“That Horrible Bishop Makes Me Do It”

Regarding scheduling that archpastoral visit beginning in March, you’ll have to avoid the two days he’s in Hawaii.  –  His schedule is completely empty for the rest of February, though.  Aside from yesterday, he has nothing planned.

* * *

From: Diocese of the West Chancery <chancery@dowoca.org>
Date: February 2, 2021 at 2:30:27 PM MST
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: Some Archpastoral Reminders

Dear Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers and Mothers:

Please find below a message from His Eminence, Archbishop BENJAMIN:

“Dear Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy of the Diocese of the West:

The Lord bless you.

“We who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”  Romans 15:1

I know we are all getting weary of the pandemic.  And I am hearing that the directives I and the Holy Synod have mandated are “sliding” in some parishes.  I also realize there are those who consider them intrusive and, for some very odd reason, “anti-Orthodox”.  Perhaps it is a reflection of the great divide we are currently experiencing in America.  For some among us, the wearing of masks and social distancing oddly have become symbols of where one stands politically, on the right or left.  

Nevertheless, I write you today to remind you of the non-negotiable directives you and your flocks are required to follow:

1)  Everyone present in the temple must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth.

2)  Everyone must observe social distancing.

3)  Should anyone who was present at a service acquire the coronavirus and test positive, you must suspend services for two weeks.

4)  You have a blessing to use one spoon for Holy Communion as the virus is not food-borne.  However, you may use multiple spoons should you feel it necessary for the “weaker” among your flock.

5)  If I learn you are not strictly observing these directives and one of your parishioners dies of COVID 19, I will not hesitate to suspend you.

6)  Those who refuse to follow these directives are to be denied Holy Communion until they agree to follow them.

Brothers, I am, as I noted above, keenly aware this is a problem for some of your parishioners who would like to make some sort of point.  Nevertheless, these are not optional directives.  And, even if they or you feel they are unnecessary, they will not hurt anyone and may well protect someone who is vulnerable.  It is not about politics, but love and concern for the neighbor.  Personally, I feel those who refuse to wear masks and socially distance are being selfish. You may remind everyone of the freedom that comes with obedience.  Finally, you are free to blame me.  “That horrible bishop makes me do it.”  If one life is spared this devastating disease through these measures, certainly they are worth it.

Please be assured of my love and support for you and your flocks.  With God’s help, we will see the end of this and life return to normal soon.  

On a personal note, I have had my first round of vaccine and hope to resume my parish visitations beginning in late March.  You may contact me to schedule an archpastoral visit if you like.

God bless you and protect you all.

With love in Christ,


In Christ,

Priest Andrew Smith
Administrative Assistant, Diocese of the West (DOW)
Orthodox Church in America (OCA)
(415) 567-9378


  1. Wow…

    6) Those who refuse to follow these directives are to be denied Holy Communion until they agree to follow them.

    • OrthoAppalachia says

      Artificial medical tyranny has given some the opportunity to lord it over in ways they always secretly imagined. It’s coming to light.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Bingo! In the retail sphere, I’ve come to the conclusion that COVID provides the perfect excuse to treat customers like crap.

    • Christine Fevronia says

      Orthodox believers fear sin, not tribulation.

      Demanding that a priest withhold the Body and Blood of Christ from a child of God simply because they aren’t wearing a mask? Oh, Bishop Benjamin, we are praying mightily to the Theotokos to soften that hard heart of yours.

    • It is interesting that in the most “democratic” of all the American jurisdictions, we have seen from the bishops the most over the top authoritarianism in terms of parishioners who dare to question the globohomo narrative coming from the Ministry of Truth. As many have begun to see, these modern, progressive bishops are more concerned with keeping their 501(c)(3) status and pleasing the Inner Party (which hates them anyway) than obeying Christ and feeding His flock. And they have the audacity to impose their betrayal onto their people and turn it into a moral obligation for their flocks. Despicable and contemptible are two words that come to mind as I read that “pastoral” letter. Welcome to Orthodoxy.gov.

    • Ella Marie says

      The beatings will continue until morale improves

    • Just throwing it out there that a priest who disobeys a bishop receiving a penance of no communion is pretty normal as far as I’m aware. He could say he was going to suspend the priests of their duties for disobedience and that would also be historically not shocking, if harsh.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        It’s not the penance part that is the problem. It’s forcing a penance on priests for remaining faithful to the teachings of the Church that is repugnant.

        • It looks to me like the bishop is saying to tell people to wear masks, social distance, and to cancel services for 2 weeks if someone at church gets sick. He says they can still use 1 spoon (which would be my personal sticking point, I can’t stand the multiple spoons thing) so that’s not part of the directives. While I think the restrictions are annoying, I don’t see how a priest not following the restrictions could claim he was doing so specifically in order to remain faithful to the teachings of the Church….maybe the shutting down church for a couple of weeks seems like too much?

          • If someone gets sick how do you know that it was caused by Church attendance? And yet the whole Church is excommunicated for two weeks? Did I misunderstand the Bishop?

            • Mark E. Fisus says

              It’s to prevent people already known to be exposed to further expose one another.

              Patriarch Kirill pointed out last year that even St. Mary of Egypt did without communion for 40 years, and surely we can do without for a much shorter time than that.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                In spite of the many differences between our situation and hers (too numerous to even list), she did it by choice. She did not do it to satisfy the desires of those who wished to control and manipulate her.

                • Mark E. Fisus says

                  What if the government imposed no mask mandate? Would you wear one voluntarily to protect those around you?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Mark, if I may interject: “if it could be proven” that a masquerade could “protect those around” me, I would consider it. Unfortunately, the “experts” have proven themselves to be buffoons of the highest order. Hence, the onus of “proving” anything is upon them, however their credibility is now pretty much shot, isn’t it?

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    No, because I would not be protecting anyone.

                  • These are the same people who insist a man is a women just because he wants it. You cannot embrace a lie like that and expect people to believe any of the other crap that comes out of their mouth.

                    I live in Florida and do not wear a mask. I have had COVID and it was like a really bad cold/flu. Florida hospitals did not collapse in December when the pandemic was supposedly out of control.

                    Masks Do NOTHING

                  • A year into this thing, and its comments like this that make me wonder if some folks are intentionally being stupid. There is such a thing as google. So some research. It’s really very simple. Type into google: Are masks effective against a virus? You don’t need an MD or a PhD to understand these things. Maybe grade 2.

    • Can someone explain to me why virtually all of the Bishops are such cowards? I can understand if it is a married priest who’s salary that he supports his family in is at stake, but these Bishops are unmarried! What are they so afraid of???

      • Historically, the bishops are a target during Marxist or atheist take overs. He was likely compromised with black mail, threats, or is a long term plant. That’s what happened in Russia and France in our church and with the RCC church

      • Somebody else says


        I’ll tell you what they’re afraid of….Having to get a real job like the rest of us, one where they actually earn their wages, Covid or not, and don’t just skim the collection baskets feigning piety while they wear bells on their frocks like the Pharisees of old. I’m trying to imagine being the ER RN (of 16 years) that I am and telling my patients (and manager) that I just can’t take care of them (my ministry) until it’s safe again…. but I’m still expecting my full pay …. “but, oh, by the way I’m willing to offer nursing guidance over a computer.”
        Grow a pair and suck it up buttercup. What kind of “bishop”or any minister for that matter, is afraid to die ministering to his flock? I’m not saying that I’m eager to leave my wife and 10 kids behind just yet but somebody has to do the job and my family needs to eat…. and folks need the care that I provide, physical, mental, and spiritual.
        I’m fine with taking reasonable precautions, just because I know what I’ve seen… and haven’t seen…but flat out refusing to make visits because you’re scared… you might as well stay in your little palace and keep your silk cassock germ free. “Snowflake” is too clean and pure of a term…. I’m thinking more of soggy TP in the outhouse after a rain. Stay home in your little religious bunkers for all I care, I’m not interested in visiting, let alone dining with cowards, and I certainly don’t want a blessing from any chickensh-t bishop. Truth be told, our little parish hasn’t had a visit from any bishop in over 3 years. Besides that, our priest is an egotistical, insecure shell of a man who won’t retire for fear of having to actually work for his money and benefits. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to keep my own little flock from losing their faith. I’ve heard it said that the road TO hell is paved with the skulls of bishops…. it’d more appropriate if it was the road INSIDE hell. May God bless these Bishops, and keep these Bishops….far away from us.

      • anonsayswhat says

        Saint Porphyrios when he was alive stated that the greatest upcoming problem of the Church would be it’s hierarchs. But he gave consolation stating new leadership will take root.

        Funny enough Saint Paisios gave an unusual answer to the following question given to him. He was asked if Prophet Elias will come back, as is rumored before the appearance of the anti-christ. Saint Paisios’ answered that the Prophet Elias is “sharpening his knives” and he will coming after first the patriarchs, bishops, monastics and priests.

        Ecumenism brought a whole plethora of problems into the Church. Free-Masonry, Homosexuality, and Secularism. That’s my short answer as to why our Bishops are cowards.

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        Maybe you can start your own diocese. Heck, just start your own church.

        • And who are you excommunicating here?

          • Mark E. Fisus says

            User “Paisios” above called “virtually all” bishops cowards. It would seem rather that he is on the way to excommunicating himself. Surely someone in such exalted supra-episcopal position as to be justified in exhibiting such contempt for the Church would be entitled to start his own.

            • ‘Virtually all’ does not equate to ‘all’.
              Not all the bishops have been courageous all the time.
              Consider the phrase: ‘Athanasius contra mundum
              Think. Why was he ‘against the world’?
              Did he start a new ‘Church’ – or did he continue in the real one.
              Consider the contemporaries of St Mark of Ephesus.
              Did he start a new ‘Church’ – or did he continue in the real one?

              Don’t be too quick to cut people off.
              You may come to regret it.
              I speak from (bitter) experience.

              • Mark E. Fisus says


                . . .

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  It’s a violation of the rules of the blog to make pejorative comments about other readers of our blog. No one care what an anonymous person thinks of another anonymous person’s ideas.

            • Here is a note my bishop left on his website: “Vladyka Irénée will not be travelling until it is safe to do so. Please check this schedule for updates.”

              So, no traveling for, …..um… for,…. well, um….. for….when do you think it will be ‘safe to do so’?

              And the million dollar question is: does this position make the bishop a coward?

              (I am asking for a friend.)


              • Fortunately St Paul did not wait
                (nor St Patrick, St Columba, Sts Cyril and Methodius, etc);
                otherwise we would likely all be pagan.

    • Peter T Howe says

      One question, if I may:

      Might the ruling hierarch of the Diocese of the West of the Orthodox Church in America, particularly as so may be regarded in the above-referenced point (6) of the Ukaz-reiteration of February 2, 2021, as so mentioned therein [let alone the ruling hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America], be able ever to argue successfully before the Supreme Court of the United States, upon any allegation as to the following, that the legal proscription – for example – against the commission of attempted extortion that exists within the Criminal Code of the State of California [let alone within the criminal code of any legal jurisdiction as such] continues to this day to serve to impose an undue burden upon the inalienable right to Free Exercise of Religion by the Orthodox Church in America, specifically the Diocese of the West thereof, as per the essential right to self-police, guarded as such for the OCA and especially the DOW thereof by the First Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America, specifically by the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses theresounder, and putatively strengthened as such by the granting to the former of 501(c)(3) non-profit corporate religious entity tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service, and that the Orthodox Church in America, therefore, must not have for it violated, under legal proscription of any such law whether State or Federal, as such the inalienable right to Free Exercise of Religion thereby, continuously so guarded for the OCA as it so may be by the First Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America; or is the mere fact that the selfsame above-referenced Ukaz-reiteration of 02.02.2021 may be allowed to pass without any opposition thereto whether legal or ecclesiastical, particularly as such may so apply to point (6) therein, simply an enduring witness to the inalienable right guarded for the Orthodox Church in America, and especially the Diocese of the West thereof, as such to self-police, under the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America, continuously as such, to this very day?

