“Ukrocephaly” – Is the EP Playing Three Card Monte?

The Muse came upon me the other day after my morning run as I was drinking my coffee and answering comments. I can’t remember to whom I first directed this comment to but like a lightning bolt, it hit me. What we are dealing with here is not autocephaly per se (which has a real meaning) but an entirely new phenomenon which I choose to call ukrocephaly. I grant you that this is a newer interpretation of autocephaly as universally understood, but there you have it.

Mind you, I felt the need to coin this word because one needs to call out the illegitimacy of “dialogue” when it is not being done in good faith. Things like this happen all the time in the secular world. First there was “global warming” then there was “climate change”. Now it’s “extreme weather”. Stratagems like this are employed when the controlling authority feels like they are losing the argument and need to shut down debate. Another example would be the whole “civil unions/gay marriage/marriage equality” continuum.

So far, Constantinople sees no reason to change the terms of the debate: “Autocephaly” will do just fine as long as the rubes don’t catch on to the newer meanings that can be teased out of it. Hence my insistence on doing just that: Changing the terms because I don’t want to see another perfectly fine word stripped of its real meaning. Nor for that matter, do I want to see new meanings added to it.

I’ve always felt that words mean things. A girl is either a virgin or she’s not. And a woman can’t be “a little bit pregnant”. Likewise, a church enjoys autocephaly or it doesn’t. Hence my (admittedly sardonic) insistence on ukrocephaly to define what Constantinople means when they enter into dialogue with other Orthodox churches. It’s a variation of the old bait-and-switch, “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” wordplay.

Basically, it’s the type of “independence” that the newly-created schismatic sect in Ukraine “enjoys”. In other words, no real independence. And much to the chagrin of every other local Church, under this new lexical regime, they too are now less than equal. They have to be, otherwise, there can no be place for the newly-discovered (and heretofore unknown) “responsibilities” of the Ecumenical Patriarch. And it all happened in less than the blink of an eye!

Make no mistake: If the Ukrainian situation is allowed to stand, then the end result will be byzanto-papalism. There can be no other way.


  1. George in our 34c heat we are in the Park under the trees enjoying iced fresh Sour cherry juice here in Bulgaria, but you still have it in one!
    As you know the Bulgarians were the first to enjoy all of this.
    For last 100 yrs or so since the Asia minor disaster we have bumbled along with Phanar’ s pretensions, like putting up with a nagging maiden aunt, but now we are called to wake up and live in real world. Give the Phanar credit, behind the byzantine wizzard of oz stuff, they sure in real world of bank accounts , real estate, good restaurants and CIA. We need to catch up.
    What is worrying is they seem to be beginning to theologically back up their claims. Am I the only one to see schism moving, IF ONE IS ORTHODOX STILL,to HERESY.???
    As to what damage this is doing to what you all telling me is a failing church in USA.

  2. Am i the only person here disgusted by Mr Trump and the Greenland farce and what it says about his values as a human being? If he is one.
    No I’m not going to drag the other side’s deadbeats out of retirement to attack them cos they gone. HE IS SITTING IN HOT CHAIR. I’m not interested in his politics, if he has any, as he is your bundle of fun, but I am as an Orthodox Christian to ask if any other fellow believers are not appalled by this person?
    Abortion. Ask how many he has facilitated? AKA Johnson, but at least Johnson not in that corner in Uk.
    Truth is he does not give a damn about abortion or any other Christian values, only as to what plays and gets him elected and his crooked business kept going. As for immigrants, Ha look to his family! SO CHRISTIAN FAMILY THAT HIS DAUGHTER DENIED CHRIST PUBLICALLY BY AND TO BECOME A JEW. That is ok is it? YOU GUYS HAPPY WITH THAT.?
    He was a democratic candidate when suited nd would support the devil for gain.
    And his government has carried on Obama Ukraine policy and worse with Phanar. HE IS RESPONSIBLE HE IS IN CHARGE.
    But the arrogance and discourtesy to Danemark a close ally and to Greenland people, is open and offered free. AND YES HE DOES DREAM OF TRUMP TOWERS AND CASSINOS ON GREENLAND .
    In Terms of leadership, world wide we are at low sewar level ebb THAT INCLUDES THAT LOT.

