest immigrant group is from Romania.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                As limited as my experience has been, may I offer an observation? Generally speaking, most churches west of the Mississippi and in the South (except for Florida) are less ethnic than their counterparts elsewhere. Usually, this is associated with mostly convert clergy and parishioners. I wonder if my distinction can also apply to red and blue states and/or counties?

                • Carl, not sure how well your guess holds; however, it may be useful in view of historical settlement patterns of immigrants in eastern and western coastal cities. (We are ignoring Chicago, Detroit, and other more northern cities in order to do this.) My earlier reference was to a Texas Antiochian parish. (obviously not Austin-area’s three Antiochian parishes)

                  Moving over to Fr. John’s territory, so as to speak, the Jackson, MS Greek community fought the language wars for a very long time before splitting apart over the issue. (I know this only because we have numerous relatives from that community.) That, however, is “East of the Missisippi and in the South”, which jumbles your observations.

      • As is so often the case, this varies from zip code to zip code, from bishop to bishop. However, the key is to look for genuine pan-Orthodox efforts — primarily IN WORSHIP — that are backed by bishops.

        For example, please consider the music project in the Antiochian Diocese called The Byzantine Project, which has helped parishes use excellent music from a wide variety of Orthodox sanctuaries, not just single-line chant.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I am familiar with St Elias in Austin, Texas and her two daughter churches, St Sophia and St john the Forerunner, all wonderful pan-Orthodox churches, albeit with an Antiochian flavor. And, what is so wrong with that? We all have to come from a mother church and Antioch is one of the very first mother churches.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        The former Evangelical Orthodox are flourishing. They are not just barely hanging on. The original parishes have continued to grow and have helped establish missions all over the country.

        • Sean Richardson says

          My point, Fr. John, was not that their parishes are or are not flourishing, but rather that the feeling within their parishes is still American, and hasn’t been taken over by a feeling of being Middle Eastern, Greek, Russian, etc. (some of them definitely have feelings of being Russian or Arabic)

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            I am puzzled. Just what makes a parish feel American? Since most Americans are Protestant or Catholic, any parish that is true to its Orthodoxy will feel foreign to most Americans. By the very nature of Orthodoxy, no matter what language we use in worship, we are counter cultural because we do not buy into the values of contemporary American culture. We still believe in unchanging truth and value doctrine, something that is very unfashionable in modern America. Even most Christian Americans would find a service led by a man wearing brocade vestments, chanting and swinging a censer foreign.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Fr. John, one indicator is that ‘regular ol’ ‘merican folks are welcome, really welcome. The first parish I was in seemed to be at first, but when my late wife was appointed choir director, the vilification began. At one liturgy an Arabic man standing next to me started calling my wife names of the most vulgar sort becasue she was not of Arabic descent (being a woman didn’t help either). It got worse. The priest participated in the vilification even though he was a convert because he was a weak man (no longer in the Church at all).

              Eventually we were forced to leave and sought refuge in my current parish across town.

              BTW: While my wife was choir director, the parish had the best sounding choir and the most reverant it had ever had (according to many). Since, they have barely mounted a decent choir at all.

              Or, the parish that a friend of mine in KC first experienced (Greek) which was all about being Greek, Greeker and Greekest. The actual Orthodox part of the parish such as confession, serving the poor, etc. was not considered important, only being Greek. My friend migrated to the OCA church.

              Just as bad is one western rite Antiochian parish I’m familar with which is still really into being “English” in the old Anglican way. They are not particularly welcome to Eastern rite folks.

              Then there is my current parish founded by Lebanese/Syrian immigrant as is yours at about the same time. We’ve got a little bit of just about everything. Arabs (new and old); Russians; Greeks; Romainians; Ethopians; Egyptians (some are Orthodox some are visiting Copts); mongrel Americans like me; Afro-Americans and some half-breed Native Americans plus some I probably don’t recognize. We use English, Arabic and Greek in our services with some Russian and Romanian thrown in from time to time but mostly English. Our chief chanter is native born Lebanese and chants fluently in Arabic and English and can do a little Greek too. We have rich, poor and in between; professionals and laborers; punk hair (doesn’t usually last long) and tatoos.

              Now that’s American.

              It is not always easy. Sometimes the non-English languages grate on me and sometimes the ‘old family attitudes get a little bit much. The other matters of building a community founded upon and imbued with the Holy Spirit is much more important. It was not always that way. Not that long ago (before I was Orthodox however) the parish was dominated by feuding Lebanese families and one of my friends (an early convert by marriage) called himself the token white guy. Good leadership and a dedication to the truth allowed things to change in a positive manner.

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                My parish was founded in 1906 and if it is ethnic, it is Mississippi ethnic. On Sunday, we had a covered dish luncheon. No Arabic food in sight, but they had cheese grits with ham and barbeque. No one speaks Arabic. Although many people had grandparents who were Lebanese, the people are just as American as they can be. In the Diocese of Miami, there are more Arabic ethnic parishes in Florida, but the the northern part of the Diocese is completely American as are the vast majority of clergy. There are only two parishes with Lebanese roots. Mine, which is ethnically Mississippian, and the parish in Atlanta. I do not know what that parish is like, but the rest of the parishes in the northern part of the Diocese are as American as they can be. Every priest in my Deanery is a convert. There is no interest among our Bishops in preserving Arab ethnicism in our parishes. Back when I first became a Priest almost 33 years ago there were a few converts who tried to be more Arabic than the Arabs. Everyone made fun of them including the real Arab Priests and they have not lasted.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Your statement that “although many people had grandparents who were Lebanese, the people are just as American as they can be” brought warm memories. At St Elias in Austin, one of the first people to greet us what an old Lebanese grandmother, who had a most remarkable East Texas twang I have ever heard. Later when St. Romanos Chorale visited Vicksburg Mississippi, the parishioners of St George’s (your parish!) hosted a reception. We were discussing tithing and another very old Lebanese lady/grandmother, also with a deep Southern drawl, said “everybody tithes, don’t they?”

                  PS: For a relatively recent example of St Romanos Chorale, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mkKjK29yQs. It appears that today the chorale is composed of singers from the Houston Orthodox Churches. When I sang in it, it was a regional choir.

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                The problems that you describe in your first parish are not unique to Orthodoxy. There are many Protestant parishes dominated by an old guard who welcome new people as long as they know their place and never challenge the domination of the parish by the old families. However, the minute that the old families feel that their power over the parish is challenged, they react in very un Christian ways. I have also seen all English speaking Orthodox parishes that have the same dynamic. New comers are welcome until they challenge the power of the old families whose ancestors founded the parish. Some parishes are really large extended families.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Fr. John, I really don’t care what happens elsewhere. I only know the damage that occurs when it happens in the Orthodox Church. I was blessed to be able to just go across town for a healthy parish. Not everyone has that option. Still there are residuals that require forgiveness on my part when ever they pop up. Those resisduals were even worse for my late wife. There are consequences for the parish itself and the people suffer because of those consequences.

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    You do not understand my point. I was not trying to justify the kind of treatment that you and your wife received. I strongly condemn it. I was only trying to point out that this kind of problem is not unique to Orthodoxy. I am pretty sure that I know which parish you left because I had a parish made up of people related to them, and know from painful personal experience how bigoted they can be. The issue is not really ethnicism as such. It is the feeling of certain families that they own the parish.. Non members of the family are welcome as long as they know their place and honor the primacy of the dominant family. At the same time, they view the priest as an hired hand whose chief function is to serve the dominant family and yield to their authority. If he dares to cross them on any issue, he is history and they do not hesitate to take out their animosity towards the priest on his children. A person can attend the Orthodox Church all their life and never really hear the Gospel if they see the Church in terms of preserving ehtnicism and family.

                • This happened in Pensacola,Florida…The families who thought “they ran the parish” at the GOA parish were challenged by a priest and they became upset.Met.Alexios ignored the situation and the families who left started an Antiochian parish…the families who “ran” the GOA parish now “run” the Antiochian parish…the priest at the Antiochian parish is a wonderful priest but the split did not have to happen..

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                    Actually that’s not what happened. Pensacola had a dynamic priest that pulled the parish together and gave it a more American orientation. He moved on and was replaced by a priest with instructions to re-Greekify the parish. (I don’t want to use the term “Hellenize” because it confuses GOA/Constantinopolitan political goals with Hellenism.)

                    It was a bad fit and many in the parish pushed back. They tried contacting Atlanta for months but were rebuffed (no returned calls, that sort of thing). Finally they had enough and approached Bp. Antoun who took them in.

                    These people were the workers/contributors as the success of the new parish makes clear. Atlanta tried to bring them back after the break occurred but it was too late.

                    No split would have happened if the parish was allowed to continue on the track established by the dynamic priest. This occurred at a time when re-Greekification was high on the agenda and more often than the policy was clumsily implemented. Pensacola was not the only parish that suffered although it is one of the more visible.

                    • Having been a member of the parish when it happened I can say that “part” of what you say is true but the underlying current was the issue of the “power and shakers” most of whom were Greek American were upset when the new priest started asking questions and had concerns about why the same people were involved in committees, on the parish council etc etc….on the outside to some one looking in it may be able to blame the Helenizers but the issue that divided the parish was not that,,those in control wanted to stay in control…I can bet you that no new people will be able to get too involved in the Antiochian parish which I need to say has a great priest….
                      On a side note I was at a meeting where they discussed which jurisdiction to hop to and when I mentioned the OCA they turned it down because of the financial issue then being revealed with Met.Herman..a group went to Jacksonville and met with Bishop Antoun and Voila!….Met.Alexios really dropped the ball on that issue..a town which can barely support one Orthodox parish now has two….Fr.Nathan Monk is starting a ROCOR Western Rite parish which may have some appeal in Pensacola…

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      Unfortunately that has happened in many places. I oppose trying to build up a parish or mission by taking people from another established parish or mission unless the mother parish realizes the meed to establish a mission in another part of town to serve a growing congregation. I also realize that sometimes it is necessary to establish an English speaking parish in a city where the only Orthodox presence is a parish that worships in a foreign language and doe not accept people who do not belong to the dominant ethnic group of the parish. In some places where there are English speaking parishes, it is necessary to establish a foreign language speaking mission to minister to recent immigrants.

                  • That’s what happens when parishoners go to church for all the wrong reasons. What you end up with is a club, rather than a church.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Too have a “Serious” American Orthodox Church, whatever that means, should mean having an American Orthodox Church that is truly American. But what does being American mean? Do you mean a White British/German Church? White Southern Church? Black Church? Latino Church? Etc. What exactly is meant by “American” in the American Orthodox Church?

        Americans are not a racially or even culturally homogenous group. We have, maybe, as White Anglo-Saxon and Germanic Cutural base, but that is quickly fading. so when you say “American” Orthodox Church what do you mean?

        Then what about the Divine Liturgy should that be “Americanized” like the other Orthodox cultures infused their culture into the Divine Liturgy? Should we have an “American” Typicon? Horologion? Phophetologion? Gospel and Epistle readings re-arranged for us “American”/

        See this is why Orthodox jurisidcitional unity is difficult to achieve and why ultimately the so-called “Dream” of the OCA has serious issues. What does it mean to be “American” in today’s culture? White? Black? Latino? North? South? West? Who gets to decide?

        Then we have to talk about the nuts and bolts of it all: Scripture Translations, Liturgical Translations, etc. Do we stay with our traditional Biblical and Liturgical text or do we adopt Modern Critical Biblical Text and even liturgical texts as some critical editions of some liturgical texts have appeared in Greece, Crete and Cyprus. The Russuian Orthodox Church has a very fine tradition of not only being the most Orthodox among the Orthodox in its retention of our practices and traditions, but is also cutting edge when it comes to critical studies of the biblical texts.

        Then we come to the administration issue. Do we structure ourselves as an independent Church with its own Holy Synod and Metropolitan or Archbishop or do we fall under the Jrisdiction of an overseas Bishop? There are pros and cons to this given current circumstances.

        There is so much to consider and so much that must be decided on that an “American” Orthodox Church at this point must be slow in coming. Just as much as the OCA does not want the EP deciding things many do not want the OCA deciding things. We ALL should be deciding these things and we haven’t even begun to have a serious discussion about these matters, just alot of yelling and screaming that gets us nowhere.

        Its time to turn down the volume and start rationally and calmly talking about these issues. This blog and others are the best places to start that discussion. So let’s talk.


        • George Michalopulos says

          Good points Peter. As I answered upstream, i think every major metropolitan area in the America should have a 100% Greek, 100% Arabic, 100% Slavonic, 100% Spanish, etc. church while every other one should be 100% English.

          As to your other point, you bring up a problem that has been vexing me lately: the OCA has failed in this regard, that it has territorial dioceses (which are real) but also ethnic dioceses, which stretch across the continent, thus making a mockery of the concept of territoriality.