      This is a question that I have been pondering somewhat extensively, as it were, during the North American-Mexican Pale Lager Glut Crisis of 2020, to this very day.

      I am wondering when, if ever, that legal line may well indeed be so crossed;

      broken, as such, on through – to the other side,

      so to speak.

      We live in sad times:

      This is the manifestly apparent empirically observable reality, in any event.

      Lord, have mercy.

  2. What a spin.

    For some among us, the wearing of masks and social distancing oddly have become symbols of where one stands politically, on the right or left.

    And this is I don’t know what to say.
    You have a blessing to use one spoon for Holy Communion as the virus is not food-borne.
    If the virus is food born than we need more spoons.

    • Jane Tzilvelis says

      There are two Constitutions:
      Heavenly Constitution – God’s words
      Earthly Constitution – Founding Fathers used God’s words

      Bishop uses government’s words. Did the Bishop receive stimulus money? Inquiring minds ought to know.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I imagine George Soros has developed writer’s cramp due to all the checks he’s been writing these past months.

        • Peter T Howe says

          Who needs to suffer to endure manual pain from writer’s cramp if one doesn’t draw checks on the drawee that are payable to the respective order of the payee in question, but legally allows for said payee to receive payment as such via electronic transfer?

          Not George Soros, I’m assuming.

          The etiology of any such focal hand dystonia belonging to Mr. Schwartz György thus may be of another, arguably as-yet-undetermined, provenance.

          Just throwing that opinion out there,

          For What It’s Worth.

    • There truly are no words that can accurately describe the awfulness of this letter. May God have mercy on us for our many sins and may He protect the faithful clergy of the Diocese of the West who brought this to light.

    • My priest is under this bishop says

      Looks like someone was compromised. You can be sure the same pressure is being applied to him as he is applying to the priests. And it’s obviously transhuman “ I get my quarterly RNA treatments now let’s totally remove the face of Christ from our temple because of the level headed directives of secular Christ deniers and computer models with zero supporting research“ pressure and not pressure from Christ.

      My priest in under this bishop and sounds absurd and meaningless when trying to justify this nonsense. I feel sorry for both of them. He has many children.

      It’s hard praying for people this far gone but I suppose that’s what I’m in the church to learn.

    • If the virus is food borne than we need not fear the spoon or chalice that contain the Holy Gifts. It’s Holy Communion. No virus can contaminate the Holy Mysteries! What is he talking about food borne for and how on earth can he sign blame to a priest of a parishioner dies from Covid19? This is sad. The masks do nothing. My whole family got sick even when wearing masks. We probably got sick at church or grocery stores where everyone wears masks. Ridiculous!

      • Thomas Mizenko says

        We have lost the fact that there is still an all powerful God and that he can provide Divine protection. To many now doubt this very true fact.

  3. That made me sick to my stomach. Had I not read this with my own eyes, I would have guessed thst it was written by a staunch Marxist.

    Lord have mercy!

  4. Cowards are often insufferable and liberal bishops are a disgrace. One should not follow a multitude to do evil. Why not reduce the speed limit to 35 on the highway? Would save lots of lives. Why not keep all measures in place indefinitely and avoid deaths from the common flu (assuming the measures have any positive effect)? “If we can save even one life . . .”

    It is not compassion but rather cowardice. People die. And we have found out that the number of deaths has been grossly inflated, The whole phenomenon was designed by the press and the powers that be as a political weapon against the last administration and as a demonstration of how the Deep State can reach out and touch us all.

    And evidently many bishops are collaborators.

    So be it. Christ will judge them in His good time. My guess is that the laity have already passed whatever judgment they feel is warranted. We have all seen that the elites don’t take the restrictions seriously and that they made not a peep at supposedly super spreader riots over the summer. It’s all a stinking crock.

    Seek the faithful; flee the faithless.

    • Misha,

      I always appreciate your thoughts. Thank you 100% for this response.

      I am disgusted. I am a former member of the OCA DOW, was at a wonderful parish in Tacoma, Washington, for a time about 15 years ago that has a wonderful priest.

      I left the OCA after they tossed out Metropolitan Jonah like yesterday’s trash. I don’t think he is secular enough for them. He’s a bishop who has a solid monastic foundation and who takes it seriously. Most other bishops in the OCA synod don’t have a monastic foundation. Orthodox bishops should.

      Part of me just wishes the OCA would split already — let the secularists go with the GOA to the Roman Catholic Church, and let those who want to be serious Orthodox Christians rejoin ROCOR, where the OCA belongs.

      The OCA never should have left ROCOR in 1946. Metropolitan Leonty later regretted abdicating his episcopal responsibility by just “following the laity” who wanted to leave ROCOR in 1946. That was a protestant-style decision, led by the laity. The Metropolia bishops who went along with it at the time let themselves be led by the laity – like parents being led by the children.

      • Don’t wait for leadership.. just ‘vote with your feet’…I did. Nobody is forcing anyone to stay in the OCA.

  5. So, Inga Leonova and Archb. Benjamin are pretty much in agreement that priests who don’t do the whole Covid-19 song and dance are criminals!


    “More news from the world of criminal stupidity. The same is happening in Russia. The same is happening in Orthodox communities the world over, perhaps not at the same scale as in the more militantly “traditional” countries. But every small parish that does that spreads the virus exponentially.

    I think these priests and bishops should be arrested. And if anyone dares to say that this is religious prosecution, you can unfriend me right now.” ~ Inga Leonova (FB post on 3/25/2020)

    I wonder, will the bishop also turn the offending priest over to the authorities? After all, the priest is guilty of “killing” a parishioner, according to these dictates.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Bingo! In the retail sphere, I’ve come to the conclusion that COVID provides the perfect excuse to treat customers like crap.

    • Solitary Priest says

      Has anybody else noticed that the people who say that the communion spoon can spread sickness are the very same people who justify sexual behavior which really can spread disease? I may not have agreed with Fr. Mark Hodges having marched in DC on Epiphany. That being said, I feel he was singled out for voicing opposition to deviant sexual practices. I know clergy even in EP jurisdictions who feel the same way about the double standards.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Fr, you are committing truth. Our society can’t abide much truth.

      • Well-spotted, Father.

      • Michael Bauman says

        That is because they abandoned the faith a long time ago for social engineering thus they have no faith in the reality–only their own fantasy. That makes them insane BTW.

    • “You can unfriend/unfollow me right now”

      The self-righteous and pompous statement of someone who thinks that social media is real life. Sad!

  6. Vote with your feet. They are not messing around. Nor should you. If we all end up under one lone heroic Bishop from parts unknown than so be it. We follow Christ and the Fathers. Could you imagine a similar letter from St John Chrysostom? Nor can I. We are no longer quibbling about a remodeling project or what head covering is preferred by the Bishop. For those you must comply. When the presuppositions to receive the Body and Blood of Christ include following the dictates of satanists who wish to destroy the Church then the time has come to say so long. Jesus Christ knows how to make it all work. You can buy the Temple back at auction in a year.


    • If we all end up under one lone heroic Bishop from parts unknown

      The Metropolitan of Morphou has been really outspoken about all of this

      • George Michalopulos says

        Indeed. And the one in Mesogaios, Greece.

      • anonsayswhat says

        Metropolitan of Morphou has constant contact with holy/saintly fathers of the church equal to our recent Saints, St. Paisios, St. Iakovos, etc. He has revealed from their words that this panic over this virus won’t last longer than April/May. It’ll just be a non-issue. But a troubling statement just maybe a week or two ago – perhaps it’s related in the aftermath, stated that the US won’t be considered to be the top superpower in the world very soon. Just as the USSR collapsed so will the US.

        Another statement a while ago from Bishop Neofytos, speaking about St. Iakovos’ rare prophetic statement. Even though he had a greater gift than St. Paisios and St. Porphyrios, he hardly would ever speak about prophecies. Rarely. The one well-known account from his interactions with St. John the Russian about the cleansing the world will undergo and require, but the other not well known prophecy is interesting. Saint Iakovos was with the some people, including the Bishop when he was a novice and he just sighed with wonder and stated something along the lines of how people in the future will just die suddenly, dropping like chickens. Then he suddenly stopped, and said, “No, who am I to speak of such tremendous events…”

        The reason I bring this up… Is that what it will take for people in the Church, our bishops to wake up? Do we really need complete desperation to keep the Churches open to all, without restrictions?

        • Didn’t one of the Saints predict a world war then a council after the war to fix the errors currently plaguing the Church?

          Or am I dreaming?

          • anonsayswhat says

            According to Metropolitan Morphou, we already are in the beginning stages of the world war. I believe it was the Holy Elder Ephraim of Arizona that appeared present to a family looking to change Churches in Greece, when the “Synod” acknowledged the schizmatics and Debunko in Ukraine: telling them that it was unnecessary to change Churches, and that events will unfold soon leading to the world war, and then afterwards, a grand council will convene to heal the many open wounds the Church has endured over the years. Not just the current problems we are witnessing.

            • Ah yea, I knew I had heard that before.

              I wonder how accurate that prediction is? Not doubting Elder Ephraim, but, that’s a lot to happen. As someone who used to be a former Roman Catholic, I am cautious of prophesies I guess

              • Caution well exercised. There is absolutely no way of verifying any of these prophecies, usually revealed to someone in a dream.

                • The vision that anonsayswhat is speaking of is a little bothersome in that (according to the Church canons) if someone communes with a schismatic, they themselves become schismatic. I cannot imagine Elder Ephraim telling someone to continue to commune with schismatics

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Petros, Amen! As a former new ager I am doubly cautious of visions, signs and wonders. That is part of the sobriety of the Church.

                    Vastly different from genuine spiritual experience BTW.

        • Interestingly (and from a purely secular perspective) in December
          2020 Dr Andrew Wakefield gave the mRNA vaccines from six months to a year, at most, before they are withdrawn due to adverse side effects.
          See video [9:53]:

    • You can buy the Temple back at auction in a year.

      Bravo! (Not being sarcastic: this is a seriously good point.)

    • Exactly Mike,
      very well said!

    • The linked video relates to an incident that happened recently in Greece in relation to a Bishop who forced the usage of masks. Submitted for your prayerful consideration.


    • Attached is a link about a recent occurrence in Greece where a Bishop insisted on the wearing of masks.

      For your prayerful consideration:


  7. “not food-borne”???
    That is the reason?

    This bishop needs someone to not hesitate to suspend him.

    • Aren’t we taught that you can’t get sick from the body and blood of Christ? So for the Bishop to say Covid isn’t food borne so it’s okay to use one spoon for Communion isn’t correct?

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        Yes, communion as food is technically correct. That the Body and Blood of Christ is nourishment is well-settled and uncontroversial (or at least it should be).

  8. One life spared, thousands of souls lost, really???

    • A man who would gain the whole world and lose his soul is the same man who would obey the world and lose a thousand souls…

  9. Damian Vansuch says

    That’s horrible, but what also is troubling is the threat of suspension if a parishioner dies of Covid-19. He is walking a fine line, and it’s not a good one, with that threat. I also don’t like the first one about masks. He doesn’t include face shields. There are those out there with respiratory issues who are unable to wear a mask for a long period of time. Guess my family isn’t worthy to attend Divine Liturgy or receive Holy Communion in the Diocese of the West. Glad I am on the East Coast.

