Reading Between the Lines –by Jim Jatras

An interesting perspective from one of our guest contributors, Jim Jatras . . .  

Upon closer reading, the reported denial published on (link and text below) of the account in Monomakhos of plans to take the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) under the authority of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is not as clear cut as it might seem at first glance.

Notice that the denial only addresses the question of the OCA’s “giving up its autocephaly.” Nothing is said about the core question of whether the OCA would submit to Constantinople’s superior authority without forfeiting its autocephaly.

How could that be? Under traditional Orthodox ecclesiology it can’t: either a Church is autocephalous – meaning it has no higher earthly authority – or it isn’t. But that understanding was dispensed with in the Tomos given by Constantinople to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).”  As has analyzed the Tomos, despite nominal autocephaly granted to the “OCU” Constantinople holds key authorities over it. This renders the “OCU” (if it were a church at all, which it isn’t) more of an autonomous body under the Phanar as an aspiring global primus sine paribus – a claim no less empty and destructive on the Bosporus than it was when it first appeared on the Tiber a millennium ago.

There is no reason this have-your-autocephaly-cake-and-let-the-Phanar-eat-it-too novel ecclesiology in Ukraine could not apply to the OCA – or to the other jurisdictions in the so-called “Diaspora” (under a tortured reading of Chalcedon 28); to Lebanese, Montenegrin, and “Macedonian” entities; or to any other group Constantinople might seek to scoop up as additional jewels in a worldwide tiara. Note (below):

“While all Local Churches recognize the OCA as a true Orthodox Church, currently only the Russian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Polish, Serbian, and Czech and Slovak Churches recognize its autocephaly. Thus, there are those who believe the OCA would give up its autocephaly to ‘normalize’ its situation.”  

But in light of the foregoing, it’s clear that the OCA’s “giving up its autocephaly” is irrelevant. Rather, Constantinople could finally recognize the OCA’s autocephaly, perhaps by issuing a Tomos similar to that for the “OCU,” under which Syosett submits to the new supreme global authority. The OCA’s denial of the Monomakhos report does nothing to dispel that possibility, and in fact, given the denial’s careful wording may point in that direction.

Also note that Constantinople has long been the global focus of ecumenism (especially toward Rome, though to be fair there have been worrisome signals from Moscow as well: “OrthoChristian offered several critiques of the Havana Document a few days after its signing. See here and here.”) and social liberalism (feminism, LGBT revisionism, etc.). Kindred souls in other jurisdictions instinctively look to Constantinople for leadership. It’s common knowledge that certain persons in the OCA have long favored alignment with Constantinople and are comfortable with the Phanar’s papalist pretensions since that’s the best way to move their agenda along. They are also sensitive to the fact that for geopolitical reasons Constantinople has powerful political backing from the US, mainly the State Department and the CIA, which also dovetails with the progressive ideological/moral agenda, especially LGBT (recent case in point, an American who’s adopted Georgian citizenship, and is doing a very bad job of not looking like a spook trying to bring criminal charges against main anti-LGBT Orthodox activist).

Finally, a caveat: the above speculation about the OCA’s status may be just stuff and nonsense. Maybe there really is no move on this front. Maybe the initial report from Monomakhos was based on mistaken sources. However, the denials from the OCA as reported by (but not, as of this writing, on the OCA’s own website) are hardly dispositive of the matter.

Jim Jatras

Jim holds a JD from Georgetown (1978) and a BA from Penn State (1974) and is a member of the Supreme Court Bar and the Pennsylvania and District of Columbia bars. Jim graduated from high school in Athens, Greece, where he met his future wife. He is married with two daughters and four grandchildren and attends St Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Falls Church, Virginia.

He writes regularly for Strategic Culture Foundation ( and Chronicles magazine. His writings are regularly picked up on media outlets such as Zero Hedge, Lew Rockwell and the Ron Paul Institute. He has appeared on The DuranRussia Insider and on RT’s Crosstalk. He is the author of a major study, “How American Media Serves as a Transmission Belt for Wars of Choice.”

He can be reached on Twitter @JimJatras.


Editor’s Postscript: Like many of us, Mr Jatras was rather alarmed by the story which I broke on Thursday of last week. Being a strategic thinker –and long involved in the interstices of the Cold War–Jim knows how to read between the lines.

Truthfully, anything is possible but to his credit, Jim’s analysis makes the most sense, especially in light of the recent Ukrainian debacle. There, in the broad light of day, Patriarch Bartholomew tipped his hand; conjuring up a scenario in which any church’s autocephaly can be contorted to fit into the novel “first without equals” theory posited by Metropolitan Elpidophoros Lambrianides several years ago.

Nor should we forget the other side of this “Autocephaly Plus” coin: And that is that Constantinople has the sole prerogative to nullify the autocephaly of any local church not established by an Ecumenical Council. And then of course there is the position that the Ecumenical Patriarch can interfere in any local church’s jurisdiction –even an ancient church–because it is “the sole arbiter of autocephaly”.

Ukraine was the first such attempt at papalism-run-amok. It is my opinion that with Lambrianides now ensconced in New York City as Constantinople’s exarch, America will be the next. This would make the most sense. If Lambrianides is successful in “uniting” the various jurisdictions here in America as an “autocephalous” church under Constantinople, then when he succeeds Bartholomew (as is likely to be the case), he can claim precedent and accelerate this novel Byzantine papalism elsewhere.

For the Orthodox Churches, these are all novel ecclesiological doctrines (at best). Hence, my belief that they will implode because of their own contradictions. We can see for example how the Phanar has been pushed back on its heels after its spectacular failure in Ukraine –a failure on many fronts: Political, cultural, as well as religious. If the proof is in the pudding, then the remarkable revival of the canonical Ukrainian church is proof enough that the modernist plans of the Phanar are invariably doomed to failure. (One has to wonder how the Phanar’s Russophobic handlers in the State Department are assessing the situation in Ukraine.)

The geopolitical assessment is beyond us. Instead, we can only control our own responses to these challenges. The question as far as Constantinople is: Has it learned its lesson from the Ukrainian debacle? Sequestered as they are in an academic bubble, one unmoored from reality, my hunch is that they will continue to behave as if they are the New Rome, going along with their hegemonic plans, unconcerned about the consequences of their ill-advised actions.

Instead, a better question may be: Have we here in America learned the Ukrainian lesson as well? That is, are we alert to the intrigues that may lie in store for us?

About GShep


  1. Joseph Lipper says

    No, the EP can’t just issue a tomos of autocephaly to the OCA, because what would that make of the Greek Archdiocese?  That would be like the EP saying the Greek Archdiocese is merely chopped liver.   Orthodoxy in America is primarily Greek rather than OCA.  The best hope right now for a united Orthodoxy in America is for the GOA to receive a tomos of autocephaly from the EP.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Joseph, I don’t think you are understanding.  The GOA would b above Any so-called autocephaly the EP issues. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        Indeed. At worst, it would be extraneous to the OCA’s newly-legitimized autocephaly.

        Notice that in Ukraine, the EP “dissolved” all extant dioceses and episcopal offices on paper. Of course the Ukrainians completely ignored this fantasy and (as per Bob above) went about their daily business.

        That doesn’t matter, in the fabulous world of the New Rome, Michael Dumenko, a layman who never received valid priestly ordination, is now the “real” Metropolitan of Kiev. Fantasy trumps reality. Thus, when the OCA’s autocephaly is “granted” by the EP, the GOA will be given a pass as to whether it should submit. It won’t because after all, Cpole is supreme and it will grant its exarch in America the right to operate as before, because after all, this is a “heavy burden” which Cpole bears as a “heavy responsibility” because it is “a martyric church”.

        • George Michalopulos says

          PS, like the Russian Exarchate for Western Europe, the GOA exarch will be forced to remain in place because as an “autocephalous” church a la Ukraine, it must “consult” with the EP whenever it ventures outside its borders.  Fortunately for the OCA, they will not have to deal directly with the EP as he will already have an exarch in place to “help” the OCA with any “concerns” it may have.

          You see, that’s the kind of autocephaly we’re talking about.  Let’s call it ukrocephaly. 

          • George, since you like linguistics, a small digression:
            Interesting word, this  ukrocephaly, you have just coined.
            It has lot of future and …evolution:

            and so on

            • Bwahaahha! (Transylvanian vampire accent) Under the umbrella of the Fener Necropolis, the Necropolitans will have exclusive and unlimited power  administering the Church of the Dead.

