On Rome, Government & the Church: Part II –the Case Against Leviathan

You know, I kinda like monks like this!

In the previous essay in this trilogy, I made my case against anarchy (and atheism). I used natural law as well as theological precepts as to why anarchy always descends into lex talionis (the law of the jungle) and why human beings cannot abide long under such a condition.

The reason that men cannot thrive under anarco-violence is that we are made in the image and likeness of God. Regardless of our faults, we have an innate sense of justice and fairness which is universal. It crosses all racial, ethnic and tribal lines. And such sentiment makes no sense from a Darwinian sense. In fact, it cuts mightily against the grain of survival of the fittest.

We somehow “know” that something isn’t fair, we recognize injustice. And even when we don’t meet those standards in our private lives, we go to great lengths to rationalize our actions. In other words, to make excuses. As Winston Churchill said, “hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue”. C S Lewis wrote an entire appendix on fairness, cataloging what each religion –even pagan ones–had to say about justice. Such a mental regime is impossible to fathom for mere brutes. And it certainly cannot be supported by Darwinism as it cuts mightily against the grain of random evolution, undermining as it does the survival of the fittest.

Because we recoil at the thought of endless violence and anarchy, as a species we are too accepting of order, even if it means tyranny, for at least under a tyrant, everybody has somewhat of a chance to survive.

Invariably, it is after an intense and brutal period of civil war that we find political scientists arguing for an increased central authority. One such man was Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679).

Hobbes, the son of an English vicar who had fallen on hard times, did not make his mark until very late in his life when he was 63 years old. It was at that age when he published Leviathan in 1651. That date is significant because it was in that year that the English Civil War came to an end.

The Civil War had begun in 1642 and lasted for nine long years. Not only was it twice as long as the War Between the States, but it was far bloodier. According to the best estimates, over 200,000 people died during the English conflict (out of a total population of perhaps 4 million); compare that with the American fratricide in which 700,000 people died (out of a population of 38 million). In the case of England, well over five percent of the population perished as opposed to the U.S. where close to 4 percent lost their lives. Moreover, the greatest bloodletting in America took place in the South, whereas the violence in England was spread throughout the entire country.

Needless to say, the English people of whatever political persuasion were shaken to the core. Hobbes in his old age was one of them.

This bloody context is necessary if we are to understand Hobbes’s sympathy for tyranny. Even without his experiences within the English Civil War, he was a good enough historian in his early years to know that life in “a state of nature” was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.

Hobbes, of course, was in relatively good philosophical company. The ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle despised democracy. They saw what it did to Socrates, who was judicially murdered in 399 BC on a bare majority of one vote. This, of course, brings us back to our own Ben Franklin who described democracy as “two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner”. Earlier, the Spartan lawgiver Lycurgus (d.730 BC) slapped a man in the face because he demanded democracy for Sparta. He told him, “first establish democracy in your own home then we can talk about it for Sparta”.

The “GQ look” during the Renaissance.

Indeed, the word democracy had such a poor odor throughout history that Jefferson and his allies went out of their way to avoid using the word “democrat” when talking about their party. Instead, they called their party “republican” (though it was not the same party which was founded in Ripon, Wisconsin some sixty years later in 1854).

Hobbes had been more recently inspired by Niccolo Macciavelli (d.1527) who was the premier political philosopher of the Renaissance. The Florentine believed that the Italian city-states were best governed by princes, some of whom ruled over “hereditary princedoms” as opposed to “mixed princedoms”. He sympathized more with hereditary princes because they “are maintained with far less difficulty than the new States, since all that is required is that the Prince shall not depart from the usages of his ancestors, trusting for the rest to deal with events as they arise”.

It should be pointed out, however, that when speaking about powerful rules, whether in the case of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli or Hobbes, they were talking about men who ruled extremely small, homogeneous polities. Plato called his ruler a “Philosopher-king”; today we would call him a “Benevolent Despot”. The rabbis of Eastern Europe called him “the Good Tsar”. As stated, none of these philosophers envisioned multi-ethnic, multi-racial and/or confessional states that transcended more than a few hundred square miles (if that).

Nor did they prescribe a totalitarian state as was found in the Communist regimes of the last century. The closest that we find to a totalitarian state in pre-modern times was ancient Sparta, which foisted a rigidly egalitarian ethos on the homoioi (or “peers”), that is to say those Spartans of pure Dorian blood who were born and bred to serve in the army for the vast majority of their lives.

