Patriarch John X Receives Delegate From Jerusalem Regarding Council

His Beatitude Patriarch John X received His Eminence Christophoros, the Metropolitan of Amman delegated by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus III, on December 28, 2019 at the Patriarchate in Damascus. His Eminence Christophoros delivered a message regarding a meeting in Amman by the heads of the Orthodox Churches with the aim of “preserving the Orthodox unity”, a unity broken by the Ukrainian crisis.
In this regard, Patriarch John X welcomed this initiative and reaffirmed the position of the Antiochian Church announced by the Holy Antiochian Synod, which calls for the necessity of a meeting of the heads of the local Orthodox Churches, so that all Orthodox Churches cooperate. in solving Orthodox issues.

On December 28, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch and All the Orient, Mr. Ioannis I, received His Excellency Archbishop Christoforos, His Holiness Patriarchate of Damascus.

His Holiness Christoforos has handed over to His Holiness Antioch a written letter about a convocation of the Presidents of the Orthodox Churches in Amman, with the aim of “preserving Orthodox unity”,  which is now a cracked discourse on the Ukrainian question.

Therefore, His Beatitude John I welcomed this initiative and confirmed the firm stance of the Church of Antioch, which has already been announced by the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch. This Holy Synod, by its decision at that time, calls upon all the Presidents of all the local Orthodox Churches to come up with a solution to the unorthodox issues.

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  1. “…Therefore, His Beatitude John I welcomed this initiative and confirmed the firm stance of the Church of Antioch, which has already been announced by the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch. This Holy Synod, by its decision at that time, calls upon all the Presidents of all the local Orthodox Churches to come up with a solution to the unorthodox issues.”

    Yes…but will he go?

    • Antiochene Son says

      I hope he will, but I’m sure he is also cautious to want to resolve things over Qatar. If he attends but the issue is not addressed in conjunction with this synaxis or beforehand, it could be seen as a dead issue. Hopefully things are happening behind the scenes.

      • I expect you are right. But that was not really my point.
        My point was the opacity of the language used.
        Did he say: Yes? Did he say: No? Who knows?

  2. Michael Bauman says

    “If they build it, he will come.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Agreed.  Qatar is an example of a kernel which metastasized into Ukraine.   Of necessity, both would have to be addressed and resolved.  

      I imagine as well that the good offices of King Abdallah II of Jordan are behind this putative Council.  If so, God bless him.

  3. Michael Bauman says

    God knows. I trust He will let Pat. John know too.

  4. Cyprus won’t be going.

    • Yep. What a joke. The Archbishop of Cyprus pretended to care. But when he was called to the carpet, he decides not to respond. He claims that Bartholomew must called the council. Really?!? He knew all along that Bartholomew would NEVER call a council on the Ukrainian issue. He has been playing games! Another hierarch without a backbone. Lord have mercy!

      • George Michalopulos says

        The spinelessness of these Greek bishops makes me doubt their descent from the ancients.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Romfea reported: Though Abp. Chrysostomos himself and the Cypriot Holy Synod wanted a Council, for him to say “I considered it prudent not to reply . . . I don’t consider this a serious step. I haven’t examined it since I received this question from my friend the Patriarch” is insane. No wonder neither side wanted him to mediate. He doesn’t know where he stands. He’s putting form over function.

        • George Michalopulos says

          “Beware the double-minded man, he is unstable in all his ways.” (Epistle of James)

          • A Council , in my opinion, will not provide a solution (at this point in time). All it will do is push the Churches to take a side and thus cement the schism and go against the premise for calling it; maintain Orthodox Unity. EP and MP believe  that their respective actions/approaches to the current crises are correct and thus won’t budge and other local churches may be pressured to choose a side. I think Archbishop Chrysostomos recognises this and that is why he has declined the invitation from Jerusalem.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              They have already chosen.

            • Theodoros, 

              Ok tell us then what is the proper procedure to call an Ecumenical Synod (=Council).

              If you say the Patriarch can only do that, then please answer:

              (1) Which canon or other document says so,

              (2) Mention one Ec.Synod which was called by an Ec.Patriarch (all were done by the King/Emperor)

              (3) What is the procedure if the E.Patriarch goes out of his mind?

              (4) What if he becomes heretical and refuses to call an Ec.Syn.?

              • My post was not concerned about who can call a Council and what the process is. Just about how polarised and heated the current situation is. Ideally, bilateral talks btw EP and MP if entered into sincerely may be the best start to resolving issue. Cheers

                • “…bilateral talks btw EP and MP if entered into sincerely may be the best start to resolving issue.”
                  Kyrill tried that, but EP was not sincere.
                  In fact EP was (and is) duplicitous.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Agreed. Regrettably, the Phanar still operates under duplicitous byanztine rules of engagement. It worked fine for the Byzantines but they were a polity with an army and a navy.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      George, Byzantine rules of engagement did not work in Byzantine times. Among other things they contributed to the Great Schism and the alienation of the people of the Empire that made the Islamic yoke seem preferable to Constantinople.  Another blow to Symphonia IMO.
                      There is really only one rule for Christian engagement: repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, uttered to oneself. It’s corollary: forgive them, for they know not what they do is not the same as, “I do know.” 
                      It is the core of sin and therefore death and decay that “I know better”.  In reality, ‘I am the chief of sinners’. 

                      Let your yes, be yes and your no be no.

                      Lord, have mercy .

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Michael, what I meant was that Byzantium as a polity was the most successful of all time, lasting 1,100+ years. That’s a success by any secular standard. Nor was I talking about the symphonia between Church and State in this instance, just the duplicity of Byzantine statecraft. It bought them a lot of time.

                      Of course, I’m talking about the secular part of the Byzantine state. The fact that the Phanar chooses to abide by the same mendacious paradigms is to be criticized in almost all instances. (There’s a fine line between prudence and skullduggery, after all.)