              But in all seriousness, though you admit to the nothingburger of immanent OCA accession to GOARCH, having considered my objections and those of other respondents, you still posit a nonsensical scenario where Bart Efendi might overwrite the thoroughgoing autocephaly already enjoyed by the OCA this past half-century, and the OCA would pursue  this in hopes of what, gaining recognition by the Fener et al?
              For two generations we’ve worked without recognition by most foreign autocephalies because they want to maintain their right to set up and administer their own churches in the territory of the OCA. You think that getting Bart to recognize it would change that at this point?
              Only in the minds of ivory tower academics (e.g., all phanariots) does the actual status of the OCA  pose a problem. Church history is replete with such conundrums and they often persist for centuries. I understand the intellectual need for clarity expressed here but I think it will remain unsatisfied. Look to the results of the Assembly of Bishops after a decade of ‘collaboration’. Not one step closer to resolution of the ‘crisis in Orthodoxy’ here and in all the ‘diasporic world’. They propose the disposition of the churches of the world over cups of Turkish coffee, while real churchmen labor among the people.
              To me the big question is whether Local Church can maintain any real meaning in the face of Fener abrogation of even canonical and historically established ecclesial territory. But Ukraine was their big power grab and they failed miserably so I don’t see the Fener star ascendant. Ultimately they have nothing meaningful to offer the OCA, especially if GOARCH and all the other exarchies will persist. Why would you assume Elpidophorus has some magical abilities to get everyone to trust his authority? It’s utterly implausible. 

              • George Michalopulos says

                Claes, I kindly ask that you put the champagne bottle away as it’s too soon to pop the cork in triumph over my supposed misinformation.

                First things first: Under no circumstances do I “admit to the nothingburger of immanent OCA accession to GOARCH”. Please read my original post and subsequent comments carefully.

                Secondly, please also read my response to another commentator that it’s not what the Holy Synod of the OCA (or even Syosset) believe about our autocephaly but what Cpole and their point-man in America believe about our autocephaly.

                Thirdly, read mine (and Mr Jatras’) understanding about what autocephaly means to the Orthodox world as a whole and what autocephaly means to the Phanar. You will see that the word doesn’t mean the same thing, hence my own neologism to describe what animates the academics at the Phanar —ukrocephaly.

                My argument hinges on the second and third observations.

          • Is that post Brexit UK( RAINE) AUTOCEPHALY FROM USA ??

          • Even the Russians don’t really recognize the OCA’s autocephaly. If they did, ROCOR and MP parishes would not exist in the US and Canada; they rightly should be dissolved or subsumed under the OCA. It is fantasy autocephaly all around.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              The ROCOR and MP in North America is a much smaller presence than the OCA.  Even combined, they might have 40,000 adherents, whereas the OCA might have 85,000 adherents.  The OCA is still predominant in North America compared to ROCOR and MP.
              On the other hand, the presence of those under the Ecumenical Patriarchate in North America is estimated at about 500,000 adherents.   Thus, it wouldn’t make sense for the EP to grant autocephaly to a much smaller OCA with only 85,000 adherents.  

              • Michael Bauman says

                There could be only three adherents and a particular body could be the authentic local Church no matter how many people are elsewhere.   
                In fact if the disintegrating schismatic actions of the GOA are not put into their place that could be the actual case.

        • Brute from bygone ages says

          Just one small correction. His name is Sergey Dumenko.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thank you. He’s also known as “Filaretovich”.

            • Brute from bygone ages says

              Honestly, I am more inclined to believe ex-Metropolitan Filaret (in world Mihail Denisenko) is his grandfather… Filaret is 90 years old. Dumenko was born 1979, Filaret 1929… Chokalyuk fits here perfectly, but it’s just my opinion, nothing more.

    • George C Michalopulos says

      Joseph, I think by now we should realize that the EP thinks he can do or say whatever he wants because he’s the EP, which in case anybody didn’t get the memo is the “Mother Church” of all Christianity.
      If one can believe in such ahistorical nonsense, then one can issue “tomoi of autocephaly” willy-nilly even if that means invading another autocephalous church’s territory.  Because don’t forget, the autocephaly of all post-Ecumenical Council churches is contingent. 
      As for the ancient patriarchates (Antioch, Jerusalem, etc.), they are “really autocephalous” however as “sole arbiter” the EP can interfere in them as well and as he hinted with Antioch, cleave off Lebanon from it, because, you know, “That’s What the People there Want”.

      • What’s this about Lebanon? Has the EP really hinted at taking it for himself?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        George, the EP made such a big stink about the OCA’s autocephaly in 1970.  So why would the EP suddenly embrace it now?  How could it possibly be canonical for the entire GOA to remain as the EP’s Exarchy in the U.S. while simultaneously recognizing an autocephalous OCA?   It’s said that Metropolitan Herman went to the Phanar and asked Patriarch Bartholomew to recognize the OCA’s autocephaly.  Patriarch Bartholomew responded, “Never”.
        I believe Patriarch Bartholomew takes autocephaly very seriously, and that it’s not a “mickey mouse” proposition to him.  He has shown that he wants the topic of autocephaly brought up at an Ecumenical Council.  However, his attempts to bring up the topic have been shot down, mostly by Moscow. 
        The recent phenomena of Moscow’s “Nuclear Orthodoxy” has made the Russian Orthodox Church a presence on the world stage to be feared.  If the EP can no longer say “no” to Moscow, then who will?  Donald Trump?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Joseph, times change. Nixon went to China. Sadat met with Begin. I take you at your word that Pat Bartholomew told Met Theodosius “never”; but that was then, this is now.

          In each of the political cases there was a wild card. Nixon needed China as a counterpoise to the USSR. Sadat lost the Sinai to Israel in the Yom Kippur War. He gambled that he could get it back and succeeded. The wild card as far as the apparent detente between the OCA and the EP is the State Dept and their desire to give Russia a black eye.

          This isn’t the first time that Cpole re-imagined history or found a new clause tucked away in some book out there. The title ecumenical meant “imperial” yet even so was stripped from the title of Cpole’s patriarch by Pope Gregory the Great over 1400 years ago. It was picked up in the 13th century again because the Byzantine Empire had been trisected by the Crusaders and it was the only political referent that the Greeks could have that bound them together. It was then re-imagined in the 1920s by Meletios IV Metaxakis to mean “universal”.

          And then there was the whole Canon 28 business, which only applied to three political regions that were immediately adjacent to the city of Constantinople itself.

          If none of the above is Mickey Mouse-type obfuscation and obscurantism, then I don’t know what is.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Joseph herein lies the problem. If the EP doesn’t accept the OCA’s autocephaly, and I’m inclined to agree with you on this, one of two things needs to happen: (1) he’s got to offer the OCA something they would perceive as better, bringing them more in line with him (which we’re hoping they never do) or (2) he has to allow the status quo which he has said he’s not going to do.

          People use the term “mickey mouse” not because they think he doesn’t take this seriously but because he is changing the word “autocephalous” to mean something it hasn’t traditionally meant. He’s also redefining his role.

          There was one Council 3 years ago that didn’t fly because he had a preconceived idea of what the outcome should be. He then thumbed his nose at the other bishops and said that it didn’t matter if they were there or not; he was going to move forward. That’s not the Orthodox way, Joseph. Frankly, his personality and the personality of the people who surround him, are not suited to the role of bringing people together. He has managed to alienate the greater part of the Church.

          All the Local Churches have pleaded and begged him to have a Council on the autocephaly of Ukraine. He has refused. If he called a Council today, it would happen, and he would be shot down which is why he refuses to do it. He’s backed himself in a corner.

          If he could say “no” to Moscow, the OCU would be recognized today. They’re not. Only the MP is recognized. You may not like it but the MP is the canonical Church, Joseph.

          * * *

          OK, Joseph, this is an example of the “mickey mouse” stuff that none of us like that came about all because of the lunacy in Ukraine:

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Gail, the Moscow Patriarchate is the canonical Church inside of Russia.  When it’s outside of Russia, then it becomes a controversial issue.  
            The admonishment of St. Lawrence of Chernigov was as following:
            “Be cautious of the so-called Church Abroad, and know that it is not in the Diptych of the Orthodox Churches.  It is not a church, but part of the Russian Church.   Our much-suffering Church held its own in the godless state. To her [the Church] be honor and glory and eternal praise! Our country is not abroad, and our Church is not abroad! Our country has never ceased to exist! We do not have any ‘abroad’ churches.”

            When St. Lawrence said this, of course Chernigov was part of Russia. That’s not the case now. Should Chernigov be part of Russia? Well, that’s a controversial political issue.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Yes, Joseph, it is. Sadly controversy and the Orthodox Chruch go hand in hand.

            • Brute from bygone ages says

              Canons only stipulate that division of metropolitanates should follow borders of Roman provinces. There is no stipulation that every state should have autocephalous Church. What to do with famous 28th canon of IV council. It speaks about jurisdiction of Constantinople outside of Empire?
              Canonical territory of ROC is former USSR, Japan and China.

              • Brute from bygone ages says

                To correct myself, territory of Former USSR except of Georgia, Japan and China.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  The Byzantine Empire at it’s height under St. Justinian the Great included (among others) all of Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania. The Byzantine Empire is now non-existent, but the autocephaly of all these former territories are now part of the legacy of the Byzantine Empire.

