The EP Attempts to Overtake Largest Autocephalous Church in Russia [Edited]

One of our longtime contributors, Joseph Lipper, who frequently speaks on behalf of the Phanar, has announced the Ecumenical Patriarch decided to take back the territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, beginning with Ukraine. 

This action was prompted by a request from the Ukrainian government, headed by former President Poroshenko, a man who illegally overthrew the previous government in a CIA-sponsored coup, and the Ukrainian parliament known as Rada. 

The request is to “fire” Patriarch Kirill because the neo-Nazi militia, known as the Azov Battalion, wanted their own uncanonical church so they won’t be in the same church as Russia.  Because these spiritually immature Christians (if that, as they do not live Christian lives) wanted a faux church, Poroshenko promised to give it to them so he could be re-elected.  True to form, the Ecumenical Patriarch went along with the plan in an attempt to weaken the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.  As with most dastardly plans, it failed.

According to Lipper, Patriarch Bartholomew is angry that the Russian parishes and monasteries in Ukraine fail to commemorate him before Patriarch Kirill, the acknowledged head of the Russian Orthodox Church.  

— For decades, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has exaggerated his role in public, referring to himself as “His All Holiness of the New Rome who speaks for the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians”.

However, in reality, the Eastern Orthodox Church is decentralized, having no central authority, earthly head, or single bishop in a leadership role.  It is ruled by bishops (plural), of which the Ecumenical Patriarch is but one, representing each Orthodox Patriarchate, e.g. Antioch, Alexandria, Russia, Serbia, Greece, Cyprus, and the EP, etc.   It is a synodal Church which is significantly different from a hierarchical organization with some Patriarch at the top of the food chain. 

The Church keeps track of its multiple patriarchates ordered in a way that roughly corresponds to the time they came into existence. 

For example, when the Catholic and Orthodox Churches were united, Rome was seen as the earliest Church and occupied the first position, which came to be known as the “first among equals.”  (In reality, Jerusalem was the first, but Rome took the #1 position.) 

When the Roman Church separated from the Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate moved into Rome’s position as the “first among equals”.  “First” means the first name to be called or recognized.  It’s like the attendance sheet a teacher uses for roll call. 

Our attendance sheet is called the diptychs, it lists names in a given order and the first name on the sheet is the “first among equals.”  If the Ecumenical Patriarchate were to separate from the Orthodox Church, another patriarchate would move into the first slot (with little fanfare, I might add).      

Sadly, Patriarch Bartholomew feels that because his name is mentioned “first” this gives him the right to represent himself as our “Mother Church” who is “first without equal” in the Orthodox Church.  This confuses those outside the Church.  People think we are a made-up papacy (or maybe Ponzi scheme) with him at the top.

However, in the Orthodox Church, there is no “first without equal.”  Bartholomew has the same status as our other hierarchs who are all bishops.  He is not who he imagines himself to be.  Because of his desperate attempt to elevate himself on the world stage, he has metropolitans ministering over exotic places that no longer exist.  For example where, exactly, is Moschonisia, Anea, Sebastia, Myriophyton, Peristasis, Myra, Iconium, Irenopolis and Bursa?  To give you a clue, the title of Peristasis existed in 1170.  In the sixteenth century, Myriophytum displaced Peristasis, and the diocese took the name of Myriophyturn and Peristasis.  

This is how ridiculous it has become.    

In the entire Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has the fewest number of Christians so to make up for it, he goes back into the distant past and pulls documents out of the air that meant different things when the Ecumenical Patriarchate was a thriving part of the Church.  He also makes up different roles for himself.  His favorite is the Green Patriarch.  He spends more time talking about the environment than he does the Gospel.       

Although many have commented on his bizarre behavior, few have challenged him openly due to his age and the fact that the Church knows who she is, so what does it matter what one man says.  

— The Russian Orthodox Church, an autocephalous (stands alone) Church like the other patriarchates, is separate from the Ecumenical Patriarchate; and like the other autocephalous Churches, does not commemorate the hierarchs (bishops) outside their patriarchates, as this would represent a serious break from tradition.*

This doesn’t stop Patriarch Bartholomew from wanting to be commemorated in all places.  He wants to be over the Church as opposed to just a part of it.   

The fallout from Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions in Ukraine and his increasingly verbose description of his role calls into question his mental acuity (or lack thereof).  As a result of his actions in Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church broke communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch and because the Russian Orthodox Church represents the largest number of Orthodox Christians, this move, although completely understandable on the part of Russia, caused the greatest schism in the Orthodox Church since 1054.

Not to mention further inflaming the tensions between the Russians and the Ukrainians, culminating in a brutal war, forcing millions of Orthodox Ukrainians out of their homes with little to come back to. 

There can be no disputing that Patriarch Bartholomew, currently 82, who is purportedly being treated with medication for his ongoing battle with cancer, is no longer fit to handle the responsibilities of his office.

I think we all hoped that his delusionary talk was just the meanderings of an old man, but his actions in separating Ukraine from the canonical Church must be taken very seriously.  The men who lead this new Ukrainian Church are not ordained.  A case could be made that this alone illegitimizes the Ecumenical Patriarchate whose responsibility it is to practice the faith as it was handed down to us by the apostles, which he repeatedly fails to do, violating many of the canons in the process. 

For those who don’t know, a bishop like Bartholomew cannot even step foot in another bishop’s territory without an invitation from the ruling hierarch (bishop), let alone move in and take over as he did in Ukraine.  The territory of Ukraine belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church.  Its head is Metropolitan Onuphriy, under Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.   

It’s worth mentioning, however, that Patriarch Kirill is not the president of Russia.   He is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.  Orthodoxy is one of many faiths practiced in Russia, i.e. Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, etc. 

Patriarch Kirill did not start the war with Ukraine, nor could he stop it if he wanted to.  To Russia, this war is not about the Church.  It is about the threat Ukraine posed to Russia and to the Russian-speaking people in the separatist regions in donbass.    

There is another war that he can’t stop.  He can’t stop those who have benefited from the Ecumenical Patriarchate from criticizing him for something he did not do.  He has been criticized for not stopping the war by not “speaking out.”  Clergy on both sides have gone so far as to encourage us to pray for the Ukrainian dead (which of course we do) and not the demise of our Russian brothers and sisters in Christ, which positively shocks me.  But that’s the sort of thing they want to hear from Patriarch Kirill.  May God have mercy on them. 

I guess it never occurred to these people that Patriarch Kirill may have been told by President Putin NOT to speak out, but it’s highly unlikely Patriarch Kirill has not spoken to President Putin directly about his discomfort with the fighting in Ukraine.  I suspect he and Putin have spoken (often), but given the threat Ukraine poses to Russia, what Patriarch Kirill said or didn’t say to Putin would not make a difference. 

To blame a man for what he didn’t say (when you are not privy to any of the conversations he may have had) is like kicking the dog because you didn’t see him in front of you and stepped on him!  People do it, but it isn’t right.   Patriarch Kirill was not the instigator of this war and he certainly wasn’t in charge of how long it went on.  All Zelenski had to do is accept the inevitable and it would have been over in a week.  But no.  Ukraine wanted to “fight to the end” and that’s what they did.   

Interestingly, the Ecumenical Patriarch has expressed no remorse for the role he has played in this drama.  Had he not given in to the demands for a faux Ukraine church, tensions would probably not have been this high.

Patriarch Bartholomew has failed to consider multiple requests for his retirement.  We ask (beg) the Holy Synod of bishops, which represents all the patriarchates, to meet to discuss this matter and quickly come to a resolution.  Each error Bartholomew introduces causes other errors to occur.  The circle is widening.  It was a mistake to let this go on for so long.  If a council is out of the question, perhaps spiritual court is in order.  Surely, one of you bishops has the courage to live up to what God expects of you, i.e. to lead this Church according to the teachings of the Apostles.  Better to lose one than lose the entire Church. 

Bartholomew is seeking to further divide the Church by getting our patriarchates to follow him and shun Russia.  He has threatened those who do not agree.  Bartholomew is no longer Orthodox.  He has walked away from the Church.  It’s time our bishops allow us to walk away from him.    

