Texas Orthodox Clergy Speak Out on Gay Marriage and the “Rebellion Against God’s Created Order”

Russian Orthodox Wedding The Orthodox pastors of the greater Houston area have thrown down yet another gauntlet down in the face of the homosexual juggernaut that has gripped our nation. I admire their defiance. My only question at his point is why haven’t other Orthodox clergy associations spoken so eloquently? This is the second time for Houston’s Orthodox clergy to do so.

Please take time to read this excellent encyclical. In the meantime, keep each of the signatories in your prayers.

Gay Marriage and the Houston Gay Rights Ordinance

Source: Orthodox Clergy Association of Houston and Southeast Texas

We, the Orthodox clergy of Houston and Southeast Texas, are compelled by our responsibilities before God to speak out plainly against the rebellion against God’s created order that we see being waged on both the local and national level.

It is God who created the two sexes, and established marriage at the time of creation, as our Lord Jesus Christ tells us:

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Mark 10:6-10; cf. Genesis 1:27; 2:24; 5:2).

The so called “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance,” is nothing of the sort; but rather gives a man who wishes to consider himself a woman, on a given day, the right to use women’s restrooms in the city of Houston. Such a man need not have even had a “sex change” operation, or even dress like a woman, since “gender” is considered to be a state of the mind rather than a biological fact. After the City council approved this unjust law, Christians of all races, denominations, and political affiliations organized a petition drive, which resulted in far more than the required number of signatures to get the issue on the ballot. But Mayor Annise Parker, disregarding the law, simply chose to disregard the will of the people and their right to vote in accordance with the law. She also used the occasion to unconstitutionally subpoena the sermons and private pastoral correspondences of pastors who were not even a party to a lawsuit that is seeking to force the Mayor to simply obey the law and allow the citizens of the city of Houston their right to vote. We wish to express our support for the fight against this unjust law, and the unlawful actions of Mayor Annise Parker, and we call upon her to cease ignoring the will of the people — which she clearly knows does not support her actions, or else she would not fear leaving the matter to them.

The question of “gay marriage” is also before the Supreme Court, and it is feared that they will impose “gay marriage” on the entire United States. We want our parishioners, fellow citizens, political leaders, and our nation’s judges to know that if this is done, it will be a violation of the letter and the spirit of the United States Constitution. More importantly, it will be an act of rebellion against “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” We have laws respecting marriage because only heterosexual relationships are capable of producing children, and those children are best provided for and properly raised within the context of traditional marriage. Homosexual relationships cannot possibly produce children, and so cannot possibly fit the meaning of the word “marriage,” neither should the state concern itself with recognizing such relationships. Homosexual couples also cannot provide both a mother and a father to a child, and so should not be allowed to adopt children.

The Declaration of Independence correctly states that our rights come from God, not from the state. The state can either justly protect those rights, or unjustly violate them. No government, much less an unelected court, can justly proclaim something to be a right which violates God’s natural order. The only way society can accommodate the demands of homosexual activists to call their relationships “marriage” and to allow everyone to pick which restroom they desire, is to ignore that men and women are different and have unique characteristics, and to pretend that there is no difference between a mother and a father. This can only be accomplished if we all deny that which we know to be true, and “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

Let it be known that we will never recognize such laws or judicial decrees to be either right or just, nor will we be intimidated into silence, but will continue to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29), and proclaim the whole council of God on these issues (Acts 20:27).

V. Rev. Fr. Serge Veselinovich, Ss. Constantine and Helen Serbian Orthodox Church, Galveston, Texas
V. Rev. Fr. Dejan Tiosavljevic, St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Cypress, Texas
V. Rev. Fr. Gabriel Karam, Holy Forty Martyrs Antiochian Orthodox Church, Sugarland, Texas
V. Rev. Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas
V. Rev, Fr. Anastasios Raptis, St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas
V. Rev. Fr. John Whiteford, St. Jonah Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Spring Texas
Hieromonk John (Anderson), St. Cyril Orthodox Church (OCA), The Woodlands, Texas
Rev. Fr. Lubomir Kupec, St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Houston, Texas
Rev. Fr. Cassian Sibley, Life-Giving Spring Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Bryan, Texas
Rev. Fr. Michael J. Lambakis, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Houston, Texas
Rev. Fr. James Shadid, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas
Rev. Fr. Richard Petranek, St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Katy, Texas
Rev. Fr. Demetrios Tagaropulos. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Houston, Texas
Rev. Fr. Anthony Baba, St. Anthony Antiochian Orthodox Church, Spring, Texas
Rev. Fr. Symeon Kees, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas
Rev. Fr. Benigno Pardo, St. Jonah Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Spring, Texas
Rev. Fr. Christopher Xanthos, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Houston, Texas
Rev. Dn. David Companik, St. Jonah Orthodox Church (ROCOR), Spring, Texas
Rev. Dn. Juvenaly Hale, St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas

More names from the clergy association are likely to be added.


  1. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Wonderful prophetic voice. Nice and loud. Hope others will learn from this and follow their example.


  2. “Well done my good and servants.”

    • Well done my good and faithful servants. Skipped faithful in my earlier posting.

  3. I’m confused, I thought they did this already in response to the whole Fr Robert Arida affair?

    • If you read Monomakhos’ introduction, you will see that this is the SECOND response. The first was in reaction to Fr. Arida and other things going on at the time. These are dedicated servants of the Church.

  4. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    George inquires, “My only question at his point is why haven’t other Orthodox clergy associations spoken so eloquently?”

    A partial response to this query, George, is related to your recent blog entry about the current “situation” in Chicago.

  5. Carl Kraeff says

    The mayor of Houston is a piece of work. However, I do not understand why the Orthodox Clergy Association of Houston and Southeast Texas published this manifesto on May 28th when the issue had been settled in court on April 17th. In essence, “The plaintiffs claimed they had 31,000 verified signatures. But the city said there were only 5,000. A little more than 17,000 were needed to force a referendum to repeal the measure. The judge Friday found there were only 16,684 valid signatures.” http://www.click2houston.com/news/judge-rules-houstons-equal-rights-ordinance-petition-signatures-invalid/32430822

    Is there something else in the manifesto that I am not seeing?

    • uhm . . because May follows April and they wanted their flocks to understand where the Orthodox stood?? I’m thinking . . . .

    • Fr. John Whiteford says

      If you want to know the position of those who are continuing to fight for a vote on this ordinance, there is a video posting here of the attorney representing those who want the vote, stating there plans to appeal the decision on 4-30-2015: http://uspastorcouncil.org/houston/hero-appeal-press-conference-andy-taylor/
      The logic of the decision was that signatures to the petitions that “we not legible” were invalid.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Thank you Father John! Knowing how carefully you have led the Association, I had a feeling that there must have been a follow up to the judge;’s decision, especially since the validated signatures came so close to the required number.

  6. Michael James Kinsey says

    I don’t know if there were any OCA cleric’s on this very worthy documentary. Truth, proclaimed plainly and precisely.. There can be no confusion, or lukewarmness, if one agrees with their statement.Life finds a Way.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Houston, as is the case with most of Texas, has more Greek and Antiochian parishes. Nonetheless, the OCA has three parishes in Greater Houston area, two of them are missions of the Romanian Diocese. The third is part of the Diocese of the South and is represented in this association by Hieromonk John (Anderson), rector of St. Cyril Orthodox Church in Woodlands, who has signed both statements (the one on Fr Arida and this one).

    • There should be such statement from each diocese -don’t ya think?

    • Read the names at the bottom.

    • Fr. John Whiteford says

      Fr. John (Anderson) is an OCA priest.

  7. Thomas Barker says

    Gritty and inspiring. It makes a man want to pull up stakes and move to Texas.

    “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Deuteronomy 31:6

  8. Fr. John Whiteford says
    • Spanish, Spanglish, Ebonics, Swahili. NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE PUBLISHING. Want to really have an impact? Plan a better church bazaar or pierogi sale.

  9. Too Stupid says

  10. Roughly 5% of American men are gay and 70% admit to cheating on their wives. Both are sins. If you had to weigh the two, which yields greater damage to the “one woman/one man” paradigm?

    We ALL fail and fail, miserably. Calling out the sins of others draws God’s attention and not in a particularly positive way.

    • Gregory Manning says

      The difference here is that SS attracted folks have turned their sin into an open campaign. If adulterers did the same thing we would openly call them out as well. Traditionalists in the Latin Church have come out of the woodwork because clergy have begun introducing innovations (again) intended to gloss over similar issues amongst the married and divorced and re-married.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        You’re right, Gregory, adulterers don’t make their sin into an open campaign. Why? Because they know what they’re doing is wrong. Who do you think is more culpable in God’s eyes? The people who don’t know what they’re doing is wrong or the people who know what they’re doing is wrong and hide it? Or worse. . . point out the sins of others.

        • If homosexuals don’t know they’re doing wrong, why is “coming out” a thing?

          Most homosexuals go through an excruciating time of struggling with their tendencies which culminates in an announcement. While some would call this process self-acceptance, I would call it retraining of the conscience, the “law of God written on the heart,” as St Paul would say.

          Besides, you’re unwittingly arguing against your point. Adulterers do so knowing it’s wrong, but if homosexuals truly don’t know they are sinning, the Church must take more urgent action on that front.

        • Gregory Manning says

          Believe me Gail, we gay people know what we’re attempting to achieve through our “lifestyle” is wrong. We’re just hoping that if we can get the whole world to stand up and cheer us on and tell us it’s going to work that it will work. The friends I knew who committed suicide did so because they sensed with increasing certainty that they were never going to find what their hearts so yearned for and they gave up, and it had little or nothing to do with society’s approval or disapproval.

    • “Calling out the sins of others draws God’s attention”

      I’m confused as to what you are saying here-but this is about Laws of our country. If sins are kept private and not made legal, then it is between the sinner and the priest (and that sinners family). If it is public and the LAW-then we are all subject to that sin. If the government makes adultery legal-we would be having that conversation here too.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Using sin to promote the values of the Church is a poor value proposition.

    • Show me Orthodox Christians who are defending adultery and advocating that the Orthodox Church give its approval to the practuce, and you would see this site explode with protest over that, too.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I haven’t seen even one piece, EVER, that has “exploded” with protest over adultery. If I missed it, Edward, please bring it to my attention.

        • Gail, did you even read my post? Read it again, and then respond intelligently. I have more to say on the subject, but not until you show you are willing to respond to what is actually written.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Yes, I read your post, Edward. You said, “Show me Orthodox Christians who are defending adultery and advocating that the Orthodox Church give its approval to the practuce, and you would see this site explode with protest over that, too.”

            To defend means to “resist an attack made on (someone or something); protect from harm or danger.” The “someone or something” in this case is marriage. I think my point was, there HAS BEEN NO DEFENSE.

            What you’re describing is not what is going on here. No one is advocating the Orthodox Church give its approval of anything. We are anticipating that we will be put in a position of having to accept a legal definition of a marriage that will be expanded to include the union of homosexuals. If that were to happen, it would threaten the institution of marriage. My point was, there are other more pervasive and insidious threats to the institution of marriage that we are NOT talking about.

        • I know a couple of churches that exploded over it . . .

    • Fr. Justin Frederick says

      To reveal sins hidden, to focus on the sins of others while neglecting our own, especially out of self-righteousness does little good, very true.

      But when a lobby forms to promote a particular sin, that changes things. Where is the lobby for men unfaithful to wives asking for social acceptance, for government benefits for their mistresses and bastard children, for re-education in schools to teach children that the behavior of such men is normal and to be celebrated? Where are the screaming headlines, the talk show interviews, the glossy photos, the magazine articles, the Facebook memes promoting acceptance of marital infidelity?

      There is no witch hunt for practitioners of ‘alternative lifestyles’ (which are not lifestyles of deathstyles). Rather the practitioners of such are trying to ram acceptance of their privileged sin down our throats. Can you blame those who do not wish to swallow it? Would you silence those who call sin, “sin”, to a people who can no longer tell their right hand from their left?

      Because parents fail, don’t correct your children?
      Because priests fail, don’t correct your parishioners?
      Because bishops fail, don’t correct your priests?
      Because teachers and principals fail, don’t correct your pupils?
      Because policemen, judges, and lawyers fail, don’t correct lawbreakers?

      I trust, GS, that this is not what you are saying, because, if it is, it denies the possibility of civilized life.

    • Daniel E Fall says

      Your numbers are absurd. Cite sources.

    • Christopher says


      Assuming you are not a propagandist for the New Anthropology (something you might be without really knowing it), one good (of many) rebuttals would be:

      Yes, adultery is a sin – that said, we don’t have an organized political movement (at least not yet – no doubt that will change) that is trying to change the very definition of what it means to be man (i.e. anthropology) through not only societal pressure, but the law itself, by forcing adulterous behavior and acceptance there of through criminal penalty. C.S Lewis wrote about this New Anthropology in his book “The Abolition of Man”. If you don’t want to take the time to read that, at least listen to Fr. Hopko’s lecture on this book:


    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      Any sources for these statistics, or do you expect us to be fool enough to believe an anonymous poster, with an obvious axe to grind?

      Oh, and by the way, the fabled “70%” aren’t trying to force everybody else to go along with their deceit, as the fabled “5%” are.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      GS inquires, “Roughly 5% of American men are gay and 70% admit to cheating on their wives. Both are sins. If you had to weigh the two, which yields greater damage to the “one woman/one man” paradigm?”

      Wrong question.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Why is this NOT the right question, Father? Why are we swallowing camels, while straining at gnats? Which has the greater impact on the institution of marriage?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail, only because adulterers are not (yet) striving to have the Church and society accommodate their sin. It’s inevitable though: google “ethical non-monogamy.”

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Dearest George,

            There are actually two discussions going on here. One is about the threat posed by a very vocal group, who interestingly support marriage, while at the same time trying to redefine it.

            The other is about being gay. People have this catalog of sins in their head and being gay is at the top. This is what I’m reacting to. Yes, homosexuality is an abomination, but all sin is an abomination.

            Regarding your comment, “Adulterers are not (yet) striving to have the Church & Society accommodate their sin. . .” They don’t have to strive for anything, because we already accommodate it. – Interesting reading about “ethical non-monogamy.” It appears as if they’re focusing on the sexual component and yet I have read that most people have affairs because of the need for an emotional connection. Guess that could fall under “Sexually Monogamous Polyamory,” which probably would not be a palatable solution to most. I cannot think of anything more frustrating. – There are many couples who don’t have marriages at all. They are roommates, for all practical purposes, who stay together for the kids and/or financial reasons. It’s interesting that we still call this a “marriage,” and we strongly advocate for these people stay together in spite of the fact that the “marriage” no longer exists, if it ever did.

            What we should be asking ourselves why is the gay agenda so powerful? How can a small segment of the population make so much headway with something that benefits only a few? Where is the traction coming from?

            It may be coming from the institution itself. Marriage is a sinking ship. Fewer people are getting married (down from 78% in 1960 to 48% today). Of those who do, almost half fail (40% to 50%). Perhaps we can do something about this. Gird the institution and you take away some of the traction against it.

            The other thing we could do it is challenge the Court’s position that “. . . while they (the government) cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.” We could advocate that because the court cannot interfere with a religious belief, they cannot redefine it. – Something to that effect. I think the fear is the loss of 501c status or worse, our clergy to go to jail if they don’t perform gay weddings.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Gail, not all sins are “abominations.” Of course we are all sinners but Jesus Himself said that there were gradations of sin. He said that anyone who harmed “one of these little ones” (for example), it would be “better for a millstone to be placed around his neck and thrown into the sea.” That’s pretty harsh. Yet the adulterous woman he saved from stoning.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald says

                According to the Dayton, Ohio, newspaper MARK STOKOE AND STEVE BROWN observed their 25th Anniversary of their life together!The author and mother of Orthodox Accountability letting their LIGHT shine, right?

                • Estonian Slovak says

                  Master, Bless!
                  Since the two met at St.Vladimirs,and since according to Your Graces testimony,there was a gay subculture existing at said institution, is it not reasonable to assume that someone between the seminary and Dayton gave approval to their relationship?