    • To add before anybody says Ivanka faith is her own business. Yes it is but DOES NOT TAKE AWAY FROM FACT SHE BY BECOMING JEWESS. PUBLICALLY DENIED CHRIST.  What does this say about their family values.  My only hope  is that she was never baptised in first place. 

      • Estonian Slovak says

        If she was baptized Catholic or Protestant, then I don’t consider her baptized. I know her mother is Czech, whether a practicing Catholic or not, I don’t know.
             You talk about denying Christ. We had a well-known Antiochian Archpriest,Fr. Patrick Reardon, confess on this very site, that one of his greatest pleasures is going into synagogues and reciting the psalms in Hebrew. Not only is this uncanonical, but I would love to know if any Jew was ever converted as a result.
             NO bishop, priest, or deacon ever called him on it, at least none of those who post here. If we will call out the MP and EP for Ecumenical activities, let’s be consistent and condemn it across the board.

      • Estonian Slovak says

        Whatever do you mean, Niko? You are always telling us Yanks what to do. Funny how you always are talking about antisemitism, and now you complain about the president’s daughter. If she had left the Orthodox Church for Judaism, then I’d have a problem. I don’t consider baptism outside Orthodoxy as valid. Neither does Metropolitan Hierotheos, though he supports a Patriarch who does.
               Ironically enough, the left here in the States is calling Trump antisemitic. Just as I’ve been called racist because coworkers perceived that I voted for Trump. Although I had a Jewish Great-Grandfather(something I found out only about 10 years ago), I’ve been called an antisemitic by some Russians. Then other Russians called me a “secret Jew.” Still others thought I wasn’t antisemitic enough.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          That’s one of the good things about being English with a goodly piece of Scot along with. 
          The Scots may have once had it in for the English, but that faded away after a couple of centuries of their running the British Empire.
          But back to the good things…nobody amongst the Anglos parses these ethnic byways, nor relives these ancient betrayals and injuries, endlessly. Nobody takes the infinitely complex bronze clockwork of grievance and resentment down off of the armoire in every generation, and polishes it as they instruct the children in its involute intricacies, and exhorts them to never forget….
          Instead, there are the happy tales of the Isles and their colorful history, with the enlivening tragedy now and then, to be sure; but nobody is angry about those…

          • Michael Bauman says

            Tim, indeed.  I do think you overstate the case a bit but you are essentially correct.  
            A defining ethos of an American Orthodox Church, an Orthodox Church of the new world ought to be a fundamental recognition of the fact you bring up.  At the same time it is founded upon the Rock of Biblical statements that in Christ there is neither Greek, nor Jew nor any other such dichotomy.  
            Met Tikhon of the OCA is best positioned to affirm that and insist on that.  The question is, will he. 
            God give him strength.

          • Monk James Silver says

            Apparently, ‘Tim R. Mortiss’ hasn’t ever met an Irishman.

            • Or even a Scotsman. I met a Scottish monk at a monastery here in the States who told me about some of the abuse that he had to put up with when he lived in England.
              He evidently wasn’t bitter about it (he laughed), but was just stating that it happened and still does. His biggest beef was with John Knox!

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Heck, I have the acquaintance of quite a few. On top of that, many of my British Columbia forebears were Scots, and we claim to be of Clan MacLaren as Patersons (with one ‘t’). 
                (I am the son and grandson of immigrants, tho’  my Croatian-descended wife says British Columbia doesn’t count….)
                Scots Presbyterians were never tempted to have church festivals, inasmuch as haggis and deep-fried Snickers bars are not big sellers here!
                But I’ve been to a lot of Highland games in my time…..

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I like haggis.

                  • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                    So do I, George. But I like the classic Scottish meat pies and sausage rolls even more–especially with HP (“House of Parliament”) sauce–that my Scottish father and his parents (all born in Peterhead, Scotland) introduced to me when I was wee laddie and my sister a wee lassie.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Someday Fr, I intend to sip a wee dram o’ Scots whiskey with ye! We can drink it to wash down some haggis and Scottish eggs. Single malt (or a blend), I ain’t picky!

        • George Michalopulos says

          ES, as much as I admire the Jewish people (and when push comes to shove, support Israel despite my America-first indifference to all “foreign entanglements”), one of things that I find to be cloying, is the desire to see ant-Semitism behind “every falling leaf”. One can be a critic of any particular group of people without being a “hater”.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Niko, for the record, the US has offered to buy Greenland twice in the past. Buying land is not something novel for America. After all, Jefferson purchased the vast Louisiana Territory from Napoleon and Andrew Johnson purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire.

      As for abortion, Pres Trump has done more to restrict the abortion regime than all other GOP presidents combined. Even Reagan (of blessed memory). Just yesterday, Planned Parenthood decided to not take any more Federal funds because of the abortion restrictions that the Congress has placed on all such funding. He has upheld the Hyde Amendment as well.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      I’m disappointed that he’s not trying to buy Bulgaria instead.  Just think, if the U.S. owned Bulgaria, then we would automatically have our own Patriarch.

    • Antiochene Son says

      What is the big deal about Greenland? Harry Truman (a Democrat) actually offered Denmark $100 million for the island during his administration. Which is a lot more serious than Trump’s Twitter musings.
      When did the purchase of political territory become taboo?

      • Antiochan son hate to break it to you. But Greenland  has it’s own people who do not want to be bought by anyone.  They are not owned in that way by Danes either. 
        Such ways of thinking are colonial and 19th c .   Perhaps Russia would like to buy a bit of USA?. Sure u don’t object? . Alaska comes to mind. Would still be OCA territory though, at least initially.  
        I also do not  think the Greenlanders will be happy giving up their health care for yr american delights either. 
        Personally I think Mr trump needs to be looking at USA ‘s 51st. state, England, ( not scotland etc) .  They up for sale.  Only bad news is you get to take the natives too and they a bit iffy. 

  3. Brute from bygone ages says

    In other news, Patriarch Bartholomew asked Diaspora Greeks to return in Turkey. I couldn’t find news in English, but there are articles in German and Russian.

    • Brute from bygone ages,
      indeed, it says:
      Istanbul, 20.08.2019 (KAP / KNA) The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, invokes the descendants of the Greek-Orthodox Christians, expelled from Turkey in the 1920s, to return to their homeland. “Come home to the homes of your ancestors, there are many who have done so already,” Bartholomew said, according to the details of the expert service “Ecumenical Information” of the German Catholic News Agency’s (KNA) , in his sermon on Assumption of Mary on the Dardanelles island of Imbros.


      The rest of the article is irrelevant/historical.

      May I add my personal opinion,
      Bartholomew really feels he has insufficient congregation!

    • Antiochene Son says

      I see no problem with a sort of Greek Zionism which seeks to retake rightful Christian soil.

  4. Has anyone quantified the amount of money  Istanbul bilks out of the American churches per year?  And just which American churches, other than the Greek GOA,  are forking over the contributions of their members to the dhimmitude-demands of Pope Bart?

    And the U.S. State Department is without doubt slipping large sums of American Taxpayer Money to Bart, as well, buying his services in the political arena.   How much is that costing  Joe and Jane  American Taxpayer per year…?

    But the grand question is,  What is Bart and Co.  doing with all this Gelt?  Surely maintaining a pip-squeak little vassalage like the Phanar could not consume millions upon millions of American (and Ukrainian) dollars per year.  So what is Bart doing with the money?  Perhaps an off-shore bank account for himself…?

    And then, there is this question:    Does Bart’s selling of influence to the U.S. State department  constitute the sin of Simony?  How about his selling “autocephaly” to a church in Ukraine  for $25 Million – does that constitute the sin of Simony?

    It is time for the Orthodoxy to take a walk on this pretentious little extortionist  who holds no more real hegemony over the Orthodox than his own inflated but vacuous claims.  He will rant and threaten, but who gives a fig?   WALK OUT ON THIS GUY !

    Charity to those genuinely in need is a Christian virtue.  But allowing oneself to be flimflammed to support the banana republic of a self-aggrandizing Con Man is no virtue at all… it is stupidity !

    • Kyril. We know emperor has no clothes but where is the little boy to shout out, ‘ ‘Bart effendi you got no clothes!!!’  
      About time he was found. 
      Seriously I understand the unwillingness of hierarchs to speak out BUT HAVE WE NOT REACHED THE MUNICH 1938 STAGE NOW??  and what does this  make them? 
      I have always disliked old calander extremists even if in  agreement with calander issue, but seriously I can see myself heading out to  the bulgarian old calandarist if the Church quietly aquiesces in an eastern PAPACY based on Fantasy la la Eppi land.  

      At least Rome has some reality. 

  5. You guys, you guys! All this squabbling over OCA/EP union has distracted you from ‘Amsterdam II,’ which took place recently:
    Just look at that list of names!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Basil as you probably know, this is not the first time they’ve had a meeting like this and sadly it probably won’t be the last.

      George, maybe you should write about this to give it greater visibility.

    • “Policy Makers”?????
      The only bishops in attendance – surprise, surprise – were an Anglican and one Phanariote British celebrity bishop of a defunct diocese who tragically still bears the Orthodox label while remaining committed to a continuing ‘dialogue’ with evil in order that, through this dialogue, ‘we’ together may finally arrive at the ‘truth’ by virtue of mutual agreement.
      “’To ascertain the truth we must experiment.’ And as Vasileios Thermos maintains, ‘Our theological treasury . . . is waiting to be discovered.’ Let us not as Orthodox be merely defensive and reactive, ‘running after the facts,’ as he puts it; but let us listen to one another with creative courage, with mutual respect and, more than that, with (in his own words again) ‘loving compassion.’ Let us acknowledge, moreover, the variety of paths that God calls us human beings to follow.”
      “Let us not be hasty.  We must move forward cautiously together.”
      Such is how the Orthodox Christian concept of sobornost is understood by the classical Anglican mind.  All things are permissible as long as we can ‘discover’ a theological rationale and the unity of the ‘Chaach’ is not fractured in the process.

    • “Participants who strongly support, defend, and adhere to the traditional teachings and disciplines of the Orthodox Church spoke alongside those who find them somehow problematic—and many contributed perspectives along a continuum between these positions. All agreed that dialogue must continue in the same uniquely respectful and gracious tone that characterized this gathering.”

      How far are these “uniquely respectful and gracious” participants behind Episcopal Church, 20 years?

      • Michael Bauman says

        If they “, what are they doing at that conference in the first place in “dialog” with those who do not support, defend and adhere to the traditional disciplines of the Orthodox Church” unless it is to call those who do not to repentance.

        Since that obviously did not happen, it is doubtful in my mind that there really were folks there who “strongly support, defend and adhere to the traditional teachings and disciplines of the Orthodox Church” Otherwise there would be little dialog past someone getting up and saying: “Brothers and sisters, repent of your wrong ideas that lead to wicked ways.”

        All of my life I have seen those who “dialog” with evil end up either doing evil or are consumed by it. I first noticed it in the “coalition” governments in Central America where those who valued freedom and capitalism went into such “governments” at the behest of the United States. Not long after, all of the freedom folks were purged, jailed or dead.

        Then the same sort of process in the Episcopal/Anglican communion, then other Protestant denominations. Now it has reached our shores.

        All I can say is that to the extent that I am able: “It shall not pass”. In this case Met. Philip had it right: “We do not speak of abomination”

        • Estonian Slovak says

          As usual, Michael, you’ve expressed my feelings better than I could. Certain standards of morality are non-negotiables. Our opponents take the moral high ground by saying,” See, we’re the open minded side. We want to have honest dialog.”
                 Islam operates in the same way. They are all for dialog and tolerance of other faiths, until they get the upper hand. Anyone doubting this may do his or her research. We can start with many countries in Western Europe.

