Pastoring Young Men into Manhood with Fr Hans Jacobse

In the interest of full disclosure, George and I began talking with Father Hans about this project a few years ago.  That is to say, young men were coming out of the woodwork asking for his help and there were simply too many to give each the individual attention they needed. 

Eventually, Father realized this was too big a problem to address on his own and so he has spent the last few years educating his fellow priests and putting forth a framework to address the issue across jurisdictions. 

As a woman, I was sympathetic to the problems that exist and the negative impact it has had on the family.  Failed by life, women all too often have to take the reins and become the breadwinners, while continuing to be the primary, if not the only, parent in the home.  

This results in resentment on the part of the woman.  As the primary caregivers, for both the elderly, and the young, women are often too exhausted to devote themselves fully to the workplace, and, therefore, have difficulty competing with men who have fewer attachments.  Because the options are few, many choose to have a bevy of children with various “baby daddies” to make ends meet. 

(Gloria Steinem lied when she said “you can have it all”.  You can’t.) 

Overwhelmed by the needs and expectations of women, young men back away from making commitments.  Divorce is all too common, and for a man, this means the very real possibility of losing everything, as the courts almost exclusively rule in the woman’s favor.  –Often they are a product of divorce, themselves.          

Surrounded by disappointed mothers, aunts, and grandmothers, and no fathers to step up to the plate, a generation of boys are coming into their own with absolutely no idea how to be a man.   Instead, they find themselves living in the basement, playing video games.  It’s not that they don’t want to move forward in life.  It’s that they don’t know how

This problem has been acute among the minorities and we can see the destruction which has been visited upon their communities, as well as the broader culture.   

The same pathologies are now impacting the majority, particularly among the working class.

Without intervention, their collective futures –and the futures of their children–are uncertain.  Unless corrected, past mistakes will be handed down to each subsequent generation.

This scenario is a major obstacle to living a Christ-filled life in the Church for both men and women.  Father Hans is tackling this problem within the Church and it’s a crucial one to overcome:  How do we help boys become men?

We know you will enjoy the interview and we look forward to hearing your comments and reflections.  Mrs. M  

For more information, please go to


Part 1:  Getting to know Fr Hans


Part 2:  The Masculinity Crisis, the Meaning of Patriarchy & St Paissius Brotherhood:



  1. Ronda Wintheiser says

    I think this work is revolutionary. It will change things from the bottom up. Underneath the decay that exists in our culture, Fr. Hans’ work is preparing a whole new foundation, a generation of Christian men who will, in a sense, go into battle. This is exactly what Like Jesus did with His disciples. And just think that these men will do.

    Fr. Hans chrismated me in 1991, and helped me with the initial phase of organizing a small group of Orthodox Christians within a 50-mile radius of the little log cabin my non-Orthodox husband and I had moved into far from an Orthodox presence shortly after my chrismation. Eventually, with the help of other clergy in the Twin Cities, we established a monthly typika liturgy in the chapel at the Catholic hospital in town. A deacon or a priest would come up from the Twin Cities and serve that liturgy with the Eucharist and we would have our coffee hours at a local Chinese buffet.

    I lived in that area for ten years without a parish; I relied on books and bulletins and things I got from Orthodox parishes all over the state of Minnesota to help me raise my girls to be Orthodox.

    Here is something Fr. Hans wrote in a newsletter dated November of 1996 at one of the churches he pastored back then that I have saved all these years because it was so simple and so profound that I went back to it often, titled:


    Jesus taught that ‘if you lose your life for My sake and the Gospel’s you will find it.’ What does this mean? It means that if you lose your life for Christ, you will find yourself.

    To understand what it means to find yourself, we have to go back to the creation of the world. Adam was created to share in the life of God. Adam was not a full person except in God. When Adam fell, his communion with God was broken (the Fall is broken communion with God) and he experienced this brokenness in his relationship with God, other people, and the rest of creation.