          • [QUOTE] i think every major metropolitan area in the America should have a 100% Greek, 100% Arabic, 100% Slavonic, 100% Spanish, etc. church while every other one should be 100% English. [END QUOTE]

            That is a jest, surely.

            Mr. Bauman’s post expresses a reality that Fr. John seems to have been spared. I know plenty of people who have endured that negative reality from Orthodox parishes. If “Americans” were welcome across the board, I would not have a friend who had Middle Eastern members of an Antiochian parish tell her to her face that she was not welcome there because she was not one of them. I would not see “mixed marriages” (a misnomer to begin with, when both parties are Orthodox) resulting in the non-Greek person barely tolerated by the extended family.

            Possibly the most comical slur I have heard was shared by a close friend who was graduated from Holy Cross some years ago. He is second-generation Greek (through both parents). While at Holy Cross, he — and other young men just like himself — were cast-off by students who came directly from Greece because they “were not genuinely Greek”. Fortunately, our friend enjoys a keen sense of humour!

            What feels “foreign” is a relative perspective. When I see a man or woman ranting through a microphone, screaming about Jesus, with a backdrop of moaning musicians and/or loud drums and guitar riffs, illumined by garish lights . . . for sure I feel the scene is absolutely foreign.

            • Matushka Elizabeth says

              Our OCA Parish, located on the border of Texas with Mexico, is a genuine “America’ Parish. The Div. Lit. is in English, with, also per AB Dmitri of Blessed Memory’ guidance, at least one litany given in the “other” local language – which is Spanish. At Vespers, we do a multi-lingual litany. Our Parish is made up with a completely diverse and wonderful cross section of Orthodox “natives” and converts alike – those from backgrounds Greek, Russian, Lebanese, Ukrainian, Ethiopian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Mexican, Dominican and just plain ole Anglo-Celt-Germanic folks, from Texas, Kansas and elsewhere. It works. It works well. We are a family. No one is considered better or lesser than the other. One family in Christ. Period.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Saunca, the way you & your family were treated was abysmal. The priest who did this will have much to answer for.

              • How might you convince your husband that it is that priest and his wife who are 100% wrong? I wish you were in the Navy, instead. Our cousin is a Greek Orthodox Naval chaplain. He would be happy to assist you, I’m confident.

                • The moderator can decide whether he wishes to release your e-mail to me. I assume that he knows each of our e-mail addresses. I do not like to post mine on a public board. Nor do I think it appropriate to place my cousin’s name here. I suggest him only because your husband is in the military, so perhaps consulting one of the military chaplains is appropriate. It is not that he possesses any “magic pull”; just that he came from the Greek Archdiocese and currently is in the military. That I hold him in high personal esteem and affection is extra. :>)

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  You may also want to ask for advice on other avenues, such as the Orthodox Christianity.net or Yahoo Orthodox Forum. There are many knowledgeable folks on both of these forums. For example, the first one has various sections, such as Faith Issues and Covert Issues, that are geared primarily to address situations similar to the one that you and your family experienced.

              • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

                I,too,think the priest acted improperly.It certainly wasn’t the place of the priest”s wife to say that you were living in sin.My son’s Godfather was married to a Roman Catholic woman in a ROCOR parish WITHOUT her converting to Orthodoxy.Sometime later,she was baptised as an Orthodox.Today,ironicly enough,she and her husband are part of a Greek Old Calender church,while one of their sons is an OCA seminarian.
                I’m all for strictness,but a wise old bishop once wrote me that while we must say that ,”black is black and white is white”,we must do it in such a way that we don’t alienate people.The reception you got sounds like something you might get from a Greek Old Calender zealot.

            • Archpriest John Morris says

              I never wrote that I have not had that sort of bad experience. I have had some very bad experiences in parishes that were more ethnic clubs than Churches. Try being a convert Priest in a parish like that. I have heard more than once, “Father, you do not understand our people.” I just wrote that parishes like there are fewer and fewer parishes like that. I have also wrote that the parish where I now serve is not like that. My point is that this is not an exclusively Orthodox, nor is it an exclusively ethnic problem. I have two cousins who are Methodist ministers who have had the same sort of experiences with one or two families who considered the parish their private club.

            • Jim of Olym says

              Antonina, if I were the dean of that seminary, I would have sent the ‘Greek’ students back home forthwith! We need priests here, not ‘cultural ambassadors’!

        • Defend the Faith says


          Your assessment of the current condition of Orthodoxy in America, I won’t include Canada or Mexico because they are unique cultures that differ from the USA, is excellent. There are a myriad of challenges the bishops of ACOB face in their efforts to move the idea of a local Orthodox Church in the USA forward.

          The ACOB has done a great deal of work in organization, common ministries and basic structures, however one area I suggest they now turn their attention to is an approved order of the Divine Liturgy taking into account the varied and legitimate expressions of the Liturgy found here in the USA. This would be an approved Liturgy and offered as an alternative to the one that is commonly used in each jurisdiction. There is no way now that it could be mandated for use however it could be offered, with the blessing of each bishop in the ACOB as alternative. This could be a small but necessary step in uniformity of language and practice. It could be the common Liturgy used when the ACOB meets or when there are pan-Orthodox services in various locales. How exactly that would look would be up to the bishops. One of the strengths of the Liturgy in Greek, Arabic or Slavonic is that it is known. We don’t have that yet in English and we need one. I am not naive enough to think that such a move will be a panacea or be accepted overnight, but if we have something to use, something to work from, it is an important start. It will take generations for an organic expression in the English language of the Liturgy to take root, but we must start somewhere and the ACOB is the natural place for that to be worked on.

          If the rule of prayer is the rule of faith, then let us begin this effort in the fear of God with good will and an expansive appreciation of the varied expressions of our worship and bring, as it were, the best of each, with the eventual goal being more unified in our rule of prayer.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I agree wholeheartedly agree. A truly organic expression of the Divine liturgy and the rest of the divine services needs to occur in America. At this point in time we have everything we need not only to hold on firmly to our Traditions, Beliefs and Faith that stretch back to Christ and his Holy Apostles, but to also use the very best Biblical and Liturgical texts at our disposal and to arrange the services in such a way that is not only attached to our American culture, but a truly Orthodox expression of our American culture.

            This is exactly what occurred in Greece, Russia, the Middle East, Albania, Romania, etc., and it can hapen here in America. Also, you are further correct that the Bishops have to take the lead in this and set the standard for us here in America. The ACOB must do this, IMO, first before administrative united can be had. If it can first occur organically on the scriptural and litirgical level then it can occur on the administrative level. However, its going to take ALL the bishops coming together and agreeing on these issues. We shall wait and see.


            • Michael Bauman says

              Peter, a bigger problem which you allude to is how to embrace and digest such a diverse non-culture as we have in the U.S. We not only have all of the sub-cultures you mention, we also have the difficulty of dealing with the forces in our society that work against tradition and community promoting instead the individual and the new, glorifying passions and sin at the expense of peace and virture.

              We have to accept that there is no more Christendom as we have experienced and expected (even if only out of nostalgia). It is not coming back in our lifetimes. Looking to government as anything other than (at absolute best) a reluctant, short-term partner is self-defeating. Understanding that government is much more likely to be our enemy should inform our interaction with such institutions and all politicians. We should not expect or curry offical favor out of either a sense of neediness or a desire to wield power.

              The “American” Orthodox will include all of the sub-cultures and languages to some degree (I think George’s solution is a bit too inflexible). She will be prophetic and counter-cultural in the sense that she will not just go along with the secular societal norms but always critique them from the standpoint of Holy Tradition while at the same time encouraging holiness and wholeness in our persons and in our communities and in our families. She will likely be small.

              Acting in willful opposition to the moral, scriptural, liturgical and spiritual witness of the Orthodox Church will simply not have a place.

              That does not mean, especiallly, remaking the old country here in a fit of sectarian fear. It means living a life of repentance, prayer, fasting, almsgiving (not just giving money) and worship.

              Chapter 5 of the Letter to Dignetus is a good model to follow:

              A brief excerpt:

              For Chrisitans are not distinguished from the rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in customs. For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor practice an extrordinary kind of life…..They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign…..They love all men and they are persecuted by all.

              In short an ‘American’ Orthodoxy will be in this world, but not of it.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                I agree with your assessment. I also don’t know what to do with the fact that much, if not almost all, of our culture is dangerously materialistic and nihilistic that its not infusing American culture in the Orthodox Church, but the Church, the very Gospel of Jesus Christ that must be preched anew in a culture that at least had a christian understanding of things and cultural identity, albeit not an Orthodox identity, but has now completely lost it.

                All of the recent shooting, moral decay on Homosexuality, people’s ambivalance towards Abortion, tells me that Americans, if not almost all in the west are not just in a Post-Christian world and mindset, but a completely secular and materialistic mindset. It is not just the norm, but the accepted orthodox, small “o”, belief of the masses.

                No one can see the inherent problems of so-called “Gay” Marriage, Abortion, Euthanasia, and just rampant acts of vioence that cannot be stopped with laws. This is a moral epidemic that is quickly becoming a moral pandemic and the cure is there – THE GOSPEL and yet the sickness has spread so far and wide that the patient does not even realize that there is a simple cure and that he is going to die from his disease of sin and iniquity.

                The more I ponder this the more I get truly scred for the future of not only our country, but our world. So as much as I would love to have, and I think we can have, and organic expression of Orthodoxy in America the question at this point must be asked: HOW GOOD IS THE GROUND WE ARE PLANTING OUR SEED?


                • Michael Bauman says

                  I think there is good ground but we have to be more holy just to be able to hold on to our faith when so many care for nothing.

          • What is the AOCB? says

            I am unfamiliar with the term AOCB

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            SCOBA tried to introduce a common text of the Divine Liturgy almost 30 years ago. I was asked to try it in my parish to see how it was received. The translation was so bad that I could not use it. I hope that they will not try to impose Modern English on us because Modern English lacks the beauty of the more traditional English used in works like the Antiochian Liturgikon, which is, perhaps, the most complete service book available in English. Archbishop Demetri of the OCA Diocese of the South also published a very good service book.

            • Monk James says

              Archpriest John Morris says (January 24, 2013 at 12:03 am):

              SCOBA tried to introduce a common text of the Divine Liturgy almost 30 years ago. I was asked to try it in my parish to see how it was received. The translation was so bad that I could not use it. I hope that they will not try to impose Modern English on us because Modern English lacks the beauty of the more traditional English used in works like the Antiochian Liturgikon, which is, perhaps, the most complete service book available in English. Archbishop Demetri of the OCA Diocese of the South also published a very good service book.

              Apparently, Fr John Morris is unaware that Bp Basil Essey originally intended to use contemporary English in his Liturgikon, but was co-opted by deadlines. As a result, it reflects the dreadful usages of the ‘Brookline Psalter’ in order to be at least a little consistent internally.

              Abp Dmitri Royster’s tortured renderings are dreadful in a different way: He strove to preserve the word order found in at least Church Slavonic, if not actually Greek, resulting in some very unnatural-sounding constructions (‘Save, O Lord, thy people’ comes to mind).

              The Greek Archdiocese published an ‘official’ translation of the hymn ‘Christ is risen’ about a year ago, and it’s pretty bad, too. It seems that the wording was awkwardly (awkwordly?) forced to conform to someone’s idea of matching the byzantine melody note for note to syllable for syllable, each english syllable occurring precisely on the same note as a greek syllable. This rigid adherence to precise melodies does just as much damage to a receptor language as does relentless reproduction of the source language’s word order. English syntax depends entirely on word order, and this fact must be ackowledged in our translations if they’re to make sense and be easily understood.

              Jessica Suchy Pilalis’s work offers many helpful examples of setting clear English to byzantine melodies/tones, and is even available in modern notation.

              It is narrow-minded and unfair to insist that pseudoelizabethan English is more ‘beautiful’ than our contemporary idiom. Both are beautiful in their own way, especially in the hands of gifted writers. Any assertions to the contrary reflect our biases and preferences rather than anything about the objective esthetic qualities of either style.

              We still need a rendering of ‘Our Father’ which admits that there’s nothing in it about ‘daily bread’, ‘ttrespasses’ or God’s possibly leading us into temptation — among other things.

              And what is the subject of the sentence at MT 5:11, the last of the ‘beatitudes’? (Hint: It’s not ‘they’ or ‘men’ or even ‘people’.)

              Yet we just run on inertia in our comfort zone, unwilling to be dislodged by the facts.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Monk James is clearly mistaken when he writes, ‘English syntax depends entirely on word order.”
                Try “for the most part”, rather than “entirely,” please.
                Even “ALMOST entirely” would be acceptable to those qualified in the field.

