Patriarch Kirill Defends Orthodoxy

With the recent intervention in Syria a success, Moscow continues to feel its oats.

Latest case in point is the message of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All-Russia which was delivered on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. In most cathedrals throughout the Orthodox world, this day occasions a perfunctory sermon on the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the restoration of the icons. Sometimes a more erudite exposition on the nature of matter is offered. His Holiness however decided that a bracing speech about St Mark, the Bishop of Ephesus was called for.

If I had to guess, I’d say that the patriarch was making sure that the neo-papalists at the Phanar get the right message. In military terms this is called narrowing the field of action, whereas the earlier meeting in Havana could be viewed as a spoiling attack. The State Department, the globalists, and the New Moralists are not the only game in town. Istanbul has to tread carefully when meeting in these precincts.

It’s also signalling that should things get out of hand, Moscow has no compunction at all about going it alone and taking the overwhelming majority of the Orthodox world with it.

The Phanar –like Erodogan most recently–has been warned. Putin played the Syria card with Bismarckian brilliance. There’s no reason to suspect that Kirill won’t do the same in Crete.

In the meantime, please take the time to listen to His Holiness’s sermon.





  1. I’m writing this because I don’t think some of the other Orthodox appreciate how seriously this upcoming “shindig” is affecting the Slavic and Russian world. We have long collective memories. And we have an eye for detail when it comes to matters of importance. Furthermore, though we did not invent it, we have certainly perfected that charming but useful condition known as “paranoia”. Remember, just because you’re paranoid it does not mean that you don’t have enemies.

    Apparently some of our bishops are bolting on this ecumenism thing with respect to the preparatory documents for this Pan-Orthodox Synaxis (POS) (which from now on will be the term I use to refer to the “shindig” in June). The Russians, of course, are not the only ones. Some of the Greeks got out in front on this. I’m sure some of you have seen the video with the jovial elder “explaining the facts of life” to everyone.

    Now, I know every one has their issues and I do not claim that Slavs have a greater stake in the POS than anyone else. But this thing has been sending some minor shock waves through the community. Just the other day, Bp. Longinus of Holy Ascension Monastery in the Ukraine sent a letter to Patriarch Kirill objecting to the document for the POS regarding relations with the heterodox. He also mentioned in the letter that he had ceased commemorating Pat. Kirill because of his acceptance of this document (at least that’s how it seems to me).

    Now, we Slavs are rough and tumble people. If you’ve ever been to our coffee hours (“trapeza”), you can attest to this. I’m not alarmed by the bishop’s actions but it should serve as a warning shot across the bow, as should other statements by Greek hierarchs previously, that this POS should tread lightly – and also that nerves are on edge in some quarters during the preparatory period.

    I would suggest that some statement on nomenclature be produced that explains that we understand ourselves to be the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church – not a branch thereof- and that no reference to “churches” in any documents of the synod, when referring to the heterodox, are intended to delineate them as being inside or part of the Church. This is the understanding which we have received and, frankly, it was the understanding that Rome had of itself until recently. Moreover, the Protestant churches had some similar understanding of themselves earlier in their history. This is attested to by the fact that up until the last century, many of these churches were closed communion. We might make reference to these facts in explaining ourselves and the terms we use.

    It is better to be frank about these things than to cause unrest.

    PS: This is very bad. I just saw it after I had written the above. He is referring to the Joint Statement, I believe (“30 points”) and repeatedly uses the word “ересь”. He’s not kidding. Russo-Ukrainians are on the front lines of this conflict of civilizations. He says he will pray for Pat. Kirill but I got the sense that he does not feel like he has any choice but to bolt.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      I agree, but let’s take a wait and see approach with Pat. Kryill. The reaction of the ROC is both good to see and cautiously worrisome with their reaction towards the Patriarch. Let’s see how this plays out.


    • Gregory Manning says

      I’m going to wait and see (what other choice do we have?). All during the Russian intervention in Syria online bloggers/supporters of Russia’s and Putin’s actions, would weekly go into a dither (myself included) certain that Putin had failed to anticipate one or another eventuality and each time Putin’s actions revealed that he knew exactly what he was doing. I suspect +Kirill and +Hilarion, in symphony with Putin, have taken the “long view” with an aim to place their respective domains in the ascendancy, the goal of which is to make everyone come to you–not the other way around. Indeed, Putin has succeeded in demonstrating that Russia has a very important role to play in world affairs. I suspect +Kirill is aiming for the same goal. Wait and see.

      • Gregory Manning says

        Because of some articles and here I’ve just read this evening I’d like to modify my support of Moscow as the likely bastion against ecumenism.
        All along I’ve wondered how the heterodox would get their foot in the door of Orthodoxy without help from the inside. Fr. Peter Heers has identified it: Baptism. The renovationists are attempting to redefine baptism in such a way that, essentially, anyone baptized by immersion in the name of the trinity is essentially “in” the church; they’re just a little rough around the edges. With this “new” understanding Protestants are no longer to be seen as heterodox and unity is just around the corner. Now, this may be a stretch but the Metropolitan Community Church (the gay church), though not recognized by the NCC, has observer status with the WCC–and they baptize via immersion in the name of the trinity. If I were any more wicked than I already am, I would wait until the Orthodox signed onto this innovation then have the NCC accept the MCC with full membership which would make MCC a recognized “Christian” denomination with valid baptisms and the Orthodox Church would have to acknowledge them as such because “inclusiveness”. It’s about finding a way to get your foot in the door. Your worst enemy is often within your own camp.
        The reason I’ve decided to adopt a very cautious attitude toward Moscow is that +Hilarion also accepts this renovationist view of baptism.
        This is important and requires even more vigilance.

        • I tend to give Patriarch Kirill the benefit of the doubt on this matter in that he and Met. Hilarion seem a bit confused regarding the presence of grace in mysteries served outside the Church. I just don’t think they have thought it all the way through or given the soundest theological opinions due consideration. What the proponents of “baptismal theology” are saying is irrational when seen in light of the Church’s traditional self understanding.

          Let us agree that, for example, Lutherans are not Orthodox. Not a controversial proposition. So a person is baptized by a Lutheran pastor with water in the names of the Trinity. Later, this person seeks to be received into Orthodoxy.

          One must ask oneself the question, “What was accomplished at the ‘Lutheran baptism’?” In an Orthodox baptism, a person dies and rises again with Christ into new life as part of His Church, the Body of Christ. But no one involved in this Lutheran baptism has any relationship at all with the Body of Christ. Nor could they join anyone to the Body of Christ. To suggest otherwise is to simply deny the significance of right doctrine, Orthodoxy.

          It is not possible to maintain the integrity of the Apostolic word while accepting the understanding advocated as “baptismal theology”.

          The MP needs to take note of the work done by Fr. Peter Heers and others who have spoken out on this matter and prepare some very well supported statement, grounded in the Fathers, that explains why mysteries allegedly performed by the heterodox outside the Church do not convey grace and can in no sense be considered “valid” in and of themselves. Fulfillment through economia is a separate issue. But this fulfillment through economia is becoming more trouble than it is worth in light of the theological misunderstandings to which it leads.

        • M. Stankovich says


          I apologize in advance if this seems like “Fr. Georges Florovsky Week,” but I believe he is an indisputable father of our generation. In 1933, early in his thought process, he wrote an admittedly speculative essay, The Limits of the Church (which you will be amused to see is maintained on the WCC site to this day!) that, while extremely relevent to your comment, turned out to extremely controversial. [Somewhere I even have a critique written by Abp. Averky of Jordanville – whom I admire – in Russian, but I can’t locate it]. The controversy is what he said – or rather, what he is said to have implied; the WCC believes one thing, and the Orthodox Information Center has changed their opinion twice. I will not provide my opinion, which is considered (and lest jackasses ruin the discussion), but I am interested in your opinion.

          • Fr. Florovsky has written some odd prose regarding sola scriptura. It has been awhile since I read these passages but I recall clearly that he was not expressing the catholic faith in what he wrote. The same is true with “The Limits of the Church”. He quotes Met. Antony (Khrapovitsky) regarding reception by economia but dismisses him. The thing is, Met. Antony was simply restating the position of St. Basil.


            The problem with what Florovsky asserted is that it is really based on nothing more than some type of intuition. He seems to simply make the willful decision to disregard the explicit concerns of St. Basil about shaming those heterodox who outwardly performed the mystery and uses this as a basis to attack the teaching that heterodox “mysteries” convey no grace.

            Fr. Florovsky did repent of some of is more peculiar notions as time passed, but he is certainly not a Church Father.

            • Michael Warren says

              Well, ROCOR crtiquing Fr. FLOROVSKY is rich. Especially in the same thought where +Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky), the father of an almost Mormon Dogma of Redemption is concerned.

              The essay “The Limits of the Church” suffers from an Augustinian understanding of the Holy Mysteries. I believe Fr. Romanides was among the diet to call the Mysteriological model of the essay into question. And he was right. That being said, the essay reflects a theological trend in the Russian church which regards Blessed Augustine as a Father. A trend +Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) was part of.

              Are the Baptisms, Chrismations, Ordinations, Marriages, etc. valid? By strict observance, no. By economy, the view is that upon entrance into the Church, the heretical rite is conveyed the grace of the Orthodox Mystery. In accord with Blessed Augustine.

              Now what seems to be asked is “What if one never enters the Church but lives the Life of Orthodoxy outside of the Church? Will the mercy of GOD not convey grace upon the sacraments one lives in CHRIST although one was outside of the official boundaries of the Church or is the Church Triumphant a larger organism than the glorified Church Militant?” Speculative ecclesiology is none of our business. CHRIST is the ultimate JUDGE. We shouldn’t be automatically stating x, y, z is bound for the infernal regions as much as we shouldn’t be presuming to state a,b,c is bound for paradise. We know the Church saves in CHRIST. We know that apostasy condemns in its rejection of CHRIST. We affirm that the Church is the BODY of CHRIST. We constitute this Body in the Eucharistic Life by living in CHRIST by the Holy Mysteries in the Church.

              The rest will be sorted out in the eschaton.

              In the meantime our fidelity to CHRIST and evangelical witness of Orthodoxy is our obligation as the Church. In living CHRIST and by encounter with the world by HIS Love.

            • M. Stankovich says


              This is as about as patronizing & unhelpful a comment as you have ever posted. You will note that I quoted the identical page from OrthodoxInfoCenter in my original comment above, and was aware of their argument – mainly the “uncorroborated” opinions of the schismatics Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna & Deacon John Abraham, whom Fr. Georges apparently mentored at Princeton – when I wrote it.

              First, I say “unhelpful” in that you state Florovsky wrote, “odd prose regarding sola scriptura,” that did not express the “catholic faith,” but only support this with your “clear recollection.” This would be a serious theological misstep, yet Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna & Deacon John Abraham are silent. Likewise, these critics are very specific in their argument that Florovsky seems to appeal to St. Augustine, while you indicate it is, “nothing more than some type of intuition.” And in the end, Fr. Florovsky repented of “some of [his] more peculiar notions,” though you are unable to identify one, and he is “he is certainly not a Church Father,” the appropriated comment of Deacon Abraham. You would have done well to follow the recommended link to the commentary of Fr. Matthew Baker.

              I would suggest that 1) relying on a singular, “largely uncorroborated” critic and your inability to cite sources of his divergence from the “catholic faith” is hardly authoritative nor justifies anything other than a shortsighted opinion; and 2) there is a considerable divide between “Church Father” and “father of our generation,” the former “certainty” borne out by time and the revelation of the Holy Spirit alone.

              • Michael Warren says

                Then there is Fr. John Romanides who talked about this. Where your ignorant, posturing above your paygrade shows in its Crestwood fakery.

                Take it to St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal church where people can be convinced of your fraud.

                You said nothing above and the fact you are ignorant of Blessed Augustine’s theology and its influence on the essay in question screams you are a hack who should just keep to himself, learn and either enlighten his ignorance or celebrate it in the ECUSA.

              • Fair enough, I saw Matthew’s comment and am not persuaded. Augustine is an Orthodox saint for his piety, not his theology. And if Florovsky had quoted a Church Father re the proposition that mysteries outside the Church convey grace, I might be persuaded. However, though I can find no such quote myself, I can produce a plethora of quotes to the contrary. You may have noticed them flying around the Orthosphere lately.

                On a more pleasant note, I have heard that Pat. Kirill is calling a one day scholarly retreat before Pascha regarding the documents in question.

                Peace, Michael. I mean no offense to you, brother. Kali sarakosti.

                • M. Stankovich says


                  I did not mean to imply I took your comment personally. I have been historically accused of either putting “fathers” on pedestals, or demanding people accept my point of view. Neither is the case. A scientist does, however, come to trust things that, more often then not, are reliable.

              • Gregory Manning says

                Oh, Michael S.!
                Thanks very much for the link to Fr. Matthew’s superb account of Fr. Florovsky and the essay in question.!
                Mindful of the late date in responding to your comment to me asking for my opinion, I spent 20 minutes or so trying to find my way to that comment and in doing so glimpsed other’s comments on the topic. I wanted to read them but decided to submit my comment before getting even more behind. Once done, I back-tracked to current comments and read yours above which included the link to Fr. Matthews extensive observations. I’ll go back and read them again but I’m relieved that in my thin response to you I included views which bear some congruence with those of Fr. Matthew’s interpretation. Fr. Matthew’s comments are invaluable. Thanks for the link!

          • Gregory Manning says

            Michael S.,
            Please forgive the delay. For someone who spends his days in quiet, (unsought), retirement, I lately have found myself assaulted by circumstances which, like a child persistently tugging at my sleeve and asking “Why? But, why? But, why?”, have cropped up one after another.
            I was happy to finally get the opportunity to re-read Fr. Florovsky’s essay. I had read it before but that was not only long ago but also carelessly done. I say “carelessly” because, given the revivified controversy surrounding the topic of baptism today, I find that I must read more carefully if I am to “muster my facts” before engaging further in the discussion. C.S. Lewis wrote “It is one thing to understand the doctrine and quite another to be master of the controversy.” I am still trying to understand the doctrine. In fact, it is going so slowly that a great niece recently allowed as how she had never before seen me moving my lips when I read. I told her this was very a very serious matter. Having made excuses for myself I do have some observations.
            I found the essay fascinating after several readings and have resolved to re-read his other writings to see what else I have missed. I should mention here that I’m very fond of Fr. Florovsky. I believe him to have been an honest scholar and utterly without guile or connivance. I rather felt sorry for him when he came to the realization that the ecumenical movement was not really looking for reconciliation as he might have understood it. I often think back on Sir Kenneth Clark’s observation about the art historian Bernard Berenson: “With all his wisdom Mr. Berenson was unable to adjust himself to the crudity of human motives.” I fear Fr. Georges didn’t realize the true nature of the wind that was blowing through the ecumenical movement. I suspect he always believed he was in the midst of like-minded scholars who, like himself, were seeking clarity. No doubt early on he was right but I suspect even they didn’t realize where it all was heading.
            Fr. Georges used the word “equivocation” and I suspect the ecumenists mistakenly detect what they believe to be uncertainty in the essay with which to feed their penchant for equivocating. In fact, I believe equivocation is on the rise these days. Nevertheless, I am certain their arguments will fail. Indeed, he characterized what I believe to be the fatal flaw in the current pro-ecumenical position when he wrote, “It would be a deliberate retrogression into equivocation and obscurity for the sake of purely external success…”.
            I expressed concern when I speculated about the possibility of the Metropolitan Community Church being admitted to the National Council of Churches as a “church” in “good standing” which, as it happens, baptizes with triple immersion in the name of the trinity. To the extent ecumenists assert that such an action, being in keeping with the basic requirement for authentic baptism in as much as it follows proper form is all that is necessary to be included in the company of “churches”, then I see a danger. If Orthodoxy aligns herself with other “churches” by accepting this dangerously oversimplified requirement for the sake of “external success” then she will find herself having to accept the same alignment with the “church” of the homosexuals. But, as Fr. Florovsky points out (citing St. Augustine) “The sacraments are not magic acts.” Going through the motions of baptism when in schism does not make them efficacious.
            The MCC does indeed perform baptisms via triple immersion and in the name of the trinity but they do not attempt to hide their congregationalist belief that each congregation may arrive at their own understandings of doctrine as they feel moved. If the rest of Christianity would be so bold it would save a lot of time, words, and ink. What can it signify if a “church” baptizes in the name of the trinity if that church’s doctrine of the trinity shifts like the desert sands? They are just words are they not? What of their efficacy? Or does that matter when “unity” is at stake?
            Fr. Florovsky argues that the “limits of the Church” are not as clear as many would believe; that with Khomiakov, “Inasmuch as the earthly and visible Church is not the fullness and completeness of the whole Church which the Lord has appointed to appear at the final judgement of all creation, she acts and knows only within her own limits”…”and does not judge the rest of mankind, and only looks upon those as excluded…who have excluded themselves (italics mine). If we, the Orthodox, are obliged to strive for ever-clearer discernment of what the limits of the Church are, I fail to see what aid is to be had in aligning ourselves with brethren who regularly worship at the altar of doubt.

            • M. Stankovich says


              The Fathers do not speak in terms of the “validity”of the Sacraments of the Church (I am working in the crisis center tonight and do not have access to the Greek text of St. Cyprian of Carthage, but the translators of the ANF Series use the word “valid” [e.g. Epistle 69] and I would like to see the original word – perhaps Peter Papoutsis can help!), and so is my disagreement with the article by Fr. Peter Alban Heers. An example is that there is no question that St. Cyprian is adamant that there simply is no baptism outside the Church

              In an opinion long since decreed by our predecessors, and observed by us—judging, namely, and holding it for certain that no one can be baptized abroad outside the Church, since there is one baptism appointed in the holy Church.

              Yet it is interesting that St. Cyprian seems to speak in a more completed, “fulfilled” sense as described by Fr. John Morris below

              For when we say, “Do you believe in eternal life and remission of sins through the holy Church? “we mean that remission of sins is not granted except in the Church, and that among heretics, where there is no Church, sins cannot be put away. Therefore they who assert that heretics can baptize, must either change the interrogation or maintain the truth; unless indeed they attribute a church also to those who, they contend, have baptism. It is also necessary that he should be anointed who is baptized; so that, having received the chrism, that is, the anointing, he may be anointed of God, and have in him the grace of Christ. Further, it is the Eucharist whence the baptized are anointed with the oil sanctified on the altar. But he cannot sanctify the creature of oil, who has neither an altar nor a church; whence also there can be no spiritual anointing among heretics, since it is manifest that the oil cannot be sanctified nor the Eucharist celebrated at all among them.

              It would make sense that from this point that the principle of “economy” has been applied, only in having the eschatological vision that “He who is offered is Himself the offerer,” and “Jesus, knowing that all things had been accomplished. ” (Jn. 19:28) Obviously, rightly or wrongly, it has become the practice that infants and adult catechumens alike are baptized, chrismated, and receive the Eucharist all on the same day, probably with more thought to convenience than eschatology.

              The last point to consider is the complete and utter degredation of the concept of “economia” in the modernist conception, no better than an iTunes gift card. St. Paul provides us with the explanation in three places: first, by way of definition in the Epistle to the Ephesians

              Having made known to us the [τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ] mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself: That in the [εἰς οἰκονομίαν] management of the fullness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth (Eph. 1:9-10)

              And in two places describing himself as a “steward of God [ὡς θεοῦ οἰκονόμον] steward of God.” (Titus 1:7), and in describing that by assuming this “stewardship,” the minister is accountable to God, ““Whereof I am made a minister, according to the [κατὰ τὴν οἰκονομίαν] management of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,” (Col.1:25). And I will end with the shortest and most succinct description I have read, from Fr. John Meyendorff

              Among the Greek Fathers, oikonomia has the standard meaning of “incarnation history,” especially during the Christological controversies of the fifth century. In a subsidiary way, it is also used in canonical texts and then obviously places the pastoral “management” entrusted to the Church in the context of God’s plan for the salvation of humankind. Thus in his famous Letter to Amphilochius, which became an authoritative part of the Byzantine canonical collections, Basil of Caesarea, after reaffirming the Cyprianic principle about the invalidity of baptism by heretics, continues: “If however this becomes an obstacle to [God’s] general oikonomia, one should again refer to custom and follow the Fathers who have managed [the Church].” The “custom” to which Basil refered was current “in Asia” where “the management of the multitude” had accredited the practice of accepting baptism by heretics. In any case, Basil justifies “economy” by the fear that too much austerity will be an obstacle to the salvation of some.12 In the Latin versions of the New Testament and in later ecclesiastical vocabulary, the term oikonomia is very consistently translated by dispensatio.” In Western canon law, however, the term dispensatio acquired a very definite meaning of “exception to the law granted by the proper authority.” The text of Basil quoted above and innumerable references to oikonomia in Byzantine canonical literature clearly interpret it in a much wider sense? What is at stake is not only an exception to the law but an obligation to decide individual issues in the general context of God’s plan for the salvation of the world. Canonical strictures may sometimes be inadequate to the full reality and universality of the Gospel and do not provide themselves the assurance that in applying them one is obedient to the will of God. For the Byzantines — to use an expression of Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos (901-907, 912-925) — oikonomia is “an imitation of God’s love for man” and not simply an “exception to the rule.”

              Of its nature, oikonomia cannot be defined as a legal norm, and piratical misuses and abuses of it have frequently occurred. Throughout its entire history, the Byzantine Church has known a polarization between a party of “rigorists” recruited mainly in monastic circles and the generally more lenient group of Church officials supporting a wider use of oikonomia, especially in relation to the state. In fact, oikonomia since it permits various possible ways of implementing the Christian Gospel practically implies conciliation, discussion, and often unavoidably tension. By admitting representatives of the two groups in the catalogue of its saints — Theodore the Studite as well as the patriarchs Tarasius, Nicephorus, and Methodius and Ignatius as well as Photius, — the Church has given credit to them all as long as it recognized that the preservation of the orthodox faith was their common concern. In fact, no one in Byzantium ever denied the principle of oikonomia rather everyone agreed with Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria (581-607) when he wrote, “One rightly can practice oikonomia whenever pious doctrine remains unharmed.” In other words, oikonomia concerns the practical implications of Christian belief, but it never compromises with the truth itself.

              Meyendorff, J. Ecclesiology: canonical sources. Byzantine Theology: Historical trends and doctrinal themes.” Fordham University Press: New York, NY. 1999

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          The problem with the Baptismal theology argument is that even if the Orthodox Church recognizes the non-Orthodox ministration as completely valid, that still does not make the person a full member of the Church. In Orthodoxy Baptism is one step in the process of becoming a member of the Church. Baptism must be completed by Chrismation and the candidate must be admitted to Holy Communion. Only the can it be said that the person is a member of the Church. The difference is that in Roman Catholicism a person who has not had their equivalent to Chrismation may take Holy Communion. In Orthodoxy no one who has not been Chrismated may partake of the Mystery of the Eucharist. This is because during the Middle Ages, the Latin Church separate Baptism from Chrismation/Confirmation. In Orthodoxy the two Mysteries were kept together. Therefore, there is no way that Orthodoxy could buy into the Baptismal theory of church membership without violating fundamental Orthodox theology and practice.

          • Gregory Manning says

            Thank you Fr. John,
            The point I was trying to make is that what ecumenists (at least the ones I’ve encountered) seem to be saying is that the mere practice of the triple immersion/trinitarian formula is as it were, sufficient for a group wishing to be considered a “church”–never mind the finer points, etc.; that ecumenism is about the union of all “churches”. In as much as I consider what I believe to be the actual motives of ecumenists to be pernicious, I can’t help but suspect that they hope to get their foot in the door of Orthodoxy, one small concession at a time. I don’t see any other weaknesses in our defense. For my part I intend to keep an eye on this line of suspicion to see how ecumenists on our side respond.

          • Fr. Morris,

            Amen! You succinctly summed up Fr. Peter Heers’ argument:

            Having this in mind, when we turn to the text of Unitatis Redintegratio 3a, which recognizes those among the “separated brethren” who are not in “full communion” with the Roman Catholic Church as being “truly baptized” and “incorporated into Christ,” members of Christ’s Church, one is at a loss to know what this could mean. What kind of Baptism is this that incorporates into Christ without leading to the fulfillment of Baptism in the Eucharist? Or, what kind of “incorporation” is this that is effected without the Eucharist, since becoming one with the Body of Christ takes place in the Eucharist? For what else could “incomplete communion” mean here except that they have not reached the “summit” of communion, according to Cardinal Kasper’s description of the Eucharist? Certainly, as it pertains to most Protestants who do not have a “valid” Eucharist, this must be what is meant. Thus, it is evident that what the mysteries, Baptism and the Eucharist, are understood to mean by the Orthodox does not coincide with the meaning found in Unitatis Redintegratio and Lumen Gentium.

            The implications for ecclesiology are immense, for the members of the Church are constituted as the Church first and foremost through these mysteries. The separation and independence of Baptism from the Eucharist, on both a theoretical as well as a practical level, is not only unchallenged in Unitatis Redintegratio, it is an important pillar of the new ecclesiology developed therein. This independence of Baptism from the Eucharist signifies much more than simply a liturgical diversion from traditional practice. It touches upon the faith itself and signals “a deep perversion of the identity of the Church with wide-ranging and serious consequences.”

            One cannot be incorporated into Christ and become His member in Baptism alone. [531] The Church is not created in the waters of Baptism alone, but, rather, was born from the side of Christ when “forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19: 34); neither blood alone, nor water alone, but both together. Those born have to be nourished; those baptized partake straightaway of divine food. That is why, for the Orthodox, “every Eucharistic assembly is an assembly of the entire Church,” τὸ πλήρωμα, “the flesh of the Church” which Christ assumed. Those not incorporated into this assembly are not of the fullness, which means they have not been made members of Christ’s Body. For, we know of no such Baptism that is not fulfilled in the Eucharist. (The Ecclesiological Renovation of Vatican II: An Orthodox Examination of Rome’s Ecumenical Theology Regarding Baptism and the Church. 2015-11-16. [Kindle Locations 2597-2649]. Uncut Mountain Press. Kindle Edition)

            Met John Zizioulas believes otherwise: “Orthodox Ecclesiology and the Ecumenical Movement,” Sourozh Diocesan Magazine (England), August 1985, Vol. 21, page 23.

            “If we take into consideration the canons of the early Church, then we can speak of the limits of the Church on the basis, I would suggest, of baptismal unity. By this I mean that baptism is such a decisive point in our existence that it automatically creates a limit between the pre-baptismal and post-baptismal situation: if you are baptized you immediately cease to be what you were. You die, as St. Paul says, with regard to the past and there is therefore a new situation. Baptism does create a limit to the Church. Now with this baptismal limit it is conceivable that there may be division, but any division within these limits is not the same as the division between the Church and those outside of the baptismal limit…I think we must take seriously the baptismal limits of the Church and accept that outside of baptism there is no Church. Within baptism, even if there is a break, a division, a schism, you can still speak of the Church. Even if you take the Eucharistic model as your basis, you will see that this applies to every Christian. Let us take the Liturgy of the early Church as an example: up to the point of the reading of the Scriptures, or, as we still have in the Liturgy today, up to the kiss of peace which is the sign of unity in love and the Creed, which is the sign of unity in faith – up to this point it was conceivable that someone could take part in the Liturgy and then not be allowed to continue for various reasons (as a penance, for instance, or if he was a catechumen). He would then leave before the Sacrament. Now this suggests that we may understand divisions with the Church as taking place precisely at these points: either at the kiss of peace, or at the Creed. If we are not in a position to love one another and to confess the same faith, then there is a break in communion. But this break does not mean that one falls outside the realm of the Church. The Orthodox, in my understanding at least, participate in the ecumenical movement as a movement of baptized Christians, who are in a state of division because they cannot express the same faith together. In the past this happened because of a lack of love which is now, thank God, disappearing.”

          • Michael Warren says

            The problem with this reasoning is that Baptism is rebirth in CHRIST, in HIS Body, the Church, meaning that it is impossible outside of the Church.

            Blessed Augustine and St. Basil predicate baptismal economy on notions that the baptizers were once Orthodox and thus can confer Baptisms in extreme curcumstances, like laymen in the Church. They then go on to assert that Orthodox grace is visited on rites outside of the Church once the person enters it by economy. That is an interpretation left to the Bishops to decide. My only reservation lies in whether said Bishops allow struct obsrvance and reception by Baptism when asked. Such should almost always be granted.