* The only time other patriarchs commemorate each other is during Patriarchal Liturgies when the diptychs are used, but this is not Bartholomew’s issue.




  1. Joseph Lipper says


    Thank you for all your hard work on this blog. Wishing you and George a blessed Pascha. Christos Anesti!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Thank you, too, Joseph. Your participation on the blog is such a joy because you radiate goodwill. This is what I always hoped we’d have on the blog and you have helped lead the way. We can disagree with one another but do it in a way that’s mindful we are interacting with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

      We truly appreciate you and hope you know how welcome you are. George and I will always keep the “light on for you!” Thanks for sticking with us all these years. Our love to you and yours.

      Alithos Anesti!

  2. I thought for a second it was April Fool’s Day again. How funny!

    “А сколько у него дивизий?”

    “And how many divisions does he have?

    Καλή Ανάσταση!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I stopped counting! – God bless you, Misha. You’ve brought a special joy into my life. I’m so grateful to have you in our family on the blog.

      Christ Is Risen!

  3. Christ is Risen!
    If Patriarch Bartholomew can just declare that he is taking in the whole canonical Ukrainian Church, what would stop him from doing the same to the OCA?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Truly He Is Risen!

      Nothing seems to stop him because he believes he is entitled to everything. I hope when I am that age, which is fast approaching, I’ll think less of what I’m entitled to and more about living in the moment. You’ve got to empty your head of the worldly trappings to hear God. They become more of a burden each passing year. What joy comes from having the time to be still so you can hear Him! It’s almost selfish in the sense that nothing is more joyous!

      To SEE what God can do when you purposely unclutter your life with worldly achievements is nothing short of amazing. And it often takes so little. Even something as small as a smile at the right time, under the right circumstance, can hit the target and with God, the blessing is never just for one: It radiates to everyone who is a part of it or later hears of it.

      What joy Pascha brings!

    • Christ is risen!

      CS Louis, the bishop of Istanbul (Bartholomew) can ‘declare’ all that he wants, but he’s not taking the OCA anywhere! (Well, at least those of us who are quite sane.)

      • Gail Sheppard says

        That’s what Metropolitan Tikhon keeps telling us and I believe him. Truly He Is Risen!

  4. jimofolym says

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If all the senior hierarchs were locked in a hotel suite, the kitchens and bathrooms locked, they would achieve Orthodox unity within 24 hours.

    PS Christ is Risen!!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Indeed He Is Risen! – I recall someone telling me that Metropolitan Joseph said the same thing several years ago!

    • That’s what the RCs tried at Florence and, with the exception of Saint Mark of Ephesus, they got their desired result!

      • We are more fortunate than at the time when St. Mark of Ephesus was alive, I believe. There are many hierarchs, even within the Greek Churches, that have been pushing back. Metropolitan Neophytos being the main one.

  5. I think there was a Church in Jerusalem
    before there was one in Rome..· 🙂

    Anyway, Christos Anesti!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Oh, yeah! Thanks, Brendan.

    • There is historical uncertainty as to whether St. Peter was the first bishop of Rome. Some accounts have St. Linus as the first ruling bishop of Rome. Apparently, initially, there was a group of presbyters and/or bishops who collectively guided the church there. Rome became pre-eminent primarily because it was the capital of the Roman Empire. The Latins mistakenly refer to St Peter as the head of the church in the same way they refer to the mention of St. Peter in the Paschal gospel reading, St. Peter being mentioned separately from the Apsotles, giving him pre-eminence when, in fact, it was the indication that St. Peter was once again counted among the Apostles after he had denied Christ three times. Also, as regards there being many churches in Russia: there is only one church in Russia, indeed there is only one Church, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. There were, admirably, some bishops who objected during the Crete synod, to other faith groups being called Christian churches. They are, simply, other confessions of faith.
      Christ is Risen! Christos Anesti! Christos Boskrese! Christos a Inviat!

      • St. Peter wasn’t a bishop. None of the Apostles were bishops. The bishops are the successors to the Apostles. Though he did found churches, including in Antioch and Rome (the latter together with Paul), and appoint bishops to lead them. I recommend Meyendorff’s book The Primacy of Peter to understand his role better, including in Rome.

    • It’s been my thought that if there even needs to be a “Mother Church” or First Among Equals that it should be the Church of Jerusalem headquartered at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

      • George Michalopulos says

        That would make too much sense.

      • Jerusalem is almost as small and politically threatened as Istanbul/Constantinople. Let Jerusalem be the “Grandmother Church”. Both Rome and then Constantinople were the unrivaled centers of political and religious power in their respective heydays, so it follows that, in our era during the great revival of Orthodoxy in Russia, Moscow should be allowed to take her place as, the once and future Third Rome and first among equals. Thus, “Mother Church”.

        My only condition for Moscow’s accession to that honor would be that she forever keep in check her penchant to develop an autocratic spirit. We have seen how Constantinople has become puffed up in the last century, particularly under that man, Bartholomew. Moscow is even more likely to do the same if she loses the quintessential Orthodox virtue of humility and forgets that Orthodox polity is essentially collegial and decisions must be taken by consensus of all bishops with input from the clergy and the laity.

      • Gail,Petros,George,Lawrence,

        during Saturday Vespers, Eight Tone,
        when we sing the dogmatic(!) stichera,
        the third one says:

        ” Rejoice, O holy Zion (=Jerusalem)
        mother of the churches, the abode of God; … ”

        Bartholomew wants to be first…(just why?)
        but he ignores the words of the Lord:

        “…If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all…”

        Do we have a de facto Pope?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          NO! He left the Church and now he’s poaching what he can.

          • The Church of Serbia is meeting on the 15th to issues a statement/decide about the Macedonian situation. We shall see what happens.

            But, I agree with you, if Bartholomew is allowed to continue then he will do the same thing in Abkhazia, Lebanon and wherever else there are schismatics

            • George Michalopulos says

              Interestingly enough, Petro, NATO plans to do some exercises in the Balkans soon.


              • I’d love for it to be a coincidence but it rarely seems to be, but, could be this time. If for some insane reason Serbia decides to recognize the OCU, then yes, I think it will be more meddling.

                As a side note, I’ve got a new pet theory regarding Russia vs Bartholomew:

                I’m sure Turkey will eventually fall under the Russian sphere of influence, if it isn’t already solidly. Turkey, for better or worse, is who chooses the Ecumenical Patriarch. My guess is that Russia will be influencing Turkey to chose an EP that is either pro-Russian, or at the very least not openly hostile to Russia. This may be why they have not overtly created a Russian Exarchate in Turkey, even though the offending party (Bartholomew) is there…that’s the only reason why I can think why they created an African Exarchate and not a Turkish one.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              MOC states: “Of course, there are some Churches that will not agree. That’s why we’re looking for another way to be recognized by all, and not just by individual Orthodox Churches. This is our desire and prayer.”

              There is only one way and that is rectifying the past with Serbia. If the MOC does not, we will not recognize it. By “we” I mean the canonical Church. Our hierarchs are not taking the lead on this, but with George’s support, I intend to.

              I am not alone in this. If Bartholomew continues to add these notches to his belt, he will do so alone.

              The EP, the Greeks, Cypress, Alexandria, the OCU, and now the MOC will be on the list with a brief explanation for why each decided to pass on being a part of the canonical Church.

              If our bishops can’t provide this direction for our coverts, we have no choice but to provide it ourselves, recommending they not commune with any non-canonical church; especially those with disposed bishops.

              • George Michalopulos says

                It’s pretty much obvious now that the Phanar acts as an agent of the West. It’s bad faith is apparent when the other local Churches choose not to show up at the Phanar to make the Holy Chrism.

                Diplomatically, that’s a slap in the face. Kind of like when the Chinese foreign minister refuses to meet with the American SecState.

            • There are schismatics in Lebanon?

              I thought that Syria/Lebanon was the one place that didn’t have True/Genuine Orthodox sects.