Totalitarianism was a useful tool as well in order to maintain control over the thralls (helotes) who were the indigenous peoples of Laconia and Messenia. In fact, it was the Spartans who produced the world’s first secret police (krypteia) in order to keep these helots in line. This was not unlike what was found in Medieval Japan, where Samurai were given carte blanche to execute peasants on a mere whim likewise to keep things from getting out of hand.

Leaving aside the singular example of ancient Sparta, the modern nation-state is far more dangerous to its population than anything that could have been imagined by Macchiavelli or Hobbes. For example, Macchiavelli wrote about conditions as they were found in Renaissance Italy, a conglomeration of dozens of independent principalities. Hobbes to be sure had an entire kingdom in mind (England) but it was a small, compact half-island that was racially (if not religiously) homogeneous.

The modern nation-state, however, is far more unstable –and dangerous–than anything that Plato or Aristotle or Hobbes could envision. Even a constitutional republic like the United States has more resources to ferret out and punish people it considers dangerous. Unlike the Soviet Union, however, the methods we use are more subtle and less lethal (exceptions, of course, being Ruby Ridge and Waco in the 1990s).

Nor are they confined to the government. Private enterprise, the entertainment industry, and even colleges are more than willing to enforce public codes of discourse, obviating the need for government to do so. Thousands of lives have been destroyed, usually by financial means, because of a rigid regime that polices most all thought and speech. As such, many –if not most–people have learned to police themselves from engaging in anything that is deemed heretical by the secular clerisy.

Orwell called this “crimestop”, the ability to stop an errant thought from being vocalized and eventually, from being thought at all.

To be fair, the United States is far from the totalitarianism that existed behind the Iron Curtain during the last century. And as long as we have the Constitution (and our elites abide by it), we may avoid the unhappy fate of those countries.

But we cannot be complacent. Ever since 2001, we have labored under the PATRIOT Act, which has made things such as the practice of medicine and pharmacy increasingly difficult. We have also found out that there is a National Security Agency (NSA) which has a record of all phone calls, text messages, and emails that we have emitted from our various devices. Anytime we go through a scanner at the airport, a nude picture of us is taken by absolute strangers. These are things that our parents would never have countenanced for even a moment.

The Church, of course, will be laid waste but not in a violent manner (as happened in the Soviet bloc). Instead, the Federal government will strip away the tax exemptions of churches that violate “hate speech”. Think of it: the Church has enjoyed these benefits since the time of Constantine the Great.

And we have a political party which is intent on depriving us of our right to keep and bear arms. In time, the other political party will cave under the pressure to do so as well.

Tyranny, therefore, may very well be inevitable. At least for a while. We should never forget, that “as it was in the days of Noah” and then during the time of Nimrod, God has a way of setting things straight. Especially if the government thinks that it is God.


About GShep


  1. Joseph Lipper says

    We can see that nomadic and hunter-gatherer societies who live by the “law of the jungle” have existed for thousands of years, and some still exist today in very remote regions not yet fully exploited by the more technologically advanced. Those “law of the jungle” societies are always extremely traditional rather than political, and they live by the constant remembrance that death is always at hand. St. Herman, St. Juvenaly, St. Iakov, and St. Innocent all encountered many such “law of the jungle” people here in North America.

    Because nomadic societies don’t claim land ownership, they also don’t have kings. If there is no kingdom to be had, then it follows there is no actual king. Likewise, the Hebrew people fled the king and kingdom of Pharaoh in Egypt and instead became nomads following God through the prophet Moses. The Hebrews lived as nomads in the desert for 40 years. Through that experience, God trained the Hebrews not to become a political people, but rather to become a highly traditional people who followed His Word.

    God’s Word is Jesus Christ. However, when Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews, is finally born on earth, He is rejected and despised because He does not claim any earthly kingdom and does not resemble any earthly king. As Christ said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

    Of course the nomadic life is a difficult life. The natural human tendency and weakness is to want to settle down at earthly home with earthly king and kingdom, and God in His mercy also provides for this. God provided King Saul to the Hebrew Israelites, and likewise God provides our current governments to rule over us. Nonetheless, even amidst our earthly governments, homesteads and habitations, Christ still calls us to live as spiritual nomads by following Him.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Excellent response, Joseph. While you are correct regarding settled societies, nomads likewise have governmental type hierarchy: clan chiefs, sheikhs, etc.

