The Episcopal Assembly Draws a Line in the Sand – AGAIN!

And for this, we must all say “thank you!”  And AXIOI!!!

As you can read from The National Herald, Byzantine, Tx, and Orthochristian, the primates of the American Orthodox jurisdictions of Antioch, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, as well as the Orthodox Church in America, have issued their reply to Archbishop Elpidophoros:  they will not accept, tolerate or recognize the elevation of Alexander Belya to the episcopate.  

Nor will they commune with anybody who accepts Belya as a bishop.

This is a line in the sand that –if crossed–will create not just another scandal (as if the GOA needed any more), but will delineate the eparchies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a faux Orthodox sect.  

I could go on but you must read for yourself the bishops’ letter in its entirety.  Again, I say AXIOI!!!






About GShep


  1. Well, it’s about time! Let’s see if our respective bishops can keep up the resistance! We must all pray that they do.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Folks, we have a unified Church in America RIGHT NOW and they are [collectively] pushing back on the nonsense coming out of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

      This is happening at the same time the Declaration [to divorce Bartholomew] is being circulated by people in the GOA.

      The question is: Will the GOA join us, will they stay under Bartholomew, or will they split?

      • You’re totally right! This is legit the most unified we have seemed, at least since I’ve been Orthodox. Always good to have a common foe as a unifier I guess.

        The question is: Will the GOA join us, will they stay under Bartholomew, or will they split?

        My serious hunch is that they will for sure split. I’m guessing the more serious GOA parishes (of which there are many) would jump ship.

        I remember a while back you posted about the legal battles between the Episcopalians and parishes that left that denomination. Are the GOA parishes/monasteries in a similar situation?

        • I can’t say, but I do believe that the new GOARCH constitution has been discussed on here as something that would solidify the GOARCH’s control over property – including the monasteries.

  2. Can anyone confirm that a secret meeting took place in Europe between EP Bartholomew, Archbishop Nikitas, AND Father Alex Karloutsos over the past few days. Rumors are intensifying that Archbishop Nikitas will be enthroned in America soon.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I’m sure they did!

      • If both Karloutsos and Bartholomew want Nikitas then I think that already tells us all we need to know.

        Archbishop Nikitas has also said that he plans on opening OCU parishes in Britain. I’m assuming he would be doing the same here in the U.S.

        If that’s the case we would literally just be in the same situation we’re in now with Belya.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Yes, Nikitas’ only claim to fame is that he speaks Russian. At the end of the day, there are no acceptable Pharnaiotes: they’re DNA is Byzantine nostalgia and keeping the various eparchies (GOA, Britain, Australia, etc.) firmly in their grasp.

          Nikita is a less obnoxious choice, that’s all. (I’ll leave aside the details of his hasty transfer from Hong Kong to the Patriarch Athenagoras Center in Berkeley. That’s a story for another day.) Ultimately we have to remember that to psari merizi apo to kefali. (“The fish rots from the head.”) The problem is not Nikita per se but Bartholomew. And given the fact that he’s going to be replaced by Emmanuel and his Bulgarian stallions, Istanbul isn’t going to get any better any time soon.

    • Although I’ve heard some good things about Nikitas’ time in the UK (maybe from Brendan? Please correct me if not), the fact that, as has already been said, he is a Phanariote and that Karloutsos is involved makes it bad from the get-go. Also, regarding Nikitas, does anyone know why he was exiled to California for over a decade after being in Asia? Did he upset Black Bart?

  3. George & Gail,

    Thank you for keeping these current issues of seismic importance up to date on your Monomakhos platform so we have an easy to access place to share with our G.O.A. friends and family who are not hearing about these issues from most of their local clergy.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Joseph A. says

    Well done!

  5. I am getting a feeling that if Elpidophoros pulls the trigger on this tonsure of Belya, these bishops are going to follow through with their threat. Elpidophoros is already becoming quite a liability in Orthodoxy with his woke politics, and this may be a good opportunity to finally distance from him.