    • The problem is that we can’t always prove how people catch diseases. Sometimes you can, sure, but not always. With covid, we’re seeing a big blame game of who got who sick. So even if the priest is not following the metropolitans directions and someone in the parish gets sick and dies from Covid, can they really prove they got sick at Church? Come on.

      • Correct. This is all CYA B.S. The church being led by lawyers. “But what if someone gets COVID and dies? The Church could be sued….”

        Using this line of distorted logic, anyone’s activity at some point in the past, through the butterfly effect, might, at some point, result in someone’s death. Granny dies of a heart attack tomorrow. Who’s to blame? The waiter who served her queso a year or two ago! Of course! Or maybe her friend who upset her last week!

        If I wanted to be part of a Church that was run by lawyers, I’d be a Calvinist.

        In our post-Communion prayer to the Theotokos, we ask her to “deliver us from the slavery of our own reasonings” (or “of our vain imaginings,” in some translations).

        Bishop Benjamin and many who think like him are slaves to their own distorted reasonings/vain imaginings. May they call on Our Mother for help. But don’t rope me or anyone else in to also be a prisoner of their distorted reasoning.

  10. Let’s all stop driving. If one life is saved by a lack of traffic accidents, then it will be worth it.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Makes sense, Basil. Accidents account for nearly one-half of all teenage deaths and as a category of accidents, motor vehicle fatality is the leading cause of death to teenagers, representing over one-third of all deaths.

      In light of this information, if anyone in the laity is seen driving their teenage son or daughter to church and the priest in charge does NOT puncture their tires, the priest should be immediately deposed and turned into the authorities for child endangerment.

      “And, even if they or you feel these steps are unnecessary, they will not hurt anyone and may well protect someone who is vulnerable.  It is not about politics, but love and concern for the neighbor.  Personally, I feel those who drive their teenagers to church are being selfish.”

  11. I got my vaccacine so I can pay you a visit:) This is some kind o joke.
    Those who are saying they should not give OCA autocephaly et ils ont raison!

  12. Μολον Λαβε says

    This non-pandemic is the least of our concerns. There are worse things over the horizon that will shake our very souls. Be strong. Know the Lord and his abundant love for those who love him and will hold aloft the lantern and standard.
    We do not survive and overcome by being meek. We will continue to fight and defeat evil in any form and image.

    I have never heard of any disease or plague ever being transmitted by Holy Communion. Ever. Such is the miracle. Anyone who says otherwise has betrayed their faith. We all become one with the Lord when spiritually nourished using the same chalice and spoon.
    Why is this an issue now?

  13. It seems to me that unless one situates COVID within the context of “the Great Reset,” one can’t see the role it is playing in creating the conditions necessary for the transhumanist future. The head of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, isn’t even trying to hide it. He states it very clearly in his book on COVID-19 and the Great Reset. Due to disruptions that ripple across industries and national boundaries, COVID must be stopped in its tracks. This requires rolling, continual lockdowns; replacing humans with AI and robotics; shifting work and school to homes; replacing traditional diets with ones considered unconventional (read other sources or proteins — insects); the creation of a universal income; planned cities and states; empowering unelected boards and experts to manage resources; and, eventually, a decrease in the population. If the bishops continue to comply with governmental mandates they will effectively aid in facilitating the Great Reset. Bush’s former head of HUD, Catherine Austin Fitts, has a very interesting video that recently went viral where she explains the integration of five operational sectors of the current socio-political order: the military, the pharmaceutical, the banking, the news media, and the tech sector. They are all working towards this alchemical, post-human future in coordinated fashion. The result is, we are building our own prison. How, then, are bishops not responsible for alerting people to what is happening in order to prepare them for the persecutions that are coming? People are already being put in “COVID camps” (witness Canada) and resources are being put in place for, I believe, 5 million contact tracers. This ends in the gulag, my friends. Bishops who don’t see this or, who see it and don’t speak out, only aid those forces that would seek to try to destroy the Church. Instead of Sergianism we now have COVIDism — grafting the Church onto the State and letting its authorities dictate how it will behave in important ways. In the Soviet Union, priests might have been visited by the KGB and asked to turn in names or share confessional material. Now, some bishops expect parishes to take names for contact tracing and turn in names of those who were in church and later tested positive.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Interestingly, if what you say has any truth, the bishops will be the first to be hauled off. Church is always target #1.

      • As long as ‘useful idiots’ remain useful
        they will likely be kept in place.

      • George Michalopulos says

        That’s the irony isn’t it?

        Churchill described appeasement as throwing your friends into the swamp hoping that the alligator eats you last.

  14. If this is real (so hard to believe), then I don’t understand how this is something that should cut one off from the Church. We can follow our conscience whether to listen to Apostle Paul’s rule to wear a women’s head covering in church … but not following a rule to cover ones mouth and nose (according to one’s conscience) is an excommunicable offense? It’s ok to disagree with Apostle Paul but not obeying a sanitization measure gets one cut off? We all sin so much, why should this be the thing that cuts one off? This seems similar to kicking someone out because they make the cross with 2 fingers instead of 3.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Frankly, John, this letter is mild in comparison to what is said to priests to their faces.

      How could ANYONE be assured of someone’s “love and support” who speaks this way? And who would want it?

    • Johann Sebastian says

      The only thing that should have been cut off was travel into this country a little more than a year ago. If that had been done, we wouldn’t even be debating this issue now.

      Sure, we’d have taken a hit in other ways, being cut off from the rest of the world, but as for many day-to-day affairs that take place on various Main Streets throughout the country, they would have been mostly unaffected. Few would have died, and we could have turned our sights to being self-sufficient within our own borders.

      Now we have an administration that wants to open the floodgates to our country, yet we cannot even leave our homes.

      Xenophobia is a matter of prudence, forethought, and protecting those at home. It’s not racism.

  15. * sees pic & name *

    * isn’t surprised in the least *

  16. Christine Fevronia says

    Right? My thoughts exactly. My only surprise is that folks are still shocked by his words and actions, or that of any OCA synod member.

  17. anonimus per Scorilo says

    Wow, the guy certainly has cojones. I only wish we had more bishops like him, and less of the please-all-sides-by-remaining-vague type.

    I guess what he is saying is that the priests that do not agree with him and believe that not wearing a mask in church is the pinnacle of Christian behavior can move under the “omophorion” of Robert Kennedy…

    • Gail Sheppard says

      You can’t assume that AT ALL. This is a group letter, apS. This isn’t calling out anyone.

  18. Peterburgskaya says

    I kind of figured this guy was a…piece of work. But I had no idea that he was actively evil, in the way that the heresiarchs of my former denomination, the ELCA are.

    I am honestly beside myself. I worry for my good and honest parish priests. And curious in the worst most anxious ways to see how this will trickle down into the parish announcements as the week winds down towards Sunday…

    • Ah. Another liberal protestant convert to Orthodoxy who finds out we’re just as feckless as his previous denomination. My sincere apologies, friend. Modern Orthodoxy has adopted a slower, more formal approach than the V2 Catholics did. They just slammed their people with the new “Truth” and didn’t try to sugar coat the pill. Orthodoxy, on the other hand has adopted the religious version of the Republican party’s approach to politics whereby she gives a little more each year while maintaining that she is holding the line for “conservativism.” When in reality, they (the Republicans and the Orthodox) have simply parroted yesterday’s revolutionaries in the Hope’s that no one could see what was happening before their eyes.


  19. Another skull on the road to hell.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      And you know what really gets to me? He is almost giddy about getting the vaccine. He can have it as far as I’m concerned, as he clearly thinks it’s going to protect him. – So, why is a bishop, holed up in his chancery, with people to fetch and carry for him, and no schedule, announcing he pushed himself to the head of the line to get the vaccine.

      Priests encounter 100s of people a week. Have they been offered the vaccine or is it only the bishops?

      • George Michalopulos says

        As for being on her sh!t list, is that a promise? (I for one would wear it as a badge of honor.)

        • George Michalopulos says

          Well said Gail!

          At this point it’s elites vs non-elites.

          • Kirill Berinov says

            You have said it all, George.

            >>> “At this point, it’s elites vs non-elites.” <<<

            A perfect summation of the situation. Everywhere you look, the rot is always at the top. And in my seven decades of observation in two previous ecclesiastical jurisdictions (The Episcopal Church USA and the Byzantine Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church,) it always has been. God save us little people.

          • But it’s not all the elites getting the vaccine, is it?
            Quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat.
            [Whom God would destroy, he first makes mad.]

  20. Cucked boomer bishop parrots CNN and calls it pastoral guidance. Modern bishops are the scourge God has given us.

  21. Archbishop Irénée’s Schedule
    Vladyka Irénée will not be travelling until it is safe to do so. Please check this schedule for updates.

    Another OCA Bishop with restricted schedule..
    He will update after first or second dose of vaccine.
    Bunch of groundhogs.

    • The unworthy Priest Nicholas Young says

      Vladyka Irénée has what are often known as underlying health problems. To add to this, Covid19 restrictions in Canada are being enforced rather starkly; most of us do not have the money to pay the fines and, to be blunt, it would be hard to make up one`s mind to go to jail. Especially when one is the family bread-winner. In Ontario and Quebec there is a maximum number of persons allowed at worship. In Ontario 10 persons can be in separate rooms in the same building, and some follow the Liturgy on screen. In Quebec the rule is heavier: it`s 10 at one address. We serve as much as we can. Let us all bear in mind that we are to answer for our own sins, and not those of anyone else. Please keep us in your prayers.

      • If Bishop or priest has underlaying health condition that affects him to serve Liturgy he should retire.

        Nobody is talking about jail or paying fines. Problem is that most of measures implemented against COVID are not mandatory.

        • The unworthy Priest Nicholas Young says says

          Do you live in Ontario or Quebec? I could not say who would be the bishop in Canada if Vladyka were to step down; having to choose a bishop right now, would be no help at all. As for fines, we are indeed talking about fines in Canada: from $1000 to $6000. This is why I`m asking for your prayers.

          • I am not from Canada. Not leaving Bishop’s residence until is safe outside would be of no help to the Church either. I agree though with what is happening in OCA these days it might get worse with replacement.
            Why would you pay for the fines with Bishop and Synod doing much more than requested by the law?
            We better pray that once this mess is over there would be still flock in OCA Churches not only Bishops in their residences.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I don’t think it’s a question of the law, although I think you bring up an excellent point.

              However, the law does not require a bishop to dress down his priests or scare them into thinking that if someone in his parish dies it is his fault because on a video stream his mask fell below his nose or the person was seen kissing an icon.

              The problem with respect to the law is that the wrong people are having to stand up for Tradition. Where are our bishops? Why haven’t they stood up? Why did they allow the law to relegate our worship as nonessential?

              It’s been a year and we are now dealing with a virus that is survivable.

    • They seem more like sheep in wolves’ clothing.

  22. I think many of us are starting to realize that our shepherds are indeed not shepherds at all, but wolves in sheep’s clothing

    Now, as in the Arian crisis and the false union of Florence it is up to us, the laity, to uphold the faith and call to task the hierarchs who refuse to.

    • Yes Petro, fortunately there still VERY FEW good shepherds.
      As for the wolves in sheep’s clothing, one solution is that the people go out of the church building and such bishop is left alone there with his priest, but no laity.

  23. The virus has killed more people’s minds than it did people.

  24. GOA Priest says

    Why complain about Benji’s “Epistle of Fear” ? We were told recently that he and the other members of the SINod are just “trying their hearts out.”

    Thank goodness our dear lowerarch clarified that THE VIRUS is not “food borne.”

    What a hack. Oh, but he’s trying his heart out, so we can give him a pass for violating the Canons.

  25. George Michalopulos says

    I imagine George Soros has developed writer’s cramp due to all the checks he’s been writing these past months.

