Seriously, Guys?

It is rich to see OCL Executive Director evoke the name of Metropolitan Philip Saliba, of blessed memory, to justify such a ludicrous position as wanting the CP to come here in July and pull a Ukraine!  Not sure how he thinks it would fly with Patriarch John and the other Local Churches since they universally condemned the CP’s actions in Ukraine.  There is crazy, and then there is c-r-a-z-y. 

Meanwhile, it is rumored His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis of the GOA, accompanied by Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos, will travel to Istanbul tomorrow.  Wonder if the CP is going to try to sell him on the idea and what the result might be.  We getting to the end game here, folks.  Grab your popcorn!  You just can’t buy this kind of entertainment.  We have sunk that low.    

Look, I was a member of the OCL for several years. These are the good guys. They have toiled tirelessly in the North American Vineyard of the Lord, trying to make things right. But they also know why Orthodoxy in America is in the shambles it is. And they’ve all known that since Ligonier. We’ve lost a generation since then. As for myself, I’ve been out of the OCL picture for quite a while now so I can’t say I know what’s going on behind the scenes, but seriously, I can’t imagine that they’ve been “turned” to the Phanar’s way of seeing things. Especially given how Patriarch Bartholomew’s crowning achievement in Ukraine has blown up in his face big-time.

Something just doesn’t seem to add up.

Anyway, you can read the OCL’s plea to Bartholomew for yourself.

On behalf of the OCL Board, we wish all of our Supporters and Friends a blessed and joyous Paschal season!


Musings of the Executive Director: The time for an autocephalous USA Orthodox Christian Church is NOW!

The Synaxis of Patriarchs in 2008 decided that the Orthodox Church in the USA is uncanonical.  How many more years can this situation fester?  The Synaxis developed an Assembly of Bishops of all the canonical bishops in the USA to address the issue.  They have been meeting for ten years and have reached an impasse.  It is now up to the Patriarchs to act either in a synodical conciliar meeting with the 14 Self-Ruling Patriarchs/Hierarchs, or if that cannot happen, the Ecumenical Patriarch needs to act as he did in  Ukraine.  On his visit to the USA in July 2019, he  can call the Assembly of Bishops together to establish timelines for a  canonical  Autocephalous Orthodox Christian Church in the USA.  In this way, he can surely demonstrate to the faithful that he is doing so: …because the time has surely come for us to move beyond words to actions. We know much better than what we actually do. We are called to put our theory and theology into policy and practice. We are called to move beyond what is “mine” and what is “yours” to what is “ours.” From now on, this is how we should conceive and conduct all of our ministries and resources, all of our departments and initiatives. Otherwise, we do not practice what we preach. It is really up to us to accept the challenge or to refuse the call.(Message of Patriarch Bartholomew to the Assembly of Bishops gathered in Dallas in 2014).  The time to move beyond words to actions in NOW!

See 40 years of calls for unity by various sources:    

  1. Metropolitan Philip’s 1979 Address to Faithful on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in Los Angeles, CA.
  2. Statement on Mission and Evangelism and Statement on the Church in North America with the signatures of the bishops  from Proceedings of the 1994 Conference of Orthodox Bishops Ligonier, PA.
  3. Orthodox Christian Laity: A Resolution for Autocephaly adopted on October 10, 1998 in Los Angeles, CA.

George Matsoukas 

OCL Executive Director



  1. About time you guys ran yr own show!!! ?. Show the carpet bangersw out!!

  2. Antiochene Son says

    They should have done this at a time when there was more mutual trust. That time has passed. Bartholomew used up all his remaining political capital in Ukraine, and it is a disaster. He is a lame duck.

  3. This call from Mr. Matsoukas for the Ecumenical Patriarch to create a USA Orthodox Christian Church is bizarre on so many levels!

    First, Mr. Matsoukas seems totally to misunderstand what the EP did (or actually, didn’t do) in Ukraine. Even assuming Patriarch Bartholomew had the authority (which he doesn’t) to reach into the canonical territory of one of the autocephalous Churches and carve out a new autocephalous Church, he didn’t do that. The so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” under “Metropolitan” Dumenko remains nothing more than a gaggle of defrocked and, in some cases, never-consecrated poseurs, while the canonical, autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onufry remains unaffected. But even if we concede the existence of Dumenko’s new “Church,” it’s anything but autocephalous: under the very terms of the tomos issued by Constantinople, the new body is totally subordinate to the EP, having far less independence than the canonical Church (which has not requested autocephaly) already has from Moscow.

    Second, why on God’s green earth would Patriarch Bartholomew ever want to have a truly autocephalous Orthodox Church in the US? Despite the manifest problems in the GOArch, the Greeks in the US and the other misnamed “Diaspora” communities in Australia, NZ, etc., are his primacy actual flock. He can’t give that up without in effect abolishing himself. There is no way he would ever agree to true autocephaly, so all we could expect is just a pretense of autocephaly while maintaining effective control, under the model of the Ukraine sleight of hand.

    Third, this would mean in effect (should the EP seek to act on OCL’s goofy recommendation) not the creation of a united, truly autocephalous “USA Orthodox Christian Church” on a par with other independent Churches but an attempt to frog-march the non-Greek jurisdictions under a renamed GOArch, meaning in turn their subordination to the EP. As George suggestions, Antioch would not take this naked assertion of “eastern papal” authority lying down, and neither would any of the other Patriarchates.

    One almost hopes Patriarch Bartholomew attempts something of the sort. It’s hard to think of anything that would be more effective in further shattering the extravagant pretenses displayed by the EP in Ukraine, which have only backfired and exposed the emptiness of the EP’s sweeping claims to the kind of worldwide authority that would make the most doctrinaire Ultramontane proponent of Rome’s supremacy blush.

    • Yes Bartholomaios is more ‘ultra montane’ than any traditional Latin rite Catholic.

  4. Eternally perplexed about this says

    You see this kind of thing often from faithful in the GOA — these “calls for an autocephalous American church.” (OCL is generally run by GOA faithful, as I understand it.)

    It seems to me what they really mean is a “call for an autocephalous American Greek Orthodox church.”

    I don’t want to rehash the arguments pro/con of the OCA’s autocephaly that was proclaimed in 1970 — all of us know there are a myriad of arguments both ways concerning the autocephaly of the OCA.

    But what I’ve never understood is why these GOA faithful **completely ignore the fact** that there is already a distinct Orthodox Church in the USA that many believe is autocephalous (and which calls itself autocephalous).

    Do they completely ignore the OCA because they don’t know about it? (I wouldn’t put it past many in the GOA to not know about any other Orthodox church besides the Greek one; the degree of knowledge about our faith, knowledge of the Scriptures, and degree of catechism in the GOA is generally appalling.)

    Say what you want about the OCA, but the fact is that the OCA has done so much to advance English-language Orthodoxy (as well as French-, Spanish-, and Native Alaskan-language Orthodoxy) in North America — far more than many other jurisdictions have done. It runs 3 seminaries and has trained generations of American priests who minister to all flavors of Americans and to all races (the OCA by no means no longer ministers primarily to the American Rusyns who originally formed its core).

