Bishops Begin Lifting COVID Related Requirements in U.S. Orthodox Churches

The effort to be completed before the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year in September. 

2021-05-14 Good news from His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH


  1. Doctors’ risk-versus-benefit assessment of Covid jabs

    ‘Abstract: COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers have been exempted from legal liability for vaccine-induced harm. It is therefore in the interests of all those authorising, enforcing and administering COVID-19 vaccinations to understand the evidence regarding the risks and benefits of these vaccines, since liability for harm will fall on them.

    In short, the available evidence and science indicate that COVID-19 vaccines are unnecessary, ineffective and unsafe.

    Necessity: immunocompetent individuals are protected against SARS-CoV-2 by cellular immunity. Vaccinating low-risk groups is therefore unnecessary. For immunocompromised individuals who do fall ill with COVID-19 there is a range of medical treatments that have been proven safe and effective. Vaccinating the vulnerable is therefore equally unnecessary. Both immunocompetent and vulnerable groups are better protected against variants of SARS-CoV-2 by naturally acquired immunity and by medication than by vaccination.1
    Efficacy: Covid-19 vaccines lack a viable mechanism of action against SARS-CoV-2 infection of the airways. Induction of antibodies cannot prevent infection by an agent such as SARS-CoV-2 that invades through the respiratory tract. Moreover, none of the vaccine trials have provided any evidence that vaccination prevents transmission of the infection by vaccinated individuals; urging vaccination to “protect others” therefore has no basis in fact.
    Safety: The vaccines are dangerous to both healthy individuals and those with pre-existing chronic disease, for reasons such as the following: risk of lethal and non-lethal disruptions of blood clotting including bleeding disorders, thrombosis in the brain, stroke and heart attack; autoimmune and allergic reactions; antibody-dependent enhancement of disease; and vaccine impurities due to rushed manufacturing and unregulated production standards.

    The risk-benefit calculus is therefore clear: the experimental vaccines are needless, ineffective and dangerous. Actors authorising, coercing or administering experimental COVID-19 vaccination are exposing populations and patients to serious, unnecessary, and unjustified medical risks. ‘

    “Masks? We don’ need no stinkin’ masks!”

  2. Vaccinated Americans MORE SCARED
    of Socializing Than Those Without the Jab

    It will be the same in the UK, whether in Church or not, have no doubt.

  3. Gregory Manning says

    Caesar taketh away and Caesar giveth. All hail Caesar!

    • “By the pricking of my thumbs
      something wicked this way comes…”
      “All hail Macbeth! [Sorry – Caesar!]”

    • Gregory Manning says

      Given Caesar’s permission to resume worshiping in our churches, it seems to me that the Bishops are obliged to publicly thank him for his various condescensions. It would be the courteous thing to do. Or would doing so be a tacit admission that it really is Caesar who giveth and taketh away. Has anyone encountered such a public, official expression of gratitude on the part of a bishop?

  4. Seraphim says

    I have mixed feelings about this. Obviously I’m glad the restrictions have been lifted. It happened sooner than I expected. Certainly, my wife and I will have some decisions to make about where to go from here. But at the same time it saddens me that all this is based on what the CDC says. That letter makes it sound like the CDC is calling the shots for whether it’s safe to have normal church services or not. I have a lot of suspicions about this sudden turn of events. Maybe I”m looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I have plenty of reasons not to trust the CDC, the WHO and most of our governmental leaders. The Church is supposed to not be of this world. Why did we need this out-of-nowhere permission from the CDC to feel we could go back to normal? I hope with time God gives me wisdom about what to do with what I’m feeling. But coming to the other side of this garbage, I have to say my faith in much of our clergy has been greatly shaken. What happens in the fall when we see a seasonal resurgence of covid? Or what happens when there’s another juiced up virus that kills a few people? Will the Church just hop to to the CDC’s omniscient directives every time something happens?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I am no longer going to be able to say that the Church never changes.

    • Antiochene Son says

      The government clearly wants things to go back to normal as fast as possible. Elections are coming. Any further outbreaks will be largely ignored unless it’s actually serious.

      Our bishops should not have listened to the authorities, but they have to save face also, so as soon as they got an all clear they’re taking it. I don’t expect restrictions to return. If they do, I don’t expect much compliance on the parish level.

      • Things will not be returning to normal. The restrictions are being temporarily lifted, until there are more “variants” that they claim will necessitate vaccine passports. It’s happening in other countries, and it will be coming here as well. This “honor system” of people not wearing masks that are vaccinated, but not wearing them if they are is not going to last very long. There will need to be an international standard, and they will find a pretext to introduce one. Anyone that thinks this is the end of the COVID hoax is in for a rude awakening.

        • Sad to say….I think you’re exactly right Herman.

        • MomofToddler says

          Yes, taking in international news headlines has led me to the same conclusion. Most of us can’t know the future but we can see patterns and use logic to make educated guesses. This is not cynicism. We need to guard our hearts by realizing what could possibly happen. We don’t want to be the excited frog running into the pot of boiling water saying “The last year was just sooo hard, I can’t wait to go back to normal. Please boil me up now!” I would love for everything to go back to normal and I’ll be super happy if it does, but we must guard our hearts.

        • Antiochene Son says

          There will probably be vaccine passports for air travel (but then, there already are if you go to places like Africa). But I don’t believe there will be any such thing used domestically in everyday life. Many chain stores initially announced they would keep mask rules in spite of the CDC, and after customer outcry they quickly dropped them. Democratic politicians in purple states also know their positions will not survive an election.

  5. Austin Martin says

    Oh just wait. They’ll roll it back.

    I love [read: hate] the part about not harassing those wearing masks. Those of us who do not wear masks have been nothing but harassed for a year in every corner of society. But for the compliant mask-cultists, they are only to be rewarded.

    (And of course someone is going to say, “Soon everyone will join ROCOR,” just brimming with glee that the rest of American Orthodoxy is collapsing.)

    • George Michalopulos says

      “Maskholes”. Got that one from Dana Loesch

      • Austin Martin says

        Why am I only hearing that one this late in the game? That one’s great.

    • Antiochene Son says

      I don’t think they’ll roll it back. This whole mess is because the bishops deferred to the civil authorities, and the civil authorities now want things to go back to normal as quickly as possible so they can start gearing up for the midterms. This whole thing has radicalized a significant part of the population and they need to lull everybody back to sleep as quickly as possible.

      What Met. Joseph says is true: everyone who wants a vaccine has had the opportunity to get one. There’s nothing to be gained by continuing the charade at this point.

      That can only mean one thing: the powers-that-be are now planning the next thing, so be on the lookout for that.

      I love [read: hate] the part about not harassing those wearing masks. Those of us who do not wear masks have been nothing but harassed for a year in every corner of society. But for the compliant mask-cultists, they are only to be rewarded.

      This is a very good observation and I agree.

    • “any high risk people in your parishes who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons that you make every effort to accommodate them by having a small area of the church, where they can still social distance and wear masks, set aside in order for them to feel safe.”

      I’m wondering why he’s expecting (demanding?) a higher uptake on the vaccines than what Fauci is getting from his own staff, that he’ll be able to isolate/shame them into a little corner?

      May 11, 2021 PBS Newshour:

      Sen Richard Burr: “This question I’m going to go to Dr. Fauci, Dr. Marks, and Dr. Walensky. What percentage of the employees in your institute, your center, or your agency, of your employees has been vaccinated?”

      Fauci: “I’m not 100 percent sure, Senator, but I think it’s probably a little bit more than half, probably around 60 percent.”

      Jan Žižka
      14 hours ago
      That really inspires faith. It’s not like anyone would believe them if they said they had 110% compliance anyways.

      TheLordisMyShepherd IShallNotWant
      12 hours ago
      “about half” – sure. that’s right up there with “2 weeks to flatten the curve.”

      • Antiochene Son says

        Met. Joseph didn’t say unvaccinated people have to social distance. He said to provide space for people who can’t get a vaccine but are still concerned.

        To me this says he knows only 1/3 to 1/2 are going to get vaccinated, and there’s no point in punishing those who won’t.

    • Seraphim says

      Amen Austin. I will say, though, ROCOR is far from perfect. Patr. Kyrill and Metr. Hilarion have been towing the covid line just like all the other bishops. I remember on Pascha I started reading Metr. Hilarion’s Pachal message and he barely got through the Paschal greeting before going right into how we need to keep taking precautions. The Russian church where I live complied completely with the city’s mandate and has had mandatory masks for months. I have only heard of maybe a handful of bishops in the entire world that didn’t now to the CDC.

      • Antiochene Son says

        Isn’t ROCOR giving communion in the hand in CA? I saw an email from the SF cathedral indicating how to receive in the hand.

        • I saw the same thing about communion in the hand. I have screen grabs (no idea how to share that here) but cannot find the original source now. I also heard it confirmed by a friend who knows folks who work within the ROCOR establishment. I hope they have ceased that practice now. It saddens me to think of that happening in the same cathedral where St. John of Shanghai’s relics rest.

      • Austin Martin says

        I know they’re technically the same thing, but I don’t equate ROCOR with the MP. Patriarch Kirill is a hero, all things considered. Metropolitan Hilarion, well, I don’t think it’s right to spread that kind of slander on a public forum.

        • Seraphim says

          I don’t have anything personal against either of them. Or Metropolitan Joseph. My criticism of our clergy has been strictly in the vein of their response to covid, and that has across the board. I can’t say I know enough about any of them to make a call on their overall “performance.” This is one of my biggest complaints about contemporary Orthodoxy: the disconnect between the average layman and their bishop. The picture of the bishop in the midst with his people surrounding him, worshipping together is not a reality we see in most parishes on average Sunday.

          • Austin Martin says

            I have major problems with ROCOR. Some of it is personal history, and some of it is scandals I have heard of, and others is just the mechanics of the institution. There are definitely good priests and good people and good churches within ROCOR, and they are right about a lot of things that other Orthodox groups are wrong about, but overall they’re very Pharisaical. I especially resent how they hand out ordinations like membership at the rec center.

        • And slander it probably is. I’ve never met anyone with a bad word to say about him.

          • Austin Martin says

            Well then you haven’t met the right people.

            I’m not going to go into detail on a public forum like this, and it’s not some deep secret hidden illumination I’m bragging about, but considering that everything in America is corrupt and secularized, it’s not a stretch to imagine that ROCOR’s administration has taken on the same nature. This isn’t so much a criticism of ROCOR as it is ROCOR people’s perception of themselves. All forms of Christianity without exception have gone from teaching doctrine to teaching doubt.

            But if nothing else, Hilarion will ordain anyone and grant them a franchise. In my hometown one of his new ordinations caused a lot of problems in what was a peaceful and stable (if mostly muted) pan-Orthodoxy. This new priest lied to everyone about his ordination and then suddenly opened his garage mission, and then of course he would tell his followers that the existing Orthodoxy didn’t count as Orthodox. He would even say that to catechumens visiting from other churches. This is okay in ROCOR because they don’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else. ROCOR is allowed to do whatever they want.

            I complained to one upper level veteran in ROCOR about how they open mission parishes with no need in the community and no plan for sustainability, and he told me, “It doesn’t matter if there is a need. It only matters if people want it.” That’s the foundational problem, this evil four letter word “want”. It’s the same reason they have western rite parishes. It’s the same reason they found tiny ethnic communities in Latin America where there is already a strong presence in other Orthodox jurisdictions. It’s the reason they entered into communion with HOCNA and founded parishes in Moscow. It’s the reason they accepted the Resaca monastery hours before the OCA bishop was going to depose the abbot. ROCOR does whatever they want without regard to whether they should.

            Of course this is a generalization and doesn’t reflect on everyone in ROCOR administration.

    • Katherine says

      Austin Martin, regarding your comment of 05/15/21 at 3:37 a.m.: ROCOR is not the answer. Things may be better in some of their parishes, but here is one example of how compliant a ROCOR parish was/is with the government’s COVID restrictions. For quite a while at the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral in Des Plaines, Illinois, they have been serving two Liturgies every Sunday, (looking at the times, the first Liturgy must be very short in order to get people in and out of the Church and the parking lot before the second Liturgy). Temple occupancy limitations, masks, and distancing were/are strictly enforced. In fact, they are still masked. I had written to Archbishop Peter early on in the COVID madness, asking what he will do when things get worse as far as future restrictions for the faithful to attend Services. He never answered.

      Now, I am reading that many people in America are afraid to take off their masks because they don’t feel safe without a mask!! I don’t think the madness will end.

      • Seraphim says

        I believe you’re right. But as my mom said once, covid didn’t cause these things. It simply revealed what was already there. This thing has revealed that we are no longer the rebellious, pull yourself by your bootstraps, individualistic, common sense, take responsibility for yourself, don’t let tyrants rule over you country we used to be. We have become so addicted to living, and living comfortably at that, that we will follow others around like sheep if they will just keep us alive for one more day.

        We’ve become so attached and comfortable with our technology (says the guy typing on the internet), that some actually thought that having Liturgy that we watch on Zoom means our worship had gone unimpeded. If this had happened in the 60s, what would we have done? There would have been no way to worship “safely.” It would have been “have church or not.” What would St. John have done? Do you think he would have told his parishioners in San Francisco to stay home? Or to come to church but cover their faces (aka icons of Christ)? Or do not venerate the icons or the Cross? If he had been alive today, would he have told his people to just stay at home and “watch” the Liturgy on TV? I don’t think anyone will ever be able to convince me the answer to any of those questions is yes. Which is why no matter how many bishops, priests or deacons say these restrictions were the loving thing to do I will never agree with it. It doesn’t mean I won’t worship with them or love them. I just won’t agree.

        • Antiochene Son says

          This is how St. Raphael of Brooklyn taught his flock to worship when it was not possible to attend an Orthodox Church:

          I order that the head of each household, or a member, may read the special prayers which can be found in the Hours in the Holy Orthodox Service Book, and such other devotional books as have been set forth by the authority of the Holy Orthodox Church.

          I can’t fathom broadcasting our holy worship, “upon which the Angels dare not gaze,” to any dude on earth lounging at home in his underwear. It isn’t right.

  6. Jacob Lee says

    I have only once worn a mask to church because St. George Antiochian in Houston demanded it. I have no plans of go back there again or any antiochian church, maybe for a visit. With all the scandals and crap of the GOA at least in Houston they have been open and mask free for over a year. It’s so sad so many of the Bishops have bought into the fear porn the media has been pumping out.

    We should never have let fear take over our Churches.

    I spent 7 years working with the homeless in Orange County and LA many times in parks and bad parts of town after dark. If I let fear overcome me I would have never done it.

    Who is in control of our lives? Who knows the days, hours and minutes you have on this earth? By wearing a useless safety badge on your face do you think you will extend your life one minute longer? Can God not protect you in His own house?

    • Seraphim says

      I totally get how you feel. I’ve felt similarly all year. I’m so disappointed in many of our clergy across the board. But I will say it’s not just the Antiochian Archdiocese. I don’t know of a single jurisdiction represented in the US that didn’t go along with all this. There were simply a few brave priests out there who did things normally but who, for obvious reasons, didn’t broadcast it. I know of 2 in the Antiochian Archdiocese for sure and at least 1 or 2 in ROCOR.

  7. New Calendar, only one real bishop like Papism and the wannabe EP, no business in the Americas (ethnic schism from ROCOR), over a year on and still believes anything the government/media has to say about Covid.

  8. Antiochene SOn says

    My parish has not been enforcing mask rules or anything else except for a brief period during the winter outbreak. About 1/3 of people wear masks but I haven’t noticed any personal discord between pro- and anti- maskers or pro- and anti- vaxxers.

    I have been critical of the Antiochian response to COVID but I am grateful that Metropolitan Joseph seems eager to put this chapter behind us. I don’t expect any of our bishops to apologize (though some of them certainly should) but I hope in their own hearts they learned something in this episode.

  9. The demonic disagreements in my parish have done more damage to us than COVID. Regardless of our approaches to this, we need to love one another as Christ loves us. I will be SO happy to eat lunch together in our parish hall after Liturgy once again! Glory to God!