    The question is will Bartholomew fold on Belya Jr or not? I’m curious to see what he does. I have a feeling he may tonsure him then transfer him out of the states, that could be a face saving gesture. But there’s really no point in elevating little Belya, then – nobody needs him outside of the small community that is based around his father, which Bartholomew is hoping will be the anti-ROCOR (and let’s face it, eventually anti-OCA) magnet jurisdiction.

    The only other thing Bartholomew could use Belya for is to start a Russophone church presence in Turkey, to parry any move by the Russian church to do the same. That might work as most Russophones in Turkey aren’t nearly as sophisticated as, for example, the former AROCWE parishes under Emmanuel and as such won’t know nor care to know about Belya Jr’s improprieties. The vast majority of them are Russian women who went to Turkey for $$$$ and decided to stay there and intermarry. Baby Belya might fit there, but I doubt anywhere else.

    • Just watch, Bartholomew and Elpidophoros are going to claim it wasn’t them who elected Belya, it was the “Holy Spirit.” They will probably go so far to blame the Holy Spirit for his election.

    • George S.,
      Abp. Athenagoras marched with MLK Jr. “Woke Politics” can be good.

      Rather, the crucial issue here is P. Bartholomew’s First Without Equals doctrine formulated by Abp. Elpidophoros, his OCU project, and now this problem with ____ Belya. The Church – breaking dilemma arises when one group, the “EP” in this case, or the Pope in 1054, decides that he is practically the Universal Dictator of all Christians who acts with arbitrary impunity against the other patriarchates.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I would compare the MLK march to the January 6 march. There was nothing “woke” about either of them.

        • Precisely, Gail. Whatever failings MLK may have had, he would not have countenanced today’s nonsense.

        • In the 1960’s, average Americans “woke” up to Segregation being wrong and racist mistreatment of blacks. In the 1910’s and 1920’s, average Americans “woke” up to major discrimination against women and the importance of letting women vote and have decent working conditions.

          In the last 10 years, many Americans become “awake” about the problem that police abuse of African Americans represents. The Me Too movement awakens many Americans to sexual abuse in Hollywood like Harvey Weinstein’s. This has a positive ripple effect, like in helping wake up more people to the nasty child mistreatment that happens in Hollywood.

          So some Woke Politics is good. If your pastor complains to you about Hollywood abuses of women like Me Too exposes, it’s not a bad thing. It’s not going to threaten Orthodox unity for Christians to wake up about Hollywood abuse of women.

          The Church-breaking key problem is when Abp. Elpidophoros and P. Bartholomew practically declare the CP/”EP” as the Universal Dictator of all Orthodox and then impose arbitrary unilateral decisions interfering in and harming the rest of the patriarchates, driving the Orthodox Church apart with scandals like ____ Belya’s. I am appreciative of the Monomakhos blog for being one of the leading sources keeping up on these issues.

          Best Wishes.

  6. The hierarchs of the Assembly have written a straightforward rebuke to Abp. Elpidophoros. Well done. The archbishop once complained to my face that the Russian patriarch doesn’t listen to his brother bishops. Is that so? Well, the shoe is on the other foot now. Let’s see if His Eminence will start to see the folly of his contention that Constantinopolitan patriarch is primus sine paribus, the theological opinion that gives rise to Elpidophoros’ and Bartholomew’s ill-conceived, unilateral actions.

  7. Mark E. Fisus says

    Yawn, another episcopal catfight. Ree-er. But Metropolitan Joseph’s (Antiochian) calligraphy, holy cow. Is there anyone else for whom that is the most striking feature of this letter? If L.P. Dope-oros goes through with the consecration of the disgraced layman Belya, imagine a two-word response “Get stuffed” in the calligraphic hand of the metropolitan.

    • Antiochene Son says

      I’m pretty sure Met. Joseph’s signature is a computer font. Kind of a bizarre choice but it’s not like any of these documents are actually hand-signed anymore.

    • Mark, why be surprised by the episcopal catfight?