    In our time, many people feel this brokenness acutely. People have a deep sense that they are cut off from the source of life. Unfortunately, many do not look to God, who is the Source of Life, and they end up making their lives even more broken. The Apostle Paul writes that healing of our broken lives comes through Jesus Christ. The salvation that Christ offers is nothing less than the power of God that Adam first experienced before he fell. This power, this grace, is the life of God given to mankind at the creation of the world and given again (restored) to mankind through Jesus Christ.

    We enter this life through our baptism. But our baptismal vows must be nourished, like stoking a fire with more logs. And that fire must be stoked daily.

    One important way to experience the grace of God is prayer. It is not enough to come to Church on Sunday and give God just a passing thought on the other days of the week. We must pray daily. In fact, if we do not pray daily, it is very difficult to pray on Sunday even if we are in Church.

    A powerful prayer of the Church is the Jesus Prayer. It goes: Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner. The Jesus Prayer is one of the most powerful prayers we can pray (the Lord’s Prayer is another) and it can be prayed anywhere: at work, while we are driving, while we are falling asleep. If we say this prayer faithfully, (repeat it often), we will enter the presence of God.

    Another important part of finding God is metanoia or repentance. To repent means to change our mind, to direct ourselves towards God by putting off sin, those behaviors that are contrary to God. This would include such things as excessive drinking, sexual activity outside marriage, drug use, looking at pornography, and many of the other behaviors that our society finds acceptable these days. We will not find God if any of these sins are in our life.

    When the moral values of our society conflict with the moral teachings of the Church, we must always choose the Church. The moral teachings of the Church come from God, and it leads us toward behavior that is acceptable to God. Right behavior will help us heal on the inside while sin will harm us.

    The moral teachings of the Church are clearly outlined in the Bible. Listen closely on Sundays, especially to the Epistle, and you will hear them.

    So, to lose our life really means to stop living a life that is broken, to put off the illusion that peace, joy, purpose, and meaning can be found in places where God is not. Further, to find your life means to return home, to become the person that God created you to be. It means living a life worthy of your calling, worthy of the dignity bestowed on your by God when you first entered this world. It means saying no to those things that can only lead to a greater brokenness, a greater death, and yes to those things that lead to the source of all life — God Himself through Jesus Christ.

  2. Ronda Wintheiser says

    P.S. The link isn’t going anywhere. The St. Paissios link. Maybe it’s misspelled?

  3. Seriously. What man in his right mind would want to get married today when the odds are stacked against him? Why would he enter into a contract (marriage) when the other party (woman) is incentivized to break it? There is too much government involvement; too many entitled women; and too many craven clergy complicit in their silence by not addressing the current social pathologies waging their brutally vicious war on the traditional nuclear Christian family. When there is no-fault divorce; when 80+% of the divorces are initiated by women; when the law of hypergamy runs rampant; and when women do not have to behave in divorce court proceedings, just to mention a few of the stacked odds. I proclaim unequivocally with vociferous vigor, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Or even better, to those that struggle with gluttony: “Give me liberty and give me death by chocolate!”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Oh, I don’t know. Maybe a Christian man who wants a family and not a “baby mamma.”

      • Illumined says

        Except a lot of modern women don’t want families and don’t want to be wives. As was stated the overwhelming majority of divorces are initiated by women, and usually it’s because of money. Either he’s not making as much as she wants him to for the lifestyle she thinks she deserves, or she starts making more than he does. It says a lot about a woman’s character if she’s willing to destroy her family over such materialistic pursuits. So let’s stop pretending women don’t play a substantial role in this, it’s time for them to take some responsibility and be marriagable in their own right.

      • Your answer was predictably typical. Orthodox Christian men need to chase spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological excellence as the Early Church Fathers did and avoid the fairer sex. The Lord was single, and that should tell men everything they need to know. Great site, btw!

        • It’s better to get married than to burn, said Saint Paul.

          There are canons against those who despise marriage, so be careful with how far you push that rhetoric.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Basil, thanks for bringing the canons up. While I realize that today’s American “justice” system is rigged (in more ways than one), it is wrong to despise an institution (in this case marriage) because of the perversity of our society is illogical. Marriage is an institution, not a person.