                • Theodoros,

                  “My post was not concerned about who can call a Council and what the process is. … Ideally, bilateral talks btw EP and MP if entered into sincerely may be the best start to resolving issue.”

                  Exactly, your last sentence contains the problem:

                  If a mediator asks EP and MP to do what you say, then,
                  EP will say:
                  “No way, I am the E.P. just wait until I alone call an Ec.Synod and then you can talk within my Agenda!”
                  MP will say: “Oh no, we the others are calling an Ec. Synod NOW! With or without you”.

                  So you see my friend, at the end of the day, You and me and everybody else, but mainly EP and MP must understand and accept:
                  “What is the proper procedure to call an Ecumenical Synod ” etc as I told you above.

                  • Thank you George, Gail, Ioanni & Brendan for your replies to my comments. A blessed 2020 to you and to all.

      • Antiochene Son says

        The original letter to the EP has been published:
        It’s gut-wrenching. I don’t know what more Theophilos could possibly do. Although if I were him, I would have added:
        The Church of Jerusalem has been uniquely tasked with preserving the Church’s unity since Our predecessor, the Apostle James, the Brother of the Lord, convened the Apostolic Council as recorded in Acts chapter 15. We will continue to uphold this Apostolic role of peacemaker among the brethren, as bequeathed upon Our holy See from of old.

        He needs to jab Bart a little bit and push back on his papist claims.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I don’t think Bartholomew can’t be moved at this point. He left the Church and closed the door to his brother bishops.

          • Ecumaniacal Patriarch says

            The checks have been cashed and the money already spent.

          • Gail if u saying Bartholomaios has left the Church, And I  totally agree with you, he has ,   have you thought through the practical implications for you, yr Parish and for Orthodox church in USA? Let alone the world?  Or are we a load of canting hypocritical charades? All mouth and do nothing? 

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Nikos, that is what I’m saying. Bartholomew walked away from the Church when he shut the door on his brother bishops. The Local Churches, even those who are now (God forgive them) standing with him, ALL told him not to go into Ukraine. He did it anyway.

              Bishops in our Church respect their fraternal bonds. They act in concert with one another (or they try) and it is simply not Orthodox to have a rogue bishop bringing in unordained schismatics, sparking a schism. I support Russia’s stance on not commemorating him or anyone who stands with him. George and I are getting married and we’ve talked about this. If the OCA were to enter into some kind of relationship with Bartholomew, which probably won’t happen. we’d try to go under the MP, ROCOR or any jurisdiction that stands with Russia. If this wasn’t possible, we’d start a home Church. However, We need to give the OCA and the other jurisdictions some room to make their respective decisions. This is not going to happen overnight or any time soon.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Gail, congratulations! Just for clarification, will you be changing your last name?

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Thank you, Joseph! I don’t know! Do you think I should?

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Either way is fine with me.  May it be blessed!

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Change your name Gail. It is a tiny but important part of becoming one flesh. But, you have to see what the flow and direction of your common life is. Unfortunately, Shakespeare was wrong when he said: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

                    Names both form and reflect the substance of the person/couple. IMO the woman adopting her husband’s name is a part of magnifying his soul– allowing you to give substance to him as well. It is a icon of the fruitfulness of marriage even when there are no direct offspring.

                    It is also part of the man extending protection to his wife. Saying to all, she is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Do not mess with her. Only idiot men use it as a way to subjugate and attempt to possess what can only be given. I have always been partial to the function of the Shield Maiden. The protection is mutual and the chastity of a Christian marriage allows you to claim that title and function if you want as well as George’s name.

                    Merry certainly is that for me.

                    It is all there in Genesis but certainly throughout the Scripture as well.

                    Kate’s monolog at the end of Taming of the Shrew is an interesting reflection. I would like a woman’s take.

                    Of course George will also have to change the name of this blog. Whatever the Greek is for fighting together.

                    So much more that goes into names.

              • Sorry, Gail, I am obviously  missing something here.  What is it that “probably won’t be necessary,” and why do you use the word “probably” when you write about going under another jurisdiction?  What is it that might happen that would affect that?  And how does this connect to your statement, “but this is what we’re going to do,” which unlike the earlier statements is not conditioned by use of the word “probably”? 

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Sorry, Blimbax, you’re right it doesn’t make sense.  Someone edited this. 

                  What I said had to do with what George and I would do if the OCA were to enter into some agreement under Bartholomew, which probably won’t happen.  If it did happen, we would go under a different jurisdiction that was independent of Bartholomew.   Failing that, we would have our own home Churchs.  

                  • Thank you for the illumination.
                    Is “George” the “George”?  Regardless, congratulations.  Ώρα Καλή.

                  • “Gail Sheppard: “were to enter into some agreement under Bartholomew, which probably won’t happen. If it did happen, we would go under a different jurisdiction that was independent of Bartholomew. ”

                    I second that. I simply cannot stomach those lost guys. Sad …

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                !!! 😉

              • That’s good news for a change!
                Congratulations, Gail, George!
                Many years of happiness in Christ.

        • Antiochene Son,
          very well said!
          This is the only language Bartholomew understands, it’s about time!
          He may want to destroy or sell the Church,
          but she does NOT belong to him!

  5. Another EP parish has gone to ROCOR, this time an ACROD parish in Florida:

  6. Why must it be Bartholomew? His behaviour is what is at issue. As all the Ecumenical Councils were called by the Emperor and there is no Emperor now, we must look elsewhere for guidance. Why not to the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem? Did Peter convene it? No. Did one of the Twelve? No. Who then? James, Bishop of Jerusalem. So, we have a precedent of the highest standing.

  7. Michael Bauman says

    I may be wrong, but I have always been impressed by what I saw as the Greek willingness to fight for important things no matter the odds. A key feature of my idea of Hellenism that gave substance to the writing of the Fathers and the praxis of the Church.