      Saint John Chrysostom differentiates between bishops by a simple test:
      ” if he be brought forward for ordination not by his own wish, and without place-hunting, with the approval of all,”. Which such bishops do you know?

      This is the source:

      Then John with tears kissed some of the bishops (his emotion would not allow him to do so to all), and took his leave of them, saying to the rest, within the vestry,242 “Stay here for the present, and let me go and have a little rest.” But he went into the baptistery, and called Olympias, a lady who spent all her time in the church, and Pentadia, and Procle, the deaconesses,243 and Silvina, the widow of the blessed Nevridius,244 who adorned her widowhood by a beautiful life, and said to them, “Come here, my daughters, and listen to me. I see that the things concerning me have an end; 245 I have finished my course 246 and perhaps you will see my face no more.247 What I want to ask you is this: let no one dissever you from the good-will you have always borne to the Church; and whoever succeeds me, if |87 he be brought forward for ordination not by his own wish, and without place-hunting, with the approval of all, bow your heads to him, as you have done to John.

    • Fr Jeremiah says

      Hate to spoil your awe, but that isn’t his handwriting. That is a digital signature.

  8. Nor will they commune with anybody who accepts Belya as a bishop.

    This is a line in the sand that –if crossed–will create not just another scandal (as if the GOA needed any more), but will delineate the eparchies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a faux Orthodox sect.

    I’m curious what this will look like “on the ground” here in the States with the various jurisdictions.

    Will a letter be sent from the Assembly, or the various bishops, to their respective diocese and parishes to not commune with the GOA like ROCOR has done?

    Will it be a “do whatever you want” situation. I find this one unlikely.

    I wonder what the average GOA parish/monastery will think when they’re cut off from the rest of Orthodoxy in America.

    • From the letter it sounds like they are saying
      1. No communion with ____ Belya.
      2. Leaving the Assembly of Bishops.

      It doesn’t sound like they mean excommunicate GOARCH.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        It’s implied as Basil said. You don’t refuse to commune with a single bishop. You stop communing with the patriarchate to which the bishop belongs.

        Elpi is now part of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s Holy Synod. If Bartholomew/Elpi move forward with Bely, as it looks like they have, our bishops will withdraw from the Assembly and stop communing with Elpi all the way up to Bartholomew.

        The United States is Custard’s Last Stand for Bartholomew. If this happens, there will be no unity under him in the U.S. Because of the years of work the Assembly has done figuring out the mechanics of how to unify, the former Assembly members have the tools to unite under our own autocephalous Church tomorrow.

        Each jurisdiction (hopefully would include the disenfranchised, horrified Greeks) could decide who should sit on the Holy Synod. They could maintain their connections to their mother Churches, ecclesiologically and financially, for a time. They would elect one metropolitan to be the head of the Synod.

        That’s all that really matters in the short run.

        They could create a charter that says it will remain this way for 5 years. Within that 5 years, they could meet certain goals like deciding on a single way to bring all converts into the Church, making a decision with regard to second marriages, etc.; basically, smooth out the rough edges as to how things are to be done, across the board, in America.

        For now, the bishops could remain attached to their own jurisdictions, but as they are replaced, the Holy Synod would decide where they should be placed to meet the greater goals of the Synod. The new bishops would be assigned over territories, not by jurisdiction, and they would be administratively over the bishops of the various jurisdictions, with the objective of moving toward one bishop over one territory.

        This is strictly my idea. I haven’t discussed this with anyone. No inside knowledge or anything like that. There are probably huge holes in what I’m suggesting which I’m sure some of you will point out!

        Interestingly, Bartholomew created the very organization (hopefully, the soon-to-be-former Assembly) that could tank him in his coveted “diaspora.”

        He’s hoping that by turning Elpi’s role into something akin to a patriarch, America would be considered his territory. BUT, the Greek Archdiocese dropped their 501C3 status in NY (I am told) and they haven’t filed anything with the IRS since 2019. Even then, they didn’t include any information; just several blank pages.

        I believe the GOA has to report donations over a certain amount and meet other criteria. Their financial statements need to be available to everybody and they didn’t even pass them out at their recent Clergy-Laity Congress (again, I’ve been told).

