Patriarch Kyrill: Americans for Natural Marriage are “Confessors of the Faith”

Franklin Graham meets Pat. Kyrill

Every now and then events lead us into a “perfect storm.” We are engaging one at present with our present moral crisis.

Simply put, the tortuous redefinition of marriage, the hijacking of the Federal apparatus, and the unleashing of American military might in order to create a New World Disorder are coming together rather nicely.

Among the side effects of this perfect storm are the extinction of the indigenous Christian peoples of the Middle East, the creation of Jihadi-mafia states in the Balkans (e.g. Bosnia and Kosovo) and the near-suicidal bear-baiting of a resurgent Russian Federation. We can add to that the overthrow of traditional nations (e.g. Ukraine and Georgia) in order to make them more compliant to “enlightened” Western norms –while at the same time enslaving them to the International Monetary Fund and of course, amenable to NATO bases.

That’s on the foreign level. On the domestic side, Christians of all stripes are slowly watching their freedoms erode. The customary liberal snark of “tolerance” goes only one way, as Kim Davis and others have found out.

Into this controversy strides Franklin Graham, who (as you will read below), recently met with His Holiness Patriach Kirill of Moscow and All-Russia. His Holiness told the Rev Graham that people like Kim Davis, et al are indeed “Confessors of the Faith.” Not martyrs (yet) but certainly ordinary Christians who have suffered to an extent because they refuse to sell out their Christian faith.

Orthodox Christians here in America are embroiled in these controversies as well –but with an interesting wrinkle. The storm becomes even more “perfect” for us as fault lines are exposed in our own ranks.

One such fault line was exposed by Monomakhos earlier this week, when a missive by Protodeacon Eric Wheeler of the OCA was leaked. It was an emotive, unthinking response to Metropolitan Joseph’s recent directive regarding so-called gay marriage. This directive was directed to the Antiochian clergy and was iron-clad. Its simplicity and strictures displeased Wheeler and no doubt, thousands of other American Orthodox who essentially see no problem with homosexuality in general or gay “marriage” in particular. It was you could say, “fundamentalist” in tone by their lights.

This of course will lead to the widening of the fissures that exist in American Orthodoxy. I expect to see people like Wheeler to continue to dig in their heels in order to “save” the OCA from “fundamentalism” and/or any further alignment with Moscow. Wheeler and others after all, are the rump faction of the Stokovite/Americanist axis that was predominant in the OCA in the days before Metropolitan Jonah’s abortive tenure. Though not as powerful as they were at one time, it is clear that they still wish to call the shots. It seems that even though the OCA is withering on the vine, they would rather go down with the ship rather than compromise their progressive principles.

I imagine that if things get too hot and heavy for them, they’ll seek some sort of agreement with Constantinople which, unfortunately, is being used by the globalists as a counterweight to a resurgent Russia. Time will tell.

Please take the time to read the following story and decide for yourselves.


Moscow, November 2, 2015

According to Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Christians who stand for the ancient traditions of their faith are becoming “Confessors of the Faith,” in the mold of the mutilated and exiled St. Maximos (+662 AD).

Kirill met with famous American Evangelical leader Franklin Graham last week, with whom he shared his admiration for American evangelicals’ defense of Christian morals. Kirill called those who suffer for their stand supporting natural marriage modern-day Confessors.

The head of the world’s largest Orthodox church noted tragic changes in Western spiritual life, including turning away from “Christian tradition” and creating societies in which moral values are no longer dominant. Kirill also noted with regret recent legislation and court decisions allowing homosexual “marriage,” “equaling it to natural marriage that the Lord has given us in commandment.”

He said that Westerners who resist such immoral laws and court decisions are “subjected to repressions.”

“Today, Christians who uphold the intransient importance of Christian moral values had to become Confessors of the Faith, living under various kind[s] of pressure, including the mass media,” the patriarch of Moscow said.

“This gives us a sign of hope: there are people among Western Christians akin to us in ethical principles, sharing them with the Russian Orthodox Church.”

The patriarch’s comments come at a time when many American Christian business owners and public servants have been fined, jailed, or otherwise persecuted for defending natural marriage.

Some examples:

– Betty and Richard Odgaard, a Mennonite couple whose gallery/chapel was economically forced to close when the Iowa Civil Rights Commission demanded they personally host a same-sex ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs.

– 70-year-old florist Barronelle Stutzman, who is at risk of losing her flower shop and life savings after she declined to work a same-sex ceremony because of her Christian beliefs. She had been servicing the gay couple who sued her for several years and would have provided them the flowers, but she refused to personally facilitate their ceremony by creating custom-designed decorations, delivering to the forum, staying at the ceremony to touch up arrangements, or personally assisting the wedding party.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, Christian bakers who refused to design a wedding cake for lesbians, ordered to pay $135,000 for “emotional” damages to the lesbians by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. They were forced to close their store and operate from home.

The Russian Orthodox Church has cut off dialogue with religious bodies that perform homosexual “marriages” or ordain homosexuals as “clergy,” including the United Protestant Church of France and the Church of Scotland. The Russian Orthodox Church’s statement said religious groups that offer to “marry” homosexuals “trample upon the principles of traditional Christian morality.”

Patriarch Kirill noted that the Russian Orthodox Church broke dialogue with the U.S. Episcopal church in 2003, when it ordained an openly and unrepentantly gay cleric. However, the Orthodox support the conservative Anglican Church in North America, “which remains faithful to Christian ethics.”

The Very Rev. Fr. Dimitry Smirnov, chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church Commission for Family, Protection of Motherhood and Childhood, went so far as to say, “These are not Christian communities anymore. … The former Christian peoples are preparing themselves for the solemn reception of the Anti-Christ.” He said the future of LGBT groups is “the fire of Gehenna,” referring to Hell.

The chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion, explained, “The legalization of same-sex cohabitations … pose[s] a clear threat to the future of humanity.”