  10. Why do they want everybody to get the shot? Why isn’t there a control group as in other experiments? Why don’t they want to compare results?

    • Seraphim says

      Because in that true, scientific way you spoke of, it’s not an experiment. They simply want/expect everyone to get it. Despite the facts that it does not stop transmission or infection of covid, there have already been literally thousands of documented adverse reactions/deaths from them, and they really have no idea what side effects would could still see in months/years to come, they have still been pushing this on a public they expect to just believe them at every turn. I really don’t think we’ll get a good idea of the true reprocussions of this whole episode until way down the line.

    • Antiochene Son says

      He doesn’t say he does or doesn’t want people to get it. He says people who want it can get it, so it’s time to lift the restrictions.

    • There are no control groups, not any more.
      The ‘vaccine’ makers offered their products to the control groups.

  11. From last year, but still relevant

    Enough With Romans 13

    ‘ Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

    God will have to give me much more patience….

    This passage from Romans is trotted out countless times by Christian leaders, and infinitely more than this in recent weeks. I will use as an example something offered by Becky Akers, who has been excellent on this topic of churches closing during this time. She writes a piece entitled Lobbyists From Hell.

    In it she cites, as one example out of…oh, I don’t know…one-hundred thousand, a statement from the Joseph Council of the “Citizens for Community Values” of Columbus, Ohio. The Joseph Council identifies as “an Evangelical and Catholic coalition of Christian leaders in Ohio.” Romans 13 is one of the “Scriptural Reflections” they offer as justification for closing houses of worship to God.

    Read that last sentence again. They are offering Biblical justification for closing houses of worship.

    Back to Romans 13. The reference above, which many Christians seem to love, is from the New International Version. What does the King James say?

    Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

    Higher powers vs. governing authorities. That’s a bit different. I have also read, from Gerard Casey, a further examination on this point. He offers:

    Whereas some English translations use the word “governing” in verse 1, the Greek text does not. It reads “Let every soul be subject to the superior powers.”

    Well, that might make a difference as well.

    There are countless examples in the Bible of individuals ignoring and violating the commands of the “governing authorities” (in the meaning that countless Christians take this phrase). I will only offer one, perhaps the most meaningful because if these orders were not violated, well none of this would really matter.

    In Matthew 2 we read of Herod questioning the chief priests and scribes: where is the child to be born? He questioned the wise men: when did the star appear? Once he had his answers, he asked the wise men to return to him after they had seen this newborn “King of the Jews.”

    Of course, the wise men – anticipating today’s modern Christians – did exactly as Herod asked. After all, they were subject to the governing authorities. No, not exactly. Instead, they took a different route home. Now, was it against Scripture to walk back the way one came? No. God told them to disobey the governing authority.

    Meanwhile, God appeared to Joseph and told Joseph to obey Herod. Just kidding. God told Joseph to take Mary and the baby and flee to Egypt.

    Let’s look at more of the passage from Romans, from the NIV:

    3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.

    Mmmm. What if rulers do hold terror for those who do right? It’s not like it doesn’t happen. Was God (or Paul) naïve? No. There is only one “governing” authority that consistently does not hold terror for those who do good – that being God. With this in mind, continuing:

    4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    Can this be read without the context of the preceding verse? Would that make any sense to you? The Apostle Paul, after all, was an extremely learned scholar. Is he just stringing together random thoughts?

    6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    I won’t get into the taxes part, other than reminding of 1 Samuel 8, when God warned Israel that the king that they are desiring would have the nerve to take all of 10% of their crop. Ten-percent!

    But, past this: we owe respect to those for whom we respect. We own honor for those deserving of honor. Close churches on Sunday. Is it possible that it is to such as these that God, through Paul, is commanding us to respect and honor? Really?

    But it gets worse. … ‘

    Context is all…

    • GOA Priest says

      Referring to the God inspired commentators of Holy Scripture is the Orthodox way.

      “So he shows that he is subjecting them not to earthly rulers but to God, since whoever is subject to these earthly rulers obeys God. But Paul is not saying directly that we obey God when we obey earthly rulers. Instead he approaches the question from the opposite perspective. He instills fear and crafts a more accurate argument by saying that we are not doing rulers a favor by our obedience: we owe them that obedience. In this way, he entices the unbelieving rulers to piety and the faithful to obedience.“ – St. J. Chrysostom

      “A serious error has overtaken those who think that because they are Christians they are not required to pay taxes, or provide services, or show the respect due those who exercise authority in these matters. A great error has also befallen those who judge that they ought to submit in matters of faith to persons who have attained a certain eminence by managing temporal affairs. The proper way to act is according to the instruction of the Lord himself: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Matt 22:24). Although we are called to a kingdom in which the authorities of this world will have no role, as long as we are on this journey and until we arrive at that age where every rule and authority will be destroyed (1 Cor 15:25), let us be patient with our assigned status in the order of human society. We should not act by pretense; in these matters, we should obey God rather than humans, as God commands us.“ – St. Augustine

      And Origen, is also important, though later condemned.

      “Thus he says, Therefore whoever resists power resists God’s organization. He is not referring here to those authorities who persecute the faithful. The proper response to these is, We must obey God rather than any humans (Acts 5:29). Instead, he applies this to the common authorities, who are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Those who resist such authority will earn damnation for themselves because of the nature of their own behavior.”

      • Adolf Hitler was legally appointed Reichskanzler.
        The Enabling Act of 1933 (twice renewed) legally gave him plenary powers.

        As I said: Context is all.

        • Seraphim says

          Let’s be fair, when it comes to the law, most/all of us are respecting the authorities. We are not stealing, killing or engaging in other illegal behaviors. How have any of us “rebelled’? It’s been those on the left who rebelled in the last year. Organizations like antifa and BLM have burned, destroyed, looted and on rare occasion killed, while us law abiders watched our government not only fail to protect us but even help bail out the perpetrators.

          How have some of us rebelled? By not wearing masks that impair our ability to breathe fresh air? To make every effort to practice our religion without government input? If we were told we couldn’t do these things we are not rebels. Rather our government has become tyrannical. At that point I’m fine with rebellion. This is what Wallace and Bruce did and with God’s help freed a country. But I’m sure I’m mistaken. I’m sure God was a big fan of Longshanks. He was the anointed king right?

          • Longshanks was never King of Scots.
            Indeed, as far as I am aware, he never claimed to be.
            He just extinguished Scotland and enlarged England.
            Or, he thought that he had…

            • Seraphim says

              I don’t know that he ever said outright that he was king of Scotland, but it seems obvious to me that he always meant for Scotland to be part of his overall kingdom. Especially after Balliol’s exile, Edward seems to have lost all pretension that Scotland was its own kingdom, but rather a dependency of England at the very least. And at his trial, Wallace was accused/convicted of treason against Edward, though as Wallace pointed out he had never sworn fealty to him. Edward saw his rule of not just England, but of all of the British Isles as his divine right. But regardless of his pretensions, Wallace and Bruce rebelled against him, and believed the whole time they had right on their side. Some will say Wallace’s grisly death could be seen as divine punishment for his rebellion, but I would not agree. It made Wallace a martyr and galvanized Bruce and the Scots at large. And even though Bruce got his crown on the heels of killing John Comyn, he repented and won over incredible odds. So much so I find it hard to believe he did so without divine aid.

              In any case, the point I was trying to make is that to make a blanket statement that all rebellion against governing authorities is evil or rebellion against God is absurd. Also that one needs to qualify what constitutes rebellion. Was St. Alexander Schmorell and his companions rebelling against divinely appointed Hitler by participating in the White Rose? Were the American colonies wrong to rebel against England?

              Just because a government makes a law, edict, mandate, whatever, does not make it right simply because God has put them in position of leadership, nor does it make rebels automatically wrong. God knows the heart and intention of each. Remember what Christ said of Judas? “The Son of Man goes as it was determined but woe to him by whom He is betrayed. It would have been better had he not been born.” Judas’s betrayal was providential but it did not remove his free will or the wrongness of his actions. A leader may be in power providentially but it doesn’t make his actions righteous or those who struggle against unjust mandates unrighteous. So ultimately, Brendan, I’m agreeing with you: context matters.

              • I wasn’t disagreeing with you, Seraphim.
                I was clarifying that Edward never claimed to be: King of Scots;
                which title is to be distinguished from that of King of England.

                The Scottish title refers to he who is first among equals.
                It relates people together.
                The English title refers to he who is first without equals.
                It claims ownership of the land and all that is on it.

                • Seraphim says

                  I’m good with that. ? Another reason I always loved Scotland. It’s a shame succeeding Scottish monarchs got away from that mode of thinking.

                  • Only after Jamie Saxt [VI] of Scots became James the First of England and was succeeded by his less intelligent son Charles I, did the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings become an issue in Scotland.

                    At the same time as Charles was attempting to control the tax-raising powers of Parliament in England, he tried to impose Episcopacy on the Church of Scotland – which had been rejected as Romish by the Church and (most of) the people.

                    The result was a Religious Civil War (the Bishops’ War) which, as Charles was making such a turkey of it, emboldened the English Parliament to start their own Civil War.

                    No matter how personally moral Charles may have been, as a ruler he was rigidly myopic and incapable of learning from his errors.

                    His father James (aka: the Wisest Fool in Christendom) was far too clever to fall into such a trap himself.

                    Yet it was James’s theories that ultimately did for the dynasty.

                    Perhaps he was (as we say in Glasgow) too clever by half

                • I like that; reminds me of ‘Constantine, Emperor of the Romans.’

  12. Everyone has badmouthed other jurisdictions and praised ROCOR, told me to abandon my parish, where I became Orthodox and where my spiritual father has pretty much saved my life a couple times, to become ROCOR because it’s supposedly so safe from deviations and so “based.” Meanwhile, I find out yesterday that the ROCOR Cathedral in San Francisco and maybe other churches in the Western diocese are distributing communion in the hand.

    Here I thought “curbside pickup” was atrocious.

    • Katherine says


      Are you certain that the ROCOR Cathedral in San Francisco is distributing Communion “in the hand?” I can’t believe it. This does not look good at all. Two Liturgies on Sundays (“high mass” / “low mass”??!!), Communion “in the hand,” thoughts about an Orthodox “pope.” What is next?

      • I did not see it in person with my own eyes, but I heard it from people I know to be reliable, and I saw it reported on the parish website (it seems to be removed now), and confirmed it with a person I know who has contacts within the leadership of ROCOR. I don’t want to believe it either. That is where the relics of St. John of Shanghai are!! I hope somehow we all misunderstood.

        In happier news, everything was so blessedly normal at my parish today. I saw the happy faces of folks I haven’t seen smiling in over a year.

      • Mom of Todder says

        Direct quotes from mailing list email: ”
        “From a historical point of view, Communion in the hand is the manner that Communion was given to everybody (laity and ordained) in the early centuries of the Church.

        For the time being, Holy Communion will be presented from the Discos (left) instead of the Chalice. ”

        Someone on another forum said they heard/saw of miraculous icons being wiped with alcohol between venerations in a ROCOR parish. After this Covid crisis, I will now be supportive of good priests in ANY jurisdiction wherever they may be! (at least while everyone is in communion with each other.)

        Based on the mailing list email, they are continuing masks at least through the summer.

  13. Why do so many people here react to having to wear a mask like it’s the mark of the antichrist?

    I’ve looked for an explanation and never fround one that makes any sense.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      An oldie but a goodie:

      Will Microchip Implants in Humans Become Mandatory?
      by Selwyn Duke

      “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.”

      — Revelations 13:16-17

      So begins an article by writer Mac Slavo about how human-implanted microchips won’t just be popular in the future.

      They’ll be mandatory.

      Moreover, if his vision of tomorrow is correct, hardly anyone will have to be dragged kicking and screaming by jack-booted storm troopers (or robots?) into that Brave New World; rather, most people will willingly be chipped as we slouch toward Oceania.

      In fact, the movement is already in progress. As NewsMax’s James Hirsen recently wrote:

      In various places all over the world, there are individuals who open doors, start cars, and control their computers with a mere gesture of their hands or arms.

      They are among the first wave of people who have voluntarily allowed a miniature computer chip to be placed inside of their bodies. Most are part of a group that advocates biohacking, a concept in which activists seek to enhance the human body through the use of technology.

      Many biohackers also identify with a broader movement known as transhumanism. Transhumanists believe that people will ultimately be able to transform themselves through the use of technology into superior beings that possess expanded capabilities. Adherents of the movement categorize such individuals as “posthuman.”

      In inching toward a newly defined humanity, a small radio frequency identification chip (RFID) is being injected into an individual’s hand, wrist, or arm through the use of a hypodermic needle in the same manner as a routine vaccine. The implanted microchip broadcasts an identifying number or code, which can be used for a myriad of purposes.

      The benefits of this technology are seductive: No more having to carry — and worry about losing — numerous credit cards and other forms of identification. No more fumbling for them when performing transactions; a wave of the hand will suffice. No more showing passports when you travel or your driver’s license to a cop. And since microchipping would facilitate a cashless society, there’d be no more worries about cash loss or theft, and it could put an end to black-market drug and other illegal transactions; identity theft could be eliminated, too (though any technology could conceivably be circumvented). And as Lain Gillespie wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, “The implants send a unique ID number that can be used to activate devices such as phones and locks, and can link to databases containing limitless information, including personal details such as names, addresses, and health records.”

      Gillespie also mentioned cybernetics scientist Dr. Mark Gasson of the UK’s University of Reading (UR), who made history recently: After implanting a chip in himself in 2009 to control his office’s electronic gadgets, he became the world’s first human infected with a computer virus. “The virus was replicated on the swipecards of staff accessing his building and infected the university’s database,” writes Gillespie.

      Yet Gasson remains enthusiastic about what he characterizes as an inevitable and imminent new technological normal. He says, “It has the potential to change the very essence of what it is to be human.” He believes that microchips’ acceptance will mirror that of mobile phones and that a situation will develop wherein it “will be such a disadvantage not to have the implant that it will essentially not be optional.”

      But it gets even stranger. As Gillespie also wrote:

      Last year [2013] the line between man and machine became even more blurred when Stanford University announced its scientists had created the first purely biological transistor that was made entirely of genetic material.

      Stanford assistant professor of bioengineering, Dr Drew Endy, described the breakthrough as the final component needed for a biological computer that can operate within living cells and reprogram living systems.

      And to some degree, the future is now, with biometric technology already being used in certain wide-scale applications. As writer Michael Snyder informs us, a hand-scanning payment method is being tested in southern Sweden, biometric scanners/RFID tracking devices are already used in college dining halls and some amusement parks, and the technology is even “being used in Africa to keep track of who is being vaccinated,” he writes.

      But how will this transition from a new and novel idea to mandatory mark of the beast? There is precedent for acceptance of such intrusion; after all, your cellphone has an RFID chip and can be used to track your every movement, and its camera can be remotely activated by authorities. And we all have Social Security numbers. But the move toward mandatory status will begin like this, writes Mac Slavo:

      First, the technologies will need to be generally accepted by society. It’ll start with real-time consumer-based products like Google Glass. The older generations may reject it, but in a couple of years, you can bet that tens of millions of kids, teens, and younger adults will be roaming the streets while sporting cool shades, interactive web surfing, and the capability to record everything around them and upload it to the internet instantly.

      Remember that young people especially like the feeling of being “with it,” on the cutting edge, and don’t want to have outdated technology any more than out-of-style clothes; they will leap to be chipped just as they snatch up the latest smartphone. And not only will the technology be convenient, but it will lend an illusion of power. With just a wave of your hand doors will open for you — literally and figuratively.

      “Eventually, once the concept is generally accepted by the majority, it will become our new ‘social security number,’” writes Slavo.

      You’ll thus need a chip to avail yourself of government services and, sooner or later, to make a purchase (again, society would no doubt become cashless).

      At that point, circumstances may compel a person to accept an implant even if the government doesn’t. And the implications of this are grave, say many critics. For instance, University of Wollongong professor Katina Michael warns, reports Gillespie:

      “RFID microchips are essentially a unique ID embedded in your body, and, as we know, numbers can be stolen and data can be hacked…. They point to an uber-surveillance society that is big brother on the inside looking out. Governments or large corporations would have the ability to track people’s actions and movements … and ultimately even control them.”