        Now, we have this baptism thing. This is after tensions between the Churches in Ukraine resulted in a brutal war.

        I was thinking today about Filaret (Denysenko) today; one of the ones that was defrocked, who was over two of the three churches that Ephiany now heads. He seemed to get along with the UOC well enough. There were no wars with Russia. But Bartholomew had to come in and bamboozle him to take control. And for what? For a politician who carried the Tomos with Bartholomew to deliver to the OCU?

        As far as I’m concerned, Bartholomew lit the match that’s left Ukraine in ruins.

        Bartholomew shouldn’t be in the Church. . . at all. He needs to go to the Catholic (with an Orthodox mix; I can’t explain it) monastery Pope Francis paid for with a personal check. It wasn’t a donation to the Church; it was to and for Bartholomew.

        Bartholomew is going around the world telling people he speaks for all of us. What a scandal.

        It is now rumored that Russia will go to war with Bartholomew on our soil over Bely. It won’t be a “boots on the ground” sort of thing, but it won’t be pleasant.

        • It’s implied as Basil said. You don’t refuse to commune with a single bishop. You stop communing with the patriarchate to which the bishop belongs.

          I can foresee them being selective about it in practice, at least in part because the “EP” (CP) is such a big fish. To give a comparison, the MP only broke communion with some of the Alexandrian Patriarchate and some of the Greek Church, those of them who specifically recognized the OCU.

          The CP’s Chrismation ceremony earlier this year was a testing moment because it was planned to include the OCU, but then the joint participation part got called off due to the apparent pretext of COVID. Probably there will be more testing moments in the short or long term unfortunately, because of the supremacist paradigm and divisive major steps that the CP has already laid down.

          By comparison, the Schism with Rome was not overnight. Already in the mid-patristic period there were Popes and western theologians who taught a vague form of “Papal Supremacy.” And even after 1054 there were still EO patriarchates and RCs who were in communion for awhile.

          Now, we have this baptism thing.

          What are you referring to?

          Bartholomew lit the match that’s left Ukraine in ruins.

          It’s probably the butterfly breeze effect. A butterfly flapping its wings could theoretically cause or provoke a windstorm. Had P. Bartholomew used his role and status to instead generate real dialogue and reconciliation in the Ukrainian Orthodox world instead of his unilateral OCU-only recognition switch, Ukraine, the DNR, and Russia could have gone down a more harmonious path and direction.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            RE: “To give a comparison, the MP only broke communion with some of the Alexandrian Patriarchate and some of the Greek Church, those of them who specifically recognized the OCU.”

            Are you sure about this? If this is happening, I’d love to know who is doing it.

            Here’s the dirty little secret: Bartholomew is NOT a big fish. He is a little fish in a little pond who is only where he is and who he is because of the role of the EP a very, very long time ago. The EP was the one who would communicate with the emperor on behalf of the other bishops in the Church.

            There is no emperor anymore. The bishops in the Church, both from the ancient patriarchates and the local Churches, speak for themselves 100% of the time. They are each separate entities. No one speaks for anyone else, let alone Bartholomew.

            In the diptychs (a list of names to be commemorated) Bartholomew is the first among equals with a heavy emphasis on the word “equals.” All this means is the patriarch of Constantinople’s name is called first. It’s a traditional thing.

            Bartholomew purportedly has only 2000 to 5000 Christians in his patriarchate and a very large group of metropolitans over places that no longer exist.

            In contrast, Russia has somewhere between 62 million and 104 million people who profess to be Orthodox.

            Again, Bartholomew is a very little fish in a very little pond who talks a big game, fooling the western world. He is running out of support. Now, just Greece and Cyprus, and Alexandria are in his corner and only because they’re beholden to him in some way. Some of the bishops in each of these Holy Synods, are not on board with the EP so it’s not a unanimous situation.

            Jerusalem, Antioch, and 15 Local Churches (which includes Russia) aren’t on board with the EP because he communes with the schismatics. In Orthodoxy, if you commune with schismatics, that makes you schismatic.

