Putting the Screws On

Before Bartholomew’s Visit:  “Your All Holiness, put the screws on them”

“. . . The clamor for “invasion” of the Mount Athos by dozens of agents, dressed in the monastic uniform, and for a flood of money through sponsorships supporting Moscow’s positions and against the Ecumenical Patriarch has not ceased.

Certain monasteries, according to abbots and international press reports, have been accused of pouring water into the Russian propaganda mill and maintaining close ties with Moscow’s elite, usually businessmen openly supported by the Kremlin.

Uncritically, without limit or moderation, and ignoring their “spiritual authority”, that is the Ecumenical Patriarch. What the monasteries were interested in was to show work. Ignoring the fact that behind the “homodox” and “fraternal” generous support of the Russians there were other plans and aspirations.

Most monasteries that never hid their sympathy for Moscow now keep an equal distance. Publicly at least. Under these circumstances, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrives on Mount Athos tomorrow.

With clear viewpoints in favor of Ukraine and condemning the stance taken by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who continues to “bless” Russian President Putin’s war.

In his interview on state television, Patriarch Bartholomew made this clear: “if I were in the shoes of the Patriarch of Moscow, I would have resigned in protest against the war in Ukraine, even if they had put me in jail.”  [I find that difficult to believe.]

The announcement of the Holy Community of Mount Athos the day before yesterday has stirred up a storm of reactions in the ecclesiastical world. In the statement, Mount Athos does not condemn the Russian invasion, it states that they are intensifying their prayers to stop a conflict in Ukraine that started in 2014!

No condemnation of the Russian invasion and just “wishes” to end the war. In the monasteries of Mount Athos, they claim that the joint statement does not express them and they are surprised by the tone of the statement.

“It is outside the line of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and of course it is like closing our eyes and not seeing a war caused by the Russian invasion,” notes an abbot of a monastery on Mount Athos who declares his opposition to the “joint” statement. . .”  https://orthodoxtimes.com/your-all-holiness-put-the-screws-on-them/

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The Ecumenical Patriarch’s Response: There are voices from the monastic world, questioning the structure of the Church  [Which he is most unhappy about.]

“. . .  “The monks are not above the church, or despite the church, but within the church, and even as its chosen constitution,” stressed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, during his visit to the Karakallou Monastery on Mount Athos yesterday afternoon, calling on the monks to preserve the “basic and undeniable truths” of the apostolic teaching, against “temptations” and “voices” that lead in the opposite direction to the imposed unity and functionality of the church.

“Unfortunately, on two occasions, for example, the concession of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine and the coronavirus pandemic, voices are heard, sadly and bitterly said from the lonely place, which challenge and overturn the whole holy and spiritual structure of the church,” said Bartholomew.

He added that these “voices” “unleash insults and slander against the church, and, exceptionally, against the Mother and Great Church of Christ” and regretted this, saying: “Monasticism is ecclesiastical and not private…

In the church we are not saved alone…

The tradition and actions of our Orthodox Eastern Church are on the subject universal, otherwise we are diverted to a misguided ecclesiology …

“Those who lightly teach contrary to what the Church, with the fear of God, faith and love, prudence, prayer, lighting and much effort and agony, take on a heavy responsibility,” the Ecumenical Patriarch continued.

He added: “Have confidence in the Church. The Spirit, the Holy, constituted the institution of the church and led it to all Truth. ”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew explained that the church is, according to the apostolic teaching, the body of Christ “that is, a whole and an organization that is unified and indivisible, to which the members cannot be excused from each other and from themselves, which is led and ruled by Jesus Christ himself” and added:  “Any resignation from the apostolic teaching constitutes a dangerous alteration of Orthodox ecclesiology – we should not forget that all heresies start from an incorrect ecclesiology.

The distorted and scholarly ecclesiology means, in the final analysis, deviating dogmatic faith about Christ, that is, heresy.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also underlined that the relationship between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Mount Athos is “ontological” and “ecclesiastical” and the commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch is a recognition of this unity and functionality of the church, from which the monks are not excluded, while the slightest deviation from this “harmony and coupling” leads to the “self-default” of monasticism.

“The act of commemorating the Patriarch with the most simple and common : “First remember, Lord, our Archbishop “continually reveals this, that the Bishop of the place (Mount Athos) is always the Archbishop of Constantinople, so as to preserve the unity and functionality of the body of Christ, that is, the church,” stressed Metropolitan Bartholomew and continued: “The charismatic order of the monks is in no way excluded from this functional unity of the body, as well as the slightest deviation from its harmony and conjugation, would be a self-reflection of monasticism.”

The Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out that “the dangers and temptations for the monk are many”, such as “to be held responsible contrary to his dedication to Christ” and underlined that “the preoccupations of the monks with the individual ecclesiastical events, without the invitation of local bishops and even intense and warm, are reprehensible”, because they can bring about “problems, judgments, criticism, turmoil and dissension” and added:

“It is not the work of the monk to act in parallel with the local church.

The monk teaches, illuminates and sanctifies his surroundings with his consistent life with struggles, repentance, tears, exercise, silence, obscurity, ceaseless prayer. ”  https://orthodoxtimes.com/ecumenical-patriarch-voices-are-also-heard-from-the-monastic-world-questioning-the-structure-of-the-church/


  1. What the Hell did I just read?

    This sounds like the word vomit gobildygoop that comes out of Roman Catholicism.

    If Athos, the place that has been a bastion of Orthodoxy, is in bad shape then God help us.

  2. George Michalopulos says

    In the meantime, the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, committed the worst faux pas a Greek Orthodox Christian can do: he called Constantinople “Istanbul.”


    Was this a slip of the tongue? Or was he signaling to Bartholomew that the Phanariote hand is getting weaker?

