Savvas Lets the Cat Out of the Bag

savas-150x150-thumbAbout four years ago, Yours Truly was quite active in the Orthodox Christian Laity. It was a fine organization dedicated to promoting Orthodox Christian unity in North America. The OCL continues its fine work to this day. Therefore it was with trepidation that some of us issued caution to the membership at large regarding the upcoming Episcopal Assembly which was to meet for the first time that year (2009).

Speaking for myself, my gut told me that EA was essentially a ruse, one intended to squelch authentic unity and place the entire North American continent firmly under the Phanar. If true, then another suspicion was that the other patriarchates jumped in in order to get a piece of the action and/or at least throw sand in the Phanar’s universalist pretentions. Regardless, one (or more) of the Old World patriarchates were not dealing with us in good faith; the unalterable conclusion of our collective jeremiad was that the Episcopal Assembly process would prove to be a waste of time.

This more or less has proven to be the case –at least as far as the United States is concerned. Though many of the EA’s committees are up and running and are doing admirable work, some are just sputtering along. One committee (Church and Society) which is headed by Metropolitan Savvas Zembillas of Pittsburgh has not met even once. Remittances from the GOA to the committee dealing with Christian youth have been in arrears, even though the GOA has allocated $250,000 to refurbish the Olympic-sized swimming pool at the Ionian Village in Greece. (An example of “there where your heart is, your treasure will be also” I guess.) In Zembillas’ case, this is ironic in that he has been overseas to Istanbul numerous times because of his involvement on that See’s Holy Synod.

Anyway, if there was ever any doubt that the EA was not serious about American autocephaly, Zembillas lets the cat out of the bag at 23:30 of the second video. (Hat tip to Philippa Alan.) My question at this point to the uber-autocephalists in the OCA –the same men who defenestrated Metropolitan Jonah for his supposed squishiness regarding autocephaly and in doing so have done incalculable harm to our Church because of their slavish devotion to this animating principle–have not reacted with horror at being played? The irony of course is that with the election of Jonah to the Primacy, the OCA was caught between two opposing forces –Jonah who was willing to “reimagine” autocephaly under Moscow, and Leonid Kishkovsky, who was long wanted to bring the OCA under Constantinople. The irony is particularly delicious: with Jonah gone, the Kishkovskyites may finally get their wish.

Because of this stunning hypocrisy, I continue to entertain my doubts about the “real” reasons that His Beatitude was cashiered in the first place. In the meantime, the timidity exhibited by our bishops in correcting the “canonical anomalies” here in North America continues to astound me. In a following post I will offer a more exhaustive commentary. In the meantime, please take the time to watch these two videos, which were brought to my attention by Philippa Alan.


  1. In all my years in academia and business I never saw or heard of one manager willing surrender any part of his domain or authority. Don’t see any hierarchs doing it now. Unity will have to come from the bottom up, jurisdictions will have to cooperate, share operations and finally merge two or more at a time. If North America has to go under a foreign Patriarchate, then is should rightly be Moscow, who brought the Church here in the first place. At least they know how to run a large church, survive, etc. The other patriarchates are either very small or are barely surviving. Who needs Constantinople, Antioch anyway; they only want our money; just look at where Metr. Philip sends our money and how much. Moscow does not need our money.

    • Well said.

    • “Who needs Constantinople, Antioch anyway; they only want our money; just look at where Metr. Philip sends our money and how much. Moscow does not need our money.”

      Yeah, who needs them? Forget all that “body of Christ” and “if one part hurts, all hurt” and “if one is injured all are injured” tripe. Money matters most?

      Frankly, I’m not really sure that Jesus really cares who we commemorate in the dyptiches (sp?) as long as we are faithful in living for Him, His body, adorning His bride with holiness and casting our nets to draw others into the Kingdom.

      The political posturing for postition and power Christ warned very strongly against. The OCA & ROCOR should have been one jurisdiction; they are not because of power grabs and posturing. The OCA practices phyletism with it ethnic diocese structure. Where’s my Finnish diocese? It would have been a good thing up here in the GWN of Minnesota, instead I have to go to church with creepy Serbs and those awful Russians who keep invading my old homeland.

      “Foxes have holes, birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Yet here we are trying to feather our own nests, build bigger and better barns.

      It is one thing to look foolish to the world because of confession of the Cross of Christ. It is quite another to look foolish because we are fools.

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        Who needs Antioch? We need Antioch and the rest of the world wide Orthodox Church. Nothing could be more of a disaster for the American Orthodox to go into schism with the rest of world Orthodoxy. We need the guidance and maturity that our ties to the rest of Orthodox gives us. When the time comes, we will have a united American Orthodox Church, but it must be done in a canonical way with the blessing of the Mother Churches.

        • Al Jizzara says

          Boy did you drink the Kool-Aid! Maturity? When the time is right? The time is way over-due and it’s the old country bishops that keep the American church divided. The Ep. Ass. IS NOT the answer to a united Orthodox Church in America, but the creation of an Eastern Pope.

  2. Michael Kinsey says

    A good and honest heart, a natural man, with an known reputation as a servant, who has a Vision that will effectively Shepard his flock. Fully trained in the ministry of the Holy Sacraments, as the liturgy teaches authentic Christian theology with Power of the Holy Trinity These will pursue, loving God, and serving Him alone, living by His Word, and refuses to tempt God. Forget the psych evaluation. People know when their been treated well and when their not.

    • Michael Kinsey says

      Authentic Christianity does not create a culture where the abuser is superior. The way of the world creates that type of culture. I claim that anyone who dislikes this post is an abuser, and does not prefer authentic Christianity. Rather, they are of the tribe Dan and act as serpents in the way. By their works and their fruits ,ye shall know them.

  3. Fr. Peter Preble says

    Actually the Church and Society Committee has met 2 or maybe 3 times by teleconference.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thanks for correcting the record. It was my impression that the other committees have met in person. (Was anything of substance discussed?)

  4. The head of the episcopal assembly in the USA is the exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This is where we must start to foster unity. The EP, as well as other national churches (Antioch, Serbia, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Romania, Alabania, Cyprus, Sinai, and Greece) do not accept the autocephaly of the OCA, and the EP will not accept an American Church not under the EP. This is the reality we all face.

    • William Harrington says

      Truly, if it comes to an unified American church under the EP, it should be obvious to everyone, even the EP, that the Americans will be running the show. Who has the money? Not the Phanar. As a long range survival goal, it is just that, the ecumenical patriarchate will survive, but without the respect that came with being an ethnarch of the Greek Archdiocese the Ecumenical Patriarch would have to bow to the Americans. The Phanar would be better served by a Great and Holy council where the Ecumenical Patriarch is seated as the chair and the first among equals with the backing of all the orthodox churches (including Russia) than by trying to control as many local churches as possible. After all, the EP’s problem is not America, it is Turkey and Turkey is not likely to want to cross Russia.

  5. George Michalopulos says

    You’re assuming of course that the EA won’t crumble under the weight of it’s own contradictions. Many of us have looked at the “constitution” of the EA and found enough escape hatches in there to make it unaccountable.

    Already Damascus ordered its eparchies to remove themselves forthwith until the situation in Qatar is resolved. And that’s assuming that it will be resolved.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Qatar! Gotta love it….

      No doubt an important issue in our American Orthodox world…..?!

    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says

      Cut & pasted from my 11/18/13 comment under “Is the Tomos a Dead Letter?” post.

      George, nice catch.

      It would appear that Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh did in deed let the cat out of the bag regarding the Phanar’s plan for the future of the reorganized Church in America to be under Constantinople. I couldn’t help but appreciate that point myself. The Metropolitan said that if the mother churches thought we were coming up with a plan for independence then they wouldn’t be allowing the North & Central American ACOB to exist. (, minutes ~1:00 – 4:30)

      Well, if the overlaping jurisdictional divisions are going to come to an end, and ACOB is going to restructure the chaos into canonical churches, which is to say territorial dioceses that do not overlap each with its own ruling bishop & all of those bishops sitting on the same synod, then by default that church must either be autocephalous or under another autocephalous church, either autonomous or an enormous but dependent archdioceses.

      Given Constantinople’s relatively new & idiosyncratic (and I would add untenable) interpretation of canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon, which it is not vocally pushing at present but certainly has not rescinded, the answer seems to be self-evident…

      Nick Katich did a nice job humorously debunking the whole canon 28 claim of near universalism a few years ago ( Please note that I say this as a member of the GOA & as a prayerful proponent (most of the time) of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, but legitimate support and sycophancy are two entirely different things. Repentance is in order on this preposterous canon 28 claim, which I find altogether embarrassing.

  6. Pere LaChaise says

    Metr. Savvas mentions Bulgarians twice in the video. At the point you cite, he asks, as though speculatively, “will 20 Bulgarian parishes stand in the way of unity?” Since he previously used Bulgarian objections to ‘cutting ties’, we may take these words as indicative of some actual situation in the Assembly, then the state of the Assembly’s debate may be conjectured as the Bulgarian Patriarchal Bishop, representing the parishes under his oversight, refusing to consider placing them under any new jurisdictional arrangement. But then, Metr. Savvas did not unequivocally state that and the rest of us who are not privy to the proceedings of the Assembly have no way of knowing what the state of debate really is.

    • Discgusted With it says

      I understand that Metr. Savvas also made some statement about the ethnic dioceses of the OCA needing to go back to their Mother Churches, but it appears that that statement was edited out of the video posted online. Why cut that out? And what else may have been cut out of it too? Selective editing is an all too questionable practice. Why not post all the discussion for us to see?

    • Discgusted With it says

      I understand that Metr. Savvas also made some statement about the ethnic dioceses of the OCA needing to go back to their Mother Churches, but it appears that that statement was edited out of the video posted online. Why cut that out? And what else may have been cut out of it too? Selective editing is an all too questionable practice. Why not post all the discussion for us to see?

    • Disgusted With it says

      I understand that Metr. Savvas also made some statement about the ethnic dioceses of the OCA needing to go back to their Mother Churches, but it appears that that statement was edited out of the video posted online. Why cut that out? And what else may have been cut out of it too? Selective editing is an all too questionable practice. Why not post all the discussion for us to see?

      • Pere LaChaise says

        If Metr. Savas did say the Romanian,Bulgarian and Albanian OCA need to revert to their “Mother churches” he needs multiple history lessons, maybe a whole semester of them. That is an absurd notion – esp. in regards to the Bulgarian-OCA, founded by Abp. Kyrill of blessed memory along the lines of ROCOR, the ‘not-Communist church’ for Macedono-Bulgarians on these shores. Should the B-OCA ‘revert’ to some Macedono-BulgarianPatriarch?
        Granted, Romanian OCA clergy ranks are full of Romanian phyletists with no investment in American anything (chalk it up to their national culture, ‘mil si drum’ attitude common among Romanians), but Abp. Nathaniel is not handing his churches to Bucharest while breath is in his body, and Ireneu is NOT going to be his successor when it isn’t.

        • anonymus per Scorilo says

          and Ireneu is NOT going to be his successor

          Let’s hope . . . the problem is that the Romanian phyletistic priests and delegates are the ones who vote for the election of a new bishop, they are the ones who rejected Fr. Joseph Morris for an auxiliary bishop a few years ago (because he was not Romanian-enough), so it is hard to see how the Romanian Episcopate will remain in the OCA after Abp. Nathaniel retires, unless he puts some structures in place to prevent this.

          • Disgusted With It says

            “…unless he puts some structures in place to prevent this.”

            I’m sorry, but I think anyone with even a basic understanding of the Canons knows that bishops naming their successors (or even “rigging” the system in that regard) is not something allowed in Orthodoxy. Over in the OCA however, I guess anything is possible. And this nonsense of American phyletists blaming everything on Romanians is childish. I understand that many delegates, both Romanian and American born, did not vote for Fr. Morris not because they had something against him but because of the way the election was handled — basically, a dictatorial tone from Archbishop Nathaniel of “do it”. An unfortunate situation, but that’s how it was. That’s not how a church should operate. Let’s pray that the Church BE the Church and not some political playground for small minded bigots.

  7. Well George, you are on the right track. The Epis. Ass. is nothing more than trying to put everyone under + Bart. As pointed out, this isn’t unity, this is the creation of an Eastern Pope. Orthodox Canon Law is clear, bishops (even patriarchs) only have authority within their own territory. Since a canonical, autocephalous Orthodox Church exists in N. Amer. since 1970, no foreign bishop can have any claim to territory in N. America. Yet, Moscow, Istanbul, Damascus and others wish to pretend these Canon Laws regarding church organization don’t exist. The creation of an Eastern Pope is totally against Orthodox Canon Law. Without all the Orthodox Churches in North America being organized under an AUTOCEPHALIC church, unity is a joke and non-canonical. So, what will happen? NOTHING. The hubris of the Greeks continues and Moscow is really getting tired of it. Look at the poor Carps having a Greek imposed on them. Fools!