    Can’t the GOA/OCL movers and shakers at least acknowledge that “we know there exists already a Church organization in America that many see as autocephalous.” Why completely ignore it? Why not mention it at all?

    Can anyone shed some light on this bizarre yet repetitive behavior that occurs whenever anyone in the GOA talks about American church “autocephaly?” The only thing I can come up with is the ethnic Greek narcissism thing — that is, they believe that if the Greeks don’t do it, it simply doesn’t matter.

    Well, we see how well the GOA manages their church and the grand fine job they are doing with HC/HC (puhleeze!). A far better course of action would be for the GOA movers and shakers to say “we can’t run much of anything, our ethnic narcissism always gets in the way. OCA folks, can we please tag on to what you’ve already done in the past 50 years with respect to American church autocephaly?” This, at least, would be a more humble approach, one with at least a chance of success.

    The best predictor of future performance is past performance. The GOA has proven that they cannot run seminaries, colleges, church organizations, or rebuild a church in lower Manhattan that was destroyed nearly 18 years ago. Who in their right mind thinks that the GOA has what it takes to do American autocephaly “right”?

    Christ is risen! ¡Cristo ha resucitado! Le Christ est ressuscité! Христос воскресе! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      There is so much irony here . . .

      To talk about the need for unity and in the same breath, talk about wanting yet another autocephalous Church in the same territory where we already have an autocephalous Church.

      To talk about autocephaly in the context of what the Phanar calls the diaspora. Why else would “unity” and “Metropolitan Philip” appear together? The Local Churches would absolutely reject such lunacy at this juncture; however, I could see a call for unity under the OCA. Patriarch John is very supportive of Russia and the OCA’s letter could be revised if it hasn’t been already. Plus, Russia has the resources to help the (soon to be former GOA, I hope) recover. ONE autocephalous Church in North America makes sense.

      To talk about autocephaly for just the GOA at a time when they aren’t able to maintain a healthy seminary or finish rebuilding St. Nicholas. Their past unwillingness to encourage Orthodoxy for anyone who isn’t Greek has not served them well. Their children are marrying outside the Greek community and they’re falling away. Converts have a hard time embracing all the “Greekness” that comes with going to Church. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Greek people but I’ve got to say that even in the context of my own personal life, they have not embraced me in the same way I have embraced them. I am just this crazy “girl” on a crazy blog. Someone to be dismissed because I’m not Greek. – My goddaughter (a former protestant) has had a similar experience. Her young son is the apple of his grandmother’s/father’s eye, but she is looked upon as a means to an end; an outsider. Not because she isn’t outstanding in every way and not because they don’t see this. They do. She’s just not Greek. Her in-laws are NOT bad people, but they’ve done a lot of hurtful things. To give you an example, when she married her husband, her own parents pulled out all the stops for her wedding, probably spending close to $100,000. Her dress alone was $9,000, I think. But before the invitations went out for her wedding in Kansas City, her in-laws sent out their own invitations to a whole other wedding to take place within months of the first! They spent a good deal more, too, just to make sure everyone knew this was to be the real wedding. Talk about being upstaged. There were bridesmaids, new dresses, bridal showers; the whole nine yards. Why? Because her first wedding wasn’t Greek. Oh sure, she and her husband were married in a small GOA parish in MO somewhere, but that didn’t count. They wanted a full-on Greek wedding in their own parish in NY and would not be deterred. My goddaughter was just expected to show up in the new dress they bought her. That was the extent of her involvement. To say all this infuriated her parents would be an understatement. As a result, I suspect my goddaughter is none too anxious to fully engage in the Church in any kind of meaningful way. Her husband loves and supports her so that little family will be another casualty. Too often, Greeks see themselves as Greek first and Orthodox second. We’ve seen it on this blog. The Greek women are prettier, the Greeks are smarter, etc. One guy went so far as to say without the Greeks, there would be no Church!

      Finally, to talk about autocephaly in the context of Ukraine, given the Tomos precludes Ukraine from operating independently from the CP.

      * * *

      I MORE than get the need to loosen the ties to the CP, but truly the only way to do this is to ask the other jurisdictions for their cooperation to distance ourselves across the board, beginning with eliminating the idea that we are a diaspora. The term is no longer relevant if it ever was. The Greeks are going to have to get over themselves to make this work. No one is going to wait for them to come around. We WILL break from the CP simply to protect ourselves from being tied to his apron strings. The Church in North America WILL survive. The doors to the Church will remain open but whether or not the Greeks choose to walk through them will be up to them.

      • Ioannis says

        Dear Gail,

        I’ll say this more like a telegram, ask for details if needed.

        1) There is no need to ask Bartholomew to “arrange” autocephaly for GOA. Like in Ukraine, the new scheme will be closer to Bartholomew’s control.

        2) “GOA is more Greek than Orthodox”. If that is true, it is very bad.
        Stay away from clergy or laity who believe and/or practice this. This is against the words of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

        3) I think it is much better to go back to the pure and brotherly system of the ancient Church. Each large area should/could have its Bishop and parishes celebrating in the main language of the parish area (meighborhood). Thus, the center of Astoria could have one or more Greek-speaking parishes. In Texas there may be one or more Spanish speaking parishes. In other neighborhoods of large cities e.g. Serbian, Romanian languages may be used, always as decided collectively by the Bishop, priests AND THE PEOPLE!
        All the Bishops will be EQUAL brothers. There may be Groups of Bishops of common interests e.g. due to geography or own language. But the overall Central Office will be that of the “βασιλεύουσα,basileuousa” i.e. the “reigning” city, e.g. Washington D.C. for the U.S. All the Bishops will be EQUAL brothers, but the senior Bishop (in this case) Washington will be the Coordinator or Mediator. The other U.S. Bishops will contact the Washington Bishop to approach the President (now Mr.Trump) to receive the other Bishop in connection with some specific problem or need. What I just wrote is DIRECTLY paraphrased from Canon 28 of the 4th Ecum.Council, read the Rudder.
        This scheme is not from my own “wisdom”. It is the ancient practice as stated in the history of the Church (e.g. by Stephanides etc)

        4) The central absolute of the Pope and now also Bartholomew is like having all your eggs in one Basket. You certainly do not want to do this in the U.S. or Canada.

        5) There is no anarchy in the ancient scheme, because it worked in the ancient Church. If an international, ecumenical, global (choose the term you like) is convened, then all bishops in the world would have one equal vote each. If there is a schism, then it can not be helped. It has happened many times in history. But the rest of the Orthodox Christians will stay united and brotherly…

        • Gail Sheppard says

          From your lips to God’s ears, Ioannis. This is the way I see it, too.

        • As a recent convert to Orthodoxy from Catholicism, with the McCarrick scandal still ringing in my ears, I’d say put the “central office” far away from Washington DC with all its political corruption and intrigue. How about someplace central, easier for everyone to get to for conferences and such? Why should the East Coast dominate? How about Kansas City or Denver or Colorado Springs? A retreat center in the Rockies, or out on the windswept plains? Someplace actually conducive to prayer? Way better than the crowded East Coast, if you ask me, and far more hospitable to the many Orthodox west of the Missouri river.

