“Shut the Front Door!”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shut the door on last week’s meeting with Metropolitan  Hilarion Alfeyev, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations for the MP.  According to our sources, the meeting was brokered by well-placed laymen within the Antiochian Archdiocese but unfortunately was scuttled by anti-Russian elements in the State Department.  (And who knows who else?) 

The following day,  however, Mike Pompeo did meet with Sergei Dumenko (the imposter who heads the fraudulent “autocephalous” church in Ukraine) and assured him the United States will continue to support the OCU. 

More on OrthoChristianity:



  1. What has it come to that USA openly interfering in affairs of Orthodox Church.
    Pompeo is a rather over weight Zionist evangelical lay man. Where does he come into the scheme of things relating to Orthodox church?? His sphere is secular politics.

    Last time I checked, Putin, what ever one thinks, is an Orthodox Christian, attending Church, and the President of a large Orthodox country.

    • George Michalopulos says

      As much as I question ZioChristianism of the Pompeo type, I remain hopeful overall in that Pompeo has long shifted his gaze from Russia to China. Indeed, I am rather pleased that the entire Establishment narrative has come to the agreement that China poses a more existential threat to the West than Russia does (or can).

      Not to say however that I am “going abroad for monsters to slay” but one can make a realistic case that China does have hegemonic aspirations that are quite realistic. After all, they are the second largest economy on earth and until the recent trade war with America, were well on their way of overtaking us as number one.

    •  US Secretary of State Pompeo is an evangelical Protestant. Specifically he is a Premillienial Dispensationslist.

      Most Evangelical Protestants of this stripe teach and believe that Orthodox Christianity is NOT “real Christianity” but an idol-worshipping, Mary-centered cult…

      He’s one of those “waitin’ for the Rapture” evangelicals who see Russia (and by extension the Russian Orthodox Church) as an enemy of Israel.

      These types of evangelicals believe that Russia will attempt to invade Israel but will be “destroyed” by the antichrist.
      Then later, a rearmed Russia will JOIN the antichrist and fight on his behalf at the battle of Armageddon.

      Rapture-heads believe that their lord will return at this point and “laugh” at Russia and its antichristic allies before destroying them.

      • Alitheia1875 says

        Just imagine what that type of Evangelican “Christian” would say if he were told that Orthodoxy is the new Israel and that the earthly Jerusalem has been replaced by the Jerusalem on high!!

  2. In other news, a second vicar bishop has been consecrated for the ROCOR Diocese of San Francisco and the Western U.S.  He is fully American and fully monastic, steeped in the tradition of the very multinational Russian Orthodox Church. 
    His brief yet beautiful words following his consecration brought tears to my eyes. It gave me hope that yes, despite all the C’ple and “OCU” lies, deception, and mess, Christ and His Truth remain, resonate, and conquer all.
    It’s men and women like this who may yet still bring Christ and His Holy Church to the rest of our American countrymen. You don’t hear words like this coming out of the worldly, 6-figure-salaried bishops in America, now do you.
    Άξιος! to Archimandrite (now Bishop) James! Note that per the report, this is the first time since the 1940s that ROCOR and OCA/Metropolia bishops have served jointly at an episcopal consecration. Glory to God!!
    Read his words here:

  3. “…and assured him the United States will continue to support the OCU.”
    If any such words were uttered by a government official about a religious group on American soil there would be endless howls of objection, urgent demands for his resignation, even filing of appeals for injunction in Federal court.

  4. Antiochene Son says

    Patriarch of Alexandria commemorates Epiphany:
    Most unfortunate.

    • George Michalopulos says


      • George Michalopulos says

        Upon reading one of the links in this site, in which this same patriarch spoke resolutely to the people of Ukraine last year (and reiterated his support for Met Onuphriy), I can see the nefarious hand of the Greek govt in his complete reversal.  

        Shame!  Anaxios! Anaxios! Anaxios!

        • Antiochene Son says

          It’s one thing for Jerome of Athens to support the OCU, as he never really implied otherwise. But for Theodore of Alexandria to be this blatantly two-faced is quite shocking and unbecoming of a hierarch—especially as the Church’s second-ranked hierarch in honor.

          Is this how his forebears, Athanasius and Cyril, would behave?

          For all the politics these hierarchs are wrapped up in, do they not know that the best way to deal with blackmail is for the subject to expose it? If he is being threatened by the Greek government, he ought to expose them and force them to openly cut off support.

        • And darkness descends back onto Africa…

        • Johann Sebastian says

          The great apostasy is underway.

        • And all the more pressing need for a council! 

    • Antiochene Son says

      “…we have been led to the decision to proceed to recognize the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and of Her Primate, His Beatitude Epiphanios, as the time has come.” – https://orthochristian.com/125379.html
      “…as the time has come”
      No other justification is given except “it’s time.” So I see that a form of the “It’s The Current Year!” fallacy has now come to the Orthodox Church. Sad!
      Big mistake, Your Beatitude. If you were being blackmailed by the Greek Foreign Ministry, as is being reported, you should have came out and said so publicly. Nothing evaporates a nascent conspiracy like bringing it to light.
      (Actually, it would be better to reorganize your church so it’s not dependent on the good graces of a foreign government.)

  5. Brute from bygone ages says

    According to the Romfea News Agency, Patriarch of Alexandria commemorated schismatic Sergey Dumenko as “Metropolitan Epiphaniy”. 

  6. In other news, the Patriarch of Akexandria has just commemorated the false hierarch of the OCU. This is a tragic development. The Church is truly headed for a world-wide schism. Bartholomew is the divider of Orthodoxy!

  7. Brute from bygone ages says

    Current Greek Prime Minister is a relative of Venizelos and Metaxakis…. 

    • Antiochene Son says

      Is that the atheist or is he gone now?

    • Dynasty.

    • Jim Fenetalos says

      And he followed the great Venizelist tradition of marrying Polish

      • I tell you something you guys may not want to hear.   The government of Tsipras did not interfere in the Church and its atheist credentials were on open display so we all know where we stood.
        When will you ever understand that it is the Church in bed with these so called ‘Christian politicians’ using church for their own ends that is so destructive. Mitsotakis just latest example. A church devoid of anything but national holidays. 
        We have just returned from Greece and let me tell you majority of young have walked out on the Church and  told it to naff off.  They not interested as see it as a self serviving out of touch drag on greek life living of the state. 
        All the Church does every day is to confirm  this truth. 
        Greek Orthodoxy is in crisis. Great crisis but it’s leaders either see a re- run of liberal western Christianity of 1960s and 70s or are too busy up their read ends,  often literally I am afraid., to see.   Do I think I should tone down what I have just written??   No, not at all as is truth. 
        I as Greek and Orthodox do not have an answer. I do not see a good end. 
        As for Theodore of Alexandria.  a few words of greetings  I wish to send him.  ‘Εισαι  κύριε, προδότης,  από πρώτη τάξη αλλά  άνθρωπος από  το δρόμο.’

        • Brother Niko,
          you are absolutely right.
          Our PRACTICAL problem in Greece is slowly but surely emerging:
          Sooner than later we must decide what we do next sunday morning:
          (1) Go to our own parish as before and here sermons about the good (schismatic!) Ukrainians and that Bartholomew is the “Head of the Church on Earth”.
          (2) stay at home and try to watch another liturgy on-line.
          (3) …other…
          Any input from UK/Bulgaria?
          Νῖκο, προσευχήσου και γιά μᾶς ἐδῶ, τά πράγματα χειροτερεύουν!  

          • Ιωάννη. Good to hear from you.  What i say and yr words, give us pain and sorrow because we love the Church.  What to do.?
            I am not sure if u in USA and if you are  perhaps you can attend a antiochan church,  whose style will be near to us Greeks I think. Or OCA church. I attended one in New York in Whitestone where  was staying. Very good. 
            If u in Greece more difficult. If yr bishop one of the ones who did not agree the Russian church  says attend there.   If that not possible, then maybe an old calander church. I respect them and have worshiped with them etc in Athens  but cannot go along with their wider agenda but at least u can attend the liturgy. 
            I am not going to judge others who happy to turn up and worship as usual. Each according to their knowledge.  We who know MUST NOW ACT.  The Phanar has left the Church.  

  8. Johann Sebastian says

    In other news:
    Admittedly I do think we should find ways to show compassion and charity to these people but at the same time that doesn’t mean jettisoning Truth. Be clear and firm, but compassionate.
    This is just…confusing and concerning. The timing tells me (and pardon my French) that there’s some really wacky shit going on behind the scenes.

    • The baptism of a female who has gone through some sort of “sex reassignment” surgery and has been baptized with a male name raises the question: Could “he” eventually become a priest?
      If beards are a requirement, I suppose they’ll shoot him up with plenty of testosterone.

    • In all sincerity I think the only way to look at this phenomena is through the lens of mental health. Anyone who has dealt with brain disorders – schizophrenia, bipolar, etc – knows that you cannot reason with a person who has mental health issues: their delusions are also their realities. An excellent priner on effective communication and assistance is I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help.
      For a transgender person – an by this I mean someone with genuine gender dysphoria – its unclear to me how to proceed socially or pastorally. One diocese I am aware of will Baptize but insists on the actual sex name for Sacramental purposes. For literal gender dysphoria, I am not sure I see other options. Telling someone who has mental health issues to repent of their delusions simply doesn’t work.
      The biggest problem I see is mimetic transgenderism infecting vulnerable young people – those with autism, sexual attractions to the same sex, other mental health issues such as bipolar. In those cases we are not talking about an incontrovertible mental health condition around gender identity and in these cases the individual should he counseled away from this dysfunction. How to discern the underlying mental health reality is a bit of a mystery, so its unclear how pastorally the Church should proceed here.
      Anyway this brokenness of the human condition is where we image and meet Christ. Very difficult to know how best to manage, that is for sure.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Especially in our own time, it’s sometimes very difficult to differentiate mental illness from demonic influence, especially since many mental health professionals are functionally atheists, and hence don’t believe in demons.

        Certainly, physically neurological conditions such as schizophrenia nd bi-polar syndrome can be at least mediated, if not cured, by medication. This is not true of transsexualism.

        While (at least recently) a certain amount of culturally influenced confusion about people’s natural identification with the sex into which they were born is inevitable — consider the very sad case in Texas just now — it remains to be acknowledged that human beings in and of themselves cannot be so at war with their own bodies as to think that they were ‘born into the wrong sex.

        As I’ve written here before, I think that transsexualism is as close to demonic possession as we’re ever going to see. ‘

        People who insist that they are of the opposite sex need to be treated with the appropriate prayer of The Church, including exorcism, and with compassionate psychotherapy (‘healing of the soul’), not with surgery.

        BTW: I avoid the the word ‘gender’ in all of this because I believe that language has meaning and power, and because the forces of evil in the world are using ‘gender’ to replace ‘sex’ because it sort of softens their presentations, making them appear less challenging, less threatening to the unchangeable facts of our human existence. But, as I just said, these forces are evil and are trying to deceive us.

        In reality — which we must continually assert– ‘gender’ is a grammatical concept, while ‘sex’ is a biological distinction. These two words must not be considered as interchangeable equivalents, no matter what the proponents of political correctness think. They are badly mistaken.

        • Father I do not disagree with you – exorcism is certainly appropriate (not only here but for us all as our liturgical tradition indicates). If I may equivocate on one point: the idea that schizophrenia or bipolar can be cured is incorrect. Symptoms can be mitigated, though in the case of schizophrenia it is often the case that this also coincides with continued denial of an illness to begin with. Tragically this often holds for people who recognized the onset of the disease but ultimately lost their sense of “health” to it.
          I see no reason that many transgender cases could not be treated with appropriate medication in theory. We do not, however, know what may be effective.

          • Μost mental health problems are on going and are activated by various drivers mostly connected to stress. Understanding the concepts of delusion and illusuon can explain much as well as confusion between gender and sexual orientation. 
            Of course there are folk who have a genuine ‘ situation’ either physically or emotionally and these need support and help. 
            We also need to see current gender madness in the light of say the witch hysteria in 17c Europe and early american colonies.   
            I have worked with mental health colleagues of all faiths and none.  Most have respected the Faith of patients.  Often mentality ill patients have religious delusions but this seems to have declined markedly with the decline in religiosity in western population.  Of course African mentally ill as Asian, will very often claim spirit pocession.  
            I a few yrs ago in London attended a conference on this subject of spirit pocession. They were not so agnostic  as one might imagine. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      Isn’t this the Montenegrin church that is schematic?

  9. Joseph Lipper says

    “Today’s commemoration of Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv… is an act of historical responsibility, of a healthy ecclesiastical position and of a brave mind on the part of the Alexandrian Primate.
    “This decision comes as a natural consequence of the initiatives of His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, who alone, having the privilege, the responsibility and the obligation, restored the disrupted canonical order in Ukraine.
    “The alien to the Orthodox Tradition voices that are heard recently and call into question the inalienable prerogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the institution of the Pentarchy, received today a proper, loud and rigorous response from St. Mark’s successor.
    “The support of the rest of the Primates of the Ancient, and not only, Patriarchates to the courageous attitude of the Patriarch of Alexandria seems to be an indispensable necessity.”

    The Patriarch of Alexandria, the “Judge of the Ecumene”, has now given us his ruling.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Or in summary, “Look at me! I’m a big boy too!”

      • Joseph Lipper says

        I believe Antioch is now at the top of Moscow’s dyptichs.

        • Antiochene Son says

          Bartholomew should rejoice that Peter has found his rightful place. ?

          • Monk James Silver says

            That would work only if it were thought that the holy apostle Peter had served as the first bishop of Antioch and then of Rome.

            But that wasn’t what happened.

            • Can you please stop being so pedantic?
              Let the man have his joke, for crying out loud…

              • Dear Basil,
                strictly speaking, analysed in great detail, it may be pedantic, BUT,
                you know what,
                many people use jokes (on purpose) to indirectly consolidate a theory and subtly change it into a “tradition”! 
                In this case the joke is a nice joke for crying out loud BUT it  tacitly and subtly consolidates the theory about Peter, and the Petra(stone) and the Pope…
                that is why a philosopher has said something like,
                “a joke is a serious thing”.

              • Monk James Silver says

                Basil (November 9, 2019 at 9:21 pm) says:

                Can you please stop being so pedantic?

                Let the man have his joke, for crying out loud…


                I didn’t take it as a joke, even with the smiley.

                I have noticed, though, that people sometimes complain of ‘others’ being ‘pedantic’ when they’re reminded of things they should have known all along.

                Knowledge is meant to be shared, and some things just aren’t good material for humor.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Monk James, you are correct of course that St Peter did not serve as “first bishop” of Antioch, nor did he serve as first bishop of Rome for that matter.  

              However, as opposed to Rome, which already had a church when St Peter went there to preach to the Romans, he actually did found the church in Antioch.

              • Monk James Silver says

                No church is ‘founded’ except by the appointment/election of a bishop for it.

                There is no doubt that there were Christians at Rome before Sts Peter and Paul arrived there, but the church at Rome was not founded until those two blessed apostles appointed St Linus as its first bishop.

                The records at Antioch are a bit less clear. but the principle remains in effect.

    • Rejoice o Joseph!

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Ioannis, no, there’s nothing to rejoice about until the whole Church is in agreement in a council. However, I believe that Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos is correct that recognition of Ukrainian autocephaly, at least on a provisional basis, is a step towards a future conciliar agreement on the nature and method of granting autocephaly. It’s the only way forward for this matter to be addressed in a council.

        Furthermore, the division in Ukraine needs to be healed. Revoking this autocephaly will not heal the division. It’s much better for everyone to humor the EP and recognize this autocephaly in the interest of healing division.

        • Because valid ordination means nothing.  Hey for that matter let’s all don the omophor!  Under Bart’s new ecclesiology anyone can self identify as a bishop.

        • Mr Lipper says that we should “humor the EP.”

          And what then are we to do about Metropolitan Onuphriy?  Are we to recognize him as the “former” Metropolitan of Kiev?  Will that heal the division?

          Properly healing the division requires recognizing how it started.  Throwing Metr. Onuphriy under the bus is not the way to fix things.  Neither is “humoring” a man who has pretty much put himself outside of Orthodoxy.

          And the real underlying causes of the “division,” as you put it, include an effort by Bartholomew to get people to believe that he is first without equals.  Humoring him will just embolden him.  Recognizing the pseudo autocephaly will validate it in the minds of Bartholomew and those who row in the same direction.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Metropolitan Onuphrey is still recognized as an Orthodox bishop by the EP, and members of his flock are still recognized fully as Orthodox Christians.  Patriarch Bartholomew has stated that he respects their decision not to join with the OCU.  He has further emphasized this must be respected.  I believe from the EP’s viewpoint, Metropolitan Onuphrey’s refusal to join has resulted in a temporary “jurisdiction” of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.
            The division in Ukraine was not started by Patriarch Bartholomew.  It hasn’t been healed by him either.   Yet he still believes what he did was a step in the right direction.

            • Antiochene Son says

              LOL that’s not what he said at all. Bartholomew wrote Onuphriy a letter and told him to get out. 
              St. John Chrysostom was still recognized as a bishop while in exile. Some consolation!
              Poroshenko is the new Eudoxia.

            • Mr Lipper,

              You say that “Metropolitan Onuphrey is still recognized as an Orthodox bishop by the EP.”  That may be, but Bartholomew made it clear that, in his view, Onufry is no longer the Metropolitan of Kiev.  As quoted in Orthochristian.com, Bartholomew informed Onufriy that

              we inform you that after the elections for the primate of the Ukrainian 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 of Kiev, which, in any case, you now bear in violation of the described conditions of the official documents of 1686.

              (Source: http://orthochristian.com/117747.html)

              Later in your comment you write,

              “I believe from the EP’s viewpoint, Metropolitan Onuphrey’s refusal to join has resulted in a temporary “jurisdiction” of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.”

              You seem to spend a lot of time telling us what you “believe.” It would be far better if you tell us what you actually know, and support your statements with the facts.

              You conclude your comment with the following:

              “The division in Ukraine was not started by Patriarch Bartholomew. It hasn’t been healed by him either. Yet he still believes what he did was a step in the right direction.”

              It is true that there were at least two schismatic entities in Ukraine and that Bartholomew did not create them.  But the division in Ukraine, which still exists, and in fact has multiplied due to Denisenko’s withdrawal from the “OCU”, is not the really important division. 

              The really important division is that which is happening in Orthodoxy as a whole, where a schism is taking place, as evidenced by the split in the Church of Greece, where after a muddled and strange “synod” the vacillating Archbishop Ieronymous endorsed Dumenko, but over the loud objections of Greek Metropolitans such as Serpheim of Piraeus, thus foreshadowing a division in the Church of Greece itself, and where the Patriarch of Alexandria, after clearly supporting Onufry, suddenly does a somersault and commemorates Dumenko.

              Bartholomew’s “beliefs,” like yours, are largely irrelevant, and in Bartholomew’s case, to put it in the best possible light, are the product of delusions of grandeur.  Bartholomew has caused this.  Of that there can be no reasonable doubt.

              For some reason, you ignore some facts and try to squeeze the others into a Procrustean bed to validate your view that Bartholomew is somehow in the right or has good intentions. You’re certainly entitled to your opinions, and perhaps you truly “believe” what you write, but your views bear little connection to reality.