    • Christopher William McAvoy says

      What’s so bad about having an “Eastern Pope” ?

      • Christopher,

        It depends on what is exactly meant by an “Eastern Pope”.

        Orthodox ecclesiology cannot endorse absolute, immediate and universal jurisdiction of any bishop. Our reading; i.e., the reading of the early Church Fathers, does not interpret Christ’s words regarding “upon this Rock” as referring to Peter personally. Nor do we believe it refers to Peter’s “successors” at Rome. Nor do we believe in Papal Infallibility. Moreover, being in communion with any particular Patriarchate is not an indicator of Orthodoxy. Constantinople for instance, like Rome, has lapsed into heterodoxy at certain times in the past.

        • Christopher William McAvoy says

          yes, but you’re mentioning the modern developments that obviously no one here likes. Thats not what I ment. I don’t mean modern Popes. I mean the ancient “Orthodox” Popes from before 1054.

          Back when the Pope of Rome had jurisidction over Thrace, Bulgaria, Albania and most of Greece (this was before 500 AD approximately.) he had a broad jurisdiction but he had all that great concilar balance that the church should have too.

          I’m not speaking of the modern conception of the Pope as a dictator who makes all the local bishops meaningless and centralizes everything but the old fashioned decentralized Pope who was never the less , important, powerful and a gift for crushing heresy most often in the manner of a supreme court in harmony and confirmed by ecumenical councils…

          Having an Eastern Pope doesnt have to be so bad, if it’s an ORTHODOX Pope.
          I always liked the greek orthodox church and constantinople. While I certainly view the more frequently puriest traditionalist militant anti-communist nature of ROCOR and Russia to be superior, I find the greek archdiocese very charming even if I dont like the female cantor without a headcovering wearing a robe, I still find her very brilliant, pure in tone and charming!


          • Michael Bauman says

            Christopher, you seem to be begging the question. When is a Pope not a Pope? When he is a conciliar bishop.

            Pope is a title for a Patriarchal bishop. It would be exhausting and confusing to revert to archaic usage in the context of the Orthodox Church. Clearly anyone who is a modern Orthodox who uses the title means by it the way it is defined by the Church of Rome and the manner in which it was defined that led to and helps maintain the schism of A.D. 1054 and the Photian Schism before that and the brief schism in the 5th century over ranking of Constantinople equal to Rome.

          • Modern conception of Pope as dictator? Do you mean Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, or Francis? None of whom history would decree a dictator, but who, instead worked tirelessly with all of the Roman church’s bishops, religious and laity. (In fact, some conservative Catholics would go on record to state they weren’t dictatorial enough, lol!) At any rate, when you look at the works of Orthodoxy as compared to the ‘dictatorial regime’ of the Roman Church in this country over the past 200+ years, one might ask: How many hospitals did we found? Orphanages? Hospices? Parochial schools for our kids? Parochial schools in the inner city for non-Orthodox kids? Homes for unwed mothers? Soup kitchens? Thrift stores for the poor? How many churches did we plant in cities/towns that had no Orthodox presence? (I am not being facetious here. I am just asking as one who was in the GOA for 6 years and in the OCA for the past 14. I also worked for a SCOBA agency which allowed me to travel the country visiting churches of every jurisdiction). I’m just getting tired of many of these posts about who’s in charge and who is going to sit at the head table. I guess I’m ready, in my later years, to ask the Coach to put me in on Offense. I’m weary of playing Defense (who should be first, in control, and in what ethnicity/church paradigm). Perhaps I need to head down to the Basillica and drop in on the Legion of Mary where folks (worldwide) are making a difference for the kingdom in their communities without arguing over who is in charge (except Christ). 🙂 After all, it all boils down to Mt. 25, eh?

      • Christopher,

        From the time of the Apostles, all churches were created as “local churches” with their own bishop(s), presbyters, deacons to operate ON THEIR OWN (AUTOCEPHALIC). The Orthodox Canons reflect this stating that bishops only have authority within their own territory. Throughout history, where the Muslims destroyed Christian areas, Constantinople came to their aid and supported these areas with bishops & priests. Thus, Constantinople’s influence in Jerusalem, Alexandria, etc. Russia also began missionary activity establishing churches all over the world. HOWEVER, once these churches grabbed foreign territory, they refused to let go. In North America, ALL Orthodox Churches understood that Russia had brought Orthodoxy to N. Am. and they had “PRIMARY EPISCOPAL AUTHORITY” over N. Am. This was never disputed between 1800 and 1917. With the Communist Revolution, this changed. Every foreign bishop stepped in to take care of the people from their native countries establishing dioceses. This could be understood under the circumstances, but only as a TEMPORARY fix to serving the Orthodox of N. America; after all, this was a non-canonical situation. All the bishops understood this yet, all the “old country” bishops relished in having a piece of N. Am. and the $$$ it brought to them. In 1961, SCOBA (Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops of America) was formulated by the canonical bishops to solve issues with the different dioceses and work together, In these early meetings they said they would work toward a UNITED, AUTOCEPHALOUS Orthodox Church in N. America and even said it should be called, “The Orthodox Church in America.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann was the chief theological consultant to SCOBA and contemplated how the vision of SCOBA could be made a reality. In 1970, via the efforts of Fr. Schmemann, the Metropolia (the original diocese of the ROC that brought Orthodoxy to N. Am.) was granted AUTOCEPHALY by the ROC. This was the vehicle SCOBA wanted to fulfill it’s goal. The Romanians joined the OCA, the Bulgarians, the Albanians, but the Greeks and Antiochians reneged. So you see, the opportunity for REAL AUTOCEPHALIC unity was given to N. Am., but it was the bishops themselves who refused it.

        Now, Istanbul (which canonically does not have authority beyond it’s own borders) wants all the Orthodox bishops in N. Am. to be united under it. WHY? This doesn’t follow Orthodox Canon Law and is the creation of an “Eastern Pope.” All Orthodox Churches in any given territory are by the Tradition of the Holy Apostles and Orthodox Canon Law to “RULE THEMSELVES.” Not under Moscow; not under Istanbul; not under Damascus nor anywhere else. Either all the bishops organize under an autocephalic Orthodox Church in N. Am. or any unity is not Orthodox and does not follow the Tradition of the Holy Apostles and what the Holy Spirit ordained.

  8. Sean Richardson says

    I would love to say that the unity of the Orthodox Church in the United States will happen in the very near future, but I am definitely not holding my breath. I believe that it is the correct course, that it is the path which most closely aligns with the Tradition of the Faith, that it is the most beneficial course, but it is the road that is not being taken. Sad though it is to say, I hold not illusion that this unity will happen during my life-time, short of one dynamic and far-sighted Ecumenical Patriarch who is willing to yield 90% of his flock, his faithful and his funding.

  9. I do not believe I am being assuming because I do not see the facts as pretentious or presumptuous. I believe if an administratively united American Orthodox Church is ever to manifest itself it will be under the EP, and if not under the EP it will never happen. I am not saying this is good or bad, just the current reality we Orthodox Christians face in America.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Jakov, the EP is not ultimately the problem. (Shock! I know.) Believe it or not, the ethnic eparchies of the EP are extremely independent and self-ruled. The problem is the local GOA “metropolitans” and the Archon/L100 axis. In those precincts there is nothing but self-referential tribalism.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        There was an NPR news piece today about the plans of the Turks to turn the famous monastery of Studios (not quite but almost in the Ecumenical Patriarch’s back yard) from a museum into a mosque.

      • Dear Peter says

        Of the EC, Peter said

        Very Rarely does he intervene, like he did up in Astoria with the scandel there.

        in addition to the Astoria shenanigans, could you update us on whazzup with Spiridon these days?

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          From what I can tell absolutely nothing. His service to the Church is over. Now he serves only at a local level, studies and reads.

          If you know of anything different let us know. I just checked his site a few days ago and did not see any activity, but I could have missed something.


          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            I don’t think serving “at a local level, studying and reading are “absolutely nothing.” Serving at a local level is quite something, as a matter of fact. God be with him! How wonderful not to be a media star or worse!!!!!!!!

  10. The remarks of Bp. Savvas in Parma at Holy Trinity Church in Parma (how ironic is that) were not so much a shock to me but a voice of realism, at least as it applies to the OCA. The OCA is the only canonical Orthodox Church here in the USA that has a questionable status. It would make perfect sense for the OCA to settle her status with Moscow and or Constantinople so that it does not impede the ACOB.

    It may well be that jurisdictions will “go under the EP” for a period time, I would also think a negotiated set period of time so that the granting of Autocephaly can be given by the EP. Russia can’t grant it for all the jurisdictions here, but the EP can grant it at the end of the ACOB process.

    I think this is what Bp. Savvas was saying, albeit very badly.

    • George Michalopulos says

      James, you’re being charitable to Savas. The Phanar has no intention of ever letting North America unite except under its omorphor. That has actually come to me first-hand by people associated with the EA process. Even more distressing, the GOA synod has made it clear that they are not going to allow any GOA bishop to play second-fiddle to any other non-GOA bishop. All of the major metropolitan areas are to be headed only by a GOA bishop for the foreseeable future. For the EP/GOA axis, that’s non-negotiable.

      This is exceedingly bad news, because (let’s face it) there is nothing but cultural self-worship at the base of the GOA. However the good news is that the other non-GOA synods are gradually pulling out. Most have come to the realization. They’ll keep attending more or less, every now and then, just for appearance’s sake but it’ll be mostly pro-forma.

      Look for Antioch, ROCOR, and the MP to continue building missions whenever and wherever. The irony is that the OCA could be in the cat-bird seat but it threw away whatever prestige it had. My long-term prediction is that as MP/ROCOR grows, look to Antioch to start aligning itself with Moscow.

      • You could be right about that, George. If you recall, before the meeting of the “ancient patriarchates” that was held recently, a representative of the MP visited Antioch and the Patriarch of Antioch then declined to attend, instead sending a representative. He had been the first patriarch to accept the invitation. It would be very interesting to be a fly on the wall at some of these little pow-wows.

      • Christopher William McAvoy says

        That reminds me of how Irish American prelates have dominated the Roman Catholic hierarchy until very recently (or am I mistaken that they are still the majority of bishops??). It is true they did show prejudice toward other ethnicities. The Orthodox St. Alexis Toth was able to exist because of the infamous bigotry of RC Bishop John Ireland circa 1900.

        I always liked the greek church and the greek bishops…Personally I dont entirely object to the idea…

        However if it means some sort of prejudice or unfairness exists over those who have no greek connection I would have to say its not a good idea…

        Oh if only people could get along…it’s so ridiculous…
        The thing is that much of the GOA is not even greek anymore, but is very multicultural, especially with all the intermarriage to other ethnicities .

        At some point the ethnicity issue seems silly.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          I think that there is for today a significant counter-lesson to be taken from Archbishop John Ireland. He, of course, stands as the iconic stubborn RC bishop who opened the door for the “uniates” in the US to return to Orthodoxy.

          But his point of view could be very valuable to Orthodox thinking in America. We go on and on about the “ethnic ghetto” problems of the Orthodox in America, which unaccountably have persisted for generations. We forget sometimes that the Catholics were an immigrant, ethnic church, looked upon with disdain and great suspicion by the Protestant establishment and people of this country. And yet, within a generation or so, they were part of the fabric of the country.

          Obviously the demographic numbers are a big part of this. But Bp. Ireland was in the middle of the whole process whereby the Catholic Church in the US was getting out of its immigrant, ethnic box, very successfully. To Bp. Ireland, Alexis Toth and what he represented was an even more strange, “obscurantist” foreign Catholicism than what the Church had already long been dealing with here.

          The Orthodox church in this country could have profited from a few “John Irelands” long ago. Why is it that a hundred years after St. Tikhon left San Francisco for Moscow the Orthodox in America are still so ethnic to this day?

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Phanariot non-recognition of the OCA’s Tomos derives from a tendentious and novel reading of Chalcedon 28 that serves the Phanar by inventing a peculiar role as sole grantor of autocephaly. The historical facts show that this special role has never existed and is more the the exeption. Moscow already enjoyed longstanding de facto self governance and was ‘granted’ it by the Phanar as a way for the latter to save a little face despite the embarrassment of being powerless under the heel of the Turk while Moscow had already outgrown the Phanar in all respects, the least of which was not its wealth. Moscow’s notification to the Phanar of its freedom came with a cash gift, which may be interpreted either as a thank-you or a purchase price.