    The fact that he hasn’t been taken to task for this means that the Greek govt is now a completely secularized vassal-state of George Soros.

  3. We do not listen to the words of unrepentant schismatics (and uncondemned heretics).

  4. Church history teaches us that monks keep the bishops inline with the Truth instead of earthly glory. The words of Bartholomew remind me of the bishops who went after St. Niktarious.

    • Part of me thinks that Bartholomew isn’t going to go into Unia, but, also not stay in Orthodoxy either. I’m starting to think he’s going to create his own thing, a “via media” like Anglicanism claims to be.

      Like there is “roman” Catholicism I think he is going to create “greek” Orthodoxy which will be its own entity of which he will be the head.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Bartholomew has trouble doing simple well. How is he going to pull something like that off? I’m beginning to think he’s just going to work himself out of the Church.

        • The good news is (for better or worse) his plans do seems to always fail, you’re right he doesn’t do simple well, and trying to play “Byzantine Intrigue” circa 2022 is not the same as it was in 1400. The EP lives in a bubble where they still think/operate like it’s the height of the Byzantine Empire not realizing that the world has long since left them behind. When you look at it like that all their moves make sense.

          I do agree, he will work himself out of the Church, officially, as he seems to be outside the Church currently “on paper.”

          The question is, who follows him and how many?

          I fully expect Ieronimos, Theodoros and Chrysostomos to follow him, plus some of the monasteries on Athos. Not sure about individual bishops within those Churches.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Interesting. I’d say “not so” but then again that might be the result of his shenanigans.

  5. jimofolym says

    If monasteries on Mt. Athos are not condemning Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, are they also condemning Ukranian (mis)adventures in Donbass since 2014? I don’t hear much about that eight year war from the west nor from certain places in the East! 14,000 deaths in Donbass don’t count for much in some places, it seems!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Jim, a very interesting observation you got there. Indeed, how come nobody in the Ukrainian Holy Synod condemned the burning alive of 40 people in Odessa in 2014 or the continued shelling of civilians in the Donbass for the past 8 years?

      How come they haven’t condemned the rampant corruption that has plagued Ukraine for decades and made them the poorest country in Europe?

      How come?

      If anybody knows differently, please point it out to me and I’ll stand corrected.

  6. Athos is directly under the Ecumenical Patriarch. It’s part of his diocese. Therefore it makes sense that they would take on his characteristics. I don’t know where people got this idea that Athos was hardcore ultra-Orthodox.

    Last week in the comments here we did a lot of trashing of Archbishop Alexander of the OCA DOS. He did an extended stay on Athos. Why should we be surprised that he speaks the same new world order propaganda as the bishop of Athos?

    If the Athonites really had a problem with Bartholomew, then they would leave. They may whine about having a heretical bishop, but they continue partaking of his chalice all the same.

  7. the problem is that there is no adminstrative structure with appropriate checks and balances to keep everyone in line. in fact, should mt athos be autochepalic, not autonomous?

    the phanar needs to see reality, they exist in istanbul, constantinople no longer exists. they byzantine empire is dead and gone, the period of hellenistic glory has past. unless they change their paradigm they will continue to be an artifact. yes, they unfortunately have become an artifact, the tragedy is that many in the usa have drunk the cool aid and perpetuate this aertifact perspective. we are americans, not greek, russian, ukrainian etc. we owe no allegience to foreign powers, for isnt that why our ancestors came and our friends still come here? so why afre we aligned with foreign prelates? it does not pass the sanity test.

    the only one who has changed the paradigm is the oca. following the bulgarian, polish, czech, romanian, serbian orthodox churches which represernt their own countries, the oca is the american church. american needs and deserves an american orthodox church. the oca has been able to endure for over 50 years and has proven its mettle. despite the protestations and intrigue of the hellenistic phanarites.

    ever since the television special on mt athos on cbs a few years back, when the monk said that he would not go the bedside of his dying father, such a display of non christian love and empathy, all respect that i may have had for mt athos became ashes. as a result of this report, to me they are a sham with missplaced priorities.

    perhaps it is a monastic trait, for a few years ago in a video at the russian mision in jerusalem, it showed archimandrite roman, while serviing, losing his cool with one of he nuns and being what appeared to be down right nasty. i wrote to the rocor about it. a man of god while serving should not exhibit such anger.

    many times we just do not walk our talk

    ergo we have a situation of the ‘king not wearing any clothes’,, what bart and his cronies think the situation is, not what it actually is. as such, we continue to be the laughung stock of the christian world.

    if it wasn’t for intrigue, and church politics, would there be any other reason for the laity to come to church? this question comes from 77 years of immersion in the culture.

    we need to change our focus – christian love, christian charity, christian empathy, christian nurturing, christian unity need to be our focus. we have such a rich theological heritage, why do we choose to focus on the mundane? why do egos persist? we all need to learn how to play nicely in the sandbox and see reality. ask what is good for the church, and how can i follow christ in my effort to elevate the church and its teachings, how can i be a better christian, and how can i not succumb to worldly pettiness?

    if our leaders were truly leaders, why are they all, each and every patriarch and metropolitan not in kiev right how seeking a christian ending to the war and renewing peace between our eastern orthodox christian bretheren in russia and ukraine? even making an attempt, remember, you can’t win if you do not buy a ticket.

    oops my bad, i used the term leadership, from what i see we are lacking leaders, we have solely status quo maintainers. this is why the christian spokes people for the ukrainian nation have become people like joel osteen, and the roman catholic cardinal of new york who were both on t v. speaking about ukraine. where are our leaders? why haven’t they been contacted?

    there is an identity crisis and leadership crisis here. and this is tragic. the ship is sinking and we are still sleeping.

  8. George Michalopulos says

    A brief intro of Russian Faith (another tab up top):