  6. Timothy Nicholas says

    I fully understand everything in this article except the following: the writer says that Zelensky should accepted the deal and all would have been OK! What deal, to submit to the demands of Putin and make his country another part of Russia? Ukarnians are a different nation and they deserve to govern themselves as they please. Because Russia is a big and strong country, do they the right to subjugate other countries (people)” How unfair, insane and ridiculous claim! Is that how you justify the full catastrophy of an entire nation?
    Although I agree with most points, this claim is UNchristian and irrational!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I think I said the war would have been over in a week, had Zelenski accepted the proposal. Whether or not “all would be OK” is yet to be seen.

      At no time has anyone suggested Ukraine stop being their own nation and become Russian; however, there are regions in Ukraine that filed petitions to rejoin Russia in 2014. No one should expect them to stay in Ukraine if they feel threatened. They should be able to submit a legal petition and be allowed to take themselves out of harm’s way.

      Russia has not tried to subjugate anyone. They want to protect their own country, as there is a lot of movement in and out of Ukraine that threatens their people.

      Russia wants the west to provide “legal guarantees” of its security. They want Nato to remove any troops or weapons deployed to countries that entered the alliance after 1997, which would include much of eastern Europe, including Poland, the former Soviet countries of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and the Balkan countries.

      Russia also wants Nato to rule out further expansion, including the accession of Ukraine into the alliance, and that it does not hold drills without previous agreement from Russia in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, in Caucasus countries such as Georgia, or in Central Asia. This is because NATO would like nothing better to move further into the region, specifically to get at Russia.

      I might not have captured everything but I am sure at no time has Russia said they wanted to absorb Ukraine. They want Ukraine to exercise discretion when it comes to the west which views Ukraine as a country they can manipulate. If the west, through eastern Europe, or NATO, is invited into Ukraine, it would pose a serious threat not only to Russia but to the rest of the world, as well. No one wants WWIII.

      In other words, Russia wants to protect its own people and these were proposals; not demands, giving Ukraine the option of saying, “No, but what if we could do X, Y, Z to address the problems that you’ve raised? Would that be sufficient?”

      This is usually what happens in negotiations. Ukraine has always been in the driver’s seat in terms of the outcome. They could have requested a cease-fire for the week or two it took them to work this out but they wanted to skip that step and got immediately to the “fight to the death” position.

      When a country goes immediately to a “fight, fight, fight,” position, (which should be a last resort), the other side has no option but to comply and give them what they want.

      Russia is no longer the Soviet Union. Expansion is not their primary goal, although they’d like to have their country put back together the way it was before it was carved up.

      May I suggest you turn off the mainstream news? They’re lying to you. Read stories that are a bit more neutral. You’ll be glad you did. George can recommend some sources if you’re interested. – That you care comes through. I’d hate to see you expend your commendable energy and concerns on falsehoods.

      • Timothy Nicholas says

        I’m sorry I have to sharply disagree with your thesis. I know a little bit of history and what has been done in the past. But n view of the atrocities, the murders, the complete and unimaginable ruins and unprovoked leveling of a beautiful country by a powerful and narcissistic dictator, I cannot by any measure comprehend, period! It has been a barbaric event in modern human history. It surely is a realization of the old adage, Homo Homini Lupus!

        • Gail Sheppard says

          If you can’t see the right side of this, you’re going to have a heck of a time comprehending what’s happening (and I don’t mean in Ukraine) and what’s coming.

          • Truly, He is Risen!,

            The damage that Western leaders are doing to the West itself in their sanctions policy against Russia, which is merely defending itself against NATO aggression through its Ukrainian colony, will outlast the terms of these same leaders. This is important to understand: Even with a GOP led Congress, the blowback from the sanctions and from Russia’s probable retaliation (not renewing oil and gas contracts when they expire, for example) will continue. In fact, the economic repercussions of this will outlast the Biden/Harris presidency. Trump or DeSantis will try to clean it up, but it will be a hell of a mess.

            This is a policy of born losers. They are simply digging away even though they can see the hole they’re in. It all has a Baghdad Bob feel to it at this point.

            As to alleged Russian atrocities: Don’t believe a word of it. Every single thing coming out about this war in the West is pure, fictitious propaganda, without exception. It is a wall of flagrant lies. As the lies are disproven, their narrative modifies to incorporate indisputable facts and yet maintain the narrative of Russian incompetence and eventual loss. If it becomes clear that Russia will prevail, the goalposts will be moved so that if any of Ukraine survives independently, that will be a defeat for Russia.

            BS from stem to stern. Again, this is how losers talk. It’s ugly and pathetic.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Mr Nicholas, I must disagree with several of your assertions.

          First of all, several of the atrocities which were laid at the feet of the Russians were most probably performed by elements in the Ukrainian Army. The fact that the Ukrainians are not allowing independent observers to forensically investigate the sites of some of these atrocities is probative of which side actually performed them. The Russians for their part are asking for such independent investigations.

          Let’s go on: according to the Ukrainian media, there are women and children in the Avozstal steel plant in Mariupol. They have been granted safe passage out. Yet the Ukrainian Army is not allowing them to leave. That sounds like human shields/hostages to me. Most civilized men, who see a hopeless situation always ask for their womenfolk and children to leave. This happened at the Alamo for instance.

          As for videos of atrocities, there are more than enough showing Ukrainians brutally shooting the kneecaps off of Russian soldiers. There’s one video of a Russian soldier being crucified and then burned alive.

          In addition, there are several videos of Ukrainian citizens from cities which have been liberated by the Russians. Almost to a man they describe the brutality of the Ukronazis and the extreme gratitude they feel towards the Russians.

          Say what you will about the Russians, but their army is a professional one which fights according to the rules of war and honors the Geneva Conventions when it comes to prisoners of war.

          The proof as they say, is always in the pudding. So far, the overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian cities that have been conquered by the Russians are hoisting Russian flags at their city halls, converting to the ruble, and importing Russian broadcasts. Many, such as Kherson and the entire area surrounding Kharkov are agitating for referenda so they can do what the Crimeans did and formally join the Russian Federation.

        • Where was your outrage during the eight years of actual atrocities committed in Donbass?

          I suppose that it wasn’t the current thing, so probably did not have your support.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Timothy Nicholas, even the mainstream media has reported what Putin’s demands are, and they have NOTHING to do with making Ukraine another part of Russia.

      . . . read what Putin said were the reasons for this military operation back in February.

      The reasons he gave had nothing to do with making Ukraine part of Russia, and those reasons are reflected in the initial six demands he made to Zelensky in March to end the conflict:

      Ukraine must refuse to join NATO. Neutral status of Ukraine.

      Repeal of all laws prohibiting or restricting the use of the Russian language.

      Recognition of Crimea by Ukraine as Russian.

      Recognition by Ukraine of the independence of the two breakway republics in the eastern part of Ukraine; the Donbas region.

      “Denazification”. Prohibition of ultra-nationalist, Nazi and neo-Nazi parties and public organizations, repeal of existing laws on the glorification of Nazis and neo-Nazis.

      “Demilitarization of Ukraine”. Complete abandonment of offensive weapons.

      Zelensky refused to cooperate with those eminently reasonable, civilized demands. Thanks to his coaches and cheerleaders in the West.

      So. Since Zelensky refused, Putin has nearly accomplished two of the demands he made, at the cost of great destruction to Zelensky’s country — the deNazification of the eastern part of Ukraine where the Azov and other fascist nationalist groups have been slaughtering Russian speaking Ukrainians for the past 8 years in the Donbas region, and is at least close to demilitarizing those areas as well.

      So now there are only four demands on the table . . . that has NOTHING to do with making Ukraine part of Russia.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Nicholas: the only terms Putin demanded of Zelensky was that it not join NATO or the EU. Had it done so, the Ukraine would have remained intact. Now, because Zelensky allowed himself to be led down the primrose path promised by the likes of that odious woman (Nuland), Ukraine will be dismembered.

  7. The Church will outlast Bartholomew.

    He failed to get his council or have anyone show for the chrism making.

    All it takes to knock out a bully is to call their bluff, and the Church has indeed called Bartholomew’s bluff.

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and to those in the tombs bestowing life! Christ is Risen! Blessed Pascha.