            By extension, the Baptismal position of Blessed Augustine and St. Basil becomes quite interesting if one deemphasizes proper form (Orthodox laity can baptize with spit if necessary in extreme curcumstances) and the period of estrangement from Orthodoxy, which St. Basil makes a point of underscoring. Trinitarian Baptism as irregular lay Baptism performed in places which for centuries have been deprived of Orthodox witness seems to be an interesting consideration when discussing the disposition of the heterodox for centuries and how economy can be applied in their mass reception. But just as a lay Trinitarian Baptism by spit is best regularized in the Church, so too all heterodox baptisms performed outside of the Church.

  2. Michael Kinsey says

    If, he is faithful to what he said. Awesome. The authentic Christian will follow Righteous Consul, even unto death. Putin is still as villain. The Pope is a pimp for the great whore NWO.

  3. Tommy Katsarellis says

    It should be noted that the bishop of the Rus at this time was, Isidore, chosen by Constantinople. He went to Florence and also signed. When he returned home, the Rus threw him out and proclaimed the Rus as an autocephalous church. After all, Constantinople and all of its puppet bishops signed at the Council of Florence; except Mark of Ephesus. Once the people of Constantinople learned of what happen in Florence, they rejected what the Pat. did. The new Bishop of Rus and the Russian people did become the preservers of Orthodoxy and therefore the idea of Moscow becoming the “Third Rome.” In fact, now that + Bart wants to have serious talks with Rome for re-uniting, all the more reason + Kirill will push to be the leading Orthodox leader in the world. The Patriarch of the Third Rome!

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Tommy Katsarellis posted this old rotten chestnut: “Once the people of Constantinople learned of what happen in Florence, they rejected what the Pat. did.” The Church in Constantinople was “filioque”/Uniate until the Muslim Conqueror of the city caused the Uniate Patriarch to flee to Italy. That Muslim conqueror commanded that the exiled anti-Unia monk, George Scholarios, be removed from his punitive island exile and be made a bishop. The Greek bishops hastened to obey by electing George Scholarios to be a Bishop! Next, the Turkish, Islamic conqueror COMMANDED the Sacred Synod to elect Scholarios as Patriarch, restoring that Patriarchate (not for the first or only time) to Orthodoxy! Attributing that Orthodoxy to the insistence of the “Faithful” is myth and legend (beloved of OCL and others). Remember, too, that the First Ecumenical Council did not convert that same See from Arianist to Orthodox! It was still Arian when Constantine died, and Arian it remained under his successors until JULIAN THE APOSTATE commanded that a Nicene, non-Aryan, be installed. Thus we see that the Orthodoxy of the Ecumenical Patriarch was insured by and depended not on the Faithful Laity of the Church of Constantinople, but, rather, on the Emperor/Sultan, even if he be pagan or Muslim! If some are disappointed by what they see as the behavior of today’s EPs, they should realize that without the “symphonia” of Patriarch and Ruler everything there is problematic to the max! I suspect that if given a choice between the present republican government of Turkey and the Ottoman Sultanate, the Islamic Sultan would win, hands don! (Of course, this might mean toppling the big statue of Patriarch Bartholomew in the gardens at Halki, that His All-Holiness recently dedicated. (The statue is so Non-iconic, so lifelike. that it has spectacles!)

  4. Tommy Katsarellis says

    Also note, that once the Russian Church declared itself “autocephalous,” Constantinople refused to recognize it. This went on for 150 years! Constantinople was wrong, yet it condemned the Church of Russia by breaking communion. Only after 150 years and much payment did Constantinople finally recognize the ROC’s autocephaly. How stupid is this! This is the basis for all the friction between Moscow & Istanbul today. Istanbul maybe has 1,000 faithful in its territory. Russia has hundreds of thousands!

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Tommy, please stick to the facts and stop with the fiction. Btw, I was taken to task for even mentioning the concept of the Third Rome” bs as a fiction that should not be endulged, and yet none of the ROC faithful have corrected Tommy or Michael Warren on this and told them, like they told me, that they should drop this “Third Rome” stuff. Very telling. Nice to see I was right on this. Still don’t like being right on such a dangerous concept, but right none the less. I knew all the third Rome fanatics were going to eventually come out of the woodwork.

      Between the Modernism of the Greeks and the fundamentalism of the Russians, I hope Orthodoxy endures.


      • Fundamentalism is the strict adherence to a set of beliefs. What other kind of Orthodoxy can there be?

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Faithfulness to the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as delivered unto the faithful by the Fathers. That is the ONLY form of Orthodoxy.

          • We agree. So why are you using “fundamentalism” as a negative? Orthodox and fundamentalism are virtual synonyms.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Peter is absolutely correct. To that end, Ages, perhaps you could demonstrate where in the Holy Scripture or the writings of the Holy Fathers the word “Orthodox” or “Christian” needs a modifier or potentiator such as “fundamentalist,” or the popular “traditionalist.” These are all contrivances of pridefulness & vanity by individuals who are attempting to “distinguish” themselves. This is exactly the point Fr. Florovsky makes in his essay, “Empire and Desert: Antinomies of Christian History,” by pointing out the serious mistake of the “double-standard”: by allowing monasticism to be seen as a separate calling, and not a rigor of that to which we are all called. Protodeacon Mitchell makes an excellent point as well, that some “intuitions” are founded on the wrong rock, and this is a perfect example. In the end, it seemed perfectly sufficient, from Chalcedon forward – and perhaps you noticed in the Vespers of Orthodoxy Sunday – to state, “This is the Orthodox Faith. This is the Faith of the Fathers.”

              • Michael Warren says

                Again quoting Fr. FLOROVSKY for sectarian purposes unread as to what he actually wrote. In the essay you alude to he describes monasticism as a higher expression of the Christian ontology we are all called to. That is what he really writes.

                Again, enough liberal, Renovationist nonsense.

                Fr. FLOROVSKY himself had no problem with use of qualifiers like “patristic” and “traditionalist”: he and V Lossky were considered voices of the Traditionalist orientation.

                You are a representative of the Eastern Rite Protestant liberal Renovationist fringe and you continually do not know what you are talking about. Here you are again proving it.

                Orientations in the Church are no new thing and have existed from the beginning when there were dichotomies between Jewish and Gentile Christians and their practices. Gentles did not observe the Law as a sect of Judaism. Jewish Christians at first did.

                The use of the term “fundamentalist” is a perjorative practice, usually of Renovationists, trying to shout down more traditional opposition to their betrayals of Orthodoxy. It carries with it a negative canotation and as such is best avoided.

                Distinguishing “Traditionalist” versus “Renovationist” strains within Orthodoxy has more merit. Especially when liberal Renovationist Eastern Rite Protestants like Stankovich masquerade as Orthodox Christians. The only reason why the Syosset – Crestwood Renovationist fringe doesn’t like these words used is because it allows a template of fidelity to Orthodoxy to be applied which it and Renovationist heretics like Stankovich can’t live up to. They don’t like Orthodox parameters to be set because they will expose their Protestant fraud and betrayal of Orthodoxy. They act outside the parameters betraying the Church.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Why do you insist on polluting every interesting discussion with your dark heart and deception? I quoted Florovsky for “sectarian purposes?” “Unread as to what he actually wrote?” “In the essay you alude [sic] to he describes monasticism as a higher expression of the Christian ontology we are all called to. That is what he really writes.” You are an outright deceiver for obviously having never read the essay in question:

                  Monasticism was not meant originally to be just a way for the few. It was conceived rather as a consequent application of common and general Christian vows. It served as a powerful challenge and reminder in the midst of all historical compromises. Yet a worse compromise has been invented, when Monasticism had been reinterpreted as an exceptional way. Not only was the Christian Society sorely rent asunder and split into the groups of “religious” and “secular,” but the Christian ideal itself was split in twain and, as it were, “polarized,” by a subtle distinction between “essential” and “secondary,” between “binding” and “optional,” between “precept” and “advice.” In fact, all Christian “precepts” are but calls and advices, to be embraced in free obedience, and all “advices” are binding. The spirit of compromise creeps into Christian action when the “second best” is formally permitted and even encouraged. This “compromise” may be practically unavoidable, but it should be frankly acknowledged as a compromise. A multiplicity of the manners of Christian living, of course, should be admitted. What should not be admitted is their grading in the scale of “perfection.” Indeed, “perfection” is not an advice, but a precept, which can never be dispensed with. One of the greatest merits of Byzantium was that it could never admit in principle the duality of standards in Christian life.

                  “Antinomies of Christian History: Empire and Desert” in Christianity and Culture, Volume Two of the Collected Works, p. 99.

                  Redacted? Decontextualized? It is basically how he concludes the essay. I quote him verbatim and provide the the exact place for anyone to find the quotation. Only a purposeful deceiver would claim otherwise. Please, after reading this quotation, provide me with a direct reference to where and how Florovsky – and now you add Lossky? – would condone a similar “double-standard” of “traditionalist” or “fundamentalist” Orthodoxy. Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants contrivance. You are a shameless hack, Mr. Warren, bound for the Greyhound…

                  • Michael Warren says

                    I explained how was it decontextualized. Even Fr. Meyendorff grouped Lossky and Fr. FLOROVSKY in the “Traditionalist” school in his various essays and talks on “doing Orthodoxy” which also excluded mention of other schools of thought. Ware used the terminology. Romanides used the terminology. Seems you just weren’t paying attention but rather pursuing a Renovationist, heretical agenda.

                    Here you are trying to cover up your ignorance with more ignorance and personal insult. Syosset-Crestwood meta-erudition, fake it until you make it.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    I written answers to this Renovationist nonsense twice and I hope they will soon be posted.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                To add to Michael’s point pure and unadulterated Orthodoxy is more radical than fundamentalism and more liberating than Modernism. The Gospel of Christ once and for all delivered unto the saints, preserved in the Church, embodied in the Divine Liturgy, expounded upon by the Holy Fathers of the Church, and lived day by day by the faithful is the strength and beauty of the One Holy Catholic Orthodox Christian faith. Everything else (modernism and fundamentalism) are “other gospels” and are accursed!

                • Michael Warren says

                  Because truth in labelling makes Renovationist claims to moral equivalence and fidelity to Orthodoxy almost impossible.

              • All I’m asking is why he used “fundamentalist” as a perjorative, when the definition accurately describes what Orthodox Christians should be.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Because it is a pejorative. I have seen and my late mother saw such “fundamentalists” Orthodox in action towards us and others to the point of tears.

                  I have also seen people who need good solid Orthodox spiritual counseling, and all they received in return was a load of liberal watered down spiritual garbage (Modernism) that either gave them nothing or in the case of some completely lose confidence in our faith.

                  Both are pejoratives and neither one is needed.


                • Michael Warren says

                  People in places like the Antiochian Archdiocese and the GOA use the term as an epithet to shout down opposition to their Eastern Rite Protestant program for the American church.

                  • The Antiochian Archdiocese has enough converts to know better.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Michael with all due respect you are the only one shouting and attempting to shut people down not me. I don’t see anyone from the so-called GOAA shouting or shutting anyone down with thousand word rants. That would be you sir, not I or any other GOAA faithful on this board.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      I answered you here and am waiting for it to be posted.

                      The gist of my answer underscored the nearly twenty year assault on traditional Orthodoxy defamed as “fundamentalism” in the GOA after the forced retirement of +Spyridon. The GOA engages in a McCarthyism witchhunting for “fundamentalists” to insist on a Renovationist monopoly of the conversation, thereby acting as Eastern Rite Protestant fundamentalists.

        • “Fundamentalism” is a “four letter word” with which Liberals, Progressives, Modernists etc. paint faithful Christians or social conservatives who speak out against abortion et al. It is a word designed to label your opponent and end debate.

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Is it not possible to be unreasonably conservative? To defend conservatism with poor arguments, founding one’s set of beliefs on the wrong rock—the wrong fundament?

          It’s true that the label fundamentalism is often used by liberals to disparage conservatives and end debate, but the label only works because that which is labeled “fundamentalism” is very often merely an appeal to authority to end debate: The Bible says, the Pope says, the Fathers say, and therefore nothing more may be thought or said.

          There are such people in the Orthodox Church, and they sometimes frustrate better defenses of the Faith by their unwillingness to think critically about the questions that arise.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            My point exactly.


          • Yet all traditional belief systems, including Christianity, are built on appeals to authority. To reject this is to become edgy and postmodern. Who is prideful enough to think they know more than the Fathers or the Bible?

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              I think you are greatly mistaking Orthodox Biblical Authority with Fundamentalism. The two are very distinct and have nothing to do with each other. The same goes for Modernism. The Episcopal Church falls into this trap with Modernism.


            • Michael Warren says

              The Renovationists like the GOA, Syosset-Crestwood, Stankovich and the old guard in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

              • I’m Antiochian and any leftovers of renovationism are irrelevant or altogether gone. Met. Joseph has done excellent work, quietly tightening things up around here.

                • Michael Warren says

                  Well, the Diocese of Toledo has its share of organ grinding, fundamentalist hunting, papal pedophile lounge suit wearing Renovationism going on to spare still I am sorry to say.

                  But I pray for the success of +Metropolitan Joseph, a Hierarch I respect and admire.

            • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              Ages, I don’t know about you, but I believe in Christ because the Gospel of Christ MAKES SENSE, not just because I was raised to (tradition) or because somebody tells me I must (authority). The authority of Christian tradition is itself founded upon the divine LOGOS, which sets Christianity apart from all other “traditional belief systems.”

              • Of course, that goes without saying.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  The fundamental foundation of the Orthodox Church is the encounter with the living Christ. Without that, it can easily collapse into an ideological abusive fake.

                  Seraphim Rose of blessed memory noted that without the spirit of the Fathers, knowing the words of the Fathers was unfruitful.

                  Most existential life in the Church consists of living in the tension between two seeming opposites. In this case the tension between the hierarchy and the laity–authority and personal obedience to one’s own experience of God and one’s circumstance. To go to far in either direction is to fall into error.

          • St. Nikolai Velimirovich

            Neither Ritualism nor Liberalism helps anything without the true Christian spirit. The modern Ritualism and Liberalism are absolutely equally worthless from the Christian point of view, being so hostile to each other as they are filled with the unclean spirit of hatred, unforgiveness, despising and even persecuting each other. They are equally unchristian and even antichristian. Measured by the mildest measure they are the new edition of the Judaistic Pharisaism and Sadduceeism. The Ritualists cling to their ritual, the Liberals cling to their protest against the Ritualists. But the true spirit by which both of them move and act and write and speak is the unclean spirit of hatred and despite each other, the very spirit which excludes them both from communion with Christ and the Saints. The Church has been equally de-christianized by Ritualists and Liberals, by Conservatives and Modernists, by bowers and talkers. The Church must now be rechristianized amongst all of them and through all of them. Let the Church be the Church, i.e. the community of saints. Let the world know that the Church’s mission on earth is not accumulate wealth, or to gain political power or knowledge, or to cling to this institution or to that, but to cleanse mankind from its unclean, evil spirits, and to fill it with the spirit of saintliness. Let the Church first change her spirit and then urge the whole of mankind to change theirs. (The Works of Rev. Nicholai Velimirovic)

            Lord have mercy!

      • Tommy Katsarellis says

        The “Third Rome” concept is nothing new. If Istanbul falls into heresy, as it did in the past, or if + Bart is removed from Istanbul, + Kirill has the right to claim this title. Istanbul’s remnant is almost dead & gone. Why should world Orthodoxy support the Bishop of Istanbul with 1,000 followers who is just a dusty, old relic when the Pat. of Moscow’s followers amount into the millions with growing influence worldwide?

        • Michael Warren says

          Especially when the Holy Canons don’t mention Istanbul?

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I think both of you two need to pray more and hate less. By all means point out errors, but do not give in to hate and sin. You show no respect, no humility, nothing that shows the fruits of flowing streams of love and godliness that comes from a complete submission to our Lord and His Gospel.

            Again call out errors, but you must do so from the perspective of correcting you brother and supporting the faith of the faithful. However, to attack for the sake
            of attacking, or from some sort of inferiority complex that needs support is not Christian but downright hurtful and disrespectful.

            During this time of Lent, let’s pray more, love more and forgive more for our failings and those of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, including our clergy.

            Peter A. Papoutsis

          • Terry Myles says

            Or Moscow.

            • Michael Warren says

              That’s why 70%+ of the Orthodox world being Moscow’s jurisdiction with the Russian church and Russian state backing another 20%+ is the basis of Russian primacy in my model, while my denunciation of Istanbul’s pretensions is predicated on the fact they lack both the numbers AND the canonical justification.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                Moscow is not mentioned, but Moscow’s heresy is that it uses inflated and misleading numbers to say it is the biggest and so must be first in all things. The true first among NO equals, as the EP is a renovationist Unia that is not Orthodox, Antioch is too small and not in any position to lead or at least to tell the ROC what to do, and somehow this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Talk about ego! No thank you. That is not Orthodoxy.

                • Michael Warren says

                  Then 90%+ of Orthodoxy speaks up, says it recognizes the new symphonia of the world’s Orthodox superpower, rejects the ridiculous neo papalism and realizes that Moscow’s existence as a symphonic organism validates the historical shift of primacy to Russia. The Third Rome. Less than 1% agrees with Renovationists aligned with Istanbul and Orthodoxy passes you by.

                  The Byzantine Empire is gone. An AHEPA dhimmi on the Vatican payroll is a nothing that Orthodoxy will no longer tolerate.

                  Then we will discuss real numbers and pit over a hundred million over Istanbul’s hundreds of thousands of Renovationist Uniates.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Peter, how’s your inner Justin?

                  St. Justin (Popovich)

                  [Што се тиче сазивања “Велики савета Православне Цркве”]

                  The fate of the Church is no longer and can not be in the hands of the Byzantine emperor and the patriarch, in the same way as in the hands of any of the powers that be, not even in the hands of a “pentarchy” or “autocephaly” in the narrow sense. Power of the Church of God has grown into a plurality of the Local Churches of God, with the vast congregation, many of whom today have captured their apostolic succession and faithfulness to the Lamb by blood. On the horizon looms the emergence of new “Local Churches”, such as: Japanese, Africa, America, of which no “papal type” can deprive them of their freedom in the Lord (cf. 8th canon of the Holy III Ecumenical Council). For it would defeat the very essence of the Church. Without them, all the inconceivable decision of whatsoever ecclesiastical question of universal values, and especially issues relating to themselves, i.e. Diaspora issues. The age-old struggle of Orthodoxy against Roman absolutism was a struggle for the freedom of the local Churches, both catholic churches, the cathedral, complete, whole. Shall we now fall to Rome, or any of the “second” or “third”, or the like? Was Constantinople, who so bravely resisted for the past centuries by the face of its holy and great hierarchs, clergy, and people, the Roman papal patronage and absolutism, today going to ignore the conciliar traditions of Orthodoxy and replace them with a neopapism substitute “second”, “third”, or even some new Rome? Most Reverend Fathers, all of us Orthodox, feel and see how today it is an important and significant issue of the Orthodox Diaspora for the Orthodox Church in general and all the Orthodox Churches individually. But how it can it be resolved in this way, if it is left to Constantinople and Moscow alone, without consultation and participation of the people of the Orthodox hierarchy, pastors and theologians of the diaspora itself, which increases with each passing day? The question of the Diaspora, of course, is an extremely important ecclesiastical question that for the first time in the history of the Church acts with such force and significance that we must ask if it really worthwhile to convene an ecumenical council without all the true Orthodox bishops of all the Orthodox Churches.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    That was written during the Communist era.

                    Things have changed drastically.

                    Especially when one considers St. Justin received part of his theological education in Tsarist Russia and was only glad to historically affirm the primacy of a Russian church not persecuted by theomachists.

                    Syosset-Crestwood poseurs just are simply unread.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Father Justin (Popovich) on Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky)


                      nation possesses its worth only through Orthodoxy and in Orthodoxy. Without that, a

                      nation is devoid of eternal worth; Or better yet: a nation without Orthodoxy is nothing

                      other than a mere string of walking corpses. …A people exists that it may be

                      sanctified and enlightened by the eternal truth and the eternal life of Orthodoxy. That

                      which is great and eternal in any nation is Orthodoxy, and in it is the Lord Christ.

                      In Orthodoxy Russia is great — this is the fundamental position of the great hierarch of

                      the Russian land. Orthodoxy is Russia’s greatest worth, Russia’s singular meaning, her

                      most exalted mission; Russia is eternal through Orthodoxy. That which Dostoevsky

                      prophesied about Russia and about Orthodoxy, our great saint put into practice within the

                      Church. The mystery and might of Russia lies in Orthodoxy. In it lies the mystery and

                      might of all Orthodox Slavdom. Dostoevsky’s idea of the “universal church” found in the

                      holy metropolitan a brilliant example. The Russian nation derives from universal

                      Orthodoxy its boundless love for man and its evangelical ability to be as one with other

                      nations, not losing in the process its own Russianness. Where does the faith of the

                      Russian nation lie? — It lies, answers the holy Vladyka, in the fact that the nation

                      accepted in its heart, the two main all-encompassing commandments of the Gospel:

                      humility and co-suffering love; and these commandments made all Orthodox peoples

                      dear to the Russian heart, as well as all humanity. The power of this certainty is great, and

                      it seizes every man, sincere in his drawing close to the people. [9]

                      Here, right before our eyes, Dostoevsky’s prophecy of the Russian universal man is

                      realized in the Christ-bearer, blessed Metropolitan Anthony. But who could become as

                      one with other men, to enter into their souls in such a way as to suffer their sufferings, to

                      grieve with their sorrows, to pain over their griefs? It could only be he, that hierarch of

                      the Russian land great in humility, filled with boundless co-suffering Gospel love. Christlike universal humanity is the precious gift of Orthodox Russia to Slavdom and all

                      mankind. This she received, for her humility, from the Lord Christ, Who was incarnate in

                      man, and by that has shown His boundless love. The characteristic and power of

                      theandric love is the ability of one to become one with the loved one, that he may be

                      saved from sin and death.

                      Orthodox universality penetrates to the depths of the Russian national consciousness. The

                      Russian national consciousness, declares the holy metropolitan, is not a racial or tribal

                      consciousness, but a confessional and religious one. [10] The patriotism of the Russian

                      people is primarily religious and Orthodox. The people love Russia “as the guardian of

                      divine truth, as the minister of evangelical piety.” [11] “We love Russia,” declares the

                      blessed Vladyka, “because she preserves in herself the Russian idea, the Russian spiritual

                      nature, the Russian way of life. This idea is the Kingdom of God, this nature is the

                      striving for holiness, this way of life is an expression of the efforts of the seven-hundred

                      year life of the country and the nine-hundred year life of the people to establish

                      evangelical righteousness in the land, to forsake all in order to find Christ, to make His

                      will, the canons of His Church, the law of the life of the society.” [12]

                      Holy Russia is not a dream or a fantasy, but a living ideal, which is realized in the

                      historical life of the Russian people. ‘Our homeland,” the blessed Vladyka points out, “is

                      the incarnation of the Gospel in the way of life and character of the people, an incarnation

                      of the Kingdom of God. Our Russia is not merely a jurisdictional entity or a government,

                      no — it is a universal, all-embracing idea. To love it, to understand it, to plant it in our

                      soul and the other areas of life is dependent upon each one of us; this is our duty, this is

                      our sincere joy, this is the reconciliation of all both with life and with our lot.” [13]

                      What do we, Orthodox Slavs, expect from our brothers, the Orthodox Russians? You lead

                      us along the way of the Orthodox Christian truth; be our tireless leaders in the realization

                      of the eternal evangelical truths; guide us to heaven and to heavenly righteousness. This

                      you can do, in as much as Holy Russia has given us a multitude of miraculous

                      realizations and wondrous expressions of the eternal Orthodox truths. In the words of the

                      holy metropolitan: “Holy Russia must unite all the eastern peoples and be their guide to

                      heaven.” [14]

                      If our time possesses a great and holy preacher, apostle and prophet or religious,

                      ecclesiastical, universal patriotism, then this is the great hierarch of the great Russian

                      land, the blessed Metropolitan Anthony. According to his interpretation, separate national

                      forms of patriotism have sense and value only in as much as they derive their sense and

                      their value from religious, ecclesiastical, universal patriotism. [15] The Slavophilism of

                      our Vladyka is not a racial, not a tribal chauvinism, but Orthodox and evangelical. Thus,

                      in the name of such a Slavophilism he calls all to the service of others, and to humility

                      before God and men. [16]

                      Slavophilism is of no value in itself, except as the bearer and vessel of Orthodoxy. This is

                      the fundamental idea of our Vladyka and Dostoevsky as well. And Orthodoxy is that new

                      word, which Slavdom, headed by Holy Russia, must proclaim to the world, proclaiming

                      it with humility, serving all nations in meekness and evangelical truth. Therefore, real

                      Orthodox can never be chauvinists. I recall once, in a conversation with me in 1926, the

                      blessedly reposed metropolitan related to me the following: “On Athos there is a custom

                      that a monk who does not forgive offences is punished by being made to omit the words

                      ‘and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,’ at the reading of the Lord’s Prayer,

                      until such a time when he has forgiven the offence committed against him. And I myself

                      have suggested,” added the great saint, “that the chauvinist-nationalists not read the ninth

                      article of the Symbol of Faith.”

                      The evangelical patriotism of the Lord Christ should be considered the greatest worth of

                      one’s nation and the only true reason for its existence. For “what can take the place of the

                      Lord Christ for a nation,” asks the blessed metropolitan. Can the trifling’ existence of a

                      government, which lacks any rational meaning if it is founded merely on national selflove,

                      and becomes foreign to the religious idea, really take that place? Such a nation is

                      already not a nation but a rotting corpse, that considers its own decay to be life. In

                      actuality it has no life, but in it and on it there live only moles, worms, and repulsive

                      insects who rejoice that the body has died and is rotting, since in a living body there

                      would be nothing for them to live on, and they would not be able to satisfy their gluttony.


                      That which has meaning for the spiritual life of each person separately, the same is also

                      important for the collective spiritual life of a people. The laws of the Gospel are the same

                      in both instances. Therefore, the holy metropolitan counsels and homilizes: As man’s

                      individual personality is stifled in its development and becomes empty and shallow when

                      man makes himself the object of his activity; so also the collective personality of a nation

                      attains the full development of its talents only when it is not an end in itself, but rather a

                      means for the disinterested fulfillment of its divine destiny.”


                      …If we were to crystallize this principle of Vladyka, it would read as follows: the Russian,

                      Serbian, and Bulgarian nations can be great only if the goal of their existence be the

                      collective realization of the commandments of the Gospel. Otherwise, “Serbianism,”

                      Russianism,” and “Bulgarianism” are reduced to senseless and pernicious chauvinism. If

                      “Serbianism” flourishes not by the power of evangelical podvigs and not to Orthodox

                      catholicity, then it will choke in its own egoistic chauvinism. What is profitable for

                      Serbdom is profitable for other Orthodox nationalities as well. Nations pass, the Gospel is

                      eternal. Only in so far as a nation is filled with the eternal evangelical truth and

                      righteousness, does it exist, and itself becomes and remains eternal. Only such a

                      patriotism can be justified from an evangelical point of view. This is the patriotism of the

                      holy apostles, the holy martyrs, the holy fathers. When the emperor-tormentor asked the

                      holy martyrs Acindynus, Pegasius, and Anempodistus where they were from, they

                      answered: “Are you asking us, O Emperor, about our homeland? Our homeland and our

                      life is the most holy, consubstantial, and undivided Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the

                      Holy Spirit, the one God.” [19]

                      The blessed Metropolitan Anthony is the most gifted contemporary representative of

                      Russian Orthodox nationalism, a nationalism consecrated and enlightened by Christ; a

                      nationalism by which all men are brothers in Christ; a nationalism by which the mighty

                      must serve the weak, the wise the unwise, the humble the proud, the first the last.

                      Growing out of patristic Orthodox universal patriotism, the blessed Vladyka can only be

                      appreciated from the same apostolic patristic perspective. We can apply to him what St.

                      Gregory of Nyssa said about his own brother, St. Basil, after his death: “Wherein lies

                      Basil’s noble origin? Where is his homeland? His origin is his affinity to divinity, and his

                      homeland is virtue.” [20] …

                      … Always of a pan-

                      Orthodox frame of mind, he gathered us foreign Orthodox under the broad wings of his

                      great Russian soul, as a hen gathers her nestlings under her wings. Many times I felt the

                      power of his pan-Orthodox love — for him, we Serbs were as dear as the Russians. A

                      touching, all-embracing power was shed forth from him. I would call it Orthodox

                      catholicity. If you will, he was a contemporary pan-Orthodox patriarch. By his ascetic life

                      he became and has always remained, a rule of faith and an image of meekness, a God inspired nourisher of hierarchs and a fervent intercessor for our souls. In this world he

                      always lived in prayerful communion “with all the saints.” Without a doubt, now, even in

                      that other world, he lives with all the saints, there “where the sound of those rejoicing is

                      ceaseless, and the joy of those beholding the ineffable goodness of Christ is unending.”