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Phanariot non-recognition of the OCA’s Tomos derives from a tendentious and novel reading of Chalcedon 28 that serves the Phanar by inventing a peculiar role as sole grantor of autocephaly. The historical facts show that this special role has never existed and is more the the exception. Moscow already enjoyed longstanding de facto self governance and was ‘granted’ it by the Phanar as a way for the latter to save a little face despite the embarrassment of being powerless under the heel of the Turk while Moscow had already outgrown the Phanar in all respects, the least of which was not its wealth. Moscow’s notification to the Phanar of its independence came with a cash gift, which may have been interpreted either as a thank-you or a purchase price.

      • While the EP’s understanding of its role in barbarian lands based on Chalcedon 28 is novel, one could also make the case that Moscow’s understanding of its rights to unilaterally grant autocephaly would seem to be a novel interpretation of its rights and territory granted in Moscow’s own ‘tomos of autocephaly’. That is, it was granted right over the northern lands. Does that mean everything north of a certain latitude around the world, does that mean Russia’s territory as a civil state (or where it used to have sovereignty as a civil state), does that include an entire continent when it really only had an active, undisputed presence in a coastal corner of it?

        Yes, both the EP and MP should admit their understanding of their own prerogatives are disputable on the merits. That still leaves the question of how Orthodox outside of the traditional territory of the recognized autocephalous churches should be handled. One answer in North America is autocephaly, but that’s but one solution to a more foundational question of canonical order that is, we must admit, simply not addressed by existing canons and precedent. The EA is not necessarily about creating an autocephalous church in North America, it’s about correcting the anomalous situation Orthodox Christians and local Orthodox churches find themselves in in Western Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Australia. Whether we end up under an autocephalous church, under the EP, whether the Americas is divided up among various local churches, or with some mix of territorial and ethnic/typikon-based epsicopal structures, the question is about canonical norms together with what it means to be an Orthodox Christian (of various traditional and non-traditional ethnicities, following various local traditions) in traditionally non-Orthodox lands – without ever losing sight of our goal: the salvation and deification of all, those whoa re in our churches today and those who are not. I am in the OCA not because I believe autocephaly is necessary but because it is a jurisdiction that allow me to pray in my language and not overwhelm my feeble attempts at salvation with purely ethnic mores and traditions that may be helpful and wonderful and meaningfully resonant to others, but not necessarily to me or my family. If the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s parishes in the US offered more ‘ecumenical’ parish environments, I would be fine with that – but they don’t. (Note, I am not asking for an “American parish”.)

        The real question isn’t about whether our parishes are welcoming enough to Greeks/Russians/Arabs or Americans. It is whether a Greek parish is interested in serving and worshiping with Russians/Arabs/Americans, or Russian parishes to Greeks/Romanians/Ukrainians/Georgians, anglophone/convert parishes to Greek/Bulgarian/Palestinian immigrants, etc. We aren’t welcoming or serving other Orthodox, regardless of the question of ‘Americanization’.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Very sensible.

          One thing I do like about the EP is that he is stateless, and powerless from any secular viewpoint. (That’s two things, I suppose.) These are good attributes in a high hierarch.

          As for the Moscow Patriarch, all I can do is echo the shtetl prayer about the Tsar: “may God bless him and keep him…..far away from here!”

          • Dear Tim R, Mortiss says

            you wrote:

            One thing I do like about the EP is that he is stateless, and powerless from any secular viewpoint.

            The stateless status while being considered an ethnic minority by the state of Turkey has reduced the Patriarchate to a hereditary every shrinking enclave hobbled by Turkish state approval for its continuing existence. So, I disagree entirely. A very tiny number of people can pretend to rule world Orthodoxy.while ignoring and disdianing larger and freer Patriarchates. Can spiritual leadership reside in so few by design?

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Small numbers of people always rule the world. Why? They usually don’t like to share power. Thus, no pretending is needed its true. Democracy and Republicanism is the exception Not the rule.

              From Emperors, to Kings, to Tsars and Popes. The numbers of the ruling elite are always small. Hence the term elites.


        • Pere LaChaise says

          No, really the question is whether all these expats will tolerate anything other than that which reflects their specific nationality and ethnicity; mostly they despise anyone who is not ‘us’. The whole dilemma of the OCA is about how it ever failed to solve this situation, which has ripened significantly in the last decade as the US loses cache and is seen more and more as third-rate in so many regards.

    • James,

      You have it wrong. Orthodox Canon Law is clear, foreign bishops ONLY have authority within their own territory. This includes Patriarchs. Therefore, neither Istanbul, nor Moscow, nor Damascus or any other foreign bishop has any authority in N. America. The OCA, which was the Metropolia, the ORIGINAL Russian diocese that brought Orthodoxy to America, was granted CANONICAL autocephaly by the ROC. It is the OCA that is the ONLY canonical Orthodox Church in America. Having all the Orthodox go under the Greeks and Istanbul is clearly non-canonical and the creation of an Eastern Pope. The ONLY way to unite all the Orthodox in N. America is under a canonical, autocephalic, Orthodox Church which the OCA is. This is why the OCA came into existence after the dictates of SCOBA in 1961. BUT NOW, the Greeks want everyone to be under the thumb of Istanbul – fat chance. Istanbul could buy the Ukrainians and the Carps, but the OCA, I don’t think so.

      • You are correct regarding the authority of bishops, they only have it on their territory. The question is precisely who has authority in the expanse of the North American continent. There never was a united Orthodox Church with responsibility for all Orthodox in North America. The Russian Church dominates in areas of Alaska, but other parishes were set up under the authority of other local churches at a very early date and far outside the sphere of influence of the Russian Church. Alaska and Fort Ross is not New England, is not the South, is not even Southern CA. Russian suzerainty was not recognized by all Orthodox in all corners of the continent from a very early date. Some of that was due to less the Christian concerns, some wholly accidental, but mainly it was a matter of pastoral need addressing the situation as found in a situation where the canons and precedent are not clear as to how to handle a situation like this. Moscow’s understanding of its rights in North America are flawed just like the EP’s novel interpretation of Chalcedon 28 is flawed.

        Thus, the real question is not who is following the rules and who is not, it’s what should be done about this anomalous situation in the Americas, Western Europe, the Far East and India, Australia, etc. Do we want an ecclesiology that codified “separate but equal”, overlapping ethnic and regional jurisdictions as found under the EP and the OCA? I would argue that this is ecclesial apartheid, and while it was the much-vaunted “Vision of St. Tikhon” it is wrong. At the same time, how do you get people who are deeply tied to their own ethnic and local traditions to worship with others with their own, different ethnic and local traditions? This is a problem as much for new immigrants as it is for converts as it is for fifth-generation Orthodox in America. Are some traditions more equal than others? Should no one get everything they want? should certain parishes and monasteries represent a pure ethnic/local tradition? What about a parish’s ties to its mother church? What role can mother churches have in parishes and church organs abroad? Can there be influence in the election of bishops? what about in churchwide Assemblies? How about financial assistance, both ways? These are real and difficult questions with pastoral, practical, and canonical significance – and they aren’t dealt with fully and clearly by existing canons and precedent.

        • As a member of the OCA, I would actually argue that the EP is the most sensible choice to become the leader of the Orthodox in North America.

          The basis of the OCA’s claims for legitimate autocephaly have been shown to be false. Most Orthodox in North America were never united under Moscow prior to 1917. It’s basically always been a jurisdictional free-for-all, apart from in Alaska. Then it became a way for the Metropolia to normalize itself vis a vis a Soviet controlled MP over and against ROCOR’s more virulant anti-soviet and then anti-ecumenist standing within the orbit of MP emigres and those who were in her sphere of influence. The Soviets obviously favored disunity, in general, and relatively friendly rapprochment with the OCA, in particular. The ethnic dioceses within the OCA functioned primarily as canonical havens for anti-communist factions/majorities within those nationalities’ respective parishes on this continent.

          Moscow is already so large in the Orthodox confederacy, the EP is the only real counterbalance to Moscow’s strength in numbers, and the EP’s situation is so dire in Istanbul and Turkey itself. It makes sense to give some extra strength to the EP while keeping Moscow from gaining even more. Perhaps Moscow takes back jurisdiction for Alaska, or is given special influence in that territory, and maybe it is given Holy Trinity as a stavropegial or representation church.

          Similar arrangements can be made with churches and monasteries currently tied to other local churches.

          In these or similar ways, the EP in North America can show itself to be more than what Greeks have been when in a position of authority over those of other ethnicities. Besides, half of all Orthodox in the US are already under the EP in the GOA alone), and the EP has the largest number of parishes when you add in the Carpatho-Rusyn and Ukrainian parishes.

          Ethnic tribalism is common to all Orthodox in North America, not just to the Greeks, so their particular version of such isn’t really an argument against the EP taking the lead in unifying the Orthodox in this land. Structures must be put in place to address the ethnic ‘fears’ for all involved, including converst and long established Americans of traditionally Orthodox heritage, and that would be true regardless of who unity happened under (i.e., the OCA, another autocephalous/autonomous body, Moscow, Jersusalem, etc.)

          In reality, i don’t think anyone actually cares about unity. We do all see each other as going to other churches. Not as different as Catholics or Protestants, but different, and we all like to be in the majority – even if it is only a pretend majority within a particular non-profit organization. And we all like church to be like what we remember growing up. Hospitality only goes so far when it comes to equally Orthodox traditions from another group, much less to those on RC or Protestant backgrounds. Maybe if larger scale immigration ends and everyone is enculturated to America enough so that we only want hints and bits of actually foreign words and traditions, then maybe we’ll find a way toward a ‘common Orthodoxy’. In reality, most will simply not go to the wrong kind of Orthodox church if the preferred brand available, and their kids will not identify as Orthodox, and then we’ll just sell off a lot of church buildings and become less than .1% of the population rather than just less than 1% of it.

          • George Michalopulos says

            123, a couple of problems with your historiography: First of all, the first presence (evangelical and otherwise) in North America was the ROC. Of this there can be no doubt. Second, the only administration that existed in any way, shape, manner or form, was the Russian-American Greek-Catholic Missionary Archdiocese. That it was tiny is insignificant. All other “proto-jurisdictions” were even smaller and/or non-existent. Third, this same Russian missionary diocese pastored as best as possible to other immigrant groups. This is a significant difference: if nothing else, it really wanted to be missionary; none of the other immigrant groups wanted to so or had a missionary consciousness. The missionary enthusiasms of Archbishop Tikhon Bellavin for non-Russian immigrants are well-documented. (See the latest issue of The Orthodox Observer [Uhl, L, “The Metropolis of Denver Revisited, p 28], for example.) Fourth, even the Patriarch of Constantinople at the time recognized the validity of the Russian primacy in North America and welcomed its solicitude towards Greek-speaking immigrants.

            As to whether the current Moscow patriarchate would be better suited to primacy as opposed to Constantinople is beside the point. Unfortunately, the fact that the OCA is an autocephalic Phanar-in-miniature with its ethnic dioceses obviates against our overall spiritual majority. (Again, leaving aside the atrocity that Syosset executed against Jonah.) My suggestion? Go ahead and draw up valid territorial dioceses, populate them with bishops, have them sign documents ensuring parishes keep their rubrics, have the bishops get together and elect a Metropolitan, place him in Washington, and inform the other patriarchates that it’s a done deal.

            • I think that no matter how you cut it, North America is still Russian Canonical Territory. A realistic approach would be for first, to unite the ROCOR, OCA and Patriarchal Churches under the omophor of the Synod of ROCOR. Our bishops have a proven history of sober, uncompromised Orthodoxy, without the scandals, impropriety and pure goofiness that has inundated the OCA for a while now. If the Romanians and Bulgarians balk, let them go back to their respective Mother Churches. I can see where a few bishops will have to be “retired” to monasteies for one reason or another, and a very few hierarchs and clerics will need to be laicized. The 9 American ROCOR and the 10 OCA Bishops can then be redistributed into 18 separate diocese in North and South America, with the first Hierarch residing in New York. eliminating the overlapping of territory. Once those that follow the Eastern Slavic practice are united, then talks can go forward in regards to relations with the other Orthodox jurisdictions in this country. I can guarantee you that the Synod will not tolerate any “Lavender cabal” or any Stokoeite or Kishkovskyite nonsense, and rouge and renegade clergy and laity will soon be brought to heel. Within a short time, the Russian Tradition Churches here in the West will soon be brought up to proper orthopraxis, and then and only then, can we lead the way for full Canonical unity in the West.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                I love these canonical assumptions. “No doubt” all of North America is Russian Canonical Territory because they landed in Alaska! Why stop at the Isthmus of Panama? How did the Council of Calcedon define the territories of the Western Hemisphere?