  1. Not sure how to look at this one. After some reflection, I’ll put it in the category of a minor positive.

    For a long time, I have observed a serious non-sequitur in the activities of those who consider themselves conservative Christians in the United States. This is that they tend to be so patriotic as to support America’s adventures at spreading the gospel of secular humanism abroad in the form of “human rights” and “democracy” advocacy and through subversion and regime change of countries, democratically led or not, which do not conform to our government’s expectations. Thus we have overthrown or helped to overthrow democratically elected rulers (Egypt, Ukraine) yet remain committed to good relations with non-democratic rulers (Gulf States, for example). Sometimes we even turn on a dime against former allies (Assad in Syria).

    Perhaps some of these conservative Christians may be waking up to smell the coffee. Too soon to tell.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Let’s be careful of labels.

      I consider myself a conservative Christian, but I do not support any of the geo-political activities MIsha laments.

      • If that is true, you are to be commended, Fr. Patrick. Alas, many on the religious right are a bit blinded by their reflexive support for American efforts at spreading our “values”.

    • I was recently home in the heartland and was chatting with a neighbor I hadn’t seen in some time. He was an airborne ranger back during the Cold War. About as politically conservative as you get. As far as I know he doesn’t know I am Orthodox — we’ve never talked religion, alough I know he is an evangelical Christian. When the conversation turned to world politics, at one point he waxed eloquent for a bit about his admiration for Putin and Russia, and said, “they’ve got that Russian Orthodox Church over there that’s straightening things out.” My jaw could have hit the floor. I smiled and nodded and said, “when you and I signed up we were fighting the godless commies.” He replied, “yeah and now the sides are switched.” Not saying he is typical, but just that given how things are going here, demonizing Russia may not be as easy as it once was.

  2. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    One should be aware that all remarks of the Patriarch are “symphonic” supports for the Leader’s foreign policy. I’m surprised he didn’t give more space to the crime of abortion, at least because abortion keeps the Narod from growing, never mind the criminality of it.

    • M. Stankovich says

      This is a continuously ignored point Vladyka Tikhoh makes: the “soon to be” de facto spiritual head of “traditional Christians” (as I choke back on the sea water) is he who also is the virtual left hand of the de facto purveyor of an abortion system that makes the US system seem trivial by comparison. A single speech left an “impression” of moral authority for the Patriarch (and his side beneficiary, Mr. Putin), but the reality – Holy Cow, where have I heard this before – is that his moral authority wilts in the presence of social and feminist influences who really will not tolerate an end to abortion: feminists merely quote the reality of “Romania,” and who gets “socked with a multi $k fine for discussing abortion rights?” Google. How will they bear the cost? Symphonia, indeed.

      I recall leaning against the wall in the Administrative Segregation Unit (Badger) at San Quentin State Prison, watching incoming men going into the diagnostic center. One scared young guy asked me sort of desperately, “You a lawyer?” “Nope, psych unit.” Someone said, “Give the kid some advice.” I said, “Crime don’t pay,” which amused many. The point: It’s never too late for a late-vocation in Corrections Chaplaincy, Vladyka Tikhon. Dark clothes and sage advice pretty much sums it up. And you’re thinner than most. Just sayin…

      • Unfortunately the demons of abortion are so entrenched that aside from a miracle it will not be uprooted.

        And while the Orthodox overseas may not do much to oppose abortion (though I can’t accept that just because you say so), neither does anyone else. Even the larger pro-life orgs in America exist in order to keep on existing, at this point.

        So all garbage being equal in that area, better the one who opposes homosexual practice.

        • Michael Kinsey says

          Pro-life resistance to abortion is the widow who keeps coming back to the unjust judge, continually and faithfully seeking a civilized response to massive infanticide. The Just Judge will respond to this in His time. It is enough for authentic Christianity to continue resisting the evil laws. We cannot stop murder, by committing murder. To kill the abortion mom ( the guilty party) is to kill the child also. The innocent are not laid at our gate(womb}, but at the gate of those who seek the privilege of murder with impunity, saying we are queens and shall see no sorrow. Heaven and earth shall pass away, and abortion will pass with the earth. The kingdom will be given to the Saints, when the Ancient of Days appears. Everyone else is a loser.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Even a first year Russian seminarian (or ANY Russian who studied the old Law of God (catechism)) knows that while a Martyr is someone KILLED for refusing to deny Christ, a Confessor is someone who was IMPRISONED for refusing to deny Christ. Thus Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd was a Martyr, while Patriarch Tikhon was a Confessor. I’m amazed at learning ANYONE is calling American Christians of ANY persuasion “Confessors!”
        But many of the Patriarchate’s public utterances are but “symphonic” and patriotic supports for the Leader’s foreign policy!

        • How did Patriarch Tichon die? I believe he was poisoned. Martyr. ROCOR, the historic ROCOR which canonized the Holy New Martyrs and Holy New Hiero-Martyrs under Saint Metropolitan Filaret of NY in the 1980’s had Patriarch Tichon as a Hiero-Martyr I am pretty sure if not mistaken without going back to check on this. Didn’t they cover this in the first year of seminary?

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            I think you will find that the proper title commemoration us “Our Father among the Saints, TIKHON, OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA, THE CONFESSOR

            • Ok, I will have to look some of this up from my older materials in storage. The original and ONLY valid canonization of the Holy New Martyrs was done by ROCOR in the 1980’s. The Moscow Patriarchate’s subsequent “canonizations” are not valid, too much “conflict of interest” for them among other things I won’t get into here. It was interesting that recently ROCOR-MP and MP were gathered in meeting to go over this material, the canonizations of the Holy New Martyrs and here for once, the ROCOR-MP stood up to the MP and stipulated that there can be “no discussion of ‘de-canonizations’ of any of the Holy New Martyrs” of course all the many of them who broke communion with Met. Sergius Stragorodsky or actually more accurately Strogorodsky broke with them though it did in the end work both ways mutual break in communion. The MP though of course tries to include those “martyrs” who all along went with Stragorodsky’s Stalinist MP (or Stalin’s Stragorodsky MP whichever whatever) and then when they out served all their usefulness to the Bolsheviks were then executed. The ROCOR of the 1980’s did not canonize those guys, not nowhere near within a football field’s length of measure. So, lets see if .. the “confessor” title of Patriarch Tichon is ROCOR of the 80’s, maybe, I am not sure yet, or only Moscow Patriarchate’s title designation which in that case I would soundly reject and disagree.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I agree.