          • Ioannis says

            Theo, you say,
            “Why should the East Coast dominate? ”

            No! The ancient and correct question is:
            Ancient answer = “Nobody, they are ALL equal, having ONE vote each!”
            After you settle that, geography is not important anymore!

          • Leave the Long Island mansion says

            During the OCA financial scandal days of 12-13 or so years ago, so many of us were saying to sell the Long Island money pit mansion central chancery and to relocate the metropolitan’s office to either a monastic property like St Tikhon’s, or to a place where there is burgeoning growth of the faith and huge mission potential, like to Vladyka Dmitri’s (of blessed memory!) cathedral in Dallas or somewhere in the Midwest.

            The northeast is shriveling in terms of church attendance and has comparatively only minimal prospects in terms of Orthodox faith growth. Though miracles can always happen, even Fr Tom Hopko of blessed memory said that he could foresee the day when the diocese of New England would have no parishes and no faithful.

            Alas, no one with the power to change anything cared. The OCA still insists on using the money pit Long Island mansion for its central administration.

      • Gail. These are pseudo Greeks hanging on to dead immigrant’s customs long past their sell by date in modern Greece.
        And how can you have two weddings??,
        Аnd what is so greek about the worship mishmash they indulge in. Crap!! Pseudo crap.. Sorry. Pseudo crap for pseudo people.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          It was the festivities and the celebrations surrounding the wedding that were duplicated. The actual wedding was performed in a GOA parish. No one on the bride’s or groom’s side of the family had ever attended this parish. It was selected because it was in close proximity to the location of the first reception.

          It was kind of an interesting ceremony. All of the bride’s attendants stood with the bride and when one of them looked like she needed to sit down, another well-meaning bridesmaid went behind the iconostasis and got her a chair. The priest took it all in stride.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Sounds like the Mormans. They have a temple wedding for their fellow Mormans and then a reception for everybody else. Except this was the reverse.


            • To me my friends!
              Sounds like a bunch of holier than thou Orthodox Christians, stereo typing, and bearing false witness against their Greek brothers and sister in Christ, right after Great Lent, and Holy Pascha. Not even a week has passed. Nothing learned in that time spent in reflection? Ukraine not enough ammo to make you all feel so much more morally superior than the corrupt, village idiot Greeks who know nothing of Orthodox Christianity other than their customs and traditions?

              Might be a case of some hiding sin, better than others?

              • Gail Sheppard says

                One could also take the perspective, “Hey, there is something we could learn here.”

                • Insulting rehash sister. No matter what we learn, you will not change a culture. Patience, love, and only through generational change and mixed marriage will do that. Most old school Greeks who attend church regularly, love and worship God no better or worse than another Christians. Sadly surprised many here still go with overplayed cliches, written over and over, seen in almost all Orthodox Christian blogs. Human nature I suppose,

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          As a former Presbyterian in a GOA parish, it all intrigues me. As an old man, it doesn’t bother me as much as it would have decades ago.

          My parish is Greek, alright, but the church building is quite traditional Orthodox, having been built in 1924 (though of course there are pews). Rather small, square, four pillars supporting the dome. The iconostas has the older, somewhat Westernized iconography, but the apse and dome have modernly-done traditional icons.

          The harmonium/organ was pulled out 30 years ago. The priest is a non-Greek, but fluent in Greek, and began his priesthood in Cyprus. Under his hand, the church has gradually become ‘more Orthodox’ in the details, though I hasten to add that this is a shorthand and doubtless poorly-stated way of putting it on my part, as a latecomer. He holds many services a week, all year long.

          My real point is that I didn’t much recognize some of the critical statements that have been made, here and elsewhere, about GOA worship practices. Apart from the pews, ours seemed as traditional as any OCA or Russian church I’d been to.

          Then I went to the cathedral in Pittsburgh, as I posted a few weeks ago. It was different. Then, when the organ music began and swelled to fill the church, and the big choir in the hidden loft began to sing the Trisagion to its accompaniment, I finally understood: it was really different.

          Is it a difference between East and West coasts, maybe? The funny thing is, I haven’t been to many Greek churches at all besides my own….

        • Zolas Cazingas says

          The Greeks on Siros have two weddings, one Orthodox and one Catholic

    • Well Said and I am greek. !! ?

  5. Pull a Ukraine with what? The GOA? Go for it! Freeing the GOA would be a huge positive step. Don’t expect the OCA to give up it’s autocephaly but if the GOA is finally freed I could see the two coming together eventually, that is if the GOA can drop the Helenism garbage.

    • Don’t hold your breath. Drop their pretensions and chauvinism? What would they have left? Orthodoxy?

  6. Really poor timing for this! Especially seeing how the EP divided the Church in Ukraine!

  7. In the past, I was saddened by the unique situation of Orthodoxy in the US and the many different jurisdictions, multiple bishops in the same city and different calendars.
    Over the years I have come to see how all this is a blessing.
    Growing up in America, I was well indoctrinated with the ideals of democracy and individualism, which wars with the Orthodox concepts of submission to Church authority and trading “I” for “We”.
    The US government has a method of checks and balances that (supposedly) prevents any one branch of government from consolidating too much power. I now view the situation of multiple jurisdictions in the US as having a similar benefit, that is keeping us wild, individualistic, freedom loving Americans from running too far amuck.
    I truly believe God has allowed this unique situation in the US for our benefit and salvation.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      You’re right about that, Tanya. God knew!

      • Yes Gail, isn’t it wonderful!
        ” Put all things in God’s Hands and you will begin to see God’s Hand in everything”

        • Gail Sheppard says

          It is indeed wonderful to see we’re not in this by ourselves! At the end of the day, Christ is going to care of His Chruch.

    • Tanya,

      I agree.

      And the truth is that there is already unity of both Faith and communion among the faithful in North America, a unity that is rooted in Christ and not in jurisdictional constructs. Some say this is a scandal (and perhaps on a certain level it is), but it is a scandal of faith and unity OF FAITH.

      I’m no “last days” nut who sees the boogeyman in every little event, but our Lord, as well as his Apostles, warned us of the times that will come on the earth and gave us the signs of those times. And if (emphasis on if) we are witnessing the beginning of those times, we can be certain that our salvation will be not be found in ‘officialdom.’ The very ‘jurisdictional’ Canons that all-too-many (in my opinion) seem to think define (rather than merely order) the Church will doubtless become a tool to unite ‘the faithful’ (so-called) around an altogether false and wicked ‘unity.’

      Moreover, the idea that we will somehow be ‘stronger’ or ‘more effective’ or have a greater ‘witness’ on the basis of jurisdictional unity alone is a sheer nonsensical pipe dream. Just ask our Roman friends if jurisdictional unity ALONE brings about unity of faith or genuine trust or witness or obedience or effectiveness or strength in Christ Jesus.

      There is no magic bullet. The only unity that matters is that in which the faithful already share – the unity of faith in Christ Jesus. And just as we will not follow a stranger because we know the voice of our Good Shepherd, so we recognize His voice in those who are His.