    Was I deluded or has it gone missing?

    • For every Leonidas or Themistocles, there were always two (or more) Medisers.

    • Michael no it has not gone missing.  But has yet to be activated.  It is an example of the lessened spirituality in greek society as a whole.  The outward shell is there to a remarkable degree but it is hollowed out. Reasons?  Too numerous to mention.

  8. Why should Bartholomew convene the meeting when it is his (and Kirill’s) conduct that is in question? Is he to be judge in his own cause?
    Think of the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem. It was held to decide who was properly in the Church and who was not. It was not chaired by Peter, or Andrew, or even by another of the Twelve. Nor was it chaired by Paul. It was chaired by James, Bishop of Jerusalem. Is there not a clear precedent here?
    Think of

    • Correction Brendan. Patriarch Kyrill’s conduct is not in question here. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church was attacked and undermined by Bartholomew. Then he proceeded to set up a parallel structure of laymen pretending to be clergy. There is one man’s conduct in question here…and he needs to be deposed.

      • Mikhail, if there is a Council and it finds in favour of Bartholomew, then Kirill is in the wrong. If, however, the Council finds against Bartholomew, it may still censure Kirill for interrupting Communion. On the other hand, it may decide Kirill was perfectly justified in doing so under the canons of the Church.
        My personal opinion is in complete agreement with yours.
        However, I will not predict the result of such a council.
        I merely suggest a suitably applicable precedent.

        • Well…I will say this. If there is a council, and they find in favor of Bartholomew…they will have to excommunicate the MP/ROCOR, and probably a few others (Serbia, Poland, Czech, etc). If that happens, I will be following those who have been “excommunicated”.

          • This may be the object of the exercise,
            from the State Department’s point of view at any rate.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            No, Russia won’t be excommunicated in a council.  There is nobody threatening to break communion with Russia.  Rather, everybody still wants communion with Russia, and even Ukraine’s OCU wants communion with Russia.  The territorial disputes we now witness are not sufficient reason for excommunication. 
            However, it is entirely possible that a council will rule against national churches having jurisdiction outside of their own politically defined territory.  That’s the simplest solution.  If territory is not being disputed by sovereign nations, then it shouldn’t be disputed by the Church.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Joseph, I don’t know what makes you think the schismatics in Ukraine “want communion with Russia”. For one thing, their demographic is mostly Russia-hating neo-Nazis and/or ultra-nationalists and for another, Dumenko was forced by Bartholomew to commemorate Kirill in the Diptychs.

              That doesn’t sound like anyone “wanting” communion to me.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                George, I don’t know what makes you think the OCU “is mostly Russia-hating neo-Nazis and/or ultra-nationalists”. That would be like saying that the UOC-MP consists mostly of extreme Russian nationalists who want to destroy Ukrainian statehood. Some may share those views, but I highly doubt either viewpoint represents the majority.

                I don’t believe Metropolitan Epiphany is being forced to commemorate Patriarch Kyrill. Yes, it’s an obedience given by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but it’s also a voluntary obedience. Commemorating His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill is just simply what all the canonical autocephalous churches do.

                The OCU wants to be recognized by the Moscow Patriarchate as a canonical church, and this recognition also means communion. Metropolitan Epiphany said:

                “[I] dream of a day when all Local Churches – without exception – follow the canonical resolution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and recognize our Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine as their sister Church. ”


                Furthermore, Metropolitan Epiphany also said:

                “We understand that in Ukraine the Russian Orthodox Church will in the future continue to exist and that many want to remain there. We do not have anything against this. A hierarch or priest with his flock must decide for themselves. If they decide they want to voluntarily join the newly formed OCU … we will accept them in our structure of a single OCU.

                “The doors of the OCU ‘are open for all Orthodox in Ukraine.’ Each must make a choice, and if one speaks of any OCU strategy about those beyond its ranks, it ‘must be formed on the evangelical principle of love, peace, mutual understanding and fraternal mutual respect,'”


                • Dear Joseph ,
                  George is correct. The OCU are a group of Russophobe ultra-nationalist neo-nazis. They are more worried about beating parishioners and clergy and confiscating Churches, than they are about being Orthodox Christians.

                  • Joseph might have some points that there do exist some Russian ultra-nationalists that want to destroy Ukrainian statehood. Difference is, though, is that they do not have state support, foreign assistance, and an entire schismatic ‘church’ structure that seeks to attain their goals.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Basil, apparently you don’t believe Moscow is supporting the pro-Russian separatists in Donbass. How about in Crimea? And is it not pertinent that the Moscow Patriarchate is now in schism with Constantinople, Alexandria, and Greece?

                    • Crimea was never part of Ukraine until Kruschev issued a decree transferring it from Russia in 1954. There was no vote allowed to the Crimeans.
                      In 2014 the elected President of Ukraine (for whom most Crimeans had voted) was overthrown by a coup d’etat by Neo-Nazis opposed to the speaking of Russian as an official language in Ukraine.. The people of Crimea had a vote in which they decided to leave Ukraine and join a country (Russia) in which their votes would count and which would not oppress their language and culture.
                      Also, is it not pertinent that Constantinople uncanonically invaded the canonical territory of Moscow and established an uncanonical parallel ‘church’ structure, led by excommunicates and self-consecrates? Or do you think that the canons do not apply to Primus Sine Paribus Phanariotiki in Constantinople, but only to lesser breeds such as Russians?

                    • Joseph, you simply don’t want to understand:
                      You want to heal the  symptoms and you don’t want to understand what the disease is. It doesn’t work my brother.
                      The root of all these problems is that Bartholomew wants to play the big Pope or something and not be a humble EQUAL bishop like the ALL the others in the world!
                      Because of Cple being the Capital of the Ecumene (the huge/vast Byzantine Empire) the bishop there was a kinda coordinator for all the other bishops. That was THEN. Cple (now Muslim Istanbul) has not the Imperial /reigning function of old Cple and the current bishop there is no coordinator any more. If he understands that (probably the hard way) then there he will save his soul and peace and unity in Church will flourish again. 
                      Why don’t you read Canon 28 (4th Ec. S.) in the New Year?
                      Happy new Year 2020!  

