The Story of the Muslims, the EP, and “The Fancy Pants Adventures”

Our dear Joseph, and I mean that sincerely, explained how the present Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) laid claim to Kiev and all of Ukraine through the revocation of an “act” it had unilaterally enacted in 1686.   

I have since learned an Ecumenical Patriarchate “act” is a note to one’s self the greater Church is free to ignore.   Not this time though.  You get enough schismatics behind you and all hell breaks loose. 

I didn’t realize that the Russian Orthodox Church existed well before 1686.  Russia was a self-proclaimed, autocephalic Church at the time, established in 1589, almost one hundred years before the EP wrote this “note” to himself, about himself. 

In contrast, the Russian Church grew, organically, in their own region, producing real martyrs, and not by fiat.   This is so much a part of their territorial psyche, most all the country of Russia identifies as “Orthodox” whether they go to Church or not.   

So does the Ecumenical Patriarchate have a filing cabinet that allows them to resurrect their delusions at a convenient time and place?  Why would the Ecumenical Patriarchate think Ukraine was their territory?  Did the Church give them that right?  

No, as evidenced by all the letters from the Local Churches when Bartholomew started this mess in Ukraine. 

What Bartholomew did, how he did it, and with whom he did it, violates a number of canons.  If I get ambitious I will recite them, however, if you start reading the Canons of the Holy Apostles, they will jump right out at you. Here

It was actually a sultan named Mehmed II, who began “The Fancy Pants Adventures.”  He elevated the patriarchate so he could make the claim that because he conquered Constantinople, he should be able to claim the title of Caesar of the Roman Empire (Qayser-i Rûm).  He based this on the assertion that Constantinople had been the seat and capital of the Roman Empire since 330 AD, and whoever possessed the Imperial capital was the ruler of the Empire. 

Oh, really?

Explains why, “through the privileges granted to him by the Mehmed II, the EP could practically ignore his colleagues, the other Orthodox patriarchs.  His power ceased to be purely canonical and spiritual but became political as well.”

Hence the title “Rome” becoming “New Rome.”  Constantinople was Mehmed’s ticket to being Caesar of the Roman Empire.  Or so he thought.  And he couldn’t chase this pipe dream if the Ecumenical Patriarch at that time didn’t look every bit the part of a pope.  

Clearly, it isn’t the Church who made the Ecumenical Patriarchate the “first” of anything.  By all rights, that should have gone to Jerusalem.  The sultan’s lofty goals were behind it, regardless of when the actual title came into being.  The Roman Empire didn’t fall for it.  Neither did the Orthodox Church, but as long as the Ecumenical Patriarch was just “first among equals,” how could it hurt, right?

Not sure anyone feels that way anymore.  It’s becoming a little harder to dismantle a lie that went from “first among equals” to “first without equal.”   Remaining silent since 1453 has brought us to the point of schism, which is going to multiply here in America unless the bishops collectively speak up.   

Only after the Turkish occupation of the Balkans was civil authority directly assumed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  It was granted by the new Muslim overlords, who chose to administer their Christian subjects as a separate community, or millet, ruled by its own religious leaders.   

In January 1454 the sultan Mehmed II, who had conquered Constantinople in 1453, allowed the election of a new patriarch, who was to become millet-bachi, the head of the entire Christian millet, or in Greek the “ethnarch,” with the right to administer, to tax, and to exercise justice over all the Christians of the Turkish empire.  Thus, under the new system, the patriarch of Constantinople saw his formal rights and jurisdiction extended both geographically and substantially: on the one hand, through the privileges granted to him by the sultan, he could practically ignore his colleagues, the other Orthodox patriarchs; on the other hand, his power ceased to be purely canonical and spiritual but became political as well.

To the enslaved Greeks, he appeared not only as the successor of the Byzantine patriarchs but also as the heir of the emperors. For the Ottomans, he was the official and strictly controlled administrator of the Rūm millet. In order to symbolize these new powers, the patriarch adopted an external attire reminiscent of that of the emperors: mitre in the form of a crown, long hair, eagles as insignia of authority, and other imperial accoutrements.

The new system had many significant consequences. Most important, it permitted the church to survive as an institution. Indeed, the prestige of the church was actually increased because, for Christians, the church was now the only source of education, and it alone offered possibilities of social promotion. Moreover, through the legal restrictions placed on mission, the new arrangement created the practical identification of church membership with ethnic origin. And finally, since the entire Christian millet was ruled by the patriarch of Constantinople and his Greek staff, it guaranteed to the Phanariotes, the Greek aristocracy of the Phanar (now called Fener, the area of Istanbul where the patriarchate was, and still is, located), a monopoly in episcopal elections. Thus, Greek bishops progressively came to occupy all the hierarchical positions. The ancient patriarchates of the Middle East were practically governed by the Phanar. The Serbian and Bulgarian churches came to the same fate: the last remnants of their autonomy were formally suppressed in 1766 and 1767, respectively, by the Phanariot patriarch Samuel Hantcherli. This Greek control, exercised through the support of the hated Turks, was resented more and more by the Balkan Slavs and Romanians as the Turkish regime became more despotic, taxes grew heavier, and modern nationalisms began to develop.

It is necessary, however, to credit the Phanariotes with a quite genuine devotion to the cause of learning and education, which they alone were able to provide inside the oppressed Christian ghetto. The advantages they obtained from the Porte (the Turkish government) for building schools and for developing Greek letters in the Romanian principalities of Moldavia and Walachia that were entrusted to their rule came to play a substantial role in the rebirth of Greece.

The Union of Florence became fully inoperative as soon as the Turks occupied Constantinople (1453). In 1484 a council of bishops condemned it officially. Neither the sultan nor the majority of the Orthodox Greeks were favourable to the continuation of political ties with Western Christendom. The Byzantine cultural revival of the Palaeologan period was the first to experience adverse effects from the occupation. Intellectual dialogue with the West became impossible. Through liturgical worship and the traditional spirituality of the monasteries, the Orthodox faith was preserved in the former Byzantine world. Some self-educated men were able to develop the Orthodox tradition through writings and publications, but they were isolated exceptions. Probably the most remarkable among them was St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, the Hagiorite (1748–1809), who edited the famous Philocalia, an anthology of spiritual writings, and also translated and adapted Western spiritual writings (e.g., those of the Jesuit founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola) into modern Greek.