      Also note that with the government developing the capacity to predict an individual’s behavior with computer algorithms and with science starting to create technology that can decode thoughts and intentions (mind-reading), the future looks, well, quite revelatory.

      So will a day come where we dare think only “double-plus-good” thoughts? Will 1984 and Brave New World transition from fiction to news? Whatever the case, we can without hesitation now say something about the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”:

      We certainly do.

      • I asked about wearing masks, not implanted microchips.

        I understand about microchips.

        Still puzzled about masks.

        • Man is the icon of Christ
          Masks cover and obscure that icon,
          distorting how we present ourselves to our fellow men;
          and how they present themselves to us.
          They disrupt natural human communication,
          much of which is visual.
          They frighten children.
          They prevent children learning from facial expressions.
          They replace human individuality with blank opacity.
          Pity has an open face.
          Pitilessness (which is demonic) has not.

          • It is sin which covers and obscures the icon on Christ in us, not wearing some silly little medical mask.

            “They frighten children.”

            And I have often seen children frightened by Priests in very long beards and black robes.

            But I would never expect them to shave or wear civies.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              No one is equating “covering and obscuring the icon of Christ” with masks.

              Children are not frightened by the masks, themselves. They are frightened seeing their godparents, friends, and priests wearing masks.

              Unlike long beards and black robes, children don’t feel safe in a sea of masked strangers or thinking of the icons that we taught them to reverently venerate, as vectors of disease. For them, this is a nightmare.

              For me, this is a nightmare.

              Church is the one place where we should feel safe. We’ve taken that away from people. The bishops should have allowed us to go to Church without all the paraphernalia of disease: like sign-up lists, masks, multiple spoons, hand sanitizers, etc. There was no need to close off coat closets and fellowship rooms either. We could have signed releases of liability.

              Attendance might be lower because some people would still be afraid, but that’s OK. I’m now afraid to go into an ocean frequented by great whites (sharks) yet no one restricted me from putting on scuba gear and wading into the water off Diamond Head where I saw a few in my 20s.

              The Church is the Church just like the ocean is the ocean. Or it should be.

              Just so you all know, George and I did not take all these precautions and fortunately, we found a place to worship in our area that did not change their practices one iota. Because George is a pharmacist, he also went to work where he was surrounded by sick people. In addition, we mingled with throngs of “deplorables” (you know how germy they can be – haha) in December and neither of us got COVID. If we did, we recovered like 80% of the rest of the population, not knowing we were even sick.

              So no COVID for us but the tremendous stress brought on by COVID and what looks to be its creators is very real. Gates, Fauci, and Francis Collins (boy, is he a slippery figure) need to be divested of all their wealth so it can be distributed to those who experienced a death: whether it be a loved one or a family business. They should be required to do 40 hours of community services per week and wear an ankle bracelet, while confined to a modest home for the rest of their natural lives.

              Death by hanging or firing squad is too good for them. Let them live with the consequences of their actions.

              • Do great whites (sharks) have white privilege?
                I expect they do. They must be shunned…

              • MomofToddler says

                Small sample size I know.: My children are drawn to all with a priestly or monk feel to them and view it as a holy appearance, and in their simplicity they just know that the man in the clothing serves God. By contrast, my son refused to attend a homeschool field trip because one of the teachers from the organization would be wearing a mask (98% of attendees were mask free). We went the first time and he was so uncomfortable he did not want to return. Which meant not seeing his friends or learning to shoot a BB gun…because of a few masks. Masks are definitely a thing.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  They are indeed a “thing” that we associate with death and dying. – I used to be afraid of clowns. Now, I’m afraid of masks!

                • If your son could not see the teacher’s face,
                  he could not read his (or her) emotions and hence could not glean sufficient clues for him to decide whether or not that teacher might be safe to be around – or not.

              • We could have signed releases of liability.

                Indeed. In many cases I strongly suspect liability was (and is) the primary motivating factor in Church decisions. How else do we explain the constant references to CDC guidelines in every single directive we’ve seen? I suppose we’ll know more or less for certain if this is the case if/when we see a resurgence of cases and/or variants.

                Once – just once – I would like to see appeals to faith and good order in the administration of the Church instead of these constant references to the CDC guidelines. It has reached the point where I don’t need to know what my bishop’s directives will be in a week. All I have to do is watch tonight’s evening news.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  I’ve got to admit, I use the CDC, FDA, New York Times, etc. as sources in my pieces when I can (which isn’t often) because so many people think they are the authority. If you use reputable scientific journals or just plain logic, they automatically discount what you’re saying.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    FWIW, people are getting fined because they are abiding by the latest CDC guidelines.

                    Mdme Pelosi is fining Congressmen because they are doing what the CDC is recommending, which is that masks are no longer necessary. Still, because of her idiotic authoritarianism, she is mandating that House members must wear a mask.

                    Then there’s the idiot mayor of Washington, DC who is preventing people from dancing at weddings while in that quaint little burg. Shades of Footloose.

                • Jacob Lee says

                  It was all about liability mixed with TDS. The letter from the assembly last year said they consulted first with insurance second with lawyers, lastly with theologians.

              • “No one is equating “covering and obscuring the icon of Christ” with masks”

                Speak for yourself please. A mask absolutely obscures the image of God that we are imprinted with. Masks are a blasphemy.

                The silence of our hierarchs on this is deafening but by no means does it mean they are right. Just because a bishop or group of bishops promulgates something doesn’t mean its right. We are obligated to be obedient when they direct is us in truth but also obligated not to listen to them when they are wrong. Nor does that justify Donatism but requires those who insist on standing for the truth also suffer for it.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  You’ve taken what I said out of context. The conversation was about how masks are frightening to children but not because of sin which covers and obscures the icon of Christ , but because the masks themselves are scary.

                  In the future, if I make a comment, assume I’m speaking for myself.

                  No one is suggesting the bishops are always right but neither are we saying we can ignore them when they’re wrong. We have to come to a consensus because that is the nature of “one body” which we are.

                  We can’t ignore them, nor can they ignore us.

                  • Re your comment: “No one is equating ‘covering and obscuring the image of Christ” with masks.”

                    Brendan -to whom my comment was intially in response to – was, way up this thread.

                    And now Dan is doing the same thing.

                    It is ridiculous.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    To all: leaving aside the theological/anthropological issue of the mandatory wearing of masks (and the consequent unfortunate societal side-effects*) it can be said as a plain statement that masks are indeed “scary”.

                    *There are political consequences to this masquerade: the concept of “maskholes” or “maskerbators” is currently trending. The short definition is that we are dividing our society into two different camps and there are political consequences to this that have not been thought out. I can assure you that these consequences are not positive.

                    • Allan Stevo writes on these consequences:

                      If You Wear a Face Mask Anymore,
                      You Have No One to Blame But Yourself


                      ‘ I live in one of the most locked down places in the United States. I live in a place where obedience is demanded, where people are rabid about those who do not properly virtue signal on all topics as obediently as possible, where people become enraged at those who do not bow down.

                      I live in a place where corporate policies are not honored, but as long as someone can lord over you for a few moments, then whatever that person feels becomes that policy at that moment, no matter how cruel, how devious, how inhuman.

                      I live in a place where whatever the headline of the latest salacious news article was is honored as policy, as if it were the highest law of the land, as if it were constitutional. I live in a place where whatever comes out of the mouth of the high priest Fauci first thing in the morning is the new law inviolable, that no one may, for any reason, challenge. I live in a place where I walk through my day, every single day, with no mask ever for any reason.

                      If I can do that in the place where I live, what is your excuse in the place where you live? … ‘

                      Please read the whole article.

                      Allan Stevo refuses to assent to the lie.
                      Solzhenitsyn would (I think) approve.

      • George Michalopulos says

        You know, one of the things that make me accept the reality of divine inspiration is Revelation. Materialists like to point out that the Bible is

        1. not inspired,
        2. anachronistic,
        3. and all its prophecies are therefore after-the-fact.

        Let’s assume that all of that is true. The the Torah was written during the Babylonian Exile some 700 years after the time of Moses.

        Let’s also also assume that the Gospels were written after A D 70 (thereby negating Jesus’ prediction about the Temple’s destruction).

        Let’s give the secularists, liberals, materialists, atheist, all that.

        How then do they explain the accuracy of John the Beloved’s prediction about the mark of the best in Revelation (which even they concede was written 1900 years ago?

  14. Yipppeeeeee!

    Church is back to normal!!

    Then I actually read the letter.

    The assumption of the letter is that you will have been vaccinated to attend liturgy.

    The only exception mentioned is if you are ‘high risk’ -whatever that means, but it must be tagged to medical reasons that legitimately exempts you from taking the vaccine. A specially designated small spot- I am assuming somewhere in a back corner- is reserved for you- where you will need to mask and social distance.

    In other words, you will be required to be vaccinated to attend Church, with very few exceptions.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, while you are at, there is a yellow star we’d like you to wear on your left breast.

    And in the future, you will need to go through a specially designed chamber for the unvaccinated to help deactivate the virus while present at liturgy. The chambers should be ready in about a year.

    In the meanwhile, stay safe everyone.

    ( Personal note: I thank God for our bishops who continually seek to shepherd their flock according to the guiding light of the CDC….um….ah… I mean the Lord Jesus Christ.)

    • Gail Sheppard says

      It doesn’t say that. It says that those who wanted to be vaccinated have now had that opportunity and now it’s time for everyone to get back to Church.

      • Are we reading different letters?

        The last sentence of the first paragraph clearly states that if you are high risk- meaning if you are not able to take the vaccine for medical reasons- then go to the specially designated area of the church where you will wear a mask and you will social distance.

        In my parish (OCA in Halifax) we have gone into lockdown once again. That means that only the priests- fully masked- are permitted into the church to perform liturgy. This week’s bulletin also makes it clear that the priests also need to be vaccinated. I am fairly certain that we will be required to be vaccinated to attend liturgy once the church opens again after the lockdown. And probably also a specially designated area will be provided for those parishioners who are high risk- meaning that they will not have been vaccinated for medical reasons.

        Precisely what the Archbishop states in his letter.

        I’ll contact the Archbishop’s Office and ask for clarity. Just in case.

        PS According to official government stats, we have had a total of 71 deaths in the province in the last 14 months since the pandemic started. Average age 80.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          RE: Are we reading different letters?

          We’re reading the same letter, differently.

          • Yes, I understand that.

            The question is: will you be able to attend liturgy at an Antiochene parish freely without having been vaccinated, or not. The same question in my view applies to all parishes in North America under the jurisdiction of the Assembly of Bishops. For those among us who do will not take the ‘vaccine’ for religious reasons (the vaccine was developed using fetal tissue), and health concerns. It is an experimental new platform gene therapy that actually cause death in a statistically significant number of those who receive it- not to mention other adverse reactions that -so far at least!- have been chronicled. (Here is a discussion with Dr Lee Merritt who details all the reasons to stay clear of the thing FYI:

            My point is that it matters how you read the letter. Then of course it matters what the Archbishop actually means, and how that plays out in the parishes under his ….um….care.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Yes, Jeff. As is already the case now, you can attend liturgy freely if you’re not vaccinated only now you won’t have to wear a mask. When Metropolitan Joseph says “we” he means his fellow bishops; however, it does not apply to North America, because it does not include Canada.

            • Jane Tzilvelis says

              Your church hierarchy are bullies. Do not believe government stats. Government is lying like a rug!

        • Antiochene Son says

          Jeff, you are clearly reading it in bad faith.

          “The only thing we ask is that if you have any high risk people in your parishes who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons that you make every effort to accommodate them by having a small area of the church, where they can still social distance and wear masks, set aside in order for them to feel safe.”

          In other words, if someone is at high risk and should be vaccinated but cannot be, they should have a special area where THEY can distance. Clearly this is presented as a small concession for an unusual circumstance, not something that would apply to 50% of a parish.

          The letter is silent about those who have chosen not to be vaccinated, except to say they have had the chance. Met. Joseph has never said anything about people should or must get the vaccine. If he was saying that, it would be said clearly.

          The implication is that vaxxed people did what they thought was right, and unvaxxed did what they thought was right, and now it’s time to go back to normal again. Everyone bears responsibility for their own health.

          As it always should have been.

          If anything, this letter is telling parishes to return to normal ASAP and to put this all in the past, because it’s hurting parishes.

          • Mom of Toddler says

            I’m sure I’m not the one to sort this out, but at some point 2 Timothy 3 will probably come into play at some point before the Lord’s return:

            “3 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
            2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
            3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
            4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
            5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

            Based on our Bible, a time will come when we can love, forgive, not judge people ourselves, but still end up turning away, even from those that appear to be in “our Church.” (There is not a call to “return to normal” in 2 Timothy 3…not saying this is the time, but it will probably come at some point.)

            Archimandrite Athanasios Militianios said in a talk that 95 – 97% of baptized Orthodox Christians would take “the mark.” I suppose this is what he saw based on the state of the souls of Orthodox Christians that he was around. (Given that fact it’s interesting that a very small percentage of Orthodox Christians took issue with the liturgical innovations due to the “pandemic.”) He passed on to the next life in 2006. There will be a lot of pressure to brush everything under the rug and have “peace” with “blasphemers” at some point – those in the 95%. I’m not declaring this is the time, but based on prophecies a time will come when the majority of “Orthodox Christians” will not actually be the True Church/”The elect.”
            Archimandrite Athanasios says that this is referred to in Revelations when it speaks of measuring the altar only, but not the rest of the temple. I think the founder of the Moderna vaccine said something about how the vaccine is “cracking the software of life” – Is this not blasphemy? Is changing our God-given DNA not a form of blasphemy? I highly recommend reading the latest blog post on The Inkless Pen:

    • Jeff in all charity you need to chill out and pray.

      This has been a terrible, dare I say traumatic, year for so many of us. But do not lose heart. It isn’t anywhere near as bad as what you are seeing through your lens of exhaustion and fear.

      In my parish- in the outskirts of one of the most notorious leftist bergs, in a blue state known for its controlling governness, in a diocese ruled by a bishop discussed in this blog at length- the status is now essentially DADT, with the blessing of that bishop himself. Each person is responsible for knowing his or her own vaccination status and managing it. And per our elder priest, no one is permitted to ask anyone else about it- thus to avoid quarrels and division. So if you see someone without a mask, you can assume he’s vaccinated. Is he vaccinated? Only he knows. The priest won’t ask. You may not ask- and if you do, the askee’s spiritual father has bid him not to answer! The bishop won’t ask. Fauci isn’t in the house to check on us. And so: it is OVER.

      It’s OVER

      Thanks be to God!!

      • Um… OK…. if you say so.

        Let’s revisit this in a year and see where we are, alright.

        Mark it.

        May, 2022.

        • MomofToddler says

          We are doing the same thing literally. Just “tabling” the idea of considering returning to our former parish to protect our children from further trauma (and perhaps to protect ourselves as well.) We have farther parishes we can go to for another year often enough. We did for the past year – we can do it for one more. God wants us to protect our souls and be shrewd….based on past patterns, it seems shrewd to wait a bit.

        • Amen Jeff. You beat me to it. Except….You’re being most generous in saying let’s revisit this in a year. I say, give it three months, tops.

  15. Everyone with a healthy immune system getting a shot are nothing but guinea pigs. How can they call it a vaccine when it takes 10 to 15 yrs to develope a safe vaccine??????.

  16. I saw someone on Instagram post that covid has been the Vatican II of Orthodoxy. I really, really hope they’re wrong

    • Antiochene Son says

      Don’t listen to blackpillers.

    • I’ve been critical of our hierarchs this past year, but the Church has been through worse compromises with secular powers and survived. Turkokratia, Sergianism, etc. We’ll get over this as well.

      • Jane Tzilvelis says

        I won’t.

        • Then you’ve been tricked by the enemy on the right, instead of the enemy on the left. Remember the Royal Path.