  8. Mikhail says

    The OCL has been off the rails for a number of years. Don’t trust them. As for the GOA becoming the autocephalous Church in America, that is laughable after the tragedy caused by the CP in Ukraine. Regarding the chronic Hellenism of the Greeks, I have a good story:

    When I was with the Antiochian Church a few years ago, my family and I decided to visit a Greek parish for a Sunday Liturgy. At the agape meal after Liturgy, a woman approached me and asked which Church we were from. I said, “We attend St George Church.” She said, “Oh, is that a Greek Church?” I said, “No, it is an Antiochian parish.”

    She said, “Oh, you’re not Orthodox!”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      It would be funny if it weren’t true. Unfortunately, too many Greeks feel this way.

      • YEAH harmonium playing kitsch and know six words of Greek and reciprocatew for baklava and you get a greek passport!! ? Oh and automatically church. Membership.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I have only been in two Antiochian churches. Both had beautiful new church buildings, and were not so far apart; a couple hundred miles, I suppose. Both I went to within the span of a year, several years ago.

      Holy Cross, in Yakima, felt like a Russian church, except everything was in English. No pews. Every woman had a head covering.

      St. George in east Portland, had a wonderful new building. Not only pews, but sloped, auditorium-style sanctuary.

      It was an interesting contrast. I do understand the background.

      Haven’t heard all that much on the Antiochian front since Met. Philip reposed….

      • Michael Bauman says

        Tim after Met Philip reposed the Antiochian archdiocese was supposed to crumble. At least that is what was predicted by some here.

        Met Joseph is a steady hand, not spectacular.

    • Constantinos says

      You talk about Hellenism. You are familiar with St. Gregory of Nanzianzus ( St. Gregory the Theologian). He is credited with infusing Orthodoxy with Hellenism. Whether one likes it or not, Hellenism is a very important part of Orthodoxy. Always has been, and always will be. The Greek Orthodox Church of America will never die. Most of our greatest Orthodox saints have been Greek. Men like St. Gregory Palamas, St. John Crystostom, St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Athansius, St. Mark Eugenikos, and almost all of the other Orthodox luminaries. You simply cannot separate Orthodoxy from Hellenism.
      Also, to former GOA, if you knew philosophy, you would have known the virtue of pride, and the vice of pride. Being aware of the tremendous, sublime contribution of the Greeks, one can rightly take pride in being Greek. We Greeks have been around a lot longer than you sophists. How about that? Sophist! Yet, another Greek word that has made its way into the English vocabulary. Three of the most important gifts to the world are Jewish monotheism, Roman law, and Hellenism. Without Greek influence, there would have been no Italian Renaissance, no democracy, and no United States. In truth, the entire world owes a debt of gratitude to the Greeks. Former GOA, you suffer from the all too common malady of Greek envy. Remember no Greeks, no Orthodoxy. God used both Judaism, and Hellenism to pave the way for the Messiah of the world. Oh, by the way, the name Jesus is Greek. Do you think it’s any coincidence that Pilate’s inscriptions on the cross were in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek? Oh, I almost forgot, St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker was also Greek. Man, I love the Greeks!!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Being critical of the GOA for making it difficult for non-Greeks to come into the Church does not mean we don’t recognize the contributions of Greeks, Consta.

        When you think about it (and I hope you will), you’re being arrogant about gifts God gave you. Give credit where credit is due. That you all happen to be Greek had nothing to do with it. Had God wanted to make the pigmies great, He could have.

        Say, “God is merciful,” not “look how great we Greeks are.” If you don’t, God may very well strike you down, my friend. He’s done it before.

        • Constantinos says

          Hi Gail,
          If I may share a little story with you, I would appreciate it. When I was a teenager, my mother told me that a young friend of hers was not allowed to play with her because she was Greek. I’ve heard many snide remarks about Greeks such as “Greesy Greeks, Greeceballs, etc. As an antidote to that, I developed a deep antipathy to Greek bashing in all its pejorative forms. In my entire family, I am the only proud Greek who believes in the ideals of Hellenism. Greek Orthodoxy fits me. I have no interest in anything Russian. It feels very foreign and alien to me. I never even knew there was any other Orthodoxy until my grandmother started attending an OCA church due to distance. I attend the same OCA church, and have always felt uncomfortable there. I would much rather be with my own people. My grandmother would tell me how much the Greeks suffered at the hands of the Turks. So if there wasn’t prejudice against the Greeks even in America, I probably wouldn’t have developed my Greek pride. Due to Greek suffering, the Greeks have a great deal of sympathy for the Jews. I’m a Greek American Orthodox Christian.

          • Costa I understand you and yes we have suffered greatly. Re turks. A fair bet many are islamicised Greeks and Slavs and Armenians. Were the greek speaking Muslims forced out of Crete in 1922 population exchange Turk or Greek. Are the bulgarian speaking Muslims here in Bulgaria, bulgarian or turk and ditto the greek speaking pomaks of western Thrace.

            But as regards the Church I cannot agree with you. Yes I love worship in greek, but not with organ and 19c western choir thank you!! Joke! And I love byzantine chant etc. But Slav style worship in english or slavonic has own beauty and for which for 70 yrs in Russia and almost 50 in Balkans, they witnessed with their lives for to communism

            • Veras Coltroupis says

              Correct. Muslims converting to Christianity generally paid a head tax or their head. Further, original Turk horsemen didn’t bring wives. And Chrsitians who converted to Islam got better jobs an less taxes. Many of those Turks who say they had a Greek grandmother, however, actually had a Greek-speaking muslim grandmother and will refuse to eat pork.

              • Muslims who converted to Christianity were killed if did not recant in Ottoman empire til 1856 officially, but truly could not survive in their community if converted.

          • Constantinos says

            Hi Gail,
            I neglected to mention that the young girl also said she was not allowed to play with Italians and Portuguese. I understand that the prejudice comes from the fact the Greeks, Italians, and Portuguese were not native English speakers. In order for me to be consistently inconsistent, I deplore the multi- culturalism in America. The Italians were always called greaseballs as well so I’ve been beating the Greek drums too much.
            A somewhat interesting fact, the guy in my high school that I couldn’t stand was a Greek. The reason I despised him so much and still do to this day is because he came from a wealthy Greek family, and, yet, he was the biggest drug dealer in our school. In fact, a few years ago, he went to prison for drug dealing. It’s bad enough to be a poor drug dealer, but a guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and being a drug dealer. That’s doubly disgusting. He was also a moron, and a poor student. When I found out my mother had spoken to him, I excoriated her, and told her to never speak to him for the reasons I enumerated.
            However, if I may state an interesting fact, the only Orthodox Christians who have had personal audiences with the President of the US have been the heads of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. They’re also the only ones to offer prayers at the Democratic and Republican conventions, and the inauguration of US Presidents.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Non-Greek Orthodox Christians can be just as accomplished as Greeks. Metropolitan Philip had a personal audience with Eisenhower, Johnson, Ford, Carter, and Reagan and he was Lebanese.

              • Constantinos says

                Yes, Gail,
                You are completely correct. As you know, there is a picture of Metropolitan Saliba in the Oval Office with President Reagan. Thank you for correcting me.
                By the way, his predecessor Metropolitan Bashir seems like he was a very impressive leader. Thanks again.