                  So too, Alaska used to be part of Russia, but now it’s not. The autocephaly of the OCA is now part of Russia’s legacy in America.

                  Though the former Soviet Empire no longer stands in it’s former glory, there is still opportunity for Moscow to create a lasting legacy by granting autocephaly to it’s former territories.

                  • Brute from bygone ages says

                    Justinian didn’t rule Romania. Romans left it at end of III ventury, 300 years before him. Autocephaly of Albania has nothing to do with Byzantine Empire, so as Romania. Japan and China are not former Russian territories. Patrarchates of Justinoan’s time had metropolias beyond border of Empire… 
                    Anyway, why to hive autocephaly, when there is no need? Political aspirations of State Department are not valid argument in Orthodox Theology. 

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      The section between the Danube River and the Black Sea was ruled by Justinian.  When autocephaly was granted to Romania, this wasn’t a point of contention.  Nobody said this section of Romania should be an exarchate of the EP as it was formerly part of the Byzantine Empire.  The same for Albania.  On the other hand, Greek autocephaly was a battle, but the EP finally agreed to it.
                      The recent aspirations for Ukrainian autocephaly do not come from the U.S. State Department, but rather from Russia granting independence to Ukraine in 1991.  Though the U.S. has been very supportive of Ukrainian autocephaly, this idea does not originate from the U.S.

                    • Brute from bygone ages says

                      Joseph, no ofence, but I think you really need to read a bit more on history of your examples.
                      First, phanariotes did think they have right to rule over Romanian Church. In fact, Phanariotes (Greek elite from Constantionople), colabourating with Ottomans were ruling over Walachia and Moldova, both politicaly, and religiously. Only, after significant diplomacy, and huge gifts (or more precise bribes, they yielded)..
                      Anyway, I am not sure what Justinian and Dobruja being part of his state have anything to do with Canon Law? You are trying to make arguments of nothing…
                      Russia didn’t grant independence to Ukraine. Russia was republic of USSR, same as Ukraine. State Department shouldn’t concern about Orthodox Church anywhere but in US.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Brute, for the answer to this question, kindly read the essay regarding Canon 28 & Neo-papalism which you can find appended at the top of this blog.

                Bottom line: Canon 28 was spurious from the start and stricken from the Acta of the Fourth Council by the Pope himself. (And said strike was upheld for centuries by the Byzantine Church.)

                • Brute from bygone ages says

                  George, I do not support Phanariote reading of Canon 28 …
                  I was just pointing out that canon Joseph alludes to (That’s 38th canon of Quintsext Council) speak only about need that if new Province was established by Imperial decree, than new Metropolis should be established. This canon was often invoked by various schismatic groups, with interpretation that every independent state must have autocepehalous Church, but such interpretation is far cry…
                  For sake of clarification, I think autocephaly should be granted where it’s benefitial for Church, and where consensus between mother Church and faithful in Metropolis seeking autocephaly can be reached.
                  As far as 38th canon of Quintsext council, Russian Orthodox Church follow it, they have they own autonomous Church in Ukraine… also autonomous exarchates in Belarus and even Estonia… so, I fail to follow Joseph’s point.
                  PS PS,
                  I agree that Crete and rest of Isles should be under Archbishop of Athens… or, moving of CP headquarters somewhere to Greece.

                  Another funny thing, in territory of modern Turkey, we have both Constantinople and Antioch… so, whose canonical territory Turkey should be. 😀

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Brute from bygone ages,
                    All I’m saying is that foreign exarchates are sometimes a source of controversy.   A foreign exarchate is meant to be a temporary administration until the local church is built up.  If the local church is built up enough, then it’s healthy to consider and plan for autocephaly. 
                    Foreign exarchates shouldn’t be used as some type of power play to demonstrate the vast influence and prestige of the Mother Church.  If we want to criticize the EP of this, fine.  Perhaps the EP should grant more autocephaly.  However, if we’re consistent, then Moscow should be criticized also.

                    • Brute from bygone ages says

                      What foreign exarchates? Bishops in Ukraine and Belorusia are locals. What build up? It’s Christian land for 1000 years. Besides Russian Orthodox Church is Russian as Church of Rus’, not Russia.
                      But all of this is besides point. Autocephalous Churches are made by consensus of Mother Church with daugther eparchy, and consent of All Churches. In Ukraine, you have power hungry Philaret, who didn’t become Patriarch of Moscow, Poroshenko who tried to invent some success, and finaly, Bartholomew who is mad because Russians ignored his conference.
                      Also, faithfull of Ukraine are in Canonical Church.
                      PCU has “bishops” ordained by imposter, “bishop” grooping women in disco bar, provoking fist fights, oath breakers, “bishops” who went to front with rifles…
                      Anyway, you still missed what I said, there is no canonical basis for Ukrocephaly.

            • Joseph Lipper: “the Moscow Patriarchate is the canonical Church inside of Russia.  When it’s outside of Russia, then it becomes a controversial issue. ”

              Do you mean that Phanar jurisdiction should not extend beyond borders of Turkey, and that Crete and western Thrace should be under Church of Greece?

            • I think Mr Lipper’s reliance on St Lawrence’s statements to support his assertion that, “the Moscow Patriarchate is the canonical Church inside of Russia. When it’s outside of Russia, then it becomes a controversial issue,” is misplaced.  The same article on which he relies attributes to St Lawrence the following thought: “it is impossible to divide Russia, the Ukraine and Belorussia, for these together are Holy Rus’. Know, remember, and do not forget.” 

              • George Michalopulos says

                Indeed, the context is crucial. I believe we are seeing the solidification of the three parts of “Holy Rus'” happening before our eyes.

                • Estonian Slovak says

                  If persecution of the Canonical church continues, Russian invasion may take place. Poland, Romania,and Hungary all have territorial claims on Western Ukraine. The Carpatho Rusyn region, which used to be the Eastern tip of Czechoslovakia, might revert to Slovakia. 

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Yes “it is impossible to divide Russia, the Ukraine and Belorussia, for these together are Holy Rus”, and yet there is schism in Ukraine, and to a lesser extent in Belorussia.  This schism has gone on for almost 30 years and has gotten worse. 
                If we believe that the EP’s solution is complete failure, then fine, but what other viable solution does Moscow propose?  What has Moscow done in the last 27 years to heal the schism?

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Why blame Moscow? They defrocked Filaret. At any time he could have repented. But instead, he brings together a bunch of churches and forms a combined church of various and sundry people whose leaders were ordained every which way but in the canonical Church. You can see how much order he was able to maintain. They stabbed him in the back and abandoned him! These aren’t Orthodox Christians. These are people in rebellion. Does this sound like a Russian problem to you? Say what you want about the Russians but they understand hierarchy and order.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Well, for one thing, I propose repentance on the part of the schismatic Byelorussian and Ukrainian factions. It’s not incumbent upon any patriarch (hint, hint) to waltz into another patriarch’s territory because there are some aggrieved people. Not every Tom, Dick or Harry with a grievance has a legitimate claim. They may just be quarrelsome people and it is best to let them go their own way.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    George, I believe that was generally the EP’s train of thought also, up until when Russia annexed Crimea and war broke out in Donbass.  

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Joseph, then if he’s really concerned because of the geopolitical situation, he should call a real council, invite all bishops and then let them sort it out.

                      I’m sorry, but I can’t let this go and that is the very real fear I (and many others have) that the EP is not engaging in good faith. The whole “first without equals” thing is very worrisome. Then there’s the “some churches are more autocephalous that others”. The list could go on.

                    • Brute from bygone ages says

                      Joseph, in 2014, in August, Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul, was at inthronisation of Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onuphriy… that was after Crimea referendum and Ukrainian civil war.
                      Besides of that, why would any Patriarch take in consideration any war? And why only after 4 years of civil war?
                      Why Constantinoplitan Patriarch declared persons claiming to be bishops of UAPC bishops? Their ordinations are traced to impostor Vikentiy Checkalin, who was not bishop of any kind. How’s that possible?

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Brute from bygone ages,  

                      I believe the EP had hopes that Metropolitan Onuphrey might have turned things around when he became the new Metropolitan of Kiev in 2014.  It’s normal to wait and see.  I also have no doubt that Ukrainian autocephaly was supposed to have (and should have) come up at the Crete Council in 2016.  Perhaps this autocephaly would never have happened if it was brought up at Crete.  We’ll never know.  In the end, the EP willingly dropped the topic because of Moscow’s insistence.
                      Why did the EP accept bishops with faulty ordinations?  Patriarch Bartholomew was asked this, and I believe he responded that questionable ordinations took place in the Moscow Patriarchate during Soviet times.  Since some of the bishops in the Moscow Patriarchate also had questionable ordinations, he was thus willing to accept this for reasons of economia.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Joseph, thank you for your reply. The point is that it is not up to him to see how Met Onuphriy “does”. That is the province of the Ukrainian people.