              • Joseph Lipper says

                Here’s a quote from Patriarch Bartholomew: 
                “Today, the whole Orthodox people of Ukraine are in good canonical standing. There is a precondition for unity and sharing in the common cup. Now, if some do not accept this, they will have to ask themselves who is breaking the unity.”
                Yes, as you correctly point out, Patriarch Bartholomew informed Metropolitan Onuphrey that he would no longer be referred to as the “Metropolitan of Kiev”. This was only as a matter of the EP’s own canonical order.  It was not a request for him to leave, and it was not denying that he is still an Orthodox bishop in Ukraine:
                “It should be noted that in granting the Tomos to the new metropolitan of Kyiv Epiphanius on 6 January, Bartholomew also reminded him to respect those Orthodox Ukrainians who want to remain under the jurisdiction of his brother patriarch of Moscow.”

                • Antiochene Son says

                  Bartholomew has revealed that he has the same ecclesiology as Rome: enter into communion now and figure it out later. 
                  That’s not how Orthodoxy does things. Communion is an END, not a MEANS.
                  One wonders why he hasn’t entered into communion with Rome yet. There’s nothing stopping him, aside from the knowledge it will destroy the church, but the precedent is already set, even for that. 

        • Monk James Silver says

          In A.D. 85, the Roman historian (among his other credentials) Tacitus recorded a Latin  version of the Scottish king Calgacus’s (his latinized name) address to his soldiers  before they went into battle against an army sent in by the Roman empire.
          Tacitus’s Latin version has Calgacus saying:    ‘auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium atque ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant’ (‘They call it an “empire” to plunder, to slaughter, to take things away under false claims.  Then, where they create desolation, they call it “peace” ‘ —  my translation).
          Now, Joseph Lipper is asking us here to consider the canonically illegal predations of Constantinople on other local churches as a way for us to achieve peace. 
          I wonder what Tacitus would think of the methods by which this putatively Orthodox Christian successor to the throne of imperial Rome thinks he would bring ‘peace.’


          • Joseph Lipper says

            The Russian Empire supported the Union and intervened during the U.S. Civil War, even sending warships to New York and San Francisco.  Perhaps we can give some credit to Russia for the eventual victory of the Union and for helping to bring peace to the U.S.
            Monk James, I fail to see the connection between Ukraine and the Scottish war against the Romans.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I’m holding that against the Russian Empire, by the way.

            • Monk James Silver says


              Joseph Lipper (November 9, 2019 at 9:27 am) says:
              Monk James, I fail to see the connection between Ukraine and the Scottish war against the Romans.

              I did not intend to suggest that there was any connection between Ukraine and the Roman empire’s invasion of the British Isles.

              It remains true, though, that the Turks (at least originally) considered the patriarch of Constantinople to be the effective successor of the eastern Roman emperors, so there might be a slight conceptual connection here.

              Rather, I meant to adduce Tacitus’s quotation of Calgacus’s speech to illustrate the bitterness with which both the Scottish king and the Roman historian regarded the absurdity of the Roman empire’s wreaking devastation and destruction in the name of creating ;peace’.

              This ancient example came to mind as a perfect analogy for your suggestion that the churches go along with Pat. Bartholomew’s destruction of ‘the well being of the holy churches of God’ for the sake of possible ecclesial peace in the future.

              This is just as unlikely to happen among the churches in the aftermath of Constantinople’s corrosive betrayals and manipulations as it was in Scotland after the Romans called it ‘peace’ as they surveyed the silence of the devastation they had caused.

              Mr Lipper, you really ought to rethink your proposals and realize how completely mistaken and destructive they are.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Monk James, 
                There is a war happening in Ukraine, and Patriarch Bartholomew didn’t start it.  He hasn’t stopped it either, but at least he did offer an olive branch by affirming Ukrainian ecclesial independence for those who want it.  The only “solution” to the war that Russia has offered is for Ukraine to “repent” and return to “Mother Russia”.  Well, that’s not a realistic solution for most Ukrainians, and it certainly hasn’t brought about peace either.

                • I am sorry but exactly how is endorsing a nationalist cult offering an “olive branch”?
                  I am unclear whether you have any understanding of Ukraine whatsoever. The nationalist are a minority of the nation, such as it was before they and the US destroyed it.

                • No, Bartholomew didn’t start the war, although his friends at the State Department certainly helped make matters worse.  What Bartholomew did was throw fuel onto a burning fire.
                  How anyone can say that Bartholomew “offer[ed] an olive branch” is beyond ordinary comprehension.  As for ecclesial independence “for those who want it,” the schismatics already had their “independence,” but they wanted more.   They wanted something from Bartholomew.  And whose “ecclesial independence” did he “affirm”?  That of the schismatics.  At the expense of the canonical Orthodox Church and of its faithful, people whose churches have been vandalized and who themselves have been subject to violence.  Yeah, some “olive branch.”
                  As for your conflation of the war with what Russia has offered in terms of repentance, you are doing a disservice to the canonical Church in Ukraine, whose primate, Metropolitan Onufry, has preached against violence.  
                  The Russian Orthodox Church, along with the entire Orthodox Church, maintain that someone who has become schismatic must repent and seek forgiveness.  That is not based on geopolitics but on ecclesiology.  You have cast the issue in terms of the political violence that erupted as a result of the coup in Ukraine, violence that has been promoted by the likes of people like Poroshenko.  Given the explosive situation in Ukraine, brought about by the coup and the right wing fanatics, including the Azov Battalion and the Right Sector, the last thing a normal, truly spiritual leader, would have done is interfere in church matters by doing what Bartholomew did.  Even if he had the authority to do it, which he did not, it was the most boneheaded thing to do if the objective was to bring some sort of peace to Ukraine.  But I don’t think that was the objective.
                  If Bartholomew really wanted to extend an “olive branch,” he would go to Ukraine, get on his knees, and beg forgiveness from those babushkas who have been shoved out of the way by schismatics attempting to seize their parish churches.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    On a purely socio-political basis Bartholomew violated one of the primary tenets of geopolitics: never get involved in a civil war unless you are invited in by both sides. Otherwise, you will be hated by one side and mistrusted by the other.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Ukraine’s tomos purposefully avoided mentioning the OCU.  Instead it was granted to the “Most Holy Church of Ukraine”, and so all of Ukraine was granted autocephaly and not specifically the OCU.  
                    It’s undeniable the present OCU has far less independence now than the former “Kievan Patriarchate” and UAOC.  In strictest terms, the OCU is autocephalous because it elects and approves it’s own Primate.  However, this Primacy also involves great obedience.  The OCU’s Primate must now commemorate all the autocephalous churches, including Moscow.   The OCU is also held accountable to the First Throne of the Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate. 
                    Autocephaly in the Orthodox Church is an obedience, and the OCU has willingly submitted to this.  They didn’t have to.  They could have continued as schismatics, but instead they chose to reconcile with the EP. 

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Joseph, they didn’t “reconcile” with the EP! They were never connected to the EP. Those who had any association with the canonical Church were under the MP and the only one who can reconcile them to the Church is the MP.

                      Not only did Batholomew invade the territory of the MP, he severed ties with Filaret. I’m not a fan of Filaret, but he was tricked out of his Patriarchate (if you could call it that). None of this was done correctly. Epiphany, et al, are every bit as schismatic as they were before the Tomos. Most of them, as others have pointed out, haven’t even been ordained.

                      It’s one thing to support someone, as you do the EP, but it’s quite another to buy into their fiction. These people are schismatic. If they want to be reconciled with the Church, they’ll have to do it through the MP.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, the OCU functioned as an Exarchate of Constantinople for three weeks prior to receiving autocephaly, that is from Metropolitan Epiphany’s election on December 15th until January 6th.  For at least those three weeks, they were completely subordinate to Constantinople.  In my opinion, that constitutes a reconciliation. 
                      The hurried manner in which the OCU was granted autocephaly was always the original intention though. Subordination to Constantinople was never the goal.  Patriarch Bartholomew was never trying to gain territory in Ukraine but was rather trying to give it canonical independence.  He was convinced the EP had an historic and canonical responsibility to intervene if Moscow couldn’t handle the situation in Ukraine. 

                      Without a doubt, the Moscow Patriarchate was and still is completely unable to handle what’s going on, especially after the war in Donbass started in 2014.  Moscow is unwilling to admit this.  It’s just classic denial.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Seriously, Joseph? Three whole weeks! Well then, of course, they were reconciled to the Church, as they were fighting among themselves and giving Filaret, Epiphany’s mentor and spiritual father, his walking papers. What’s a matter with me thinking they wouldn’t know the Church if it smacked them in the face. (snark off)

                      The MP handled it perfectly. They did the only thing they could do to protect the Church. They separated themselves. Because they did this, Bartholomew will not be able to take the better part of the Church with him to Rome. We know our shepherd’s voice and Bartholomew’s followers know theirs. They are not the same.

                      How can you say subordination to Constantinople was never the goal? In the absence of concrete knowledge, which we don’t have, you have to take things at face value, i.e. the goal was always to subordinate them to Bartholomew because that was the end result.

                      The frustrating thing for me is I suspect you know better and I genuinely fear for you. The powers of this world will not help you in the next, Jospeh. It would be better to be silent.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, I’m willing to accept Patriarch Bartholomew’s own words at face value:
                      “Ukraine has gained its autocephaly. Nothing was added to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, nor to the Ecumenical Patriarch. There was no motivation of self-interest or ulterior motives. We just did our ecclesiastical duty. The grace of God has conferred on us the ministry of the first see of Orthodoxy for almost thirty years. From now on we do not await anything human and secular. We pray daily for the grace and mercy of God in our lives and in our Church. Therefore, what is written and said about ambitions and power interventions does not apply. Nor was there, of course, pressure from certain states for Ukraine’s autocephaly. But I must affirm to you that several Heads of State congratulated the Ecumenical Patriarchate on this decision. Some with letters and others with public statements. When a state praises a decision by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it does not mean that this state has made it happen. Our Church operates freely and free from external interference and secular pressure.”

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Joseph, you can only take something “at face value” if the truth is not clear. That doesn’t apply in this case. The truth is clear.

                      “In the tomos on the autocephaly of the OCU, we also find unequivocal statements about the special status of the See of Constantinople. Here it is clearly stated that for resolving important issues of a ecclesiastical, dogmatic or canonical character, the Metropolitan of Kiev should refer to the Ecumenical See in order to receive an authoritative explanation about it. . . Additionally, in the tomos from January 5 stipulates the Patriarch of Constantinople’s right to receive appeals from the Ukrainian bishops if they disagree with juridical decisions about them. In such cases, the verdict of the Ecumenical Patriarch will be final and not subject to revision. . . The tomos’ most painful provision may perhaps be the requirement that the OCU refrain from creating its own structures outside of Ukraine. Not a single one of the previously-issued tomoi had such requirements.” He has control over a territory he didn’t have before. That’s a gain. http://orthochristian.com/118524.html

                      The GOA budgeted 1.5M to go to Bartholomew in 2020. Do you really believe he is receiving nothing from Ukraine? What about the liquidation of the Kiev Patriarchate. Will he not receive something for that? What about the 500 or so (I still believe this number has been overstated) parishes that came over to the OCU? Would that not add to whatever Ukraine gives him? Whatever he gets that he didn’t have before . . . that’s a gain.

                      What about the stravropegia that are and will be created. That’s a gain.

                      Never mind the money that was widely reported to have changed hands.

                      He now has a clear path to the Unia. That’s a gain.

                      To say “nothing was added to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, nor to the Ecumenical Patriarch” is a flat out lie.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, there may be discrepancies contradicting that “nothing was added to the EP”, but in all fairness to Patriarch Bartholomew, he wasn’t asked the specific questions you bring up.  Instead he seems to be making a general point about Ukraine being autocephalous and not a territorial Exarchate of the EP.  
                      Yes, Patriarch Bartholomew did admit to receiving chocolates from President Poroshenko.
                      Allegedly the EP also received monies, yet I haven’t found any proof of this.  Yet even if there was money initially sent to the EP, it would still make sense because the OCU was technically an Exarchate of the EP for at least three weeks.  If the OCU claims to have millions of members, then it would make sense to back up that claim with the money to prove it.

                • Antiochene Son says

                  If repentance isn’t an option, then their hearts are hardened and they ought to be left to their fate. 
                  Millions of Orthodox in the West manage to submit to foreign hierarchs, even ones whose countries are at war with ours. Why are Ukrainians so special? (besides, Russia didn’t start it. The coup which overthrew the rightfully elected president in 2014 started it.)
                  Bartholomew has given communion to these hardened people, which has only intensified the war and led to the destruction of holy churches and human lives.
                  At this late stage I’m more concerned about Bartholomew’s repentance than Epiphany’s. 

          • Well said!
            The sad thing with our really beloved brother Joseph,
            I mean it really, is that if, say, you convince him today and he agrees,
            then tomorrow he will start again, as if  he did not talk to you at all yesterday.
            He kind of forgets his previous admissions, I am talking from my own experience with him. I am sure he is reading this too.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Ioannis, I haven’t forgotten your clarification about Fr. George Metallinos.  You were right about him, and I was wrong.  Although I greatly appreciate some of his writings, such as on the Unia and on baptism, it appears that I disagree with his position on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s right to grant autocephaly to Ukraine.

              • OK brother Joseph,
                forgive me if you think that I have somehow wronged you.
                There is nothing personal here.
                Having said that, I must stress one basic difference I have with you, namely, as another brother noted yesterday, you say I believe this and that, now you say “I disagree” and that sort of thing. I am trying hard to avoid this and stick to FACTS rather, like he did that, the canon says that…
                One theoretical and ideal way of talking here productive would be to completely discard the verbs think,believe and rather produce evidence of facts and then cooly calculate things and conclusions. Our big subject is whether Bartholomew is right or wrong. Well let us bring here as much evidence of facts as we can. 

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Ioannis, I can acknowledge that I’m often wrong and incorrect about things.  So I try to clarify that something is only my belief or opinion, because I realize I might be wrong.  I appreciate your input though, and I will try to use facts.  Sometimes posting lots of facts gets tedious though.

                  • Mr Lipper, if anything gets tedious it’s the routine regurgitation of whatever Bartholomew says as if it is the last word on the subject.  In other words, it seems that for you, if Bartholomew says it, it must be true.  If Bartholomew did it, it must be correct.  There is almost no point in have a discussion with you.  You ignore what doesn’t fit.  As I have previously suggested, you make an effort to squeeze everything into a Procrustean bed so as to reach a conclusion that Bartholomew is correct.  No surprise, then, that you would write to Gail, that you are “willing to accept Patriarch Bartholomew’s own words at face value.” Of course you are.  That’s part of the problem, a big part of it.*
                    Among those words of Bartholomew’s that you take at face value, are these: “Nor was there, of course, pressure from certain states for Ukraine’s autocephaly.”  All those meetings and discussions, between Bartholomew and Poroshenko, between Bartholomew and operatives of the State Department.  Not to mention the fact that the U.S. General Consul came to Mt Athos two days before Bartholomew’s recent visit there, to do what exactly? To act as an advance man for Bartholomew, to push a joint agenda?  We should just close our eyes to all that?  Pretend it didn’t happen? Pretend they were all coincidences? 
                    Maybe Bartholomew wasn’t being pressured, perhaps instead he found it advantageous to work with the U.S. in order to achieve, through this partnership, similar goals.
                    Like Ioannis, I can say that I “used to be very VERY pro-EP for many MANY years.” I am Greek, born in the U.S., and always supported the idea that the Patriarch of Constantinople should remain in that city, to bear witness through its humble circumstances.  I was proud of the fact that Orthodoxy spread to the Rus from the Hellenic World, although I never looked down upon the Slavic Orthodox.  Instead, I was glad for their many and greatly significant contributions to Orthodoxy (not to mention the support Russia gave over many years to Constantinople, to Alexandria, to Jerusalem).
                    But now?  Now, to my great dismay, I see Bartholomew acting, not as a humble witness projecting great spiritual strength, but as a politician attempting to project worldly power in concert with the U.S. establishment.
                    Note: *https://www.monomakhos.com/shut-the-front-door/#comment-148079

              • Joseph, I trust that both of us are equally interested in the truth and the facts. Being Greek, I used to be very VERY pro-EP for many MANY years, but some years after Bartholomew was elected I saw that he was moving away from Orthodoxy. 
                Here is another source of historical facts about the EP during the ast 100 years, by V.Moss:
                I would appreciate your comments:
                Do you agree on the facts described?

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Ioannis, you seem to want to criticize Patriarch Bartholomew about his ecumenism, etc.  There may be good reasons for this, but I’m mostly trying to stay on the topic of Ukrainian autocephaly.  As such, I don’t really want to delve into Vladimir Moss’ criticisms of the EP unless they specifically pertain to Ukrainian autocephaly.
                  By the way, didn’t Vladimir Moss openly accuse Fr. George Metallinos as being something of a heretic?

                  • A number of people have accused Romanides and his school of thought as being heretical. I’m no theologian, but they have a very good case and it should be taken seriously.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Vladimir Moss is one such person, and I believe he is now part of the so-called “Russian True Orthodox Church”.  What’s interesting about Vladimir Moss’ critique of Romanides is that it centers around Moss’ own defense of Augustinism, whereas Romanides is of course against Augustinism. 
                       Fr. John Romanides addressed “the new phenomenon of Anti-Ecumenical Augustinians… ” who are attempting to “establish their Augustinian heresy posing as enemies of Ecumenism in such countries like Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Georgia, etc.” in his lecture at St. Vladimir’s seminary in 1980.

                    • Basically non-Greek countries, then. Romanides’ work is Hellenistic supremacism masquerading as theology at times. His disdain for the non-Greeks, i.e. “Franks” and Slavs is evident.

                    • George Natanopoulos says

                      We should have nothing to do with Rome, founded by Romulus and Remus, who share the volpomammic birth myth of the Magog (Tatars and their American Indian kin). The Romans are the evil empire that slew Jesus and stole his religion. Anyone who knows the cruel, vindictive ending of Vercingetorix, Spartacus and Carthage knows who really killed Jesus.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Carthage had it coming.

                  • Joseph, thanks for your reply..

                    “Ioannis, you seem to want to criticize Patriarch Bartholomew about his ecumenism, etc.”

                    Nope. I want to find out what un-Orthodox things Bartholomew has done or said. This will help me and others to know which Teacher to listen to and follow. It is your choice to follow him blindly until he brings you down in front of the feet of the Pope…and then say it is too late.:

                    “There may be good reasons for this, but I’m mostly trying to stay on the topic of Ukrainian autocephaly. As such, I don’t really want to delve into Vladimir Moss’ criticisms of the EP unless they specifically pertain to Ukrainian autocephaly.”
                    It is very simple: To fully understand Bartholomew’s logic on the topic of Ukrainian autocephaly, one should know the background, e.g. how and why Bartholomew has done things in the past.

                    By the way, didn’t Vladimir Moss openly accuse Fr. George Metallinos as being something of a heretic?”(a)
                    In your link he accuses not only Fr.GM but also your hero Hierotheos(Vlachos) and Yannaras.We saw how Hierotheos changed overnight after Pyatt visited him, and Yannaras was also accused by elders of the Holy mountain many years ago. So, yes, it seems Moss was right about two of them. I have found no such information about Fr.GM and I would HONESTLY appreciate if you can send me info. (in our discussion about Fr.GM I was interested in the FACTS he wrote ONLY. I am not BLINDLY following ANYBODY now alive on earth including myself. The temptations are many and strong. The higher one goes in the Hierarchy, the higher the temptations. The hierarchs also have the irresistible temptation of the very beautiful female called Gloria, Doxa, or Glory of the Bishop. For that temptation, St.Chrysostom did not want to became a bishop.How can you or me blindly trust a bishop if we know he has this temptation 24h 7days a week?Is it not better for HIM and for us to be very careful?I pray every day “…lead us not into temptation…”. In the Liturgy we pray to the Lord to grant us the Archbishop with “…health, length of days and rightly preaching the word of Thy Truth”. Now God does not have a robot as our Archbishop, but a free human being, and for reasons we do not know, that Archbishop may indeed NOT have good health or length of days and may NOT be rightly preaching. (b) There may be other correct or wrong things in Moss’s article(s) but I wanted to get out for our discussion here is JUST FACTS about Bartholomew’s performance.