    • Stuckintheloft says

      George –
      Just curious, is the Soros comment tongue-in-cheek or is there actually talk/evidence of our Hierarchs getting loot from the old man?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Well, let’s put it this way: Soros and other globalists use dummy companies (i.e. NGOs) to launder their money and/or overthrow/subvert institutions/countries.


        • Peterburgskaya says

          Speaking of my former denomination mentioned below (ELCA) part of why it and its sister denominations in the mainline Protestant group were able to be felled so dramatically and so rapidly by homosexualists and other marginal degenerate sorts was because the culture warriors were not truly a tiny cohort of grassroots believers who “just wanted love and acceptance,” they were classic astroturf funded by Soros and Jon Stryker via his Arcus Foundation to the tune of millions of dollars. Imagine taking a dumpy little synod council meeting where the total budget on the table doesn’t exceed 2 million dollars, and then in marches the rainbow brigade with their slick lobby campaign backed by $400k and professional staffers provided by Daddy Stryker and Granpa Soros. They blew right through those assemblies like a cat 5 hurricane and completely overpowered all the earnest normies and thoughtful pastors. They came in talking about “dialogue” which got them in the door because thoughtful people always will want to let you talk things out. But really it was about using the money and power to run a shock and awe campaign. It was very effective. It brought the Lutherans, the Episcopals, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, et al to their knees in less than 20 years.

          Have no doubt at all, they are working on us now. I have seen the telltale signs everywhere. And this is part of it, right here.

        • Stuckintheloft says

          Oh. I’m aware of how Soros functions globally and domestically. I’m just wondering if any of these monies via nonprofit or USAID have infiltrated our Church?

          In any case, all I can do is pray for Benjamin + and our Hierarchs. Chances are we’re going to be in some form of a hurt locker soon.

          Lord have mercy on me a sinner

  26. Is that guy still around? Isn’t he the one who disgraced himself with all kind of disgusting conduct, some of it involving the police, back around the time Soraich was doing his thing and tearing-up-jack ?

    If so, why is he not GONE from the property and FROM THE PAYROLL ?

    The ones I genuinely feel for are our good and God-fearing parish priests, who must submit and must put on a happy-face before the people while functioning under the hegemony of suchlike schlemiels.

  27. Shame on the OCA says

    Why be surprised by anything the OCA does anymore? If you can’t wear a mask, no communion for you. If you are conservative, suspension. But hey if you are pro abortion, openly liberal, and support LGBT rights, let’s elevate you to archimandrite! Why was Father Mark harshly dealt with inside of days when these priests have been acting with impunity for years? Have you seen this?


    • This is really outrageous what some OCA Bishops are doing, you think this Bishop from the West Coast nailed the blasphemy and heresy and then another Bishop from the East appears even worst. This one, his so called archimandrite how is he monk 🙂 and plus Dean. What is his Bishop doing, is he blind or what?
      I still think Father Mark was not right as one has to compare apples to apples.

  28. There are people who actually literally believe in God and His providence – I mean a “real guy”, “up there” – and those who just act like they do insofar as they can discern how to do so without faith. Ecclesiastical company men are materialists, not believers. That is very hard to believe given that many of them have seemingly devoted their lives to the Church. But that is actually not the case. They have devoted their lives to attaining an easy position of authority, not to God.

    The problem isn’t the virus. It is merely a hyped variant of the common flu. The problem is the reaction to the virus which is completely political and “unscientific”. One should have faith in God, not science. But science is very useful in telling us valuable information like mortality rates, etc. Yet science can be manipulated for political purposes quite easily, especially if it is in the economic interests of the scientific community to do so.

    Yet consider that science once told us propositions which are now known to be clearly erroneous. It is a floating crap game. Ptolemy – Newton – Einstein – and beyond. It is always imperfect and thus always improving.

    God is perfect, eternal and unchanging. Reality has a Mind, and only the fool says in his heart, “There is no God”. He is the One in Whom we live and move and have our being.

    May God have mercy on the Archbishop, forgive him and lead him to Christ.

  29. I honestly do not understand this level of blindness. It must come directly from the Lord. John 12.40

  30. I am aware of the critisisms of the multiple spoons and resticting the veneration of icons but I have not seen a good theological/patristic critisiscm/justification for masks. Has anyone pulled something like this together?

    • Peterburgskaya says

      Plain and simple many people have personal reasons why they cannot tolerate the stupid things. Maybe for 15 minutes to run in and out of an errand, but while spending 2 hours+ trying to focus on worship it is intolerable. Either for physical reasons such as asthma or for reasons that are far more awkward to delve into while an usher is hovering over you berating you, ie, you were raped as a young woman and a gag over your mouth was involved and every time a mask is on your face you feel a touch panicky and it gets worse and worse over time. The epidemiological efficacy of masks is highly doubtful at best, so in compassion and mercy for those who have such struggles, we should not be enforcing them so aggressively that people feel obligated to expose themselves to avoid excommunication. Or maybe still be excommunicated- exemptions were not mentioned, so I don’t know. Maybe someone else can answer the more technical part of your question, but that is what comes to mind for me. Basic compassion.

      Also off the top of my head, it seems possibly problematic to put something that will be discarded casually over your face directly after holy communion. And hiding your face during worship is questionable as well.

      • “…many people have personal reasons why
        they cannot tolerate the stupid things.”

        Indeed. Think of Chronic Sinusitis, which prolonged wearing of a mask
        may well escalate to Bronchitis. The next step could well be Pneumonia.

        Or how about Trigeminal Neuralgia, often called the suicide disease.
        To those who know the horror of it, I need say no more.
        To the rest, google it.

        • Peterburgskaya says

          Yes, trigeminal neuralgia. My poor grandmother suffered it. Once an attack was triggered, she would be in agony for days, maybe weeks. No medications could touch it. Her world got smaller and smaller until finally she had a stroke and I guess couldn’t complain anymore.

          And the risk of developing bacterial pneumonia from wearing those masks is very real and scientifically documented. I looked it up in the journals early on in this fiasco, because I had a hunch based on what I had read about the health difficulties suffered by women forced to wear the niqab or burqa in the Middle East.

        • anonimus per Scorilo says

          Come on !!!

          How about the plastic in the mask which is made from oil which, when heated by the face, releases chemicals in our lungs that cause lung cancer ?

          And how about the metal bar above the nose that acts as a 5G antenna and focuses 5G radiation in the brain to cause cancer ?

          I heard maybe fifteen other similar anti-mask ideas. I do not think any of them has any merit. The truth is very simple:

          Surgeons wear masks for hours. Construction workers who sand the walls before painting wear masks for hours (while performing strenuous work, often times in blazing heat). Many priests serve the whole Matins and Liturgy with a mask, they only take it down when communing. Many chanters sing with a mask.

          So I think one must be pretty snowflakey to complain about wearing a mask while sitting or standing in an air-conditioned church for 2 hours.

          • >Surgeons wear masks for hours

            Yup, and when they retire from active work and all those hours of mask-wearing, they invariably stop suffering of bronchitis, and/or feel considerably better ever on. Don’t take my words for granted: go ask any retired surgeon.
            Plus, they very often change surgical masks during operations, as soon as they feel they are wetting the tissue with their breath. To the best of my knowledge, in the last year no one has ever suggested to do the same as a general health provision.

            But then, come on, anonimus!!!
            Surgeons wear masks in order to avoid spitting their germs into their patients’ entrails or open wounds.
            They usually do not wear masks when making a consultation with their patients, nor even during most instances of close diagnosis.

            >Construction workers who sand the walls before painting wear masks for hours

            Yup, and their risk of developing bronchitis is equally well known.

            But then, come on, anonimus!!!
            Construction workers wear masks in order to avoid breathing powder or sand or in order to avoid most of the toxic effect of paint fumes.
            They usually do not wear masks when laying bricks.

            >Many priests serve the whole Matins and Liturgy with a mask, they only take it down when communing. Many chanters sing with a mask.

            Yup, and they shouldn’t.

            • anonimus per Scorilo says

              Surgeons wear masks in order to avoid spitting their germs into their patients’ entrails or open wounds.

              And this is exactly why the faithful and the choir and the clergy should wear masks: to avoid spitting droplets full of coronavirus germs into the noses and eyes of the other faithful. Since this can happen 2 days before any symptoms appear, they can feel perfectly healthy and still infect others.

              As far as mask ailments are concerned, if there was any risk of developing bronchitis from wearing a mask you can be sure that the US lawyers would have sued the life out of hospitals and construction companies for this.

              The only “mask ailment” I am aware of is the ideological possession (in a Jungian sense) by anti-mask beliefs. This possession is a very serious disease, as it leads to clergy-hating, suspicion, conspiracy-spreading, pride, fake courage, and diakrisis-abandoning.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                We should all wear masks to prevent a virus that 80% don’t even know they have, with a 99.9% cure rate? No.

                It’s a germy world we are born into. I have survived the measles, the chicken pox, rubella, mumps, the flu, scarlet fever, mononucleosis, and the flu. Because I worked in a hospital, I have gotten sepsis, pseudomonas and MRSA. I suspect I have survived COVID, too, as I have taken no precautions other than what is required and have been with thousands of people who were all unmasked.

                If I get up to around 80, I will die of something, as we all do. I won’t be wearing a mask then either.

                • “…a 99.9% cure rate” without treatment.

                  With timeous treatment (HCQ, zinc, vit D, vit C, quercetin, etc)
                  that cure rate would rapidly tend towards 100%.
                  Those suppressing knowledge of such treatments are guilty.

                • anonimus per Scorilo says

                  Looking at the cure rate for the whole population is hiding the problem. The death rate for those above 75 is 10%. So infecting them is as bad as sending one on a trip to Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped. And by wearing a mask we can prevent it.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    People have all sorts of comorbidities and if they die of a heart attack or cancer or any number of things that affect people approaching the average life expectancy, and happen to be COVID positive, their death is counted as a COVID death even if COVID had nothing to do with why they died. – No one is “infecting” people who are dying of natural causes.

                    • Johann Sebastian says

                      I have to disagree with this unless you qualify it with “people who are already on their last legs.”

                      My dad had two heart attacks–one in 1992 and another in 2002 but from a cardiac standpoint was well-managed. His weakness perhaps was an inordinate fondness for tasty food which lasted until about the time he contracted the disease and complained of a “bitter taste” and a lack of appetite. A couple of days later, he couldn’t breathe.

                      Sure, he could have had some other issue that popped up in the next 5 years, but he certainly wasn’t at death’s door.

                      Everyone’s going to die, someday, but this pushes people over the cliff.

                      The Chinese are the culprits, and those who are more concerned with globalist fantasies–whether that be unrestricted migration, political correctness, or their pocketbooks–aided and abetted them.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      My last statement was in the context of what I wrote immediately in the sentences before. I was talking about people who are already in the process of dying a natural death, which many are who are counted as a “COVID” death.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    anonimus, being close in age to the group you mention(I wiil be 74 in a couple of months), I for one do not care. I do not fear death. The death rate is actually 100% for all of us. I saw my late wife die at age 53 and her guardian angel came for her plus on Pascha about 40 days later, I was shown Jesus rising and taking my wife with Him.

                    When I die is not in my hands. The proximate cause of death at my age I can do little about. The attitude I die with is fully in my control.

                    Try reading 1 Cor 15 and absorbing the message.

                    Despite my utter sinfulness, I know His mercy and that it endures forever.

                    It is far worse hiding in manufactured fear.

                    Even the seeming cowardice of the Church I will not judge. All I can do is be as faithful as I can. Repenting as deeply as I can as often as I can while praying for and encouraging those closest to me like my friend in his 80’s who just lost his wife of 42 years.