                Two mothers have sons named George and both Georges are on the soccer team. At a game, a third mother joins them and asks, “Who’s that goalie? One mother says, “It’s George.” The third mother asks, “Whose George?” The first mother says,”My son!”

                So, the two expressions, “Whose George” and “Who’s George,” are distinguished by syntax, NOT word order.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        You do not have to attempt to have an American form of an Orthodox Church, it happens as the people in the parish become Americanized over several generations. My parish was founded in 1906 by immigrants from Lebanon. I am quite sure that the first two generations were very Lebanese, but now if they are ethnic, they are Mississippi ethnic. No one speaks Arabic, and they even pronounce their Arabic last names with a southern accent. It has taken me several years to learn how to pronounce some of the last names of people in my. parish in the Southern and not Lebanese way. Last Sunday, my parish had a covered dish luncheon. We served cheese grits with ham and barbeque. I do not know how more Southern you can get than that. The OCA parish in the next town actually has more Arabic speakers than we do which is none. Even the former Evangelical Orthodox parish in northern Jackson also has more Arabic speaking people than we do.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I agree with you Fr. There is nothing wrong with a GOA parish being founded by Greek immigrants, an AOCNA parish being founded by Lebanese immigrants, etc. Or these parishes having an immigrant ethos. What is wrong is that the various ethnic eparchies make little or no effort to inculcate America into Orthodoxy (AOCNA excepted).

          In a more ideal America in which there were strictly territorial and many dioceses, the bishop of (say) St Louis would mandate that one parish in that city conduct all services 100% in Greek, another parish 100% in Slavonic, a third 100% in Arabic and every other parish be 100% English. It’s vital that the foreign liturgical traditions not be lost.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            Our Antiochian Bishops would have a very hard time finding a priest who could conduct the Divine Liturgy 100% in Arabic in St. Louis or anywhere else. Very few Antiochian clergy can read or speak Arabic including those of Arabic ancestry, because Arabs do not teach their children Arabic. Even our Patriarchs use English when they come here. Preserving Arabic is not a priority in our Archdiocese. When I was at Holy Cross the administration decided that every student had to learn the liturgical language of his jurisdiction. Thus, they decided that we Antiochians had to learn Arabic. First they brought in an Arabic priest, who eventually went back to Syria. He actually tried to teach us Arabic. He lasted a semester. Eventually, they had to settle for a priest who taught us how to say a few things using Arabic written in the English Alphabet. I was making an A and received a message from Metropolitan Philip insisting that I not spend too much time studying Arabic because it is a difficult language and he wanted me to learn Orthodox theology not Arabic. I have been an Antiochian Orthodox Priest for almost 33 years and have never been to a service conducted 100% in Arabic. The video I saw of the Divine Liturgy for the Patriarch’s funeral even had English in it.
            The real difference that is apparent to everyone but a liturgical expert is the music. We can bring each other together by learning each other’s musical traditions. Already, my parish does at least 50% of the Divine Liturgy using Russian music.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Still, I think in a more ideal Orthodox America, efforts should be made to recruit priests who can conduct liturgies in Arabic, Greek, and Slavonic and place them in various metropolitan areas. Just to keep the liturgics alive. Also, they could serve as a long-range reference that the English language liturgies can measure themselves against to prevent “liturgical drift.”

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                There was a time when a compromise was tried. Matins was mostly in Arabic and the Liturgy in English in some of our parishes. However, slowly English began to take the place of Arabic even in Matins. The liturgics are the same regardless of what language one uses. I watched a video of one of the Liturgies served as part of the funeral of our late Patriarch and found that there is no difference between what I do and what they are doing in Beirut except for the language. However, even in that Liturgy, an American priest did his parts in English. The Divine Liturgy is the same no matter what language is used. I and any other Orthodox Christian could follow the Divine Liturgy even if it is done in Chinese.

                • Archpriest John Morris says

                  There are actually very few places where the people need or want an all Arabic Liturgy. Some more ethic parishes want some Arabic, but very few, if any, would want an all Arabic Liturgy. Even people from the Middle East find the formal Arabic used in our liturgical texts hard to understand. At most some people want to hear the most important troparia of each feast chanted in Arabic and a few things during Holy Week.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I realize this but because the ecclesiastical versions of Greek, Slavonic, and Arabic are “dead” languages that means that they cannot change. As such, a monastery or chapel or even parish in which the services are celebrated in these languages would serve the useful purpose of keeping English and Spanish liturgies more static by preventing the linguistic drift that is endemic to all “living” languages.

        • DC Indexman says

          Yes Father John Morris! I am familiar with the Delta part of Mississippi of which you speak. I knew many Lebanese in the areas between Clarksdale, Greenville and down towards Jackson — going back 25 years in my experience. Many of these Lebanese were very American even then. The Antiochian Church has performed a very good job in being adaptable and building an American Church. Antiochian Village is another good example.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Father Morris demonstrates that ethnic Arabs prefer even OCA parishes to his own, when they have a choice!
          [“The OCA parish in the next town actually has more Arabic speakers than we do which is none. Even the former Evangelical Orthodox parish in northern Jackson also has more Arabic speaking people than we do.”]

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            As usual you are taking my comments out of context. I do not want to get into another spitting match with you, but cannot let your false statement go unchallenged. Why should an Ethnic Arab or any other other Orthodox Christian travel 45 minutes to an hour to another Orthodox parish in another town when they have an Orthodox parish 5 or 10 minutes away in their own town, especially since both parishes worship in English?

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              “Spitting match” again? i only repeated what Father Morris wrote himself, and what he said demonstrates just what I said it does. Now, not wanting to get into a spitting match, he adds new details to the original context.. Give it a rest!

              “”The OCA parish in the next town actually has more Arabic speakers than we do which is none. Even the former Evangelical Orthodox parish in northern Jackson also has more Arabic speaking people than we do.”
              One wonders what the point of writing that is, if not what I said it is?
              By the way, one doesn’t have to be an Arab to be an Arabic speaking person. I don’t know why Father Morris doesn’t count himself as an Arabic speaker. He is, is he not? Surely, if he speaks any foreign languages, at least one of them would be Arabic!

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                I do not speak Arabic.Very few Antiochian clergy speak Arabic. I once spoke fluent German, but that was 41 years ago when I was a student at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. My first major on my BA was German Language. I also had a double major in history. I had an area on German literature in my MA and PhD, although my other fields were in history. I still occasionally watch movies in German that I get through Netflix. I studied Russian as an undergrad, but never really became fluent.

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      Why would anyone click a “Thumbs Down” on this post? Unbelievable.

  3. Diocese of the South says
    • Defend the Faith says

      I am sure this is not in any way an “official” site of the Diocese of the South. If it is, it is about two years out of date.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        It is not. The official site is http://www.dosoca.org/

        • Out of date fer sure says

          The point is that a nice website on the DOS has not been updated for over two years and still has pressing concerns, the major one of which is no archbishop. One of the interesting posts on that website is the Archbishop welcoming Metropolitan Jonah. That website was never suggested as an official website of the Diocese of the South, but rather as one with a good perspective on the same.

          Meanwhile, what are you all doing down there about your hierarchical problem beside complacency and the waiting game?

          • Out of date,

            It now appears that the South will have to wait even longer for a new bishop. As you will recall, the DOS was ready to nominate a successor to the ever-memorial Archbishop Dmitri way back in July of 2012, but that was nixed by Archbishop Nikon on grounds that the leading candidate, Fr. Gerasim was not vetted properly, even though the diocese had done its own vetting.

            Then the deans and the chancellor of the DOS hoped to nominate a bishop at the upcoming Pastoral Conference with a special assembly component. Well, that is not going to happen if one looks at the agenda for the 2013 Pastoral Conference.

            So it looks like the DOS will have to wait until at least July 2013 at its next Diocesan Assembly unless a special Assembly is called. That will make THREE YEARS without a ruling hierarch.

            May God reward their patience.

            • Nikos, Archbishop Nikon is not going to allow an election to proceed until the DOS looks like it will nominate the Synod’s chosen pet.

              • Helga,

                Of course the synod does the electing and they can choose whoever they want. It appears that Fr. Gerasim has “passed” the synod’s tests to see if he is crazy or not, yet there also appears that they synod is not taking any extraordinary actions to inform the DOS that he is or is not available to be finally nominated. Funny how quickly the synod can act when they want to and how slow when they don’t want to.

                Again, my hope is that the DOS will receive the bishop they deserve and not the imposition of someone.

  4. Sean Richardson says

    A very well planned and produced video. Thank you for sharing it! One thing I continually find annoying, however, as a convert, is that desire to somehow re-create a romantisized “Holy Mother Russia” that never existed. Is it best in the Orthodox churches in the United States to make convert faithful into Russian peasants, wearing babushkas and all? That aside, however, this is a wonderful video and I wish and hope that many more will be made with similar skill and care. Thank you.

    • Artakhshassa the Great says

      What are they supposed to wear on their heads, designer hats? Little pillboxes with tasteful veils? Sean: are you really against the American headcoverings called “babushkas” since the 1940s? Do you really think that American women do not wear them???? My mother used to wear them—the grandaughter of German Lutheran minister. My sister used to wear them all the time: in high school, at Bowling Green.. in Sao Paulo. My female cousins wore them.
      Or maybe you’re like the semi-mythical Antiochian hierarch who semi-mythically informed “females” in an Alaskan parish that even though the Theotokos is almost always depicted with a head-covering (babushka?), “ordinary” Christian women like them should only wear one when their holiness equalled that of the Theotokos.
      This reminds me of when a true “jerk-in-monastic-habit” criticized “laywomen” and “laymen” from possessing prayer beads and keeping them on their wrists, when everyone KNOWS that only sworn monastics may display them—doesn’t matter if the monastics never pray the jesus prayer more than once or three times at a time—-the prayer beads are meant to SHOW that the holders of them are men and women of prayer, whether they are or not.
      NOONE “makes” convert American women wear babushkas. Where did you get that idea? They can dress up as if they were at Ascot or on Fiftth Avenue at “Easter” if they like.
      And you wrote “wearing babushkas and all.” Please, define “and all.” Do they cross themselves too often or refuse to “rest” in a chair/pew?
      I suspect many have a piety that is rather monophysitic: whatever is “outward” or, worse,”material” is not American Christian…?
      “What’s wrong with these women, wearing “babushkas?” I KNOW what’s wrong. They’re trying to make women who DON”T wear them look bad, right? it’s like these people that insist on no pews in their churches: they’re trying to make the membership of the Cathedral in Damascus look bad, right? Of course! That’s it! They need to be educated in what’s normal American.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        Where is it written that only sworn monastics can only wear a prayer rope on their wrist? If that is true, why do monasteries make and sell prayer ropes designed to be worn on the wrist?
        Patriarch Ignatius IV discouraged women from wearing veils in Church, because in wearing a veil has become a symbol of submission to Islam.

        • Artakhshassa the Great says

          Irony alert! Father Morris is right to question those who sneer and condemn laity who wear prayer ropes. My point exactly in mocking something so ridiculous Why, Metropolitan Jonah himself once decried the practice and has been lauded for it as much as for exclaiming about “raping the Church!” Didn’t he mock the practice in Again magazine once?
          Veils? Oh, do the Antiochian clergy forbid brides to wear those symbols of submission to Islam at Antiochian weddings? Actually, I think the American wedding veil is not such a symbol. It is a symbol, rather, of idolizing the Great American Wedding! A more powerful sacred cow or golden calf could not be imagined than the Great American Wedding. Girls who would bridle at the mere hint that they should wear longer skirts Sunday in Church, or stop wearing trousers and so on, RUSH to become Traditional and to obey the customs and tradtiions handed down of The Great American Wedding! I understand that non-Russian American parishes with organs go all out with the Processionals and Recessionals of The Great American Wedding: some even add the vows of the Great American Wedding CONTRACT, and some non-Russian clergy who pride themselves on not personally adding their own fogiveness in a Confession, think nothing of stating *I” now pronounce you man and wife!”

  5. Michael James Kinsey says

    The cleanliness and the most well ordered appearance, coupled with the most civil discourse of well mannered people is exceedingly attractive. The love of common sense, always present in people of good will draw to you those who are trustworthy themselves, who groan under the worldly weight of having no one to trust. because the worldly do not value honesty as a means and method to live by.The video is a dream of a Shire, like in the Lord of the Rings. I saw people who did not feel important, and were happy and content simply to have a place in orderlyness. This is only accompished when each individual feels respected by others in thier own humanity.If I am ever displaced, I would consider South Carolina . I live in my hometown, Toledo, Ohio ,and it feels like home.

  6. macedonianreader says:
    January 15, 2013 at 9:10 am
    Honestly, I’m pretty ambivalent-minded about this documentary. I was expecting more. Watched it last night and the only thing that I remember “Southern Orthodox. Orthodoxy is Traditional, the South is traditional. Oh and we have good food for the fasting seasons.”