                    • Alitheia1875 says

                      Un-Orthodox? Seriously? What is praying with non-Orthodox? An expression of “love” by one lung for the other lung? One can say whatever one wants about another faith group but when you pray with non-Orthodox you have crossed a line. Period. No exceptions. 

              • “Although I greatly appreciate some of his writings, such as on the Unia and on baptism, it appears that I disagree with his position on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s right to grant autocephaly to Ukraine.”
                Of course you do.

        • As anyone who has converted from a now totally apostate “Christian” religious group will testify, the cry of the deceivers in their midst was always “Let there be unity among us.  We can have our disagreements and remain unified.” 
          Such false unity is a necessity for evil to spread its infection because it has no life within itself and cannot thrive if it is entirely cut off from life.  There can, for example, be no tooth decay if the decay is rooted out or the tooth that nourishes the decay’s existence is severed from the body.  And so it cries, “Let us be unified! Let us live together in peace!” even while it inflicts corruption and slowly destroys the source of its own life.
          To any who say, “But this is not an issue of truth.  We all hold the same faith…”
          As surely as night follows day, one cannot long deviate from the Tradition handed down to us in even the smallest of matters without it leading to apostasy
          (Though receiving unrepentant schismatic clerics without repentance or ‘declaring’ unconsecrated ‘clergy’ to be clergy or trampling upon the conciliar nature of the Church in the name of ‘upholding the cannons’ are hardly small matters).
          To those who find this assertion improbable, I advise remembrance of these words lest they be deceived by misguided loyalties, desires for unity (which, after all, is good), and even bolder false claims of the ‘authority’ or ‘canonicity’ when the apostasy finally reveals itself.
          No. The faithful cannot “humor” anyone who promotes evil in the name of what is good.  It must be rooted out or cut off altogether, and if our hierarchs refuse to do it, they must be ignored and resisted to the degree of their demand that we participate in it.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Brian, in my opinion you’re fighting a different battle.  We’re not talking about people who have widely diverging beliefs in matters of faith and praxis. We’re not talking about a group like the Episcopalians of the U.S.A. here.
            What’s the difference in matters of faith and praxis between members of the OCU and the UOC-MP?  Nothing.  There is only a disagreement about autocephaly and how it’s granted, proclaimed, and recognized.  That’s the only reason for the division, and this division existed before Patriarch Bartholomew did anything.
            The Moscow Patriarchate has granted autocephaly to Poland, Czechoslovakia, and America.  Why not Ukraine?  The claim by the MP that Ukrainians do not want autocephaly is not entirely true.  The request and later insistence for autocephaly was the original reason that brought about the current division in Ukraine in 1992.  

            • George Michalopulos says

              Joseph, I must protest. (Brian can jump in here later). The difference between the schismatics (think about that: it’s a horrible sin) and the canonical Ukrainian Church is that the schismatics don’t even have valid ordinations. Their frauds. I might as well get me a “pope-hat”, ordain myself and set up a cult here in T-Town and my rites would have as much sacramental validity as anything put out by Dumenko.

              Let’s be serious: that’s what Joseph Smith did back in 1830 when he baptized himself and a disciple and thus “restored” the authentic Church of Jesus Christ.

              As for your last question, why didn’t the MP grant autocephaly to Ukraine I can tell you why: they didn’t ask for it, that’s why.

            • Joseph Lipper says: “We’re not talking about a group like the Episcopalians of the U.S.A. here.”

              Yes, we are. I see no difference between the present supporters of Phanar and people who modernized Episcopalian Church. Same spirit.

            • Joseph,
              Unfortunately, as is your wont, you’re being nonsensical. By your logic, I should see no difference between going to Met. Onuphriy for confession vs going to “Met. Epiphany” for confession. 
              Come on man. Do you even believe this blather that you put forth?  
              I wouldn’t trust this “Epiphany” to advise me on which toilet paper to buy, let alone to advise me in Holy confession. 
              If if you truly believe that “Epiphany” and Met. Onuphriy are interchangeable, then that naturally carries into question your steadfastness, understanding of, and devotion to Christ and to our Orthodox faith. 

            • Antiochene Son says

              Then those Ukrainian schismatics ought to return to the canonical Church and lobby for autocephaly within the Church like normal people. They went into schism so they are cut off and their opinions don’t matter.

              • George Michalopulos says

                AS, it is possible that they didn’t feel the need to “repent of their schism”? That they don’t believe in repentance at all? What I’m saying is that perhaps these men are not only charlatans but non-believers? If so, from the Globalists’ point of view, their atheism is a necessary precondition for what they want to ultimately achieve.

                I know the above is speculation but consider this: According to the Daily Mail (https://mol.im/7665347, Pope Francis “denied the bodily resurrection of Christ”. (Admittedly this comes from his gay, journalist friend every now and then comes out with some “confidential info” given to him in conversation but given his track record, I’m more inclined to believe it than not.)

                We are not only talking about false prophecy here but false prophets. I’ve given up hope that the Athonites will do the right thing as a group at this point. Perhaps a schism on Athos is the best that can be expected.

                • George I believe we are living through a general total crisis.  Can it be that material wealth and comfort have sapped the soul of Mount Athos so thst they would betray the Church. ?  But this is going to get worse before there is any light. 

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Quite possibly.

                    • Just to say the monasteries in northern macedonia were marvelous but obviously had plenty of cash. Where is this coming from in a relatively poor state?  
                      I am beginning to ‘ revisit’ My visit!  And look.at it were with new eyes. 

            • No need to rehash the very basic of violations of Orthodox praxis about which George and countless others have already spoken.
              “We’re not talking about people who have widely diverging beliefs in matters of faith and praxis.”
              This is where you are kidding yourself.  It may not be apparent at this moment, but it will be revealed in time – just as it was with Rome and the Church of England.  Even now the signs are there.  All I ask is that you remember my words above.
              “The Moscow Patriarchate has granted autocephaly to Poland, Czechoslovakia, and America.” 
              Yes.  Because the conditions were right. The hierarchy and people were largely unified, there was no ongoing schism (with the exception of the ROCOR in the U.S. for reasons primarily related to intense distrust of probable communist influence in the MP), and it was in the interest of their salvation.
              “Why not Ukraine?”
              None of the above conditions existed in 1992.  Nor did they exist recently, twenty-eight years hence.  Nor do they exist today.
              “We, the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Note:  NOT THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH], concerned for the fate of holy Orthodoxy in our native Ukrainian land, draw the attention of all the fullness of the Orthodox Church under the omophorion of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the unworthy behavior of the former primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko), and in this regard we declare the following:

              Metropolitan Philaret is extremely cruel and arrogant in relation to the subordinate clergy and to his brothers in the episcopal ministry. Instead of fatherly care, love, and compassion to the younger brethren, he embarked upon the path of dictatorialness and intimidation, which is absolutely unacceptable in the behavior of an Orthodox hierarch, for he, according to the word of the holy Apostle Paul, must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate(Tit. 1:7-8). Canon 27 of the Holy Apostles prescribes that those bishops, presbyters, or deacons who commit physical and spiritual violence be deposed from their holy orders.
              By his personal life, Metropolitan Philaret brings temptation among the faithful and also gives occasion for defamation and blasphemy against the Orthodox Church from the outside world, for which, according to Canon 3 of the First Ecumenical Council and Canon 5 the Fifth-Sixth (Trullan) Council, he is subject to the strictest canonical punishment, for, as Holy Scripture says, woe to that man by whom the offence cometh(Mt. 18:7).
              Metropolitan Philaret, who gave his word at the Bishops’ Council before the cross and Gospel to convene without delay a Council of the Ukrainian bishops in Kiev and to declare there his resignation,[1]and having promised to fulfill it, he broke his oath, entailing, according to Canon 25 of the Holy Apostles, deposition from his sacred office.
              Following the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church from March 31-April 5, 1992, Metropolitan Philaret has tried and is trying to use the mass media to maliciously and publicly distort the decisions made there and is thereby a slanderer and blasphemer of our holy Orthodox Church, and as such, according to Canon 6 of the Second Ecumenical Council, he bears strict canonical responsibility.
              Having ignored the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of May 27, 1992, and having lost the conscience of a pastor, Metropolitan Philaret sacrilegiously grasped for himself the right to celebrate the sacred services as a bishop, which does not belong to him. In particular, he celebrated the Divine Liturgy and ordained deacons, priests, and even bishops multiple times, having no authority to do so from the Holy Synod. For such actions, Canon 28 of the Holy Apostle subjects those disobedient to canonical discipline to complete separation from the Orthodox Church: “If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, who has been justly deposed from office for proven crimes, should dare to touch the Liturgy which had once been put in his hands, let him be cut off from the Church altogether.”

              St. Basil the Great, in his epistle to Gregory the Presbyter, included in the canonical code as his 88th Canon, warns the temporarily suspended cleric that if he, disregarding his suspension, dares “to touch the priesthood,” he will be “anathema to all the people.”

              By his actions, Metropolitan Philaret has caused a schism in the Church, for which he is subject to the deprivation of his office on the basis of Canon 15 of the First-Second Council.

              All of the above we entrust to the judgment of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which we [I remind you that  “we”is the UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH] urge to take strict measures of punishment in regard to Metropolitan Philaret, as a conscious trespasser against Church piety and canonical order, as required by the sacred canons, which we all solemnly promised before the Orthodox Church to follow.
              June 11, 1992
              And again from the MP…
              There exists the false opinion that the ecclesiastical judgment over the former Metropolitan Philaret will influence the decision on the issue of granting full canonical independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. By the force of our archpastoral word we testify that such assertions are either a misconception or deliberate slander.
              We will not in any way prevent the discussion of the issue of the full canonical independence of the Ukrainian Church. We will accept any judgment pronounced by the voice of the people of the Church on this given matter. But we want this voice to be heard freely and clearly, and that the faithful would not be subjected to any pressure connected with political or other earthly interests. Being responsible before God for the people of the Church entrusted to our humble hands by Him, we will do everything in our power for their spiritual freedom and so that they would live as the Gospel and teachings of the Orthodox Church instruct.
              The former Metropolitan Philaret and other Church offenders use the topic of “autocephaly” exclusively for personal purposes, creating the false impression that they are “victims” for their allegedly autocephalic convictions. We testify to you that among the participants in our Bishops’ Council, who deposed Metropolitan Philaret and Bishop Jacob, were those hierarchs who openly support the idea of a speedy granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Philaret and Jacob are deprived of their office not for their convictions but for their transgressions against the Church, expressed in the conscious and egregious violation of the sacred canons.
              As regards the granting of full canonical independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we firmly believe that this issue should be resolved by lawful canonical means through the convening of a Local Council and the coordination of its decision with the will of all the fraternal Local Churches. If this does not happen, we will only reap more and more schisms, bringing destruction to Church life.”
              “The request and later insistence for autocephaly was the original reason that brought about the current division in Ukraine in 1992.”  
              Oh really? This was the reason was it?  How you casually ignore…or refuse to hear…
              The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, in accordance with the Decision of the Holy Synod on May 28, 1992, gathered in Danilov Monastery on June 11, and:

              Bore judgment upon the situation in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that has resulted from the failure of Philaret (Denisenko), formerly Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, to fulfill the oath given by him to the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which met from March 31 to April 5, 1992 in Danilov Monastery, that upon returning to Kiev he would call a Bishop’s Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and would, for the sake of ecclesiastical peace in Ukraine, submit a petition for release from the post of primate of the Church, so the Council could find a new Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.

              Background: The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church was held in Danilov Monastery in Moscow from March 31 to April 5, 1992. The Council’s agenda included discussion of the appeal of the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by Metropolitan Philaret of Kiev and All Ukraine with a request to grant full canonical independence—autocephaly—to the Church.
              The Council issued a resolution “to bear judgment on the granting of full canonical independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at the regular Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church,” as the majority of the episcopate, clergy, and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church spoke out on the eve of the Council against the immediate granting of autocephaly. The Bishop’s Council agreed that Metropolitan Philaret, as the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was not in a state to heal the existing divisions and disorder in the Church. The Council noted Metropolitan Philaret’s statement about his readiness to submit, in the name of ecclesiastical peace, a petition for release from his duties as the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In this regard he said, “I give my archpastoral word that such a Council (meaning that Council that was to elect the primate of the Ukrainian Church) will be held, and that there will be no pressure from any side. That there will be none from society, I am sure, and there will be none from me… You can be sure that I will not be the primate.” Metropolitan Philaret gave his promise to relinquish the Kiev Cathedra before the cross and Gospel.
              The Bishops’ Council’s ruling was met with the approval of the majority of the clergy and laity of Ukraine and opened the path to overcoming differences and divisions and creating ecclesiastical peace.
              Returning to Kiev, Metropolitan Philaret held a press conference with the Ukrinform News Agency on April 14, at which he accused the fathers of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of putting pressure on him. Metropolitan Philaret stated that he gave the fathers of the Council an insincere promise to relinquish the post of the primate of the Ukrainian Church but in fact intends to keep it for life.
              In this regard, an assembly of the bishops and representatives of the clergy, monastics, Orthodox brotherhoods, and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was held in Zhytomyr on April 30, expressing distrust for Metropolitan Philaret because of “his deliberate deception of the fathers of the Bishops’ Council of the Mother-Church.” This deception was assessed by the assembly as oath-breaking. The assembly insisted upon the immediate convoking of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Church to accept the resignation of Metropolitan Philaret and elect a new primate.
              An augmented session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church was held May 6-7. The Synod, having discussed the situation that has unfolded in Ukraine in connection with the public declarations of the Metropolitan of Kiev, decided to strongly condemn Metropolitan Philaret’s statements “not corresponding to truth and misleading the flock,” and “evaluates them as blasphemy against the conciliar mind of the Church, acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Synod directed Metropolitan Philaret “to convene the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by May 15, to submit a petition there for resignation from the post of the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and to truly resign, as he solemnly promised before the cross and Gospel.” In connection with the extreme situation existing in the Ukrainian Church, the Synod forbade Metropolitan Philaret “from acting in the capacity of primate until the convening of the Council of the Ukrainian Church, namely: to convoke the Synod, to consecrate bishops, to issue Decrees and appeals, with the exception of convoking the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to accept his resignation and elect a new primate.” The Holy Synod ruled that “all penalties and punishments imposed, or which may be imposed by him upon hierarchs, clergy, and laity for their support for the Ruling of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of April 2, 1992, considering them unlawful and therefore invalid.” Metropolitan Philaret was simultaneously warned that in the case of failure to fulfill the Ruling of the Bishops’ Council and the Decision of this Synod, he will be brought to trial by the Bishops’ Council.
              This Synodal decision was again ignored by Metropolitan Philaret. Consequently, the Holy Synod was forced to gather on May 21 in a regular session devoted to the state of Church affairs in Ukraine and the issue of the replacement for the Kiev Cathedra. The Synod instructed Metropolitan Nikodim of Kharkov and Bogodukhov, the senior archpastor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by consecration, to call and hold a Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Church in the period before the celebration of Pentecost to elect its new primate, having placed upon him the temporary performance of the duties of the primate. In response to this decision, Metropolitan Philaret declared to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia on May 25 that he considers the decision of the augmented Synod “unfounded and incompetent.”
              On May 26, His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II sent a telegram to Metropolitan Philaret in which, in particular, it says, “For the good of our common Mother-Church, in the genuine interests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I appeal to you, Vladyka, to humbly accept the decision of the Holy Synod, fully consistent with the spirit and resolutions of the Bishops’ Council, which you testified to being in agreement with before the entire episcopate of our Church. This decision does not contradict the previously accepted conciliar decisions and does not limit the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in its administration. Do not inflict new wounds on the suffering body of the Church.”
              On May 26, Metropolitan Philaret gathered his supporters in Kiev, calling the gathering the “All-Ukrainian Conference for the Defense of the Canonical Rights of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.” The participants of this conference, at which not a single hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was present, rejected the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of May 7 and 21, 1992, and the actions of the Orthodox archpastors of Ukraine who maintained obedience to the canonical head of the Mother-Church, were characterized as “a betrayal of the Church and the Orthodox people of Ukraine.”
              The Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was held May 27-28 in Kharkov with eighteen archpastors under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Nikodim of Kharkov and Bogodukhov. The Bishops’ Council expressed its lack of trust in Metropolitan Philaret as the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and removed him from the Kiev Cathedra. For the schismatic actions he perpetrated, the Council forbade him from serving from henceforth until the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Mother-Church. Metropolitan Vladimir of Rostov and Novocherkassk was elected by secret ballot from among three candidates and he accepted this election. At its meeting on May 28, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church agreed with the decisions of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and scheduled a Bishops’ Council for June 11 in Moscow to consider the case of the former Metropolitan of Kiev. In accordance with paragraph 3 of the Ruling of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, adopted by the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in October 1990, His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II blessed the newly-elected primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Vladimir for his upcoming ministry. The primates of all the autocephalous Orthodox Churches have been informed of the decision of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
              His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II informed Metropolitan Philaret of the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church to convene a Bishops’ Council on June 11 and summoned him to this Council. Despite the fact that he was summoned three times, Metropolitan Philaret has not appeared at this present Council. Being prohibited to serve since May 27 of this year, he has, together with Bishop Jacob of Pochaev, celebrated unlawful hierarchical consecrations.
              The Bishops’ Council subjected the case of Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko) to a comprehensive discussion and recognized the acts of the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the removal of Metropolitan Philaret from the post of primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, on sending him into retirement, and on his probation from serving, as well as its agreement with these measures of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which have legitimate pre-trial significance.
              Taking into account the appeal of the archpastors of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the present Bishops’ Council on the need to adopt Churchwide canonical judgments in regard to Metropolitan Philaret (Denisenko), which is in essence а judicial claim, the Council RESOLVES:         
              To transfer the case of the former Metropolitan of Kiev Philaret (Denisenko) to the court of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. The judicial proceeding shall be carried out at this present session of the Council.
              Interestingly during the very same session the MP also ruled…
              III. Bore judgment upon the petition of the former Bishop John of Zhytomyr (Vasily Nikolaevich Bodnarchuk), deprived of his sacred office in November 1989 for the schism created by him (the creation of the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church), and now repenting of it, to return to the bosom of the Mother-Church.
              Oh those ‘hard-hearted, legalistic, inflexible, unforgiving bastards!’
              Do tell, dear brother Joseph.  If after requesting autocephaly from the CP and being denied, the primate of the Greek Church in America (or Australia or wherever) openly defied a ruling of the CP, was subsequently offered room for repentance, violated his solemn oath, was then defrocked based upon an appeal from the AMERICAN Greek archdiocese , anathematized, and confirmed as such by all the Churches …and then proceeded to declare himself  “Patriarch of America,” would Bartholomew or any hierarch in his right mind not only restore his clerical orders without any repentance but also grant his ‘church’  autocephaly against the wishes of those in the same country who had subsequently remained faithful to the CP for some 28 years in spite of his denial of their request for autocephaly?
              Or how about a similar, though not identical, scenario.  What if the MP, asserting its clear and historical claim over North America, granted autocephaly to this same “Patriarch of America”?  Would the CP sit still for it?  Would he say, “Well, it is their right to do so, after all.”?  Would he break communion with the MP?
              Of course, these are rhetorical questions because the answers are obvious.   