      • The Russian Church and government are combating abortion as effectively as possible. No doubt the legacy of communism (and Western liberal democracy) is unconscionable abortion sin. Changing the public ethos takes time. They are heading in the right direction, we are stuck in the wrong direction politically.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Misha! Tell us more about evidence of church and government in Russia “COMBATTING” abortion and divorce. HOW do they COMBAT those evils, exactly.

          • Bishop,

            In 2011 they banned abortion after the 12th week. Sounds like “combatting” to me. Also, through this thread I have provided a number of links regarding the abortion issue including iron clad evidence of a “precipitous” drop in abortions since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Look at it and quit being a lazy, crotchety, old liberal. I’m sure it is very fortunate for the souls of the faithful that you are retired. I can’t imagine the damage you caused.

            I have said nothing regarding divorce. There is enough guilt among all Orthodox practically everywhere on that score.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              HELGA You may call it “combating: I call it speeding them up “If you want an APPROVED ABORTION IN HOLY RUSSIA, GET IT BEFORE THE 4TH MONTH OF YOUR PREGNANCY.” “Combatting?” What an idea!.

              Helga, my episcopal service in the Diocese of the West is well-documented. If you can ferret out something DAMAGING, let us ALL know. Or tell us who you are and where you serve,IF you have nothing to hide…….

    • Ah yes, my favorite commenters, Bp. Tikhon and Stankovich,

      * * *

      “Recent efforts

      The abortion issue has gained renewed attention in 2011 in a debate that the New York Times says “has begun to sound like the debate in the United States”.[27] Parliament passed and President Dmitri Medvedev signed several restrictions on abortion into law to combat “a falling birthrate” and “plunging population”.[27] The restrictions include requiring abortion providers to devote 10% of advertising costs to describing the dangers of abortion to a woman’s health and make it illegal to describe abortion as a safe medical procedure. Medvedev’s wife Svetlana Medvedeva has taken up the pro-life cause in Russia in a weeklong national campaign against abortion called “Give Me Life!” and a “Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness” by her Foundation for Social and Cultural Initiatives in conjunction with the Russian Orthodox Church.[27]

      Proposed ban

      In 2015 several Russian MPs has drafted a bill which introduces administrative fines for performing abortions outside state clinics. The proposed fines are 150,000-200,000 rubles ($3,000-$4,000) for private individuals, 500,000-800,000 rubles ($10,000-$16,000) for individual entrepreneurs and officials and 500,000-2.5 million rubles ($10,000-$50,000) for legal entities, which can also face the full suspension of their activities for up to 90 days. The cost for an abortion would also be brought up to the level of private clinics.[28] Another requirement which is yet to be approved is that women will have to go through a mandatory ultrasound, because 80% of women will not abort something they see on a screen. And a form signed by the woman going through the abortion, and at least two family members, if there are no family members the form will not have to be signed. Doctors are now allowed to refuse an abortion unless it is medically necessary.

      Patriarch Krill stated that 80% of abortions in Russia are only performed by convenience. The new laws could also cut abortion by half. The Russian Orthodox Church opposes abortion. [29] While the Russian official figure states that the restrictions will increase births but about half a million pro life activists say that the real number of extra births will be four million per year.[30]

      Another amendment proposes that the state health insurance fund can be used to pay for an abortion only on condition of medical prescription or “social recommendations,” such as cases when the pregnant woman was raped, or when the baby has been diagnosed with a defect, such as a mutation or Down syndrome and others which are determinable before birth, another example is if the woman is below the age of 16, or has a low income and unable to support a child is the abortion eligible for state funding. [31]

      There was also a related proposal banning the sales of emergency contraception.” –

      * * *
      Moreover, in Russia, abortion is now only legal up to the end of the first trimester. –

      Whereas in the United States one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the world applies and abortion is legal (at least) up to the moment of delivery.

      See also: – the “unholy alliance” spoken of is the alliance of church and state that seems to be directing Russia toward the ever greater restriction and eventual ban of abortion.

      And this, correcting misinformation about Russia’s abortion rate, which has been dropping precipitously for the last 20 years:

      But of course, the critcisms are disingenuous coming from two progressives. Progressivism is pretty aggressively pro-abortion.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Russia’s abortion rate has been dropping “precipitously” for the last twenty years? Prove it. None of those unsupported DECLARATIONS is proof of ANYTHING!

        One of the greatest opponents of abortion in America has been the FAR LEFT and “progressive” journalist Nat Hentoff of theVillage Voice. And Misha says OTHERS are disingenuous! Pot? Kettle?

        • I proved it. See link above. You don’t like it. That is a natural progressive reaction.

        • So thats one liberal out of 300 million that no one really has heard of unless you read something like Village Voice? More well known ones like Obama, Clinton, Clinton, Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein, Boxer, and on and on are all staunch abortionists. Lots of liberals actually vote for them mainly because of that and thats how these democrats keep getting elected and re-elected, they staunchly defend all abortion rights and guarantee funding for outfits like Planned Parenthood baby parts sold by the pound notwithstanding.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Well, “Cy,” if you’ve never heard of Nat Hentoff that tells us more about YOU than it does about him..
            I see that you blame American voters for abortions. I suppose yuo’d like to take away the popular vote and give us a Christian Jihadi-type government.
            Abortions are crimes for which Orthodox Christians re punished as for murder. Blame Democrats if you like: I’m wauting for a Greek Orthodox hierarch of ANY grade to announce ANY TIME, ANYWHERE that abortion is an evil crime like murder, which it is! Planned Parenthood does not sell baby parts by the pound.
            Here’s a Commandment for you: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.That should also be the masthead guideline of Monomakhos!