    Looking forward to “God’s Garden” a little bit more

    If I may suggest, I think that part of the effort in “Orthodox in Dixie” was to present a wider understanding of the ROCOR then might be stereotyped in come people’s minds. The ROCOR is not just stuck in the mud 19th century Russian brand of Orthodoxy. It is much wider and growing in that outreach. “Orthodox in Dixie” presents the picture that the ROCOR embraces the culture of the regions it evangelizes and does so with all the elegance of Russian liturgics but also with a good sense of humor and a healthy sensitivity for the life of the people they are leading.

    Orthodoxy is life and life in abundance in the Risen Lord. I appreciated the joy presented in the video. I am sure we will all be enriched with the future produced by the ROCOR Eastern American Diocese. This diocese understands the importance of this medium to reach the unchurched.

    May God continue to bless their good work.

    • Nikos writes,

      If I may suggest, I think that part of the effort in “Orthodox in Dixie” was to present a wider understanding of the ROCOR then might be stereotyped in come people’s minds. The ROCOR is not just stuck in the mud 19th century Russian brand of Orthodoxy. It is much wider and growing in that outreach. “Orthodox in Dixie” presents the picture that the ROCOR embraces the culture of the regions it evangelizes and does so with all the elegance of Russian liturgics but also with a good sense of humor and a healthy sensitivity for the life of the people they are leading.

      That is exactly the point of the documentary that I garnered from it. Did you notice that neither of the priests were actually Russian? And that both of their parishes use a lot of English? I bet this video REALLY ticks off people like Thomas Paine and M. Stankovich who tried to tell us ROCOR’s all Slavonic and unfriendly.

      The production was obviously done with a lot of love and care. Kudos to the media guys of ROCOR Eastern America! Most of the media department’s funding comes from donations, so I hope people will remember them in their charitable giving. These are the same guys who did the wonderful documentary about the Mayfield pilgrimage, too. I hope we see plenty more from them!

      Oh, and I thought the blooper video was hysterically funny and well worth their time.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        Actually ROCOR has done a very good job of reaching out to American converts. ROCOR even has a growing Western Rite, so I do not think that it is fair to characterize ROCOR as trying to preserve 18th century Russia. I have found ROCOR clergy always very friendly and willing to cooperate even with an Antiochian like me. 30 years ago when ROCOR started the mission i Huntington where I was serving. that helped lay the foundation for Holy Cross Hermitage in West Virginia. When they started, the local police sent an officer to my parish to talk to me to find out about what he thought was a pro-Communist group. I straightened him out very quickly. During that time I had a wonderful conversation with a Priest who came in to serve them from Jordanville. He was Fr. Larus, who became Met. Larus. Today, there are outstanding relations between our Antiochian parishes and clergy in West Virginia and Holy Cross. I believe that even Bishop Thomas, whose cathedral is not too far away in Charleston, has served there.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I think the problem Fr is that all of us have pre-conceived notions about other jurisdictions and regions that congeal into “fact” over time. I myself thought that ROCOR was hidebound with a 19th century ethos of Imperial Russian nostalgia until I did some investigating. (And found out about the Western-rite vicariate they have, which is growing.)

          • Tumorous Baktos says

            The problem with ROCOR and now the ROC reaching out more & more into the U.S., they have become nothing more than an arm of the Russian govt. The Russians are doing this around the world under the guise of spreading Russian Orthodoxy as if it were the 1800’s. More & more Russian operatives are coming to the U.S. and the U.S. govt should be well-aware. The converts going to ROCOR are pawns of a very advanced spy network.

            • Archpriest John Morris says

              That is a rather serious charge that is completely without basis. I know several ROCOR clergy and frankly doubt that they are spies for the Russian government. You owe the ROCOR an apology for your remarks. I thought that the John Birth Society had died out a long time ago. I suppose that you think that I am a spy for the Syrian government because I am Antiochian. . That kind of American chauvinism has no place in Orthodoxy. You should be ashamed of yourself.

              • Tumorous Baktos says

                No apology is necessary. ROCOR/MP Churches are a dangerous threat to the security of the United States and wherever they spread their influence under the guise of Orthodoxy. Sleeper cells are real; the dangerous influence of foreign govts in the U.S. is real; the new freedoms given to the ROC to spread Russian influence around the world is real. There is no reason why any American citizen should trust any church that is rooted in a foreign country. Neither Istanbul, Moscow, Damascus, etc. A strong American Orthodox Church is absolutely necessary without ANY foreign influences. State Dept. be aware!

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  OK, that’s just idiotic. If your overlords in Syosset really believe this crap then that would explain a major part of their hatred for Jonah.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    George–Haven’t you heard of agents provocateurs? Rather being an agent of the Syosset “overlords,” Mr. Baktous may be an agent for the Friends of Jonah–perhaps the infamous Father Fester?

                  • Tumorous Baktos says

                    In fact, Cyber-Terrorism is most likely to come from foreigners infiltrating the U.S. Those of you who wish to abet treasonous activities against the United States, continue to support foreign bishops, priests and brainwashed converts. More surveillance is necessary of these individuals, their parishes and those attending them.

                    • Catherine9 says

                      This will be the most unpopular comment on such subjects ever !
                      But personally I think the whole “war on – huh? – “terror” –
                      serves as a diversion of this country’s attention from a very REAL threat.
                      Not a made-up one, in short, like that was.

                      While even the Orthodox and Catholics are taken in by all the phony
                      promotion of ephemeral problems, usually false flag operations to scare the public,
                      who has energy left to track down the activities of the KGB in North America
                      and Australia, too ?/?

                      Just because average citizens have been brainwashed into worrying about
                      non-existent threats facing the Western world does NOT mean that Moscow has suddenly adopted
                      angelic intentions toward the U.S.

                      The KGB would be the very first of any world intelligence agency to shrewdly note
                      the absence of American agencies’ vigilance regarding Russian and other agents —
                      and rush to take advantage of it !

                      All these detractors fail to read the major works in this field. They love to mock
                      without any substantive information.

                      In fact, if I were the FBI, I would be watching every Russian parish in the country who in an unfortunate jurisdiction under Moscow’s aegis.

                      Russian-speakers, read the new Preobrazensky expose on this exact subject.

                      Better yet, step forward and graciously offer to translate it into English, Then tell us if these notions are ludicrous.

                      TB obviously has nothing to do with OCA headquarters, that shows how far off many people are in fact here. It’s almost astounding that for conservatives, suddenly Moscow is OK? Best friends of the U.S. ?
                      Clearly a Syosset Apparatchik would not care about Russian espionage in the US. If they did care, they wouldn’t be an OFFICIAL of a jurisdiction which voluntarily submitted to the Stalin-created Moscow Patriarchate at the height of the Cold War !!

                      Some of you are spending too much time trying to “Please Moscow”.
                      Better to do the opposite way : break away and be on your own and be confident.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      With all due respect Catherine, the ROC does not possess the population, resources, intent, nor fanatical devotion of legions of suicide-bombers to wreak havoc on the North American continent. While I think that it is possible that we can live in peace with Islam (an arguable position) and that we may have mishandled the response to 9/11 (again, arguable), there is a clear 1,400 year history of strife existing between Islam and Christendom. Indeed, this strife is quasi-racial and civilizational which transcends the disagreements between these two monotheistic movements. Simply go back and study the histories of Ancient Greece and Rome –neither of which were Christian–and you will see that “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

                • Disgusted With It says

                  Tumorous Baktos,

                  Don’t you realize now that you’ve posted this comment and exposed them they’re sure to be watching you?! They’ll be everywhere you go. Every move you make will probably be recorded and reported back to central command. When you’re awake, when you sleep, no matter where you are, the super-secret, undercover communist KGB infiltrators, sure to be cleverly disguised as old babas and priests eating BBQ, could be watching you because you’ve exposed their grand plot for world domination! Oh, the humanity! Woe to you! We shall pray for you dear defender of the American Faith!


                • Archpriest John Morris says

                  To Tumorous Baktos

                  Your post reeks of Phyletism which is an heresy. Orthodoxy is rooted in a foreign country or at least a non-Anglo Saxon culture because American culture was shaped by Protestantism..Despite its claim of autocehpaly even the OCA is an expression of Russian Orthodoxy, liturgically and musically as well as culturally even if the service is 100% in English. What is important is fidelity to our Orthodox Faith not local self-government.

                  • Jonathan Johnston says

                    The idea that a “local church” in a “local territory” is Phyletism is ridiculous. The idea that “foreign bishops” can open and control diocese outside their own territory is “non-canonical.” Neither the Russians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Arabs, etc. have no canonical authority in America. Therefore, any of these parishes or bishops can leave and attach themselves to a “canonical, local church.” Lawyers would get involved, but canon law is clear on this.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      There is no canonical local Orthodox Church in the U.S. The Russian Bishops gave up their authority in America in the wake of the Russian Revolution. Antioch had the blessing of Moscow, what eventually became ROCOR and the Metropolia before it assumed jurisdiction in the U.S. because the Russian Bishops had enough problems trying to keep the Russian parishes from falling under the control of the representatives of the pro-Soviet Living Church the Bishops of the Metropolia encouraged the non-Russians to form their own jurisdictions under the control of the mother Churches.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      I think that the situation in North America is unique as this continent was unknown when the “world” was divided into spheres assigned to the ancient patriarchates and Rome. Thus, Constantinople’s Canon 28 claims are based on fantasy. Nonetheless, there are some principles that should carry over, such as no more than one bishop per city, one primate per local church, one local church in any assigned/acknowledged area.

                      There is a local church in North America that is acknowledged by some of the other local churches. At the very least, no church should claim that North America is fair game or that each local church abroad must look after her flock abroad. I am not disputing that the Bolshevik Revolution fundamentally altered the canonical status of the various Orthodox Churches in North America. Nonetheless, it seems clear to me that prior to that tragedy, there was only one church in America–if one defines a church as a bishop, surrounded by his priests, deacons and laity. If one defines a church as a local congregation, there were non-Russian churches with no local bishop over them. In any case, that one church was the Russian Orthodox Church. And, the ROC had the right to grant autocephaly to the Metropolia.

                      The problem we have now is that all canonical principals were scrambled into an unholy mess after the Bolshevik Revolution. The man problem of the non-Russian churches has been addressed somewhat by the existence of local bishops, even though they belong to the Holy Synod’s of overseas churches. Of course, the problem of multiple local churches having jurisdiction in North America persists. This problem is made worse by efforts by some local churches to claim legitimacy based on a “need” to serve their own kind; Romanians belong in Romanian Churches, etc… Most of the ancient patriarchates are concerned that in a truly autocephalous local church, support for the patriarchates and for the preservation of ethnic distinctions will diminish. So, this is one omelet that cannot be undone. It seems to me that the only way out of current dilemma is for the laos in North America to organize themselves into a local church. They can do so by attaching themselves to the OCA or by forming a united and truly autocephalous church. For some there may be the temptation to consider autonomy (maximal or not) under a foreign patriarchate, but the time is long past such interim measures.

                      Thus, while agree with Jonathan in principle, I will agree with Father John that in practice there is indeed no canonical local church in North America at this time.

                    • Monk James says

                      Archpriest John Morris says (January 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm):

                      There is no canonical local Orthodox Church in the U.S. The Russian Bishops gave up their authority in America in the wake of the Russian Revolution. Antioch had the blessing of Moscow, what eventually became ROCOR and the Metropolia before it assumed jurisdiction in the U.S. because the Russian Bishops had enough problems trying to keep the Russian parishes from falling under the control of the representatives of the pro-Soviet Living Church the Bishops of the Metropolia encouraged the non-Russians to form their own jurisdictions under the control of the mother Churches.

                      Fr John Morris’s grasp has exceeded his reach here, and his opening statement is absurd.

                      All the authentically orthodox parishes/eparchies in America (those connected with their european mother churches) are fully canonical, but a bit irregular now here, since the OCA, by virtue of its 1970 autocephaly, is not only canonical but also THE LOCAL CHURCH.

                      The other extensions of european churches in America need to realize this and get themselves in order so that we can let Christ build His church here on a single foundation with Himself as the cornerstone. In English. In America.

                • Yes, indeed. We all know that the indigenous Protestant Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalists, and — why not — the Nation of Islam have done so much good for our society lately. They are not threats to American society at all. No siree, but I, a descendent of Jamestown colonists, am simply Putin’s pawn. Thanks for clarifying.

                  • Monk James is absolutely wrong here. The OCA-fka-Metropolia is not the Local Church here in America. If it were, the rest of us Antiochians, Greeks, ROCORians, Patriarchal parishes, et al, would be ipso facto schismatic.