                • Gail Sheppard says


                  • Constantinos says

                    Hi Gail,
                    I was brought up in the Episcopal Church. When my cousins would go to the Greek church, they would always refer to it as the boring church. I
                    ve only been Orthodox for twelve years.
                    Now, I want to say this: I’m every bit as much English as I am Greek. Half Greek and half English. Since I’ve been Orthodox, I became more interested in my Greek heritage. I only know a few Greek words.
                    In my honest opinion, there is beauty in every race and culture. Although, I admit I am disinterested in anything Russian. Anyway, before Orthodoxy, I never had any interest in Greek culture.
                    Being a single woman, you must have encountered similar problems to mine. I’ve been friendly with a sub deacon since I began attending the OCA. His wife, the parish council president, called me Saturday morning. She’s Greek, by the way. The sub deacon always snubs me because for some bizarre reason, he is deathly afraid I’m going to steal his wife. Yesterday, before church, I was talking to his young son about boats very quietly. He told his son to stop talking to me. Being single, there are so many married men who think I’m going to steal their wives, inspite of the fact, I treat all the women in church with the utmost respect. It’s really made attending church a miserable experience for me. I simply don’t need all this drama. These fears they have never enter my mind because I consider the marital relationship to be sacred. I would guess you must experience some of the same flak that I do. It is actually causing me to hate the church. If my behavior is completely proper, it seems like that is not enough, I feel like I have to go around to each married man, and say, ” Hey, I’m not interested in your wife.” How do you handle these attitudes because it’s a really “shitty” experience for me. Pardon the profanity, but it’s the only way I can express the situation. Many thanks for sharing your wisdom and insight.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Costa, When I first entered the Church, I was married and my primary relationships within the Church have always been with women. I came into the Church around 2003 and wasn’t divorced until 2015. Because my husband had no interest in the Church, he never went. I’m not sure a lot of the people in my parish even knew I was divorced. In other words, most of them never saw me as single.

                      Like in real families, misunderstandings happen in the Church all the time. It does hurt. But eventually, people see these misunderstandings for what they are. I do hope things get better for you. I want you to want to go to Church!

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Costa, your experience is deeply unfortunate. It stems in part, IMO, from the difficulty we men seem to have forming primary relationships with other men. The isolating tendencies of individualism.

                      What else is a man without your outward strength of personality and worldly success supposed to think. The poor man is probably terrified and jealous of you. His wife is his only treasure.

                  • Constantinos says

                    Hi Gail,
                    You really did me a favor. You caused me to do some research into the Antiochian Diocese. I think that is the Orthodox Church that would be a perfect fit for me. Unfortunately, the closest Antiochian Church to me is quite a distance. I’m very impressed with what I have read on their website. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have done any research. It has been edifying.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I don’t know where you live, Costa, but if you find yourself under Bishop Basil, it will be worth going the distance. You might want to ask Michael Bauman if he could help you with this. Because he knows you (to the degree we can know anybody on a website like this), he might be of some help to you. He is someone whom you can trust.

                    • Constantinos says

                      Mr. Bauman,
                      I think I made a miscalculation on my part. I thought my friend’s wife was seventeen years younger than she actually is. By the way, she’s two years older than her husband. If I had known she was so close to my own age, I wouldn’t have said some of the things I did such as telling her how much better the library was since she took over. I’m also thinking of wearing a sign that says,” Please don’t hug me, your husband might get mad.” I’m starting to think that if a woman is married- just stay away. Who needs the drama?
                      On another note, every Sunday, upon entering the church, the first thing I do is stop and shake hands with a ninety five year old parishioner, and tell him it’s good to see him. Gee, I better be careful; people might think I have a crush on him.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I long ago quit looking for a church that was the ‘perfect fit’ for me.

                      If I am searching for the church that’s the perfect fit for me, then I’m looking for the church of “Tim R. Mortiss”. This would, actually, conturbat me, I fear, if I ever found it!

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Here’s some news:
              I am Anglo-American Orthodox (and the son and grandson of immigrants from British Columbia). Anglo-Americans have not only had meetings with US Presidents, many of them have actually been US Presidents! Not only have Anglo-American clergy (heterodox, to be sure) prayed at inaugurations, Anglo-Americans have usually been those inaugurated!

              We Anglo-Americans thus are the most bestest immigrants of all! In fact, when you think about it, where would America even be without those Anglo-American immigrants? Sure, the British Columbia immigrants were persecuted. Why, there was a neighbor lady who wouldn’t let my dad play with her kids because he said ‘shedule’ instead of ‘skedule’; you know, sort of a shibboleth thing….

              • Constantinos says

                Hi Tim,
                Ha ha! For some reason, when I’m on this forum, I sort of fell like I’m being gas lighted.
                In all seriousness , the two most iconic last names in my town are Brewster and Withington, and there’s been quite a bit of intermarriage between the two families. In other words, direct lineal descent from the pilgrims. Being active in the Pilgrim Society, and being a member of the Mayflower Society further enhances one’s prestige.
                I’m as much English as I am Greek. My grandmother was a member of the Mayflower Society, descending from Elder William Brewster. My paternal grandfather is a direct descendant of William Nickerson’s, the founder of the town of Chatham. He arrived on these shores from England in 1631.
                Being a mama’s boy, I identify more with the Greeks. Either way, I’ve got it made in the shade, my friend. I’m actually kind of like Prince Phillip, you know, the Queen’s husband. Do I expect to be slammed after this post? You bet!!!

                • Costa, I’m from Greek mother from Patras where born and half greek father. ?????

                  • Constantinos says

                    Thank you for your post. To borrow from Goodfellas,” You’re a funny guy.” You have a good sense of humor. You make me laugh- and that’s a beautiful thing.

              • Constantinos says

                Mr. Mortiss,
                Of course, you are correct that is futile to look for a church which is a perfect fit. It reminds me of the famous saying of Groucho Marx,” I wouldn’t belong to any club that would have me.” I take your comment as good advice. Many thanks!

            • Michael Bauman says

              Non-Trinitarian prayers BTW. Oh, and Obama was a new and greater Alexander don’t you know. All Christians have a legacy of suffering, not just the Greeks.

              Arab Christians have repeatedly been set upon by their neighbors–Muslims. Families retained their faith from the time of the Seventy first going forth to spread the Good News. Decades before St. Paul.

          • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

            Constantinos, with respect for you and all Greek people who have suffered, thanks for your heartfelt post. I would bet my bottom dollar that God has no intention of striking you down!

          • Constantine, This is like saying, “If so and so didn’t treat me bad, I wouldn’t hate them.” Jesus however when he was treated badly said, “Father forgive them…” It is a cop out to blame our sinful attitudes on someone else. If we can’t love people of other ethnicities as much as you love your own, we can at least recognize it as a fault and not justify it. My husbands parents lived in an area where there was a lot of inter ethnic prejudice and people were called this and that. The response to this situation is to work to show Christian love, not culivate our own prejudice.