                    We all live in His mercy.

                  • I take it you’ve never bothered to look at the chart that shows cost of health insurance, by age of the insured. You ought to do that some time. Earth shattering data in there.

                  • Peter T Howe says

                    It may depend on what type of mask you wear, and under what conditions.

                    In 2003, Australia happened to be dealing with the same type of dilemma due to the SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] epidemic outbreak at that point in time.

                    The mask-effectiveness question was centering then around the effectiveness of the rank-and-file Surgical Mask – i.e. the blue-and-white “20-percenter”:

                    [cf. https://www.smh.com.au/national/farce-mask-its-safe-for-only-20-minutes-20030427-gdgnyo.html ; https://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2003/s839815.htm ]

                    Please keep in mind that the debate in question then was centering around the effectiveness of the wearing of Surgical Masks in a non-sterile environment – i.e., in public.

                    The only differences between then and now that I see are the following:

                    (1.) An approximately 20-year passage of time into the future;

                    (2.) The virus that causes SARS is known as SARS-CoV, while the virus that causes COVID-19 is known as SARS-CoV-2 [cf. https://www.healthline.com/health/coronavirus-vs-sars ];

                    (3.) The SARS outbreak was classified then as an epidemic, while the COVID-19 [COronVIrusDisease-2019, according to official sources] outbreak was classified a year ago, and is still classified now, as a pandemic;

                    (4.) While both the SARS and COVID-19 outbreaks have been global in scope, the SARS epidemic was contained quickly, while the COVID-19 pandemic appears as yet to be contained as such;

                    (5.) No legally proscriptive regulation appeared to have been mandated as such by any global national government to serve as a phrophylactic measure in order to contain the apparently brief global epidemic spread of SARS in 2003; while every conceivable legally proscriptive regulation under the sun appears to have been mandated as such by every global national government to serve as a prophylactic measure in order to contain the apparently extensive global pandemic spread of COVID-19 in 2020 and beyond;

                    (6.) The effectiveness of the wearing of Surgical Masks as a prophylactic measure against SARS in 2003 appears overall to have been a claim of much general universal doubt, while the selfsame effectiveness of the wearing of Surgical Masks as a prophylactic measure against COVID-19 in 2020 appears overall to have been a claim of much fluctuating doubt up until July 17, 2020, after which point in time the reputed effectiveness of Surgical Masks as such as a means of containment against COVID-19 appeared – serially-so-speaking – to be beyond any reasonable doubt and, as such, beyond any and all dispute [cf. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-surgical-masks-and-face-masks#s2 ].

                    There is one constant to be observed in every one of these six (6) points made hereabove, in my opinion, and that is this:

                    The roughly two-decade passage of time between two apparent global crises.

                    In general, how much tends to be retained within the collective global mind after a period of time, let alone a period thereof spanning the passage of approximately two decades?

                    “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

                    [attributed to Adolf Hitler, from his Obersalzberg Speech of 22 August 1939 (cf. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler's_Obersalzberg_Speech ; https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A-Hitler-08-22-1939-at-Obersalzberg-on-planned-attack-on-Poland-and-extermination-of-Poles.pdf ; http://library.fes.de/library/netzquelle/zwangsmigration/32ansprache.html ; https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler's_Armenian_reference )]

                    Please don’t misunderstand: I am not an “anti-Semite” as such [Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ happens to be a Semite in the flesh, as so does Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, as also so does my Patron Saint the Holy Apostle Peter; the term “anti-Semite” appears now to carry with it a strict application protocol, one that I usually am wont to desire more or less to circumvent as such, for what it’s worth], nor do I condone any of the policies [racial or otherwise] or any of the war crimes committed by the Third Reich or any of its satellite nations during the first half of the twentieth century;

                    I simply am wont to see an interesting type of pattern of national-cum-global governance now become manifest before my eyes, as such may so be the case with the COVID-19 pandemic.

                    Very interesting.

                    Very interesting, indeed.

          • You have obviously never experienced trigeminal neuralgia.
            I pray you never do.
            Also, not all churches are air-conditioned.

            I can easily imagine the likes of yourself, fifty years ago,
            defending the use of asbestos against the ‘snowflakes’.

            • anonimus per Scorilo says

              I know people who had it, it is indeed a painful disease. But I shudder to think how more painful it can become if one gets the coronavirus on top of it.

              The inability of people with this and other serious diseases to wear a normal mask should be an extra reason why everybody else around them should wear one. And it should not be used as an excuse against mask-wearing.

              This being said, the best solution I can think about for people in this situation is to try to get a custom-sewn mask that does not touch the area of the face that is the most sensitive. Preferably with a dust-wipe or a polypropylene layer, to maximize efficiency.

              • As far is Covid 19 is concerned, ivermectin or HCQ, zinc,
                vit D, vit C and quercetin are among the many effective prophylactics.
                That is not a problem. But masks are a health risk as I argued above.

                But they are far, far worse than that.

                Take a mask and a vape and stand in front of a mirror.
                Wear the mask. Lift it to breathe in a mouthful from the vape.
                Lower the mask over your mouth and nose and breathe out.
                See how completely and utterly useless your mask is.
                For a defence against aerosolised virus particles, it is about as useful
                as putting a chain-link fence round your garden to keep out midges.
                Wear two masks. It will make no difference. They are useless,
                completely useless for protection against COVID 19 (or 20 or 21 etc).

                However, they are an excellent tool for schooling fear in people,
                for breaking down community and communion, for making slaves.
                Embittered snitches feel empowered by authority to (well) snitch!
                Future concentration camp trusties can learn their trade of enforcement.

                For that is where the mask mandates are leading, is it not?
                To get a biddable populace, so broken in spirit they will be unable
                to resist the coming genocide to reduce the population to the levels
                stated in the Georgia Guidestones of a maximum of 500 million.

                So, who gets to choose the six and a half billion who are to die,
                without issue? Bill Gates? The Rockefellers? George Soros?
                And on what grounds is the choice to be made?

                • The main purpose of masks is containment. That’s why doctors wear them during surgery. It’s worn not to protect the doctor, but rather the patient being operated on.

                  My mask helps to protect you. Your mask helps to protects me. No, it’s not 100 percent effective, but it does decrease the chances of those around us getting sick from our contagions.

                  I wear a mask, not to protect myself, but rather to help protect those around me.

                  • “I wear a mask, not to protect myself, but
                    rather to help protect those around me.”

                    I don’t doubt you mean well, but you are wasting your time.
                    If you don’t have your own vape to test (as I suggest above),
                    why don’t you just take 16 minutes to watch Dr Ted Noel
                    completely demolish the theory of protective masks, here:

                    Quod erat demonstrandum

                    PS: Fauci and friends know all this is useless,
                    yet still they advocate the wearing of masks.
                    But if they don’t work, why do they push them so?
                    It is for obedience training purposes. That’s why.

                  • anonimus per Scorilo says

                    For an in-depth study of what masks are most efficient and when they work best, see


                    “The safety of N95’s can be illustrated by the fact that I have been caring for critically ill patients with COVID for 11 straight months in ICU’s… and I haven’t gotten COVID That’s because I wear N95’s around infected patients and all the health care workers wear masks and try not to overcrowd communal workspaces. It works – many of my colleagues working in ICU’s and hospitals, have not gotten COVID since we all started wearing N95’s. But, in the time before widespread use of N95’s and mask wearing became standard in hospitals, many doctors and nurses and aides were getting COVID. I had a number of scary COVID illness episodes hit my network of colleagues, with several deaths among the wider New York City community of physicians.”

      • I am asking a serious question because ultimately the rejection of these measures has to be on solid theological and patristic ground. For masks it would seem that this is completely novel to the Church and therefor a real problem. It’s not enough to say you don’t like the masks or they are inconvenient or they bring up bad memories.

        At the end of the day by not wearing a mask are you being disobedient to your bishop or are you being faithful to the Church? There can be no other outcome.

        • Peterburgskaya says

          My dear fellow if you think PTSD panic attacks are “bringing up bad memories” then I suppose that you think a grand mal seizure is “having a little bit of a shiver.” Fortunately the ADA is better informed and counts this and other mental health considerations as valid reasons for a medical exemption. This is mentioned explicitly in the state mask mandates, all of them I have looked at so far. What is curious is that it is not mentioned in the OCA mask mandate.

        • Christine Fevronia says

          Every state in the DOW (MT, CO, AZ, NV, WA, OR, CA, HI) has its own social gathering and mask guidelines, and even in a state like Calunicornia, those differ widely from county to county, as does enforcement of those regulations. Some states like CA have gone so far as to actually ban singing and chanting in church — however, “The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering: persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, provided they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.” (CA Dept of Public Health) So, folks can go into a bar without wearing a face mask to drink alcohol, but cannot enter a church and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ without wearing a face mask? There are so many illogical fallacies and applications of these mandates. However, Bishop Benjamin has mandated masks throughout his entire diocese when it’s not even required by civil health authorities. So to Dan’s question: if your bishop issues a mask mandate for your parish, even if you live in a county that doesn’t have a face mask regulation, do you obey your bishop or your civil authorities? I hope we can all agree that we would obey our bishop.

          However, our frustration with this missive isn’t so much about the masks themselves. Aren’t issues pertaining to spiritual salvation far more deserving of red-line missives such as this? There is something quite shocking about denying a five year old child communion because they’re not wearing a face mask, while at the same time allowing folks who openly brag about their unrepented-of sins on social media (but wear a face mask) to approach the chalice. BB’s decision to elevate mask-wearing as a new commandment to be followed in order to receive the Body and Blood of Christ just seems disproportionate to his response to soul-corrupting societal norms that are invading the church. One has only to read through past Monomakhos blog posts and comments about various issues in the OCA to understand why this isn’t sitting right.

    • The monks in New Mexico wrote an amazing article in their newsletter not long ago. I have a JPG of it, but I’m not sure how to share it on here.

      The article is called “Praxis and Theoria.” I think it was from last fall, but I’m not sure. Basically, they say that masking is dehumanizing and introduces a distorted iconography into the Temple when everything we do has theological meaning. They also mention that it is wrong to not kiss/venerate the icons. (The word ‘venerate’ in Greek comes from the word ‘to kiss.’) They even have a prayer of repentance about not honoring icons and not kissing them.

      • Thank you, I would love to read it. Perhaps if you sent it to George he may post or distribute it.

    • Peter T Howe says

      Here’s a URL on that topic, if you will:


    • Mark E. Fisus says

      I would ask a different question. Is there theological support for opposition to masks? If not, I don’t see why masks can’t be accommodated, like the use of electricity. And if Tradition has not prohibition on masks, then it’s not subject of what we render to God, but what we must render to Caesar.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Because unlike electricity, they’ve never been proven to be useful and because Tradition makes no accommodation to help the devil get his due. This mask-wearing business is strictly a means to control and isolate people.

        • Mark E. Fisus says
          • Gail Sheppard says

            These guys are professors at a university. They are not experts in the transmission of diseases.

            One study they talked about was done between April and May when test results were completely unreliable.

            Another study they cited was more about the CDC than mask-wearing.

            The third came to the following conclusion: Societal norms and government policies supporting the wearing of masks by the public, as well as international travel controls, are independently associated with lower per-capita mortality from COVID-19.

            None of these terms are defined.

            – Which norms? Doesn’t this vary by country?
            – Which policies? Doesn’t this vary by location?
            – Which international controls? Are they talking about not going anywhere? Coming or going? To/from a developed or undeveloped part of the world? To/from a specific place or all places?
            – What is meant by “per-capita mortality”? Are they saying mask-wearing is a determinant for lower mortality at all income levels?

            I stopped reading after that.