                Wait; they didn’t know about the Western Hemisphere.

                Let’s explain that one to the Christian peoples of “North America”.

              • Alexandr,

                In a sense, what you’re proposing is already happening in an unofficial way. The only problem is that the OCA is internally divided, much like the Ukraine itself. You have had parishes and now individual families defecting for various reasons to the ROCOR. There is a sort of traditionalist or semi-traditionalist and Russophile wing in the OCA who may well, sooner or later, defect to the ROCOR. For example, at a local OCA parish here, the priest’s confessor is a ROCOR igumen. Moreover, this parish has produced at least one monastic of which I am aware. But he will be living at a ROCOR monastery out West even though he could have gone to a closer Greek or OCA monastery (like St. Tikhon’s where he briefly lived).

            • It matters little that “the first presence (evangelical and otherwise) in North America was the ROC” when it comes to canonical responsibility in all of the North American continent. It’s a big place.

              Canonical responsibility does not require there be an on ground “administration”. There were priests under obedience to bishops. The same situation existed initially and for some time in Alaska under Russia, in fact.

              I agree that the size of the Russian Mission or any of the other proto-jurisdictions is irrelevant.

              I’m not sure one can conclude that other local churches did not offer their church services to all ethnicities. I seem to remember multiethnic parishes served by Greek priests, before those parishes split apart by ethnicity. Who is to blame for such splits? did they leave to be apart or did they feel driven out? Even if multiethnic parishes under the EP or GReece or others didn’t exist, it proves nothing other than churches were dealing pastorally with the ethnic tribalism they saw and we see in Orthodoxy, pastoral facts that need to be taken into account. St. Tikhon orgnanized his Diocese on tribal lines, the EP has organized its mutliethnic presence in North American along tribal lines, and so has the OCA. No one seems to think a future, united Orthodox Church in the US would be wholly organized on geographic and homogonized lines.

              One man’s labors to serve all immigrant groups can equally be seen as imperial and cultural attempts to control others. That is, to make the status quo a fait accompli where possession is 9/10 the law. Imperial Russian activity on Athos is a good example of how sensitivities and fears can, at the very least, lead to competing perceptions.

              If I remember correctly, while the Patriarch of Constantinople may have recognized the validity of the Russian primacy to some extent, I don’t believe it was given for all of North America (I think it was NYC) and soon after that acknowledgement was given Moscow pulled out leaving a vaccuum. There’s an article on the SCOCHA website that deals with the episode you allude to, I believe.

              Regardless, you are making arguments that may be convincing but are not based on clear canons or precedent. That was my point. Orthodox canon law does not clearly deal with how a situation such as we find ourselves in is dealt with, especially after the fact when so much water has gone under the bridge.

  11. No Blueprint says

    While 23:30 is revealing, I think one need not go that far. He’s clear about the mother church’s intentions at 1:20 when he states,

    “We are not charged with coming up with a blueprint for an autocephalous church. We’re being charged with coming up with a solution to a canonical anomaly. If they thought we were interpreting it as coming up with a blueprint for independence, this wouldn’t be happening.”

    The point is, there was never an intention for America to be autocephalous. Then he says after some detailed explanations,

    “ground yourselves in reality.”

    • I’m sure that is the reality in his little pond. I’m sure, whether it is due to the GOA or the Phanar, that there is little to no danger of the GOA becoming part of an autocephalous American church.

      So we should then ask ourselves the obvious question, no?:

      If the EA’s are geared toward nothing more than a united autonomous Church under the Phanar, why are we [i.e., any non-GOA jurisdiction] playing along unless we’re on board with that eventuality?

      If we are, just do it; i.e., just let the GOA absorb, let us say, the AOCNA on some mutually agreeable terms. Or the OCA, or some part of the OCA, etc. What’s to discuss? Either Greek bishops prevail or senior bishops prevail. Change the name on the door and be done with it.

      If unity under the Phanar is unacceptable, just walk away. Or stay and play along with SCOBA II so long as it seems useful.

      Eventually it will sink in to everyone that if the EA has any use, it is as a replacement for SCOBA, which could just as easily have been continued as is without all the pious subterfuge.

    • Now let’s step back and take a look at this. The EA was sold as a way to unify Orthodoxy in NA. There was “something in the air” when it was unveiled, we were told, that would mysteriously lead to an autocephalous American Church. It was somehow becoming a reality based on the spirit that had been created among the bishops here with the blessing of the old world patriarchates. The blessing of the patriarchates was the real difference, we were told.

      This was all a lie.

      I didn’t believe it at the time. Some here didn’t. Metropolitan Phillip, judging by his comments thereafter didn’t believe it. He was confused as to why we needed a SCOBA II when SCOBA I was still in operation.

      The EA is not really newsworthy. It was an attempt to deflect popular sentiment in favor of autocephaly by creating the appearance of progress when there was never any serious intention. Now, years later, Met. Savvas can safely “let the cat out of the bag”. But it was never any secret, just unspoken. Any attention given to the EA beyond that given to its former incarnation, SCOBA, is misplaced. It is largely insignificant.

      See, from the point of view of the ROC and ROCOR, the whole EA thing is really a waste of time and resources, apart from directories, coordinated charity, etc. They know what the GOA is like. They know why the EA’s were formed. Their focus has little to do with Orthodox unity in North America but with the health and expansion of the Church of Russia. That’s the propagation of Orthodoxy in which they can move forward. They can “go forth and baptize all nations” from the secure vantage point of the ROC. What happens in the EA’s or the GOA is just a polite diversion, comity.

      The reason the EA is almost completely funded by the GOA is because only the GOA has any particular interest in its ultimate objective. They are funding a forum to combat sentiments in favor of American autocephaly and to bring as much of the rest of the American Church as possible under the omophorion of Constantinople. That’s what the EA is and ultimately that’s all the EA is.

      I mean, as Met. Savvas said, “Ground yourselves in reality.”

      One last thing, I’m not sure to whom Bp. Savvas was referring when he casually mentions “the Bulgarians”. It sounds like he’s just picking a smaller jurisdiction at random to illustrate the point that not everyone is going to be on board with the direction of the EA. However, he could just as easily be referring to the ROCOR or the Serbs. The EA really did not change anything. New name, same dynamic.

  12. I’m pretty sure it’s “Savas,” not “Savvas.”

    • Obama's Recent Speech and Webcast says

      The original name of the saint among the Desert Fathers is Sabbas or Sabas. Allowing for spelling rules in various languages. it is eventually spelled in transliteration as original as well as Savas and Savvas. The individual referred to uses Savas. Subsequent saints spelled as their countr y of origin. For example, St. Sava of Serbia, intending to build monasticism in his own country with his father, St. Symeon, took on the name of the founder of monasticism in Palestine, St. Sabbas, about which read Consider See also other saints Sava at

      In the original Hebrew or Aramaic, it is supposed to men Elder as in the Gerondas of toda y

  13. If we do not have an administratively united Church in the United States under the EP at best I believe we could see a “Russian Archdiocese” that would include MP, ROCOR, and the OCA. The Serbs, Bulgarians, Antiochians, and Romanians will remain under their national Churches. There will be a rival Greek Archdiocese with the Ukrainians and Carpatho-Russians. However, I see even this as wishful thinking and am inclined to see it all implode as others do. The aftermath we will be left with is the same ethnic dioceses with multiple bishops in the same cities. Objectively the only viable chance we have for an administratively united American Orthodox Church is under the EP, which I know is difficult for many to accept. Of course there is a slight possibility we could see a quorom of the bishops use the example of the Macedonian Orthodox Church and tell all outside of America we are going to do it our way under the OCA’s tomos (I know some may not accept this analogy, but the majority of the world’s national Orthodox Churches do not accept the OCA’s tomos of autocephaly. Thus if something like this happened it would be viewed similarly, but not exactly, as the Macedonian Orthodox Church currently is).

    As a side note there are a few ROCOR parishes and a monastery that serve according to Greek, Arab, and Carpatho-Russian rubrics and make use of Byzantine Chant and Prostopinje. I have always admired the way the Russians have incorporated other Orthodox nationalities into their respective dioceses. They could serve as model for the future.

  14. Al Jizzara says


    “Look for Antioch, ROCOR, and the MP to continue building missions whenever and wherever. The irony is that the OCA could be in the cat-bird seat but it threw away whatever prestige it had. My long-term prediction is that as MP/ROCOR grows, look to Antioch to start aligning itself with Moscow.”

    Not so. The OCA never threw anything away. ROCOR is dying and the MP can only expand under the OCA. Damascus is being friendly toward Moscow since it is the only hope to help the Christians in Syria. SURPRISE, Russia is doing NOTHING to help the Christians in Syria. Russia only cares for its geo-political position in the Mideast using Syria. They say as Orthodox they will protect the Christians. HASN’T HAPPENED. Here in the U.S., no unity and certainly not under + Bart. Unity under an AUTOCEPHALIC church or no unity.

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      I am just as American as anyone and could care less about where my Bishop was born or whether or not the Metropolitan under whose omophorion I serve is under as long as he is canonical and in Communion with world Orthodoxy. There is no place for chauvinism within the Church. First we need unity, then, perhaps, if it is the will of God autocphaly. However, autocephaly should not be our first concern as American Orthodox Christians. Unity and service to Christ must be our first concern. If the recognized autocephalous Churches of world Orthodoxy decide that America should be under Constantinople, Moscow or Bucharist, as obedient Orthodox Christians, we must recognize the authority of the whole Church, not just our own wishes.
      I have not been posting much on this site lately, because I find all the constant fighting within the OCA boring. Do you people realize what image someone who is looking into Orthodoxy gets of our Church reading about all the conflicts within the OCA on this site. Some people claim that the OCA is the only canonical Orthodox Church in the US. If this site is a true reflection of the condition of the OCA a person would have to be an idiot to want to become a part of the OCA. First clean up your own house and present a positive image to the public for Orthodoxy before you criticize us Antiochians or anyone else. If you have conflict within the OCA keep it to yourselves and do not wash your dirty linen in public.

      Archpriest John W. Morris

      • I guess Archpriest John Morris that many of the people in here are tired of keeping quiet and keeping the secrets. One day this same feeling may hit the “Self Ruled” Antiochian Archdiocese of North America and then the pudding will hit the fan.

      • I think there the OCA claims are reasonable taken by themselves. But this is seriously compromised by the fighting and disorder observed by Fr. John Morris and others. My personal feeling is that the OCA wasted it’s window of opportunity, its witness as a locus of Orthodox unity, the debacle with Met. Jonah be the icing on the cake of our disfunction (to date). The problems the OCA faced, not the least of which was limited recognition of its tomos was why I believe Met. Jonah’s putting it on the table as a path towards Orthodox unity was a reasonable…even wise proposition. But his vision did not prevail…and it seems to me it is the OCA that will lose the most if not all because of it. As things stand the OCA has squandered it’s opportunity. The momentum now is with ROCOR and the MP if anything fruitful is to be done with respect to N.A. Orthodox unity.

        The negatives for unity under the EP are just too huge to make that path desirable, the greatest of which is the perception of hostility to non Greeks in leadership, and hostility to an independent North American Orthodox Church (the canon 28 thing).

        Without some significant change for the better, I see the OCA stagnating in the West and South, could go either way Midwest, and diminishing much further in the Northeast. I’m also getting the increasing impression that the ROCOR Diocese of the Southeast is increasingly taking on the evangelistic growth mantle that once defined the OCA Diocese of the South.

        Unless the EP is actually willing to support and work towards an autocephalous Church in the New World, frankly I think the future of unity on in North America will come out of Moscow with or without the OCA. It would not surprise me a generation hence if there is one unified autonomous daughter church in N.A. made up of several ethnic Orthodox traditions brought together by the MP and the Greek Orthodox who will opt to stay with the EP (baring some calamity on that front). In the end the OCA will splinter with some parishes/dioceses opting to align themselves with the ROCOR/MP and the rest (which I believe will be smaller and centered in the North East) will opt to go under the EP. In the end the tomos will be surrendered either back to Moscow where it can be fixed and reissued to the canonical satisfaction of most if not all other autocephalous Orthodox jurisdictions, or it will be surrendered to the EP where it become a forgotten artifact in a file cabinet somewhere.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Al, are you absolutely certain that ROCOR is “dying”? On what do you base that assessment?

