Not the “Real Thing”

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bartholomew has come out with his own encyclical entitled,  For the Life of the Word: Toward a Social Ethos of the Orthodox Church.  That it dovetails perfectly with the Pope’s should also come as no surpriseIt is featured in the September/October 2020 issue of Ecumenical Trends, of the Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute of the Franciscans Friars of the Atonement. 

This is the first time I’ve ever heard of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.  Apparently, they are a religious congregation in the Latin Rite branch of the Catholic Church. 

Why are they referring to Bartholomew’s document as “an opportunity for substantial ecumenical exchange?”  Is this what the Pope and Bartholomew meant when they said that “dialog” will lead to unity?

If so, most of us were left out of the conversation.

Bartholomew’s Social Ethos of the Church is being touted as a “groundbreaking” document.  This time, however, they have managed to scribble all over what we used to mean by “the ethos of the Orthodox Church.”   

35 years ago Coca-Cola did something similarly stupid.  They changed the formula of their best selling soda.  It was the most memorable marketing blunder of all time and a spectacular failure.  They had to change it back. 

The new, improved version of the Church promises to meet a similar fate.  Like Coke, too many of us like the old formula better: the one where our involvement in the world is limited to telling others to “come and see.” 

Elpi refers to Bartholomew’s new teaching as the “social teaching of the Orthodox Church”. 

I’m not that well versed on all this, but isn’t a “no-no” for a bishop to teach new stuff and say it is the teaching of the Orthodox Church?   There is no “social teaching of the Church.”   

Elpi also said a special commission of theologians prepared it (, but the Carrie Frederick Frost, who was a member of the commission and wrote the introduction in Ecumenical Trends, said the “composition of the commission is notable because it was not comprised of hierarchs (as was the case in the Council) or even exclusively clergy; instead it was composed mostly of laity, including two women.”         

Ms. Frost goes on to say some of the main points are as follows:  

1.  Child abuse is considered to be an “atrocious sin,”  . . . as are other social ills and sins . . .  corruption and totalitarianism; racism; persecution based on sexual orientation; antisemitism); oppressive regimes and policies that create and perpetuate poverty; the death penalty; modern forms of slavery (including human trafficking, wage slavery, and coerced labor); mistreatment of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers; and exploitation of the world’s resources and “as will surprise no one,” . . . the ills of the ecological crisis.     

2.  “The Orthodox Church has no dogmatic objection to the use of safe and non-abortifacient contraceptives within the context of married life, not as an
ideal or as a permanent arrangement, but as a provisional concession to necessity.”    

3.  “. . . the Orthodox Church is encouraged to “remain attentive to the promptings of Spirit in regard to the ministry of women”. . . including a renewal of the order of the female diaconate for today. . .” 

4.  The Orthodox Church “. . . recognizes its close relations and dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church and other churches, which it hopes “may bear fruit in a complete unity with the Church” . . . and “based on their common roots, their common affirmation of the unity of God, and other shared traditions, Islam and Orthodoxy are thus capable of entering “into an intimate conversation,” as well.

I could go on, but I don’t want to ruin your day.  Suffice it to say that rather than hold to the teachings of the Church, Bartholomew has embrace something new. 

The Church does not involve herself in social issues.  The Church is timeless, the problems of the world are not.    

The Ecumenical Patriarchate should be dissolved.  It is fraught with issues.  Constantinople is no more and it is just plain weird to have a bunch of metropolitans over places that no longer exist. 

Bartholomew has announced he and his gang are uniting with Rome.  He’s acting and talking like it’s already happened, as well as teaching stuff that is scandalizing even to the Catholics.  I say, let him go.  Surely this is grounds for excommunication.  The Local Churches need to drop him from the diptychs and they need to do it quickly.  Better to excommunicate him now than to allow him to drag the rest of us into perdition.              

Mrs. M


  1. Amen.

  2. EcuManiacal Patriarch says

    The Monomakhos commentary says of Bart, “He’s acting like [union between EP and Rome] has already happened . . . “ Yes, it has, because traveling on the road to full communion implies partial communion already exists.   The EP recognizes the Vatican 2 religion as part of the Church.   Here’s a video of Bart serving with Benedict (everyone liturgically vested) where the “pope” is commemorated in first place in the diptychs. You can hear and see this clearly at the 18:58 mark:

    Hierarchs serving together, being commemorated according to rank has very clear meaning.   There’s another, more recent video, of the same kind of service with “pope” Francis being commemorated.  

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “. . . because traveling on the road to full communion implies partial communion already exists.”

      Excellent point.

  3. WOW !!!!

  4. George Michalopulos says

    Gail, as usual, a wonderful and insightful analysis.

    If I may add something that struck me: specifically, the first point which jumped out at me like a ninja assassin. And that is this: “Child abuse is considered to be ‘an atrocious sin’.”

    When I saw that, I was flabbergasted. Was this a hasty consideration to the horrible pedophile scandal which has rocked the Catholic Church in America? As in “yes, yes, we all agree that nobody should molest a child, but…” The “but” is what’s troubling and frankly, made me kind of look askance at the rest of this new “social doctrine”.

    “Considered to be”, seriously!?

    That verb alone (“considered”) indicates that even the act of pedophilia as a crime is open to “consideration”.

    Am I reading too much into this?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Yeah, I had the same reaction.

      Further, why would he call this out? I’m guessing the Pope is already bleeding through Bartholomew. This child abuse thing (pedophilia) is mentioned in our document because, again, they’ve joined together. It’s happened. Just like when Bartholomew said at the Vatican a few weeks ago that he supports civil marriage.

      They intend to run our two churches as if they were one. The Roman Church’s problems have become our problems and ours, theirs.

      • There is more to the “child abuse” thing that this. Calling out child abuse specifically is a Trojan horse for anti-Christian interference in the family, like “public health.” Who is for child abuse? Who is against public health? But ‘child abuse’ will inevitably include things like using physical discipline which is non-abusive, telling kids that they should fight against their homosexual inclinations, refusing to pay for hormone modification and penis severing when your 10 year old son decides he’s really a girl, and so on.  Opposing child abuse in the context of modernist political manipulation is always really about giving the state license to break up families and prevent Christian parents from living their religion.
        The ecological crisis is actually the MOST sympathetic item in that paragraph from an Orthodox viewpoint, or at least I think so. The rest, while naming forms of activity that often include many kinds of genuine hurt, names them in a way that makes clear that the only acceptable solution to these problems will include state violence against Christian families, as now prevails throughout the EU and increasingly throughout the USA as well.

        • Gail Sheppard says


        • Michael Bauman says

          Check out the fruits of the “environmental” movement.  It is arguably the most potential part of the agenda.

          • Michael,
            I agree in the real world much of the environmental movement is a stalking horse for Antichrist. For the most part they couldn’t even keep ordinary hunters on board, who have gone off for their own, more sane conservation efforts. 
            All I meant was that supporting good stewardship, sustainable land management, leaving a certain number of wild places wild, preservation of endangered elements of God’s creation, etc. struck me as potentially more plausibly supported by the Church in a general way than some of the other things on that list. I think we both agree on who the enemies are and how they work though. May Christ deliver them, and us, from our many sins.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Johannes, and you are right but in the context of Bathlomew’s teaching and the rest of the document, that very plausibility makes it even more dangerous.  Bait, if you will to suck folks into the rest of his mess.

  5. George Michalopulos says

    Speaking of “real things”, this epic response from Rep Dan Crenshaw shows just how deluded the Left is regarding the real world:

  6. All the globalist cards lined up Luke mechanical ducks… Time for all of us to resist the whole rotten plot to corrupt everything we hold sacred.. Everything  is headed in the wrong direction.. Church and Country.. 

    • Larissa here- typo- like “ducks” lined up -not “Luke”
      Mega Prayers…..

    • Papa Demetri Carellas says

      Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
      Anyone who knows me is aware of my great sadness, which I have expressed publicly on a number of occasions, that not a single Orthodox Hierarch has told all levels of the secular government, from the very beginning of this “pandemic” in March, that the Church will not make ANY changes in Her form of worship, nor will she adapt any of the secular restrictions during Her services.  And this failure to act continues after nine months.  Furthermore, I agree with St. Justin Popovic: the current form of Ecumenism is “ the heresy of heresies!”
      Nevertheless, God and His Bride, our Holy Orthodox Church, personify order.  Therefore, I recommend that all of your article writers and comment posters consider refraining from showing such lack of respect for the dignity of the Holy Orders.  For example, in the subject article, Patriarch Bartholomew is simply called by his first name, and the Holy Synod of Hierarchs in Konstantinople are called “his gang.”  The Archbishop of the GOA is given an abbreviated and sarcastic version of his first name.  Forgive me, but I cannot imagine that God will give His Grace to us, when we choose to make a mockery of the office of the Bishop.  As my Spiritual Father of blessed memory, Geronta Ephraim, has often exclaimed:  we need “repentance, repentance, repentance”!  In my heart, I firmly believe: if we truly struggle each day – through more prayer, fasting, personal worship and reading of God’s Word and the holy Church Fathers – to be blessed with tears of repentance, and a repentant “fronema,” then our Most Beloved Panaghia will convince her Son and our Lord Jesus to send us Hierarchs to guide, nurture and protect us.
      unworthy priest, ☦️Papa Demetri

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Father, you are taking what I said way too seriously.

        You take me to task for calling the Archbishop of the GOA “Elpi” because it’s faster to type and is recognizable by our readers (it’s not like it’s a derogative term), yet you referred to the entire Synod as the “spineless GOP leadership” accusing them of making a “cowardly decision” on FB when talking about abortion and then ending with, the “blood of all these fully formed babies that are slaughtered will be on there heads.”

        You yourself said, “As Orthodox Christians, we have the responsibility from God to speak out against the efforts of people in high places, who have chosen to become the evil one’s instruments. . .” You then list sin after sin after sin they have committed.

        What would you call going into another bishop’s territory and issuing a Tomas to a schematic church whose intention it is to steal that bishop’s property? Or unifying with the Roman Church, in word and in deed?

        And why would you assume that unlike you, we are not asking for repentance “DAILY – begging our Lord Jesus to intervene?”