          • Basil, Hahahaha……

            • Laugh all you want, Alan, but the reality is that we can fall into extremes and error.

              Becoming despondent and ‘never getting over’ this little crisis is both sinful and an extreme reaction. Likewise, those that reject the hierarchy’s attempts to get back to normal because of the screw-ups of the past year are falling into classic Donatism. Back then, the bishops compromised through weakness and fear, while in 2020 the bishops compromised through ignorance and fear. The Donatists were wrong, though, and exiled themselves from paradise because of their pride.

              To call out the bishops for their errors is a righteous thing, but to refuse to accept their attempts at normalization is foolhardy.

  17. Yes, I understand.

    The question is: will you be able to attend liturgy at an Antiochene parish freely without having been vaccinated, or not. The same question in my view applies to all parishes in North America under the jurisdiction of the Assembly of Bishops. For those among us who do will not take the ‘vaccine’ for religious reasons (the vaccine was developed using fetal tissue), and health concerns. It is an experimental new platform gene therapy that actually cause death in a statistically significant number of those who receive it- not to mention other adverse reactions that -so far at least!- have been chronicled. (Here is a discussion with Dr Lee Merritt who details all the reasons to stay clear of the thing FYI:

    My point is that it matters how you read the letter. Then of course it matters what the Archbishop actually means, and how that plays out in the parishes under his ….um….care.

    • I understand your concern but ultimately you are obligated to ignore at the very least directives from the hierarchy that are immoral and or contrary to the faith. Doesn’t matter if the bishop tries to make vaccination a pre requisite.

      Bottom line is who are you obidient to, Christ or the world? Just ignore it and make them try to enforce it.

    • Please find me a bishop in the United States who has stated that parishioners need to get vaccinated before attending Divine Liturgy. That will be your smoking gun. Until then, at least give them the benefit of the doubt when they’re clearly trying to get things back to normal.

      We need to get over this and look forward towards the prize. The hierarchy made mistakes, and will make mistakes again, as they have made many mistakes in the past. The Church will survive and the vaccinated and non-vaccinated should be able to pray together without hostility and suspicion.

      I don’t want to see COVID Donatism developing amongst those of us who didn’t get hoodwinked by the scamdemic itself, only to be hoodwinked by the enemy waiting on the other end of the spectrum.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Basil, the danger of drifting towards Donatism is a real one. I personally bear some responsibility for unwittingly inspiring this trait. Having said that, the Donatists were not wrong per se but hyper-orthodox. The impulse to come out of the gates defensively is not a bad one. In fact, it keeps the bishops on their toes regarding innovations.

        It’s not unlike the Second Amendment. In the past, it’s kept the tyrannical impulse of the government in check. It may not succeed ultimately given the present BLM/Antifa brownshirtery has infiltrated the Military Industrial Complex but it has worked to insure individual freedom up until now. For almost a quarter of a millennium; that’s not a bad thing ceteris parabus.

    • CS Louis says

      They never seem to mention Natural immunity. What about those of us who already got Covid and recovered. I was tested and was informed that I had a significant level of antibodies against Covid. Why then should I subject myself to an experimental vaccine at this time?
      After reading Met. Joseph’s letter, I initially breathed a sigh of relief, hopeful that this signals a return to normalcy. Then, my spouse reported this morning that the local Antiochian church still requires all to wear masks. The priest when asked about this said he is waiting till ALL have the vaccine.
      So, what about HIPAA protections for medical information privacy? It seems to be forgotten. I don’t want to be questioned about my status in order to enter a Church building. If that’s required, I will stay home, and reserve my money for organizations that welcome me.

      • Antiochene Son says

        If I were in that situation, I would walk in without a mask. Carry a copy of the Metropolitan’s letter and see if the priest throws you out. The letter authorizes parishes to delay return to social functions, but not requiring masks.

        I also recovered from COVID and will not be taking a vaccine under any circumstances.

    • I see a lot of this as rendering unto Caesar on the part of bishops and closing the subject within parishes. Our rector today read Bishop Benjamin’s letter, announced that it’s up to each one of us to determine whether the CDC guidelines on masks allows us to go without or not, and that as the bishop said, he is not going to keep track, that’s a personal responsibility. Another priest has already ordered everyone there not to ask each other about vaccine status, as it was causing quarrels. So the subject is closed. Almost everyone has taken off their masks. Is everyone vaccinated? Well, in the county where the parish exists, the vaccination rate is about 53%. So…if we’re all vaccinated, we’re certainly above average. But it’s a personal issue now, as it should be. Caesar got what he wanted. And now hopefully he will go back to leaving us alone.

      • Your comments here are very optimistic, and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this whole COVID thing is part of an international agenda – being dictated to national governments by groups such as the United Nations, WHO, WEF, IMF, etc. They are trying to centralize everything, so to speak. We already have the “green pass” in Israel, and numerous countries (including former Orthodox nations like Greece, Serbia, Romania, I think Ukraine…) have recently introduced vaccine passports for travel. This is going to be the “new normal” for the world – being forced to present vaccination status to participate in social functions, travel, shop, etc. I have reason to believe that the vaccine passports will be introduced into American life as well, likely in the fall/winter, or next spring perhaps, and that our churches along with most businesses and institutions will be required to only admit vaccinated people. This happened during Holy Week and Pascha in Slovakia, Cyprus, Jerusalem, and probably others. Only vaccinated people were allowed entrance for the Paschal Liturgy! There was no real resistance to this at all. Look at the Holy Fire service. They only allowed 2000 people in and they all had to be vaccinated. This is terrible, yet, it was framed as “look how great it is we can get the Holy Fire and not wear masks or social distance anymore”… Currently certain monasteries in Russia and Greece require proof of vaccination to enter, or a negative COVID test (Solovki and Meteroa specifically). I don’t expect a lot of resistance from our bishops when this happens here, just as there was none in these other nations. Just be prepared. None of this is over, in fact, it is only beginning. Don’t get too excited by the carrots that the government is tossing us right now. That’s the whole point – whipsaw people back and forth, and break their will, get them to line up for endless vaccines, booster shots, etc. as they force the world into plant-based soy and mealworm diets, global carbon tax (and a global government to collect the tax), amongst other atrocities that will accompany this Great Reset/Agenda 2030 population reduction program.

  18. George Michalopulos says
  19. Jane Tzilvelis says

    The bishops of the Orthodox Christian church surrendered to the phony MSN Covid narrative propaganda. The bishops surrendered to the cruelty of the world’s rich and powerful. The bishops surrendered the world’s Christian children to catastrophic child abuse. The bishops surrendered to the violence committed by governments around the world.

    The bishops CONDONED the assault on Jesus Christ. As soon as the Covid order was announced, the bishops AGREED that Christ’s church was not a necessity. The bishops of today lack courage. How many of Christ’s disciples were thrown in jail or executed?

    The bishops bowed down to antichrist politicians. The church belongs to Jesus Christ and not any Governor. The bishops must refresh themselves about the story of Lot’s wife. The bishops willingly participated in mass societal corruption and mass cruelty by the elite.

    I just listened to a lofty fiery live stream sermon by Pastor Chuck Baldwin and hopefully, I have paraphrased his words correctly. No longer do I listen to “ the bishops.” They have joined the dark side.

    • Chuck Baldwin might be right on politics and the scamdemic, but his church won’t save your soul.

  20. Fr David says

    Anyone is welcome to attend an Antiochian service: vaccinated, unvaccinated, masked or unmasked. We had 1 mask this morning. Thank God for Metr. Joseph’s courage. Fr. David

    • Sorry….a few things must be said in reply. FOR NOW anyone is welcome to attend. We now know as a simple matter of fact, that that changes when the CDC says differently.

      It’s most unfortunate that at virtually all Antiochian parishes for the last year, your first sentence was not true. Finally, it would have been nice to have seen actual courage on display for the last 14 months.

      • Antiochene Son says

        There were plenty of parishes that allowed people to attend without masks. Every Antiochian parish in my area let people in without masks, and only half of them even officially required them.

        I’m not sure what you’re expecting, that priests would shout from the rooftops that masks were not required? I think the Metropolitan knows that compliance was not high, and he overlooked that as long as parishes kept it on the down-low and didn’t openly defy him over it. (That kind of tactic is what got all the Greek parishes closed in Toronto—the authorities were overlooking the non-compliance until the tattletales complained.)

      • Jacob Lee says

        I wonder how the priests read I was a stranger and you let me in? I know for a fact strangers were turned away. I witnessed it and it will be with me for life.

  21. I think we’re about at the end of Covid. Recent events lead me to believe that the order has been given to stand down and let the sob dissipate.

    Sen. Rand Paul raked Fauci over the coals regarding gain of function and wants to look back into all the research he’s done and funded. Next thing you know the CDC drops the mask thing for the vaccinated. I’m starting to see signs about masks being recommended but not mandated here and there.

    It’s the poll numbers, the April jobs report (pitiful) and the threat of a wider scandal involving Fauci. Biden’s under 50 percent. He’s not getting good marks on this thing and people are perceiving the Dems as neurotic. They’re already going to get trounced in the midterms. This whole thing was orchestrated to bring down Trump. Now its dragging down ChiCom Joe.

    I think they’ve made the decision to end it. The Dems throughout the country like the power rush of making people mask, etc., but it has to end anyway in time to rebound for next year’s elections.


  22. Will the bishops being giving a Mea Culpa for what has happened over the past year? I hope for it but I wont be holding my breath. I’m guessing they think we’ll just forget about it and move along.

    • Seraphim says

      Petros, short answer: no. My wife and I were discussing this months ago. She originally said she didn’t want to go back to any of the churches near us unless they repented. I told her flat out that would simply not happen, and I remain in that conviction. The big reason is most of the clergy who implemented the restrictions thought they were being loving and looking out for the well-being of their parishioners.

      My wife and I, by God’s mercy were able to find a parish a few hours away that did things normally. And if it was just us we would probably stay with going there a few times a year. But with having 3 little ones, we plan on going to the Russian church near us so they can hopefully get some regular formation in the Faith.

  23. George Michalopulos says

    I don’t disagree with you Herman. However, the push-back has begun. The State may win this in the end but it’s going to be an ugly battle. And who knows? We may actually pull it off ourselves.

    One thing that gives me hope is the absolute incompetence that is endemic to large bureaucracies. Under Xiden, the level of corruption and incompetence has increased by several orders of magnitude. I expect it will get worse.

    • I don’t disagree with you either, maybe I just have a different view of the long game that is being played here. I think the incompetence that we see is largely engineered or used as entertainment or distraction. Obviously, Biden (Bidenstein might be more accurate) is a puppet and fully incompetent, but he doesn’t set policy, it’s the guys behind the scenes, literally exactly the same ones that dictated policy to Trump. They think it’s funny and degrading to put clownish people like Macron or Trudeau, Bush Jr. and Trump, the various liberal SJW women in New Zealand, Estonia etc. in positions of power over us, or Boris Johnson… they present a picture of national corruption (not altogether inaccurate, of course) and incompetence, and the claims will be that we need a global government in order to fix these issues. What I see is a professional, highly skilled, and highly motivated Jewish elite, with unlimited financial resources, that have been working towards bringing their Messiah into the world, and now, they are close, antichrist is close. They are masters of deceit and propaganda, and they literally believe that non-Jews are animals to be enslaved and used for their own purposes (knowing this explains a lot about the state of affairs today globally). I know this sounds awful (and lots of people would rather ignore it because talking about “the Jews” makes them feel like some kind of Nazi or something), but many of our Holy Fathers and Saints knew this, and spoke about it. “Covid” and “climate change” are the fronts (both hoaxes) that will usher in the long-awaited global system, and this destiny of Talmudic Judaism would never, never be allowed to hurtle haphazardly towards its goal, to the contrary, we may see visible signs of incompetence in our local governments, but this is an international agenda, being played out effectively towards a goal which (we know from the words of our Lord Himself) will absolutely be achieved. The push-back has begun, but the response will be crushing, because they have already accounted for this, they have think tanks like RAND and Tavistock that do computer simulations on events like this that they want to roll out. Why else are they defunding the police all over the country? They will be replaced with military, eventually, it seems. Any kind of push-back will be dealt with harshly, as it has been so far, and it will only get worse. I would simply like to let people here know that I am sorry but this is not over, it will not be over, and it is only the beginning, we are now in the death throes of the Old World, moving fast into the New. Normally I would say something like “well maybe I’m wrong, we’ll see, OK, etc.” but I know I’m not wrong, because the train has left the station now. They aren’t going to turn it back around. It left. They have been talking about the train leaving the station for decades, and it just did last year. Look at the moves towards the Temple Mount by the Israelis. This is calculated, they are emboldened, the entire world is masked up and shot up with weird chemical drugs, and will begin dropping like flies – and it’s Moschiach Time.

      • I like the cut of your jib, Herman. I think it’s the fact that most of our clergy and people are completely unaware of this long game that’s being played – or are scared of addressing it for the same reasons you mentioned – that has led to the disastrous response to the scamdemic.

        I do think, however, that if God gives us enough time, a younger generation of clergy that is woke on this issue – i.e. not boomers – will be able to galvanize the Church and put some fire in its belly. From what I see and hear, that generation is coming of age now and there is much zeal there.

        • Thanks for the reply, Basil. Fr Seraphim Rose said something like “the Zionists have become so powerful now that if you put a booklet about the Jews up for sale in your candle kiosk then you’re going to have a representative from the ADL showing up at your church before too long”… he said this in the Orthodox Survival Course, which he conducted in the late 70s/early 80s. That was 40-45 years ago, and look at the state of affairs today. If people just learned more about Orthodox Church history, the history of the Jews, and looked at current events, it becomes obvious. I don’t know why they don’t do that. They get distracted by drugs and TV and football and party politics I guess. But it’s actually really, really simple…

          Who is it that rejected Christ? The Jews did. The Jews that accepted Him became Christians. The Jews that rejected Him became “the Jews.” You can see this shift in definition occur throughout the Gospel of John.

          Why? Because they wanted a militant earthly king that would re-establish the Kingdom of Israel/Judea for them and create a worldly paradise for them, and only for them.

          When Christ was killed, did the Jews do it themselves, or did they agitate and manipulate the ruling authorities to do their dirty work for them? You know the answer. It’s an MO that remains relevant today.

          Did they lose hope that God would send their promised Messiah? No.

          Before Christ makes His Second Coming, someone called the antichrist is going to appear and rule the world from Jerusalem. Could the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, in fact, be one and the same person as the antichrist? Yes, in fact, this has been known clearly by our Church Fathers, and discussed by them at length.

          So does it make sense that the Jews want to, and have in fact, been working towards world domination for centuries to create a unified global system from which their Jewish Messiah can rule? Yes of course it does.

          Does it make sense that they would use the authorities of various nations to bring this system into existence? Sure, of course it does.

          But, this is all “controversial” and “distasteful” and “racist/anti-semitic” etc. Yet, this is related to the basics of our Faith, our very identity as Christians, and is related to the very identity of the Jewish people, which is defined by rejection of Jesus Christ.

          The Jews desperately needed to garner some sympathy, some support, and needed to shut down “the Jewish Question” and change the narrative from “Jews = parasites that undermine Christian society with immorality” to “Jews = innocent victims of hatred and racism” and they successfully did that. How did they do that?

          Ignorance of all of this leads Christian bishops to encouraging Christian people to get injected with experimental drugs created by Jewish-owned pharmaceutical companies for the purposes of “our health.” In the old days, the Emperors and our bishops used to drive these people out of our homelands and burn them alive at the stake. Now, we’re told to ask “how high” when they say “jump” and to submit our children to their indoctrination programs. I never understood so many years ago how it could be true that nearly all Christians in the world could one day accept antichrist, but I see it now, it makes sense to me today.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Herman, you go to far with the “burning at the stake” thing. Surely Christ does not encourage the death penalty for people because of their ethnicity or religion. When you say things like that, it negates whatever you say prior to that. Indeed, it necessarily invites accusations of anti-Semitism.