    • “ROCOR is dying and the MP can only expand under the OCA.”

      That statement has no basis in reality.

  15. Forwarded from a Yahoo list as Forwarded as received from Helen K. Troubetzkoy:

    Dear Friends,
    You may have heard on the news that the Orthodox town of Maaloola in Syria has fallen again in the hands of the terrorist groups. Stories are coming that the nuns of the Saint Thecla, the equal to the apostles, convent have been kidnapped and nothing is known of the fate of the orphanage girls that are attached to the convent. This village is one of only three communities in the world still speaking the language of our Savior (old Aramaic), and the convent is the oldest non-interrupted monastic community in the world. Churches are being desecrated, people slaughtered and martyred, and yet the so-called Christian world is saying nothing. I am asking for your prayers, that is all.
    For my Russian friends, I am attaching 2 parts of a Russian TV documentary (below). The first shows Maaloola (starting on the third minute exactly). As of the 6th minute mark you will see the orphan girls reciting the Lord’s prayer. The first moments of the second link show Saydanaya convent (few miles south) and some old markets and Churches. The third as of the second minute shows my ancestral village Chouair (Shweir) and its monastery of Saint Elias.

    Please keep these people in your prayers. All of the Levant and its Orthodox Christians are in danger.


    Rajaa Chouairi

  16. I find some of this talk about the Ecumenical Patriarchate and a Greek takeover of the Orthodox Church in the USA lacking in knowledge as I speak from a position of long experience and knowledge. My example is the Carpatho-Russia Diocese in the USA. We are an Autonomous Diocese under Constantinople (like the Church in Finland) and the Ukrainian Church in the USA. We all enjoy the headship of His All-Holiness. But we also enjoy the great freedom to live our Orthodox life here. We look to him to provide us with Holy Myron and to him and the Sacred Synod of Constantinople to confirm the nominated bishop that we elect. In all other matters, His All-Holiness, if I can say it this way, “leaves us alone.”

    In the Carpatho-Russian Diocese, we have been blessed with only 4 ruling bishops since 1938, Metropolitan Orestes, Bishop John (Martin), Metropolitan Nicholas and now Bishop Gregory. I would like to note that Bishop Gregory is not a Carpatho-Russian, he is a Greek and although some might have been cautious at first having a “Greek” as our new bishop, he has come to realize the depth of our diocese, its chant, liturgical style and common life with great respect and love. It might be concluded as many in our diocese have come to realize that our diocese is a type of experiment in what a new united Orthodox Church here might look like with bishops that may not be of our ethnic background but nevertheless respect who we are. Bishop Gregory is in no way going to change us into Greeks. Our parishes have always been open to all people, all ethnic backgrounds and of course converts to the faith. To the degree that ethnicity is perceived as a divide, Bishop Gregory is dispelling that myth.

    I say this to possibly assuage the fear of a “Greek takeover” of Orthodoxy here. It has not taken place in the 75 year history of our diocese and I think this proves that those who believe that they will lose their unique Orthodox identity here if unity happens should rest easy. We have many blessed expressions of the Orthodox Faith here whether it be Carpatho-Russian, Russian, Antiochian – Slavic or non-Slavic – native, such as in the Alaskan tribes, and the emerging Orthodox communities in Central America. All these will survive under a unified Church no matter who we will be under or in time as an Autocephalic Church.

    We in the Carpatho-Russian Diocese in the USA do not fear our new “Greek” Bishop because he is OUR Bishop and he loves us and we love him as our Archpastor in Christ. He leads our diocese from Johnstown not from Istanbul and because of this we love our Holy Patriarch with great respect and we don’t fear him. History has proven this since 1938.

    May I say this before closing, let us not underestimate the importance, not only our bishops participating in the Assembly of Bishops, but for our clergy and all of us laity, to heed well the advice and guidance of Bishop Peter and Bishop Savas, that we need to get to know each other better. Perfect love casts out fear. Let us make every effort to work closer together, get to know each other better. We will see fear subside and charity toward all increase. Thank you.

    • Christopher William McAvoy says

      I have watched a video of your Bishop Gregory and I can see the love he has for the Carpatho Rus tradition and how he does not impose anything new upon you or in anyway display “greek” nationalism.

      For certain – I feel your diocese is a shining example of holiness in the Orthodox Church within North America.
      Indeed in Pennsylvannia, where I was priviledged to attend for some time, I saw a unique form of Orthodox Unity that does not seem to be as common in other regions.

      Thank you for your example that some of the arrogance and mistrust that is a real problem is not necessarily going to be one as frequently or for as long as some fear it will.

      I for one have hope !

    • Anonymus per Scorilo says

      We look to him to provide us with Holy Myron and to him and the Sacred Synod of Constantinople to confirm the nominated bishop that we elect.

      Indeed, such a gentle and Christ-like leadership …. especially when the nominated bishop is the one they want …

      it is a pity the “Sacred Synod” did not do the same for the Paris Exarchate, where they rejected two of the three candidates that were nominated by the Exarchate, and returned to them a list that contained instead two candidates that were completely unknown. The only candidate on the original list that was retained was the one Constantinople preferred; he was thereafter elected, although a huge number of delegates put an empty vote to protest.

      Between such “autonomy” and the “anomalous” situation of the OCA, I would take the OCA situation at any moment.

      The anomaly of not having on bishop in one city pales in comparison to the anomaly of having bishops imposed from some synod overseas and not elected by the flock they serve. The latter is the 20 ton elephant in the room, and before it is resolved all the other attempts to correct other anomalies are pointless.

      • Elia Dudko says

        Anonymus per Scorilo,

        I do not know what the internal procedure is for the election of a bishop in the Paris Exarchate, but I do know what it is in the Carpatho-Russian Diocese. Based on our Constitution the Holy and Sacred Synod confirms the candidate we nominate, in other words, they do not have veto power over our decision. The manner in which this is done in other dioceses or Exarchates may indeed differ. Again, I do not believe there is a 20 Ton Gorilla in our diocese nor, if I can presume such, is there in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA under His All Holiness.

        • anonymus per Scorilo says

          The problem was not with validating the election result, but with throwing out two candidates out of three before the elections (reminds one of the way the Ayatollahs run Iran, by having free elections but discarding off the lists all the people they do not want).

          I do not know what the Constitution of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese says about such a possibility. However, in general, if the Sacred Synod will decide at some point in the future to “bestow” anther Constitution to its dearly beloved spiritual children (like they did when they bestowed a new charter on the Greek Archdiocese some years ago) it may be nontrivial to fight against it. I remember the Greeks failed, since the US court considered the Orthodox church to be hierarchical, and had to accept the new charter.

        • Dear Elia Dudko says

          I have to agree with our Anonymous Romanian friend or friend of Romanians in wondering how Greek candidates come to be. Possibilty is that your jurisdiction has lucked out, so to speak, in your Greek leadership but like I heard said of the Greek candidate for the Bulgarian Archdiocese in the OCA,

          He’s had a few years to pick up the travel language amount of Bulgarian to show he loves us

          So, when your Greek bishop takes the online course in Rusyn, I’ll say now you/re talking, he cares for the laos

          • Elia Dudko says

            The process that led to the nomination of Bishop Gregory Tatis to be the ruling hierarch for our Carpatho-Russian diocese was as follows.

            Our diocese looked at several candidates within the ACROD. One candidate, who would have been nominated when interviewed by our Consistory let them know that he did not want to be considered because he neither had the temperament nor the calling to be a bishop. Other candidates were lacking in other criteria, age, education, experience and did not meet the standards that were established by the Consistory.

            After we had exhausted all of the potential candidates, then and only then our diocese asked Archbishop Demitrios, our locus tenens at the time, if he had any candidates and it was then that he suggested the name of Archimandrite Gregorios Tatsis. Archimandrite Gregorios (now Gregory) was subjected to the same standards the Consistory had established and it was then that they offered to our diocese his name as a “possible” candidate.

            The Consistory then set up several meetings with clergy and laity around the diocese so that they could ask questions of the candidate and where he could ask us questions. These gatherings were very open and some questions were very frank and direct, such as, “what makes you think that a Carpatho-Russian” diocese and people would want or accept a “Greek” as our bishop. If you know anything about our people they are not wallflowers and don’t shy away from tough questions. But to his credit, Archimandrite Gregorios was not offended by these types of questions and responded directly to those question with candor, honesty and humility.

            He was nominated by the diocese with overwhelming support by the clergy (only clergy, both active and retired) can vote at a SOBOR to nominate a new diocesan bishop. At that point his name was submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarch. Bp. Gregory still had to go to Constantinople and again be asked by the Patriarch if he was willing to accept this vocation, which he did and at that point he was elected by the Holy and Sacred Synod.

            I don’t know if learning Rusyn will make Bishop Gregory any more loved than he already is in the diocese but I do know this, he is not teaching us Greek, or at least any more then we already know.

            The entire process was open, transparent, honest and I believe open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

            His Grace has just completed his first year as our Bishop and in that year he has worked tirelessly, travelled extensively in the diocese. I don’t think that there are too many who see him as a “Greek” bishop, but rather we see him as our bishop, who happens to come from a Greek heritage. And lest one forgets, he is a born and bred American from South Carolina.

            If anyone is interested, here is his Address to our diocese at his first SOBOR held in Johnstown in October

            I think it will give you a good insight into this man.

            Glory to Jesus Christ. Glory Forever!

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        I may be wrong, but I believe that even the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch gets its Holy Chrism from Constantinople as a sign of Orthodox unity. The Antiochian Archdiocese elects its own local Bishops and sends a list of three nominees for Metropolitan, when the time comes, which I pray will not be for a very long time.

      • anonymus per Scorilo says

        I do not detect any EP “heavy handed” intrusion.

        Here it is:

        As you can see on page 3 and 4 of the official Exarchate newsletter, more than 40% of the assembly voted in protest against what the Sacred Synod did. If deleting two of the three candidates is not heavy-handed, I do not know what is.

        The work of the General Assembly recommenced at about
        2.45 pm with a general report by His Eminence metropolitan
        Emmanuel and the report of the Archdiocesan Administration
        by Michel Sollogub, secretary of the Archdiocesan Council.
        During the afternoon the Assembly was informed of the response
        of the Holy Synod, which contained the names of candidates
        which was different from that submitted by the Council: it
        consisted of the names of archimandrite
        Job (Getcha) and those of archimandrite
        Vissarion (Komzias) and hieromonk Mihail
        (Anischenko), both clergy of the Ecumenical
        Patriarchate, accompanied by their CVs.
        After a long debate, during which all those
        who wished to could speak about the new
        situation which had arisen, a vote was taken
        to decide on whether the conditions for
        the election of a new Archbishop were or
        were not favourable. The results of this
        ballot were as follows: 113 in favour and
        79 against and one spoilt paper. On the
        basis of this result the meeting proceeded
        with the vote for the new Archbishop. In
        the first round of the poll (191 total ballot
        papers, 40 spoilt or empty, 151 valid ballot
        papers) father Job received 109 votes (more
        than the two thirds majority of the valid
        votes required to be designated at the first
        round). Father Vissarion received 33 votes
        and father Mihail 9. Father Job had thereby
        received a sufficient number of votes as
        required by the Statutes

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Good to know. Now what is the other side of the story? Again. You have your version. Lets have the other and lets compare facts and versions and then I and others can make a decision.


          • Anonymus per Scorilo says

            I do not have any version or sides of the story.
            I only have facts and numbers reported in the official Exarchate newsletter.

            You are free to interpret the data in any way you want, and to look for any deeper explanations you may find. However the facts are clear:

            A. Two out of three proposed candidates thrown out.
            B. 40% of the delegates opposed to continuing given the circumstances
            C. Crisis barely avoided

            If this is the way Constantinople intends to administer other dioceses in the diaspora in the future, I have a hard time seeing why anybody would want to get under them.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              But Why? Facts and figures don’t tell us why. I need others to tell me why. Then we can make an assessment of the situation. Very Rarely in life are things as simple as you make them out. Please try again. Try harder.

              would this have somethings to do with it?

              I don’t know. little old me has no clue so somebody can tell me. Russians and Greeks jockeying and hating each other. Oh my!


              • Anonymus per Scorilo says

                Here is an explanation of what happened – the English translation is in the third post in the site


                the Greek one is at


                and the Russian one is at


                As you can see from the signature list, those are some of the most well-respected figures among the Orthodox in Western Europe.