            Please, look at this: https://swprs.org/face-masks-evidence/

        • George Michalopulos says


          p.s. Babe, my piece on Texas Independence is ready to go.

      • If masks are useless in preventing infection by
        repiratory viruses and dangerous to their wearers, which they are
        (see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680614/),
        why can’t not wearing masks be accommodated?
        If Tradition makes no demand for the wearing of masks,
        why should we accommodate an unnecessary badge of fear?

        • My mom has been an RN for almost 40 years and when all this crap first started she said that masks do nothing or next to nothing. She’s in and out of hospitals all day for work and she wears a mask bc she has to but refuses to ever get the vaccine

        • Mark E. Fisus says

          Tradition makes no demand for us to wear masks, but the point is that Tradition imposes no prohibition on masks.

          So other parts of the Tradition come into play, such as rendering to Caesar, who has obliged us to wear masks.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I’m not so sure about that second statement, Mark. I recall a canon which specifically condemns masking during the liturgies of the Church. In fact, it makes perfect sense to me.

            Leaving aside the ecclesial dimensions of this masquerade, am I the only one who feels a queasy feeling that we’re living through reenactment of Invasion of the Body Snatchers? It finally hit me when I saw bits of the Inauguration in which there were two Marines standing ramrod erect with masks. They are indistinguishable from every body else.

            It’s like everybody who wears a mask is part of the collective known as “The Borg” on Star Trek: The Next Generation

            • George,

              I would really like to see a serious theological/patristic criticism of the masks but I wonder if everyone is afraid to address it. Rather, it seems everyone in authority wants to hunker down and hope it all goes away or is overcome by events. Then it can be said “…well it was wrong but we don’t do that anymore…” etc…

              I have searched the English translation of The Rudder but all I can find relates to wearing masks such as Carnivals where people sin and hide who they are (maybe the translation is bad). There are also liturgical and scriptural references to masks equating to sin which I think is a good starting point. Then there is the fact that in scripture a person speaks “face to face” and we shall see “His Face”, although I am told that is a weak translation of the Greek text and it is his presence. Never the less there is something very special about the face. The so called veil monastics wear covers their head, neck, and sides of their head but NEVER the face. Icons always show a face, in fact we have the icon if the Image Not Made By Hands. How could be countenance a covering of a saint’s face, for example.

              There is a lot here but I know neither Greek nor Slavonic and I am too much of a sinful man to speak eloquently. Therefor I continue to believe they are wrong, and that orders to wear them cannot be followed, but I wait for someone better than me to articulate the why.

              • The faces of bishops, priests, and monks are all covered at funerals. There’s actually a theology behind this.

                Not that I disagree with the above points, though.

                • Yes I know. But again, faces are not covered while we live, it would be dishonest to use that as a justification. Go ahead and summarize the theology behind it and that will show that it is not a justification.

          • As the Son is the icon of the Father,
            so are we icons of the Son.
            The covering of icons, particularly in Church,
            is the first step towards iconoclasm.

            • Mark E. Fisus says

              Masking oneself is not a rejection of icons. It is a rejection of coronavirus.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                No one said masking is a rejection of icons.

                • Mark E. Fisus says

                  User “Brendan” above likens mask-wearing to iconoclasm, which is a rejection of icons.

                  A beard covers the face too.

                  • A beard is part of a face, “Mark E Fisus”.
                    It is one of the marks of a man.

                    Also, ‘a step towards’ Rome is not Rome.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  As for myself, I will say only this: that masking and multiple spoons are extremely problematic. I honestly can’t see anything good coming out of this. Anything at all. Division is not a good thing. And the Holy Spirit is not the Author of division.

              • If facemasks prevented the spread of coronavirus,
                California (with its strict mask mandates and its young population)
                would have a much lower death-rate from COVID 19 than Florida;
                where masks are not mandated and the population is much older.
                But it doesn’t. California’s death-rate is higher than Florida’s.

                Richard Feynman sums it up much better than I can:
                If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make a difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t make a difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.

              • “Masking oneself is not a rejection of icons. It is a rejection of coronavirus.”

                Masking is the rejection of science, logic, and the very clearly worded legal disclaimers on the boxes of masks themselves. And, child abuse. That’s all just on the secular level, the spiritual implications are probably as awful or worse.

          • PS This is how stupid mask wearing is at this point.

            Imagine a nation where the government tells the people: We are going to inject you with a substance. We don’t know what will happen. You may die. You may be permanently injured. We have absolutely no idea. We will inject you multiple times with this substance. Just to see what happens.

            All the people of that nation said, Absolutely yes, we want you to do that. Please inject us. Please help us.

            Then the government says, Thank you. Oh and by the way, this thing will completely change your genetic structure. We have no idea what the end product will be. It’s irreversible. But we know it’s going to help.

            And all the people said, “Help us! Help us. Please save us!”

            You may think to yourself, Those folks are pretty stupid to agree to that! Not knowing what will come the other end after being injected multiple times with this substance that will permanently change their genetic makeup.

            Well, that is how stupid this mask wearing thing is.

            It’s really that stupid!

            (There may be a Seuss story in there somewhere.)

            • I attended CES these past couple of years. Last year in person and this year virtually. Technology and Scientism are the religion of these people. Is this the Beast of the Apocalypse? I don’t know but people bow down to it and it produces lieing wonders and yet it is totally worldly and not spiritual.

      • Michelle says

        What Christian fears physical death?

        We need the body of Christ — each other. Alienation is spiritual death. Masks are clearly alienating, and have been the first of many mandates that have prevented people from coming to Church.

        • Masks are intended to alienate.

          • Masks can be used in occult ritual. Is the c$v$id mask part and parcel of an occult initiation into the coming new order.

            • It is part of the ‘de-individualisation’ of the masses,
              to break their spirits and their familial ties to each other,
              to prepare them for the coming ‘de-population’.

            • I believe so. It’s predictive programming and alchemical transformation of peoples’ ways of thinking, acting, etc. Michael Hoffman’s works hit the nail on the head for this kind of stuff. The occult elites have been doing it for years.

  31. Now we have this to deal with:


    I’m all for a reunion between the EO-OO, but, the fact that it’s the Greek Archdiocese makes me really suspicious of the situation. I understand there is a similar agreement between the EO & OO Antiochians for extreme circumstances, I wonder if it will be something similar.

    • The “OO” are O, but definitely not OO.

      Why do people overlook heresy when it is ‘eastern,’ but not when it is ‘Latin’?

      They’re both heretics and outside the Church, with no intention to repent. No to false union!

  32. My initial response: “what did I just read????”

    Unfortunately my area is hopeless so once a month I must travel out of state to worship without masks, temperature checks, mandatory hand sanitizing, and social distancing.

  33. I was told two nights ago by my priest, “You are not welcome at Church if you’re not wearing a mask. Don’t even bother showing up, because you will be asked to leave.”

    • Lord have mercy. This is horrible. I’m so sorry.

    • I carry a plastic credit-card-sized card which states:

      I have a disability/health
      condition and am exempt
      from wearing a face covering

      Thank You


      It comes complete with plastic holder and a bright orange lanyard
      bearing large white letters which read: MASK EXEMPT.

      So far, while wearing it I have met with nothing but courtesy. But I live in Scotland.
      How well it would go down in the USA, or parts of the USA, I cannot guess.

      • Peterburgskaya says

        In the USA you may tell them you have a medical exemption and while they may ask why, most legal advice would warn them that it is inadvisable to do so due to the 4th amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act. A wallet card could make mention of those rights.

  34. Peterburgskaya says

    Well the letter is definitely real. Already at our tiny weekday liturgy our poor harried priest reminded at least two people about masks, one of them a child (over whatever arbitrary age is exempt I guess- it varies everywhere even within one locale.) Not his style to hassle people unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is an utter nightmare. The thing that keeps coming back to me is there is no mention in either this missive or the “official” directives about medical exemptions. This guy is as cold as corporate management. If you can’t cover up, don’t come in the store. Get it delivered by ordering online. Shudder. What are we supposed to do now?

  35. Art Samouris says

    Hokey Smokes!!
    Has this AB been reading the GOA hierarch playbook??

  36. Jane Tzilvelis says
  37. Before you judge so harshly, he is really only repeating California’s rather strict and detailed Covid guidelines. You can read them here.


    For the ones typing the loudest, you should be happy you don’t live in such states. In the spirit of mercy, I urge you to rethink the positions our Bishops are put in, living in these states. YOUR states might grant you freedom and therefore such a letter would seem ridiculous. As I have stated in other posts, the law is different in the blue states, and if you want to defy the law you will have to deal with the consequences that few are ready for.

    I am not defending these protocols in any way, just pointing out that to expect the Bishops to protest these guidelines and defy the local authorities is, at this point, unreasonable, especially when most of the parishioners support them! Thank about that!

    CAN ANY OF YOU point to Orthodox Priests or Bishops that are actively defying their local authorities? What are they doing? What is their success rate? What do their flocks think? Maybe we should share experiences and “wins” of those pushing back on the Soros NWO. Instead of quickly criticizing and calling them heretics and traitors, let’s rather acknowledge the predicament they are in and provide useful and helpful strategies to help get them – and us – all out of this mess.

    • I don’t see that he is asked to defy the authorities that is spin. But he said he is doing more than mandatory but is saving lives. Who asked him to save lives and to do more than mandatory?
      He is dividing his flock on several aspects and this is worst thing Bishop can do. He is there to unite not to divide.
      In terms of heresy question is why did he compare Communion with the ordinary food. No Bishop on earth did this before him. If that is not heresy I don’t know where is the limit.

    • Instead of quickly criticizing and calling them heretics and traitors, let’s rather acknowledge the predicament they are in and provide useful and helpful strategies to help get them – and us – all out of this mess.

      People have been trying that and have had it shoved back in their faces. They’re not listening!

    • “YOUR states might grant you freedom and therefore such a letter would seem ridiculous. As I have stated in other posts, the law is different in the blue states, and if you want to defy the law you will have to deal with the consequences that few are ready for. ”

      More than 1,200 pastors across California, including in the Southland, say they will defy the state’s stay-at-home order to resume in-person church services on May 31.


      California churches rebranded as strip clubs to dodge COVID-19 restrictions:


      Do we really love money and buildings so much than our souls, that we’re going to be outdone by Heterodox? You can collect more cash, and buy new buildings, if you still have a congregation, who believe Jesus Christ conquered death, and believe that their leadership believes this.

    • But Bishop Benjamin is the bishop of the entire OCA Diocese of the West — a huge diocese that covers not only California but all the way eastward to Montana, Colorado, and Arizona, northward to Washington state, and I believe way out to Hawai’i (the OCA used to a have a parish or two on the Big Island, not sure if it still does).

      I don’t think this missive only applies to parishes in California.

      In any event, a different Orthodox hierarch in San Francisco (the bishop at the other Russian-style cathedral in the city, the one on Geary Blvd that has the relics of Vladyka John), had no problem writing a letter not long ago to the communist government of California, advocating for his church’s and diocese’s interests, which was directly counter to state directives.

      I know which bishop I’d follow. The flock just doesn’t follow pastors blindly. The “nous” tells us which ones lead to Christ.

      • Geary Blvd, unlike Archbishop Benjamin’s churches, is not open to the faithful.

      • Peter T Howe says

        His Eminence’s encyclical applies to all the parishes and monasteries in the Diocese of the West under His Eminence’s Omophorion. However, owing to the fact that the See of the Ruling Hierarch of the Diocese of the West of the Orthodox Church in America is located in San Francisco, California; it appears likely that – due to present circumstances – His Eminence will totally reopen the parishes and monasteries of the Diocese of the West when, and only when, the Executive Order N-33-20 for the Sate of California – issued on March 19, 2020 and signed as such thereon by His Excellency the Honourable Gavin Newsom, Governor of the State of California – is absolutely, totally, completely, and utterly RESCINDED.