                    • Joseph Lipper: “Moscow is supporting the pro-Russian separatists in Donbass.”

                      You don’t support neonazi nationalists, trying to create a new “church”, do you?

                    • I’m staggered. OCU are neo nazi russophobes ?? Even the many children and their families who have joined it since the Autocephaly? That’s it for me. Adios to you all.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I hate when people use “children” and “families” as shields. Look at the icon below and tell me what you see, Theodoros:

                    • Theodoros: “I’m staggered. OCU are neo nazi russophobes ?? Even the many children and their families who have joined it …”
                      I assure you, nazis had children and families too.

          • Ioannis. Re Constantinople.  U say it all. I admire our good Joseph because his heart is in right place in wanting Orthodox unity and love. Who does not? But Unfortunately as u say he overlooks the disease which is papal mania by Phanar which over runs  by a mile, any big brother bully tactics by Moscow. And above all crossed the line in to heresy as regards teaching on the Church as understanding by Orthodox and the Church over 1500 years now.  I will say openly and publically that the Patriarchal throne of Constantinople is now heretical. It is claiming papal power. As for corrupt practice.  Let’s not go there today. 

            • Niko you say, 
              “I will say openly and publically that the Patriarchal throne of Constantinople is now heretical”.
              If I may add,  that original small old city still called Byzantium founded by Byzas was no big deal, until Emperor Constantine made it his new Capital. The position of the  local Bishop received a kind of coordinating function to facilitate remote bishops to visit the Emperor. Thus the reason was not religious or dogmatical but rather purely secular/political/governmental. The actual Mother of Churches (as we sing in Church) Jerusalem stayed behind Cple in “power”. The Bishop of Cple gradually grabbed all opportunities to increase his title status and power, bit by bit, from simple Bishop, Archbishop, then Patriarch, then Ecumenical, then Pan-Agio-tatos All-Most-Holy (two superlatives above simple Holy God), and the last effort now is being made by Elp. to become “first without equal”, real Pope!
              Our dear brother Joseph (hopefully is reading this) means it well, in fact he reminds me of myself say 30 years ago when I  had the same opinion as Joseph. However I slowly noticed  a kind of “showing off” and then the decisive fact how he excommunicated the veteran famous anti-heretical theologian N.Sotiropoulos in absentia. Then many other things followed that unfortunately proved that Bartholomew was mainly interested in his personal Power and Glory and the blind discipline of all other Bishops et al.
              I am sure when our brother Joseph realizes this, he will change overnight, because I think he is an honest man, and not a troll.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Ioanni, I too several decades ago bought the Cpolitan hype. Although I must say that I was uneasy about the title “All-holiness” being applied. Growing up I remembered only two EPs –Athenagoras and Demetrius–never once did I hear this superlative being applied to either man. It was simply “His Holiness”.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  As a true mongrel who was received into the Church under Met Philip of blessed memory, and a student of history I have never had any delusions as to the superiority of Constantinople.  

                • We refer to the Theotokos as Most Holy, not All Holy. Interesting problem, at least the term being used is not Only Holy for the Patriarch. All Holy kind of defines one as being holier than anyone else.

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    It would be a good or ‘Jacksson’ to consult the Greek texts of our service books, where the Mother of God is addressed as hyperagia (‘exceedingly holy’) as well as panagia (all-holy’).

                    ‘Most holy’ seems to be an anglicism which isn’t completely supported by either Greek or Church Slavonic usage.

                  • Antiochene Son says

                    Antiochian liturgical texts use “All-Holy” at the exclamation following litanies. “Calling to remembrance our All-Holy, Immaculate, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady…”

                  • “All Holy kind of defines one as being holier than anyone else.”
                    Ditto “Most Divine” – the English comparative magnifiers run thus: ‘a little’ or ‘somewhat’, ‘more’, ‘most’.
                    Thus the English style: “His Most Divine All Holiness” is
                    (taken literally) a claim to be God.
                    I think a little humility from Constantinople might be in order.

                • Yes for all their failings, Athenagoras and Dimitrios were people one could identify with. Humble. 
                  What a contrast now!!!

        • Brendan: “if there is a Council and it finds in favour of Bartholomew, then Kirill is in the wrong”
          Together with Metropolitan Onuphriy and the rest of Orthodox in the Ukraine?

          • The statement you quote is taken out of context, therefore your use of it here is wrong. Read the full argument I make in the discussion with Mikhail.

  9. This is disheartening and Orwellian…
    The Phanariot blog claims that Pat. Theophilos sent the invitation “at the direction of the Moscow Patriarchate.”
    “Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew responded to the letter of Theophilos of Jerusalem in Greek and in a stern tone, considering that the Patriarch of Jerusalem is absolutely unqualified to take this kind of action…”  

    • Far too many of these “great spiritual leaders of Orthodoxy” ever remind me of the behavior of my grandchildren on their worst days. though on their better days my grandchildren put them to shame.

      “It’s mine! I had it first!”

      “But he…”

      “You’re not the boss of me!”

      And all in the name of…oh yes…tradition – so called! What shining examples they are! Small wonder that we are advised not to put our trust in princes or sons of men in whom there is no salvation…however much some of them would have us do otherwise.

      There is no other word for it than pathetic.

  10. This discussion is a\above my pay grade. Nevertheless, the contention between the principle leaders of some of these canonical Orthodox see’s, can be described as Orthodoxy that is one of the 10 heads of the antichrist. Revelation reveals that the kings, of which there a 7, are horns, and 10 kings. I can’ remember right now, if the kings are horns is in Daniel, or in revelation.