            There are many good, measured resources that critique Jewish influence, none of which degenerate to racial hatred and/or resorting to genocide. If I may recommend one, you might check out what I wrote a few years ago about the relationship between Rabbinicism/Talmudism and the Church:


            • Obviously Christ does not “encourage” the death penalty for people because of their race or ethnicity, and neither do I. Give me a break.

              However, I don’t have any problem with the death penalty being applied to drug pushers, regardless of whether these pushers are small-time peddlers, or major Jewish families like the Sackler family (masters of the OxyContin empire).

              My point was – in the past, our Bishops and leaders would have driven Jewish drug peddlers out of our midst, or executed them, and not because they were Jews, but because they were pushing weird drugs on Christian people. But now, our Bishops and leaders work with these drug peddlers (experimental vaccine makers), and encourage us to partake of their wares. Times have certainly changed, have they not.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                What makes you think past bishops would have driven Jewish “drug peddlers” out?

          • Solid Scriptural basis of the Jewish revolutionary spirit:

            Hence, the conclusion is inescapable: Jesus Christ was the victim of the Jewish revolution, appearing to be a counter-revolutionary in the eyes of the seditious. Of course, all of this took place as part of God’s providential plan. None of it would have happened if the Lord Himself had not wanted, in accordance with the pre-eternal Counsel, to ascend the Cross, as He even said of Himself (Jn. 10:17-18; 12:27, 32; Lk. 22:22; Mt. 26:54).

            But to this basic and principal good reason for Christ’s sufferings must also be added the evil human means, such as the treachery of Judas, the envy and vengefulness of the chief priests and Pharisees, and finally, the revolutionary venture which they shared with the people, and which alienated the Jewish people from Christ, prompted them to hate and crucify their Savior, and which has even induced their progeny to remain in unbelief and enmity towards Him until our own times.

            As E. Michael Jones is wont to say, by rejecting the Logos, the Jews rejected natural order and natural law, hence their tendency to destroy everything around them by their revolutionary activities. They freely admit that they don’t feel safe in homogenous societies – especially Christian ones – and therefore seek to dismantle homogeneity as much as possible, while maintaining their own solidarity, of course. Notice how often the “dear fellow white people” pseudo-self-criticisms of CRT comes from professed Jews. Not a coincidence.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            RE: “Who is it that rejected Christ? The Jews did.”

            And Buddhists, Hinduists, pagans. . . even the Apostles, except for John. The Jews weren’t the only ones who rejected Him and they were “Jews” long before His incarnation.

            RE: “Why? Because they wanted a militant earthly king that would re-establish the Kingdom of Israel/Judea . . .”

            Actually, it was because He could be the Messiah that they rejected Him. A militant earthly king is the LAST thing the Jewish leaders wanted. Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, like being the “king of the Jews” and turning his authority over to an “upstart” from Nazareth was probably not in the plan.

            RE: “Could the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, in fact, be one and the same person as the antichrist? Yes, in fact, this has been known clearly by our Church Fathers, and discussed by them at length.”

            I was not aware the Church Fathers agreed on this.

            RE: “So does it make sense that the Jews want to, and have in fact, been working towards world domination for centuries to create a unified global system from which their Jewish Messiah can rule? Yes of course it does.”

            Globalists are atheists. What they want is a powerful political ruler to restore Israel to its former glory. They have no interest in a suffering servant ruling over the world.

            RE: “Does it make sense that they would use the authorities of various nations to bring this system into existence? Sure, of course, it does.”

            Perhaps, but the rulers of the nations today are, again, atheists. The goals of the nations don’t include a God ruling the world.

            RE: “Yet, this is related to the basics of our Faith, our very identity as Christians, and is related to the very identity of the Jewish people, which is defined by a rejection of Jesus Christ.”

            Seriously???! I hope not!

            RE: “Ignorance of all of this leads Christian bishops to encourage Christian people to get injected with experimental drugs created by Jewish-owned pharmaceutical companies for the purposes of “our health.”

            Jews are not over-represented in pharmaceutical companies and I suspect our bishops are listening to their lawyers, not Jews, who may, in fact, also be their attorneys! They’re a little weak in the knees when it comes to taking a stance to protect the Church, I’ll grant you that.

            • RE: “Could the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, in fact, be one and the same person as the antichrist? Yes, in fact, this has been known clearly by our Church Fathers, and discussed by them at length.”

              I was not aware the Church Fathers agreed on this.

              This teaching is widespread and is actually in the Synaxarion for Meatfare Sunday. If it’s in the liturgical books, i.e. is appointed to be read in all churches everywhere, then it’s a teaching of the Church.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Agreed. It stands to reason that a man who says he is the Christ will be an antichrist (at the very least) if not the antichrist.

                The Lord left us strict instructions as to how he will appear at his Second Coming.

                • The mistake people make is to blame “The Jews” – a mistake [many are] making, and the same one that Nilus made about the Protocols. Revelation is specific about the Synagogue of Satan, those who say they are Jews, but are not. These people worship Lucifer, and hide themselves. Look at Epstein’s “temple” on his island. It’s not Jewish. Thomas McNamara was on the BOD of Lucis Trust – there’s a picture of him with Epstein and Gates. These are the people that currently rule over us – they have attended Alice Bailey’s Arcane school.

                  Don’t forget their esoteric meaning of Lucifer:
                  Read it carefully.

                  It is a big mistake to blame “The Jews”. 99% of them have no idea of what is going on, they just want to live their lives.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Agreed. Several years ago, one of our commentators wrote an excellent piece entitled “Do the Jews Need Jesus?” Yes, they do. Just like everybody else. Hence the evil of ecumenism.

                    • Any Christian (Dare I say Orthodox Christian?) who wonders if the Jews need Jesus needs to return to catechism. Some recent popes come to mind in this regard.

                      They might as well ask whether the Jews also need food in order to sustain their earthly lives. They were – and remain – the chosen people, but it doesn’t exempt them from being subject to the very ‘nature’ (Logos) of the universe.

      • Antiochene Son says

        If anyone sees the active genocide of Palestinians happening right before our eyes and does not wake up on the Ancient Question, there is no hope for them.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Again, too simplistic. The Israelis are no angels but the Palestinians have been offered most all of the West Bank (and all of Gaza). They could have had a full-fledged state by now.

          Now, I understand their long-term goal is “from the River to the Sea”, to simply wait out the Israelis through demography but in doing so, they make the long-term prospects for such a state nonviable. True ethnogenesis cannot rely on simple hatred for an out-group. This for example is why the Ukro-nazi project in the Ukraine is doomed to fail.

          • They’re under occupation. Their homeland was literally swarmed by outsiders, armed and financed by the world’s most powerful countries and banking cartels. They’ve lost almost everything and they, quite rightly, want it back. The majority of Israelis have no place in Palestine and no right to claim that land as their own.

          • Antiochene Son says

            Why would they want to be dhimmis in the land of their ancestors? Gaza is essentially an open-air prison and Jewish settlers have virtually wiped out the Palestinians in the West Bank.

            I support a one-state solution: Palestine, occupied only by native Palestinians.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Would that include Israeli Jews?

              Your assertion that the Arabs have been “wiped out in the West Bank” is news to the IDF, which has built walls to separate Jewish settlers from the Palestinians.

              Now, I’ll tell you why I don’t want to go down this rabbit-hole; there are many reasons:

              What about Cyprus? Should Cyprus be reunited as one multi-ethnic nation-state or should one group (either Turks or Greeks) be removed? Or should Cyprus remain as it is: an island whose political (and peaceful) arrangement involves the forced segregation of the two different ethnicities?

              Can we remove the Muslims from Europe? On the other hand, why should we Europeans (whether in Europe or America) have to put up with Muslim women wearing the hijab or hearing the call of the muezzin five times a day (as they do in many European cities)?

              • The answer to your questions is YES.

                Cyprus for the Cypriots; Turks to Turkey.

                Non-Europeans (especially Muslims) out of Europe. Go home.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I don’t disagree Basil. At all. I am –and have been–on record as an isolationist who doesn’t want to give Israel (or any other country) one thin dime —for anything. And yes, that means Greece.

                  I mention the above to express my bona fides. Having said that, how do we define “Cypriot”? Greeks only? What about the Turks who have been there for centuries?

                  As for the Afrikaners (the Dutch settlers who colonized and developed South Africa), they’ve been there for 13 generations, a lot longer than the Xhosa and Zulu, who migrated there after the Europeans established themselves there. Right now, these Afrikaners have been subjected to a horrible ethnic cleansing with torture of children that is unimaginable. I imagine that more white Americans would express more sympathy for what is happening in Gaza if a smidgen of the same concern were expressed for the Afrikaners. (I have a dog in that fight btw, as an entire branch of my maternal grandmother’s family migrated to South Africa.)

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Basil, I should also mention that I am very skeptical of the official story of the USS Liberty, which was sunk by the Israeli Air Force during the Six Day War in 1966.

                    Likewise, I am incensed by the actions of the Israeli government who spent the better part of the past 30 years asking for the release of Jonathan Pollard, an American who spied on behalf of Israel. And who was finally released and sent to Israel.

                    As a spy, he should have been executed, just like the Rosenbergs back in the 50s.

                • Antiochene Son says

                  Why do you think The Powers That Be ensured that military aged Arab men made their way into Europe?

                  1. So they could get away with what they’re doing right now (less men to fight them)

                  2. To ensure no European nation could ever again muster its people on the basis of common heritage and blood.

                  The Powers That Be believe that every other nation on earth is a threat to them (probably for good reason), so they have to destroy or subjugate every other nation, sowing discord around the world so no one will ever rise up against them. Simple as!

            • “Why would they want to be dhimmis in the land of their ancestors? Gaza is essentially an open-air prison and Jewish settlers have virtually wiped out the Palestinians in the West Bank. I support a one-state solution: Palestine, occupied only by native Palestinians.”

              Only Aramaic Christians (not “Palestinians” named after Hellenic “Sea People” Philistines) have the right to claim to be natives, all the rest are invaders or sold out and intermarried the Arabic Muslim invaders. Israel, like all non-Muslim nations, should’ve bit the bullet, followed Greece’s example in the population transfer with Turkey, and expelled all Muslims long ago. The reality is half the Jewish world population is currently in Israel, because Christendom didn’t and doesn’t want to deal with all of Jewery in Christendom, so we let the Jews have a small strip of land that the Muslims have been squatting on. It isn’t like an pro-Palestinian foreign policy is even viable, what with Israel and their nukes, and their Samson policy of being launching them before being wiped off the map.

            • Antiochene,

              I make a sharp distinction between Christian and Muslim Arabs, and so should you. Islam is intrinsically evil. It presumes to supersede Christ and Christianity, by force. This is inherently diabolical. Muslims are our mortal enemies and I would not grant them one inch of territory or a moment’s peace, all things being equal. Christians will never be safe on earth until all Muslims are either converted or eradicated. They are unlike practically any other religious group in this regard.

              I have never understood Christian Arab sympathy toward Muslim Arabs. I assume it is blind racial solidarity or obsequious dhimmitude. Both are ugly. Christian Arabs of all people should know Muslims are monsters – their religion programs them so. All Muslims have a disease and its name is “Islam”. To the extent they actually believe in it, they are all that more dangerous.

              The only way to deal with them responsibly is containment, conversion or, as a last resort, eradication. Now, Jews in general and Israelis in particular are a different matter. Though they are a living denial of Christ, they are not supersessionist. They are not committed to worldwide expansion and subjugation of Christians into third class citizen status. We should evangelize them and not put too much trust in them, but they are not an existential danger to the Church.

              If the Israelis were wise, they would draw a line around the territory they intend to keep and forcibly move every last Muslim outside that line. Christian Arabs might live where they will. But those borders should be defended with deadly force. Better Jews in control of the Holy Land than murderous heathen.

              We have been far, far too patient with those people. Putin had it right in Chechnya. Wage a war of attrition against them until they officially renounce Jihad and adopt Sufism (the inner jihad, spirituality) instead.

              • Well, the whole “the friend of my enemy is my friend” apparently originates with the Arabs, so there’s that.

                Interconfessional Palestinian solidarity really comes from back when the secular PLO was the mainstay of the movement. The rise of Hamas (a Mossad operation) drove many Palestinian Muslims into Islamism and fragmented the resistance.

                As much as I agree with you regarding the Muslims, they certainly have their uses. Some contemporary Orthodox writers (can’t remember who) hold that, since Muslims are the Ishmaelites, their fate is to keep fighting everyone: “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him.”

                When we see that it is only really Muslims that are literally waging a hot war against the NWO (Iran, Syria, Iraqi PMFs, Hezbollah, Palestinians, Houthis, and maybe even the Taliban) while everyone else has already been subverted and assimilated, you can see this prophecy being fulfilled.

                If only Christians were so bold in the face of antichrist to put the freedom of their people above material comforts.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Herman, the problem I have with your narrative is that it’s too broadly conspiratorial (and this coming from some who believes that there are actually conspiracies in the world). Also, I don’t appreciate your naming of Biden as “Bidenstein”. That is a step too far in my opinion. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with criticism that is principled but I will not accept ad homimen attacks against individuals or groups (i.e. ethnicities, races) that violate those standards. It’s not necessary

        Also, the idea to blame “the Jews” is simplistic. The American WASP elite bears much culpability for the crapitude we see around us. Much, much, much responsibility.

        For instance, Sen Prescott Bush (the father of GHW) along with Joseph Kennedy, Sr (and others) were instrumental in arming Hitler as a bulwark against Stalin. Bush the Elder was Episcopalian while Kennedy was Roman Catholic. It’s not always “the Rothschilds”, who it should be noted worked behind the scenes with Hitler as well in order to make the Ha’avara “transfer” agreement. (There is good evidence that they may have been members of a Sabbatean/Frankist cult which was anti-Judaic in its religiosity.)

        John D Rockefeller, Sr was instrumental in bringing German theologians to America to “spice up” Protestant seminaries by teaching future pastors the so-called Higher Criticism. And he was a devout Baptist.

        Regarding Bush, he was behind a possible coup against FDR which was put down by Maj Gen Burton Smedley (USMC), a Marine who was twice decorated with the Congressional Medal of Honor. (I must admit, that I’m torn about this: would the world have been a better place had FDR been removed from office? I can’t help but think that this might have been the case.)

        • I called him Bidenstein in response to you calling him Xiden, which I assume was some kind of joke relating to his perceived special relationship with the Chinese…? I merely corrected it, indicating his special relationship with the Jews and the Israeli state in particular. If I misunderstood your reason for calling the guy Xiden, perhaps you could enlighten me to exactly what that means, and why you called him that, and why that’s OK but Bidenstein is some terrible thing…

          Bush, Kennedy, Rockefeller – all deeply involved in Freemasonry, which has been referred to in the past as “Judaism for Gentiles”. These rich and powerful non-Jewish families work together with Jewish banking families such as the Rothschilds to bring about their technocratic future – which they like to talk about publicly, you know. These Gentile families were used by the Jews in Europe as front men in America, this was before WW2, when public image of Jews was completely different than today. They couldn’t operate out in the open, so they did it behind the scenes. They have a specific agenda. They call it the New World Order and George Bush announced its arrival on TV back in the 1990s sometime. The entire point of it is to put a Jewish Messiah on the throne in Jerusalem. You can’t argue with that. It’s simply a fact (Scripture and the Fathers are clear about how this is all going to end), and pointing out who is responsible is as simple as naming responsibility in any other circumstances. Was there an Armenian genocide against Christians, by the Turks – or was it just a shadowy deep state, just loosely connected individuals not acting in conspiracy with each other to kill people, it wasn’t just Turks, we can’t just blame the Turks, because there were others involved too, etc. etc. just because the Turks got some Greeks or others to help them out.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Herman, me calling Biden “Xiden” is not racially-tinged. It’s just a satirical acknowledgement of the fact that he is a tool of the CCP. (Or at least compromised by them.) I would have no problem with you likewise calling him “Bidenstein” if that made sense. However it makes no sense because he –and more importantly, the Dhimmicrat Party–is certainly no friend of Israel. Just compare where we were six months ago under Trump (the Abraham Accords) and where we are now. The obloquy that has been heaped upon Israel because of this latest Gaza conflict has hurt Israel immensely in world opinion. Had Biden truly been a friend of Israel he could have gotten American assets to stop the rockets flying from Gaza in the first place.

