Putting the Pieces Together

Last week, Gail and I wrote a glowing article about the recent consecration of His Grace, Gerasim, the Bishop of Ft Worth.  In all its respects.  There was much commentary –both pro and con–about our reportage.  We respect that.  Neither Gail nor I will allow the blog to devolve into an echo chamber.  If it gets to that point, we will pull the plug. 

That being said, we stand by what we experienced and our perceptions of that blessed event.  

Now, we want to address the comments which were more critical.  But first, a caveat:  we are under no illusions that things are all hunky-dory within the confines of American Orthodoxy.  (Or in America in general for that matter.)  They are not. 

That doesn’t mean that all is bleak or that we should just throw in the towel.  Nor does it mean that we should head into the catacombs.  

But when your kid is failing math and comes home with an A+ on his homework, it’s something the family needs to celebrate.  That’s all we’re trying to say.   We saw evidence of hope and we haven’t seen that for a very long time.  

We are acutely aware of the unfortunate things that have happened in our Church.  One that springs to mind was the unjust defenestration of His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah several years ago by apparatchiks in Syosset.  Another was the unwise decision taken by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of the GOA, marching with throngs of BLM who had flooded the street during the height of the pandemic, fighting in the streets and burning down cities. 

These are by no means the only unfortunate and ill-considered stances taken by our hierarchs and clergy. 

The mishandling of the COVID crisis is probably the stand-out SNAFU which calls into question how important our traditions are to some of our hierarchs and how much more faith they seemingly place in the voices of the secular world.    

One must also look in askance at the scandals that our lay leaders have gotten themselves into.  The eyesore and financial boondoggle that is the St Nicholas Shrine springs instantly to mind. 

We could go on but it would do little good to constantly harp on the past; there is more than enough negativity to go around.  Neither our readers nor the publishers of this blog are naive.

In fact, I think that we are all (by now) hard-edged realists.   

But it does no good to constantly harp on the negative things, without mentioning the occasional good, if we have any hope of putting the pieces back together again.  We live in a fallen world but it is not hopeless.  We can overcome our liabilities.  If that were not the case, Christ would never have made us His bride.  Failure doesn’t matter.  It’s how many times we get back up.  

I, for one, am far from perfect.

That said, the ceremonial investiture that we saw in Dallas, stands out as an example of all that pent-up good and decency that is still there in Orthodoxy.  Perhaps its singularity is what made it so special.  I don’t know.  But in this fallen world, we need to take what little good we can find and magnify it so others can see it.  If nothing else, it tells them we’re still paying attention.    

But that doesn’t mean we’re pollyannas.  We are under no illusion that tough times are ahead.  I realize now, more clearly than ever, that the secular powers are twisting arms behind the scenes.  They want to tweak the Church to accommodate the secular culture, taking Orthodox jurisdictions and tieing them together with one big colorful, rainbow.   They’ll slap on a flowery card from a gift store somewhere and call it the new Tomas, which promises to be more “tolerant” and “inclusive.”  The coming American Orthodox Church will be cut from the same cloth as the scandalous sect that was created in Ukraine.  (read:  Russophobic ukrocephalous).  

Gail and I are painfully aware of this.  One more failure in a laundry list of failures.  This has resulted in schisms within schisms.   As a member of the OCA, I pray that the words spoken by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, as well as the response by His Grace Bishop Gerasim, were true.  They assured us that would uphold and protect the OCA’s autocephaly.  They seemingly have no intention of considering the offers of the GOA knowing they will shrivel up and cease to exist under the skirt of the GOA. 

Let us pray that hold firm to what they said.  Not just for the OCA, but for all Orthodox Christians in America.   

G & G 


  1. Seraphim says

    It’s a tough balance to keep: seeing the good while keeping awareness more bad is coming. I confess I know nothing about Bishop Gerasim. I really hope he’s a good bishop. I guess I’ve become so disenchanted with so many bishops I’ve become a pessimist. But in this case I hope I’m wrong.

    As far as the autocephaly thing, I’m all for it. Something this last year has shown me is that, in my opinion, ecclesially our leadership is too spread out. Local bishop does what his archbishop tells him, archbishop does what the metropolitan tells him, and the metropolitan does what the patriarch (10,000 miles away) tells him. Doesn’t sound like a good system. Certainly a far cry from the early Church where each local church had its own bishop.

    Don’t get me wrong, the patriarchal structure does have advantages. It’s like the fed and the states. The fed gives a sense of unity and cohesiveness. But when it gets too big it’s never good. It’s too disconnected from the common man.