              • Absolutely fantastic contribution, sir.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Brian: fantastic. Thank you.

              • Brian, Thank you very much for your comprehensive, fact based analysis.  It is very informative and casts considerable light on areas that for me had remained somewhat dark and murky.  Your use of facts and reliance on actual quotations is superb and very much appreciated by me and obviously by others.

              • Thank you for that detailed information re Ukraine.  You make an important point re belief. This is not just about Ukraine but is about sending the Orthodox church down that 1960s onwards road that has done so much for western Christianity. Of being relevant to the times and the rest of it. 
                I got a sense of this reading a piece from the Fordham lot on Saints by Deacon Chrysavgiss.  As all of his ilk  he makes some salient points re how we see Sainthood and  looking for miracles Etc over quality of the life lived. 
                Then he goes on to decry in greek world the fact that saints seem to be monastic and very few females or lay people..  SAINTS BY QUOTA SOON!!!!!. Actually Russian saints are more mixed actually and more females and there is one recent  female  Greek old calander Saint but this irrelevant to the direction of travel of these people.  
                They are desparate not to feel redundant in a secular world. Well I got news for the poor darlings,  WE ARE ALL REDUNDENT IN A SECULAR WORLD. 

            • Joseph Lipper asked: “Why not Ukraine?”
              The canonical Ukrainian Church did not ask for autocephaly, because despite national differences, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox have the same Mother.
              This was explained to me while on pilgrimage with a Ukrainian brother over a decade ago.  We were discussing the spiritual heart of the Russian Orthodox Church and where it was located.  I told my friend that I felt it was Optina Pustyn.  My elder Ukrainian brother kindly explained to me that the “heart” of the Russian and Ukrainian (canonical) Churches was in Ukraine, specifically the Kiev Pechersk Monastery (aka “the Kiev Caves”).
              Ukraine is the shared birthplace of these canonical Churches.  They share the same Mother.
              Because She is our Mother, people who are not her direct children must understand:
              We are beyond outraged because not only has our Mother been stabbed in the back, but her attacker is now trying to incite others to gang rape Her.
              No, this wicked attacker and his followers will not be “humored” by the faithful children of our Mother Church.

              • Ioan,
                While I agree with your post, something needs to be clarified lest we argue in circles, particularly with Mr. Lipper.
                While I do not know the precise date (it was around 1991/1992), it is true that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – the canonical Church in which at the time Met. Onuphrey was a mere bishop and in which at that time Met. Philaret was primate – did, in fact, petition the MP for autocephaly.
                Unfortunately, the timing of their petition coincided with (at that time)  Met. Philaret’s revealing himself to be the evil, wickedly ambitious, power-hungry, despotic, schismatic wolf that he is. 
                While our brother Joseph’s continued assertion that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (the canonical Church) asked for autocephaly is vastly oversimplified, it is nevertheless true. 
                What he ignores, or at least, glosses over, is the fact that this request was made about 28 years ago, and that the reasons for Moscow’s denial of their request were reasons with which the vast majority of bishops of the Ukrainian Church agreed and have fully respected and honored ever since.
                Moreover, disregarding these facts (fully documented in my lengthy post above) he continues to assert that the CP “had to step in because the MP couldn’t/didn’t/was unwilling to resolve it on their own.”  This is sheer nonsense.  No one can force an evil man like Philaret to repent.   Neither did the MP have the support of the Ukrainian government to check his evil ambitions.  Quite the contrary; the Ukrainian government of that time encouraged him in his schism and evil ambitions for reasons having nothing – nothing! – to do with the Church of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
                It begs the question of what Bartholomew and his synod would have done if faced with the same situation.  Answer:  He would have done precisely what the MP did, being powerless against the stubborn will of a thoroughly evil man, and faced with no option but to sever both him and his followers from the Church in order to preserve her unity and purity.
                It also begs the question of what he would do if anyone dared question his judgement upon a matter within his jurisdiction.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Ioan, the main argument for Ukrainian autocephaly over the last 30 years was to fight against the encroachment of the Greek Catholics.  To aid in their battle against the Unia, clergy were insisting on Ukrainian autocephaly:
                “many clerics, mainly from the western regions, thought that the Ukrainian Exarchate would not be able to maintain its position in Ukraine if it didn’t become a full autocephalous church, which would help them stand against the Greek Catholics and the UAOC. Metropolitan Filaret and the Patriarch of Moscow received many letters asking to grant the Kyiv Exarchate autocephaly. ”
                The requests for Ukrainian autocephaly were finally examined in Moscow at a hierarchical council in 1989. The following year, independence in the form of autonomy was granted by the Moscow Patriarchate, and Metropolitan Filaret was made the Primate of the newly autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  However, this new autonomy was still not considered sufficient in the battle against the Unia.  
                This is evident, because after the USSR gave Ukraine political independence in 1991, the call for full autocephaly once again came up by the Ukrainian clergy.  Their argument in favor of autocephaly was, once again, to fight against the encroachment of the Unia.  This was documented in a resolution for Ukrainian autocephaly by the UOC Council in November 1991, signed unanimously by all the bishops of the UOC, including Metropolitan Onuphrey (who of course later rescinded his approval, claiming he signed only under duress.)  
                That November 1991 request for autocephaly was unfortunately denied by the Moscow Patriarchate, and many of the distraught UOC clergy felt their request was denied chiefly for reasons of Russian nationalism.  After all, it was the threat of Russian nationalism in Ukraine that gave the Greek Catholic Unia it’s justification for existence.  Orthodox Christians who didn’t want to be under the thumb of Russian nationalism were aposticizing and joining the Unia.  So the core argument was always that full autocephaly was needed to fight against the encroachment of the Greek Catholics in Ukraine.
                It was for this reason that the resulting “Kievan Patriarchate” never entertained Unia with Rome.  Instead, their long quest for canonical autocephaly continued.  There were numerous attempts to receive this from Moscow, and then numerous attempts to receive this from Constantinople.

                Much has been made about the problematic character of “Patriarch Filaret”. Yet if he had stepped down and repented, then he would only have been replaced by someone else doing the same thing. He only had supporters because of what he stood for. Yes, the “Kievan Patriarchate” was fighting against Russian nationalism, but their true battle was always against the encroachment of the Unia.

                • Which Joseph is why they pray with uniates,  building a joint church,  YES??     I tell u what though,  the uniates have a Patrarch, have more freedom from Rome than messrs laymen Dumenko and co, have from Phanar. And how many patrarchs does Ukraine need? One for every Parish?? 

                  • I have Ukrainian Catholic friends.  Good people and devout. In quite a traditional Orthodox way. They are where they are.  I have nothing bad to say., ITS WHAT WE DO, WHAT WE ARE, WHAT WITNESS WE GIVE. 

                • George Michalopulos says

                  And yet, Joseph, the point remains: that was then, this is now; the Ukrainian Church may have wanted autocephaly back then but did not request it now.

                  Why? Perhaps you unwittingly provide an answer. In your first paragraph you state that Ukrainian autocephaly was viewed by many as a way to “combat the Unia”. That is arguable. What is not arguable is that this faux autocephaly, under the guidance of charlatan bishops, is going to be the bridge that causes union with Rome.

                  But Joseph, I see that you are sincere and I applaud you for that. However, can we admit that both of us are sincere? And in doing so, we can see that the EP is not? Why do I make this startling accusation (may the Lord forgive me)? Because we here in America have been pining for a united autocephalous Church for decades, at least since Ligonier (1994). Indeed, the previous EP (Demetrius) was positively scandalized by the ecclesial situation here in America when he visited in 1991. To the bishops of the GOA he said these words as he was boarding the plane: “You have nothing but a show-church here”.

                  His startling observation extended not only to the pan-Orthodox scene in general but to the GOA in particular. This was around the same time as those Ukrainian nationalists were advocating for autocephaly. All of the Orthodox bishops who attended Ligonier were in rock-solid agreement that we needed a non-ethnic American Orthodox Church. Period. Yet Demetrius’ successor (Bartholomew) has done everything in his power to pull the rug out from under us. And the laity and “leaders” of the GOA keep on going back for more.

                  All we are asking for is a little consistency from Bartholomew. Why Ukraine? Why not America?

                  And please, to all the EP apologists out there, stop it with the “we’re not mature enough yet”. For all of our divisions, the Greeks aren’t going around torching OCA parishes and the Serbs aren’t seizing ROCOR parishes. We ethnic-based churches here in America may be apathetic to one another but compared to Ukraine, we’re positively irenic.

                • I happen to believe that this is a very fair and largely accurate assessment on the part of our brother Joseph.
                  The one thing with which I may disagree (and at least should be clarified) is this:
                  “Much has been made about the problematic character of “Patriarch Filaret”. Yet if he had stepped down and repented, then he would only have been replaced by someone else doing the same thing. He only had supporters because of what he stood for.”
                  It depends on what is meant by “doing the same thing.”  If by this it is meant that his replacement would have likely continued to seek autocephaly, he is probably correct.  And it just might have been granted in time because it would have been sought in faithfulness to the Church catholic with the interests of the Ukrainian Church in view.
                  But, of course, he chose not to step down as promised and as requested by his own Ukrainian synod, caring for nothing but his own power, creating a schism, and only further strengthening the Uniates.  His followers (at high levels, at least) were also complicit in this.  All he had to do was step down, but he refused, and his followers supported him in doing so.
                  Although it may anger some people here, I have to say that Epiphany and the OCU are in no way to blame for this mess.  That responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of Bartholomew.  Even setting aside disagreements about jurisdiction (invading Russian territory, etc.), there is no justification for restoring Philaret’s clerical orders…none…period.  It cannot be construed as anything but a deliberate slap in the face to the faithful of the OCU and the MP.  There is also no justification for failing to normalize the “clerical” orders lawlessly bestowed by his hand.  And there is no justification for creating yet another parallel jurisdiction. 
                  Please don’t reply that the UOC was invited to join in the autocephaly.  Bartholomew had already declared his intention to perpetrate all the lawlessness above, and the faithful in the UOC knew it – lawlessness so blatant that it has managed to create world-wide ecclesiastical chaos.  Moreover, as Joseph often reminds us, Bartholomew requested that the OCU  respect those who chose to remain in the UOC (though his silence in the face of the violence of those who ignored him is deafening).  By his own mouth, he admits having knowingly and deliberately created yet another parallel jurisdiction.

                  • Brian,
                    if understand you correctly, and then move forward to some practical conclusions as the definitive solution:
                    The right, checkmating move would now be for the MP to give A TOTAL AND REAL AUTOCEPHALY to Onuphry’s Church, i.e. not a pseudo/quasi autocephaly like Bartholomew gave the schismatics.

                    • Ioannis.  The autonomous status of Onouphrios gives them even the ability to sit in Russian church  synod  but Russian bishops do not in their Ukrainian church!!   They elect their archbishop, i could go on.  
                      Yes it would have been politically better to have at least offered Onouphrios autocephaly even if they do not at this time want it. But for the fascist Russian hating Ukrainian extremes   nothing would ever be pure enough that even exchanging a post card with Moscow would not be acceptable !!! 
                      The intervention of USA under the giuse of religious freedom is comparable to the actions of Kingdom of Poland and the 1596 unia Brest Livtosvsk Council.
                      Millions of Ukrainians are russisn speaking especially in East.  And modern Ukraine takes in far more territory than the originally understood area.  The word itself means, ‘at the end’, ‘frontier,’ as u may know. 

                    • Your zeal is admirable, Ioannis.  But we are the Church of the Living God.  Our concern is for what is true, not for what might seem advantageous to our “cause.”  It is a tempting path, but it is not the Way.

                    • Brian,
                      “Our concern is for what is true, not for what might seem advantageous to our “cause.”
                      Totally and utterly agree.
                      The “checkmating move” was for Bartholomew to understand, that is the Way for HIM. 


                    • Monk James,

                      “Without putting Mother Cornelia in an embarrassing position,”
                      Is nun/sister Cornelia “Mother” because of her old age (1 Tim.5,1) or because she has kind of a (low) priesthood, or is it a “preparation” to come closer to women priests?

                    • Calling nuns ‘mother’ is the Russian custom, Ioannis. Nothing to worry about.

                  • This thread caught my attention by chance . I feel I have to put something straight, because J. Lipper is presenting a false picture that is apparently being believed. I have had numerous conversations with people in the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as well as with a well-known Church historian, Prof. Archpriest Vladislav Tsypin, who was closely following the councils, the results of which Brian produced above, as they were taking place. The situation was actually, according to these people, the reverse of what J. Lipper says. (By the way, the website, Risu.org, that he cited, is produced by Uniates and I have found it to be absolutely unreliable and propagandistic). In fact, one of the main reasons why the canonical Ukrainian bishops in the final analysis did not want autocephaly is precisely because of the Uniate pressure. (Note, that Met. Onuphry is from Western Ukraine, where the Uniate pressure was severely felt at that time.) Just look at the history of Uniatism in Ukraine. It was one of the main reasons why the Ukrainian Metropolia was joined to the Moscow Patriarchate 300 years ago. The Ukrainian Orthodox found strength in unity with Moscow to hold out against the Unia. And the argument of encroaching Russian nationalism also doesn’t hold water. The main danger, as the majority of Orthodox Ukrainians see it, is by no means Russian nationalism, which is simply not a threat there, especially since Ukraine is politically completely separate from Russia, but in fact Ukrainian nationalism with fascist overtones, which comes from Western Ukraine (mainly Galicia)–the stronghold of Uniatism. If you argue that the war was caused by Russian nationalism, it would have to be said that it was just the opposite. Eastern Ukraine has always had a large Russian and pro-Russian Ukrainian population, all Russian speaking, but when the post Maidan government’s first move was to ban the Russian language in Ukraine, you have to see that as Ukrainian nationalism and a threat to the Russian speaking population. Also, ironically, Philaret is from the Donbass, which is pro-Russian, and he was absolutely against autocephaly while he was Metropolitan of Kiev–before losing the election for Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Then he completely reversed his position. I give J. Lipper the benefit of the doubt for possibly meaning well but he is all wrong on this, and it’s obvious he knows nothing about the situation on the ground. 

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I hope you will continue to visit us now that you found us, nun Cornelia. We could use a little wisdom “on the ground.”

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      Gail Sheppard (November 14, 2019 at 5:25 pm) says:

                      I hope you will continue to visit us now that you found us, nun Cornelia. We could use a little wisdom “on the ground.”

                      Without putting Mother Cornelia in an embarrassing position, I hope that the other monastics who read the words written on this blog will also chip in now and then, and make it seem less like I’m the only one.

                      Please remember us nuns and monks in your prayers as we do you in ours.

                    • nun Cornelia says

                      Fr. James, I’d love to contribute more, but I have to get back  to my ceaseless Jesus Prayer and theosis…

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Nun Cornelia,
                      There’s a couple of important political events that need to be considered.  First, the illegalization of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics by the Soviets at the carefully staged “Council of Lvov” in 1946, and then second, the eventual legalization of the UGCC in December 1989, by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. 
                      Between these two events, the UGCC was severely persecuted and driven underground.  The entirety of all of the Greek Catholic parishes and properties were seized by the Moscow Patriarchate.   Those seizures made the MP closely identified with both the Soviet state and with Russian nationalism.   However, when the UGCC finally became legalized again, there was a sudden and ruthless drive to legally and forcibly reclaim all the former parishes and properties that had been taken away by the Moscow Patriarchate in 1946.  Yes, this was a sudden and ugly surge of Ukrainian nationalism built up from many years of persecution and repression of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics.
                      In 1989, the encroachment of the Unia was a real threat.  This was probably the most important consideration for the  MP’s granting of autonomy to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 1990.  However, after Ukraine was given political independence the following year, Metropolitan Filaret was most definitely supportive of Ukrainian autocephaly, realizing that autocephaly was necessary to combat the encroachment of the Unia. 

                      This is from the resolution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, signed unanimously by all the bishops (including Metropolitans Filaret and Onuphrey) from November 1991:
                      “the Council considers that granting a gift of the autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will contribute to strengthening the unity of Orthodoxy in Ukraine and elimination of schism, to withstand the expansion of the Greek and Roman Catholic Churches, and to serving the reconciliation of and establishment of consent between opposing religious confessions, to rally citizens of all nationalities living in Ukraine and thus contribute to strengthening the unity of all Ukrainian people.” (emphasis added)
                      Ukraine was politically independent and majority Orthodox. The argument for autocephaly was clearly a good one. When this plea was rejected, it caused the present ecclesial division we still have in Ukraine. The sheer size of the UOC-KP after this schism suggests that it filled a necessary void of being not Greek Catholic and being not of Moscow. Given the circumstances, it probably couldn’t have been otherwise.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      And yet, Joseph, the fact remains that the newly-created ukrocephalous church by Bartholomew & Poroshenko will result in the Orthodox Church being dragged into the Unia.

                      What Stalin, Hitler or the original uniate bishops did in Ukraine regarding the seizure of church properties is beside the point at this juncture. Of course, none of this would have transpired had the Latins not created the Unia in the first place. Perhaps that is the prism through which we must view this entire ecclesial tragedy.

                    • Respectfully, Joseph, you keep repeating this narrative…
                      When this plea was rejected, it caused the present ecclesial division we still have in Ukraine.
                      …while glossing over…
                      “This Synodal decision was again ignored by Metropolitan Philaret. [which would be that of the MP at the request of the UOC].  Consequently, the Holy Synod was forced to gather on May 21 in a regular session devoted to the state of Church affairs in Ukraine and the issue of the replacement for the Kiev Cathedra. The Synod instructed Metropolitan Nikodim of Kharkov and Bogodukhov, the senior archpastor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by consecration, to call and hold a Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Church in the period before the celebration of Pentecost to elect its new primate, having placed upon him the temporary performance of the duties of the primate. In response to this decision, Metropolitan Philaret declared to His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia on May 25 that he considers the decision of the augmented Synod “unfounded and incompetent.”
                      “On May 26, His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II sent a telegram to Metropolitan Philaret in which, in particular, it says, “For the good of our common Mother-Church, in the genuine interests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I appeal to you, Vladyka, to humbly accept the decision of the Holy Synod, fully consistent with the spirit and resolutions of the Bishops’ Council, which you testified to being in agreement with before the entire episcopate of our Church. This decision does not contradict the previously accepted conciliar decisions and does not limit the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in its administration. Do not inflict new wounds on the suffering body of the Church.”
                      “On May 26, Metropolitan Philaret gathered his supporters in Kiev, calling the gathering the “All-Ukrainian Conference for the Defense of the Canonical Rights of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.” The participants of this conference, at which not a single hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was present, rejected the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of May 7 and 21, 1992, and the actions of the Orthodox archpastors of Ukraine who maintained obedience to the canonical head of the Mother-Church, were characterized as “a betrayal of the Church and the Orthodox people of Ukraine.”
                      The sheer size of the UOC-KP after this schism suggests that it filled a necessary void of being not Greek Catholic and being not of Moscow.
                      Your word “necessary” suggests a need and even justification for the actions of Philaret and his high-level cronies.  Is this really your position? 
                      Your word “void” also suggests a severe lack of “fullness” (a word descriptive of the Church of Jesus Christ – “the fullness of Him who fills all in all”).    If indeed there was such a void in a large portion of the Ukrainian population, then it speaks more to their lack of faithfulness to Christ (and Philaret’s willingness to exploit it) than it does of anything the MP did or did not do.
                      As others have noted, many of us in the U.S. and elsewhere are content with the fullness of the Church even though our mother Churches are located in lands with whom we are or have been at war – whether cold or hot.   We may not be pleased, but we don’t go into schism over it because the Church is not a political body, however much the powers of this world would have us believe otherwise.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Brian, thank you for your reply and good points.  Of course there was no “necessary void” in the fullness of the Church.  You are undoubtedly correct.  However, there was such a void in the will of the people who were resisting both the Unia and the provocations of Russian nationalism and of the Moscow Patriarchate.  This is evident because the Ukrainian government itself would not recognize the decision of the Kharkov Synod you mention.  The Ukrainian government in 1992 fully supported a self-proclaimed autocephalous “Kievan Patriarchate”.
                      There is a similarity here, for example, with how the Church of Greece gained it’s autocephaly.  After Greece gained political independence in 1832, the Greek government unilaterally proclaimed ecclesial autocephaly for the Church of Greece in 1833.  Although this resulted in schism with the Mother Church of Constantinople, finally the desired autocephaly was granted in 1850.
                      Was it right for the “Kievan Patriarchate” and the Church of Greece to go into schism?  No, absolutely not.  Yet both of these canonical wrongs have now been canonically righted (in my opinion and in the opinion of others) by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  The end result doesn’t justify the schism.  Sin is never justified.  Yet the end result is justified, and it’s justified because of the sin of schism.