            • Constantinos says

              Thank you for responding to my post. As usual, I don’t think I have made myself very clear. First of all, I am fiercely loyal to my immediate family- my late Dad, Mother, brother and sister. I’m the first one to admit: I’m a mama’s boy since I as long as I can remember. I can remember back to when I was one and one half years old. Out of all my parents’ children, I’ve always been the closest to them.
              Anyway, Gail posted to me about the Antiochian Diocese yesterday. Last evening I read up on the Antiochians. From what I’ve read, they seem to be the best Orthodox jurisdiction for America. I belong to the OCA, and it’s too Russian for me. It is true there is too much ethno- phyletism in the GOA which is in itself a heresy. I honestly wish there was an Antiochian Church near me because I believe I would be most at home there. It is hard for me to believe that such a stellar Church could have the likes of the highly fundamentalist Mr. Bauman as a member. Mr. Bauman and the Antiochians seem to be a square peg in a round hole , but then again, the Antiochians may have a mellowing effect on Mr. Bauman’s radicalism, and hyper fundamentalism. Thank you kindly for your response.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Wow, radical hyper-fundamentalist. I do not even know what that is. Is it supposed to shame me?

                I am not a modernist striving to enter a life founded on God’s Providence. I do a really bad job of it but that is only to be expected.

                I would be interested in learning from you what such an adjectival state is if you can put it in English rather than in newspeak.

                I am sure you realize that excessive use of either adjectives or adverbs weakens your point.

                Nonetheless you raise an interesting point worth exploring.

                • Constantinos says

                  Mr. Bauman,
                  No, I’m not trying to shame you at all. To me, you seem like ROCOR all the way.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    I would have a really hard time in the stereotypical ROCOR parish that usually come to mind (if they even exist in reality). I would have a really hard time in an ethnic Antiochian parish like seems to be common on the east coast. I know I never felt welcomed at the small GOA parish in my city, nor the Antiochian Western Rite parish here either. The GOA parish was Greek, Greek and more Greek. It is moribund now for reasons that have nothing to do with its Greekness.

                    I have worshiped in OCA parishes (Old and New Calendar), Patriarchal Bulgarian, and Serbian parishes as well. I love my brother’s Patriarchal Bulgarian parish most of all because it is a family parish and my brother is the priest and my two nieces and their families worship there as well. Plus I love his retiring bishop. Met. Joseph (not the Antiochian one).

                    If I had to pick a jurisdiction other than Antiochian it would probably be OCA but that is largely due to the fact that I have a lot of friends in the OCA.

                    However, I would not willing leave the omniphore of my bishop, his Grace Bishop Basil. I have seen people’s hearts change, by the grace of God, as he walked past them. He is a man of love and faith who was born into a faithful Orthodox family with roots that likely extend to Apostolic time. That brings a sense of peace that is evident and no convert can have, IMO. It is evident even in folks whose current practice is not all that the Church recommends. I love being around that as it is always constantly calling me back when I stray. Only the Antiochians have that BTW. The Archdiocese of Homs from which the founders of our Holy Temple came is literally one of the oldest Christian dioceses in the world. Begun, I believe, by one of the 70, Philip in the earliest days of the Church. It was on a grace filled rebuild until the dogs of hell were released on it by the current war. The bishop there, Bp. Sava, stayed with us here in Wichita for just over a year before being elevated to the bishopric and planted in Homs. He is a strong and grace-filled man planted in a field of suffering. May God’s mercy continue with him.

                    My parish priest has been in the parish since 1994 (he converted from the RCC as a young man. His arrival in Wichita coincided with my switch from the parish in which I was received. The priest who received me was a complete mess who crashed out of the Church several years after and left scars on the souls of myself and my family and many others. It is still not pleasant to me to go back to that parish. There is no fit. The scar tissue seems to get inflamed.

                    I had no choice in jurisdictions when I converted. Wichita had two Antiochean parishes when I was received (and the priestless, homeless GOA parish about which I knew nothing). St. Mary’s where I was received was in the neighborhood in which I grew up.

                    Each of the Antiochian parishes had been on different sides in the Antiochian internal schism that Archbishiop Michael and Met. Philip both of blessed memory stopped (healing is still going on). It has not always been easy or comfortable.

                    I am where I am supposed to be even if it is not always easy or comfortable. Fact is, I would kick against the pricks anywhere I was, and St. George Orthodox Cathedral offers more mercy and protection than I have any right to expect. Jesus Christ brought me there and, inexplicably, seems to want me to stay there and be buried by and in that community.

                    Because of my journeys prior to being received into the Ark of Salvation, I know the terrible price that heresy extracts from the human soul. Heresy is dangerous beyond belief. That may make me sound ROCOR to you, but there is a fundamental reality that is the Truth. Still, I test His mercy and grace every day even knowing beyond mere belief that Jesus is our Incarnate Lord, God and Savior and that the Orthodox Church is His Church: the only place where the fullness of His Grace and mercy is revealed and experienced.

                    Fortunately, His Grace overflows to all (even those with hearts ruled by evil); but the fullness is only in the Orthodox Church no matter how we try to muck it up.

                    I will end with a quote from one of my favorite plays: The Lady’s Not For Burning by Christopher Frye:

                    “What is deep, as love is deep, I’ll have
                    Deeply. What is good, as love is good,
                    I’ll have well.”

                    Even when it hurts like hell.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Plus, one cannot beat the hummus and tabouli.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Oh, lest I forget, both Wichita parishes foundation were overseen by St. Raphael of Brooklyn. St. George was 100 years old in 2018. That is a lot of blood, sweat and tears shed by the resolute Sittis and Jittis.

                      As I said, I am a mongrel that has been grafted on. God is good.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Meant to say I an not a modernist BUT one striving to enter a life founded on God’s Providence in thanksgiving for all things. Even that effort flies in the face of both the modern and the stereotypical fundamentalist paradigm. One relies on the apostate idea of egalitarianism while the other proposes a legalistic solution based in human will to the human dilemma that actually ignores God and His mercy. However, because I reject the modern paradigm (even though I compromise with it all the time in my weakness), many assume I am a legalist. That is an erroneous assumption. Although my beloved wife does tell me I am too enamored with Podvig as a spiritual principal. She has a “Yea God!” approach. We fit well.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        And don’t forget St. Zorba!

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          And then there’s the cuisine!

          Wait a minute…..that’s the Italians. Sorry!

      • Michael Bauman says

        One can appreciate and cherish the value of ancient Greek thought and language without the unnecessary and harmful modern Greek xenophobia and puesdo-cultural narcicissim.

      • Veras Coltroupis says

        The difference, said Florovsky, is between Sacred Hellenism and Profane Helladism

      • And Jewish monotheism, Roman Law, and Hellenism were all rejected in the face of Christ. Now we have Christian Trinitarianism, the Law of the Spirit, and Christian dogma. Even St Gregory Theologian himself criticized the Hellenistic philosophies of his day as being faulty. It is important to understand that any given culture is a mixture of truth and error, passion and what is naturally good, but only in the Church are these being purified and transformed into something truly Christian.

  9. Michael Bauman says

    The phrase I heard a lot coming into the Church: the Greeks are crazy, the Antiochians worldly and the Slavs morose. The OCA was never characterized but also rarely mentioned.

  10. How could this possibly be justified when president Trump hasn’t requested it?

    I can see the letters now to Metropolitans Joseph, Tikhon, etc….

    Your Eminences,
    You know from history and from indisputable archival documents that the holy Metropolitanates of the dispora have always belonged to the jurisdiction of the Mother Church of Constantinople.