  8. I find this whole thing unbelievable. If true, the man has lst it and I simply wish him all the best.

    Christ is Risen, Monomakhoi!

  9. Christ is Risen!,

    This update from Alex Christophorou highlights the involvement of Jeffrey Pyatt and the US State Department in the Russo-Greek Schism and matters in the Ukraine. Judas and his thirty pieces of silver pop to mind.

    Some of this should be looked at as good news however, I agree. Without FB, Instagram, Only Fans, etc., and hopefully removed from the WCC (which is under discussion within the WCC), it can only help Russia, as will the general divorce from the West. Once the Eastern economic system is up and running and seen as an emerging and more powerful alternative to the West, the Greek leadership may repent of their foolishness, given that the winds and times have changed.

    If a powerful new hegemonic alliance emerges (Russia/China/India) the Greek leadership may switch their passive/aggressive, bootlicking, obsequious, sycophant-dhimmitude toward that direction, rather than DC. If Christophorou is any indication, the Greek people still have some affection for the Russians, despite the despicable activity of their leadership.

    Indeed, this may be the best thing to happen to the Rest (the non-West) in some time and the worst thing to happen to the West since WWII. And the Lord works in mysterious ways.

  10. Christos Anesti! I don’t comment often but I very much appreciate this Blog. May God continue to give you strength in your efforts.
    Fr. David

  11. Ronda Wintheiser says

    Zelensky is joining in with our Paschal celebration this year.

  12. Timothy Nicholas says

    To the previous good friends:

    Perhaps I am extremely naive but let me use the following syllogism: I am a faithful Greek Orthodox. On April 17 it was our Palm Sunday. My next door neighbor is a faithful member of some other faith. So on April 17 she was celebrating Easter and a big sign on her yard declared that CRIST IS RISEN!
    Did I have the right and tell her she was wrong, Easter was on April24 and she should remove the sign?
    If I could make an analogous premise: if Ukraine was really a different, independed country, what business did Putin have to tell them how to manage their own affairs?
    Going back to my neighbor, we have many things which cause some discomfort, if not reason to engage in fights: my wife and I do not have dogs, the neighbor does which creates unpleasant issues for us. Instead of going to our lawyer, we talked to the neighbor and she took care of the problem.
    I am sorry that not too many people realize that this war conflict is basically a religious war. It has been going on for a long time, first and foremost among our church leaders. The main players are our high officials (hierarchy) who have led the lay element of the Orthodox Church to place ethnicity and other factors above the main command of Christ. Therefore, although we think we celebrated Easter. the said truth is that Christ remains on the Cross, agonizing about our deplorable human condition!

    • George Michalopulos says

      I like your analogy. The problem is that it is flawed. By what right do we in America tell other countries how to order their lives?

      Having said that, there is the problem that over the last 70 years we have overthrown at least 80 governments. Can we, the pot, stop calling the kettle black?

    • I think the disconnect is an inability to put oneself in the “other’s” shoes. If Russia or China decided to bring Mexico into a military alliance by which they would stage first strike missiles on Mexican territory, no one in the American chorus would be trumpeting nonsense about the absolute right of sovereign nations to form their own foreign policies or associations. America would stop the scheme by any means necessary. We would pressure Mexico severely to reject the Russian or Chinese proposal and if they did not we would likely invade and destroy any such facilities long before they became operational.

      Now, Westerners will protest that NATO is a defensive alliance and the West has no intention of attacking Russia. Yet weapons are not really defensive or offensive – they can be used either way. Moreover, NATO does not have to attack Russia in order to gain military supremacy over it but merely to stage missiles close enough to Moscow, etc., so that there would be insufficient notice of launch for Russia to give the order to respond. That scenario is a checkmate which would void the efficacy of Russia’s nuclear deterrence and leave them a vassal state of the West. They will avoid this at any cost.

      Ukraine does not have the right to become a western staging area for NATO weapons any more than Cuba had the right to host Soviet missiles during the Cold War. The dynamic is identical. Certainly Cuba can decide its own foreign policy, but when that policy became an existential threat to the United States, they lost the right to act in such a manner. The same is true of Ukraine. It’s a NATO problem and its a NZ problem in that fascist elements have been the spearhead of violence against Russian speaking Ukrainians in the Donbass which has cost at least 14000 lives since 2014.

      Together, these provocations more than justify everything that Russia has done to date. I would point out that you will find deaf ears regarding “Russian atrocities” because these are simply unverifiable assertions made as wartime propaganda and probably baseless.

      The Ukrainian people in the east and south do not deserve this war. But the monsters in Kiev and the fascists in the west most certainly do. My only lament is that this war is not being fought in western Ukraine where the Banderist sentiments of the general population need an attitude adjustment.

      • “…the disconnect is an inability
        to put oneself in the “other’s” shoes.”
        Empathy is in short supply in the Woke West.

        “Westerners will protest that NATO is a defensive alliance
        and the West has no intention of attacking Russia.”
        When Gaddaffi had a nuclear program he was safe from Western attack.
        When he gave it up to be safe from such attack, the West attacked him.

        “My only lament is that this war is not being fought in western Ukraine…”
        That it is not being fought there (more than anything else) demonstrates
        the essentially defensive nature of the Russian military efforts.

  13. “By what right do we in America tell
    other countries how to order their lives?”

    By the ‘right’ which you bought from the Brits in 1940,
    which you paid for in Lease-Lend WWI destroyers…

  14. Visa and Mastercard may return to Russia
    after losing tens of billions

    ‘ Visa and Mastercard may come back to the Russian market, but it is difficult to say when exactly this may happen due to both political and technical issues, economist Vladimir Grigoriev said… ‘

    Vespasian: Pecunia non olet [Money has no smell]

    • Oh, there are going to be a number of reversals in the coming months. Russia just cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria. This was in response to these two countries refusing to cooperate with the gas for rubles arrangement set out by Russia. Russia no longer needs dollars and euros due to the sanctions and so it is demanding payment in rubles.

      Poland thinks they have measures in place to deal with this change. We’ll see. Bulgaria doesn’t and we can expect they will capitulate to the gas for rubles arrangement in short order. However, my guess is that Russia simply will not renew contracts to supply gas and oil to Europe as they expire later in the year. They have other customers in China, India and East Asia and this is what they mean by pivoting east.

      Some have said, “No, they won’t do this.” Yes, they will. And it will likely cause deep trauma to Europe come autumn/winter. This is one reason why many, myself included, are predicting a full blown depression in Europe to hit later this year. And given the interdependent nature of Western economies, at minimum a serious recession will likely hit the US.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Misha, what’s your take on Hungary announcing that they will buy their oil in rubles? Hungary is not an “unfriendly” country so that Russia would sell them their LNG/oil for dollars and/or euros.

        They made this announcement 3 days ago.

        My take? The Hungarians and the Russians are in cahoots. Now that the Russians have the Poles and Bulgars over the barrel, they have two choices: (1) pay for the LNG in rubles, or (2) get the Hungarians to be the middleman.

        This means that if they want/need Russian LNG, they will have to pay the Hungarians in dollars/rubles. Hungary then will increase their purchases from Russia proportionately.

        What do you think? Is this conceivable?

        It’s the only thing that makes sense, given the fact that the Hungarians didn’t have to “throw in the towel”.

        • It’s hard to say because even though Hungary is not “unfriendly” and thus could avoid payment in rubles if it wished, nonetheless, payment in rubles helps Russia establish the ruble as an international hard currency. Thus it is clearly a goodwill gesture on the part of the Hungarians. But, as you point out, it has a “back end” if they want it. But I think most EU countries beside Poland will go the route of capitulation. Bulgaria will likely cave too. They get 90% of their gas from Russia and have no other realistic prospects.

          Given that, there will likely be no shortage of countries through which Poland and Bulgaria can get gas second hand and at a higher price.

          I’m keeping an eye on NS1. Russia is shutting down the pipeline that goes thru Poland and ends in Germany. That will mean NS1 will have to take up the slack and deliver more gas to Germany.

          This at present is penny ante. It gets real this fall and winter.

          This autumn, when contracts expire and Russia is loathe to renew them, I’m sure the question of $300B in stolen currency reserves will rear its head.