                    • “The sheer size of the UOC-KP after this schism suggests that it filled a necessary void of being not Greek Catholic and being not of Moscow.”

                      Metropolitan Orestes (Chornock) of the ACROD of blessed memory was also interested in being “not Greek Catholic and … not of Moscow.” Thus, the ACROD came into being under C’ple/Istanbul (comprised of more or less ethnic Rusyns, the same group which comprised the bulk of the OCA/Russian Metropolia). Difference is that the OCA/Russian Metropolia was not ashamed to associate with its Russian roots or its Russian fathers and mothers.

                      I loved my ACROD parish as a kid — that beautiful church on the hill in Pennsylvania was gorgeous in the snow. It’s one of the things I still recall most about the *beauty* that continues to draw me to Christ and to our faith. The beautiful ACROD church in Perth Amboy, N.J., is also a majestic gem — modeled after the Uzhorod cathedral.

                      However, I’m not proud of the “shame” that ACROD attached to being associated with Russia, similar to the “shame” that “Filaret” and the layman Dumenko (“Epiphany”) attach these days to being associated with Russia.

                      The truth of the matter is that the Russian Orthodox Church is amazingly multinational. Just like one needs not be Roman to be a Roman Catholic, one need not be Russian to be in the Russian Orthodox Church! In fact, so many in the Russian Church have no Russian blood, myself included, and I don’t care one whit about that.

                      It’s been said that the Divine Liturgy is celebrated in 120 languages worldwide across the Russian Orthodox Church and its many dioceses/exarchates. And just like being American does not mean that one is white with blond hair and blue eyes, being Russian has no singular ethnicity associated with it. Millions of “Russians” are Asiatic peoples who resemble Chinese or Mongols more than they do the European Russians that we are more used to seeing in the media.

                      So, while I admire that Met. Orestes brought thousands of Rusyns back to Orthodoxy through the ACROD, I cannot admire his shame and possible hatred (?) of Russia, similar to how I cannot and will not ever respect “Filaret” and “Dumenko” (and Schiff, and Yovanovitch, and Biden, and Pelosi, etc.) and their hatred of things Russian.

                      To be a faithful Orthodox Christian and to also “hate” things Russian do not go together. I can understand how emotionally one who perhaps suffered under Stalin-induced famine may “hate” Russian things.

                      But Christ, who heals all, can allow us to feel the pain that we need to feel but also frees us to recognize and honor all saints, holy men and women, holy places, and all “fruits of the Holy Spirit,” regardless of their ethnic origin, even if they come from places that cause us emotional recoil on first thought.

                      (N.B.: It would have been quite interesting if Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) were a descendant of Jacob Schiff, the New York financier who worked overtime to fund and overthrow the Tsarist regime 100 years ago. Some believe that Jacob Schiff is the one who gave the order to kill the Holy Tsar-Martyr and his family. But they are not related. The California Democrat congressman’s family originated in Lithuania and emigrated to Boston in the early 1900s. Adam Schiff’s grandfather was a butcher in Boston.)

        • Antiochene Son says

          You can’t recognize the episcopacy of a layman who hasn’t been ordained. Epiphany has no Apostolic succession. That’s not an opinion, it’s an objective fact. The EP’s fiat alone does not make him a bishop.
          That is the main problem here. The men running this “church” are self-ordained. It is impossible to legitimize this sacrilege until Bartholomew acknowledges he made a mistake and ensures these laymen are given holy orders. 
          This is a salvation issue, for everyone involved. 

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Here’s three examples of clergy “ordained” outside of the Orthodox Church whose clerical status was accepted without ordination:
            1. St. Alexis Toth
            2. Archbishop Lazar Puhalo
            3. Bishop Varlaam Novakshonoff

            This suggests that apostolic succession primarily comes through reconciliation with the Orthodox Church, however that happens.  In some instances ordination is part of that reconciliation, and in other instances it hasn’t been required by the bishops.  The same could be said for baptism and marriage, and St. Paul refused circumcision for Titus but insisted on it for Timothy.  In the case of Ukraine, Patriarch Bartholomew said he was following normal Russian practice regarding reception of Uniate clergy.  The “reordination” of clergy is perhaps a topic for a future Ecumenical Council.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Joseph, all of these men had valid ordinations at one time or another. Dumenko never did. Nor did any of the other charlatans who are “bishops” and “priests” in his schismatic sect.

              Let us play this game however: Filaret did had valid ordination but was stripped of it by Moscow (because of his personal moral failings). He constantly appealed to Bartholomew for restoration but was constantly refused. Finally Bartholomew restored his ordination and made –shades of Lazar Puhalo–made him “Metropolitan-emeritus of Kiev”. Now this is where it gets interesting: if his restoration is canonically valid, then his subsequent condemnation of Dumenko –who never was ordained–is valid as well. Hence the OCU is invalid because of this chain of reasoning. In other words, because of Bartholomew’s own actions.

              Dumenko would have to step down, apply for actual ordination from Filaret before there could be any “reconciliation” with the Orthodox Church in itself. I suppose he could apply to Onuphriy for actual ordination for that matter. Only then could he be elected an actual bishop.

              • Joseph the Church of Greece were all correctly  ordained. They cannot be compared to Ukraine situation and there was no split.  If anything it was to a degree Greeks opposing being separate from Constantinople and hitched  to a secular state. But in 1850 reality was very different to today and the byzantine Balkans if can say that,  were very much a living reality with religion and not nationalistic badge  still the main label of identity. 

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Bulgaria also proclaimed autocephaly initially by decree of it’s government, and then eventually it was recognized canonically by Constantinople.  My point is that national governments have usually had an important role in the formation of autocephalous churches. Is there any autocephalous church today whose independence was granted without consideration of the national government? Sometimes governments have even abolished autocephaly.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Joseph, you’re largely correct. However you forget one salient fact: Bulgaria was a medieval empire (two actually) and had had an autocephalous Church since it became Christian. Even when the first Bulgarian Empire was shattered by Basil II Bulgarochtonus, the Byzantines did not take away its autocephaly.

                    As for the state of its present autocephaly, I will relate to everyone here an incident from the 2002 Clergy-Laity Conference in LA (which I attended as a delegate). This was a time of tremendous ferment for autonomy for the GOA and the EP did whatever he could to stifle it. He sent one of his “metropolitans-without-a-diocese” to oversee things. A complete non-entity whose name I cannot remember. Anyway, in a private session with leaders of the OCL (Orthodox Christian Laity), we brought up the fact that the various Balkan nations had their own autocephalous churches and he said something the effect that “They aren’t really autocephalous, we just recognized them as such blah, blah, blah” and then he started talking about the Kennedy assassination.

                    That’s when I realized that the Phanar was not a serious enterprise but operated as a racket.

                    That being said, things have played out even more illogically since then. Consider that in the run-up to the Cretan Robber Council, all the verbiage about the attendees was that every Church was a “sister Church” and that they were all equal. Consider also that the EP’s spokesman said that “of course Ukraine is not going to be brought up because it is a part of the MP” (paraphrase).

                    Now of course Bartholomew has elevated himself to papal status, he’s tried to rip Ukraine from Russia and there is no more talk of “sister Churches” and in fact that Cpole is the “mother Church” and even worse, that it can negate any Church’s autocephaly.

                    Joseph, none of this makes sense on the face of it. Worse, it can’t be squared with reality. And it certainly doesn’t comport with Orthodox ecclesiology. As for the dangers that such supremacism presents to theology, I’ll leave it up to others to decide.

                    • George and Joseph I live in Bulgaria as you know and in Veliko Tarnovo the historic capital that saw these events.  
                      JOSEPH  you do not seem to get it do you?. . If it was just a case as Greece and Bulgaria before, of a state supporting a process, it would be wrong  but would be at the organization level arguement that would not affect ordinary believers, nor the sacramental theology of the Church And as George said Bulgaria, as Serbia, were Patriarchates in their own right even when good old Basil the b….slayer was at it. 
                      Above and beyond the question of the canons, the crisis in Ukraine is to do with the Phanar denial of Orthodox sacramental theology and the recognition of laymen as clergy with stroke of pen. 
                      I’m thinking to consecrate my own bread and wine, keep in the fridge and let Bartholomaios know to ok it COS ITS THE SAME. AS WHAT HE HAS DONE IN UKRAINE.
                      I am bored, bored totally,  and tired, that u simply refuse to get it. It has nothing to do with Russian state.  I am greek for heaven’s sake. And as a greek I can tell you the Phanar is a nice little sinecure for batchelors of certain ilk to dress up and play out their medeval byzantine game. 
                      One can only hope that Erdogan may do the decent thing and send it packing but it’s doing so much of his work why should he.!? 
                      Joseph they are corrupt and decadent and not even Orthodox. And play acting in bad taste. 

            • Dear Mr. Lipper, 
              With all due respect, my dear sir, have you lost your mind? 
              Assuming that your list of “three examples of clergy ‘ordained’ outside of the Orthodox Church whose clerical status was accepted without ordination” is complete, and that these “three examples of clergy” are the only three such examples to be found in the history of the Orthodox Church; then the list you put forth in your ‘blog post comment appears, at the very least at face value, to be lopsided. 
              Assuming, however, that this is a representative list of clergy that you put forth in your ‘blog post comment in order to prove your point that what the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is doing in Ukraine is warranted and thus justified by Orthodox Canon Law; then, to me, again, this list of yours appears to be rather lopsided. 
              Please allow me to explain, if I may:
              The first clerical representative in your list, St. Alexis Toth, is a Saint of the Orthodox Church. To the best of my knowledge brought about by at the very least limited research, St. Alexis was “‘ordained’ outside of the Orthodox Church” under the following circumstances: before he was received into the ranks of the Orthodox Church, [then-Father] Alexis Toth was a Byzantine Catholic priest in the Ruthenian Catholic Church, who had been sent to America as a “missioner” by [Greek Catholic] Bishop John Valyi of Presov [in what is now Slovakia], at the request of Father Alexander Dzubay, who then was in America. Shortly after Father Alexis’ arrival in America, he followed the customary protocol of visiting the ruling Roman Catholic bishop in the area, Archbishop John Ireland of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is St. Alexis’ famous conflict with Archbishop John Ireland, and the aftermath of that less-than-salutary contact, which engendered the quest of [then-Father-and-now-Saint] Alexis, along with other Eastern Rite Catholic priests, to petition for acceptance into the Russian Orthodox Church, the North American Diocese of which the Orthodox Churches in the United States of America jurisdictionally happened to fall under at the time. The rest, as they say, is history; and the saga that Father Alexis embarked upon over a century ago resulted in his – as well as countless others’ – being accepted back into the Orthodox Faith of his fathers, the Faith which had been violently ripped from the hands of his ancestors by the Roman Catholic Church at the then-eventual behest of six Ruthenian Orthodox Diocesan Bishops during the Union of Brest in 1595-96.  The information in this current paragraph can be found on, and has been excerpted [at times verbatim] from, the following websites: 
              The second clerical representative in your list, Archbishop Lazar Puhalo [sic], is most definitely not a Saint of the Orthodox Church. For one thing, His Eminence, the Most Reverend Lazar – at least to my current knowledge – has not yet departed this life. His Eminence’s glorification ceremony, therefore, manifestly has not taken place. In any event, to lump His Eminence in the same company as a recognized Saint of the Orthodox Church, for whatsoever reason and/or purpose – apparent or otherwise – whereby His Eminence may have been lumped in your list of valid clerical examples for acceptance into the Orthodox Church without ordination is baffling, and continues to remain a mystery, to me since I first witnessed your ‘blog post not four hours ago. With all due respect, Mr. Lipper, are you kidding me? Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) had a completely different type of return to the Orthodox Church than did St. Alexis (Toth) of Wilkes-Barre, and Archbishop Lazar’s return saga is well documented. Archbishop Lazar, as you may remember, on December 23, 1981 (n.s.), being then Deacon Lev Puhalo, was deposed from his clerical rank and returned to the lay state by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, after he had been suspended on November 24 (n.s.) of that same year for disobeying his bishop. It is known that prior to that time, Deacon Lev Puhalo had been engaging himself in strident opposition to Hieromonk Seraphim Rose regarding the Orthodox Christian teaching of the Aerial Toll-Houses. For his manifest extreme opposition to Orthodox Christian teaching in this particular area of theological inquiry, if you will, Deacon Lev [Puhalo], on December 2, 1980 (n.s.), was ordered to cease lecturing in parishes on the subject of the toll houses by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Following Deacon Lev’s deposition by the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR – during which deposition Deacon Lev further was not permitted to lecture in any ROCOR parish, nor were any of his publications permitted to be disseminated among ROCOR from that time forward – Lev Puhalo’s canonical status became, shall we say, a bit tenuous. The entire saga of Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) is well known among certain circles within the Orthodox Church in America [please note that the word “the” (before the word “Orthodox”) is not capitalized; so it is to be inferred that I mean “various jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church in America” and not simply the “the OCA”, which inference I intended to be drawn, based on my now-avowed-and-thus-stated implication]; and Archbishop Lazar’s saga is especially known to readers of this particular ‘blog, particularly in the Comments section thereof, particularly among comments by His Grace, Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) – to wit:
              In any event, the entire saga of His Eminence, Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) of Ottawa is a rather convoluted and – alas – controversial one, and is one that I myself prefer not to go into at this time – or any time, for that matter. Suffice it to say that the saga surrounding His Eminence can be found, encapsulated, on the following website, which also happens to be the primary website from which I drew some, if not most, of the information about His Eminence in the prior paragraph, at times verbatim – namely: 
              Notwithstanding all this foregoing information, I nevertheless must state the following:
              Mr. Lipper, the particular point of irony in this specific list of yours of “clergy ‘ordained’ outside of the Orthodox Church whose clerical status was accepted without ordination” [as you stated in your ‘blog post comment] is this: 
              Representatives no.’s (2.) and (3.) in your list – namely, “Archbishop Lazar Puhalo” and “Bishop Varlaam Novakshonoff” [sic] – were received into the Orthodox Church in America by oikonomia in 2003, following a “Repentant Declaration” by [then-non-canonical-Archbishop] Lazar, addressed to the Holy Synod of the OCA, dated 10/21/2002, in which “Archbishop” Lazar publicly stated his regret for his many “years of involvement in Orthodox Church bodies outside the Canonical Orthodox Church.” “Archbishop” Lazar then stated his deep regret for his prolonged course of action – which he termed an “error” – as well as his sincere repentance for this, his “error.” Presumably, it was this “Repentant Declaration” of “Archbishop” Lazar’s that generated the facilitation of his, as well as “Bishop” Varlaam’s [Novakshonoff] canonical reception into the Orthodox Church in America in 2003, under condition that they both be retired immediately, and that Archbishop Lazar be forbidden to teach any more – a proscription which His Eminence promptly proceeded to ignore, to the best of my knowledge. [Most of the information in this paragraph is taken from the previous orthodoxwiki.org article on Archbishop Lazar (already linked above), as well as from the following weblog of Father John Whiteford, of ROCOR: https://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2013/11/puhalo-rants-again-on-transgenderism.html].  
              Mr. Lipper, it is manifestly obvious to anyone familiar with the particular situation in question [and particularly to me, as it may happen] that [then-“Archbishop”] Lazar’s “Repentant Declaration” expressed “Archbishop” Lazar’s regret and repentance for one error, and one error only – namely, that of his “long involvement in Orthodox Church bodies outside the Canonical Orthodox Church.” “Archbishop” Lazar, in that “Repentant Declaration”, expressed deep regret for, and sincerely repented of, only that error, and that error alone. He apparently had no problem at all expressing no regret or repentance whatsoever, in any way, shape, or form, for the actions of his which generated his being deposed from ROCOR in the first place, in December of 1981 – namely, those actions surrounding his refusal to give up his apparent and arguably manifestly vocal struggle against the teachings of the Orthodox Church. It is unknown to me whether Lev Puhalo, after his deposition by the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR, was then excommunicated from ROCOR or not. Perhaps others know; I, for my own part, do not. 
              Mr. Lipper, the irony surrounding the reception into the Orthodox Church of Archbishop Lazar Puhalo and Bishop Varlaam Novakshonoff now becomes even more pointed:
              It is known that Archbishop Lazar and Bishop Varlaam were received into the Orthodox Church in America by oikonomia in 2003, as already has been stated in this ‘blog post comment of mine.
              However, Mr. Lipper, it also is known from which non-canonical Orthodox body Archbishop Lazar and Bishop Varlaam were received into the OCA; and here is the name of that non-canonical body, in case you may have forgotten, for whatever reason: 
              The schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate). 
              This is well-known historical fact, Mr. Lipper; it is not conjecture, nor is it a matter of personal opinion. 
              My question to you, Mr. Lipper, beyond my primary question in this ‘blog post comment of mine, is this: 
              What, or who, in Heaven’s name, gave you the idea to lump the names of Archbishop Lazar Puhalo and Bishop Varlaam Novakshonoff in a three-person list of “clergy ‘ordained’ outside of the Orthodox Church whose clerical status was accepted without ordination”, a list headed by none other than St. Alexis Toth? 
              If anyone were to ask me – and I don’t particularly consider myself to be a delusional man, per se [at least in this regard] – it is safe to say that I would be at the very least rather hard pressed to admit that the paths to canonical reception into the Orthodox Church followed by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo and Bishop Varlaam Novakshonoff were of the same apparently and even manifestly righteous and blameless character as the path followed by St. Alexis Toth into the same Orthodox Church. 
              This is a mystery to me. I, for one, am glad that Archbishop Lazar and Bishop Varlaam may very well stand a better chance of reposing in the Lord within the bosom of a canonical jurisdiction within the Orthodox Church.
              So, I am not even objecting, per se, to the use by your person of the names of these two now-canonical Orthodox hierarchs in such a three-person list that happens to be headed by a Saint, since the inclusion of the names of these two hierarchs in this three-person list manifestly serves the purpose of your argument in your ‘blog post comment. 
              My question to you, Mr. Lipper, is not centered around the simple inclusion of the names of these two hierarchs in your three-person list of valid examples of clerical reception into the Orthodox Church, inasmuch as such inclusion may very well serve the purposes of your ‘blog post comment.
              My question, Mr. Lipper – especially considering the particular subject matter of this ‘blog post [i.e., the Monomakhos ‘blog post titled “Shut the Front Door!”] – is centered around your arguable apparent intent in drafting that particular three-person list and publishing it in your comment to this ‘blog post. 
              I have some unanswered questions as to why you chose to list those three particular names [and especially in that particular stated order] as being valid examples of clerical reception into the Orthodox Church, vis-à-vis your argument in your comment on this ‘blog post; because, as you may well have surmised from my opening question in my comment, a huge red flag went up in my own mind as to what your possible intent may have been in drafting that particular three-person list.   
              In any event, since I am by no means clairvoyant – nor do I ever wish to be – I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, as it were. 
              If you would care to enlighten me as to why you drafted that particular three-person list – which admittedly would have caused me to render again my breakfast unto the earth from whence it came, had I indeed been eating anything at the time – I would be interested in finding out. 
              Thank you very much. 
              I look forward to hearing from you, should God allow.
              Awaiting your reply, 
              I remain
              Yours in Christ, 
              Peter Howe