    Addressing you as ‘Your Eminences the Metropolitans of America’ as a form of economia and mercy, we inform you that after the elections for the primate of the American Church by a body that will consist of clergy and laity, you will not be able ecclesiologically and canonically to bear the title of Metropolitan(s) of North (or all) America , which, in any case, you now bear in violation of Canon 28, which anyone with even an elementary grasp of Canon Law knows grants jurisdiction of the barbarian lands to the holy throne of Constantinople.

    Kissing you most sweetly, we remain,

    His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch



  11. P. Antonio Arganda says

    Bartholomew is vying to be the first patriarch excommunicated by the Orthodox Church in hundreds of years. He actually exceeds Meletios Metaxakis (of odoriferous memory), by a bit.

  12. Ananas Varoufloudas says

    If Putin was so Orthodox why is he futzing with Cuba and Venezuela? Bart and his Archons are fully complictit in Putin’s schemes. Archons’ Historic Journey to Cathedral in Cuba, TNH, January 10, 2013 More than 80 Archons and Greek Orthodox faithful journeyed to Havana, Cuba for a 6-day pilgrimage to visit Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral from December 5 to 10. The pilgrimage was sponsored by the Order of St Andrew and led by its spiritual advisor, Father Alexander Karloutsos, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The trip culminated in a celebration of the Feast of Saint Nicholas and took place under the auspices of His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras .. . Upon the official invitation of former President Fidel Castro, in January 2004, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made a five-day official visit to Cuba, consecrating the new St. Nicholas Cathedral. Former President Fidel Castro presented the key of the Cathedral to the spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians. His All Holiness invited Archbishop Demetrios of America to accompany him on his historic first-ever visit to a Latin American nation. The giving of the church by Fidel Castro was a historic event marking the potential for a new era in Cuban history and accentuating the increasing role of Orthodox missions around the world.”

    • Michael Bauman says

      …and there is that awful phrase: “..spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians.”

      I want to throw up every time I read it

      • So do i friend but gets a bit tiring.
        They have more or less destroyed the western churches. We pissed them off by surviving the marxist deluge so now they are on to us and as any good enemy, they finding the weakest point in the city wall. And boy they found it as on 1453.

  13. Loras Camzekes says

    Matsoukas, with his ever-vacuous smile comprable to Tsipras, resides in that gerofthoric haven called AHEPA retirement houses of Florida.

  14. Michael Bauman says

    Gail, thank you.

  15. Michael Bauman says

    Mr. C. Another reason I love my parish. I hug a lot of married women and as far as I know no one has ever been discomfited.

    • Constantinos says

      Mr. Bauman,
      Actually, you surprise me. I get the impression you believe in disengagement from the world. Being a successful businessman, I would expect you to be actively involved in your local community, perhaps even being an elected member of your town’s local Board of Selectmen, the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, and other volunteer activities. Are you involved in your town’s local activities? You see, brother, one thing I like about the Antiochian Church is they allow their members to be active Freemasons. I think the Antiochians, and the Greek Orthodox are the only jurisdictions which allow this. It is alleged that Metropolitan Bashir was an active Freemason. I looked up the obituary of a prominent member of the Antiochian Church; not only was he very active in founding his local church, but they were having a Masonic service right in the Antiochian Church. Personally, I complete approve of this. I have recently completed my three degrees in the Blue Lodge, and thoroughly enjoyed. They do so much for the local community, and are the most benevolent charity in the world.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Actually, Mr. C. I saw a letter from Met. Philip to all his priests not long after I had been received, it was tacked on my priest’s bulletin board. In the letter Met. Philip specifically instructed his priests not to commune active masons. That does not mean the directive was followed. What the masons do, they do for their own glory in my opinion. It is good that it helps people but that is all. Their philosophy and the reveal truth of the Church are not compatible. Whether or not hierarchs or clergy understand that and have the strength to act on it, I can do nothing about. Jesus Christ is still in the Church. Glory to Him.

        I am not a businessman. I am a support employee of a medium sized independent insurance agency. I specialize in life and health insurance. I have been in that business by accident for 38 years. I give alms, I pray, I fast and attend on the sacraments in an all too fitful and inadequate manner .

        Had the situation been different when my late wife died, I might have pursued monasticism, but it was not workable.

        My father was a man who sought to impose his will on the world around him and achieved many things in his profession–public health by doing so. He was masterfully intelligent and an indomitable force. Had you ever challenged him, he quite likely would have broken you like a twig. He was a great man in many ways, but I saw what it cost him and vowed when I was quite young to not pursue that way of living. It is too easy to intimidate and manipulate other people. I had many of my father’s gifts and could have been quite good at it. I am sure the decision not to go that way has cost me a great deal of money in my life. Sometimes that bothers me, but not often and not for long since they were my father’s gifts, not mine. I am an ordinary Orthodox Christian who is given to be a husband and a father. I aspire to nothing more especially since I regularly fail and fulfilling my God given responsibilities as it is.

        The public health department my father built in his work here in Wichita was a local health department that was one of the best in the nation (so recognized by his fellow local health officers). When he was forced to retire, his department was quickly dismantled by his successor because there was no understanding of the principles on which the department had been built. Oh, and his successor was paid nearly twice as much to tear it down. This is the wisdom of politics.

        In terms of circumstance and experience, I am far from your world. I do not consider any of the attributes and activities you mention to be of any ultimate value. They are not bad, in fact they can be good and valuable in a restricted sort of way. For people who are suited to them, they are more than that as long as proper perspective is maintained.

        I am a weak and sinful man to be sure, but I really only desire one thing–to know Jesus Christ. That has been the case since He introduced Himself to me on a cold hill in northern Illinois in January, 1968 when I was in a moment of existential crisis and cried out to Him(that does not make me special, it just is a fact). Being stubborn and willful and ignorant, it took me another 20 years before I came to the Church.

        My sinfulness almost constantly thwarts my longing to know my Lord. Fortunately, He is patient and unaccountably kind in His mercy gifting me with great riches and supporting me in many struggles despite the intransigent hardness of my heart.

        I have no worldly accomplishments or honors about which to brag nor do I want them. Even my struggles are not unique or special or particularly challenging. Just enough to assure that I realize that by my own will, I can do nothing.

        I live in a 1000 sq ft. house that is 80 years old with the wife of my old age (the greatest gift God has ever given me). Occasionally, I have words that I feel compelled to speak about God, man and our interrelationship. Sometimes, I am sure that, despite my weakness, they are the truth.

        I do enjoy baseball and shooting a long bow which I can no longer do. When I finally stop coming to work, I think I would like to go out in spring to a local park not far from my home with a cooler and a shaded lawn chair and stick a sign in the ground next to me. Something about Jesus and His sacrifice to see what response I would get. There is a police sub-station right in the park so I don’t suppose anything drastic would occur.

        If I had the money, I would also love to buy one of the houses that is across the street from the local casino and put up a big sign that those who are pulling out of the casino could not miss: “Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” with the 800 number for those suffering from gambling problems can call just below it. Who knows, I might actually get my own message and really repent of my own sins.