        We have a great respect for the Holy Orders of our Church, Father. George and I speak with priests, abbots, abbesses, bishops and even a metropolitan on occasion; some of them daily. They are guests in our home, for pete’s sake!

        However, I will admit, in Bartholomew’s case, I deliberately do not use his title because in my opinion he abdicated it. His “gang” are the academics who surround him, not the “Holy Synod of Hierarchs in Konstantinople,” you assumed, who are probably as frustrated with him as I am. Just saying. . .

        • Michael Bauman says

          In this case, Father and Gail you are both right.  O Lord, forgive me a sinner and send us a new St Mark of Ephesus and St. Mark, pray for all the hierarchs.

        • Gail,  I usually agree with you and George, but I am offended by your rebuke of Papa Demetri.  I think he is saying that we should fight them without becoming like them. 

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I’m sorry you were offended.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Christina, I don’t believe that Gail was offensive in any way to Papa Demetri.  I know from personal experience that she is respectful (and helpful!) to all ecclesastical orders.

            Having said that, the critique of Papa Demetri was taken seriously but misunderstandings regarding certain terms need to be rectified.  First of all, the nickname given to His Eminence Elpidophoros (“Elpi”) can sound dismissive but given the length of his name coupled with his title, “Elpi” (or “LP”) should be seen in that light.  

            As for his actions and beliefs, these are fair game.  Our hierarchs, when they enter into the modern, secular arena and –worse–hitch the Church’s teachings to the intellectual fads of the day, raise the ire of many who beg to differ.  As such, nicknames or abbreviations will be seen to be dismissive and rivalries will result which will harden the sides of the antagonists.  

            This is unfortunate.  Even so, we cannot cower or hide in the corner because some of our hierarchs have taken a position which is at odds with what many of us perceive to be incorrect.  The pietistic formula of “pray, pay, and obey” is no longer operative for us.  Too many decent Protestants have learned that lesson the hard way when their respective hierarchies started making accommodation with the world back in the 1970s.   

            Personally, I respect Papa Demetri as he publishes under his own name and his critique in defense of ecclesiastical protocols is commendable –up to a point.  But we are reaching a point of no return I fear in our own Church when it is clear to most that what some bishops are promoting is indistinguishable from the current Zeitgeist.  

            At the risk of repeating myself, the various Protestant sects have never recovered from their infatuation with the “Social Gospel”.  That alone should give us pause and excuse those of us who are direct in our criticisms and who have little time for honorifics.  

            As for myself, my own infatuation with history leads me to use the universally accepted names of historical figures and to apply that same convention when speaking of modern ecclesiastics.  For example, everybody uses “Chrysostom” or “Damascene” or “Leo the Great” (and not their birth/monastic names).  Hence, I have no problem with using the names “Elpidophoros” or “Bartholomew” or “Kirill”.  When the same name is had by two or more men (i.e. “Hilarion”) and they are both used in the same context/story, I will distinguish them by their last name.  
            The great tragedy is that the context in which some of these names are used is an unfortunate one, hence the insinuation that we are being disrespectful. 

        • Dear Gail, I certainly support calling out the actions of all in a respectful and dispassionate way.  Personally when my temper is up, I tend to mock the “offenders” in my mind which may come out in nicknames and forget to separate actions from the personhood of the icons of Christ.  To avoid doing so, I use initials, perhaps my form of erasing them entirely!  At any rate, I have learned over time that Archimandrite “Papa Demetri” like Met. Athanasios of Limassol is one of the “good guys” in all ways and as with Hieroschemamonk Nilus, there is so much to be learned from them with the special charism of their priesthood, ascetical lives and close spiritual association with Mt Athos giving all three grace and light that we laity don’t have.  All three are particularly reliant on and expressive of the Holy Fathers and therefore worthy of close consideration and respect, even when I react reflexively to a comment unlike my own thought.  I would hope they and their words would be welcomed and respected here.  Of course all are free to differ!  

        • Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul.
          And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?” And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?” Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ ”
          These passages, I believe, represent the Spirit in which Papa Demetri admonishes us, as well as the spirit against which we must all take care to struggle.
          Be angry, and do not sin.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            RE: “Therefore, I recommend that all of your article writers and comment posters consider refraining from showing such lack of respect for the dignity of the Holy Orders. For example, in the subject article, Patriarch Bartholomew is simply called by his first name, and the Holy Synod of Hierarchs in Konstantinople are called “his gang.” The Archbishop of the GOA is given an abbreviated and sarcastic version of his first name. Forgive me, but I cannot imagine that God will give His Grace to us, when we choose to make a mockery of the office of the Bishop.” Papa Demetri Carellas

            This man is not admonishing us. He is admonishing me. He is saying that I demonstrated “such a lack of respect for the dignity of the Holy Orders” and made a “mockery of the office of the Bishop,” and as a result, “God will not give His Grace”.

            This wasn’t a “recommendation”. This was an indictment.

            Had he picked up the phone (he has my contact information) and spoken to me about this privately as Scripture dictates, I could have explained that he completely misunderstood my intentions with respect to why I call Bartholomew by his first name (nothing to do with disrespecting his office, everything to do with him abandoning it), calling Archbishop Elpidophoros by a shortened version of his name (“Elpi” is widely used on this blog and quicker to type, as I have to look it up every time I have to spell it) and referring to a bunch of academics (not a Holy Synod, as he assumed) as a “gang.” Everyone who reads this blog regularly understands this is true.

            If I inadvertently embarrassed the man by pointing out that we may have a little more in common than he would like admit, it is not a sin. But it is a sin to bear false witness against someone. What he said is probably the worst thing anyone could say to me, and what’s more, it is completely false.

            Interestingly, maligning me is fine with many of you. No one is offended by what he said! Somehow the consensus is that I should be held to a higher standard than this very pious priest who came to my site to rebuke and embarrass me in front of the 1000 to 1500 readers we get a day for something he completely misconstrued.

            I’m not angry. I’m disappointed.

            • Gail: “No one is offended by what he said!”

              I think my contribution opposed his opinion for the same reason as yours.

            • Gail,
              I did not take this as an attack on you, but as word of caution to all of us here (“all of your article writers and comment posters”), myself included.  

          • George Michalopulos says

            Curious, do these admonishments speak against those who speak against the President?

        • Dear Gail,

          Because your quotes and attribution to Facebook sounded so unlike Papa Demetri (who avoids the latter, never encourages disrespect of persons, and usually only reads Orthodox blogs with Patristic content), I forwarded your reply comment to him and queried him.
          He blessed me to share the content of his reply with you, saying he does not come to this site or most others except when someone forwards an article from them.  That he is not and never will be on Facebook, etc. and to his recollection has not used the term “spineless GOA leadership” and does not recall ever saying “cowardly decision.”

          Regarding names used,  in Greek, Elpi is short for the feminine name, Elipiniki.   And the name Elpi, rather than Archbishop Elpi is also of concern to him.  

          Finally re the paragraph claiming he listed all of their sins, he asked whose sins, saying he would never have listed the sins of hierarchs. A Paul Sarbanes or Olympia Snow, perhaps — in reference to their 100% pro death record; but not Hierarchs.  would never advise people to speak out disrespectfully about their Hierarchs to others.

          He and I both wondered if someone might have posted words he did not say without his awareness, so  Gail, if you can give a reference for these quotes, I would like to know and will share that with him.  And please know you are always encouraged to check quotations with him to verify before publishing.  In this day and age, pretty wise policy I have learned to my chagrin when I have not done so with other people!

          • Gail Sheppard says
            • Just to clarify what seem to be points of confusion:

              1.) Papa Demetri was clearly referring to the Republican party leadership when he wrote, “spineless GOP leadership” while Gail inadvertently wrote of his criticism of a ‘SYNOD’ (which would seem to imply a synod of bishops) saying , “yet you referred to the entire Synod as the ‘spineless GOP leadership’ accusing them of making a “cowardly decision” on FB when talking about abortion and then ending with, the “blood of all these fully formed babies that are slaughtered will be on there heads.”

              2.) Although his blog post was reposted on Facebook (per Gail’s reference above), it is not his Facebook account.

          • Dear Gail et al:  
            I immediately “deleted completely” this comment of mine to you  on the site and wrote you privately instead and yet somehow it went public.  I am sorry about that as it was not my intent.
             I am also sorry that you are not simply apologizing for your part in this, for the conclusions you drew from misreading the posting (thank you Brian)  and for the way you therefore misrepresented him in misquotes.  That is your responsibility  and I expect more from you.   And if you were wounded by what he said, you too knew how to reach him privately before replying to him.   I know now that you have been ill and am sure that played a role.  You are better than this, Gail, as an Orthodox Christian and a person intent on the truth.  Hope you feel better soon.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Actually, you have to copy over the content to erase it. This has been mentioned in our housecleaning posts. Had you actually deleted your comment, we would not have been able to post it.

              George and I have had on-going problem of posters complaining that their posts don’t show up. That truly does happen. Their comments end up in “trash.”

              When we go into our trash bucket, the only way we can tell that the comment was INTENTIONALLY deleted by the commentator is if the commenter deletes their comment first. When they do that, we see a post with blank content and then we delete it.

              Having said that, I am sorry if something was posted that you intended to delete.

        • Gail said:
          “…yet you referred to the entire Synod as the “spineless GOP leadership”
          He referred to the leadership of the GOP as spineless for a demonic decision. But I see nothing where he is referring to a synod. ???

      • Fr Demetri,
        Thank you so much for your sincere reply. I have also seen this behavior before, but under different circumstances. In one case, an archpriest who was ‘being retired’ kept referring to our metropolitan during a parish council meeting as “the Met”, as in “the Met says this” and “the Met did that”. It shocked and hurt a good number of us, as our metropolitan was (and is) an honorable man. Naturally, a couple of our members (whose mental-health challenges were known to us) walked around for days parroting the archpriest by disdainfully referring to the His Eminence as “the Met”. We moved against this behavior quickly. It was just a display of weak-mindedness on their parts, that is all. It was, after all, the archpriest who retired under a cloud while the metropolitan retained our love and respect (and remained above reproach).
        But it is with the greatest regret that we must now seriously consider the persons of the current Ecumenical Patriarch and the Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church of America to be heresiarchs. It pains me greatly to even type these words, so deeply does this disturb me. Yet I am far more disturbed by the actions of these men, and cannot in good conscience show them the respect their office would normally call for when they themselves trail their holy offices in the dirt.
        This isn’t the military. We’re not required to salute the rank regardless of how despicable and potentially traitorous the holder of that rank may be.
        I take no pleasure in this. I am also sensitive to how much these words may even hurt you, and I am truly sorry. Please do forgive. There simply comes a time when even the most worthless man finds he must disassociate himself from others who behave with depravity. The lists of the gross errors of these men are long indeed. There is no trace of even the slightest blush of sin to them.