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Peter Howe,
                Thanks for your response.  The list I presented could be much longer, I’m sure.  The Moscow Patriarchate has a history of receiving both Uniate and Roman Catholic clergy without ordination.  However, I’m merely trying to point out three examples that people on this blog are familiar with.  Yes, it is a lopsided list.
                My point is not in any way to equate the sanctity of St. Alexis Toth with the others.  St. Alexis is a confirmed saint of the Orthodox Church.  He was also received into the Church from the Unia merely by being vested in the altar.  This was the common practice of the Moscow Patriarchate at the time, and even in recent times the MP has done this for Roman Catholic clergy as well.  He wasn’t baptized or chrismated, nor was he ordained.    Was his “baptism” and “ordination” as a Greek Catholic priest somehow “valid”?  That may be a question for the Vatican, but I don’t believe it’s an Orthodox question.  St. Alexis was received as a priest for reasons of economia, because he had a priestly formation already, and the Moscow Patriarchate recognized that baptism and ordination were unnecessary for him to be received as such.  That was the accepted practice.  The main thing is that he reconciled with the Orthodox Church.  By doing so he fully has any necessary apostolic succession through the Bishop of San Francisco who received him.  Our righteous champion of Orthodoxy in America, St. Alexis, now intercedes for us.
                The other two examples are bishops who were “ordained” by the “Kievan Patriarchate”.  Their status as bishops was accepted by the OCA and without further ordination.  Yes, it was controversial, and it still is.  Yet it still remains accepted.  Archbishop Lazar and Bishop Varlaam are recognized as bishops of the Orthodox Church, not because of their questionable “ordinations”, but because of their reconciliation with the OCA. 
                Likewise, those who recognize Metropolitan Epiphany of Kiev as an Orthodox bishop do so not because of his “ordination” in the “Kievan Patriarchate”, but rather because that’s how he was reconciled with the EP.   Patriarch Bartholomew commented that he was merely following the accepted Russian practice on the reception of Uniate clergy.  I believe my three examples also reflect this practice.

                • there was no patriarchate of moskau at the time
                  when st. alexius toth joined the russian church in 1892.
                  it had been abolished by peter the great in 1721
                  and was restored in 1918.
                  peter the great established the most holy governing synod
                  to rule the russian church.
                  st. alexius was received during what is known as the synodal 
                  and st. alexius was a godly man, not like these…….

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Taso, correct. However the Church of Russia was fully autocephalous. Unlike the modern Church of Greece.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    taso, yes, thanks for the correction. I believe the Metropolitan of Moscow was still considered Primate though, at least in the dipytchs.

                    I’ve seen a Russian antimens from 1794, and the name stamped on it was the ruling Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great. The Russian Tsar (or Empress) had direct control over the Church during this period through their laison, the ober-procurator, who oversaw the Holy Synod’s actions. The government’s direct control of the Russian Orthodox Church was what probably enabled this practice of receiving Uniate priests by economia.

        • Joseph, your post is insane!
          Pridefully reject the pleas of brothers, defy Holy Tradition and work division with support of godless politicians at war with the Orthodox life? Unless I misread or misunderstood your post, which I pray is the case, you’re wrong.
          Accepting, even ignoring cancer heals nothing and only corrupts members of the body. Confusion and deceit have a father in the synagogue of satan. Perhaps your line of reasoning pervades in some of Alexandria now, and parts of Greece, but we shouldn’t humor or entertain the garbage spewing forth on matters of globalist ambition. Forgive me, we need a holy council, we cannot and should not accept wolves in sheep’s clothing. Or sheep in wolves clothing.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            “what creates a problem in the Church and in our personal lives is the secularization that comes from globalization. The modern tendency of secularism is nothing more than a form of globalization that seeks to put them in flux and adapt them to specific national or cultural ideologies. When this happens in the Church, then its coherence is affected, but not its essence. Another aspect of this is the attitude of a nation towards Orthodoxy, and still another, the notion that the Church is the exclusive property of a nation or of certain nations. Respect for and preservation of our identity is natural and necessary. But to limit Christ to specific national contexts, this ultimately results in rejecting Him. Also, to place the nation before the Church leads inexorably to denying the existence of the Church and its universal character.”
            -Patriarch Bartholomew

            • Gail Sheppard says

              So, Joseph, how do you explain the icon in the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral? It reeks of national and cultural ideology, does it not? But I guess it’s OK to associate the canonical Church with the devil and for an icon to depict a sword being shoved down its throat. – Interestingly, the two-headed eagle and the mounted figure slaying the dragon is the coat of arms of the Russian Federation. What does Bartholomew have to say about that?


              • George Michalopulos says

                Gail, it’s worse than that: it’s also the symbol of the Byzantine Empire, the See of Cpole and Mt Athos. Is Bartholomew OK with that?

                Snark on: it’s also the symbol of Scottish Rite Freemasonry and the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army). But the last one is illegitimate.

              • George Michalopulos says

                As for the fresco, it is a complete blasphemy. God will not be mocked.

            • “But to limit Christ to specific national contexts, this ultimately results in rejecting Him. Also, to place the nation before the Church leads inexorably to denying the existence of the Church and its universal character.”
              Did Bartholomew really say this?  Did  he mean it at the time?  Has he forgotten it?  How on earth can this statement be squared with what he is trying to do in Ukraine?  How is it consistent with what he has said about the Greek race, το γένος μας, and its presumably special place in Orthodoxy?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Blimbax, you raise an interesting point. In the final analysis, the See of Constantinople has never really believed its own non-ethnonationalistic teachings, that is to say the Council of Cpole 1872. While true in essence, it was merely a cudgel to shame the Bulgarians who wanted their own parish in Istanbul.

                That was perhaps the first time that Cpole used the MLK-card to “punch down” some uppity local Church but it certainly wasn’t the last time. What is happening today –with the strong-arming of the Greek-led local Churches–is a continuation of the same things. All of this is based on a mythology and/or a willful misrepresentation of the plain text of Cpole 1872: yes its intent was bad but its words were correct.

                However, we are missing the broader picture here: Because the See of Cpole functions continually in bad faith which is in turn sustained by mythological interpretations of arcane texts, it will ultimately fail. Not without causing much damage however –both spiritual as well as material.

                • Ha George I am told there is bulgarian Church in istambul today.  What i find interesting is what Part erdogan is playing in all this?..  Phanar will bring the Church to ruin. 
                  I now expect the usual suspects, Organ playing Albania,  Sinai?   Jerusalem ( it’s so corrupt it may hang out and awaiting events and money)  Romania, to walk the walk.  Cyprus I have hopes for plus big Russian influence,  but it must be getting  the strong arm treatment, but cypriots stubborn.  Recall the vote for signing away Kyrenia  and north Cyprus they turned down sone yrs ago against all blandishments. 
                  But as a greek the apostasy. And it is!!,   for this is greater than the usual arguement over power and territory, which it is too,but this is about Papal pretensions and delusion of running the Church on a pretend world thst is truly delusional.  But the apostasy of my fellow Greeks saddens me and it will do them as much good as it did our byzantine fore father’s. God help us. 

        • Alitheia1875 says

          I remember as a very young boy my father told me about a man he and some of his friends knew in New York who one day just disappeared. Then, one day some months later, he showed up and, lo and behold, he was a bishop. 

        • The AP expressed is support for the canonical Church in Ukraine some time ago.
          Now he is turning around, why?
          He says he had discussions…with which persons precisely?
          You know, about 7-10 years ago there was news that his Patriarchate was controlled by Freemasonry, please read for yourself :



          Could that be an explanation for his sudden change?

          • PROBABLY.  What ever the arguement over masons it is obvious common sense that a bishop of the Church should never belonging to  any secret organization. 
            I seriously am so SICKENED by our Church I have very little faith left in it. Seems like a falling pack of card dealers ‘s cards to me.  

    • “…The Patriarch of Alexandria, the “Judge of the Ecumene”, has now given us his ruling….”
      No.  He has fallen.

  10. St John Maximovitch
    In sum, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in theory embracing almost the whole universe and in fact extending its authority only over several dioceses, and in other places having only a higher superficial supervision and receiving certain revenues for this, persecuted by the government at home and not supported by any governmental authority abroad: having lost its significance as a pillar of truth and having itself become a source of division, and at the same time being possessed by an exorbitant love of power—represents a pitiful spectacle which recalls the worst periods in the history of the See of Constantinople.
                       From Orthodox Word, vol. 8, no. 4 (45), July-August 1972, pp. 166-168, 174-175.

  11. Johann Sebastian says

    I’m beginning to think that the Soviet horror was just a preparation for the great battle that may now be underway.

    • Yes so do I.   We imagined 1991 was a moment of Joy. Yes it was but in preperation for what was to come. Many Russian clergy at time understood this. 
      Often this is how God at the micro human level, works. 

  12. Joseph Lipper says

    “Moscow continues to ‘strike’ Orthodox Primates off its diptychs”
    “The Russian Orthodox Church expresses its regret with regard to the references to the decision made by Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria. The Patriarch of Alexandria can no longer be commemorated at the Divine Liturgy by the Russian Orthodox Church,” Vice-Chairman of the External Relations Department, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, told Interfax.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      This is what it looks like when you’re forced to choose sides. Had Bartholomew not done what he did in Ukraine, it would not be necessary. Bartholomew’s actions just separated Russia and Alexandria and they both begged him, literally begged him, not to do it. I can’t imagine even you, Joseph, would be happy with this result.

      I’ve been told that schism is the WORST possible thing that can happen to the Church, which lends further credence to the fact that Bartholomew doesn’t care about the Church. He only cares about full communion with Rome.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Theodore can perish with his deaconesses for his lies to support Onuphriy. 

    • Anyone who commemorates the false leader of the OCU…a mere layman pretending to be a hierarch…should be stricken from the diptychs. The “Patriarch” of Alexandria has betrayed a holy man for thirty pieces of silver.  He has stabbed Metropolitan Onufriy in the back. He is another Judas Iscariot. He has shown himself to be a man of weak character and an enemy of the Church of Christ. Anaxios!

    • We’ve got Black Bart, anyone for Terrible Teddy or Dread Ted? Let’s make this happen.
      Before anyone outrage posts, remember that these people have taken sledgehammers to the Church. We’ve got to call it like it is, folks.

      • Antiochene Son says

        To think I ever expected Alexandria to step up as No. 2 and work to bring peace to the church. No, Theodore is no St. Athanasius.
        Next the duty falls to Antioch, a true martyr church in our very own times, which maintains Orthodoxy with humanity, with God’s help. 

        • The USA state dept is taking these churches down one by one.  If they had called a Council and afte2r together??? 

          • A council is a pipe dream. NATO backed globohomo orthodoxy will take down all the supposed “canonical” churches except for Russia and Antioch.
            They are creating a pan-eurocentric imperialistic christian alliance. And we are their foot soldiers. We are just too stupid and too ethnocentric to believe it.

  13. just find this out, i thought, i’d share,
    alexandria has commemorated the “epiphany”

    • The EP has been extremely confidant that with time that all would fall in line. Who, I wonder, will be next? Can’t lay this all at the feet of the State Department. Does this lessen the urgent call for a Pan Orthodox council that we heard from some of the bishops from the Church of Greece? 

      • Gus Langis says

        All the Churches will eventually fall for this farce except for Antioch and maybe Serbia. Serbia is under tremendous pressure from the secular elite. All will choose the culture of the “enlightened”  globohomo western society. From Finland to Romania to Cyprus all will fall like dominos preferring NATO membership and a EuroAtlanticist aligned religion of imperialism.

  14. St. Joseph the Hesychast, please pray to God for us!

  15. Gus Langis says

    This is all justified by the new theology of ecumenism ratified at the robber council of Crete. Article 24 of the Relations document reads:
     ...Orthodox Church is aware that the movement to restore Christian unity is taking on new forms in order to respond to new circumstances and to address the new challenges of today’s world. The continued witness of the Orthodox Church to the divided Christian world on the basis of the apostolic tradition and faith is imperative…
    Of course canon 6 of the 2nd Ecumenical council denounces what the EP did in Ukraine, but canons are obsolete to today’s modernist bishops.

  16. Patriarch Bartholomew adds new commandments – about water
    Increasingly off-the-mark Church leader plays deeply into secular humanism’s religion of environmentalism.

    by Seraphim Hanisch November 8, 2019

  17. Matthew Panchisin says

    Having heard the Patriarch of Alexandria’s support for Metropolitan Onufriy on many occasions for many years we are seeing those words appear to have lacked actual authenticity, these days. Something has changed within the man and others as he accepts Bartholomew’s “first without equals” movements rooted in exceedingly flawed notions relative to Trinitarian ecclesiology.
    I suspect that he and some other bishops have been pressured much and have become very weak with greatly falling reason(s). It seems it is easy for some to prefer to be unfolded within the diptychs of the Great Church of Christ.
    It is known that they are not supposed to work that way, moving from inside the canonical Church to outside the Church. Hear what is thought to happen is the increase of the Holy Canonical Orthodox Churches within diptychs in accordance with the divine will of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” in blessed obedience working within the fulfillment of the great commission. “He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all,” thanks be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the Alpha and the Omega, the judge of all, the Great Church of Christ will remain steadfast against Bartholomew’s movements, see the great cloud of witnesses, thanks be to God.
    “Moreover, just as God is indivisible, so too is our global environment. The molecules of water that comprise the great North Atlantic are neither European nor American. The particles of atmosphere above the United Kingdom are neither Labour nor Tory. There can be no double vision, no dualistic worldview. Faith communities and nonbelievers alike must focus on the common issue of the survival of our planet. The natural environment unites us in ways that transcend doctrinal differences.” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
    (There is a plethora of additional “earth” text that Bartholomew has penned down during his tenure.)
    Holding on to the blessed traditions handed down within the Orthodox Church the temptation to create or perpetuate schism(s) is supposed to be very quickly dismissed on a very basic ascetical level. As such with love for Christ and his Church the diptychs are rightly attended to by the Russian Orthodox Church with great concern for the Great Church of Christ, for the sake of beloved authentic unity, that which is meet and right. “But the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for also the Father seeks such as his worshippers.”
    “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
    Thanks be to God for the steadfast Christocentric dispositions by God pleasing Bishops that rightly divide the word of God’s truth.

    • Matthew- Supposedly he was pressured by Greece and an impending mutiny against him by the cabal of Greek bishops from Greece that constitute his synod.  Another patriarchate that is not free of western imperialism and ethnophyletism.

  18. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Gus,

    The Church of Greece got together and recognized the schismatics, shortly thereafter the same works are done by Alexandria.

    Constantinople has been stonewalling the calling of any council to address the mess he created. Why couldn’t the Church of Greece and Alexandria take notes from the E.P. and stonewall as well to avoid a deepening of the schism?

    I’m not personally familiar with political pressure but I never thought it could be stronger than faith. I think I understand more now when “Holy Synods” meet to rise up against the Canonical Churches.

  19. Gus Sadly u said it. Hope in God, but the night may be long 

  20. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirely, and if found, I will post.
    Patriarchate of Alexandria Recognizes Autocephalous Church of Ukraine
    By Theodore Kalmoukos 
    November 13, 2019

  21. Joseph Lipper says

    Brian, adding to my previous reply:  obviously the OCU’s autocephaly hasn’t healed the sin of schism in Ukraine.  This ugly sin of schism still persists after 27 years.  Yet, in my opinion and in the opinion of others, even small baby steps towards recognizing the OCU will overcome this.  Perhaps it could be done by recognizing the OCU as part of the EP in the same way that the EP recognizes the OCA as part of the Moscow Patriarchate.  Yes, this results in jurisdictionalism.  Yet as we all know in America, jurisdictionalism is still better than schism.

  22. Joseph, a North American Orthodox priest gives a wonderful historical perspective on why Orthodox prioritize the Holy Fathers and Orthodox Tradition above temporary humanistic unity.  Truly schism is a sin, but only for those who depart from Orthodoxy  into schism.  And schismatics will always be welcomed back after true repentance and prayed for until then by the Orthodox Church.  Please consider his post with both historical and contemporary perspectives.  

    • Nicole,

      Thank you for linking to Fr Zechariah Lynch’s blog. From a previous post of his (Nov. 9th) on “Constantinople and Alexandria: Dollar-bearing Hierarchs and the Service of Mammon,” he quotes Met. Luke of Zaporozhye — and honorable (and real Orthodox/canonical) Hierarch in western Ukraine: “One cannot be both with Christ and the State Department of the USA.”

      How chilling is this reality. Just 30-40 years ago, the American government prided itself on its steadfast anti-communist position and in defense of religious freedom. Now, the American gov’t and State Dept are only in favor of their definition of “religious freedom” when it suits their overall global objectives.

      As an American, it is with trepidation that I grasp and fully begin to understand the implications of the truth that “One cannot be both with Christ and the State Department of the USA.” I don’t want to believe it, but I do believe Metropolitan Luke to be correct.

  23. Monk James Silver says

    Anon (November 16, 2019 at 2:56 pm) says:

    “The sheer size of the UOC-KP after this schism suggests that it filled a necessary void of being not Greek Catholic and being not of Moscow.”

    Metropolitan Orestes (Chornock) of the ACROD of blessed memory was also interested in being “not Greek Catholic and … not of Moscow.” Thus, the ACROD came into being under C’ple/Istanbul (comprised of more or less ethnic Rusyns, the same group which comprised the bulk of the OCA/Russian Metropolia). Difference is that the OCA/Russian Metropolia was not ashamed to associate with its Russian roots or its Russian fathers and mothers. SNIP


    It’s generally difficult for me to take seriously what a correspondent called ‘Anon’ might write, but what he writes now is basically true. Still, I recommend that people write under their own names.

    Certain southwestern Russian groups, the Lemkos in particular, found themselves citizens of the Austro-Hungarian empire a few centuries ago. The local population had no influence on these changes. They just looked out the window and found another country’s flag flying. This process had gone on forever in eastern Europe.

    One of these changes involved the seventeenth-century ‘unia of Uzhgorod’, which effectively made most of these people Roman Catholics of the Byzantine rite, although they were lied to about the process, sometimes being told that the Roman pope had become Orthodox. Their subsequent decadence in liturgical practice was a scandal to their Orthodox neighbors.

    One of their priests, a widowed man, came to America in the 880s, found himself unwelcome here by the Roman Catholic bishops, and reverted to Orthodoxy, bringing many of his compatriots here back to the faith of their ancestors. We now venerate him as St Alexis Toth.