The only way for Orthodox Greeks, Slavs, or Romanians to acquire an education higher than the elementary level was to go to the West. Several of them were able to do so, but in the process they became detached from their own theological and spiritual tradition.

The West, in spite of much ignorance and prejudice, had a constant interest in the Eastern church. At times there was a genuine and respectful curiosity; in other instances, political and proselytistic (conversion) concerns prevailed. Thus, in 1573–81 a lengthy correspondence was initiated by Lutheran scholars from Tübingen (in Germany). Although interesting as a historical event, this correspondence, which includes the Answers of Patriarch Jeremias II (patriarch 1572–95), shows how little mutual understanding was possible at that time between the reformers and traditional Eastern Christianity.

Relations with the West, especially after the 17th century, were often vitiated in the East by the incredible corruption of the Turkish government, which constantly fostered diplomatic intrigues. An outstanding example of such manipulation was the kharāj, a tax required by the Porte at each patriarchal election. Western diplomats were often ready to provide the amount needed in order to secure the election of candidates favourable to their causes. The French and Austrian ambassadors, for example, supported candidates who would favour the establishment of Roman Catholic influence in the Christian ghetto, while the British and Dutch envoys supported patriarchs who were open to Protestant ideas. Thus, a gifted and Western-educated patriarch, Cyril Lucaris, was elected and deposed five times between 1620 and 1638. His stormy reign was marked by the publication in Geneva of a Confession of Faith (1629), which was, to the great amazement of all contemporaries, purely Calvinistic (i.e., it contained Reformed Protestant views). The episode ended in tragedy. Cyril was strangled by Turkish soldiers at the instigation of the pro-French and pro-Austrian party. Six successive Orthodox councils condemned the Confession: Constantinople, 1638; Kiev, 1640; Jassy, 1642; Constantinople, 1672; Jerusalem, 1672; and Constantinople, 1691. In order to refute its positions, the metropolitan of Kiev, Petro Mohyla, published his own Orthodox Confession of Faith (1640), which was followed in 1672 by the Confession of the patriarch of Jerusalem, Dosítheos Notaras. Both, especially Petro Mohyla, were under strong Latin influence.

These episodes were followed in the 18th century by a strong anti-Western reaction that was inspired in part by Roman Catholic missionary activity and the church unions of Brest-Litovsk (1596), Uzhhorod (1646), and Antioch (1724), formal agreements under which several Orthodox priests agreed (under political coercion in the case of Brest-Litovsk) to accept the authority of the pope in Rome while being allowed to preserve liturgical and linguistic independence. In 1755 the Synod of Constantinople decreed that all Westerners—Latin or Protestant—had invalid sacraments and were only to be admitted into the Orthodox Church through baptism.  And Here

For some reason my husband, with an encyclopedic memory for all things “history,” failed to mention any of this to me.  Must be the Greek in him.  So I ask you:  Would it be possible to credit the Greeks with their well-deserved accomplishments, without having to take this Ecumenical Patriarchate thing to the point where it not only threatens to split the Church, but continues to provide fodder [read MONEY] to fuel the biggest war in recent history; the one people are talking about going on for another 15 years!?  No one is going to forget Ukraine.  This war has not only divided the Church, it has divided the American people.  

Many of the Greeks are beginning to recognize the pitfalls of having an Ecumenical Patriarchate, too, because they have to support it even as it threatens their own wellbeing.  Elpidophoros is a prime example.  He has brought anything but hope to the GOA and to the leadership of the Church in this country.

Seriously, enough is enough!   Talk to your respective patriarchs and beg them to stop this insanity.  And don’t look to Russia to solve this mess.  This particular problem isn’t their fault.  Ukraine had every weapon one could think of aimed at Russia.  How long was Russia supposed to wait?  Until the Nazis and the sympathetic West aim our Patriot Missiles at them?  Because that’s coming.  Though our state voted not to have those Ukrainian soldiers come to OK to train on them in an “accelerated program” (like that won’t be a disaster), George tells me the Feds overrode them.  Wait till you have what promises to be helter skelter in YOUR backyard, because it’s coming. 





  1. Yes, Helter Skelter is coming. Prepare accordingly.

    Interesting article on when a world war begins and ends.

    “The countries now directly involved in the war in Ukraine with weapons, money, intelligence, mercenaries or financial sanctions include the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Poland, Lithuania, Canada, Australia, Ukraine, Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Japan, Romania, Belarus and Moldova. These countries span four continents. The economic ramifications are global. If this is not a world war, it’s not clear what is.”

    • Or…is that just the nature of modern warfare since WWII?

      Already in the Korean War, more than 20 different countries were fighting on the UN side, including Turkey, Ethiopia, Belgium, South Africa, Colombia… The great powers (and specifically the U.S.) like to drag in everybody they can.

    • Yes, the article may be a bit reaching in terms of dates, but it is correct in it’s basic thesis, IMHO.

      What the article does not explicitly point out is even more conclusive:. 1. America has been cautious about formal entry only because of apprehension of nuclear conflict. And 2. America has already used financial tactics that are acts of war, even ones unutilized against NZ Germany in WWII; ie, the seizure of central bank holdings. Which brings us to 3. In every way, economically, politically and thru propaganda and censorship, America is behaving already as if this is another great war, not a regional/colonial conflict like all our other wars since 1945. The only reluctance is to engage Russia in a nuclear conflict or to involve US troops so directly that the facade is breached and unrestrained war results. Ie, America is attempting to fight WWIII on the most favorable terms for the West, not risking a humiliating defeat of the US military at the hands of Russia or a nuclear exchange.

      That another great war, whatever it’s called, is turning out to be a hybrid and, so far, proxy war should surprise no one. I suspect the hybrid will remain but the proxy will dissipate, but short of a nuclear exchange. America must have it’s bloody nose.

      The author has a solid point.

    • Anonymous II says

      Remember, they know he is not a she. But they want to break you…because if they can convince you to deny reality, you’ve already convinced yourself Christ is not truly God.


  2. Deacon John says

    Thanks for the awesome resource so I can study the canons!