                      Having before us the wondrous and delightful personality of the holy and blessed

                      Metropolitan Anthony, what remains for us Serbs? We bow to the ground before the

                      great hierarch and saint of the Russian land, who sanctified and strengthened the Serbian

                      land in Orthodoxy by his sojourn of many years. We prayerfully bow and humbly throw

                      ourselves at the feet of the holy and glorious metropolitan. We bow to him for his

                      boundless love of Christ and tender love for man, we bow to him for his meekness, for

                      his humility, for his loving kindness, for his prayerfulness, for his life in Christ and for

                      his suffering for Christ. We throw ourselves before him because of his tireless love for us

                      who are small and worthless. We bow before the great Russian nation, for she has given

                      Orthodoxy such a great and holy hierarch, who by his own evangelical light illuminated

                      even our tormented Serbian land. He is yours — in this is your joy and delight; but he is

                      also ours. Oh! I know that we Serbs are not in a position to compare ourselves with the

                      great Russian nation, that tortured Christ-bearer and God-bearer. Neither are we in a

                      position to compete with you. …


                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Heaven knows your point, Mr. Warren, but as I stated previously, every word from the mouth of a saint is not necessarily simply their private opinion and not “sanctified.” Regarding Met. Anthony’s The Dogma of Redemption:

                      One of the earliest critics of Metropolitan Anthony was New Hieromartyr Archbishop Victor of Vyatka. He noted already in 1912 that the “new theology” of Metropolitan Anthony and his pupil, Metropolitan (and future “Patriarch”) Sergius (Stragorodsky) “would shake the Church”. And he saw in Metropolitan Sergius’ disastrous “Declaration” of 1927 a direct result of his teaching on salvation – which teaching was openly praised by Metropolitan Anthony in The Dogma of Redemption. Hieromartyr Victor was not the only critic of Metropolitan Anthony’s theory in the Catacomb Church. According to Hieromartyr Paul Borotinsky, the Petrograd Hieromartyrs Bishop Demetrius of Gdov and Fr. Theodore Andreyev were also critical of it. Nor was criticism of Metropolitan Anthony’s work confined to the Russian Church. Thus immediately after the publication of The Dogma of Redemption in Serbia in 1926, Protopriest Milosh Parenta wrote in the Serbian Church’s official organ: “The tragedy of Metropolitan Anthony is amazing! A pillar of the faith in soul, a great Orthodox in his heart, a strict fulfiller and preserver of Church discipline to the smallest details. But when he approaches a scientific-theological examination and explanation of the dogmas, then he either insufficiently comprehends them, or he cannot avoid the temptation of, and enthusiasm for, modernism. The explanation of the dogma of redemption offered by the author in this work openly destroys the teaching on this truth faithfully preserved by the Orthodox Church, and with it the Christian Religion itself, because the truth of the redemption together with the truth of Christ’s incarnation is its base and essence. However, it is necessary to recognize that it is very difficult to analyse this work of the author, because in it there are often no definite and clear concepts, although there are many extended speeches which hide the concepts or say nothing, and because in part there are no logical connections in it, nor any strictly scientific exposition, nor systematic unity.” As one of his fairest critics, Fr. Seraphim Rose, writes, “It is a question not of heresy (in his most sympathetic critics and we won’t be examining others), but rather of imperfection, of theology not thought through and consistent. He is not known as a careful theologian, rather as a great pastor whose theology was one of fits and starts. The question of ‘heresy’ arises when his critics try to make him strictly accountable for every expression and when they place him above all the Holy Fathers of the Church, for in several points the teaching of Metropolitan Anthony clearly contradicts the Fathers. His theology is at times closer to expressionism. Almost all but a few of his absolute devotees admit that Dogma of Redemption especially is very loose.”

                      Introduction, The Mystery of Salvation

                      Were you just showing off, Mr. Warren, or may we conclude that several New Martyrs and a man some consider to be modern saint had some “difficulties” with the theology of Met. Anthony? It is quite true, he was never known as a “great theologian,” an opinion more than 100-years in the making.

                      As to my previous point, what has so dramatically changed in St. Justin’s commentary on the problem of the Diaspora? He identifies Russia as a “neo-papal 3rd Rome,” and you claim it to be an “Orthodox super-power.” Quelle que différence? It has a very long trail of collaboration with the Soviets that will not be forgotten for several generations, and rightfully so; this obviously contributes to why Russians welcome the return of a “moral voice, ” but 70% stay away from attending church. Do you really imagine St. Justin would repent of stating that it is pointless to convene a “Great Council” of the Church without including the Orthodox bishops of the Diaspora? This is one of your more unsubstantial, unbalanced conclusions, and that is significant.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    I agree with Fr. Justin. How could I disagree with him? Take care buddy.


                  • Michael Warren says

                    Since I have personally condemned +Anthony’s Dogma of Redemption here recently, publicly, that just makes your ridiculous reaching even more desparate.

                    Now, so that even a Syosset-Crestwood Renovationist could understand:
                    1). I cited St. Justin’s attitude in regard to his endorsement of Russian leadership of world Orthodoxy, and that is clear in the quote provided. The views he stated are independent of his admiration of +Metropolitan Antony, a man I personally find disagreeable. These views clearly support an endorsement for the primacy of a Russian Orthodox state and culture. Whether or not “Third Rome” is explicitly stated by St. Justin is immaterial for he is sympathetic to the idea making your reservations to his views a distinction without difference.
                    2). The Russian church’s numbers represent 70%+ of the Orthodox world alone where a similar demographic in Russia today supports the Church. The speech cited above by Putin lays out a political endorsement and intention of implementing an Orthodox superpower defending traditional values. Thus, we have an Orthodox superpower and Orthodox Russia assuming primacy in the Orthodox world and in the world in general, defending 90%+ of Orthodox Christians today.
                    3 ). Comparing nominal numbers to nominal numbers will actually increase the amount of Russian Orthodox in comparison to others and add to the numbers of Orthodox Christians Orthodox Russia supports and defends asserting demographics in active faithful equivalent to those of the papacy. Whereas, the nominal numbers of those faithful to Istanbul will state there are probably more active Hussites in the world than active Orthodox faithful under Istanbul, your argument then actually morphs into a support for Russian primacy once your standards are consistently applied.
                    5). Saints do err, absolutely, but you cited St. Justin as an authority to try to float an Eastern Rite Protestant argument. I agree St. Justin is an authority, but that he isn’t an Eastern Rite Protestant like you and that he contradicts your Russophobic contentions and ridiculously unread redactions. Since we both asserted the authority of St. Justin, you end up being wrong, again.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Primacy has always been by Tradition, never by numbers or geography. For this reason, Constantinople will always have primacy among equal churches.

                      Russia’s world leadership as an Orthodox “superpower” is compromised by its still vivid memory of collaboration with the Soviet state for several generations to come. It is a significant factor reported by those identifying themselves as “Orthodox” for 70% not attending church. The perceived “alliance” between the church and the state does nothing to dispel this memory. Secondly, you cannot defend “traditional values” until you practice them. When legal abortion is the predominant form of contraception; alternate forms of contraception are, for the most part, unavailable or of low quality; waivers of the limit to first-term abortions are routine for social as well as medical reasons; and the abortion rate is the highest in Europe (and higher than the US), it is impossible to claim the title, “defender of traditional values.” It is interesting that a new book by a former US State Dept. official during the time Mr. Putin was an official of the KGB mentions that Putin was responsible for feeding information to the Western press about “improprieties” in the US abortion system (e.g. late-term abortions, sale of fetal tissue). The writer indicates it was Putin’s “false flag” (your term) to distract from the fact the Soviets were about to be exposed as a major broker of whole fetuses to Europe & Israel.

                      It would seem that continued repentance and reconciliation would be a wiser course for the Church of Russia – and it may well be that it is you who are inaccurately portraying this notion of “super-power – but factually, their house is not in order to be guiding anyone.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Ridiculous and unread. The church in Constantinople was taken from Antioch, elevated to a Patriarchate, then at the Fourth Ecumenical Council declared the Second See of the Church. All because of history and politics.

                      The Patriarchate of Moscow was founded after the Patriarch of Constantinople had taken residence in Moscow and transferred the EP there. Fearing the the Turks dislodge him and set up an alternate Patriarchate in their city, he aided in the creation of the Moscow Patriarchate (returning to Constantinople), where its Patriarch carries the title “His Holiness” (like a pontiff of the Third Rome) and the EP is called “His All Holiness.” These are exclusive titles.

                      History, politics, tradition, reality, and you still don’t know what you are talking about and addressing things above your paygrade. The Third Rome is the reality in Orthodoxy because the largest country in the world with nuclear weapons and an emerging economy is Orthodox and says it is the Third Rome. While in Istanbul there is a Turkish dhimmi preaching Renovationism on the Vatican payroll working out a new Unia.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Wow. I guessed I missed the lecture about “The Third Rome is the reality in Orthodoxy because the largest country in the world with nuclear weapons and an emerging economy is Orthodox and says it is the Third Rome” being among the ancient criteria for primacy. Good to know. Edgy.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      I would agree that you missed everything altogether.

        • Like it or not, as long as millions outside the confines of the Phanar give allegiance to Constantinople, then it’s all Constantinople, regardless of whether it’s in Hong Kong, Australia, France, Nebraska, Guatemala, Canada, or Turkey. Distorted canons or not, it’s reality. Remember that the ROC also has a significant presence outside of the former Soviet Union, namely Japan and, according to the view of the Phanar, the OCA, as well as a sprinkling all over Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Even if the Phanar should have to relocate to Geneva or some such place for its own safety, it’s still all “Constantinople.” I suggest that one cannot speak of Constantinople’s posturing, and then claim it only has 1000 faithful without committing same.

          On a related note, what should be made of the 50,000 Russians living in Turkey, a significant percentage of whom presumably identify as Orthodox? Are Greeks now a small minority in the historical boundaries of the Constantinopolitan patriarchate? Not that ethnicity should matter so much to bible-believing Orthodox Christians, or anything. 😉

          • Michael Warren says

            No, the Orthodox world does not rely on Istanbul. 90%+ of the Orthodox world is defended by a superpower called Russia. Let’s have a council reasses primacy on the circumstances of today to validate the reality that the Patriarch of Moscow is the first Bishop of the Orthodox Church and not a Turkish dhimmi on the Vatican payroll.

        • Michael Bauman says

          At one time the majority of the Church was Arian. Sheer numbers mean nothing. The truth is not found there but in the person of Jesus Christ “…and where two or more.”

          There was only one on the Cross. Only one who rose from the dead by His own will.

          The Church will grow smaller as far a numbers are concerned, we can only pray that we be numbered amongst the righteous, praying that all others make it into the kingdom before us.

          Patriarchs and bishops die. Ideologies and heresy’s have their time in the spotlight and then retreat to the shadows as long as there are two who actually gather in His name with Him in their midst.

          All else is vanity.

          • Michael Warren says

            At this time the Russian is Orthodox. Istanbul is Renovationist, teaching branch theory, massaging Uniate apostasy.

            Moscow is the Church of the world’s Orthodox superpower, representing 70%+ OF ALL Orthodox, defending another 20%+, meaning the primary Orthodox Church in the world of the world’s sole Orthodox superpower. 90%+. Istanbul represents less than 1% of world Orthodoxy and is leading that flock into apostasy. As primacy shifted from Rome to Constantinople due to political circumstances and then Orthodox fidelity, today primacy has shifted to the Third Rome, Moscow.

  5. Like Markos Eugenikos, His Holiness is certainly one of the present day Pillars of Orthodoxy.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Mr. Arbuckle,

      While it is true that Patriarch Kyriil addressed the Russian Duma in April, 2015 regarding the position of the Orthodox Church on abortion – the first time a cleric had addressed the Duma since the revolution – nevertheless, the official number of abortions in Russia in 2015 was 930,000 (unofficially, >990,000) and nearly 30,000 in the Moscow region alone. Abortions continue to be freely available through the first trimester, but requests can be made (and are routinely granted) through the third trimester for medical and social reasons (e.g. inadequate housing, inadequate salary/income, etc.). I heard a presentation by Russian epidemiologists early in the winter that concluded that social forces within Russia (e.g. various feminist & women’s rights advocates) were very effective at keeping abortion – until recently the major form of contraception – easily accessible. Contraceptives are either unavailable or poorly distributed (it is estimated that 12% of women have access to oral contraceptives & condoms are poorly crafted and lack quality control). Patriarch Kyriil has remained virtually silent since addressing the Duma nearly a years ago, while Russia has the highest abortion rate – by far – of any country in Europe. While he may have been consecrated as Patriarch on the feast of Blessed Mark of Ephesus, likening him to our Father Mark strikes me as ambitious, bordering on ludicrous.

      • Michael Warren says

        1). You have criticized the Orthodox “politicization of abortion” and argued we shouldn’t sully our Orthodox witness to the world “with political gimmucks.” Yet now you pull out an abortion statistic as a political prop and impugn the Russian church? Istanbul and the GOA have all but said “abortion is a woman’s personal choice.” But silence. Hypocrisy and shamelessness are the incestuous passions of fringe liberals.

        While the abortion rate is alarming in Russia, the Russian church is reemerging after 80 years of theomachist persecution and martyrdom to once again spiritually lead the world’s Orthodox superpower and the Orthodox world.The very fact +Patriarch Kirill does have an increasingly important role in Russia where “putinism” is transitioning into a new model of symphonia has all your liberal, moral nihilist ideological fellow travelers mortified at the emergence of “Russian theocracy.” So this nonsensical and detached russophobe diatribe is just the whinings of an envious, pretentious, liberal, russophobe hack.

        Within 25 years the role of the Orthodox Church in the Russian state and culture will be fully integrated and implemented and its influence will be clear for all to see in the face of liberal, humanist secularization throughout the West.

        2 ). While I wouldn’t compare +Patriarch Kirill to St. Mark of Ephesus, I would say that potentially +Kirill can bring Rome to its knees with the Russian state behind him.

        3). Being an Eastern Rite Protestant liberal Renovationist heretic, you of course don’t understand that “blessed” in the Orthodox Church is a title affixed to Saints who are either a ). Not universally glorified within a local church OR b ). Fools for CHRIST. While a hierarchical Saint is properly referred to as “Holy Hierarch,” not “Holy Father.” Seems Crestwood Uniate school Jillions veneration has infected all its flunkies in our OCA.

        4). Discussing Russia and Orthodox social topics is far above your paygrade. St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal church needs you to bring some organic humus tonight to plan for the Occupy Geary Street homophobia at the Cathedral event coming up. Seems the speaker tonight is a transgendered juggler not allowed Communion under his/her/its assumed name of “Krolik Mokraya Kuritsa,” where he has been “unlawfully denied Communion at the Cathedral his assumed grandmother protested, a woman who demanded the ‘fundamentalist Maximovitch’ be committed ‘to end his theopathic propaganda.'”

        • Michael, you have the boldness and clarity of the late Mother Angelica of EWTN. Bravo, I enjoy your contributions here.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Well, to challenge the legitimacy of analogizing the leader of an “Orthodox Superpower” – designated by you – with Markos Eugenikos, designated by the Church as “Defender of the Orthodox Faith, Pillar of Orthodoxy” should hardly make one blink. If you will recall, the prophet Jonah went to Nineveh and called for repentance; the king was so moved & ashamed, he tore his garments, sat in ashes, and ordered the people of his kingdom to repent – to “change the Lord’s mind.” If we are to believe Mr. Katsarellis, Mr. Putin settled instead to be a prince. In summary, in the same year he appeared before the Russian Duma as a prophet, there were nearly 1,000,000 legal abortions, 30,000 of which were in his back yard, while 30% of individuals who identify themselves as Russian Orthodox actually attend church. Me, “whining with envy?” Ha! I will, however, admit to coveting that very expensive watch they tried to ‘shoop off his wrist. I wonder if he has a white horse…

          • Michael Warren says

            I believe that was all answered above.

            But how was the juggler? Was the humus a hit? So you all intend on occupying the good and silver and gemstones in the Geary Street Cathedral. The world of the Eastern Rite liberal Renovationist lunatic fringe.

            And where are the tens of millions of dollars your pals in Syosset -Crestwood pilfered from us, the faithful of the OCA?

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Well Moscow is the Third Rome abortion and all. Thank God for that!


            • Michael Warren says

              Just think Istanbul and the GOA have been the “Orthodox abortion on demand” pioneers since the 1970s and they neither have any legitimate primacy not a fidelity to Orthodoxy to get in the way of keeping on keeping on. It is however an embarassment to the Vatican which pays Istanbul’s bills.

            • Michael Warren says

              And Istanbul with its GOA is nothing, but has been pro Choice since the 1970s. Didn’t Fr. Stephanopoulos organize speaking events for +Iakovos with Planned Parenthood? He did attend their dinners and contribute or was that just his children?

          • Michael Warren says

            “… The close symphonic relationship between the Orthodox Church and state in Russia thus provides Russian foreign policy with a definable moral framework, one that, given its popularity, is likely to continue to shape the country’s policies well into the future.

            “For us the rebirth of Russia is inextricably tied, first of all, with spiritual rebirth . . .and if Russia is the largest Orthodox power [pravoslavnaya dershava], then Greece and Athos are its source.” —Vladimir Putin during a state visit to Mount Athos, September 2005.2

            Foreign policy is about interests and values. But while Russia’s interests are widely debated, her values are often overlooked, or treated simplistically as the antithesis of Western values.

            But, as Professor Andrei Tsygankov points out in his book Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin, Russia’s relations with the West go through cycles that reflect its notion of honor.3 By honor he means the basic moral principles that are popularly cited within a culture as the reason for its existence, and that inform its purpose when interacting with other nations.

            Over the past two centuries, in pursuit of its honor, Russia has cooperated with its European neighbors, when they have acknowledged it as part of the West; responded defensively, when they have excluded Russia; and assertively, when they have been overtly hostile to Russia’s sense of honor.

            Sometimes a nation’s sense of its honor overlaps with present-day interests; but it cannot be reduced to the national interest alone, because political leaders must respond to existential ideals and aspirations that are culturally embedded. A nation’s sense of honor, therefore, serves as a baseline for what might be called the long-term national interest.

            According to Tsygankov, in Russia’s case the long-term national interest revolves around three constants: First, sovereignty or “spiritual freedom;” second, a strong and socially protective state that is capable of defending that sovereignty; and third, cultural loyalty to those who share Russia’s sense of honor, wherever they may be.4 All three of these involve, to a greater or lesser extent, the defense of Orthodox Christianity, of the Russian Orthodox Church, and of Orthodox Christians around the world.

            Russian President Vladimir Putin succinctly encapsulated Russia’s sense of honor during his state visit to Mount Athos in 2005, when he referred to Russia as a pravoslavnaya derzhava, or simply, an Orthodox power. …

            … his speech at the 2013 Valdai Club meeting, he did not explicitly say what values Russia stood for, what its sense of honor demanded. It was at this meeting that Putin first laid out his vision of Russia’s mission as an Orthodox power in the 21st century.

            Putin began his speech by noting that the world has become a place where decency is in increasingly short supply. Countries must therefore do everything in their power to preserve their own identities and values, for “without spiritual, cultural and national self-definition . . . . one cannot succeed globally.”7

            Without a doubt, he said, the most important component of a country’s success is the intellectual, spiritual, and moral quality of its people. Economic growth and geopolitical influence depend increasingly on whether a country’s citizens feel they are one people sharing a common history, common values, and common traditions. All of these, said Putin, contribute to a nation’s self-image, to its national ideal. Russia needs to cultivate the best examples from the past and filter them through its rich diversity of cultural, spiritual, and political perspectives. Diversity of perspectives is crucial for Russia because it was born a multinational and multiconfessional state, and remains so today.8

            Indeed, pluriculturalism is potentially one of Russia’s main contributions to global development. “We have amassed a unique experience of interacting with, mutually enriching, and mutually respecting diverse cultures,” he told his audience. “Polyculturalism and polyethnicity are in our consciousness, our spirit, our historical DNA.”9

            Polyculturalism is also one of the driving factors behind the Eurasian Union, a project initiated by the president of Kazakstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, that Putin has wholeheartedly embraced.

            Designed to move Eurasia from the periphery of global development to its center, it can only be successful, Putin says, if each nation retains its historical identity and develops it alongside the identity of the Eurasian region as a whole. Creating a culture of unity in diversity within this region, says Putin, would contribute greatly to both pluralism and stability in world affairs.

            But, in a jab at the West, Putin notes that some aspects of pluriculturalism are no longer well received in the West. The values of traditional Christianity that once formed the very basis of Western civilization have come under fire there, and in their place Western leaders are promoting a unipolar and monolithic worldview. This, he says, is “a rejection . . . of the natural diversity of the world granted by God. . . . Without the values of Christianity and other world religions, without the norms of morality and ethics formed over the course of thousands of years, people inevitably lose their human dignity.”10

            The abandonment of traditional Christian values has led to a moral crisis in the West. Russia, Putin says, intends to counter this trend by defending Christian moral principles both at home and abroad. …

            … Putin’s call for greater respect for traditional cultural and religious identities was either missed or ignored in the West. One reason, I suspect, is that it was couched in a language that Western elites no longer use.

            For most of the 20th century, Western social science has insisted that modernization would render traditional cultural and religious values irrelevant. The modern alternative, which pioneer political scientists Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba labelled “civic culture,” gravitates toward cultural homogeneity and secularism. These qualities lead to political stability and economic progress. The pattern is exemplified by Anglo-American societies which, they conclude, form the optimal model for a modern society.11

            Half a century later, with the rise of China and the collapse of the Soviet Union, it no longer seems so obvious that secularism and homogeneity are the only paths to national success. Scholars increasingly speak of multiple paths to modernity, and even a resurgence of religion.12

            Another reason why Putin’s message was overlooked is that he is calling upon the West to re-connect with its Byzantine heritage, a heritage that it has often dismissed as non-Western. In Putin’s mind, reincorporating Eastern Christianity into Western civilization reveals Russia as a vital part of Western civilization, and requires that Russia be part of any discussion of Western values.

            Putin’s speech in 2013 was an assertive and optimistic statement of Russian values, and the cultural and spiritual reasons why he felt that Russian influence in the world was bound to grow. By 2014, however, the world had changed. A major reason is the conflict within Ukraine, which many in the West define as a conflict over world order stemming from a profound values gap between Russia and the West.

            Russia, by contrast, sees itself as defending not only vital strategic interests in Ukraine, but also its core values of honor, such as spiritual freedom, cultural loyalty, and pluralism. It may seem strange to many in the West, but Russia’s attitude on the Ukrainian crisis is inflexible precisely because it sees itself as occupying the moral high ground in this dispute.

            A key reason why Western moral criticisms of Russian actions have so little traction among Russians is that the Russia Orthodox Church has regained its traditional pre-eminence as the institution that defines the nation’s moral vision and sense of honor. Looking beyond Russia’s borders, that vision has come to be known as the Russky mir or Russian World. …

            … Having drawn a distinction between the objectives of the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church in promoting the Russky mir, it is important to stress that these two institutions are not in conflict, at least not in the near future.29 The classical formulation for Church-State relations in Eastern Orthodox Christianity was and remains symphonia, or harmony between Church and State, not the Protestant Western ideal of separation. The establishment of broadly harmonious and mutually supportive relations between Church and State in Russia, for the first time in more than a century, therefore has significant implications for Russian politics.

            The first is that Vladimir Putin’s high popularity ratings are neither transient nor personal. They reflect the popularity of his social and political agenda, which are popular precisely because they have the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church. A few years ago, then president Medvedev referred to the Church as “the largest and most authoritative social institution in contemporary Russia,”30 an assessment reinforced by more recent surveys showing that Patriarch Kirill is more often identified as the “spiritual leader [and] moral mentor” of the entire Russian nation, than he is as the head of a single religious confession.31

            The success of the Putin Plan, the Putin Model, or Putinism, is thus simple to explain. This Russian government understands that it derives enormous social capital from its public embrace of the Russian Orthodox Church. So long as Russia remains a broadly representative (not to be confused with liberal) democracy, there is little reason to expect this to change.

            Some analysts, however, suggest that this embrace may lead to conflict between the state and other confessions. The potential for such conflict is widely recognized, especially by religious leaders, and led to the creation in 1998 of the Interreligious Council of Russia. Its purpose is two-fold: First, to defuse conflicts among the various religious communities. Second, to present a united religious agenda to politicians. It has been quite successful on both fronts, and its activities now cover not just Russia, but the entire CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).32

            If my assessment of the importance of the religious underpinnings for the current regime’s popularity is correct, then it follows that attempts to undermine the unity of the Russky mirwill be widely viewed as an attack on core values, not just in Russia but throughout the Russian World. Economic, political, cultural, and other sanctions will intensify this effect and sharply undermine intellectual and emotional sympathies for the West within this community. While this may not be permanent, I suspect that few in the current generation of Russian leaders retain much hope for the possibility of building a lasting partnership with the West.

            Moreover, the Russian Orthodox Church will continue to shape Russia’s foreign policy agenda in several ways.

            First, it will use the influence of the state to advocate for the concerns of Orthodox Christians throughout the world, even if they are not Russian citizens. This is in keeping with the transnational character of the Russian Orthodox Church.

            Second, it will promote Christian moral and social values in international fora, either by itself or in conjunction with other religions. Indeed, close ties on these issues have been forged with the Roman Catholic Church, and with Islamic clerics in Egypt and Iran. Where it does not have direct access to these, it will turn to the Russian media, and to popular international outlets like RT and Sputnik to promote this agenda.

            Third, wherever Russian state and civic organizations promote Russian culture and language abroad, the Church will also seek to tack on its religious agenda. While the state promotes the national interests of the Russian Federation, the Russian Orthodox Church will promote the larger cultural identity it sees itself as having inherited from Kievan Rus. …”

            Carnegie Council. “Russia’s Orthodox Soft Power”


            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Well if that is not Third Rome bs I don’t know what is. Edward? Misha? Anybody want to correct Mr. Warren like you did me? Hmmmm? I await with baited breath your denunciations to Mr. Warren like you gave me. Somehow I don’t think they will be coming because Mr. Warren is a fellow Russian while yours truly was a Greek attacking Russia’s and the ROC’s Third Rome bs. However, I hope I am wrong and that Edward, Misha, and all our ROCOR friends rush to denounce Mr. Warren’s “Third Rome” bs as they rushed to denounce it with me.

              I can’t wait to see what happens. Get ready Michael.


              • Michael Warren says

                The only thing I honestly expect is weak Stankovich clones engaging in character assassination and wayward clerics who have made a career out of dissembling and “fundamentalist labelling” acting as Eastern Rite Protestant Fundamentalists to avoid engaging ideas as grown ups.

                My advice to you is be prepared to concede heterodox positions to actually have a dialogue.

                I discount the foil hats at the outset because they are just a distraction. I leave them to Grabbe worship and Red Baiting. I despise Grabbe and his legacy and I am a Red. I don’t see exile churches who have for decades denounced the Church in Russia legitimately speaking for the Church in Russia.

                No, Turkish dhimmis on the Vatican payroll teaching branch theory and striving to bring about a Unia are nothing but a fringe, inconsequential minority.

                Now fact remains that your sole answers to positions you don’t like is to insult me and other people you don’t like and then say that is the substance you bring to the table to ground your fallacious positions. The inflexibility of your Renovationist model to discuss and engage alternate positions, especially those of the reality staring you in the face, coupled with rigid inflexibility spouting ad hominem stupidity in ignorant and obnoxious ways is the fundamentalism of the Eastern Rite Protestant who refuses an Orthodox corrective to dialogue.

                Reality is passing your 1% of apostatizing Orthodoxy by. When you are ready to maturely discuss valid, Orthodox points and deal with a reality you are unrepresentative of, then something might be accomplished. Until then, all you want to do is exchange insults, catcall and redact and decontextualize to filibuster to prevent Orthodox dialogue from happening. Out of fear. Fear of losing an Eastern Rite Protestant monopoly on the conversation. Fundamentalist message discipline.