            That would be like mandating castration for all men because some men rape women.

          • You omitted the first part:

            I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

        • Illumined says

          Don’t despise marriage Aleksandr, just be patient and discerning. When you are attentive to yourself, being pious and living the Orthodox life, and cast a reasonably wide net, you’ll find someone equally pious though it might take a few attempts before finding the right one to marry. It is frustrating and hard to do, but anger and resentfulness is not on the narrow path to salvation, kindness and patience is.

      • tell that to the single ladies and try to convince them. As a single Orthodox man, I can tell it it is very, very, very difficult to find someone, I’m talking about trying to meet Orthodox women! It is very unfortunate, but, we all are unduly influenced by worldly values regarding male/female relationships and marriage. We are not immune. Many Orthodox women pass great, solid, responsible, faithful Orthodox men because they were not “feeling it” or, they didn’t quite like how the guy said something at some given point in time or some other flimsly excuse. But they have no problems throwing themselves at non Orthodox men who wind up not treating them well. Then they complain how they can’t find someone. I don’t want to sound bitter, I know not all Orthodox women are like this, nor do us Orthodox guys are without any issues, but the influence of the world and feminism is strong and pervasive. It makes it 100 times more difficult than it has to be.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Making women the issue isn’t going to help you guys. I agree that many, many women are “running amock” as I am fond of saying.

          Not too long ago, I was in Tuesday Mornings, a store that sells a variety of things including glass items like bowls, vases and that sort of thing. These two little kids about 7 or 8 were chasing each other around the aisle, laughing and giggling; an accident waiting to happen.

          One of the boys pushed the other one into a glass shelf with a hot sauce display and the glass broke. There was hot sauce everywhere, on the rack of clothes nearby, on the floor, on people who got caught in the crossfire, everywhere.

          The boys made a beeline for their mother; each insisting it was the other’s fault.

          The mom was on her cell phone and looked annoyed that they had disturbed her. Her response? “Well, be more careful.”

          Now, if I wanted to change the behavior of a kid, would I have more luck holding their mom responsible or the kid? The mom, right? She’s in charge of the kid but if she doesn’t do her job, the kid turns bad.


          The problem is the same. When it comes to men and women, men need to be in control.

          That’s where Fr Hans comes in. He’s teaching men in the Church how to be men.

          In terms of your specific situation, we don’t all get to choose our circumstances. Many times in life, we want something that we don’t have, especially when it comes to relationships.

          If you’ve gotten to the point where women are talking to you about other relationships, you’ve allowed yourself to be moved into the “friend zone.”

          Never encourage a woman to talk about her past. If you’ve given your tacit approval to keep doing it (even by just listening) she may not stop. Keep her in the present.

          You may be looking too hard, my friend. Embrace your circumstances by filling your time with other (healthy) things, and let God work on the problem for you.

          That’s my advise for what it’s worth. Good luck!

        • Do why I do, meet non-Orthodox gals and try and convince them to become Orthodox lol. I’m 0/3 but still trying.

          Sad fact is we don’t live in an Orthodox country with Orthodox women a’plenty so we need to make due with what we have.

          • Petros,

            Orthodoxy is an acquired taste. Many American women find it too macho for their sensibilities. You might do well to find a single woman in an Orthodox parish and court her. That would obviate the need for a conversion effort so you could simply work on developing your relationship with each other.

            • Sometimes depending on where you live that is easier said than done. I just now live in a major metro where that’s actually possible.
              I’m pretty active in the Young Adults group, all of the guys are in a similar situation, and guys outnumber girls probably 4:1. I’ve got the yiayia’s and babushka’s helping me out, but, again I have had far greater luck meeting non-Orthodox girls and telling them about Orthodoxy.

    • Aleksandr,

      All one need do is look at the fertility rates to know that feminism is a demographic disaster. The patriarchy is from God and rebellion against it is societal suicide. There is no good reason for men to marry anymore and a host of very good reasons not to.

