The “Illiberalism” of Putin’s Russia

For years now, we have heard that Russia is a retrograde state. In my opinion it’s mainly because it has not bought into the West’s ideas about homosexuality.

And of course, there’s Vladimir Putin, authoritarian, thug and general all-around bad-ass. Or so we are supposed to believe.

Reality however is more complicated. Please take a gander at the map. If you’re a progressive and anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism are your primary concerns, you would have to admit that Russia is on the side of the angels, whereas the United States is not.

map-racisms

For the record, I think Russia is wrong on this issue. To me, it’s a matter of free speech –pure and simple. I realize that this is an unpopular stance but the First Amendment means something: it’s to protect all speech, not just the speech that we like. Speech must be free, open and (hopefully) robust. Kind of what we have here on Monomakhos.

Now I understand why Russia feels justified in taking the position she has in this regard. It was Russia which bore the brunt of the Hitler’s aggression from 1940-1945. Several millions of Russia’s citizens were killed in that horrendous war, which has become known as The Great Patriotic War. Like the War Between the States here in America, World War II left an indelible mark on Russia. We should respect that. But we that doesn’t mean that we should take the opposite position even if it is more popular.

So why am I bringing it up? Because the American people have the right to know. Russia isn’t an Evil Empire and Vladimir Putin is no bogeyman.

About GShep

Comments

  1. Make Monomakhos Great Again! says

    By the gloriously fallacious reasoning put forth here, apparently North Korea and Kim Jong-un are okay too, thanks to yes vote on a meaningless UN resolution that was basically a giant trolling exercise by Russia.

    Please take a gander at the map.

    Looking at the map, North Korea is, as you put it, “on the side of the angels” and the United States is not. Sad!

    • I Love Carbs says

      That fallacious reasoning belongs to the liberals and their meltdowns. If the most important things it the world are to not be an “ist” and to combat “isms,” it is indisputable that Russia — and yes, Nort Korea — are on the “right side of history” here.

      You ironically argue against your point.

  2. Peter Millman says

    Hi George, The amount of propaganda surrounding World War II is truly amazing. The official story in the United States is that the US with the help of Great Britain defeated Nazi Germany and also defeated Japan with the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, honest historians know that Russia defeated the Nazis with the help of Great Britain and the United States. Also, the real reason that Japan surrendered had nothing to do with the atomic bombings; Japan unconditionally surrendered because the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. That’s true history as opposed to the propaganda we are spoon fed.

    • You only got that half right Peter.

      If you suggest the US had no impact on Germany; you would be fully discounting Germany’s split forces.

      If you suggest the bombings had no impact on Japan’s surrender; you would be suggesting Japan would surrender to the Soviets, but not the US.

      If you suggest we didn’t get the full story, I’d agree with you fully.

      But Japan’s surrender was not based on a single event. They had the cards stacked against them heavily. Between Russia declaring war on them and getting pounded from the sky by the US and defeats in the Pacific, and the US destruction of their merchant fleet with mines, they were really screwed.

      Germany and Japan both grossly miscalculated the world’s outrage at their actions and both eventually found their just place in history. But getting it from multiple directions was what really did them both in…

    • The Soviet Union only declared war on Japan at the very end as a formality since it was obligated to do so by treaty and since it wanted a piece of the post-war Japanese economy (which it did not get).

      The second atomic bomb convinced the emperor and a critical mass of the senior command that pursuing the war any further was national suicide – literally. Even then, some of the generals reneged and tried a coup which prompted the emperor to issue a public statement praying to surrender.

    • Peter, The Japanese were not going to surrender, simply because The Soviets declared war. They most likely saw the two bombs as great way to SAVE FACE(and their asses), by showing concern for their civilians, but behind the scenes they did not want to be humiliated by the Soviets in more ways than one, nor give them any credit in their defeat. So yes and no to your analysis, but it was only a matter of time, regardless if The Soviets declared war. Japan would have surrender to the U.S. sooner or later. No one wants their country turned in to a sand lot.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Peter Millman, you wrote, “Japan unconditionally surrendered because the Soviet Union declared war on Japan.” This is the formal logical fallacy known as “post hoc; ego propter hoc.” I don’t believe you are endowed with a talent for reading the Emperor’s or any other Japanese mind.
      Japan’s executive was forced to surrender because of the military campaigns of the Americans, Chinese, British, Australians, etc., plus the fire-bombings of the capital, plus the superfluous nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Russia’s impotent, last-minute, johnny-come-lately declaration of war was an embarrassingly bad joke! It meant as much as if Ghana or Ivory Coast had done it!

  3. “Please take a gander at the map.”

    I’d like to , but all I see is a small , blurry 150 x 150 pixel image of the map. If I click on it it doesn’t open up a larger , high-res. image of the map. Can you post a link to a larger version of the map ?

    • Michael Bauman says

      Plus George’s post makes no sense. Can’t figure out what he even means. That is unusual.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Mainly this: I’m for free speech in every instance. Even hurtful speech. That’s the first level of understanding as I see it. Having said that, this was a UN Resolution that condemned the glorification of Nazism, racism, etc. Russia voted for it, the US against.

        The deeper level is why did the RF vote for it? Are they not as committed to free speech as the US? Short answer: no. Longer answer is because the fight against Hitler’s Germany is one of the defining aspects of modern Russian self-identification.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          George, you may be for free speech,but our opponents certainly aren’t. Last week at work I got flamed by two redeck gals for daring to suggest Trump might not be a racist. I later told one, “I guess the First
          Amendment only works for your side.” I notice she did not deny it.

          • George Michalopulos says

            ES, that goes without saying anymore, doesn’t it? Under Obama, government has been weaponized against his opposition (see, IRS). Under a President Clinton II, it’ll be even worse.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Hey! Estonian Slovak! The First Amendment does not prohibit flaming you for your utterances!

        • George,

          So your question is why isn’t Russia committed to “free speech”?

          Allow me to elucidate. You may be aware that the United Kingdom is considered a modern civilized post-industrial Western democracy. It has a monarch, but she has conceded much of her power by an evolving English tradition of parliamentarianism. Elizabeth II is a “constitutional monarch”.

          In a somewhat mirror image vein, Russia is a “sovereign democracy”. In a constitutional monarchy, the real day to day power rests with the constitutionally established power structures – – the branches of government. In the United Kingdom, there are three as there are here in the United States. Parliament is the Legislature, the British Judiciary is the Judicial and the Crown is the Executive. But in the United Kingdom, the Crown/Executive is a largely silent branch of government. Most all of its power is ceded to the other two brances. The head of Parliament is, effectively, the Executive (or acts as vicar of the Executive, so to speak).

          Seen in this light, the United Kingdom is a democracy. Yet it places considerable restrictions on the freedom of the press and freedom of speech. One need address royalty, for example, in certain ways and stories involving them are subject to censorship. This is just one example. Moreover, for another example, Britain is a surveillance state. Cameras are ubiquitous. Privacy is nearly extinct. Yet a democracy.

          In Russia, the mechanism of democracy is in place. There are elections. They are relatively free and fair. There is of course some level of vote fraud and political, extralegal intrigue just as there is in any other country. But by and large, in its day to day functioning, in its formal processes, Russia functions as a democracy.

          Yet day to day, in its formal processes, Britain functions as a monarchy. Governments are formed at the pleasure of the Crown and never in any other fashion. The newly elected Prime Minister must be confirmed by the Crown and the Queen preserves her right to assent to laws, or to reject them (at least theoretically). A monarchy. Yet the day to day power is exercised by a democratically elected leadership.

          In just the same manner, Russia is a democracy. Yet day to day power is exercised by a sovereign leader: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

          Just as the press protects the sovereign in the United Kingdom, so it does in the sovereign democracy of the Russian Federation. Putin “occupies the field”, as it were. Pro-government press is not the only voice in the “marketplace of ideas”. However, it is most assuredly the loudest and it establishes the boundaries within which the people achieve “respectable opinions”. Such opinions must have some parameters. Nazism, the murderous ideology of the Khmer Rouge, communist totaliltarianism – – some filtering method is necessary to keep reprehensible opinions from becoming too commonplace. The Powers that Be in a state decide what is reprehensible and control the mechanism for filtering public opinion.

          In the United States, the Powers that Be are the monied interests behind the Gang of Four or Gang of Twelve wrestling show we call partisan government. The Powers that Be control where the “sensible center” is located so that all important decisions necessarily have to be ratified by at least, for example, a small Gang composed of the more centrist voices in each party. This dynamic also applies in a different form in the Judicial Branch. Anymore, a swing justice often decides important, controversial cases.

          In the Russian Federation, being theoretically democratic but practically monarchial/sovereign, the ultimate definitions of what is acceptable and reprehensible and the filter of public opinion is determined by the Chief Executive, call him what you may.

          Thus endeth the lesson.

          PS: One more thing. As you may deduce, the Chief Executive in the Russian Federation decides what is moral and immoral. The basis on which he decides these things provides us a window into his soul – a window as to whom he would concede, so to speak, has a claim on his soul. It is no coincidence that the greatest locus of power in the Russian Federation next to the Government – – in fact, the only real locus of power in the Russian Federation next to the Government – – is the Russian Orthodox Church. Nor is it a coincidence, just to finish the thought, that the Russian Orthodox Church is slowly but surely bringing its moral and ecclesiastical and theological witness in line with that of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Traditionalist Orthodox, of course, have forums through which varying opinions on these matters are exchanged by those knowledgeable in the Law of God. And yes, I participate in some of those forums.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Misha, there is no essential quarrel here. I just want to point out the hypocrisy of modern liberals who claim to love free speech on the one hand and diversity on the other. To them I say Russia is Russia –let her be.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            “Misha” (Or “Scott” as M. Stankovich prefers) should apply for a job writing for “pravoslavia.ru” or one of the many more recent, better disguised outlets for the Russian tourist and misinformation agencies’ blogs that have sprung up like mushrooms in the past 12-16 months on the social internet!
            He compares Russia with Great Britain, straining to make them somehow correspond; however, he, like the other agents/agencies, never refers to any comparison on areas like A.I.D.S. or abortion!
            A.I.D.S. is as rampant in Russia as in nowhere else in the world except some parts of Africa, Russia holds the World Championship Blue Ribbon in abortion frequency as well, although the agencies make big negative NOISE about it Yet the agencies would like foreigners to believe that Russia is “spiritually” high, regardless of being morally LOW . Russia needs HELP, but it’s not getting it from the government, Those ELEMENTS of the Russian Church that seek moral improvement in government and society have to repose in steerage when public patriotism rules as it did in the stormiest sailing days of the Stalinist dreadnought! AIDS, Abortions, Alcoholism, Russia’s AAA for their narcotics highways. George’s loving solution: “Russia is Russia–let her be.”

  4. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    “It was Russia which bore the brunt of the Hitler’s aggression from 1940-1945.” Often repeated BALONEY! Tell it to the Greeks or the POLES!