            • why should I have ever heard anything about Nat Hentoff? Is he smart? Clever? Have a high IQ? 130?
              now I’m curious. I remember on a radio show in a car and they were saying under Obama worldwide abortion clinics expanding and, men, men are most often forcing the women into them to do the abortions. Texas is getting it right, only ten places in the state that will perform the procedure and dispose the fetus however, medical compost perhaps where they ferment
              your next generation post parkinson’s epilepsy sedative you can get a foretaste of Dante’s third ring of hell.
              Of course, you don’t want to bear false witness. True witness, thats the one you want to bear.

            • From Wikipedia:
              >He supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq and is a supporter of Israel. Hentoff has sardonically described himself as “a member of the Proud and Ancient Order of Stiff-Necked Jewish Atheists”.[4][18]< Enough for me.
              Something you might not know adequately well enough is that under Obama and mainly democratic regimes anywhere abortion rates expand exponentially. Actually in many instances because of the wide availability and easy accessibility of abortion clinics it is the men more often than not who are forcing the women into them for the procedures this has been documented. Talk about Jihadi-type governments, ask the babies who that is, sounds to me like they might say its your democrats more than anyone else. Likewise a commandment back to you keep your own false liberal democrat witness for yourself thank you.
              I might add, you are kind of mixed up, on the one hand you are so "anti-abortion" and then on the other hand it sounds like you are a true and tried dem, sure there can be those pro-life lib/dems/neo-cons and what have you Hentoff et al. myself I pretty much never have any agreement with liberals on anything nowadays and I don't watch MSNBC and I have better material to put my time/energy for my reading than Village Voice.

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

            Actually, Nat Henthoff was a liberal when liberalism used to stand for something. Henthoff was pro-life who famously said “If only the pro-choice Left could think of the fetus as a baby seal, in utero.”

            I would quote Henthoff in pro-life work I did while a college student. I’d quote Jesse Jackson too who was a strong pro-lifer at one time. Liberalism used to share some common ground with conservatism back then. We are all the poorer for it too because when people like Henthoff was around real debate actually took place. Henthoff was eventually shunned because he refused to soften his pro-life stand correctly seeing it as central to human rights as it used to be understood by liberals. Abortion corrupted liberalism and now it champions almost every perversion as a human right.

            + + + + + +

            By Nat Henthoff

            [ July 16, 1985]

            As the pro-life movement slowly becomes more heterogeneous, members of the Left within it are underlining the contradictions of the majority of pro-lifers on the Right while also illuminating the contradictions of the pro-choice Left on the other side of the barricades.

            That’s what I intend to keep on doing too. For instance, I recently discovered that one of the oldest and most consistently honorable antiwar organizations in the United States—the War Resisters League—has a pro-abortion policy. Their sign is a broken rifle, which surely signifies a preference for life. Yet the WRL comes down on the side of “choice” in the matter of abortion, and one of those two choices is death. . . .

            Another member of the Left who has spoken against the cheapening of human life through abortion-as-convenience is Elizabeth Moore, who organized Feminists for Life in the Washington, D.C., area. Recalling her life in the South during segregation, Moore said, “I knew first-hand the effects of legal nonprotection under the Constitution, and from my point of view, the basic value upon which just law must rest is not ‘choice’ but equality. I cannot tolerate the destruction of life in a society where I find myself among the expendable.”

            Elizabeth Moore also believes that the pro-choice argument based on a woman’s right to control her own body is a right-wing concept that puts property rights over the right to live. . . .

            Let me show you the naked lunch at the end of the fork.

            Much has been made of Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s The Silent Scream, a film of the killing by abortion of a 12-week-old unborn child. I’ve seen all of it once, and parts of it several times. I do not see everything he says I should see. I also think, as I have told Nathanson, that he deflects the impact of the film by focusing on the question of whether the fetus can feel pain and did indeed scream, silently. There are experts on both sides of that argument, and the debates obscure the main issue. The question of fetal pain is less important than the actual dismemberment of this living being. . . .

            Ah, but good liberal pro-choice folk deny that this was really a human being. In 1973, the Supreme Court had said it was not. Just as in 1857, the Supreme Court had said that people of African descent had “Never been regarded as a part of the people or citizens of the State, nor supposed to possess any political rights which the dominant race might not withhold. . . . ”

            The majority of the Supreme Court, back then, had actually seen these black people but did not see them as human. They saw them as property to be disposed of in any way the owner chose. And now, although the Supreme Court and the other pro-choicers can see into the womb through ultrasound—or have seen color photographs of what’s in there in widely available books—they do not see the unborn as human, and they strongly advocate the killing go on and on.

            If only the pro-choice Left could think of the fetus as a baby seal, in utero.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Yes Russia can do no wrong even as it aborts babies at staggering rates. The EP doesn’t get a pass on this but the MP does? Love the double standard, but expect no less from Misha. The great apologist for Moscow and all things Russian.

        Personally I prefer Christian apologetics in defending and promoting the Gospel of Christ which applies to all human beings not just Russian and the so-called Russian world.

        And people get offended by the Greek omogenia, but this is ok? Ok, I don’t get it, and it’s total hypocrisy, but ok.


        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Peter why not forget about that totally hypothetical homogenia, and compare the public UTTERANCE of the Russian Church’s hierarchs relative to abortion and the UTTERANCE of such “spokesmen” for world Orthodoxy as the Constantinopolitan hierarchy?
          I remember when (then) Metroplitan Bartholomew was asked by a reporter in the Bay Area if the Greek Orthodox Church condemned abortion and contraception as does the Catholic church. He told the press, “We do not go into the bedrooms of our people”

          What percentage of modern Grecian DNA is Hellenic, Bulgaro-Slavic, and Catalan-Veneto-Genoan?
          This would help us understand this “homogenia.”