  3. Joseph Lipper says

    Gail, the 1686 act was a concession made by the EP to allow the Moscow Patriarchate to ordain the Kiev Metropolitan, but in fact, the Russians had already ordained a Metropolitan Gedeon of Kiev the previous year, in 1685, and without even asking anyone for permission!

    Metropolitan Gedeon of Kiev was immediately deposed by the other bishops of the Kiev Metropolis, and understandably so, as he was non-canonically ordained. His ordination was an egregious canonical offense.

    So the EP, seeking to bring peace to this situation, conceded in 1686 to allow for the Moscow Patriarchate to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev going forward, and thereby (with the stroke of a pen) normalize retroactively the non-canonical ordination by the MP of the deposed Metropolitan Gedeon.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      No one wants to play this game anymore.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Russia and the West are still playing the same tired game in Ukraine nearly 370 years after the Treaty of Pereyaslav. That treaty precipitated a war between Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian empire. It’s kind of what we are seeing all over again.

        Yet the churches in Ukraine shouldn’t be a pawn in the game of whether they be centered at the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ottoman Empire, or even the schismatic Vatican. The Ukrainians don’t want to play this tired game anymore. The time for Ukraine’s ecclesial autocephaly has come.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          “Tired games?”

          What’s going on in Ukraine is an orchestrated attempt to destabilize and cripple a WORLD POWER, the only power on the world stage that champions traditional Christian values standing in the way of the Great Reset.

          Nothing in the world, not now or going forward, has or will have anything to do with treaties between empires that existed 370 years ago. Those days are over.

          The country of Ukraine has been used as a means to an end; as a destabilizing agent to justify pointing weapons at Russia.

          These are not just some pawns in a video game called “Bartholomew’s Bizzarro-World,” where metropolitans are avatars over mysterious places and King Bartholomew is fighting an evil empire to protect his throne.


          The Ecumenical Patriarchate is completely out of touch with reality. It’s not real life and hasn’t been for a long, long time. It is ill-equipped to play globalist games because it is arrogant and easily manipulated, allowing itself to become a lone agent of destruction against every single bishop’s better judgement in the Church.

          Bartholomew’s role is over. Not only within the Church because no one can trust him, but on the world stage as well. Did you notice that he wasn’t invited to attend the funeral of King Constantine II of Greece? I hear Crown Prince Pavlos is on his way back to Greece. IMO, he has a job to do. Perhaps Greece will make him an emperor and a council can be called where the bishops will be able to work as one collective body, instead of being forced to operate under the stranglehold of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

          This would be a legitimate way out of the “Ecumenical Patriarchate” paradigm where even the Greek Church is feeling the pinch. Better for all to have the entire Church back in the fold given what we’re going to be facing in the not too distant future.

          We’re going to have to fight to keep the Orthodox Church alive and we can’t do that if the Ecumenical Patriarchate is cozying up to globalists, giving them a voice through its wok academics who want to redefine the Church to be more in line with the culture. (How can one affect change on the culture if it adopts the culture?)

          This is Bartholomew’s legacy. This, and providing the means for globalist powers to set up shop in Ukraine, turning Ukraine into a proxy for a nuclear war with Russia.

          Ukraine is fast becoming uninhabitable with it’s beautiful cathedrals and monasteries in shambles. The global armies of Nazis, nationalists and mercenaries Bartholomew ushered in under the banner, “Save Ukraine,” are now executing old men upward to the age of 60 and children in their teens who never wanted to be part of this war in the first place. Ukraine, as it was, is a distant memory now. It no longer belongs to the Ukrainians or even to the guy who can play the piano with his private parts.

          However, all is not lost. With God’s help, Ukraine will return and rebuild what they’ve lost. And you know what Joseph? Russia is going to be the one to help them do it.

          Russia didn’t do this to Ukraine. Ukraine didn’t do this to Russia. Bartholomew did this to them both.

          He, alone, went into Ukraine when EVERY ONE OF HIS BROTHER BISHOPS TOLD HIM NOT TO and attempted to legitimize a schismatic church, with violent aspirations against everything “Russian,” splitting the Church in two in the process.

          Let that sink in, Joseph.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Gail, you not only distilled the issue regarding the EP’s malfeasance with regards to the Ukraine, you also pointed out something about Paul II, the titular king of the Greeks, something that had been brewing in my mind every since I saw the funeral for late father.

            I was then gobsmacked when I found out later that he and his wife are actually going to move to Athens. I thought to myself “hmmmm….”.

            He actually doesn’t have to be an emperor per se. Any head of state, can call a council. It’s nice that he belongs to a dynasty but that’s not necessary.

          • Very well said, Gail!

        • The Ukrainians don’t want to play this tired game anymore. The time for Ukraine’s ecclesial autocephaly has come.

          While I myself don’t personally advocate it, the same could be said of the Church in America. Particularly the lack of autonomy in the GOA wherein the Phanariot games never seem to end and where the faithful are far more servants of the patriarchate than they are served by it.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Brian, you exposed the dirty little secret, haven’t you? Bartholomew gave “autocephaly” to the Ukraine but he won’t do the same for America.

            It’s all so blindingly obvious: it’s a matter of whatever works for him.

          • Yet, at the same time, the faithful have agency…. a parishioner is under no obligation to remain in the dysfunctional household of any jurisdiction.

            Every “jurisdiction” has its issues, but none even seem to come close to the obfuscation, lack of accountability, apparent ecclesiastical narcissism that’s considered virtuous, and the “do not ask any questions please” mentality of the Greek Archdiocese. Simply my observations over the years.

            My baptismal certificate is from the Greek Orthodox parish in Bethesda, Maryland (from decades ago….), but no way in good conscience could I even think of supporting that jurisdiction with my time or in financial support.

            At some point, if GOA American faithful find that they are “servants of the Patriarchate of Constantinople,” they need to acknowledge that they are doing so by choice, not by inertia.

            God honors our free will — indeed, there’s no way that He could ever intervene in our lives to make us not have free will (we don’t believe the Calvinist heresy).

            I realize there are many considerations… not wanting to abandon a loved priest/pastor, the “my family has worshipped at this Greek Orthodox parish for decades” phenomenon, the “we’re in Cheyenne Wyoming and there are no other Orthodox parishes around”…. etc etc…

            But at some point it seems to get tiresome for GOA parishioners to be constantly perceived as victims.