                      I for one am tired of hearing how “concerned” or “troubled” the EP is about any local church’s “condition”. He had the chance here in America back in 1994 when it looked like we finally had a chance because of Ligonier.

                    • Brute from bygone ages says

                      Joseph, I am not sure if I am following your toughts. Constantinopolitan Church, same as other Local Churches sent delegation to Kiev, at inthronisation. It’s standard procedure. There is no need that CP give any of bishops not in his jurisdiction “approvation period”.
                      Further, Ukrainian Parlaiment did address Cretan conference, demnding “autocephaly” and it was ignored, as far as I remember. That much about Bartholomew’s concern…
                      Autocephaly talks at Crete have nothing to do with Ukraine per se, it was about common procedure for granting autocephaly. It was rejected because all Churches have opinion which is opposite to Constantinople’s quasi Papalist pretenses..
                      Still, is there any valid reason for Ukrainian autocephaly? Politics and finances aside that is.
                      As for Metropolitan Onuphriy, only absolutley uninformed person would think he will suddenly ask for any kind of autocpehaly, let alone union with people who do not have any kind of episcopal ordination (almost entire UAPC synod). This holy man was protecting unity of Church for 22 years before bing elected Metropolitan. Also, he spent decade as monk in Stauropigial Troice Sergiv lavra.
                      When press asked Metropolitan Sophroniy of Cherkassk (he is hard line Ukrainian nationalist), why he didn’t join SCU, he among other details, said he gets Holy Myrrh from Moscow for free, and when he would go to Istanbul, they would ask large sum of money for it…

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Re your last line: Follow the Money. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Brute from bygone ages,
                      In July 2008, Patriarch Bartholomew was invited to Ukraine by President Yushchenko, and then invited by Patriarch Alexei II to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of St. Vladimir and the 1020 anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus. 
                      It is noted that Patriarch Bartholomew exhorted Patriarch Alexei that a canonical solution needed to be found for the schism in Ukraine:
                      “our joy is far from being complete: many dear children of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy, for many reasons the examination of which is not of the present moment, were unable to participate of the faith’s common banquet and of the common feast for the great anniversary, finding themselves, as they ought not, outside the canonical ecclesiastical structure and hierarchical order. This is exceedingly sad because it tears apart the seamless tunic of our Lord; it divides His mystical body and gives to the enemies of our faith the chance to ridicule the Church by repeating, and not unjustly, the saying by St. Paul “can Christ be divided?” (I Cor. 1:13). This division amounts to the abolition of the church whose very name is a name of unity and gathering into one place. It is heard, therefore, loudly in the ears of each one of us the demanding voice of God “Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words” (Deut. 4:10), and again: “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).  We know that you, most reverend Metropolitan of Kiev Vladimir as well as the Hierarchs around you, have always your ears attuned to the will and the commands of the Lord, you burn by the love for the flock that was entrusted to you and you work with eagerness, zeal and the fear of God in order that those of the children who, for the time being, are outside the holy walls of the Church return in the fold of the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The same is true for His Beatitude and most beloved and esteemed Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexei II. It is a fortune that both the esteemed Ukrainian State and His Excellency, the President of Ukraine, desire fervently the extinction of every disruptive and divisive tendency, the abolition of every schism and the unity of all the pious orthodox Ukrainian into one flock according to God’s will. We are confident that each, as it befalls him, will do whatever is possible to achieve that holy and God-loving goal.”

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Yes, Joseph, and read the key phrase here: “. . . return in the fold of the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Filaret & Makary did not repent and the other churches that joined together possess no valid ordination.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, yes, this was in 2008.  Patriarch Bartholomew was still hoping for the Moscow Patriarchate to resolve this problem in a canonical way.  We can observe that President Yushchenko’s request for Ukrainian autocephaly was rejected by the EP.  However when things got worse in 2014, the EP then became more open to the possibility of intervening.  Patriarch Bartholomew has said as much.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Joseph, my problem with the EP’s “concern” is that it’s not any of his business. Local Churches are local Churches and thus free of external control even if it is disguised as “concern”.

                      The ultimate appellate authority which Rome possessed but has now devolved to Cpole is very restricted. Towit: a churchman can appeal to Cpole but Cpole has only two options: 1) accept said appeal or 2) refuse to accept said appeal. If the latter is chosen, the issue dies. If the former option is chosen, then the EP has the duty to call a local, strictly delimited Council of at least three bishops who are contiguous to the matter at hand (or as close to being geographically contiguous as possible). Once that Council rules on the issue, the ruling is final.

                    • Joseph Lipper: “It is noted that Patriarch Bartholomew exhorted Patriarch Alexei that a canonical solution needed to be found”
                      Unless Dimitrios Arkhondonis repents, “let him be to thee as the heathen and publican”. (Matthew 18:17)

                    • Brute from bygone ages says

                      Joseph,what are you trying to prove me? That Patriarch Bartholomew went to Ukriane? I know that.
                      Thing is, all of us are talking about two things.

                      Patriarch Bartholomew doesn’t have right to interfere in MP problems, except by invitation, or as head of conference of Primates, or as Orthodox Council. His actions were singularly, so they are unlawful.
                      Even if he had right, a) he tried to restore rightfully deposed bishops, he even “restored” persons who can not be restored as they are ordained by impostors, b) allowed himself to be dragged in political games c) tried to grant autocephaly contrary to Canon Law. His actions are null and void, regardless did he had right, did he “express his concern” or whatever.
                      Blame game, which some phanariote apologetists play, is ridiculous if anything. Only persons who endanger salvation of schismatics are schismatics themselves. If somebody was excluded from Church unlawfully, it’s null. Christ, Who is “Way, Truth and Life”, wont separate anybody from His body, based on wrong judgement of hierarchs. If judgements of hierarchs was true, nobody can restore them without repentance, see point two.

                      Now, regarding his speech from 2008, if anything, he there praises both Metropolitan Vladimir and Patriarch Aleksey…
                      Fact that, that in same speech, he praises schismatic president, who communed with Uniates from time to time, speaks volumes though.

                    • Joseph wrote, “Patriarch Bartholomew was still hoping for the Moscow Patriarchate to resolve this problem in a canonical way.”  So, in other words, Patriarch Bartholomew got tired of waiting and “resolved” the “problem” in an uncanonical way.  

                    • blimbax ,your message needs highlighting:

                      blimbax says
                      August 25, 2019 at 1:48 pm

                      Joseph wrote, “Patriarch Bartholomew was still hoping for the Moscow Patriarchate to resolve this problem in a canonical way.”

                      So, in other words, Patriarch Bartholomew got tired of waiting and “resolved” the “problem” in an uncanonical way.

  2. Very  cogent article and as George would i trust a bishop when i see one?  
    BISHOP AMBROSE OF KALAVRITA.  He resigned because he made a speech attacking the LBG ETC ETC. Lot that was TO QUOTE IERONIMOSC,CORRECT BUT NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT. So he resigned before he was to be  criminally accused re I presume hate speech.. I do not have his words but that is the event in nut shell. 

    • Solitary Priest says

      Well, there is another Metropolitan who is part of the problem. I’m referring to Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos. He has talked the talk, but we see him failing to walk the walk. After all his big talk about the fact that the heterodox churches shouldn’t even be called churches, he supports the EP who does exactly that. He as spoken in favor of the EP’S “exclusive” right to proclaim autocephaly. Talk about straining at gnats and swallowing camels!
           Perhaps he was threatened somehow and made the about switch.If we allow for that and condone it, we can hardly condemn Patriarch Sergius for caving in to the Soviets in 1927. I would say the latter faced greater threats.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I am indeed saddened by his recent stances. He did all of us a solid back in Crete.

        Fighting the good fight is not without its emotional toll. He may have reached his. We should pray for him.

          Hierotheos has recently tried to correct his image,
          read his story in

          (try automatic translate).
          He is juggling with facts, ignoring facts against his (new) decision.

          • Tried the auto translation, unreadable for me. Perhaps you could offer a brief synopsis?

            • Dear Tanya, I wish I could help you now.
              I could do specific small parts you may need  tomorrow.

              You know, one single (automatic) translator (e.g. google translate)  is not good enough. It may do one sentence correctly, and then funny mistakes in the next one.

              I recommend using MORE than one translators.
              Open the four following  translators:

              Copy & paste the Greek text to each one of these, get the four translations and compare them. You will be able to find a good concensus.

              Good luck!

              • Gail Sheppard says

                This should help. ROMFEA also hosts a site in English:

                • Yes Gail, that’s OK!
                  Use the 4 translators in other cases.

                • FYI that is a link to a different article.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    You’re right.  Here are his reflections on Ukraine (see below).  Neither appears to be the same article, though.  My apologies.   