      Unless and until the patriarchy is restored by law, I say let it die. Better societies will prevail. And that is as it should be. There is no reason to suffer through a modern marriage, which is not marriage at all.

      • Let’s also consider the woman’s substantial role in bringing back the patriarchy by helping to defend it. Where are the womens? The Ancient Christian Faith has the answer, obviously, to this cultural morass, and the priests need to be speaking up about all of this quite frequently. However, when you see altar girls during a Divine Liturgy; and a majority of the parishioners who run the bake sales, pierogi and gyro sales as well as the bazaars are females, and you as a priest do not want to offend them and the matushka, then you know there are serious problems in paradise. Father Jacobse is doing a very noble and essential thing with the St. Paisios Brotherhood.

      • I should mitigate the above somewhat. Obviously, it struck a nerve. In the context of a traditional Orthodox parish, where both parties to the marriage are practicing Orthodox Christians, no doubt a successful marriage is possible, perhaps even probably, given the proper counseling and screening. We should not be too quick to project the ills of society at large into our unique context as practicing Orthodox. For all Orthodox overall, I do not think the divorce rate differs significantly from the wider culture. However, I would be very surprised if it is not lower for our more traditional believers.

        That being said, there are jurisdictions where intermarriage with non-Orthodox is the norm rather than the exception. “Falling in love” is not a very good reason to get married absent other considerations. Romeo and Juliet, after all, is a tragedy. One wit observed that romantic love is the illusion that one woman is different than another. All attractive women are the same with respect to that quality. The perceived uniqueness is a hormonal fixation.

        The objective is stability of the family, not satisfaction of desires or romantic fantasies. And not everyone is as fortunate as George and Galinushka:

        “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
        She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
        Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
        She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
        Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

    • I think the better question to ask is, “Why would a woman want to marry today?” The”men “are addicted to pornography and are so feminized and also cannot commit to anything more serious than placing video games.

      • Gail Sheppard says


      • Once again, a typical simp response from a priest who probably grooms men to be destroyed by the divorce corporation, a $50 billion per year industry. Father conveniently leaves out the feminism movement of the late 1960’s. Please read “More Spirited Than Lions” by Sarah Elisabeth Cowie. I wouldn’t expect any other response from you, Father. And responses like this from people like you is an example of why leadership in the church is weak, marginalized, and safely silent on “the issues” of our day. When in doubt, blame the man. You may now go and get your pat on the head like a good boy by your significant other.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Aleksandr, you’re new so I’m going to give you a pass, but you cannot trash another contributor like you just did, particularly not a priest. Do it again and you’re out of here. If you don’t like what he said, attack his argument but don’t attack him.

          Why would you think anyone cares what you think of some priest you’ve probably never met?

      • I think that we can all agree that both sexes have a long way to go to restore things to the way they should be. Aleksander, Illumined, and Misha all make salient points about the sad state of today’s womanhood and the involvement of certain vested interests in encouraging their revolt against nature, but a common flaw in the critiques by the Manosphere/MGTOW types is their complete overlooking of the similarly sad state of manhood.

        It’s not a case of simply ‘getting the women back under control’ and society simply righting itself on the spot, but men as a whole need to have some serious metanoia too. I tell young Orthodox men in my parish: “If you want a good Orthodox wife, prepare yourself to become a good Orthodox husband.” I never really did it myself, but I’m fortunate to have a patient and kindhearted wife who overlooks that. If I could turn the clock back and start getting my life in order years before my marriage, I would do it in a heartbeat.

        Our society is a complete shell of its former self. Just as class warfare only empowers those that seek to destroy us, so too does the war between the sexes. We need to work together to heal ourselves and society.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Very well put, Basil.

        • Illumined says

          Basil, I’m not suggesting men don’t need to repent. I’ll give some examples of what I’m talking about. A friend of mine had a relationship with a woman. His mother developed Alzheimer’s disease, he needed to move in for a while to take care of his mom. His girlfriend left him over that, because she didn’t want the social stigma of being with a guy who lives with his mom. Another friend of his was happily married to a woman. He had a good stable job that paid well enough for a decent middle class lifestyle. He loved his work. His wife divorced him for “not being ambitious enough.” Sadly this is an accurate representation of most women these days and what their priorities are. Are such people worth marrying?