    • I suggest you re-read your bible and come back when you know.
      PS: Read the Greek text. Translations can be misleading.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Brendan, et. al, where does “Greek is the only language” crap fit with the actuality of Pentecost which includes St. Peter’s vision from God that commands St. Peter not to call unclean what God has cleansed?

        RE St. Nicholas Shrine

        Who is going to have the Windex franchise?

        • Michael Bauman says

          An metaphor of Greek-ness: There is this wonderful symphony going on full of depth, harmony, wisdom and courage (the patrimony of the western world).  All of a sudden a rude  unkempt man or woman banging a bass drum loud enough to drown out the beauty of the symphony takes center stage shouting out GREEEEEK HELLinism.  

          • If a man’s reading of Scripture is confused, he will be more likely to correct it by reading the original text than by reading a possibly similarly confused translation.

            • Funny, though, how many of those for whom Greek is a native tongue nevertheless manage to twist the meaning the Scriptures.
              Greek is a beautiful and more precise language to be sure.  Doubtless the knowledge of it is helpful.  But I would argue without any reservation whatsoever that several years of immersion in prayer in the full liturgical life of the Church with focused attention (regardless of the foul and imprecise tongue into which it is translated) is infinitely more profitable for our understanding of the meaning of the Scriptures than the knowledge of Greek alone.

              • I would generally agree; except that, when you read the comments of the two Michaels  preceding and following my last two comments, the original Greek is a useful touchstone. In other words, both are useful.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  I find a Greek/English interlineal to be of good use.
                  I don’t know Greek. On the other hand, I’ve always been able to transliterate since I learned the Greek alphabet ‘six times on a  match’ as a fraternity boy at Cal in 1966-67. Plus being in the Greek church for a few years and paying some attention, etc., is helpful. Such a volume proves useful now and then on interpretation questions.

                  • Err… Ye-e-s-s-s-s… But!!!
                    Most of the readily available New Testament interlinears are based on the Nestle-Aland/UBS Critical Text; which differs from the Ecclesiastical Text, the Patriarchal (1904) Text, in some crucial respects. Also many of the translations based thereon are seriously defective.
                    For a readily available English New Testament in book form, there is (to my mind) still nothing superior to the King James Version [KJV]. For an online interlinear (based on Scrivener’s 1894 edition of the Textus Receptus – the basis for the KJV translation), try:
                    I am not aware of any interlinear based on the Patriarchal Text. One may exist, but I haven’t come across it.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Brendon, Greek is not just useful it is indispensible in many ways but only in the environment of the Church as Brian says.  Outside that environment the most expert Greek scholar will not understand anything.  
                  You also need to understand their are a lot of Orthodox and would-be Orthodox who the GREEKS cannot help at all and they do not want to because we are barbarians.
                  I do not believe for an instant that you are one Brendan.  But the GREEKS are insulting, rude Pharisees who bind with heavy burdens and refuse to enter themselves. Like Esau they gave sold their birth right for pottage.  They are not unlike flamboyant drag queens except they are less honest and far less entertaining. 
                  The rest of us, including you, need to understand how incredibly violating and destructive and disgusting  the GREEK attitude is.  Even well meant advice cannot be received.  Although, everything else being in order, you are right.

                  But the GREEKS have so disordered life in the Church that nothing else is in order. They have long be at it. I would rather go without Greek entirely and be in the Church.  GREEK does not save.

                  Eventually I will get to the point when I can really pray for my enemies.  I am not there yet. Forgive me for dumping it on you and forgive me Michael K for hijacking your statements.  

                  By the way, “usefulness” is not an attribute I much care for. But that is another story.

                  • From Acts 8 [KJV]:
                    27 …behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority…
                    28 …and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
                    29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
                    30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
                    31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me?

                    He was lucky. He had Philip. He would not go astray.
                    Not everyone is necessarily so blessed, however.
                    Let us think of a modern day person reading Isaiah 7:14
                    If he reads it in the Greek of the LXX, the key word is ‘parthenos’ and ‘parthenos’ means ‘virgin’; of that there is no doubt.
                    If, however, he reads it in the Masoretic Hebrew text, how is he to understand ‘almah’ when ninety percent of modern English (or other) translations render it as ‘young woman’ and virtually all Jewish and most Christian scholars insist that it does not mean ‘virgin’?
                    How is he to know that the LXX is the oldest reading that we possess, and was translated into Greek by pre-Christian Jews before the Incarnation, or that the Masoretic interpretation (and the readings based thereon) was created specifically in reaction to Christianity.
                    A knowledge of Greek might help, might prove useful to him.

                    [PS: It’s Brendan, not Brendon]

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      It’s easy to learn and understand all of those things without knowing Greek. I think that anybody who has ever spent much serious time studying the Bible becomes aware of that particular issue early on, for example. 
                      The ordinary lay person who undertakes much Biblical reading and commentary is going to be well served by any good contemporary interlinear, because the vast majority of interpretation issues will not involve major controversies. Insofar as they do, there are plenty of sources.

                      The English marginal text used in interlinears is mostly there so you can find your place and context, so it doesn’t much matter what version is used. The literal English below the Greek text, combined with the marginal text, does the job in most instances.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Brendan, sorry for misspelling your name.  
                      How one is to know that Isaiah is talking of a Virgin is the same way the Ethiopian did–Apostolic teaching.   
                      Knowing the Greek alone is not sufficient.  
                      Even better, ask the Theotokos herself.  
                      ….and that is one Greek word for which there is no viable alternative.  
                      There are Orthodox Greeks. George and his friend in Tulsa who started the OCA mission seem to be.  Then there are the GREEK orthodox like a really good friend of mine who was key in getting me through the death of my late wife.  