            • Indeed, FTS.

              It appears to be an ingrained mindset on many levels. I am constantly amazed at the appeals made by many Greeks to the “Ecumenical” Patriarch over issues with Elpidophoros (to name but one glaring example among many). It is as though they are unable to bring themselves to the point of acknowledging that he and the Patriarchate are the source and sustainer of most of the problems about which they complain.

              “We don’t like this man you sent to do what you instructed him to do. Send us another man who will also do precisely what you instruct him to do.”

              “We don’t like this lack of financial transparency. Perform audits and ‘investigations’ that are equally, if not even more, opaque.”

              And on it goes…

  4. Thank you, Gail. This was quite interesting. Though, I already know about most of what you wrote, there were some things I learned about today, historically.

  5. Zane Carides says

    There are plenty of photographs of priests, muftis and rabbis concelebrating civil ceremonies in late Ottoman times

  6. Ah, I’d relax. God’s got this. It was He who raised Russia like a phoenix from the ashes.

    The reason why it seems so out of control is that most of the heavy lifting is being done in the East, not by the West. It is a bit like WWII. Most of the fighting was done in the East by the Soviets. The West merely provided a second front (at Stalin’s insistence).

    Today the Right in the West is slowly rising, but the real work of Christian nationalism is occuring in the East. It was gradually gaining ground in the West before the War and will continue to do so. But at present, it is almost irrelevant on the world stage, sometimes even at home. We here are reduced to being spectators in the great drama between the CIA/Uniparty and the Sino-Russian Alliance.

    That is what’s frustrating to some about the Bartholomew thing. He is fighting for the devil in a war in which most of us in the West have been sidelined. All we can do is pray and cheer on the team in the white hats. That’s the price we pay for allowing ourselves to be led politically and spiritually by soulless vermin.

    But, like I said, God’s got this. He is reestablishing a Christian Russian Empire at the head of an Alliance that will be the dominant political, military and economic power on earth in this century. And the cultural tide will shift as well as globalism and LGBT are defeated abroad and discredited at home.

    I just regret that it is happening so late and after such a murderous ideologically insane century. But God gives free will to men and angels and when they screw the pooch, He makes lemons into lemonade.

    • “The ideologically insane century”! A fitting description for the 100 years from 1914 to 2014, perhaps?

    • Misha is right, I think.
      The war is already won by Russia.
      The chief questions remaining are:

      When will the Biden scuttle come?
      When will NATO and the EU fall apart?
      Will there be a Ukraine at the end of it all?

  7. George Michalopulos says

    Darling, you did your homework on this! Brava!

  8. Before the schism, the ROC was fine with recognizing the Patriarch of Constantinople as first among equals in honor according to the diptychs. Sometimes, he was even referred to in the Russian press as the “Ecumenical Patriarch(ate)”, though often these instances were only self references simply reported verbatim. In reference and direct address, he was called “His Holiness”, like the other patriarchs, in Russian.

    But he blew it with his antics. He was really pushing it hard with the Canon 28 bs and the robber council. However, even after that the ROC was respectful and polite. There was even a summit of sorts between the two patriarchs. Yet starting the fake church on Ukrainian territory was the straw that broke the bear’s back.

    Churches don’t have armies, but this was a declaration of war by Bartholomew against the ROC. That’s the only way to see such an about face in recognition tied to political events. And it has been borne out by the way the OCU has treated the UOC and the Ukrainian govt has treated Russian Ukrainians in the Donbas and Novorossiya.

    Bartholomew has managed in one patriarchal reign what it took Rome 200 years to do from the early 11th to the early 13th century: He has produced a schism and sealed it with a senseless war of oppression.


    • Agreed Misha

      Bartholomew will go down in history as yet another heretic that has sat in the throne of Constantinople

      Ironically in trying to “save” his throne from those rascally Russians, he’s only exponentially hastened its demise

      • It’s a shame. I love the Greeks. My first parish was Greek and I got so I could pronounce the old Greek well and was one of the psaltis. I’ve done services with the priest where it was just he and I back and forth with a few parishioners there, and the memorials, etc.

        The Greeks are wonderful people who are rightly proud of their heritage and tribe. Like any fallible human beings, occasionally they take it too far. But I rarely felt uncomfortable and it was only in a couple of “Archie Bunker” moments from a couple of older gentlemen which I didn’t take seriously.

        The reason I’m not there anymore isn’t the people of the parish. Part of it is I finally had enough of modernism and realized it cannot be tolerated indefinitely because it is corrosive not only to practice but to faith itself. Part of it is the attitude of the Synod at the Phanar, not so much the metropolitan bishops who are a mixed bag.

        The Phanar and Bartholomew in particular are aggressively anti-Russian. I won’t say “Russophobic” because that’s true enough but does not explain it. It is true they fear “their church” is being taken over by the Russians. But there is a deeper hostility there, perhaps born of jealousy and pride, a fatal mix, which is a true “miso-rusy”, a hatred, much like some Brits and Poles have.

        This is not the rank and file, mind you, not even the general episcopacy. It seems to be present, however, in Bartholomew and his retinue. They seem to believe that if they don’t act out, Russia will absorb whatever status and power they think they have.

        There is a grain of truth to this in that the main source of the Fanar’s power is the US State Department and their North American Archdiocese. In a battle of wills between East and West, they feel they have no choice but to side with the West since they have no power base in the East. And they certainly do not trust the MP.

        Bartholomew probably sees the OCU as a tit for tat given the MP’s grant of autocephaly to the OCA. Bartholomew considers America his backyard and has decided that if Russia can create a local church here, he can do so in the Ukraine. This is one reason among many I believe the MP tomos was a serious mistake.

        However, this was done by the Soviet church in exchange for the Church of Japan, where the Soviets had hoped to infiltrate since WWII but had largely been kept out by the US. The present MP, no longer Soviet, pays lip service to this autocephaly but little else. The ROC has a semi autonomous church here, after all.

        But Bartholomew and his Synod seem to take it very seriously. I can understand this. It’s all they have. They have the largest Archdiocese here and did at the time of the OCA tomos. Russia has the entire Church of Russia, Belarus, the Ukraine and various presences around the world. Why should it create a local church in America, seen by the Fanar as Greek territory (though implausibly)? They probably feel like the ROC is trying to castrate them.

        That is not the Russian intention but I believe it is one of the most unpleasant effects of the OCA tomos. It seems, though perhaps not intended as such, an unnecessary provocation. Recall that the ROCOR refused to acknowledge the tomos at the time. They understood the implications.

        I do not know what the MP could do now to undo what the Soviet church did. Even if it revoked the tomos, there is no guarantee the OCA would accept this. And would it actually be better if the OCA we’re under the MP from the Fanar’s perspective? No, in fact, it would be worse.

        That is why the whole line of reasoning is fallacious. The Metropolia was an organic development of the Slavic church in America. What became of it may be controversial as to its status, but not its existence. The constituent elements of the OCU did not arise in schism from Constantinople, which then might have had some justification for resolving the situation. If the Metropolia had been in schism from the Fanar, then Bartholomew might have some ground upon which to stand. But such was not the case. In fact, the leadership of the Metropolia first sought some status from C’pol, but was directed to their mother church. So much more, you would think, in the Ukraine.

        But again, it is a sad drama. Mistakes were made but it has now spiraled out of everyone’s control. And God has been forgotten in the Fanar’s calculations. They are now engaged in a struggle for Western liberal values, not Orthodox ones.

        I think they have forgotten the difference, if they ever knew it.

  9. Just a few small corrections on the article. Constantinople was given the title New Rome in canon 3 of Constantinople 381ad. Chalcedon canon 28 reiterated canon 3 that Constantinople is 2nd in rank and (Elder) Rome ranks first due to seniority. Canon 28 specified further that Constantinople was to have equal canonical rights to Rome and ranking second in seniority. After the schism this sufficed to show there was never a Papal Supremacy. That any privileges Rome can point to having, were given to it through the canons and not by divine right, and furthermore those same privileges extend to the Patriarch of Constantinople by canonical decree. At this time under Archbishop Juvenal of Jerusalem, the JP was then recognized with the title of “Mother of all the Churches”. Soon Rome also assumed this title for itself. After old Rome fell away Constantinople became first among equals being elevated from the second honorary ranking. During the Ottomon occupation Constantinople became ethnarc of all the Rum. (The Armenians were also given a patriarch of Instanbul for the Armenian millet). Much of what the Ecumenical Patriarch claims for himself today truly is an Ottomon era innovations not based on canons or proper ecclesiology (for example it’s insistence they gave autocephaly to all the modern nation state churches as their prerogative ). Fast forward again to the 20th century and the EP innovated another ecclesiological heresy. Being that canon 28 claims Constantinople is to have equal rights as Rome, and since Rome has fallen away that now means Constantinople is first without equals, as the other equal member has been cut off. This interpretation is nonsensical as everyone recognizes certain privileges given to the EP just as other bishoprics have their own privileges (Cyprus can sign documents in a special royal ink forbidden to the others, Alexandria is the sword of the universe, Jerusalem is mother of all the churches, etc) EP took a chapter out of fallen Rome to make it sound it has a supremacy which never existed.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I admire you people who can keep all of this in your head. Thank you for the information, Kosta.

  10. The Secret Political History of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
    President Truman viewed the Ecumenical Patriarchate as “vital to American Foreign Policy”
    Matfey Shaheen

    This article is put forth to demonstrate the political captivity of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to foreign powers throughout history, especially the United States. We will examine how Constantinople may have been blackmailed into causing this crisis to cover up a multi-million-dollar embezzlement scandal in their GOARCH—the main source of their funding and their economic lifeline.
    We will in particular examine a very shocking article from a pro-Ecumenical Patriarchate source, which declares, among many things:
    “President Truman often emphasized the pro-American convictions of Patriarch Athenagoras and the importance and influence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, along with the Greek Orthodox community in the US, as vital to American foreign policy objectives.”1
    Doxa to Theo, John D

    • Not only does the EP cater to American interests but the EP itself plants slanderous accusations about the Moscow Patriarchate to American State Dept officials.
      For example the following WikiLeaks cable demonstrates this. According to the cable the Phanar has told American officials that Moscow is just NOMINALLY subservient to Constantinople in the Orthodox world. It’s obvious they were never told that Moscow is not second but fourth in the diptychs. The Phanar has warned American diplomats that Moscow wants to intrude in “Ecumenical church affairs” and later on in the cable repeats this claim that Moscow wants to ” interfere or influence Ecumenical issues”. We do not know what these Ecumenical issues are but the accusations are invented by the EP itself .
      Later on the cable reliying soley on the theories of a Greek diplomat Stavros Venizelos and the Archbishop of the GOARCH that Moscow wants to hijack the EP and bring it to Moscow third Rome! Furthermore this diplomat Venizelos says the Russian church is dangerous for the Government of Turkey but Turkey is too paranoid of the Greeks! It’s obvious that it’s the Phanar Greeks that are paranoid either that or they are cunningly deceitful deceiving the Americans in how things work in Orthodoxy.
      And finally the Greeks playing the Phyletism card are afraid that if the Turkish government does open Halki they will require students from all over the Orthodox world. According to the Phanar Turkey wants this to alter the ethnic Greek character of the EP by producing not Hellenic candidates eligible for EP. So the Greeks prefer Halki closed if it can’t be a Greek ethnic club!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  11. Anonymous II says


    His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the beloved primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, recently sent an appeal to the United Nations about his much-suffering Church.

    “Since February 2022, Ukraine has been living in the conditions of a full-scale war. In this terrible hour of military disaster and extremely grave trials, we would like to ask you to give attention to the gross violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religion in Ukraine, consisting in the violation of the rights of and discrimination against the Orthodox Christians of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC),” His Beatitude writes in his appeal addressed to the UN’s Secretary General António Guterres, Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed, and Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide Alice Wairimu Nderitu, reports the Information-Education Department of the UOC.

    The UOC primate emphasizes the independent status of the UOC and the fact that it’s the largest denomination in Ukraine, which has condemned the war from the very first days and has provided assistance to all those suffering from the war. He also notes that the UOC has always defended the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

    Met. Onuphry took the opportunity to inform the UN leadership about the various anti-Church bills that threaten to ban the UOC, the personal sanctions against UOC hierarchs and clerics, and the illegal activities of local governing bodies.

    He also drew attention to the various international laws on the freedom of religion, noting that, “The link between peace and human rights is inextricable. Human rights and the rule of law are a matter of universal security—as important as military potential or economic stability.”

    Earlier this month, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, the head of the Russian Church’s Department for External Church Relations, also addressed the UN Security Council about the Church persecution in Ukraine, although the UOC issued a statement emphasizing that it neither asked nor authorized the ROC to speak on its behalf.

    In this regard, Met. Onuphry noted in his appeal that “the issue of the situation around the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was discussed at a recent meeting of the UN Security Council, but without the UOC itself.”

    “Based on the complexity of the situation, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is ready to send its representative and convey important information to the international community firsthand,” Met. Onuphry affirmed.

    His Beatitude concludes his appeal:

    We hope that our voice will be heard and the citizens of Ukraine who are faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) will receive the necessary support and protection at the international level. We hope for the timely adoption of all necessary measures aimed at countering incitement to religious hostility and the discrimination of believing Ukrainian citizens and religious organizations of the UOC, and the development of recommendations to be sent to the government of Ukraine regarding the protection of religious freedoms.

    Following the presentation of the ROC’s Met. Anthony to the UN Security Council, the UN issued a statement expressing its concern about religious freedom in Ukraine, as it has done several times over the years.

  12. OT, but Andrei Raevsky (“The Saker”) has just announced that he is permanently shutting down his blog at the end of February:

    Sad news!


    • Anonymous II says

      Do we know why?

      • He always said that, as a legal alien in the USA, he would shut the blog down as soon as a hot war broke out between the United States and Russia. I think he’s being prudent, seeing how things are going.

        I’ve enjoyed his blog on and off for close to a decade and have appreciated his POV.

  13. This is rich. Elpi seems dismayed that no other jurisdiction has recognized the OCU. I should be shocked that he has the audacity to push this, especially after almost all of the bishops have vocally supported Met. Onuphry, but I’m not. This man’s hubris knows no limits.

    And yet, we know that there are differences, even fault lines, in our worldwide Orthodox Church; perhaps none so bitter and distressing as those that have emerged around the war against Ukraine. The lack of recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine under Metropolitan Epiphanios by the jurisdictions in this room, except those of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, continues to be source of conflict and disagreement. The current and rather amorphous status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onufry, now that his autonomous Synod has severed formal relations with the Moscow Patriarchate, creates even more dissonance.

    Surely the other bishops know exactly what awaits them from the faithful in their various jurisdictions should they recognize the OCU.

    ….And also this…

    And there are other controversies which sap the strength of our witness. Around the social media sphere, there are often as many opinions as there are blogs, where everyone feels entitled to not only share their views, but often insist on their own correctness. So, my brothers, this makes our ‘manifestation of the unity of the Orthodox Church’ all the more challenging. Indeed, the Faithful are within their rights to expect of us a consensus patrum for their own spiritual orientation.

    AKA, people keep calling me out on my BS. A shoutout to Monomakhos perhaps??

    • Gail Sheppard says

      And why shouldn’t we “share our views?” Any “correctness” that bleeds through is due to a lack of pretense he can’t claim.

      I imagine it does sap the strength of his witness, as his witness flies in the face of the teachings of the Church which we seek to protect.

      Unity is only desirable to the degree that we are committed to resisting innovation in the Church. He is not at all committed this so any unity he sees will be at a distance.

      I agree the Faithful are within their rights to expect of a consensus patrum for their own spiritual orientation. Unfortunately, this is something he will never be able to deliver.

      • “Every person has the right to speak and register his mind; no one should refrain from speaking out of fear in order to flatter a superior or because he wants to be on good terms with the archbishop or the abbot.”
        (St. Paisios the Athonite)

        Good enough for me!

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Me too!

          • George Michalopulos says

            Hear! Hear!

            Yet another indication that the EP/GOA axis isn’t ready for prime time. They slobber over whatever liberal fantasy whim of the moment, thinking that this places them in the good graces of the liberal America elites (BLM, climate change, pro-abortion/life schizophrenia, etc.) but when Americans in their Church act like, uh, Americans, and exercize their free speech rights, it’s Katie bar the door!

      • To add worse optics to Elpi’s appeal for the Assembly to recognize the schismatic OCU, the canonical UOC is appealing to monasteries all over the Orthodox world and across all Churches the pray for the Lavra and the UOC:

        I really hope that appeal I wrote made it’s way to the bishops along with the appeal from the UOC.

    • From Elpi’s speech:

      “In other words, we cannot separate our affirmation about the Lord Jesus Christ from our responsibility to act in a synodal way. For συνοδία means that we journey together in companionship – that we stay together, even when the path is difficult – that we help one another along the Way.” (Added emphasis)

      I’m not a theologian, nor an expert in canon law, nor knowledgeable in ecclesiology. But it seems to me that acting “in a synodal way” is akin to acting in a “conciliar way.” Yet Elpi’s supervisor, Bartholomew, does not so act, and certainly did not act in that way vis-a-vis Ukraine. So, if I’m seeing this all in a reasonably clear way, Elpi is being hypocritical. I reckon he wants the “synodal way” when it leads to his chosen result, but the “first without equals” approach when it suits him.

      When it comes to the fault lines “that have emerged around the war against Ukraine,” he is abusing history. The fault lines were created by the act of granting the faux tomos.

      Similarly, it is not “[t]he lack of recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine under Metropolitan Epiphanios by the jurisdictions in this room, except those of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, [that] continues to be source of conflict and disagreement.” It was the creation of the OCU that is the “source of conflict and disagreement.”

      All of these are examples of the manipulation of language in an effort to shape one’s perception of reality.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Sometimes I wonder how Arb Elpi can say these words with a straight face? Is he not Pat Bart acted unilaterally, without consulting any other local Church? And when he did they told him NO! NO! a thousands times NO! DON’T DO IT!

        Is the DNA of the Phanariotes imperceptible to irony? To ask this question is to answer it.

      • Father Michael says

        Is it just a coincidence that Pope Francis is also talking a lot about “the synodal way” these days?