    I think the Church needs to regain the local bishop structure, as well as the understanding that a bishop is a bishop is a bishop.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Which is why we can never have anything to do with Istanbul. Or in any See, where the novel heresy of “first without equals” has taken root.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I’d like to add that because the Ecumenical Patriarch has twisted his unique role into something bordering on heresy (with a promise of more to come), the entire patriarchate needs to be extinguished.

        • Gail, just in case somebody thinks that your comment is too harsh:
          If the well known Canon 28 is today accurately applied to the Bishop in Istanbul, then all the C.28 logic and functionality is indeed “extinguished” and does not apply there any more: Istanbul is not the Capital of Turkey, and Turkey is not a large Christian country. So the Istanbul Bishop cannot act as per C.28 and assist visiting Bishops who want to get the assistance of the residing (christian) Head of State.

      • Seraphim says

        Agreed, but I’m saying we need to go further. I’m saying patriarchs altogether is already bordering on too big. I was in the Antiochian Archdiocese for years and at the church I was going to between 2013-2020, I saw Metropolitan Joseph once. You can’t develop a real relationship with your bishop that way. If we had more bishops, closer bishops, who really knew us, those of us who had issues with their covid policy might have had a real forum to speak with them.

        • George Michalopulos says

          very much agreed.

        • Jacob Lee says

          No one respects an absentee father.

          That is the situation we have with our Bishops.

        • Jane Tzilvelis says

          Your article last week was very respectful and heartfelt. I, for one, am filled with sadness about what I see happening to Orthodox Christians because of certain hierarchs adapting so quickly to soft Communist ideology. I am also aware that the dark plague of Marxist demoralization and destabilization will get tougher to live under unless we take a stand.

          But isn’t that what the elites want us to do? They want us to rise up so they can kill us. Yes, kill us. We are facing a certain death if we do not rise against the sin we see happening. What shall we do, Lord?

          What shall we do? The following article from 2020 put some perspective on the current tragedy we are living. Let us pray together here. Now. Time is of the essence.

          “Orthodoxy is the modern Job. You can take everything away from it, but you can’t touch its soul. God preserves the soul. Testimony to this is all that has happened over these thousand years since the time of Prince Vladimir.”

    • A hearty AMEN to each local Bishop being…..a local Bishop!

  2. Gail Sheppard says

    I think it’s a question of ignorance and isolation. They rely on advice from a handful of “experts” who in spite of their credentials are as ignorant as they are, but don’t know it.

    Many physicians are in the dark. They say “follow the science”, but they’re following the “scientists,” assuming they can be trusted when that is no longer the case.

    When this thing with Fauci is fully revealed, it is going to be a real eye-opener for them.

    I took someone close to me to a cardiologist a few months ago and he asked if either of us had had the vaccine. The doctor remarked that he would travel to another city to get a vaccine and even suggested an important ultrasound for my friend be postponed until he did.

    As I was leaving, I casually asked him about the myocarditis associated with the vaccine.

    He literally said, “What myocarditis? I haven’t heard anything about myocarditis.”

    I’m not surprised. These doctors believe in the integrity of their profession and would never suspect information would be withheld from them for nefarious reasons. How can they alert our bishops?

    THEY DON’T KNOW. Not yet, they don’t. But very soon they will.

    • The EMA found 164 cases of myocarditis out of around 197,000,000 (197 million) doses of Pfizer and Moderna, why would he have heard of a less than one in a million complication?


      The risk of adverse cardiac outcomes from the vaccines are minimal compared to the risk of them from actually contracting covid.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Because myocarditis disproportionately aflicts people in their prime (30 and under) and it is happening to people in their prime.

        Because as of July 1, the CDC has acknowledged approximately 1,000 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have resulted from vaccination against COVID by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. Less than 1% are reporting adverse events in VAERS and the CDC is very slow in investigating them because VAERS is a rudimentary, cumbersome reporting tool, at best. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-information-for-parents-on-myocarditis-and-covid-19-vaccines-202107012523

        Because this is a clinical trial that affects almost half our population in the States and every doctor should be paying attention to the outcomes.

        Because doctors are pushing vaccinations, without FDA approval (EUA is not approval), on kids 16 years and older, and schools across the nation are now requiring it.

        Because this doctor thinks it prevents transmission and it doesn’t.

        Because he is a cardiologist and cases of myocardis are in his field of medicine.

        Because he is recommending patients get vaccinated and he knows less than I do about it.

        Doctors do NOT know enough to be recommending it which will all come out eventually. Even though the pharmaceutical companies cannot be sued, physicians can.

        • Moving the decimal place over on the upper bound means your benefit/risk ratio in favor of the vaccine goes from something like six orders of magnitude to five.