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I don’t know, but you can ask the Russian omogenia that Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church support and are a part of. They just had a conference on this a few days ago. Maybe you can ask them their DNA pedigree. I think they would love being called hypothetical.

            Peter A. Papoutsis

      • M. Stankovich says

        Again, let me share with you the difference between seeking out information in a city that has major universities that sponsors educational events, educational presentations, speakers and community members with whom to discuss and interact, etc., etc. and the Google scholar. To simply listen and question individuals participating and observing the religo-politico situation in Russia firsthand – and feminists are lively on university campuses – hardly qualifies one as a “progressive” and aggressively pro-abortion. Where did you study logic? Sorry… Google. I believe I may speak for Vladyka Tikhon in saying that the internet has doomed scholarly learning to thick-neck Slavic who-ha’s who don’t go outside much anymore. There are some knowledgeable, fascinating human beings who can tell you all about “Feminism, Abortion, Russia, and the Lessons of Romania” (a recent presentation I attended) without ever clicking “Forbes$$$.com” Who’d have thought. And you are quite a rude personality for suggestion a Servant of the Vineyard of our Lord for nearly a quarter of a century is “aggressively pro-abortion.” Go back to your on-line games.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        MISHA! So, if you want to get an abortion in Russia, you have to hurry up and get IT before the fourth month?
        ‘If you want an abortion in Russia you have to get it (and pay for it) at one of “our” State Abortion Clinics?”

        GOSH! Why can’t sinful Americans have STATE ABORTION CLINICS as you SHOW they have inHoly Russia?

        “Doctors are now allowed to refuse an abortion unless it is medically necessary” Are you claiming, Misha, that American doctors may NOT refuse to perform ANY abortion they feel like refusing? SINCE WHEN?

  3. If things continue as they are, +Kyrill is going to be the de facto spiritual head, not only of the Orthodox, but all traditional Christians. So much for Francis and Bartholomew, who have bowed to the ruler of this world, at least on this matter.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Yes I agree Third Rome here we come. Like I said action speaks louder than words. In the short term it’s a blessing. In the long term it may be a curse. We will have to wait and see.

      So like I said before if it’s Moscow’s version of Canon 28 it’s all right. I am so glad we got that all clear now. Thanks Ages for making my point.


      • Moscow is not claiming administrative jurisdiction over the barbarians. I’m just saying spiritual head, which Christianity needs today, and neither Frankie nor Bart are providing it despite their titles. Kyrill is the next obvious choice and he’s stepping into the breach.

        Lots of Traddie Catholics have long believed Russia has needed to be consecrated to the Theotokos by the Pope to fulfill the prophecies of Fatima. Based on the blogs I follow, they’re starting to realize that Russia may be the ones who bring everyone else back to reality.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Really? You actually believe that about Moscow? Something tells me if Moscow made the exact same argument of Canon 28 but applying it to itself you and other devotees of Holy Mother Russia would not have a problem with it and would welcome it.

          Actually reading your post you already have.

          BTW that consecration to the Virgin Mary would mean that Russia gives it’s allegiance to Rome because the ROC is heretical because it’s not in union with Rome AND NOT Accepting of Latin theological innovations. Good luck with that one.

          After all this on the part of Moscow the EP is looking better and better.

          It truly does depend on who’s ox is being gored.


      • Thomas Barker says

        Mr. Papoutsis,

        There is a large block of fundamentalist Christians who will never accept Russian Orthodox leadership on anything, even as they acknowledge common positions on basic issues such as homosexual marriage. For example, in their eschatology some fundamentalists claim that “Gog” and “the land of Magog” in Ezekiel 38, Ezekiel 39 and Revelation 20, are references to modern Russia. For those who follow such teachings, Russia is an evil empire, and in the end times Israel will be attacked by Russia. I’m not supporting their assertions, but I’m saying there is an anti-Russian mindset on the fundamentalist far right.

        Ezekiel 39:1-2

        Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

        And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:

        • The large block of “fundamentalist Christians” are pretty much those same ones who are all putting their faith into getting “raptured” around end times disappearing off into the sky while in a subway commute going to work on the stock exchange. So their “Gog” and “Magog” eschatology is all a fiction and misinterpretation of Scriptures start to finish. They await the “1000 year reign of Christ” which we in the Orthodox Faith know as the heresy of “Chiliasm” and will be the perfect set-up for the anti-christ to declare himself “Christ” when that time comes and so there will be the many “who are deceived.” As far as the Moscow MP and EP go they really are more like “republicans and democrats” two sides of the same coin, the NWO/WCC coin.

    • Amen.

  4. Michalopulos:

    Simply put, the tortuous redefinition of marriage, the hijacking of the Federal apparatus, and the unleashing of American military might in order to create a New World Disorder are coming together rather nicely.
    Among the side effects of this perfect storm are the extinction of the indigenous Christian peoples of the Middle East, the creation of Jihadi-mafia states in the Balkans (e.g. Bosnia and Kosovo) and the near-suicidal bear-baiting of a resurgent Russian Federation. We can add to that the overthrow of traditional nations (e.g. Ukraine and Georgia) in order to make them more compliant to “enlightened” Western norms –while at the same time enslaving them to the International Monetary Fund and of course, amenable to NATO bases

    I count 13 non sequiturs, red herrings, false analogies or downright lies.

  5. Monk James says

    There are a great many loose ends in this piece, fragments of thought and splinters of purpose which need to be identified and addressed before it can be properly and completely understood and digested.

    Yyears ago, I remember Franklin Graham’s father, protestant preacher Billy Graham, leading a ‘revival’ or ‘crusade’ in Moscow. He dared to suggest that — before his presentations — the Gospel had never been heard in Russia. He was quickly and thoroughly disabused of that notion and changed his tone if not his message, and remains a heretic, as does his son Franklin.