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Perhaps, dear Slovak, you missed the epic story of Dean Alexander Schmemann’s “I will not be the Dean of a pot-smoking homosexual joint” speech, with pounding on the podium for emphasis and followed by what I termed, “the nights of the squeaky shoes” evidence gathering of the Dean of Students (may his memory be eternal!). If you term the approximate 180-days it took for Dr. Schmemann to “clean house” a gay subculture, so be it. But clean house he did. I was around seven years when Mr. Stoke arrived at SVS, and in whatever direction he ultimately set his course, it was not with the “approval” of SVS. And punctuate that with Fr. Schmemann’s closing remark, “Not while I’m alive.”

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald says

                      M/ Stankovich. After the ruling hierarch of our Diocese (actually a Metrpolitan, was accused by credible witnesses having made physical overtures of a sexual nature to a couple young guys and frquenting homosexualbars “to investigate,’ the Metrpolitan was allowed to retire to a parish in Canada on the condition that he never set foot on the territory of the Diocese of the West ever again. Not long after that I was in a group of people around Father Alexander Schmeman (who was NEVER addressed or spoken of asDr Schmeman) at an AAC, “Father Alexander did you ever suspect that Metropolitan V. was”that way.” He replied in his famous fashion, witheringly, “Did I SUSPECT?!?!? My dear, he LIVED with us when hewas our student!” If you have a stack of bibles handy, I
                      m ready to place my left hand on it, raise my right, and attest to MANY other such events and quotations that absolutely “qualify” the bluster that you observed once or twice.
                      I don’t like being reminded of these matters, but I don’t think anyone’s memory or repuatation is enhanced by such problematic utterances as yours in this case.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald says

                      M. Stankovich, I believe your report of Father Alexander’s utterance is tru/ However that blusteras often amazingly belied in practice and by other utterances of the same man!. In a group of other SVS Alums at an AAC, someone from the Diocese of the West asked Father Alexander, “Father Allexander did you have any reason to suspect that Metropolita V. was “that way?” To which Father Alexander replied: “Did I SUSPECT? My Dear! He LIVED WITH US WHEN HE WAS OUR STUDENT!!!!”

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Yes, He saved the adulterous woman. He also saved Saul and elevated him to Sainthood. As far as the “gradations of sin” is concerned, murdering Christians has got to be as close to the top as one can get. The act of being “saved” seems to have less to do with sin than a change of heart.

            • Ok
              1. How do we accommodate adultery?

              2. So it sounds like you are saying if a marriage does not have a sexual component, than it is not a marriage?? Dare I say most older people probably are more like room mates. Why do we think that one person is going to meet all of our emotional needs? Can you not be just best friends and still have a marriage? 3. Aren’t we trying to challenge the courst decision? We could advocate that because the court cannot interfere with a religious belief, they cannot redefine it. –   Sounds good. “Using sin to promote the values of the Church is a poor value proposition..”  Isn’t that what Scripture does? Isn’t that what our hagiography does? We talk about sin and how to over come it. If we act like it’s not there it will spread like a virus, unaddressed.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I am saying anything you are suggesting, Colette. You’ve taken a lot of things I said out of context and turned my questions into proclamations.

                Nowhere did I suggest that we should act like sin isn’t there. Quite the opposite.

                • M. Stankovich says


                  From your statements, it seems to me that you are saying that while we should be outraged at the frequency & “acceptance” of adultery, we are not. Correct me if I am wrong. I would note that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in a recent edition of its Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) dedicated to the issue of the recent epidemic of venereal diseases & HIV/HCV specifically citied telephone apps and various specific websites that are dedicated to married individuals (and I will not name them) looking for “hook-ups.” These are 1) phenomenally popular, & 2) directly responsible for unsafe sexual practices resulting in STD’s, with secondary transmission to unsuspecting spouses. While there was no speculation as to prevalence, it fell under the current “epidemic.”

                  As someone providing therapy for women in the process of divorce or recently divorced, I personally am quite sickened by the “rulings” here of men, comfortable quantifying both the extent & implications of sinfulness, same-gender sexual activity v adultery, with the criterion of “unnatural.” Apparently no one has actually read, say, Aristotle on “natural law” and morality. To suggest that infidelity in the community of Christian Marriage is less an abomination because it does not defy “natural law” is simply ignorant and shameful. Perhaps you need to recall that David, the greatest & most beloved of the Lord, was forbidden his greatest dream fulfilled – seeing the Temple of the Lord – because of his murderous lust and adultery. Would anyone argue that the fury of the Lord expressed through Nathan the prophet was anything but a witness of “abomination?”
                  And I might also add that the suggestion that adulterers are not “pushing a lifestyle” is equally ridiculous. We have become so cavalier, so indifferent to the tragedy of adultery that it exists at every level of our society without as much as a “whimper.” Our politicians “rehabilitate” themselves nearly instantaneously – from which is drawn the axiom, “Better to be caught in bed with a dead prostitute than a live boy.”

                  Finally, I believe it also convenient for men to wish to focus their indignation and hatred at homosexuality – an instance of, at best, 5% of our population – that pales in comparison to the prevalence of heterosexual men who practice adultery. Please, someone correlate the divorce rate in the US to homosexuality, as opposed to adulterous infidelity. To imagine that adultery is somehow less of a force of cosmic destruction & perpetration of “abomination” in our broken and fallen world, and less an indignity of our fallen human nature than same-gender sexual activity is idiotic.

                  If I read you correctly, Gail, I believe you are absolutely correct in your perception.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    What do “men” in particular have to do with it? I have known as many women as men who have committed adultery, and I am sure that I know many more of both that have that I don’t know about.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Men are just part of the equation. Presumably men are cheating with women. 😉

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    RE: “From your statements, it seems to me that you are saying that while we should be outraged at the frequency & “acceptance” of adultery, we are not. Correct me if I am wrong.”

                    You are NOT wrong. . . on anything you said. You are 100% right.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Gail they most emphatically support marriage. They are counterfeiters debasing marriage by their false coin made of fool’s gold. Unfortunately “bad money drives out good”.

              Thousands of years of adultery have done less damage.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                RE: “They are counterfeiters debasing marriage by their false coin made of fool’s gold.”

                True, but I do not agree that thousands of years of adultery has done less damage. People aren’t getting married, they aren’t staying married, when they do, they don’t behave as if they are married. We have seen an erosion of the entire institution AND NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT.

        • As an institution, I would say gay “marriage” is causing more damage.

          1. Adultery is a sin, but homosexuality is both sinful and unnatural.
          2. Adultery is still considered wrong and a betrayal. Even those in “open marriages” who commit adultery with their spouse’s consent ask permission first. Meanwhile, homosexuality is rapidly becoming normalized.
          3. Adultery is a crime against marriage, while homosexuality is a debasement of marriage.

          But we’re really just arguing over which dregs taste worse. Both are destructive and we can speak about both. But the reason for the greater focus on homosexuality is that we are being told it’s not a sin, thereby warping people’s consciences. Even the most liberal atheist won’t say adultery without consent isn’t wrong. That’s why gay marriage advocates unwittingly use it as a “but what about this” distraction, as you have.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Its a continuum that began with heterosexual license. If the Church is to really going to address the problem she is going to have to have a consistent approach the uses marriage as the foundation not homosexuality. It can be stated very simply but it is difficult to do.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Gail asks, “Why is this NOT the right question, Father?”

          Well, first, let’s notice how you changed the question:

          It started as: “If you had to weigh the two, which yields greater damage to the “one woman/one man” paradigm?”

          You changed it to: “Which has the greater impact on the institution of marriage?”

          “Greater impact” does not mean the same thing as “greater damage.”

          Adultery, for all the harm it does to the institution of marriage, does not alter the structure the Creator put into created order. Adultery is a sin against the social order, not the order of Creation.

          The homosexual sin, however, is a sin against the order of nature. Check Romans 1:26-27, for starts.

          As for the State’s attempt to make homosexual sin itself an expression marriage, this is plain-and-simple idolatry. Indeed, it is the worst kind of idolatry: the attempt of the State to act in the place of God.

          This is worse than anything described in Romans 1. It comes closer to Revelation 13.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Father, I jumped from the one man/one woman paradigm to marriage, because this is the way Christ described it in Matthew 19:1-12. He said two (created beings) become one flesh and they cannot be separated. If His point was that they become “one flesh” through their offspring, any coupling could result in marriage if it produced a child. Even a rape.

            Admittedly, after reading this piece, specifically the part where it says, “Homosexual relationships cannot possibly produce children, and so cannot possibly fit the meaning of the word ‘marriage’, . . ” I was flooded with questions.

            Why does the Church perform marriages between people who cannot have a child due to a physical defect or who are of advanced age? If a couple marries and then later decides not to sleep together, are they violating their marriage? If a couple can no longer produce children, can they be released from their marriage? If you cannot produce a child and have sex outside of your marriage, is it adultery? If you marry with the intent of having a child and you or your spouse is unable to produce one, can you say your marriage never happened?

            This is the problem with using this argument. It raises too many questions. I do not believe it is possible to convince the secular world that because a homosexual union cannot result in a child, there can be no marriage. Now days, they can take the DNA from a third party and inject it into a fertilized egg. The resulting child has the DNA of 3 people, two of whom are of the same sex. Sadly, a homosexual couple CAN produce a child.

            Better to defend the definition of marriage on legal grounds. It is a religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. If the government attempts to redefine a religious belief, it is interference. “Government cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices.” If the worst were to happen, our priests could forfeit their licenses/certification to perform marriages in their given state. Couples could get married in the Chruch and then have a civil ceremony. That way no one has to marry a gay couple in the Church. We do something similar with civil unions. After the couple becomes Orthodox, they are married in the Church.

            • George Michalopulos says

              One reason the Church performs marriages between two people who cannot possibly have children is in order to sanctify their subsequent coition I suppose. Another is to solidify the original icon of creation –Adam and Eve, who (lest we forget) also did not have carnal relations in the original Edenic state.

              As for a couple later deciding not to sleep together, that can only be sanctified if they both agree to those terms (both Peter and Paul are clear on this point). Are you saying that because of age and lack of sexual spontaneity they should divorce? Anyway, it’s really a red herring as the degenerative aging process takes its toll regardless.

              • Michael Bauman says

                George the over riding reason the Church sanctifies marriages where children are not possible is because of the unique fecundity that is inherent in marriage whether there are natural offspring or not. It is a fecundity made possible by the synergy between God-man-woman and the community in which they live where all is offered back to God.

                I am saddened by how little this aspect of marriage is talked about.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  I agree with both your points, Michael. We are going have to frame the argument based on marriage, not homosexuality, and we are going to have to be very clear about what marriage is. Saying it is for procreation is going to open a can or worms, which was the entire point of my posts.

              • Brian Jackson says

                One reason the Church performs marriages between two people who cannot possibly have children is in order to sanctify their subsequent coition I suppose.

                But our God is a God Who works wonders! Given the examples of Abraham & Sarah, Jacob & Rachel, Elkanah & Hanna, Zacharias & Elizabeth, and Joachim & Anna, how can anyone know whether a man and woman are incapable of conceiving children? The wedding service prayers for fruitfulness are prayed over everyone–and how often are we perhaps unaware that such prayers prayed in faith result in healings? I can attest to witnessing a tremendous example of this myself.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Gail marriage is not a religious belief it is a covenant founded upon our fundamental nature as human beings first and then as male and female. We have trivialized it and romanticised it to the point that it has become solely about feelings.

              The sacramental expression of the basic reality is meant to guard and deepen and be a witness to the created reality. Actual marriage is neither a product of nor dependent on such sacramental expression.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Michael, I got the idea, because Father Patrick said ” . . . the institution of marriage, does not alter the structure the Creator put into created order.” I believe it does, or a man and a woman could not become one “flesh.” I respect Father’s opinions so I got to thinking that maybe I didn’t understand Scripture. Maybe Christ was alluding to procreation when he said the two become one, i.e. two sets of DNA coming together to form one flesh in the form of a child. How else would you explain what Christ said in a way that is consistent with saying marriage is for procreation?

                • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                  Gail—somehow—manages to quote me as saying: “Father Patrick said ” . . . the institution of marriage, does not alter the structure the Creator put into created order.”

                  What I said was that adultery does not alter the structure the Creator put into the created order.

                  The created order provides for the joining of a man and a woman.

                  So does adultery.

                  Adultery, therefore, does not violate the created order.

                  That is what I wrote.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    RE: “The created order provides for the joining of a man and a woman. . . So does adultery.”

                    So, Father Patrick, “created order” allows for the coupling of any man with any woman. The “social order” of marriage is optional, for God does NOT join together a specific man with a specific woman, as suggested in Scripture and reiterated by Christ in Matthew 19:6, instead, He allows for any anybody to hook up with anybody, as long as they are male and female. In all cases, having sex makes the man and woman “one flesh” and because sex, even adulterous sex, is so sacred, God admonishes, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”


                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Gail, adultery is a major sin. It’s in the Ten Commandments. Having said that, four of the women listed in St Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (in fact, the only mentioned at all) were all involved in sexual sin in some way.

                      I think the point is that even something good (i.e. Jesus) can result from an adulterous union somewhere in the woodpile. I dare say that there are probably one or two “shotgun marriages” in most saints’ genealogies as well. It’s not a great thing to say but the created order allows for such phenomena. Sodomy, which is nihilistic, cannot.

                    • because sex, even adulterous sex, is so sacred, God admonishes, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

                      Actually, that’s true.

                      Under the law of the Old Testament, God required rapists to marry their victims. This is partly because of God’s love (because a woman seen as “damaged goods” would never find a decent husband to care for her, and she would thus be destitute if she didn’t at least have her rapist to care for her as required of a husband by the law), but also because there’s more to sex than just smooshing genitals together. The act of sex actually does make the two one flesh.

                      This is further evidenced by the fact that among the Jews, consummation of the marriage was virtually a part of the ceremony. There was no marriage apart from consummation, and even our Anglo Common Law recognizes this. Sex does in fact make the marriage.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                RE: “We have trivialized it and romanticised it to the point that it has become solely about feelings. ”

                Feelings, matter, Michael. Especially to women. Were this NOT the case, God would not have said to Eve, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband.”

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Gail, feelings are important but only to a point. They should never be given primary importance in setting policy of any sort. The entire reason we’ve sunk into the abyss culturally and politically is because we cared too much about hurting certain peoples’ feelings.

                  At the risk of being crude, I’m sorry that Little Bobby doesn’t like girls. That doesn’t mean that we have to destroy marriage, the Armed Forces, the Episcopal Church or publicly brow-beat an Orthodox bishop in order to spare the feelings of Little Bobby’s mother. (And forgive me, it’s almost always a homosexual’s female relative who goes all Mama Bear in her ferocity.)

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Gail, where do you get the idea that Jesus was talking about “offspring” when he said they become “one flesh”? And he said male and female, not two created beings.

              “Marriage” begins when a man and a woman get married. Neither the joys nor the vicissitudes thereafter, up to the point of death, affect whether or not it is a marriage. It’s not “redefined” as one goes along.

          • Estonian Slovak says

            Along with what you’re saying,Father, I would submit that a sex change is even worse than homosexual activity. The one involves caving in to sinful passions, while the other is an attempt to”correct” God’s work.

    • Which one is being proclaimed as good and normal, and which one is still considered shameful by the general public? It’s not purely about numbers. All sins separate us from God, true enough, but more damage is caused to society when people start to say a particular sin is not wrong.

      (And the homosexuality rate actually is 1-2%, which makes this entire debate all the more baffling.)

  11. Kate Hartounian says

    So any pervert who wants to go see women’s stuff can do so. Since it is law, I assume that if we show the pervert (may be a 12 year old boy who wants to ogle women) the statement of Orthodox clergy against it, he will stop. No, he won’t, because our modern culture (and it didn’t start in American folks) has gone completely insane and is itself perverse. But thank you to the Orthodox clergy who at least had the guts to stand up for what is right. Your words may not mean much to the hedonist sympathizers, but it does to the faithful.