                    Receiving a Tomos of Autocephaly from a Communist-enslaved Church is not a very auspicious beginning to one’s entry onto the world stage of Orthodoxy. I agree with Father Seraphim’s comment at the time: it showed a certain voluntary spiritual slavery, whereas at least the Church in Russia was enslaved against its will.

                    Many Patriarchates deny recognition of the OCA’s autocephaly. As well, her going into schism from the ROCOR Synod of Bishops should not be ignored.

                    I might accept her autocephaly at face value if it weren’t for this quote:

                    “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      “The OCA-fka-Metropolia is not the Local Church here in America. If it were, the rest of us Antiochians, Greeks, ROCORians, Patriarchal parishes, et al, would be ipso facto schismatic.”

                      Bad argumentation but the conclusion is true. The fact is that all of the others are ipso facto schismatic if the OCA is the local church. However, please note that the OCA’s position has been constant over the years: that her autocephaly is but an interim step towards a truly united and autocephalous church for all Orthodox Christians in North America. The OCA recognizes that flaunting her autocephaly and the logical consequences of that would be an uncharitable and frankly stupid thing to do. After all, it is not the fault of the Antiochians, ROCOR, Serbs, Bulgarians, Romanians, and Greeks that the only existing Church in North America fractured and lost her position after the tragic Bolshevik Revolution. I do not know what the motivations of the ROC were at the time, but I believe that the Metropolia had an understanding with the other SCOBA jurisdictions that her application for autocephaly was a means to the eventual unity and true autocephaly of all (the Metropolia went to the EP first and then to the ROC at the EP’s recommendation). It was never an end it itself. Nonetheless, unlike Roman Catholics we do not have the luxury of declaring OCA’s autocephaly as null and void, as the RC may annul a marriage. OCA’s autocephaly is real. We can however use OCA’s autocephaly to ensure that the fighting and power plays between Constantinople and Moscow (or for that matter the ambitions of the Old Country Churches) do not consign us forever to quaint exarchies that amuse most North Americans at their ethnic festivals. That is, it is a lever of sorts to force a resolution to our truly strange situation in North America. The good news is that there is a glimmer of hope with the establishment of the Assembly of Bishops. I am praying that the members of that assembly will be guided by the Holy Spirit and do the right thing.

                    • DC Indexman says

                      Carl, I like the way you have expressed your answer here. Many others on this sight over the past several years have expressed somewhat similar ideas, but I think you have put it clearly.

                      The Bishops in the Assembly of Canonical Bishops, as you know are still (using a medieval term here) in a state of enchantment. If you know something about enchantments, you know those who are under the spell know they are under the spell, however, they can not break the spell nor can the advise those who might come to the rescue how to break the spell. But it does take some one from the outside to cast off the enchantment and free those who are captives.

                      Father John Erickson (former professor at St. Vladimir Seminary and Cannon Law expert), among others, has indicated that somehow the American Bishops only need cleanly break away from their “old world” patriarchates and then would be free to establish the American Orthodox Church Orthodox Church. Supposedly, the late Archbishop Iakovos, of Blessed Memory, was one who could have attempted this, but somehow got “cold feet.” Of course now we will not know what Archbishop Jonah might have been able to do. It is clear at this point and time as several have suggested, the OCA will not be able to pull it off.

                      So it seems the Americans need to find someone or some organization that knows what to do to break the enchantment. Well what about OCL? It seems though they took their shot and blew it during the time of Archbishop Spyridon. It might also seem today they are more interested in self congratulation, rather than showing the vigor to set a direction and conduct real agitation that — they claim is their “mission.”

                      So for now, as in the middle ages, those under a spell sit in their castle surrounded by a moate, guarded by a dragon and wait, and wait, and wait…

                    • Archpriest Jo hn Morris says

                      To Monk James:

                      You are completely ignoring the historical development of Orthodoxy in America. One of the casualties of 1917 was the destruction of whatever unity existed among American Orthodox. Before there can be a real autocephalous local American Orthodox Church, there must be a united Orthodox Church in America. We were not united in 1970 and are not united today. Until we are united no one jurisdiction should presume to claim to be the local American Orthodox Church, it can only consider itself one of several American Orthodox Churches. The unity we seek can only take place if we come together as one body and learn to treat each other with mutual respect and recognize that no one jurisdiction or tradition has primacy over the other Orthodox in America.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Dear Father John,

                      Would it be fair to say the following?

                      a. While there is no local church in North America, there is one autocephalous church whose boundaries are confined to North America. The boundaries of the rest of the Orthodox jurisdictions in North America are overseas.

                      b. While “no one jurisdiction or tradition has primacy over the other Orthodox in America,” historically it was the Russian Orthodox Church that had the first organized mission to, and the first established diocese in, North America.

                      c. The ROC has produced the overwhelming number of American saints.

                      d. The ROC has led all others in translating the Holy Scriptures and services into the vernacular, starting with Siberian tribes and then proceeding to North American native tribes.

                      e. The ROC was the first to adopt a pan-Orthodox approach to governance with the establishment of a special diocese for Arab-Americans that was headed by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn. The headline from New York Times, dated 09/15/1895, is instructive:

                      “MINISTER FOR SYRIANS
                      Christian Church to be Filled by a Damascus Preacher
                      WILL ALSO VISIT OTHER CITIES
                      Bishop of Alaska and Aleutian Islands Asked the Emperor of Russia to Make the Appointment”

                      f. The ROC established the first monasteries and seminaries in North America. Even though St Innocent established the first seminary in Sitka, it was short-lived. St. Tikhon established St Platon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Minneapolis in 1905 and that one did not last much beyond the Bolshevik Revolution. However, St. Vladimir’s first permanent facility (on the grounds of Columbia College) started in 1939. After WWII, St Vladimir’s status started to change from a jurisdictional seminary to one of world renown. Here is the list of existing seminaries, their start dates and the degree programs that they offer:

                      1938: St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, NY); Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry

                      1942: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan, PA); four-year diploma/Bachelors with Marywood University and Master of Divinity

                      1973: St. Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Kodiak, Alaska); Bachelor of Sacred Theology

                      1948: Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (Jordanville, NY); Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.)

                      1937: Holy Cross Theological School (later Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological Seminary, Brooklyne, MA); Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies and Master of Theology.
                      The school’s Internet site claims that “Hellenic College Holy Cross (is) the oldest and largest accredited Orthodox Christian institution of higher education in America,” which is true as there was a multi-year gap between the Metropolia’s St. Platon’s and St. Vladimir’s. Hellenic College is a Bachelor level college.

                      Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA
                      1975: St Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary; (degree unknown)

                      American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese (ACROD)
                      1951: Christ the Saviour Seminary (Johnstown, PA); Bachelor of Theology

                      The Serbian Church in North and South America
                      (Date unknown): St. Sava School of Theology (Libertyville, IL); Bachelor of Divinity

                      So, it appears that the OCA should have some sort of place of honor amongst the various jurisdictions in North America as she is the only autocephalous one in North America, even though she is not the Local Church. The position of the OCA was wonderfully expressed by the Q&A published in 1970:

                      “Before autocephaly there was no clear and canonical action whatsoever relative to the unity and self-government of the Orthodox in America. There was only talk. Now at least, there is a concrete beginning.

                      Before autocephaly there was not one church which was legally free from its old world “mother” and which could and did define itself without the use of an adjective taken from a foreign church or nation. Now at last there is one.

                      In addition to this, it has been stressed over and again that the new autocephalous church demands nothing from others but respect for its position and the freedom to go on. It will not force others into anything and will work with all, willing to discuss anything, anytime, anywhere and with anyone. It wants sacramental union with all who are not morally or dogmatically deformed, and even with these it will work for renewal, rectification and ultimate union. It categorically refuses on these grounds to be the object of any insinuations and accusations of destroying rather than serving the unity of the Orthodox in America and in the entire world.

                      If there is division over autocephaly it can only be because no one now can hide from the question under a cloud of empty words and meaningless actions. In the light of autocephaly, all are seen for what they are, and all are forced to show their true colors. Now each church, and indeed each Christian priest and believer, must show whether he wishes to serve the Orthodox Church of Christ or to serve first of all his own ethnic cause and community.

                      Thus perhaps what autocephaly has done is to reveal and disclose the true divisions that were always there but previously obscured because of the lack of a concrete action that would make them known. If this is the case, we can welcome autocephaly as a blessing. It is the opinion of the Orthodox Church in America that this is exactly the case.”

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      I confess that I got overexcited when I read Michael C’s words:

                      “I might accept her autocephaly at face value”

                      just the thought that Michael C himself MIGHT accept the granting of autocephaly to the OCA by the Patriarch of Moscow sends chills up and down my spine!
                      What a Coup that would be! This would bring joy not only to us but even to today’s Patriarch of Moscow and the rest of the episcopate of the Church of Russia: “Michael C. says he MIGHT accept our grant of autocephaly to the Church in America!!!!”
                      Michael C might accept us! Hallelujah!

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To Karl Kareff:

                      We cannot go back and pretend that the events since 1917 did not happen. The Russian Bishops gave up their claim to primacy in America by blessing the foundation of other Orthodox jurisdictions. Antioch did not just send a Bishop here and establish an Archdiocese without the blessings of the Russians, including the Russian Bishops here in America. For that reason, those who claim that Antioch has no legitimate jurisdiction here are wrong.
                      Because we are divided, one jurisdiction, regardless of what things were like in 1900, cannot unilaterally declare itself the autocephalous American Orthodox Church. Only when we are united and all agree will it be possible to establish an autocephalous American Orthodox Church.
                      I would argue that we Antiochians have done a rather good job of publishing liturgical texts in English. I have yet to see any service book equal to our Liturgikon or our Holy Week Book. We do not have our own seminary, nor should we. We do not have our own seminary, nor should we. The last thing that we need is another seminary to compete with the ones already here. It is much better for us to support the seminaries already here like St. Tikhon’s, St. Vladimir’s and Holy Cross.
                      Frankly, at this point the OCA is in no position to claim leadership of American Orthodoxy. All the fighting about Jonah is bad enough, but when it makes the national news that the Archdeacon at the OCA Cathedral in Miami is an openly practicing homosexual who married another man and who is living in a highly questionable relationship with a disgraced Bishop, it does not motivate the rest of us to accept the claims of the OCA. Look at this article in the secular press http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/priest-bishops-cover-up/
                      This went out on the internet on Real Clear Religion and makes all American Orthodox look bad. At least Archbishop Joseph laicized a priest and called the police when he visited a parish and learned that the priest had sexually abused some of the youth in his parish. The OCA needs to clean up its own mess first and work with the other jurisdictions on an equal basis to discuss how to unite and what form that unity should take. We also cannot ignore the rest of world Orthodoxy in the process. A real autocephalous Church requires the recognition of all of world Orthodoxy.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Dear Father John–I am somewhat perplexed by your reaction to my earlier posts on the subject of OCA’s autocephaly and the local Church in North America. I had gone more than halfway towards your position for I did agree with you that the OCA is not the universally accepted or even de facto local church in North America, even though she is indeed an autocephalous church. I further pointed out that OCA’s autocephaly was a means to an end, that is, an administratively united and autocephalous North American local church.

                      I hope I am wrong, but I sense that you now seem to be rejecting OCA’s autocephaly all together. I mean, it is one thing not to formally recognize it, but to reject it is something else all together. Surely you recognize that that OCA was given her autocephaly by the canonical Russian Orthodox Church, that her autocephaly is formally accepted by some canonical Orthodox Churches, and that she is regarded as a canonical church even by those who oppose or do not recognize her autocephaly. The venerable Antiochian Church is content in not recognizing OCA’s autocephaly and has not gone as far as opposing it as far as I know. Is there a shift in that position that you can share with us?

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To Carl Kraeff

                      Every Orthodox Church in the US recognizes the OCA as a canonical Orthodox Church and is in full Communion with the OCA. Bishop Nicholas of our Archdiocese served at the enthronement of Metropolitan Tikhon last weekend. However, until all Orthodox in this country are united into one jurisdiction, it is premature for one jurisdiction to consider itself the local autocephalous American Orthodox Church and to imply that the rest of us are somehow less than canonical because we still maintain ties to our mother Churches. The statements implying that “foreign” Bishops having no legitimate authority in the US that some people make on this site are offensive. As are some of the posts expressing a triumphal attitude towards other Orthodox by criticizing our Metropolitan and Antiochian liturgical practice as well as criticism of other Orthodox jurisdictions. For example, in one post someone objected to ROCOR establishing missions in the South because he claimed that the South is OCA territory as if the OCA has special rights here in the US that makes it superior to other Orthodox jurisdictions. We also have established many missions in the South. My major point is that future Orthodox unity must come about as a result of discussions between equals involving all Orthodox jurisdictions and the rest of world Orthodoxy.