                You hate the ideas and discipline of Orthodoxy and as a fundamentalist Eastern Rite Protestant, you are attacking me personally to avoid addressing your betrayals of Orthodoxy and rejection of reality. Character assassination of me is the way of Stankovich clones of avoiding mature, Orthodox conversations. Here you are shouting it.


                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  But what about Russian Dhimmi on Putin’s payroll? Is Moscow so holy not to give out rolex wat…er…money to Russian Patriarchs?

                  Who is truly pathetic Barbara/Stan?


                  • Peter,

                    My advice is to quit debating with Michael Warren. It is causing you too much stress. Believe me, now is not the time. But the time will come soon.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    A dhimmi is an oppressed religious minority in an Islamic country who on the whim of an Islamist fanatic can end up lynched or beheaded on Al Jazeera. They are beholden to support the Islamic Uma and pay taxes to it. If they be non Islamic clerics, they may not wear clerical garb in public nor preach the doctrines of their faith.

                    The Vatican man in Istanbul today would get beaten and lynched if he donned a cassock and panagia, wearing a klobuk, carrying a staff, he walked to a bazaaar to buy fresh fruit in Istanbul.

                    That is a dhimmi who has no consequence in Orthodoxy.

                    Today in Russia there is symphonia between Church and state where the Patriarch lives not only in total religious freedom with support from the faithful, but shares in responsibility and authority amongst the Russian people. The Patriarch of Moscow hasn’t been this free since before Peter the Great, and probably not since before Nikon has the Patriarchate been so respected and loved in society.

                    So dhimmi in Moscow on Putin’s payroll? Ridiculous envy of a true Orthodox primate, the de facto primate of the Orthodox Church. We both know the heresiarch in Constantinople would sell his soul to trade places with the Patriarch of Moscow because we have witnessed his selling of his soul to live on the Vatican payroll for far less, where he waits “for the phone call” from his Roman master to declare unia.

                    The primate of Orthodoxy is the Patriarch of Moscow. He doesn’t live in an Istanbul ghetto and he doesn’t beg for scraps from the Vatican’s table. He doesn’t charge $25000 for an audience to cut with the Turkish government either. Nor does he get millions of dollars from freemasonic AHEPA archons to do their dirty work and betray Orthodoxy. He isn’t a Turkish dhimmi. He isn’t a dhimmi. He is the leader of Orthodoxy, and [the] pope in Rome acknowledged him as such in Havana last month.

                    Welcome to reality. Istanbul is nothing and will remain nothing until the Russians liberate the city and restore Orthodoxy.

              • Peter,

                Before you outrightly object to the use of the term, according to church historian N. Zernov, the Third Rome theory was actually endorsed by Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias when he granted the Russians a patriarchate:

                ‘So, after further protracted negotiations, Jeremiah himself suggested that a Russian might, after all, be a more suitable candidate for the patriarchal seat. This was exactly what the Russian government wanted, and, thus on January 26th, 1589, eighteen months after Jeremiah had arrived in the Russian capital, he himself elevated Job, the Metropolitan of Moscow, to the dignity of the Patriarch of All Russia. In the installation charter, signed by Jeremiah, the following was inserted:

                “Because the Old Rome has collapsed on account of the heresy of Apollinarius [this charge is in reference to the use of azymes] and because the second Rome, which is Constantinople, is now in possession of the godless Turks, thy great kingdom, O pious Tsar, is the Third Rome. It surpasses in devotion every other, and all Christian kingdoms are now merged in thy realm. Thou art the only Christian sovereign in the world, the master of all faithful Christians.”

                This last sentence was an almost verbatim reproduction of Philotheus’ epistle to Basil III. A century earlier it was the daring prophecy of a devout monk; now it was the solemn declaration made by the highest authority of the Eastern Church.

                It is open to question whether Jeremiah himself fully understood the Russian text and shared the interpretation given by the Russians to the act committed by him. The events of the next century revealed that the Greeks and the Russians differed considerably in their attitude to Moscow’s claims.’


                Honestly though, I simply can’t believe that the EP interpreted the Third Rome phrase like certain Russians did since the Eastern Patriarchs subsequently placed Moscow fifth in the diptychs. Nevertheless, the phrase was ratified by an EP in the Moscow Patriarch’s foundational document. Not to mention, according to Florovsky, St. Maxim the Greek held to an eschatological Non-possessor interpretation of the term:

                The first traces of the famous “Third Rome Theory” are sketched out precisely in…perspectives of apocalyptical unrest. The theory is intrinsically an eschatological one, and the monk Filofei sustains its eschatological tones and categories. “For two Romes have fallen, a third stands, and a fourth there cannot be.” The pattern is a familiar one taken from Byzantine apocalyptical literature: it is the translatio imperii, or more accurately, the image of the wandering Kingdom — the Kingdom or city wandering or straying until the hour comes for it to flee into the desert.

                …For a “Josephite”, the “Third Rome” meant that great and newly constructed Christian kingdom of Muscovy. By contrast, for Maxim, the “Third Rome” signified a City wandering in the wilderness.

                “Journeying along a wild road filled with many dangers, I came upon a woman kneeling with her regal head held in her hands, moaning bitterly and weeping inconsolably. She was dressed entirely in black, as is the custom for widows. Around her were wild animals: lions, bears, wolves, and foxes… ‘Basileia [Empire] is my name…’ ‘Why do you sit alongside this road surrounded as it is by wild animals?’ And again she answered me: “O traveler, let this road be the last one in an accursed age.’ ” (The Ways of Russian Theology)

                St. John Maximovitch utilized the Third Rome term in a manner similar to St. Maxim the Greek, because he used it to refer to the millions of Orthodox Slavs martyred by the godless Bolsheviks.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Hey, Third Rome is complete and total BS! However, I was taken to task by Edward, Misha, and a few other ROCOR type for even suggesting it’s validity among the ROC/ROCOR faithful. You are actually proving my point that this Third Rome BS is REAL among the ROC/ROCOR faithful.
                  I knew that guys like you believe this crazy stuff I just wanted an acknowledgement from the Russian Orthodox faithful that you did and that Russia and the ROC was pushing this BS. With you, Michael Warren, and the quote you just gave me I now have it.

                  So, again, I call on Edward, Misha, and all the rest of the ROC/ROCOR faithful to denounce you as they denounced me. I was actually making your point some time ago and Misha and Edward told me no, no, no the Russian Orthodox faithful do NOT believe in Third Rome and it’s not pushed by the MP and Putin.

                  I knew in time I would be vindicated. Thanks Maximus for proving my point. Now let’s see if Edward, Misha and the rest of the ROCOR faithful will tell you the same thing that they told me that the concept of “Third Rome” does not exist in the Russian Church. I hope I do not hear crickets, but I probably will.

                  It also goes to exposing the bias among the Russian faithful of how they hate and despise all things Greek. I made the exact same point that you are making and was denounced. You, as a ROC faithful, make the exact same point and no one from the ROC or ROCOR faithful say a word. Crickets!

                  It would seem that 2016 is shaping up to be the year of truth in religion and politics.


                  • Peter,

                    You seem upset. I apologize for causing you any grief. I admit that there are those in ROCOR who may be pushing this type of thing. Some of Fr. Andrew Young’s stuff seems to me to be over the top. I surely do not hate you or anyone who is Greek because they are Greek. I mean, I was in a Greek parish for years. I am currently at an Antiochian parish temporarily. I have no doubt that there are wonderful people in GOARCH. In fact, I think I met at least one saint there. I met a monk from Athos there. God bless GOARCH. I truly repent of any harsh comments I have made which cast a blanket pale across the whole archdiocese and the Phanar. I can be impatient just as much as anyone. I think the “Third Rome” thing is just the aspiration of the original person who coined the phrase and a kind of defacto recognition of Moscow’s preeminent position. But, as I have said in the past, if there is time before the Lord settles all accounts, I would just as soon He move the primacy to Jerusalem or leave it in Constantinople so long as they do not unite with Rome. I mean, if Rome accepted Orthodoxy, that would be different. But then, I assume, primacy would pass back to Rome unless something else was agreed upon.

                    Please forgive me, Peter, and any of my fiercer brethren who may have offended you. I, for one, simply wish to defend the Church against all adversaries of Christ. But I wish to do that in a loving way.

                  • Peter,

                    You’re welcome brother… but I’m in the GOAA. Don’t know what you’ve been through in the past so your exultation is lost on me. The Third Rome concept was/is a reality embraced by many, at least in my circles. I’m not inherently hostile to the Third Rome theory; but I think it puts too much emphasis on this age; and it leads towards the falls which occurred to the first two. I embrace the non-possessor apocalyptic view of it: the Third Rome as the winged woman fleeing from Satan into the wilderness, a catacomb-like Church of the Faithful.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    I actually admire Mt. Athos and the State Church of Greece and have Greek Orthodoxy as part of my Orthodox formation. I endorse the theological orientation of the State Church of Greece and if I had my way, the theological schools in Athens and Thessaloniki would serve as the model for renewal of theological education throughout the Russian church and in North America. I love Greek Orthodoxy so much that I despise the fact that Istanbul and the GOA has betrayed it. Eastern Rite Protestant Renovationism and Unia are not Greek Orthodoxy: they are a betrayal of it.

                    I will even shock you and say that the OCA should deemphasize Slavonic, move toward Russian vernacular for Russian missions combined with some Slavonic much like the Serbs do. BUT I believe that Katherevousa should be taught in seminaries and that ecclesiastical Greek to a limited extent should be used in our large churches and cathedrals, taught there, because Greek is more of a liturgical lingua franca in North America.

                    So I don’t hate Greeks or Greek Orthodoxy. The whole calendar thing isn’t even as irritating any more, especially when the asinine arguments against 80% of the Orthodox Church retaining the Patristic Calendar are dropped. So you are very mistaken.

                    The Third Rome was taken so seriously by the EP that it relocated itself to Moscow and took up residence in the city in the sixteenth century. Due to fears of Turkish creation of an alternative Patriarchate in Constantinople, the EP returned to the city. Before he did, he aided in the creation of the Moscow Patriarchate, where the Patriarch of Moscow was to be and is called “His Holiness” (Like a Roman pope) in recognition of the Third Rome.

                    So historically, the EP established the fact of the Third Rome. That was an Orthodox EP, BTW.

                    What ROCOR says it doesn’t agree with shouldn’t be your concern. If it is, they pronounced the EP heretical 50 years ago and declared the GOA to be in schism. Since you place such stock in their authority, then you should be repenting… to them.

                    I have no use for HMS Bezpopovschina from the Grabbe galaxy.

                    An Orthodox superpower whose Church alone represents 70%+ of Orthodoxy which defends and represents the piety of another 20%+, the Third Rome. The Old Rome didn’t have that much absolute clout when it was Orthodox. Neither did Constantinople. Welcome to reality.

                    Yes, we Russian Orthodox actually like Greek and Greeks. We welcome them into our churches and into our Orthodox world. Please come and share our generosity and our largesse. We have shared it for centuries with all Orthodox. Russian Orthodoxy has room for Greek parishes and institutions.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      To all, let me be clear. My disdain for the Third Rome concept comes from a very sincere belief that nothing must get in the way in the promulgation of the Gospel of Christ, nothing!

                      On this blog I rail against three things: Fundamentalism, Modernism and Nationalism or Ethnicity if you will. I have unfortunately seen all three of these things not only stop the promulgation of the Gospel, but also rip the faith out of people’s very soul.

                      Fundamentalism has caused people to treat the Gospel as a rule book and not as the loving vehicle of salvation.

                      I have seen modernism stamp out faith and keep stamping it out, especially among the young to the point that none of our people know the faith and what it teaches. It has replaced the faith with MTD (Moral Theraputic Deism) or some social justice cause that is antithetical to the Gospel and Jesus Christ himself.

                      Nationalism has pitted Greeks, Russians, etc., and each others throats destroying the good order and unity of the Church that plays itself out on a daily basis on this blog and in our churches.

                      The most vile things have been said and are said of our hierarchs without anyone blinking an eye.

                      Even in my most strident debated with Retired Bishop Tikhon I have tried as best as I could not to denigrate him or insult him, although even I may have failed at this and I would ask his forgiveness.

                      Bottom line is the single thread that runs through all my post is THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS PARAMOUNT!!! Not the EP, not Moscow, not auxiliary bishops this or foreign bishops that, But the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!!!

                      How do we get it out there and to as many people as possible. That’s why I wrote the guest editorial criticing the RCC and the GOAA stance that Jews don’t need the Gospel.

                      That’s why I criticisms Third Rome. What does 1st, 2nd and 3rd Rome’s have to do in getting g the Gospel out to Mr. &Mrs. John Q. Public? The same goes for the EP’S canon 28 bs. Stop impeding the spread of the Gospel.

                      Finally, if our Oriental Orthodox brothers and sisters have a correct theological understanding of the natures and person on Jesus Christ then, by proceeding with caution, start the reconciliation process. Why? Because a united church promulgates the Gospel better than a divided church.

                      Finally, I know I am a ball buster, but I am scared. Scared out of my mind for the future we will be leaving to our children. Will they remain Orthodox? Will they stand up to a culture that hates Jesus Christ? Only way they can do that is through a strong and united Church. Not a big Church ties to the U.S. state department or to the Russian Federation, but a strong and united Orthodox Church firmly planted on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. period end of discussion.

                      So to all of you I do love you and will always stand with my Orthodox brethren no matter what, but all of us, each one of us has to keep each other faithful and grounded.

                      Let the big guys fight their proxy wars for control. You and I need not get involved. Thid is madness. God love you all and as I always say please forgive me of my short comings (sins) and may God have mercy on us all.


            • M. Stankovich says

              All of this serves to prove the point that, as Mr. Putin facilitates the highest rate of legal abortion in Europe – held captive by Russian feminists, Western feminists, & fearing Western “civil rights” opinion – the Patriarch of Moscow is complicit in “tacking on” his complete silence to the tune of 30,000 reported legal abortions in his own back yard. It took him six years as patriarch – the equivalent of nearly 7 million legal abortions – to make one speech. And perhaps you would imagine that Russia & the Ukraine don’t have their own trade in fetal tissue & body parts? You would be wrong. Russophobia, Mr. Warren? The Patriarch put the horrible numbers on the record himself as did Putin’s government, and they are both distrusted as to reporting the real extent of legal abortions in Russia. Looking to hear, “Axios?” I’m thinking it would be more appropriate to offer Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead.

              • Michael Warren says

                You are a Russophobe hack who doesn’t know what he is talking about. You talking about human vivisection, which you vociferously argued in support of in regard to your Planned Parenthood ideological fellow moral cripples is simply another sign of desperation. For the record, the trade in human remains and vivisection is the mengele-esque cashflow scheme of banderofascists in the American colonial government in the Ukraine supported by Uncle Obama the Usurper. You support that. Syosset-Crestwood meta-morality.

                How much of the tens of millions stolen from the faithful of the OCA did +Theodosius, +Herman and Syosset-Crestwood spend on cocaine and male hustlers? Now that tells all about the moral dereliction your type of Americanizing Renovationist represents.

                When is your band of Renovationists going to account for its failed policies and meta-education by political talking points which created ignorant and sectarian narcissists like you who caused 92% of our parishoners to flee.

                Lastly, I have answered you and your kind with on topic responses and quotes. I hope the owner of the blog will post the answers to put an end to your liberal, heretical nonsense and that of your clown college. Your incompetence and betrayal of Orthodoxy has been and will be answered.

                You are a Russophobic Renovationist fraud and heretic who doesn’t know what he is talking about. Mr. The phronema means continual refirmation according to Fr. Florovsky, Mr. Fr. FLOROVSKY defined monasticism as schmemannite escapism, Mr. Fr. FLOROVSKY never referred to the Orthodox Church as the Una Sancta, Mr. Mt. Athos is unnormative of Orthodoxy, Mr. Homosexuality as iconographic anthropology, Mr. Putin and +Kirill have done nothing about a 50 year abortion trend inherited from Khruschev despite the fact THAT THEY HAVE PROMOTED LARGE FAMILIES WITH STATE SUBSIDIES, PROPOSED RESTRICTIONS AND BANNING OF ABORTION AND OPENLY PROFESS PRO LIFE PRINCIPLES IN THE FACE OF U.S. LED AND EU/EP- GOA SUPPORTED FAMILY PLANNING INITIATIVES WHICH INSIST ON THE BROADENING OF AVAILABILITY TO “SAFE ABORTIONS.” You are a heretical incompetent and a hypocrite who doesn’t know what he is talking about. Uncle Sam Uber Alles arguing for the “successful model of the ECUSA.”

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          MICHAEL WARREN wrote this, above:
          “3). Being an Eastern Rite Protestant liberal Renovationist heretic, you of course don’t understand that “blessed” in the Orthodox Church is a title affixed to Saints who are either a ). Not universally glorified within a local church OR b ). Fools for CHRIST. While a hierarchical Saint is properly referred to as “Holy Hierarch,” not “Holy Father.” Seems Crestwood Uniate school Jillions veneration has infected all its flunkies in our OCA.”
          “The BLESSED Great Princess of Russia Olga.”
          If Master Warren EVER attended a Vigil Service with Litiya in a RUSSIAN Church, he would hear the Deacon and then the Priest commemorating Saint Olga with those words, which he could also READ if he had either a ROCOR or an MP Servicebook (sluzhebnik). Of course, as a chauvinistic “Ruthenian”, he can’t be expected to be at all knowledgeable in Russian Orthodox Liturgics!

          And if Hierarchs are not addressed as “Father,” what does “Sv’atitel’u Otche Nikolae” mean? (Holy Prelate Father Nicholas.)

          Just saying…….

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Father George Florovsky of blessed memory was far from infallible or free from error in his teachings; in fact, he was known to stumble from tome to time.
            you’ll find for example, that he thought missionary work in China would never succeed much because many basic Christian concepts such as “good” and “evil” could not be expressed in Chinese without losing most of their necessary connotations!

            • Michael Warren says

              Well, your denunciation of Fr. FLOROVSKY serves as a visceral endorsement of him. Your point of view being the Syosset-Crestwood alternative. Thank you.

          • Michael Warren says

            “Blessed” in this sense is a title ROCOR affixed to a New Martyr. I don’t you of all people want to go down the road of validating the authority of all ROCOR says and does, being a Renovationist and Russophobe. While Holy Hierarch Nicholas is how that title is
            generally translated as in “Holy Hierarch Nicholas, pray to GOD for us!” “Father” used in an endearing sense, but Bishops are correctly addressed as “Holy Hierarch…”

            It always amazes me how exceptions to rules morph into invalidation of the rules amongst people who don’t respect the rules. Convenient. But at the outset unfaithful. Then again retired and convalescing isn’t fully responsible for being consistent, and in certain cases, even absolved from being faithful or acting appropriately.

      • Scott Arbuckle says

        Dr. Stankovich:

        I’ll give you ambitious. but we’ve yet to hear the fat lady sing His Holiness’ swan song. Thus, using “ludicrous” is certainly jumping to conclusions.

        • Michael Warren says

          I would write that taking this fraud seriously about something he clearly doesn’t understand is an exercise in lying to yourself.

  6. Gregory Manning says

    BTW George,
    A correspondent pointed out something that I completely missed. Look for photos of +Kyrill and Francis at the Havana meeting and you’ll notice one of the two standing in front of the Kazan Mother of God icon and +Kyrill presenting an exact copy to Francis. Kazan, of course, symbolizes the defeat and expulsion of the Polish Catholics at Kazan in 1774. I’m sure this is mere coincidence though.

  7. Do we have a full text?

  8. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Perhaps so many monasteries in Russia dropping him from commemoration at Liturgy caused him to try and spin his meeting with the Pope and the document he signed? Hope it’s not too late!

    • Gregory Manning says

      How many is “so many”?

      • Michael Warren says

        Just ask RTOC, ROCiE-A, ROCiE-V, ROAC, ROCOR-A and KP and the UGCC to get an “accurate,” maidanuty, russophobic number. Then realize the person writing that is a retired Bishop out of the loop and a banderofascist propagandist.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Here’s a link to a YouTube video (in Russian) of one of the non-commemorating Bishops and several Monastery abbots, explaining their horror with the Patriarch’s actions, This did not take place on the West Side of Detroit, that Shangri-La of Russian Orthodoxy!

          • Michael Warren says

            Yes, this takes place on YouTube, the voice of Russian Orthodoxy.

            Retired means convalescing in ones golden years, not degenerating into sectarian nonsense in them.

            But Russophobes and Renovationists don’t really have anything to say. So they have to find people to say who can get away with it. Thing is when they are retired and have contradicted themselves dozens of times over the last twenty years, showing no Orthodox consistency to their positions, no one takes such people seriously. They are simply old and reverting to childhood behaviors.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              The video COPIED onto YouTube was filmed in Holy Russia, in a thriving monastery. And it has left the Ruthenian completely unmanned and reverting to his default piety: name-calling. I hope all are praying that he will get a life with our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ, and learn from Bishop Longin!

          • Gregory Manning says

            Thank you for this Vladyka! The last time I saw the Bishop was when he was Archimandrite Michael in this heart-warming video of his orphanage.


            That video also was originally in Russian but was eventually subtitled (Thank God!). There appear to be quite a few of these cropping up but, alas, in Russian only. I would desperately love to know what they’re saying.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Thank you, Gregory Manning! Yes, indeed, Bishop Longin is indeed that wonderful LIVING SAINT, Fr Michael, that we saw in that video witness to his miraculous work with those countless children, countless orphans!
              It is that incarnate love for the orphans that gives his recent actions the “ecumenical authority” to which the Ruthenian attests a couple times already! Thank you for the link: I had lost it1

  9. Michael Warren says

    Compare this with the Syosset-Renovationist crowd announcing an event of joint prayer with Non Chalcedonians on our OCA website. They are celebrating canonically condemned prayer with heretics while questioning the use of the word “Renovationist” to define them. They prepared to indict fidelity to Orthodoxy while unashamedly using Lent to promote their program of Eastern Rite Protestant assault upon the Church.

    Then they wonder why Turkish Uniates in Istanbul and robber synods in Crete are opposed by us during Lent.

    • Tommy Katsarellis says

      Michael Warren: Your Synod is showing! Years ago in the 1970’s, both top Orthodox theologians and non-Chalcedonian theologians gathered many times to discuss their theological positions regarding Christology. The result was that the difference between the Greek language and the Arabic language in these matters was symantical. The Christology was really the same. And yet, there still is no inter-communion between the two!

      • Michael Warren says

        Your lack of Orthodox formation is showing. Since when have we rescinded the anathemas levelled against the Non Chalcedonians of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Coincils? Are you not aware the Holy Canons condemn prayer with both heretics and schismatics?

        Lemme give you some advice. Write a a monastery on Mt. Athos on the admissibility of prayer with Non Chalcedonians. Write a sober theologian of the State Church of Greece, say Fr. George Metallinos of +Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos). Write the Orthodox faculties of the universities of Belgrade or Tblisi. Then get back to me with their answers, supplying an excuse as to why you let your unread heterodox publicly show.

        And people who reject FOUR Ecumenical Councils, even IF they don’t teach heresy (and that still isn’t clear in all circles), are considered

        This is precisely why you should learn before writing nonsense. You would be well served to also note how well ROCOR regards 1). My OCA loyalty. 2). My rejection of their ecclesiology. 3). My politics. 4). My model for the future of the Russian and American churches. 5). My position rejecting their claims and my regard of their history as schismatic.

        So your unchurched lack of Orthodox formation is what is showing.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          I pray with my Protestant children, their spouses, and grandchildren almost daily. Especially since of my wife, five children, our sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, and twelve grandchildren, only one, my youngest son, is Orthodox. Many of the others are quite devout Christians.

          But then, my observance of many Orthodox “customs” and frequent attendance at Orthodox services over decades appears to have contributed to that son’s decision to become Orthodox, and with the question, “what are we waiting for?”, mine as well, at long last. Who knows what else may eventuate?

          Chalk it up to my “lack of Orthodox formation”. Unsurprising, inasmuch as I was a Protestant for 65 years!

          • Michael Warren says

            Of course! You know more than the Ecumenical Councils and the Holy Fathers!

            Thing is there is Orthodoxy and then there is Eastern Rite Protestantism. When you write such blatant denunciations of Orthodox discipline, you put yourself in the latter camp. I would simply write in reply that Orthodox conversion is more than a change in rite.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              I don’t claim to know anything, and I certainly denounce nothing. I say only what I do, and will continue to do, with my family.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Mr Warren I ask again: if you had been a captive on that Libyian Beach about to be beheaded with the 20 Copts would you have prayed with them?

              You know the letter and are full of fulminations, slapping down those who are “wrong”.

              Remember St Nicholas who was cast out of the Council and his episcopate (until Mary intervened) because he slapped Arius, the archheretic.

              May our good God have mercy on us all through the power of His Cross.

              It is easy to be ” right” it is hard to be Holy.

              • Michael Warren says

                Father Cleopa: What should be the attitude of Orthodox Christians towards Christians of other confessions?

                Towards other Christians, as long as they do not keep challenging us about the Truth of our faith we must behave with love and compassion, help them with their needs according to the example of the Good Samaritan given to us by our Savior Jesus Christ. (Luke 10:37, Matthew 7:12). However, if they are willing to challenge and provoke us about our holy faith or the Sacred Tradition of our Holy Church “we must defend it with all our might and we must fight until death” (Unseen Warfare, St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite).
                True, we must love our neighbor but within bounds. Whereas, our love towards God should know no bounds. Let’s not think that it is right to love our neighbor while allowing the True Faith of Christ to be stepped upon from foreigners (Protestant and non-Orthodox missionaries to Romania) because they want to distance us from this faith and teach us their own which is crooked and heretical. Therefore, every Orthodox priest and every faithful member of our church must be a good soldier of Christ with all the piety and bravery and power of Godliness in order to project the truth of our Orthodox faith, if capable by his words or writings. He must not pretend to be meek in situations where there is no need for meekness because according to the prophet:”There the meek must become a warrior.”(Joel 4:11)

                Poimen the Great teaches the same thing saying: “We must show perseverance for whatever temptation comes along whether they wish to pluck our eyes out or to cut our right hand. However, if someone wishes to distance us from our faith then let’s become idignant (Gerontikon). He also says,”the first time walk away, the second and third time fight against him who wants to separate you from the true faith.” Archimandrite Cleopa (Elie)

      • Michael Warren says

        My Mt. Athos is showing…

        THE Fathers of the Holy Mountain on the Joint Dialogue Between the Orthodox Church and the Non Chalcedonian churches:

        …Having become aware of such a danger, i.e., union with the Non-Chalcedonians founded upon un-Orthodox presuppositions, we are in constant unease and sacred indignation. The Faith is in danger, and we cannot trifle with things which cannot be trifled with. We are aware of our responsibility for the protection and preservation without innovations of the doctrine and ecclesiology of the holy Church as we have received them from the holy Fathers.

        Therefore we denounce the Joint Commission of this Dialogue for all the aberrations which we have noted hereafter and verified to:

        —His All-holiness Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch and his holy and sacred Synod.

        —The Most Blessed Primates of the ancient and other Patriarchates and the holy and sacred Synods of their hierarchs.

        —The Most Blessed Primates of the Holy Autocephalous Orthodox Churches and their holy and sacred synods of hierarchs.

        —All the sacred Orthodox clergy and pious people in all the world.

        Doing this, we confess that we are only moved by a feeling of responsibility.

        + + +
        I) For the bringing into question by the Joint Commission of the continual consciousness of our Church that it constitutes the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, when the Commission accepted the statement: “Both families have always preserved faithfully the same authentic Orthodox Christological Faith and the uninterrupted continuity of the apostolic tradition.” [II Joint Statement, paragraph 9]

        II) For the attack upon the validity and authority of the Holy Ecumenical Councils by the decision of the Joint Commission that the Anti-Chalcedon heresiarchs Dioscorus, Jacob, Severus, etc. be considered not heretical but Orthodox in their thinking. The consciousness of the Orthodox Church recognizes that infallibility and authority in the Holy Spirit is in the Ecumenical Councils and refuses to accept the possibility of revising the decisions of an Ecumenical Council by another Ecumenical Council without the latter Council being considered as an heretical conventicle, such as the Latrocinium of Ephesus.

        III) For the decision of the Joint Commission concerning the possibility of lifting an anathema placed by an Ecumenical Council. This is an unacceptable decision, alien to the sound mind of the Church, which offends the fundamental consciousness of the Church concerning the authority of the Ecumenical Councils.