                    • “…it doesn’t much matter what version is used”.
                      Sorry Tim. It matters very much, depending on the particular Greek text underlying whichever interlinear or freestanding translation is being used. Old heresies are revived and given new life in modern ecumenical committee-driven translations, based on Greek texts rejected by the Church sixteen and more centuries ago.

                    • Bravo Brendan, well said.

                      Years ago I read an interpretation of
                      the word alma. The Seventy (72)
                      Learned Jewish men translated
                      alma” into “Virgin” for the
                      following reasons:

                      There are other passages in the O.T.
                      where alma is synonymous to
                      “bethula” a virgin or unmarried girl who
                      has not known a man.

                      Abraham’s servant asked the Lord so that
                      the first alma (thus actually virgin) he met would be
                      the one appointed as Isaac’s wife. And
                      an alma (young woman) came out to
                      draw water by the well.

                      Rebecca is called alma and she
                      was certainly unmarried and a virgin.

                      In Exodus 2:8, Pharaoh’s daughter calls
                      Miriam alma, who was watching
                      baby Moses.Undoubtedly it meant a
                      virgin, an unmarried young girl.

                      Also Psalm 68:26, Proverbs 30:19, Song
                      of Songs 1:3 and 6:8 contain the word
                      alma or almoth plural meaning a
                      virgin, an unmarried girl.

                    • Ioannis: “Years ago I read an interpretation ofthe word alma. ”
                      I expect this is the discussion to which you refer:
                      I find it compelling.

                    • Brendan,“I expect this is the discussion to which you refer…”

                      No, it isn’t.
                      It’s actually an even older book written around 1900 and entitled “Rabbi Isaac” in Greek.
                      It is the story of R.Isaac who became Christian, and the decisive factor was exactly the proof that “almah” actually meant bethulah, virgin. 
                      But your source is compelling too. Thanks. 

                    • Thank you Ioanni  I shall look out for “Rabbi Isaac”.

                    • Brendan:
                      you can see the book in this list, (near the bottom).

                    • Thank you Ioanni. I shall buy the book immediately and put it in the pile awaiting my attention when I have time – when I retire from the day, job in September.

                    • Ioannis: “Learned Jewish men translated “alma” into “Virgin” for the following reasons …”
                      There is another reason, obvious if you read the context carefully!
                      “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
                      But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”
                      Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also?  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son …”
                      Young women give birth every minute. It is a miracle all right, but not a great sign chosen by God Himself,  for the House of David. But only when virgin gives birth, the passage makes sense.

                    • Martin,“There is another reason, obvious if you read the context carefully!”
                      You are absolutely right. It’s all in the book, I promise you, but I did not tell Brendan everything. 

                    • Brendan,

                      “I shall buy the book immediately and put it in the pile awaiting my attention when I have time – when I retire from the day, job in September”.
                      Actually once you start reading the book you just can’t put it down. Is all a matter of one week-end.
                      BTW there is a bonus in the book. R.Isaac becomes a real expert and proves to a Papal Cardinal that Apostle Peter was never the Bishop of Rome!

                  • Michael,
                    I must admit you are right about the majority of my compatriots (present day) Greeks. This is mainly because of the modern trend to love this life more than the next one in Christ.

                    I don’t know about other nationalities, but most Greeks are first Greeks and then Orthodox. Very sad.
                    They will probably learn the hard way.
                    Lord have mercy! 

                  • Michael, thank you for sharing your very charitable views of Greeks.

            • Brethren Brian,Brendan et al:
              Avoiding the unChristian pro- or con-Greek bias:
              What is important is certainly the correct translation from Greek, of course NOT word for word but idiomatically too into fluent English…BUT:
              _Besides the correct language translation we
              also need the correct  meaning interpretation! (also in the context of other pericopes)
              e.g. by reading the homilies of Chrysostom et al.

              Failure to get the correct interpretation leads to fallacies even by people who are absolutely fluent in Ancient Greek, eg Greeks (as Brian correctly points out) or some protestant/Papal theologians.

              You can imagine, an inaccurate translation PLUS an inaccurate interpretation can lead to black meaning white and vice versa.  

              • I believe that is what I have argued.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Exactly why most folks are better off simply learning the teaching of the Church whether they know Greek, or think they do, or not.

                Almost every discussion on translation from the Greek ends up either directly or by implication that any adequate translation into English is impossible.

                To me that really means the translators either do not know English well enough or simply don’t care.

                • Michael, you have put your finger precisely on the problem. To translate accurately it is necessary to know the receiving language better than the donor tongue. Too many English translators of the New Testament are deficient in their knowledge of English.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Brendan, not just the structure of the language, but the idioms and the poetry which I am sure you understand but I want to be explicit about.  
                    I also hope that someday there is New World liturgical music but that is a long way away.

                    • “…not just the structure of the language,
                      but the idioms and the poetry…”
                      I agree completely.
                      I shall get back to you on this soon.

                    • ‘…not just the structure of the language,
                      but the idioms and the poetry…”
                      No passage of the New Testament has been worse served by English translators than the Prologue to the Gospel of St John.
                      The idioms and the poetry have been mangled desperately by translators whose grasp of English (far less Greek) leaves much to be desired. The theologies that have been spawned thereby (or re-spawned in the case of Arianism) have done immense damage. And this goes right back to the first translator of the New Testament from Greek to English – William Tyndale.

        • windex could cure everything!! ? 