            Mark my words: this will not end well for Israel at least in the court of public opinion. As far as America is concerned, it will permanently divorce the Democrat Party from Israel. And since the Democrats have proven that they can steal one election from a popular incumbent and give it to a senile, demented old man, it’s just as likely that they can do it again. An increasingly anti-Israeli Democrat Party which may probably succeed into turning America into a one-party nation-state (like California) is not in Israel’s best interests.

            As for my claim that Biden is a Chinese vassal, there is a strong circumstantial case that this is so. Consider if you will all the Chinese spies that have infiltrated Congress (e.g. Swalwell’s honey-pot, Feinstein’s chauffeur). More than circumstantial in fact when we consider Hunter Biden’s laptop. Ignore all the Sinophobia coming from Establishment quarters: the CCP has the goods on Biden. Look how they humiliated Sec of State Blinken last March in Anchorage, on American soil no less. If Biden goes too far out of line for their tastes, they video of Hunter snorting coke off of Malia Obama’s backside will get wall-to-wall coverage all over the world. Even a Tibetan monk living in a cave will know about it.

            Your second sentence offers no proof but a lot of assertions:

            (1) how do you know that Kennedy –a staunch Catholic and anti-Semite–was a Freemason?

            (2) how do you know that the aforementioned gentile families were merely “front groups” for a hidden Jewish cabal?

            Both of these are assertions. I can bring contrary evidence. For example, Arthur Balfour, the author of the Balfour Declaration which gave the British Empire a mandate in Palestine was anti-Semitic. And the British Foreign Minister (Montague if memory serves) who was Jewish was unalterably opposed to Zionism and the creation of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine.

            • Memorandum of Edwin Montagu
              on the Anti-Semitism of the Present (British) Government – Submitted to the British Cabinet, August, 1917


              ‘ … I lay down with emphasis four principles:

              I assert that there is not a Jewish nation. The members of my family, for instance, who have been in this country for generations, have no sort or kind of community of view or of desire with any Jewish family in any other country beyond the fact that they profess to a greater or less degree the same religion. It is no more true to say that a Jewish Englishman and a Jewish Moor are of the same nation than it is to say that a Christian Englishman and a Christian Frenchman are of the same nation: of the same race, perhaps, traced back through the centuries – through centuries of the history of a peculiarly adaptable race. The Prime Minister and M. Briand are, I suppose, related through the ages, one as a Welshman and the other as a Breton, but they certainly do not belong to the same nation.

              When the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens, and you will find a population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants, taking all the best in the country, drawn from all quarters of the globe, speaking every language on the face of the earth, and incapable of communicating with one another except by means of an interpreter. I have always understood that this was the consequence of the building of the Tower of Babel, if ever it was built, and I certainly do not dissent from the view, commonly held, as I have always understood, by the Jews before Zionism was invented, that to bring the Jews back to form a nation in the country from which they were dispersed would require Divine leadership. I have never heard it suggested, even by their most fervent admirers, that either Mr. Balfour or Lord Rothschild would prove to be the Messiah.I claim that the lives that British Jews have led, that the aims that they have had before them, that the part that they have played in our public life and our public institutions, have entitled them to be regarded, not as British Jews, but as Jewish Britons. I would willingly disfranchise every Zionist. I would be almost tempted to proscribe the Zionist organisation as illegal and against the national interest. But I would ask of a British Government sufficient tolerance to refuse a conclusion which makes aliens and foreigners by implication, if not at once by law, of all their Jewish fellow-citizens.

              I deny that Palestine is to-day associated with the Jews or properly to be regarded as a fit place for them to live in. The Ten Commandments were delivered to the Jews on Sinai. It is quite true that Palestine plays a large part in Jewish history, but so it does in modern Mahommendan history, and, after the time of the Jews, surely it plays a larger part than any other country in Christian history. The Temple may have been in Palestine, but so was the Sermon on the Mount and the Crucifixion. I would not deny to Jews in Palestine equal rights to colonisation with those who profess other religions, but a religious test of citizenship seems to me to be the only admitted by those who take a bigoted and narrow view of one particular epoch of the history of Palestine, and claim for the Jews a position to which they are not entitled.If my memory serves me right, there are three times as many Jews in the world as could possible get into Palestine if you drove out all the population that remains there now. So that only one-third will get back at the most, and what will happen to the remainder?

              I can easily understand the editors of the Morning Post and of the New Witness being Zionists, and I am not in the least surprised that the non-Jews of England may welcome this policy. I have always recognised the unpopularity, much greater than some people think, of my community. We have obtained a far greater share of this country’s goods and opportunities than we are numerically entitled to. We reach on the whole maturity earlier, and therefore with people of our own age we compete unfairly. Many of us have been exclusive in our friendships and intolerant in our attitude, and I can easily understand that many a non-Jew in England wants to get rid of us. But just as there is no community of thought and mode of life among Christian Englishmen, so there is not among Jewish Englishmen. More and more we are educated in public schools and at the Universities, and take our part in the politics, in the Army, in the Civil Service, of our country. And I am glad to think that the prejudices against inter-marriage are breaking down. But when the Jew has a national home, surely it follows that the impetus to deprive us of the rights of British citizenship must be enormously increased. Palestine will become the world’s Ghetto. Why should the Russian give the Jew equal rights? His national home is Palestine. Why does Lord Rothschild attach so much importance to the difference between British and foreign Jews? All Jews will be foreign Jews, inhabitants of the great country of Palestine.I do not know how the fortunate third will be chosen, but the Jew will have the choice, whatever country he belongs to, whatever country he loves, whatever country he regards himself as an integral part of, between going to live with people who are foreigners to him, but to whom his Christian fellow-countrymen have told him he shall belong, and of remaining as an unwelcome guest in the country that he thought he belonged to. … ‘

              A clear, succinct analysis.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I agree.

                I know people would prefer I have a “dog in this fight,” but I don’t. It’s not that I don’t care. I do. It’s that it doesn’t and shouldn’t concern me when I’m struggling to hold onto what’s left of my own country. Like the Palestinians, my way of life is being taken from me, and like the Jews, I feel entitled to what I believe God gave me (the Church), which is also under attack.

                I am practical, I think, in believing the Palestinians could not take nor keep Israel if it was handed to them on a silver platter.

                Do they honestly believe Hamas is on their side? Hamas is on its own side. If they somehow manage to take Israel (which is most unlikely) the Palestinians who survive won’t be the ones living there. They will again be relegated to living where they don’t want to because it’s not about a piece of land for them: they want what they had before. They are very specific in this regard. They want to turn back the clock.

                Don’t we all.

                I’d like to go back to the 60s and have a “do-over”, too. I’d pay more attention to what was brewing around me so I could have stopped it then.

                I think it’s appropriate to stop helping the Palestinians. I’m certainly not going to give money to a people when I know Hamas is taking their cut off the top.

                It’s different with Israel. We’re not “helping the Jews.” We’re paying them to protect us from Iran. When the Palestinians start doing that, I’m happy to pay them, too.

                • “Protect us from Iran.”

                  And Iran is a threat to the United States, how?

                  Last time I checked, they hadn’t surrounded anyone with military bases or launched illegal invasions of a half-dozen countries in little over a decade.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Anybody with nuclear missiles is a threat to the United States.

                    • ‘Anybody with nuclear missiles…’
                      Would that not be Israel?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Well, we were talking about Iran.

                    • You should check Iran’s history to see how many times in the last thousand years or so it has attacked and invaded other countries. Oh, and compare that then to the U.S.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Last I checked, the U.S. only had one revolution.

                      * * *

                      Conflict Iran (and allies) Opponents Results Notes
                      Median Empire
                      (678–549 BC)
                      Assyrian invasions of Media (the 10th – the late 7th centuries BC) Medes Assyrian Empire Defeat Kingdoms and city-states of Western Iran became Assyrian vassals
                      Median invasion of Assyria (the late 7th century BC) Medes

                      Other Iranian peoples

                      Assyrian Empire Victory Invasion of the Assyrian Empire by a coalition of Iranian peoples, led by Kashtariti of Media
                      End of Assyrian rule in Media
                      Formation of an independent Median kingdom
                      Median invasion of Assyria repelled
                      Scythian invasion of Media (624–597 BC) Median Kingdom Scythians Defeat, and eventual Victory War between two groups of Iranian peoples.
                      Conquest of Media by Scythians
                      End of Scythian rule in Media in 597 BC, during reign of Cyaxares
                      Medo-Babylonian invasion Assyria
                      (626–609 BC) Median Kingdom

                      Assyrian Empire Decisive Victory Alliance between various people of the region against the Assyrian Empire, led by the Median Kingdom and Babylonia.
                      End of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
                      Founding of Neo-Babylonian Empire
                      Siege of Harran
                      (609 BC) Medes
                      Babylonia Assyria

                      Victory The Assyrian insurgency.
                      Battle of Eclipse
                      (585 BC) Medes Kingdom of Lydia Undecided The battle ended due an eclipse.
                      Battle of Hyrba
                      (552 BC) Medes Persis Decisive Persian victory
                      Battle of the Persian border
                      (551 BC) Medes Persis Victory Persian retreat to Pasargadae
                      Achaemenid Empire
                      (550–330 BC)
                      Persian Revolt
                      (552–549 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Persis Median Empire Victory By conquering Media, Iran became an empire.
                      Conquest of Lydia
                      (547 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Lydian Empire Victory Lydia annexed by Iran.
                      Conquest of Babylonia
                      (540–539 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Neo-Babylonian Empire Victory Neo-Babylonian Empire annexed by Iran.
                      Conquest of Egypt
                      (525 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Kingdom of Egypt Victory Egypt annexed by Iran.
                      European Scythian campaign
                      (513 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Scythians in European Scythia Victory Achaemenid domination of the European Black Sea regions.
                      Greco-Persian Wars
                      (499–449 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Greek city states
                      Delian League Defeat Macedon, Thrace and Ionia gained independence.
                      Peloponnesian War
                      (431–404 BC) Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) Supported by:
                      Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Delian League (led by Athens) Victory Dissolution of the Delian League. Spartan hegemony over Athens and its allies.
                      Battle of Cunaxa
                      (401 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Cyrus the Younger Victory Artaxerxes II still in full control of the kingdom.
                      Corinthian War
                      (395–387 BC) Athens
                      Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire
                      Other allies Sparta
                      Peloponnesian League Peace treaty dictated by Iran (Peace of Antalcidas) Ionia ceded back to Achaemenid Iran. Boeotian league dissolved. Union of Argos and Corinth dissolved
                      Artaxerxes’ II Cadusian Campaign
                      (385 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Cadusii Victory Negotiated peace with rival chiefs.
                      Revolt of the Satraps
                      (372–362 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Rebel satrapies Victory Rebellions chrushed.
                      Battle of Pelusium (343 BC)
                      (343 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Egypt Victory Egypt is conquered for a second time by Iran.
                      Macedon invasion of Iran
                      (355–328 BC) Standard of Cyrus the Great (White).svg Achaemenid Empire Macedon Defeat Iran conquered by the army of Alexander the Great.
                      Parthian Empire
                      (247 BCE–224 B)
                      Seleucid–Parthian Wars
                      (238 BC–129 BC) Parthian Empire Seleucid Empire Victory Expulsion of the Seleucids from Iran.
                      Armenian–Parthian War
                      (87–85 BC) Parthian Empire Kingdom of Armenia Defeat Osroene and Atrpatakan loyalty to Tigranes the Great.
                      Roman–Parthian Wars
                      (66 AD–217 AD) Parthian Empire
                      Kingdom of Armenia Roman Republic
                      Pontus Status quo ante bellum Borders changed several times.
                      Sassanid Empire
                      Roman-Sassanid Wars
                      (232–440) Sassanid Empire Roman Empire Status quo ante bellum Borders changed several times.
                      Byzantine–Sassanid Wars
                      (502–628) Sassanid Empire Byzantine Empire Status quo ante bellum Borders changed several times.
                      Ethiopian–Persian Wars
                      (570–578) Sassanid Empire Kingdom of Aksum Victory Ethiopians expelled from the Himyarite Kingdom.
                      First Perso-Turkic War
                      (588–589) Sassanid Empire Hephthalite Empire
                      Göktürks Victory The Sassanids captured Balkh.
                      Second Perso-Turkic War
                      (588–589) Sassanid Empire Western Turkic Khaganate
                      Hephthalite Empire Victory Turkic invasion of Iran repelled.
                      Third Perso-Turkic War
                      (627–629) Sassanid Empire Western Turkic Khaganate
                      Byzantine Empire Defeat Byzantine control of Georgia.
                      Muslim conquest of Persia
                      (633–644) Sassanid Empire
                      Arab Christians Rashidun Caliphate Defeat Fall of the Sassanid Empire
                      Saffarid Dynasty
                      Ghaznavid Dynasty
                      Seljuq Empire
                      Battle of Manzikert
                      (1071) Seljuk Empire Byzantine Empire Victory Seljuks enter Anatolia.
                      Byzantine–Seljuq wars
                      (1048–1308) Seljuk Empire Byzantine Empire
                      Empire of Trebizond
                      Crusader states Victory Most of Anatolia conquered by the Seljuks.
                      Khwarazmian Dynasty
                      Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia
                      (1218–1221) Khwarazmian dynasty Mongol Empire Defeat Khwarezmia added to the Mongol Empire.
                      Timurid Dynasty
                      Campaigns of Timur
                      (1380–1402) Timurid.svg Timurid dynasty Golden Horde flag 1339.svg Golden Horde
                      Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
                      Jalayirid Sultanate
                      Tughlaq dynasty Victory
                      Rise of the Timurid Empire in Iran.
                      The Delhi Sultanate became a Timurid vassal.
                      Outbreak of the Ottoman Civil War.
                      Timurid Civil Wars
                      (1405–~1501) Timurid.svg Various factions Timurid.svg Various factions Collapse of the dynasty Rise of the Shiite Safavid dynasty.
                      Safavid Dynasty
                      Persian-Uzbek Wars
                      (1502–1510) Flag of Persia 1502-1524.svg Safavid dynasty Shaybanids Victory Fall of the Shaybanid Empire.
                      Battle of Chaldiran
                      (1514) Flag of Persia 1502-1524.svg Safavid dynasty Ottoman Empire Defeat End of Shia uprisings in the Ottoman Empire.
                      Ottoman–Safavid War of 1523
                      (1532–1555) Flag of Shah Tahmasp I.svg Safavid dynasty Ottoman Empire Defeat Ottomans captured Lower Mesopotamia and Baghdad. First partition of the Caucasus between the Ottomans and Persians. Western Armenia and western Georgia falls in Ottoman hands, Eastern Armenia, eastern Georgia, Dagestan and the contemporary Republic of Azerbaijan remain in Persian hands
                      Ottoman–Safavid War of 1578
                      (1578–1590) Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty
                      Coat of arms of Kartli Georgia.png Kingdom of Kartli
                      Ottoman Empire
                      Autonomous Republic of Crimea Crimean Khanate
                      Defeat Treaty of Constantinople (1590).
                      Ottoman–Safavid War of 1603
                      (1603–1618) Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty Ottoman Empire Victory Persian reconquest of all of the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and East Anatolia
                      Mughal–Safavid War of 1622
                      (1622–1623) Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty Mughal Empire Victory Kandahar falls to Persia
                      Ottoman–Safavid War of 1623
                      (1623–1639) Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty Ottoman Empire Defeat Permanent partition of the Caucasus; Western Georgia and Western Armenia goes to the Ottomans, while Eastern Armenia, Dagestan, Eastern and Southern Georgia, and Azerbaijan remain under Persian rule. Ottomans decisively gain control over Mesopotamia.
                      Mughal–Safavid War of 1649
                      (1649–1653) Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty
                      War flag of Khanate of Bukhara.svg Khanate of Bukhara Mughal Empire Victory Persia recaptured Kandahar
                      Russo-Persian War of 1651
                      (1651–1653) Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty Russia Victory Russian fortress on the Iranian side of the Terek River destroyed, and its garrison expelled.
                      Hotaki-Safavid War
                      (1709–~1722) Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty Black flag.svg Hotaki dynasty Regime change Afghan control of most of Iran.
                      Omani Invasion of Bahrain
                      (1717) Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty Imamate of Oman Defeat Omani victory, Bahrain sold back to the Safavids.
                      Russo-Persian War of 1722
                      (1722–1723) Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty Russian Empire
                      Flag of the Cossack Hetmanat.svg Cossack Hetmanate
                      Знамено Картлі.gif Kingdom of Kartli
                      Coat of arms of Gyulistan.jpg Melikdoms of Karabakh and Armenian rebels Defeat Russians capture Derbent, Baku, and the provinces of Shirvan, Gilan, Mazandaran, and Astrabad for about a decade.
                      Safavid-Hotaki War
                      (1726–1729) Black flag.svg Hotaki dynasty Safavid Flag.svg Safavid dynasty[1] Regime change End of the Afghan rule in Persia.
                      Afsharid Dynasty
                      Afsharid–Ottoman War War of 1730
                      (1730–1735) Afsharid Imperial Standard (3 Stripes).svg Afsharid dynasty
                      Erivan Khanate
                      Ottoman Empire
                      Autonomous Republic of Crimea Crimean Khanate
                      Victory Persian reconquest of the entire Caucasus.
                      Nadir Shah’s invasion of India
                      (1738–1739) Afsharid Imperial Standard (3 Stripes).svg Afsharid dynasty Mughal Empire Victory Persian plundering of India.
                      Afsharid–Ottoman War War of 1743
                      (1743–1746) Afsharid Imperial Standard (3 Stripes).svg Afsharid dynasty Ottoman Empire Stalemate Treaty of Kerden, Status Quo Ante Bellum
                      Civil War between Afsharid and Qajar
                      (1747–1796) Afsharid Imperial Standard (3 Stripes).svg Afsharid dynasty Flag of Agha Mohammad Khan.svg Qajar Dynasty Regime change Mohammad Khan Qajar became the Shah of Iran.
                      Qajar Dynasty
                      Battle of Krtsanisi
                      (1795) Flag of Agha Mohammad Khan.svg Qajar Iran Flag of Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti.svg Kartli-Kakheti
                      Imereti – drosha.svg Imereti Victory Tbilisi captured and sacked by Iranian troops. Persian reconquest of the Caucasus and Georgia.
                      Persian Expedition
                      (1796) Flag of Agha Mohammad Khan.svg Qajar Iran Russian Empire Victory
                      Tactical Russian victory
                      Strategic Persian victory
                      Russian withdrawal after the death of Catherine II
                      Russo-Persian War of 1804
                      (1804–1813) War Flag of Fath Ali Shah.svg Qajar Iran Russian Empire Defeat Treaty of Gulistan. Iran irrevocably cedes most of its Caucasus territories (Dagestan, Georgia, and most of the Azerbaijan Republic) to Russia.
                      Ottoman–Persian War of 1821
                      (1821–1823) War Flag of Fath Ali Shah.svg Qajar Iran Ottoman Empire Military victory Treaty of Erzurum, status quo ante bellum.
                      Russo-Persian War of 1826
                      (1826–1828) War Flag of Fath Ali Shah.svg Qajar Iran Russian Empire Defeat Treaty of Turkmenchay. Iran irrevocably cedes the remainder of its Caucasus territories comprising parts of the contemporary Azerbaijan Republic that were not ceded yet in 1813, as well as all of what is nowadays the Republic of Armenia.
                      Siege of Herat
                      (1837-1838) Mohammad Shah Qajar Flag.svg Qajar Iran Flag of Herat until 1842.svg Emirate of Herat
                      Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svg East India Company