          Young men should probably be concerned that there are growing indications of male sexual dysfunction as a possible outcome from covid-19 infection.

          There is increasing supporting evidence that the mRNA vaccines do reduce transmission:


          When all is said and done, you may find yourself confronting the fact that most of what you believed to be true about the covid vaccines wasn’t.

          • anonimus per Scorilo says

            Even if the coronavirus vaccines had much worse side effects, vaccination would still be the ethical choice for a Christian. We should really be thanking God for the speed with which they were developed and for their good efficiency and reasonably low side-effects. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev makes this point very clearly in his recent interview (on the Moscow Patriarchate official external website):


            “I am told: why do you so actively call people to be vaccinated? Indeed, you have no medical education. And one does not have to be a medic to see what is happening around, in what agony people with the coronavirus die. They simply suffocate. It is a nightmarish death. Such patients cannot even say goodbye to their relatives, as the latter are not allowed to see them. Doctors see all that; we, priests, see that. Compared to what is happening, the anti-vaccination rhetoric seems simply absurd and even sacrilegious. That is why I am not shy of speaking, in both my programs and other public appearances: God has sent to us now an opportunity for getting rid of the coronavirus pandemic, so let us use this opportunity. “

            • It’s very sad that there are still those of you who are so utterly brainwashed that you can’t see what’s right in front of your face. According to all the available data, by any measure, for any person under the age of 65 (and in many cases above the age of 65), the vaccine is far more dangerous than the virus itself, which is a very mild flu and nothing more, despite the media establishment attempting to spin it into something more. This is not merely the opinion of “conspiracy theorists” or whatever you want to name call those who don’t accept the “official” position, but of thousands of doctors and scientists. For every “expert” who believes in the pandemic, there is one who thinks it is a hoax.

              There is no pandemic and never has been. Yes, the virus exists, but everything said about it in the media and from the government propagandists has been extremely, extraordinarily exaggerated. If you can’t see that, at this point, then I guess you never will. May God open your very blinded eyes.

              Regarding Met. Hilarion, his statement is ignorant and assumes many things which aren’t true, while ignoring the very real moral issue (which you are ignoring as well) that all of these vaccines were developed (and in at least one case – Johnson and Johnson – are manufactured) using aborted fetal tissue.

              It also must be said that the vaccine in Russia, while also dangerously rushed and untested, is a conventional vaccine, while the vaccines offered in the United States are experimental gene therapies and not properly vaccines at all. Very dishonest of you, and the media that you take your cues from, to equivocate between these two very different types of treatments.

              • “There is no pandemic and never has been.”

                The over 53.000 ded in my =state

                “The is no pandemic and never has been.”

                The over 53,000 dead fromthe pandemic (in my state alone) would disagree with you, Jonathan.

              • ” In August 2020, British and American officials stated that the Gam-COVID-Vac [Sputnik V] vaccine would likely be rejected due to concerns that the normally rigorous process of vaccine clinical testing was not followed.”

                And has the normally rigorous process of vaccine clinical testing been followed by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson or Astra-Zeneca?
                I don’t think so…

      • Tom A.,

        When the FDA assures the public and the medical community that drugs are safe, one would do well to recall only a few examples of similar assurances. Note the time on the market for each substance before they were finally recalled.


  3. There’s no variant… not novel… no pandemic.
    Dr David Martin with Reiner Fuellmich


    [Video – 1:22:47]

    ‘ There are 120 patented pieces of evidence showing total fallacy of claim ‘novel’! ‘

    A forensic demolition of the ‘pandemic’

    • Remember what I said about not arguing with the devil? I’ve ruminated about the best way to deal with the pandemic, the steal, the emerging police state in America, etc. The main conclusion I’ve come to is that we need to develop long memories regarding the treasonous, totalitarian betrayals upon us and harden ourselves to rise to the occasion.

      We should not be debating the fact that Covid is an experiment concocted by the CCP to test a delivery system for biological warfare. It’s ineffectiveness as a malady was by design just as its enhanced transmissibility was by design. It served the CCP’s purpose of testing and sending a clear signal. This test was picked up by the MSM and transformed into the hoax of the pandemic which enabled the introduction of totalitarian measures in our civil society. It was all baseless and contrived and does not deserve a moment’s more argument or analysis. Doubters should be shunned and sidestepped. Don’t waste time, effort and precious emotion energy debating these vermin, they are part of the Establishment Borg.

      As to political particulars, I suggest avoiding the vaccine for as long as practicable since it is unnecessary for most people and potentially harmful. It’s not sufficiently tested and aborted fetal cells were used in the development of most of the vaccine types out there.