      • Brian, Brendan Michael et al:

        Here is a very recent practical example of the use of the Greek text in a simple verse:
        Genesis 1:26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”
        Jan 7, 2020 By Fr. Deacon Ezra Ham St. Elijah Orthodox Church, Oklahoma.
        Watch after 13:50

        • Michael Bauman says

          On the blog “Glory to God For All Things” there is a commentator who is native Greek and is blessed to have spent his youth frequently on Mt. Athos under the direction of Elder Aimilianos. The man who posts as “Dino” now lives in England.  
          I learn from every post he makes.  But then he is not GREEK.  
          He recently posted the Greek for the phrase, ‘at hand’ in the passage “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
          He gave a depth and clarity to the declaration that is amazing.  I have to go back and re-read it to let it sink in.
          So, one of the reasons I am so opposed to the GREEKS is because they not only gratuitously insult me but try to rob me of the treasure they have been given to transmit. 
          They are Pharisees.  Along with the scribes those people received the most direct condemnation from our Lord of anyone mentioned in the Scripture. 

          • Are you using “GREEKS”, in all capitals, as a way to distinguish some Greeks from others?

            • Michael Bauman says

              Yes. The GREEKS are the ones who push Greek, Greek, Greek and tend to view non-Greeks as less than full participants in the Church, if that. I will henceforth refer to them as modern Pharisees, whether Greek or not. It is the modern Pharisees who are working so hard to destroy the Church whether they recognize that or not.

              • Monk James Silver says

                Feelings of ethnic superiority, nationalistic arrogance, and generally asserting superiority over any person or nation are not Christian virtues.
                At the same time, we Christians must acknowledge that our source texts are written in Greek.  Not the degenerate and corrupted language as we find it today, but in its earlier forms, both classical and koinE, idioms only slightly accessible to native speakers of Modern Greek unless they have been educated in those older forms of their language.
                For instance, there’s someone in a local parish here who was born in Greece and speaks Modern Greek as her native language in addition to very good American English.   She comes to the OCA parish to hear the services in English so she can understand them, a luxury not available to her either in Greece or in Greek Orthodox parishes in America.
                So let’s respect the Greek sources from which we all drink, but with no unhelpful or unrealistic privileges accorded to political or ethnic Hellenism.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Totally agreed. The first time I understood the liturgy (and I speak Demotic and understand Katharevousa) was on April 20, 2000, on Thomas Sunday, when I attended the Consecration of St Seraphim’s Cathedral in Dallas, Texas.

            • It seems to me that Michael is not using GREEKS to refer to ‘Greeks’ per se, but to indicate those Greeks who are ideologically so – in precisely the same manner as the Apostle John (himself a Jew) refers to the opponents of Jesus (also a Jew) as ‘THE JEWS’ [IOUDAIOI].

          • Michael, you state that the commentator is ‘native Greek’ and then you say that he is not Greek. I am confused, but I assume that he is not Greek and that is why he is having the problem. In the Greek Orthodox monastery where I have been attending Divine Liturgy for almost 18 years, if there were only Greeks in attendance, then the Nave would almost be empty. We have attendees of all cultures. 

            Can you sum up what he said about the understanding of ‘at hand;’ sounds very interesting.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Jacksson, sorry to confuse. Dino is Greek but unlike those who shout their GREEK superiority and make such the only important thing in the universe, he actually has wisdom born of humility and the reception of the Greek patrimony. Therefore he is not GREEK, i.e. he does not look down on the barbarian souls of those of us who are  not GREEK. He, in fact, treats everyone with utmost courtesy and respect especially the American convert OCA priest who is the author of the blog.  Go figure.  
              I was relying on the old digital standard that putting something in all caps was akin to shouting.   Actually, I have come to prefer the phrase “modern Pharisees”.  Those who bind heavy burdens, hide the keys to the kingdom and do not enter in themselves seeking the approval of men rather than God.  
              He is a human being who loves God who happens to be Greek.  

        • Michael Bauman says

          Great post, Ioannis but I cannot escape the fact that the teaching is being given not only in  English but with more than a twinge of the Southern.  Which “as everybody knows” is the most ignorant and backward form of the barbarian English tongue. Just bless their littl’ ol’ hearts now.

          That aside, St. Elijah is a true sister parish to my own AND has made a point of reaching out to the Protestant culture and people in which they are planted while remaining Lebanese too.  The good deacon is himself a living icon of that planting and flowering.  
          The Pharisees aka GREEKS refuse to do so. Thus no likeness can grow.

          • I am greek αnd as a family  we were well mixed in english society when we came there but remained greek and Orthodox . I, we, saw greekness, Hellenism  as a inclusive gift of Orthodox Christian civilization of whom the Slavs I live amongst now, are the proud living inheritors. Something to take and make one’s own as Slavs have done and others. 
            Yet my kumbaros displays sad to say all the narrow  anti -Slav attitudes even to prefere  the turks.  I don’t hate any body as a Christian but the turks intend us no good,that is plain.  I have been to northern macedonia and seen the living monasteries threatened by Saudi islam and as a greek was welcomed. Why we keep up this irrational hate. Why they keep up their Alexander great nonsense! 
            In a USA context AS I KEEP ON SAYING,  what is so  greek about the classic pew and organ,  banality and 19c worship decorum, of the average greek Parish??.  Their motto is, ‘ anything goes as long as it’s in Greek.  They caught in an immigrant’s  cultural Cul – de – Sac.  Not the greek future or of Orthodoxy in USA. 

            • …and cul-de-sac is  naturellement, French.

              • Giuseppe De Pronta says

                Any relation to the Greek sokaki or Arab “suc”?