  12. Fr. David says

    I would like to know which parish is featured in the photograph above: the parish name and the city where it is
    located. I am interested in examining that beautiful iconostasis a bit more closely. Thank you

    • Gregory Manning says

      Fr. David,
      I doubt it is stateside. I collect Orthodox photos off the internet and I’ve seen this one several times and have it in my collection. Alas most of the sources for these photos are over seas as are the subjects.

  13. “If you read Monomakhos’ introduction, you will see that this is the SECOND response.”

    I did see that, you’re missing my point.

    Please, all our clerics do is send out letters and news releases. Where is the action?

    Where are the support groups for those Orthodox stuggling with SSM? Why is Fr Robert still being allowed to serve? Why is Inga Leonova continuing to be allowed to speak?

    You see, words mean nothing without concrete action, and there’s very little to none of that going on. So great, they reiterated the same thing they said before. Ok, so now its time for action to back up the words!

    • Gregory Manning says

      Be patient. This is all evolving. As a repentant gay man and an Orthodox Christian I would say that support groups are probably not too far off in the near future and will probably start with one here and one there. But such groups must be lead by clergy who grasp the true nature of the problem or therapists who have a firm Orthodox grounding. I correspond with 2 families now who have been referred by clergy who, while fully against the SS agenda and grasp the danger it poses both to individuals and the culture at large, don’t entirely see life as the homosexual does and don’t quite get the real nature of the problem. But, I must emphasize, that the nature of the problem is an existential problem. There’s a reason so many homosexuals commit suicide and it has little to do with society’s unwillingness to accept the lifestyle. Therefore, to intervene, to journey into this, must be done under the supervision or in the presence of an Orthodox priest/therapist/spiritual guide who grasps the fundamental issues at the heart of all this. I myself proceed as I do with these two families with great, great care and, though I am happy to help, I would dearly, dearly love to do so in the presence of a priest or therapist or spiritual guide. You can say the right thing but in the wrong way and/or at the wrong time and cause a lot, a lot, of harm.
      What I have to say is not particularly good news. What the Church has to say, as a counterbalance, is.

      • Gail Sheppard says


        Do you think the arguments in this piece are cogent enough to persuade?

    • Christopher says

      Why is Fr Robert still being allowed to serve? Why is Inga Leonova continuing to be allowed to speak?

      Because there is an effort by certain “elites” in the OCA (including bishops, seminary professionals, high profile clergy and laypersons – you note two of them.) to “rethink” the Church’s normative moral position on homosexualism, sodomy, etc. Many, probably most of these persons are not outright modernists/anti-Christians, they just have been seduced by certain claims of modernity (e.g. that same-sex attraction is biological and thus created by God, or at least a result of the fall and not an inherant moral problem) and, when they combine that with a certain modern sensibility around “compassion” and what it means to be “loving and compassionate”, they become de facto anti-Christians (though they do not view themselves or their “questioning” as such – on the contrary they believe it to be guided by no less than the Spirit Himself).

      At the end of the day, it’s a failure of the Bishops to “..rightly divide the word of truth” – but when you have the bishops themselves compromised on the subject, what is to be done? It really is in God’s hands as to what will happen to the OCA I think…


  14. Rymlianin says

    A time is coming when men will go mad and when they see someone who is not mad, they wwill attack him, Saying, “You are mad because you are not like us.” St. Anthony the Great

    Seems like that time is here.

  15. Monk James says

    This is a strongly — but occasionally wrongly — worded statement about natural law, affirming that ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident’. I hope that it has its desired effect, and that the people of Houston will get to challenge their misguided mayor at the polls and regain a modicum of statutory common sense.

    There’s a subtle male-biased point of view here, though. For instance, this statement adduces the strange notion that men who think themselves women may use restrooms designated for women; it does not, however, identify any situation in which women who think themselves men might do something just as contrary to local custom. The notion of local is important here, since there are places in the world, even places visited by Americans, where the notion of sex-segregated public facilities is considered absurd, just as odd as having such designated facilities in our homes.

    The statement asserts that ‘gender…(is) a biological fact’. It is not. Gender is a grammatical concept, and there are four genders: masculine, feminine, neither, both — but only in those languages which make use of this concept. English has natural gender, Italian has natural + grammatical gender, Turkish has no way of distinguishing ‘him’ from ‘her’. Here, the statement has unconsciously bought into the ‘politically correct’ usage of the word ‘gender’. That’s how deep the cultural changes have already gone: we absorb and willy-nilly employ the vocabulary of the opposition.

    What the statement means to emphasize is that there are two biological sexes, male and female, created and deliberately designed by God to be fully different yet fully complementary. The differences help us to produce children, and the complements help us to do that (among other things) in accordance with nature and morality.

    One of the statement’s weakest positions, though, is in its definitions of marriage, linking it to the potential of natural parenting, and assuming that this is the state’s principal interest in the institution. But marriage, both in civil law and even among heterodox Christians, is a matter of contract law. As such, fertility or infertility are not at issue unless deception is employed. Altogether, the state’s interest in marriage is financial, regarding taxation, common property, and inheritance. The entire concept of marriage is radically different for us Orthodox, but the state isn’t orthodox.

    There is no such thing as a ‘sex-change operation’. There are only cosmetic adjustments, efforts by plastic surgery to make people appear to be of the opposite sex. But, just as in the occasionally encountered case of ‘ambiguous genitalia’ in newborns, someone’s true sex can (mostly) be identified by a chromosome scan. Even then, there is a minuscule minority of XXY people and other configurations, but they are almost irrelevant statistically, and their rare condition does not concern us here or in the statement we’re examining.

    No matter the age (sometimes in childhood) at which people begin to think of themselves as being of the opposite sex, this is always a deep-seated psychosis, so intractable that the healing professions, both psychological and physical, have largely decided that it’s easier to modify the bodies of such people than to change their minds. For myself, this reeks of diabolic influence, and I believe that we should pray for these poor deluded people rather than condemn them or indulge their madness. It’s significant that the ‘transsexual’ theories of Dr Harry Benjamin are still in force while the surgical/therapeutic protocols pioneered by Drs Money and Green are no longer in practice at their own Johns Hopkins University, which has ceased to perform these surgeries.

    Finally, although there are a few other infelicities in the text of the statement (EVERYBODY needs an editor!), it was particularly disappointing to see scripture misquoted in its last sentence, where the homophone ‘council’ mistakenly takes the place of ‘counsel’, with a serious shift in meaning. This is especially important since this document is mostly going to be read, not heard.

    May the Lord bless us with pastors, bishops and priests who are true shepherds who tend their flocks in truth and love, and send them good editors, too.

    • Fr. John Whiteford says

      Fr. James, I am well aware of the misuse of the word “gender,” which is why it is in scare quotes. Same thing with “sex change”.

      The ordinance does allow men to use the ladies room. It also would allow women to use the men’s room, true enough. But women are a lot less likely to rape random victims in a restroom.

      Thanks for pointing out the spelling error in the last paragraph.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Gender derives from the ancient Greek γένος. It is used in the writings of Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Herodotus, Homer, Plato, Sophocles, blah, blah, blah to indicate species, a race of (people), a kind of…, a class of… (referring to animals), a house (referring to nobility), an age or generation (referring to time). it is used eleven times in the New Testament, generally in this manner: The apostles ask why they were unable to cast out the demon themselves and Jesus responds, “But this kind/type [γένος] does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Mat. 17:21). The Evangelist specifically notes that, “The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by race-type [Συροφοινίκισσα τῷ γένει] (Mk. 7:26). St. Paul, in detailing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, “To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of tongues [ἑτέρῳ γένη γλωσσῶν].” (1 Cor. 12:10). And he later notes among the trials he has suffered, “In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen-kind-race [κινδύνοις ἐκ γένους].” (2 Cor. 11:26) Finally, the OED, notes the colloquial development of “gender” as a “a euphemism for the sex of a human being, often intended to emphasize the social and cultural, as opposed to the biological, distinctions between the sexes,” notably the modern Feminist Movement. Gender is most assuredly the proper term to be used in this context. It would then logically follow that “sex change surgery” is actually referred to as “gender reassignment” surgery, rather than “sex change.”

      Further, it seems to me there needs to be a clear understanding of sexuality distinct from gender in the creation “as it was in the beginning,” and sexuality in the fallen humanity, expelled by God into this broken world of the consequence of our disobedience. While we do not accept homosexuality as a “category of being” intended, created, or any shape or fashion ascribable to God. It is categorically and unequivocally is a consequence of our fallen humanity; symptomatic, par excellence, of the interaction of our fallen humanity and this broken world; and it cannot be redeemed, nor will it exist in the Kingdom which is to come.

  16. Fr. David says

    Photo mystery solved or mystery heightened. Thanks

  17. Francis Frost says

    Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says:

    May 28, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Good of you, Misha, to pop in, as you say. I hope you’ll get all the way back into the fray here. SCOTUS is, as POTUS has endeavored methodically, likely to “fundamentally transform” (please pardon the split infinitive) American jurisprudence by the end of June, and the usual anti-Russian misanthropes have continued, in your absence, to misrepresent the religious mission of the Russian Orthodox Church and, of course, the Russian Federation’s domestic and foreign policies.

    Father Alexander is either abysmally ignorant or deliberately disingenuous. Perhaps, the good Dr. Father Webster might utilize his prodigious educational credentials and read a little before making his ill informed pronouncements.

    While Fr Alexander decries the influence of the gay activist movement in the West, his own Moscow Patriarchate has its own Gay Mafia scandal, publicized by the renowned theologian and Vice Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev.


    Patriach Kirill has been a repeated source of scandal for his 4 Billion USD fortune, a fortune he obtained by using the church’s tax exempt status to sell duty free alcohol and cigarettes. In addition, Kirlll has been a recurring source of embarrassment to he church for his sumptuary lifestyle, his live-in female companion (respectfully described as a distant relative for modesty’s sake), and his uncanonical predatory lawsuit against his neighbor.


    The Russian government has al ong history of invading and occupying its neighbors, while murdering or oppressing innocent Orthodox Christian in it former colonies. The ROC has been complicit in these illegal campaigns.

    Under the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Gorbachov, on April 9, 1989 the Soviet military fired on and bludgeoned to death unarmed college student protesters in Tbilisi, while Patriarch Ilya led the students in the Lord’s Prayer, killing two dozen young people. Outrage over this atrocity led to Georgia’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. Since that time, the Russian government has pursued a continuous policy of aggression in an attempt to destroy the Georgian nation. The Russian government has used the regional authorities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia as tools to attack the majority Georgian populations.

    The Soviet Era constitutions gave special privileges to the so-called “titular minorities” in order decrease national cohesion and weaken the conquered nations. In South Ossetia, nearly 100,000 ethnic Georgians were expelled from their homes in 1991, while Russian “peacekeepers” armed and protected the Ossetian militias during the fighting.  In Abkhazia the Apsua (Abkhazian people) comprised only 17% of the population; but were guaranteed control of the local government. After Georgia declared independence, fearing loss of their status, the Apsua declared war on their ethnic Georgian neighbors, who comprised 47% of the population in Abkhazia. With the help of their allies in the “Union of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus”, a Muslim confederacy, the Apsua all but exterminated the Georgian community in Abkhazia. Nearly 47,000 Georgian Orthodox Christians were killed, and nearly 250,000 were driven into exile.

    For more information on this conflict you may read: “The 1992-93 Georgian – Abkhazian War: A Forgotten Conflict” by Alexandros Petersen of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


    or, the report “The Dynamics and Challenges of Ethnic Cleansing: The Georgia-Abkhazia Case” by the United Nations High Commission on Refuges at:

    Descriptions of the suffering of the victims of this genocidal campaign can be read at:


    After the 1992-93 invasion of Abkhazia, the Russian Orthodox Church created a schismatic “Abkhaz Orthodox Eparchy” on the ruins of the legitimate Orthodox Diocese of Tskhumi and all Abkhazia. The “leader” of this schismatic church is the de-frocked Archimandrite Vissarion Apliaa. Despite the obvious schismatic, un-canonical nature of this so-called “Eparchy”; the Moscow Patriarchate ordained and assigned clergy to this diocese, and funded its work. The Moscow Patriarchate freely admits to its support for schismatic churches in occupied Georgia, as can be seen from the attached article “Unrecognized Eparchies” published by the Moscow Patriarchate and additional articles by Alexander Soldatov and Vladimir Vorsobin from Portal-credo.ru. It is also clear that the Moscow Patriarchate has used false accusations and heretical phyletist arguments to justify its ecclesiastical attack on the unity of the Orthodox Church. (See attached articles) 

    This Abkhaz Eparchy has since divided into two camps, one still loyal to Moscow. The other has declared itself an “Autonomous Abkhaz Metropolia” with a self ordained bishop, Archmandrite Dorofei Dbar. The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” describes the participation of the Moscow Patriarchate and its clergy in the history of the aggression against the Georgian nation and the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. 

     In the “Orthodox Occupation” television documentary, the Russian Bishop Panteleimon of Karabadino-Adyghe is shown con-celebrating with the schismatic Vissarion Apliaa, and officially awarding him the Order of St Seraphim of Sarov on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate. This demonstrates the direct involvement of the Moscow Patriarchate in the creation of the schismatic “Eparchy” By its own published documents; the Moscow Patriarchate stands self-condemned of both schism and heresy.  
    Following the 2008 invasion of Georgia, this same Vissarion Apliaa led the forces that expelled the last legitimate Orthodox clergy from the newly occupied Gali and Kodori districts in eastern Abkhazia in April 2009.  Vissarion Apliaa was received into the ranks of the clergy by the Moscow Patriarchate without a canonical release; and Patriarch Kirill personally con-celebrated with this renegade monk in violation of the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Church. Reports of the persecution of the legitimate Georgian Orthodox church by the schismatic “Abkhaz Eparchy” and its sponsors may be read at the Forum 18 Religious Freedom web-site:




    During the genocidal campaign of 1992, Hieromonk Andrea Kurashvili and the Subdeacon Giorgi Adua ,who were restorers and guardians of the Shrine of the Repose of St John Chrysostom, were brutally tortured and martyred. You may read the their Life and Martyrdom on the Mystagogy web-site at:


    The Human Rights Watch Organization has posted updated reports on the on-going persecution of the Georgian Orthodox faithful in occupied Abkhazia



    In August 2008, the Russian bishops, Panteleimon of Kabardino-Adyghe and Feofan of Saratov (since transferred to Machkhala) accompanied the invasion forces and publicly “blessed” the weapons used to attack civilian populations. These “blessings” were televised first in Russia and then in Georgia. You may watch the video with your own eyes as it is included in the “Orthodox Occupation” video on You Tube. These infernal “blessings” are also included in Andrei Nekrasov’s documentary “Uroki Russkogo” (Russian Lessons), which debunks the Russian government’s propaganda campaign of justification for its invasion of Georgia. Mr. Nekrasov’s documentary is also available on You Tube in 12 segments, some with English sub-titles for those who do not understand the Russian language.

    On August 8, 2008, the missiles “blessed” by Bishop Feofan were used attack the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the Shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden in Nikozi. On August 9th, the Russian military and their Ossetian allies looted, desecrated and burned this ancient House of God. These weapons were used in bombing raids and missile attacks on civilian populations throughout Georgia, including areas well outside the so-called “zone of conflict”.

    The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:
    Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over, titled “Orthodox Occupancy Part 1 and Part 2” at the following urls:
    A television documentary on the destruction of Ghvertaeba and the work of reconstruction carried out by Metropolitan Isaiah may be viewed at:


    By their own actions, the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have violated the Apostolic Canons, and they have spurned the Lord’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. They have specifically violated the Apostolic Canons 11-16, and 30 -35.  The prescribed penalty for any one of these crimes against the church is deposition and or excommunication, both for the offender and any who continue to commune with him!
    Through their infernal “blessing” of military weapons of mass destruction, the Russian bishops have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, since through their actions they have invoked the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life in the cause of murder, mayhem and destruction. Without profound repentance, this sin will not be forgiven; not in this world nor in the next. 
    Despite the enormity of these crimes, His Holiness, Patriarch Ilya II and the Holy Synod of the Georgian Patriarchate have followed the apostolic example of long-suffering and conciliation. “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate.”  I Corinthians 4:9.  The Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate twice sent a delegation headed by Metropolitan Gerasime of Zugdidi to Moscow to conciliate. The Georgian Patriarchate offered to grant the status of a metochion to the Russian clergy operating in the occupied territories. The Russians refused that offer and demanded the right of conquest.