      But the draconian measure of compelled vaccination under duress (only technically short of forced vaccination) should be seared on your psyche as an Orwellian attack on your individual liberty and an attempt at enserfment. Never forget it, regardless of whether you chose to give in for practical reasons. Dare to hate those who have imposed this upon you. There is indeed a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. The time for hatred and war is upon us. The alternative is surrender to the Establishment Borg and acceptance of its thousand year reign. For the technology will enable it to do what the CCP has done in China if they are not confronted here and now.

      The Biden Regime is illegitimate. Regime change should be our objective, however that can be obtained, by any means necessary. I do not expect it to materialize until at least 2024, though what Mike Lindell is doing is praiseworthy as a form of political polemic in and of itself. The audits too serve to delegitimize the regime. We should never shy away from testifying that the election was rigged and stolen, a coup d’etat. That is the objective reality and the contrary narrative cannot be allowed to prevail. The bolder the testimony the better. Never relent, never surrender.

      What we have witnessed over the last 18 months should be the certain death of the Democratic Party unless they are successful at maintaining the Big Lie that the election was honest. They know that the assertion of the Big Steal is revolutionary and will displace the entire Establishment, Democrat and Republican. That is why they characterize it as treasonous and seditious. From their perspective it certainly is. It is kryptonite to their ideology.

      Do not expect them to be understanding, persuadable or fair in any way. Expect them to behave like totalitarian monsters, contemptuous of the truth even if it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in broad daylight. It is in their best interest to cling to the lie as if it were oxygen itself because it is their only hope of maintaining power.

      Thus we should not seek to prove anything to them. We should keep a strong rhetorical front deployed and aggressively engaged, but it is aimed at the independent/uncertain element in the population, not the Democrats or the Left. They already know that they staged a coup d’etat. Proving anything to them is quixotic. You can’t wake a person that is only pretending to be asleep. They already know.

      You have to force them out of power. It is that simple. Election reform is vital and the next election must be monitored like a hawk to ensure against fraud and to document any successful fraud in real time so as to be able to broadcast it simultaneously to its occurrence.

      We are living in a fundamentally dishonest society. The Big Election Lie is but part and parcel of the Covid Hoax, Global Warming/Climate Change, Systemic Racism, etc. The list goes on and on. It is completely Orwellian and the only way to end the nightmare is to permanently retire the Democratic Party from national politics. They are the devil and the source of all these evils and they must be destroyed.

      • Awakening the people is easier
        when you have evidence to show.

        • No doubt. My initial line was directed at those who go back and forth with incorrigible libs. They are not worth the effort. They can’t be convinced of what they already know but choose to repress and deny.

  4. The Chairman of the Board and CEO of VIANEX SA,
    the largest pharmaceutical company in Greece, Dimitris Giannakopoulos…
    blasts those who insult and curse the unvaccinated citizens every day.


    ‘ … “Many ask if I got the vaccine and which one. No I did not and I will not.
    Not because I’m afraid but because I do not want my DNA to be altered.” … ‘

    And he would know…

  5. OrthoAppalachia says

    The mishandling of the Covid Crisis sits heavy on my heart each day. I was shut out of a local church for questioning and not confirming to the Covid panic hysteria. Only a handful of parishioners could visit each service and they’re had to be social distancing and mask wearing. One also had to sign up online to even attend. This happened for 14+ months.

    What happened was an outright assault on religious freedom and this goes straight to our bishops. Did they even question anything? Do they question anything? Do they run current events through the lense of scripture and tradition?

    We have entered into a very sad era in the Church, at least here in this country, unless our clergy and laity stand up and fight. The politicians, media, and controllers of information will not stop. We are living within a medical global tyranny for complete control of humanity.

    I am thankful to be blessed to live on some decent acreage and to continue on a self sufficient agricultural lifestyle. If these are the last days for free thinking, unvaccinated people, I’m happy to grow veggies to the end, for family, friends, neighbors, and even enemies.

    Church attendance and communion is difficult in these circumstances, but it is cherished each time. I am thankful to local churches that have continued to exist normally, as in the pre-covid era. There is no going back to what we considered normal. I hope I am wrong about that, but the past year and a half showed otherwise.

    • Seraphim says

      I have felt exactly the same and still do. I asked the same questions. You are right, our bishops, with one or two exceptions in the world, went right along with the whole thing. Some priests and parishes didn’t but many of them we don’t know about cause they couldn’t broadcast it.

      You are certainly better prepared than most for what’s coming, so take comfort in that. It’s weighing on me too. But St. John of San Francisco prophesied this. He said a day would come where many bishops would apostatize and God would raise up a new crew for His ship and we would have to read the Father’s and let them be our guide. I think we are entering into that time.