                      Defeat Successful Persian siege at Herat. Breach eventually repelled. Temporary British occupation of Kharg Island. Persian withdrawal from Herat.
                      Anglo-Persian War
                      (1856–1857) Amir Kabir Flag.svg Qajar Iran United Kingdom United Kingdom
                      Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svg East India Company
                      Flag of Afghanistan (1880–1901).svg Afghanistan Defeat Persian force occupies and later withdraws from Herat.
                      Revolt of Salar-al-Daulah

                      Flag of Persia (1910).svg Qajar Iran Forces of Salar-al-Daulah Victory Rebellion suppressed
                      Persian Campaign
                      (1914–1918) (Part of World War I) Flag of Persia (1910).svg Qajar Iran Russian Empire
                      British Empire
                      British Raj Stalemate Ottoman withdrawal after signing of Armistice of Mudros.
                      Pahlavi Dynasty
                      Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran
                      (1941) (Part of World War II) State Flag of Iran (1964-1980).svg Iran Soviet Union
                      United Kingdom United Kingdom
                      India Defeat Abdication of Rezā Shāh, Allied occupation of Iran.
                      Iran-Azerbaijan Crisis
                      (1945–1946) State Flag of Iran (1964-1980).svg Iran Mahabad
                      Azerbaijan Victory Dissolution of Mahabad and Azerbaijan.
                      Dhofar Rebellion
                      (1963–1976)[2] State Flag of Iran (1964-1980).svg Iran
                      Oman PFLOAG
                      PFLO Victory Defeat of insurgents, modernization of Oman.
                      Islamic Republic of Iran
                      Iranian Revolution and Consolidation
                      (1979–1983) Iran Iran Imperial State
                      and various armed opposition, including:
                      Tudeh Party
                      PDKI Islamic Republic victory Rival political factions and separatist movements crushed.
                      Tens of thousands of political executions in the aftermath (7,900 from 1981 to 1985, 3,800 to 33,000 in 1988, unknown in 1986–1987 or 1979–1980).

                      Iran–Iraq War
                      (1980–1988) Iran
                      Badr Brigades Iraq Iraq
                      PDKI Stalemate Both Iraq and Iran accepted UNSC Resolution 598.
                      Return to status quo, observed by UNIIMOG.

                      Sistan and Baluchestan insurgency
                      (2004–2005) Iran Jundallah (Iran) Victory Capture of Abdolmalek Rigi.
                      Dissolution of Jundallah

                      Iran–PJAK Conflict
                      (2004–2013) Iran
                      Turkey PJAK Victory PJAK withdraws from Iranian territory
                      Syrian Civil War
                      (2011–present) Syria Syria
                      Russia Syria Free Syrian Army
                      Flag of the Islamic Front (Syria) (Black).svg Islamic Front
                      al-Nusra Front
                      Islamic State Ongoing Rebel and Islamist uprisings quelled in much of Syria.
                      Most of Syria now controlled by Syrian Government, which is supported by Iran.

                      Islamic State in Syria defeated near the end of 2017.

                      Iraqi Civil War
                      (2014–2017) Iraq
                      Iraqi Kurdistan
                      United States
                      Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq
                      Badr Organization
                      Kata’ib Hezbollah Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant Victory Iraqi government and allied victory against ISIL.
                      End of ISIL territorial control in Iraq; ongoing ISIL ins

            • No friend of Israel? The Biden-Harris regime has blocked a UNSCR statement demanding a ceasefire three times this week. Three times. Children are dying in Gaza, as usual, but these people don’t care.

            • It doesn’t matter if Balfour was “anti-semitic” or not – have you read the Balfour Declaration, sent to Lord Rothschild? It’s very short, read it again. Weird thing for an anti-semite to do, pledge “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations”? It likewise doesn’t matter in the slightest if Montague was against Zionism or not… Britain agreed to give Palestine to the Zionists because of intense Jewish lobbying within the British government, for many decades. For example, Benjamin Disraeli was a Jew and made moves towards Palestine while he was Prime Minister of the UK – a country whose economy and bank at that time, and today still, are controlled by the Rothschild empire. The Zionist movement was extremely powerful in England, primarily because of Rothschild’s domination of the banking system.

              I didn’t say JFK was a Mason. In fact, he may have been killed in part because he was most definitely NOT an inside member of that group. But his father did have relationships with them, although Joe was most definitely not a Mason either. I said these three families were deeply involved with Masonry – this includes secret societies such as Skull and Bones, business deals, endorsement of and partnership with powerful Masons, and so on. Especially the Rockefellers. Naming all of the Masonic members of these three families may be interesting to do, but outside the scope of what I have time to look into at the moment.

              As regarding Rothschild operatives in the US (and elsewhere) – August Belmont came to the US in 1837 as a Rothschild agent. The reason that the Jewish banking families of Europe used frontmen in the US was extreme anti-Rothschild sentiment in Europe and America. When Belmont’s affiliation became generally known he was replaced with JP Morgan. Cecil Rhodes was financed by Rothschild to create the monopoly over the diamond output in South Africa. John D Rockefeller began working closely with JP Morgan after an initial rocky relationship. Together they spearheaded the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. Jacob Schiff was head of the NY investment firm Kuhn & Loeb. Schiff is well known for financing Trotsky and the Bolsheviks. We’ve also got the Warburgs, Nelson Aldrich, Frank Vanderlip, all working together with Morgan, Rockefeller, and the Rothschilds in Europe to create the Federal Reserve System.

              I know that these people are used as front groups because it’s well documented history, and you can’t avoid the topic when you start reading about the creation of the Federal Reserve, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Great Depression, the beginnings of the UN and the IMF/World Bank, the CFR, etc. The Jewish cabal is not always “hidden” they have just discovered that it is expedient for them to not make it so obvious who is running the game here.

  24. Stan Minor says

    Sweet! Just in time for after Pascha! That’s how science works.

  25. Oregon tells businesses to check for the vaccination
    status of customers if they let them go maskless.

    ‘ Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said last week that Oregonians
    who were fully vaccinated no longer needed to wear masks
    in most public settings, except in places like schools,
    public transit and health care settings.

    But she quickly noted that businesses would have “the option”
    of lifting mask requirements only if they instituted verification. … ‘

    Who will police the people?
    The people…

  26. I saw the new OCA Diocese of the South POST-PANDEMIC DIRECTIVES, which include:

    5.) “There will be no tolerance for “mask shaming” toward those who choose to continue wearing them.”

    I don’t believe any Christian should ever be involved in any sort of “shaming” activity. (that’s the sort of wicked game played by leftist progressives and their useful fools. Don’t stoop to their level). However, it rankles a bit that the OCA administration certainly did not have any qualms about tolerating “mask shaming” towards those who chose not to wear masks. They not only tolerated it , they encouraged it. I will struggle to ever trust them again about anything.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Jean, I have yet to see the entire directives of the DOS regarding the new protocols, however I will take your word for this particular one which you mention.

      I for one, I do not take particular umbrage with this directive. We should not be in the process of “mask shaming” anyone, even those who continue to wear masks. And for what it’s worth, when the shoe was on the other foot, I don’t remember any episcopal directives encouraging those who do wear masks to “shame” those who do not. Hence, my criticism: what you are describing is a straw man fallacy. (If however, you or others are able to find such a directive, please bring it to my attention.)

      My own discomfort with masking is well-attested; also, it calls into question a person’s fidelity to the canons regarding masquerade but that is a separate issue. I’m sure that the canons make exceptions for unforeseen contingencies and it is up to bishops to discern the proper action at any particular time.

      Anyway, the bishop in question (Arb Alexander) is correct to reprove his flock to not engage in mask shaming. That there was any mask shaming at all, whether in the religious or secular sphere, is unconscionable.

      • Seraphim says

        I agree that we should have our facts right. Yet I feel the spirit of what Jean is saying is on point. It’s the same point people on here were making after Metropolitan Joseph’s letter came out: they are going out of their way to accommodate maskers so that they should have no fear about continuing to wear them in church, yet no such attitude was taken with regard to non-maskers over the last year. Archbishop Benjamin, as you remember, told his priests to not commune non-maskers. No accomodation was given to those whose conscience would not allow them to play ball. And it was all done in the name of “obedience to the bishop.” Personally I would consider this a form of shaming. I know that for my wife and I, we felt completely abandoned by our church. We felt all the concern was for those who were afraid and little or nothing was done to make those of us who weren’t feel just as valued.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Seraphim, Gail and I took Arb Benjamin to task for this directive, which was not issued in a pastoral spirit if I may be so bold. Since then HE has walked that back.

          The point still stands in my opinion. And that is any type of shaming –pro or con–is most uncharitable.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I hate to be correcting you, George, but how do we know Archbishop Benjamin has “walked back” anything?” He may have gotten his wings clipped, as that letter he wrote was picked up by 3 or 4 publications that I know of. It sounds to me like he went to a doctor who concluded he wasn’t well.

        • ” We felt all the concern was for those who were afraid and little or nothing was done to make those of us who weren’t feel just as valued.”

          Yes, yes. You totally understood my point , Seraphim. Mask shaming was tolerated (indeed it was enabled) by most of our hierarchs when the shaming was being poured out on those who did not accept the approved narrative of Fauci and Co. But now they are being oh-so-sensitive to be sure that the fearful “weaker brothers” may go on wearing their masks without anyone looking askance at them.

          “any type of shaming –pro or con–is most uncharitable.”

          Yes. That’s what I said. But that is not what happened during the plague year. Mask shaming (towards those who expressed deep reservations about the wisdom of mandating masks and all the other nonsense) did happen and it was tolerated.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Jean, I’m not disputing what you said. If anything, Gail and I have spilled tons of digital ink this past year giving chapter/verse about the idiocy of masks and everything else associated with Fauci. We’ve even take the bishops to task for their all-too-ready obeisance to the whole masquerade.

            Now, truth be told, as far as I personally am concerned, I never experienced mask-shaming once while in church. So I didn’t feel the sting of the shame. As for my priest, he abided by the Archbishop’s protocols but when he saw that the seven-person maximum was depriving people of the Eucharist, he started having Liturgy every day (with Vespers every night). This went on for about two weeks if memory servers and then luckily, the local health dept increased the maximum attendance to 28. We’ve been at full force every since September when we “re-opened” the church for full force by having an outdoor Liturgy followed by a belated Agape Vespers picnic.

            In any event, masking never really caught on. (That’s not to say there was no masking but it was never more than 1/8th of the people at any given time.)

            As for shaming, I did experience it at the supermarket –once I can remember but a few times at the donut shop but that’s the secular sphere. (In the supermarket it was an uppity customer, at the donut shop it was the Korean proprietors but that was only during the hysteria and they were scared about getting ticketed.)

            So I ask for your forgiveness at my insouciance as your experiences have been more unfortunate.

            Having said that, I think it’s time to forgive our bishops and try to forget. And pray to God that this never happens again.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              George, it was actually one week where he did liturgy “every week” which he later confirmed to both of us wasn’t true.

              I don’t think it’s a matter of “forgiving anyone.” I think the concern with the bishops is that they exercised extremely poor judgment when we question them (to the point of calling us “murderers” in one case) when the science just wasn’t there. This wasn’t a one-time blunder with a single bishop either. It was an across-the-board delusion which in their fantasy world allowed for their de facto leader to march with throngs of people at a BLM rally who were NOT wearing masks.

              It WILL happen again, George. The globalists want to close down the Churches. You’ve said so yourself many times.

              This isn’t something that falls under the category of “forgive and forget” unless you have some fairy dust that I don’t know about. They’ve shown their true colors.

              • It WILL happen again, George. The globalists want to close down the Churches.

                The church has survived worse things than globalists, so not too worried on that front. Also, I think the globalists have quite a lot on their plate at the moment, what with Brexit, and Putin, and Xi, and Lukashenko, and so on. The world seems as chaotic as ever, basically. My question is, what alternative do you propose if we cannot forgive and forget? A full-on American version of the Raskol, where we go into the taiga to preserve the purity of the church? While this path of non-engagement may seem right to some adults, it surely harms the children, and limits the options for the youth.That’s what the anonymous priest in the DOS letter from last summer was asking in his letter when he asked if the people that can’t forgive want to go the way of the Old Believers. It sets us on a collision path with the majority of the population, and the majority of our own church membership.

                Seriously, what do you propose?

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  RE: “My question is, what alternative do you propose if we cannot forgive and forget? Seriously, what do you propose?”