    These past twenty years of persecution have caused enormous suffering for the Georgian Orthodox faithful. Nearly 50,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives. Almost 300,000 have lost their homes and livelihoods. Two entire dioceses have been laid waste. Heretics are promoted and the legitimate churches destroyed.

    For the past two years Metropolitan Isaiah of Tskhinvali – Nikazi has been essentially held captive in occupied Akhalgori. The Russian occupants have told him that if he crosses over into the rest of his diocese in unoccupied territory, he will never be allowed back across the demarcation line. As he is unwilling to bandon his flock in the occupied territory he is thus trapped there along with them.
    Examples of the suffering of innocents during the Russian invasion of 20008 can be read at:
    Related photo album is at:
    By these abominations of wickedness, the Russian bishops have “crucified again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame”  (Hebrews 6:4-6), for as the Lord Himself said, “as you did it to these the least of my brethren, so you did it to Me”  Matthew 25:40.  

    From the London Sunday Telegraph:

    South Ossetia one year on: Georgians wait in fear for Russians to return
    A year ago, the Kremlin shocked the world when it sent troops into Georgia. Today, the war clouds over South Ossetia are gathering once more.

    Zaza Razmadze holds the body of his brother Zura after a bombardment in Gori, 80 km from Tbilisi, August 9, 2008. A Russian warplane dropped a bomb on an apartment block in the Georgian town of Gori, killing at least 5 people 

    By Adrian Blomfield in Gori
    6:19PM BST 01 Aug 2009

    When the dull throb of homesickness becomes too overpowering to resist, the former inhabitants of Eredvi perform a bittersweet ritual.

    The last Georgian Police check-point on the way to Tskhinvali. Check-point is located in Ergneti on the administrative border of South Ossetia. The Russian and Ossetian checkpoint is about 100 m further down that road.

    Clambering up a steep hill outside the Georgian city of Gori, they fix a borrowed pair of binoculars on the gutted cottages that, until a year ago, they called home.

    Closer inspection is impossible. Though Eredvi is just a few miles away, it lies in the breakaway province of South Ossetia and their way is blocked by Russian troops and the local militiamen who burned their village down.

    Though his eyes are weak and his body wracked by illness, Tengiz Razmadze occasionally makes the trip to the top of the hill, listening as his younger son Zaza describes the ruins of the little house at the end of the village.
    Mr Razmadze has no need to see for himself. He lived through the destruction of his home, refusing to leave even as the roar of Russian bombers filled the skies during five days of war last August, killing his neighbours and striking his house.

    It was only as Ossetian militiamen, bent on revenge, embarked on drunken looting sprees in Georgian villages like Eredvi that lay on Ossetian soil, that he finally decided to flee.

    He reached Gori, a supposedly safe sanctuary deep in undisputed Georgian territory, only to find that his older son Zviadi had just been buried, after being killed in a Russian air strike.

    Zaza Razmadze saw the explosions that killed his brother. Running through the choking dust and smoke that darkened the sky above Gori, he stumbled on his body in the forecourt of the block of flats where Zvio, as his family knew him, lived.

    It was here that The Sunday Telegraph came across Zaza Razmadze, cradling his brother’s head in his arms and imploring him to live as he ripped off his own shirt to try to staunch his wounds.

    Photographs of his grief were to become the defining images of the short but brutish war Georgia and Russia fought a year ago, images so compelling that the Kremlin sought to dismiss them as fabrication.

    In the garage where the two men worked together, Zaza Razmadze has built a shrine to the brother he loved, a small fountain above which he has carved the word’s “Zvio’s Stream”.

    Jerkily he recalled that hot August day, explaining that – unbeknown to him – as he tended Zvio’s body his brother’s wife, eight months pregnant, was also dying in the flat above.

    “They had left the previous day,” he said with quiet but forceful bitterness. “I still don’t know why they came back.”
    The only person who could answer that question is his nephew, eight-year-old Dito. Wounded in the blast that killed his parents, Dito is still to traumatised to speak of what happened.

    Two months ago, Zaza Razmadze got married. But any happiness that brought remains clouded by grief and anger, emotions that are caused to burn more deeply by a conflict that was frozen but never resolved – and by talk of a new war.

    “If war resumes, every citizen of Gori will fight,” he said. “Even the women will fight, even my new wife. We have nothing to lose.”

    In the 12 months since a war that stunned the world, Georgia has slipped from its consciousness. Yet tensions remain high. At least 28 Georgian policemen patrolling the administrative boundary have been killed by sniper fire or remotely detonated mines since the end of the war. At border crossings, now sealed, Georgian and Russian guns remain trained on each other.

    Less than 100 yards separate the Russian and Georgian flags that flutter above identical dugouts, protected by sandbags and concrete barriers at the crossing of Ergneti.

    Capt Zura, the officer commanding the Georgian side of the line, pointed out Russian sniper positions on the roof of an abandoned hotel. “The Russians make a lot of trouble, especially at night when they are drunk,” he said.
    Later that evening, Georgian officers at a nearby crossing said they had come under fire, claiming that a rocket-propelled grenade had exploded above their positions.

    Such is the instability that the International Crisis Group, a leading conflict prevention think tank, warned in June that “extensive fighting could again erupt.”

    A European Union investigation is still trying to establish who was responsible for last year’s war, which ended in a humiliating battlefield rout for the Georgian army. But western diplomats in Tblisi say it is fairly clear that Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s pro-western president, walked into a carefully laid Russian trap by launching a massive assault against the Ossetian rebels, who had long enjoyed Moscow’s support.

    Some military analysts in Moscow say that Russia is now contemplating a new war to oust Mr Saakashvili, whose determination to seek Nato membership for Georgia has consistently infuriated the Kremlin.

    Remarkably, the Georgian leader has defied widespread predictions that failure in the war would cost him his job – despite four months of protests called by Georgia’s fragmented opposition.

    But elsewhere, the omens do not look good. Since recognising the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another Kremlin-backed rebel enclave in Georgia, Russia has deployed thousands of troops in both provinces and has begun building new military bases.

    The Russian defence ministry angrily declined immediate comment on its troop levels in the two provinces and accused The Sunday Telegraph of failing to respect its dignity.

    The Kremlin has also forced the withdrawal of two international observer missions from the conflict zone and, in breach of its ceasefire commitments, has prevented the third, the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), from operating in either South Ossetia or Abkhazia.

    Even more worryingly, the EUMM came under attack for the first time when an ambulance driver was killed in an assault on a monitors’ convoy near Abkhazia in June.

    “It was a definite attack on the EUMM,” said Steve Bird, a Foreign Office official attached to the mission. “The mine used in the attack was remotely detonated.”

    The EUMM says that Georgia has abided by the ceasefire agreements, brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that ended last year’s war, but the Russians have not.

    In one of its most contentious moves, Russia used the days after the ceasefire to seize control of Akhalgori, a largely Georgian district of South Ossetia that had been under government control for over a decade.
    Russia now allows buses to carry displaced Georgians to their homes in Akhalgori, which – unlike those elsewhere in Ossetia – have largely escaped the arsonists. But most are still too afraid to stay for long.

    The Sunday Telegraph received a brusquer welcome at the Russian checkpoint when it sought permission to take photographs of buses crossing into Akhalgori. “Go and take your pictures in Georgia,” the Russian commanding officer said, before stalking off in a rage.

    Observers suspect that Russia’s tactics are partly aimed at laying the groundwork for a new war. A pretext could be created, they say, either by engineering a cross-border incident that results in Russian casualties – or by accusing Georgia of helping anti-Kremlin rebels in Russia’s nearby North Caucasus region.

    In a potentially disturbing omen, Russia on Saturday threatened to “use all available force and means” to defend its civilians after claiming that Georgia had launched several attacks on the separatist capital Tskhinvali in recent days. Georgia denied the allegations and the EUMM said it had been unable to verify Russia’s claims.

    Last week it also claimed that North Caucasus rebels were operating in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge.

    “There is definitely a pattern to what the Kremlin is doing,” said a senior Western diplomat in Tbilisi. He said that Moscow wanted control over Georgia, both to prevent the construction of a gas pipeline that would reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia and to find an easier way of supplying its own troops in Armenia.

    But with Russia unlikely to find a pliant successor to Mr Saakashvili, the diplomat said a major war was unlikely. Instead, he predicted that Russia would make creeping advances deeper into Georgian territory or launch occasional bombing raids, as part of a campaign to destabilise its neighbor.

    “Georgia would protest to the international community but without guaranteed success,” he said. “The law of the strongest will apply.”

    In the meantime, for tens of thousands of Georgians uprooted from their homes or scarred from those few days of war, daily life grows ever more desperate.

    Over three days last week, The Sunday Telegraph revisited villages in Georgia that bore the brunt of the Russian advance and the brutal reprisals by the accompanying Ossetian militias.

    The border village of Ergneti has been all but abandoned, save for the occasional family that ekes out an existence in the charred ruins of their homes.

    Ivane Dvalishvili showed us the rusted remains of his grandson’s first bicycle, almost all he had salvaged from the rubble. His 80-year-old neighbour, Gaioz, had neatly swept his destroyed possessions into large piles by the blackened walls of his house.

    A year ago, during an intense Russian arterial assault, the Sunday Telegraph took shelter with Makhvala Orshuashvili by the wall of her garden in the village of Tkviavi, where she fed us peaches from her orchard, shouting over the noise of the shells.

    We found her where we left her, sitting on a bench outside the garden – only this time she was wearing a black headscarf to denote mourning.

    When the Ossetians came through, raping and pillaging, they came across her husband returning home with bread. Telling him to run, they shot him in the back and he died later of starvation after rejecting food.

    Makhvala cowered in terror inside her house, listening as the drunken soldiers played a stolen guitar on the street outside.

    Back in Gori, stung by the financial crisis and the aftershocks of war, Zaza Razmadze is lucky if he takes home more than £5 a day, half what he earned before the conflict.

    With that he must support the families of eight relatives who were also forced out of Ossetia when the militias embarked on what the Council of Europe has described as a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Georgians.
    The Georgians of South Ossetia, about 25,000, are now housed in identikit camps that have mushroomed near the administrative boundary with the rebellious province.

    A small, whitewashed cottage in one of the camps now houses Zaza Razmadze’s father, Tengiz. Blind in one eye, his eyesight failing in the other, Mr Razmadze ekes out an existence in his half-painted rooms, furnished with only a narrow bed, a flimsy table and a small television, on the £17 a month provided by the state.

    Like other Georgians in South Ossetia, he was never rich. But the fecund soil allowed them to create fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. In their new accommodation, Ossetia’s displaced can no longer fend for themselves.
    Tengiz Razmadze seems a broken man, much older than his 60 years. He is trying to summon up the mental and physical strength to commemorate the first anniversary of his son’s death on Aug 9. But it will be a struggle. “I don’t know if I can survive the pain and sorrow again,” he said.

    For the past 20 years, since the genocide and ethnic cleansing that destroyed the Georgian Orthodox community in Abkhazia, a campaign which killed 47,000 Orthodox Christians and drove another 246,000 Orthodox Christians from their ancestral homes, the Russian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate has maintained a non-canonical Abkhaz Eparchy on the territory and in the very churches stolen from the legitimate Orthodox diocese of Pitsunda, Tskhum and Abkhazia. Despite the clear violation of the most ancient and authoritative Apostolic Canons, the MP has continued its schismatic activity.

    As the following two articles show, the schismatic diocese has now further divided into two entities, one remaining loyal to Moscow, the other seeking autocephaly via the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In either case, involvement of outside jurisdictions on the territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate is a clear violation of the Scared Canons. Those who carry out these activities are deserving of removal from the clergy or excommunication.

    “It’s the Weak Link that Breaks. Abkhazia, the Next Weak Link in the Russian Church’s Diplomacy” by Alexander Soldatov;  Portal-Credo.Ru web-site article.

    Original article (in Russian):   http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=comment&id=1875

    The Moscow Patriarchate has perhaps the world’s most powerful ecclesiastical-political structure. The quasi-state Russian Church does not suffer from lack of funding. Well, perhaps, there is a lack of personnel; there are not enough creative people in the numerous structures of the Patriarchate, who are enthused by the high ideal of service to the Church for the sake of God’s truth on earth. Also this is a pragmatic time, and the political-economic situation of the ROC-MP does not evoke a romantic mood. If you do not accept as a “National Idea” the nostalgic celebration of May 9th (Victory over Fascism Day- translator); you’ll have to admit the “Monetocratia” the power of money and the faith in its huge, wonderworking might has become the genuine national idea in most of the post-Soviet space.

    Since the Russian Orthodox Church acquired “an effective manager” as its head, it has articulated just such a mindset and set of values in its church policy. Patriarch Kirill realized that the time had passed when unpaid church workers would labor `for the glory of God’ and that in order to implement its `missionary imperative’, the church would require a solid financial policy and sound economic base. Hence the transfer of vast properties to the Church’s estate, the public financing of religious education in the schools and chaplaincies for the military; the creation of state sponsored `endowment funds” for the most significant monasteries and parishes. In addressing issues of foreign policy, the Patriarch also routinely relies on the Russian government.

    It is no secret to Russians that the wars in Chechnya and the Caucasus region were only concluded by the permanent infusion into the “secessionist regions” of multi-billion ruble subsidies from Moscow. Nor is it a secret that huge sums of money were invested in the restoration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose independence the Russian Federation recognized after the end of its victorious war against a fearsome opponent – Georgia. The Russian government even expended its financial resources in order to acquire recognition of the “newly independent states” by the governments of Nauru and Nicaragua. The authorities of the microscopic island of Nauru did not even hide the kind of sums they were paid for their recognition of the independence of the two Georgian regions.
    For its part, the Moscow Patriarchate also invested its substance in the creation of an independent Abkhaz diocese. Despite the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church recognizes the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church over Abkhazia, Sukhumi and Novy Afon (New Athos), the ROC is constantly sending priests of the neighboring Maikop diocese into Abkahzia to serve there. Moreover, the Russian Church has dispatched to Abkhazia its chief public relations asset, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev, who in recent months has carried out successful interventions in the various “hot spots” of the post-Soviet Oikumene. His trip to Moldova of last autumn was memorable for his accomplishment of extinguishing the “fire of a new schism” in the face of the conservative Society of the Blessed Matrona of Moscow. That crew consisted of three priests of the Udmurt diocese, who had ceased the commemoration of Patriarch Kirill; a fact of which, alas, Moscow had not been forewarned. And so we have an example of Fr. Andrei’s successful efforts to prevent schisms on the territories of one of Russia’s central regions.
    Officially in Abkhazia since last fall, Fr Andrei has been lecturing at the university, rides around on aMoped, and lives with a pious family, who had moved to the `land of the soul’ from stifling Moscow. Unofficially, Fr Andrei is steering the process of forming an autocephalous Abkhaz Church, whose autocephaly will be just as real as the Abkhaz’s government’s supposed sovereignty.

    If we accept Fr Andrei as the “overseer” over the Abkhaz Church, the main lever of control over the Abkhaz Church is the priest Vissarion (Besarion in both Georgian and Apsynni languages – translator) Apliaa, who has served in Pitsunda since the Soviet era, when he went by the surname, “Plia” which sounds better in the Russian language. Having tested the waters in several jurisdictions during the Georgian- Abkhaz war, Fr Vissarion came to the conclusion that only the Moscow Patriarchate could successfully support and defend the Abkhaz Church. Fr. Vissarion often travels to Moscow, where he serves with the local clergy including the Patriarch, despite the questionable canonical status of the Abkhaz clergy. Fr Vissaraion elevates the name of the Patriarch of Moscow during the services, although he never was granted a canonical release by the Georgian Patriarchate. This course of action, however, is consistent with the stated policy of the Abkhaz authorities, who carry out Moscow’s orders and are more loyal to the Kremlin than any other region subject to the Russian Federation.