                It is hard to believe anybody sane would willingly get under Constantinople after such an episode.


                Paris, 4 December 2013
                To His All-Holiness Bartholomew,
                Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
                and to their Eminences
                the Members of the Holy Synod
                Phanar – Istanbul. Turkey

                Your All-Holiness,
                Your Eminences,

                It is with sorrow that we are writing concerning the controversial succession of our beloved late Archbishop Gabriel of Comana . We are confident of the evangelical tenderness that you will show to us.

                Without questioning the election of Archbishop Job of Telmessos , which you made on November 2, 2013, we wish to make you aware of the turmoil caused by the circumstances of the election. Indeed, we have no choice but to submit to your decision, since the current situation of the Orthodox Church gives you absolute power of decision over our canonical status. In fidelity to the truth and for the honour of our children who will inherit this situation, we do not wish our pain to be buried in silence.

                For almost a hundred years, our Archdiocese has been rooted in Western Europe. It is the oldest Orthodox Church entity here. Together with the other local Orthodox dioceses founded after it, the Archdiocese continues the witness of Christ that the holy Apostles passed on to the Church. Since 1931, we have had the privilege of belonging to the bosom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose coordinating role throughout the Orthodox Church we recognize.

                In our Archdiocese, steeped in tears and blood following the exile of hundreds of thousands of Russians driven out by the Bolsheviks, the culture of dialogue has always been a fundamental and vital element. This culture of exchange and sharing between pastors, who are responsible for the Church administration, and lay leaders, who are co-responsible for the Church administration, is our greatest asset. We have been educated in the belief that, in the Church, no one is in a passive position and no one can be overlooked, however small.

                Our Archdiocese has always conceived of its unity in a threefold manner: gathered around its ruling Archbishop, in the concelebration of the Eucharist and in the clerical-lay conciliar experience. This is one of the elements of the legacy of faith which our fathers handed down to the Church, especially following the local council of Moscow of 1917 – 1918. As we again were recently reminded by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France at the Diocesan Assembly on November 1, 2013, it is certainly true that the Church was not established in 1917, but it is no less true that the experience of conciliarity and life in communion pre-dates 1917; the faith of the apostles, recounted in the Acts and proclaimed throughout the New Testament and the history of the Church, never excludes the people of the Church from debating and decision-making in the community.

                Thus, in 1848, some seventy years before the unfinished Council of Moscow, our fathers in the faith declared that “here, the guardian of the faith is the body of the Church, that is, say the people themselves” (encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs). It is in this awareness of the Church communion that our Archdiocese has been structured throughout the twentieth century, providing other Orthodox Christians in Western Europe, a true testimony to our Orthodox brothers and sisters in other Churches and the contemporary world, starved of integrity and transparency. We therefore believe that catholicity is not an optional feature of the ecclesial body, but a constituent aspect of the catholicity of the Body of Christ.

                We believe that this threefold reciprocal unity around the bishop, unity in the concelebration of the Eucharist and unity in the clerical-lay conciliar decision making that have served well the spiritual fruitfulness of our Archdiocese, during its century of existence in Western Europe whose culture it has embraced and which now, within a plurality of cultures, has its own land and no longer a land of exile.

                Our Archdiocese has been fruitful and, we hope, will continue to bring forth fruit from the seed of grace entrusted by the Lord. Our pastors and theologians, especially through what is now referred to as the “Paris School” whose centre was the Saint Sergius Theological Institute, were able to give a new impetus to the life of our communities, by concentrating on the Eucharist and conciliarity as experienced in all aspects of ecclesial life. At all levels of the life of our Archdiocese, pastors (Archbishop, bishops, priests) are in constant dialogue with the rest of the people of God. The clerical and lay parish authorities (parish meeting, parish council) and diocesan (diocesan meetings, Archdiocesan Council) provide critical and constructive participation of the people of God with its Pastors.

                We recognize that, to date, not all the Orthodox share this regular and organic conciliar experience in their ecclesial administration. But it remains true that this form of Church life is authentically Orthodox and will probably spread throughout the world, because it has been shown that it helps to mitigate both clerical and lay errors. Clericalism and secularism are, we believe, two sides of the same coin: a strict verticality which excludes pastors from dialogue with the rest of the people and an outrageous horizontalism which excludes pastors from participation in the governance of the Church. Conciliarity is neither a matter of the dialectic of power or the absence of dialogue between the various parts of the ecclesial body, but the communion of all , in love and truth.

                Since 1931, although in different forms, we have had the privilege of depending on the Ecumenical Throne, the only Church willing to guarantee the universality of Orthodoxy, while respecting the specifics of each community, and to promote dialogue between Orthodox and Christians. We believe that when it is put to the test one can tell if our distinctiveness is respected.

                The Ecumenical Patriarchate has guaranteed the protection of our Archdiocese, so that it may continue its witness and growth in the world. We understand that this protection, in particular, is a protection against foreign incursion. Today, we are forced to admit that the threat to our freedom and our uniqueness came from within the Patriarchate.

                In fact, you have known for months the identity of the three archimandrites, whom our parishes, in an open and responsible manner, had proposed to become candidates for archbishop. There have been many occasions when we received confirmation – always oral course, this is what we have lost – that subject to the revision of the statutes, all three met the eligibility criteria for the Episcopal service. In August 2013, during the working session granted to several representatives of our Archdiocese by the Synodal Commission for inter-Orthodox relations, chaired by Metropolitan John of Pergamon , the discussion focused solely on the canonical basis for the procedure that had to be respected. The two substantive issues – revision of the statutes and presentation of the list of candidates as chosen by the Council of the Archdiocese, chaired by Metropolitan Emmanuel – appeared to be resolved.

                The same assurance was expressed by several friends outside of the Archdiocese, who had opportunities to contact you. So you will understand why your decision of 1 November 2013 to dismiss two of the three initial candidates shocked us deeply both in substance and in manner.

                By the manner, as we are still shaken from having to wait long hours at the meeting of November 1, 2013, to receive a decision which you had suggested would be quick and straightforward, and we imagine that it was not improvised at the last minute. As our delegation at the meeting on 27 August 2013, you were notified in advance of two hundred parish delegates from all over Europe gathered since the previous evening, and waiting your decision: we were first confident, then, as the hours passed, we realized that we had been trapped on receiving your decision a few hours before the end of the Assembly. We do not represent ourselves in this assembly, but communities that had sent us with their confidence and blessing. As individuals, but also as communities, we found that we had been humiliated, forced to adopt a false humility. How could we not think that the substitution of two strangers for those candidates whose names we knew, was to force us to vote by a majority for the only known remaining candidate?

                There was a big misunderstanding about the freedom of which you assured us. From January 2013, when he took office as Locum Tenens, acting under your responsibility, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France said: “My presence and my office until the election of a new pastor consists primarily to reassure, to encourage. (…) I am with you and I remain with you to support the election process of the person you choose as the new pastor”(Homily for the Theophany at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris, January 19 2013).

                From this statement, we were all convinced that His Eminence Emmanuel would observe a certain neutrality in the process of election of the successor to Archbishop Gabriel. In March 2013, facing the risk that the General Assembly would be presented with a list containing only one name for the nomination for archbishop – since, only Archimandrite Symeon (Cossec) fulfilled the formal statutory requirements to be declared eligible by the Patriarchate – Metropolitan Emmanuel, Locum Tenens, said:

                “My presence among you today is to pacify and reassure you. The history of the Exarchate is rich and complex. It was formed in an effort to resist totalitarianism and preserve a spiritual tradition made of faith, piety and intelligence. Therefore, I perfectly understand your concerns when from the communiqué reporting the meeting of the Council of the Archdiocese of March 6, 2013 you learn that the next general meeting will not be dealing with the election of your new Archbishop.

                To restore a semblance of truth within the hubbub, especially on the Internet, caused by such a decision, it falls to me to explain why. Indeed, at the meeting of the Archdiocesan Council of 13 February 2013, a list of three candidates was actually established, without a perfect consensus among Council members. In my soul and conscience and respectful of the statutes in force in the Exarchate, I was not able to sign the list of candidates in the state. Also, my office of Locum Tenens, which above all is the organization of the elections of the new Archbishop, forced me to ensure that these elections are perfectly transparent, unassailably legal and canonical, in order to best preserve the integrity of your archdiocese. In my view, the conditions for such integrity were not met” (homily of Metropolitan Emmanuel, Sunday, March 17, 2013 )

                How is one to understand that the Locum Tenens, in his mission of neutrality, did not in November, act as he had done in March, that is to disagree, from his position of authority, with elections based on a list that was not unanimously agreed by the Archdiocesan Council and no more than in March guarantee the integrity of the Archdiocese?

                Basically, we were also deeply troubled by your decision. We do not want you to misunderstand: arriving at the Meeting of November 1, 2013, some of us had, in our hearts, decided to give their vote to Archimandrite Job (Getcha) and we continue to believe that he is a pastor capable of taking on a heavy episcopal office, but we all believe – whether voters for Archimandrite Job (Getcha) or not – our new Archbishop deserved to be elected in a dignified manner, and not to hold a mock election by a diocesan Assembly hostage to an imposed time limit, or under threat of exclusion from the communion of the Church and the victim of a flagrant breach of trust. Finally, we dare to say that we believe that we have not only suffered an injustice, but also have caused distress to all three Archimandrites worthy of the Church of Christ: Fathers Gregory (Papathomas), Job (Getcha) and Symeon (Cossec). We continue to think, all three had the qualifications to be recognized, at least, as eligible for the episcopal office. The Holy Synod could have, we cannot repeat it enough, recognized their virtues, but elected the candidate of their choice, deliberately not following the proposal of our Diocesan Assembly.

                Today Archimandrite Job (Getcha), elected Archbishop of Telmessos will have to start establishing his pastoral legitimacy, which some elements will surely contest. Meanwhile, Archimandrites Gregory (Papathomas) and Symeon (Cossec), both venerable pastors and theologians, are now, having been declared ineligible by canonical authority are found to be subject to stigma with no recourse in the orthodox Church.

                If any civil authority had arbitrarily removed the names of two out of three candidates, as the Prefect of the Turkish Province of Istanbul does in patriarchal elections, we would have been rightfully outraged, but less bitter. However, we do not understand how such a striking off of two names could be done by an ecclesial authority.

                We hold fast to and will preserve the identity and territorial integrity of our Archdiocese. More than ever, through our indignation, we are conscious of our community, despite the different countries we come from, notwithstanding the plurality of generations and cultures that we represent. We believe the future of Orthodoxy lies in transparency and dialogue, in sincerity and in faithfulness to the Gospel.

                It is with profound humility and childlike audacity that we ask you to send us some word of consolation, in response to the anguish that grips us today, so we can start again with more confidence the process of reconstruction of our shaken ecclesial conscience. If you deign to grant us a fraternal and paternal word of the Lord, we believe it is possible to heal the open wound and regain that communion of love that bound us, until the episode of fatal memory on November 1, 2013.

                Assuring you of our prayers for yourselves and for the faithful entrusted to your pastoral care, please accept, Your All Holiness, Your Eminences, the expression of our faithful respect.