    The uniat Slovaks, both in Europe and in America (where there are more of them than in their homeland) , are trying to repair the damage to their earlier Orthodox practice now in the twenty=first century, but it’s external, not internal, and they’re still not back to being Orthodox.

    Eventually, in the area where these people lived became (mostly) the country of Slovakia, there remained a great pressure of the Austro-Hungarian Empire against Russia, and occasional military invasions of imperial troops into the towns and villages of Slovakia included inquisitions about religion.

    People who identified themselves as Orthodox were considered to be Russian sympathizers merely because of their Orthodox faith, and were either imprisoned or summarily executed, as was the fate of St Maksim Sandovich, a young priest with a wife and family, venerated as a modern martyr now not only in Slovakia, but in America and Russia.

    So, while — considering the history of his people in Slovakia — Met. Orest Chornyak made a wise decision in his time in the 1930s (_ni do rima ni do moskvi_ — ‘neither to Rome nor to Moscow’) his concerns are no longer at issue.

    Things have changed, and allegiance to Constantinople now is participation in schism from The Church. Things in Russia have changed for the better, and there is now an autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.

    The ACROD has much better options now than it did in the 1930s, and I hope that they will take one of them.

    Personally, and considering that we share so much history, I suggest that they choose to come into the OCA.

    • Monk James,

      Thank you for mentioning St Maksim Sandovich. May he pray for all suffering Orthodox in Ukraine, Carpathian Rus, and in the lands under uniate captivity.

      And yes, I agree, ACROD should obviously unite with the OCA. Thankfully, ACROD has gone away from the practice of calling its clergy “Monsignor” – ridiculous Latin baggage that it carried well into the 1970s and probably 1980s as well.

    • My father is actually a retired OCA priest. When he was younger, he and his family moved out of the Philadelphia area and bought a farm in the suburbs. Since there were no Metropolia parishes around their new farm, they ended up going to a nearby Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church for a number of years. My father started his seminary education at Christ the Savior (Johnstown, Pennsylvania), and ended up chauffeuring Met. Orestes around everywhere because he didn’t like to drive. He had many interesting conversations with the late hierarch. One of them was the fact that, YES…he and his small body of former Uniate parishes had originally petitioned to be received into the Metropolia in the late 1930s, but the bishops at that time shut the door in his face. They were very leery of Orestes and his flock because of the advanced Latinization that they had gone through over the centuries back in Eastern Europe. Met. Orestes and his priests had no beards…they were clean-shaven, their vestments had lace on them, and the list went on. My father often remarked how Met. Orestes himself couldn’t decide how he wanted to look. One week he would wear a Roman-style cassock with a little red beanie hat. The next week he would walk around in a Byzantine-style cassock sporting an Orthodox bishops klobuk. It was all very confusing to my father.

      The seminarians weren’t allowed to have beards either. In fact, my father was forced to shave twice a day—no 5 o’clock shadow allowed! I have a picture of my father from the end of his first year at Christ the Savior. When you look at the picture…you can’t even tell that it was from an Orthodox seminary. Though, he loved Met. Orestes very much, and made some life long friends there, he ultimately decided to transfer to St. Tikhon’s Seminary (South Canaan, Pennsylvania), and re-enter the Metropolia, where he was eventually ordained.

      So, I state…what if? What if the Metropolia had accepted Met. Orestes and his flock into their ranks? What would the OCA look like today? We’ll never know, I guess.

      • Alex, great history & details. Thanks for sharing it. 
        Check this out:  it’s the 40th anniversary booklet (from 1978) from my parish when I was a kid – Holy Ghost ACROD parish in Phoenixville, Pa. 
        The bishop (Bishop John (Martin), who succeeded Met. Orestes) on page 3 or 4 looks like a Roman Catholic cardinal (I think he was a former Catholic, anyway). The priest (who was great) looks like a clean shaven Jim Jones.  If someone didn’t know better, they’d totally say it was a Roman Catholic parish:
        It’s not a surprise that the Russian Metropolia/OCA bishops wanted nothing to do with ACROD till they got rid of their Latinizations.  Back then, while the laity were overwhelmingly Rusyn in origin, the Metropolia/OCA bishops were all Russian (Met. Theophilus, Met. Leonty, Bishop John (Shahovskoy), etc.).  Also, that was back when the Metropolia and ROCOR were united at times – the bishops were all strongly Russian.
        But an emphatic Yes! – that the ACROD, OCA, and ROCOR may be one and jurisdictionally united.

        • Anon, small world…the ACROD parish (Holy Ghost) in Phoenixville was where my father and his family attended church many, many years ago!
          And, on that final statement; I’m thinking more like the OCA and AOCA as being the ones to look at for uniting in the U.S. and Canada first. In fact, for a number of years up into the early 1990s there was an OCA-AOCA Bi-lateral Clergy-Laity Commission on Canonical Unity that was laying the pathway for that to happen. But based on what some clergy told me, some hierarchal egos got in the way on both sides, and everything crumbled. May the Lord grant us the grace and wisdom to proceed again in that positive direction!

  24. UNORTHODOX DECISION? Ft. Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman Moscow Patriarchate ER Dpt
    VIDEO in English.

    Christian history is full of schisms and it looks like there may be another one coming. The 300 million-strong global Orthodox community may soon be forced to choose sides as the patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople wrangle over the fate of the faithful in Ukraine. Is it already past the point of no return? To discuss this, Oksana is joined by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk…

  25. Amid U.S. Impeachment Inquiry, Ukraine Left Feeling ‘Abandoned’

  26. There is an american proverb that says, Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Am I really to take western Ukraine seriously after they chose to enter the Unia in 1596 and then pull the same nonsense now for a second time????. Soon they will say they are not Slavs at all, but Khazarians where their jewish oligarchs will lead them back into judaism.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gus, I take your point but the Khazar hypothesis is largely disproved by DNA analysis. When Arthur Koestler first proposed it in the 70s in his fascinating book The Thirteenth Tribe, I was fascinated by it. However the best interpretation on DNA from Ashkenazim indicates that their are two different lines of descent for modern Eastern European Jews, with the patrilineal line going back to Palestine while the matrilineal line goes back to Europe. Basically what happened is that the ancestors of the Ashkenazim were a bunch of rogue males (slaves/refugees forcibly evicted from Judea after the First Jewish War) who had acquired Slav or Celt brides. The resultant population of “half-Jews” eventually came to identify themselves as Jews in religion and ethnicity.

      This is not unknown in history. The Lemba of southern Africa are descended from nine Jewish priests who married black-African females. Even though they were genetically overwhelmed by the African phenotype, they maintained a Jewish identity. Likewise a significant percentage of American Indians are phenotypically European but they maintain an Amerind identity.

      Anyway, getting back to the Ashkenazim, DNA analysis was not present when Koestler wrote his book. Now we know that thanks to the isolation of certain markers on the Y-chromosome (which is patrilineal only), most of the Ashkenazim who identify as cohanim (priests) as well as levites can trace their genetic ancestry back to an ancestor who lived in Palestine ca 900 BC. As for who are cohanim and levites, think of any Jew who has the name Cohen, Coen, Kagan, Khuen, Kahn, Cahn, etc. As for Levites, think of Levin, Levi, Levy, Lewinski, Lewontin, etc.

      As for the matrilineal line, the mRNA (which is passed only from mother-child), the tracing of that line points to a group of gentile females who were indigenous to northern Italy. Hence the hypothesis that it the ancestral group of the Ashkenazim was a mix of Jewish males and gentile females.

      For the Mizrahim (norther African/Iraqi Jews) and the Sephardim (Iberian Jews), their ancestry indicates that their founding populations were established by Jewish couples who migrated from Palestine.

      • George Thank you for the DNA results. To be honest I always considered Ashenazi jews as nothing but Europeans who converted to judaism from western christianity for business reasons. The fact their staple diet includes lox (swedish for salmon) bagels (polish but still no different than a thessaloniki koulouri) challah bread (variations found throughout Europe such as tsoureki) and for passover their main entree is not lamb but brisket tells me there is nothing about them that screams near east. Even their language was a german dialect called Yiddish. Heck before 1965 Ashienazi jews didnt even know what either pita or Nann bread nor hummus was. 

          • Monk James Silver says

            While I can’t speak to the accuracy of ElHaik’s genetic theories, I can say for a fact that his suggestion that GPS tracking can locate the origins of the Yiddish language to eastern Turkey is completely wrong.  
            His errors in linguistics cause me to question the accuracy of his other assertions, especially concerning the very word ‘Ashkenaz’.  Rather than originating in eastern Turkey, this place-name appears in GEN 10:3, and by A.D. 1000 was a fairly common way for Jews to describe northern Europe.
            Altogether, I suspect some antisemitic bias in the articles ‘Basil’ linked above.  By the way, just because ElHaik is a native of Israel doesn’t make him Jewish.
            Yiddish belongs to a germanic group of languages, a subset of the larger indo-european class.  While Jews who emigrated/were expelled from the Holy Land after the second Christian century brought their  native Aramaic with them as the language of daily life, and Hebrew as their scriptural and liturgical language, they quickly and of necessity began to absorb the tongues spoken wherever they found refuge.
            This process of linguistic assimilation resulted in two interesting phenomena.  The first was a somewhat idiosyncratic use of local languages, and the second was a hybrid way of speaking internal to the Jewish community, which included the culturally dominant language, but was heavily influenced by hebraisms and aramaisms along with fragments of speech acquired from other sources along the way.  This gave us French-Jewish, Spanish-Jewish, and German/Slavic-Jewish, the last of these generally known as Yiddish.
            People who wonder about the heavily germanic origin of Yiddish, as evidenced by both its grammar and vocabulary —  especially if they are at all familiar with German –  would enjoy the popular Yiddish song Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn (‘I think you’re cute’, ),  lyrics written by Jacob Jacobs in 1932.    The song was such a favorite in Nazi Germany that it was published (and sung) in German in 1938 as Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.  Now, how much of an adjustment was that?!
            Here’s the full composition, which can be compared to what you know of German, easier to do if you ignore the transliterated spelling and just pronounce the words as they appear:
            Az du zolst mir libe derklern
             Ven du redst mit di oygn
             Volt ikh mit dir gefloygn vu du vilst
             S’art mikh nit on
             Ven du host a bisele seykhl
             Un ven du vaytzt dayn kindershn shmeykhl
             Vendu bist vild vi indianer
             Bist afile a galitsianer
             Zog ikh: dos art mikh nit.
            Bay mir bistu sheyn,
             Bay mir hos tu heyn,
             Bay mir bistu eyner oyf der velt.
             Bay mir bistu git,
             Bay mir hostu “it”,
            Bay mir bistu tayerer fun gelt.
            Fil sheyne meydlekh hobn gevolt nemen mikh,
             Un fun zay ale oys-geklibn hob ikh nor dikh.
            These lyrics, along with a classic rendition by the Barry Sisters, can be found here:

            • Yes, the Times of Israel is antisemitic. Of course.
              I see you never addressed my previous article where the admitted their massive (and deliberate) over-representation in the porn industry.

              • Monk James Silver says

                Newspapers routinely publish articles with which they disagree. It would be interesting o see what sort of feedback is expressed in letters to the paper’s editor regarding ElHaik’s nonsense.

                Perhaps your irrational antisemitism caused you to miss it, but I did indeed reply to you, ‘Basil’, on 18.xi.2019 in the ‘Why We Fight’ thread when I wrote : That some Jews are involved in some offensive activities is undeniable, but so are some Christians. And even so, such people might not be very good Christians and Jews…’ (correcting a typo here)

            • George Michalopulos says

              Left out of this discussion of the different Jewish dialect/languages is Yevanic, a mixture of ancient Attic Greek and Aramaic, spoken by the Romaniotes, an ancient population of Jews who migrated to the Greek mainland (mostly to the north) in isolation from the other three main groups –Ashkenazim, Sephardim and Mizrahim.
              The term “Yevanic” is a bastardization of “Ionian”, with the I-oh-wan becoming I-oh-van.
              Having said that, as far as these three Turkish towns are concerned, are we caught on the horns of a “chicken-and-egg” dilemma?  Is it possible that they received their place-names from the people, i.e. the Ashkenazim?  
              This is pure speculation on my part.

              • Gordy Kamhis says

                And the liturgical Hebrew of the Yevanites is the closest to ancient Hebrew. The Septuagint book of Lamentations totally debunks W Sidney Allen’s latin-based Greek dogma of mispronounciation. Further, the revolutionary assassin who gave rise to Athenian democracy was a jew named Aristogeiton. The Yovanites hail mostly form the period of Alexander, but even before.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Gordy, is there any audio link to the LXX book of Lamentations of which you speak? I am conflicted about the pronunciations of ancient Greek verses modern Greek.

                  For the record, I am convinced that the ancient Greek letter Ypsilon was pronounced as an “oo”. I say this because of two sources: the Cyrillic alphabet in which it is pronounced thusly as well as the modern Greek dialect known as Tsakonika, which is the last remaining linguistic descendant of Dorian Greek. (All others are the Attic Greek of the Ionian Greeks.)

                  In Tsakonica, the Ypsilon is pronounced “oo”, as in rynchos (ROONchos: “snout”) whereas in all other dialects of Greek it is pronounced REENchos. The dialect itself is spoken only in the county of Laconia, wherein resided Sparta, who themselves were of Doric Greek descent (as opposed to the Athenians, who were Ionian). As for the term tsakonika, it is a bastardization of lakonika or Laconian.

                  This is not to say that the ypsilon did not transmogrify into long E on its own but this vowel shift could not have been universally accepted until after the creation of the Cyrillic alphabet. Such shifts of course are not uncommon for both vowels and consonants. The letter “C” is a particular bugbear; in Latin, C was often times pronounced as a hard G, as in Caius (Gaius) but usually always as a K. Cicero for example is pronounced Kikero and Caesar is “kaizer”.

                  Anyway, enough of that for now. Thoughts?

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    The hypothesis about the sound of ypsilon in ancient Greek has to be measured against the significance of the diphthong ou, which is generally agreed to have had the sound of oo in ‘moon’.
                    Rather than bearing that same sound, I suspect that ypsilon represented a more complex phoneme, somewhat similar to Modern German u with an umlaut.  The general itacism of many vowels and diphthongs in Modern Greek, making them all sound like i,  is a separate issue. The fact that the Greek character Y is pronounced /u/ in Cyrillic writing may not tell us as much as George is guessing.
                    Regarding Hebrew, we have to remember that Jews in the Holy Land generally spoke Aramaic even before their exile to Babylon nearly six hundred years before the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Hebrew —  a language lost to the Jews except for a few priestly families — was used liturgically and in the scriptures.  This is why Ezra and NehemYah had to explain the Law of Moses to the people when most of them were repatriated by the Persians.
                    During after the hellenization of much of the known world three centuries later, many Jews who had moved north and west of the Holy Land adopted Greek as their daily language, again preserving Hebrew for religious purposes only.  Both hellenized Jews and  Jews in western Asia and northern Africa began to pronounce Hebrew with characteristics of the local languages which they had acquired.

                    I hesitate to agree with the idea that Greek Jews preserved anything like a ‘pure’ or ‘correct’ pronunciation of biblical Hebrew.  Such differences as have been noted arose from the phonemic requirements of the languages which Jews in various places adopted for their daily life.  This  can be seen most easily in the pronunciations of still extant Jewish populations.
                    For example, let’s take the letter tav, the final letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  By itself, this represents the sound of /t/, pure and simple.  Adding a dagesh (a dot within the body of the letter), as happens with several other letters, modifies its sound to /th/.
                    Ashkenazi Jews in northern and eastern Europe speak languages which do not include the phoneme /th/.  Modern Greek, Modern English, and some dialects of Spanish do include this sound, but these languages seem not to have much influence on the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew, but —  since they couldn’t say /th/, they said /s/ when they encountered  tav dagesh.  This yields, for instance, shabbas instead of shabbath., and makes the Hebrew alphabet include three sounds for /s/ instead of its two original (and only very slightly different) sounds for samekh and sin.
                    In Sephardi pronunciation, though, while their pronunciation of Hebrew also excluded /th/, they replaced the sound of tav dagesh with a plain /t/, although that sound was already adequately represented by the letter teth.
                    Here’s where it gets interesting.  ‘Eastern’  Jewish, or mizrahi (especially Yemeni) pronunciation of Hebrew never lost the phoneme /th/.  This characteristic is demonstrated not so much in the spoken word as we hear it now, but in ancient transcriptions of Hebrew into, primarily, Greek. 
                    For instance, we find the word tsevaoth (‘armies, powers’) at Isaiah 6:3 and many other scriptural locations, but I emphasize this one because it is so familiar to us from both Jewish and Christian liturgical usage.
                    In the Greek 70, the bible of The Church, this word is not usually translated but transliterated as sabaOth

                    Leaving aside other phonemic considerations here, this tells us that the  Jews who translated the Bible from Hebrew into Greek about  three centuries before Christ not only understood and could pronounce he sound of /th/ in Greek, but also in Hebrew.
                    I hope this helps a little.

                    • Bernie Landers says

                      Indeed the ypsilon needs to be compared to the use of V in place of U in many English insignias even at the time of America’s founding. And you are correct that problems of transliteration and transaltion are compounded when they cris-cross different languages that all use the latin alphabet. Also note that Cyril and Methodius used two Hebrew letters for Cyrillic, the Tz ans Sh.

                    • Bernie Landers,
                      “Indeed the ypsilon needs to be compared to the use of V in place of U”

                      Actually V and U were the same letter in Latin.
                      Even in Old High German, e.g. Luther wrote the German word for “and” as “vnd” which later became “und”.
                      Also don’t forget that the letter W is called:
                      – Double-V in French ie VV
                      – Double-U in English, ie UU (e.g.Alemannic: “uuerde uuillo diin” = “thy will be done”

                    • George C Michalopulos says

                      Monk James, it does.  I have been very much perplexed by the “yiddification/hillbillyfication” of Hebrew mispronunciations by Ashkenazi Jews of Shabbat/h/  as Shabbos.  It’s wholly unnecessary and inelegant in my opinion. 

                      Likewise, I see no reason why Phoenician/Hebrew/Aramaic has twenty-two letters and sees fit to duplicate the terminal letter “T/tav” with the ninth letter thoth which is rendered as the Greek letter theta (“th” in Greek but another “t” in Hebrew).  It makes no sense.

                      S|h|in and samekh (I can see:  “sh” vs “s”).  Of course we all know that in Greek there is no proper “sh” sound.

                      Anyway, I’m convinced that in proto-Hebrew/Phoenician that the “th” sound existed, otherwise, why would they go to the trouble of creating another letter?  Let’s not forget that this was a time in which writing took place on stone –literally.  In other words, it was an effort which we cannot fathom.

                      In any event, I pretty much agree that upsilon was probably vocalized in the same way that the Germans vocal the letter “u” with an umlaut or the way that the Russians vocalize that curious letter bI, as an “oo” sound aspirated through lipts that are configured to make an “ee” sound (or vica versa).  And also for the same reason:  why would the ancient Greeks go to the trouble of adding two additional letters (and sometimes four additional —koppa [q]and vav  [F]–since they were restricted by the same stone-based writing regime?

                      P.S.  I also believe that the letter beta was pronounced as a hard “b” (as in boy) by the ancient Greeks and the digamma (F) –the original sixth letter of the Greek alphabet–was pronounced as “v” or “w”, as it is/was in Hebrew.  It, like qoppa was later dropped. 
                      Qoppa was dropped because it was superfluous, as there was already a “k” sound and F because in its “w” pronounciation was recognized as an aspiration rather than as a vocalization.   Today, those aspirations are represented in the Greek alphabet by two diacritical marks, both of them highly placed commas before words that begin with vowels.