            • This man has expressed 100 % Truth. Not even 99.9 % – but 100.

              I wish people would sit up and take notice. It’s what I tried hard to get across too when I first came to this site. But found no resonance among the members for this all-important message.

              If one has doubts, please contact the expert on this : Konstantin Preobrazhensky, a former Lt-Colonel in – ugh – the KGB.

              He has a bevy of articles written from 2006 onwards alerting all Orthodox and others of the coming danger of the union with Moscow.

              He also has 2 books out, one in English which is available from St John of Kronstadt Press, I believe – and a new one in Russian which introduces amazing new material gathered since the earlier work.

              Notably, his articles are not readily available online any longer. Guess why ??!

              In any event, an observer with any amount of savvy about the long term interests of the KGB will be able to figure out WHY Rocor was co-opted as a vehicle for the ‘distribution of agents’ throughout not just the U.S,, Canada and Australia, but a growing presence in Mexico for example, and other lands.

              I encourage people to NOT laugh this off, but to follow up. It doesn’t take much time, but the eye-opening information is something NOT to be missed for any Orthodox clergyman, or layman, or people concerned about having their country infiltrated by MORE “agents in cassocks” than EVER before !

              • Michael Bauman says

                At the root of every conspiracy, real or imagined, is our enemy, Satan. By entering as fully as possible into the life of the Church without fear, rancor or guile everything he tries to do will be defeated. At least in one’s own life. Speculation, especially about the sins of others feeds our fantasies; our fantasies feed our passions; our passions feed our sins.

                Pray, especially for those who have gone astray. Fast, especially from one’s own passions. Give alms locally and personally which includes being kind, generous and forgiving. Worship with full knowledge of entering into communion with our Lord, God and Savior. Repent calling on the saints, our Holy Mother and our Lord to grant you the gift of tears and genuine compuction for all the darkness in one’s own heart.

                Remember not wrongs but our Lord’s words: “Fear not, for I have overcome the world.”

              • What could these supposed agents in cassocks do here that they couldn’t do from Moscow with an internet connection or an e-mail account? I ask in all sincerity.

              • To Bishop Tikhon, bless!

                I guess one hasn’t arrived till one has been mocked by his Grace. But, I finally have. You know what I meant. We all express opinions with similar verbiage. My acceptance of the OCA’s autocephaly is irrelevant, of course. I am nothing more than a layman, and a poor example at that.

                But, I can and do say that I find its autocephaly problematic.

                In any case, though it might not matter to you: I will continue to read your posts with interest, since they are some of the most enjoyable and erudite on this blog. Unlike others, I am no Bishop Tikhon hater.

                Pray for me, Vladyka.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Michael C., The Lord’s blessing be upon you!

                  You created the following non sequitur: “The OCA-fka-Metropolia is not the Local Church here in America. If it were, the rest of us Antiochians, Greeks, ROCORians, Patriarchal parishes, et al, would be ipso facto schismatic.”
                  The Antiochians do not pretend to belong to the Local Church here in America, nor do the Greeks, ROCOR, the Patriarchal parishes etc. in fact, and most definitely and obviously, they claim to be members of Local Churches beyond the borders of the United States of America.
                  One can’t be a member of two Local Churches at once. There is only ONE Local Church located here: The OCA. All those others just have not joined themselves to the Local Church here, but preferred to belong to “foreign” Local Churches. You have something to say, but you were careless in your terms, which do not convey it well.The OCA is the only organization of Orthodox Churches in America claiming to be the Local Church, basing that on a synodal and patriarchal grant of autocephaly by the Church of Russia, the mother Church, just as the Church of Antioch once granted autocephaly to the Church of Georgia centuries ago and the Church of Russia was once granted autocephaly by her Mother Church, Constantinople.
                  The OCA, though, may be going the way of the Local Church of Carthage, long ago, due to inner stresses and incompetence of leadership. I believe that the members of the Holy Synod will eat each other up, and Metropolitan Tikhon will be powerless to oppose the process.
                  The “Black Mold” that is eating away at the body is one part Haler aka Buehler aka Puhalo, and the other part is a”grass widow”; Burke.

                  • Thank you, Vladyka, for your helpful clarification. I may disagree on one point or another, but you are correct:

                    You have something to say, but you were careless in your terms, which do not convey it well.

                    My apologies for not expressing myself well. In any case, the OCA situation is very sad.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I will not discount the possibility, but I will say to you that it is really improbable, and in the case of ROCOR in the United States, it is impossible. That means that in the United States, at least, your allegation is simply not true.

              • Artakhshassa the Great says

                Catheine9’s tactics are those of a KGB agent, it seems to me. As for Preobrazhensky, an unemployed high ranking official of the organization of professional liars \(KGB or OPL), who pays him: Agathangel? The ambassador to Ukraine? One of the Koches?
                Anyhow, I suggest being very suspicious of Catheine’s postings would be a wise course of action.

                • NO official pays him ! He works by himself trying to alert people.
                  I don’t agree with all of his politics [regarding the Middle East, for example].

                  But none of us average people are going to have access to anyone with
                  such experience. Konstantin KNOWS how the KGB-FSB works, inside and out.

                  None of here really understand it.

                  I recommend a good glance at his book BEFORE making all these snide and
                  ridiculous remarks.
                  [A mere $15 – worth millions !]

                  KGB/FSB’s New Trojan Horse: Americans of Russian Descent
                  Konstantin Preobrazhensky
                  A powerful insight into the past and present-day workings of the Soviet/Russian intelligence services, including much little-known information concerning its involvement in the events leading up to the submission to the Moscow Patriarchate by a large part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. No “conspiracy theorist” book, but rather the work of an “insider”, a retired lieutenant colonel of the KGB and accomplished journalist. – sjkp description.

                  Konstantin did write articles exposing the KGB for The Moscow Times until forced out of the country. He was granted asylum here in the U.S.

                  P.S. Metropolitan Agafangel, head of a large offshoot of Rocor which left in protest
                  against the incredibly suspicious “union” with the MP [all perpetrated behind the scenes
                  by agents of Moscow or those willing to cooperate. Average parishioners were never
                  consulted adequately or apprised of the true nature of what amounted to
                  a hostile corporate takeover of a property-wealthy jurisdiction]
                  has no extra funds for bribing one of his Subdeacons to write !
                  Konstantin wrote his exposes LONG before Met. Agafangel’s Church was formed.

                  • Yes be very careful, those ROCOR folk, even though they are born here in America have all been programed to wake up one day and work for the Soviets. It is all part of a vast conspiracy of which the fall of communism and the rebirth of the Orthodox Church in Russia and Eastern Europe is part of the plan to lull everyone into a false sense of security. We all know about those black helicopters used by supposedly the USA to spy on its citizens but in reality they too are part of the conspiracy.

                    For those of you who really care, if you listen to the Divine Liturgy played backwards it is really saying “Stalin is alive and workers of the world unite.” At the Cherubic Hymn, played backwards it says “Listen to Stan the Tran for more orders.”

                    You all have been warned and the new FOX show ‘The Americans” is the signal to ROCOR to being their work in taking over the USA.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Yes, Nikos! The tragedy of the well-meaning Catherine9’s delusion is that she is apparently blind to the gigantic figure looming up behind the KGB plotters; namely, OBAMA! Sarah Palin was half-right when she referred to Putin ‘looming over our airspace.” The facts are that OBAMA, the black, homosexual, islamic, fascistic communist devil-worshipper has his crafty beady eyes fixed on all devout Christians and is looming over the entire world. He is causing the ice-caps to melt and the deserts to dry up! He’s also paying that Priest in Minnesota who is in the news lately, the one who brandished an AK-47 at his daughter when her report card showed low grades, “ierei kirill Bartosevich!”
                      And today’ REAL Fifth Column is the HuffPost!!!!

            • Disgusted With It says

              Ah yes, the grand scheme of using models in New York didn’t work out so well, so they went now with the next best thing in old babas lighting candles and priests who enjoy BBQ. Those clever Russians!

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                I am certain that the Russian government is really concerned with increasing its opportunities to build up spy networks in rural South Carolina.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I guess things are really desperate for the Syosset Set when they have to see KGB agents hiding under every bed (or is it tracking devices in every Antimins handed out by every bishop?) And they think Conservatives believe in conspiracy theories!

                • Archpriest Jo hn Morris says

                  Just to clear up any possible confusion, my post about ROCOR in South Carolina was sarcasm. I do not believe for a minute that ROCOR is involved in spying for the Russian government.

            • Thanks, Tumorous, for proving to us that the OCA is terrified of ROCOR.

              When trying to hold a group together that is splintering due to weak and compromised leadership, one well-worn tactic is resurrecting old fears and suspicions against outsiders.

              The tactic is intended to scare people into thinking that it’s better to stick with the group rather than make waves, because the alleged threat from outside is worse than the crap going on inside.

              It’s not going to work this time, Tumorous. I have witnessed enough of the institutional corruption of the OCA for nearly anything to look better by comparison. Fortunately, ROCOR is a wonderful place to go for its own sake, as an Orthodox Church with its integrity intact, not just for fleeing the moral collapse of the OCA.

              • Artakhshassa the Great says

                Good one, Helga!

              • Isn’t it amazing that in just a few short years the ROCOR is more legit than the OCA. More respected and more stable. That sucking sound you hear is the winds of change in favorable attitude and it is blowing toward ROCOR and away from the OCA.

                So the OCA is losing membership and they have to blame ROCOR. Heaven forbid they would look deep inside their own dysfunction to learn the real cause. Sadly predictable.

            • Seraphim98 says

              Let’s say there is some truth to this. It makes a certain amount of sense that the Russian government would take advantage of any available assets to gather information on nations it wants to keep tabs on…. Does that then mean that the agent or agents involved are not Orthodox Christians who happen to owe a patriotic allegiance to Russia? Does it mean that all these places they seed churches are only going to have russophile patsy congregations to serve as cover for those who spy? Does it matter if the plow that tills the soil is red, red white and blue (or blue white and red)? Or does it matter that regardless of who “owns” the plow, the seed that gets planted is the Orthodox faith, and the converts that come home to Orthodoxy thereby are the Lord’s own harvest?

              If the KGB or its successor organs wish to fund the propagation of the Orthodox faith…let them and may God bless them……….and if any of the persons involved turn out to be spies of one pay grade or another…then when/if caught what happens to them will have to unfold according to the law and the ebb and flow of international politics. In the meantime, there are new churches to attract new converts to discover the Orthodox faith who are not spies, who are solid American citizens in search of the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints. There’s no way Russian espionage policymakers can hope to contain much less steer what comes out of that. They may have their agenda…but that does not preclude God having His own agenda which makes use of their enterprise. If in ancient times God used the likes of Cyrus and Nebuchadnezzer and later the Roman Empire…why not a state agency of an ostensibly 1000 year old Orthodox culture.

              Frankly…spies or no spies, this does not worry me in the least.

              • Indeed! Of course, the current regime in Russia wants to use ROCOR and the diapora communities, just as the Israeli government fosters ties with AIPAC and American Jewish organizations, Mohammedan governments sponsor American mosques, and such. Sinn Fein used to fund its terrorism activities with pub money from America, but now Northern Ireland and the Republic exploit American Irish ethnicity to increase tourism to the island. And on and on with examples . . . Clever and industrious people and institutions employ every possible advantage. However, Americans of Russian or Irish or Jewish or whatever background are more — far more — than simple tools of an overseas string puller. Why limit your criticism to foreigners? Should we dismiss every AME congregation in America as an arm of the Democratic Party? What about lesbian bookstores and flower shops — surely they are covert agents of the Obama administration! And don’t forget about those Mormons — GOP white supremacists, no doubt. Who can we trust when every group might be politically useful to someone somewhere?!?!

            • Fr. Michael says

              Dear Tumorous,

              Thanks for the “heads-up” about what’s really going on in the Russian Church Abroad! This sounds really dangerous, and it’s good to be warned. Eternal vigilance, and all that.

              But even the most advanced spy networks have their glitches – hard as it is to believe, in this age of technological wonders. I say this because I’ve been rector in a Church Abroad parish here in Michigan for going on fourteen years and, – you won’t believe this – I haven’t yet gotten so much as one thin kopeck from the KGB! Maybe they’ve lost my address?

              Please advise. Who should I see about correcting this oversight?

              And all the best to you, “Tumorous”, with that tumor of yours. The ones in the head can do so much damage to the brain. Perhaps in the time you have left (may God give you much of it!), you can re-direct your activities to giving real help to real people, instead of generating Ortho-porn.

              priest Michael Carney
              St. Herman Orthodox Church
              Lake Odessa, MI 48849

          • ROCOR today is not the ROCOR of the 1990s.