                Aidan Cahill (Exeter),
                Alain Le Yavanc (Saint-Raphaël),
                Prêtre Alban Plant (Exeter),
                Alexandre Victoroff (Conseil de l’Archevêché),
                Alexis Obolensky (Nice),
                Archiprêtre André Fortounatto (Lyon et Vichy),
                Prêtre André Jacquemot (Metz),
                Archiprêtre André Krementzoff (Saint-Prix et Troyes),
                Anna Worontzoff (Florence),
                Anne-Marie Gueit (Marseille),
                Arent-Johannes Van Sminia (Deventer),
                Barbara Vaux (Lyon),
                Basile Breslavtsev (Paris),
                Béatrice Lumeau (Nantes),
                Prêtre Benedikt Pohjanen (Överkalix),
                Protopresbytre du Trône oecuménique Boris Bobrinskoy (Paris),
                Catherine Makarov (Paris),
                Catherine Turini (Lyon),
                Celia Olsson (Exeter),
                Prêtre Christophe D’Aloisio (Bruxelles),
                Prêtre Christopher Knight (Walsingham),
                Diacre Claude Le Gouadec (Marseille),
                Cyrille Sollogoub (Acer-MJO),
                Prêtre Daniel Cabagnols (Sainte Geneviève des Bois),
                Daniel Lossky (Bruxelles),
                Daniel Struve (Paris),
                Didier Vilanova (Paris),
                Higoumène Emilijan (Mrdja) (Copenhague),
                Moniale Geneviève (Monastère Saint-Silouane),
                Georges Troubnikoff (Paris),
                Gunilla Mattsson Willis (Londres),
                Hélène Fortounatto (Vichy),
                Diacre Henri Couloumies (Montauban),
                Ian Randall (Walsingham),
                Archiprêtre Igor Koritskiy (Nice),
                Inger Brigitte Bjerg (Copenhague),
                Ionel Nicu Radu (Stavanger),
                Diacre Irakli Tsakadze (Copenhague),
                Irène Mojaïsky-Efstathiou (Paris),
                Jacqueline André (Bruxelles),
                Prêtre Jean Catteloin (Clairefontaine),
                Protopresbytre du Trône oecuménique Jean Gueit (Marseille et Nice),
                Higoumène Jean (Vesel) (Montauban),
                Jean Kovalevsky (Antibes),
                Archiprêtre Jean Roberti (Rennes),
                Jean-Claude Polet (Bruxelles),
                Prêtre Johan Visser (Kollumerpomp),
                Archimandrite Johannes (Johansen) (Oslo),
                Joseph Abinader (Poitiers),
                Josianne Sophie Keller (Lyon),
                Katia Péridy-Zaroudneff (Nantes),
                Kelsey Cheshire (Londres),
                Kica Kolbe (Düsseldorf),
                Diacre Lazarus Kold Christensen (Copenhague),
                Lydia Obolensky D’Aloisio (Conseil de l’Archevêché),
                Marguerite Fortounatto (Vichy),
                Marina Kolessnikow (Nice),
                Moniale Marthe (Maastricht),
                Matthieu Sollogoub (Meudon),
                Archiprêtre Michel Evdokimov (Châtenay-Malabry),
                Archiprêtre Michel Fortounatto (Vichy),
                Mikhail Lossky (Exeter),
                Nadia Fracchia (San Remo),
                Nicolas Mojaïsky (Paris),
                Nikita Struve (Conseil de l’Archevêché),
                Prêtre Nikolaas Lucassen (Kollumerpomp),
                Archiprêtre Paul Sebbelov (Copenhague),
                Protodiacre Peter Scorer (Exeter),
                Archiprêtre Peter Sonntag (Düsseldorf),
                Prêtre Pierre Argouet (Colombelles),
                Pierre Pochitaloff (Marseille),
                Pierre Rosniansky (Bruxelles),
                Pierre-André Niess (Saint-Prix),
                Prêtre René Boulet (Orléans),
                Archiprêtre René Dorenlot (Paris),
                Prêtre René Fouilleul (Montpellier),
                Diacre Richard Vaux (Lyon),
                Roberto Nobile (San Remo),
                Hiérodiacre Serafim (Sørensen) (Oslo),
                Hiéromoine Serge (Vaes) (Digne),
                Serge Maraite (Liège),
                Moine Silouane (Monastère Saint-Silouane),
                Tatiana Chirinsky Abolin (Nice),
                Archiprêtre Théodore van der Voort (Deventer),
                Valérie Letombe (Paris),
                Archiprêtre Vladislav Trembovelski (Paris),
                Vsevolode Gousseff (Paris),
                Prêtre Willibrord van Ulft (Deventer),
                Wladimir Fortounatto (Vichy),
                Zoé Obolensky (Nice),
                délégués et suppléants aux Assemblées de l’Archevêché du 30/03/2013 et des 31/10 et 01/11/2013.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  If this letter that you sent me is authentic, and I have no reason to believe that it is not, then I understanding completely why the EP did what he did. Now I am not sayings its right, per se, but its right for the institution of the EP. In fact, any Patriarch would have done the same thing,

                  I suggest you go back and read this letter more carefully because the reasons why the EP did what he did are CLEARLY stated in the letter.

                  in fact, I suggest you go back and read the Letter that Sts. Peter and Paul sent to Metropolitan Iakovos and in reading that letter you will find MANY similarities and why the Parish Council president was removed. Read carefully. The answer is staring you in the face.


    • Al Jizzara says

      Elia Dudko,

      Very nice affirmation of your new bishop, however, complete Hellenization of American Orthodoxy is a problem and non-canonical. To begin, when the Carpatho-Russians went under Istanbul, it was only because that the Metropolia was still in limbo. Although the ROC told it’s diocese to rule themselves until the chaos settled and the Metropolia did. The families in the Carpatho-Russian diocese and the Metropolia were the same. Fr. Orestes took his former Uniate parishes under the Greeks as a canonical surety at the time. In fact, movement of priests between the Metropolia and the Carps was normal in the 40’s & 50’s. The Carpatho-Russian diocese has been seriously contracting since 1970. Today, it is a mere shadow of itself much like ROCOR. With the death of Bp. Nicholas, the Carps could have found an acceptable bishop candidate of Carpatho-Russian ancestry, but the Carps also needed an infusion of $$$. The Greeks offered this. So, the Carps sold their souls to the Greeks.

      The real problem with all of this is not that the Greeks leave the Carps alone to be autonomous; the problem is that it is non-canonical. Foreign bishops have no authority outside their own territory. The creation of an Eastern Pope (+ Bart) is not canonical. The Orthodox people of North America must have their own autocephalous church according to canon law. NOT AUTONOMOUS, but autocephalic.

      • George Michalopulos says

        The problem as I see it (and has been confirmed to me by men very close to the Episcopal Assembly process) is not that Istanbul doesn’t affirm the cultures of its various ethnic eparchies but that the 79th St/Leadership 100 ruling class of the GOA has no time nor inclination to be as affirming as Istanbul is. What is happening right now in the EA is the GOA bishops have retrenched and are not conceding one inch to the other jurisdictions. Even those jurisdictions which have older diocesan seats (and presences) in North America.

        They are far more rigid and culture-worshiping than the Phanar (believe it or not).

        Why? The reason is twofold: one because of traditional Orthodox phyletism and two, because none of the other jurisdictions are ponying up any money. It’s all Archons/Leadership 100. This leads to a country-club mentality in which the country-clubbers look down on the non-GOA jurisdictions. In their eyes, they are more than justified in doing so.

        There are other reasons as well: nobody in their right mind wants a piece of whatever the OCA has got anymore. The glory days of Schemann and Meyendorff and Florovsky are kaput. Even Hopko is nothing but a shadow of himself. Mark my words: what Syosset did to Jonah is going to have long-lasting repurcussions in so many different ways. And now they are compounding that error by creating a supremely powerful Chancellor who is aided and abetted by a Sex Czarina. The terror that this will instill in the priesthood will have a demoralizing effect on evangelism.

        • Al Jizzara says


          You say, “Mark my words: what Syosset did to Jonah is going to have long-lasting repurcussions in so many different ways.”

          + Jonah is over. No one in the OCA really cares except for some people here. If + Jonah did nothing, he would have been a hero, but he insisted on acting unilaterally. The OCA is going no where and it certainly is not in the “bad shape” as you wish to paint here. The GOA is still extremely phyletistic and filled with hubris are those representing the ROC. ROCOR is living in some unreal world and the Antiochians are re-trenching due to the tragedy of Syria. The OCA remains the ONLY real hope for Orthodoxy in America. With the most well-educated Orthodox theologically trained priests and strong missionary activity, the OCA is not declining or disappearing like the Carps nor ROCOR. SURPRISE; the GOA has lost so many of their youth, they are looking at closing many churches within 10 years.

        • Al Jizzara says


          You say, “Mark my words: what Syosset did to Jonah is going to have long-lasting repurcussions in so many different ways.”

          + Jonah is over. No one in the OCA really cares except for some people here. If + Jonah did nothing, he would have been a hero, but he insisted on acting unilaterally. The OCA is going no where and it certainly is not in the “bad shape” as you wish to paint here. The GOA is still extremely phyletistic and filled with hubris are those representing the ROC. ROCOR is living in some unreal world and the Antiochians are re-trenching due to the tragedy of Syria. The OCA remains the ONLY real hope for Orthodoxy in America. With the most well-educated Orthodox theologically trained priests and strong missionary activity, the OCA is not declining or disappearing like the Carps nor ROCOR. SURPRISE; the GOA has lost so many of their youth, they are looking at closing many churches within 10 years.

          • The OCA remains the ONLY real hope for Orthodoxy in America. With the most well-educated Orthodox theologically trained priests and strong missionary activity, the OCA is not declining or disappearing

            Al Jiz, what the heck are you smoking? What universe are you living in? The OCA is a non-player on the Orthodox scene in America. It is a total non-entity already in Canada. A well-educated clergy has not done much to stem the tide that the OCA is declining in membership. The annual membership numbers given to Syosset don’t lie. They are slipping under the 20,000 financially supporting membership level. 20,000 wouldn’t even fill Fenway Park, the smallest ballpark in baseball.

            And where do you get the idea that the “GOA has lost so many of its youth that it is going to close many churches within 10 years.” Would you please share your resource information or are you making this stuff up, like the bashing of the Carps or ROCOR.

            No, the OCA is not the only hope for Orthodoxy in America. They made the decision to pursue financial purity at the expense of severing all meaningful inter-Orthodox contacts here and around the world. The OCA is of little significance today and no one gives a hoot what the OCA does any longer. There was a time when the OCA was consulted on Orthodox matters domestic and internationally, but those days are over. Heck, they can’t even produce a newspaper. The puny Carps produce one in full color every month!

            So enjoy what you are smoking, live in your dream world, but the facts don’t lie. The OCA is dying and nothing has changed in the past two years when Melanie Ringa, the OCA Treasurer said that if the membership decline continues (which it is) the OCA will cease to be viable in 10 years, make that 7 years now.

            • James:

              I see, if you have a full-color newspaper serving maybe 3,000 people every month you are a successful Orthodox entity? Get real James. Ms. Ringa’s comments were real based on $$$ coming into the OCA after the RSK scandal. No one in the OCA realized how severe the RSK scandal would effect the OCA – it has. Now, the OCA is rebuilding financially and it will do fine. More & more converts are coming into the OCA; the Greeks are losing youth big time and the Antiochians are re-trenching due to Syria. So, I think I’m living in reality while I’m sure you are believing the disinformation being spread here and on some other forums by Synodal nutz. Get out and travel and see what’s REALLY happening in Orthodoxy in America.

              • Al Jiz,

                Sorry, the paper goes out to over 10K people every month. Again, you are wrong. As for your conclusion that the RSK scandal is why the OCA is in deep kimshi, are you really going to trot out that dead horse?

                Stokoe closed the door on that episode years ago and Ringa’s numbers were quoted years after the RSK era. You are just not dealing with reality. As for converts coming to the OCA, can you then explain the plummeting membership numbers the OCA is still dealing with? If it wasn’t for a few estates that came to the OCA, gifts that were in the pipeline during the RSK era, the OCA bottom line would be even worse than it is.

                It is one thing to be an OCA shill fan, but quite another to just make things up as you are doing. Get your facts and history straight before posting things that are simply laughable. You are not making the OCA look any better if you are going to write fiction in an attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            We are not retrenching. We are concerned about Syria as all Orthodox Christian should be. We Americans have a special responsibility because our government has been supporting the rebels who are allied with radical Islamists who are actively persecuting Syrian Christians. Apparently, our current administration could care less if the Christians are driven out of the Middle East.
            It saddens me to read a statement like that. Attitudes like the one expressed in the post only hinders the effort to work towards Orthodox unity in North America.

            • Fr. Morris,

              The Obama Admin cares about is going on in Syria. Remember, early on, the U.S. & U.N. wanted to intercede in Syria, but were stopped by Russia. So, Russia is protecting Assad and is supposed to be protecting the Christians. Have you seen Russia help the Christians? NO. Have you seen Putin stop the Muslim radicals from killing Christians in Syria? NO. So you see, the destruction in Syria lies at the feet of Assad and Putin. The U.S. wants to intercede, but has been halted at every turn.

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                Putin has at least spoken in defense of the Syrian Christians which is more than Obama has done.