    • It is not appropriate for the very archbishop who has stirred the pot most vigorously to then complain that the water is muddy. He suggested that spouses who are not Orthodox be allowed to commune. He shut down the parishes, introduced the idea of multiple spoons, and refused to grant religious exemptions during the so-called pandemic.

      Elpidophoros is the one who cozied up to the hyper-sexualized Episcopalians. It was he who made a purposely ambiguous statement about abortion in public. Again, he is the hierarch who slipped into Greece and baptized the babies belonging to those two queer men. Furthermore, he has defended Bartholomew’s incursion into another primate’s jurisdiction when he waved a magic wand to create a denomination to compete with the canonical Church in Ukraine, upsetting any political unity left in that now war-torn country. Ironic, that!

      And now Elpidophoros has the unmitigated gall to address his brother bishops with an appeal for unity! Hypocrite! He has suggested that our opinionated Orthodox blogs are so much disinformation. Oh, please! How dare he act with such recklessness only to turn around and demand that other bishops maintain a façade of unity? How dare he suggest that we laypeople just stay offline and shut up?

      Our Orthodox unity, though hardly visible at times, is maintained solely through our mutual devotion to God via our adherence to the doctrines of the Holy Trinity expressed in our age-old Tradition. Our present Church Militant constantly appeals to our spiritual ancestors who kept the Faith to the end. And yet, Elpidophoros and his boss, Bartholomew, have prostituted this Faith for thirty pieces of silver. Unity? My ass!

      Those of us who are older than Elpidophoros and who have spent past years elsewhere in Christianity have seen this play before. How many times did I hear the hollow appeals for unity while leftists discarded what was left of Tradition in the Anglican/Episcopal Communion? Their hollow appeals got to be very tedious indeed. Charlatans like these will constantly push the envelope of sexual morès and political loyalties, scorning Sacred Tradition and scandalizing the laity while they expect everyone else to remain united under they soiled mantles.

      Fiddlesticks! They will not stop for God’s sake. There is no appeasing them. None whatsoever.

      • Totally agree.

        Those of us who are older than Elpidophoros and who have spent past years elsewhere in Christianity have seen this play before..

        I’m way younger that Elpi and even I know this is how this works. If you ever hear the word “dialogue” or any variation of that, it doesn’t mean dialogue it means: let me shove my agenda down your throat till you agree, or, until I can stack the deck.

        This is what is occurring in Roman Catholicism (my former communion), and has been happening for the past 50-60 years. It’s the same thing that has taken down the Lutherans , Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and almost every other form of Protestantism.

        Fortunately for us in Orthodoxy, it’s not a Church-wide issue (yet) and is only really confined to one tiny Patriarchate, and really mostly one Eparchy of that Patriarchate. But, that’s exactly why we Orthodox need to fight like hell (no pun indented), against this madness.

        Because like that type of rot always does, it WILL eventually spread like a cancer.

    • “The lack of recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine under Metropolitan Epiphanios by the jurisdictions in this room, except those of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, continues to be source of conflict and disagreement. The current and rather amorphous status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onufry, now that his autonomous Synod has severed formal relations with the Moscow Patriarchate, creates even more dissonance.”

      Wow… what a complete out-to-lunch, disconnected tool. Definitely not within the real ranks of the Orthodox Christian episcopate.

      Back in the day, this clown would have probably been among those who accused St John of Shanghai and San Francisco of being a charlatan and an embezzler.

      A massive “Anaxios” to the fake “Archbishop” Elpidophoros, better-termed Elpidoktonos. Wow. A mouse has better discernment than this tool.

      If only the other Orthodox episcopate in North America would find the boldness to tell him (in their own compassionate manner) that he’s crazy and tell him to get lost.

      • If only the other Orthodox episcopate in North America would find the boldness to tell him (in their own compassionate manner) that he’s crazy and tell him to get lost.

        They’ve done so in a round-about way previously, most notably with Belya. But I agree, it’s time they step up and tell him to pound sand.

        If they can sit at the assembly meeting, while he says these things, and keep a straight face, well then I don’t have much faith in them and I’ll probably permanently stay in ROCOR.

        He states he’s willing to bring ROCOR back to the table, I’m assuming the other bishops have told him that they won’t do anything without ROCOR, and rightly so.

        I’m am fully convinced that the various Orthodox bishops know that if they were to even slightly recognize the OCU then it would be lights out for them in their various jurisdictions. The laity and clergy of the other jurisdictions arent interested in whatever the EP and GOARCH are selling.

        If the primates were wise they would appeal to their various patriarchs to have the GOA/EP kicked off the Assembly, or, give them permission to leave the Assembly.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          The problem dates way back to Chambésy, where people showed up at these meetings on how to organize the “diaspora,” setting a precedent that America was the diaspora and that it falls under the jurisdiction of the EP. (This is why the EP won’t recognize the OCA because to do that would negate the whole “diaspora” premise that allows him control.)

          The Assembly was a byproduct of those meetings. They can’t kick the GOA/EP out. They would each have to leave and create something new. I heard that Metropolitan Joseph once said that if they wanted to, they could come together and reorganize over night.

          This is their charter for lack of a better word:

          Notice how it says: “The Presidents of these Assemblies are the primate hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in that region or, in their absence, the next in order of the Church Diptychs.”

          There will be no “absence” unless the GOA breaks from the EP.

          • Ahhh ok. Thanks for that background.

            So we need an Orthodox BRICS alternative to the GOA Orthodox NATO. Using half-hearted secular wording of course.

            The AOB here in America is essentially dead in the water, and I would have to imagine the other AOB’s around the world are in a similar state. Now that I’m seeing what you have written I’m assuming they were created at a time when the EP was trying to solidify its world hegemony.

            Those days are long since over and the SMO has put a final nail in that coffin.

            The million dollar question is: Do our bishops have enough fortitude to band with ROCOR to form a new AOB? Or, will they pitter on into obscurity where no one pays attention to the platitudes they put out?

            I get the impression that the bishops, along with the laity, are getting increasingly tired of the foul wind blowing from the Bosphorus…

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Don’t know. Hope so. It’s getting pretty discouraging.