        It may very well be a cold day in hell before that happens,

        In my own personal opinion.

        Welcome to the “New Normal”, I suppose;

        Which, as anyone rationally may be wont so to surmise, is ever the same as the “Ancient Abnormal”.

        Lord, have mercy.

        • George Michalopulos says


          • Indeed? This post about “reopening churches” is not factual and can easily be fact checked by looking at the web sites of the parishes of the Diocese of the West, including his cathedral in San Francisco, which are open.

            • “This post about ‘reopening churches’ is not factual and can easily be fact checked by looking at the web sites of the parishes of the Diocese of the West, including his cathedral in San Francisco, which are open.”

              Weekend of Sunday, February 7, 2021:


              “Following our Bishop’s guidance, we will continue the practices we have had for a while now: Individuals and family groups need to keep six feet apart from one-another.”

              So this shrinks attendance down to what 20? 40, depending on the physical size of the church building? Maybe 1/4 on high end, to 1/6 or even 1/7 of pre-Covid?

            • Peter T Howe says

              I was referring to His Eminence’s Ukaz of April 25, 2020; to wit, the following:

              [cf. https://www.dowoca.org/2020/04/26/april-25th-2020-diocesan-directives/ ]

              In using the word “reopen/reopening” in my post, I meant to imply “reopen/reopening the Churches of the Diocese of the West of the Orthodox Church in America with absolutely no further legally proscriptive California State Executive Order against COVID-19 at all – in any way, shape, manner, or form whatsoever – to be issued against the continuous legal right to Free Exercise of Religion guarded as such for the Orthodox Church in America [as such a designated 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit corporate religious organization under the legal auspices of the United States Tax Code, as far as I am led to understand] by the First Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America, specifically the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses theresounder”.

              I hope that that mess of verbiage immediately hereabove is somewhat clearer than the 22-month-old simmering pile of quality-raked muck residing in the abandoned ruins of the building wherein had been housed my hometown newspaper back in the day, as it were.

              If not, then I apologize.

    • Jane Tzilvelis says

      Stop making excuses for bishops. Stand for First Amendment. Your ancestors died for our freedom. Liberty does not wear a mask.

  38. Dear Gene,

    These bishops are supposed to be successors to the Apostles. They are called to oppose the world when the world attacks the Church. They are supposed to be living examples to their flocks…showing us how to reject these satanic directives. They have directives from Jesus Christ Himself. They are called to defend the holy faith…unto martyrdom.


  39. The hits just keep coming:


    “If only we had 2,000 years of strong Orthodox female saints and monastics to look up to…oh well, guess we’ll just listen to the local female rabbi and female guru”
    -GOARCH, probably

  40. Gary Collins says

    Bishop’s mandates have effectively denied my family’s participation in the “life of the Church” and all that goes with it.
    We are told that “he is only following the civil authorities guidelines”. Well if that were true then he would realize that even the CDC allows exemptions for those where it is “medically inadvisable”. My wife and 11 year old daughter can not wear a mask long term, no more than 5-10 minutes. There are medical reasons and I don’t feel compelled to divulge those reasons.
    Furthermore, if social distancing works then why do we need masks? And if masks work then why do we need social distancing?
    Bishop’s hardcore mandates have had more fallout than what even “his eminence” realizes. Specifically, my 15 year old daughter not only has been denied participating in the only church she has ever known, now she is starting to doubt her beliefs in God.
    Thanks a lot Bishop.
    I just wonder how is God going to divvy up the responsibility.

    • Peterburgskaya says

      If you are American you have 4th amendment rights and rights under the ADA to not have to disclose those reasons without probable cause. I would hope your pastor would understand if you simply approached him and told him that they have medical reasons and that those reasons are sensitive and you’d rather not put them up for discussion. I weep for your older daughter, Lord have mercy.

    • If the Early Church had ‘only followed the civil authorities guidelines’,
      there would be no Church today.

      • Anonymous II says

        Amen. Forbidding communion with Christ because the faithful cannot wear a diaper on their face? Come on. This homosexual should be defrocked.

        • Jane Tzilvelis says

          Russian Orthodox Church in Tacoma puts fence up to keep separate from homeless.


          • Hi Jane
            So, where is the interview with pastor of this church? As far as I can see from the video, it is someone, most likely protestant, that is making accusations but where is the response from the other side? As far as I’m concerned, this is spreading gossip and slander. What was your purpose in posting this? Is this your parish? Do you have a grudge against the Russian Orthodox Church? I’m trying to understand what point it is you are trying to make.

  41. This bishop’s missive is more buffoonish than ecclesial . His directive is juvenile and immature in its tone, hardly the chord a real leader of a flock would strike. He thinks he’s in Moscow or Constantinople. He needs to remember where and to whom he ministers.

  42. Μολον Λαβε says

    I just had a terrible thought……
    What if the “vaccine” is a means to implant the mark of the beast ?

    The possibility of denying travel, work, trade, school, worship, etc, is being openly mentioned…… Unless you are documented that you have received “the mark”

    Das papieren bitte….

    • The vaccine is a forerunner of the mark. It is not the final mark, but is a “type” of the mark that may be priming people to accept the final mark. Look up Met. Neophytos of Morfou’s videos in English on Youtube. On a channel called Uncreated Light Press. Also check out Fr. Peter Heers and “the Orthodox Ethos.”

    • Given that the vaccine contains the DNA of murdered babies,
      you may very well be right.

    • I got the Moderna vaccine today. My doctor advised me to get it, and he assured me that it contains no DNA from aborted fetuses. Sure, it’s not 100 percent guaranteed. My main personal reason for getting it, though, is so that I hopefully don’t become a carrier of Covid and pass it along to others. However, I am still going to wear a mask to protect those around me.

      • The Moderna vaccine was tested on the aborted fetal cell line HEK-293. It does not contain aborted fetal cells, but it was tested on them. As an Orthodox Christian, are you OK with that? I’m not. The Moderna vaccine is an experimental mRNA drug. Are you sure that you trust the pharmaceutical industry (who have been granted immunity from liability by the government, meaning, all settlements for vaccine injuries and deaths come out of the taxpayer’s pocket), who are making billions of dollars by pushing these new drugs, which no one, not even themselves, know the long-term side effects of?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I could be wrong but I think the HEC-293 cell line was used for more than just testing. It was used to produce the RNA spiked protein itself. It’s part of the vaccine itself. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.)

        • Thans for the info Herman.

        • Herman, yes, Moderna tested the vaccine on a fetal cell line derived from an elective abortion in the Netherlands from 1973, or so they claim. Shame on them. It’s a disgrace. They shouldn’t do that. It’s not ethical. It’s wrong.

          The vaccine is meant to save lives though. How successful it becomes remains to be seen. You could say that I am a voluntary test subject. Yes, I am ok with that. Better tested on me than aborted fetal cell lines.

  43. As of January 2021 and the inauguration of Joe Biden, any bishop who doesn’t immediately realize he has been played is either willfully ignorant or is intentionally cooperating for some purpose.


  44. Sally McMasker says

    Time for a new bishop.

  45. Wow… even chik-fil-a won’t deny me a sandwich if I’m unmasked at the drive-thru. Same goes for Starbucks. But my priest HAS to deny me Holy Communion..?!

  46. May God grant us endurance and patience.
    Sadly, I have not been to Church since the doors were shut upon the faithful early last year.
    I was deeply hurt and felt nothing but betrayal, as so many others have felt.
    Early on I could see the very clear parallels between what was happening globally, to what happened to the Church in Russia under the communist yoke.
    I refused then to give obedience to fear and faithlessness at the outset, I refuse still.
    The lives of the Catacomb Saints and Martyrs have been a great comfort and aid for me, as they should be for all of us.
    To be denied the ability to worship according to ones faith is very trying, to say the least, but may our faith and our conscious remain in tact.
    Regardless of what is, or what is yet to come, let our hearts not become hardened and grow cold, let us pray for one another, pray for those who are lost, pray for those consumed by the darkness.
    God bless each of you,
    may He have mercy upon us.

    • Jane Tzilvelis says

      Beautifully stated. I have left, too. Corruption is deep. These bishops have no spine. They pay homage to darkness.

    • *betrayal … (and) obedience to fear and faithlessness – Well stated indeed. Overwhelmingly this is has become a personal struggle – to not dwell upon these feelings of betrayal and to lift up the many blessings of God and be thankful for the trials He has granted us.

  47. Jane Tzilvelis says

    Russian Orthodox Church in Tacoma puts fence up to keep separate from homeless.


    • Jane,

      Channeling my inner Trump, this video of the alleged “Russian Orthodox” bishop in Tacoma, Wash., is *fake news.*

      The man on the video who claims to be a “Russian Orthodox bishop” is certainly no canonical bishop. Seems like a fly-by-night chap who calls himself a bishop.

      The only men who would qualify as canonical “Russian Orthodox” bishops in the Pacific Northwest would be the ROCOR bishops on the West Coast, or possibly the OCA bishop of the West (Bishop Benjamin, who’s highlighted in George’s original post above). The man in this video is certainly none of the ROCOR bishops, and I highly doubt that it is Bishop Benjamin either. I don’t know him, but I doubt that Bishop Benjamin would call himself a “Russian Orthodox bishop” anyway.

      • There are many levels of weird/sketchy about the youtube link that Jane put up.

        First, the church being pointed out seemed to be some non-denominational protestant church (Eastside Christian Church) before becoming a Russian church… but Russian BAPTIST, not Russian Orthodox. The pastor (pastor Krylov) is not Orthodox, he and the church are Baptist.

        Second, the man filming and narrating is NOT a Russian Orthodox Bishop, it is just WEIRD that he would even say that – given that this is one of several videos in his “channel”. It seems the person’s name is William Mount, thus the “Mount2 Report”. His channel has other videos with him narrating, and his website https://drwilliammount.com/ mentions nothing (and sounds nothing) like it is related to Orthodoxy.

        He looks/sounds to me like a local crackpot… and having been born and raised in Tacoma myself, I can say that there are plenty of them in Tacoma and the PNW in general. 🙂

        • Peter T Howe says

          Mr. Mount may have left out the arguably situationally grammatically crucial word “If” from the beginning of his statement that appeared to serve to publicly declare his Orthodox Episcopacy, and simply ommitted it due to colloquial conversational implication of its proper grammatical presence therein; otherwise, I frankly can infer no other logical reason as to the meaning behind that particular peculiarly singular statement of Mr. Mount’s.

          This is my own personal observational opinion, mind you:

          Nothing more,

          Nothing less;

          Just to clarify.

  48. Does anyone know how the average lay person functioned during the Arian crisis where seemingly the entire episcopate, minus a handful of bishops, fell into heresy? I’d be curious how lay people navigated that. Did faithful Orthodox in Antioch reach out to St. Athanasius of Alexandria, or something similar?

    Did they go to their same parishes and remain under their bishops, even though the bishop was in heresy? Did they find a bishop who upheld Orthodoxy? I’ve seen people equating this to the Russian Church under communism, but, I think this has much more in common with the Arian and Nestorian crisis.

    We in 2021 are lucky in that we can stay in contact with each other for the most part in real-time via Monomakhos, Telegram, etc., this is not a luxury they had back then. We can know who the errant bishops are and the structure of our Church is something that benefits us, as compared to the Roman Catholic structure, we laity in Orthodoxy are given more power, much more than we realize now, the laity held more sway in times past.

    • In a similar case, what did the laity do in the Ecumenical Patriarchate
      when St Mark Evgenikos alone held true and was jailed for his pains?
      They had no alternatives like ROCOR to go to. So what did they do?
      Does anyone know?