          • Al Jizzara needs to lay off the crack pipe. ROCOR is growing all over the world. As far as living in “some unreal world”, the truth is, we are trying to live in an Orthodox world, something Mr Al Jizarra obviously knows nothing about. Normally I wouldn’t bother to even respond to such an obvious Metropolia shill, but his hash pipe dreams are getting tiresome. Look at the ROCOR missions popping up all over the place. Look at the parishes that have fled the OCA to ROCOR. Did you know that there are now 4 ROCOR parishes in Pittsburgh, the former American Metropolia Holy Land? At the same time, the OCA is slipping into oblivion. Compare the 2 cathedrals in Washington DC.
            Does the OCA have anything to compare to the Media Office of the ROCOR Eastern American Diocese?
            What great saints has the OCA produced? Anything like St John of Shanghai and San Francisco? Metropolitan +Leonty is rolling over in his grave to see what a travesty the OCA has become. What’s a shame is that under Metropolitan Jonah, there was a willingness of the OCA and ROCOR to work together as Orthodox brothers. Met Jonah’s forgiveness speech at the Cathedral in Mayfield Pa opened the door to pooling our resources. DOn’t see much happening now.
            The only hope for the OCA is to be once more reabsorbed back into ROCOR along with the Patriarchal parishes in this country. Otherwise, it will just slip further into a meaningless shadow of it’s former self.

            • Engaged observer says


              Thanks for the breath of fresh air. Al Jizzara must believe the oft-quoted maxim, “if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth” (originally attributed to Joseph Goebbels, of all people). The full quote is, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Indeed, I wonder if Al Jizzara works for the Obama White House?

              Yes, ROCOR is growing and is alive and well. Our ROCOR mission parish is English-speaking and is thriving. If you look at the ROCOR Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America alone, more than half of the clergy are “convert” clergy and most of the parishes are mission parishes. ROCOR missions are indeed popping up all over the place.

              The OCA has had many wonderful leaders in the past (Met. Leonty of blessed memory among them), but it suffers from such a severe leadership problem these days that I’m not sure it will recover.

              I was in the OCA for a long, long time but you have to admit, the OCA’s history is a bit perplexing, if not even outright amazing: the Metropolia initially separated from Moscow, then joined the ROCOR, then separated from the ROCOR, then rejoined the ROCOR, then separated from the ROCOR again, and then eventually received canonical approval in 1970 from the church in Communist Russia, then reconciled with the ROCOR in 2007 indirectly via Moscow’s and ROCOR’s act of canonical communion! Where are the film and TV producers — this would be a wonderful series for the History Channel!

            • Alexandr,

              “The only hope for the OCA is to be once more reabsorbed back into ROCOR along with the Patriarchal parishes in this country. Otherwise, it will just slip further into a meaningless shadow of it’s former self.”

              You don’t get it, but I understand that; you’re a Russophile. Again, FOREIGN BISHOPS HAVE NO AUTHORITY OUTSIDE THEIR OWN TERRITORY – Orthodox Canon Law. This is why the situation in N. Am. is non-canonical. The answer for the Amer. Church is not to put itself under ANY foreign bishop. This is why the Ep. Ass. is totally wrong. This is why every “territory” MUST have a local, autocephalous Orthodox Church where ALL the Orthodox are members. The OCA will not be going under Moscow, Istanbul nor any other foreign bishop. A non-canonical situation cannot be corrected by another non-canonical situation. GET IT? Put your pipe down.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          As a 65-year-old lifelong Presbyterian, now a catechumen at the local Greek Orthodox Church, I see the merit in having a hierarch in Geneva or Edinburgh!

          Just think: no ethnic axe-grinding, no ancient hatreds or resentments, no history of centuries of oppression and insularity, no chips on the shoulder about Western civilization, no urge for Christian monarchies or Most Orthodox majesties!

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Michalopulos,

          To read your final paragraph, on this feast of St. Nicholas, Defender of the Orthodox Faith, and anticipating the Glorious Nativity of our Lord, I am at once heartbroken by the emptiness of your words, and offended at the shallowness of your lack of insight. The day you have completed a systematic study of Orthodox Theology; when you are actually qualified to speak to anyone of the nature of the “glory days” of the fathers of our generation – as if there is a “time limit” or expiration date to their vision or inspiration; and when your “prophecy” is founded in true evangelism – “And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 11:21) – and not the scurrilous gossip in which you seemingly revel is the day will you be anything more than a rude footnote to the experiment that was Mark Stokoe’s website. And to say “nobody in their right mind wants a piece of whatever the OCA has got anymore” is to say that those faithful clergy, anointed by the Lord Himself – “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (Jn. 15:16) – is to foolishly disparage those who guide as the Master in His own house, and those who are guided in their salvation. Such an insult is the epitome of cynicism and unearned, vulgar projection of your own lack of courage.

          There is only one thing any “uber-autocephalists in the OCA” need concern themselves over, Mr. Michalopulos, and that is faithfulness; in the words of King David, “The Lord will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, (2 Sam 26:23), and the Lord Himself, “”His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matt. 25:23) Forty years is nothing in the life of a local church. Mark my words, Mr. Michalopulos, nothing edifying or positive ever comes of conjecture and cynicism in the church. Nothing. Ever.

      • Al Jizzara,

        Your scandalous assertion that the Greeks gave our Diocese money to nominate a Greek is not true. And the truth of the matter is that our Diocese has no financial difficulties, before, during and after the consecration of our new Bishop. You may have your opinions about how the Church in America should be governed but you do not have the right to assert about our Diocese that not true. I will leave it at that.

        • Al Jizzara says

          The fact remains, the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese has been seriously shrinking like ROCOR. It made good sense for Fr. Orestes to take the Uniate parishes into Orthodoxy under the Greeks. Yet, the peoples of ACROD and the Metropolia were the same. Today, it makes no sense for ACROD to be under the Greeks; esp. since the Greeks have imposed a Greek bishop upon them. Very silly to allow the Greeks to do this and smile while your %#$@%&. The OCA is no longer dominated by a high-Russian hierarchy as it was in 1938. Logically, the Carps should have joined the OCA. Now, with a Greek bishop, the Carps will continue to shrink and possibly disappear. Foolish Carps. 10 years from now, there will be no ACROD. There will be no ROCOR. The Greeks will have shrunk by 50% and the Antiochians will be an immigrant church again. The OCA will continue as the dominant church of converts with well-educated priests and bishops and GROWTH with many, many Anglicans joining.

          • Al Jiz,

            Your take on history is pure OCA revisionism and your faulty conclusion that because the Carpatho-Russians have a bishop of Greek decent they are going to shrink only makes sense if you are trying to “dis” others in a feeble attempt to try and make the OCA look more legit.

            I also found your logic inconsistent when you tried to bring up RSK as a lingering reason for the demise of the OCA but you were quick to say that +Jonah is of no impact on the OCA. Really? Again, that is classic OCA revisionism.

            You speak as if only the OCA is attracting converts as if they are the only ones who are sowing missionary seeds here. That is complete baloney and you know it. Because of my work I am able to visit many different Orthodox communities around the country and try to go to the nearest Church if I am out of town on a Sunday. That includes every Orthodox jurisdiction represented at the E.A. and I can tell you first-hand that there are converts in every community, especially in ROCOR parishes but not to the exclusion of the others, including OCA. But to try and present a picture that it is only the OCA on the forefront of attracting converts to the Faith is ludicrous. You also pronounce that because the OCA has well-educated clergy that it will dominate as if the Greeks and the ACROD don’t have well-educated clergy? If you are going to try and compare the curriculum vitas of OCA bishops to, shall we say Greek bishops, I think you will find that outside of Bishop Golitzen, the OCA bishops are not nearly as well-educated as bishops of the E.P. or for that matter bishops of the ROC.

            Your doomsday predictions about everyone but the OCA just doesn’t pass any realistic measure of credibility, Time for you to beat a different drum cuz the OCA one is worn out.

            • James,

              We’ll see. In the words of your lord. + Jonah, “ROCOR has nothing. This is why we need to join them.” ROCOR is only a vehicle for the MP now bringing in Russian immigrants; not the American church. The Carps are dying and the Greeks will not be able to stop this. The OCA would have been able to help them, but not now. The Greeks still think they are the only Orthodox and the Antiochians remain in their little bubble with tremendous immigration coming. So where is the AMERICAN CHURCH? Not with ROCOR; not with the MP; not with the hubris of the Greeks; not with the Arabs – only with the OCA. Talk to you in 10 years.

            • Al Jizzara and James,

              I am not posting here to make another Orthodox jurisdiction look bad. I don’t have any reason to do so as a member of the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese in the USA. We are who we are and we have been true to our calling since 1938. No Orthodox jurisdiction has got it all right nor have then got it all wrong, we are imperfect human beings and we all fall short of the glory of God.

              It seems apparent that Al Jizzara is adamant in his belief of the mission of the Orthodox Church in America and it also seems equally apparent that James does not think that the mission of the OCA has met its historic vocation. There are some here who have faith in the leaders who lead them and others who do not, specifically, or in general trust their episcopal leaders. I don’t want to speak to those who are not called to lead me spiritually and have tried here to speak to that which I know, that which I experience in my own diocese.

              I do not know how the attempt to resolve the issues facing the witness of the Orthodox Church here in the USA but I am of the predisposition to hope and pray that our bishops will, step by step, continue to lay a foundation of faith that will promote a greater Orthodox witness tomorrow and for generations to come.

              I do take great exception to those who make sweeping assumptions and condemnations about my diocese as if they know it better than we who have grown up in this diocese and have given of ourselves what we can to advance its mission, the same mission that every Orthodox jurisdiction does here, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I see no good value to pit ourselves one against another. In the end, God will sift the chaff from the wheat. Thus, I choose to take the opportunity of the Episcopal Assembly here as chance to bring us closer together. We may fail, but our failure should not be complete nor seen as a total defeat if there was some good, some progress, some greater understanding and cooperation as a result. It may succeed and it may do so in a way or ways that we never envisioned. Simply said, I, for one, will not attempt to stifle the workings of God in the Holy Spirit.

              I am now going to retire from posting here because I don’t wish it to be misinterpreted as anything buy my best attempt to provide an insight and more information about my diocese.

              Thank you Mr. Michalopulos for the opportunity through your website to speak my mind, hopefully from my heart. May you all have a blessed Nativity on December 25/January 7.

      • Dear Sir,

        The Greeks have never given the Carpatho-Russians money, actually the Carpatho-Russians have to pay the “Patriarchal Pence” once a year. I have heard only two complaints from within the Capatho-Russian diocese and one is that Bp. Gregory has yet to serve a full hierarchical liturgy with dikiri and trikiri. The second is he Hellenized his first Pascha Matins at the Johnstown Cathedral. I tried watching the service but none was there for Pascha Matins so this is probably true. If these are his only two complaints the man is doing a fine job. Give him time and he will be a hunkie liturgically. I already heard he loves perohi, kolachi, and halupki immensely!

  17. Obama's Recent Speech and Webcast says

    On the economy and job creation. Talk begins at 25 minute mark with introductory comments

  18. Traditional Lifestyles says

    04 December 2013, 15:49
    Deputy Milonov proposes easing receipt of Russian citizenship for “spiritually insulted” Europeans
    St. Petersburg, December 4, Interfax – Vitaly Milonov, the chairman of the St. Petersburg parliament’s legislation committee, has sent an appeal to the Russian Foreign Ministry and Federal Migration Service proposing a simplification of the procedure of obtaining Russian citizenship for Europeans, who have been insulted spiritually and culturally in their countries.

    A simplification of the procedure of granting a living permit and Russian citizenship to foreign citizens, whose right to live according to traditional cultural and spiritual values are being infringed upon by the authorities of the country they reside in, has been proposed, Milonov told Interfax on Wednesday.

    The right of families to live and bring up children in accordance with their traditional belief system and in the spirit of traditional family values is intentionally violated by many Western countries, Milonov said.


    Commentary: Patriarch Bartholomew has recently come out with a statement against homosexual marriage which mirrors the opiinion of the Russian Patriarch. But this immigration suggestion goes one steip further in trying to bolster a society with traditional attitudes toward marriage and family.

  19. Metropolitan Jonah’s father passed away..
    Services will be at Rinaldi Funeral Home in Silver Spring, and interment at Rock Creek Cemetery, at 10 a.m. Memorial meal at Met.Jonah’s house on Edmunds, after the burial.

  20. Metropolitan Jonah’s father, James Paffhausen, Sr,. has passed away in the Lord this afternoon

    He had taken a fall and broken his hip last week. Following surgery he was in a recovery program at a rehab facility. Services will be at the Rinaldi Funeral Home in Silver Spring, MD and interment at Rock Creek Cemetery on Friday, December 6, at 10 am. His daughter Laurie Paffhausen is buried in the same cemetery. He will be missed by many people in the Washington, D.C. area who came to know him. May he rest with the righteous and may his memory be eternal.

  21. You are right, Helga. Seems there are two locations in Silver Spring but you had the correct one. Thankfully, I got a ride. Otherwise I might have ended up at the wrong one this morning.