            And the OCA today is not the OCA of the 1990s.

            At the OCA parish where I worship we have long had clergy and faithful whose confessors are ROCOR, Antiochian, Serbian and etc.

            Is this a scandal, or a major indication that an American Church is coalescing?

            I take it as the latter, and thus the jurisdictional hijinx that this site thrives upon is rendered irrelevant to how real people live Orthodox lives in America.

    • macedonianreader says

      I get it. I’m sorry I’m not that excited. I just feel we’re too behind in actually reaching out to communities and feeding sheep to get excited over something that should be common sense, not the ends, but the means to get to the goal.

      Ok great the Priests weren’t Russian. It’s 2012 are they supposed to be?

      After hundreds of years of mission in North America, we’re just now coming to the point of putting together evidence that ROCOR/OCA/GOA etc = the local community?

      I’m not proud of this at this point. We’re behind and losing ground fast. Let’s quit wasting time and get moving …

      • Just for you, bratche says

        Yeah, let’s quit wasting time and while we’re at it, could we please train the neanderthals in the GOA/SOV/BOC/OCA /MPand ROCOR to utter the very word Macedonian and understand that the MKOC (just so you don’t confuse that with the Montenegrin Orthodox) is Orthodoxy,


        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I personally agree with you. How utterly non-Greek of me, how very Orthodox!

          • macedonianreader says

            Funny clip Bratche – But honestly, they can call me “Marvin the Martian” if they want as long as they stop isolating an entire mass of Orthodox people from communion for love of mythology over theology, and stop coercing those who don’t have a dog in the fight from calling Macedonians, Macedonian if they so choose. To be fair, a lot more folks, even those in the Orthodox Community have no problems in this area.

            Besides, we Macedonians aren’t much better. What have we done mission-wise in the US? Macedonian language classes? Folk dancing? Patriotic chest pounding? Rendering evil for evil?

            • neither mak nor bulgar says

              That was my point. We have to stop the whole lot of hating going on and accept all our own Orthodox instead of wasting our energy on divisions. Pathetic 19th c. parochialism.

              We have to get our own houses in order before having a community capable of American Orthodoxy. And, sorry, I don’t see that as Syro-Lebanese or Greek

            • ProPravoslavie says

              I note, Mr. Macedonian, that you dare not say a word about the harsh and disgraceful treatment (both physical and moral) of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid by your hierarchs and Macedonian state authorities. Perhaps the canonical Orthodox would be more inclined to talk to you if you treated a canonical Orthodox bishop like a human being?

              • neither mak nor bulgar says

                It is my understanding that defrocked former Bishop Jovan of Veles was born in Bitola. here is an attempt at a short chronology taken mostly from his own self promoting materials on the web. I cannot find precisely when he was defrocked and any degrees past his initial civil engineering and theology degree. I met him when he was vicar bishop for Metropolitan Peter, who because he travels to Australia and such, needs a vicar bishop.

                Chronology of Zoran Vraniškovski

                28 Feb. 1966 b. in Bitola, Macedonia

                1990 Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, Kiril I Metodi Univerisity, Skopje, Macedonia

                1990- June,1995 Bachelor’s degree in Theology, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Orthodox Theology

                1992 – Independence of Macedonia from socialist Yugoslavia – just as a reference point

                February-March, 1998 – tonsured monk in the Macedonian Orthodox Church and given name Jovan, ordained deacon and priest

                July 1998 consecrated Bishop of Dremvitsa and assigned assistant to the still Bishop of Prespa and Pelagonia (see http://www.mpc.org.mk/english/mpc/ppe.asp ) Peter who is also Bishop of Australia and New Zealand.

                March, 2000 – elected Archbishop of Veles.

                June, 2002 – discussion with four other bishops with Serbian Orthodox Church over autonomy and autocephaly, with draft agreement rejected by the Macedonian Orthodox Church and removal of signatures of all but Vraniskovski

                June 20, 2002 signatures of priest under Vraniskovski http://poa-info.org/history/schism/potpisi.html
                Shortly afterwards turned into simple monk by the Macedonian Orthodox Church and told not to serve in MOC churches. In the short transition before defrocking, he engaged in special activities such as giving liturgies in Greek to non Greek speakers

                2003-2005 – Various indictments for graft and conducting services on MOC property after being released from duties as bishop

                June, 1995- 2008 – Masters work in Theology study, degree unknown, Belgrade University

                May 24, 2005 – Patriarch Pavle of the SOC declares a new vagrante Archbishopric of Ohrid, kind of a shadow church of the real Archbishopric of Ohrid with Zoran Vraniskovski at its head located in Serbia.

                A few days later – officially defrocked together with the monks with him

                June, 1995- 2008 – Masters work in theological studies, degree unknown, Belgrade University

                2008 – began doctoral work, according to his Serbian Orthodox webpage

                His charges in MK for embezzling a third of a million euros are still outstanding.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I am a Macedono-Bulgarian. My grandfather was a chetnik in the Ilinden Insurrection, my father was a leader in the Youth Section of VMRO, I was a member of YMPO. However, I support the recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) and I support the right of Macedono-Bulgarians to call themselves Macedonian, Serbian, Greek or Bulgarian–whatever they want. That said, I think that the charges against Archbishop Йоан of Ohrid are bogus and he is being persecuted for reasons of state. I also believe this persecution would not happen without the complicity of the MOC.

                  • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

                    Dear Carl,
                    Thank you for making your position clear.You represent the pro-Bulgarian viewpoint.Most modern Macedonians deny that they are Bulgarian.I have no dog in this fight.My deacon,if you will recall,is a proud Macedonian-American.His grandparents came from the section occupied by Greece to this day.He was ordained by Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Church.He has no problem serving with me in the Serbian Church.
                    The Macedonian situation seems to resemble that of the Capatho Rusyns,my late wife’s people.You have a Russian faction,a Ukrainian faction,a Slovak faction,a Magyar faction,and those who say,”none of the above.”
                    I”m glad you recognise that Archbishop Jovan is persecuted for political reasons.Let the Macedonian state at least be neutral.In Ukraine,you have the uncanonical “KYIVAN Patriarchate and the MP,plus other Orthodox and the Uniates.At least in Ukraine,the state doesn’ forbid clerics
                    of the MP from wearing clerical garb publicly,which the Macedonian state does to priests of the Greek and Serbian churches.
                    I would like to see the Macedonian church situation resolved.The devil seems to be doing what 500 years of Turkish rule couldn’t do;destroy the church.Not only in the Balkans,but here in the New World as well.To me this is proof that Orthodoxy is the True Church,the evil one is constantly attacking her!

                    Best wishes,


            • Disgusted With It says


              To which Macedonians do you refer — the Macedonians under OCA, the Macedonians under Bulgaria, or the Macedonians under “Macedonia”?

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                If this is a canonical admionistrative issue then lets deal with it from that perspective. From a Nationalistic Historic perspective its a non-starter. The Republic of Macedonia or FYROM will NOT and CANNOT seek unification with ALL Macedonians, whatever that means. So that’s not going anywhere.

                Historically and liguistically scholars have told us and continue to tell us that Macedonians were Greeks. Just like Athenians, Just like Spartans, etc. Now if modern Macedonians want to call themselves Macedonians, even though they are Slavic, I do not care. Let me repeat: I DO NOT CARE!

                Let them call themselves whatever they want. Outside of Macedonia and a few classical professors this is not getting any traction, nor should it. So let them call themselves whatever they want. Let them claim Alexander the Great and Philip of Macedon, go for it. Its up to them.

                Greeks and Serbs have their myths why not the Modern Macedonians. Its ok by me.

                However, when they really start believeing in this stuff, like the Greeks, Serbs and Bulgars did during the Balkan Wars and the Yugoslavs during the Bosnian War then its got to stop politically and militarily. Culturally, I don’t care as long as its stays cultural and does not become political.

                Religiously, if the Macedonian Orthodox Church has no theological problems and is Orthodox who cares what it calls itself ethnically? If there is a canonical impediment then that’s different, but even there it can most likely be worked out and the MOC can be restored to full canonical status.

                So Modern Macedonians myths about themselves I do not care about as long as they stay non-violent and they don’t move for any land grabs or military action. Religiously, if the MOC is Orthodox then its Orthodox and any canonical impediments need to be worked out and not made subject to political manuvering.

                I am confident and secure in my ethnic cuture and heritage. I do not need to beat up Macednonians to make myself feel more Greek or to protect some 2,500 year old heritage that is being destroyed by Modern Greeks and their failed Socialist state more then an impoverished country called Macedonia. They are Orthodox brothers and sisters. We need to be there for them, even if we disagree with them. Heck I disagree with the OCA, especially on the 1970 Tomos, but I would never ignore them or betray them or view them as non-Orthodox.

                We have to stick together. Period.

                That’s just my opinion.

                Peter A. Papoutsis

                • Well put, Peter.

                  [humor on] The Macedonians can’t be Greek. They’re all at least a foot too tall. [humor off]

  7. Dan Govniuk says

    ROCOR is out of cash and THIS is what it spends a lot of $ and resources on? There is also a corresponding bloopers video that took up time and money. This type of material is hardly missionary and the masses won’t be converting in Dixieland as a result of these efforts.

    • Disgusted With It says

      “Debbie Downer…..wah, waaaaaah.”

    • Fr. John Whiteford says

      ROCOR is not a very centralized entity. Some institutions in ROCOR are having financial difficulties, and others are not. This film was produced by the Eastern Diocese of ROCOR, and I think they’re in good shape financially.
      I think it was money well spent.

    • You might be surprised at how cheaply videos can be made these days. All you need is a video camera, a computer with editing software and cooperative people.

    • Artakhshassa the Great says

      Jealous, ‘Govniuk?” This is not the first excellent video produced by the Eastern America diocese of ROCOR.
      Your kind of message, coupled to your puerile pseudonym, indicates your understanding of any thing to do with missionary work is not exactly on an ADULT level. Who are your “masses” by the way? Who’s working on converting them?
      The greatest missionary tool is charity, not salesmanship. The OCA spends its wealth on salesmanship more and more.

    • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

      You are actually quite mistaken. New parishes in both Carolinas, churches in Georgia, Florida, Texas, and some new churches in Tennessee. Do you call that failure?

  8. George,

    Amusingly, I read Fr. John Jillion’s post this morning before seeing the video. Fr. John is the newest Chancellor for the Orthodox Church in America. Here are the last two lines of his post, “With a vision so compelling and a continent so huge, why are we so small? What do we need to do to retool ourselves, our parishes, our clergy, our seminaries to bring the Orthodox Christian Gospel more effectively to North America?

    His line, “Why are we so small?” probably should read, “How did we get to be so small?” The OCA used to be well over twice the size that it is now. Sadly, it does appear that the OCA lost its way. How long will the entire country of Canada be without an actual diocesan bishop? How long before the staff in Syosset are cut again because of budget constraints? If you read Fr. Jillion’s post you will see that most of his time was taken up on clergy issues and policies on sexual misconduct. God willing, he and the new metropolitan will clean house and finally turn the corner. Frankly I’m only tepidly optimistic. Until we see some real action in the form of spiritual discipline nothing has really changed.

    What I found quite refreshing about the Orthodox Dixie video was the genuine personality of the priests. They weren’t trying to be ideals of Russian Orthodoxy but rather just faithful to the tradition, even if it means serving services and running a Greek restaurant. What has been killing off the OCA for years is the lack of truthfulness — clergy running around pretending to be something or someone they’re not.

    Thanks very much for posting the video. It was heartwarming.

    • Who is invited? says

      8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY 10075-0106 * Tel: (212) 570-3530 Fax: (212) 774-0237
      http://www.goarch.org – Email: communications@goarch.org

      Contact: PRESS OFFICE
      Stavros Papagermanos

      Date: Jan 16, 2013


      NEW YORK – President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden invited His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America to participate in the National Inaugural Prayer Service to be held the day after the inauguration, Tuesday Jan. 22 at 10:30 a.m. in the National Cathedral.

      As it has been the case in previous Presidential Inaugurations, the Archbishop will be among the select national religious leaders participating in this service. The National Prayer Service is a tradition dating back to the Inauguration of George Washington. His Eminence will be offering prayers and petitions on behalf of the President and the Vice President and their families, the leaders of our Nation and the welfare of all citizens.

      The day before, Inauguration Day, January 21, 2013, the Archbishop will be among the dignitaries attending the official ceremonies from the Presidential platform at the U.S. Capitol and immediately after will attend 2013 Presidential Inaugural Luncheon and deliver the benediction. This special honor is extended at the invitation of U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), which hosts the luncheon to honor President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

    • Nicholas says:
      January 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm
      I read Fr. John Jillion’s post this morning … . Here are the last two lines of his post,

      “With a vision so compelling and a continent so huge, why are we so small? What do we need to do to retool ourselves, our parishes, our clergy, our seminaries to bring the Orthodox Christian Gospel more effectively to North America?