                    • This passage is interesting:

                      “Metropolitan Ierotheos comments in his letter that the Church of Greece cannot reject the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to issue a Patriarchal Act of granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine.

                      “The Church of Greece has to accept this decision for the moment, and, when the Ecumenical Council meets, it can then express its opinion on the issue.”

                      I wonder, does he say anywhere how the Church of Greece should react to the “dissolution” of the UOC headed by Metropolitan Onuphriy?  Should the Church of Greece assume, in other words, that Onuphriy is no longer the Metropolitan?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      It is interesting, blimbax. There can only be one bishop over a place so how could he install Epiphany as the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine when Metropolitan Onuphry is the Metropolitan of Kiev and ALL Ukraine?

                    • How trustworthy Romnea reporting is? Is Metropolitan Ierotheos supporting anathematized schismatics?

                    • Gail Sheppard says


                      I think they’re pretty trustworthy. I don’t think he is necessarily supporting the OCU (he’s never served with them) but he seems to be saying that Constantinople had a right to do what it did and only a Council can undo it.


                    • Yes.  Just to be clear, what I am saying is that by saying that the Church of Greece cannot refuse to recognize the OCU, does it mean that Hierotheos is also saying that the Church of Greece cannot refuse to accept the “demotion” of Metr. Onuphriy and the dissolution of the UOC?

                    • George C Michalopulos says

                      The way out of the Ukrainian morass unleashed by the EP is to not “rescind” the tomos of autocephaly because it’s not a valid document, for many reasons.  One of them being that the “churchmen” who were “normalized” by its issue were never validly ordained in the first place.
                      A simple tear-up accompanied by an apology and an embrace of repentance on the part of the Phanar’s Holy Synod should suffice.
                      It’s inconceivable that the Church of Greece should have to feel blackmailed into accepting this illegitimate document in order to safeguard its own autocephaly.  That’s like saying “we have to ignore an injustice because otherwise our own freedom is at stake”.  Makes no sense.

                • Dear Ioannis and Gail, thank you!

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Gail’s first link highlights a few important things:
                  “For example, the Moscow Patriarchate accepts Roman Catholics in Orthodoxy without baptism and without new ordination, because it accepts their Apostolic succession. They are also involved in co-prayers and intercommunion.
                  “It is characteristic that, according to Fr. Peter Hirsch, the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Hilarion (Alfeyev), ‘openly declared that he does not believe there are fundamental differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.’
                  “He states: ‘Virtually and in practice there is already a mutual recognition of our Mysteries. If a Roman Catholic priest converts to Orthodoxy (in Russia) we accept him as a priest and we do not re-ordinate him… so, that means we de facto recognize the Sacred Mysteries of the Roman Catholic Church.’
                  “Russian theology has turned aside the Orthodox Tradition, as shown in the views expressed by Orthodox Russian theologians on the exceedance of the Patristic Tradition, which is the basis of the Post-Patristic theology on ‘the human face’ with the misbelieving extensions overturning the basic decisions of the Ecumenical Councils on eucharistic ecclesiology, etc.
                  “The ‘Joint Declaration’ of the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow in Havana

                  “Although in the end of January 2016 it was decided in Geneva by all Orthodox Churches and the Moscow Patriarchate to convene the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church in the Orthodox Academy of Crete in June of the same year, however after a few days, and in particular on February 12, 2016, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow met with Pope Francis in Havana, Cuba.
                  “During this meeting Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow signed a ‘Joint Declaration’ which abounds with ecumenistic views and is, actually, moving beyond the decisions taken by the Synod of the ten Orthodox Churches that took place in the Orthodox Academy of Crete, at Kolympari, Chania. While the ‘Holy and Great Synod’ in Crete mentioned that ‘the Orthodox Church accepts the historic name of other heterodox Christian Churches and Confessions that are not in communion with her,’ however, the ‘Joint Declaration’ between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has gone even further.”

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    The only thing instructive that comes from these articles is that the EP said union would occur in 2025. It was a long time ago. It was before Crete. It demonstrates where he has been going but he won’t get there like this. He is alienating too many and the Roman Church is continuing to spiral downward. – I’m sure the State Department is frustrated. Think of all that power they could leverage if all of Christianity coalesced into a single entity. – A nightmare for another time.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Gail, what you describe is entropy of sorts. Something along the lines of “the best-laid plans of mice of men”.

                      Yes, Pat Bartholomew’s entire archpastorate has been predicated on the aggrandizement of his See and truth be told, he’s played a very bad hand quite well, all things considered. The fundamental question however is: to what end?

                      We here at Monomakhos over the past few years have more or less have discerned what exactly is the “end”: Ecumenism, modernism, and so on. However we have seen that just because a powerful faction wants something, doesn’t mean that they’re going to get it. There are too many variables involved, time being one of them.

                      A political example. Beginning in 1999, it was clear that Hillary Clinton was being groomed for the Presidency. Some of this was guilt because of Monica I imagine. Anyway, a “rotten borough” was found for her to make her foray into electoral politics (and thus, legitimacy). It was New York state. Anyway, the path was cleared for her and speaking as a Republican, our hearts sank when Rudy Giuliani couldn’t take her on and defeat her. Instead, Lazio was chosen and he lost. She served in the Senate and became a viable “inevitable” candidate in 2008 only to have the rookie Obama pull the rug out from under her. There was a price to be paid though: Sec of State should he win. He won and she got it. Then in 2016 she became “inevitable” again and heaven and earth were moved to screw Bernie Sanders out of the nomination. Once that was achieved, it was only a matter of time before she was crowned Empress of America because –as everybody knew–there was no way that Donald Trump could win.

                      The moral of the story is: just because somebody wants something really bad and he has powerful forces behind him, doesn’t mean that he’s going to get it.

                      Pat Bartholomew’s career since 1994 has been along a similar, single-minded path: First, destroy Ligonier and thus authentic local Church formation, then divide up the GOA into 4 parts so that there could never be another Iakovos, then pick a fight with Greece over the Northern Territories, then Russia over Estonia, then create the unviable chimeras known as Episcopal Assemblies, then align yourself with the State Dept so that you can poke the Russian Bear, etc.

                      Question: Has he achieved his ends?

              • Tanya, I am sorry, it is not the same article after all. I was tired and in a hurry. The similar format was misleading too…
                Please run the 4 translators and tell me the important small parts and I will translate them for you. 

            • Tanya, I cannot do the whole translation, so I have chosen a representative part of Ierotheos’s post:

              QUOTE ————–
              6.I am saddened when I see in various texts proponents of the Orthodox Tradition anti-Orthodox views, that, supposedly, the improper restoration of defrocked and self-ordained “clergy” infects Church and Priesthood, and for this they threaten that in such a situation they will stop communion with others or they will distanced themselves from those who recognize them, so as not to be infected themselves.

              That is theologically wrong, it is a “new pietism”, because the Church has been sanctified by Christ. He is her Head, and the wrong actions of “clergy” and
              laity do not infect the Church – what a blasphemy – but these “clergy” condemn themselves. Christ is the Saviour of the Church, and no man. We remain in the Church to be saved and not to save Her.
              UNQUOTE ———–

              If I may make a small simple comment to show the expert twisting of logic by Ierotheos:

              Ierotheos disagrees with those who distance themselves from those who recognize schimatics
              IF/BECAUSE they think they will be infected by them.

              On the one hand Ierotheos (tacitly) agrees that schimatics is a bad thing, BUT,
              people should not distance themselves from those who accept schismatics, just because they have a wrong (own) fear of infection.

              BY THIS LOGIC, one has NO right to stop smoking, or indeed to avoid smoking spaces, if one has a vague idea that smoking is bad, or even if he wrongly thinks that smoking is bad for correct spelling and maths. He must first discover the fully scientific and medical reason why it is bad to smoke and he must tell the others. And until he does that, he MUST go on smoking and MUST sit in smoking spaces!
              I am sorry this is the twisted logic:

              …Discourage the people from taking any corrective action about very obvious mistakes of the hierarchy,
              by intimidating them they do not pronounce the exact explanation of the mistake.

              But, this is actually funny, there are people who express the CORRECT reason. BUT of course those people are ignored!

              Chrysostom teach us to tell the Bishops if they do something wrong, otherwise they will do more wrong things.

              Ierotheos chooses to ignore the fact that there are people who consider some actions of the Bishops as utterly improper and their only means of convincing the Bishops is to distanciate themselves from them and indeed go to other Bishops!
              Why are you twisting things Kyrie Ierothee?

              Obviously, some Bishops want to be Totally free and uncontrolled by anybody on earth… not even the people who cried “Axios” to them.