    By the way, I recently saw for the first time the VIDEO of Putin stooping and then grabbing that little boy, lifting up his little t-shirt, pulling him closer, and then giving him a warm kiss on the belly… It wasn’t A picture. The kid looked astonished!. I think that if George had seen it, he wouldn’t have compared it to his own breathing on a BABY’s stomach!

    Why is today’s Russia just BLOSSOMING with new memorials of such “heroes” as Felix Derzhinsky, Josef Stalin, Lavrenty Beria? And what is this “Bromance” of Putin and Trump?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Your Grace, even you should know that pederasts never act on their proclivities in such a public fashion.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Again “astonished!”
        No, George, I don’t know that, and neither do you. Don’t you understand what an illusion of invulnerability is, and how anyone who breaks that illusion is hated? “Even you” should understand that, George…!
        “Why is today’s Russia just BLOSSOMING with new memorials of such “heroes” as Felix Derzhinsky, Josef Stalin, Lavrenty Beria? And what is this “Bromance” of Putin and Trump?”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Your Grace, I was just in Russia. I saw exactly one statue to Lenin in Moscow, a fairly large one I might add (not as big as the one of Peter the Great mind you but still fairly large). I certainly hadn’t heard of any “new” monuments to the men you described. As for Stalin, that’s a special case, for all his manifold crimes, he still saved Russia (some would add all of Europe) from Hitler. And then again, he did revive the Church. In both instances –his offensive against the Germans and his revival of the Church–we know that his back was against the wall and he had no choice but be that as it may, he did the right thing even though his heart was by no means pure.

          Anyway, there is much talk about removing it but like his god-awful tomb the Russians seem to take the approach that history –even unpleasant history–should not be erased simply because of the change in government. I don’t necessarily agree but I’d be a hypocrite in that I don’t think we should remove the names of former heroes and/or presidents simply because they were slave-owners or segregationists. As much as I don’t like Wilson, I’m glad that Princeton University did not remove his name from one of their buildings.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            George, the ostentatious outdoor memorials to Derzhinsky and Beria were erected and dedicated this year! Obviously this makes the Canonization of one of their successors, i.e., V.V.Putin, more palatable to Russians, especially millennials! What you saw on your pilgrimage to the Russian state is hardly relevant to the question of all these memorials! They are still on the two-steps-forward–one-step back path. hey didn’t even bother re-naming Kaliningrad because most foreignrs don’t know Kalinin’s history (although the Patriarch, formerly Metropolitan of Kaliningrad surely does!).

          • George,
            Please do not make any excuses for Stalin or those who see him as a hero of Russia, regardless of what happened during the war. He was mass murdering demon, who was only trying to save his own ass, and had no regard for the lives of his own people. He only saw his people as a resource to be sacrificed. As you must know he murdered at least 40-50 million of his own people. He burned almost all of Russia churches, only to reopen some because he thought it might help the war effort(save his ass).

            Joseph Stalin, DID NOT SAVE RUSSIA! The people of the Soviet Union did! With their blood, sweat and tears! Not Stalin’s! He simply threw his army into the Nazi’s bullets until the Nazis could no longer keep up. There was no retreat for the Russians either face the Nazi bullets or retreat and face the Russian bullets.

            On a personal note my Grandfather spent 7 years in one of Stalin’s death camps. He was a Greek living in Georgia. His family fled Turkey to live in Georgia, with many other Pontian Greeks. They thought they have found a safe new home, only to be up rooted again. He never knew what crime he committed, or the thousands of other Greeks, that were shipped off to the labor camps in Siberia. Only 10% returned, my Grandfather was one of them because by the grace of God and perhaps because he was a Tailor and was inside the camp, making clothing most of the time, instead of out in the frozen elements digging. After 7 years he was released with only the clothes on his back, and had to work his way back to his family in Georgia, which took another couple years. When Russia let Greeks return to Greece after the war, he was on the first ship back, and never wanted the Russian language to be spoken in his home ever again.

            My grandfather knew the evil, that was Stalin’s Russia. I understand how many Russians can make excuses for him, as they have been told lies by old and new communist, but I don’t understand why you, an educated Christian, wants to give him a pass. Stalin’s statue , or Lenin’s, or any of those communist God hating pigs are a curse on all of Russia.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Dino, I am not an apologist for Stalin. Next to Mao, he was the greatest murderer in history. Worse, he enabled Hitler with his Non-Aggression Pact. From 1938-1940 he was effectively Hitler’s ally. Period.

              Having said that, it was he who led the Russian people in their heroic repulsion of the Wehrmacht. We too often forget that it is always leaders, flawed human beings in their own right, who can rouse the masses to acts of heroism. Where would the Union have been without a Lincoln? A defeated Turkey without an Ataturk? Or a chastened Britain without a Churchill? The leadership principle cannot be discounted.

              • George, I don’t believe the threat of a bullet in the back of one head is is great way to “rouse the masses to acts of heroism”. Stalin led his people by force, they feared him and his henchmen more the Devil himself. Even before the war he was killing loyal people in his cabinet all the time. His Generals did not fight for him, they fought for the families, troops, Mother-Russia, and the fear of Demon Stalin’s wrath upon them and their immediate families. Leading by fear and torture is no leader to me.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Dino, I agree. He was the devil himself (actually, I hate Lenin more because he created the engine of Bolshevism that resulted in a Stalin) of this there can be no doubt. I’m just looking at this from a historical standpoint. For all their bravery, I’m not sure the Russian people would have been able to repel the Wehrmacht without someone of his brutal ferocity at the helm.

                  I look at the Poles and the Serbs for example. Excellent fighters whose love of their country is second to none. Yet they were not able to withstand Hitler. The Greeks were able to (for a while at least). What was the difference, the “X” factor so to speak? Leadership. Greece’s PM was the brilliant John Metaxas, a hardened, no-nonsense generalissimo in the manner of Francisco Franco. Ultimately, Greece couldn’t hold out but they were able to land a devastating blow on Mussolini and derailed Operation Barbarossa but several weeks.

                  Having said that, I am under no illusions about Stalin’s nature. I fully believe that had Hitler not invaded Russia, Stalin would have wiped out what little remained of the Russian Orthodox Church.

                  • George, Thanks for the clarification. So if you believe Russia saved Europe from The Nazis, and Greece slowed Operation Barbarossa, then perhaps Greece save Europe twice in it’s history(first time from the Persians).
                    Back to statues, and history. To be clear. I do not believe in erasing the evil leaders legacy of history from our books, only from erecting their likeness in bronze. A statue is erected to honor someone. There is no honor in Stalin. I would rather see a statue of the bones of the dead that saved Russia. How high would the millions of bones reach? I know there are statues of Robert E Lee, and his generals in America, and I don’t believe that they should be honored with statues either. Their leadership killed more Americans than any one in history. I’m sure there are many Germans who would like to see a statue of Hitler in Berlin for his great leadership too.
                    Truth be told I believe that without America’s involvement in the war, Russia might have lost their country to Hitler, who was not much worse than Stalin. In the long run though between American on one end, and Russia’s resistance fighters on the other ,Hitler would just have had Russia for a couple years tops, while America was bombing the hell out of Germany and German troops in Russia.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Yes Dino, those of us of Greek heritage can stand up and take a bow! To Western Civilization we can say: “You’re welcome!”

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Dino, how about “the Persians tried to save Europe from the Greeks, but failed!”

                    • FUNNY, YOUR GRACE! Except that, instead of Bishop Tikhon, your name and title might be Imman Tikhon today, if it was not for the Greeks.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      The German Army ran out of gas. And in the USSR, if they had continued to slaughter three Russians for every German slaughtered, they would still have been turned back or annihilated. It wasn’t a matter of heroism so much as bodies and gasoline.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Dino says:

                      FUNNY, YOUR GRACE! Except that, instead of Bishop Tikhon, your name and title might be Imman Tikhon today, if it was not for the Greeks.
                      _______

                      Dino,

                      I wouldn’t waste my time on this issue with the Good Bishop. He’s not, shall we say, fond of Greeks, and that’s putting it mildly. That’s why he recently denounced our canonical Greek Scriptures in favor of the King James Version of the Bible.

                      Although I have to say I didn’t know that the Good Bishop was a KJV-onlyist. That was a surprise even to me.

                      Peter

                      BTW I recommend getting Mr. Gary Zeolla’s English Translation of the Septuagint and the Majority Text-Type Greek New Testament. It is a translation that is in Modern American English, but respectful at the same time.

                      I also recommend Michael Asser’s KJV English Translation of the Septuagint which you can find on the Orthodox England website and Fr. David Hawthorne’s Orthodox New testament based on the King James Version corrected to the Patriarchal Greek New Testament text if you want to stay on the KJV side of things.

                      PS Please pray for my friend Michael Asser to regain his strength and health as he is going through some trying times. Thank you.

                    • Peter A. I thought the Bishop was trying to be funny. Regardless ,we will never know Europe’s fate if the Persians controlled it. BUT. For sure the odds would be against the Bishop’s salvation with out the Greek’s role in history, in many ways than one, and that is not funny. He should at least show respect.

                      I know nothing of of Bishop Tikhon’s views, other what you have just told me, so if I’m out of line I ask his forgiveness. My best wishes to your friend Mr. Asser, my prayer’s go out to him as I type this. Lord have Mercy!

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Now here is an outright LIE and CALUMNY from Peter Papoutsis, A LIE and CALUMNY!
                      “That’s why he recently denounced our canonical Greek Scriptures in favor of the King James Version of the Bible.”
                      That is a LIE and a CALUMNY! I have never ever DENOUNCED any version of the Septuagint, I do NOW suggest that the KJV’s translation of some Hebrew texts might be better than the Septuagint’s translation of some Hebrew texts.
                      However, saying I denounced the Septuagint is a LIE and a CALUMNY.
                      By the way, Peter and the other guy, ALL Orthodox Bishops (and Priests), not just Mrs Fitzgerald’s son, are Orthodox Christian Imams.

                    • Bishop Tikhon, aka Orthodox Christian Imam, aka Mrs. Fitzgerald’s son,

                      You’re funny, your Grace, and thanks for teaching me a new word, CALUMNY.

                      Sincerely,
                      Dino, aka “the other guy”

                    • Peter, as I recall, Bp. Tikhon directed the use of the Boston Psalter (translated quite literally from the LXX) and the use of the Jordanville Horologion. He also specifically directed the use of the SJKP Menaion, and all of the OT readings in it are corrected to conform to the LXX. This encompasses basically all of the liturgical usage of the Old Testament in the Orthodox Church outside of Great Lent. Only recently has a complete LXX Prophetologion (both readings and all relevant prokeimena, etc.) been published within the ROCOR with the blessing of Metr. Jonah, but based on Bp. Tikhon’s other recommendations, I feel confident that were he diocesan bishop today, he would recommend its use in Great Lent as the best thing currently available.

                      I have been watching carefully, and he has said nothing on this forum that contradicts what he directed as a diocesan bishop. I think you owe him an apology. I don’t have the energy to try to hunt down the original things he wrote, but last I heard, they are still to be found on the website of the OCA diocese of the west.