        • Please read the actual article as he was not discussing the Synod at all.  (See Brian).  

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Yes, one of our commentators made this correction a day or two, as I told you previously. The “spineless leaders” he was referring to was some other group, which I have conceded to. My apologies. . . again.

      • Papa Demetri, when the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America are referred to as ‘Bart’ and ‘Elpi’, it is not their Holy Orders that is being disrespected. It is the self-aggrandisement inherent in the title of First Without Equals, whether that claim be expressed by the one who claims it now or by the inventor of it who (perhaps) hopes to inherit it in the fulness of time.
        As St Gregory the Dialogist might have said: “I say it without the least hesitation, whoever calls himself the universal bishop, or desires this title, is, by his pride, the precursor of Antichrist, because he thus attempts to raise himself above the others.”

        • Well said, dear brother Brendan!

        • Michael Bauman says

          Brendan, indeed a priest I know has the most problem because Elpidiphoros is smart, ambitious and the inventer of that title.  The priest looks to Russia for hope.  I do tend to think that if Antioch comes out forthrightly against Constantinople the tide will be turned.  The chaos a great deal less than otherwise.  Pray for Patriarch John and the Antiochian Holy Synod to stand firm.  

          • Antioch – and Jerusalem.

          • “I do tend to think that if Antioch comes out forthrightly against Constantinople the tide will be turned.  The chaos a great deal less than otherwise. Pray for Patriarch John and the Antiochian Holy Synod to stand firm.”

            Jurisdiction of Qatar seems about the only thing Antioch will fight for:

            Patriarch John X— the bishop leading the Antiochian Orthodox Church — invited the Islamic Grand Mufti of Syria into an Orthodox church, in front of the iconostasis, and invited him to address the congregation. While this Muslim publicly denied the deity of Christ and the deity of the Holy Spirit, Patriarch John said nothing. While he advocated Islamic prayer inside Orthodox churches, the patriarch said not a word. When he said that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, and that God accepts prayers from both Christians and Muslims, the patriarch remained silent.

            After witnessing eighteen minutes of nonstop blasphemy, Patriarch John X exchanged a kiss of peace with this Muslim cleric, while the congregation applauded.

            • When invited into our neighbour’s house,
              would we spit upon the floor?

              • “When invited into our neighbour’s house,would we spit upon the floor?”

                Their house?  No.  Their house of worship?  I would politely decline the invite from someone not Orthodox, nor would I extend it in the first place, unless I thought they were in the right place to benefit from it, certainly wouldn’t give them an open mic to preach Islam before the assembled church.

                There is a difference between taking advantage of Islam’s version of tolerance to avoid the worst parts of the Islamic Yoke, in which case the Patriarch and a few of his clergy might politely listen to the Grand Mufti in some other setting, and actually buying into the Koranic premise that we worship the same God.  But, if you’re ok with the EP, who wants Union with Rome, where the Popes have been aspiring to become the One World Religion by merging with Islam and everyone else, then this all fits together.

        • I would be surprised if any Patristically Orthodox monk, abbot, or priest would encourage the open disdain for an Orthodox priest or hierarch by diminishing or mocking nicknames as a shortcut for expressing concern or disapproval of their action or teaching.  It is very different to remember the icon of Christ within and hold ourselves to this standard.  
          I agree that Gail and George have a right to speak as they wish on the blog and are good about tolerating differences.  I am just sad they don’t seem to have learned from people like Vladika Dmitri or Elder Ephraim what others deserve.
          Papa Demetri responded to an action about ways of addressing the hierarchy as a spiritual priest son of Elder Ephraim.  Perhaps our way of responding to admonishment tells us more about ourselves, especially given the source.
          Since Gail’s quotes were not at all applicable because of her misreading, I hope she will simply correct that herself and apologize for her faulty characterization of him from them.   I get that she is hurt by his admonishment.    However, any reading of the Saints tells us we all can profit from righteous admonishment which is embarrassing but not inherently demeaning.  And anyone who has gone to a pithy and good monk or confessor will learn to treasure admonishment.  Elder Ephraim grew spiritually because of his constant admonishment by St. Joseph the Hesychast.  
          I am just sorry that I now understand why more priests do not post here.  that’s a loss for all of us.  

      • Thanks, Fr. A very good point. We should give respect even when it isn’t received. The office should always be respected even when the person isn’t. 

      • Fr. Demitri,
        Bartholomew and Elpi have themselves ‘made a mockery of the office of Bishop’ and deserve to be called out for their behavior. A bishop is supposed to shepherd his flock, not feed it to the wolves. May God send us fearless bishops, yes! But may He also give us the courage to speak out when His church is under attack and our shepherds are hiding in their houses (or burning them down). Gail, I thought your response to Fr. Demitri was excellent! 

      • Papa Demetri (Παπᾶ-Δημήτρη), “I recommend that all of your article writers… unworthy priest, ☦️Papa Demetri”

        “For example, in the subject article, Patriarch Bartholomew is simply called by his first name.”
        Papa Demetri, have you also ever similarly recommended that posters should not write e.g. “Jesus says” or “Paul says”? If No, why not? If Yes, please give us the link of your comment/recommendation against it. Which is worse writing: “Bartholomew says”, or “Jesus says” ????

        “…consider refraining from showing such lack of respect for the dignity of the Holy Orders.”
        Sure. The Bishop HIMSELF should also respect his Holy Order and not donate the “holy Quran”! Because the Quran denies the Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ! Is there a greater lack of respect of the Holy Orders?

        “Geronda Ephraim, has often exclaimed: we need “repentance, repentance, repentance”!”
        Since when does “repentance” mean not telling a bishop that he is wrong? What proves that that was the meaning of papa-Ephraim’s words above?

        “I cannot imagine that God will give His Grace to us, when we choose to make a mockery of the office of the Bishop.”
        Well, I cannot imagine that God will give His Grace to us, when we choose to call God simply “Holy” whilst we call Bart. with TWO(!) superlatives, i.e. “All-Most-Holy” (Παν-αγι-ώτατος). But let us see, who makes more mockery of the office of the Bishop: He who writes an abbreviated “Bart.”, briefly/informally in a blog, or B. himself who donated, AND saying, “the Holy Quran”! Lord Have Mercy! Please give us the link of your comment/recommendation against that donation. – Since when is abbreviating long names derogatory, especially in an informal discussion in a blog? – I agree that a proper abbreviation should and with a dot, a point, e.g. “B.” or “Bart.”

        “Anyone who knows me is aware of my great sadness…”
        The people have also accumulated a lot of sadness all these decades with B. Let’s be honest: Action generates reaction. And B. started all this many years ago with his Pope-like actions.

        Finally, which is better for the Church:
        a) that Bartholomew does exactly as He likes in the Church, just like the Pope and the people kneel before him, or
        b) that the people, in various legitimate ways (including calling him Bartholomew) express to him their disagreement.
        Please note: “…The defender of religion is this body of the Church, i.e. the people”, Encyclical of Four Patriarchs to Pope Pius, 1848.

        • A better and more complete translation of the 1948 Encyclical:

          “Moreover, neither Patriarchs nor Councils could then have introduced novelties amongst us, because the protector of religion is the very body of the Church, even the people themselves, who desire their religious worship to be ever unchanged and of the same kind as that of their fathers”
          Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, 1848 A Reply to the Epistle of Pope Pius IX, “to the Easterns”

  7. I am not going to read the document because I do not feel like vomiting today. However, I am willing to guess that there is not one word about the evils of abortion. This is par for the course for him.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I didn’t read it either for the same reason.

    • If you are referring to the Social Ethos document, there is condemnation of abortion. A lot of the sections are worth reading before passing judgement and to me it is apparent that the different sections were written/edited by different people, based on how they are written. That said, I took issue with many sections very much, including but not limited to the particular wording of sections mentioning war and the military, sections alluding to government management of welfare, and in my opinion very flippant discussion of current liturgical practice surrounding reproductive functions and childbirth.
      I would be very surprised if the EP himself wrote any of it, though of course his stamp of approval does mean something. 

      • Gail Sheppard says

        RE: “If you are referring to the Social Ethos document, there is condemnation of abortion.”

        I suspect the EP changed his position on abortion to be more in alignment with the Roman Church. It is a deviation from his position in the past, for which he was widely criticized.

        Here is a direct quotation from a July 20, 1990, article, “SF Shows Off Its Ecumenical Spirit,” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Metropolitan Bartholomais of Chalcedon is the current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

        Asked the Orthodox church’s position on abortion, Bartholomais described a stand more liberal than that of the Roman Catholic Church, which condemns abortion in all cases and whose clergy have, in some cities, excommunicated leading pro-choice Catholics.

        Although the Orthodox church believes the soul enters the body at conception and, ”generally speaking, respects human life and the continuation of pregnancy,” Bartholomais said, the church also ”respects the liberty and freedom of all human persons and all Christian couples.”

        ”We are not allowed to enter the bedrooms of the Christian couples,” he said. ”We cannot generalize. There are many reasons for a couple to go toward abortion.”

  8. I skimmed his so-called encyclical and saw that he does mention abortion. It is very weak (as usual). The remainder I still don’t have the stomach to read. From what I have seen, it is painfully long and full of double-speak.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      It appears as if lay people drafted the document and then it was given to what passes for “theologians” these days to cloak it in flowery language to make it sound like it has something to do with the Church. Like poorly made “knock offs,” anyone who is Orthodox would know the difference.