        IV) For the radical disagreement of the Joint Commission with the teachings of the Holy Fathers as regards the Christology of the Non-Chalcedonians. The Fathers (Maximus the Confessor, Sophronius of Jerusalem, Anastasius of Sinai, John Damascene, Photius the Great, Theodore the Studite, Theodosius the Cenobiarch, etc.) term their Christology heretical, but the Joint Commission considers it to be Orthodox and a continuation of the ancient apostolic Faith of the Church.

        V) For the acceptance by the Joint Commission that the contemporary Non-Chalcedonians believe the same Christology as we do. However, this is not apparent in the Joint Statement (1989, 1990) in which there are many expressions susceptible to a monophysitic interpretation similar to the teaching of Severus, “The one unified theanthropic nature” [I Joint Statement] and “the natures are distinguished only in thought” [II Joint (Common) Declaration]. It was requested that the Non- Chalcedonians elucidate these terms in order to dispel any uncertainty so that we could be certain they understood them in an Orthodox sense. Unfortunately no answer was given.

        VI) For the limiting by the Joint Commission of requiring only the condemnation of the extreme Monophysitism of Eutyches by the Non-Chalcedonians. According to the teachings of the Holy Fathers and the conscience of the worshipping Church, even the moderate Monophysitism of Dioscorus and Severus is a heresy. The comparison of certain formulations in the Joint Statements with corresponding expressions of contemporary Non-Chalcedonian Patriarchs and theologians proves their adherence to moderate Monophysitism.

        VII) For the misleading declaration of the Bishop of Switzerland that the Non-Chalcedonians accept the teachings of our Ecumenical Councils [Episkepsis #5 / 16, March 31, 1995, p. 13] in spite of their refusal to accept the Orthodox interpretation of the Definitions of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Ecumenical Councils as their own interpretation also. We will give word for word the text of the Joint Statement which supposedly supports their acceptance of the teachings of these Ecumenical Councils. “As for the four succeeding Councils of the Orthodox Church, the Orthodox declare that for them, the above points one through seven are also the teachings of the four later Councils of the Orthodox Church, while at the same time the Oriental Orthodox consider this declaration of the Orthodox as their interpretation. With this mutual understanding, the Orientals responded to it positively.” We ask: Can it be concluded from this declaration that the Non-Chalcedonians accept without reservation the teachings of our Ecumenical Councils?

        VIII) For the novel theory of the Join Commission that “the formal proclamation of their ecumenicity [i.e., of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Ecumenical Councils by the Non- Chalcedonians] was considered generally that it would be a natural consequence of the restoration of full communion or that it could be evaluated in the future.” [Episkepsis #516 / March 31, 1995, p. 15]. In other words, the union will take place without their recognizing the Ecumenical Councils; but after the union they probably will be accepted or the matter will be put up for their evaluation. We ask: Which Orthodox bishop, who gave an oath to defend the Ecumenical and Local Councils, will accept intercommunion with bishops who will discuss if the Ecumenical Councils are Ecumenical?

        The doubtfulness of their acceptance by the Non-Chalcedonians is proved in the declaration of the Coptic Patriarch Shenouda III before the Inter-Orthodox Commission in Chambesy: “As for the Ecumenical Councils, we accept the first three … . . We reject the Council of Chalcedon… . I can say very frankly that all the Oriental cannot accept the Council of Chalcedon. . . . You have Seven Ecumenical Councils. If you should lose one, it should be no great loss to you” [from Metropolitan Chrysostom (Constantinides) of Myra, Dialogue of the Orthodox Church with the Ancient Oriental Churches, in the periodical Theologia, Athens 1980, Vol. 51, Issue 1, page 229-230].

        IX) For the tendency of concealing events and giving misleading information to the body of the Church by the Joint Commission—actions extremely provocative to church sensibilities—as proved in the following:

        A) The Minutes of the official meetings of the Joint Commission for Dialogue have yet to be published so that the hierarchy of the Church, the sacred clergy and the pious people be informed and aware.

        B) By orders of the local Churches, the Joint Commission assembled in its Fourth Meeting, and on the ground of what was accepted and agreed upon in the Joint Statements, it reached the decision of the possibility for lifting the anathemas. [Announcement of the Fourth Meeting, Episkepsis 498, November 30, 1993, p. 4, 6]. We ask: Which local Synod gave such an order or on the grounds of which Synodical decisions did the Primates of the Churches approve the texts of the Joint Statements and bless the decision concerning the lifting of the anathemas, based upon the theology of the Joint Statements as though upon a firm Orthodox foundation? Let such decisions of the Sacred Synods be published. Otherwise it will be understood that the Joint Commission proceeds to take successive decisions without first securing Synodical approval for its prior enactments and decisions.

        C) The Most Reverend Bishop of Switzerland affirms: “all the above mentioned local Orthodox and Oriental churches welcomed with enthusiasm not only the positive results of the Theological Dialogue but also the prospect for restoration of ecclesiastical communion after a separation of fifteen centuries; they described the complete agreement on Christological doctrine as an historical event. . .” [Episkepsis #516 / March 31, 1955, p. 14]. This affirmation is in resounding contradiction to concrete actions by the churches which testify the opposite. Specifically we refer to:

        1) The February 2, 1994 recommendation to the Sacred Synod of the Synodical Committee on Dogmatic and Canonical Issues of the Church of Greece, in which “The Committee proposes that the Church of Greece not hasten to accept these ‘Statements’ and considers the following as essential dogmatic conditions for the union of the Non-Chalcedonians with the Orthodox Catholic Church:

        a) The acceptance by the Non-Chalcedonians of the Defini- nition of the Fourth Ecumenical Council…

        b) the recognition of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Ecumenical Councils as being Ecumenical as well as their dogmatic definitions without interpretive statements…

        c) the discouragement of “concelebrations” or other “manifestations (demonstrations) of common (joint) worship”…

        If these conditions are not met, the Non-Chalcedonians … . remain … heterodox [Ecclesia, January 1-15, 1995, issue 1, p. 31]

        2) the December, 1994 submitted report of the Synodical Theological committee of the Church of Russia to the Sacred Synod of that Church’s hierarchy, in which “The Synod of of Hierarchs … decided the following:

        1) to approve the report of the Synodical Theological committee;
        2) to assess that the “Second Joint Statement and its proposals to the Churches” cannot be considered a final text…
        3) the Synodical Theological Committee should undertake a further study of the records of former meetings of the theologians of both sides… After this, the Orthodox Church of Russia will inform the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue of its opinion…
        4) having in mind the necessity for the participation of the people of God in this matter of firmly establishing the union, which people, according to the words of the Encyclical of the Patriarchs of the East, “is the guardian of ancient piety”, the Synod considers the time appropriate for the organization of a discussion by the whole Church upon this specific issue” [Episkepsis, 516, March 31, 1995, p. 16].

        Has there not been a scandalous deception in the information given to the people of God?

        D) Bishops of Orthodox Churches have declared to us that they had never been informed about events in this theological dialogue and that they will never accept a union unless the Non-Chalcedonians accept the Ecumenical Councils.

        We ask: Can such an omission of informing the Bishops of the Church who have a direct concern be justified, especially since conciliar approval is an indispensable condition when dealing with such serious issues?

        X) For the decision of the Sacred Synod of the Church of Romania as being alien to the mind of the Church, because this decision:

        A) considers that the anathemas were laid upon the heretics by the Ecumenical Councils in a spirit lacking love, while today, since love now exists, union can be accomplished. Such a way of thinking directs a profound blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, through Whose inspiration these decisions were made, and against the sacred memory of the Holy Fathers, whom the Church calls God-bearers, Mouths of the Word, Harps of the Spirit, etc.

        B) proposes the substitution of the authority of an Ecumenical Council by the unanimity of the local Sacred Synods—a new first in the history of the Church.

        C) approves the organizing of programs which will disseminate amidst the people the decisions of the Joint Commission without there having previously been a unanimous, pan-orthodox decision. These present conditions are certainly grievous and harmful for the pious Romanian people.

        For this reason, our hearts are filled with unspeakable sorrow for the Church of Romania.

        XI) For the extremely disturbing decision of the Joint Commission to purge the liturgical books of texts which refer to the Non-Chalcedonians as heretical. The sacred services of many holy confessors of the Faith, of many righteous Fathers, and especially the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Council in Chalcedon will be mutilated. The Synodicon of Orthodoxy will practically be silenced. The Synaxaria (Lives) of many Saints will cease to be read by the people of God.

        We ask: Are all the texts referred to above simply ornamental elements in Orthodox hymnology so that they can be painlessly and harmlessly removed, or are they basic elements of Orthodoxy, whose removal will cause the eradication of what we understand as Orthodoxy?

        As far as we are concerned, it would be an unacceptable innovation with consequences for the very identity of the Orthodox Church. …

        • George Michalopulos says

          Mr Warren, I’m with Mr Katsarellis on this one. If it is in fact true that the original schism with the non-Chalcedonians was prompted by a semantical misunderstanding, then it needs to be corrected on both sides and Communion should be restored. This of course would mean the non-Chalcedonians would have to accept the 4 thru 7 councils but so be it.

          • Michael Warren says


            Praying with schismatics or heretics is canonically condemned. I tend to think that Mt. Athos knows its stuff and Ecumania, INC tends to not have the surest fidelity to Orthodoxy.
            So I don’t believe it was a matter of semantics for 1500 years. Moreover, until they do accept all seven ecumenical councils as they were prepared to do in 1965, until being dissauded, we don’t have an earlier form of Orthodoxy amongst the Non Chalcedonians, we have a family of churches out of Communion with the Church for either heretical and/or schismatic reasons. The holy canons forbid joint prayer with heretics or schismatics.

            Would the powers that be pray with an Old Calendarist body? Probably not, and they would cite canons forbidding joint prayer with schismatics as an excuse. Such pick and choose canonical enforcement is precisely why those opposed to ecumenism have a point when they write, “ecumenism should be abandoned because the extremists tend to wrecklessly violate the Holy Canons thereby sowing scandal and divisions, schisms among the faithful.”

          • But that’s the problem, George: these ecumenists are trying to push union with the non-Chalcedonians without expecting them to accept Chalcedon or the rest of the Ecumenical Councils. The non-Chalcedonians remain in heresy, just like their forebears.

            • Michael Warren says

              I think that the christological concerns of the Holy Mountain above underscore that the question of heresy has not been settled. While the question of schism hasn’t even been addressed. The Holy Canons forbid joint prayer with heretics and schismatics. It does no good to those separated from the Church to act as if they are part of it. It only acts to confirm their prideful separation from the Church while we betray Orthodoxy and Orthodox witness. That is why acts like this are sectarian and undo Orthodox witness. These ecumaniac betrayals of Orthodoxy indict the supposedly Orthodox Bishops who approve of these things as renegades fomenting schism by openly having fellowship with it.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Michael Warren
                Have you never heard of the principle of economy as applied to Orthodox canon law. This principle gives competent authority to dispense with the letter of canon law for good purpose. In this case, the purpose is to remind the pubic of the fate of an Orthodox Bishop, Metropolitan Paul and a Syric Orthodox Bishop, John, both of Aleppo, who were kidnapped over two years ago by Islamic radicals. This case has been all but forgotten and has been ignored by the US government. In this instance, a few informal prayers will be said. No Divine Liturgy or sharing of Communion will take place.
                Frankly, I have read several of your posts, and think that you would do well to concentrate on your own sins, especially the sin of pride before you presume to judge anyone else. Whenever one starts judging others, they are opening the door to prelest. God will take care of His Church.

                • Michael Warren says

                  And yet you judge me?! Quite an example to follow. Especially when you unilaterally advocate setting the anathemas of four ecumenical councils aside. That, Father, is disobedience, schism, sectarianism. No, I do not welcome advice on obedience from the disobedient. I am Orthodox and not a Renovationist. I will not betray Orthodoxy. I will not be silent when it is betrayed. I have enough sins of my own. As I am sure you do as well.

                  Now, economy is used pastorally to “bring the Orthodox Christian up to speed” and structurally to “transition to affirmation of the canonical reality. Economy is used to lead to validation of strict observance, never to overthrow it. Are the Non Chalcedonians accepting Orthodoxy as a result of this canonically condemned joint prayer, which you for years denied was occurring? No. Thus, defying the Holy Canons in this instance is not economy, but prideful disobedience massaging heretical branch theory. And you call for humility?! Physician, heal thyself.

                • Fr. Morris,

                  Here is how one of your eminent Patriarch’s of the past dealt with this very issue:

                  Patriarch Theodore (Balsamon) of Antioch ca. 12th cent.

                  Question: Shall one perform priestly rites or pray together without danger with heretics, namely Jacobites and Nestorians, in their churches or even our own, or might one share a common table with them, or perform sponsorship at holy baptism, or perform memorial services of the departed, or commune of the Divine Sanctified Elements with them? For the areas difficulties create many such things, and I seek what one must do.

                  Answer: “Do not give the holy things to the dogs,” our Lord and God has said, nor “cast pearls before swine.” Indeed, on this account account Canon 64 of the Holy Apostles, the heralds of God, also states, “if any clergyman or layman might enter an assembly of the Jews or heretics to pray, let him be defrocked and excommunicated.” Canon 33 of the Council in Laodicea, but indeed also 6 and 34, states the following: “Concerning not permitting heretics to enter into a house of God while they remain in heresy,” because one must not pray with a heretic or schismatic, “a Christian must not abandon Christ’s martyrs and depart for false martyrs, namely, heretical ones or those that the aforementioned heretics produced. For these are estranged from God. Therefore, let those departing to them be anathematized.” Indeed, on this account we also decided that both clergy and laity are subject not only to excommunication and defrocking when they pray together in a church of Orthodox or heretics or whenever they pray together as clergy… For the difficulties of areas, and the increase of heretics, did not change the soundness of the Orthodox Faith. (Canonical Questions of the Most Holy Patriarch of Alexandria, Lord Markos, and the Answers for them by the Most Holy Patriarch of Antioch, Lord Theodoros Balsamon: Question 15. Viscuso, “A Guide to the Church Under Islam” pp. 82-84)

          • Trust in your Orthodox Saints brethren… if not the ancient ones, then trust in the contemporary ones.

            ‘People cite Vladyka John [Maximovitch]… To that which has been said above concerning him, I will add yet the following. Two days ago I was conversing about Vladyka John with a man whom Vladyka knew while still in Yugoslavia. When war broke out in the 1940s, and then during the post-war upheavals, this man was forced, “in the struggle for existence”, to roam quite a bit about this wide world. When, after the passage of several years, he again met with Vladyka, he began to recount to him concerning his “tribulations”. In particular, he said: “For three years I had to live where there was no Orthodox church, and I went to the Copts.” “What? You went to the Copts?” inquired Vladyka John. The man, having cringed, as he himself related, at Vladyka’s severe tone, replied: “Yes, I did, but I didn’t attend their liturgies”. “But you did attend the vigils?” “I did, Vladyka.” “But did you repent of it?” “No, but then, I didn’t pray there, I was only present.” “Well, the next time you go to confession, without fail repent of the fact that you were present at the services of the heretics,” concluded Vladyka John.’ (Metropolitan Philaret [Voznesensky]: Two Letters to Archbishop Averky)

            Blessed Elder Paisios considered the anti-Chalcedonians (that is, the Monophysites) — along with the other heretics and those of other religions — to be creatures of God and our brothers according to the flesh, in terms of our common descent from Adam; but he didn’t consider them childern of God and our brothers according to the Spirit, characterizations he applied only to Orthodox Christians. Regarding the Monophysite’s sympathizers and their fervent supporters among the Orthodox, he observed, “They don’t say that the Monophysites didn’t understand the Holy Fathers — they say that the Holy Fathers did not understand them. In other words, they talk as if they are right and and the fathers misunderstood them”. He considered proposals to erase from the liturgical books statements identifying Dioscorus and Severus as heretics to be a blasphemy against the holy fathers. He said, “So many divinely enlightened holy fathers who were there at the time didn’t understand them, took them the wrong way, and now we come along after so many centuries to correct the holy fathers? And they don’t take the miracle of Saint Euphemia into account? Did she misunderstand the heretics’ tome too? (Hieromonk Isaac: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos; 2012 For the English Language by the Holy Monastery of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian , pp. 659-660)

            Also, place your trust in theologians that trust the Saints:

            Met. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos:

            [T]he lack of recognition by the so-called Anti-Chalcedonians of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils, and the theory of some Orthodox theologians of Neo-Chalcedonianism, in essence have a common denominator and cannot be accepted by the Orthodox Church.
            It is precisely for this reason that we cannot, on the Orthodox side, speak of Anti-Chalcedonians or Pre-Chalcedonians, but only of Monophysites, since the so-called Anti-Chalcedonians believe that, although the union in Christ was of two natures, after the union there is one nature in Christ. Some so-called Anti-Chaldedonians argue that, although after the union there is one nature in Christ, the human nature has not disappeared. And this view is paradoxical. How can it be one nature in Christ after the union “without the human nature disappearing”, and how does this human nature stand by itself, without this being considered Nestorianism, which the Anti-Chalcedonians want to fight? This is the reason that moves me to call them Monophysites and not Anti-Chalcedonians or Pre-Chalcedonians. (Met. Hierotheos Vlachos of Nafpaktos and St. Blasios, Dialogue with the Monophysites)

            Fr. Georges Florovsky:

            More than anything else, the spirit of the system distinguishes the Monophysites from St. Cyril. It was not at all easy to reshape Cyril’s inspired doctrine into a logical system, and the terminology made this problem more difficult. Hardest of all was intelligibly defining the form and character of the human “traits” in the God-Man synthesis. The followers of Severus could not speak of Christ’s humanity as a “nature.” It broke down into a system of traits, for the doctrine of the Logos “taking” humanity was still not developed fully by Monophysitism into the idea of “inter-hypostasisness.” The Monophysites usually spoke of the Logos’ humanity as oikonomia. It is not without foundation that the fathers of the Council of Chalcedon detected here a subtle taste of original Docetism. Certainly this is not the Docetism of the ancient Gnostics at all, nor is it Apollinarianism. However, to the followers of Severus the “human” in Christ was not entirely human, for it was not active, was not “self-motivated.” In the contemplation of the Monophysites the human in Christ was like a passive object of Divine influence. Divinization or theosis seems to be a unilateral act of Divinity without sufficiently taking into count the synergism of human freedom, the assumption of which in no way supposes a “second subject.” In their religious experiment the element of freedom in general was not sufficiently pronounced and this could be called anthropological minimalism. (Fr. Georges Florovsky: The Byzantine Fathers of the Sixth Through Eighth Centuries)

            I should like to be an advocatus diabolus because I feel the need. First, I am wholeheartedly in favor of a reconciliation between eastern churches, but I am not for over-emphasis on the East. Eastern ecumenism is a contradiction in terms. The West also belongs to the oikoumene. We cannot afford to forget the West — and the Tome of Leo. The Christian Tradition is universal. The Byzantine Church was afraid of precipitating a schism by rejecting Leo. We must also be careful. …I have also doubts about agreement on the basis of a one-sided Cyrillian formula. I think it is important to come to terms with the later Ecumenical Councils. (1964, Discussion on the Paper ‘The Problem of the Unification of Non-Chalcedonian Churches of the East with the Orthodox on the Basis of Cyril’s Formula: “Mia Physis tou Theou Logou Sesarkomene’ by Professor Johannes N. Karmiris)

            Fr. Theodore Zizis:

            In reality there is not a Father and Saint of the Church throughout the age-long Tradition of the fifteen centuries, from the Fourth Ecumenical Synod until today, who would believe and teach that we do not have differences in faith with the Non-Chalcedonians and that they are essentially Orthodox as we are. On the contrary, there are many great Saints of our Church, after the Synod of Chalcedon, who set forth the depth and the breadth, in any case the extent, of the heresy of the Non-Chalcedonians. Among them are colossi and giants of theology, pillars of Orthodoxy, whose multifarious wisdom, apart from the illumination of the Holy Spirit, is astonishing and undeniable, so much superior to the wisdom of those conducting the dialogue today, that it appears risible to argue that they did not understand the reasoning and the positions of the Non-Chalcedonians and that we understand them better today. (Protopresbyter Theodore Zisis, Professor at the University of Thessaloniki: St. John of Damascus and the ‘Orthodoxy’ of the Non-Chalcedonians)

            May God illumine the anti-Chalcedonians to the fullness of Truth.

            • M. Stankovich says

              You seem to have (inadvertently?) missed the only Father whose words are of any realistic consequence, and were admitted and published in the official proceedings of the Council of Chalcedon, Blessed Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria:

              [The] Word having personally united to himself flesh animated by a rational soul, did in an ineffable and inconceivable manner become man, and was called the Son of Man, not merely as willing or being pleased to be so called, neither on account of taking to himself a person, but because the two natures being brought together in a true union, there is of both one Christ and one Son; for the difference of the natures is not taken away by the union, but rather the divinity and the humanity make perfect for us the one Lord Jesus Christ by their ineffable and inexpressible union.[emphasis added]

              This taken from his Letter to Nestorius, diretly from the Proceedings (Migne. Vol. 68, or NPNF, Vol. 14). It is from Cyril the Council adopted the phrase, μία φύσις τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη.

              What you seem unable to grasp is how nuanced and confusing this Greek phrase actually is – and I would ask Monk James, Peter and Fr. Patrick to comment – in that some are cavalierly referring to, for the example, the Coptic Orthodox, as “Monophysites,” i.e. those who, as Prof. Jaroslav Pelikan noted, “are such as Severus, who could not worship the corruptible body of the Son of God – when the Copts declare they fully accept the articulation of St. Cyril: “You believe that the incarnate Word of God is a ‘true union‘ of His humanity and His divinity?” “We believe in one nature [μία φύσις] of God the Word [τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου] made flesh [σεσαρκωμένη] .” But you understand the implication of Blessed Cyril and the Council is that there are [ἐκ] free/separate (pertaining to persons) [δύο φύσεσιν] two natures [ἀσυγχύτως] unconfused [γνωρίζεσθαι] made known/revealed [τον Χριστὸν] in Christ?” “We accept the theology of the Church as expressed by Blessed Cyril and the Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon.”

              Had you devoted your time to actually reading the proceedings of Chalcedon & the writings of Blessed Cyril – rather than preparing a legal brief for trial – it would have been a much more interesting discussion. I don’t mean that in pejorative sense, but only to say it is highly complicated, highly nuanced situation presumed that, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mk. 29:9)

              • Michael Warren says

                Then there is the Fifth Ecumenical Council which based its Christology on the writings of Holy Cyril of Alexandria and still condemns Non Chalcedonians as Monophysite Heretics.

                If these moderns were so much more inspired than the Ecumenical Councils, who is it they could not answer the reservations of the Fathers of the Holy Mountains in establishing a tenable Orthodox ecclesiology ecclesiology? Why has the dialogue avoided their christological concerns. We know that are Orthodox. Fifteen centuries tell us the Non Chalcedonians are not. While the supposedly “Orthodox’ participants in the ecumaniac dialogues have shown no great concern for fidelity to Orthodoxy. And here you are a person who believes in the phronema as continuing deformation and affirms the iconography of homosexuality asserting that Orthodox positions on christological and ecclesiological implications of this sectarian dialogue are not germane to its success.

                Thus we witness a very contrived morphing of Monophysitism, Monotheletism, Monoenergism into Miaphysitism, Miathelitism, Miaenergism. Where the ecumaniac model of union becomes maintaining two equivalent schools of Christology affirming a common invisible ecclesiology (branch theory). Then you have the audacity to parade that sectarian overthrow of Orthodoxy as some sort of achievement.

                You will belch all manner of ignorant invective and redacted, metapatristic drivvle to state a Crestwood Renovationist ecclesiology which is nothing but canonically condemned heresy.

                You will do it taking it out of context authorities whose ideas you neither understand whose quotes you pulled out of a hat to affirm an ideological statement, with lack of fidelity to Orthodoxy a foregone conclusion.

                Crestwood fake it until you make it meta-erudite, metapatristic meta-scholarship for an Eastern Rite Protestant heretical fringe.

                And the Holy Canons still forbid joint prayer with heretics and schismatics.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Let me push “pause” for a moment to make a point to you – and to Maximus, for that matter: you are not addressing the correct question. The question at hand is not whether the Councils appropriately and accurately articulated the Orthodox Faith, condemning all Christological heresies that had arisen. Of course they did, resolutely, indisputably, and finally. But that is not the issue at hand. The issue at hand is whether the Armenians and the Copts, for example, hold principles that are heretical. And as Fr. Phillip so aptly states above, it is not their Christology that hinders their unification – and “acceptance” of the final Councils – but 1,000+ years of history. “It will not happen overnight.”

                  Finally, you would both attempt to establish “authority” either by virtue of person or location. Mr. Warren attempts to convince us that, without knowing anything further than than an address on Mt. Athos, the “holy fathers” of Athos are necessarily informed and correct. This would be an extraordinarily dangerous precedent to set, particularly in light of the warning of St. John the Evangelist: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 Jn. 4:1). On the other hand, Maximus relates that he would rather “trust” the exegesis of Blessed John Maximovitch “and co” than me; a point I could hardly argue. But this is to presume that every word that passes the lips of a Saint is necessarily true, accurate, and, I don’t know what, “sanctified.” This is ridiculous. St. John of Damascus, in his Exposition of the Orthodox Faith describes in detail the traditional Aristotelian teachings of the human body and temperament being driven by “winds,” “bile,” and “gall.” Is this true because it was issued by, perhaps, the single greatest articulator of the Orthodox Church? But much more significantly, St. Gregory of Nyssa, until his repose, held and taught the concept of ἀποκατάστασις; he could not imagine that God could condemn any of his creatures to eternal damnation, but would facilitate a “return” or “restoration” (thus the term ἀποκατάστασις) in the form of “cleansing fire.” The Councils later condemned this teaching as heresy. St. Gregory continues to be acknowledged as a great Saint and Teacher.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    You don’t know what you are talking about.

                    I know necessarily that your kind are wrong and have no fidelity to Orthodoxy, referring back to what I have written above to which you have not provided a legitimate answer.

                    The Holy Canons still forbid prayers with heretics and schismatics.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    The fact that the spiritual accomplishments of the past do not seem to be appreciated always but on the contrary they are looked upon with some contempt by some contemporary ‘orthodox’ theologians, this does not bring forth a favorable witness about their dogmatic consciense nor does it give the feeling that tradition is alive in them; especially since these theologians are eager to betray their Fathers.”
                    Vladimir Lossky

                  • Michael Warren says

                    Cut off from the Church: One must neither pray nor sing psalms with those who are cut off from the communion of the Church, whether clergy or layman: let him be excommunicated” – Council of Carthage.
                    “No one shall pray in common with heretics and schismatics” – Council of Laodicea.

                  • Tommy Katsarellis says

                    The issue that everyone will be saved at the end of the ages just isn’t Scriptural. St. Gregory taught this as well as Origen and other great teachers. And it isn’t that God rejects those condemned, but they condemn themselves. The devil & his followers “chose” not to be with God and the same with some humans; they have chosen not to be with God. So be it – Amen!

              • Mr. Stankovich,

                Please attempt to understand the heart of the issue. The thrust of my argument is that both St. Cyril AND the Orthodox Catholic Church has accepted Latin/Antiochian dyophysite terminology whereas Dioscoros, Severos and those who commemorate them historically did not. Therefore, a schism was caused over terminology. Not to mention, they’re monergists and monothelites too. These two heresiarchs and others among their saints have been condemned as heretics by Ecumenical Councils, the divine services and the Saints. Nuff said for me UNTIL they embrace the Councils.

                Even irenic theologians acknowledge that the original Monophysites were fundamentalist Cyrillian schismatics at best. Read the briefings!