                      Both what he and I have written about the KJV is about the New Testament. And as I have pointed out before, the virtue of the KJV and the fundamentally unfixable problem about the RSV New Testament is that the former is based on the correct (Byzantine lectionary) text type, while the latter is based on a composite text that specifically rejects Byzantine readings every time there is a dispute. You can say all you want about how the RSV is a “better translation” — a disputable assertion — but no matter how “good” a translation is, if you aren’t translating from the correct Greek text, the final product will be fundamentally flawed. And that is without even getting into peculiarities (motivated by deviousness) of the RSV that are fundamentally grammatically wrong.

                      I speak, of course, of translating the second person singular Greek pronouns as “thee” and “thou,” etc. when it is about God, and as “you,” etc when it is about anyone else. This doesn’t exist in the Greek, and it was an intentional mistranslation done for political purposes, since at the time the RSV was translated, it would have been roundly rejected to say “hallowed be your name,” etc. So they were devious, and invented a way of translating second person pronouns that has no precedent — not in the original Greek, not in any of the ancient languages of the Church (such as Church Slavonic or Latin), not in any modern European language, and certainly not in English usage.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      DINO! here’s another good one: “INCORRIGIBLE”. Thus, one may be not only a calumniator, but an incorrigible one!

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      I’d also like to know if “Dino” is Ernestine’s (Lily Tomlin’s) “Dino!”

                    • Bishop Tikhon, INCORRIGIBLE I am familiar with, hopefully not directed at me. I do agree with most of Peter Papoutsis posts. In so far as the books you approve of, or reject. I can only take you at your word, which so far I respect. What ever that’s worth.

                    • Bishop Tikhon! Again you humor me, your Grace, but truly I see Ernestine in you, by your simple statement she is in me. Ironically incorrigible might apply to you too, in regards to your 1990 letter Peter found. Matthew 5:37, may also apply to your “Ernestine” comment, in other words, say what you really want to say, your Grace. Perhaps you might teach us something, as a Good Bishop should.

          • George,

            Why are you letting a [retired poseur/bishop] make a mockery of the subject matter here? I’m not offended, just curious as to your reasoning. I’m not quite the fan of free speech that you are. I call them as I see them. And no one should bother for one split second “suggesting” that I recant or apologize. No one but a person with those proclivities, and strong ones, would dare to comment as “vladyka” has here.

            I’m about fed up with him. You can print this, George, or not, as you see fit. I will refrain from calling him out on it if you wish to keep things civil.

            But it’s true. A blind man could see it.

            • For the record, so as not to have to defend the adjective “poseur”, that is not what I wrote. Inasmuch as my unedited comment was deemed too offensive to post, I withdraw the comment. I suppose free speech does have its limits after all though.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Pardon me, but your comment is on the record, along with the numerous, assorted personal insults you have cast against a consecrated Bishop of the Orthodox Church, because you personally do not like him or his commentary. You make a fool out of yourself by attacking him as the anointed, consecrated chosen of God, who served faithfully in the Vineyard for nearly a quarter of a century without scandal, and whose wise counsel remain, to this day, as the stalwart and framework of the governing principles of the OCA Diocese of the West, and are founded in the Tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church, theologically & liturgically. Many other Diocese, and other jurisdictions, for that matter, cite Vladyka Tikhon and his written directions for governance and litugics. As it turns out, Scott, you are the poseur, and are incapable of admitting that this is a personal conflict you have with the man, and are disrespecting his office to the shame of the Church and yourself. You are acting like an arrogant, self-righteous, punk-assed bully when numerous people have told you outright you have crossed the line from critic to abuser. And now you would instructuct witnesses to your out-of-control behaviour to ignore your continued abuse so you will not have” further” your epic feast? Take a break, son. You need it.

                • Stankovich,

                  Actually the comment I made in the post I sent is not on the record. George edited it. It was damn frank. I stand by it. I need no break. I did not write the word “poseur”. That was something George substituted for something much, much, much more direct and offensive, were it not true. He was concerned about legal liability if he published it.

                  That’s what’s going on. Now, go back to whatever you were doing, Stankjoshka.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    It’s good to know, Mr. Michalopulos, that you apparently have the time and expertise to “consult” with rodents on their vulgar and offensive castigation of the anointed of God, as to correct their “phraseology” to avoid litigation. I don’t recall St. Paul identifying the nobility of such talents, but you know memorory as we age… Perhaps you could get Scott to insult the memory of Beloved Abp. Dmitrii, thereby motivating you to complete the recounting of his re-vesting & re-burial? Just a thought…

                    • Stankjoshka,

                      George did not “consult” with me. He runs his site as he sees fit and that suits me just fine. He did take the time to inform me of why he edited my remarks, and I appreciate that and agree that I don’t want to make my frankness regarding the truth a problem for him and his wallet. He is a most gracious host and we should all cut him the slack he needs to run this show.

                      PS: Righteous bishops like the late Abp Dmitri of thrice blessed memory have nothing to fear from me nor would I call their memory into question.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      M.Stankovich wrote “you apparently have the time and expertise to “consult” with rodents ” In case anyone was in doubt about the actual identity of such, Misha has kindly retorted “George did not “consult” with me.”

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Can anybody tell me what got “Misha’s” knickers all in a twist this time? He doesn’t refer to any specific thing or topic I’ve written about—just unloads some invective related to nothing! Does he perhaps think the memorials to Lavrenty Beria and Felix Derzhinsky, ETC, must be defended? Does he oppose Litvinenko’s attacks on Putin’s history of pederasty? I’m at a loss here. Of what else have I written, here, in this thread?
              Perhaps a pseudonym like Lewis Carroll’s “Queen of Hearts” would be a more suitable pen name for him? As in off with my head?

              • Peter Millman says

                Bishop Tikhon,
                How do you like that? A “bishop” referring to the owner of this forum as a ” rodent.” Not very Christian of you, my friend. Hamlet said, ” Get thee to a nunnery!” I say to you, my friend, “Get thee to confession.” My friend, you are very poor witness for our blessed Lord. I’ ll most definitely be praying for you.

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  “Peter” Millman! Exactly where and when did” “I” refer to “George” as a “rodent?” “I” didn’t do so. “I” don’t do so, However “I” did liken the ineffective statements of some here to the rustling of mice, That is a translation of a common Russian idiom. Your own words, “Peter”, remind”me” of the rustling of mice. But “I” don’t think of “you” as a rodent. What an idea!

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Now here is an outright LIE and CALUMNY from Peter Papoutsis, A LIE and CALUMNY!
              “That’s why he recently denounced our canonical Greek Scriptures in favor of the King James Version of the Bible.”
              That is a LIE and a CALUMNY! I have never ever DENOUNCED any version of the Septuagint, I do NOW suggest that the KJV’s translation of some Hebrew texts might be better than the Septuagint’s translation of some Hebrew texts.
              However, saying I denounced the Septuagint is a LIE and a CALUMNY.
              By the way, Peter and the other guy, ALL Orthodox Bishops (and Priests), not just Mrs Fitzgerald’s son, are Orthodox Christian Imans.
              ——-
              So the KJV renders the Hebrew better than the Greek and so you accept the Anglican/protestant KJV over our canonical Greek scriptures and you haven’t denounced the Septuagint? Ok, well the record will speak for itself.

              Also, “versions” (plural) of the Septuagint? Hmmm, that sounds like something a KJV-ONLYIST would say.
              The canonical Septuagint is that version present in our liturgical texts. Biblically there are primarily two (2) versions: 1) the Septuagint version from the Apostoliki Diakonia, as 2) The Moscow edition of 1821 primarily used on the Holy Mountain.

              The KJV is not the Church’s canonical scriptures, and if the KJV is used it must be corrected according to the Septuagint as my friend Michael Asset did and posted on the Orthodox England website. If you want to use the KJV corrected according to the LXX please do so, but your standard must be the Church’s Greek Bible not the KJV.

              God Bless my good bishop. I am glad I caught your error in time and had the opportunity to correct you before you really got yourself in trouble.

              Peter

              • Peter Millman says

                Peter, I dare say that you know a great deal more about the Septuagint and the new KJV than the bishop will ever known in a million years. You’re a man of education and erudition. As any Orthodox Christian should know, our Lord and the disciples exclusively used the Septuagint .

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Our Lord did use the LXX and knew of it, and the DSS confirm that there was a Hebrew text that existed that the LXX was based on.

                  Further, while Edward, Bishop Tikhon cling to their precious uncorrected KJV such wonderful efforts to correct the KJV that Mr. Asset did go unappreciated.

                  Now you get to see why our canonical scriptures have never been translated. People just stuck to the KJV, which has Protestant errors and heresies, or the RSV, that also has errors and heresies, and cut ourselves off from our own tradition.

                  I have no problem with any Orthodox Christian using the KJV or RSV, but they must be corrected to the Septuagint and our Official Greek New Testament text. Anything less is error.

                  Peter

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Peter Papoutsis! Which edition of the LXX did Our Lord “use”, who had it, and where was it kept? This is a test.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Test over. You lost. Bye.

                      Fr. Alexander I am following your advice.

                      Peter

                    • Monk James says

                      Wrong question.

                    • It is ultimately unknowable, but given that Christ grew up at least partly in Egypt, it is not unreasonable to surmise that he may have learned Greek while living in the Jewish diaspora there.

                      I would imagine that he was a bright lad and a quick learner.

                      I would also imagine, given that Greek was the common language of the Roman Empire, Greek use would have been common among more educated individuals in the Holy Land, and the LXX would have been in circulation there. There were certainly enough Greek speakers that the sign on Christ’s cross included Greek.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                Dino says:
                October 11, 2016 at 11:37 am

                Bishop Tikhon, aka Orthodox Christian Imam, aka Mrs. Fitzgerald’s son,

                You’re funny, your Grace, and thanks for teaching me a new word, CALUMNY.

                Sincerely,
                Dino, aka “the other guy”
                _______________

                Dino, you’re the other guy? Ha that’s awesome. I totally missed that. Yeah, Fritz is definitely good for a few laughs. Have a good night buddy.

                Peter

                • Thanks Peter,
                  I do find most of The Bishops post humorous. You certainly got him worked up with which version of the Old Testament he approves of. Now I am a very cynical person in regard to the fallen human state. BUT. I always give respect to those I first meet, especially priests, and Bishops of our Orthodox faith. I guess with me respect is given, before it is lost.