              • Thank you Ioannis, I don’t have a computer and my poor old phone can’t handle too much activity at once but I very much appreciate the info on available translators. 
                As to Bishop Ierothos’s take on the situation, I find it to be quite bizarre.
                So if I am excommunicated because of my disobedience and willful unrepentence, I can go off and create the “Orthodox Church – Tanya Patriarchate”. I can claim myself a Hierarch and “ordain” priests and bishops. Then, I can complain to the Patriarch of Constantinople that the bishop that excommunicated me was unfair, unjust and I had to create my own church because of this. I offer no repentance, and I refuse to give up my “Patriarchate”. In order to restore Orthodox unity, my “church” must be restored cannonicaly and every other local church must accept this.
                Oh, and by the way, the Church from which I rebelled, must submit to me and the Patriarch of Constantinople.
                Did I miss anything?

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  No, Tanya, you got it! Crazy, isn’t it?

                  • Crazy indeed! I am grateful to Metropolitan Jonah for teaching us to not become encumbered by distractions. One can debate ad nauseum whether or not grass is really green or just a perception based on chemistry and refraction of light. If you ask a three year old, he will simply tell you that grass is green. 

                • Absolutely right Tanya!
                  And I may not distance myself from your “holiness” and your friendly   hierarchy who support you, unless I manage to find the  exact “wording” for my protest.  

                • Tanya, I am sorry to read you have no PC computer.
                  If you can afford to pay $50-$200 you should buy even an old PC (refurbished), even with Windows Xp would be more productive than a phone. It is very tedious to do these translations on the phone.
                  I feel guilty I have not managed to translate more for you.

                  • No worries my friend! God gives me what I need, so I lack no good thing. 
                    I have friends and family that allow me computer access when I really need it. 
                    And wonderful monomakhos friends who go out of their way for all who visit here.

        • Brute from bygone ages says

          Metropolitan Hierotheos is correct in his criticism of personalism which Paris shool brought to Orthodoxy, but he still originate from same Phanariote circles as his oponent Metopolitan John of Pergamon (whose diocese not only doesn’t have Orthodox flock, but doesn’t exist physicially, btw). Scandalous Russo-Ukrainian archimandrite Kiril Govorun wrote about this in his blog dedicated to Cretan council. I must admit, I didn’t believe in Govorun’s (or, as he prefers Hovorun, which is kind wierd because he uses Russian almost exclusively) cynical comments, but he was right there.

          • What is personalism?

            • Brute from bygone ages says

              Explaining of everything in Orthodox theology through category of person. Or more precisely, full identification of Patristic term prosopon (which means person, but it’s special theological term) with concept of persona developed by Modern philosophy. First who started equating two terms were Russian exile scholars, so called “Paris school” (Bulgakov, Afansiev, Losski, etc). Giannara and Metropolitan John of Pergamon accepted this ideas and developed it further.
              Problem is, Patristic term was used specifically to describe persons of Trinity. In modern philosophy it includes will and when this gets to Orthodox theology, there is confusion. Will is natural, not personal according to Orthodox teaching (Maximus Confessor and VI Ecumenical Council). This was basic objection of Metropolitan Hierotheos, vis a vis documents of Cretan conference (I don’t wish to call it Council)

              • Solitary Priest says

                Hey now, nothing wrong with pronouncing the Cyrillic “г” as a “h”. I tend to do it when speaking Russian, so that I won’t slip up while speaking Ukrainian. 
                    As for the “Parisians”, I would not put Lossky in with those others. As I recall, he was instrumental in getting the MP to condemn Bulgakov’s Sophiology. Of course, ROCOR condemned it as well.

                • Solitary Priest says

                  I must correct myself. The term in Sophianism. It occurred to me that you might have been referring to Nicholai Lossky the philosopher, not his son, Vladimir Lossky the theologian.

                • Brute from bygone ages says

                  Nikolay Losski, philosopher, not his son Vladimir, theologian. But, I would never go so far to condemn Nikolay Losski, maybe  rather inadequate when it comes to theology.
                  As for “г” in Russian, it’s always pronounced as g, they even go far to pronounce German h as g, eg Генрих. Of Slavic languages, such phonetical change is characteristic of Ukrainian, Slovak, Czech and Belorusian. I don’t mind Govorun preferring spelling Hovorun… after all he is Ukrainian nationalist (who was close associate of Patriarch Kiril… that much of evil Moscow). What makes me wonder is fact, archimandrite G/Hovorun writes and speaks almost exclusively in Russian, and second notion, why suddenly English prefers transcription, even though it was never rule in English orthography (cf Belgrade, instead of Beograd, Volgograd instead Valgagrat’, Brzezinski instead of Bzhezhinski, Prague instead of Praha… to name few examples from non Ukrianian Slavonic languages). It’ political orthography, but in end, it’s right of archimandrite Kiril…

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    On another note, I was always under the impression that the letter “g” in Russian is only pronounced as “v” when it’s in the penultimate syllable of an adjective. As in Tchaikovsky (noun); Tchaikovskogo (adj: –skoVo).

                    As for the Germanic “h”, which is a soft “h” (e.g. Herrmann) being pronounced as a “g” (as in German), that’s not unusual. We see the same thing in Greek (e.g. Herrmann/Germanos). In Latin, the soft “h” is dropped: Arminius. So in Greek, there is no soft H (it’s either dropped completely or rendered as “g”) but there is a hard H (as in the Slavonic languages).

                    Only the hard “h” (“X” in Greek and Cyrillic) is pronounced harshly in the back of the throat. In German, this sound is spelled “ch”. Thus JFK mispronounced “Ich bin ein Berliner” as “Ish bin…”

                    Anyway, since I’m on a roll, in French, the soft “h” sound is dropped completely (as it often is in Latin). Henri become Ah-ree and in English (thanks to the Norman Conquest), ‘A-rry (Harry).

                    If I had to guess, German is the only language in which both “H” and “X” (hard H) are pronounced. Possibly Hebrew as well. In Hebrew, the terminal “K” is softened into a hard “H”; e.g. melek (king) is pronounced melekh.

                    As such, there is to my mind a fundamental defect in the English and Germanic scripts as there is no letter which can represent the hard KH sound. There is however in Spanish where “X” is pronounced exactly as it is in Greek and the Slavonic languages.

                    Sorry for the ramble.

                    • Solitary Priest says

                      The “g” as “v” is only in the genetive masculine singular. Our friend above is correct about the four Slavic languages, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, and Slovak as having the “h” where it would be “g” in Russian. However, they also have the sound represented in the Greek and Cyrillic alphabets as “x”. In Czech, Slovak, and Polish as “ch” just like in German. Incidently, although Albania is surrounded by Greeks and Slavs, that sound does not exist in Albanian. However, Albanian has almost all the same consonants as the Slavic tongues.
                          Moving northward, Hungarian also has most of the same consonants as the Slavic tongues, but again no “ch” sound, though they are surrounded by German and Slavic speakers.
                          I sincerely regret not having studied Greek and Latin in my younger days. After theology, languages are a major interest of mine.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fascinating Fr. I’m going to try and upload a essay regarding the similarities between Polish, Ukrainian and Russian. It has a chart which shows the linguistic differences/relationships between the Indo-European (formerly “Aryan”) languages.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fascinating. Fr, what do you make of the following essay and the equally fascinating chart (which shows the linguistic distances between the major Indo-European languages?


                    • Peter Batounas says

                      Did you know that Old Prussian was more related to Lithuanian than German? Shows how much nazism owes to Jagiello given that the Jewish Holocaust was entirely designed by a Lithuanian named Rosenberg.

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      The pronunciation of “ch” in German varies with different regional accents. Both the hard /kh/ and the soft /sh/ (a la Kennedy) are correct, depending on the accent.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      True, but the “northern” pronounciation is the one that is the preferred one.

                      A modern Greek analogy: the pronunciation of ypsilon as “oo” was probably the correct one in ancient times, but sometime around Byzantine times, it took on the long “e” sound. I say this because in Cyrillic script, which is based on the Greek alphabet, the Y is pronounced “oo”. Hence Ukraine is spelled in Cyrillic as Ykraina.

                    • Zenophon Dripas says

                      Quite the contrary. Armenian is the proto Indo European language as Noah’s Ark is no Mt Ararat.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      May very well be.

                    • Kostas Paroutas says

                      Albanian was never written before the fall of Constantinople until Catholic monks gave them an alphabet.  Columbia history of the World p. 979 “Not content with their Bosnian coup of 1908, in 1913, they conjured up an independent Albania to block Serbia’s outlet to the Adriatic. ”

                    • This graph shows lexical distance, but is not a good measure. English is close lexically to French or Latin, but in reality is closest to Frisian.
                      Vocabulary can change or can be used selectively.