                      Anyway, this decision to remove two letters because they were superfluous in Greek indicates to me that there were no superfluous letters in the original proto-Hebrew alphabet and that the letter thoth was pronounced as the Greeks, Anglo-Saxons and Yemenis pronounced it –“th”.


                  • The discussion of the sounds of Greek letters is very interesting.
                    There must have been a change in how Greek vowels (and some consonants) were pronounced.  Today,  Υ/υ, Η/η, Ει/ει, and Οι/οι are all pronounced the same as Ι/ι.  But they must have had different phonetic values at one time, including length. 
                    Monk James suggests that Upsilon (Υ/υ) was pronounced like the modern German ü (u with umlaut).  That may very well be.  Another possible correspondence is with the French “u.”  
                    With regard to the Cyrillic alphabet, at one time the Russian alphabet included several letters that apparently were used for words borrowed from the Greek or for sounds represented by Greek letters, but these letters have been eliminated.  For instance,
                    (1) the Ѯ, which was pronounced like the Greek ξ but which is now rendered by “ks” or кс, as in the name Александр,
                    (2) Ѳ, which evidently was used for names such as Theophan, but which, due to the absence of the theta sound in Russian, was pronounced “Fita” (or фита). The name of the teacher of the great iconographer Andrei Rublev, Theophan the Greek, was previously written Ѳеофан, and pronounced “Feofan,” but is now written Феофан.
                    (3) Ѵ, which was used to represent the letter upsilon in words borrowed from the Greek. It was replaced by и (pronounced “i”) and thus сѵнодъ (synod) became синод.
                    Incidentally, I’ve read that the Theta and Phi sounds, which are now pronounced as a hard “th” and as “f,” were originally aspirated “t” and “p” (or τ and φ).

                    • I neglected to mention how all the “i” sounds in Greek were collapsed into one letter when the Greek alphabet was simplified for use in the Soviet Union in or around the 1930s.  There were in fact newspapers published in Greek in the Soviet Union, since there were a lot of Greeks living there at the time.
                      The simplification of the alphabet included replacing the letters and diphthongs Υ/υ, Η/η, Ει/ει, and Οι/οι with Ι/ι . The diphthongs ευ and αυ, which in modern Greek are pronounced ev or ef and av or af (depending on the letter that follows) were replaced as follows: αυ –> αβ or αφ and ευ –> εβ or εφ. 
                      An example of the use of this simplified alphabet can be seen at http://www.tyxikos.gr/10-1-18.html towards the bottom of the page.
                      Whatever arguments there might have been to support such simplification, much is lost in terms of understanding the meanings of words.  And it is interesting that in the excerpt cited above the language used, when the simplification of the alphabet is set aside, is at a level of quite good Greek.
                      In the late 1930s many of the Greeks and members of other nationalities were exiled and dispersed to various distant parts of the Soviet Union, and the use of Greek was probably no longer supported by the government.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      George C Michalopulos  (November 27, 2019 at 7:46 am)says: 

                      (Monk James, it does.  I have been very much perplexed by the “yiddification/hillbillyfication” of Hebrew mispronunciations by Ashkenazi Jews of Shabbat/h/  as Shabbos. SNIP

                      George, the variation here is not a mispronunciation of Hebrew, but the difference between Hebrew and Yiddish as two distinct language.  For obvious reasons, Yiddish merely assimilated Hebrew shabbath, but had to modify its pronunciation because of phonemic restrictions, the lack of /th/ resulting in shabbos. The lowering of of the word’s final vowel is due to another but slightly related consideration.

                      In Hebrew, then, Jews greet each other on Fridays with shabbath shalom (‘Sabbath peace!’) in honor of the approaching holy day, but in Yiddish they say gut shabbos (‘Good sabbath!’).
                      The other changes in orthography which you mention, and some of the apparent redundancies, are the result of shifting phonetic values.  This happens even in English, where modern spellings often represent obsolete pronunciations. 
                      Particularly in Hebrew and Aramaic (whose ‘square letters’ are now generally used to write Hebrew), there have been many adjustments in dentals, sibilants, plosives, and stops, both glottal and pharyngeal.  This is why, for example, the serving girl in the courtyard of the high priest could tell that St Peter was from Galilee (MT 26:73):  the first-century dialect of Aramaic spoken there had dropped the pharyngeal stop represented by alef and replaced it with a barely noticeable glottal stop.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Though I have never  been to Israel (hopefully someday I’ll go on pilgrimage), I’ve had the pleasure of knowing more than a few Israelis.  I can say from what I’ve picked up from them as well as reading about them, the Ashkenazim are lighter-skinned and share the same physiognomy as your run-of-the-mill Eastern or Central European (think Kirk Douglas, Jeffrey Hunter, Jill St-John, or any other Hollywood actor or actress who comes to mind).  They also are at the top of the socio-political heap.
          Mizrahim (roughly Jews from Tunisia reaching all the way to Iraq) are darker-complected and make up the lower classes.  
          Anyway, this fascinates me because you see this same paradigm operating throughout Latin America with Castizos occupying the top of the heap whereas Mestizos the middle and Indios at the bottom.

          • And George in India too. The darker the skin the lower down in caste system. Dravadians as opposed to Aryans. Caste equals race. Is not interesting amongst the ‘ Progressives ‘ that this aspect of Hinduism, an internal part of it,  is glanced over in Silence. 
            The Sikhs though I  have great respect for. 

            • George Michalopulos says

              True that.  Indeed the caste system of India, which has been theologized in the Hindu religion, is the actual proto-type of the Darwinian sortition of ethnicities based on pigmentation that we see in Latin America and other places.

              • Michael Bauman says

                In the Afro-American community for a long time, light skinned folk were given higher status. Although easily explainable by the fact that the whites were already in that position, I wonder if that is all that is involved.

                What is it with the light skin “good”, darker skin “bad” motif that seems to be at work in all times and cultures? Is it as simple as the darkness vs the light that also resonates in many different spiritual traditions and practices?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Michael, it’s not so much pigmentation as physiognomy, IMHO. I’ll never forget the Ali-Frasier fight back in 1993(?). Anyway, I was in jr high at the time. It was integrated, about 30% black. Muhammed Ali, the master self-promoter and all-around trash-talker, was going to fight Joe Frazier and I’d say 98% of the black kids were all gaga over Ali. (Gaga was an understatement, their enthusiasm for Ali was absolutely stratospheric.)

                  The funny thing was that not only was Ali considerably lighter-skinned but he his facial features were quite European in contrast to Joe Frazier. (Both men btw were Republicans, FWIW.)

                  • Ali’s treatment of Frazier is the biggest blot on his record. When he was out of boxing due to his refusal to fight in Vietnam, Smokin’ Joe sent money to support his family and pay his bills.

          • George yes why I brought it up.  It’s the unspoken liberal  ‘me no see’ racism amongst none white race.   I tried to discipline an Indian member of staff who was treating a  low caste dalit fellow staff like dirt and would not take a  cup of tea from her even. Well I was the one they unsuccessfully tried to dismiss. ( never try it on a greek Unless U are a bishop!)  Many cases in Uk of horrendous Indian on Indian treatment and no action taken. 
            George on the main topic of Ukraine I had written a long blog but batteries ran down and I lost it all. My wife says u should be grateful!!   But I will  summarise here. 
            This afternoon we had coffee with bulgarian friends and the local young priest and young bishop’s deacon were there also. 
            Re current topic, they said they personally, and generally Church of Bulgaria,  supported Russia and  was  worried re Phanar. But that the Church would try and remain outside the situation until it had to act.  Soon I would think. 
            You know in regarding the Phanar we need to put aside all ‘God language ‘ because really what you have is an Al.Capone situation.  The Phanar has known for last century that due to history as we say, it really has no ‘raison d’etre ‘. Having lost it’s greek dominated Slavs  and Romanians and its own people too and could no long screw every penny out of them,  true through tragedy but lost they are.  As in reality has barely a congregation. 
            So it has realised the only hope is to develop the ‘ECUMENICAL’ bit. To dominate all the Orthodox world as an  eastern Pope and to have his own territories. The greek churches in Europe small fry really and even GOA, a far better milk cow but not enough and ailing . 
            In addition he and his crew have understanding they need to developed a theology to underpin this and  duty done by satrap. elpidophoros  et al. 
            During last century we see clumsy attempt here and there to grab real estate and power. 
            But at end of 20th century events came together that gave the Phanar opportunity and need re rise of Russia as Orthodox power, to make it’s play.  And comes the man comes the hour.  Bartholomaios has had a life time of pseudo student life to study all the’ lease hold agreements’ held by the Phanar in the basement , especially with regard to Greece and Ukraine and he has found lots of clauses not enforced re payment and shake down and rights as he sees it. 
            For all the reasons stated the Church of Greece is most vulnerable and open to bartholomaios  shake down. 
            Added to which we seem to have compromised and weak hierarchs.   And added too that, the bartholomaios actions fit in with neo liberal globalist anti – Russian war who eager to use him and extend credit!!! .  So it’s all come together for bartholomaios to destroy the autocephaly of churches and to develop a power base ( Ukraine) and money to be an equal to PAPACY.  What the PAPACY might make of another Pope ( make three then with Benedict) I can only imagine.  Maybe if bartholomaios and elpidophoros keep it in east, they don’t mind. Or it will be papal handbags at twenty paces!!? Who will have the children??  Better not answer thst one. 
            Add to this their ecumemist credentials and we are away and its. ALL  unfolding. 
            But to understand it all PLEASE DISREGARD the God language cos NOT NEEDED.  AL CAPONE.  Give bartholomaios credit,  he smooth operator at one level. 
            Of course he is such a big fan of autocephaly he can’t bear to give it to GOA. Not even autonomous as GOA does not even chose who leads it. 
            I used to think that old calandarists and ROCOR were a little extreme but GEORGE.  I owe them an apology.  We now have open Communion ordered, wink wink,  sideways,  and if all Baptism the same, WHY DO U NEED AN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN USA???   
            Now i have respect for fellow western Christians  and for all real faiths and none.  We have a  duty  as Followers of Christ to do no less.  I have no time for bigotry and hate but that in no way negates me being Orthodox and saying re worship and Communion,  it stops here until we hold same faith. 
            Re Catholics.  Yes we do share much,OR DID,  and I rejoice over that,  but we also.DO NOT SHARE BASIC BELIEF AND DENY THE PAPACY TOTALLY.  Francis makes nice mood music BUT WHEN HE GOES HOME HE IS STILL AN INFALLIABLE  POPE. 
            We can work with Catholic church on many things but that is ENTIRELY different.  
            I have Ukraine greek Catholic friends and have attended the London Cathedral for Anna’ s funeral and the memorials. I did not take Communion of course and was there out of respect and love. , although I noticed a montenegran friend did!!  Although must be said the worship,  devotion of congregation in very Orthodox style, and singing, would put average GOA church to shame. 
            But being human,  having love and respect still does not entail betrayal of belief in the Church. As i say it is for God to judge others and I am sure He gives grace to western Christianity where it is needed and we see it. But that is for God. It is for us to bear witness as Orthodox Christians to the Church and our faith. 
            But George in a way the Ukrainian situation is merely the catalyst.  This has been creeping forward for a century. 
            Whst is sad for us as Greeks is to see what cowardness and deceitful hypocrisy is shown by the bishops who seem to have no back bone at all. 
            Final point strangely outwardly the Phanar and GOA are looking more traditional with beards back in and elpidophoros in his 2009 address attacked western clerical dress and ways of worship in greek church. BUT I wonder if this is a ploy as with uniates to convince those not understanding more.  But once the desired result,  it would be dispensed with as soon as possible ? 
            And in a way re coming Turkish aggression towards Greece.  Turkey grabbing western Thrace etc would be ideal for Phanar cos they would if part of Turkey come under him. Naturally the turks would have no intention of keeping Greeks there and Greeks would be streaming out as refugees but that won’t bother bartholomaios. 
            It’s all very Very sad. Sadly the majority who enter Church at Easter night and Christmas and maybe Good Friday and wedding etc as they come, will not be bothered,  will think it progressive and ask where are the female clergy.?

    by Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis | November 18, 2019
    The Bishop of Istanbul (the city, or rather, the area that once upon a time used to be the capital of the “ecumene,” which means the inhabited earth) is curiously persistent in calling himself “ecumenical,” as if Istanbul were still the capital of the Byzantine or, even, the Ottoman Empire. Since it is not, his status should return to that of a suffragan Bishop, as it was before St. Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD to where the town of Byzantium used to be. Curiously, world Orthodoxy continues to give the occupant of the once upon a time capital of the world the same honorary title of “Ecumenical Patriarch.” He is no longer the Ecumenical Patriarch (referred to as EP hereafter), and everybody knows it, except for the occupant, who continues to live in the glories of the past.

    Patriarch Bartholomew speaks and acts as if he were the absolute monarch of world Orthodoxy – and beyond. His brethren Bishops have tolerated him, and accepted him to be, honoris causa, the head of one of the 14 autocephalous Churches, and “first among equals” – always understood as first in honor. But he is not satisfied with this honorific title. Even though only a few thousand faithful live in the historical territory of the Patriarchate, he claims the entire universe as his jurisdiction. He has convinced the Church of Greece to cede all its churches abroad to him, and demands the same from all jurisdictions, as if belonging canonically to him.

    Let’s see what basis the Bishop of Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, justifies his inherited privileges. The Second Ecumenical Council (381) in its 3rd Canon elevated the status of the Bishop of the capital of the Roman Empire:

    “Let the Bishop of Constantinople have the privileges of honor (τὰ πρεσβεῖα τῆς τιμῆς) after the Bishop of Rome, because of its being the New Rome”+.

    The Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451) confirmed in its Canon 28 that,

    “as the throne of the Old Rome was granted privileges on account of being the imperial capital, so also the most holy Church of Constantinople has the same privileges (τὰ ἶσα πρεσβεῖα) on account of being the seat of the Empire, and following second after her.”+
    These privileges were restated once more in 692 by the 36th Canon of the Quinisext Council+. One thing is crystal clear: the See of Constantinople was elevated to its exalted position on account of being the capital of the Empire. Crystal clear? Not to the EP!

    It would help us to understand his thinking if we consider the following: Pope Leo, who was Bishop of Rome at the time of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, did not accept its 28th Canon. Why? Because, following his predecessors, he did not base the primacy of the Bishop of Rome on being Bishop of the capital of the Empire, but because he was the successor of Peter, the founder of the Church of Rome, who was the first among the Apostles. The Popes have never seen themselves as first in honor, but as absolute first. We all know that. But what of the occupant of the “throne” of the New Rome? How can he justify the special privileges of the once upon a time capital of the Byzantine Empire? Leave it to his pride, the new Archbishop of America Elpidophoros. In a study he wrote in 2014 entitled, “First Without Equals: A Response to the Text on Primacy of the Moscow Patriarchate” he stated:

    In the long history of the Church, the presiding hierarch of the universal Church was the bishop of Rome. After Eucharistic communion with Rome was broken, canonically the presiding hierarch of the Orthodox Church is the archbishop of Constantinople.+
    The EP, according to the Canons, was equal to the Bishop of Old Rome. But since the Great Schism (1054) he took the Pope’s place, inheriting all his privileges, and left him sine paribus, without equals! So simple. Not a word about the erroneous teaching of the Roman Church about the primacy of the Pope, which was the main cause of the Great Schism!

    But this was not enough. The EP had to justify his absolute primacy not only historically, but theologically. And he did, again with Elpidophoros’ help. In 2014 he wrote a study entitled, “First Without Equals: A Response to the Text on Primacy of the Moscow Patriarchate.”+ In it he counters a statement of the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate entitled, “Position of the Moscow Patriarchate on the problem of primacy in the Universal Church.”+ His study itself is without equal! In it he argues that as God the Father is first among the three persons of the Holy Trinity, so one Bishop needs to be first among the Bishops. Therefore his primacy is not honorific but absolute.

    This position was not entirely new. He had addressed it on March 16, 2009 in a lecture he had given at the Chapel of Holy Cross Theological School in Boston when he was Archimandrite and Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, It was titled, “Challenges of Orthodoxy in America and the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” In it he had stated:

    [T]he refusal to recognize primacy within the Orthodox Church, a primacy that necessarily cannot but be embodied by a primus (that is by a bishop who has the prerogative of being the first among his fellow bishops) constitutes nothing less than heresy. It cannot be accepted, as often it is said, that the unity among the Orthodox Churches is safeguarded by either a common norm of faith and worship or by the Ecumenical Council as an institution. Both of these factors are impersonal while in our Orthodox theology the principle of unity is always a person. Indeed, in the level of the Holy Trinity the principle of unity is not the divine essence but the Person of the Father (“Monarchy” of the Father), at the ecclesiological level of the local Church the principle of unity is not the presbyterium or the common worship of the Christians but the person of the Bishop, so too in the Pan-Orthodox level the principle of unity cannot be an idea nor an institution but it needs to be, if we are to be consistent with our theology, a person.+
    As we see, the special privileges the EP has are no longer based on the Canons of the Church, but on this new theory. In his zeal to elevate the EP’s universal primacy he advanced it to new heights. He attempts to support it on a theological basis, by recurring to a Roman Catholic argument called analogia entis (analogy of being). There is an analogy, or correspondence, he claims, between the EP and God the Father! As God the Father is the origin of the other two divine persons (“monarchy” of the Father) so the source of unity among the primates of the Church is a person, not a synod. That person is the Ecumenical Patriarch!

    However, according to the Fathers of the Church, we are not allowed to draw conclusions from what we know about God to the order of created things and from the relations of the divine Persons to the relations of humans. The divine personal relations cannot and should not be reflected in the administrative structure of the Church. Apostolic Canon 34 presents the harmony that should exist between the first in honor and the many, always acting consensually and cooperatively, something most Bishops tend to ignore.+
    In what may be the last Orthodox statement by an Ecumenical Patriarch, the Declaration issued by Patriarch Anthimos VII and his Synod in August 1895, criticizes Pope Leo’s XIII encyclical Praeclara gratulationis publicae (On the Reunion of Christendom):

    …such a was the ancient church polity; and the Bishops were independent from each other and free entirely, each within his own borders, obeying only the synodal orders, and sat as equal to each other in the synods; and none of them claimed monarchical rights over the entire Church; but if a few Bishops of Rome ever raised arrogant demands of an absolutism unknown to the Church, they were checked and disciplined appropriately.”+
    The “Pope of the East” must be checked and disciplined appropriately, who, as we have pointed out acts and behaves as absolute monarch without equals. We see that, on his own personal volition (motu proprio), acting as the Pope of the East, Patriarch Bartholomew has brushed aside the heads of the other autocephalous Churches, entering into communion with schismatic and anathematized bishops, even granting them autocephaly, and forming a Church recognized by only two other autocephalous Churches. If this state persists, and he does not change course, the Pope of the New Rome may find himself cut off from the communion of the Orthodox Church, as was the Pope of the Old Rome.

  28. One question to everybody is  while  we Orthodox are naval gazing because of the disgusting antics of the man in Phanar,  who is minding the shop?  
    Is it not classic that all these worthy modernist gentlemen  are ever ready with a fashionable word and ever between profound conferences on meaning of life in first class travel!!  
    Yet do sod all in real world. I bet Phanar does not even have a ecological supporting refuse system??!!  
    The Phanar et al have jumped on the globalist agenda, only they late coming to the feast, when it’s showing signs of ending.