                  Btw, I like your faith, and spirit in regards to Trump, but it really does not look good. All we can do is vote Trump, and try to encourage others we know to do the same.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Peter Papoutsis had the chance to admit that he lied and calumniated when he said I DENOUNCED THE SEPTUAGINT. Instead he tried unsuccessfully to find something incorrect in my revelation of his lie and calumny! The Septuagint is a translation of an Egyptian copy of the Hebrew language Old Testament Scriptures…a translation, not the original Scriptures. Moses may never have headr a word of Greek! I don’t denounce it, but neither do I afford it anything not specifically afforded it by the Councils, Canons, and Holy Fathers of our Church! Peter treats it (and I hope this is not Greek jingoism) as if it were the Holy Gospels!!!!! One may be redeemed without ever reading any VERSION of the Old Testament, like the “Septuagint!”
                THERE IS NO CANON PRESCRIBING ANY EDITION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
                Further, Peter, this assertion of yours is poppycock: ” your standard must be the Church’s Greek Bible not the KJV.” I’ll stick to KJV. Many have been saved without hearing or reading a word of Greek: ancient, Byzantine, pidgin (“koine”), katharevousa (purist) or demotiki (demotic)!
                I thank the Lord for my Faith and do not hank Greek or Greeks for it, There are, by the way, no Greeks orArabs in Jesus Christ! However, I wish you all joy in your pastime of comparing the Holy Gospel in the various different languages in which we receive it! May the Lord forgive you for repeating a lie after being exposed for telling it!
                PETER! Answer this: in the book of Judges (KJV) CHAPTER 12, VERSE 6, we read, “Then they said unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame it to pronounce it right, Then they took him and slew him at the passages of the Jordan…” How does your Septuagint surpass the KJV in rendering the Hebrew word Shibboleth?

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Edward, Bishop Tikhon you again denounce our canonical bible. Hence no apology is forthcoming. I bid you both peace in your continuing error.

                  Peter

                • Bishop Tikhon, We should all thank the Lord for our faith, and salvation, your Grace. My only point to you was that if the Persians, or in a small way the Nazi’s would have controlled Europe. You, and your family might not have been EXPOSED OR AWARE OF, Christ and his church, if not for Greece’s role in history. Just a little respect, no thanks needed.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I thank the Lord for my Faith and do not [t]hank Greek or Greeks for it,

                  Then you better stop saying the Creed my Good Bishop and that very important Greek word “Homouosios.”

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  BTW, I just obtained this from the Orthodox Church in America website, that the Good Bishop is a part of, and Fr. John Breck says this about English Bible translations and the RSV in particular:
                  _________
                  Fr. John Breck /
                  September 2, 2002
                  BUT WHAT SHALL I READ?

                  A very active and faithful member of our parish came by the other day and we talked for a while. As she left, she asked a familiar and awfully difficult question: “What translation of the Bible should I read?” In reply, I began as I usually do: It’s a shame there’s not an Orthodox English translation….”
                  (why is that? Perhaps it is NOT a translation of the Septuagint? Hmmm?).
                  Although several Orthodox scholars in this country have begun translations of Scripture, there has been little cooperation among those interested, and the project remains a distant hope. Although many of our faithful are qualified to undertake the task, it remains easier and more practical, at least for the moment, to rely on translations by professional teams that have been organized (and funded) especially by the mainline Protestant churches.

                  Here I’m sharing with you what I suggested to her: nothing definitive or even particularly helpful; just a few thoughts that might serve as guidelines in the selection of a translation that we feel comfortable with and can make our own.

                  Multitudes of translations exist, from the venerable King James or Authorized Version of the early 17th century to the Good News Bible of the 20th (which, as I warned my students, is bad news for both Scripture and the English language). There are paraphrases such as the rendering by J.B. Phillips, and literary inventions like the New King James Version (both of which are useful but should be read with other translations). Also useful, but with certain limitations, are the New International Version (the highly popular [and very Protestant—cf., for example, 1 Tim 3:1f; and the “atonement” renderings of hilastêrion in Rom 3:25 and hilasmos in 1 Jn 2:2] NIV) and the Jerusalem Bible (overly dependent on the French original), together with the New (very) English Bible.

                  Those who still appreciate the beauty (and linguistic challenge) of the 1611 Authorized Version may well appreciate the Third Millennium Bible (TMB), although some of its renderings remain archaic rather than merely “classical” (“Holy Ghost,” “thee/ye” and related personal pronouns referring to persons as well as to God, to “draw nigh,” the “strait gate,” etc.), and I find curious its disdain for the Sinaiticus Codex. But these are personal preferences—which guide the choices of most of us in selecting biblical translations.

                  The Orthodox Church in America, to my knowledge, is the only jurisdiction in this country that has issued a formal statement forbidding use of the New Revised Standard Version in liturgical services. This was a difficult call to make, especially since the translation committee did all in its power to persuade some of us that it represents a significant improvement over the Revised Standard Version, or RSV, which most of us had been using since its initial publication half a century ago (2nd NT edition, 1972). I felt sympathy for the bishops’ decision, particularly because of a number of unfortunate renderings that seem theologically motivated. The most egregious is perhaps John 1:14. The Greek can be rendered literally “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father…” (capitalizing to make the point that the context refers unambiguously to God, Father and Son). Use of the term monogenês, as in Jn 3:16-17, makes it perfectly clear that the reference in 1:14 is to the Logos, the “Son of God.” The NRSV, however, translates the verse “we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son….” (with a note offering “the Father’s only Son” as an alternative). This reading even appears in the “Catholic” version of the NRSV, leading one to wonder just what priorities guided the Catholic biblical commission that achieved an imprimatur for “their” version.

                  Enough of that polemic. Let me conclude as I did with our curious parishioner. That is, by recommending the Revised Standard Version as the translation that is closest to the Greek while expressed in good, reasonably literary English. (What? Gasp! The Horror!). This may be hard to find, since in some quarters attempts were made to suppress it in favor of the NRSV. If enough people ask for it, demand it and otherwise insist on its availability, we might nonetheless succeed in getting it back on the shelves of our local bookstores.

                  Every Orthodox Christian is invited, indeed called, to “peruse the Scriptures daily” (look up that word; it doesn’t mean “skim”). This obligation and this privilege is not restricted to tonsured Readers. The written Word of God can provide for all of us nourishment for our souls and light in the darkness of our daily lives, together with knowledge of and communion with God.

                  Despite problems of theology and biblical translation with our Protestant brothers and sisters, we have much to learn from them. I remember very well a dear friend, the late wife of a Swiss Reformed Church pastor, who pored over her Bible for an hour every morning, beginning at 6 a.m. Her life of service and devotion to others testified to its impact on her entire being. I remember as well a German Lutheran professor with whom I studied, telling me, with tears in his eyes, of his experience in a Soviet concentration camp during the Second World War. He and fellow Christian prisoners wrote out from memory long passages from the New Testament and Psalms, using bits of charcoal and scraps of toilet paper. Their very life and sanity depended on remembering, reproducing and constantly re-reading the Word of God.

                  From them, as from the Church Fathers (Hopefully NOT the Greek Church Fathers because the Good Bishop cannot tolerate his faith coming from them!), we can reacquire a love for Scripture and a thirst for the water of life that it offers. Again, we need merely to “take up and read,” with determination, constancy and gratitude to the One who is Himself the very “Word of God.”
                  _________
                  It would seem my Good Bishop that your own jurisdictions relies upon the Septuigaint as the Orthodox Bible that has not been translated as of yet, AND highly praises the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. However, let’s give one more juicy example shall we?
                  _________
                  Bishop’s Pastoral Letter on the New Revised Standard Version

                  I. Synodal Decision: At the 1990 Fall Session of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America convened at the OCA Chancery, Oyster Bay Cove, New York, October 15-18, 1990, His Grace, Bishop Dmitri, presented an oral report on the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV). Based on this report, the Holy Synod decided not to permit the use of the NRSV in liturgical services and in bible study. I’m now communicating this decision to you all in the expectation that you will carry it out, of course, but I also wish to provide you a little “background”, as I understand it, of the decision.

                  II. Background: The “NRSV’ was produced under the auspices of the NCC. One of the participants in its production was a Greek Orthodox scholar, Father Dimitrios Constantelos. Nevertheless, the members of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, upon being acquainted with certain of its key passages and phraseologies, found it to be so divergent from the Holy Scriptures traditionally read aloud in the sacred services of the Church as to render it impossible of acceptance as Holy Scriptures. Here are a few examples of quotations from the NRSV:

                  (Genesis I: 1-2) In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

                  (Psalm I) Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked.

                  (Psalm XXII:16) My hands and feet have shriveled.

                  (Psalm LI:5) Indeed I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.

                  (Romans V:12) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned.

                  (John I:3-4) All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

                  (I Timothy II:5-6) For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all– this was attested at the right time.

                  (I Timothy III: 1-2) The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. Now a bishop must be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher.

                  III. Comment: I’m sure that none of the venerable clergy of the Diocese of the West need be reminded that the word “Orthodox” itself implies a certain care about correct syntactics, semantics and pragmatics, the correct use of language, and therefore any member of the clergy might be justified in questioning the necessity of Synodal action in an area where all clergy would come to the same conclusion as have the right revered bishops. Here, frankly, the media come into the picture, as it were; to wit, the “New York Times,” which carried an article on the “dedication” of the NRSV in Manhattan. This article made it very easy to infer, from its text alone, that the NRSV had been accepted by the Orthodox in general and the OCA in particular, an inference made even more probable by the accompanying photo of one of our Protodeacons carrying the NRSV aloft in solemn procession at the dedication. I do not myself subscribe to or regularly read that paper, but the article was brought to my attention by some phone calls from around the area of the Diocese of the West. Moreover, I believe the OCA Chancery received a very large number of calls from persons who expressed surprise at our “adoption” of a patently questionable version of a Bible. However, the New York Times article did occasion the bringing to the attention of the Holy Synod of already existing criticism of the NRSV by Orthodox scholars. You may recall that I also mentioned the problems of the NRSV during a plenary session of our Diocesan Assembly.

                  The prohibition of the use of the NRSV for bible study refers to Orthodox bible study, an activity where the Holy Truths of our Faith as they are revealed in the Holy Scriptures are studied by the Faithful with the guidance of a teacher ordained to the task. So-called critical studies, where various bibles may be subjected to objective examination and scholarly evaluations are, of course, not included in the Synod’s prohibition. Indeed, I will be studying this NRSV myself, and comparing it with our Orthodox Septuagint and our Orthodox Gospel Books in Greek and Slavonic and our Orthodox Books of Apostolic Readings (“Apostols”) in Greek and Slavonic.

                  This matter in general heightens my sense of urgency about our lack of Orthodox Holy Scriptures in English. Scripture used and quoted by the Apostles was the Greek Septuagint, and it was from the Greek Septuagint that the Old Testamental texts used in the other Holy Orthodox Churches have been translated. The Old Testament texts in all the English Bibles in use today, including the venerable King James version, are based primarily on Hebrew texts which are frequently less ancient than existing Greek texts. The New Testament, i.e. the Gospel Scriptures and the Scriptures of Apostolic origin read aloud in our Churches, were written in Greek. I ask you all to pray that our Department of Worship, of which I am Moderator, will be able to take productive steps toward providing canonical texts in English for all the readings in the sacred services of our Church. In the meantime, I encourage the use of the King James Version and the New King James Version, acknowledging that neither of these versions is fully accurate and free of mistakes, hence, completely acceptable. I am fully aware that the RSV, which will now be going out of print, is widely used, especially among those trained as clergy after its appearance. When we were trained we learned how to approach the RSV’s divergences from our Tradition. Now it seems that that version was only the first step down a road which has, now, stopped at the NRSV, but which may continue in the direction of producing versions which do not reproduce so much the original texts as they reproduce the current theological opinings of their sponsors and publishers. I would like to assure the very many qualified scholars, biblical and otherwise, of our Diocese of the West that I make no pretensions at all to being a critical scholar or to having scholarly credentials in the area of biblical criticism, but I am speaking as I am sure are all my brother bishops, as one charged preeminently with responsibility before God both for Orthodox bible study in the first sense, above, and for insuring the purity of the Gospel proclaimed in our Churches.