                Fr. J. Meyendorff:

                Essentially a conservative or “fundamentalist” schism, Monophysitism rejected the “catholic” dimension of Chalcedon. Indeed, in the view of Chalcedonian and Neo-Chalcedonian orthodoxy, the catholicity of the Church requires that the one Truth be expressed in different terminologies; that some legitimacy be granted not only to Alexandrian expressions of salvation in Christ, but also to the Antiochian and the Western Latin tradition found in the Tome of Leo (provided there was agreement in substance); that a clearly “diphysite” christology was necessary to refute Eutychianism, and that it did not amount to a disavowal of St. Cyril. By standing for their theology, their formulas only, the Monophysites were moving in the direction of deliberate and exclusive sectarianism. This trend resulted in further grouping and splits, each group affirming its own exclusivity, rejecting other groups by always remaining opposed to Chalcedonian unity…In Egypt alone, by the end of the sixth century, the anti-chalcedonian opposition was split into twenty groups, each claiming canonical and doctrinal purity, and, in many cases, counting adepts in Syria, Arabia and Persia (Fr. John Meyendorff, Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions: The Christian East After Justinian, pp. 252-253)

                Fr. John McGuckin:

                Dioscorus sometimes has wrongly been accused of misinterpreting Cyril’s mind on this point, but in fact he consistently applied Cyril’s ideas and interpreted all christology on the basis of the pure Cyrilline canon, with one significant exception. What he did was to attempt to delete Cyril’s Antiochene negotiations from the picture. He came to regard all Syrian ‘variations’ on the Cyrilline theme as dispensable. This was a fatal emendation of his teacher’s life’s work. Dioscorus regarded the rapprochement of 433 as merely the result of imperial pressure placed on a sick old man, whose judgment had accordingly lapsed. In consequence, he cut across the diphysite literature of Cyril and thus abandoned the policy of mutual search for an agreed terminology that had been slowly bringing the churches together in common agreement after the council of Ephesus. In this, he not only abandoned a part of Cyril’s legacy, but made a large departure from Proclus too. (Fr. John McGuckin: Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controvery pg. 229)

                Fr. Demetrios Bathrellos:

                Strictly speaking, it is not fair to characterize the anti-Chalcedonians as Monophysites. Most of them were clearly far from being at one with Eutyches. However, it seems doubtful that their Monophysitism was totally verbal and that they were absolutely clear of monophysitizing tendencies and traits. At any rate, it is difficult to be other than negative in our judgment of the Christology of Severus and the anti-Chalcedonians overall. Their Christology seems to have been one-sided, emphasizing the unity of Christ and failing to safeguard equally well the distinction between the divine and human elements in him. Their rejection of the Chalcedonian distinction between person/hypostasis and nature/essence, related as it was to a certain interpretation of Cyril and a kind of Cyrillian fundamentalism, kept them from taking advantage of the Council’s terminological achievements, which, by comparison with the language of Cyril, unquestionably marked a step forward. As Grillmeier has observed, the fact that the anti-Chalcedonians sought unity and distinction on the same level, the level of nature, inevitably led them into a contradiction, which seems to be relevant to the fact that in their various camp various Trinitarian and Christological heresies evolved together with internal schisms, fractions, and splinter groups. Their prejudice against the number two is as suspicious as their relegation of the humanity of Christ to a set of qualities of the Logos. Their unwavering opposition to Chalcedon and it’s post-Chalcedonian exponents indicates that in all probability their Christology differed from theirs. Finally, their monothelitism and monoenergism exerted a negative influence on those theologians of the official Church who, by trying to bridge the gap between the Church and the anti-Chalcedonians, ended up by adopting those positions that led to the outburst of the monothelite controversy of the seventh century. (Fr. Demetrius Bathrellos: The Byzantine Christ/ Person, Nature and Will in the Christology of St. Maximus the Confessor, pg. 33-34)

                I simply trust St. John Maximovitch and co.’s shared exegesis over yours. There is likely nothing anyone can do to convince you but here is more info if you’re interested:




                • M. Stankovich says


                  To the contrary, I have not offered an “exegesis,” nor should someone need an exegesis if they simply employ the precedent established by those gathered at the Council of Chacedon: “We, joining with the Holy Fathers before us…” It was not my intention to offend you, and trust that anyone with a formal theological degree has systematically examined the documents you proffer from the vantage of Church History, Patristics, and Dogmatic Theology. In fact, you have directly quoted my former confessor, instructors, and theologians I have read and admired. Why do I need disobedient monks – regardless of their venue – or self-appointed internet “theologians” offering their respective “takes?” The only thing necessary – and please read again the comment by Peter Papoutsis – is fidelity to the Scripture, the Patristic Fathers, and to our Holy Tradition. You have your opinion, I have mine, and the brower has a brand new feature you may not be aware of: you can actually scroll by anyone you do not wish to read. Imagine!

                  • Michael Warren says

                    The fact he refers to the Athonite fathers as “disobedient monks” FOR EXPRESSING PATRISTIC AND CANONICALLY SOUND criticism of ecumaniac betrayals of Orthodoxy screams the Renovationist, heretical of this Eastern Rite Protestant. He knows better than the Church. He knows better than Mt. Athos. He is a one man ecumenical mouth discarding the Holy Canons in the drop of a dime, namedropping, redacting, taking out of context anything and everything to make himself everything other than an inconsequential Crestwood meta-erudite refugee who couldn’t even master the system of her heretical talking points they programmed him with.

                    You can have him and ecumenism or you can have Orthodoxy and Mt. Athos. I wonder whose teaching will lead you to theosis. Let’s take bets on WHO the truly disobedient ones are. I somehow don’t think there will be many people riding with Syosset-Crestwood when it comes to actually costing one something. Here the cost are anathemas and spiritual peril.

                    Stankovich preaches branch theory here. That is anathemized as heresy. Case closed.

                  • Mr. Stankovich,

                    I’m not offended one iota, honestly. The Monophysites have been condemned by the Councils, the Divine Services and the Saints by name. I only seek to truthful to that fact. I actually believe that nowadays they are relatively “more orthodox”; and they can prove this to all by accepting the 4-7 Councils. Shouldn’t be too hard since its supposedly only confused Greek which now separates us. I’m all for the union! Below is an offer that one of Emperor St. Justinian’s theologians offered to them:

                    Leontius of Jerusalem – So as to demonstrate, as may be, before God and men that your secession from the Church isn’t reasonable, look, we set aside every argument we might make against your allegations, and make you the following offer: If you’ll join with us in confessing the tried and true doctrines, saying both ‘one incarnate nature of God the Word’ and that there are two natures of Christ united in His one hypostasis, and if you also don’t repudiate the Council, and Leo, and ourselves, then we, for our part, anathematize even an angel from heaven sooner than we do you, if he doesn’t think and speak and write likewise; we praise and accept Severus, Dioscorus, Timothy, and you, and anyone at all who shares such views; we add nothing to this, but we leave the judgment on those who think in this way, or who speak in one way and think in another, to God, the judge of all. (Testimonies of the Saints)

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    To support Michael’s, George’s and Tommy’s positions on this matter I do not believe for one moment that the Non-Chalcedonians would reject the teachings of the Council of Chalcedon. Further, the non-Chalcedoneans MUST accept the Council of Chalecedon not because we were right and they they were wrong, but because BOTH of us were right and the schism was caused more for political and cultural reasons than for theological reasons.

                    Here is the Joint Statement between the us and the non-Chalcedonians.

                    So the Non-Chalcedonians and us believe the same as to the nature(s) and Person of Jesus Christ. So nothing stands in the way of reunification. However, if the Non-Chalcedonians want unit then they MUST accept the Council of Chalcedon.

                    Now why? Because Chalcedon was correct and it is an Ecumenical Council inspired and protected by the Holy Spirit. You cannot have one half of the Church accept Chalcedon and the other half not. IF the Oriental Orthodox DO believe the same as US Orthodox then The Council of Chalcedon and its teachings will not be a problem, especially in light of the above joint statement. However, the Oriental Orthodox view Chalcedon through cultural and political eyes not theological eyes. The Byzantines (i.e Greeks) were very cruel to the Non-Chacedonians and those feelings of hurt and betrayal die hard, very hard.

                    So I agree with Michael, George, et. al., that the Oriental Orthodox DO believe the same as us on the Nature(s) and Person of Christ, but there is a lot of time, culture, pain, hurt and betrayal that we need to overcome. That more than theology separates us from the Non-Chalcedonians. Its time we spent more time and effort in heeling that schism than the one with Rome that is bigger and much more based on a REAL difference in theology.

                    PS On a Historical Note if the non-Chalcedonians remained in the Church instead of persecuted and chased out Islam may not have achieved the foothold that it did in the Middle East. That’s just MHO.


                    • Michael Warren says

                      Well you know more than four ecumenical councils.

                      One of the “political concerns” was the See of Constantinople superseding Alexandria as the second see of the Church, BTW. Yet you argue that primacy does not change as a result of historical and political factors.

                      So I am wont to discount your agreement with others on this topic in light of objections voiced above, both as inconsiderate of the material discussed and as insincere in your own position.

              • And I completely disagree with St. Cyril being the ONLY father that really matters in this dispute. That’s Florovsky’s main contention, Orthodoxy also accepted Latin and Antiochian terminology, therefore, to agree solely upon our shared Alexandrian terms is to surrender to Cyrillian fundamentalism and repudiate our Tradition.

                St. Sophronios of Jerusalem accepted St. Leo’s Tome as a “pillar of Orthodoxy” in his synodical letter, accepted in its entirety by the 6th Council (quite ironic, the Pope of Rome was the first pillar of Orthodoxy):

                “Together with those sacred writings of the all-wise Cyril, I likewise accept as being sacred and of equal honor, and the mother of the same Orthodoxy, also the God-given and divinely inspired letter of the great and illustrious Leo of godly mind, of the most holy Church of the Romans, or rather the luminary of all under the sun, which he wrote, clearly moved by the divine Spirit, to Flavian, the famous leader of the Queen of Cities, against the perverse Eutyches and Nestorius, hateful to God and deranged. Indeed I call and define this [letter] as ‘the pillar of orthodoxy’, following those holy Fathers who well defined it this way, as thoroughly teaching us every right belief, while destroying every heretical wrong belief, and driving it out of the halls of holy catholic church, guarded by God. With this divinely conceived epistle, and writing I also attach myself to all his letters and teachings as if they issued from the mouth of the chief Peter, and I kiss and cleave to them and embrace them with all my soul.

                Additionally, St. Leo’s Tome is called the same (a pillar of Orthodoxy) by the Lateran Council of 649 with the Confessors Pope St. Martin presiding and St. Maximus providing the theological heavy lifting. St. Cyril matters and he’s the rule BUT we must be joined to how our Saints interpreted him throughout the centuries, even up to now. Don’t be fooled by shared Cyrillian formulas, dear brethren.

                Fr. Florovsky: Therefore, Monophysitism becomes “more orthodox” in a strange and unexpected way precisely when the religious wave has receded and theology is cooling down to scholasticism. It is at this time that Monophysite closeness to St. Cyril seems so obvious, for this is closeness in word, not in spirit.

                • Excellent point, that last one. I don’t believe our modern era has been given the gift of discernment enough to parse doctrine of this level. Our duty is fidelity in these dark times, not throwing up a bigger tent.

                • M. Stankovich says


                  First and foremost, let me clarify that I have no need to impose myself here, and I fully appreciate you are not interested in my “exegesis,” but, please, for the sake of the “brethren,” at least look at what I actually wrote; and importantly, they are not my words, but belong to Fr. John Meyendorff: while it did not breach the divide with the non-Chalcedonians – nor did it end the Christological controversy at the time – “Chalcedon plus Cyril” resolved the Christological controversy for the Orthodox and established the Faith of the Fathers. The clarification, ἐκ δύο φύσεσιν ἀσυγχύτως γνωρίζεσθαι τον Χριστὸν, is undoubtedly the necessary clarification facilitated at the hand of Leo – that is a given, and his words were read to, and praised by the body of the Council, and the emperor ordered they be published. It is Chalcedon that set the precedent for every Council forward, “joining with the Holy Fathers before us.” This is all discernible with no other record necessary. If your point to me is that we may better understand this controversy with more exegesis, excellent, and I compliment you on culling the pertinent citations.

                  Back to the future: we remain with increasingly hostile, misguided individuals in all corners of the church – obviously potentiated by the supposed “anonymity” of the internet – who chastize & condemn those who would even dialog in an attempt to reconcile this tragic divide. It seems to me that the Truth, rather than render one vulnerable to “swindle,” empowers those truly faithful to proceed without fear. I strongly suspect that those who shout the loudest are the ones easiest to overrun.

                  • Mr. Stankovich,

                    For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. (2 Cor. 13:8)

                    For my part, I’ve condemned no one. I have manfully stated my beliefs and I never became heated or passionate throughout any of these exchanges. Thank you for the dialogue and we should continue to have them.

                    Marlon Maximus Scott

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      My comment was neither directed toward, nor intended to describe you. My apology for not being clearer.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  The Oriental Orthodox do have a valid argument. It is possible to profess fidelity to Chalcedon and still be a Nestorian. The proof of this is the case of John Calvin. In his “Institutes,” Calvin claims to faithfully support Chalcedon. However, he then gives a Christology that has a strong tendency towards Nestorianism. The major flaw in Calvin’s Christology is that he denies the Patristric doctrine of the Communication of Attributes, and with it the deification of the human nature of Christ.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    So the Orthodox are Nestorians? Or the Orthodox are as wrong as John Calvin regarding Chalcedon?

                    I don’t think anyone who reasons like this should be talking about economy.

                  • Fr. Morris and brethren,

                    St. Gregory Palamas said that a “valid argument” could be raised even against the Truth Itself. So yes, that is very true. I’ve read their apologetics and some of the works of Severus. Comparing their feeble counterarguments to the light of Orthodoxy theology, I completely agree with St. John Damascene: “they opposed the Synod and fabricated countless charges against it to the best of their ability. We have taken up these charges in this book and sufficiently refuted them, showing them to be clumsy and stupid.” (Concerning Heresies, 83)

                    One can truly hold to every single word of Chalcedon and be a Nestorian, likewise, one can hold to every word of St. Cyril and truly be a monergist, monophysite and a monothelite. Fr. Romanides and Fr. McGuckin, both supporters of the Non-Chalcedonian cause btw, suggested that Chalcedon ought to be re-assessed since it’s thoroughly Cyrillian; they also suggest that this is a fact that western and miaphysite christological scholarship have missed.

                    Fr. Romanides:

                    “I think a very basic difficulty which we Chalcedonians of the Greek tradition face is that there is a peculiar theological alliance between the Latin (including Protestant) and non-Chalcedonian scholars in regard to Chalcedon. For the same reasons that the Westerners can accept Chalcedon, the non-Chalcedonians reject Chalcedon. Both sides try to prove that Chalcedon rejected the Twelve Chapters of St. Cyril and accepted Leo’ s Tome either as a correction (so say the Westerners) or as a distortion (so say the non-Chalcedonians) of Cyrillian Christology. Contrary to both these approaches (which do not represent the central tradition of Chalcedon) the Chalcedonian Greeks read the documents of Chalcedon in the light of Ephesus I (431) and Constantinople II (553). The usual Latin and non-Chalcedonian picture whereby our Illyrian, Thracian, Asian, Pontian, Cappadocian, Palestinian, and Egyptian Fathers are presented as capitulating before a few Latin and Antiochene bishops is caricature and not history.”

                    Fr. McGuckin, Christological Controversy:

                    “The bishops would accept this [Pope St. Leo’s dyophysite phraseology], however, only on the basis of the strictest qualifications and safeguards (such as those agreed by Cyril himself in the Succensus letters). The adverbs of Cyril they had in mind were that the two natures endured in the one Christ: unchangeably (atreptos), undividedly (ameristos), and unconfusedly(asynchtos)…in fact, Leo’s attribution of separate actions to natures had been decidedly dropped, and his terms only inserted as one key sentence: the phrase ‘the property of each nature being preserved and concurring in one prosopon’. To have supplied, in substance, three of the four so-called ‘Chalcedonian adverbs’ already, and with the fourth missing adverbs emphasizing Cyril’s basic point of the inseparability of the natures, is hardly, on anyone’s terms, a ‘triumph’ of western and Antiochene christology.”

                    “It is easy for you to use the Latin interpretation of Chalcedon as a stick against us, but if we are to get anywhere you will have to take the Greek Chalcedonian interpretation of the place of Leo’s Tome at the Fourth Council more seriously.”

                    Fr. Demetrios Bathrellos also adds: “… in sharp contradistiction to anti-Chalcedonian Cyrillian fundamentalism, the Council [of Chalcedon] showed a flexibility in the use of various Christological expressions. It is noteworthy, for example, that it accepted the Cyrillian formula ‘one incarnante nature of God the Logos’ as a legitimate Christological expression. It did so, on the proviso that the Cyrillian formula be interpreted on the basis of, and in light of, Chalcedon…Chalcedonians had two options: either to understand the word ‘nature’ as equivalent to hypostasis, or to take the word ‘enfleshed’ as an indication of a second nature.”(Byzantine Christ)

                    Hence, the Orthodox Church allows and even declares the necessity “of two natures” AND “in two natures” when understood correctly, BUT disallows mere terminological adherence when understood in a perverse manner.

                    I wholly disagree with Peter since he believes that whole Ecumenical Councils, the Divine Services and the Saints condemned men for linguistic, cultural and political reasons! Perhaps he’s never read where the Miaphysites are mentioned in the Councils, it appears to me that they offer theological reasons for their actions. The Decree 7th Council is explicit that blasphemy was committed:

                    “With the Fathers of this Synod we confess that He Who was incarnate of the immaculate Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary has two natures, recognizing him as perfect God and perfect man, as also the Council of Chalcedon has promulgated, expelling from the divine Atrium [αὐλῆς] as blasphemers, Eutyches and Dioscorus; and placing in the same category Severus, Peter and a number of others, blaspheming in various fashions.”

                    Btw, Dioscoros, Severus and Peter are Miaphysite saints. My patron, St. Maximus, also flat out taught that the problem is theological:

                    “…the doctrine of Severus, when examined is opposed both to theology and to the economy.” (Opuscule 3)

                    That’s exactly WHY St. Paisios said that it’s blasphemy against the Holy Fathers to hold to what Peter suggests, because it turns them into blasphemous deceivers. That would make our Holy Fathers into men who accused other men of blasphemy as a cover for cultural favoritism, and their accusation would fall on their own heads if that were the case. And this is true even if one believes both sides are guilty or in error. God forbid! To counter this assertion, W.H.C. Frend in his work “The Rise of the Monophysite Movement” addresses that opinion:

                    “There could be no greater mistake than to try to see the Monophysites as Donatism in Egyptian or Syrian form. Chalcedon was followed by a schism of hearts and minds throughout the whole of the east, but no ‘altar was set up against altar’ as it had been in Africa in 312. No formal break occured until a very considerable number of Christians throughout the east came to feel that it was intolerable to receive sacraments at the hands of one who was not strictly orthodox, especially when in some areas in the east these were received once a year. It was not until the time of Severus of Antioch, and due largely to his ‘strictness’ (akribeia) in relation to the reception of sacraments from Chalcedonians that permanent division between supporters and opponents of Chalcedon was rendered inevitable, and even then the organization of a rival Monophysite hierarchy took a very long while. For the generation following the council this step was not even considered, a fact which must influence any assessment of the nationalist or particularist and indeed any non-theological element in Monophysitism.” (Chap. 2 The Emperor and His Church, pg. 62)

                    Frend’s conclusion demonstrates why St. Sabas the Sanctified named Severus the “Apochist” (The Separatist), thereby crediting him for the deepening of the schism:

                    “The originator and perpetrator of all this is Severus, Acephelos and Apochist from the original beginning, who for the destruction of his own soul and of the commonwealth has by God’s leave for our sins been appointed bishop of Antioch and has anathematized our holy fathers who in every way confirmed the apostolic faith defined and transmitted to us by the holy fathers assembled at Nicea and baptize all in it.” (Ss. Sabas and Theodosius the Cenobiarch Petition to the Emperor, Life of Sabas 57)

                    Fr. Theodore Zizis confirms what’s actually behind view’s like Peter’s: “[A] fruit of…theological relativism and syncretism that they have been cultivating was the prettified picture of our differences with the Monophysites… (St. John of Damascus and the ‘Orthodoxy’ of the Non-Chalcedonians) But even without knowing all this: How ’bout giving the Holy Fathers some credit?! Are we to believe that THEY got caught up in theological hair-splitting, semantics and imperial politics but WE are less prejudiced and more terminologically open-minded?

                    This will be last reply in re: to the Miaphysites; people are going to do whatever they please (despite what our dogmatic sources say) and I only responded for the sake of those who didn’t have knowledge of these things, or those who are on the fence. I’m not offended, and I hope I didn’t offend anyone, this is mere (rigorous) discussion until we can come to one mind. I bear the Miaphysites no ill will, I pray that they repent and return the Church just like we all have to do every day. I also lift them up in their plight and commend them for their struggles and sacrifices.

                    St. Photios the Great: “Firmly and without innovation, we must hold in common that which is most important to the Faith and not explore too much the differences in minor matters. That which is common to all must be preserved in its entirety; most of all, in that which discerns the Faith, the least departure from which is a grave sin. All that is prescribed by common ecumenical decision must be held by all.” (Letter to Pope Nicholas)

                    St. Nilus of Sora: “…if we also are weak, still it is proper to follow the examples of the ancient and blessed Fathers, even if we are not able to equal their exploits. If anyone does not wish to follow this basic approach, let him cease harassing me, even though I am also a poor sinner. I turn away such persons and have nothing to do with them.” (The Complete Writings)

                    Fr. Seraphim Rose: “The true Orthodox perspective is, first of all, to distrust one’s abstract “theological” outlook and ask: what do our elders think; what did recent Fathers think? And taking these opinions respectfully, one then begins to put together the picture for oneself…” (Life and Works)

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Right Maximus theology was never decided at the end of a sword during Byzantine times.

                      Further, I have not and never will betray the faith of my fathers, forefathets, or the Holy Fathers of the Church. I also never questioned nor denounced Chalcedon, but if they agree now and would have agreed then but for a linguistic misunderstanding, wars, distance, and then complete violence and abandonment don’t pretend that didn’t play into it.

                      Finally, I am no ecumenist, I do not unity for the sake of unity or the bring about some new world order, but if we have the chance to heal a schism and ignore it then that is a sin worse than what you are asserting.

                    • Peter,

                      Saint Maximus, a simple monk with no sword tortured by the Empire, died because this struggle was about more than human politics, he said it was about theology. Usually in Church history, heresies were enforced by the sword, you’ve turned things on their head.

                      Again, I simply hold to what St. Maximus and the Fathers in Council and ALL the Saints have said explicitly. I hold to what the services have said. You see all that took place between us and the Orientals as Byzantine political oppression, and that is a betrayal of the Fathers’ legacy and sacrifices. They’re merely the winners who wrote the history books. And Orientals were right all along, just oppressed for speaking differently and demonized in a medieval smear campaign. None of you guys have even dealt with the fact that the Orthodox have accepted Mia physis terminology the whole time.

                      Yes, there was certainly political oppression, but I also see what took place as saintly men moved by the Spirit, the Church of Christ charismatically speaking forth the truth against REAL heresy. That’s what the services boast about when we commemorate the Fathers of the Councils. Oh well, I’m too naive to believe all that stuff, I guess. I’m all for union in truth, as were the Fathers but I will never sully their memory just to exonerate heretics that they condemned.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I completely disagree with you Maximus. Politics and Culture had more to do with the schism than Theology. Basically you are saying the complete reverse of the Joint Statement between the Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox. That we share the same belief in written and expressive word and formula but interpret that word and expression differently? NO, absolutely NOT!

                  That Joint Statement could never have been written if we were truly at odds with one another. Look at our Joint Statements with the Catholics, Lutherans, etc. NONE of them ever achieved the directness of language and thought (i.e. Belief) that our Joint Statement with the Oriental Orthodox did. No this is a deep rooted schism based IMHO on culture, politics and language. As much as I admire our Saints that withstood what they thought was heresy, and God Bless them for it, this was a schism that truly never needed to happen and can be healed. However, it may never be healed if the pain, betrayal, anguish and suffering experienced by both sides is not addressed and addressed head on.

                  Theology definitely and definitively matters, but so does hurt, pain and betrayal by those who one views as one’s brothers. We can wrap this is theology all we want, but unless and until we acknowledge the very Human competent to the schism then that separation will never be healed.


                  • Peter,

                    There is a human element to the schism, as there is to every disruption of ecclesial unity. But there is also untruth, obstinacy and darkening of the nous in this case. Notwithstanding the Joint Statement, they were condemned by name by the Ecumenical Councils, and Rome has not been, actually. That’s why the otherwise ecclesiologically open-minded St. Filaret of Moscow could say: “Placing the Papal Church on the same level as the Armenian Church is cruel and useless.” (Florovsky, Ways of Russian Theology)

                    Plus, there are tons of “Joint Statements” with Catholics and everybody else that states something similar. I just re-read one on the Mysteries which Fr. Dragas, no rigorist by any means, rejected. Can you supply us with a synod of bishops that has officially ratified that Joint Statement? Or even a single Saint so that we may have another living link in our Golden Chain of Tradition?

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      You want a reason why that joint statement was not ratifief? Please look in the mirror. We abide in fear more than truth and we abandon people that need not be abandoned.
                      We will never unite with the Catholics and Protestants, but the Oriental Orthodox there is a real chance. But people like you dig in and do not read what was written. Ok so be it. May God’s will be done.

                    • Sooo, no bishops or Saints have ratified the Statement because of fear of people like lil’ ol’ me? That’s just ludicrous. Does this so-called fear of truth stop the EP from liturgizing with the Pope? Or does it stop the Assembly of Canonical Bishops from praying with Orientals against the canons? Or any other ecclesiatically confusing ecumenical craziness? No. And I don’t abandon anyone, I speak with them in love without compromise. My advice to myself, them and whoever else: Repent. Join Christ and His Church, and embrace the whole truth.

                      Your advice to them: “You’re Orthodox already and have been for 1500 years, our Fathers oppressed you armed with the powers of the State. We were both right all along. Our bad!”

                    • Michael Warren says

                      It was not ratified because it isn’t Orthodox but rather an overthrow of Orthodoxy predicated on a heretical branch theory ecclesiological model.

                  • Peter,

                    You made me do some digging in my sources just so I can prove to you that I’m not some irrational miaphysite-hating fundy. Below is an excerpt from ‘Chalcedon and the Armenian Church’, the book is very thorough, non-polemic and scholarly. The author, Karekin Sarkissian, served as the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church between 1995 and 1999. He states that the commonly held theory that the Armenian Church rejected Chalcedon out of lack expression, knowledge or confusion is a ‘rotten chestnut’ to use Vl. Tikhon’s term (emphasis mine):

                    “Then, we think, it will not be difficult to conclude that if the Armenians rejected the Council of Chalcedon it was not because:

                    (a) They were deceived or misled.
                    (b) They were unable to understand the doctrine of Chalcedon.
                    (c) They were compelled by the Persians.
                    (d) Their language was inadequate for an accurate rendering of the intricate meaning of the formularies.
                    (e) They were victims of a false and unfortunate identification of the Chalcedonian doctrine with Nestorianism.


                    (a) Their attitude was primarily religious and theological, not political.
                    (fe) The rejection of the Council of Chalcedon did not happen suddenly or accidentally. There was a struggle within the Church before it took place.
                    (c) The Armenians did not confound Nestorianism with Chalcedon; but the two only became closely associated and Chalcedon only became of vital importance for the Armenian Church when the Nestorians themselves took it as a source of strength and as a vindication of the orthodoxy of their doctrinal position.
                    (d] The rejection was a very natural and reasonable act, closely consistent with their doctrinal position, when seen in the context of their historical and theological tradition.

                    These are the main points which will come up in the course of the present study and which we will try to substantiate by the existing historical and theological evidence. (Chalcedon and the Armenian Church, pp. 20-21)

                    I can supply you with the same sort of testimony from non-polemical Coptic hierarchs and theologians as well, and also testomony from their saints, and their services quite easily.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Maximus I this specific point I am not disagreeing with you, but agreeing with you in regards to their assessment that Chalcedon can be read in terms of supporting Nestorianism, Even Fr. Morris concedes this point. However, the question is how is Chalcedon understood by us Orthodox.

                      If that understanding is the same or fundamentally the same as the non-Chalcedonians then that is some thing we can build on that will lead to unity.

                      Nestorianism is a heresy. I do not blame the Non-Chalcedonians for rejecting the Chalcedon in the way they understand it. However we Orthodox are NOT Nestorians and accept Chalcedon. The Council is correct and properly guided by the Holy Spirit, but it’s understanding must be worked out among the non-Chalcedonians so that it can be accepted and unity achieved. Please understand I have always said and will continue to say that they must accept Chalcedon. There can never be any reunification unless and and untill the non-Chalcedonians accept The Council of Chalcedon.