          • Metropolitan John “of Pergamon” is closer to Levinas than to the Fathers of the Church. The very fact that he is a court theologian for the modernist Phanar, means that one should be extremely cautious.
            He tries to sneak three wills into Holy Trinity, where there is only one.
            Even Protestants noticed that:
            “Now, while it is certainly true that the Cappadocians speak of the arche of the Father, here Zizioulas distorts their presentation by focusing emphasis on the free, volitional will “of the Father” which “constitutes the Trinity’s existence.”  For the Cappadocians—as for Augustine and pro-Nicene theology generally—this would be a nonsensical interpretation of God the Father as arche, precisely because there is only one will and one activity (energeia) in the Trinity.[32]  The relations within the Trinity are certainly not unfree, as if the inner life of God was just some sort of divine chemistry working itself out.  Yet Zizioulas emphasizes God (the Father’s) freedom by splitting God’s volition over-against nature.
            The point of all this is not to get into too many details about Zizioulas.  It is to point out that Zizioulas exaggerates the Patristic concept of the Father as arche precisely by interjecting God’s will not only as opposed to substance but also over-against the other hypostases: that is to say, the divine Will is located, not in the mutually shared essence, but appears to be allocated precisely to the hypostasis of the Father.  And this newly emphasized concept of freedom over and against the “necessity” of nature is often referenced by Zizioulas as the “mode of existence” of the hypostasis, that is, its “tropos hyparxeos”: “Substance is not relational in itself but in and through and because of the ‘mode of being’ it possesses.”

            • George Michalopulos says

              My biggest beef with John Zizioulas is his accommodation to the modernist agenda. (You can read between the lines on that one.)

              Yes, he’s brilliant –beyond brilliant–but like the majority of bishops within the Patriarchate of Constantinople, he “presides” over a dead see. At best, he occupies a sinecure. The danger is not that such men are superfluous or not worthy or (perish the thought) not saintly, but that they have too much time on their hands. To my mind any bishop who presides over an actual diocese, no matter how mediocre he is, is doing the heavy lifting that is necessary for people’s salvation.

              An example from the RCC which maintains a powerful and vast curia: One day (this was back in the 50s), a visitor asked Pope John XXIII “How many people work here [at the Vatican]?” The Pope replied: “About half”.

      • Solitary Priest ,
        Guess what? Hierotheos turned around his course
        a day or so after after he was individually visited by the us ambassador.
        Is this a coincidence?

        • Of course it is not, and in response to George’s query above about why Greece is worried about losing its own autocephaly if they don’t go along with Constantinople on Ukraine, recall that Tsipiras and most of the rest of the current Greek government support the anti-Christian initiatives of the Washington-London-Brussels Axis, and they would be willing to use government powers and military force to seize Church property and hand it over to the Turks, and have probably been telling the Greek clergy so to encourage them to go along. That’s how these guys play.

          • Re Slav languages. Bulgarian is facinating because the definite article is added on to the word. So. CHURCH. TSERKVA,  THE CHURCH,  TSERKBATA ( църква,  църквата)  
            To more serious  stuff.  Facinating,  since when did american anbassadors visit individual Orthodox bishops?  
            More going on than meets the eye.  Sadly the Church is again caught in wordly politics but are hierarchs up to it.?   They mean to force Church of Greece to publically support  Phanar. We will see if Church of Greece have any mettle left.  I am doubting it Sadly. 
            Finally facinating about Romanians and their Latin identity, especially when DNA shows they basically same population as here in Bulgaria.  

            • Solitary Priest says

              Albanian and Romanian likewise have the article on the end of the word. But to the other point.
                   Metropolitan Hierotheos chastised the MP for her Ecumenism, which I quite agree. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev represents the liberal wing of the MP. While I agree with the condemnation of the Ecumenism, I question the timing. All of a sudden, in his support of the EP, Metropolitan Hierotheos brings that out.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Metropolitan Hierotheos is making the point that some Greeks are criticizing Patriarch Bartholomew for ecumenism, but then siding with the Moscow Patriarchate.  Metropolitan Hierotheos is not an ecumenist, and has criticized the EP for this also.  However, he points out that siding with the Moscow Patriarchate is not taking a stand against ecumenism.  He points out that the MP may actually be the worse perpetrator of ecumenism, accepting Roman Catholic sacraments as valid, etc. 
                While the Ecumenical Patriarchate has had a role in dealing with confessions outside of the Orthodox Church, it is a role shared with representatives of all the autocephalous Orthodox churches, such as with the Orthodox/Catholic Joint Commision.  However, Metropolitan Hierotheos points out that the meeting of Patriarch Kyrill with Pope Francis in February of 2016 (before the Crete Council), completely bypassed this and dangerously made ecumenist “pronouncements” without any representation from the other churches.  Those “pronouncements”, he claims, were actually worse than anything that came out of Crete later that year.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Have you verified this, Joseph? It doesn’t sound quite right to me. Metropolitan Hierothes is becoming very hard to read. Sometimes I think he has to say what he saying; like he’s under duress. But that’s just the feeling I get. I have a friend who works for Sretensky Monastery. I’m going to email him and check this out.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Gail, here’s the “Joint Declaration” link, I believe provided by your friend at Sretensky Monastery:
                    Metropolitan Hierotheos points out this document sometimes presents Patriarch Kyrill speaking for all Orthodox Christians, not just those of the Moscow Patriarchate.  There are such pronouncements as “Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimous witness…” and also “Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium….”   I suppose it’s normal for Pope Francis to speak for all Catholics, but is it right for the Patriarch of Moscow to make such pronouncements for all Orthodox Christians?  
                    Metropolitan Hierotheos was very critical of the Crete Council’s section on “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World”.  His main objection was the diplomatic and vague language used, rather than being the theological and precise terminology befitting an Orthodox Church Council.  However, in the “Joint Declaration” of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kyrill, there is even worse language, with such pronouncements as “we have met like brothers… to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.”  This is not just vague and diplomatic.  The concept of The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is here in this pronouncement completely lost. 
                    In regards to Ukraine, the “Joint Declaration” continues with the Moscow Patriarchate’s desire to work together with Catholics in mutual respect to bring about peace in Ukraine.  That itself would be fine, except that where’s the “Joint Declaration” of Patriarch Kyrill with Metropolitan Epiphany to work together in mutual respect to bring about peace in Ukraine?   Are the Roman Catholics somehow a “Church” whereas the OCU is not?

                    • Brute from bygone ages says

                      By curiosity did you actually read Declaration of Creatan council?
                      There is no way, somebody can criticize Havana declaration and acception Creatan one. Quotes you provide, are calling Roman Catholic Church a Church, and yet, Cretan document says that Orthodox Church “accepts the historical name of other non-Orthodox Christian Churches and Confessions that are not in communion with her, and believes that her relations with them should be based on the most speedy and objective clarification possible of the whole ecclesiological question, and most especially of their more general teachings on sacraments, grace, priesthood, and apostolic succession.
                      Now, Metropolitan Hierotheos was right in opposing both documents, but now, he seems to accept Cretan document, which speaks lot about his consistency.
                      When he tries to draw Havana declaration as something worse than Creatn documents he is wrong, because, for start Havan declaration does not claim to be doctrinary document, and for second, it doesn’t speak about any theological dialogue, about apostolic succession in other “non-Orthodox Churches and confessions”. Metropolitan Heriotheos, and you with him are both dead wrong.
                      Cretan document speaks more, and more important it was envisioned as dogmatic constitiution, which should be accepted by all Churches. They even went so far that some Primates were signing in places of bishops who refused so. Last thing Metropolitan Hierotheos needs is to write anything about Russia, or Ukraine, because, simply put, he knows little about those topics.

                    • Estonian Slovak says

                      Well, your Patriarch considers Rome a church, but reordains Greek Old Calendar bishops. It is the EP moving towards unity with Rome. That will be a win-win for the Ukrainian Catholics who are sticking their noses into Orthodox affairs. Your Patriarch is at a World Peace Conference, even as his followers in Ukraine support Neo-Nazi types.

      • Of course the then local tenens, not Patriarch in 1927, was faced with possible physical destruction of the Church of Russia. 
        However today we are faced with the destruction of the Orthodox Church in any valid  sense.  

        • Brute from bygone ages says

          I think person you are responding to (Solitary priest) is part of ROCOR splinter groups.
          Whatever Patriarch Sergius did, it was not worse than what Constantinopolitan Patriarchs didn’t do between 1453 and 1922 (colaborating with Government who persecuted Christians). In end, all goes to neo Novatianist ecclesiology ie every laxity towards those who compromised during persecutions means automatic losss of Grace. Needless to say, ROCOR was regularly accepting MP bishops, even those ordained by Sergius himself. 

          • Brute from bygone ages says

            Solitary priest, sorry if I misunderstood your ecclesiastical history, I was under impression of FB debates.

            • Solitary Priest says

              I belong to no splinter groups. I’m anonymous because of some of the foolishness which I see here. I don’t know where Grace is or isn’t present. I do think that Constantinople is in error. I support the Canonical church in Ukraine. 