                  I ask for your continued prayers and support (which I feel almost physically, at times) in all our common work. I assure you of my own appreciation of all your work, of my constancy in prayer for you all individually, and I send you as much of a fatherly blessing as I am capable of as a bishop.

                  In Christ,
                  Bishop Tikhon

                  [His Grace Bishop Tikhon is the ruling hierarch of the Diocese of the West of the Orthodox Church in America. This article was originally published in The Orthodox West, Winter 1990 issue.]
                  _________

                  Wow! This is from the Good Bishop himself. I was actually echoing HIS WORDS in this statement that he issued back in 1990, but NOW he states: “I don’t denounce it (i.e. Septuagint”), but neither do I afford it anything not specifically afforded it by the Councils, Canons, and Holy Fathers of our Church!

                  Well my Good Bishop that is NOT what you said back in 1990 in the above statement, you know back when you were error free. Back then you stated, as I highlighted above:”his matter in general heightens my sense of urgency about our lack of Orthodox Holy Scriptures in English. Scripture used and quoted by the Apostles was the Greek Septuagint, and it was from the Greek Septuagint that the Old Testamental texts used in the other Holy Orthodox Churches have been translated. The Old Testament texts in all the English Bibles in use today, including the venerable King James version, are based primarily on Hebrew texts which are frequently less ancient than existing Greek texts. The New Testament, i.e. the Gospel Scriptures and the Scriptures of Apostolic origin read aloud in our Churches, were written in Greek.”

                  Well that seems pretty important when it comes to the Septuagint, and the Good Bishop was right. But he also took a swipe at the KJV and I agreed with him on it. and YET he NOW signs a different tune? The Good Bishop also stated that he and his clergy Were trained on how to approach the RSV’s divergences from our Tradition.” What is OUR tradition? The Septuagint? Yes sir, otherwise, what are you adjusting so-called divergences from our tradition?

                  Well boys and girls I did my part to correct the Good Bishop’s error and to keep his feet to the fire. I’m done. I’ll stick to what the Good Bishop said back in 1990 as that’s good ‘ol Orthodox “testifying” and ignore what he is saying now in his Anti-Greek diatribe.

                  Bye.

                  Peter

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    PETER! Answer this: in the book of Judges (KJV) CHAPTER 12, VERSE 6, we read, “Then they said unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame it to pronounce it right, Then they took him and slew him at the passages of the Jordan…” How does your Septuagint surpass the KJV in rendering the Hebrew word Shibboleth?

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Bait and switch! Not answering what I wrote, but engaging in his typical tactic of bait and switch. Love it! Your credibility is gone. Bye.

              • The canonical Septuagint is that version present in our liturgical texts.

                I would agree with that, Peter. The problem is this body of text represents only a small fraction of the text of the OT.

                The text-type of the NT is well -attested to. The LXX in its entirety? Not so much, since the liturgical use that guaranteed a large number of manuscripts is limited.

                We in the West have to be particularly careful, since the most common edition of the LXX in use is that of Rahlfs. The 4 (as I recall) uncial MSS on which he bases his edition are notoriously unreliable in the NT, frequently deviating from the Byzantine text, so I am hesitant to trust them too much in the OT. I would note that the “Orthodox Study Bible” used the Rahlfs edition, not any edition passed down within the Greek or Russian churches. And Brenton — long the most common LXX used in the English speaking world — was based primarily on one uncial only, as I recall. The exception for Brenton is the “deuterocanonical” books, where he simply reproduces these from the KJV. I don’t know a lot about the MSS of the LXX used by the KJV translators, but given the time period, they are likely representative of what was in use in Byzantium. (And hence the KJV is probably more reliable than the Orthodox Study Bible in those particular books.)

                It could be that the Greeks and Russians have this all figured out, but their editions are not readily available to us. And we must admit that the OT simply hasn’t been a big priority in the Orthodox world.

                Finally, one must be careful about writing off the Hebrew OT, since the Vulgate (outside of the Psalms) was translated from Hebrew (granted, these were older Hebrew MSS than the current Masoretic texts) and was the canonical text of the Western Orthodox Church for hundreds of years — used by countless Western saints. It is simply not true, therfore, to claim am exclusive place for the Greek LXX in the ancient and undivided catholic Church.

                And I think that while striving to identify those texts that have been attested to by long use in the Church is very important (hence my disdain for the RSV, etc), our Orthodox textual traditions do contain some variant readings — we need not to be overly dogmatic.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  One point of contention. ALL out Greek Biblical text are available on line via Amazon. Com and the Apostoliki Diakonia websites. They are all there and can be easily attained as I have them biblical and liturgical books in which I used to study our version of the LXX and the Greek New Testament.

                  I still stand by what I said use the KJV and RSV, but always correct it according to the Canonical Greek Bible.

                  Peter

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              I think Misha was mistaken when he claimed to be “fed up!” On the contrary, he continues to eat as if his stomach were empty!

        • Cynthia mae Curran says

          Also, Stalin purged his generals and is probably one reason why Russian suffered from the Germans in the first place. Two, I agree with Bishop Tikon that few of us know about how the Greeks suffered as well. I found out about this around 2004 with the Olympics that year that had a history of Greece.

      • Quite the contrary, George. People who prey on minors often engage in behavior that seems risky. They get off on the additional thrill, and they know that most people make the erroneous assumption that you have.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I don’t mean to question your bona fides in this matter, Miss Sakoda, but let’s assume that your observation is more correct than mine. Why then are people flabbergasted when they found out that Bob X is a child molester, why they “never saw it coming”? I can think of instances in my life in which it was revealed that such-and-such was a paedophile.

          Case in point: I’ll never forget when Rock Hudson was diagnosed with AIDS back in the early 1980s. My parents, myself, and many others who we were close to were absolutely shocked to find out that he was a homosexual. I was still a young man but my parents and their coevals were by no means naifs. Everything about Hudson’s demeanor screamed alpha male. (I realize this point is about homosexuals as opposed to pederasts but the idea of befuddlement among the non-cognoscenti remains the same.)

          In my estimation, people who are paedophiles (and this includes women) tend to have a “creepiness” factor that is at least a little bit obvious. I mean just Google NAMBLA and see photos of the men. They’res definitely something “off” about them that makes normal people want to avoid them.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Miss Sakoda, sorry for the sloppiness of my response. I took the time to re-read your response and realize that I got somethings wrong.

            Permit me to expound a little further: in my (blessedly minimal) experience paedophiles tend to exude an “ick” factor that ordinary people can pick up on. When I was in Jr High, there was a math teacher who was old and very beta-male. Round shoulders, slightly hunched, somewhat effeminate locution, you get the picture. Rumors of his homosexuality abounded but he had a wife and family, grandchildren, the works. There was no real proof one way or the other. Still, he always seemed to find the time to visit Coach X and Coach Y in their office right after showers as we were filing to our lockers to get dressed. Coach’s office had a large window which had a grill over it so he could keep and eye on us, to make sure that things didn’t get out of hand. (This was right after desegregation and we had two coaches, one white, one black in order to try and be fair when meting out punishment.) He somehow always managed to maneuver his way so that his back was to the wall so he could gaze at us while he talked to them.

            Long story short: I actually met a friend of a friend who told us that he was asked to stay after school and Mr Z brazenly fondled him. Nobody was surprised.

            Another case in point: we had a multi-year Jr High reunion about 10 years ago and the girls told us how their coaches (who were quite butch) made them line up and they would inspect them before they were allowed to put on their clothes. The girls then thought that this was normal and nobody told their parents. I was astounded.

            Bottom line: Vladimir Putin doesn’t strike me as a weirdo. These female coaches as well as the aforementioned Mr Z were on different axes of the sexual bell curve if you catch my drift.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              There you go, George. That was easy!
              THIS IS WHAT YOU WROTE and Mrs Sakoda demolished :
              “Your Grace, even you should know that pederasts never act on their proclivities in such a public fashion.”

        • M. Stankovich says

          And I could point you to CA’s “Megan’s List,” which is an internet database of all CA sex offenders (including photos), which is a children’s garden of nightmares; creep and “scaries,” wall to wall. And I can tell you about walking on to AdSeg Units (segregation), where you have to get all geared up with protective vests and such because it’s the haunts of the gangstas and child sexual predators whose shelf life on the mainline is short as soon as someone finds out their controlling case. No sex offender – and I mean no sex offender – is tough enough to stand up to prison gangs (and no prison gangs will have them under any circumstance). 23 put of 24 hours a day, every day, for their entire sentence is in a cell by themselves, being yelled at whenever they move to shower, alone; exercise in a dog pen (which frequently in inside) , alone; do everything, alone. Nevertheless, for as many times as I’ve met, interviewed, and conducted formal assessments of sex offenders in general (meaning forensic patients such as rapists & sexual torturers, but also those with non-criminal sexual fetishes and paraphilias that disturb their lives) , and child sexual predators in specific (more than 500), I would have a very difficult time identifying “common characteristics” of these individuals – oddities or peculiarities specifically attributable – that would be helpful in developing a “profile” useful for prevention. And that is the danger of looking for “weirdos” who act like known criminals, or making suspicious the actions of odd people in general. My city lives with the shame of transferring all such accumulated fears onto a single man and nearly destroyed his life.

          As to Ms. Sakoda’s point that child sexual predators “often engage in behavior that seems risky,” she offers no citations or evidence to support this claim, and it is absolutely contrary to my experience with these individuals and what is presented in the literature. They are known to be exceptionally suspicious and paranoid – I had once considered joining a study examining those that that so distrusted the legal system in appointing them adequate and confidential legal assistance that they resort to representing themselves; and they are well known to refuse treatment because of the legal mandate imposed upon clinicians to report child abuse, which inevitably would be revealed in the course of treatment – and gaining their confidence, even among fellow pedophiles is an extraordinary process. For example, the stories I have been told as to the lengths pedophiles go to first gather, catalog, maintain and “memorialize” their collection of child pornography is at once gravely pathological in its obsession, but extraordinarily fascinating to observe: hidden stashes in secret places, ready after jail terms to be picked up again like hidden treasures. Likewise, the amount of time, care, and planning invested in “grooming” victims is astonishingly obsessive, hardly casual, and hardly “risk-taking.” And while it may well be thrill-seeking, it is the antipathy of risk-taking. If Ms. Sakoda has literature to support her claim, I would like to see it.

          • Isn’t there one single common trait with some correlation? That is, prior abuse?

            And to their credit, this would be one place where her group is working to reduce abuse?