  9. Check this list of authors out:

    Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, Ecumenical Patriarchate (chair)
    Dr. David Bentley Hart, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study
    Dr. George Demacopoulos, Fordham University
    Dr. Carrie Frederick Frost, St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary
    Rev. Dr. Brandon Gallaher, University of Exeter
    Rev. Dr. Perry Hamalis, North Central College
    Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
    Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou, Fordham University
    Dr. James Skedros, Holy Cross School of Theology
    Dr. Gayle Woloschak, Northwestern University
    Dr. Konstantinos Delikostantis, Ecumenical Patriarchate
    Dr. Theodoros Yiangou, University of Thessaloniki

    Any surprises?!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Not surprisingly, they’re all academics and one of them isn’t even Christian.

      (Frankly, more than one of them might not be Christian. Wasn’t it Fordham University that put those obscene icons on display?)

      • Yes the two Fordhamites who post in stark opposition to Patristic Orthodoxy often via Public Orthodoxy are Archon George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou.   Presently they seem joyfully determined to destroy and distort Orthodoxy rather than leave for the Episcopal Church.  Prayers for healig for their souls their love of power and for  freedom from thrall.

    • Wow! It is the theological clown circus world tour!

    • I have met Dr Frost many times. She is of middling stature and of early middle years, has three attractive children and a tradesman husband. She does not use her husband’s name.
      She is a very well-kept and self-composed woman with a restless and perceptive nature. She gives the impression of being attentive to the task at hand yet quite direct and aware. Not much gets by her.
      The latest writing of hers I’ve read concerned the Cretan Council. She writes efficiently in that sometimes-deliberately abstruse tone favored by academics when they wish to show they are of a certain rank. She does not speak or write with grace or warmth, and cannot seem to write with power or authority because she dissembles to that selfsame rank. I wish she wrote primarily to communicate.
      I believe she has a solid intellect. I don’t believe there is anything Fordham or even the Cambridge Institute offers that is beyond her comprehension and mastery.
      Her thrust or push in her academic energies seems to be this: if it is to be left to the academics to guide the vessel of Holy Orthodoxy in the future, she will be resolute in shouldering her way forward to see that the hand of the academically-accomplished woman will also be upon the tiller.
      I believe Carrie has a need to believe and to prove she is the intellectual equal to the male leaders of the Church. She certainly can be if she isn’t already. She is young, she may simply need to find out just how dry and unrewarding such a life can be. I would hope for her sake she will one day sense that greater Orthodoxy which exists beyond universities and councils, and begin to apply that superior mind instead to the affairs of the heart and soul in the Faith. We need her here.

      • Dr. Frost wrote one of the most anti-patristic pro radical feminist pieces of trash I have ever seen. It is called, “The Maternal Body.” If you ever see this book, throw it into the bonfire as quickly as you can. Her so-called theology is heavily influenced by feminism. She is also a big time advocate for the female diaconate. Run very far from this woman’s theological meanderings.

        • I am not one for burning books, Mikhail.
          No, I haven’t read The Maternal Body, so I can’t speak to it. But I know Carrie Frost and I know that ‘feminism’ means different things to different people, and that leveling a charge of ‘feminism’ can become an easy cudgel to beat people with. Sometimes it’s just meant independent but necessary actions a woman takes that men of low character disapprove of.
          I certainly can’t defend Carrie’s writings and beliefs across the board carte blanche, and I won’t try. We definitely disagree. But what I find most distressing in the reactions of men towards the actions of women in the Church and outside of it, is the complete negation and rejection of women’s actions where the men have plainly failed. This is at the heart of why most women feel they need to act in the ‘world of men’.
          I find very few actual busybodies or activist women in the Church. But I definitely find many women with strength and clarity of purpose that many men seem to envy. What I have attempted to do here is show you that Carrie Frost is not some disembodied contrary spirit wishing to cause havoc in the Church, but a real woman of flesh and blood, with perception and high intelligence, responding to the weaknesses and poor leadership of men in ways that are both necessary and legitimate, right or wrong. I do not fear her views and I do not burn her books.
          I like sometimes being prompted (and even sometimes being stung) into proper action by women of good conscience. This is part of a healthy symbiosis. Dr Frost is young yet. Maybe she tends now to sting more than prompt, maybe she is now more wrong than right. But I do not overlook the fact that it is the failure of men to lead wisely and by example that draws in the passion of women into this fray, the men ultimately being responsible for this hell.

          • We certainly do disagree Hans. This is not about women speaking out because of the failings of men. Almost everything I have read from her has the underpinnings of RADICAL feminism. And don’t think for a moment that she will stop at advocating for a female diaconate. You don’t have to burn her books…I’ll burn them for you. The less people read her writings (and this goes for the Fordhamites also) the better.

            • Mikhail,
              I have read a few reviews online of The Maternal Body. Knowing most such reviews will be positive and recommend one buy the book, I was prepared.
              It invites the reader to revisit some early events in Church history, opines at length that the early commentators on these events were celibate males, and asks rather typical academic questions on the meaning of maternity having a place in the Incarnation of our Lord. She is basically an Orthodox doctor of philosophy exploring Church literature and practice along with her own experience with motherhood, and willing to write a book about her ideas. Seems like a very normal, natural thing in the world for an academic to do. They posit and explore new areas of study. Publish or perish is their lot. I didn’t find anywhere in the reviews that she was self-absorbed or self-indulgent, or that she wandered too far afield from Orthodox tradition into navel-gazing.
              If you find yourself unexpectedly freezing to death in the wilderness in a cabin full of The Maternal Body, by all means burn the books for heat and light until you are rescued. Otherwise, allow the book be available to others. Books are like people. They are going to either be a good influence/example or a bad one. I say let’s leave it to future students and scholars to determine if it stands the test of time. Book burning is demagoguery. And let’s let Carrie Frost the freedom to comment about it in ten years, twenty years. You think to predict her future thoughts today and condemn her for it, and it’s not a power you possess. Allow her her own process of growth. We all grow in the Faith. It’s grow or go. We mature or we don’t.
              RADICAL Feminism? It’s mostly a cliche’ today. Most women accept a little feminism because it means a little freedom, a little adulthood, a little autonomy to be able to make better decisions for themselves when men allow them few. I wouldn’t begrudge a man that freedom, and I couldn’t justify denying it to a woman. RADICAL Feminism is simply the revolutionary idea that women don’t exist solely for the purposes of men. Ever think God permits feminism in order to get women out from beneath a suffocating  patriarchy because men abuse it, in order to serve Him and His greater purposes? It happens.
              But it bothers me, this desire to burn. We’ve had so many people lately mad to burn forests, buildings, businesses, cars, and even people. They rage, they fury, they delight in it. They want to see the world burn down in some kind of orgy of fire. It’s a pathology. I’d like to see it end.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Mikhail, thanks for the warning. May God protect you.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Hans, I no nothing of Miss Frost but your overall statement is concerning.  When men fail, as we do even to the point if abuse and worse, the solution is not defiance and revolt much less denial of Church doctrine and practice.  If Miss Frost is advocating for a female diaconate she is way beyond the pale. 
            Where there are genuine abuses of power and authority — speak up, speak out but the solution is to return to the Traditional ethical, moral and spiritual foundation of the Church in repentance.  
            That is a difficult task and ultimately involved both parties repentance for complete healing.  
            Unfortunately burning books does not expunge the destructive ideas from our minds and our hearts.  Only repentance can do that. Since even as one distant from the immediate fray, even talking about such things leads me to say: Lord, forgive me a sinner.  Purify my heart and mind and extend Your mercy to all.  

            • Michael,
              I want to admit right off I know next to nothing about the controversy in the Church about a female diaconate. I hear things pro and con of course, but I confess my ignorance on that topic. Overall I don’t perceive it as a burning issue. It plainly is to a few, so I defer and set it aside for now.
              I know Carrie, and I like her. I think I like most people, in small doses. And with Carrie, I believe I sense a deep, deep desire to truly serve God in a legitimate and respectable way in the Church as a married woman. Perhaps she feels women are a little discounted and maligned in the Church, and I think we all see just how much they really do. The Church today respects academics, so no surprise Carrie becomes an academic. She contributes in a legitimate and respectable way as a scholar and professor in a seminary today. Perhaps she has partly met that deep need to serve the Faith and the Church in this way. Perhaps she explores the ancient order of the female diaconate as another path for women to serve God and the Church, as a deeper way for her to serve, and perhaps she is answering a deep prompting from God to explore serving in this way. It may be that the wisdom of  the Church will reopen this issue and, within it’s holy conscience, carefully guide and observe the reintroduction of this ancient practice. Or not. But as I said, I defer and set it aside for now.
              But oh! how truly wonderful it would be if the process of repentance and forgiveness you describe were so immediate and universal! That would really be a great sign of the advancement and maturing of the human being under the Grace of God. I agree with it completely, as with most else that you have said. But, we have defiance and we have revolt still with us. Maybe we still have them because they are necessary tools of last resort, to drive intransigent leaders back to Church tradition and practice. If I know my history, it’s been needed in the past on rare occasions. The upsets caused by the current Ecumenical Patriarch and by the Metropolitan of the Greeks in America profoundly disturb many throughout the world. Are we to wait and pray as the good Fr Demetri suggested above, waiting for the Grace of God to change hearts and minds? Do we wait for a new Athanasius? Do we make our consciences known to them now in no uncertain terms? What say you, sir?
              As to the possibility of the restoration of the ancient female diaconate, and to a careful and wise supervision by the Church of the same, hasn’t the Church sometimes taken risks? Hasn’t the Antiochian Church in America taken a huge risk with the adoption of the “New Apostolic Order”/”Evangelical Orthodox Church” group after both the Greeks and the Russians had demurred? Wow, what a wild and rebellious group they were at first, and some are still as stubborn as ever. Some of that damage has been lasting, and we enter into the third generation of them. I’m still not completely convinced it was such a good idea. But, hasn’t it worked out for the most part?
              I ask these questions sincerely.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Hans, the beauty of real repentance is that it takes only one as St. Porphyrios taught in the link I posted.   Such repentance is an incredible way of serving God because it is possible to bring others into the penitential space through prayer and fasting.  It is what St. Seraphim of Sarov meant by “Acquire a peaceful Spirit and thousands around you will be saved.”  
                Of course there are fewer accolades and no power that way–except from God.
                The avenue is freely available at any time. Pick up a prayer rope in the middle of the night and pray the Jesus Prayer.  No on can stop you, even in the depths of the darkest prison.  Certainly not the men who are in authority.  
                Really praying the Jesus prayer even once  is all it takes.  