    Then we must realize the tenuous position which The Church holds in 21st- century Russia. At any moment, if the Patriarchate of Moscow disagrees with RF public policy or defies president V.V. Putin, their honeymoon will be over, and The Church will then be at least as bad off as it was under the tsars, if not suffer as it did under the commissars.

    Bearing all that in mind, we have to understand that Patriarch Kirill is responding to a single issue, that of same-sex marriage in the U.S., and the resistance of some Christians, orthodox and heterodox, including at least one very obvious public official. We don’t know what would happen in Russia to anyone of any religious persuasion who balked at the immoralities still legal in there, such as abortion.

    Finally, the ROC seems to have lowered its standards lately regarding its definitions of holiness. After all, they recognized as saints members of the last tsar’s entourage, even though they weren’t orthodox or even christian,, and the tsar and his family were saintified, too, on the flimsiest evidence. Now, they want to bestow the esteemed title of ‘confessor’ on american heretics who agree with us on a single point of doctrine and practice.

    This is out of balance and very wrong.

    • Monk James, you state >” and The Church will then be at least as bad off as it was under the tsars,”< ..
      I am afraid that your knowledge and education regarding Imperial Russia comes straight out of Hollywood's
      "Nicholas and Alexandra" which is 99.99% slander and lie, as you should suspect, from Hollywood. Under the tsars Christian Orthodox Faith in its 1000 year history in Russia had flourished thousandfold greater than it ever had or likely ever will in US or anywhere else for that matter. The Stalinist Moscow Patriarchate has no part in the historic ROC. The evidence of the sainthood for the Tsar and his family is massive and overwhelmingly decisive, you have to go outside "Hollywood" however to learn something about that.

    • There are plenty of Protestants who make more of the few scraps they have been given than some Orthodox who have received ten talents coming out of the baptismal font. I’ve known Protestants who were living saints, and I’ve known Orthodox who were incarnate demons.

      Let’s not be quite so hasty. As other posts in this blog have recently noted, we have actual material heretics and, formal heretics in the Church to deal with before we castigate Protestants, many of which in this case are trying to do the Lord’s work with good will.

      • Thomas Barker says


        Your comment on Protestants reminded me of a passage of scripture, Mark 9:38-40.

        “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.

        But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

        For he that is not against us is on our part.”

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Like I said before and I know people are not going to like me for saying it again but these are the issues that the Russian Orthodox Church needs to resolve on its own house before it starts thinking that it can rule the world unite the Russian world or do whatever it wants to do in regards to its vast delusions of grandeur.

      That’s what I’ve been arguing with Edward that’s what I’ve been arguing with Misha have a critical eye of the Russian Orthodox Church don’t just drink the Kool Aid.

      Let’s see if they like you any better than me for saying stuff like this that’s critical of their beloved Russian Orthodox Church.

      Peter A. Papoutsis

    • Daniel E Fall says

      A great post that says everything for me.

      • Daniel E Fall says

        I should add that I support fully Ms. Stutzman. She basically epitomizes my approach. She told them they wouldn’t get the best service from her because she couldn’t support gay marriage. Said she’d sell them flowers, but wouldn’t participate in the wedding. There is no good liberal that can support the court expecting her to do her art for them. It would be like asking an artist to come and paint the wedding. My God, what artist who doesn’t appreciate gay weddings would do their best work on something they don’t like? Perhaps he would paint them all with sad faces or empty eyes and be sued?

        For me live and let live works both ways.

        And attending a gay wedding is a lot different than serving blacks in a restaurant or even attending a black wedding. Attending the black wedding could’ve destroyed a white business before. Not attending a gay wedding is harmless except for they have a right to review publicly. If Arlene’s Flowers loses in the copa for not attending a gay wedding, so be it. Her risk.

        Too bad the only coverage is Fox News.

    • “Then we must realize the tenuous position which The Church holds in 21st- century Russia. At any moment, if the Patriarchate of Moscow disagrees with RF public policy or defies president V.V. Putin, their honeymoon will be over, and The Church will then be at least as bad off as it was under the tsars, if not suffer as it did under the commissars.”

      This betrays a hopeless ignorance of contemporary Russia.

  6. Might I point out that the word “homosexual” is a neologism invented in the 19th Century. The word “homophobia” means fear of the same, not fear of homosexuality. If you admit the prefix “homo-” to mean homosexual, then the proper term for dislike or disgust of homosexuality would be homoaidía.

  7. gail sheppard says

    This is a serious question which will demonstrate my complete lack of knowledge: From a practical standpoint, what difference does it make who the spiritual head of the Orthodox Church is?

    • Gail,

      It’s all political. The Head of the Church is Christ. Sometimes we talk about the spiritual head of the Orthodox Church being Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople since Constantinople is listed second in the dtiptychs (the list of Orthodox primates, in order of honor extended by canon law/councils). Since Rome left the Church, Constantinople is “first among equals”, a sort of chairman of the board if and when a “Great and Holy Synod” were to convene. Also, presumably, certain prerogatives to administer high level appeals might belong to it. But that’s a rare occurrence and, if I recall correctly, Constantinople would not have the right to decide such an appeal but merely to convene a synod of involved hierarchs to decided it.

      But there is no office of “spiritual head” of the Orthodox Church. Now, what seems to be asserted by some is that the Patriarch of Moscow is assuming the role of a spiritual leader of the Orthodox world de facto since the ROC is the largest Orthodox local church and the classical Orthodox symphoia of church and state seems to be at work in Russia. I happen to disagree with this assessment. I think there are at least two or three Orthodox churches within the Church. The bishops simply haven’t gotten around to drawing formal lines yet. It could be claimed that Pat. Kirill is the spiritual leader of one of these groups, but I’m sure many, many Greeks and laymen in the OCA disagree with the stance of the ROC. This has, for the most part, to do with many under Constantinople and the OCA “losing their religion” in favor of the overwhelming context of Western Enlightenment liberalism in which they live. They presume to judge Tradition in terms of modernity and not vice versa.