          Personally I would say no. Fortunately there are often far better options abroad than here. Still have to be careful of course because modern woman syndrome isn’t unique to the West. But I would say you’ll be very surprised at what you’ll find. Since good women are a rarity in the world in general, one must cast a wide net.

          Part of the problem is that there is a serious gender imbalance in politics as well. Liberal values are antithetical to much of what the church teaches, it’s like battery acid to family values. However since 3/4 of women in this country are liberals, that shrinks the dating pool considerably.

      • Illumined says

        Marriage takes two to work. You’re suggesting men need to improve, and I agree. But if we only fix half the equation it still won’t hold. Are we really at the point in this country where women shouldn’t be held accountable or held to any standards at all? Sorry but I don’t buy that, something about hypocrisy turns me off. If men are to be expected to be a certain way and improve themselves accordingly, women should be too.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          This piece is about a new program in the Church to help men. It’s not about women. Since men are expected to lead (frankly, in most things), they need to have some help on how to do this with some confidence. Many of them come from predominately female homes where men are absent and this information (role modeling) can only come from other men.

          This is NOT to say women don’t have issues (a lot of them), but that’s not what this program is about.

          Please listen to the video and click on the link. It’s really a great way to help men and seems to be catching on. I would hate anyone to miss the point.

          • Of course, you’re right. If men had their acts straight the issues would never have arisen with women. The project is a praiseworthy effort.

          • OK, I’ll bite.
            “Since men are expected to lead.” This statement comes from 1950 (perhaps 1850). I’ve been Orthodox for a number of years and was a weekly Church attender in the Protestant world for decades before becoming Orthodox. Virtually every Christian woman I’ve known (Protestant and Orthodox) thinks she’s the leader and just wants her husband to shut up and do what she says.
            A few decades back, secular society started pushing this idea of the male as nothing more than bumbling idiot, incapable of thinking or doing pretty much anything. Since most Churches in America (Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic) are highly secularized, this view prevails there too.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              You have quite an effect on women, it seems.

            • “Virtually every Christian woman I’ve known (Protestant and Orthodox) thinks she’s the leader and just wants her husband to shut up and do what she says.”

              Very odd. Very few Christian women I know are like this…..

              That being said, you’re describing someone who needs to control those around her. Typically we want to control those things that we fear. So yes it’s very true that many Christian women have been treated like sh!t by men in their past, thus are untrusting of men and want to control them.

              Historically many (or probably most) “Christian” men have gotten away with treating women like sh!t by using carefully selected Bible verses as weapons. This is a grave sin, as I’ve been told, but it was fairly common in the classic Protestantism of old. Which is why modern “feminism” of the 1960s-1970s was really a backlash against this terrible Protestant way that many grouchy, grumpy protestant men treated their women like crap.

              Important to also recall that Protestantism by its very nature has no checks and balances. Protestant men often like the fact that they are accountable to no one. No confession. Even these days, many so-called Protestant men may find Orthodox Christianity to be compelling, but confession is often too big of a hurdle to get over. My personal opinion is this is why so many Americans despise Christian Orthodoxy – they do not want anyone telling them how to live, but this is part of our sacramental practice.

              True Orthodox men, who honor and pray to the Theotokos, simply cannot treat women like crap. It goes against who we are.

              If we’re attracted to women who feel a need to control men, it usually says something about us and how we connect with women (or how we don’t connect with women). We are attracted to others who are on a similar emotional level as we are.

              Sad to say, but many Orthodox men I know really seem to want someone to order around and to serve them — i.e., glorified Mama’s boys. It’s sad, and you cannot experience true love and connection this way. If only emotional maturity and emotional health were more valued across the board.