    Such a “narrow and puppet-like” position as shown by Fr Vissarion – a representative of the old Soviet generation of the clergy – has not found favor with the younger generation of Abkhaz clergy, formed under conditions of independence, who seek to incorporate the Abkhaz church into the system of “World Orthodoxy” rather than relegate it to the status of a provincial diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church –Moscow Patriarchate. This younger generation rejects the destruction of the special delights of catholicity (sobornost’), the strict centralized “vertical” merger with the plutocratic powers, the commercialization, and the other systemic flaws inherent in the Russian State Church. In general, they are guided by the desire to introduce their Abkhaz Church on the world wide stage, rather than “beg on the doorstep of the Russian embassy”.

    Who could have predicted that the Clergy-Laity meeting at Novy Afon on May 15th would be the premier national event in Abkhazia?  It was attended by about 2,000 people, a huge number for such a small country. Here it was:  real conciliarity (sobornost’), the kind that Russians can only dream about! The meeting welcomed numerous political leaders, including Abkhaz government officials. The chairman of the meeting, Hieromonk Dorofei (Dbar), who completed his MDiv and theological studies in Greece, was named candidate for bishop. The organizers of this event let it be known that they have the definite support of the authorities, so that they will soon be registering the new name for their creation – The Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia. As the name of this structure implies, as well as the personal contacts its founders have with Patriarch Bartholomew, indicates the priority they give to Constantinople, not Moscow, in negotiating their autocephaly. Especially, since the Ecumenical Patriarch is of the opinion that only he has the right to grant autocephaly, a right recognized since antiquity. This is why “World Orthodoxy” does not recognize the autocephaly granted by Moscow to the Orthodox Church in America. Yet even with such “daring” as to proclaim the establishment of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, these clergy stressed that they remained within the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate.

    At one time, the Orthodox in Abkhazia had a choice, similar to the one faced by their brothers in South Ossetia. Have found themselves caught between “two beacons of official Orthodoxy” – Moscow and Tbilisi – and unable to be located in either jurisdiction, they opted for one of the unofficial “True Orthodox” jurisdictions albeit one with the softest stance vis-a vis “official Orthodoxy”, that is the “Synod in Resistance” of Metropolitan Kipirian (Kutsumba). Currently the True Orthodox Church in South Ossetia is headed by Fr Georgiy ((Pukhate) who would like to enter into the Moscow Patriarchate, only Moscow cannot come up with a plan to accomplish the deed.

    The Moscow Patriarchate and its de-facto representative in Abkhazia, Fr Vissarion, responded most irritably to the news of the meeting at Novy Afon. Since the monks Andrei (Amparo) and Dorofei (Dbar) are listed as minor (parish) clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Maikop Diocese, they could be subject to canonical sanctions. It is true that Fr Andrei was transferred to the Church of Greece, where he served in parishes; but Moscow will not acknowledge that this temporary transfer was a canonical release.

    The newly proclaimed Metropolis will prove to be a “great trial” for the Abkhaz authorities. On the one hand, this organization is deeply nationalistic in nature, and the principle “Independent State – Independent Church ” which was key to the future of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, is dear to the heart of any sovereign power, even a puppet regime. On the other hand the bulk of the Abkhaz clergy, gathered around Vissarion, will never recognize the autocephalous Metropolis without direct and specific instructions to do so from Moscow. Given the fact that the pro-Moscow faction has been present in Abkhazia for twenty years, and the fact that the Abkhaz authorities are so dependent on Moscow; it is unlikely that the authorities could take an independent stance on the church issue. It is therefore unlikely that the “Holy Metropolis” was authorized by the authorities.

    The situation may be resolved as it was in Estonia- a division of the parishes between Constantinople and Moscow. If this model works in so many countries around the world; well then, why not in Abkhazia?
    In any case even with the story still unfolding, we are dealing with another loss of Moscow’s position in the post Soviet region, and with the expansion of Constantinople, which represents the West in the Orthodox world – that is the U.S and the “aggressive NATO bloc”

    Alexander Soldatov

    Excerpt from the Article: “Abkhazia Again Struggles for Independence; but this Time from Russia?”  by Vladimir Vorsobin    Moskovskaya Komsomolskaya Pravda, 5/17/2011

    Original article (in Russian):

    The Church
    …Further on the way to the border, in the Sochi airport, I meet the well known Russian missionary, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev. He frowns, furtively and diplomatically. If he speaks, “it is not for publication”. For the past several months, Deacon Andrei has been running shuttling back and forth between Moscow and Sukhumi; trying to maintain peace in the confidential religious sector of Russian-Abkhaz relations. Alas, there is a trench warfare going on. The conflict flared up in the New Athos monastery when the Russian Orthodox Church installed a retired priest, Igumen Efrem, as the new abbot of that monastery. Oddly, the head of the Abkhaz Church, Vissarion Apliaa, calls Fr Efrem by the respectable Abkhaz surname “Lakerbaia”, while their opponents call Fr Efrem by his Russian surname, Vinogradov.

    To the amazement of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Abkhazians actually cared. The nationalist scruples of the local Sukhumi Orthodox newspaper “Necessary” described it thus:

    “If Fr. Efrem had come alone and had Abkhaz roots; well then let him come; but no – he came with three (read Russian) hieromonks, five or six monks, and a novice… This requires a negotiation.”

    “The monastic brethren do not like the fact the Bessarion, behind their backs, took This Fr. Efrem to Moscow and presented him to Patriarch Kirill, and then in their words, Fr Efrem began to give orders what should be and what must not be in the monastery. There was to be nothing of the Byzantine or Greek style; emphasis must be on the Slavonic. It did not please the brothers nor the lay people, who came to worship in Novy Afon, that Fr. Efrem would conduct the services in Slavonic rather than in the Abkhazian (Apsynni) language.

    The uproar led the former rector of the monastery, Fr. Andrei (Anpar), with the help of public meetings, to obtain the recommendation of the Public Chamber of Abkhazian `to suspend the appointment’. Moreover, Fr Andrei clearly formulated the main and clearly understood idea of an established nation, which has finally become independent.
    `We believe that the future of the Abkhaz church must be built not only on our relationship with the Russian church; but also with the other Orthodox churches: with the Greeks, with the Serbs. The foreign policy of the Abkhaz church should be multipolar.’ As a result, the (Abkhaz) Orthodox community erupted in conflict. The next Sunday, the Abkhaz church split – those under the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by Fr. Vissarion, and the independents headed by Fr. Andrei.

    Since I promised the Orthodox diplomat (Archdeacon Adrei Kuroev) that I would not cite him in my article, I will only say that the deacon expressed his astonishment at these events in the most colorful and emotional Russian language.

    Vladimir Vorsobin

    The Relevant Apostolic Canons
    Canon X. (XI.)
    If any one shall pray, even in a private house, with an excommunicated person, let him also be excommunicated.

    Canon XI. (XII.)
    If any clergyman shall join in prayer with a deposed clergyman, as if he were a clergyman, let him also be deposed.

    Canon XII. And XIII (XIII.)
    If any one of the clergy or laity who is excommunicated, or not to be received, shall go away, and be received in another city without commendatory letters, let both the receiver and the received be excommunicated. But if he be excommunicated already, let the time of his excommunication be lengthened.

    Canon XIV.
    A bishop is not to be allowed to leave his own parish, and pass over into another, although he may be pressed by many to do so, unless there be some proper cause constraining him. as if he can confer some greater benefit upon the persons of that place in the word of godliness. And this must be done not of his own accord, but by the judgment of many bishops, and at their earnest exhortation.

    Canon XV.
    If any presbyter, or deacon, or any other of the list of the clergy, shall leave his own parish, and go into another, and having entirely forsaken his own, shall make his abode in the other parish without the permission of his own bishop, we ordain that he shall no longer perform divine service; more especially if his own bishop having exhorted him to return he has refused to do so, and persists in his disorderly conduct. But let him communicate there as a layman.

    Canon XVI.
    If, however, the bishop, with whom any such persons are staying, shall disregard the command that they are to cease from performing divine offices, and shall receive them as clergymen, let him be excommunicated, as a teacher of disorder.

    Canon XXX. (XXXI.)
    If any bishop obtain possession of a church by the aid of the temporal powers, let him be deposed and excommunicated, and all who communicate with him.

    Canon XXXI. (XXXII.)
    If any presbyter, despising his own bishop, shall collect a separate congregation, and erect another altar, not having any grounds for condemning the bishop with regard to religion or justice, let him be deposed for his ambition; for he is a tyrant; in like manner also the rest of the clergy, and as many as join him; and let laymen be excommunicated. Let this, however, be done after a first, second, and third admonition from the bishop.

    Canon XXXII. (XXXIII.)
    If any presbyter or deacon has been excommunicated by a bishop, he may not be received into communion again by any other than by him who excommunicated him, unless it happen that the bishop who excommunicated him be dead.

    Canon XXXIII. (XXXIV.)
    No foreign bishop, presbyter, or deacon, may be received without commendatory letters; and when they are produced let the persons be examined; and if they be preachers of godliness, let them be received. Otherwise, although you supply them with what they need, you must not receive them into communion, for many things are done surreptitiously.

    Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)
    Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.

    • Fr. John Whiteford says

      This is a long collection of half truths and outright lies. The MP has no desire to annex Abkhazia, as is shown by the virulent Russian hater Paul Goble in this article: http://www.jamestown.org/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=42107&no_cache=1#.VXV2EM9Viko

      “Since the August 2008 war in Georgia, Orthodox Churches in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have routinely sought to become subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate rather than to Tbilisi. But the Moscow Patriarchate has rejected such calls because of the precedent it would almost certainly create in Ukraine, where so much of its domain is concentrated. ”

      And by the war, the war between Russia and Georgia was clearly started by former president Mikheil Saakashvili:


      Mikheil Saakashvili has recently resurfaced as the new governor of Odessa, Ukraine… like a bad penny.

      And why is this topic being raised on this thread to begin with?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Francis, leaving aside the fact that you have outdistanced Mr Ashley Nevins in the logorrhea department, I cannot but be amused at the mote in your (and by extension our country’s) eye.


        1. You assume Vladimir Putin to be a dictator, forgetting all the while that we have had a line of presidents going back to Truman who unilaterally declared war, bypassing the Congress which has the exclusive right to declare war. You also forget our recent president’s unilateral changing of the law regarding illegal aliens.

        2. You paint a dark picture of Russian churchmen engaging in financial shenanigans but overlook the long line of financial improprieties that have bedeviled the various American denominations up to and including the present day.

        3. Your tossing out of the Canons to indict the Russian Orthodox Church is particularly rich given that the American Orthodox episcopate has violated far more canons and with more frequency than anything that could be dreamed of in Russia (or Serbia or Greece or Bulgaria, etc.)

        May I humbly suggest that before we in America get on our high horse that we begin to at least acknowledge that there is a beam in our own eye? It’d be very difficult to go on one of our democracy jihads while so blinded.

        • George, regarding points 1, 2, and 3, I can only respond, “bingo, bingo, and bingo.”

        • Francis Frost says


          It is the illustrious Father alexander who has thrown down the gauntlet.

          You decry the secular permission for gay marriages. You have routinely accused the hierarchs of your own church of belonging to a ‘Lavender Mafia’, documented with nothing but innuendoes and seminarian’s gossip.

          Russia’s own primer theologian has publicly acted to point out the scandals in the Moscow Patriarchate, including the sexual molestation of seminarians in the Kazan Theological Seminary.

          Father Alexander has claimed moral superiority for his new affiliation. sorry to burst his illusory ballon. There Moscow Patriarchate remains what it has been for the past 4 centuries – a subsidiary of thee Russian government. At least, during the Soviet era, the Russian bishops could claim to be coerced into cooperation with the godless. now the Russian bishops act on behalf of Putin;s neo-Soviet empire for the worst of reasons , greed and moral compromise.

          tThe Moscow Patriarcate’s violations of the Sacred Canons are not just ‘bumazhnaya dela”. These violations are overt acts of violence against innocent civilians, desecrations of ancient holy places, murders of the Orthodox clergy and the destruction of entire dioceses. These sins are crimes against humanity, and crimes against Christ. “As you did it to the least of these my brethren, so you did it to Me.” Matthew 25

          Your argument will not wash.

        • Francis Frost says

          George wrote:

          Francis, leaving aside the fact that you have outdistanced Mr Ashley Nevins in the logorrhea department, I cannot but be amused at the mote in your (and by extension our country’s) eye.

          Dear George:

          I am very sorry to have taxed your capacity for processing information.. History, however, is important. Facts matter. Hopefully the good Dr. Father Alexander, PhD will have a greater capacity for reading and learning so that he not spout utter nonsense in the future.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Dear-to-Christ Francis, eloquent evasions are still that –evasions. Would you care to disprove my points, any one of them?

            1. How the Executive branch has usurped war-making powers?

            2. How American churchmen have debased the Gospel and/or engaged in financial shenanigans that would make Elmer Gantry blush with shame?

            3. How the American Orthodox episcopate has violated at least as many canons as you accuse the ROC of violating? That credible accusations of everything from simony to sodomy can be leveled against some of our bishops?

            I’ll make it easy for you: just disprove one of my assertions.

      • Francis Frost says

        Father Whiteford in uninformed. The Moscow Patriarchate created the “Abkhaz Eparchy” on the ruins of the legitimate Orthodox Diocese of Sokhumi – Bichvinta. The Moscow Patriarchate accepted into its ranks the renegade Hieromonk Vissarion Apliaa, with no canonical release from Metropolitan Daniel or the Georgian Patriarchate/ This same Vissarion Apliaa personally led the Russian military forces who expelled the last legitimate orthodox clergy from Abkhazia as documented in the forum 18 articles.

        The following articles from the MP’s own publications document the MP’s involvement in occupied Abkhazia and Samechablo, and further document the admitted acts of ecclesiastical aggression against the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. The article seems to assert a “right of conquest” unknown in orthodox ecclesiology.

        September 16, 2008 (the date of publication in Russian)
        Elena Maler-Matiazova

        The problem of pastorship of Orthodox believers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia has to be resolved
        Part 1: (http://www.rpmonitor.ru/en/en/detail.php?ID=10966)

        Due to the nationalist and discriminative policy, chosen by the Georgian Patriarchy towards the non-Georgian peoples in 1990s, the population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were not pastored by the church.
        The Abkhazian Orthodox Church, officially belonging to the canonical territory of the Georgian Patriarchy, de facto exists independently, both from the administrative and ecclesiastical viewpoints.

        This situation emerged since the 1992 putsch, unleashed by the regime of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, after which the Georgian clergy, including Metropolitan Daniel Datuashvili, abandoned Abkhazia and South Ossetia, leaving the parish to its fate. This withdrawal illustrated an absolutely uncanonical approach, based on segregation of believers into Georgians and non-Georgians.

        However, the Abkhazian eparchy still existed. After the war, it included only four clergymen: archpriests Pyotr Samsonov and Vissarion Apliaa, hieromonk Pavel Harchenko and hegumen Vitaly Golub. In 1998, the officially assembled Eparchial Council adopted the charter of the Sukhumi-Abkhazian Eparchy and elected Vissarion Apliaa as its chairman.

        Already in 1990s, the Moscow Patriarchy deputed several priests to assist the Abkhazian parish. Still, pastorship was unavailable, as Abkhazia was an uncanonical territory.
        The parish of South Ossetia, officially belonging to the Georgian Church, found itself in a similar situation. Since early 1990s, it had been de facto independent, both administratively and ecclesiastically.