      So, it cannot in any sense be said that, for example, Met. Savas of PIttsburgh, who’s views on abortion are controversial to say the least and who is a committed progressive, is somehow “led” by Pat. Kirill. Both, I’m sure, would disagree wholeheartedly.

      This matter is really only of concern to Constantinople. The Russians have no need to claim anything. The Phanar hangs on to the notion of the “Mother Church”, the “Ecumenical Patriarchate” and “spiritual head” like they hang on to their you-know-whats. It’s all they have. “Constantinople” is actually Istanbul containing the Patriarch, his synod, about 2000 Greeks, three mules and a donkey. Their alleged right to control the Church in the diaspora (at a minimum) is what is at issue.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I would obviously disagree as it concerns the EP as his numbers are much more and extend beyond Istanbul and include many non-Greeks. In the grand scheme of things it does not matter, except to the good order of the Church. However, when political entities like Russian take hold of higher church offices like they have with Moscow they tend to exert their influence in terms of control and domination over the rest of us.

        So from a purely ecclesiastical point of view it does not and has not mattered to the religious life of the individual laymen, but to the good order of the church it matters.

        The EP currently has this prerogative, but only to hear disputes, and convene a synod of other Orthodox hierarchas to decide the issue. The EP, contrary to Misha’s and Moscow’s propaganda, is not an eastern pope, and never has been.

        However, for America it is MHO that the Orthodox do need to be united to an overseas Patriarch and for my money that would be the EP. But even then our tenure must be temporary with a clear road map to American Orthodox Church independence with the creation of our own synod with a ruling hierarch (I.e. Metropolitan, Archbishop, etc. )

        That is just me.


  8. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    As a retired hierarch myself, I must CONFESS that WE routinely blessed divorces/ re-marriages and pretended strict canonicity in restricting such to three (3). ur Savior Himself condemned divorce, but we hierarchs (no doubt due to Byzantine and Russian symphonia) have been blessing these attacks on marriage ROUTINELY; further, some even call this “BEING PASTORAL!”
    In an age where NO SAME SEX MARRIAGES are performed EVER in our Orthodox Churches and divorces (up to the magic number three) ROUTINELY BLESSED, is it not marvelous that doughty hierarchs DEMAND marches against the former non-events, while maintaiNIng a steadfast SILENCE towards the latter, and dare to say they are DEFENDING MARRIAGE?
    in Russia, divorce and ABORTION are as prevalent or more so than in America, but the Leader has officially moralized against America. That some Americans HERE praise this is sad indeed.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      I agree with the last part of the Bishop’s statement. It is sad indeed.


      • My brother Peter, I agree with the first part. It would be a grace if the circumstances recounted in each would be changed to correspond more closing with the Gospel and our call to be conformed in our communal life to the image of Christ. May we accept the grace and n humility and obeduence realize the effects of His presence in our midst.


        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I agree with it as well but as my previous posts with the Bishop have shown I do believe in the marches as one way the Church is exercising its prophetic voice. I also agree with the Bishop’s criticism of the magic number three divorce number. We should be much stricter in this area, but unfortunately we are not.


    • On the other thread about same-sex marriage, Ages claims and Helga agrees that anyone who favors same-sex marriage is “by definition” not Orthodox. Isn’t HAVING AN ABORTION a much more serious evil than merely being in favor of same-sex marriage?
      Let’s use their reasoning, and apply it to ABORTION. Any woman who aborts is “by definition” not Orthodox. Therefore I conclude that ALL RUSSIAN WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS ARE NOT ORTHODOX. What do y’all think? Hey, and what about +Kyrill’s lover? Did she ever abort, or do they use birth control?


      From 1991, the last year that there was an entity known as the Soviet Union to 2013, Abortions in Russia have fallen from about 3.6 million per year to just over 1 million for the year 2013. Johnston’s archive is based on a rather impressive list of sources, if you scroll to the bottom.

      There were about 1.556 million abortions in the US in 1991, 1.058 million in 2011, a reduction of about 32 percent. In comparison, in Russia there was a reduction of about 69 percent for the period 1991-2011.

      A precipitous decline to say the least, almost miraculous. If you look at that in combination with the legislation I have mentioned elsewhere sponsored by the Church and the cooperation of the Church and State in efforts to combat abortion, I’d say, given its Soviet past and the fact that birth control was not widely available until recently, Russia is on a solid track of improvement toward, hopefully, an extensive ban on abortion. They have already outlawed it after the 12th week of pregnancy.

      Yet, of course, nothing is good enough for liberals who hate an emerging conservative Russia while pretending to oppose abortion.

  9. Gail,

    I will venture an answer from a personal, not necessarily canonical, point of view.

    And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. Those whom He appoints are His stewards, and they will give an accounting of their stewardship. Does it matter who the chief steward is? In terms of good order in the household the answer would be yes. You, of all people, know this from your personal experience in the AOANA. But here I am referring to the character of the person appointed while you are referring to the office itself – to the question of whether it matters which holds first place in honor. To this question, the answer would also be yes terms of good order among the Churches/Patriarchates. Again, you know this from your own recent experience of lower level relations of the Metropolitan and the rest of the episcopacy.

    Nevertheless, Jesus Christ abides forever whilst the steward (or stewards) of His household will be dead within a matter of a few short years (although the offices remain). Moreover, the empires of this world that determine the spheres of influence of the Patriarchates ebb and flow while Christ Himself remains ruler over all. It would seem to me therefore that the Patriarchal office that is first in honor among the Patriarchates matters little to the ‘rank and file’ faithful in terms of our faithfulness to Christ, for they remain faithful to their true Head whether the holder of the office is faithful or negligent in his duties. But it does matter in terms of the peace and good order of the Church.