        I am fundamentally (there is that word again) a preacher (in the best possible sense). I could have had quite a career as a Protestant preacher. One problem, I never believed anything the Protestants taught. I met a beautiful Roman Catholic priest once in 1975 in Fargo, ND. He quite glowed with the Light of Christ. He had been a priest for 50 years. He thought I should be a RC priest. Same basic problem–no belief in RC doctrine. Eventually Jesus guided me, kicking and screaming to the Orthodox Church and was there to meet me as he did on that hill in northern Illinois.

        My favorite Apostle is St. Peter and I have the icon of Jesus saving Peter as he sank in the waives while attempting to walk on the water. I am idiosyncratic to be sure and a bit of a troglodyte with a touch of agoraphobia. I am beginning to learn how to pray for myself just a little–Lord have mercy on me a sinner. The Christian faith as revealed by Jesus Christ in the Church is radical. So perhaps you are correct because I do get rather hyper at times.

        Modernism in all its forms is anathema to me although, like the rest of us, I am seduced by its fallacious wonders. There is nothing but death and darkness there despite the glowing promises of change and progress.

        It is probably a good thing we never meet because we might end up liking each other and then we would each be in a pickle wouldn’t we?

        • Constantinos says

          Mr. Bauman,
          Is there any way you can direct me to that letter by Metropolitan Phillip? In reading the history of American Orthodoxy and Freemasonry, the only jurisdictions to formally condemn freemasonry are the ROCOR, the OCA, and the Church of Greece.
          It seems to me the Antiochians have a history of communing freemasons. I think I may call up an Antiochian Church and ask a priest.
          Thank you.

          • Michael Bauman says

            No, it was written for clergy eyes only and I only saw it by accident in 1987. It was short and to the point.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Mr. C, keep in mind if you call an Antiochian priest on the communing masons question that you could well get different answers from different priests. It depends on the bishop. We have really good bishops and the Archdiocese seems to be less a personal fiefdom now than under Met. Philip, but I do not know if that is correct. It is not a big issue really,

            The only fellow parishioner I know of who was ever active in the Shriners no longer attends. Also keep in mind that the essence of the Orthodox Church is to place oneself in the position of recognizing and participating in the on going encounter with our Risen Lord, God and Savior.

            Although I think it is a bad idea, in general, for active masons to commune, it has more to do with the their own situation, whether or not they are eating and drinking unworthily.

            The idea that the priest has to “protect the cup” seems strange to me because when I look at the history of the Church, the idea of any of the faithful trying to “protect the Church” frequently leads to heresy, even apostasy as such an idea usually rests in the self-will of the person doing the protecting.

            The hierarchy of the Antiochean Archdiocese has long taken a more relaxed approach to many things. One place where a strictness prevails is in marriage. I know for a fact that had my wife Merry and I been in another jurisdiction, it is quite likely that we would have been afforded a sacramental marriage service. Bishop Basil, however, did not allow that but found another way and our marriage is blessed by God. In the process I was actually obedient for once in my life.

            These things are all about obedience. Obedience can never be imposed, it is always accepted and entered into.

            For an active mason to present himself to a priest expecting to be communed, given the strong prohibition against such a thing in the teachings of the Church, is arrogant and dangerous for that person. The same goes for those with same sex attraction who are sexually active and unrepentant.

            In my brother’s jurisdiction there is a hard and fast rule, a parishioner cannot receive the holy gifts at Divine Liturgy unless he has been to confession in the week prior. Now, we Antiochians are much more relaxed: If we want to receive on Pascha, then we must come to confession at least once during Lent. Same goes for Christmas and Advent. Our priest advises monthly confession.

            So, what happens when I go to my brother’s Church? Simple, if I am in good standing with my bishop, I may receive in his parish.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          A fine post Mr. Bauman, and it so happens that earlier today I ordered a case of Elderberry Dry wine from Merry’s winery. It’s the season once again (praise God), and my two cases from last Summer are long since gone.

          “You made wine to gladden the heart of man, and oil to make his face shine….”

          What a great idea: an Orthodox Christian with a Repent sign! I was sitting at a park in the middle of a short hike just three hours ago, when an old couple moseyed by. They immediately handed me a ‘repent’ card and invoked Our Lord. Why don’t the Orthodox do that sort of thing? We should get some cards printed up….

          • Michael Bauman says

            Tim, thank you for your patronage and the plug. Another shameless plug, Wyldewood Cellars has many great reasonably priced wines, most of the non-grape. They have over 600 medals from blind taste testing international wine competitions but that is not their best product.

            The also sell an elderberry juice concentrate that is non-GMO, Kosher and without any additives, sugar or alcohol. There are no other comparable elderberry products on the market.

            Some scientists in Australia recently confirmed the anti-inflammatory, anti-viral properties and immune system support properties which elderberry juice provides. It is great for asthma and other allergies too. There are several such studies confirming these properties as well as centuries of experience in natural medicine, but because the Winery does not have several million dollars to do an FDA test, they are prohibited by the federal government from actually telling the truth about it.

            Just to be clear, my statement on the properties of elderberry juice is based upon my own research and experience. I am not employed by nor an agent of Wyldewood Cellars in any capacity.

        • Ioannis says

          Dear Michael, brother in Christ,
          thank you for your confession of faith. It is something many of us need to remember, because, modern life with all its man-made technical and philosophical distractions makes us forget why we are here in the first place and where we are going…
          I am impressed by your total humility which proves the Christ lives in you.
          When that happens, you have surpassed everything man-made and you have filled your heart with real gladness, especially if you can achieve constant prayer, that is, constant contact with the King of Kings, our Lord Jesus Christ. You then really love the other person, above all man-made laws, “good manners”, political-correctness etc.
          As you say yourself, our Faith in Christ is a real, a living one. There are everyday proofs that Christ is there, HE listens to our prayers and provides real answers, real solutions to our problems. HE loves all of us even if we do not love HIM.
          Let us all remember this in our life: There are moments in our life when NOBODY on earth can helps us, no matter how rich we are or what degree we have in any philosophical/religious organization.
          I used to have a colleague who was a Freemason. At some stage I saw him studying a Masonic book, I only saw the front cover with a title about the 18th degree. As I approached his desk he immediately put the book into the drawer. He knew that I was “just a Christian”. Some years later this big strong man, went to hospital for a serious operation. He phoned me, desperately crying from his bed, telling me about his terrible pain, that he would die, and asking me to do specific things for his family. He died sometime later.
          For us Christians, death is the entry to the eternal life,
          Christ is Risen, truly, He is Risen!

          • Michael Bauman says

            Ioannis, brother in Christ. Certainly Christ lives in me. Now I have to live in Christ. I am far from that.

            • Constantinos says

              Mr. Bauman,
              You seem to be a very humble man to me. In fact, you kind of remind me of St. Symeon the Stylite.
              Okay, do you agree with me that Secretariat was the greatest athlete in history? After his devastating performance in the Belmont Stakes when he ran like a tremendous tornado, he seemed like he was a little bit proud of his performance. What do you think of animals taking pride in their athletic achievements?

    • I’ve spent my european life hugging and kissing on check, females,married, divorced and single. And MEN!! It’s the european norm with friends.