              • Michael Bauman says

                The reception of the “Evangelical Orthodox Church” by Met. Philip was certainly deemed a risk at the time ( circa 1984 after being rejected by Constantinople).  But that was long ago and fully absorbed with little disruption by 1995.
                When the combination of the OCA, the Patriarchal Bulgarians and the Serbs received Christ the Savior Brotherhood it was scandalous in some quarters. But all has gone smoothly and everyone is doing well. That was in The Year of Our Lord 2000.
                Both receptions increased the vitality of Orthodox witness here in the US.  
                The CSB I know well because my brother, the Archpriest Emeritas Stevan of the Bulgarian Patriarchate of North America and Australia was the head of the CSB at the time of their reception.  here is a picture of his parish community.  
                Met. Joseph is his bishop. 
                The small number the OCA received were given the economia to worship using the old calendar by Met Jonah, I believe.
                No, I am a much greater risk to the Church from inside Her if I choose my own way rather than the way into the Kingdom: Repent.
                It is that simple.  
                What one needs to repent of is between Jesus and the person and their confessor.  But it is the only foundation for ministry, healing and prophecy.  There is no academic path to it full of achievement and honors and respect.  Repentance has to be entered and practiced.
                Forgive me, a sinner. I will add both you and Miss Claire to my prayer list as unworthy as my prayers are.  

                • Michael,
                  I first want to address your first post above, and thank you for posting the link to Another City. I followed Another City to the American Orthodox Institute, to the biography of Fr Jacobse to verify his ordination is with the Antiochians, which led me to an earlier source at OrthoChristian, finally to Holy Kalyva of Zoodochos Pege of the Holy Skete of Kaufsokalyvia on Mount Athos, and finally Hieromonk George Kaufsokalyvites. Okay.
                  I for one don’t pay much attention to names because so many people who publish today are only interested in good reputations. And you know how it is: there are so many monasteries and groups claiming to be Orthodox today that you have to be careful from whom and what you’re reading. I wish it were otherwise. But it was worth the trouble: that article is superb.
                  Now to your second post above: yes, it was a bizarre, almost otherworldy episode with the various groups and the Christ the Savior Brotherhood. People even called it creepy. We obviously know and respect some of the same people, although I haven’t had the honor of knowing Fr Stevan. I also appreciated learning a few more of the details relating to those events.
                  Your admonitions for repentance taken in the spirit intended aside, we may need to have a talk about the NAO/EOC.
                  I debated with myself whether I’d continue discussing this topic. At the very least, your statement, “The reception of the “Evangelical Orthodox Church” by Met. Philip was certainly deemed a risk at the time ( circa 1984 after being rejected by Constantinople). But that was long ago and fully absorbed with little disruption by 1995,” is only true if this is also true: “The prohibition on the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol was deemed a worthy goal at the time (after being approved by Congress in 1920). But that was long ago and it was fully repealed with little social disruption before or after by 1932”.
                  Both statements are, of course, make-believe. A whitewash. And it does a great disservice to the Orthodox Faith and to the history of the Orthodox Church in North America to pretend that the acceptance of this body, somewhere between a small new denomination and a large cult, to claim “they were fully absorbed with little disruption by 1995.
                  Michael. I like you. But sometimes I have to put on my jetboots to fly up to the place you’re talking down to people from, no offense intended. People are just the way they are.
                  If members of the Orthodox Faith in North America, clergy and laity, are not willing to look deeply into the events of that time and not accept, say, Fr Peter Gillquist’s book Coming Home and it’s “happy tale well-told” (how vividly do I remember the grousing from his contemporaries then, and how they threatened to tell the truth!), then we are going to do an enormous disservice to the struggles these people had and many suffered through (and still do). The story needs to be investigated by professional historians for posterity even for just a synopsis of the gross errors which were made, so that under no circumstances are they repeated in the future.
                  Michael, you said above, “No, I am a much greater risk to the Church from inside Her if I choose my own way rather than the way into the Kingdom…”. You can’t possibly in your own mind be referring to academics alone, can you? Well, then at least please consider that the mixed bag of evangelicals, charismatics, pentecostalists, cultlike zombie followers, swaggering sociopathic converts and others His Eminence Philip risked taking in had a dramatic effect on Orthodoxy in this New World, and the effects of these people are still being felt on Orthodoxy in America. It’s an entirely human story as you might expect;  with higher highs and lower lows, with deceit, neglect, and a barely teachable Puritan streak, committed by people that had license to just made it up as they went along.
                  What could really be expected from a group of people who only became aware that the True Church yet existed, as when the True Churches in southcentral California threatened to to sue them for using ‘Orthodox’ in their name? Ah, didn’t know that part of their origin story? Otherwise, we might’ve just had another weird Protestant group on our hands. God does indeed move in mysterious ways! (And with such ‘unusual’ people)
                  As I said, I’m still not completely convinced it was a good idea. I’ll defer to future generations on that question. But sorry friend, the phrase “with little disruption” should enter this years’ lexicon along with “the riots were mostly peaceful“.

              • There is a parish like what you mentioned with the former EOC up in Alaska. Basically the only thing Orthodox about them are some of the aesthetics. I guess Met. Joseph tolerates them for the time being 

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Petros,  God bears with all of us in His mercy.  The imprint of a shared culture can be difficult to shake.  Are they celebrating the Sacraments in an Orthodox manner?  The priests from their that I have met certainly did.  

              • There is no greater danger to the Church right now than academics and the academic mindset. I say this as someone with a doctorate who teaches at a research university. The spirit of the academy is the spirit of Antichrist and frankly I would not ordain anyone with a doctoral degree who had not spent at least as many years as a monastic as he or she did in a secular graduate school at this point.
                The fact that Bishops even listen to these people is a sign of great moral illness in our church. None of them except Hart, who is a sort of poor man’s “Christian” Slavoj Zizek, a pompous, bloviating egomaniacal lardass who should have been ecclesiastically disciplined for his recent expedition into heresy, are people anyone outside the tiny circle of Orthodox academia have ever heard of; they are not scholars who people outside the world of Orthodoxy take seriously. Nor are they leading spiritual lights of the Church, or people who have written much of anything to the glory of God or the edification of their fellow human beings. Have they helped us pray better? Have they helped us love God or love our neighbor better? Their interests are all procedural and aim at enmeshing the Church in various political entanglements it would better simply avoid, or else, in the darker cases, converting it from Christianity to “the religion of the future,” that Satanic modernism that has turned the west into the moral hellscape it is today.
                Pray for our Bishops, who don’t trust enough in the pure wisdom which Christ has entrusted them with, which would allow them to do without all the slavish and unspiritual reasoning these wolves’ in sheep’s clothing substitute for the teachings of the Church. These academics treat Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Fathers as an intellectual chess game – what Saint Maximus called the theology of demons. This will only lead to the spiritual death of those who follow them.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Preach it, Johannes!!

                • “There is no greater danger to the Church right now than academics and the academic mindset. I say this as someone with a doctorate who teaches at a research university. The spirit of the academy is the spirit of Antichrist and frankly I would not ordain anyone with a doctoral degree who had not spent at least as many years as a monastic as he or she did in a secular graduate school at this point.The fact that Bishops even listen to these people is a sign of great moral illness in our church.”
                  Very well said! This is absolutely true!

                • There was so much raw hate and fury in your post that I wondered for a second if you’d damaged my computer.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    And many of us feel exactly like Johannes. I’m less worried about your computer than I am about our Church.

                    Having said that, I’m happy you’re on the blog. I enjoy reading your comments, as well as your insights.

                    • Thanks Gail. Glad to be here.
                      It’s definitely a place where people pose topics and argue well for and against, where they share some good and sometimes really great stuff; and somewhere where they vent their spleens.
                      It took me awhile to understand it was more a political blog with Orthodox participants, than an Orthodox blog that gets political.
                      It’s kinda unique.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      So is your commentary (unique)!

                    • Christine Fevronia says

                      Hans, stick around. This is not mainly a political blog, but is a blog about all matters related to current affairs. And currently, the blog is reflecting the election cycle, the covid-19 vaccine, the ongoing GOA scandals, John Lennon’s passing, prophecies made by holy elders on Mt. Athos–you name it. Our blog hosts welcome all perspectives, making it a unique hub of web activity. Stick around and you’ll find we cover a lot of ground, not mainly limited to politics.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Our readers have a LOT to do with the content as well. We’re kind of a stream of consciousness blog.

                  • Hans,
                    I am sorry for this, both that I give this impression and that there is surely some truth to it. Hatred and fury are sins. Righteous anger is not necessarily a sin although most of us are unable to express it without losing the righteousness. I personally am at a loss. I hold so much back, all the time – this is wrong – and yet when I express it, words can barely contain my anger and sorrow. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil – ” it is unbearable, both in the case of my own evil and in the case of others. Yet Christ tells us to bear it and so we know we can. 
                    If there are any particular points you disagree with please feel free to bring them up for discussion, I’ll try to check in.

                    • No Johannes, I was instantly sorry I posted what I did when I saw your pain was real. Forgive me for making light of it.
                      I actually don’t disagree with much of what you said, so what say we make a point to talk again in the future when we’re both feeling a little better. I’m open.

                  • Hans,
                    I believe what you will find here (aside from the political stuff) is not so much a small-minded aversion to good scholarship (as many small-minded, elitist,  intellectual types so readily assume).  It is rather an extreme frustration that so much of what passes for ‘Orthodox’ scholarship is wholly undisciplined by revelation and the Tradition of the Church, almost invariably in the the name of ‘intellectual freedom.’   It is this lack of discipline that people like Johannes, Michael Bauman, myself, and many who comment here cannot abide, for scholarship that is undisciplined by what has been revealed to us in Christ and preserved whole in His Church is not only completely lacking in the Holy Spirit, it is garbage that should be ignored (but, because of itching ears, often isn’t). 
                    Members of ‘the academy’ are rarely rewarded among their peers for faithfulness to what has been traditioned to us.  They are rewarded for making ‘discoveries’ – new ‘truth’ that no one has (supposedly) ever discerned.  And there are precious few academics who manage to avoid this temptation.
                    All of us need to spend more time in prayer, most especially the prayer of the Church with the Church, and less time in what often passes for learning.