              • Brute from bygone ages says

                Please, accept my sincere apologies. As for being anonymous, I am anoynmous here, as well..
                Regards of Sergius, I do think he crossed some boundries, but I think he can be forgiven, due to situation. Same aplies for Constantinopolitan Patriarchs under Ottomans…
                Again, this was terrible blunder by my side.

          • i  think none of us can condem those in USSR in 1927. Unless we were there. It is one thing to have academic discussion and another to live in a situation where the Church was being physically destroyed and slaughtered day by day.    Also his declaration if read in Russian actually ( female case) is declaring loyalty to  Russia, not ( masculine case)USSR.  But this not the point..
            The Pskov mission in 1941-44 had to work with seeming loyalty to the germans but in reality they were loyal to Moscow via Sergius Vosneskrensky,  Metropolitan of Riga whose concern was bringing the Church back to the people. The ROCOR fawned on Hitler  to a  degree,  I understanding why in context of 1939-45.  We were surrounded by total evil.
            Not much different to today. 

            • Solitary Priest says

              I condemn the actions of Sergius in 1927, not the man himself. He was an unfortunate old man, trying to make the best of a bad situation.
                     You unfairly say that ROCOR dawned over Hitler. Hello, Stalin started the war by allying himself with Hitler. Almost no Russian, White or Soviet, really wanted a Nazi victory. Many dreamed of liberation from Stalin.

              • Brute from bygone ages says

                People often forget, ROCOR clergy was also persecuted by Nazis. Metropolitan Athanasius was under house arrest for entire war. Some individuals might compromised themselves, but like Solitary Priest pointed, it’s unfair to blame ROCOR.

            • Many in ROCOR during WW2 were operating from the framework that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” – i.e., they wanted the communists defeated so badly that they’d be happy if Hitler & the Nazis did it. 
              Yes, this is even as thousands of them were in displaced persons camps in Western Europe. And many were “repatriated” to the USSR after WW2 as a result of British and American callousness – we Westerners knew full well that we were sending these non-Soviet Russians straight to their deaths by “repatriating” them to the USSR, rather than granting them refugee asylum in the West.
              As for the Pskov mission, one of my favorite movies of all time is about this mission exactly – the movie is called “The Priest.” It’s beautifully acted and produced. Here is the movie in full via YouTube, in Russian with English subtitles:
              I need to watch it again soon. 

    • Latest News:
      “Bishop Ambrosius reiterated that the reason he now decided to resign is his age: My forces are abandoning me and the church needs strength to function properly, he said.”

    • Bishop Ambrosius reiterated that the reason he now decided to resign is his age: My forces are abandoning me and the church needs strength to function properly, he said.

      • may be age yes agree but main reason is his being g threatened to be prosecuted under hate speech laws.  I do not know what words he used, and if they were inciting hate, I cannot support that. However one does not have to say much to be targeted.  

  3. These kind of stories enforce my ida that the way to deal with the EP is to ignore him.  He thrives on attention.  The phanar is a hall of mirrors.  He only has eyes for him.  If you don’t recognize a number on caller ID when the phone rings you don’t answer, it’s a junk call.  Or when you DO recognize the phanar number.  Churches need to simply go about their day to day business.  The parish is where life is, not the crumbling pyramids that are “patriarchates”.  The undead have no hobbies and should not expect the living to pay attention to them.

  4. Bob yes  agree but while we sleeping they robbing the parishes and  undermining Church.  Anybody reading my stuff here will see I have become more angry as i realise what they doing.  But you are right that the future of the Church is in the Parish..  The rest Potemkin villages 

  5. William Tighe says

    How would the status of the OCA, under such an arrangement, be any different from that of ACROD (save that ACROD consists of one diocese only, whereas the “Hellenized” OCA would consist of its present 14 dioceses, more or less, maybe minus Canada and Mexico)?

    • George Michalopulos says

      I’m sure the canonists will be able to figure it out.

      • Brute from bygone ages says

        In VII century, Emperor Justinian II moved population of Leucosia/Nicosia/Constantia to Helespont. For long period of time, Autocephalous archbishop of Cyprus, resided in territory of Constantinopolitan Patriarch. So, they have precedent…
        Of course this was due to Arab wars, but Phanariotes love to look back in history. They do have precedent of teritorial overlap. 

  6. Old Soldier says

    All well and good. Problem this Monday–most parishes can’t pay the bills. Membership in steep decline. Elderly now form majority and dying rapidly. Priesthood in crisis. Hierarchs have their heads in the sand or elsewhere. Skip the Ivory Tower stuff and get down to 10-meter targets, not over the horizon stuff. All of us are in do or die mode.

    • Old soldier, it’s interesting that  over many years it was said the GOA in USA is in good nick and suddenly now it’s in decline and closing doors. With all that goes on can you blame the young? And this omoyeneia Fantasy.  What  are they on?  And now we have Eppi and the Phanar Fantasy school to play at pretend Greeks….. And let me tell you folks the real mcoy are  not too much in love with the  Church back at the ranch any more. Congregations in Greece are in decline and elderly and the Church sunk in scandal and shortage of priests. 
      There is a general crisis of the Church, of what is it for? Of corruption Or is it so backward as to be an anachronism heading for the Bin?
      In the mean time we  witness the proverbial deckchairs chairs on deck, being altered. 

  7. “Read between the lines…” is shorthand for “My original narrative is collapsing and so I have to either admit that I made a mistake or double down by using obscurity to prove what plain language could not. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      Nice try.

      Question: do you believe that the new sect in Ukraine is autocephalous? A simple yes or no will suffice.

      • George osborne says

        Canonically, no. Realistically for the time bring, yes. 

      • A question in return. Are your “sources” more credible than Bishop David who has directly stated there are no plans for the OCA to go under the EP? Right now we have a choice to believe a Bishop of the OCA or unidentified “sources” . At the present I am putting my money on the Bishop against both  “experts” in Byzantine and political intrigue and anonymous “sources”. If you want to make your claims stick you’re going to have to give people more than “Trust me because I know people.” 

        • George Michalopulos says

          Iwanuq, I never said that my sources were in the OCA or that the Holy Synod of the OCA does not believe in our autocephaly. Please read very carefully what I wrote.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Bishops have been known to say one thing and then cave under pressure. Two ROCOR bishops as late as 2004 swore they would never accept union with the Moscow Patriarchate. When the time came in 2007, both did. An OCA bishop said he wouldn’t serve with EP clergy. He, since saying that, has done exactly that.To his credit, he doesn’t recognize the Ukrainian autocephaly fiasco, but neither does the OCA.
                BTW, it’s Archbishop David. Interesting, Metropolitan Jonah was the one who proposed that every OCA bishop with 5 years of service, automatically be raised to archbishop. Metropolitan Jonah is no longer OCA primate, but they still follow his proposal. 
              Along the same lines, since the so-called Ukrainian church wants nothing to do with Russia, they ought to eliminate the Russian innovation of giving priests miters.
              OK, enough snark for one day.(Sorry, Gail!)

          • George Michalopulos says

            For what it’s worth, I wasn’t on board with the automatic elevation of bishops to archbishop after 5 years. Just a preference though. Arb David Mahaffey is a good guy though.

            In my humble opinion, Alaska should be an archdiocese because og it’s size & the number of its parishes.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Estonian Slovak, you’re allowed. 😉 I should be the LAST person to complain about snarkiness.

  8. Why call it inthronization, enthronement when you can call it coronation?

  9. Monk James Silver says

    George Michalopulos (August 25, 2019 at 7:48 am) says:

    Joseph, my problem with the EP’s “concern” is that it’s not any of his business. Local Churches are local Churches and thus free of external control even if it is disguised as “concern”.

    The ultimate appellate authority which Rome possessed but has now devolved to Cpole is very restricted.SNIP
    Any clergyman’s right to appeal to Constantinople is predicated on the assumption that he cannot receive an honest and just disposition of his case within his local church. Of course, such defiance of the authorities of his local church might make him unwelcome there in the future, so — no matter how the case eventuates — his appeal to Constantinople, however it is canonically disposed, will end in either his deposition from the clergy, or his assignment to another church, unless his original church’s authorities are willing to admit their mistake.

    This has happened even in the United States, and recently, but the priest (in one case) chose not to pursue the matter, although he had the canonical right to do so. He forgave his persecutors and lives humbly as a layman.

    In a larger sense, though, Constantinople has inherited the responsibility of passing judgement (in various ways) on disputes between/among local churches, and such is the case now between Constaniople itself and Moscow. It didn’t have to be this way, but Constantinople provoked it by interfering in the internal affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow.

    Since that, in itself, was canonically irregular. and since Constantinople obviously can’t function as judge in a case which involves it as a litigant, a synodic gathering of local bishops must be convened to examine the matter.

    But convening even such a local synod is a very complicated and expensive undertaking. It would be better if Constantinople just admitted its mistake instead of insisting on its imaginary prerogatives rather than put all the Orthodox churches at risk of schism.