      In ancient Israel, they were called shofetim (judges) and they wielded absolute power over the clan/tribe.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        In the presence of anarchy, individual responsibility is paramount. In fact, that’s all there is. It’s just the individual and God. There is no state government or hierarchy to blame or rely upon. It was under such circumstances that the Hebrew people lived as stateless nomads in the desert for forty years and learned to become a traditional people. God provided for them a Holy Tradition, but no state government.

        The term “anarchy” is sometimes interpreted as “chaos and confusion”, but this is not necessarily true. Does society necessarily fall apart when the state government falls apart? Does a city of Christians start murdering and robbing each other when the state collapses? Well, we hope not. Society can conceivably still exist without the state if moral norms and cohesive traditions are strong enough.

        In Christianity, obedience to the hierarchal authorities of Church and State is often considered to be an obedience to God Himself, because all hierarchy is seen as coming from God and fulfilled in God. As St. Paul says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” However, we also know hierarchy is not God. God creates and destroys hierarchy, but the Holy Trinity is not hierarchal. So, if any government or hierarchy collapses, we should believe it’s still possible for Christian society to survive.

        All the “better” governments and all the “better” hierarchies will ultimately never save us, because eventually all these will be destroyed. Only from a better relationship with God will we be saved: “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Joseph, you raise some interesting questions. I’m especially intrigued by your question as to in an anarchic situation, Christians would “start murdering each other”. I imagine not. However Christians are baptized individuals who have had prayers of exorcism said over them before immersion. These prayers are very efficacious and prevent us from reverting to absolute bestialism (or so I believe). That is why I posit that wherever the Gospel goes, culture and civilization flower. This is even true for Christians who make up a minority and/or are in a dhimmi status.

          As or the ancient Israelites who wandered through the desert in a “stateless” way (as you correctly point out), there was a government of sorts: Moses was warlord/leader, the Levites were the enforcers of the Law given to him by God and the tribal elders were responsible for their respective tribes. (And clan leaders for their respective clan/subdivisions of their clans.)

          Therefore, in the interest of (admittedly pedantic) accuracy, one cannot say that there was “no government”, it’s just that it was the best type of government available for a nomadic nation.

      • Mel Depler says

        Indeed, in the 1800s American Christian Zionists saw the pre-king judges as the true model for American democracy and noted God’s displeasure with Israel seeking a monarchy.

  2. Michael Bauman says

    “To be fair, the United States is far from the totalitarianism that existed behind the Iron Curtain during the last century. And as long as we have the Constitution (and our elites abide by it), we may avoid the unhappy fate of those countries.”

    There is the rub George. Our government does not abide by the Constitution. It has far exceeded is Constitutional powers. That overreach began around the time of our Civil War and has progressed, largely unchecked since. Unfortunately, such over reach leading to greater and greater central power is inherent in the Constitution itself because there is no mechanism for keeping each branch of government honest except the self discipline of those governing and “the will of the people” The self discipline of the governing collapses in collusion when power becomes more important than governing.

    The Preamble sets that course: “In order to form a more perfect union….” There is the statement that ensures the Constitution has too much centripetal potential energy to end in anything but tyranny. Had it not been for the Bill of Rights, that would have happened much, much sooner.

    Alexis de Tocqueville was quite right when he said that as soon as the populace found out they could vote themselves benefits from the public treasury, the end would be in sight.

    So, if we want to reverse course one of two things is required: 1) We stop voting for Federal benefits and power; 2) the total collapse of our government. Unfortunately, #2 is far more likely than #1

    As I have said before, the Tenth Amendment is what we need to rely upon. I recommend the Tenth Amendment Center to educate and begin to take action https://tenthamendmentcenter.com/

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

  3. Whatever the solution – even if only temporary – it’d want to move more quickly than this new TAPS Act just recently rolled out in the States, which aims to be able to arrest people BEFORE THEY COMMIT a crime. Unbelievable, yet so believable. See the link below for more.


    • Michael Bauman says

      Steven, the TAPS Act is truly heinous. It has bi-partisan support apparently. It is so close to the use by the Soviets of “mental health” diagnosis to incarcerate people. Really bad.

    • In Uk while I still worked there,Blair wanted to alter the mental health act to allow for putting a person under a legal section to be held in hospital. INCASE THEY BECAME ILL and were a threat.

      Just some local news. For Ascension day here in Veliko Tarnovo they will do a hierarchical liturgy in the former 14c Cathedral on top of fortress Hill. Makes for healthy congregation as quite a climb.
      The whole complex was destroyed by the turks in 1393( might be 1397, so sorry if wrong) and restored in 1970s in communist times. They obviously had problems restoring a Cathedral whose frescos are what might be described by an Anglican bishop as ‘speaking to our age’ or some such crap!! I am actually quite fond of them but keep out of the arguement about white washing them over or not

  4. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Actually, it was La Rochefoucauld who said that hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you. Since we’re on this, as it Talleyrand who said about the Bourbons that “they neither forgot nothing nor learned nothing”?

  5. George Michalopulos says

    This is an example of self-censorship in Academe:


    Remember this the next time little Johnny or Susie wants to go to some major American university where the even the liberal professors are to scared to actually teach something because they’re scared that the SJW Crybullies will start screaming “Racism!” or something. Think of this as an American Cultural Revolution.

    You can save yourself a whole lotta money by teaching them a trade or making them go online. (And save them $50K+ in student loans.)

    Of course the point was that in a truly liberal society all viewpoints could be presented, without fear of reproach or loss of job. During Mao’s Cultural Revolution, professors were actually arrested and some lost their lives.

  6. Michael Bauman says

    I was really surprised this morning when the photo of Trump’s visit to England on Fox News showed a beautiful, vibrant icon of the Theotokos over his shoulder.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Michael can you post it for us?

      • I ‘ve found this:
        TOTAL HONOR: President Trump Grave of the Unknown Warrior Ceremony Westminster Abbey
        The Theotokos can be seen for about 8 minutes,
        3:21 to 11:35

        • Also with the icon of Christ:
          26:38 to 27:06

        • Anglican Cathedrals now tending to have more icons than us.   Winchester Cathedral,  which if in Uk u should see, has a russisn painted iconostas to boot.   
          We will be in late September showing  round son of bulgarian friends here,  who now in Scotland on erasmus student scheme from Sofia university.  Enjoying Scotland,  independent soon i hope. 
          Practical point while in London we had wanted to take him to a greek church,  but now??So will be the new Russian Cathedral at Kew. There is us bulgarian one in Embassy but!!! 

      • Michael Bauman says

        I cannot.

  7. Linda Albert says

    This is a bit strange since one of the Articles of Faith of the Anglican church states:
    XXII. Of Purgatory.
    The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.
    Why have an icon of the Theotokos if you don’t sing “More honorable than the cherubim ……” or any other hymns of her? I doubt anyone is crossing themselves and bowing before the icon. And heaven forbid someone would actually kiss it. It looks too high to miss anyway. I think it’s just because icons have become cool and trendy another spiritually omnivorous but desperately malnourished . Anglicans. Ten years ago floor labyrinths were all the rage in Anglican churches.

    • Linda, regarding the statement about how sects disagree with praying to saints etc., I was just reading about that yesterday. The Orthodox position of course is so clever. We say that because the Church is both on earth and in heaven, and because it is absolutely permissible for members of the Church to pray for one another and to ask for prayers from one another, it is also good and proper to appeal to the saints. I liked that explanation very much.

      • George Michalopulos says

        St Paul speaks about the “cloud of witnesses”. Jesus earlier spoke about God being the “God of the living, not the dead”. I throw those out to my Protestant friends and it either trips them up or it starts them thinking.

    • Linda see my earlier posts but it is facinating how this secular age is becoming iconic,  is iconic and reacts with candles etc to disaster .  Yes people do light candles before them if not actually venerating. I have noticed protestants,  doing things that the Reformation would have a fit over.   I also see that people praying for their dead. Asking me to do memorials.  Now this us not everyone of course and they not totally understanding.  But what is clear is that protestants and those protestant only in Culture, are no longer getting freaked out by all this. And totally secular people see it anew. 
      But what is facinating is that in a Catholic church in Uk where there are icons at eye level with candle stand,  the faithful ignore and pray looking at the statue. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        It’s amazing how after every school shooting, Protestants and secularists (among others) get together for a vigil with candles and somehow “commemorate” the dead victims.

        Recently, I saw 12 crosses at the site of the Virginia Beach mass-shooting. Where was the ACLU and the Democrats in the House condemning such over displays of religiosity? Snark off.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          “Protestants and secularists”. Now, that covers a lot of people, especially with “among others”. In fact, that covers everybody!

  8. Francis Frost says

    Dear George:
    Kriste Aghdga !   Christ is Risen !
    It’s an interesting thing about that icon you admire… It is an illustration of an event from the life of St Gabriel Urgebadze. In 1965, on the eve of the great May Day parade, St. Gabriel sneaked into the government building which was covered with the banner portraits of Marx and Lenin. St. Gabriel soaked the banners with turpentine. As the parade passed by, St. Gabriel lit the banners on fire and leaned out of the window crying: “Stop worshipping these dead dogs of Satan. Worship belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is risen from the dead!”. The communists dragged St. Gabriel out into the street and beat him to death, or so they thought. His skull was fractured in 4 places. He suffered a dozen or more additional  bones fractures. He was left in a coma for 4 days; but he eventually recovered. St. Gabriel spent years in prisons and in psychiatric ‘hospitals’ undergoing tortures. He spent many more years as a homeless beggar. He was not only a confessor for Christ; but a hesychastic monk, a prophet and miracle worker.
    In April 1989, the communists tried to replace the Georgian language with Russian as the official language of government. Thousands of young people gathered in Lenin Square to protest on the evening of April 9th.  That great humanitarian, Mikhail Gorbachov, called out the military who killed dozens of unarmed teenagers while Patriarch Ilya tried to defuse the crisis by leading the people in the Lord’s prayer. This April 9th incident was the catalyst for Georgian Independence.
    In the days leading up to that incident, St Gabriel was seen in the Sioni Cathedral screaming, crying and cursing King Erekle. You see as a prophet, he knew what was coming. 
    King Erekle V was the last Georgian King, who signed the mutual defense pact known as the “Treaty of Giorgievsk”. On Erekle’s death, the Russian military occupied Georgia, and Erekle’s family was carried off to exile in Russia, where they were known as the Princes Bagratian. You may recognize the name from Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace”. 
    In 1992, during the Russian invasion of Abkhazeti, St. Gabriel prophesied: “If the Russians take Abkhazeti, the Mother of God will never forgive them.” This recalls St. Seraphim of Sarov’s warning to Tsar Aleksandr I: “Georgia is the inheritance of the Most Holy Mother of God. Do not make war on Georgia. If you make war on Georgia, God will make war on you, and Russia will be destroyed”. You see, when the apostles cast lots to divide up the world for their missionary journeys, the land of the Georgians fell by lot to the Most Holy Theotokos. Since the Apostolic times, Georgia has been called ‘the lot’ or the ‘the inheritance’ of the Mother of God, her own possession. 
    Your theories about monarchy are interesting; but unlikely to find much practical application. Restore the Romanov dynasty? Do you expect Putin to marry the Grand Duchess Maria Fyodorovna?  
    Even in Georgia the issue is problematic. The three branches of the Bagrationi dynasty have lived outside of Georgia for nearly two and a half centuries. They barely speak the Georgian language and they dispute who is the legitimate heir to the realm. Seeking to facilitate a reconciliation some years ago, Patriarch Ilya arranged for the son of one branch to marry the daughter of another branch of the Bagrati family. The young couple did give birth to a son; but have since divorced and are still wrangling over who is the rightful heir. 
    The heirs to the Romanian monarchy were raised in London, and don’t even speak the Romanian language.  The Greek royals have lived in Spain for the past 50 years. As for Prince Phillip, and his descendants, they are all Anglican Protestants. Not exactly promising material for the “restoration” of any Orthodox monarchy. 
    A blessed Return of the Pascha and Ascension to all

  9. Michael Bauman says

    Monk James, have you been advising the Pope. He has come out for changing the Our Father petition on “Lead us not into temptation…” to “Deliver us from temptation”

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Does anybody think that ‘daily bread’ only means bread?

      • Monk James Silver says

        That _arton_ means ‘a loaf of bread’ is not at issue.

        It doesn’t matter what people think it means, it matters only what the text says, and — no matter how you slice it — _ton arton hEmon ton epiousion_ does not mean ‘our daily bread’.

        Looking at the word very closely, we see that _epiousion_ — a word which we find nowhere else in the scriptures — comprises two elements of meaning: The first is _epi_, a preposition meaning ‘above, atop, more than’ and _ousia_, which means ‘essence’.

        St Jerome didn’t quite translate this word in his version of St Matthew’s gospel, but accurately calqued it into Latin as _supersubstantialem_. Clearly, it was well understood in the fourth Christian century that _epiousion_ did not mean ‘daily’.

        So, ‘Tim R. Mortiss’, what do you think is at issue here?

        • M. Stankovich says

          Personally, I would start here; déjà vu all over again.

          I wanted to relate an experience I had last night waiting at the airport in San Francisco. I was very tired by the time a flight at 1930 arrived, and while I heard an announcement of the arrival of a “Freedom Flight” at the gate next to mine a number of times, I wasn’t paying attention to the details. At it’s arrival, however, and military personnel began to arrive, including bagpipes, I listened carefully. Apparently Alaska Airlines provides free transportation to American combat veterans of war whose financial circumstance prevent them from travelling by air. They explained – I believe over the address system of the entire facility – that this flight was comprised of Califonian WWII veterans who were brought to San Francisco to celebrate the anniversary of D-Day. They invited anyone who was available to come to the gate to greet them. The small crowd that gathered joined the Marine Color Guard that arrived with the bagpipes, and I saw other branches of the military represented, accompanying elderly veterans in their VFW hats – canes, wheelchairs pushed by young people in dress uniforms, and others slowly arriving on the arm of a young military escort. There were WWII, Korean War, Viet Nam war, and Middle East war veterans with greeting signs, police and fire personnel, TSA & full flight crews, and passengers with children galore. When the door opened and elderly veterans began to emerge – some walking, but many being pushed in wheelchairs – people began to applaude and cheer, and this was continuous until all veterans had emerged and gathered into a group surrounded by the lights of the media.

          I never would have imagined I would be so moved by this “event,” and it was all I could do to keep wiping my eyes as I tried to keep the iPhone steady! It was such a spontaneous gathering of individuals completely unknown to one another, who were joyous, positive, and inspired to greet a small group of true American “heros” who defended freedom some seventy-five years ago. And it truly was inspiring to see that those who “greeted” were young – even very young. In a time when there is a fundamental dirth of respect & gratitude, and when it is so easy to become cynical and disappointed, I feel very honoured to have participated, if only as a “gawker,” in this celebration.

    • Monk James Silver says

      Michael Bauman (June 5, 2019 at 2:51 pm) says:

      Monk James, have you been advising the Pope. He has come out for changing the Our Father petition on “Lead us not into temptation…” to “Deliver us from temptation”

      Father James doesn’t have any idea of what the Roman pope said or of what he meant by what he said.

      The fact is, though, that we are reminded several times in the scriptures that the Lord will NEVER lead us into temptation, so it’s clear that — whatever the words of our Lord mean — they don’t mean anything like that.

      In this most foundational prayer, our Lord Jesus Christ is teaching us to ask our Father ‘rather than let us be put to the test, rescue us from the evil one.’.

      If the Roman pope ever gets to understand that, well, good and God bless him.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I’d be tickled pink if all the Latin Rite Catholics took out “…and from the Son” in the Creed.  I believe the Uniates have done so.

        • George I personally know the Ukrainian eastern Catholics have removed the filioque. 

        • Monk James Silver says

          Some uniats have, indeed, removed the interpolated words from their prayer books, but some have not, and others print it in parentheses. A couple of Roman Catholics have come into The Orthodox Church because I pointed out this inconsistency to them.

          They had assumed (incorrectly, as it turned out) that the Creed was a bare-bones minimum statement of faith and was not to be tampered with. When they realized what Rome had done, they fled.

          The oddest thing about this whole sad story is that the eleventh-century ‘Great Schism’ had the Latins accusing the Greeks of OMITTING the ‘filioque’. That’s how deeply delusional they were about their own vagaries in belief even a thousand years ago.

          And that’s not a mistake in translation. Rathe, it’s a theological error, an expression of a distorted triadology which never should have risen to the level of the Symbol of the Faith.

          Still, there are plenty of other errors in translation, both between even our contemporary Latin and Greek texts, and some between Greek and other languages even among us Orthodox.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Monk James, I once heard an Orthodox speaker say that because of this “distorted triadology”, the vacuum created by the demotion of the Holy Spirit was filled by the Pope. I think he was write. The Prods in their own way weren’t wrong about calling Catholicism “papism”.

            • Monk James Silver says

              No, it’s not the Holy Spirit who is being replaced by the Roman pope in their very mistaken triadology — it’s our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Whom they must think is absent, but Who promised that He would never leave us, as we learn from the texts of today’s feast. Who needs a ‘vicar’ while He Himself remains among us to lead and guide us, in spite of our weaknesses, clerical and laic?

              That an ostensibly Orthodox (but misguided) speaker’s assessment of the problem was a problem in itself, since RC ecclesiology very firmly asserts that their pope is ‘the Vicar of Christ, the visible head of the church’ (Baltimore Catechism). Perhaps he was buying into their heresy.

              The Roman Catholics are seriously mistaken on this point (among others), but it isn’t likely that they’ll admit it.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              The Orthodox in this country should finish this endless preoccupation  with the errors of Roman Catholics and Protestants. It’s all defensiveness and ultimately the product of an inferiority complex. Get rid of it. Get rid of the ethnic signs and placards and names of the churches. Enough already of the glory that was Greece and the special spirituality of the Slavic peoples and the rest.
              Why are we hiding? Why are we putting up these ridiculous, absurd barriers to the discovery of Christ’s church? There is a huge harvest out there; we should get on with it!

              • Michael Bauman says

                Why are we hiding? Because we are still living in our great grandparents basements–willingly; or worse live in a mansion of past glory in a sentimental haze ala Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd instead of doing the work of putting down roots here in the United States. Fortunately, that root building is going on but only in small isolated ways be a few extremely dedicated men; many of them African-American (OCA and Antiochian). The Church as a whole has never embraced the United States people as genuine mission. We have largely lost our capacity to do so. Much pastoral work is static and programmatic. We tend to be very “white” in the worst possible ways.

                But it must also be acknowledged that our culture has been inoculated against Christianity in a quite effective manner especially against a traditional, hierarchical community based form such as the Church.

              • Constantinos says

                Mr. Mortiss,
                I admire the Italian culture just as much as the Greeks. In fact, I consider the Italians and Greeks to be cousins.

                • Les Posigas says

                  Southern Greeks spent much of the Ottoman period under Venice, hence Ounia Fatsa, Ounia Ratsa.

                • Pete Gelikas says

                  Greeks:Russians::Italians:Irish. Greeks and Italians with outdoor processions, overdress, show up late. Irish & Russian, long services, rumpled, quiet. Illuminated by two must books: Thomas Sowell, Ethnic America, sharecropper’s son blames drunken, bigotted Irish for everything and adores the Italians and Jews. Michael Barone, New Americans, feels his mom’s Irish reformed his dad’s pagan Italians. Barone’s book is known for the fabulous analogy of Blacks as the new Irish (beholden to big retailers, big employers and big unions); Hispanic degas as the new Italian delis (all small informal business), and Asians as the new Jews (well, Israel *IS* in Asia).

              • Tim,
                This is one of the best comments I’ve seen here in quite a while. 
                There is a certain…shall we say…confidence in who you are in Christ that I perceive in you – the same sort of confidence (as I have noted here in times past) that I also perceive and admire in my faithful Greek friends, though it has little to do with ethnicity.  It has everything to do with having Christ in the core of one’s being and knowing with absolute certainty that He is unshakable.  Such people have nothing to prove to anyone, including themselves, and can simply LIVE freely, letting the Light within them dispel whatever darkness they may encounter.
                I beg of you not to let any editorial decisions of this blog tempt you to leave.  You would be missed.

  10. Gail Sheppard says

    “. . . there is already Christian unity,” according to the National Catholic Reporter. “Let’s not wait for the theologians to come to agreement on the Eucharist.”

    Is the Pope “back in the saddle again.”  Is that why he’s been talking with Romania, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia.  Now, he scheduled to talk with Putin, July 4, a day before the Vatican Ukraine meeting where Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church is to “lend its support in the delicate situation in which Ukraine finds itself.”  Got to wonder where all this is going.


  11. In reference to article from “Religion News” that Gail Sheppard linked, I must say the Pope recognizes the current divisions in Orthodoxy and is  exploiting them. He suggests that Orthodox and Roman Catholic ecumenists do an end run around the theologians and achieve unity through the chalice. That idea was proposed by Patriarch Athenagoras back in the 1960’s. I’m watching to see if Constantinople sends an encouraging response to Rome. Remember there are those who think that Epiphanios’ group may be the vehicle for shared Eucharist among the Epiphanios group, the Uniates and willing Orthodox.

    • Zeb Gatsik says

      When the pope was in Romania the press kept referrign to is as a “formerly communist country” which they never do for Poland or Hungary