          • George Michalopulos says

            As to your last point, I’m sure you’re correct, Misha.

            As it now stands, four EU countries have agreed to the oil-for-rubles scheme with another dozen coming up with their own “back door” stratagems. As for Poland, there will be intense pressure on them from Germany (at least) to get them to allow LNG deliveries through their pipeline. As for Poland, they’re going to have to get their LNG from four different sources to make up for the shortfall.

            What Putin just did was not only a “Hail Mary” but a “Hail Mary stinkbomb” thrown right in the midst of the EU. It’s a massive Charlie Foxtrot which will cause an immense scrambling for resources (which of course will derail “promised” arms shipments from Country X to the Ukraine.

            It not only heightens tensions but clarifies things. As the Greeks say “he pina then ekhei matia” (“hunger has no eyes”).

            The more I think about it, the more I believe that Hungary coordinated this with Russia, especially when we consider Hungary’s geographic location in regards to Poland, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. They’re sitting pretty.

            • One thing that works toward your theory, George, is that Hungary’s status as a friendly country means that it can get more favorable prices for euro/ruble conversion from Gazprom than unfriendly countries which take advantage of the mechanism. That is, they can buy excess gas at below market value and sell it at a substantial profit. They will likely still be able to sell it at a lower price than unfriendly countries will, so that’s their “back end”.

              The pipeline situation is working differently than I expected. Perhaps NS1 does not have the volume capacity to supply all of Germany’s needs – I’m not sure. But what is actually happening is that Poland is buying gas from Germany, which is buying more from Russia, and Poland is taking it out of the “backflow” in the main pipeline.

              All of this is going to work to the detriment of “unfriendly countries” and to the benefit of Russia and friendly countries. But there is always a market for gas and so the real variable is how many hands does it pass through (hands that will tax it) before it gets to the end buyer. Regardless, all of the Russian gas is being purchased with rubles (at least by unfriendly countries, plus Hungary).

      • I agree with you and the guys over at The Duran, Misha. Europe really does seem to have shot themselves in the foot on this one. I didn’t realize until Alex & Alexander pointed it out just how little manufacturing, farming, etc., Europe does. America could be self-sustaining if we wanted it to be, but, apparently Europe does not have that luxury. I don’t think many can fathom just how bad it is going to be come Fall/Winter when the continent runs out of fuel.

        Part of me think this was Putins goal to eventually disintegrate the EU, because I personally think that’s what’s coming.

        Here in America we shall see what happens come Midterms. IF (and that’s a big IF) there is no election meddling then I think it will be a clean sweet across the board for Republicans. However, I’m sure the Democrats have something up their sleeve in order to get mail-in ballots again…perhaps a massive fuel shortage?

        I’m 50/50 on America at this point but Europe seems to be in serious trouble.

  15. “Part of me think this was Putin’s goal to eventually disintegrate the EU, because I personally think that’s what’s coming.”


    I have suspected from the beginning of this that Putin’s real intent is to break Europe thoroughly. He had to have war-gamed out all of this, including the economic variables, such that he could have anticipated something like what is actually occurring as a result of the sanctions and Russia’s reactions. The fundamental dynamic is the fact that Europe needs Russian energy and commodities, but Russia has other eager buyers. “All the power in a relationship lies with the one who cares the least.”

    Getting Europe ever more “on the tit” so to speak has been consistent Russian policy. That was the point of NS2. Russia’s aim has been the economic domination of Europe. This is, in a sense, self-defense. The history of Europe is such that so long as it is not under Russian domination, and especially if it is unified, it presents a clear and present danger to Russia. This has been so for centuries.

    The best defense is a good offense. The Soviet answer was simply to occupy the eastern half of Europe – problem solved. But now with the EU/NATO, the danger has arisen again. Expanding NATO ever eastward was a monumental mistake for the Europeans. Russia even offered to join NATO. But to no avail.

    It is pathological. The US and the EU cannot escape the psychological trap of conceiving of Russia as the great enemy. Yet in their “defensive zeal”, they cannot help but push actions that threaten the legitimate security interests of the Russian state. That is setting aside the fact that there is a powerful faction in DC which desires the conquest and partition of the RF. Russia is finally coming to terms with this reality: “The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet.” And the EU is now the Hun.

    I believe that this is why the West is pulling out all the stops – even seizing the private assets of Russian nationals in America and Canada. This is the kind of stuff you do in a real war under full mobilization – the kind of stuff we saw in WWII (and even beyond what we saw in WWII: America never seized sovereign currency reserves of the NZ’s during the war but this was done to Russia earlier this year). They can see that the endgame of all of this is the economic destruction of Europe and its probable capitulation to Russian economic dominance. All Russia has to do is refuse to renew contracts for energy and commodities and turn eastward. The rest will take care of itself. Can America supply all Europe’s needs? Can they piecemeal it together from the rest of the world, given the transportation costs? How will that effort affect their economies? What if Russia is serious and simply will no longer play ball?!

    And that terrifies them.

  16. Joseph Lipper says

    Gail, I’m sure you know the concept of a bishop managing a diocese without actual ownership of it is not alien to Orthodox tradition. This happens all the time, for example, in the instances of bishops assigned as Locum Tenens.

    However, in the instance of the Kiev Metropolis, the right of oversight that was given to the Moscow Patriarch was indefinite, but also without ownership. The fact that the Patriarch of Constantinople was always to be commemorated first in Kiev clearly indicates that ownership of the Kiev Metropolis was never actually given away. Within thirty years of the 1686 letter from Constantinople to Moscow, there was no protest against these terms either. It was an accepted agreement. And just because the Metropolitan of Kiev stopped commemorating the Patriarch of Constantinople at some point, it doesn’t nullify that agreement either.

    (There is also no indication that the neglect thereof to commemorate himself has ever angered Patriarch Bartholomew.)

    No, the Patriarchate of Constantinople has never been interested in taking back “the territory of the Russian Orthodox Church”. The Ukrainian parliament’s formal request to Constantinople in 2016 was only to remove Moscow from oversight of the Kiev Metropolis. If the bishop (Moscow) doesn’t own the diocese, then his right of oversight can be removed by the appropriate Holy Synod (Constantinople) that has ownership and who initially granted that right.

  17. Johannes says

    CIA Joe Lipper’s assertions aside, the Church does have a central, single head, and his name is Jesus Christ. He guides the Bishops who listen to him directly.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Johannes, that’s basically how we arrive at Protestantism though. There’s bound to be disagreements between bishops, even though they are all theoretically guided by Jesus Christ directly. Disagreements among bishops are in fact a normal occurrence.

      Until Jesus Christ returns in His Glory, there is a place for primacy among the bishops in the Orthodox Church. For example, that’s why we have Patriarch Kirill as the Primate of the Russian Church. With his primacy, there are indeed special privileges he has that the other bishops of the ROC don’t.

      Patriarch Kirill is not only “first among equals” in regards to voting rights within the bishop’s council of the ROC, but he is also “first without equals” in regards to the special privileges he has as Primate.

      • Your Turkish pope is completely useless to everyone other than the US State Department and the CIA. To everyone else, he is counterproductive.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          He is slicing off parts of the Church which is why I think Serbia is remaining quiet. The True Church cannot afford to pay attention to his nonsense. He’ll do what he’s going to do. When the bishops meet in Moscow, it will be interesting to hear what they have to say.

          Bartholomew has developed quite a following because it’s easy to be schismatic. No rules. Cafeteria benefits.

          “You don’t like this? Oh, no worries, we’ll change it. You wish it were LGBTABC friendly? No problem. We’ll open it up for you.”

          But is it Orthodox?

          “No, but that isn’t a problem either. I’ll wear the fancy robes and talk about the history of Constantinople and no one will be the wiser.” (Wink. Wink.)

          • Well, there is a fundamental disconnect with reality on the part of someone who accuses the MP of the sine paribus heresy of the CP. They need to go back and read Archbishop Elpidophros’ essay on the nature of primacy.