                    • Brian, I know what you’re saying, and I don’t think it’s wrong at all to hold the opinions of academia to the high standards of the Church. I think alot of it has been due to the influence of the Scholastics of old and the Protestants of new. They all have their independent colleges, growing their various theologies in separate petri dishes, until they eventually erupt forth into different kinds of bilious fungi. They compete with one another in that rarified air they’ve created for themselves to see who can gain the last word. I’ve abandoned that world myself, and I don’t believe sincere seekers stay long within it if they have any heart at all.
                      But the academy is useful for laying foundations, and I think a wise man will pay the most attention to the foundations he chooses to build his life upon, no?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Back in 1970, they instituted the draft and my birthday, July 9, was #1. Astrology was big back then and I remember thinking all these unfortunate men would rather be hanging curtains than fighting a war. (Cancer is the sign of a homebody.)

                      It’s not that approaching something, academically, is inherently wrong. In a university setting, it’s perfectly appropriate but it doesn’t translate well when it comes to the phronema of the Church. It’s as out of place as gingham curtains are in a war zone. It literally grates on the soul. There is no such thing as the “social ethos” of the Church. If there were, one the Holy Fathers would have mentioned it by now.

                      His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (did I get that right?) is improvising and the Church is supposed to hold to Her Traditions and Her teachings, period. It’s not Orthodox to introduce something new. To teach that which has not been taught is heresy.

                      Having said that, it wasn’t Carrie who introduced this stuff. She may not agree with it or even understand it completely. She was putting flowery words around the agenda of the “Green Patriarch.” (He likes that title.)

                      One day there will be a reckoning and it won’t be Carrie who is standing there.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Brian well said.  I would only add that I am not, as some claim, anti-intellectual.  I am against wild speculation with no foundation in the Tradition or actual spiritual experience founded on and within that Tradition.  
                      There is so much to experience in the Life of the Church–why does anything have to be made up?  
                      Even if nothing immediate is given to a person (although if one is humble that is unlikely IMO), there is the recorded experience of saints.  
                      There is a battle going on. We are all involved and it has nothing to do with politics.  That is a vector but not the real battle.   
                      Neither subtle or new theology is required.  If we simply follow Jesus command to repent and really do it, the battle will be won no matter who is President or what they do.  

                    • Gail,
                      “His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (did I get that right?) ”
                      Gail, “how dare you”(*) call Bartholomew like that ONLY, leaving out the most important part, ie the superlative degree “-est”?
                      Now it may be very important to know whoever first spoke that big title:
                      The Rudder (Pedalion) says on p. 274:
                      “The appellation of All-holiest” was first accorded to the Bishops of Constantinople Sergius and Peter by Macarius of Antioch at the Sixth Ec.C. in the seventh century”.

                      It is an interesting or rather mysterious coincidence(?) that this same man (Patriarch Macarios I of Antiochia) was deposed by the (same!) Sixth Ecumenical Council,  on account of his monothelitism, after which he disappeared into obscurity in a Roman monastery.  

                      Did Macarios by any chance say this big title so as to get clemency for his heresy and the feeling that he might be deposed in the very same Ec.C.?
                      Just wondering…

                      Was the title far too beautiful for the EP to let go?

                      Professor Father Theodoros Zisis, ex speech-writer for Bartholomew(!!!!), explained in one of his videos,
                      “…Bartholomew, I dare not say “All-holiest”…” .
                      He now never says “All-holiest” any more, but just “Bartholomew” !

                       (*) = tongue in cheek

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      This is too funny!

                      Speaking of titles, I still have to make a conscious effort to remember how to spell Mrs. Michalopulos, which is why I sign my name Mrs. M on my posts! I have had to literally look it up on occasion. Greek does not come easily to me.

                      I used to call (wait, while I look up the spelling and cut and paste) Archbishop Elpidophoros, “Epidural of Bursitis” in our home because that’s the only way I could remember it! I think I mentioned this on the blog many moons ago. Greek names are really hard for me. I can’t pronounce them and I can’t spell them. George suggested I shorten it to “Elpi” because he knew I could remember it.

                      This is a perfect example of how other people can completely misjudge someone else’s intent. I was accused by one of our contributors of using the shortened version, Elpi, because it’s a derivative of a weird feminine name I also cannot spell or remember. I guess the person thought I was calling him a girl or something. It’s crazy how some people’s minds work. That would NEVER occur to me.

                    • Hans,
                      Once again, we have no aversion to godly scholarship.  But the foundation of our Faith is not the work of scholars. 
                      Godly scholarship is the articulation and/or defense of the Faith once delivered.  And because it is rooted primarily in prayer and long experience in the Church’s liturgical life (not in research or study alone), it bears the sweet aroma of the Fathers, being in harmony with them both in faith and practice.  As such, it resonates in the souls of the Faithful, strengthening our faith as opposed to calling into question (as so many pretenders to theological discourse do).
                      Those who share in the obedience of faith, as opposed to mere ‘theological’ curiosity, share the mind of Christ and can smell the pretenders.  Not only do they lack the aroma of the Saints, their ‘theological inquiry’ (so-called) is almost invariably focused upon the concerns of the modernists of this world (‘validation’ of women via clerical orders, questioning sexual boundaries laid down from the beginning, climate change, modern ideas of social justice, progressive revelation, etc.), all of which direct our attention away from Christ and His salvation and onto the fleeting concerns of this world that is passing away.
                      You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also… Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.  And their message will spread like cancer…and they overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
                                      -Epistle to Timothy

                    • Well Brian,
                      I said I understood you a couple of posts back, but now I’m getting uncomfortable because you’re getting preachy and belaboring the point. So, as much as I’d hoped I’d made myself clear, now I’m attempting to suppress the impulse to tell you to stop feeding me the saccharine because I’m a spiritual diabetic.
                      Okay, well you’re right, there’s not much focus on spiritual discernment based on sense of smell taught at the university, so nobody’s going to find it there.Those of you who are sniffing out the pretenders, well, keep your own noses clean I guess.
                      I’m no advocate of sola scholastica as I’d hoped I’d made clear. But I’ve found Holy Orthodoxy to be vast, almost endless in Her depth and beauty, so much so that no one person can ever be an expert in it, but many can find salvation in it along many individual paths. You have the very traditional view of the path most people take. I could hardly have a problem with it. But I’m always going to be a fierce advocate for other paths within the Faith because some of those are going to be paths God Himself has forced us down. Some of the lives of the Saints were horrible ordeals. Some of the Saints were from royal families and highly educated, some were hermits and deliberately didn’t see another soul for years. So, as much as I appreciate the best in your intentions, let it go. I get it already!
                      I’m ready for more heat and pressure if you insist. I wore my asbestos underpants today.

                    • @ Hans
                      Asbestos isn’t safe…

                    • Fair enough, Hans.  And my sincere apology. 
                      Perhaps I feel so strongly because I’m getting rather old now, have long since been down the many roads of ‘creative theology’ myself, have seen where they lead (and in many cases destroyed the faith of those who persisted in them),  and want no part of it.  I have come to see the wisdom (and beauty) of the Church in so many aspects that I now trust her wisdom even in things I don’t happen to like or fully understand.
                      Again. please forgive me.  And I, too, am glad you’re here.

                    • Tell me about it!
                      (& @Michael Bauman)
                      Now word comes that some convert priest out on the Left Coast built a church on waste ground, and the EPA came along a few years later and declared the whole area a Superfund site. Asbestos and heavy metals. They’d all known about it for years, land prices had already fallen. But he’d gotten the land for free, so….?
                      Just another perfectly avoidable tragedy for the Church by a cheap, stubborn bonehead.

                    • Ach, not a problem Brian!
                      I’ve got a few years and a few scars myself. But it’s easy letting it go when you know a guy’s heart’s in the right place! Let’s talk again soon, and thanks.

                    • Steven J. M. says

                      Hans, you’ve said a couple of things in your posts that I’d like to comment on, please.
                      “But what I find most distressing in the reactions of men towards the actions of women in the Church and outside of it, is the complete negation and rejection of women’s actions where the men have plainly failed. This is at the heart of why most women feel they need to act in the ‘world of men’”
                      While this might explain why some women want what they want, it doesn’t make it right. Clearly, male clergy is Church Tradition, and the conditions for the only exception in history no longer apply. Therefore, this provides no scope for turning the failures of the clergy into a battle of the sexes, i.e., the failure of men. If we want to talk of these failures, then, let’s frame it as the failure of particular men and not all men in general – and all the more when this was good enough for the likes of St Macarius the Great and St Mark of Ephesus – to name only a few – who found themselves surrounded by failed men, but never doubted men (in general) for the clergy. 
                      “Found Holy Orthodoxy to be vast, almost endless in Her depth and beauty, so much so that no one person can ever be an expert in it, but many can find salvation in it along many individual paths. You have the very traditional view of the path most people take. I could hardly have a problem with it. But I’m always going to be a fierce advocate for other paths within the Faith because some of those are going to be paths God Himself has forced us down.”
                      Yes, Orthodoxy provides for many,  individual paths, but I don’t see how this translates into allowing for deaconesses (or perhaps more). After all, is not the many, individual paths just one of the many fixed aspects of Tradition? Why, then, does one fixed aspect of Tradition provide for overturning another?
                      As I see it, and as you have more or less said yourself, the question of female deacons can only arise today out of women feeling left out or overlooked (even after they can be part of the choir, pray the Liturgy and be wonderful mothers, none of which are mean feats). Such women, unable to perceive the importance of choir, Liturgy and motherhood, are quite frankly, unlikely to add anything of substance to the position of deaconess. That the idea of female clergy has even arisen, is exactly the reason it’s a bad one. 