      That statement of Fr. Jillion’s really confuses me;
      It makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

  9. Haralambos says

    I do miss South Carolina’s plentiful bbq.

  10. This video was made by by members of my parish and we all are extremely proud of them! BTW I lived my first 40 years as a member of an OCA parish and after becoming extremely frustrated over the events of the last 5 years, I made a switch. Read into it what you will but I find my current ROCOR parish a beautiful place of Orthodoxy.

  11. Disgusting, that they would open with DIXIE a song associate with the KKK, and racism.

    But then i wouldn’t expect much else from rocor, the nazi collaborating jurisdiction.


    Another thing, this is OCA missionary territory. The rocor bubbleheaded bishops topped by Hillarion have no scruples notice how many of their parishes have been opened near OCA churches.

    • Dixie's composers and first performers says
    • Peter Lukianov says

      Dear Photius,
      I have been following these comments for a few days but have not said anything until I read your post. I am the producer and narrator of Orthodox in Dixie, and you sir, could not be more wrong. The Dixie flag is a noble part of Southern culture and just because some people pervert it and use it for their own anti-Christian agendas, does not mean that it is not dear to the hearts of countless souls in the South. If this flag is so horrible and divisive, please explain why it hangs in front of the South Carolina Statehouse? There are many organizations in the world that use the Holy Cross to represent their insane anti-Christian ideas. Should we then also stop using the sign of the cross in our churches? How about the artist who threw dung on the Virgin Mary’s image? Should we also stop using icons in the church?
      In response to your foolish accusations against ROCOR – well…. If you could POSSIBLY even CONSIDER making such an outlandish statement, then there doesn’t seem to be any point in debating you. Your grasp of Orthodoxy and inter-jurisdictional politics is primitive at best.

      To all the “negative Nancys” on this forum – please stop attributing secret political motives to this video. It was a fun project that was meant to test our filming capabilities and thrust the Eastern American Diocese into a new era of video reporting and documentaries. We wanted to show the world that ROCOR is not a jurisdiction of “angry old men who cling to the typicon and everything Slavonic”. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Slavonic and there is nothing better than sticking to the typicon, but that is not what we are all about. ROCOR is growing in America and it’s because of our traditional and conservative views. Plain and simple. If you don’t like it or approve of it then don’t watch the video and keep driving past your local neighborhood ROCOR church. Just because people flock to our churches in search of something more that perhaps they can’t find in their local Church, does not mean that you should take out your hostility on ROCOR. Maybe it’s time to do a little soul searching? Maybe it’s time for all of us to LEARN from each other? I’ll be the first to admit that ROCOR has traditionally been behind the other jurisdictions when it comes to media, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have anything to offer. The faster ROCOR crawls out of the technological dark ages, the more videos you can expect to see and the more we will have to share with the world. Whether you like what we have to offer or not, is irrelevant. Above all, let’s remember that we are Orthodox Christians. Insulting each others parishes and jurisdictions won’t bring ANYONE closer to Christ and the Orthodox Faith. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35). If we have no love then why are we in this to begin with?
      Thank you for watching the film and God bless you!
      In Christ,
      Rdr. Peter Lukianov
      Director, Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese

      • Thank you, Reader Peter. I hope you will also take away the many positive comments made here about your film.

        For the record, I love ROCOR. Your documentary really overthrows the negative stereotypes of ROCOR by putting its light and love on a lampstand. God bless and keep the ROCOR for her surpassing faithfulness to the Gospel and the Holy Tradition of our Orthodox faith.

        ROCOR is also a great source of hope to those of us who are suffering because of decisions taken in the OCA. I could never thank you all enough for the hospitality shown to our beloved Metropolitan Jonah.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Thank you Rdr Peter. Keep up the good work and don’t let the Syosset-triumphalists/Jealous Jennies from going on with your excellent work.

        To all: the Stars and Bars were not the flag of the Confederacy but the battle standard of Robert E Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. The “X-Cross” was taken from the flag of Scotland, whose patron saint is Andrew the First-called. The exact same symbol was the Jack of the Imperial Russian Navy (whose patron saint is also St Andrew).

      • Deacon Steven A Barker says

        Thank you Rdr. Peter.

        You have voiced everything that I have been thinking about these responses. We have a great Diocese. I am delighted that I have been asked to serve in ROCOR. We have everything to offer here in America to those searching for Orthodoxy.

        In Christ,
        Fr. Dcn. Steven A. Barker
        St. Elizabeth the New Martyr ROCOR
        Rocky Hill, New Jersey.

      • Stas Drochun says

        Many years!

    • Fr. John Whiteford says

      The stars and stripes flew over a slave economy a lot longer than the Stars and Bars. Just something to ponder.

      Prior to Great Britain banning slavery, slavery was a universal fact of life in every corner of the world, including Africa.

      • George Michalopulos says

        You’re correct, Fr.

        To all: In fact, slavery is making a big comeback today in many parts of the world. And I’m not talking about sex-trafficking by the way. Although that too is a type of slavery.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        Actually slavery existed in every one of the original 13 colonies. There were African Americans who owned slaves. Slavery was an African institution that existed many years before the coming of the Europeans who bought slaves from slave markets that already existed. The movie does not tell about it, but Cinque the hero of Amistad returned to Africa and became a slave trader.

        • Oh Fr. Morris I did not know that last bit. Want to add– Europeans were also slaves here in America before and during black slave times, although when the economy picked up in Europe and the streets had less children running around there were less to bring here for slave trade..

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            Slavery in North America evolved out of indentured servitude. Most people who came here during the colonial period worked as indentured servants for several years in return for passage to America, food, clothing and shelter. They could be bought and sold just like slaves. When there term was ended, they were free. However, the Africans remained slaves for life. Native Americans also owned black slaves.

            • Many many were not freed due to death and or extended sentences and many of them were picked up as children off the streets of England. In my book indentured servitude is a form of slavery.

          • And the prevalence of sickle-cell anaemia (with the accompanying resistance to malaria) certainly made African slaves more attractive investments.

            • Hmmm curious. I have a similar disease-or I’m a carrier of it-Thalassemia also impervious to certain strands of malaria, largely found around the Mediterranean and South East Asia Isles.

              • Yes — sometimes (usually?) beneficial traits have a price that may be worse than the benefit in other circumstances/environments. In America today, SCD is treated simply as a disease, but that is because we no longer worry about malaria inside the country. Given precarious fortune, we should be wary of genetic engineering and eugenics overly confident in deciding which traits are “best.” The less desirable trait may be connected with something lifesaving in an unforeseen situation.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Okay . . . that tidbit about Cinque becoming a slaveowner in Africa is news to me. Kinda not surprised by that. Hope he wasn’t responsible for at least one of my ancestors becoming enslaved.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I truly resent your (a) offensive comments about ROCOR and (b) rudeness in not using titles for clergy. For the record, I am in the OCA, the Diocese of the South and in the same metropolitan area as St Elizabeth the New Marty Orthodox Church that was featured in the video. I apologize to all my brothers and sisters at St Elizabeth’s and ROCOR in general for your rude and unthinking post.

  12. Pere LaChaise says

    Not to put a wet blanket on the exceptionalist party, George, but having watched, (and rather enjoyed) the video, I am left wondering whether there was any content in it. No mention of how many parishes or souls ROCOR counts in SC, or whether there are any blacks interested in Orthodoxy there leaves me wondering how broad an appeal it could have in Dixie. I can’t see how the work of ROCOR or any other Orthodox jurisdiction is all that different in the south than it would be anywhere else. What I hear throughout the video is typical Southron Execptionalism – a vaunting of ordinariness as a virtue over and above what is putatively found ‘outside’ the south, in the invented North.

    Also, the historical bit in the beginning was problematic. Do I have to spell it out that the Battle Standard of the Confederacy will forever symbolize the belligerent defense of their despicable and atrocious slave economy? That the ‘Southron way of life’ in such an economy was indefensible, a source of shame rather than pride? The Confederate flag may mean something like ‘freedom’ or ‘autonomy’ to certain white southerners, but to the rest of us it symbolizes a very ugly part of history on this continent. The fact that it no longer serves as any state’s flag attests the expired currency of the banner. Granted, in the South, white people will still display it, but it is seen mostly as a threat to colored people of the simmering alienation of a people nursing a grudge.

    Orthodoxy should be the cure for this alienation as it broadens and strengthens Christian identity rooted in nothing and no one other than Jesus Christ himself. We don’t need any rebel flags in the Church.

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      to Photius
      I find it very difficult to respond in a civil manner to your offensive post. It is attitudes like yours that is preventing Orthodox unity in America. No Orthodox jurisdiction has a right to claim the South or any other part of the US as its private mission territory. We should be happy that ROCOR has two successful missions in South Carolina. My own Antiochian Archdiocese has also established many missions in the South. All Orthodox should be happy whenever a new Orthodox mission opens in a place where there is no Orthodox Church. As far as competition is concerned. The OCA is in no position to throw stones at any other Orthodox jurisdiction. Some OCA clergy and laity have no hesitation in trying to build up their missions by taking people from the missions and parishes of other canonical Orthodox jurisdictions. No Orthodox Christian should call any Orthodox Bishop a bubblehead. You owe ROCOR an apology for your offensive comments.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Indeed. And to the entire South as well.

        • Archpriest John Morris says


          You are right Photios does owe the entire south an apology. After having lived in the South for the last 15 years, I realize the arrogance of the North, especially the Northeast towards people from the South. The people in Boston are the most provincial people in the entire United States. They are also so rude that they make New Yorkers seem polite.

    • Seraphim98 says

      The fact that it no longer serves as any state’s flag attests the expired currency of the banner.


      Ahem. Let me introduce you to the still flying state flag of Mississippi. It is based on the flag of the Confederacy, and it’s canton is the Confederate battle standard.

      Moreover, the retention of this flag was put to the vote in the mid 1990s. It won and as you can see, it still does fly as a state’s banner.

      Moreover if you carefully examine the state flags of other states that belonged to the CSA you will note that many of them retained features of the Confederate flag, though only MS at present retains it all.

      Still Southern. Still unreconstructed. Not ashamed of our flag at nor the memory of those who fought to protect it….which included at least three of my great great grandfathers, that I know about. Nobody can tell me to disparage what they fought and suffered for (and they suffered, prison, near starvation, and a century of economic ruin). My ancestors who fought the northern invader were all poor dirt farmers. They had no slaves. They didn’t fight for slavery or for the rich who held slaves. They fought for the freedom of their state from outside oppression and tyranny. Those who don’t like the South, it’s history, it’s traditions, or any flag associated with it’s brief nationhood and defense can take their hate and revisionism elsewhere.

  13. cynthia curran says

    They could be spies for the Russian government, anything is possible. Spies for several government on othrer governments happens all the time. As for the John Birch Society they had a few validate point but get a little nutty about everyone being a member of the CFR and a world network of bankers or communists running the show.

  14. Gail Sheppard says

    Did I mention that I liked the film? It’s kind of quirky, but it’s also charming. 🙂

    • On the Confederate Flag says

      I loved the video and the outtakes version. That said, having been raised in the south, I grew up knowing what the Confederate flag means in a modern sense. No one is recalling its closeness to the Scottish flag except an apologist. Once a year, when I was in the 12-18 year range, we would have official dances in the schools and then we would have the Confederate Ball, which would be a private affair. Just for that evening, which required formal wear, tuxes, wrist corsages and the bucks to support the same, everyone would append a Confederate flag to their antenna on whatever vehicle of conveyance was transporting the young ones to the ball (often parents!) and we would; make our white ways back and forth to the event. A confederate flag in the back window of a pickup also only means one subset of a thing

      So, the video was great, the references were fun, but us southerners do know a tad about flags. So stop with the revisionism already, you northerners (thought I’d put in a little stereotypical New Yorkese)

  15. cynthia curran says

    The Macedonians I know have a lot of Slavic from the 7th Century on not certain if that has to done with the height difference.. In the Justinian era they were Illyrians or Thracians and in the Latin speaking region not the Greek speaking region. As for height I know that some Goths were in the region prior to the Justinian period.

  16. cynthia curran says

    Mississippi is interesting here about 100 years and more immirgants came into the area the state today I believe has a foreign born population below the national average. Anyways, immirgation in 1965 was changed that shifted from Europe to Latin America and Asia so outside of the big metro areas of the East, a lot has end up in California and Texas and Nevada and Arizona. It would be interesting if immirgation could be reform allowing more of western and eastern Europe and parts of the middle east, granted the Detroit area in Michigan and some parts of California get Middle Eastern immirgants or other asian like Iran.