            Abp. Elpi’s point was that primacy does not flow from the synodal structure but the synodal structure flows from primacy which precedes it. I.e., to say, Elpi rejected the doctrine that the “first among equals” is simply the president of his synod, elected by it and with whom he shares a mutual responsibility. Such a primacy of course means that he has certain powers to set agendas and resolve disputes between dioceses through, for example, a “jury” made up of the surrounding diocesan bishops, all pursuant to canon law. It also means that he is to do nothing that affects the whole without the agreement of the synod and the synodal bishops are to do nothing individually which affects the whole without his agreement.

            In contrast, what Abp. Elpi insisted on is that the grace of the synod flows from its primus; i.e., from his individual person. This is simply papism. It is no use to confute the prerogatives granted by canon law with some personal charism. Only someone ignorant of the history of the Church would do so – or someone who wants to move the Church toward a Unia with Rome, which shares the same understanding, all the while arrogating illicit power to the primate (Bartholomew) in question.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Misha, well you know, God first created Adam, and then He created Eve out of Adam’s rib. So the first human synod was derived from the primacy of Adam.

              You might also think of apostolic primacy. The original apostles were not bishops, per se, but they established primary bishops which eventually led to synods. It is the nature of apostolic succession that synods flow from this primacy.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                You’re getting very creative in your thinking. If Adam was “first without equal” he should have been the only one kicked out of the garden.

                RE: “It is the nature of apostolic succession that synods flow from this primacy.”
                And therein lies the problem for the OCU. No apostolic succession.

              • No, Joseph, that is heresy. But it does not surprise me that someone in GOARCH wouldn’t know the difference.

                Adam and Eve did not form a “synod”. That’s nonsensical. She was never and could never be his equal. She was created out of one of his ribs, after all. That’s part of the point of the story.

                Moreover, the Apostles established no “primary bishops”. They simply consecrated bishops and the bishops went out and established territories. The synodal structure evolved over time. The bishop in the most powerful city within a distinctive territory (usually based on political geography) became the primate of the synod. All bishops are equal other than administrative offices. There is no special charism of a primate as opposed to a run of the mill bishop. That notion is the heresy.

                Look, you’re in over your head and just making it up as you go along. Quit digging.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Misha, we’re all from Adam, and this includes the members of any synod of bishops, both yesterday and today. The same principle exists with apostolic succession, through which as Christians we’re all from Christ, the New Adam.

                  Yes, synodal structures may evolve over time, but as accorded by the primate of a church. The Primacy of Christ, the New Adam, is always maintained. Any synod has a primate, as both testimony to Christ’s Primacy and also the unity of the Church. It is only with heresy that this primacy is rejected. And, yes, both primates and entire synods have certainly fallen into heresy, Rome for example.

              • If you want ‘primary bishops’
                surely James, the brother of the lord,
                is the Prime primary bishop of them all.

                Ergo primacy should rest in Jerusalem
                and neither in Rome nor Constantinople.

  18. Stratos Fotopoulos says

    We can also view the issue of how ecclesial power is exercised in terms of cultural worldview which can offer perspective beyond the tedium of how to interpret issues of ownership and the like. Consider, some years ago, Greece’s bid for the Olympics to be held permanently in Greece, because after all they invented the thing and thus all Olympic roads should lead to Athens. In the same mindset, all ecclesial authority should emanate from C’ple. Greece the “democratic republic” has worked very hard to separate its cultural identity from the Church as such. But they use the Church abroad and in culturally Greek patriarchates such as Alexandria and even Jerusalem (you’ll note that Greek flags fly from the various pilgrimage sites allowed to be occupied by the Jerusalem patriarchate in the Holy Land) as an assertion of cultural soft power. Like French colonists in Africa, Greeks retain hierarchical control of their current holdings. Russians, like British colonists in India, are much more likely to raise up locals and promote them to the episcopacy in their native lands rather than maintain Russian ethnic governance.

    My point is this, in a partially tongue-in-cheek, meme-ic sort of way: The Russians thank God for their salvation through the gift of the Orthodox faith, while the Greeks believe God should thank them for the gift of the Greek language, philosophy, and culture, which is the salvation of the Orthodox faith.

    Consider the Russian song, “Faith Eternal, Glorious Faith” as a good example of this idea of Russia treasuring their faith as a gift which lifts up and saves them. ( Is there a folk song in Greek that parallels these sentiments? Thus, the idea of “Holy Rus” is because as Orthodoxy spread amongst their people, native born came to be revealed as saints, a sign that God was making the Rus holy.

    So if we fly out out of the weeds to gain some altitude to see a larger picture, I think there are embedded cultural values shaping how things are playing out. I suggest this not as an either/or explanation, but rather as a both/and one. In the present day, the Russian Church is experiencing exponential growth. The Russian government is building Churches at a feverish rate as a “fruit of repentance” for the desecrations done in the Communist era. You can see in YouTube videos of services especially in the patriarchal cathedral, the armies of clergy–most of them volunteer I’m told, in that there’s no money for clergy salaries outside the big city cathedrals. In Greece, the clergy are unionized civil servants. I expect that from the clergy’s perspective they’re entitled to that because they’re maintaining Greece’s “soul,” while from the government’s perspective it’s more of a legacy obligation but then also an opportunity for control and assertion of soft power (you know, what the West and the EP have accused the Russian Church of being for the Russian government). In America, the hierarchy of the GOA has certainly been comfortable holding the job of soft-power influencers, ever since Archbishop Athenagoras was transported on Harry Truman’s presidential airplane to Istanbul and was greeted on the tarmac with a Turkish passport (

  19. How come you have nothing on the latest criminal activity by so called Patriarch Bartholomew.

    This guy is completely out of his mind in the role of the Eastern Pope and is committing unrepairable damage to Orthodoxy.

    • Stratos Fotopoulos says

      Because I was painting a backdrop to provide context to show that this guy is not an anomaly but in the line of E Pats for at least the last hundred years, that started out bad, and has led us to this moment of worse-than-we-thought-possible along this path of the Eastern Popishness. A case of Helleno-centrism taken to its lowest, most corrupt point. Because you cannot serve two masters, God and Hellenism. Because mission-mindedness cannot coexist with ομογένεια [ethnic homogeny, by another name, ethno-phyletism] because their goals are divergent. One serves the Creator; the other serves the creature. And because it allows me to point out to the increasingly self-evident truth that They. Don’t. Care. Yet I continue to be simultaneously astonished and infuriated at each turn.

  20. Byzantine says

    Unfortunately, if we were lucky enough to get rid of Bart, the Turks would just put something worse in his place. Bishop Elpidophorus is even more evil than Bart.

  21. Joseph Lipper says

    The Holy Synod of the UOC-MP has now met, making a number of statements condemning the Russian Federation’s military attack on Ukraine:

    “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church immediately condemned the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and steadfastly stressed that war is a great sin. Therefore, our Church has repeatedly called for an end to the bloodshed and, starting the negotiation process, to resolve the conflict with the help of words, not weapons. Unfortunately, attempts at peaceful negotiations did not bring the desired result. On the contrary, today rocket and bomb attacks have covered almost the entire territory of our homeland.

    “For almost three months, the Ukrainian people have been courageously defending themselves from the military attack of the Russian Federation, which has invaded the territory of our sovereign and independent state.

    “But despite such difficult circumstances, we are confident that Ukraine will survive and preserve its statehood. The prayer of our episcopate, clergy, monastics, and laity about this is raised up in all churches and monasteries. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church supports and will continue to support the defenders of Ukraine and will provide charitable assistance to those in need. We sincerely believe that the Lord will bless the Ukrainian land and its God-loving people with peace…

    “At this difficult time, when our homeland and our Church are suffering from war, and our courageous soldiers are defending the statehood of Ukraine, we must all unite for the sake of victory. We call on everyone to pray intensely for Ukraine and its authorities, for our servicemen and the long-suffering people. May the All-Merciful Lord bless our earthly homeland with peace, that we might with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 15:6).”

    At the same time, the Ukrainian Holy Synod has stated that in the “near future” a council of bishops, clergy, monastics and laity will be held to decide the course of action for the UOC-MP. Most likely the issue of Ukrainian autocephaly will be brought up once again. However, it seems that the UOC-MP’s main fear is that such discussions “should not lead to new divisions in the Church of Christ.”