                    • Steven J M,
                      I’m more than happy to clear anything I can up for you.
                      First off, I’m not advocating for a female clergy. I have reasons for that I haven’t discussed, but the Traditions of the Church for an all-male priesthood as it stands are fine and deserve to prevail. I find it odd though, that considering a female priesthood should be seen as a battle between the sexes. I don’t see the sexes as competing for the most part, especially within the Orthodox Church. Maybe that’s just me. And I sure can’t see them being competitive about wanting to become priests. The priesthood is a pretty thankless job, and people who see much power, prestige or glory in it are very mistaken.
                      I can’t agree with you about sticking to particulars when I genuinely believe men as a whole have failed, and I’ll stick to my guns on that one. It would be a lengthy post by itself to defend, but I’ve been at it for awhile, so I feel fairly ready to unleash such a broadside at some point.
                      But in a moment of crisis, wouldn’t any normal, reasonable  person accept the leadership of a calm and levelheaded woman over a panicky and indecisive man? Surely there’s no real debate about this. The church is on fire, the priest is frozen in place, and there’s kids upstairs in the Sunday school. Are you going to begrudge the sensible woman who hits the fire alarm and runs to save the children because she wasn’t a man? Surely not. So would you begrudge the actions of other such women in other crises we have in the Church? Maybe it’s not an new Athanasius we await, but an Athanasiana. I’d be happy to see the current crop of haughty men thus humbled.
                      If there’s anywhere I think the Church falls down, it’s in the failure to provide emotional support. There’s a lot of people in the Church who obviously need moral support, encouragement, practical advice from lived experience, things you might call the accoutrements and side-effects of love. The priest sure can’t do it all, but that’s who most seem to rely upon. In a way I envy the 12 step groups for their so-very practical methods. It’s just common sense, after all. Some of Grandpa Jones’ country-doctor approach.
                      And I would have given my right arm for a study group on the Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers anywhere within two hundred kilometers of where I live!
                      The Traditions, as I said, deserve to prevail. But I think some of that old misogyny has crept in to give it an unhealthy tint. This idea you have, of a ‘battle between the sexes’ and of people being ‘overturned’ or ‘left out’ or being ‘unable to perceive’: do you feel like women are waiting in the wings itching to usurp the priesthood? I don’t, because we all know then they’d cease being Orthodox.
                      As I’ve said on the many paths, I was responding to someone I think who misunderstood me, that somehow I held the traditional norms of worship in less regard than I do the less traditional. I cleared the matter up that I don’t, but still allowed for less common paths simply as a fact of our common history.
                      Any of that clear something up for you, Steven?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      RE: “But in a moment of crisis, wouldn’t any normal, reasonable person accept the leadership of a calm and levelheaded woman over a panicky and indecisive man?”

                      I am a consultant by trade and yes, reasonable people accept the leadership of calm, levelheaded woman. At least that’s been my experience. People have laughed at me when I’ve said the armed services would be better served with me in a combat zone than some 18 year-old pumped up with testosterone! At least I know when to keep my head down.

                      I’ve got to say, though, it was a breath of fresh air for me to walk into a Church for the first time and see men taking all the responsibility. I remember thinking how wonderful it was that I didn’t have to be in charge because whether I was at work or at home, I always had to be the leader. That’s no longer the case because of George.

                      With respect to the Church, I’ve never felt “left out” of anything. There is too much to do to feel “left out.”

                      Yes, men have failed. But so have women.

                      The problem with deaconesses is that it won’t be enough for the women who aspire to the role. That’s my prediction, anyway. I was an Episcopalian growing up. First they wanted to be priests and then they wanted to be bishops.

                    • I appreciate you sharing your experience. I haven’t been Episcopalian, but I’d sure heard alot about different heterodox going down that road, and large numbers leaving or just staying home.
                      Being a man, I really can’t and won’t bring myself to say that the women have failed us or failed themselves. I am more compelled to say we’ve let the women down and they have become discouraged as a result, that’s all.

                    • @ Gail
                      If I was to be stuck in a trench on the Western Front,
                      I think I would prefer Mrs Thatcher’s leadership
                      to that of Boris Johnson.

                    • Gail Sheppard says


                    • “There is no such thing as the “social ethos” of the Church.”
                      I’m going to have to disagree with you there, Gail. The social ethos of the Church is its spiritual, moral, ethical, and dogmatic teachings as they are lived out in a community, the outer manifestation of the inner life of the Church and the faithful. Our social ethos is how we approach everything, solidly rooted in the patristic mindset and Orthodox worldview.
                      Yes, we do have a social ethos, it’s just that the GOARCH social ethos isn’t it. The Russian Church made a much better attempt at this years ago, and it makes for good reading:
                      In one of the press releases for the GOARCH document, they called the Russian document a ‘rudimentary’ attempt or some nonsense. They have no class.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      RE: “Our social ethos is how we approach everything, solidly rooted in the patristic mindset and Orthodox worldview.”

                      Well, yes, Basil. No argument from me. But that’s not the way His Holiness sees it. I was talking about his document and the way he defines it:

                      1.  Child abuse is considered to be an “atrocious sin,”  . . . as are other social ills and sins . . .  corruption and totalitarianism; racism; persecution based on sexual orientation; antisemitism); oppressive regimes and policies that create and perpetuate poverty; the death penalty; modern forms of slavery (including human trafficking, wage slavery, and coerced labor); mistreatment of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers; and exploitation of the world’s resources and “as will surprise no one,” . . . the ills of the ecological crisis.     

                      2.  “The Orthodox Church has no dogmatic objection to the use of safe and non-abortifacient contraceptives within the context of married life, not as an
                      ideal or as a permanent arrangement, but as a provisional concession to necessity.”    

                      3.  “. . . the Orthodox Church is encouraged to “remain attentive to the promptings of Spirit in regard to the ministry of women”. . . including a renewal of the order of the female diaconate for today. . .” 

                      4.  The Orthodox Church “. . . recognizes its close relations and dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church and other churches, which it hopes “may bear fruit in a complete unity with the Church” . . . and “based on their common roots, their common affirmation of the unity of God, and other shared traditions, Islam and Orthodoxy are thus capable of entering “into an intimate conversation,” as well.

                    • Steven J. M. says

                      Hans, thanks for your thoughtful reply. 
                      There were parts in what you’ve written that seemed to come across as though you were advocating female clergy. Why that is, could be a number of reasons, but in the end, you’ve said it outright that this wasn’t your intention, and now that’s clear to me. 
                      Regarding the battle of the sexes, the point I was making is that when – for all intents and purposes –  male clergy is all that could ever really be, it seems inappropriate to criticise the male sex, for in doing so we immediately and unavoidably set up a comparison between men and women, and yet the latter don’t come into it. What we have, then, when it comes to clergy, is simply men who are faithful and those who aren’t, and it’s between these two types that the comparison must be made, in which case a conclusion along the lines of many men having failed is the most accurate – anything else creating an artificial tension between men and women, which to me is just what the battle of the sexes is about. 

                      Regarding your statement about anybody choosing a level-headed woman over an indecisive man, there could be a number of ways of responding to this: (1) in the context of clergy, given the reality that men are all there is, there seems to be no basis for wondering about whether the capable woman is better than an incapable man. What we have is what we’ve been given, and because that’s clergymen, the only question that concerns us is whether we get a capable man or an incapable one (and this of course follows on from the point I made above); (2) outside of the context of clergy, I can only agree that a capable woman is more desirable than an incapable man, but that a capable man is also better than an incapable woman. Whatever the case, the strengths that women do indeed possess seem not to be something that God wanted for His bishops, priests, etc, and I think that deserves some poring over, not least because what appears to be common sense or practical to us does not always align with the mind of God.

                      Do I think women are waiting in the wings to usurp the priesthood? Not to any great extent, I don’t, but then, there are murmurings here and there, and I’d like for the Church to be protected. Tradition, needless to say, is important, and male clergy is a key part of that. Granted, many in that position haven’t always done what was needed, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater is never a solution – especially not when the grand scheme of things is what matters most.
                      Thanks again, Hans, for your response

                    • @ Gail
                      Sounds like he’s got a little list…

    • I can vouch for Dr James Skedros. He is an academic and a faithful Orthodox Christian. I’d be pleased to see him defend the faith on any theological board or committee. 

      • Michael Bauman says

        Sarah, even good people in a toxic environment which Bp. Elipidiphoros maintains and promotes taints the hearts of all involved. If Dn Sedros is a righteous man as you witness, he should leave absent a clear and unmistakably prophetic calling which could lead to the loss of his diaconate (officially).  Academic dissent is not enough. I trust he is in your prayers. 

        • Fordhamites,  an agitator for female ordination,  a universalist heretic who disputes ecumenical councils – it’s an assembly of Episcopalian wannabes.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Here is a succinct statement of what real theology is built upon and also read the Scripture from Timothy below the post.
            Academic theology done in the western manner  violates the very nature of the Church

            • Dear Michael, you know how much I appreciate and indeed agree with your posts and therefore my present comment is not at all against you or the above post of yours. I just want to make use of this splendid opportunity to prove that papa-Demetri’s recent recommendation, I am sorry to say, was not fair. Indeed he has not replied to me yet after 4 days. But he has intimidated some of us here to “properly” call Elpidophoros et al without omitting anything.

              So what is my point now?

              Well, you wrote above: “read the Scripture from Timothy”.
              According to papa-Demetri’s recommendation you should have written “Bp.Timothy” or “St.Timothy” or indeed “Apostle Timothy”!.
              He was an Apostle!
              If you can call him Timothy without doing anything inappropriate, why is it sinful or disrespectful to write just “Elpidophoros”?

              If it is OK to write
              “read the Scripture from Timothy”
              then it is ok to write
              “read the letter from Elpidophoros”
              “read the letter from Bartholomew”.

              Finally, let’s not forget that, similarly, even the name “Jesus” has been used (without Lord or Christ) in speeches and texts even in this blog.

              Thank you for the opportunity.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Ioannis,  The difference is that I am not addressing a person. I am referencing Holy Scripture.  The full title is either the First Book of Timothy or The Second Book of Timothy.  These are abbreviated by common practice as 1 Tim or 2 Tim. 
                So your analogy does not fly.  
                I have known my Bishop personally for over thirty years.  He has even invited me to tea with my wife.  I like him. He likes me. Still I would not dream of calling solely by his first name. I always address him as Your Grace, Bishop Basil or Saidna because I respect him both as a disciple of Christ, a Bishop and a man.  I sometimes even call the ex-priest who baptised me and my family “Father” even though he betrayed me and my family and left the Church abandoning his wife and child. Usually I just refer to him by his full name. By God’s grace I have forgiven him. 
                Now, In the case of the Greek Archbishop I do not know the man, I respect him not at all and I do not like the GOA at all so what am I supposed to do?