  10. Gregory Manning says
    • Gregory Manning says

      It is common knowledge that the internet forgets nothing. The same should be kept in mind about George’s “Delete” button.

  11. Gregory Manning says

    Below is an excerpt from an interesting Op/Ed linked at the bottom.

    “These persecuted Christians are in dire need of a champion, a great power able and willing to defend them. They obviously accept such help as is offered. Syrian Christians have expressed great elation and gratitude that the Russians have taken decisive steps to put an end to the slaughter of Christians that has been going on for more than four years.

    To many Christians around the world, Putin may become the 21st Century Constantine, the Roman emperor who helped the Christians of his day by putting an end to the persecutions endured under the Roman Empire. Constantine also conferred privileges on the Christian church that allowed it to become strong enough to have a positive impact on society. Putin may turn out to play the same role in the history of our day and recreate the Christian superpower that used to be the role played by the West, but which the West has abandoned.

    When Western media mention Putin’s declaration of protection for persecuted Christians, they consistently analyze it in terms of a mere tool of geopolitical expansion and imply that this is not rooted in genuine Christian faith. Western pundits portray Putin’s faith as a cynical ploy to promote his political interests. However, this puts on display the abysmal Western ignorance of the spiritual development that has taken place in Russia since the demise of Communism and the Cold War.” Read the entire piece below.

  12. Gregory Manning says

    An excerpt from an interesting op/ed. Russia – a game changer for global Christianity

    “Due to its secularist ideology, the West is no longer in any position to protect Christian interests in the world as it did for centuries in the past. It now creates terrorism and religious fanaticism fuelling blood-curdling horrors. Russia is the only major power in the world today that accepts the responsibility of protecting persecuted Christians.

    The fact that Putin is now the best friend and the greatest hope of persecuted Christians will have an impact on strategy that reaches far beyond the Middle East. This spiritual dimension of Russian foreign policy has been completely ignored by the Western media.”

    • While I agree with these sentiments to a large degree, I would raise a couple of caveats:

      1. Putin is a mortal man and, though Russian public opinion is squarely behind him, I would feel a lot better if there were more stability involved. I do not know if Medvedev or any other potential leader would be as adept at handling Russian politics.

      2. I am wary of what I perceive as a glorification of military power in Russia. I do not see it as a real problem yet, and I am far from squeamish on these matters, but the identification of military power with “respect” is a cause for pause.

      This is so because, while it is true that Russia’s military prowess probably means it cannot be effectively, directly challenged on its own soil or close to home, nonetheless, pride cometh before a fall. I have no problem with clergy blessing soldiers, weapons (even of the nuclear variety) for the defense of Russia. But I have sensed a strain of more or less secular nationalism identifying military might with respect. This is coming from the pop culture, not the government or Church.

      One should avoid bragging.

      • I have to agree with Misha. There is certainly evidence that some Russians are falling into the same trap that some Americans did starting around the time of the elder Bush: mistaking military power with real influence in the world. We still see this hubris today — not least in the hubris on stage by candidates like Marco Rubio in the GOP debates.

        To the extent that Putin has been successful in outmaneuvering Obama, it has been without firing a shot. The question is whether he will be as adept at carefully limiting his actual military interventions as he has been at accomplishing foreign policy goals without using firepower.

        And I likewise don’t know how deeply Putin’s philosophy of embracing Orthodox Christianity penetrates into the higher levels of the Russian government — has he developed a core of proteges who understand what he seems to? In short, what happens after him? One would have to assume that there is a fairly deep bench of older politicians who learned all too well the lessons of communist atheism during their youths — and of younger ones who drank the “liberal” Koolaid after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Church hierarchy is not made up of a bunch of dummies — they know that until they have truly converted a solid segment of the population to Orthodox Christianity, their position remains precarious.

        I think I have mentioned this book before, but the book published at Jordanville a couple of years ago called “The Making of Holy Russia” deals with similar issues from the decades preceding the revolution. It is a sobering read, but is thought-provoking in light of current issues in Russia.

  13. Gregory Manning says


    I’ve re-read the article I linked above and I simply do not find any “sentiments”, i.e. feelings being expressed by the author. Which do you see?

    BTW, Medvedev is almost certainly out of the picture as Putin’s successor.

    And, the edge-of-my-seat situation I refered to last week vis-a-vis Turkey has been resolved. The Syrian Army, weakened over the years trying to protect Assad and the country, have had to work very hard to fight on the ground even with Russia’s air support. Those of us who watch all this play out with bated breath were relieved today to hear that said Syrian Army, by the skin of their teeth. have regained controll of the Northern border and its air field. The possibility of Turkey and the U.S. coming in through here, as well as the U.S.’s supply line for the ISIS fighters seeking to over throw Assad, to say nothing of the U.S./NATO’s desire for a “safe” (from Russian jet fighters) fly zone, are now dead in the water.

    • Gregory,

      What I was referring to was not in the articles you have posted but, as I mentioned, in Russian pop culture. On social media, more than half of the posts I get are Russian language from Russia or Eastern Europe. I can describe the type of thing to which I was referring, this is one example, but the main example:

      Sometimes you get images of Russian weapons, whether it be new fighter jets, Kalashnikovs, etc. with the single word description, “Уважение”, which means, “respect”. It’s a cultural thing. And, given the recent past it is understandable. Yet I think people should be careful about glorifying sheer force. But, like I said, I have not seen this coming from the government or Church. It is a pop culture phenomenon.

    • Gregory,

      Ivanov sounds promising. Don’t know a lot about him but he speaks English and has a counterintelligence background. There’s a Russian joke about Medvedev:

      Putin and Medvedev are dining out. The waiter comes up and asks Putin what he will have. Putin answers, “The steak”. The waiter asks, “And for your vegetable, sir?”. Putin answers, “My vegetable will also have the steak.”

      Medvedev’s ok but I don’t see him being able to carry on what Putin has begun.

  14. Gregory Manning says