                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Karekin Sarkissian was the Armenian Primate & Archbishop of New York when the Armenian seminary was a single classroom at SVS. I attended a number of social functions with the Armenian seminarians at their amazing facility and cathedral that occupies a full square block in Manhattan, and found the Archbishop to be a much-beloved, affable, kind, and pastoral man with a wonderful sense of humor. A theologian & historian, not so much. You can supply us “with the same sort of testimony from non-polemical Coptic hierarchs and theologians as well, and also testomony (sic) from their saints, and their services quite easily?” You have pretty much managed to quote everyone but Mickey Mantle, to an exhaustive end of which I cannot understand.

                      It seems to me that, despite your quote-fest, you continue to ignore two obvious points that have been made here repeatedly: the Armenians in particular have indicated that, had they actually been able to attend the Council of Chalcedon, they would have been persuaded to alter “their doctrinal position, when seen in the context of their historical and theological tradition,” but nevertheless, accept the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria; and, in my second referral to Fr. Phillip’s comment, 1,600 years of animosity, division, persecution, and martyrdom have ensued. “Change will not occur overnight.” And I’ll just bet you did not purchase Karekin Sarkissian’s copyrighted book, “The Council of Chalcedon and the Armenian Church,” but found it on Scribd or a similar site; and this speaks to its significance and “scholarly” value.

                    • M. Stankovich,

                      I actually did purchase the book from a used seller, but I posted that quote from a digitized copy. I actually found the book to be quite scholarly and well sourced. Have you read it?

                      I’ve also found digitized copies of Van Loon’s Dyophysite Cyril scholarly work and all the papers from a conference attended by the best Maximian scholars (including B. Daley’s masterful critique of Balthasar), all on the net. The conference was recommended to me by the translator of St. Maximus’ Ambigua into English. I guess it’s all to low-brow for some, but I’ll gladly make use of it!

                      Sorry if my quotes are tedious, my mind spins them out. It’s a gift AND a flaw.


                • Michael Warren says

                  I think that Fr. FLOROVSKY’s point gains validation in the deliberations and christological statements of the Fifth Ecumenical Council which reconcile Holy Cyril’s Christology with Chalcedon.

                  I will concede that the Tome of Leo can be interpreted to read as a Nestorian text. Ephesus itself endorses Cyrillian miaphysitism but it sets its parameters at the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Ecumenical Councils.

                  So I will say that Fr. FLOROVSKY’s endorsement of Holy Cyril as being the key to reconciling Ephesus with Chalcedon is affirmed by the work of the Fifth Ecumenical Council. While I would also suggest that the supposed miaphysitism of Severos and Dioscoros was precisely rejected as heretical because it was predicated on evolving Cyrillian Christology in ways which intentionally rejected the christological definition of Chalcedon and then of the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils to express a christology at odds with the Orthodox definitions as alternative but not equivalent. How this miaphysite Christology was defined and emphasized over centuries indicated its heretical and schismatic character.

                  I personally believe that the key to rapproachment with the Non Chalcedonians as they now define their Christology is found in the christological synthesis determined at the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Engaging the Ephesine Christology with the subsequent councils in light of the christological definitions set at the Fifth and Sixth but also in appreciation of subsequent councils, as well as the Palamite, is where the theological dialogue must go. Holy Cyril speaking with Orthodoxy in a sense. I believe that the guidance of the Holy Mountain in these matters is also essential.

                  Then there are other issues such as theopaschism, iconoclasm, nominalism which will intrude.

                  Finally, after all this, political considerations of factions of a Byzantine Empire long dead can be addressed. Perhaps resolved by Non Chalcedonian rejection of anathemas against their perceived luminaries and Orthodox deemphasis, but not rescinding of these anathemas. But without acceptance of Orthodoxy in its pleroma, rapproachment with the Non Chalcedonians is impossible. While joint prayer remains canonically condemned and impermissible.

                  • Michael Warren,

                    Even our own Saints were persecuted by the Empire (Athanasius, Basil, Chrysostom, Photios, Gregory Palamas, etc, etc, ad infinitum). Plus, we have Saints like Sts. Flavian and Proterios who were killed by Monophysite factions. Additionally, St. Maximus and his co-Confessors were mutilated by the powers that be within the Empire and the Church so as to broker relations with Monothelite Anti-Chalcedonians (aka Monophysites).

                    The Tome of Leo, which was also anti-Nestorian, had one offending phrase in re: to “the Word and the flesh”, however this was parsed out and ultimately accepted through the lens of Cyrillian texts AT CHALCEDON. To provide an analogy, the 5th Council is to Chalcedon, what Constantinople 381 is to Nicea 325, a further elucidation. That phrase providentially proved to be the inspiration for the dyoenergetic response to the heresies of monoenergism and monothelitism. Don’t succumb to contemporary Orthodox denigration of Chalcedon and this Saint with his precious text. St. Cyril himself was attacked by mia physis fanatics because he accepted two natures as Orthodox! Check out his nuanced responses:

                    ‘Some attack the exposition of faith which those from the East have made and ask, “For what reason did the Bishop of Alexandria endure or even praise those who say that there are two natures?” Those who hold the same teachings as Nestorius say that he thinks the same thing too, snatching to their side those who do not understand precision. But it is necessary to say the following to those who are accusing me, namely, that it is not necessary to flee and avoid everything which heretics say, for they confess many of the things which we confess. For example, when the Arians say that the Father is the creator and Lord of all, does it follow that we avoid such confessions? Thus also is the case of Nestorius even if he says there are two natures signifying the difference of the flesh and the Word of God, for the nature of the Word is one nature and the nature of his flesh is another, but Nestorius does not any longer confess the union as we do. (To Eulogius the Priest, Letter 44)

                    And if you see them [dyophysite Antiochians] now agreeing with the true faith, forget about what has gone by. For we wish to see them denying rather than advocating the baseness of Nestorius in a shameless opinion, and in order not to appear to prize a love of strife let us accept communion with the most pious bishop, John, yielding to him for prudential reasons, not being too demanding in the use of language with regard to those who repent, for the matter as I said, requires a great deal of charity. (To Deacon Maximus of Antioch, Letter 57.1-2)

                    For St. Cyril, dyophysite terminology is not the problem, and neither is a single terminology the answer; REJECTING the Hypostatic Union is the root issue and a lack of charity is the root issue. Pope St. Leo was not soft on Nestorius, he wrote these words to the supposedly Nestorian Council of Chalcedon:

                    “Let there, however, remain in force what was decreed specifically against Nestorius at the earlier council of Ephesus, at which Cyril of holy memory then presided, lest the impiety then condemned should derive any comfort from the fact that Eutyches is being struck down by condign execration. For the purity of faith and teaching, which we proclaim in the same spirit as did our Holy Fathers, condemns and prosecutes equally both the Nestorian and the Eutychian depravity together with their originators. Farewell in the Lord, most dear brethren. (Epistle 93, To the Council of Chalcedon)

                    Oh, that Nestorian Pope and Council!! Like St. John Damascene said, once you examine the texts, their arguments are stupid. And despite his dyophysite phraseology, which is actually a digest of St. Augustine’s texts, St. Leo expressed that he considered his christology to be nothing other than Alexandrian: “[I]f they think there is any doubt about our teaching, let them at least not reject the writings of such holy priests as Athanasius, Theophilus and Cyril of Alexandria, with whom our statement of the Faith so completely harmonizes that any one who professes consent to them disagrees in nothing with us. (Letter 117.3)

                    Frs. John Romanides and Michael Azkoul are responsible for the denigration St. Leo, his Tome, St. Augustine and many other things western (but wholly Orthodox) in my opinion. But what did Eastern Fathers declare about this Pillar?

                    St. John Moschos, spiritual father of St. Sophronios of Jerusalem, recounts how even a Patriarch of Alexandria venerated St. Leo:

                    Theodore, the most holy bishop of the city of Dara in Libya, told us this: When I was syncellos to the saintly Pope Eulogios [of Alexandria], in my sleep I saw a tall, impressive looking man who said to me: ‘Announce me to Pope Eulogios.’ I asked him: ‘Who are you, my lord? How do you wished to be announced?’ He replied: ‘I am Leo, Pope of Rome’, so I went in and announced: ‘The most holy and blessed Leo, Primate of the Church of the Romans, wishes to pay you his respects. As soon as Pope Eulogios heard, he got up and came running to meet him. They embraced each other, offered a prayer and sat down. Then the truly godly and divinely-inspired Leo said to Pope Eulogios: ‘Do you know why I have come to you?’ The other said he did not: ‘I have come to thank you’, he said, ‘because you have defended so well, and so intelligently, the letter which I wrote to our brother, Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople. You have declared my meaning and sealed up the mouths of the heretics. And know, brother, that it is not only me whom you have gratified by this labor of yours, but also Peter, the Chief of the Apostles; and, above all, the very Truth which is proclaimed by us, which is Christ our God.’ I saw this, not only once, but three times. Convinced by the third apparition, I told it to the saintly Pope Eulogios. He wept when he heard it and, stretching out his hands to heaven, he gave thanks to God, saying: ‘I give you thanks, Lord Christ, our God, that you have made my unworthiness become a proclaimer of the truth, and that, by the prayers of your servants Peter and Leo, your Goodness has received our feeble endeavor as you did receive the widow’s two mites.’ (The Spiritual Meadow, 148)

                    St. Sophronios of Jerusalem, addresses St. Leo in a canonical text accepted in it’s entirety by the 6th Council:

                    Together with those sacred writings of the all-wise Cyril, I likewise accept as being sacred and of equal honor, and the mother of the same orthodoxy, also the God-given and divinely inspired letter of the great and illustrious Leo of godly mind, of the most holy church of the Romans, or rather the luminary of all under the sun, which he wrote, clearly moved by the divine Spirit, to Flavian, the famous leader of the queen of cities, against the perverse Eutyches and Nestorius, hateful to God and deranged. Indeed I call and define this [letter] as ‘the pillar of orthodoxy’, following those holy Fathers who well defined it this way, as thoroughly teaching us every right belief, while destroying every heretical wrong belief, and driving it out of the halls of holy catholic church, guarded by God. With this divinely conceived epistle, and writing I also attach myself to all his letters and teachings as if they issued from the mouth of the chief Peter, and I kiss and cleave to them and embrace them with all my soul…

                    I accept these five sacred and divine councils of the blessed Fathers and all the writings of the all-wise Cyril, and especially those composed against the madness of Nestorius, and the epistle of the eastern leaders which was written to the most godly Cyril himself and which he attested as orthodox. And [I accept] what Leo, the most holy shepherd of the most holy church of the Romans, wrote, and especially what he composed against the abomination of Eutyches and Nestorius. I recognize the latter as the definitions of Peter, the former those of Mark. (Synodical Letter 2.5.5, Sophronius of Jerusalem and Seventh-Century Heresy pp. 131-135)

                    As one can plainly see, the Tome was interpreted by Eastern Fathers to be an anti-Nestorian text, and not merely against Eutyches. St. Leo’s predecessor, Pope Celestine, condemned Nestorius in a Roman synod prior to his deposition at Ephesus. Plus, St. Leo persuaded St. John Cassian to come out of seclusion to write “On the Incarnation”, a polemical anti-Nestorian work wherein Nestorius is addressed thusly at the beginning of the work: “And so you say, O heretic…”

                    Lastly, St. Photios the Great, certainly no papist, lauded St Leo as well:

                    Leo the Great, whilst bishop of [Old] Rome, carefully demonstrated divine matters in his inspired and dogmatic Tome. In this, he was confirmed by the Fourth Synod. He confirmed its decree, and was praised by the sacred, and God-inspired assembly. He…thus radiates the very same light of Orthodoxy, not only upon the entire West, but also to the ends of the East through his God-inspired and dogmatic epistles, through the legates who exercised his authority, and through the peace with which he illumined that great assembly collected by God. Moreover, he also said that if anyone set up or teach another doctrine other than that taught by the Synod, that person should be deposed if he were of the dignity of the priesthood or anathematized if he were a layperson or even a monastic, religious or ascetic. Whatever that God-inspired Synod decreed, Leo, similarly inspired by God, openly confirmed through the holy men Paschasinus, Lucentius and Boniface (as one may hear many times from them, indeed not only from them, but from him who sent them). (Mystagogy, 79)

                    see the link below for the christological errors taught by a Coptic pope:


                    • Michael Warren says

                      I am agreeing with you.

                      But Non Chalcedonians will read Nestorianism into the Tome of Leo. They won’t necessarily listen to our Saints.

                      We have no disagreement in substance.

                      I simply emphasize the model of union put forward by the Fifth Ecumenical Council and all subsequent councils (and I would place Chalcedon into the mix lastly) in dialogue with Holy Cyril’s miaphysitism to condition and revise the Non Chalcedonian alternative take on this miaphysitism to confirm it to a christologically acceptable, Orthodox standard. The Fifth Ecumenical Council is key to ironing this out.

                      The anathemas against Severos and Diaskoros counter balanced with anathemas against St. Leo and St. Leontios should be deemphasized, but not removed, to eventually be passed over in time as an act of economy to reunite the Non Calcedonians. Without such an act of economy, I don’t believe an Orthodox model can convince the Non Chalcedonians.

                      Then we get to deal with such fun things as Armenian azymes and organs, Malankara organs and statues, proto-iconoclasm and a Babel of Paschalions as well as ecumenical statements which have crept in. Tasking ourselves tactfully, delicately, to affirm local rites and practices, local traditions, and their identities in the Orthodox Church.

                    • M. Warren,

                      I agree that those methods are a step in the right direction. In Church history, anathemas have cast into oblivion. NEVER for heresy though…

                      The way forward is St. Cyril’s method of reunion with the Antiochians. He pleaded with Egyptians to be more charitable. He even pleaded with St. Proclus so that Theodore of Mopsuestia wouldn’t get anathematized. Although he admitted he was a heretic, he thought it was imprudent and detrimental to the peace. See for yourself how unlike St. Cyril Severos and Dioscoros were.


                      WE have always acknowledged various ways of christological expression. It was ratified at the 5th Council.

                    • Michael Warren says


                      Deemphasis and localization with the hope that through time the significance of these anathemas become irrelevant though they remain might be more effective than allowing them to stand in the way of reuniting groups to whom Dioskoros, Severos and Jakovos Barradeos are as current as Holy Emperor Justinian. Let the anathemas remain but localized where some truly Eighth Ecumenical Council three centuries after the reunification of the Non Chalcedonians can take them up and use them to redefine anathemas of alternative christological models.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      A quick look at the participants at the canonically condemned joint prayer with Non Chalcedonians allowed me to see what looked like +Bishop Michael of the OCA in attendance. Syosset-Crestwood flips its finger at the Holy Fathers, the Holy Canons, the Orthodox Church. Its band of wayward Renovationists know better-they indeed excel at betraying Orthodoxy and emptying churches.

        • M. Stankovich says

          You present this as if this a contemporaneous document – which it is not – and this “threat to the sanctity of the Church” has not been debated ad nauseum, which it most certainly has. The “holy fathers” of Mount Athos are not the Council of Monasteries of Athos, but a group of monks who were unauthorized and in disobedience for writing this misguided “expression” of their fears to begin with. That being said, it makes your inner-Popovich and inner-Studite hastily gathered out of context and completely self-serving.

          The fact of the matter is that any group – the largest of which is the Armenian Orthodox Church – who accepted the formula of the Champion over Nestorius, our Blessed Father Cyril of Alexandria which simply stated, [μία] one [φύσις] nature [τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου] of God the Word [σεσαρκωμένη] incarnate/made flesh, is not a Monophysite nor in heresy, and it is simply wrong to refer to them as such. This is the final formula accepted by the Council of Chalcedon over Eutyches, or the “end solution” Fr. John Meyendorff referred to as “Chalcedon + Cyril.” Obviously, Cyril & the Council of Chalcedon intentended to say that in God the Word incarnate, μία φύσις, one nature referred to His two natures undivided. But it is admittedly confusing, particularly to those who were unable to attend Chalcedon and merely received poor translations of the proceedings.

          Secondly, the “fathers of Athos” apparently have no appreciation for the fact that the Council of Chalcedon took place in 451. Those who are now so cavalierly referring to these groups as “heretics” ignore the fact that they were incapable of attending Chalcedon because of the complexity of distance, war, politics, finance, and so on, and undoubtedly would have accepted St. Cyril’s position, but were suddenly subjected to open hostility as supposed “Monophysites,” which evolved into persecution and outright genocide for centuries. That the “fathers of Athos” were nonplussed at the non-Chalcedonians refusal to accept Chalcedon as truly “ecumenical” should strike as particulary shortsighted & shallow given the centuries of history and their acceptance of the theology of the Chalcedon Council. But this is what happens when you are motivated by blinding pride and vanity, speaking from an ill-gotten authority, when your mouth is bigger than your heart. Is there any chance, Mr. Warren, that you will descend from thrones of authority you are unqualified to occupy and address my demand? I suspect it is time better spent. Or at least more honest…

          • Michael Warren says

            I think someone as theologically challenged as yourself and as heretical second guessing 4 Ecumenical Councils, St. Theodore the Studite, St. Justin of Chelje and the Holy Mountain to defy the Holy Canons which FORBID joint prayer with heretics and schismatics only confirms the fact of your Renovationist heretical credentials and your lack of sobriety in addressing Orthodox topics. Your understandings of the Christology of these groups being as accurate as your notion of Fr. FLOROVSKY maintaining the phronema means continual reformation and St. John Damascene can be redacted to assert an iconographic anthropology of homosexuality.

            Your farsical address of this topic is like a parody of Orthodoxy on Gilligan’s Island. You keep underscoring my condemnations of your liberal, Renovationist heresy for me, you being a parody of the semiliterare dilletantism of Syosset – Crestwood of the last 45+ years and an eyesore proclaiming its banal incoherence.

            You are an Eastern Rite Protestant spewing nonsense far above your paygrade. The fact that Syosset-Crestwood produces hacks daring to assert they know more than the Church to state a Protestant veto of its canonical order is all the rebuttal that needs be written.

            You are a heretic and your views are representative of an Eastern Rite Anglican, spiritually immature fringe.

            Sectarian ravings like yours are precisely why there can not be any progress made in dialogue with groups like the Non Chalcedonians. Because you Crestwood hacks all too easily know better than the Church, massage schism and heresy and betray the Holy Faith.

            This ridiculous Renovationist iconoclasm against the Tradition in mockery of the phronema of the Church knows no bounds. It is as if Syosset – Crestwood traffics in a poseur immaturity of theologically exploding toilets to write obscene and untenable ecclesiological nonsense to act as a cover of poor sanitation for its renegade acts.

            You don’t know more than the Ecumenical Councils. Their anathemas and canons are still in force. The fact you malign the Holy Mountain only shows you are unready for prime time.

            For the record, NONE OF THEIR CHRISTOLOGICAL CONCERNS REGARDING NON CHALCEDONIAN CHRISTOLOGY HAVE BEEN SACTISFACTORILY ADDRESSED. That makes them not only “contemporaneous,” but paramount to having any progress in advancing the dialogue.

            You will not talk at the Church and dictate your Syosset – Crestwood heretical Renovationism. You will simply be taken as a narcisstic, spiritually immature heretic who is shouting from an Anglican lunatic asylum. St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal church is the only place where your heretical nonsense has any currency. Then you all get up and get in a circle and do Greek dancing.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Respect the axiom, “When you you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” You obviously have never read Blessed Cyril of Alexandria, nor the proceedings of the Council of Chalcedon, nor did you know who the “fathers of Athos” were in reality. Did you find it on Google? Then again, actually studying the sources is not your strong point. I am beginning to resent having to mop up after your insufficiency.

              Ah, the dramatic projection of the fish on the hook continues, and quite frankly, Mr. Warren, you are boring me to inattention already. Apparently your attempt to intimidate by Google-quoting authors you’ve never read failed, so you’re back to the CAPS-on quacking. Everyone sees my demand that you directly quote my heresy, you deceiver, yet you continue your fabrications and outright lies. You take me and the readers of this site for blindmen, who fail to see your empty words, “I have shown here, here, and here…” and you have shown nothing. Hang me with my own words, Mr. Warren! But, no. You are toothless and impotent! Greek dance yourself and your deceit out of here.

              • Michael Warren says

                Holy Hierarch Cyril of Alexandria. Your papist dilletante Jillions-esque manner of referencing the Saints is showing. Mr. The PHRONEMA Means Continual Reformation per Renovationist Crestwood Metapatristic Redaction, you just keep laying heretical nonsense. The Holy Mountain’s christological reservations have not been addressed and they are germane and pertinent to a discussion which supposedly wants to reimagine heretical monophysitism and monothelitism and monoenergism as theologoumenal miaphysitism, miathelitism and miaenergism in an act of Renovationist betrayal of Orthodoxy. The Fifth Ecumenical Council discussed Chalcedon using the template of Cyrillian christology to create a model of union RECONCILING SUPPOSEDLY “SEMANTIC” DIFFERENCES. The Sixth Ecumenical amplified its Orthodox Christology. Both condemned and anathemized Non Chalcedonians as monophysite heretics and mandated earlier conciliar decisions forbidding joint prayer with heretics and schismatics.

                Now only a heretical, apostate deceiver and theological hack, who doesn’t know what he is talking about writes the garbage you do. Your linkage to anything Athonite, Patristic, even competent in English comprehension is the issue here, because you are continually being shown to be heterodox, unread and a fraud. You keep shouting that you prefer to be nothing but a heretical heckler using whatever obtuse and ignorant nonsense you can muster in a barrage of insults to deflect from the fact that you are nothing but an Eastern Rite Protestant heretic who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

                Your response is yet ANOTHER concession laced with Eastern Rite liberal Renovationist heretical invective to flee the indictment of your error. You teach heresy and preach schism. Your views are canonically condemned. So deceiver, blasphemer, spiritual pimp, apostate child all rightly apply to the Crestwood meta-erudite nonsense you are spewing. It is a fringe, apostate, ecumaniac betrayal of Orthodoxy. A Renovationist, ecumaniac tantrum shouting infidelity.

                I hear your home parish of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church is offering a class in Zen and the art of hydroponic cannabis. You shouldn’t miss it.

                And where are the tens of millions of dollars your Syosset-Crestwood crowd of larcenous dilletantes stole from the faithful of the OCA?

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Calm down Barbara, calm down! The froth coming from your mouth is flying fast and loose.

              Peter A. Papoutsis

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Good one, Peter!

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Well even a blind squirrel gets a nut every once in a while. Have a good Lent your eminence. Please pray for me and my family during this Lenten Period.


              • Michael Warren says

                Istanbul’s theological bonafides. Insult and hope the Stankoviches of the world and Interneting stalking Bishops join in to compound the ignorance.

                Then people wonder why sober Orthodox want nothing to do with GOA Renovationism.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Or with heresy hunting fundamentalist frothing at the mouth that speak a lot of words, but never say anything of substance.


                  • Michael Warren says

                    No, an Orthodox Christian correcting a Renovationist with substance which destroys his branch theory ecclesiological heresies. Since you have nothing to say, you offer puerile insults of several people at once. That’s fundamentalist liberal losing an argument behavior.

                  • Goodness, I just took another look at this site and of course it could be no other time but Lent. Lent, when the Orthodox get a collective case of PMS.

                    Anyway, I hope all my Orthodox brethren of whatever ethnicity or political affiliation find deeper serenity in the time we have before Holy Week and Pascha. That is what I’m seeking.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      You are correct. Time to re-set and take a break. I broke my own rule. Thank you for the reminder.


      • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

        Michael and Tommy,

        The joint statement on Christology was signed in 1991 and says, in essence, that each family of Churches (the document’s terminology, not mine) is expressing exactly the same doctrine on the two natures of Christ, but in differing terms. There is, then, no Christological barrier to restoring communion. There are, however, other barriers. For example: each side has glorified as a saint someone the other side has anathematized as a heretic; and that’s a particularly difficult matter to resolve. So it is, I must say with resignation, not surprising that it will take more than 25 years to restore communion that has been broken for close to 1600 years.

        • Michael Warren says

          Then there are the anathemas of 4 Ecumenical Councils and the witness of the Holy Mountain which states the christological settlement isn’t Orthodox as penned and needs more work.

          Not to mention canons forbidding joint prayer with heretics and schismatics.

          Other than all that…

    • Who to blame says

      This is a news item- the OCA has nothing to do with the event which is sponsored by The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America. Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America are featured speakers. No OCA involvement is mentioned. You shoot the messenger who is reporting a news item?

      • Michael Warren says

        Why is the OCA promoting a canonically condemned event? I didn’t notice it on the ROCOR or Patriarchal websites.

        • Who to blame says

          Reporting a story doesn’t mean supporting it. The NT Times supports ISIS because it reports stories on them? Focus on who is attending.

          • Michael Warren says

            They seem to be encouraging attendance on the website or am I misreading it?

            That’s quite different than reporting on ISIS. It’s the same as using CNN do PR for a Hillary Clinton rally.

      • Michael Warren says

        Showing my inner Popovich…

        “A division within the Church has never occurred, nor indeed can one take place, while apostasy from the Church has and will continue to occur after the manner of those voluntarily fruitless branches which, having withered, fall away from the eternally living theanthropic Vine—the Lord Christ (John 15:1-6). From time to time, heretics and schismatics have cut themselves off and have fallen away from the one and indivisible Church of Christ, whereby they ceased to be members of the Church and parts of her theanthropic body. The first to fall away thus were the gnostics, then the Arians, then the Macedonians, then the Monophysites, then the Iconoclasts, then the Roman Catholics, then the Protestants, then the Uniates, and so on—all the other members of the legion of heretics and schismatics.”

        + St. Justin (Popovich), The Attributes of the Church

        • But Michael! But Michael! Jesus just wants us to be nice. He died for us so we can be nice to each other. It’s not nice to call people heretics. So it’s not what Jesus wants. If we say anything that makes anyone sad, it makes Jesus sad. You’re a mean person and so is St. Justin, because it’s not nice and Jesus is sad.


          Great words from St. Justin.

          • Michael Warren says

            Sometimes the truest love comes in a harsh rebuke.

            So the message, “Go and sin no more” can hit home.

            But I appreciate the sarcasm. It is timely.

      • Michael Warren says

        Showing my inner Studite…

        “Shall we say: ‘Since it is lawful for an archbishop together with his associates to do as he pleases, let him be for the duration of his archbishopric a new Evangelist, another Apostle, a different Law-giver?’ Certainly not. For we have an injunction from the Apostle himself: If anyone preaches a doctrine, or urges you to do something against what you have received, against what is prescribed by the canons of the catholic and local synods held at various times, he is not to be received, or to be reckoned among the number of the faithful. And I forbear even to mention the terrible judgment with which the Apostle concludes (Gal. 1:8).”

        + St. Theodore the Studite, Epistle 24, 94-101

  10. lexcaritas says

    May I say, George, that I didn’t like the background chant track while ++Kyrill was speaking. The Orthodox version of piano music during a Protestant pastor’s altar call? Nor do I think it wise to have omitted mention of Christ Himself and the Incarnation–Whom and which +Vladika Dimitri, of blessed memory, as you know suggested should be the theme of every homily. Finally, while upholding Orthodoxy we must beware of divisions and take care that we not make non-essentials into essentials. The separations that ensued after Ephesus and Chalcedon contributed to the suppression of the Gospel in ancient China and the rise and dominance of Islam from Afghanistan to Spain and into the Balkans, steppes and Mongolia. A house divided against itself cannot stand and prided precedes the fall and a haughty spirit destruction. Let us practice kenosis, look to Jesus the Author and finisher of our Faith and let Him exalt us as we grow into His likeness and let us love one another as He has loved us and given His life for us.

    Christ is in our midst if only we will continue to recognize Him and bring the attention back to Him.

    • Michael Warren says

      Well, when heretics divide they leave the House. So heretical missions failed because they left the Church. Not so shocking.

      I just find it ludicrous that Orthodox ecclesiology is so easily compromised and betrayed by some.

  11. Crisostomo Garcia says

    This video is only four minutes long. The entire sermon was nearly half an hour:

    The Russian text of the full homily is on the Patriarchal website:

    The Patriarchal website ( meticulously publishes his sermons and speeches and even short remarks in full.

    I don’t read Russian so I have no choice but to use Google Translate. It looks like the full sermon is more nuanced than the excerpt shows it to be. By the way he gives the entire sermon extempore, without notes. It says much about the intelligence of the man.

    It is a pity that the Moscow Patriarchate does not publish translations of the Patriarch’s sermons and speeches in Western languages. He gives hundreds of these every year and they tend to be long. In the last few months Patriarch Kirill has been roundly villified in the MSM,the Catholic neocon media and American Orthodox circles. Nonetheless his actual words and full speeches are almost never referred to. This behavior is unjust towards him.