                  That’s an easy one: I propose repentance (the sincere expression of regret or remorse) on the part of those who did the damage. Repentance lifts a huge burden off the shoulders of the wronged for they can then forgive and begin anew.

                  • . . .

                    The Lord, the all-knowing, sinless, righteous saviour [sic], betrayed and murdered by his own friends and people (the religious ones even), forgave and forgives all the unrepentant, the pre-repentant, the never-repentant.

                    and taught us to forgive in the same way. He didn’t add a footnote about except when you’re right and it hurts. Unfortunately.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      If the Lord, “forgave and forgives all the unrepentant, the pre-repentant, the never-repentant,” why would there be hell?

                      Sounds like what you’re saying is anyone can do whatever they want and expect God to forgive them just because. Doesn’t work that way.

                      Jesus Christ says in Matthew 25:41, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for the devil and his angels.” In Matthew 13:42, Jesus says: “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

                    • He forgave them, but they did not accept it.

                      He forgives all, but we need to accept it from Him to receive eternal life.

                      He stands at the door and knocks.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Given the alternative, I think people would accept His forgiveness, but . . .

                      Matthew 7

                      13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

                      15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

                      21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

                    • Forgiveness is an absolute necessity.

                      Trust and respect are distinct matters.


                      If we don’t forgive others, then He won’t forgive us.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      In addition to forgiving, He expects acknowledgment and repentance from the sinner. Forgiveness is not one-sided nor is it “free.”

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I don’t disagree at all. Forgiveness cannot happen without repentance.

                    • Fr. Seraphim Bell says

                      George I agree with what you wrote, but your statement can be and often is misunderstood to mean that forgiveness is dependent upon repentance, and that is all the difference in the world between the Gospel and legalism.

                      Thanks be to God that our forgiveness is not dependent upon our repentance. Romans 5:8-10 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

                      One might say that Christ radicalized forgiveness. If forgiveness depends upon repentance, then I don’t have to forgive anyone until I’m satisfied that they have repented. But that’s not how God has forgiven us and it is not how we are called to forgive others. God’s forgiveness is free and unconditional.

                      It is quite a challenge to forgive those who have wronged me and clearly have no remorse. At times I can only manage such forgiveness when I dwell deeply on the fact that while I was yet a sinner, God forgave me. God expressed his forgiveness for me in the death of His Son before I even acknowledged my sin. This is the nature of true forgiveness and in the moment of realization of that forgiveness…I repent.

                      Repentance is the only appropriate response to God’s forgiveness. Repentance is the free and unconditional response to the free and unconditional forgiveness of God. It is not the condition for which God forgives. And that distinction is absolutely necessary to understand. We love God because He first loved us. We repent because he first forgave us. And thus our love and forgiveness of others must also be free and unconditional if it be truly Christian love and forgiveness.

                      In light of St. Paul’s teaching, it is more accurate to say that forgiveness is not dependent upon my repentance. However, unless I repent, God’s forgiveness is of no profit to me.

                      So forgiveness does not come on account of our repentance, but likewise is not received by us without repentance.

                      Forgive me for waxing pedantic.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Forgiveness is not a “free and unconditional response to the free and unconditional forgiveness of God”.

                      Scripture teaches us there are expectations tied to the Lord’s forgiveness:

                      If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
                      2 Chronicles 7:14
                      If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
                      1 John 1:9
                      Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
                      Acts 3:19
                      Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
                      Proverbs 28:13
                      Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
                      Matthew 3:8
                      If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
                      2 Chronicles 7:14
                      If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
                      1 John 1:9
                      Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
                      Acts 3:19
                      Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
                      Proverbs 28:13
                      Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
                      Matthew 3:8
                      For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.
                      2 Chronicles 30:9b
                      The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
                      2 Peter 3:9
                      But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
                      Matthew 9:13
                      From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
                      Matthew 4:17
                      Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
                      James 4:8
                      Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
                      Revelation 3:19
                      Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
                      Joel 2:13
                      I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
                      Luke 15:7
                      For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

                    • One suspects that it may be a really, really long time before an apology is issued by the clergy in regards to this matter. Perhaps a little longer than “never”.

                      I hate to keep returning to this letter from last summer, whether written by Abbt Gerasim or someone else. But there, in the opening, he also began by citing Mathew on false prophets in sheep’s clothing, in clear reference – as many pointed out here in the comments – to Father Heers. So then Gail, what you used from Mathew in support of your view of things, they had already used in the direct opposite way, and within the exact same context. In this same way, the verse you cite that states:

                      Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

                      …. might be understood by the hierarchy as the exact opposite of what you intended. The non-maskers/anti-vaxxers becoming the “Lord, Lord” folks, and those that out of concern for the health of the parish and the community at large through wearing masks and following protocols become the true servants of the Father’s will. They may add to this from Deuteronomy and Mathew, by stating that “You must not test the Lord, your God” (coming to Church expecting to stay unharmed by all).

                      What I’m trying to say – is that there is a deep chasm opening up between these two positions, with few points of contact in between. Expectations of repentance can be harmful. Be glad if they come one day, but do not wait on it.

                      Oh boy, I just really do not think that waiting for apology or repentance here is a good plan. When it doesn’t come… bitterness will set-in. What we need to do, once again, is to just let it go – hard as it may sound.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Who here is waiting for an apology and from whom???

                      I suspect whoever wrote the letter was referring to George and me, as we are normally the ones who talk about civil rights. We helped birth a monastery during the lockdowns so that would explain the idea of going somewhere else.

                      Regardless, it doesn’t matter.

                      I have no idea what you mean by my using the direct opposite POV of Matthew’s. I don’t even know which Matthew you’re talking about.

                      Here’s an idea! Why not forgive me for my apparent confusion, forgive AG for penning a letter he probably didn’t write, forgive those who did (write the letter), forgive those who incorrectly pointed out Peter Heers as being the “wolf”, forgive the mask wearers and the non-mask wearers alike, and out of charity and love, let the subject?

                      I know Abbot Gerasim. He will make a very fine bishop. The south is very lucky to have him. No apologies needed or expected going forward.

                    • Fr. Seraphim’s comment is not an accurate statement of the Faith.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      In Mark 1:15, Jesus’ first message to the crowds was to repent and believe the gospel. Repentance means to have a change of mind that results in a change of action.

                      Even on the cross Christ, repented for us when He said: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. . .” Luke 23:34

                    • I agree with Fr. Seraphim. Fr. Stephen Freeman does too:

                      I mentioned COVID Donatism last week. Demanding that the hierarchy repent before we forgive them is a symptom of that, I think.

                    • Basil,

                      You have to understand where all this bs is coming from. Fr. Stephen also rejects the concept of God’s wrath, the entire Old Testament and parts of the New notwithstanding. The argument, essentially heretical, is devised to save God from condemning anyone. The notion is that the unrepentant condemn themselves and experience what the repentant would experience as grace rather as torment.

                      This is abject nonsense.

                      If God forgives all regardless of their repentance, then either no human being is cast into hell, presumably only Satan and the fallen angels, OR, God is an evil monster who condemns those who have been forgiven and therefore absolved of their sin.

                      The only alternative is a sort of neo-Platonic notion that God is the One, the Author of all the Good and is Love and could not possible bear wrath; therefore, it must be that His showers of blossoms of grace are perceived by the ungrateful, unrepentant as hell.

                      That is not the God of the Old Testament . . . at all. And, if one looks at the more violent episodes in the New Testament – the striking down of a couple for withholding property (Acts), Christ’s defeat of His enemies at His Second Coming and feeding their flesh to the birds of the air (Revelations), etc., along with the parable of the Last Judgement and countless other references to hellfire, you see that this line of thinking is actually Hellenistic pagan rather than Christian. God is more the impersonal Force of Good/Love than a Supremely Intelligent Being with thoughts and emotions/moods (yet not subject to the passions; i.e., controlled by emotions). This protects the tender sensibilities of the purveyor of this nonsense by castrating the Almighty.

                      Fr. Stephen’s God is not Christian, but pagan, and cannot possibly be identified with the God of the Old and New Testaments.

                    • Misha, I’m not a fan of Fr. Stephen, but a broken clock can be right twice a day. As has already been stated, God’s justice and mercy need to be balanced. The Lord forgave everyone on the Cross when He took away the sins of the world. he said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Those people didn’t repent, but they were still forgive, although they were not able to receive the benefits of that forgiveness.

                      We are commanded to love our enemies and to forgive those that hate us, even before they repent.

                      Look at what the Fathers have to say:

                      “Let us call brothers even those who hate us and forgive all by the Resurrection!” We sing this every day during the Paschal season.

                      The drunkard, the fornicator, the proud—he will receive God’s mercy. But he who does not want to forgive, to excuse, to justify consciously, intentionally … that person closes himself to eternal life before God, and even more so in the present life. He is turned away and not heard [by God]. Elder Sampson.

                      “Do not allow the spark of discord and enmity to smolder. The longer you wait, the more the enemy tries to cause confusion among you. Be watchful, so that he does not mock you. Humility destroys all of his schemes.” St. Macarius of Optina.

                      “We have such a law: If you forgive, it means that God has forgiven you; but if you do not forgive your brother, it means that your sin remains with you.” St. Silouan the Athonite.

                      “If a man insults me, kills my father, my mother, my brother, and then gouges out my eye, as a Christian it is my duty to forgive him. We who are pious Christians ought to love our enemies and forgive them. We ought to offer them food and drink, and entreat God for their souls. And then we should say: ‘My God, I beseech Thee to forgive me, as I have forgiven my enemies.’” St. Kosmas Aitolos.

                      “Absolutely nothing will help us if we are not lenient toward the weaknesses of men and forgive them. For how can we hope that God will forgive us if we do not forgive others?” St. Nikolai Velimirovich.

                      “Christ prayed for those that crucified Him: ‘Father, count not this sin against them; they know not what they do.’ Archdeacon Stephen prayed for those who stoned him so that the Lord would not judge this sin against them. And so we, if we wish to retain grace, must pray for our enemies. If you do not find pity on a sinner who will suffer in flames, then you do not carry the grace of the Holy Spirit, but rather an evil spirit; and while you yet live, you must free yourself from his clutches through repentance.” St. Silouan the Athonite.

                      “Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbours, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness or unforgiveness of your sins, then, and hence also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see for yourself how serious it is.” St. Tikhon of Zadonsk.

                      None of the above say anything about waiting around for others to repent. Why should any of us be so proud as to demand that people come and repent to us? We should forgive others their sins and move on with our lives.

                    • Basil,

                      I actually don’t directly disagree with you on the wisdom of forgiving our enemies. With God, however, as I just posted elsewhere, there are other considerations. I do not believe that God forgives those who persist in unrepentant sins unto death, at least not in general (there may be distinct exceptions). Forgiveness, for God, is also absolution. He could not possibly be Just if He forgave irrespective of repentance since He alone also controls the afterlife.

                    • St Anthony the Great

                      “It is absurd to think that the Deity could be helped or harmed by human deeds. God is good and
                      does only good; He harms no one and remains always the same. As to ourselves, when we are
                      good we enter into communion with God through our likeness to Him, and when we become
                      evil, we cut ourselves off from God, through our unlikeness to Him. When we live virtuously we
                      are God’s own, and when we become wicked, we fall away from Him. This does not mean that
                      He is angry with us, but that our sins do not let God shine in us, and that they link us with the
                      tormentors-the demons. If later, through prayers and good deeds, we obtain absolution of our
                      sins, it does not mean that we have propitiated God and changed Him, but that through such
                      actions and our turning to God we have cured the evil in ourselves and have again become able
                      to partake of God’s goodness. Thus, to say that God turns away from the wicked is the same as
                      to say that the sun hides itself from those who lose their sight. ”

                      This is just basic patristic teaching. We read the Old Testament (and New) in the light of Christ’s Pascha. Something is very off if that is not the starting and ending point.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Interestingly, this directive implies that there WAS some mask-shaming going on when that absolutely wasn’t true.

        No one was shaming people for wearing masks. It was those who wore masks who were shaming people for NOT wearing them.

        Remember: One of our bishops said he felt we were guilty of murder if we didn’t wear a mask.

        Jean’s point is that the directive not to shame fails to go both ways. In other words, nothing is mentioned about not shaming your brothers and sisters who do not wear masks.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail, my experience was that in church I personally never experienced any mask-shaming. To my knowledge, nobody else did either (at least nobody complained to me about it). I never received any dirty looks. However , in the secular world, I did. That’s all that I was trying to convey. If any of our readers took offence, I ask for their forgiveness. It was certainly not right of me to judge their criticisms based on my own experience.

          In fact, hardly anybody wore masks, even during the height of the hysteria. I can’t say for sure but I’d say during that 1-2 week period of two daily services (with seven people mandatory attendance), may have been when mask wearing exceeded 50%. Anyway, since the “Full Reopening” last Sept, I’d say that mask wearing never exceeded 20% and in the last month, I’ve seen only two people with masks.

          Now, here’s where I’m guilty: I can’t say that I never “reverse-mask-shamed” anybody per se, but I did take a mental count of people who were wearing masks. It was distracting for me, particularly when little kids would wear them. So, strictly speaking, I’m not innocent of “mask-shaming” (only in a reverse way). Hence my own eagerness to forgive those who did do the mask-shaming.

          Anyway, my last point was that the episcopate in general dropped the ball. This includes all denominations, not just ours. During Lent, I read a book from your library, entitled Letters from a Russian Priest. One of the things I got out of it was the advice that this hieromonk gave to spiritual child of his about forgiveness and how the closer one gets to God, he “no longer sees enemies” (not that I’m anywhere near to being close to God). He describes kenosis and personally, I envy those who have attained that state.

          That BTW, is my attitude towards Patriarch Bartholomew. All criticism of him is because of what happened in the Ukraine and how it can literally lead to immense bloodshed. Moscow is giving him every chance to repent. I think we should all follow Moscow’s lead as we want him back in the fold, not out of it.

          But I digress.

          I can’t say any of us our happy with our episcopate at this point. Last year was horribly mishandled. But they are men and as such are prone to error. We need to pray for them since (because they are bishops), their judgment will be greater.

          As to your prediction that this will happen again, that’s inevitable. Given the incredible incompetence of the Globalists however, I’d say that the probability of that happening in the near future has gone down from 100% to less than 50%. I’ll give my reasons for that in another post however.

        • Just_a_dad says

          @Gail “…. It was those who wore masks who were shaming people for NOT wearing them….”

          This was not limited to parishioners either. Our former priest (OCA) in at least two homilies referred to any church not following strict safety mandates as “Orthodox snake handlers” and said any parishioner not wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer and standing at least 6 feet from one another were “tempting God”. And this, in the DoS, as Dallas served from a common spoon to parishioners who wore masks at their own discretion.

  27. Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis

    Many countries across the globe utilized medical and non-medical facemasks as non-pharmaceutical intervention for reducing the transmission and infectivity of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Although, scientific evidence supporting facemasks’ efficacy is lacking, adverse physiological, psychological and health effects are established. Is has been hypothesized that facemasks have compromised safety and efficacy profile and should be avoided from use. The current article comprehensively summarizes scientific evidences with respect to wearing facemasks in the COVID-19 era, providing prosper information for public health and decisions making. …

    The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. … ‘

    Perhaps the bishops should read the science – instead of listening to Fauci…

  28. I didn’t say the Lord saves the unrepentant… I said He forgives.

    We are instructed to repent. We are also instructed to forgive, to forgive before anyone even has a chance to repent, as the Lord did. Love our enemies. It’s foundational, essential Christian practice and belief.

    • Christ prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”. We are always free to forgive, regardless of repentance, and, in truth, it is often more expeditious for us to do so since carrying around resentment is like poison.

      However, with God, there is a question of Justice. He always forgives in the face of repentance; however, there would be no recompense for evil conduct whatsoever were He to forgive and therefore absolve all indiscriminately.

  29. I didn’t say I was struggling with forgiving our church leadership for their collaboration with the Faucistas . I forgive them. But I said I was struggling to be able to trust them again. (Pray for me). “If they would go along with this , what else will they go along with?” is a legitimate question.