            • Deacon John says

              I am so glad that God put me in ROCOR! I’m so grateful for the Parish I serve in and for Met. Nicholas and the Bishops who comprise the Synod.
              Maybe we are not perfect , but who is? I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m just a simple working class schmuck that God has allowed to serve him. What the EP is doing in the Ukraine is very distressing. The comments from the Archbishop (EP) is also very distressing. I’ll keep praying.

              Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Well, we like “simple working class schmucks that God has allowed to serve Him.” Our favorite kind.

            • Jim Palias says

              You dudes are eff your rockers. No wonder GOA calls you NUTS. If you think the future is in omphaloscopic minaret maqqam howling instead of organs, you will end up living in caves like urine scented unwashed hippies. The only thing now keeping the churches going is the yayuskas insist their grandkids learn Greek in church.

              • Deacon John says

                1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
                2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
                3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
                4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
                5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
                Psalm 100

                I’m quite fond of church singing for the very reason stated in the the above mentioned Psalm.
                In my opinion if one is singing for the glory of God than it’s beautiful. I’m not knocking organs I think they are a beautiful instrument.

                The future that I believe in goes something like this.

                1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
                2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
                3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
                4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
                5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
                6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
                7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
                8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
                Rev 21:1-8

                However I’m just a common schmuck trying to follow and serve The Lord Jesus Christ as best as I can but it seems that you are saying that we are a bunch of navel gazing Muslims shouting prayers from minarets. Minarets from my understanding is where Muslims are called to prayer and are situated by a mosque. I also don’t see how Russian or Byzantine Chant are the same as Maqqam which to my understanding is chiefly Arabic. But what do I know about such things. I do find the music sung in Orthodox Churches regardless of nationality quite beautiful.

              • Solidarity Priest says

                Happy Feast Day to you, too!

              • Mr Palius, you do realize that your are heaping venom on the relics of several thousand saints of the Church? We’re talking from Pentecost to the present.

                A little introspection might be useful, then repentance.

      • Father Michael says

        They might end up like Metropolitan Joseph.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          That occurred to me, too. They’d have to do this together.

          They stood together when Metropolitan Joseph penned that letter on Assembly stationary about Belya. Some of the Greeks had to have known it was coming. It would be hard to keep something like that a secret and I don’t think the Assembly would have tried to hide it.

          The Greeks didn’t stop the letter.

          Based on Elpi’s response, I think he was genuinely surprised. I don’t think he saw it coming. If he had, he would have publicly nixed Belya himself so there would be no bone of contention.

          Instead of fighting the accusations, Metropolitan Joseph went into retirement. Had he fought them, it would have become a circus and no one would have been able to do anything. He may have chosen to retire to help them from behind the scenes through Antioch. (I could actually see him doing that, BTW.)

          The Assembly needs to circumvent the schism before it becomes a reality in America and the only way to do that is to unify with the blessing of the patriarchates. Russia’s not going to say no and the Local Churches would be onboard because they never supported what Bartholomew did in Ukraine in the first place.

          If this doesn’t happen now, I’m not sure we’ll get another chance.

          • The irony is that the most visible unity the AOB has had, for at least as long as I’ve been Orthodox, is when they all stood up to Elpi, both the first time with Met. Joseph and more recently without him.

            The various Orthodox bishops have a chance to break free of the AOB, an organization that was created for EP dominance, and form an Assembly that may actually lead to unity in America.

            I still maintain (as I’m sure most do) that whoever the Antiochian Synod chooses at the end of the month to be the next Archbishop, it is absolutely going to have to be someone who can stand up to the GOA/EP and try to form a new AOB. Politically, given how pro-Russian the Antiochian patriarchate is, I would expect it to be someone who is pro Russia/ROCOR.

            The Greek are never going to stand up to Elpi/EP bc as soon as they do they will be shipped off to the “Holy Metropolis of (hasn’t seen a Christian in 800 years).”


        And he wonders why no other jurisdiction has recognized this schismatic sect…

    • Fr. Peter Andronache says

      I grew up in a time and place (1980s Romania) where “consensus” was imposed from above. Made me very distrustful of anything that looks or smells like that

  14. “This is so much a part of their territorial psyche, most all the country of Russia identifies as ‘Orthodox’ whether they go to Church or not.”

    One Russian graduate student that I met here in the U.S., in the first conversation I had with him, described himself as “atheist” and as “Orthodox” within a few minutes of each other. It’s much the same Old World, community-grounded way of being that was expressed by another graduate student friend (this one from India) who told me, “By personal conviction I’m an atheist…but I am a Hindu.”

    Most Russians, whether they attend Church services regularly or rarely (or even not at all), see themselves as part of this greater Orthodox Christian community and ethos that far outweighs their personal choices when they are called on to answer the question, “Who are you?”

    Also perhaps relevant: In 2004 when Western Easter and Orthodox Pascha fell on the same date, I visited the midnight Pascha service at the Orthodox parish church where I lived in the Russian Far East…and then went to the Easter service later that morning in “my” Russian Evangelical church, where I was serving as an American missionary. I was surprised to meet the same local babushka at both services! She appreciated the spirituality she was getting as a member of the Evangelical congregation…but her roots were still Orthodox and she couldn’t miss Pascha!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I love this story!

    • That’s interesting. Are you saying that there were things that the babushka was not getting from the Orthodox Church?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Jeff, being Greek myself, and having been to Greece several times in my life, I can concur. The overwhelming majority of Greeks don’t attend Liturgy but the Orthodox ethos pervades the land.

      It really wasn’t so different in America pre-1970s. Especially in the 1950s: there was a broad, Middle-Church Protestant ethos that most everybody ascribed to. Blue Laws were pervasive and nobody cared that most businesses were closed on Sundays. If you pressed the average Joe or Jane about how they felt about the intrusion of national chain stores in their city, they’d say something like “Well, maybe it’d be nice if I could go to the Wal-Mart store and get some last-minute stuff but that would hurt the local mom-and-pop store.”

      There was a communitarian Main Street ethos that overrode the individualist Wall Street gotta-make-a-buck-at-all-costs one.

  15. This is interesting: a Ukrainian Jewish soldier named Hitler:

  16. Jimmy Dore to Tucker:
    “China is not the enemy … the US is the terrorist!”

    [Video – 05:42]

    Watch Tucker’s face. It’s priceless…