              • The problem is not women, nor is it men. The problem is feminism and that is a mindset which is inevitable given our legal system and culture. You have to be Amish, Mennonite or possibly Muslim to escape it. There is no solution other than cultural collapse and rebuilding from the ground up in a patriarchy. Other than that, we simply have to make due in a completely dysfunctional society where men, in general, have been emotionally castrated regarding male-female relations among other matters.

                You have to look at cultures that retain the patriarchy or to early movies (mostly black and white) where many elements of the patriarchy were still present if you want to appreciate the contrast with contemporary society. It is a profound contrast that is obvious. A hatred of the “bad old days” has been cultivated which does nothing but reinforce modern feminism.

                In short, our values are wrong.

              • FTS, thanks for the reply. I do appreciate it, even though your attempt at psycho analyzing me was way off base.

                I appreciate Misha’s comments and agree with them.
                I’m grateful I’m not a young person today (of either sex) trying to find a spouse.

    • Alexander, I will admit that dating is a lot harder than it used to be, but I think that changed when I got more religious.
      I’ve never had a problem dating/getting dates, but prior to becoming Orthodox I would say the quality of gal I dated was not very high, or at least not as high as it should have been. Now it’s a game of quality over quantity. Sometimes I wish the Church played a more active role setting up marriages.

      The trend of long-term dating and not getting married, or, dating for a while/hooking up and then moving on is not just a thing among girls, but guys too. Hookup culture cuts both ways.

      The last couple of relationships I’ve had have been more about the girl trying to decide what she wants – I think the indecisiveness is what I have noticed lately – it seems more and more people are opting to just be alone.

      Personally my views of marriage have changed immensely over the years. I came from a divorce home and my view of marriage was at best blasé and at worst pessimistic so I was perfectly fine with hooking up and moving on. But, that life is empty and leads nowhere and it was obviously hard to square with being Orthodox. I think that’s why I enjoy listening to Roosh so much now.

      Having said all that, there is a crisis of manhood, there is a crisis of womanhood and the root of all that IMHO is a crisis of the family.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        And I’m old-fashioned enough to believe the man must take back the lead, which I realize requires more of him.

        • Yea, agreed, unfortunately we belong to a culture that says that’s “toxic.” Actually, just the other day I held the door open for a woman and she literally said she didn’t need a man to hold the door for her….and I live in the South ??‍♂️

          • Gail Sheppard says

            You should have said: “I didn’t open the door for you because you needed it. I did it to show you respect. When someone does something nice for you it is customary to thank them. Just because you can open your own door yourself doesn’t give you license to be rude.”

            • I thought about it but chose to refrain myself from saying anything, which for me is usually very difficult. Luckily the hostess at the restaurant heard and she thanked me. However, that is not the first time that has happened to me, the previous times I did say something though.

    • Alex,

      Technically, the church only blesses two states in life: marriage and monasticism.

      So if one is dead-set against marriage then monasticism deserves a consideration.

      But my experience has led me toward emotional recovery and healing – to understand and address all the anger like you’re expressing – and then to grow close to Christ and to be a leader in whatever capacity God gives us in life.

      Godly women are drawn to men who are leaders, who demonstrate courage, and who work to love Christ. It’s true. It’s not rocket science either.

      But yes, by all means we should avoid looking for a wife in the secular environs of a feminist lefty university sociology department. For the Christian man, that’d be stupid.

      But there are millions of Godly women out there looking for courageous men in Christ to share a life with. You can bet on it.

  4. I met Fr. Hans a few years ago when I was in Florida for a month-long work training, his parish was the closest one so I attended Pascha there. At the time it was (still is?) in a strip mall but the parish felt like heaven. I got the opportunity to go to him for confession as well while I was there and he is a very wise man.

    • George Michalopulos says

      You’ll be happy to note that Fr Hans’ congregation now has a formal, stand-alone parish. It’s quite lovely and thriving.

      • Glory to God!

        I looked them up, glad to see they officially have a temple. I have no doubts they are growing.

  5. Thank you so much for highlighting Fr Hans’s website!! Thank you!!!

    I’ve always loved Fr Hans’s work and his fearless approach toward addressing sexuality – one of the most pressing issues of our modern day. Sadly, so many Orthodox clergy seem deathly afraid to discuss it or to approach it.