    So this will likely be a difficult discussion for them. Perhaps the main barrier for the UOC-MP in accepting the autocephaly that Consantinople has already provided, is that it does not have even a majority of acceptance by the other autocephalous Orthodox churches.

    Now is the time for that to change. The UOC-MP clearly needs the other churches to signal their acceptance and support of Ukrainian autocephaly.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I applaud their sage words. It would be good however if they would condemn the quasi-genocidal (14,000 civilians kille) actions that the Ukrainian Army took in the past on the Ukrainians who live in the Donbass. They should also condemn the atrocities perpetrated by the Azov battalions against Russian POWs. For good measure, they should also condemn the atrocities committed against civilians in the other areas which were ascribed to the RF and at the very least ask for a full investigation into these matters.

      • George,

        And, if they wish to petition the MP for autocephaly, let them do so. But merger with a gaggle of Phanariot created unordained, pseudo clergy is not an option. They would be stepping into the shoes of the schismatics and thus become schismatics themselves.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        George, the reason the UOC-MP doesn’t condemn the actions you mention might be very similar as to why the ROC doesn’t condemn the “military operation” in Ukraine.

        Orthodox churches usually appeal to the military protection of the sovereign state where they reside and are reluctant to criticize.

        Metropolitan Onuphry wants the Ukrainian military to protect his churches just like Patriarch Kirill wants the Russian military to protect the ROC.

        • Yes, this is why Saint Nicholas of Japan encouraged his flock to fight for their homeland against Russia. It’s not up to the Church hierarchy to decide who or not is in the right when war breaks out, but to spiritually nurture their flock and encourage them to defend their homeland.

    • “The UOC-MP clearly needs the other churches to signal
      their acceptance and support of Ukrainian autocephaly.”

      What autocephaly? Dumenko’s? Philaret’s?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Brendan, if other churches are going to recognize the OCU, or encourage some type of Ukrainian autocephaly, whatever the stipulations, then now would be the time.

        One possibility that has already been promoted is for dissolution of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, ending their commemoration of the Pope, and instead commemorating a Ukrainian Patriarch to be chosen at a secondary unification council. Such an event could also serve as an entry point for UOC-MP.

        • Joseph Lipper, you can’t be serious?! The true [canonical] Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP) cannot have anything to do with schismatics, deposed clergymen and self-ordained laymen. They—the charlatans—have to do the repenting, and be received back into the bosom of the True Church! There is NO OTHER WAY around it.

          • Joseph Lipper says


            The Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Metropolitan Onuphry is a permanent and most senior member of the ROC’s Holy Synod. Do you really expect him to keep this status after the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

            There comes a point when, try as they might, people have to admit that things are just not working out. I believe the UOC-MP is now looking for alternatives from their current relationship with the ROC.

            • Joseph Lipper, I know that Met. Onuphry is a permanent member of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod. But what does that have to do with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church shepherded by him joining that charlatan gang of schismatics, deposed clergymen and self-ordained layman? I think that Moscow should have granted autocephaly to the UOC-MP quite some time ago, but they never requested it. If and when that time comes, then so be it. However, and I say this again, the pretend OCU needs to do some heavy repenting if they want to rejoin the bosom of the True Church. (I’m not quite sure how you think that the OCU is ‘magically’ going to become a real church and ‘magically’ merge with the UOC-MP?)

            • That does not mean they must join the OCU.

            • George Michalopulos says

              He might, when he finds out when all is said and done, how horribly corrupted his country was by the West. How it was the hub of sex and drug trafficking, money-laundering, quasi-genocide against members of his own Church who resided in the Donbass, etc. And when it becomes clear that none of this would have happened had Zelensky agreed to meet with Putin months ago.

              After the Ukraine is dismembered into two or more parts, and it becomes blazingly obvious that olive branches were extended for years prior to Feb 24th, what will Onuphriy (as well as other Ukrainians say) then? Don’t you think there will be recriminations? Who will those in the Ukrainian rump state blame? Those Ukrainians in the south and east who are now –gladly and forevermore–part of Mother Russia?

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Ukraine was already splintered in 2014, and now those splits are growing and deepening by way of Russia’s “military operation”. The UOC-MP will likely split up also. While some parts of the Ukrainian church undoubtedly want to be part of Russia, I think most parts are fighting against it. Indeed, the recent statement from the UOC-MP endorses the defense of Ukrainian statehood against Russian military aggression.

                Perhaps the big question is how the other autocephalous churches will respond to the UOC-MP’s recent statement.

                • “Ukraine was already splintered in 2014,
                  and now those splits are growing and deepening
                  by way of NATO’s “defensive” expansion.”

        • “…if other churches are going to recognize the OCU”


  22. So Serbian Church annulled Bartolome’s attempt to provoke another schism in Orthodoxy.

    The Serbian Patriarchate accepts the Macedonian Church as an autonomy.
    On May 16, 2022, the Serbian Church reported the receipt of an act of the Holy Synod of the “Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric” stating that Macedonians officially accept the status of an autonomous Church within the Serbian Patriarchate, which was granted to it by a 1959 decision. The statement is published on the SOC website.
    In its statement, the Synod of the SOC stressed that now “the reasons for the interruption of liturgical and canonical communion caused by the unilateral proclamation of autocephaly in 1967 have been eliminated, and full liturgical and canonical communion is thereby established between the SOC and the MOC.” At the same time, the dialogue on the future final status of Macedonians will continue.
    “In the dialogue on the future and possibly the final canonical status, the Serbian Orthodox Church will be guided only and exclusively by ecclesiastical-canonical and ecclesiastical-pastoral principles, criteria and norms,” the SOC said in the statement. At the same time, the Serbian Patriarchate noted that “political” and “geopolitical” forces should not put pressure on this issue.
    The Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church also said it would not interfere in the official name of the Macedonian Church and in the sphere of its jurisdiction – foreign parishes and dioceses.
    The Synod did not mention the recognition of the Macedonian Church by Phanar in the document.
    It will be recalled that on May 9, 2022, the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, headed by Patriarch Bartholomew, recognized the Macedonian Church and entered into Eucharistic communion with its “clergy.”
    According to the UOJ, the Serbian media called it interference in the internal affairs of the Serbian Church.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      The Ecumenical Patriarchate agreed to consider the canonical right of appeal for the MOC beginning in May 2018. A delegation of the MOC was then received at the Phanar in December 2021. So this was all in the works for several years, and it seems to have worked, ultimately putting pressure on the Serbian Church to find the path of reconciliation with the previously schismatic MOC (Archdiocese of Ohrid).

      Although the Serbian Church is now reluctant to give any credit to Constantinople for paving the way for this, it seems highly doubtful that it would have ever happened without Constantinople’s intervention.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Since the terms are different than what Bartholomew had in mind, I think it’s safe to say that other than lighting a fire under Serbia to avoid another “Ukraine”, Bartholomew had little if anything to do with it.

        • It will be interesting to see if the Macedonians avoid Constantinople now and view them as schismatic

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Gail, the letter of “Praxis” that Constantinople released on May 9th, accepted the hierarchy, clergy, and laity of the MOC into communion under the name of “Ohrid” and specifically stated that it was now up to the Serbian Church to settle any administrative issues. It seems quite apparent that those are the terms that Patriarch Bartholomew had in mind.

          How is that any different than what happened?

          • George Michalopulos says

            I’ll tell you: no matter how hallucinogenic the pretensions of the Phanar are, there is no way that Bartholomew can stop them from using the name “Macedonia.” They can and will use it. (Not that it matters to me. I’m quite happy that Serbia and Macedonia/Ohrid settled their schism on their own.)

          • Gail Sheppard says

            The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople resolved to enter into communion with the schismatic Macedonian Orthodox church (MOC), under the name of the “Ohrid Archbishopric.”

            Bringing them into communion, as well as how to address their request for autocephaly, were issues that were already being addressed by Serbia and a solution was imminent.

            The MOC and North Macedonian politicians began appealing to Constantinople when Bulgaria was involved which was resolved. No one asked Bartholomew to interrupt the process with Serbia by bringing his own solution to the table.