                • No.

                  sack, n.1

                  Forms:  OE sacc, sæcc, ME sac, seck(e, (ME sec, 15 northern seik), ME–15 sakke, ME–16 sacke, ME sak, sekke, ME–15 sek, (ME sac, cek, sache, sake, saccke, Scottish secke, 16 Scottish seck), ME– sack.(Show Less)

                  Frequency (in current use): (Show Less)

                  Etymology: Old Engish sacc (masculine), < Latin saccus bag, sack, sackcloth (French sac, from 11–12th cent., Provençal sac, Spanish saco, Portuguese saco, Italian sacco), < Greek σάκκος, < Hebrew (? Phoenician) saq = Jewish Aramaic saq, saqqā, Syriac saq, saqå, Assyrian saqqu. The word appears in most of the Germanic languages: Gothic sakkus sackcloth is probably < Greek, but in the other languages the proximate source is Latin: Middle Dutch sak (Dutch zak), Old High German sac, sach, accusative plural secchi (Middle High German sac, modern German sack bag), Old Norse sekk-r sack (Swedish säkk, Danish sæk). The Old Norse and some of the Old High German forms, and perhaps the Old English sæcc (confined to the sense ‘sackcloth’) indicate a prehistoric type *sakki-z: compare medieval Latin ‘saccia, σάκκος’ in a Latin-Greek glossary.
                  The word is found also as Irish and Gaelic sac, Welsh sach, Hungarian zsak, Russian sak, Polish, Czech, Serbian, Albanian sak, which are all directly or indirectly from the Latin or Greek.

                  souk, n.

                  Brit. /suːk/

                  U.S. /suk/

                  Forms:  Also sok, sook, soug, suk(h, suq.

                  Frequency (in current use): 

                  Etymology: French, < Arabic sūḳ market-place.

                    An Arab market or market-place, a bazaar


        • Monk James Silver says

          Ioannis (January 11, 2020 at 10:22 am)says:
          Genesis 1:26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”

          Jan 7, 2020 By Fr. Deacon Ezra Ham St. Elijah Orthodox Church, Oklahoma.Watch after 13:50

          This is all very confused, and not a correct explanation of the text.
          The fact is that the Greek 70, on the whole,  is relentlessly literal in rendering its Hebrew source text, and only rarely makes an excursion into common sense.  Translators —  then and now — must be as much aware of this liability as their competence in both biblical languages require them to be altogether.
          In the verse referenced here, the Hebrew word for God is elohim, a plural form.  As such, it requires a plural-form verb, and this is exactly reproduced by the Greek 70.  English, as a receptor language, being considerably less inflected than either Hebrew or Greek, is under no obligation to violate common sense in favor of the grammatical structures of source languages.
          It can then be confidently said, pace Deacon Ezra Ham, that this verse reveals nothing about ‘the plurality of God’, much less suggests anything like the divine self-revelation of the Holy Trinity, which came only through our Lord Jesus Christ about fourteen centuries after Moses.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Monk James, I focused on the Greek for “image” that the good deacon used: icon. That was the key for me. Icon denotes much more substance than the English image does, at least for me. The word “image” in English often denotes a copy and does not necessarily refer to the source. Even in modern usage regarding computers, the word icon denotes a picture that leads into something larger and more complex allowing for making present that for which it is an icon.

            I have heard the “plurality of God” explanation from other sources. It has never been persuasive to me simply because of the nature of address that was wide spread toward all ancient kings was frequently plural for a lot cultural reasons as well as linguistic ones. The Deacon making that argument tends to reduce the impact of what he is teaching rather than enhance it. Nevertheless it is a relatively common explanation.

            Unfortunately, I do not know the Old Testament well enough to discern other possible foreshadowing of the Trinity other than the three angels appearing to Abraham on the plain of Mamre. Our hymnography proclaims that worship of the Trinity was made manifest only at Theophany, our Lord’s Baptism in the Jordon. Perhaps only the Incarnation allows for such a manifestation.

        • Michael, Monk James, Brendan et al:
          Fr.Dn Ezra carried on yesterday with Genesis 2:7
          and other important parameters in translating (from 10:15 to the end):

  11. Michael Bauman says

    Theodoros says
    January 6, 2020 at 9:06 pm
    I’m staggered. OCU are neo nazi russophobes ?? Even the many children and their families who have joined it since the Autocephaly? That’s it for me. Adios to you all.

    Theodoros, do you not know: “The sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons, even to the third and fourth generation” Num 14:18.

    Heresy and error are passed down (traditioned) as well as righteousness and truth. Our Lord’s mercy is abundant, but repentance for transgressions of truth, even if not personally chosen, is necessary.

    If they are 12 or over, they are much more personally responsible that we like to think in this age of perpetual childhood and lack of accountability.

  12. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.
    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Rejects Initiative of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem
    By TNH Staff 
    January 9, 2020

  13. redhorse4380 says

    Pardon me. but if “Greek” is so perfect, why do I feel like a Red Headed Stepchild any time I set foot in a “Greek Orthodox Church” ?  Have the congregations taken on Bart like qualities, or is it the other way around? We have also seen this kind of club like behavior  in ROCOR, when has the term Orthodox come to mean segregation?

  14. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirely, and if found, I will post.
    Ecumenical Patriarch Urges Patriarch of Jerusalem Not to Persist on Holding Synaxis
    By Theodore Kalmoukos 
    January 15, 2020

  15. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Times website.
    Home > Orthodoxy
    “Flood” of primates’ rejections to invitation for Jordan synaxis by Jerusalem Patriarch
    Jan 23, 2020 | 14:08

  16. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Times website.
    Home > Orthodoxy > Patriarchates > Patriarchate of Jerusalem

    Patriarchate of Jerusalem misquoted President of Hellenic Republic
    Jan 24, 2020 | 17:06
    In a press release issued regarding the meeting of Prokopis Pavlopoulos with Patriarch Theophilos, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem misreported today the words of the President of the Hellenic Republic.

  17. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.
    Pavlopoulos Urges Theophilos to Stand by Patriarch Bartholomew
    By Theodore Kalmoukos 
    January 29, 2020

  18. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Times website.
    Home > Orthodoxy > Churches > Church of Albania
    Archbishop’s of Albania letter to Patriarch of Jerusalem: You make things worse
    Feb 11, 2020 | 10:08
    Archbishop Anastasios of Albania expressed his concern with a letter to the Patriarch of Jerusalem that the latter’s move to convene a meeting of Primates in Jordan will complicate rather than help the situation.