                • Michael,
                  fair enough, that is another case, one could take the word Timothy to mean like the title of the book.
                  It is also true that you are not addressing a person. We absolutely agree for THAT case. 

                  Summary of accepted names with/without titles:
                  Non-addressing                       Addressing
                  Jesus                                           Lord Jesus (Christ)
                  Timothy                                      Saint Timothy
                  Bartholomew                             Your  Holiness
                  Elpidophoros__________Your Excellence(USA?)
                  and so on   
                  It may be interesting to see how the most important name  “Jesus” has been used inside this very blog, without combining it either  with “Lord” or “Christ” (in some cases EVEN when addressing Christ:

                  Things that Make You Say, “Jesus, help me!”

                  Michael Bauman says December 1, 2020 at 12:20 pm
                  Kh. Lynn has been delivered in the loving embrace of Jesus and her guardian angel.

                  The Crucifixion of Jesus indicates that He shed His blood to save all of mankind

                  the evil empire that killed Jesus and stole his religion.

                  Ok Jesus please come back now. I want to go home.

                  Does it still not fly?

  10. Well, I planned to read it, I started reading it, got bored, started skimming it and then asked myself, “Tanya, (I call myself by name) why are you wasting your time with this? You know you have some inspiring material written by actual saints waiting to be read.
    Thank you Lord!

    • Bravo!

      • Hi Nicole, I’m reading St Nikolai Velimirovich’s Prayers by the Lake.
        Have you read it? Well all I can say is now I know why St Nikolai is called the Serbian Chrysostom. 
        Absolutely unlike anything I have ever read or heard before. Just glorious. Beyond beautiful.
        Well I guess I had more to say than I first thought. 

  11. “including a renewal of the order of the female diaconate for today. . .”
    Are they expecting a sudden flood of adult female converts, from non-Heterodox Christian sources, that will require female assistants at baptism for modesty’s sake, just as Orthodox Jewish women still fill that role in the conversional mikveh to this day?  No?  Well, then…

  12. “…adult female converts, from non-Heterodox Christian sources” ?
    I am confused. Do you mean converts from Orthodox sources?

  13. Michael Bauman says

    Here is  the real thing:  Feast Day (NC) of St Nicholas, the wonder worker. May he intercede for us in our of need, especially our Bishops that they may stand.  

    • Here’s another real thing: today is the feast day (OC) of St Alexander Nevsky.

      Saints like St Alexander Nevsky and St Nicholas are reasons why men will always be attracted to Christ through the Orthodox faith — because our faith does not require men to check their masculinity at the door when they enter.

      Just read the life of St Alexander Nevsky – it is anything that a young man or an older man recognizes and emulates.

      The Orthodox Christian faith remains the ONLY Christian faith (as if there is any other…) that has a fairly even men/women representation among the faithful. Every other Christian body is greatly distorted, with the proportion of women far outweighing the proportion of men: Roman Catholicism, every mainline Protestant group, etc. Anyone who is not an ostrich knows why Western Christianity has hitched its wagon so closely to anti-masculinity. The only exception may be evangelical Protestantism and protestant Pentecostalism, but correct me if I am wrong.

      As the formerly Christian West becomes more insane by the day, we Christian Orthodox in the West have a *duty* to be lights in the wilderness for our fellow Westerners who need Christ, especially for our fellow men who need a centering faith in Christ but who fear churches — since so many of our fellow men’s experiences with churches has been emasculating. They understandably leave church and Christ “to the women” — completely contradictory to Christ’s command for men to lead.

      St Irenaeus of Lyons said something to the effect that God glories when men realize their full masculinity, and when women realize their full femininity, as He made us.

      O holy St Alexander Nevsky, pray for us! (St Alexander is not only a saint for the Russians — he is a saint for all of us!)

      • A grand day indeed for Holy Orthodoxy, and for the remembrance and example of both great charity and great courage on the part of holy men of God.
        Thank you to Michael and FTS.

      • Michael Bauman says

        And another real person: St. Demetrios of Thesolonika.  One of his icons pictures him spearing a Persian soldier from horseback.  The only such depiction of a saint doing such a thing that I am aware of. 
        His relics have always been in Thesolonika. The Emperor Justinian ordered they be translated to Constantinople.  To quote the account of St. Nikolai Velimirovich: “Flaming sparks sprang from the tomb and a voice was heard, ‘STOP!, DO NOT TOUCH!'”
        The over-reach of Constantinople stopped. So may it be so in our times by his intercessions and the mercy of our Lord.

  14. So far, we’ve looked at two aspects of the Social Ethos. The first concerning the authors’ complete misunderstanding of income inequality. They are, sadly, a group of total economic illiterates. The second is a look at how similar the language used in the Social Ethos document is to language used for The Great Reset. The Social Ethos document is a globalist document through and through.
    And here we noted that the Russian Church endorses voluntary, informed consent for vaccines, but the Social Ethos document only demands that children be vaccinated. The Social Ethos document either rejects freedom, local control, and personal choice or simply ignores them.

  15. George & Gail I was wondering if you would (at some point) be able to do a post on how to navigate in these current times with regards to GOARCH. Like I alluded to in a previous post, I am curious at what point should we stop going to parishes or monasteries that are affiliated with GOARCH? 

    I know this is a touchy subject with many on here (including myself). I, like you, love the monasteries founded by Elder Ephrem and my spiritual father is in the Greek Archdiocese. I go to him because I know he is solidly Orthodox. Gail, you know the situation where I am at (I think?), the Greek parish is the better option due to it’s Orthodoxy. 

    But, I, and I’m sure many other would appreciate your thoughts. In the end I’m sure it comes down to spiritual discernment and working with your spiritual father, but I am curious what ya’ll have to say  

    • Gail Sheppard says

      We were just talking about doing one maybe tomorrow.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Petros, what do you mean by “due to it’s(sic) Orthodoxy” 

      • The local Antiochian parish to me was formerly in the EOC. The parish and clergy seem….less than Orthodox. 
        In contrast, the local Greek parish is very staunchly Orthodox. In my situation I will take the Greek parish over the Antiochian one any day of the week. I understand that the vast majority of Antiochian parishes are not like this (in my experience), but, unfortunately the one near me is 

  16. Hi George and Gail,
    Just a quick question on physical space and making replies on the blog.
    I notice the ‘walls close in’ as the threads of conversation lengthen, meaning the space for each thread gets narrower. Then, I see that there is no longer a ‘reply’ option offered at the end of someone’s posts. Does this mean the thread is closed? Or did it just run out of room? I just ask because I’d have liked to respond with thanks to other posters that offered me encouraging words.
    Thanks again for the blog!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      It means both. It’s a setting in WordPress. I think it goes 10 deep, but I’d have to look it up.

      You can reply to the first comment in the thread and call out the name of the person you’re addressing and your comment will show up immediately under the thread so people will know it’s an extension of the previous thread.

      So let’s say I started the thread and there are multiple comments underneath and you can no longer respond to me. If you start another threat right below it and put my name on it, it should sort in a way that people will figure out what you’re doing.

      Sometimes, I’ll also put, RE: “. . . ASDFGHJK” at the top of my post so people will know what I’m talking about, too.

  17. Dr. Gayle Woloschak, Northwestern University`
    And she will help RC and Orthodox to restore communion. This is beyond ridiculous.  Others from that list are no better. I try to find some article from the lady mentioned above, Dr Frost, and the one I found has nothing to do with Orthodox Church. It does not have to do anything with feminism, it is not orthodox faith. But orthodoxy has place for here too as one day she might repent, if she stays with Orthodox Church which will be hard but for God everything is possible.
    In Orthodox Church only few were justly called theologians and that list above is only an image how low Phanar descended.  
    I agree with father above that we should avoid calling Bishops with mockery as it shows lack of arguments. When he had greeted Pope St. Mark of Ephesus was using all the respect  in Orthodox vocabulary at his hand and was able to defend our faith against heresy. For us is hard to diminish the anger against Phanar today but we should strive to be like him.

    • “When he had greeted Pope St. Mark of Ephesus was using all the respect in Orthodox vocabulary at his hand and was able to defend our faith against heresy.”

      The Pope by that time wasn’t strictly a heretic, because he had never been Orthodox, nor had any Roman pope for nearly 400 years.  More recently, we have St. Justin (Popovic) and others saints who have been less kind to Rome, and to the Ecumenical Patriarchs, because Rome has fallen even further away (into “pan heresy,” a term which St. Justin apparently coined), so there is less patience for any nominal Orthodox who think the two are compatible.

  18. Creet Council in 2016  forged initial kindness and diplomatic skills of St Mark showed in his opening speech to pope Eugenius at the Council of Ferrara-Florence in 1484. As The Saint  said things like “Holy Father, receive your children” and  has used name Church  towards the Roman See , patriarch Bartholomew ‘s theologians  put him, without any shame, as the  model for the future ecumenical talks.

  19. “The third union of Constantinople with Rome:
    the contours are clearer”

    ‘ Archimandrite Sofroniy (Sakharov) (1896-1993), who, by the way, was in the bosom of the Church of Constantinople and was canonized by it a year ago, warned that such a worldview of the Phanar would inevitably lead to the denial of the dogma about the Church in the form in which it was formulated at the Second Ecumenical Council in 381:

    “At present, in the depths of our Holy Church, there is a great danger of perverting the dogmatic teaching about Her, and hence the danger of perverting Her being, because dogmatic consciousness is organically linked with the whole course of inner spiritual life. The loss of dogmatic truth, by its irreparable consequence, will have the loss of the possibility of true knowledge of God, the fullness of which is given to the Church. If we now distort the teaching about the Church, and, consequently, the image of Her being, then how can She serve Her sons on the path to Truth? You may ask, but where is this distortion seen now? We answer: in Constantinople neo-papism, which is quickly trying to move from a theoretical phase to a practical one”.’