            Bartholomew was working with the State Department. If I had more time, I could explain what they wanted from him and the reason she went along with it. Again, he doesn’t have a “role” in anything. He went into Ukraine illegally from a canonical POV, and dramatically hurt the Church in the process.

            Going down a harmonious path isn’t possible with Bartholomew anymore, if it ever was. He has delusions of grandeur that are fueled by academics who surround him.

            He reminds me of the Maharishi before his death. He was so popular all over the world. Even the Beatles sat at his feet.

            But “according to The Times, the Maharishi attracted skepticism because of his involvement with wealthy celebrities, his business acumen, and his love of luxury, including touring in a Rolls-Royce. A reporter for The Economist calls this a “misconception” saying: “He did not use his money for sinister ends. He neither drank, nor smoked, nor took drugs. … He did not accumulate scores of Rolls-Royces, like Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh; his biggest self-indulgence was a helicopter. When some observers questioned how his organisation’s money was being used, the Maharishi said, “It goes to support the centres, it does not go to me. I have nothing.” However, when the Maharishi died in 2008, he left behind an estate worth an estimated $300 million (U.S.). He was survived by four nephews, who inherited 12,000 acres of land in India, and Tony Nader, a Lebanese neuroscientist whom he had anointed as his successor in the movement. Since his death, several memoirs have been written by former followers and their children who described the Maharishi as a cult leader who could be controlling, and his Centers a financial business.” (Good ‘Ole Wikipedia)

            And so it goes. The biggest BSers always greatly exaggerate their importance in the world and scandalize other people in the process. Many of the Greeks in this country are mortified by Bartholomew’s antics including my husband who is very Greek and the founder of this blog. 😉

        • I don’t see administrative unity happening any time soon even if they leave the AOB, but I also don’t think this is a bad thing by itself. Unity of faith, and refusing to ‘compete’ with other jurisdictions is far more important. As our commenter, Molon Abe (forgive me for butchering the name) has written here many times, the sifting and cleansing has begun. It is the work of God. And I am so grateful to see it manifested.

          May I be found worthy to endure to the end, for I am not without my own (many) sins.

          • Antiochene Son says

            Administrative unity must be a primary goal.

            Spiritual unity and refusing to “compete” is also what Protestants do among each other; that is no great witness to the Church’s true unity, which must be actual.

            • Hear the Antiochene Son! Unity of the Faith in the bond of charity is of the utmost importance, as Brian says, but once a good measure of that unity has been accomplished, then what is to prevent the Church from achieving administrative unity? This aggregation of Eastern diaspora with varying numbers of American converts smacks of Protestantism. Enough already! Protestants sometimes speak of a universal Church which is invisible. That’s a copout that ignores the divisions caused by their theological hair-splitting. We have one Faith defined by the hallmarks of Sacred Tradition. Godspeed to the primates of the Assembly for taking a heartfelt bond of charity in Christ to the next level, which is one American Orthodox Church organized in exclusive dioceses governed by a sole bishop, with his clergy and laity, in each metropolitan area.

              • Yes. My brothers. But unity of faith – unity in Christ, and not merely jurisdiction must come first. There are still many Greeks, even otherwise faithful Greeks, in this country who simply cannot bring themselves to get beyond the idea that unity in the EP constitutes unity in Christ. These include most of those who are now screaming, ” Off with his head” about Elpidophoros.

                But to whom are most of them looking to save them from this man?
                The very person who sent them Elpidophoros.

                Until our Greek brethren finally awaken to the sorry truth of their own jurisdictional master(s), administrative unity cannot occur. May the Lord hasten the day.

        • If Bartholomew/Elpi move forward with Bely, as it looks like they have, our bishops will withdraw from the Assembly and stop communing with Elpi all the way up to Bartholomew.

          Too kind. Do all that, yes, but regardless of whether they act on Bely or not, revoke the status of patriarchate from Constantinople. It’s a figment of the imagination to begin with, because Constantinople no longer exists and has not existed for a very long time. And the current pretender Mr. Bart is a serious heretic who is tearing the Church apart. Drop the titles, call a spade a spade and have done with it already.