            It would be nice if they didn’t go too far sometimes and here again, perhaps we see that pattern of going too far.

            All the best.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Mme Sakoda was correct when she corrected George thus: “People who prey on minors often engage in behavior that seems risky.” She only ventured into subjective (and odd) speculation when she opined, “They get off on the additional thrill.” That is a purely subjective hypothesis/imputation about what may be not so much a choice as a compulsion.

    • “Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those they have slain”
      -Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        So…..they love their martyrs unless the martyrs are prophets? Dostoevsky should have given that sentence more thought!
        “those they have slain” or those that others have slain?

        • Bishop Tikhon, good point your grace, perhaps something is lost in translation, my take is that those in power reject the truth from true prophets/leaders, but after they murder them, the dead who can no longer speak, have their words or actions twisted to benefit those in power.

    • Estonian Slovak says

      It was Hitler’s pact with Stalin that made the war possible. The Poles were the first victims. As a side note, the Poles did not have a great track record of treating their Orthodox minorities and a year before the war, they benefited from Hitler’s carving up of Czechoslovakia, something no Czech has forgotten .
      I would say more Russians suffered from Communism than any other people on earth with the exception of the Chinese. Stalin was Hitler’s enabler.
      Greece suffered from the Nazis and then parts of the country from the Communists after the war. The Hitler-Stalin pact caused suffering for millions, yet Soviet atrocities began long before Hitler even attained power and even before Stalin was in charge and continued after his death.
      I have spoken to Russians, yes real Russians, not Ukrainian Uniates , who have told me that Solzhenitsyn’ s accounts of the atrocities, if anything ,were understated.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Estonian Slovak! Would “unreal” Russians {your idea) not have agreed?

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Well, actually, Your Grace, there are those who still glorify Stalin, including Orthodox Russians who devoutly go to church and venerate the New Martyrs, including Tsar Martyr Nicholas and his family. Some here have suggested that only Ukrainian Uniates and fascists have any complaints about the Soviets. Hence, the qualifier.

          • To the extent that Russians glorify Stalin, we do so for two reasons 1. We see him as the hard, cold Georgian who was fierce enough to defeat Hitler, therefore, an honorary Russian in some respect. 2. A loaf of bread had the same price for over 25 years. Reread that sentence again and again. Let it sink in. He imposed a sort of “stability”.

            We, being fierce people, respect such a man. We do not idolize him. The icons of Stalin are really of St. Mother Matrona who persuaded Stalin to enlist the Church in the fight against Hitler, thus liberating the Church from the worst of the persecutions.

            Stalin was an evil monster, but one that was to some extent harnessed by God to defeat another evil monster. It is not so much appreciated outside of certain circles, but Hitler thought that Slavs were subhuman as well. He thought us only fit for slave labor. He envisioned a lake where Moscow stands now. Get the picture? Think about Ukraine today.

            BTW, everybody’s hero, Khrushchev, reinstated the persecutions. During his rule the number of churches sunk to an all time low of about 500 functioning. It wasn’t exactly Albania, where all religious expression and ministers of every variety had been removed from society, but it was pretty awful

            Totalitarian socialism is evil. Progressive Liberalism is but a temporary, softer form of totalitarian socialism.

            • MISHA, You glorify and honor Stalin! Tell that to your judge, on the day of your judgement. Don’t forgot to tell our Lord, the cost of bread, while the faces of at least 50 million tortured, and murdered, men, woman, and children stare at you! Let that sink into your soul, and ask those 50 million, did they feel stable under Stalin!?

              I understand that it is easy for you, or me to state 50 million dead here, or 75 million dead there, easy words, but should it? Each one of those souls were one’s mother, father, child, husband, wife, relative, and friend. Children of God murdered, and or tortured by Stalin, either before OR after the war do not believe Stalin was “HARNESSED BY GOD” IN ANY EXTENT! Such evil is only produced by The Evil One, PERIOD!

              If you need a visual Misha, imagine your father removed from your family when your just old enough to begin to look up to, and love. Imagine your mother crying every night wondering whether her husband, brother, and father are still alive. Now imagine your mother, young virgin sister raped in front of your eyes by Stalin’s goons, simply because they can. Now imagine yourself as a teenager forced to wear this Devil’s uniform, and fight, and die, with either a Nazi bullet in your chest, or a Soviet bullet in your back, so people like you can say he was a honorary or stable man to be respected in anyway.

              Now ask yourself what did Stalin save Russia from, and was it worth the death of 100 million of your mothers, fathers, and children, for a loaf of cheap bread!
              Your soul may lie in the balance, with you answer, my Russian Christian Brother. Lord have Mercy on us, and Memory Eternal upon Stalin’s victims!

              • MISHA PROCLAIMS:”The icons of Stalin are really of Saint Mother Matrona, who persuaded Stalin to enlist the church in the fight against Hitler”…..WOW!?MISHA!?Stalin and the Saint Mother Matrona worked together to defeat Germany. I hope this is just more your own personal gibberish, and not the view by most Russians. Saints working side by side with Satan, perhaps you, and some Russians need to slow down on the vodka!

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  “Misha”, who looks at Stalin and sees Saint Matrona should let us know what Russians see when they behold these new big memorials to FELIX DZERZHINSKY and LAVRENTY BERIA!

                • It’s a commonly known story among Russians. Up until after Hitler attacked, Stalin was quite severe toward the Church. In fact, Soviet citizens were surrendering to German troops in the expectation that they would receive better treatment from the Nazi government as Christians than from Stalin.

                  Somehow, Stalin was persuaded to enlist the support of the Church against the Germans and allow the Church room to operate in Soviet society. That is the reality behind the Mother Matrona story and the controversial icon. The thaw regarding the Church lasted until Khrushchev took over and renewed the persecution.

                  This was the period (1946) when the idiots in the Metropolia decided that they could do business with the Soviets, broke once again away from the ROCOR (whom they had rejoined in 1935 after the death of Met. Platon) and petitioned the Soviet Church for autonomy. Moscow refused and thus once again the Metropolia was left a creature unto itself.

                  • MISHA AGAIN! What did Stalin or with all respect to Saint Mother Matrona, memory eternal, save Russia from if they are still left with Stalin, and Communism! If a Saint has one thing it is wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit. Can’t see her working with the Devil. My opinion Russia would have been better off under Hitler,and Stalin executed, with the hope of a new Russia rising from the ashes of a victorious allied victory, and a second revolution for Christian Russians without the grip of Communism at their churches throat.

                    Yes I know Hitler would be hard on the Russian people, but no worse than Stalin’s treatment of his own. Yes the War would have lasted longer, but sooner or later the Germans would surrender to the allies. The 24/7 bombing alone on Germany, and with Russia resisting from the eastern edges, would be enough. Not to even mention the D-Day invasion of Europe, from the west.

                    • Dino,

                      If that is your opinion, that you have nothing of value to share with us regarding Russia, for certain. Hitler hated Slavs and considered us untermenschen, good for nothing but slave labor. Moscow was to be the site of a huge man-made lake.

                      Stalin and Communism are dead. Neither the Russian Federation nor the People’s Republic of China practice communism anymore. Russia has a state guided capitalism, private ownership is ubiquitous. Putin merely made sure that the oligarchs were subject to the government and the national interest. This so upset the international corporate and banking crowd that they became hell bent on regime change – – perish the thought that something like the local interests of the people of a particular nation should get in the way of MNC profits and Western ideological domination!

                      Communism = socialist (non-private) economics + militant atheism with the state as the only god (totalitarianism). Russia simply does not qualify at all anymore. It is certainly not a Western democracy (Glory to God!). Ours is a evil system.

                      Russia is the mirror image opposite of a “constitutional monarchy”, the reverse of Britain, for example. In Britain, the parliament rules de facto but there is a monarch who rules de jure and who holds a veto of sorts over laws (almost never exercised) and who must approve any new government that takes office.

                      Just the opposite in Russia. The RF is ruled by a monarch de facto (the President) but de jure there is a parliament (the Duma) which theoretically has power over the executive.

                      That is why the name that Russia has given its own political system is not “Western-style democracy” but “sovereign democracy”. “Sovereign” meaning “monarchial” and “democracy” referring to the superficial constitutional parliamentary system that advises and administers to a limited extent.

                      Whether you like it or dislike it, who really cares? Certainly not the Russian people. But it is much more like the system to which the Bolsheviks rose in opposition (Imperial Russia) than that operated by the Bolsheviks (the communist Soviet Union) – which is why it receives praise and accolades from people like me who are unreconstructed White Monarchist types.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Misha, my only problem with that is that we would be engaging in hypotheticals here. While it is true that Hitler regarded Slavs as untermenschen, it is wrong to retcon history once it unfolds a certain way. We’re talking about a series of accidents. In other words it’s wrong to assume that what one actor did was the direct result of that actor’s supposed intentions based on things he said or wrote sometime earlier.

                      I realize that this puts me in the strange and unenviable place of defending Hitler pre-1940 but people forget that his racial theories were just that –theories. They were not intended to extol genocide. For example, the Third Reich had an active program of collaboration with the Zionist regime in Palestine. Another example, Hitler was very friendly to Jesse Owens (contrary to popular believe), the black American who was the hero of the 1936 Olympics. Yes, Hitler’s racial views were odious by our standards but they were unexceptional to most everyone else in his day. (Lincoln for example felt that blacks would forever be second-class citizens.) What was preached by Hitler and the earlier Progressives (Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, etc.) was racial segregation along civilizational and geographic lines.

                      I’m further skeptical of any ideas that Hitler had an intention of exterminating the Slavs. How could he do so? We’re talking about a population of some 300,000,000. The actual extermination of the Jews in Poland, Belaruss and Ukraine taxed his Einsatzgrupppen‘s abilities. And remember, the majority of the killing was done by the native (Slavic) population of these conquered areas. Why would he try to exterminate those very soldiers who were assisting him in murdering the local Jewish population?

                      His writings and speeches suggest instead a push-back so that all those Eastern European areas that had significant German populations would become Judenrein and mostly emptied of the native Slavic populations. To my knowledge, the Germania of his imagination would extend all the way to Eastern Ukraine. I imagine his reliance on the local Slavic auxiliaries would have softened any pre-conceived notions he may have had about what to do with the Slavs should he have won the war.

                      In the end, Dino may be right: Yes, Stalin defeated Hitler but at what cost? Yes, the Church was largely emancipated under him but after his death, Bolshevik hatred of the Church returned under Krushchev. At best, it was a reprieve.

                      Still, this is all hypothetical

                    • George,

                      Hitler intended to make slaves of the Slavic people, not completely exterminate them, though he killed many. To be a “sub-human” slave under Germany is a bit different than even being a slave in the Old South. The Germans were not concerned about sustaining the population of Slavs. Thus working them to death would be just fine, though not an actual strategy as it was used in the concentration camps. What I mean is, the meager protection that a slave would enjoy because of the productive value he had being alive and relatively healthy would not apply to German untermenschen slaves, the population being large enough not to be concerned with mortality. This came as a rude awakening to some Soviets who surrendered to the Germans as possibly being more tolerant of religion than the Bolsheviks.