    God’s first commandment in Holy Scriptures to man is to “be fruitful and multiply.” Of course He knows how that happens – He made us, after all.

    Yet as a man, I’ve struggled so much during my life with how to use sexuality in the *proper* manner. Our western Calvinist heritage imbues sex with an “it’s bad, repress it” approach, which frankly, doesn’t work, and leads to improper use of sex and frequently (these days) it leads to porn addicition. I got absolutely zero education on sex as a kid from my family or from church. None. Everyone seemed terrified to address it.

    Serial confession helps with sexual sins, but it’s often not a total “fix” for the problem. As Fr Tom Hopko used to say, God is not a magician. He will not (and cannot) “magically” make strong sexual urges disappear.

    Fr Hans’s approach is the best, most sensible approach: Acknowledge that sexual urges are God-given (and therefore good!) and must be channeled in a healthy manner. And, without question, we must not be afraid to talk about these things. Clergy must not shy away from discussing sexual matters. If talking about sex makes clergy uncomfortable, then they need to figure out why talking about sex makes them uncomfortable and learn to grow comfortable with it.

    This is one of the biggest problems we American Orthodox have in absorbing western Calvinist heritage in the West. We often tacitly absorb the Calvinist “sex is bad, repress it, only have it the necessary 3 times in order to have 3 children” approach. This approach just doesn’t work, particularly with young men (possibly also with young women, but I’ve never been a young woman).

    One of the answers, I firmly believe, is to encourage younger marriage and younger families. People really should be getting married and having families by their early 20s. This does, of course, require strong communities to support them. If I had tried to get married in my early 20s, I’d have been all on my own with zero support and actually negative support — my (nominally Orthodox, no less!) family would have told me that I’m crazy for getting married so young. My friends would have called me stupid and irresponsible. Yet as a young man, I felt a strong call to do just that.

    Which do our American Orthodox clergy want: a healthy approach to sexuality among our Orthodox young people, or more and more porn addiction and “experimenting” with this LGBTQ garbage? Come on! It’s such a no-brainer.

    I have young boys and I fully intend to discuss sex with them in a healthy manner as they age. Yet I have no idea how to do that — it has never been modeled for me. I am flying by the seat of my pants on this one. God and our Holy Mother, please guide me!

    Thank you again Fr Hans for bringing to the table The Massive Elephant In The Room which needs to be addressed. I signed up on your website today.

    • George Michalopulos says

      FTS. a lot of wisdom here.

      I agree that “it takes a community” to enable families to thrive. One thing I will say about not dating but marrying young (caveat: I’m not speaking from experience) is that the monogamous pair-bond can cement a marriage the younger and more chaste the couple is.

      In my own, traditional Greek Orthodox family, sex was not discussed. It was frankly, an uncomfortable subject. My mother’s words of advice were something like this: “dating is bad, because it sets you up for a heartache.” She was quite right.

      Wouldn’t it have been better for young men & women (post 17 year olds) to channel their natural, pheromonal attraction to just one person? And then get married around 21 and enjoy their sexuality within the bonds of marriage?

      • “ And then get married around 21 and enjoy their sexuality within the bonds of marriage?”

        Yes, George, this is obviously exactly how God intended it to be. One must be purposefully delusional to not see this reality.

        The western protestant and post-protestant experiment to go against the natural order of things has failed, as it was destined to fail from the beginning. We’re living through that failure and collapse real-time right now in the west.

        Best to live in communion with God and to live as He created us to live. The only way to peace and joy.

        Wish there were more adults in the room teaching us and our kids this reality nowadays. Most of the time, it feels like we’re on our own.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          It’s that imprinting thing again. You fall in love for the first time at 17 and then spend the rest of your life trying to find someone that is exactly like your first love.

          I know two couples from 7th grade who each got pregnant. They both married and are married still, today.

  6. On a related question:

    What Is A Woman? (2022) Full Documentary

    [Video – 01:34:56]