        Already in 1992, the leadership of the South Ossetian Orthodox community addressed the Russian Orthodox Church with a request to accept it under its omophorium, and to assist in re-opening churches and resuming service. The local Committee for Religious Affairs collected thousands of signatures, addressed with a relevant request to Patriarch Alexius II. Ossetian priests traveled to Stavropol, raising the issue of the possibility of pastorship by the local Eparchy.

        In its official response, the Moscow Patriarchy indicated that South Ossetia is a part of the Georgian Church’s canonic territory, and therefore, the issue cannot be resolved immediately. At that time, the Russian Orthodox Church still hoped that the Georgian Patriarchy revise its approach and resume service with no regard of ethnic differences.

        After that, the South Ossetian diaspora addressed the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. A year later, the parish was eventually accepted as an independent deanery into ROCOR’s Odessa-Tambov Eparchy, and later into the Black Sea-Kuban Eparchy, which ordained Hegumen Georgy Pukhayev for the patronage of South Ossetia.

        New complications emerged in mid-2000s, when ROCOR’s Metropolitan Vitaly, who expressed disaccord with reunification of ROC and ROCOR, established an independent Synod of the True Orthodox Church that took charge of the South Ossetian deanery. However, the local clergy was seeking for other options, distributing requests for pastorship to a number of other Orthodox Churches.

        The only ecclesiastical entity that agreed to accept the request was then the Resister Synod of the True Orthodox Church of Greece. This community represents a part of the Greek Traditionalists who had abandoned the Hellenic Orthodox Church in 1924, disagreeing with the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. In early 2003, the TOC Synod adopted the South Ossetian deanery into its jurisdiction, later declaring re-establishment of the ancient Alanian Eparchy. Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili, head of the TOC Synod, officially informed Most Rev. Metropolitan Laurus, the First Hierarch of ROCOR, about this decision.
        For almost two decades, despite repeated requests to recognize independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia and to integrate the Orthodox communities of the two autonomies into the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow was reluctant to satisfy this wish, thus providing the possibility for the ostensibly democratic leadership of Georgia and the Georgian Patriarchy to resolve the ethnic conflict and to transcend to an adequate political and ecclesiastical management.

        However, the military assault on the South Ossetian civilians in August 2008, as well as similar plans of a crackdown on Abkhazia, the incumbent leadership of Georgia displayed a xenophobic approach to the two peoples. Therefore, Russia could not any longer continue a policy of non-involvement, and eventually took responsibility for these peoples, in order to save them from physical extermination. However, the ecclesiastical problem is still unresolved.

        It is noteworthy that the complicity of the situation is a direct consequence of the uncanonical policy of the Georgian Orthodox Church that has actually left the two parishes to their fate years ago. The reluctance of other canonical Orthodox Churches to patronize Abkhazians and South Ossetians creates a possibility of intervention of splinter churches like the so-called Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church.

        Judging upon the activity of the local Moslem community, particularly upon the recent interview of Abkhazian Mufti Timur Dzyba, entitled “Sukhum is Looking Eastward”, the unresolved problem of Orthodox pastorship, along with the Turkish political influence, is fraught with conversion of at least a part of the local population into Islam.
        The existing format of dialogue between the Moscow Patriarchy and the Georgian Patriarchy includes an agreement, admitting the possibility of establishing metochions for pastoring the diasporas of one another. On August 12, the two Churches agreed to cooperate in overcoming the consequences of the military conflict.
        The practice of pasturing through metochions is exemplified with the activity of the Russian Theological Mission on the territory of the Jerusalem Patriarchy, which supervises a number of churches, monasteries, and pilgrimage centers. A similar approach could be applied in the transitional period in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

        It is noteworthy that the Greek True Orthodox Church, declaring re-establishment of the Alanian Eparchy, coordinated this decision with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and acknowledged that this decision is necessitous and temporary. Moreover, the incumbent Bishop Georgy Pukhayev was originally ordained by ROCOR, and all the ROCOR’s ordinations are now regarded by the Moscow Patriarchy as canonical.

        The ultimate resolution obviously suggests integration of the Sukhum-Abkhazian and Alanian Eparchies with the Russian Orthodox Church. This option is welcomed by both of the Bishops, Vissarion Apliaa and Georgy Pukhayev. They are convinced that the security of the parishes and church property can be guaranteed only by complete independence from the Georgian Church.

        We realize the possibility of a new political campaign against Russia in Western media in case the Moscow Patriarchy undertakes this move. Moscow will be definitely accused of “double standards”, and “following the Ukrainian pattern”.

        However, it is necessary to remind that despite a very complicated situation in Ukraine, the Moscow Patriarchy has never applied an ethnicist approach to its parish. In Ukraine, as well as in the Baltic states, the Russian Orthodox Church has never segregated Russians from non-Russians, contrary to the Georgian Patriarchy that has chosen a nationalist – in theological terms, a heretical, Philetist approach, abandoning believers under an ethnic pretext, thus pursuing a policy that in fact contradicts to the very essence of Christianity, reflected in the worlds of Apostle Paul: in Christ, there is no Hellene and no Jew.

        As you see there are no “half lies”. The MP has publicly admitted its aggression on the territory of the Georgian orthodox Patruiarch, even as it uses absolute lies to justify its actions. The Georgian clergy did not abandon Abkhazia. They were forcibly expelled or murdered. This has bee previously documented.

        The Canons are clear, and the MP stands self condemned.

        After the matter was publicized (no small thanks to you, George) and personal appeals were made to senior Russian clergy, the MP has disowned the schismatic “Abkhaz Eparchy”,. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev accompanied by Metropolitan Gerasime of Zugdidi travelled to Sokhumi to inform the leaders of the “Abkhaz Eparchy” that the MP acknowledges the historical borders of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. Alfeyev instructed the Apsny clergy that hey , therefore , must seek reconciliation with the Georgian Patriarchate or remain in permanent schism. On the other hand the MP continues to concelebrate with the renegade Apliaa. The MP is still, therefore, in violation of the Sacred Canons.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Yawn. It’s really sad Francis. In Shakaashvili you picked the wrong horse and now you are stuck with the consequences. A neocon stooge who foolishly provoked a more powerful neighbor you are now left with nothing but ashes. I think I get in now: your logorrhea is a metaphor in many ways, specifically of the tears that the Jews “…[wept] bitterly by the waters of Babylon” during their own exile.

          There may be a silver lining however. Now that the “democratic” president of the Ukraine appointed this idiot to be governor of Odessa, we can all wait with baited breath while he works his magic there. I’m sure he has Victoria “F#%$ the EU” Nuland’s cell number.

  18. Francis Frost says

    And one more thing….

    By acting as a spokesman for a corrupt foreign dictator and war criminal, Fr Alexander is undermining his own credibility as a preacher of the Gospel.

    A man cannot serve two masters. He will either love the one and hate the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. Matthew 6:24

    It is no secret that the Russian government has adopted cyber warfare as part of its military strategy and that it now has set up multiple independent “trolling shops” to push it agenda on the internet.See last weeks New York Times article:


    By publicly advocating for a belligerent anti-American dictator, Fr Alexander undermines the teaching of Christ’s gospel – which is always the Gospel of peace.

    This is a shameful abdication of his priestly office, and Fr. Alexander will have to answer for it on the Day of Judgement.

    • Poppycock!

    • Rymlianin says

      Sorry, Francis, but Obama and the Western “leaders” are the belligerent ones. Claims that Russia has invaded Ukraine remain unsubstantiated and even Western leaders decry the claim. http://off-guardian.org/2015/04/11/french-intelligence-russian-intervention-in-ukraine-is-a-myth/
      Americans need to face the fact that their government is turning progressively anti-christian.

    • Fr. John Whiteford says
    • If Russia is doing it now, the U.S. was doing it 5-10 years ago.

      But anything published by the NYT is automatically suspect, so who can really say?

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      Mr. Frost, I wish to address you in the same pastoral role that you have, sadly, denounced in your latest post here.

      As a rule, I ignore your posts for their sheer length and predictable content. However, I could not miss my own name in the first line of your post at 5:25 a.m. on June 6, 2015. It must require a very creative imagination to spin my casual reply to Misha–“the usual anti-Russian misanthropes have continued, in your absence, to misrepresent the religious mission of the Russian Orthodox Church and, of course, the Russian Federation’s domestic and foreign policies.”—into a sinister conspiracy involving yours truly as, at once, a troll, spokesman, and advocate for “a belligerent anti-American dictator” and a “shameful,” false preacher of the Gospel.

      I know well that I shall have to answer for many things “on the Day of Judgment,” but your imaginary scenario is assuredly not one of them.

      More urgent in the present hour, however, is what I perceive to be your acute need for spiritual consolation and guidance. I presume that you already have a confessor / spiritual father. So I would welcome the opportunity to begin an informal spiritual conversation with you offline. You may reach me via the contact information included on my parish website.

      • Francis Frost says

        Dear Father Alexander:

        First; I do indeed have a spiritual father and a bishop; nor have I gone ‘shopping’ for a congenial bishop as have some others.

        Secondly your own words betray you.

        “the usual anti-Russian misanthropes have continued, in your absence, to misrepresent the religious mission of the Russian Orthodox Church and, of course, the Russian Federation’s domestic and foreign policies.”

        Who is misrepresenting what?

        As clearly documented above, the Moscow Patriarchate has repeatedly violated the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Church and the Savior’s commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

        The Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have, in violation of the Scared Canons, intruded into what they themselves acknowledge to be the territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate and the legitimate dioceses of Tskhum-Pitsunda and Tskhinvali- Nikazi. Please see that relevant Apostolic Canons enacted at thee first Ecumenical Council.

        What is more the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have publicly “blessed” military aggression and violence against innocent civilians. These infernal; “blessing’s” cannot be denies as they were broadcast on television and you may watch the video with your own eyes in You Tube.

        The neo-Soviet Putinist Emopire has invaded the sovereign territory of three independent states, murdered tens of thousands of innocent civilians (not to mention the 100,000 Chechens – Russian citizens all -that were bombed into oblivion in the 1990’s). Hundreds of thousands have been driven for their ancestral homes.

        You may call that “foreign policy”; but it is a crime. It is a crime against humanity , and a crime against Christ, who said “as you did it to the least of these, my brethren, so you did it to Me.” Matthew 25.

        You and the other members of Putin’s fan club like to dismiss the reality of the suffering inflicted on others; but these ‘others’ are our fellow Orthodox Christians, our own ‘flesh and blood ‘ through there Eucharist.

        If you were a true Orthodox Christian and a true priest, you would know that.

        This is indeed a conspiracy. It is a satanic assault against the truth of the Gospel and the very nature of the Church.

        Who indeed is a “misanthrope”? Those who decry mass murder, or those who defend and applaud it?

        Our Lord has told us that “But I say unto you,that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” Matthew 12:16 and .”For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:37

        We will all be called to judgment on that Day. May you find the means to repent in time.

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          RE: “If you were a true Orthodox Christian and a true priest, you would know that.”

          Your hubris and effrontery are such that I shall return to my previous practice of ignoring your verbose, tedious, and shrill posts in their entirety.

          • Francis Frost says

            Just as well. there are none so blind as this who will not see.

            There is a difference between being a pastor and being a political flack for a foreign despot.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Just subtract that one (typically silly) remark of Francis’s, and address the rest of the post, which is not about YOU! THAT would show you have reason besides egotistical ones to be offended.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              My Good Bishop you never addressed any of my posts as to why you support the March for Life, but you do NOT support the March for Marriage. All you did was dodge, dodge, and dodge. If you ask others to address posts I strongly suggest you do the same.

              Peter A. Papoutsis

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald says

                Peter! PAY Attention! Abortion is a great and evil crimek and a violation of one of the Ten Commandments. That is why I support the OCA Hierarchs that ANNUALLY march against abortion.. Same sex marriage is not mentioned even indiectly in the Scripturesm The Commandments or the Holy Tradition at all. MARRIAGE is a Mystery of the Church–I don’t advocate marching FOR any of the Church’s Mysteries: not for Baptism, not for the Eucharist, not for Unction, not for Holy Orders, not for Chrismation, etc. While serving as a diocesan Hierarch, I also NEVER told the clergy or people to march for ANYTHING, and if I had, I’d consider my own absence from such to be DESPICABLE.
                I’m no longer interested in your views, thank you.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Nor I yours.


                • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                  Your Grace,

                  Marching for marriage is not “marching for the Church’s Mysteries…” Rather, marching for marriage repudiates the increasingly prevalent idea that marriage is solely a creation of the State and that the State has the authority to define natural marriage. The sacramental elevates the natural, it does not negate or obliterate the value of the natural. Natural marriage predates the rise of the State and the Supreme Court does not have the authority to redefine it (read Scalia’s dissent starting on p.69).

                  Marriage, even natural marriage, is worth defending because the Church has a responsibility towards the larger culture, even if that responsibility brings us into conflict with members of that culture. Natural marriage is the God-given society for the protection and nurturing of children. That society exists apart from the Church’s Mysteries although the Mystery includes the means for a more complete expression of it.

                  This is no different than why we march march for the unborn. The unborn are not yet baptized, they have not entered into the Church’s Mysteries and some who will be saved from the abortionist’s scalpel or suction device might never be baptized. Nevertheless, we still repudiate the idea that unborn children are commodities to be thrown away at will.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald says

                    I believe that marriage is a MYSTERY: further, aYSTERY of the Church. I base my belief on Scripture and Traditin. I see no reason to march fror Marriage. I do see a reason to march against Murder, which is as ancient a sin as pride. Down with Abortion/Murder! Let those outside the Church the Ark of Salvation DISCOVER true Marriage by becoming Orthodox Christians!

                    Personally, I
                    m often tempted to march against blowhards amongst my brorher clergy…..

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster you have always been a good and faithful priest in my eyes and as far as I can tell from your posts and your Church’s website you serve your community well and have exercised your duty to proclaim the truth of Christ at ever chance you can. Although I have my own doubts about the ROCOR-MP reunification and the closeness of the ROC to the RF/Putin (Which should be balanced against what the West has done to the RF in Georgia, Ossetia and now in the Ukraine as the West, especially the U.S. bears much culpability in that senerio), I know of no basis to question your commitment to Jesus Christ and his Gospel and Church.

            Take care Fr. Webster and be well.


            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

              Thank you, Peter, for your kind remarks, which are, alas, in stark contrast to the way some others address Orthodox clergy on this website.

        • Luke Padgett says

          “May you find the means to repent in time.”

          Famous last words of the….

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Frost writes, “Fr. Alexander will have to answer for it on the Day of Judgement.”

      Good heavens. Get a life, Francis.

    • ReaderEmanuel says

      I think you could also put Obama in the classification of “belligerent anti-American dictator”, don’t you?

  19. Gregory Manning says

    As a repentant and repenting Orthodox Christian gay male (there’s got to be an acronym I can use; I’m so tired of having to type that out all the time!) I would like to offer my view of heterosexual marriage for consideration. I arrived at this when thinking about why homosexual relationships never quite succeed and it has to do with completion.
    I base this view on the same scriptural citation from Ephesians frequently used in these discussions ” and the two shall become one flesh”. I never could make sense out of this line. I concluded that God did not intend that one lump of flesh should be joined to another lump of flesh, resulting in one large lump of flesh so I decided to drop the word “flesh” and look at it as “two shall become one.” Could it not be, I wondered, that what is intended to happen is what is popularly known as “completion”? That what is intended to take place is a synthesis, an integration, resulting in an entity which might be called fully human? In other words, the woman brings to the union qualities singular to women and the man brings to the union qualities singular to men. It is in the joining together, the integration of these complimentary opposites that a genuine synthesis is possible resulting in something that is fully human.
    If that is the goal, the ideal of marriage as the Church understands it, then homosexual unions cannot succeed. If the synthesis depends on the joining together of the best of both worlds, so to speak, that goal becomes unattainable if you exclude one of those worlds.
    Men need women to complete them and women need men to complete them and homosexuals, by definition, are excluded from the endeavor. As an outsider, I have concluded that this is essential to any understanding of marriage. At any rate, it makes a great deal of sense to me and I hope that it is not antithetical to the Church’s wisdom.
    As I double check my citation in Ephesians I see that the next verse (32) begins “This is a great mystery….”.