      • Thank God we are not United. It is a blessing to the lay folk.

      • Elder Ephraim didn’t think that having his monasteries under the Ecumenical Patriarch was a deal breaker so I don’t think we have to break communion with our Bishops.

        • The monasteries are not going to be able to stay under the omophorion of Constantinople much longer.

          • Agreed.

          • We’ve been hearing that a lot for years now, with many more people making the claim this past couple of months, but we haven’t seen nor heard anything from the monasteries. What are they waiting for, if they are indeed planning on making a move?

      • MatthewPanchisin says

        Dear in Christ Brendan,

        Yes, they never considered themselves to be Orthodox Christian casualties. They simply remained rightly Christocentric and lived their lives normally, accordingly, so they ended up where they belong, namely under the blessed omophorion of St Mark Evgenikos.

        “In the Eastern Orthodoz liturgical tradition, the omophorion (Greek: ὠμοφόριον, meaning “[something] borne on the shoulders”; Slavonic: омофоръ, omofor) is the distinguishing vestment of a bishop and the symbol of his spiritual and ecclesiastical authority.”

      • Michael Bauman says
        • Michael, I am astonished. The counsel of Fr Lawrence here
          speaks directly to my worries. I am greatly indebted to you.

      • Peter T Howe says


        I believe that according to history, the Orthodox faithful of Constantinople met the apostasizing hierarchs at the dock of the Port of the Great City and were public witness to the confession of the Orthodox hierarchs at that moment that they indeed had sold the Orthodox Faith down the Tiber River, so to speak.

        This happened on February 1, 1440 – i.e., 581 years and 9 days prior to this date [i.e., that of February 10, 2021]; as well as 13 years and 116 days prior to the Fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453.

        Lest I should lead you astray with any murky personal recollections of any second-or-third-or-so-otherwise-hand reflections of what happened as such after the Council of Florence, I would steer you therefore to the following URL, which information thereon may well have much more tangible research to serve to back it up than mine likely ever would:


        Hope that helps.

        • Thank you, Peter.
          All caved in. All, save one!
          And the people’s response was what I was looking for. Thank you again
          and to Archimandrite Amvrossy Pogodin who wrote the article:
          St. Mark of Ephesus and the False Union of Florence
          Part III of His Life

    • Johann Sebastian says

      The same could be said about Ruthenian and Romanian Uniates–the people still considered themselves Orthodox and detested Catholicism. Their clergy pulled a bait-and-switch on them: for some it was an act of careerism, but for others it was a (flawed) protective measure.

  49. Gail Sheppard says

    A comment taken from Orthodox Reflections:

    “I am going to leave a comment here, but I am NOT going to leave my name. Why, you may ask? Because I am an Orthodox priest. You may call me a coward if you want to. That’s OK with me. I am writing anonymously because I cannot trust my fellow priests OR lay people OR the hierarchs. On a few occasions I have made comments about injustices done to priests by their bishops and was then threatened by my bishop. The priest was guilty of simply speaking the truth. Guilty of speaking the truth about what the Scriptures teach, guilty for asking questions of the bishops about their compromises with sin, their turning a blind-eye to the scandalous behaviors of wealthy, politically connected laypeople who support abortion and gay marriage and family members who live in open homosexual relationships. There are many hundreds of priests who are afraid to speak the truth because if they do their hierarch will suspend them, or remove them from their parish. In other words, deprive them of their livelihood! There are many good and pious priests who are trying to care for their people and protect them from the secularist agenda of the present political administration. Instead of being supported by their bishops they are censured, ridiculed and labeled as bigots, racists, narrow-minded, malcontents, trouble-makers and rabble-rousers. They are labeled and therefore marginalized I am fearful of the very people who I should trust, but I can’t. If liberal-minded laypeople don’t turn in the priests they despise then other priests will “throw them under the bus.” We are becoming like the Orthodox Church in Russia, in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, when people would turn in others to the church authorities and political authorities for whatever reasons suited them. We are truly living in the “last days” If not the last days before our Lord’s return, then certainly the last days of our American liberty and republic.”


    • This is the true state of affairs. In most of the jurisdictions, if the priests truly speak out you would lose a large proportion of members who don’t really live as Orthodox at home and are simply living the culture around us. What do you do? I argued that the Bishops are not in the position to stand up against the Covid restrictions, NOT because I believed that was the right thing to do but because collectively our faith is so weak, and Church at large are not ready to be truly counter culture and so many simply do not understand, save for only a few. I truly believe there will be a time for it, but it is not now. Tribulations will come to spur people to true repentance. That time for deep repentance is coming for us all.

      • Gene,

        The biggest mistake that Orthodox in North America ever made was to “try to be like the Joneses,” i.e., try to “fit in” to the dominant Northern/Western European cultural atmosphere in North America — to try to be simply another “denomination.”

        Orthodox Christianity is unique, and that is for a reason. We need to embrace that uniqueness and run toward it, not flee it or pretend that our God-ordained uniqueness is not there.

        Our faith is truly the “Church for everybody.” Even if embracing the uniqueness of our faith means losing a few cultural Orthodox Christians along the way, it would mean gaining millions of converts whose hearts are searching for Christ and His Church.

        Hindsight is 20/20, and our desire to simply “fit in” probably started out as well-intentioned, to try to not offend the nice Episcopalian vicar down the street.

        Those days are long gone, but sadly, much of our boomer episcopate (of many jurisdictions) still live in those times.

        This is one of the reasons I love ROCOR — we know that we are weird and counter-cultural with respect to modern American standards, and we love it and embrace the uniqueness and truth of Orthodox Christianity anyway. In my parish which is probably more than 60% “convert,” our services are nearly 100% in English. ROCOR bishops in North America – most of whom are North American themselves! – are generally the last ones who would ever go out of their way to try to “fit in” with modern American culture.

  50. Austin Martin says

    But if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.

  51. Most reverend Bishop, please don’t confuse compulsory compliance with respect.

  52. Michael Bauman says

    Brendan, then it did strike home. It is a reminder for myself as well. We are all in this together and Jesus is in it with us.

  53. OCA’s Diocese of the West must be crumbling under the weight of COVID-19, is what I thought when I read this. I got the impression that the diocese was suffering terribly with COVID-19. I went to his diocese’s online prayer list thinking I’d see listed thousands of COVID-19 cases, maybe even hundreds, since his tone is so panicky. There are just two people in his vast diocese of the entire western U.S. that currently have COVID-19 and zero deaths reported. I poked around on his website for more info thinking I was missing something and saw the following numbers from the past year: 12 cases in Phoenix, his San Fran cathedral had to shut down twice due to COVID-19 exposure, and several diocesan priests tested positive but recovered. It is likely that more have happened but those cases just haven’t been reported out. But we’re not talking thousands of cases in the past year. Likely not even hundreds of cases in the past year. We are probably talking fewer than 100 recovered cases and no deaths. Honestly, come on! Give us all a break!


    • Peterburgskaya says

      Norman this reflects my experience precisely in the diocese. I belong to a rather large parish. Packed shoulder to shoulder and overflowing out all the doors and into the basement before “distancing” started. When this started, I braced myself for the onslaught of crises and losses and funerals. Nothing came. Thank God!! I cannot reiterate how much I thank God for this and I do give God credit for sheltering us from this storm. But not only have there been no funerals, there have been no hospitalizations, at least not mentioned in our prayer list. There have been a couple families that were ill for a few days then recovered. One of whom no longer lives in our area but reported from afar asking for prayers. And a lot of “my friend’s brother’s roommate’s grandma in Schenachtedy is in a home and has covid please pray.” But that is it. For a parish of hundreds of people, over a whole year. With all of our priests being “senior citizens” per government standards, too.

    • This is not factual. The cathedral in San Francisco has never had to shut down because of COVID-19 exposure. Some other parishes in the deanery have had to, temporarily, but not His Eminence’s cathedral.

      • Christine Fevronia says

        I must say that I am very glad to get your confirmation that COVID-19 has not been impactful for the DOW except a few temporary closures.

        From 12/1/20 Diocesan Council Minutes: “There have been twelve cases of COVID in the Phoenix parish. His Grace had to close down twice. Several priests in the Diocese tested positive and also had to shut down their respective parishes temporarily. Everyone is fatigued by the lack of being together, but we need to be vigilant and careful.” I thought “His Grace” referred to Bishop Benjamin so I thought it was S.F., but perhaps the L.A. one? Thank you.

        • The “His Grace” in question is the rector of the parish in Phoenix, His Grace, Bishop Daniel. Archbishop Benjamin would be “His Eminence.”

  54. I’ve heard so many people now say, “Don’t worry, I don’t have Covid, it’s just allergies, etc.”, and then they test positive for Covid several days later.

    I can live with wearing a mask when I am around other people. The tragedy would be if someone else gets sick or even dies because of my negligence to wear one.

    • Peterburgskaya says

      Where do you live that people are being so cavalier? I haven’t seen a person so much as vigorously blow their nose in public since last March. Let alone do the full “it’s just allergies” sniffles denial routine. No coughs in church in the winter months, either.

    • Steve, just curious, how do you get around in your town without driving an automobile?

  55. Peter T Howe says

    Three questions, if I may:

    (1.) Can anyone say as to when His Eminence received the first round of vaccine, which reception was admitted to as such by His Eminence in the above-manifest encyclical, dated February 2, 2021?

    (2.) Is it OCA DOW protocol for the ruling hierarch thereof to send an episcopal encyclical to the clergy and monastics of the Diocese directly; or may such an encyclical be sent via the Administrative Assistant of the Diocese – and if so; under what, if any, circumstance?

    (3.) Was His Eminence’s February 2, 2021 Encyclical to the Clergy and Monastics of the DOW of the OCA thus sent according to standard operating diocesan protocol, or was it sent otherwise?

    Those are 3 questions that I am curious as to the answer thereof.

    Just pondering…

  56. Our family has not attended a divine service, nor received the Eucharist since these measures were put into place by our bishop. Like many who were asked to stay home, we’ve managed to perform readers services and serve the Typica as a family every Sunday. It is indeed heartbreaking to see the madness and division, sewn in the world around us, now completely infiltrate this sacred and holy mystery. And in the face of such tribulation, we can only continue to pray and rejoice that Christ Is Risen!

  57. And the hits just keep coming. Latest news on Covid so called vaccine is that it has inflammation that looks suspiciously like cancer in breast lymph nodes, but of course it’s just a false positive.


    • Gail Sheppard says

      Yes, they’re using the same mRNA platform for treating cancer.

      You know what else most of us don’t know? There is a small fragment of HIV in the anti-coronavirus hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobulin (H-Ig) vaccines that they are working on that is causing false positives on HIV tests.

      I think Brendan may have reported the same thing with the mRNA vaccines. Do you recall this Brendan? Is this the case? If so, Fauci’s past is catching up with him.

      Trial Halted After HIV ‘False Positives’
      An Australian COVID-19 vaccine will be abandoned after participants in a trial returned false-positive HIV tests. The vaccine, developed by the University of Queensland with biotechnology company CSL, contained a small protein fragment from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which posed no risk to human health. However, some trial participants developed antibodies to the fragment, which could interfere with HIV screening tests that detect antibodies, giving a false positive result. At the beginning of the trial, the risk of false positives was thought to be low. “Everyone was very surprised at the unexpected prevalence of the false positive,” says Brendan Murphy, secretary of the Australian Department of Health.

      The Sydney Morning Herald | 4 min read


  58. Mark E. Fisus says

    Well, Abp Benjamin laid down the law! Let no one accuse him of being namby pamby, even if there is disagreement about what he’s bringing the smackdown about.