            In addition, there was a question about whether or not the church in North Macedonia is the historical successor to the ancient Ohrid Archbishopric. Again, it was not Bartholomew’s providence to insist on that name, which I understand he did.

            Finally, Bartholomew is not in a position to tell another bishop what he needs to do with regard to “administrative issues.”

            This was just another attempt at a power grab but as you can see by the reaction of the other bishops involved, he didn’t get away with it.

            Bartholomew has forgotten how to work with his brother bishops to benefit the Church. How long do you expect that to last when he continues to make the same errors. We all have seen what he did in Ukraine which aggravated an extremely tense situation resulting in a fraternal war.

            What does he have to show for it? One schismatic church and the loss of confidence on the part of the rest of the Church that he is competent to serve as a patriarch given his propensity not to listen and to make one bad decision after another.

      • Joseph & Gail,

        If anything, Serbia lit a fire under Arhondonis.

        The heretic Arhondonis panicked and frantically reacted once word leaked that Porphirije and Stefan had productive, but clandestine, meetings in Nish a couple weeks ago. The Paper Shuffling and Flockless Pontiff tried to preempt what was an agreement in principle reached without him.

        It is useful to Arhondonis to have done so, because henceforth and forever more his panic induced announcement will be cited and contorted by those sycophants who support his Eastern Papacy nonsense. “Yeah, but His All Holy and Supreme Intergalactic Grand Pooh Bah of the North, South, East and West, the Only Among Nobodies, spoke first …”

        The SOC cares not a bit about the name the MOC will use — but Arhondonis does.

        The SOC did not care that the MOC would have dioceses in the “diaspora” — but Arhondonis does. (Yes, it adds insult to injury on the existing canonical mess.)

        The Russians near immediately signed off on all of it.

        And, yes. Perhaps the MOC is a steely opportunist, taking the best deal possible when they felt their hand was forced. (Careful what you ask for …) Maybe they panicked. Do we want to be a third class subordinate of the Hellen-o-sphere, just like the fake Ukis, with no Diaspora ATM available? Or accept a deal that allows you the greatest possible autonomy, albeit short of autocephaly?

        Here’s the power play: Does the SOC grant the MOC autocephaly in a manner acceptable to the Russians? Why not? In the wake of their panic-induced pronouncement, the best that the whack jobs in Istanbul could then do is ignore the Macedonians like they do the OCA.

        Here’s a little bit of inside baseball — at the Great Entrance this morning, when Porphirije commemorated all the primates of the local churches, after Rostislav of the Czech Lands, he added Stefan, in an interesting transition. (1:18 of the TV Hram video.) Hmmm …

        There are a couple of hanging chads here.

        First, the exact relationship between Belgrade is Skopje is undefined. All the Serbs said was that it was the “broadest possible autonomy.” I’m guessing that is two things — chrism from Belgrade and Stefan commemorates Porphirije. Sounds like it maybe a bit like Moscow and Kiev (MP) or perhaps Moscow and Tokyo. The MOC constitution speaks in terms of autocephaly — and there was no requirement that it be modified.

        Second, there’s the long suffering and persecuted Archbishop Jovan who has stood by the SOC for 20 very difficult years. He is fragile and ill — can hardly stand. He was present at the liturgy, communed, and spoke after Porphirije and Stefan. His remarks were, well, remarkable. Jovan said that if he had to pick between two joyous occasions — the day he received the “tomos of autonomy” from Patriarch Pavle or today, the Liturgy of Reconciliation, he would pick today. Talk about forgiveness. The MOC website still carries the contrived garbage the government contrived against him.

        I expect that Jovan will gladly retire, likely at the end of this ongoing SOC Sabor. The SOC can be a clown show on a grand scale, but I pray they do him — and the other three bishops of the Ohrid Archbishopric — justice.

        The third hanging chad — and there are likely far more — is what, if anything the Bulgarians will do. All indicators are that they were iced out of this process. I’m guessing that they are supremely honked off, probably even more so than the revisionist paper shufflers in the Istanbul ghetto.

        Lastly, these developments should serve as a great lesson to all the knuckle scuffs who say things take time. That’s simply a lame excuse for heartless, stupid, stubborn intransigence. Porphirije is a post-COVID patriarch who has not been on the job very long. He saw a need to address a problem, and tackled it, with an open heart and an open mind. Many ongoing issues in Orthodoxy can, and should, be similarly and promptly addressed if there is good will.

        But that will not happen.

        Arhondonis of the Ghetto has the cold heart of an egomaniac.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Thanks for the insight, Alex II. All I see is one mess after the other. I think it would be a GREAT IDEA if the bishops worked this out together like they’re supposed to, so everyone can be on the same page. Requests for this sort of thing should not be allowed to just sit there for decades. Like Constantine, we should lock them up until they reach a solution!

        • Whatever the Turkish Pope’s motivations, it is a good thing the Serbs stepped up and defused the situation. If they had maintained severed communion with the MOC it could have been another mess like the OCU. As it is, they contained the TP’s mischief.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            They’re calling it a “miracle” and they’re right.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Agreed. Not only a fantastic insight from AlexII but a genuine miracle.

          • Bartholomew is 82, not speaking ill of our elderly, but, how much energy and charisma can he possibly have left? I’m not sure the SOC beat him to the punch as much as he’s just…old.

            He’s clinging onto power like….and I really hate to use this analogy…Palpatine. Coordinating evil behind the scenes.

            1) The “Green Patriarch” shtick has failed
            2) Ukraine & the OCU has failed
            3) His seeming incursion into the MOC/SOC reunification has failed. If this is true then it is especially heinous.
            4) His “great and holy council” was not great OR holy…it failed
            5) No one showed up to his chrism making
            6) He failed to get the “ancient Churches” together to condemn Russia and they told him to pound sand.
            7) He has failed to re-open Halki.
            8) His protégé in America is a complete and utter PR disaster, even with Greek Americans.

            He has failed at almost everything he has tried. The only two successes he has had are:

            1) Splitting the Church over the OCU – Or more correctly, getting only a few Greek-speaking hierarchs to go with him.
            2) Isolating himself from the entire Church and lost the respect of every serious Orthodox cleric & layperson.

            Various hierarchs from across the entire Orthodox world have called on a pan-Orthodox meeting to address the Ukrainian situation and he has refused to do so.

            Much like the U.S has been losing lately, Afghanistan, etc., so too has Bartholomew been losing. He’s a dying part of a dying world order.

            His days are numbered and he knows it.

        • Great post. I saw an article posted somewhere else today saying that a Greek hierarch from actual Macedonia (in Greece) claims that the EP is going to establish 23 dioceses on the canonical territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church (and probably Ohrid too) if the Macedonians don’t relinquish their diaspora dioceses.

          If true, the man is insane and a bully to boot. Not that it’s news to anyone here, though.

        • ROC Synod met today, May 27, 2022. Metropolitan Hilarion reported the SOC’s declaration of the MOC’s autocephaly:

          The Synod decided to take the report into account and thank the Lord for ending the long-term separation and returning the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Ohrid Archdiocese, to eucharistic and canonical communion with the Serbian Orthodox Church.

          Not sure what to make of that.

          • “Not sure what to make of that.”

            ROC glad SOC/MOC schism sorted and thanks the Lord!

            What else is there?

            • Yes, on the surface.

              But it is a lukewarm statement.

              Do they accept the autocephaly? Are they waiting for the to be worked out details? Do they accept the reconciliation, but reject the autocephaly? Are they hedging?

              On further review, I believe that they want to be careful with what, if anything, happens on Pentecost. Does the MOC servein the ghetto with Arhondonis, in the presence of or with, the fake Ukis?

              I surmise that the ROC does not want to go to far – week 1 acknowledge autocephaly, and then on the Monday after Pentecost, say they are not in communion with the MOC.

              It’s a middle of the road, placeholder statement.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I don’t think it’s wise to run away from the Church just because your bishop didn’t say what you wanted him to say (publically). Nor is it canonical to allow two autocephalous Churches in the same country.

                And they say we aren’t spiritually mature enough.

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