          And while we’re at it, erect a new patriarchate in the unified American Orthodox Church. It’s time for us to step up to the plate.

  9. Austin Martin says

    Nor will they commune with anybody who accepts Belya as a bishop.

    I don’t think they quite said this. But there’s a subtext there.

  10. It’s interesting that the posted requirements to join this faux Slavic vicarate do not even include documents for proof of canonical ordination! Submit a biography and picture of said person in vestments? Many a false clergyman of pretend orthodox groups have accomplished that.

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      It appears he’s fishing for other jurisdictions’ jetsam. Takes one to know one.

  11. Abbot Tryphon says

    The Greek Archdiocese is moving further away from the Orthodox Church, but are we surprised, given the “Ecumenical Patriarch’s” plans for union with the Roman Catholic Church by 2024? Time to admit we no longer need “Black Bart” as the “Pope of the Eastern Church”. Time to break ties, I would say.
    Abbot Tryphon

    • The strong, silent ones are almost always the wisest ones.

      Abbot Tryphon is correct. I met him nearly 20 years ago when I visited his Vashon Island monastery, around 2004 I believe. He is far wiser than the “Pope of the Eastern Church.”

      Definitely time to break ties. Thank you, Fr Tryphon.

    • Is this the real Abbot Tryphon, posting on Monomakhos?

      We’re in the big leagues now.

  12. Yawn, yawn, yawn. Is this a Byzantine game of checkers or chess? I have watched the Episcopal Church go down the drain and torn apart. That has been blamed on Henry VIII, no less. Now the Orthodox Church is at it. And I wonder, Where is God in all this mess? and then I remembered my church history class in seminary. It dealt mostly with western church history. But I saw a pattern. The Church waxed and waned through the centuries. It gets fat and lazy and looses it principal raison d’etre. Then it slides down hill into a remnant. And then it slowly grows again and gets fat and rich and goes down hill. We are now on the downhill slide. The question is who of us will remain in the remnant.

    G. K. Chesterton wrote, “Christianity has died many times and risen again, for it has a God who knows the way out of the grave.” from The Everlasting God. And as we worry about the Church in the USA we can also read about people who are bold enough to follow Jesus unto death in China, Africa, Afghanistan and in so many other places. I realize that they are not so called Orthodox, but they know Jesus enough to believe under the harshest conditions of persecution. They live with the uncomfortableness that being a disciple of Jesus is worth everything, even unto death.

    Jesus said to make disciples. Jesus took a motely crew of young men who set the world on fire. And the fire is burning low right now in places.. Which means new disciples must be raised up. Jesus said, “You do not have because you do not ask.” Do we only ask for mercy or do we ask for his presence in our lives to do what he wills us to do? Do we honor the saints by being as bold as many of them were? Or as faithful. Do we pray for Godly leadership? And do we live Godly lives ourselves?

    While we are complaining about the actions of others what are the fruits we are producing in the souls of others?

    • The only reason people post comments like yours, . . .

      [Editor Note: We don’t allow people to go after our commenters. As clever as you may be, no one cares what you think about someone else. Please comment only on the issues.]

    • Antiochene Son says

      Perhaps holding our clergy accountable will produce fruit a hundredfold.

  13. Abp Elpidophoros complained about the Vice Chairman et. al. using the Assembly’s letterhead, but it seems okay for officials of a Nonprofit to write to each other on official letter head, doesn’t it?

    Good thinking on the part of the letter writers to think of Paul’s verses, “All things are lawful for me, but….”

    There is a good analogy by the letter writers to compare a slavic GOARCH Vicariate to another jurisdiction setting up a Greek Vicariate in the US.

    The letter seems written especially with the welfare of ROCOR in mind, noting that the decision would complicate the return of ROCOR to the Assembly.