                      Regardless of what else happened, Stalin did let up on the Church considerably due to the practical necessity of the war effort. Most everyone prefers to be ruled by their own people, however badly, than by foreigners. And the glories sought after by the German Reich were to be gained at the expense of the Slavs, not shared.

                      Now, if you are asking me whether the United States fought wisely during WWII, that is a different question. Should we have sided with Germany against the Bolsheviks in exchange for peace in the West?

                      That is a difficult question to answer because it depends on where your loyalties lie:

                      As an American I would say that if we had a hand in administering the defeated Soviet Union, so as not to make a bad situation worse, the answer might be yes. But that assumes you could share power in the region with Hitler, which I seriously doubt.

                      As a Russian, I would say that while anything that helped to defeat the Bolsheviks was presumably good (and that was the bet that some in ROCOR made at the time), not every enemy (Hitler) of your enemy (Stalin and the Bolsheviks) is your friend, or even your ally.

                      Sometimes the world is just filled with demons and better the devil you know.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Misha, I see your point. However, even in this case, the supposed wont of Hitler to “enslave” the Slavic peoples seems in retrospect to be Victors’ Hysteria –i.e. reading back into historical events ideas that would justify the bloodletting that it took to defeat the enemy. (That’s my locution btw.)

                      While I agree that Hitler’s racial theories comprised of contempt for the non-Nordic races, the idea that these same races could be –or should be–permanently subjected to eternal servitude doesn’t pass the smell test (for me at least).

                      For one thing, how impossible would it have been for 100,000 Northern Europeans to subjugate 300,000,000 Slavs? Second, it became obvious pretty quick that several million Slavs were necessary (and willing) participants in the Nazi war effort. Like the Einsatzgruppen that rounded up the Jews of Eastern Europe and manned the concentration camps. Indeed, throughout Nazi-occupied Europe, the Germans relied on Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Galicians, etc. to do their dirty work.

                      Racial theories aside, the core idea of the Third Reich was that the German lands of Eastern and Central Europe should be united into a single polity and that millions of square miles to the East should be reallocated to the burgeoning German Volk, i.e. Lebensraum (or “living space”). This of course would have necessitated the massacre and/or relocation of several hundred thousand Slavs along with the subjugation of the remnant that remained. While that’s not a good thing, it’s a far cry from either complete genocide or complete and eternal subjugation.

                      Of course I could be wrong but the exigencies of war being what they are, it just seems to me that whatever ideals Hitler espoused would not live to see the light of day once they came into contact with the realities on the ground.

                      That doesn’t mean that I excuse Hitler or Nazism. I don’t. I’m glad Stalin won but in the battle between Sauron and Saruman, evil still wins.

                    • Misha,
                      I have no issues with Russia today, so why even go there. I have asked you three times what is the difference whether you are murdered by Hitler or Stalin?

                      Thank you, and yes George my question is hypothetical. My opinion is that Misha has too much pride and love of Mother Russia to answer my question. Think of a mother who in a court of law, will defend her child abusing, mass murdering son to her death, simply because he is her son. I love Greece the country that my parents came from, but I will be the first to state it’s evils.

                      Again, Hypothetically Misha, to my question would not Russia been better off to at least been given the opportunity to leave Stalin and the Communist party back in 1940’s. With Stalin and later Hitler dead, a second revolution like Greece’s civil war, might have not only change Russia’s history, but think of the growth of the Russian Orthodox Church without any Communist influence to govern it.

                      I’m sorry if my opinion offends you to the point of having no value to you or Russians who agree with you, because that was not my intent. Giving me a modern history lesson has nothing to do with my point. This is not a court of law or formal debate, which no doubt you would win. My assumption was that this was a conversation between two Orthodox Christian brothers, for the betterment of the not only Russia and the Orthodox Church of the past, but all humanity, regardless of their country of origin. Think what a great influence The Russian Orthodox Church would have had in this world, in the last 75 years, without Stalin and Communism!

                    • There were Russians at the time who felt the same way Dino and crossed over to fight with the Nazi forces.

                      However, I rather doubt that Hitler would have been easier on the Church given what he did in Germany and western Europe.

                      Without Russia spending it’s blood against the NAZI’s there is a body of opinion that suggests the Allies may not have gotten the victory we did and a negotiated settlement arrived at.

                      Churchill and Roosevelt rather cynically allowed the bleeding of Russia to go on longer than it could have, hoping to weaken a post war Russia and after all, they were Slavs and clearly not as advanced as the English and her American cousins.

                      The racial theories of fascism were widely held at the time and eugenic societies were popular. There was even a bureau of eugenics in the US government in the 20’s and 30’s that my grandmother and great-aunt worked for.

                      There has long been a fascist streak in the US. It will flower once again under Hillary.

                    • Misha. Or whom ever else is reading this post. Actually my question was not by whom would you prefer to be murdered by, Hitler or Stalin. My thrice unanswered question was , is, still: What did Stalin save Russia from?

                    • I think you all have me confused with Michael Warren. I am no defender of Stalin or communism. What I have sought to convey is the Russian nostalgia for Stalin as a “stable leader” and as the victor of the “Great Patriotic War”.

                      Stalin did save Russia from Hitler, who never managed to occupy Moscow. That is enough for most Russians who see Hitler as more evil than Stalin. You may reject that categorization but it is common among Russians.

                      Russians look at it that way because of the way Hitler attacked Russia with a full military assault, because of his racial theories and the plans that he had for occupied territories. That some Slavs helped him to carry out his plans against their fellow Slavs does not change that estimation of the relative evil of the two . . . forces . . . shall we say.

                      The psychology goes something like this:

                      Yes, Papa Joe was a psychopathic, paranoid mass murderer. But given Hitler and historical German proclivities, better to have Stalin inside the tent p*ssing out than outside the tent p*ssing in.

                      It is not commonly appreciated what Stalin accomplished with all the unconscionably evil murder and persecution. But it would be a lie to say that no good came out of it. It would also be a lie to say that in the end it was worth it; i.e., that the end justifies the means.

                      Stalin did largely win WWII. He did it by reflecting his name which is a derivative of the Russian word for “steel”. His real name was the Georgian “Dzhugashvili”. Many early Soviets took noms de guerre. Don’t get me wrong. He was no military genius and his purges of the military at the end of the Great Purge came close to costing him the war.

                      Nonetheless, Russian troops and generals were more afraid of him, and the forces he placed behind them, than they were of the enemy. Retreat and/or failure were certain death, or worse. At least you had a chance by advancing fearlessly, daring death to claim you. That type of leadership was almost unknown in the West. it would not have been tolerated. It did come out in Vietnam when South Korean officers were sometimes placed over South Vietnamese forces. I have heard first hand accounts of SK officers pointing guns at the heads of SV troops and telling them to get off the chopper and fight or they would be executed and dumped off the chopper. I assume that occasionally they had to make object lessons.

                      That is war. It’s not about who’s right; it’s about who’s left.

                      It is also not often appreciated that the US did little in the European theater until after the Soviets had already regained all territory taken by the Reich and were advancing (as of about Jan. 1944) into territory that Germany had controlled before its attack.

                      All of that being said, and the fact that a person could live in peacetime Moscow under Stalin, so long as he was loyal, and enjoy a fairly pleasant existence devoid of job insecurity or inflation – all of that is only part of the picture with Stalin. The other part is the more remarkable.

                      Stalin industrialized a country where most people did not own a watch in about a generation.

                      He did so because he knew that the Soviet Union would be conquered by one Western Power or another if he did not. That was really the point of the 5-year plans, many of which were unsuccessful but which, nonetheless, accomplished the overall objective.

                      Now, he was an evil, bloody psychopath. But history is not so nice and symmetrical as to allow us to posit the rigid categories that some in the West would use to describe people and events.

                      Papa Joe was an abusive father. But he was tough as hell too. Sometimes that is what it takes.

                      And Russians simply have to admire that.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Misha, another reason for the Russian nostalgia for Stalin is that before his reign, Jews were over-represnted within the Communist Party hierarchy. Particularly so in the Cheka and other security services. During –and as a result–of his purges, the Jewish element was decisively reduced. Rumors of course abounded that just before his death he was going to undertake a massive pogrom against the majority of the Jewish population.

                      History is full of ironies however, in that two of his wives were Jewish. This of course makes all of his grandchildren Jewish by dint of halacha.

                    • Yes, George,

                      Zionism was a rising force during Stalin’s reign and, of course, he vied with and overcame Trotsky (fka Lev Davidovich Bronshtein).

                      Interestingly, Trotsky was from the Ukraine and his native language was Surzhik. One gets an idea of the difficulty in saying who is Russian and who is Ukrainian based on language/ethnicity/culture as opposed to politics by reading about this pidgin language.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surzhyk

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      George refers to Stalin’s ethnic cleansing of Jews:
                      “During –and as a result–of his purges, the Jewish element was decisively reduced. Rumors of course abounded that just before his death he was going to undertake a massive pogrom against the majority of the Jewish population.”
                      In this, he follows the example of the father of the last Romanov-Holstein-Gottorp, Tsar (St.) Nicholas II, namely, Alexander III. By 1897 the census showed that “pure” Russians were only 44 per cent of the entire empire! So he commanded that only Russian be taught in the Polish, Georgian, and Armenians schools, and in 1891 he commanded the police expel all Jews from Moscow. So Grand Duke Sergei closed the Great Synagogue, sent Cossacks to raid all Jewish homes, and only allowed Jewish women to remain if they were REGISTERED (Holy Russia!) as prostitutes. (That Grand Duke Sergei, a homosexual, married St Elizaveta Fyodorovna!) That blind anti-Jewish fanaticism of the Romanovs caused the Jews to emigrate to America at the rate of 125,000 per year! Putin’s moves to make his empire more Russian have not been quite so bloody—he’s not able, like a Romanov, to force Russian on the Ukrainians, etc., and Stalin had already massacred the “zionists” who wouldn’t move to Palestine(!).

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Your Grace, that’s a facile assessment. It isn’t true that Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich (or the Romanovs in general) were anti-Semitic. They were instead –after the assassination of Tsar Aleksandr II–very much anti-terrorist. It just so happened that in many of the proto-communist organizations and terror cells, Jews were heavily represented.

                      As for the “persecution” of the Jews of the Pale of Settlement, Tsar Aleksandr II had revoked many of the monopolies that Jewish businesses had long enjoyed going all the way back to Catherine II. Particularly monopolies in distilleries and tavern-ownership. The reason was not because of anti-Semitism but an effort to better integrate the Empire’s Jews into Russian society. For many Jews, losing this monopoly resulted in significant economic reversal and it was after this decree that we see a massive immigration to the United States and Great Britain (much to the consternation of the Sephardim who were long-established in those countries). It was during this time that we also see the rise of Zionism.

                      Indeed, during this time, a quota system was in place which allowed Jews to attend Russian universities based on their overall share of the population in any given city or oblast.

                  • Misha States. “It’s not commonly appreciated what Stalin accomplished with all the unconscionably evil murder and persecution. But it would be a lie to say that no good came out of it. It would also be a lie that in the end it was not worth it; i.e. , the ends justify the means.” This is followed by a history lesson which simply states he kept his people feed, no more, no less, and western powers were held at bay. Yet any western power would be better than Stalin and Communism. Stalin is responsible for the deaths of about 100 million souls, ONE HUNDRED MILLION! But the ones he thought worthy got a loaf of bread. WOO HOO,Stalin should be honored says Misha. NOT!

                    Misha is quick to criticize our Government, and there is a lot to criticize,
                    but yet ONE HUNDRED MILLION DEATHS ARE JUSTIFIED BY MISHA. Half of those killed had nothing to do with the war effort. Stalin also made slaves of his own ,my grandfather was one of them, yet he is offended that Hitler would enslave the Slavs. Slavery and murder are ok, so long as your own boy ,enslaves and murders you. Yet my opinions have no value,so says Misha. I will not call Misha a fascist, but his opinions sound fascistic to me. My opinions are not always of any value, but, I VALUE THE IMAGE OF GOD. ONE HUNDRED MILLION MISHA!

                    I will not argue the Soviets great role WW2. But the ends do not justify the means. His mindless, and sloppy strategies killed twice as many Soviets as needed to defeat the Nazis on his soil in brutal winter weather. Not to mention empowering Hitler with their pact before the war, and not preparing his country for the coming invasion. Do not discount the U.S. role in its massive supply of tanks and other weapons of war, to the Soviets, that had a large impact upon theEastern front. But that is not the point. The point is their is no honor in Stalin to honor.

                    • 100 million is the total of all communist caused deaths in the 20th century, not Stalin’s bill. Try to stay plausible. At its very height, the Soviet Union only had 320 million people.

                      Stalin was responsible for the death of several millions, no doubt. Probably through general police state intrigue, the Holodymor in the Ukraine, the Purges, etc. I studied and wrote on the gulag while getting a second BA in Russian Studies. No doubt he was an evil sob.

                      Honor and respect are two different things. I respect a komodo dragon for what it can do. It’s bite contains deadly toxic bacteria and its tail can break a leg. I do not honor it, but I do respect it. In a sense, I might even be said to admire its prowess or efficiency at “making an omelette”. That’s not a moral assessment though, merely a tactical one.

                      Mother St. Matrona merely harnessed an evil dragon toward the purpose of defending Russia from the Germans. If I believed that the heart of the beast had changed, I would applaud the Metropolia/OCA for attempting to reconcile with Moscow after the war in exchange for autonomy.

                      Of course, I do not. It was foolish and naive.

                    • Misha. Yes. I stand corrected. Communism killed 100 million. Yet Stalin is most likely responsible for at least one third to half. Thirty to fifty million dead, kick starting WW2 with Hitler, enslaving and torturing millions deserves neither honor or respect. Any economy will work with slave labor. I believe we have come full circle, so perhaps there is not much more to say Misha.

                      But I do pity you Misha, your heart is so hard, especially as an Orthodox Christian. I tried to change your mind a bit with some hypotheticals, such as The Church not under Communism, million not killed, churches not destroyed and some personal stories to you and George, to reach your soul. I have failed to soften your views. So you win Misha. I have nothing left to say on this subject matter.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      George! You wrote this: “It isn’t true that Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich (or the Romanovs in general) were anti-Semitic. They were instead –after the assassination of Tsar Aleksandr II–very much anti-terrorist. It just so happened that in many of the proto-communist organizations and terror cells, Jews were heavily represented.”
                      In 1891 Tsar Alexander III commanded the police expel all JEWS from Moscow. So Grand Duke SERGEI closed the Great Synagogue, sent Cossacks to raid all JEWISH homes, and only allowed JEWISH women to remain if they were REGISTERED (Holy Russia!) as prostitutes.
                      What would it take to convince you that was anti-Jewish?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Your Grace, I admit that the actions of the Grand Duke were heavy-handed and too broad-based but like the Indian Wars in the Great Plains, the ruling authority felt that the only way to remove the threat was by collective punishment. That’s not a good thing but at the time it often seems like the only way. Think of what we did during WWII when we gathered up every last Japanese-American and put them in concentration camps. The British did the same thing with the Afrikaners during the Boer War. BTW, we see this same tactic used today in the West Bank where collective punishment of Arabs is the order of the day after the perpetration of an Arab atrocity against Israelis.

                      As for the raids of the Cossacks, there is ample evidence that the overwhelming majority of the anger felt towards the Jewish minority in the Russian Empire came from the bottom up, that is to say from the peasantry and bourgeousie. To this day, no official documents have been produced which show officials ordering pogroms.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      George wrote: “I admit that the actions of the Grand Duke were heavy-handed and too broad-based.” BROAD BASED? What does that mean?
                      In 1891 Tsar Alexander III commanded the police expel all JEWS from Moscow. So Grand Duke SERGEI closed the Great Synagogue, sent Cossacks to raid all JEWISH homes, and only allowed JEWISH women to remain if they were REGISTERED (Holy Russia!) as prostitutes.
                      What would it take to convince you that was anti-Jewish?
                      Now you call that “broad-based?” FYI that command of Tsar Alexander is on the record, and that command was to perpetrate a POGROM on Moscow. And Grand Duke Sergei carried out the mandated pogrom. How could you write this falsehood: “To this day, no official documents have been produced which show officials ordering pogroms.”?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      For the same reason that the expulsion of Palestinians from Palestine by the Israelis has been on-going and “broad-based.” Or the Greeks from Asia Minor under Ataturk, or the Indians from the South under Jackson. None of these actions are driven by an effort to exterminate an actual race or ethnicity but to simply remove them from ancestral lands because of ethnic enmity.

                      As I understand it, the semi-official policy of the later Romanovs was to convert the Jews to Christianity. Under those auspices, they could remain and assimilate with the native population. This was the exact same policy of the American government in regard to the Indians: conversion and assimilation.

    • “The kid looked astonished!. I think that if George had seen it, he wouldn’t have compared it to his own breathing on a BABY’s stomach!”

      You have a terribly sick mind, your “grace”. Given its fixations, I suspect you will have an awful time in the next life during that little battle of angels and demons for your soul.

      Alas, nothing I can do for you.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Misha! You have not viewed the video. Please do not decide that I am exaggerating or diminishing anything in it and deduce that I have “a terribly sick mind” unless you have done so! Please, also be so kind as to explain what you mean by my “fixations.” What are these?

  5. “The logic of this world is its own coffin.”
    – Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron in “The Thunderbolt of Eve-Living Fire”

    • Regarding this quote: God has empowered us and allows us to use OUR logic to interact in this world – sometimes for good and sometimes for evil. Yet, the Holy Spirit acts and the end result, as with Christ’s Crucifixion, is what God imposes. The real issue is leaders who impose their own will upon others and murder thousands – Putin!

  6. Mark E. Fisus says

    If … anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism are your primary concerns, you would have to admit that Russia is on the side of the angels, whereas the United States is not.

    Russia has its own issues to work on:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Russia

  7. Michael Kinsey says

    Quite lovely DINO. Raises the argument spiritually. True hero’s are the Saints. Nothing really to be proud of in the history of the Russian people since !917, because blood was being shed almost constantly in their wars, in their abortions, and their gulag. Nothing in their history can compare to the picture of Santa Luchia, wearing a crown of candles, so she could carry more food to the persecuted children of the Living God, starving in the catacombs. This sends my heart soaring as does the steadfastness of St John Chrysostom, who spoke and wrote like a golden tongued angel. Here is heroism that is matchless. Do I even have to mention our Perfect Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us a Way to get back to the perfection in relationship mankind once had in the Garden of Eden. Matchless in purpose, and matchless in Glory. These really move me. The Russian are a proud nation, Let us pray they do not reestablish a proud church based on the fact their Russian. Holy Orthodoxy has the true hero’s.

    • Thank you Michael, So far as the proud Russian Church, I am with you. We must pray that Putin/Kirill alliance will not corrupt Russia’s Patriarch, more than it already has. My hope is that Putin will be guided by the Holy Spirit, and not the Demons that must circle him everyday. AND YES! Our Orthodox saints are our true hero’s. Sometimes it’s better to perish, than to follow Demon leader’s for the sake of the nation you call home. Our home in the end, for all of us, is either the light, or eternal darkness . No matter what your political stripes, or religion.

  8. Michael Bauman says

    Dino, what a wonderful phrase: Demon leaders.

    To me that is the reason not to vote for the “lesser of two evils”. We have been doing that for pretty much the last 30 years and all it has done is led us more deeply into evil.

    That is why I will not abstain from the election. I will go to the polls and write in None of the above on every position on the ballot.

    In Kansas we get to vote on whether or not to retain judges. I will vote to retain none of them.

    Anything else is participating with the Demon leaders and silence means consent.

    I invite others to join me.

  9. Michael Bauman, who was your candidate before Clinton, and Trump? Just wondering, and how did that person differ from the current candidates? I respect your right to vote your conscience .

    • Early on I liked Ben or Scott Walker. Once they were taken out at the knees, nobody.

      I have been reading a number of rationales for stances similar to mine and as I analyzed them the more I have felt compelled to vote for Trump. Hillary is a full blown demon leader. Trump just your garden variety vulgarian narcissist. We have survived quiet a few of those as President.

  10. Estonian Slovak says

    I have to respectfully disagree with you here, Michael. I just think of what type of appointments Hillary could make and it scares me.
    I mean, I’m an old man and trying to prepare for the next world, but I would like to think I could do some good to help my grandchildren.
    We will never have perfection here in this world as my Spiritual Father reminds me.Why , even within the church , we have problems. I’m not in love with some things that go on in my local parish. However, it’s a place where
    I can pray, receive Holy Communion, and hopefully work out my salvation.
    As for politics, if possible, I would prefer a monarchy. However, living here, I would like to try to make the best of a bad situation.

  11. Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

    “Russian Church Raises 38 Million Rubles to Combat Abortion”

    http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/97474.htm

    That’s approximately $605,000 USD–not a huge sum, but a significant beginning, which Orthodox Churches in the USA might emulate.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster opined the Orthodox Churches in the USA might emulate the Russian Church in raising money to “combat abortion!” I don’t think they might. All our Bishops in the USA just met in Detroit and their concluding Address didn’t even HINT that there was such a thing as abortion, while safely defending conventional marriage–(which NEVER produces abortion?). Perhaps they all hated the thought of offending the EP who likewise does his best to avoid the topic!

  12. http://tass.com/world/910102??utm_source=fark&utm_medium=refferal&utm_campaign=fark_tass.com

    Meanwhile, this is how the political class in Russia seems to be looking at it.

    Money line at the end:

    * * *

    “‘The Americans may have an eon of flaws, but at the decisive moment common sense usually prevails,’ says Kremenyuk.”

    * * *

    Churchill is thought once to have observed:

    “Americans will always do the right thing — after exhausting all the alternatives.”