    • Sounds right to me.

    • As a repentant and repenting Orthodox Christian gay male (there’s got to be an acronym I can use; I’m so tired of having to type that out all the time!)

      try—ROCGM . . . . .

      I like your post. I’ve always understood that scripture as male and female He made them (together) in His image. . . so I think you are saying too-it’s only when you have a male and a female that you have the image of God. and full humanity . .

    • Michael Bauman says

      Gregory you are spot on. In addition the union overflows in all sorts of fecundity in children and in many other ways into the community. Unfortunately we typically settle for much less “because of the hardness of our hearts”

      I was just remarking to my wife that I am amazed by the depth of intimacy we ate growing into in so many little ways. It is a great blessing because we have both known marriages in our past that were not that way. Hers because of the adultery of her husband mine because of the scars of parental abuse my late wife suffered…and our own shelfishness.

      Glory to God for His mercy.

  20. Christopher says

    Mr. Manning

    You are on to something very important here, but as you say it is “a great mystery” – something that appears to be “hidden”. In my own married life, I can indeed affirm that there is a “completion”. Is it “metaphysical”? “Ontological”? Is it something “spiritual” (I don’t like that word as it has too many popular connotations), something of the “noetic”? Love seems to keep it hidden, and I only get a sense of it but never get to gaze at it directly except perhaps in the “ecstasy” of love (not referring to the physical/orgasmic here), though even then only “as if in a mirror”.

    It is also a recognition of a very important spiritual reality that certain Fathers (who were monastics almost exclusively) seem to fail to grasp when they write on marriage (cf St. Gregory of Nyssa’s “On Virginity). Thus they write about marriage and it’s attendant “physicality” (which obviously includes sex and child rearing) mostly in negative terms, as an obstacle to the “angelic life” and as something that is a result of the Fall, even though Genesis clearly has male and female created before the Fall and God Himself declaring it “as good”.

    • Christopher,

      I have noticed a number of posts of yours on multiple sites that indicate a sort of discomfort on your part with the manner in which marriage is sometimes treated by monastic Fathers. I don’t claim to know for certain what these Church Fathers intended to relate when they spoke/wrote as they did about marriage, but I cannot help but assume that they were fully aware that “Marriage is to be honored by all…” and that marriage is a Sacramental Mystery, an icon par excellence of the union of Christ and His Church Thus, I too have pondered what seems to be their curious ambivalence toward marriage.

      It is important to note that this ambivalence is not merely a matter of their personal opinions. It is reflected also in the liturgical life of the Church, although the prescribed prayers of this sort are rarely heard outside of very traditional Orthodox contexts. These prayers, such as those for a mother reentering the temple after giving birth, have largely fallen into disuse, presumably because lay persons and even many clergy fail to grasp their meaning, find them seemingly sexist, or too reminiscent of Old Testament concepts of uncleanness.

      It helps, I think, to bear in mind two things.

      First: Until very recent history marriage and childbearing were, more or less, considered one and the same. The ability to bear children was certainly not guaranteed, but it was integral to the understanding of marriage itself, as the two normally went hand in hand.

      Second: Although the creation of male and female and their union in one flesh was/is very good, it also was/has become distorted by our having been severed from the fullness of God’s eternal life. Some Fathers have speculated, for example, about what the meaning of “Be fruitful and multiply” was before this severance occurred. I will not speculate about such things, but it is clear that there is a consensus among all the Fathers that it meant something very different than we would normally understand it to mean today. Moreover, while the union of husband and wife was and is very good, childbearing as we know it occurred only after the severance of mankind from the fullness of God’s life.

      The problem, so to speak, in the mind of the Fathers seems to be that carnal sexual relations between mortals severed from God’s eternal life can only produce more mortality – more persons subject to death: “That which is born of flesh is flesh.” Far from being a means of ‘eternal life’ – the commonly held notion among the ancients that we live on through our offspring (and thus the understanding that barrenness was a curse) – it is, in and of itself, a propagation of death.

      The fact that the sexual reproduction of mortals can only give birth to mortals is, I believe, why there is a certain ambivalence in Orthodox prayers surrounding childbirth (prayers which if understood in Western terms would otherwise make it sound almost as if the mother had sinned by having a child), as well as around marriage in general. It is not that the Church or the monastic Fathers views marriage or childbearing as ‘sinful.’ It is rather a reflection of the Church’s absolute faithfulness to the truth of human mortality and sin which is not diminished, but rather is increased, by producing more mortals who are slaves of sin. It is in this sense (and not Augustinian ideas of ‘original sin’), that David says, “I was born in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” And this is true even of the children born of those whose marriages are blessed and transfigured by the Sacrament/Mystery of Matrimony in the Church: our children are born of the flesh, and thus require baptism into the life of Christ.

      It can also help to ponder these things in light of the fact that every major act of God was accompanied by a sort of interruption of the natural process of marriage and childbearing: Isaac, Samuel, John the Forerunner, and the Mother of God – all born of otherwise barren women by a direct intervention of God. And Christ Jesus Himself, born of a Virgin without father.

      I wouldn’t pretend to think that this is an exhaustive explanation of the ambivalence on the part of some monastic Fathers toward marriage and sexuality. Nor does it answer all questions. But perhaps it may help provide what I think is at least a glimpse into their sense of ambivalence.

      I share these thoughts as one who, like you, is a married man with children. I do not think we need to have any angst about our married state in light of what the monastic Fathers say. Nor do we need concern ourselves with comparisons between the monastic life and our life ‘in the world.’ But marriage does nevertheless need to be transfigured by martyrdom into an icon of Christ and His Church and our children grafted into the life of Christ. Otherwise, in and of themselves, marriage and childbearing remain on the level of ‘the old man,’ severed from the eternal life of God.

  21. Francis Frost says

    Dear George:

    You wrote:

    You assume Vladimir Putin to be a dictator, forgetting all the while that we have had a line of presidents going back to Truman who unilaterally declared war, bypassing the Congress which has the exclusive right to declare war. You also forget our recent president’s unilateral changing of the law regarding illegal aliens.

    Geroge, you are using the well worn, “He did it too” defense. Even my 4 year old knows that won’t wash.

    First, our presidents have gone to war, not unilaterally; but as part of a coalition, under the auspices of the UN or OAS. The US has taken out some distasteful; characters- Saddam Hussein who gassed the 5,600 residents of Halabja, who oppressed the Shia, invaded Kuwait and attempted to assassinate a US president. The Taliban and Al Quaeda perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.

    Russia, on the other hand has three times now invaded the sovereign territory of its independent neighbors without legal or moral justification. The Russian have murder tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Georgia and Ukraine. They have driven hundreds of thousands into exile for their ancestral homes. all to appears the Russians pique at their lost Soviet empire.

    Our discussion here is not about constitutional law, it is about the church.

    At no time, ever, has any Orthodox churchman here in America blessed military action of any kind. On the contrary. Our Orthodox bishops have, both individually and collectively, publicly protested against military actions in Serbia, Iraq and Syria. It was the outcry among the Syrian Orthodox ‘Hands off Syria’, that forestalled the Obama plan to bomb Bashar Al Assad’s military targets.

    The the Russian bishops, Panteleimon of Kabardino-Adyghe and Feofan of Saratov (since transferred to Machkhala) accompanied the 2008 invasion forces into occupied Georgia and publicly “blessed” the weapons used to attack civilian populations. These “blessings” were televised first in Russia and then in Georgia. You may watch the video with your own eyes as it is included in the “Orthodox Occupation” video on You Tube. These infernal “blessings” are also included in Andrei Nekrasov’s documentary “Uroki Russkogo” (Russian Lessons), which debunks the Russian government’s propaganda campaign of justification for its invasion of Georgia. Mr. Nekrasov’s documentary is also available on You Tube in 12 segments, some with English sub-titles for those who do not understand the Russian language.

    On August 8, 2008, the missiles “blessed” by Bishop Feofan were used attack the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the Shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden in Nikozi. On August 9th, the Russian military and their Ossetian allies looted, desecrated and burned this ancient House of God. These weapons were used in bombing raids and missile attacks on civilian populations throughout Georgia, including areas well outside the so-called “zone of conflict”.

    The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:


    Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over, titled “Orthodox Occupancy Part 1 and Part 2” at the following urls:



    A television documentary on the destruction of Ghvertaeba and the work of reconstruction carried out by Metropolitan Isaiah may be viewed at:


    Russia has made no secret that its invasions of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia are ‘proxy wars’ against the West and the U. S. so much easier to attack a small and defenseless neighbor that to engage in a fair fight with the real enemy.

    At the same time, the Putin regime has openly attacked the U.S homeland with its attempts to subvert our homeland security. Russian television has publicly threatened to turn America’s cities and its children into ‘pile of radioactive dust’.

    A prominent Russian TV presenter is warning that Russia could nuke the United States into oblivion.

    Dmitry Kiselyov, who hosts an influential Sunday evening program on the main state-owned channel, posed in front of a mushroom cloud graphic Sunday night and ranted about how Russia is the only country in the world still capable of turning the United States into “radioactive dust.”

    He also suggested that President Obama’s hair is graying because of fears about Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

    Kiselyov is known as a firebrand and last year his diatribe about gays also generated headlines in the West.

    He’s also essentially the Kremlin’s propaganda chief, the head of a new state-owned media group aimed at improving Russia’s message at home and abroad. It’s important to see his latest comments in that light: propaganda, not necessarily policy.

    His comments seem intended to reassure the public here that Russia – a day after being isolated at the United Nations and on the cusp of being isolated economically from the world – is still a mighty nation capable of standing tall on its own.
    It’s the distillation of Putin’s nationalistic swing in recent years: Who cares about foreign criticism and sanctions? Russia is an exceptional nation with superior values that are lost in the morally decaying West that is clawing to maintain its edge.

    Kiselyov is selling Putin’s dream of the return of Russian might – the return of glory and empire lost – as the Kremlin flexes its muscles and reasserts itself on the world stage.


    These are not just idle threats; there are accompanying and worrisome actions. Russia has publicly flaunted the terms of the 1987 START treaty.

    Russia ‘violated 1987 nuclear missile treaty’, says US


    Russia has violated a key arms control treaty by testing a nuclear cruise missile, the US government says.
    Russia tested a ground-launched cruise missile, breaking the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed in 1987 during the Cold War, the US said.

    A senior US official did not provide further details on the alleged breach, but described it as “very serious”.
    The bilateral agreement banned medium-range missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km (300 to 3,400 miles)….

    US President Barack Obama has written to Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the matter, officials say.
    This is the first time the US government has made its accusations public, though the issue has simmered for years, the BBC’s Paul Blake in Washington reports.

    In January, the New York Times reported that US officials believed Russia had begun testing ground-launched cruise missiles as early as 2008.

    The US State Department had said at the time that the issue was under review.

    The 1987 treaty is at the heart of American-Russian arms control efforts, and was signed by then-Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in the final years of the Cold War, our correspondent says.
    Your public support for America’s sworn enemy is despicable and traitorous. The fact that Fr. Alexander Webster parrots this anti-American can’t is a violation of his canonical duty to abstain from political activism

    From USA today:

    You know things are tense when people start talking about nuclear war.

    A Russian television anchor has raised global eyebrows by noting in a commentary that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the USA into radioactive dust.”

    Speaking on the Rossiya 1 news channel, Dmitry Kiselyov — who has supporters in the Kremlin — delivered a diatribe against critics of the Ukraineincursion with a picture of a mushroom cloud behind him.

    At one point, Kiselyov attributed President Obama’s increasingly gray hair to worries about Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin recently appointed Kiselyov to lead an official news agency.


    In late September, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry, promised that the ongoing military modernization will contain a “nuclear surprise” for the country’s potential adversaries. It seems that in large measure this “surprise” relates to a major readjustment to the target for the upgrade and modernization of Moscow’s nuclear arsenal: from a target of 70 percent by 2020 to 100 percent. Rogozin’s statement aroused critical comment even from Russian defense experts, who questioned the capacity within the defense industry to deliver on such targets within the next six years (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 26).

    Russian Military Modernization: Rogozin Promises a ‘Nuclear Surprise’

    • George Michalopulos says

      Dearest Francis, like all good liberals you are clever in your evasions. When I said that American presidents since Truman have taken us “unilaterally” into war I was not talking about forming coalitions. I would suggest that you buy a copy of a curious document called The Constitution of the United States. In it, you will find that it is divided into several Articles. Article I deals with a branch of government you may have heard of us –it’s called the Congress. It seems that these Dead White Males (aka The Founding Fathers) vested war-making capabilities in this (and only this) curious legislative body. That is what I meant by “unilaterally.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      As for your assertion that the Antiochian bishops warned Obama “hands off” Syria, I assume you must be joking. It was Vladimir Putin who stayed Obama’s hand in pursuing yet another misguided Middle Eastern misadventure. I am sure that when Damascus finally does fall (to the great joy of your Neocon/Neoliberal/Zionist Christian overlords) you will be shocked when the genocide against your Antiochene brothers you will be left sputtering “but it wasn’t supposed to happen like this.”

      I imagine this will be small comfort to the Christians who will then be exterminated.

      • Francis Frost says

        Tut tut tut, Yorgo.

        The Antiochian protests were televised all across the country, and the president responded by canceling the program. One Antiochian lady in Phoenix was televised shouting in McCain’s face : “We don’t want our loved ones to be your collateral damage”. Putin had nothing to do with it.

        As for the fall of Damascus, it is unlikely. The current situation is a three way stalemate.

        Thirdly, the majority of the Antiochian faithful, including the Patriarchate, have left Syria for Lebanon or “the West”.

        One largely ignored part of the Syrian tragedy is that nearly 1/4 of the jihadists in Syria are Russian citizens from the North Caucasus. These militants are the direct successors or children of the Confederation of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus, the paramilitary organization, first created by the Russian government and used as mercenaries to kill the Orthodox Christians in Abkhazia and Samechablo (South Ossetia) back in the 1990’s.

        Indeed, our Orthodox bishops (Metropolitan Paul and Archbishop Youhanna) were first kidnapped by the Chechens to be used as bargaining chips in an attempt to ransom their fellow jihadists held prisoner by the Russian government. The destruction of Ma’alola and the captivity of the nuns of Mar Thekla monastery were also the work of these Chechens. You may find multiple articles on this on the BBC (hardly a bastion of neo-con of Zioniost propaganda) and other European media. One of the military leaders of the Islamic State is called Umar al Shishani (Omar, the Chechen).

        So you see the suffering inflicted on innocents in the Middle East is just an extension of the on-going suffering inflicted on our Georgian Orthodox faithful by the purveyors of death in the Kremlin and the Donskoi.

        Finally, don’t you ever tire of confusing ad hominem epithets (Neo-con, Zionist) for actual argument???

        Every time you try this tactic, you simply demonstrate your complete inability to counter facts and reason with anything substantive.

        In the immortal words of Forrest Gump: “Bravo, Bufo” ! ! !

    • ReaderEmanuel says

      “At no time, ever, has any Orthodox churchman here in America blessed military action of any kind. ” That’s not true. I VERY DISTINCTLY remember Metropolitan Maximos of the GOA Metropolis of Pittsburgh (now retired) saying that the American military during the first Iraq war were not just fighting for and defending our country, they were also fighting for and defending Christianity. I was there when he said it. But also to his credit, he was certain to tell his flock the truth about what was going on in Kosovo, where he rightfully condemned what we were doing. I wasn’t around during World War II, but I highly doubt that Archbishop Athenagoras (later Ecumenical Patriarch) of the GOA and the other bishops here in America said nothing about confronting the evils of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. And BTW, by your logic, maybe we shouldn’t pray for our military at every Divine Liturgy? Maybe we shouldn’t chant the hymn “O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance”, the battle hymn of Greeks and Russians for years and used by Tchaikovsky in his 1812 Overture? Or the hymn, “To you, the Champion Leader”, a hymn that has everything to do with war and battle, if you know its history? I respect bishops and other clergy who look evil in the face and define it for what it is. Metropolitan Maximos was and is one of those types of men.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I dare say that Mr Frost would love for Orthodox bishops to bless soldiers and armaments if they were to be used against the evil Putin. Ox, gored, whose –we know the drill.

        • Francis Frost says

          Dear George:

          Once again thou are dead wrong. The only thing being gored here, is your own megalocephaly.

          First, I have never advocated military action against Putin or his proxies. I have tried to alert the Orthodox faithful to the debasement of the Orthodox faith, by who use ‘political Orthodoxy’ as an excuse for violence against innocent civilians.

          Second, I defy you to demonstrate any evidence that our Orthodox bishops have ever ‘blessed’ military action. On the contrary, our bishops have, individually and collectively, criticized and abhorred military actions of the
          U. S. government in regards to Serbia, Iraq and Syria. Indeed, public demonstrations by our Antiochian Orthodox communities against President Obama’s plans to bomb Syria, successfully stopped that plan in its tracks. Your argument, “but they did it too”, is unsupported by facts and is a clear obfuscation of the issue.

          Thirdly, you repeatedly ignore the fact that the Russian bishops were “blessing ‘ the invasion of Georgia on the territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate, without the permission of the Georgian Patriarch. These infernal ‘blessings’ are not only detestable and immoral. They are grounds for the Russian bishops to be excommunicated from the Orthodox faith, along all those who remain in communion with them. The fact such a remedy has not been sought by our Georgian bishops is a testament to the Patriarch Ilya’s forbearance, not the propriety of the Russians bishops’ “blessing’ of murder and mayhem.

          Fourth, we pray for our military, so that they might be protected in harm’s way. We pray for their protection from both physical and spiritual harm. Killing another human being inculcates spiritual harm, as our Canons show. St Basil the Great’s canons clearly puncture the PhD priests’ argument for a “just war” in Orthodoxy. One who kills in war, o one who commits even an unintended killing (i.e. vehicular homicide) is subject to
          a canonical exclusion from the Eucharist. Weapons; like blood; are inherently unclean and are prohibited from the sacred space of an Orthodox church. I cannot vouch for the liturgies performed in other jurisdictions; but in our Antiochian churches, we pray for our armed forces, serving in defense of peace and freedom. Note the word ‘defense’.

          That is hardly equivalent to the Russian bishops who blessed the rockets used to attack and destroy the Ghvrtaeba Cathedral or the toasts they lifted to the invader’s blood lust on camera.

          In summary, you ought to be more careful in you statements. Your abysmal ignorance and cynicism are showing one again.

          What a shame.

          • George Michalopulos says

            A shame indeed, Francis, if you believe that the Antiochian bishops stayed Imam Obama’s hand. I’m certainly glad they voiced their opposition (as well they should have) but the only reason The Exalted One didn’t bomb Syria when they had supposedly crossed “the red line” was because Putin stopped him dead in his tracks. Especially when NATO, Israel and the Israeli lobby were pulling out all the stops for Assad’s removal by force.

            You may believe that Orthodox bishops in America have some influence (tell that to the Serbs) but “soft power” –the conceit of Progressives everywhere) is just that –a conceit. In the real world a soft hammer pounds no nails. Heavy ordnance and the will to use it usually does. Putin has both in abundance.

            If you want to go on believing in your fantasy you are of course welcome to do so. You will have to contend with others pointing out your “megalocephaly” (did you mean megalomania)

            As for your fabulous assertion that no Orthodox bishop has ever blessed the use of force, that has already been answered by the commentator known as Reader Emmanuel.

            • ReaderEmanuel says

              Francis Frost: I might add that the hymn “To You, the Champion Leader” was written by Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople…read the history of this hymn and the reason why it was written….apparently you’ve also never heard of Bishop Germanos of Patras, and the famous painting of him blessing the Greek flag at Ayia Lavra at the outset of the Greek War for Independence. Do some research, please, and stop trying to rewrite history before actually investigating all sides of the question. I am related to the former Metropolitan of Kissamos, Gerasimos Stratigakis and am descended from his brother Nikolaos. He was elected Metropolitan in 1860 and had much to do with the Cretan uprisings of the time including what happened at Akrotiri and Chania. He was exiled to Athens for his activities by the Turks. I could tell you a lot more about him and my family and their involvement with freeing Crete from Turkey, but now is not the time or the place. Do some research!!!!

  22. Francis Frost says


    If NATO, the US and Israel had ‘pulled out all the stops’ Assad would have been gone in a fortnight. See the first Iraq war.

    The US has been tentative and timid in its assertion of power. See Obama’s “lead from behind ” strategy.

    Please note, I have never advocated for any U S policy abroad. I have repeatedly warned our people of the tragic mistake to use the church as a platform for any political ideology.

    As for politics, I am registered as an “Independent” voter. Get over it. I have never been a Protestant evangelical. I have never subscribed to Christian Zionism. I grew up in the Orthodox Church, most specifically the Russian Orthodox Church. It is from my family members who fled Lithuania one step before the NKVD assassins who were waiting at home to shoot them, that I know who Putin is and what he represents. I want the church out of politics and politics out of the church. We need to have one and only one Lord, who is Jesus Christ. you cannot serve two Masters. You cannot preach Christ and advocate for military invasions and assaults on innocent civilians.

    Despite the well documented fact of Russia’s invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, the murder of innocent civilians in deliberate attacks on civilian targets, the murder of Orthodox priests, and the destruction of Orthodox Holy Places; you George, continue to laugh at the suffering of the victims: “Don’t bait the bear” and blame everyone except the perpetrators of these crimes. Hint: It is impossible to ‘invade’ your own country. Every country has the absolute right to use military force to protect its’ own borders and its own citizens. Russia has no ‘right’ to invade independent countries. The entire civilized world has recognized that fact, except you and your usual peanut gallery of Putinist cheerleaders.

    There is a judgement coming on all this, and coming sooner than you might think.

    Fr. Webster Phd can call me “shrill” I am not fazed. St Seraphim of Sarov warned Tsar Alexander I in 1811: “Georgia is the inheritance of the Most Holy Mother of God. If you make war against Georgia, God will make war against you!” The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”. Isaiah 58:1 The infernal ‘blessing’ of violence against civilians is blasphemy against her Holy Spirit, who is the “Treasury of blessings and the Giver of Life”. This is a great sin and must be repented, for again the prophet says: “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood: Isaiah 1:15.

    No Orthodox bishop in this country has ever “blessed” military action. I defy you to prove it. In my business, there is a saying. “If you didn’t document it, you didn’t do it. If you are going to make a point provide proof, not second hand gossip.

    Repeatedly, in our debates, I have given you fully documented histories each assertion carefully documented and verifiable. You on the other hand, reply with inane political epithets, circumlocutions, and evasions.

    As for your megalocephaly, you obviously you did not get the joke. Try translating the word again

    As for our bishops’ influence; you might read Saidna Phillip’s last letter to President Obama. Perhaps you are unaware that Saidna Phillip was a regular guest at the White House and often served as an unofficial envoy for the U S government. Saidna obviously knew more, and had a more influence than you or your readers might realize. Again, read his letter to Obama. It was posted on the Antiochian web-site not long before his death.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Again, you are wrong. According to one commentator on this site, Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh did just that during the First Gulf War.

      As for Metropolitan Philip’s authority within the Obama White House, we’ll have to leave that up to the historians to decide. It is certainly possible that Obama’s timorousness and uncomfort with the military ethos had a more profound effect, especially when confronted with Putin’s more resolute and masculine nature.

      I still stand by my assertion that the American Orthodox episcopate is a non-issue regarding American foreign or domestic policy. That goes for whatever configuration –ethnic or non-ethnic–it manifests itself. For proof, all you have to do is look at SCOBA’s united authority (admittedly during its waning, last days under the chairmanship of Arb Spyridon of the GOA) had absolutely NO effect whatsoever in staying Clinton’s criminal action against Serbia. (Even though interestingly enough Clinton had the same uncomfortable nature in military matters that Obama has. An interesting aside, don’t you think?)

      That’s a fact.

      • ReaderEmanuel says

        Francis Frost: So just because I didn’t “Document” what Metropolitan Maximos said, you’re calling me a liar? This was not “second hand gossip”. I was there! I heard him say it! So if no one caught his comments on video or audio or in print, they didn’t happen? (That’s sort of like saying Holy Tradition and the things Jesus did “which are not written in this book” are invalid and didn’t happen…) That’s what it seems you are saying….and I definitely do not appreciate it…

        I might add that the hymn “To You, the Champion Leader” was written by Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople…read the history of this hymn and the reason why it was written….apparently you’ve also never heard of Bishop Germanos of Patras, and the famous painting of him blessing the Greek flag at Ayia Lavra at the outset of the Greek War for Independence. Even in my own family history I can refute your assertions…I am related to the former Metropolitan of Kissamos, Gerasimos Stratigakis and am descended from his brother Nikolaos. He was elected Metropolitan in 1860 and had much to do with the Cretan uprisings of the time including what happened at Akrotiri and Chania. He was exiled to Athens for his activities by the Turks. I could tell you a lot more about him and my family’s VERY heavy involvement in freeing Crete from Turkey, which is WELL DOCUMENTED, BTW, but now is not the time or the place. Do some research!!!!

      • Francis Frost says

        I am not wrong. I have asked you to provide documentation of the alleged blessing of military action. Hear-say is not proof. Try again.

        As for the effect of the bishops protests, that is beside the point. The point is that they DID protest.

        As Mother Teersa of Calcutta once said: “God does not demand that we be successful. He asks that we be faithful. ”

        As for the Russian bishops documented and perverse “blessing” of the weapons used to murder innocent civilians and used to destroy Orthodox holy places, those actions are the epitome of faithlessness. They are a deliberate betrayal of Jesus Christ. These blessing are a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

        Nothing you have said and nothing you could say will change that.

        We might note that Bishop Tikhon’s request for the good Fr. A. F. C .Webster, PhD to provide a rebuttal to the documented evidence of the MP’s complicity in acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing and its multiple violations of the sacred canons also goes unanswered.

        Repeatedly when you Putinists are confronted with history you respond with evasions or jingoistic cant.

        When the good Fr Webster, PhD had no answer, he tried clerical bluster in order to cow me into silence. when that didn’t work he fell back on the only resource left, his own impotent rage. How dare I have the “effrontery” to confront his hypocrisy. and arrogance Well, I DO dare. Get over it.

        Apparently he didn’t realize that I learned the life of the Church from Russian and Belorusian émigré’s. Our babushki could spot a phony at 100 yards and they didn’t suffer fools lightly. They wouldn’t have suffered his shtick for a millisecond.

        You Putinist cheerleaders demand proof and then complain that the documented history is too much for your poor minds to handle. What is most sad is that your moral rants are devoid of heart. Perhaps you never even read the London Telegraph article that described the horrors inflicted on innocent civilians like the Ramzadze family. (too may paragraphs) That you remain unmoved by the enormity of human suffering inflicted on innocents like Dito Ramzadze, shows that your morality is fake, because it is inhuman and inhumane. It is fake, because it is devoid of the love of Christ and his compassion for the poor and suffering.

        You are indeed the “clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” Jude 1:12

        The sad fact is that your “morality crusades” are devoid of significance because you attack those who are ready and easy targets like the former Mr Jenner. You decry the ‘moral rot’ outside the church, while ignoring or covering up the moral rot within. Repentance, line charity starts at home.

        When you and the good Fr. Webster, PhD are ready to take on the Augean stables in the Donskoi, then and only then will you have something useful to say and do. Then and only then will you have a moral point worth making.

        Until then, your protests and self congratulatory blogs remain just another form of spiritual auto-eroticism.

        What a waste of life and time

        • George Michalopulos says

          Please see Reader Emmanuel’s post below. You do know the maxim about holes and being in one, don’t you?

  23. Tim R. Mortiss says

    If an Orthodox bishop blesses a military action, or troops and equipment, does this confer a military advantage?

  24. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Breaking News:


  25. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Breaking News 2:

    ACLU does not support RFRA

  26. James_Antony Kelly says

    Sign and send to all Christian people

    Tell Congress to defend the TRUE definition of marriage. Sign the petition
    View this email in your browser

    Dear Friends in Christ,

    With the U.S. Supreme Court having decided today to impose so-called same-sex ‘marriage’ on the entire country, there is only one legal recourse left to protect true marriage – to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

    There is no question that passing such an amendment will require a great deal of political willpower, which is why we need hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens, both American and from around the world, to immediately demand that Congress take action.

    This is not a time for half measures. Sign the petition demanding that they pass such an amendment.

    After you have signed the petition, be sure to share it with all your friends and family. Spread it as far and wide as possible. We need to send an unmistakable, powerful, overwhelming message that we will not stand for this kind of egregious judicial activism – activism that will run roughshod over the institution that forms the bedrock of a healthy society.

    Dozens of states have passed amendments defending true marriage. We know that there are countless millions of Americans, and concerned men and women worldwide, who are disturbed at this court decision.

    Those who believe in marriage as one man and one woman must rise up as one body and demand that their voice be heard.

    Again, please sign this petition, and then share it with everybody you know. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, anywhere you can think of. Send it out via e-mail.

    Together, we CAN make our voice heard.

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  27. Michael Bauman says

    Mr. Kelly, petitions, voting, hope in democracy and such ate worthless. We live in a neo-fascist state manipulated by fake consumer choices and political demagogues. Trying to make Christianity fit into the other political ideologies is part of the reason we are in this mess.

    Follow Jesus not man’s inventions.

    There is no such thing as individual rights.

    On top of that most Christians are unable to articulate what marriage is beyond the sentimental bulk crap of popular fiction.

    The nuclear family as bedrock of civilization is part of that — the community, the tribe has always been more important. The nuclear family cannot survive outside a nurturing community as we are seeing.

    The violence toward women and children and their degradation will accelerate. Overt persecution will be unnecessary but will happen any way. Faith has officially become irrelevant to society.

    Individual rights is the supreme law, that is to say the survival of the fittest. But for the Incarnation we would all be demonic slaves.

    Satan was the first being to assert his individual rights. He induce us to follow. Eve had the right to eat that fruit didn’t she?

    We have forgotten our shame and revel in our nakedness.

    But by all means let us continue to assert our rights like so many parrots.

    What about righteousness? What about the Cross.

    • At this point, I agree. No letter, petition, or politician is going to change what has happened. The most we can hope for is that states will cease to issue marriage licenses altogether, to at least protect the dignity of the word.

      In my view it would be better to revert to common law anyway. The government never should have gotten involved in marriage in the first place.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Michael, yes, but…

      Alexander Solzhenitsyn, when writing about the pervasive fear that gripped the minds and souls of the Russian people by the State apparatus, lamented that more people did not speak out. Thousands witnessed the black cars speeding off into the night, the arrests on sidewalks, the absence of neighbors who lived in the apartment next door the day before, yet they said nothing.

      If only they had spoken out, he wrote. He developed that into an essay titled “One Word of Truth Outweighs the World” (I wrote an essay on it years ago). Speaking the truth can turn back the lie, even when that lie rules through fear. And when people speak the truth, as he did in the Gulag Archipelago series, it can even eviscerate the lie.

      So yes, petitions and such may not change the downward trajectory of our culture. But they are means by which the truth is heard. It is part of the discourse of our society and should be used.

  28. Michael Bauman says

    Fr. Hans I by no means mean to be silent but playing the “rights” game is a waste of time and energy. The political elite is corrupted by its shared lust of power. They will defend nothing but their own office.

    Sadly many of our bishops seem to be in the same boat.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Agreed. The “rights game” is a non-starter. As for bishops, some may surprise us — in a good way. We may have to till the ground however.

  29. Yeah to +Paul of the OCA! I know his heart on this matter and he is the first to put into clear English the process! Good for him! Another OCA Bishop spoke out shortly after and then the entire OCA spoke out, but Bishop Paul said it in such a way that is clearly understood. I pray he will stand strong in his conviction and that people in his diocese will support his statement.