    Not sure how many clergy from the GOA helped pen this but thank God they’re standing up

    • I can’t personally speak to every statement made there, but it’s a well-written letter and I think made a lot of important points. I hope many people read it.

  15. Fr. David says

    The letter says: …we cannot and will not concelebrate with Alexander Belya or his vicariate and we cannot continue to participate in the Assembly if this man is elevated to the episcopacy. That seems a little toothless to me. It’s a start but it sounds like there would be no break in communion with the GOA. Thus, in reality, there would be no significant change in anyone’s relationship with the GOA only a discontinuation of the Assembly. How will this affect the needed change in the GOA?

    • George Michalopulos says

      As far as I’m concerned, the bishops’ response is the correct remedy. Communion should not be broken because of an internal administrative matter but only because of outright heresy.

      The bishop-to-be is defrocked. That is a fact. There are many reasons for his synod taking this action. Thus elevating him to the episcopate draws many unfortunate conclusions about the nature of the episcopate among all jurisdictions.

      Think of it this way: the AMA and every state board of medicine would go absolutely ape-sh!t if some witch doctor from Borneo was given an MD and allowed to practice medicine in any state of the Union. And nobody in their right mind would object. Thus, it’s incumbent upon the other non-GOA bishops to put their foot down.

      After all, look what has happened in the Ukraine, with the elevation of laymen and defrocked priests to the episcopate and the creation of an ersatz “autocephalous” church for them.

      In both cases, it makes a mockery of Orthodoxy as a whole.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Any former clergy, and including Belya, has the right of appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to reconsider their suspension and laicization.

        • Did Blya make such an appeal?
          If so, when?
          And why haven’t we heard about it before?

          • Joseph Lipper says

            I don’t know if he did exactly. I’m just saying that he could.

            He did make an appeal to be received into the GOA, and he also met with Patriarch Bartholomew. The EP claims they found him innocent of any wrong doing. Does this mean his suspension was overturned by the EP? I suppose, practically speaking, yes.

            As I see it, the problem here is that ROCOR won’t contact Archbishop Elpidophorus to make any complaints. Instead, it’s this letter from the other Assembly bishops that is finally doing that. Perhaps ROCOR is content to complain about Archbishop Elpidophorus rather than actually address him with their complaints. That sounds being passive-aggressive to me.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Why would ROCOR need to provide anything? It’s what they didn’t provide that should be the only thing of interest to the EP.

              They did not provide him a release. End of story.

              Sounds to me like it’s the EP who is being passive-aggressive. Just like in Ukraine, he will take whatever he can get from the Russians, including their rejects. He’s also being stupid because taking Bely is going to cost him with respect to what he calls his diaspora. He can think whatever he wants, but he has no authority here unless we give it to him. The American people, including many in the GOA, have had it up to here with his antics.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Gail, how many clergy do you suppose have left the Greek Archdiocese for ROCOR in the last several years without any canonical release? It appears that ROCOR does not require this in order to receive clergy, so why should ROCOR complain if leaving clergy do the same?

                Yet according to Archbishop Elpidophoros, the Archimandrite Alexander Belya was given canonical release to transfer jurisdiction.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  I never said ROCOR is complaining. And if ROCOR doesn’t require a release it is probably because the EP doesn’t exist as far as they are concerned and they can appreciate why so many priests want out.

                  You said something about all the back and forth paperwork missing. I said all he needs is a release, which [people I don’t particularly trust] say he has.

                  He is suing the Russian Church so some paperwork has to exist to prove (or disprove) his case.

                  • You will note it is not the Russians who objected or threatened to leave the Assembly. We’ve already departed and couldn’t care less what happens inside a schismatic entity such as the Phanar/GOA. Belya seems to have found his proper home.

                • Big difference – all those clergy who fled to ROCOR from EP were fine priests in good standing and not under any suspensions, who left the EP for reasons of conscience and fled to the safety of another bishop. This is protected by canons.

                  Belya was defrocked. Very big difference.

        • Joseph Lipper, SORRY, but NO clergyman has the right of appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to reconsider a suspension and laicization. (Unless they are already a member of the EPC, or one of its bodies.) Seriously, where do you get this stuff from?!