        • I think our occasional visitor, Christopher, said it most truly (if not here, then certainly elsewhere) when he wrote that those who engage in this dialog with evil essentially (and actually) suffer from unbelief. It is not a crisis of morality as such, but one of no longer believing God and trusting that His judgments are true and righteous altogether.

  6. Abramo Burnardo says

    I have a little question…
    Since Denisenko & Co. rejected (June 2019) the Tomos  which Bart sold the Ukraine for a $25,000,000 bribe,  do you think Bart will refund the bribe money ?
    One would think that the wealthy Ukrainian oligarchs who paid the bribe for Denisenko would want their Gelt back… since Pope Bart, in essence, lied and “sold them a bill of goods” (an old expression meaning “sold them something worthless.”)
    My guess is that the $25,000,000 never made it to the Phanar’s books in Istanbul and that a string of Coopers & Lybrand accountants could not find it now.  It went the same place as that $10,000,000 which Bart “redirected” to  himself last year from the St. Nicholas Fund in New York City… on which theft our own Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, turned his head in exchange for Bart’s agreement to sell “autocephaly” to Ukraine, just as a thorn in the side of the Russian Federation.
    Wonder whose money Bart will “light finger” next… ?
    This whole kettle of fish is rotten.  And the worst part is that there is an Orthodox clergyman (Bart) at the top of the charade, “blessing” everyone with his candles.  It is like a giant “confidence game” – send in your bribe and you will get your favor. (Can anyone remember how this game played out when tried in Western Europe in the 16th Century, by another church which claimed universal jurisdiction?) I think this deceiver in Istanbul would bless an abortion mill if someone wrote him a big check… er, handed him a big bag of cash.
    BTW… You can express your opinion to this clown for the small cost of $1.25 spent at your local Post Office.  All politicians enjoy hearing from their supporters and enablers, and Bart is no different.  Do write often to him.  If you enclose some American Greenbacks, he might even read your letter !
    Address your fan mail to him at:  Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate, Fener Rum Patrikhanesi|, Sadrazam Ali Pasa Cadesi,  Fener, Istanbul  342 – 20, Turkey

  7. Romfea is reporting that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece is meeting on Monday 8/26 and will decide by Wednesday 8/28 whether it will recognize  Epiphanios’ religious entity. Rumor has it that the Church of Greece will support Patriarch Bartholomeos’ creation. Kyrie Eleison!

    • Let us all pray that God illumines them,
      otherwise we’ ll have a schism inside Greece,
      Lord have mercy!

      • Why do you think there would be a schism in Greece?

        Would this Synod really risk such an outcome in order to appease  an im-potentate such as the current Patriarch of Constantinople whose “honor” and power depends on the graces and goodwill of the other autocephalous Churches?

        If they agree to officially recognize the schismatics then it would appear that the leadership is confident that they have their potential dissenters sewn up in the bag.

        If this is so, then there will be an even graver matter: Greeks vs the unity of the Orthodox Church.

        • Ioan I honestly hope you are right and I wrong.
          I am afraid some Greek Hierarchy are friends of Bartholomew and/or the Pope and will thus do, not what is logical, but what their Hero wants.
          Somebody up here quoted Abp Anastasios that he will follow Bartholomew even if he (B.) is wrong!
          Kyrie Eleison! 

  8. Basil, it seems, is in awe of “that list of names.” Ho hum. So what else is new?  A well known practice among academicians seeking gratuitous summer travel moments is to procure grant money for a wacko project in the vaunted name of scholarship and/or research. It’s no coincidence that the majority of persons attending the “sex-gender-sexuality” conference were connected in some way with an academic institution.

    • Don’t think for a minute that I’m “in awe” of these people; far from it.
      My intent was to show how this list of usual suspects was, indeed, the usual suspects.

  9. Romfea is reporting this morning that the Standing Holy Synod of the Church of Greece which  is currently in session decided to refer the issue of recognition of Epiphanios’  religious entity to the Holy Synod of Hierarchs which will be meeting in October.

  10. Basil,  I assumed as much. My choice of words was intended to emphasize the more important point I was trying to make.