    • Gregory Manning says

      Thank you for your observations. I too have noticed +Kyrill’s ability to speak at length extemporaneously and without pause. And, yes, his sermons can be quite long. I have emailed the Patriarchal web site asking them for English translations twice now. It really would be wise for them to do so.

  12. Off topic: Abp. Alexander is now the new Bishop of Dallas and the South. It makes no sense to me that the Holy Synod left the South dangling for how long (?) only to come to this conclusion! What a slap in the face to so many.

    And how does he get to be Bishop of TWO cities…Toldeo and Dallas???!!!

    I’m so disgusted.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Interesting. I guess even religious elites pick their own guy, and not who the people want.


    • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

      Dear Philippa,

      When Arbp. Kyril, of blessed memory, was still in ROCOR, he bore the title “Bishop of Toledo and Toronto;” when he entered the OCA and brought the Bulgarian diocese with him he was bishop of Toledo (Bulgarian diocese) and Pittsburgh (Western PA). So this is nothing new. Whether or not it’s a good idea ecclesiologically is another matter. Certainly, if Arbp. Alexander makes his primary residence in Dallas, he’ll enjoy better weather!

      • Thank you Fr. Philip for the explanation.

        It’s the “good idea” part being another matter that needs addressing. Whatever happened to “good order” in the Orthodox Church?

        His Eminence, Met. Tikhon and the rest of the Holy Synod no doubt didn’t want to upset the happy apple cart they enjoy riding in. Better not to introduce someone onto the Synod who might do that.


        • Philippa,

          Your Orthodox nose smells something funny.

          St. Athanasius the Great: Art thou bound to a wife? Seek not to be loosed. (1 Cor. 7:27) For if this expression applies to a wife, how much more does it apply to a Church, and to the same Episcopate; to which whomsoever is bound ought not to seek another, lest he prove an adulterer according to Holy Scripture. (Defense Against the Arians 6; PG 25.260; NPNF 2.4, p. 104)

      • Michael Warren says

        +Kirill left ROCOR because it was imposing its will on the Bulgarians and ignoring their pastoral needs.

    • ChristineFevronia says


  13. George,

    Not to change subjects but what happened with the election of Fr. Gerasim to the Diocese of the South? According to the OCA’s own information 109 people were present and he was the overwhelming favorite. How did the election go to Bishop Alexander? Just curious.

  14. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Kirill in Russian is Cyril in English (In Russian the two syllables have the same, identical vowel)

  15. Tommy Katsarellis says

    Holy Synod elects Bishop Alexander of Toledo to vacant Dallas See

    Metropolitan Tikhon with Bishop Alexander and the Holy Synod in St. Sergius Chapel.
    The members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America elected His Grace, Bishop Alexander of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese to fill the vacant See of Dallas and the South during their Spring Session here on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

    Bishop Alexander succeeds His Eminence, the late Archbishop Dmitri, who in retirement fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 87 on August 28, 2011.

    A letter addressed to the clergy of the Diocese of the South, signed by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, reads as follows.

    “Dearly Beloved in the Lord: I am pleased to inform you that the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, at its session held in Oyster Bay Cove, New York, on the Twenty-Ninth day of March in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen, elected the His Grace, the Right Reverend Alexander, Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese, as Bishop of Dallas and the Diocese of the South.

    “You are to immediately begin to commemorate Bishop Alexander by elevating his name at all Divine Services after that of the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America Metropolitan Tikhon, as is the approved practice of our Church.

    “Bishop Alexander’s new title, as blessed by the Holy Synod, is “His Grace Alexander, Bishop of Dallas and the South” when serving in the Diocese of the South. The date and place of his installation to the See will be determined in due time.

    “Assuring you of my prayers for Bishop Alexander, and for all the clergy and faithful who have been entrusted to his archpastoral care, I remain

    “With love in Christ,
    “+ Tikhon
    “Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada”

    Concurrently, a similar letter to the clergy of the Bulgarian Diocese, informing them of the election, was also issued. Bishop Alexander will continue as Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese. Archpastoral Letters to the faithful of the Diocese of the South and the Bulgarian Diocese and additional particulars will be posted on the OCA web site as they become available. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon has been in contact with the administrator, chancellor and deans of the Diocese of the South on this matter.

    Bishop Alexander [Golitzin] was born in Burbank, CA in 1948 and was raised at Saint Innocent Church, Tarzana, CA. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. He spent seven years pursuing doctoral studies at Oxford University in England under His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware]. During this time, he also spent two years in Greece, including one year at Simonos Petras Monastery on Mount Athos.

    After receiving his D.Phil. in 1980, Bishop Alexander returned to the US. He was ordained to the diaconate in January 1982 and to the priesthood two years later. In 1986, he was tonsured to monastic orders. He served OCA missions in northern California and headed the Diocese of the West’s mission committee.

    In 1989, he accepted a position with the Theology Department at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, a position that he left at the end of April 2012. While teaching at Marquette, he had been attached to Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Milwaukee, WI. For 22 years, he preached, taught and served at Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, and witnessed to the Gospel and to Orthodox Christian theology at Marquette University. He helped attract a dozen Orthodox Christian students to doctoral work in theology at Marquette.

    In June 2010, the Bulgarian Diocese initiated a search for a candidate to succeed His Eminence, Archbishop Kirill [Yonchev], who reposed in the Lord in 2007. In October 2011, the Holy Synod of Bishops elected Archimandrite Alexander as Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese. He was consecrated to the episcopacy as Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese during a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint George Cathedral, Rossford, OH on May 5, 2012.

  16. Tommy Katsarellis says

    Hey, enjoy this. The ROC should love this!

    Wendi Deng rumored to be dating Vladimir Putin after magazine links the pair
    US Weekly published claims after she was pictured on Roman Abramovich’s $400million mega-yacht in St Barth

    Publication says rumors have been circulating since the pair’s divorces
    Putin split from wife Lyudmila in 2013 while Deng broke from media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 2014

    Pair have not been spotted together and have not commented on rumors
    Deng is close friends with Abramovich’s partner Dasha Zhukova
    Abramovich is also said to count President Putin as a friend

    PUBLISHED: 11:22 EST, 31 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:37 EST, 31 March 2016

    A magazine has claimed that Wendi Deng and Vladimir Putin are dating.
    US Weekly published the astonishing claims a day after Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife was pictured going onto Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s yacht in St Barth during a vacation with her family.

    The publication claims rumors have been circulating around the world after the pair divorced their former partners.

    Putin split from Lyudmila – the mother of his two children – after 30 years of marriage in 2013, while Deng split from media mogul Murdoch in 2014.

    The pair are yet to have been spotted together and neither one has commented on the report.

    A magazine has claimed Wendi Deng and Vladimir Putin are dating, a day after Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife was pictured going onto Roman Abramovich’s yacht in St Barth

    Putin and Abramovich are said to be friends, with the Chelsea Football Club owner giving the president his own $35 million yacht in January.
    Deng is also very close friends with Abramovich’s partner Dasha Zhukova
    In 2014, a year after his divorce, Putin was rumored to have had an affair with Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva.

    There were also claims he fathered a child with her, but the Kremlin strongly denied both accusations.

    The publication claims rumors have been circulating around the world after the pair both got recent divorces. Putin (pictured on Tuesday) split from Lyudmila after 30 years of marriage in 2013

    The publication claims rumors have been circulating around the world after the pair both got recent divorces. Putin (pictured on Tuesday) split from Lyudmila after 30 years of marriage in 2013

    The claims first circulated in 2008, but Putin was rarely questioned as his sex life was seen as a taboo.

    Deng is currently enjoying a Caribbean getaway with her two daughters just weeks after her ex-husband Murdoch married his new wife Jerry Hall.
    Photos showed her shopping for toiletries on the Caribbean island before ushering a handful of children onto a small boat that took them out to Abramovich’s $400million mega-yacht Eclipse – which once held the record for largest privately owned yacht.

    The she wore a pink floral-print dress with a drop waist, paired with casual black-and-white slip-on sandals.

    Murdoch and Deng married in 1999 and have two children together, daughters Grace and Chloe.

    It was Murdoch who filed for divorce in 2013, citing irreconcilable differences. Reports at the time stated that Murdoch had grown suspicious of his wife’s close relationship with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the godfather to one of their daughters.

    Blair has consistently denied that there was anything inappropriate about their relationship.

    Earlier this month, Deng turned heads at Paris Fashion Week where she showed up on the arm of a much-younger escort.
    Deng was smiling ear-to-ear as she attended the Giambatista Valli show with her dapper date, 30-year-old violinist Charlie Siem, who is also the UK’s youngest professor.

    During her marriage to Mr Murdoch, Chinese-born Miss Deng, who met the billionaire while working as an intern, became known for her fierce loyalty to her husband.

    When the media tycoon was giving evidence in Parliament over the hacking scandal she protected her husband from a custard pie thrown from the audience.

    Read more:

    • Michael Warren says

      Not sure the ROC has anything to do with whom Putin is dating. But I guess russophobia needs some outlet…

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Any true Russophile must be a Putinophobe in order to have any credibility. An acquaintance of mine who served with Putin in East Germany told us: “He was a svoloch then, and he;’s the same svoloch now!”
      Nevertheless, some still adore the Polonium Purveyor! But not Mrs Litvinenko!

  17. Patriarch Kirill is in fact an deep ecumenist that is hiding his game. His closest collaborator and number 2 of the MP regime is Hilarion of Volokolamsk who recognises the mysteries of Latin heretics. As a head of the Department of Foreign Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Kirill was deeply invilved in ecumenism and had a Russian church in Altea, near Alicante in Spain blessed by the local catholic bishop. As a young man, Kirill had Nicodeme of Leningrad (secretely converted to papism) as a spiritual father and it is rumored that Kirill himself as a deacon, served at a catholic mass.

    • Ah, well, if true (and I don’t necessarily believe it), that would fall under “youthful indiscretions”. I set off some bottle rockets in a dorm once too. But now he is in the big leagues and I think he realizes this. I pray for him.

    • Michael Warren says

      +Patriarch Kirill answers to the HOLY Synod of the ROC and the Russian Orthodox people. His paid appearance with Francis was a bout of Rome groveling to get on Russia’s coat tails and declare Rome’s support for Russky Mir. It actually began a process of leveraging the papacy toward an Orthodox transition or backing off, where Unia has no future with the fall of the American colonial banderofascist state being imminent. +Kirill’s lambasting of Uniatism on the Sunday of Orthodoxy is the real sentiment of the Russian Orthodox Church.

      • Michael–You are essentially accusing Pat. Krill of being a liar and a hypocrite. Unless you think the 10 commandments are Calvinistic and renovationistic and thus don’t except them as source of authority, I think one of the commandments says something about not lying.

        • Michael Warren says

          I explained this all above.

          I must confess that I don’t understand your reasoning. Could you please explain yourself.

          For the record, you are saying these things, not me.

    • Can you provide sources (primary or quality secondary) for your allegations?


    I don’t want to bail on Patriarch Kirill or the MP prematurely. But going back I saw this from 1971. It affirms the Orthodox teaching that the grace of the mysteries is not transmitted outside the Church and did so at the time that the MP was communing Catholics as a matter of course. Deja vu? Lord, have mercy!

    Where is the Church? As of this moment, I’m sure that it is in the Church Abroad. Where else? We’ll have to see.

    • Michael Warren says

      Well, the RTOC, ROAC, ROCiE-A, ROCiE-V, ROCOR-A, and HOCNA all agree with you.

      But they also all agree you are not the bonafide Church Abroad, but THEY individually are.

      Seems the entire rogues gallery, including your ROCOR-MP, is under the collective anathema of ROCOR for schism, but all the bodies compromising this morass are schismatics by their own definition.

      Dr. Seuss ecclesiology. Wrap the foil around the paper plate to make a cone and put it on your head to get interstellar transmissions from the HMS Bezopopovschina in the Grabbe galaxy.

      I believe you all COLLECTIVELY are the REAL ROCOR. And that is not a good thing. Nor is it really Russian Orthodoxy. Or even valid Old Believerism.

    • Misha,

      In the small but powerful book of handwritten notes called “Notes on Ecumenism” by St. Justin Popovich, the Saint wrote, “The decision on Inter-communion with the Pope: made the entire Patriarchate of Moscow uniate.” No kind of oikonomia when the issues of faith are concerned.”

      I was floored, although of course he never broke communion with the MP or declared them to be without grace. His spiritual son retired Bp. Athanasius Yevtich offers a commentary in the footnote:

      “…the irrational decision (from the Orthodox perspective) of the Russian Patriarchate of 1970/71: to allow Roman Catholics to receive the Holy Communion, which was probably made in order to ‘ingratiate themselves’ with Rome to ‘gain advantage’ over Constantinople! After harsh reaction on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russians thank God, overturned that decision.”

      As far as the Russian Church and their favorable view of heterodox mysteries, this goes back to the 17th cent. according to Archimandrite Placide Deseille, a Roman Catholic who became an Athonite monk:

      “in the seventeenth century, the Russian Orthodox Church came under a very strong Latin influence, and was partially won over to the position of Saint Augustine. She then decided to receive Catholics into Orthodoxy by confession and a profession of faith alone. From the perspective of traditional Orthodox theology, this could only be accepted as a very generous instance of recourse to the principal economy… I have been asked for my retrospective opinion on the sacraments that we had ourselves administered while still priests of the Roman Church. I would simply reply that the Orthodox Church speaks more willingly about the “authenticity” and “legitimacy” of sacraments than about their “validity”. Only sacraments administered and received in the Orthodox Church are “authentic” and “legitimate” and, according to the usual order of things, the validity, or effective communications of grace, depends on this legitimacy. But the Holy Spirit is free with His gifts, and He can distribute them without going through the usual channels of salvation wherever He finds hearts that are well-disposed. …We can therefore only leave this matter, with complete confidence, to the mercy of God.” (“Stages of a Pilgrimage”. The Living Witness of the Holy Mountain: Contemporary Voices from Mount Athos trans. By Hieromonk A. Golitzin, pp. 86-90)

      ROCOR’s canonist, Deacon Andrei Psarev, disagrees with Archimandrite Deseille’s view holding that the Greek oikonomia view only originated in the 11th cent. He, like Fr. Florovsky before him, holds that the Russian (semi-Augustinian) view is the historic view of the Orthodox Church:

      Here is Fr. Florovsky addressing the issue specifically:

      In the later period of discussion, the whole ecclesiological problem was brought to the fore. The main issue was: what was the Church Universal? and in what sense do “schisms” belong to the Church? Various answers were given, or often simply taken for granted in advance. Unity of belief does not by itself constitute the corporate reality of the Church, since the Church is a Divine institution. The “Branch Theory” of the Church was obviously unacceptable to the Orthodox. In any case, it minimizes the tragedy of disruption. Again, a schism is not just a human separation: it violates the basic structure of Christian existence. The only alternative available for Orthodox theologians seemed to be this: either separated bodies did not belong to the Church at all, and therefore were, not only historically but also spiritually, outside of it; or they were still, in a certain sense and under special conditions, related to the Church existentially. The latter conception is characteristic of Roman Catholicism, and goes back to St. Augustine; for that very reason many Orthodox would hesitate to accept it. It was, however, held by many Russian theologians, if not quite in the same sense (Philaret; Kireev; Svetlov). Accordingly, the Sacraments were not necessarily reiterated for the non-Orthodox, in the case of conversion, but were understood as having some real charismatic significance even outside of the strict canonical boundaries of the Church. This has been the common practice of the Russian Church in the last centuries. On the other hand, this practice could be interpreted in the light of the theory of “economy” which is characteristic of modern Greek theology; in this case, the fact of non-reiteration would not imply any recognition of these non-Orthodox ministrations, and should be interpreted simply as a pastoral dispensation. (Orthodox Ecumenism in the Nineteenth Century)

      Fr. John Erickson of St. Vladimir’s Seminary holds that the Greek view that heterodox sacraments are graceless is actually a heterodox “Greek innovation” imported into the Church by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite.

      In recent writings Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk has moved towards a stricter view: “The Augustinian understanding of the “efficacy” of the sacraments was never fully accepted in the Orthodox Church. Such an understanding of the sacraments is unacceptable for Orthodox tradition, for it is an understanding in which the grace inherent within them is considered autonomous, independent of the Church. The sacraments can be performed only within the Church, and it is the Church that bestows efficacy, reality, and salvation on them. (Orthodox Christianity Vol. II: Doctrine and Teaching of the Orthodox Church, p. 405)

      The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has advanced an apophatic view:

      “By establishing various rites of reception, however, the Orthodox Church does not assess the extent to which grace-filled life has either been preserved intact or distorted in a non-Orthodox confession, considering this to be a mystery of God’s providence and judgment.”(Basic Principles of the Attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church the Other Christian Confessions 1.17)

      • I’m not exactly militant on this issue as I understand it better. I continue to believe that the Augustinian view is the anomaly and that mysteries served outside the Church do not convey grace but may be “grace-filled” upon the person’s reception into the Church. I think the branch theory is inaccurate but I leave the matter of ultimate salvation to a merciful God. I have come to have great respect for the views of St. Gregory of Nyssa and Met. Kallistos (Ware) on this subject:

        I think we should all seriously consider the possibility that on the Last Day, as each human being is taken in front of the Judge of the Living and the Dead, that there may not be any convictions. I wrote a bit on my own blog about this, and I’ve suspected it for quite some time, but looking at Scripture and the Fathers in light of Met. Kallistos’ article above, I’m pretty well convinced of this most merciful outcome.

  19. George,

    NOTE: George, I’m giving you permission to print this if you want. If not, that’s ok too. I’m going to start a page or pages regarding this and other topics so I could use the publicity. Of course, with your permission I would like to have a link to your site on mine.

    (aka: On sin and debt)
    This came to me last night.

    I want to conduct a little thought experiment with you. It is to pose two questions and perhaps walk through them some part of the way or share my thoughts on them to some extent and then leave them to your care.

    Not fond of dangling mysteries, I will cut to the chase:

    1. What happens when a Church looses the ability or will to retain sins?

    2. What happens when debt is no longer credible?

    * * *

    The Gospel According to John 20:22-23:

    “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”

    From the Lord’s Prayer:

    “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

    * * *

    I ask these questions for a good reason. Let us set aside for a moment ominous and dire projections regarding a falling sky and look at things in a calmer manner. We’re not making a “western” here.

    Christ conveyed to his Apostles the power to bind and loose – to forgive sins of an individual, and to retain sins of an individual. It is worth asking, why did He give this power if it was not to be exercised and to whom did He give it? For us, as Orthodox Christians, the answer to the second question is obvious. He gave this power to His Apostles and their successors, the episcopacy, who also convey it to their servants, the presbyteriate. It is a responsibility of sorts, pastoral. “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”

    But when this power is not exercised wisely; when those charged with exercising it are not good stewards of the “talents” conveyed to them, so to speak, bad things happen. Just how bad these “bad things” are is something which we are all about to find out in the not too distant future. In redefining morality, willfully plucking the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, so to speak, mankind is creating quite the mess.

    Now we all know about the issues that are confronting the Orthodox Church at present. And we all know the licentious nature of Western society and that it has become unmoored from Christian morality. A progressive humanist should recognize this as easily as a traditional Christian. To be sure, the reactions will be different. But the realization must surely be there. The West is post-Christian and evangelistic about the matter. That is not to say that any other society in particular has it “right”, but we need to call a spade a spade if we’re going to get anywhere.

    In answer to the first question, well, obviously, people are going to do just exactly whatever they want to do according to their level of faith. “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).” This is the place where America and the West finds itself and the party to which the Orthodox Church and the rest of the world are being invited. Now, there are catering issues, to which we will return shortly, but you get the moral picture. We have seen it in the culture at large, in the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches, and even within our own Orthodox churches. Now some will say that the pendulum may swing back. But I do not believe that to be the case. This is a one way ticket. Try and postulate a pleasant scenario regarding how the pendulum might swing back, and you will see my point.

    So part of the reason I’m writing this piece is to convey to my Orthodox brethren the gravity of the moment in which we live. I’m not playing chicken little, squawking about. I’m just bringing some things to your attention which you might choose to pursue, or not, as you wish. But I pray that the Orthodox episcopacy and the Church in general will use this Lent wisely to prepare themselves for the future. Ultimately, I am optimistic about the future, but, as the song goes, “. . . sometimes you have to go through hell before you get to heaven.” The Orthodox Church, as the Body of Christ, has a particular responsibility during this time to pursue holiness.

    Now, to the second question: What happens when debt ceases to be credible?

    I’m not sure if you are familiar with the work of the “demythologizers” from the German world, the Bultmann project. But I would like you to put to use their device in imagining the answer to this question with me. Let’s take the overtly supernatural out of the equation for a moment. We would expect that there would be military conflict and the threat of military conflict during such a global financial event. Wars are often fought over resources. As one of Tom Clancy’s characters quipped, “War is just a bank robbery writ large.” We would expect disruptions in the allocation of resources (famines, etc.), disruptions in health care services (“plagues”, etc), and many other unpleasant eventualities. We would expect them for the following reason.

    When debt ceases to be credible, when the sheer amount of social and military expenditures and unfunded mandates becomes so massive that one looks at it and ones only reaction is to print money and pray if you got ‘em, at some point dominoes start falling. People realize that things are completely out of control and seek to reimpose control. This is an unpleasant experience for human beings to live through: chaos and attempts at establishment of order during times when the system of delivering goods and services – the lifelines, if you will – are not working. [see: Sustainability Development Goals:

    This living infrastructure would not be working because the thing upon which commerce depends, the credibility of debt, has vanished. What I mean is that the moment that people realize that a large portion of the debt outstanding in the world will never and can never be serviced – that it is pure fiction – the world may not like it and experience some modicum of trauma as a result. Forgive me for engaging in a bit of British understatement but I’m trying not to be too heavy in this little thought experiment. It is difficult.

    In fact, running with our little demythologization meme, one does not have to be a fundamentalist Protestant gazing at the sky awaiting Christ’s immanent return in order to see that buying and selling might become problematic. The credit cards in our hands, and the cell phone headsets on our heads may not easily bring us the necessities of life during such a time. Banks lend expecting return (interest). No return, no credit. Ponder for a moment how dependent our society is on the flow of credit (which, incidentally, the Jews considered usury/defrauding amongst their own). That should give you serious cause for pause.

    And I think that is what some of these doomsayers smell in the air. Btw, do you know where we got the word “doom”? It is from a book called the Domesday Book which was a list of lands and the taxes thereupon in merry olde Englande (see Which brings us to another little matter – the stability and function of government. Government, as it is said, doesn’t really produce anything in and of itself except through redistribution. And in order to have something to redistribute, in order to have any power, it has to tax.

    “Tax what?”, you might say to yourselves. Well, we are all aware of the recent news regarding offshore accounts of the rich and powerful [see: But, unless I’m very mistaken, one could not operate the world’s governments by confiscating large amounts of capital. Not only would it destroy the economy but there is not enough there to feed the bulldog. One must tax the wages and salaries of labor and the movement of goods and services. Without the ability to do this, a government is powerless. And if there is anything that we know about discreet, organic entities, it is that they practically exist to expand their own power. Think of trees crowding each other out in pursuit of sunlight. Governments are just the same. But the premise of our little question is that the entire credit/debt system has collapsed, worldwide. If the West goes down, it all falls.

    This could not have happened on this scale in any previous era.

    I do not know exactly what the future holds, but one could do worse than to consult the books of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John, demythologize them, and then see if these visions of our saints do not correspond to the picture we might paint in answer to the two questions I proposed above.

    Oh, and one other thing. Just for the record. I am an Orthodox Christian. As Russians are fond of saying, “Это не случайно.” This is no coincidence. I do not believe that the presuppositions of the Bultmann crowd are correct, just a useful device for those of little faith to confront certain facts.

  20. I posted this on the Traditional Orthodoxy Facebook page. I thought it would make a good comment here to because it is something that Moscow needs to hear:

    “This is one of those times when my Russian heritage, attenuated though it be, comes in handy. I think I understand why the MP is vascillating on this [i.e., recognition of mysteries outside the Church] as opposed to the diaspora Church Abroad. For Pat. Kirill and Met. Ilarion, it may be about that golden Russian concept “уважение” (“respect”). They just want to be “fair” about the matter. This is understandable. It is the general Russian attitude toward the West, “We will reciprocate if you will meet us half way.” Mutual respect. Very Eastern/Asian. Yet it presents a problem when trying to discern the truth. Which wins out, respect or truth? What Moscow fails to understand in its blanket opposition to “proselytism” is that this is a zero sum game. One side is right and the other is wrong. It’s not like politics where each side has interests to be respected. It is theology. It his very hard for some people to face the fact that Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are mutually exclusive. But they are. Unless words have no more meaning than we give them at any given moment, the Immaculate Conception and the Orthodox understanding of Original Sin cannot both be accurate. Nor can papal infallability and conciliarity. It may be a cause for sadness, and it may sound harsh, but it is simply true.”

    * * *

    “I mean, we are all human. That was my point when I think Fr. Peter and I were talking past each other the other night. Russians want to make it easy as possible for Uniates to return to the Church. We are very hospitable people “once you get to know us” [speaking for a moment with my Russian voice]. However, for Fr. Longin and for the Church Abroad, truth is the greater consideration given the extreme circumstances that the Church Abroad had to deal with and given the circumstances that Fr. Longin has to deal with today and every day.”

  21. George,

    Here is my site. I’m slumming it for the moment but I have a good computer guy who will upgrade me dramatically as finances allow:

    The name means “illumination”. Please let me know if I may link to your site. I don’t want to do so without your permission.

  22. M. Stankovich says

    While I was driving home from work today, I was listening to a researcher on the local NPR news, Fred Fox, from a small biotech firm – actually within sight from the hill overlooking the canyon behind my house – complaining of “intimidation,” over the fact that he must appear on Monday in response to a subpoena issued by Rep. Marsha Blackburn who heads the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. Fox is the executive Director of Biomed IRB, which is only significant because Fox, of all things a lawyer (not a pejorative, in and of itself, but the FDA had already put his company on official restriction for “unqualified” reviewers of clinical trials), wanted to investigate Alzheimer’s Disease, which contributed to the death of his mother. Noble. Why would Rep. Marsha Blackburn and her panel on “infant lives” be interested in Fred Fox? Use your imagination… Fetal cells and body parts! Call me liberal? The NPR reporter questioned why fetal cells and body parts had anything to do with “infant lives.” Madonna mia! Now, all of this is probably does constitute “intimidation,” given US law – and no one has ever accused Fox or Biomed IRB of impropriety in regard to fetal cells or body parts – and while it is despicable, it is, nevertheless legal, but it does, however, get worse, and dramatically so.

    I have been accused of promoting and supporting “vivisection” and a criminality that I have stated cries out to heaven for its symbiosis with legal abortion, and I will not even “awaken” that imbecilic charge again. My complaint has been consistently that the wholesale distribution of the cells and body parts of aborted fetuses is rationalized as “acceptable” because it is said to benefit society as a whole medically, yet, in reality, only feeds our addiction to the myth of medical miracles. This is borne out in current research that allows for kidneys harvested from an aborted fetus to be then transplanted into a live rat – and it would stand to reason that this “harvesting” occurred in utero prior to death, or very quickly post mortem – to grow larger, later to be used for other purposes. What purposes? Ultimately, the rationale/rationalization is that there is as a dearth of transplantable organs, or such organs could be used in Phase 1 Clinical Trials (the establishment of safety phase) for medications otherwise deemed too dangerous for humans, or other procedures deemed “too risky” for human subjects. And to prove my point, the perpetrator of this sickness says

    Given the major shortage of children’s organs available for transplant, “the U.S. public may find this technology more palatable if they [see] we restrict the organ recipients to only neonatal and fetal patients who have basically no other alternative to save their lives”

    American medicine is out of control.

    • Michael Bauman says

      American medicine like the rest of American culture has succumbed entirely to the demonic ideals of individualistic utilitarianism which takes the “greatest good for the greatest number” nonsense to its logical extreme that “saving a life” is worth the death of millions.

      Joseph Mengele triumps over Hippocrates.

      Transplant technology is twice cursed. It curses those that give and those that receive. Three times cursed as it curses us as we stand and watch as silence means consent.

      Since my 20’s I have stated that I would never accept a transplant nor allow one for my children. People thought me crazy. Had my son actually become medically qualified for one and I refused on religious grounds I am sure the state would have seen to it that my parental authority was overridden at the point of a gun. (Notice I did not say parental “rights”). Would that I had done more somehow.

      God forgive me.