          Joseph, how much does the EPC pay you to be their spokesman?! I sincerely hope that it’s worth e-v-e-r-y penny. E-v-e-r-y penny.

    • To me also, it seems like a tempest in a teapot. Poaching on territory that was universally acknowledged as under the MP has not caused the rest of the Church to break communion with the Phanar for recognition of the Ukrainian schismatics, though canon law specifies as much. The MP had to do so because it was their ox that was being gored directly and it would put them in an untenable position of they did not.

      However, the rest of the Church is as toothless as ever. They don’t have the cajones to challenge Bartholomew either on his heresy or on his schismatic behavior. It’s that simple. They should but they are not man enough to do it. This is the same cowardice that operated during the Covid hysteria – a lack of faith in God.

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      That seems a little toothless to me. It’s a start but it sounds like there would be no break in communion with the GOA.

      Maybe they’re leaving a few rounds in the magazine.

  16. Seems as though the Antiochians have set themselves clearly in the anti-Ecumanist camp, at least I’m basing that off of this event being hosted at Antiochian Village:,compress&w=1500&q=1

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Wow! That line up is all anti-ecumenists!!! I have never seen such a line up at an Orthodox conference before. Something big is going down for this kind of gathering to occur. Hope they live stream it or record it. Would love to watch it.

      Peter A. Papoutsis

      • My understanding, at least as far as I’ve been told is that Met. Joseph has been clamping down on ecumenism as well as trying to establish Antiochian monasteries in the U.S so that the Archdiocese can have somewhere to pull bishops from. I believe there’s been an effort to get a monastery started at Antiochian Village itself.

    • Brian Jackson says

      Wow, exciting! I just told my wife Fr. Demetrios Carellas will be there. Now she’s excited. We just might make time to fly to this from our home in SoCal. Maybe we can combine this with a visit to Grove City College with one of my daughters; kill two birds with one stone. God willing.

      • Brian, you may want to re-consider GCC. Some interesting things have been going on their recently. Sadly, it seems they made the decision to go woke.

  17. Here’s another who drew a line in the sand…

    Pastor sees massive legal victory after being thrown
    in jail for holding service during COVID lockdown

    ‘ Artur Pawlowski, a Canadian pastor who was arrested and jailed for holding a church service during a COVID lockdown, has had a resounding victory in court, setting aside the charges against him and reimbursing all fines.

    Pawlowski is the minister of Calgary Street Church. He was reportedly harassed and arrested by Calgary police in the middle of a highway on May 9, 2021, as he was driving home from church. His congregants had gathered without masks for the service and it was deemed to be in violation of public health orders.

    The pastor and his brother Dawid Pawlowski were charged with organizing an illegal in-person gathering, as well as “requesting, inciting, or inviting others” to participate in it with them.

    In October, a judge found the brothers in contempt of Alberta’s May 6 health order. He imposed a draconian requirement on the pastor, mandating that he had to utter a government-approved statement saying that most medical experts support social distancing, face masks, and vaccines whenever he publicly spoke out against pandemic restrictions.

    That case flipped upside down on Friday when an appeals court ruled that the Alberta Health Agency’s order prohibiting “illegal public gatherings” was “not sufficiently clear and unambiguous” in connection to the Pawlowskis.

    “The Pawlowskis’ appeals are allowed. The finding of contempt and the sanction order are set aside. The fines that have been paid by them are to be reimbursed,” the three-member panel proclaimed in a 16-page ruling.

    The court ordered the fines against the Pawlowskis, $23,000 against Artur and $10,000 against Dawid, to be returned to them. It also overturned a costs order against them of $15,733.50, to be set aside, and ruled Alberta Health Services must pay their legal costs, according to the Calgary Herald.

    “It’s a slam dunk win. The Court of Appeal made a unanimous, sound decision and overturned the finding of contempt made against my client,” Pawlowski’s attorney Sarah Miller tweeted. … ‘

    The tribute that immediately springs to my mind is this: