The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown . . .

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has sent a letter to Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew, warning him that the granting of autocephaly to the non-canonical religious structure will put an end to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s primacy in the Orthodox world.

“I spoke with you in private and with few witnesses about the plans of the Church of Constantinople to legalize the schism in Ukraine. Now, when these plans have been substantially implemented, possibly for the last time, I am addressing you in front of the whole Orthodox Church … [Please] step back now from communication with the schismatics and refuse to participate in the political adventure around their legalization”, Patriarch Kirill said in a letter, posted on the Russian Orthodox Church’s website on Monday.

If you act in accordance with the intentions set out in your letter, you will forever lose the opportunity to serve to the unity of the Holy Churches of God, and cease to be the first in the Orthodox world, which brings together hundreds of millions of believers, and the suffering inflicted by you on Orthodox Ukrainians will follow you to the Last Judgment … I pray with all my heart that this will not happen. It is not too late to stop”, the patriarch added.”



  1. Joseph Lipper says

    Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!

  2. Constantinos says

    The Ecumenical Patriarch should listen. The Russians have over 5,000 nuclear weapons at their disposal. What’s a third world dictatorship to do but flaunt its nuclear weapons?

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Patriarch Bartholomew has now shown himself to be a bold and fearless man of action, despite that he continues to receive threats such as this letter from Patriarch Kyrill.

      There’s been a lot of criticism for his acting unilaterally, but there’s nothing specifically wrong about “one who fights alone”. That’s what St. Mark of Ephesus did, and he was right. I won’t judge the matter, but I hope and pray that Patriarch Bartholomew is right also.

      • Cut off the gangrenous limb! says

        “Patriarch Bartholomew has now shown himself to be a bold and fearless man of action.”

        So how much are the Archons or the State Dept paying you per month to utter this garbage? I envision the small print under your office door name plate reading “Chief Propagandist.”

        The plan all along has been for this Poroshenko/Istanbul fake church creation to become more and more Western – as this new church creation has even said itself! – and to self-isolate away from the rest of the Church, to eventually formally unite with Rome. What’s transpiring now is simply all part of the plan.

        So those in the GOA, ACROD, and UOCofUSA, you’re one step closer to being formally recognized as Roman Catholic, if you even care.

        The Church in Istanbul won’t at all “force” a council. The Orthodox faithful – clergy and laity – will cut him off as a gangrenous limb, lest more of the Church be infected. He had plenty of opportunity for treatment and rehabilitation, which he routinely refused, trusting rather that the western secularists will save him. What stupidity!

        As is well known, a foremost purpose of the Church is to create saints, holy men and women. How many saints will come out of this Poroshenko/Istanbul creation? Zero. How many saints came out of Vvedensky’s “Living Church”? Zero.

        However, the suffering, authentic UOC with Met. Onuphry will produce many, many saints – that’s one clue how we know where the Church is.

        It’s a known truth that those who’ve been pushing for this schism – Western globalists and post-protestants – don’t even believe in sanctification, or in the Church, or in the saints, a fact that is not at all coincidental.

        • Exactly. Far better put than I could ever do. And re living church… And who recognised that in 1924?? So apt. Thank you. Mr Lipper must be well paid. Maybe in next life if not in this one. .

      • In legalising a 90 yr old married man found to be corrupt and breaking his vows at every level. A defrocked liar that bartholomaios himself accused in 1993 and publically backing up the actions of Moscow. And no I am not a Moscow apologist. I do not warm to Kyril shall we say, but that is irrelevant.
        But if i want a Pope I know where to go and excuse me but I prefere and have greater respect for the Roman one. So should you.

  3. John Sakelaris says

    I will leave it to others on here to debate matters of canon law and such.

    But those on this blog who follow the Russia-Ukraine-Patriarch-autocephaly issue need to keep in mind that the great majority of active and believing Orthodox Christians in the United States are not really interested in following these controversies.

  4. Veras Coltroupis says

    Let there be schism! he Russian have to learn that without the Greeks Orthodoxy is just Oriental Despotism!

    • Monk James Silver says

      This comment by ‘Veras Coltroupis’ might set a new record for being unhelpful, in addition to its other implicit flaws.

      I’m writing here not because I have any lack of love or too little respect for hellenic history and culture, but because I think that our interlocutor should have put the brakes on before sending us such silliness.

      Jesus is Jewish — not Greek. and the Irish were Orthodox before Constantinople ever was founded by a Roman soldier born among the Slavs (not a Greek) who never lost his Italian accent, and North Africa was Orthodox before the Russians knew how to eat with a knife and fork.

      So, what have the Greeks done for civilization — Christian or not — lately? I dare say that the Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Patriarchate of Moscow have done a great deal more, on balance, to spread the Gospel than the Hellenes have done for millennia — except among their own. There are now several eparchies in Africa with Black bishops serving in local languages Here in the United States, I hear people whispering mavpoi when Blacks enter a Greek Orthodox church. This phenomenon has historical explanations, but there are no excuses now.

      Let’s please not trade on the glories of the past, but be who we are when we are and where we are, and be apostles ourselves.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Agreed. The scabrous and nonsensical assertions which you reference have forced me to confront some of my Hellenic brethren thusly: ” I’m not ashamed to be Greek but I am ashamed that you’re Greek.”

      • Thank you, Monk James, and have a blessed 2019.

      • Thank u. I have just posted a little more sarcastically as I am totally pissed off with such innane comments as from this lady. They add nothing but to make me think re believers, Richard Dawkins may have a valid point.. Thank you fr.

      • Nikos stone says

        Fr to add I am greek but totally endorse what u say. Living in Bulgaria is a daily boon .

      • Fr what kills me about greek America is as they stand, Sorry SIT in their pews hardly Crossing themselves, enjoying the organ playing and how 19c kitsch can we be with the smooth faced priest, or even better with three hair on his chin over his 19c huge roman collar, all in a language most not inderstanding as they worship the greekfest God. Greek??!! Send them to Athens for a few months to live in Tavli or kaisariani or Paghrati, and then have a chat. Hopefully they will have learnt some greek.

        And yes just to add, i am greek citizen, greek from Patra, greek mother from same and half greek father, so i recon Hitler would have sent me to the gas chamber if we can stretch the analogy. And i am totally proud of my inheritence and greek Culture but I am not blind to our failings. We blame others but we brought us to 1204,1453, 1922, 1974 and 2008!!! ?

        • Solitary Priest says

          You keep saying the same thing about shaven priests and Roman collars. Give it a rest already. We’ve heard it at least 59 times from you, possibly more. Then we have Subdeacon Klancko blubbering about ponytails on clergy. They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
          I favor the traditional appearance on clergy, but you must know that in North America, many parishes told the priest to shave and abandon his robes. Some bishops, notably the late Metropolitan Philip Saliba, were very anti-beard, and sais so quite openly.
          I went to liturgy Jan 7 to one of the few OCA churches still on the Old Calendar. The priest must have been 90. He was clean shaven and wore a Roman collar. Furthermore, his English was quite accented. Yet he served like a Saint, if one may say so. I thought of Papa Nicholas Planas, a real Saint, yet his education was such that he thought some verses written in Classical Greek were Italian!
          I served in other churches with shaven priests wearing Roman collars. I wear the traditional hair and beard. I didn’t question their appearance, nor did they question mine. In conclusion, I can only say I wish it was as easy to abstain from sin, as it is to grow the hair and beard out.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Our GOA priest wears a beard, trimmed but not unduly short (my guess is that the diocese requires trimmed beards– I hadn’t seen long beard on a Greek priest until I went to Jerusalem and Cyprus a couple of months ago).

            But he always wears the full cassock (I disremember the Orthodox term) with pectoral cross, always. I have known him now for 5 years, have seen him in the community, in his home, and in foreign lands; and never have I seen him otherwise dressed. He says that this mode of dress draws many comments and inquiries, and many opportunities to evangelize.

          • Nikos stone says

            Thank you for yr comments. Yes it’s sad I need to mention and yes as we say ‘ The rason does not make a priest, and one of the most spiritual greek clergy I met in USA in new York was clean shaven and in Soviet times etc many needed to be. So i do not worship this and indeed favour clergy in normal clothes, outside od church activity, in our society , but not another 19c western UNIFORM. I am indeed aware re bias of late Metropolitan philip and others re beards and organs, although I do not know if Metropolitan philip prefered organs in church too.
            It would be good and what I really am trying to get, a discussion about what it is to worship in Orthodox way and how we can make it an active and not passive action. Here where i am we join in singing the Our Father and Creed and actually give each other the kiss of peace in shape of hand shake.
            In a way I am glad to get yr reaction because I feel now my points have been noted!!
            I would like to move it forward on to how do we live an Orthodox Christian life in our society and how we can support one another in this.. My equal irritation level is church Politics although Sadly forced on us re current scandal
            Re Pony tail, why not? Final comment it is the older clergy who seem to be wearing the large roman collar and clean shaven. I noticed in Uk many bearded Catholic clergy including in my hospital ( all three chaplains) and most in city dress with no collar or small one u hardly saw. I promise you not another word although discussion with other guys here about razor or electric shaver would be nice as i have just changed to electric and am not too happy. Just going!! ?

            • Solitary Priest says

              Dear in Christ Nikos,
              Since you are kind enough to answer me, I will say this. I think we agree fundamentally. Last summer, I was at a Serbian church picnic. Almost every priest had either some type of beard. Some wore collars, some wore the riassa. One deacon was shaven, but he did have his robe on. I inadvertently offended one priest by mistaking him for a Uniate; he was shaven with a black sports shirt; indeed I didn’t even see his collar until after I put my foot in my mouth by asking if he was Byzantine Catholic. The irony is, often the real Uniate will be the one with the long hair and beard. One Serbian cleric showed up in secular clothes. “It’s a picnic after all,” he said. He had a point, but how would someone know he was a cleric, if they didn’t know him personally. Finally, one deacon had such a long flowing beard that I thought he must be Greek Old Calendar, but he was Serbian.
              I think the OCA is fine with the long hair and beard on clergy. ROCOR mandates it; but many priests work and are trimmed out of necessity. I have seen the organ in maybe one or two Bulgarian churches here. Maybe, it’s because they were Macedonian and therefore somewhat closer to the Greek tradition. It’s a shame, because they have the same beautiful Byzantine chant as the Greeks. I think at least one Greek Metropolitan requires trimmed beards. As for long hair, I don’t oppose it, one Subdeacon who was posting here made an issue out of it.
              However, I must say the handshake just before the Creed sounds like Roman Catholic influence to me. I likewise take issue with the priest reading the prayers out loud. To me, it’s something the Living church did, it may be that the ancient church did, but if we are to be letter of the law regarding what the early church did, I think we would all be excommunicated.

              • Fr thank you. Yes re hand shake is as u say but meaningful. The secret prayers out loud seems to be done widely.
                The bulgarian organs!! Very sad and surprised as totally out of character but if macedonians ( who are Bulgarians anyway) but if macedonians could be as a use as drone that i have heard in USA. The organ inortbodox worship is a destructive agent and aesthetically ugly and old fashioned.
                Re hair etc. Glad u agree. U see this is deeper than we assume and nobody questions the political and attitude of mind of clean shaven clergy and 19c understated suits.
                The priest in reason is a witness in public and interestingly enough all none Orthodox I know, often young and secular, are the ones who find our worship moving and meaningful and clergy appearance one of respect and counter borgeoise smug Culture.
                Yes of course for many reasons clean shaven suited clergy can be saints etc but this is a straw man arguement as no body is saying it automatically makes a priest or not.
                In Soviet Russia clergy died refusing to remove rhe reason and were shaven to cause humiliation.
                The outward is a reflection of the inward.
                It is sad we need to be caught up in all this and could be using our energy to advance the Church and Christ. God bless.

                • As in Soviet times clergy who were clean shaven and short haired could secretly minister to the sick in hospitals etc and there is the moving scene from’ “burnt from the sun ”, of the civilian looking priest baptising the heroine as they float in the River Volga, holding on to a mine before the dying priest floats away. Very moving and amazing when one thinks how clergy portrayed in Soviet times.
                  But in FULL freedom in our society we have the opportunity to witness to the intrinsic reality of the priest as a challenge to our comfortable ideas. It is interesting that just as with traditional open coffin funerals, non- Orthodox seem to understand this deeper profound meaning in the rirual. even uk uniates keep these customs.

      • And let me say for those Greeks who struggled to plant the faith in USA, at the bottom of the pile with little episcopal oversight as there were hardly any!! I have endless respect and thanks. Not understanding well church tradition and mainly having been exposed to the westernized wave of 1890s onwards in thought, music and debased italianate iconic art, they did the best they could and sacrificed much. And given that the leaders in their midst were followers of this western trend in organ church music etc, etc, pushed as cultured, not Turkish AND AMERICAN, they were truly double wammied

        But today we know better re the lot and understanding much more. We have no excuse except if we truly love this Orthodoxy light and kitsch, well then enjoy!! But seems the punters vote with their feet. And no I am not claiming tradition would have them back in droves, as they perhaps lost. But at least there would be the true living witness of the Church IN english to bear witness. But don’t worry as long as it’s in Greek, all else irrelevant. And say I who loves the greek language and prays in greek.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          This can be exaggerated. Many of these innovations doubtless came from Western influences, perhaps deliberately to ‘blend in’. But they have been steadily on the way out for a long time. Most organs have vanished. All the new iconography is very traditional; old “westernized” iconography lingers in places because of congregational memories and associations going back generations. For instance, our parish took out the harmonium decades ago, and the dome, apse, and much else is very fine “returned-to-traditional” iconography. The somewhat “Italianate” icons on the Iconostas remain.
          It is interesting that the Slavs did not have these innovations. On the other hand, the Greeks were a much larger and more cosmopolitan group, eager to succeed in the new milieu and to “conform” to a certain extent in furtherance of same.

          • Nikos stone says

            Yes that interests me why it was Greeks and wider context Armenians who did this. Slavs never. My theory from my professional background is that long western exposure, had as it were, given Slavs antibodies against it, where as Greece had sudden exposure to it, apart from ionian islands who developed their unique polyphony , and in a situation at home and immigration where they felt inferior, were open to ‘ pandemic’ plus emmigrated at time of maximum western influence and in leadership Slavs were citizens of an empire no matter what else whose musical Culture was not questioned and had taken in much.
            Happily now if we have a secure right base we can move forward to represent the faith in our complex society

            • Nikos: “Yes that interests me why it was Greeks and wider context Armenians who did this. Slavs never. ”

              My guess is that Slavs take Orthodox Faith with utmost seriousness. Greeks often feel that that own it, perhaps because basic teachings were formulated in their language, so they get a little too familiar and impudent.

              Slavs did not have high civilization before, they were sort of tribal tabula rasa (blank slate). Faith is the most precious thing they have.

              • Yes Martin very true. In Bulgaria here inspite of our difficult history between us from Basil the bulgar slayer to Balkan wars, wwi and occupation of areas of macedonia in 1941_44,they regard greek Orthodoxy as the model.
                The Cathedral in Kerkyra has an organ and polyphony and in one Orthodox churches sorted about Greece. It has been introduced into Albania and from korean students worshipping with us here, in church in korea too. I am greek but I do not trust my church at all or it’s bishops.None of the bastards Sadly. But the Slavs in such matters I do.

              • Martin,

                I have heard it said (more or less rightly, I think) that the Slavs received the Faith and the Tradition ‘as a whole,’ already largely developed liturgically and in almost every other praxis after nearly a millennium of practice, while the Greeks (also rightly, I think) maintain more of a sense that these traditions developed over time and remain subject to the needs of the Church (within the limits of the Tradition, of course).

                This, it is said, explains why the Slavs are so suspicious of changes. For the Slavs any change of practice, even if minor, tends to be viewed as changing the Faith itself. This is not a criticism. On the contrary, this mindset serves as an important safeguard.

                In our modern age of deconstruction and inclination to ‘reinterpret’ almost everything, I generally find myself more in sympathy with the Slavic mindset. But my sympathy for the Slavic approach doesn’t mean that nothing can ever change or that the truly Orthodox Greek ethos is inherently flawed. Both approaches come with their own temptations. But in our time of widespread, prideful insistence that we (supposedly) know better than our Fathers, the temptations inherent in the latter approach are far more likely to result in a very real and substantial break with the Tradition.

                • Brian: “the Greeks (also rightly, I think) maintain more of a sense that these traditions developed over time and remain subject to the needs of the Church (within the limits of the Tradition, of course).”

                  Yet, there is an inner core within Orthodoxy – the living fiery Faith, that sophisticated Greeks were only recipients of. Scandal to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. On this Faith as confessed by St Peter, Christ has built His Church that the gates of Hell try to subvert.

                  The key laboratory of the clash between subverters and eradicators on one side, and on the other those who remembered and loved the wondrous face of Messiah, the Son of the living God, was the 1920s Rus.

                  The First and Second Rome has fallen, when the Third is not more the mystery of lawlessness will come into open to pave the way for the Son of Perdition to sit on his throne.

    • For God’s sake. Please comment with some sense. The orientation despotism seems to be coming out of Asia minor does it not? Along with the orientation second class PAPACY.. But forgive me but u yanks are not too good with geographical detail are you? I love u dearly but!! I had american friends tell me to be careful here in Bulgaria as in middle East.

  5. Yes, he’s finally losing patience. Long overdue. Bartholomew will not back down. The only question is whether Pat Kirill has the cajones and the votes among the churches to show Bartholomew the door. Also up in the air is the role of the Russian state in the Ukraine. As a defender of Russian interests abroad, Putin may be waiting for an indication from the ROC that it has exhausted inter church diplomacy before he intervenes in the travesty unfolding there.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Misha, I think Crete is a good indicator of the way this is going to go.

      • John Sakelaris says

        Gail and others: I will appreciate a good explanation on here of just exactly what it was that happened on Crete a few years ago and why it is important.

        • Two words: “sexual minorities”.

          • Two more words. Robber Council. It was a council unlike any other in history, taking away the rights of individual bishops in favor of mini-popes, all to support the looming (now we can all see it) pretension of Bartholomew to become an Eastern Pope.

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      The drive toward autocephaly intensified after President Putin invaded Ukraine. If he really cared for the Church’s interests, he wouldn’t have done that. I agree Putin is a defender of Russian secular interests.

      That said, it should have been clear even before Constantinople’s rehabilitation of the schismatics that the situation was in need of resolution by a council, not unilateral actions.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Patriarch Bartholomew is forcing a council.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Regrettably. The only possible reason for a general council would be to resolve the calendar issue or to create a new autocephalous Church. Otherwise, it’s done the old-fashioned way: a Patriarchate cleaves off one (or more) of its eparchies.

      • Exactly.

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      Bartholomew doesn’t have to go. They just have to reverse his bad decision.

  6. Fr. Ioannes Apiarius says

    Wisdom from Saint Paul and Saint John Chrysostom can guide us in discerning which hierarch should be trusted and which should be ignored and admonished in the crisis precipitated by the EP in Ukraine.

    Saint Paul, The Apostle
    Apostle Paul’s explicit remark on Galatians (Gal. 1, 8.9) (made in fact by using accentuation twice: “as we said before, so say I now again“), not to accept any innovation in preaching the gospel, even if that proceeds from an angel in heaven or from the Apostles themselves, openly abolishes every notion of “Primacy” in the hands of individuals over the Tradition inside the Church (since not even the Apostles can change their Gospel a posteriori, since it is “from above“), and furthermore it alone provides us with sufficient guidance in what happens when we are found obligated to show obedience to the Faith of the Church: we must turn away whoever alters the ancient evangelic kerygma (“let him be anathema“).

    As regards another verse, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as those who must give account” (Heb. 13, 17), one may also pay attention to another point worthy of note: the reasoning behind the obedience shown to those “that have the rule“, namely to the leaders, is that “they watch for your souls“; obedience is not without its preconditions. If, based on our ecclesiastical experience, we come to the realisation that these rulers neglect their duty, that they do not care for the salvation of the souls that have been entrusted unto them and that they ignore the spiritual dangers and above all the danger of heresy, then the duty of obedience to them is abrogated.

    As it has been mentioned accordingly “First of all, the Holy Bible distinguishes between good and evil shepherds; between true and genuine shepherds, teachers and prophets on one hand and false shepherds, false teachers and false prophets on the other […]; obedience is not indiscriminate but discriminate“[19].

    Saint John Chrysostom
    Saint John Chrysostom, who is considered by our Church as “a God-inspired instrument and an inexhaustible ocean of dogmas“[21], when interpreting the apostolic commandment on obedience and submission to the Leaders, to the Hegumens (lit. the word means leaders, “them that have the rule“), “obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves“, makes the following clarifications: “Perchance someone may tell us that [apart from anarchy and indiscipline] there is a third evil, namely when the ruler [of the Church] is evil. I too know it; and this evil is not small, but much worse even than anarchy is: for it is better not to be guided by anyone, instead of being guided by someone evil. For the former [subordinate] many a time was he saved and many a time was he found to be in danger; but the latter will most certainly stay in danger, being led to an abyss.

    So how come he says ‘Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves’? After having mentioned further up those ‘whose faith [you must] follow, considering the outcome of their life’ he then says ‘obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves’.

    So what happens then, you ask, when he is cunning and we do not obey him? In what way do you mean “cunning”? If he is such in the faith, avoid him and leave him; not only if he happens to be a man but even if he happens to be an angel descending from heaven [Gal. 1, 8]. If he is so because of the life he leads, then do not be concerned […].

    Yet do not pay attention to his life, but to his words; for no one could ever be harmed from his ethos. Why? Because it is plain for all to see; and even if he happens to be cunning a thousand times over, he will never teach cunning things. But when he happens to be [cunning] in the faith, neither is this obvious to all nor will the cunning one stop teaching. For even the words ‘Do not judge in order not to be judged’ are meant for one’s life and not for the faith“[22].

  7. Francis Frost says


    It is quite true that a gauntlet has been thrown down and that the Moscow Patriarchate is raising the flag of revolt against the Ecumenical Patriarch.

    So far, however, the response has been muted at best. Not one of he autocephalous Orthodox Churches has joined the MP in breaking communion from the ecumenical Patriarchate. The holy fathers of Mount Athos have not ceased commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Indeed, the Athonite father have not even issued an opinion on the controversy at hand.

    The Orthochristian. com web-site has repeatedly misrepresented the position of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate as regard the question of Ukraine. Despite heavy lobbying by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox church has issued NO official opinion regarding the Ukrainian autocephaly. The Holy synod met during the last week of December in conjunction with the 41st anniversary of the enthronement of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilya II. Once again, the Holy Synod deferred any decision until after the Tomos of Autocephaly is issued on January 6, 2019.

    After the meeting, Metropolitan Petre of Chkondidi made the following statement to the press:

    The church will definitely support all fair decisions and the right demand of the people of Ukraine, – Metropolitan Petre Tsaava of Chkondidi told reporters after the meeting of Holy Synod on Thursday while commenting on the issue of autocephaly of Ukrainian Church.

    “We’ll wait for future developments. A final decision will be made at the next meeting of Holy Synod. The church will definitely support all fair decisions and the right demand of the people of Ukraine. Of course, there was a difference of opinions, “said Metropolitan Petre.

    The majority of the Georgian bishops do support autocephaly for the Ukrainian Church. The Patriarch is concerned that public support for the Ukrainians will cause the MP to grant “autocephaly” to its own schismatic children in Abkhazia and Samechablo (South Ossetia). Of course the MP’s Achille’s heel is its own flagrant violations of the scared canons and the Savior’s commandment for the past quarter century.

    You can decry the violation of canonical norms and the breaking of communion; but the fact is that the Moscow Patriarchate has shredded all the canonical norms and broken the Savior’s commandments with aplomb for the past 25 years! Indeed, the canonical norms have been so abused by the MP, that the term ‘canonical’ has become all but meaningless.

    The Russians have illegally seized by violence two entire dioceses of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. They achieved these occupations though mass murder and the expulsion of the legitimate clergy and laity. They created and funded the schismatic “Abkhaz Orthodox Eparchy” on the ruins of the legitimate church. They received into their ranks the traitor VissarionApliaa and concelebrated with him despite the fact that he has no canonical release from the canonical church. The Moscow Patriarchate sent its bishops and priest into the territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate during the 2008 invasion and literally “blessed the missile tanks and weapons used to destroy entire towns and villages; including the missiles used in the rocket attack on the very House of God, the Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the shrine of the protomartyr Razhden in Nikozi. The Russians and their Ossetian allies looted God’s house, desecrated the Altar of God and burned the iconostasis and the Holy Table with the sacred vessels and the very Body of Christ on that Holy Table.

    The Russians have repeatedly have used military power and political violence to further their imperialist aims in direct violation of the Canons of the First Ecumenical Council. Then, having created military “facts on the ground” they expect us to consider their conquests as sacrosanct!

    Should Patriarch Kirill press his campaign against the EP too far, the EP has documented, verifiable grounds to depose and / or excommunicate the entire synod of the Moscow Patriarchate. A decade ago, the Georgians were willing to grant the invaders the fig leaf ‘metochion’ to hide the shame of their crimes against the Christian people. Now, not so much. You can google “Apostolic Canons” for the details.

    Our church is in peril – and we all know it is – for one simple reason. Our leaders and our people have forgotten Christ’s saving commandments. All the financial scandals, all the canonical disorder and the steady dribbling away of our posterity are due to the fact that “the salt has lost its savor”.

    The Orthochristian web-site is right about one thing. The crisis in Ukraine has only one solution, which is repentance; but it is NOT the Ukrainians who need to repent so much, as it is the Moscow Patriarchate and its sponsors in the Lyubyanka who need to repent of their violent, imperialist fantasies.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Yawn. One of my editors let you back on but I couldn’t bring myself to agree. Otherwise I’d have to call you Francis the talking mule.

      Ciao. Let me know how the liberal agenda works out for you when you’ve submitted yourself to the Eastern Pope.

  8. There needs to be pan-Orthodox Council. Of Course, Bartholomew will not show up…but that is okay….he has already thrown himself into schism. Now it needs to be made official by all the other Orthodox Churches. This is not a time for cowardice. This is the time to stand up for Christ and his Holy Church. This is the time to depose Bartholomew. Constantinople has been embracing heresy and schism for 100 years. Patriarch Kirill is correct. There is still time for Bartholomew to reverse course…..but there is no way that a man of such hubris and arrogance will admit to his tragic error in Ukraine. Let him be anathema!!! Pray for the Hierarchs of the local Churches….that they may have the courage and strength to stand against the Eastern “pope.” The gates of hell shall not prevail!

    • Randy Starnes says

      Constantinople has been embracing heresy and schism for 100 years.

      What exactly does it say about the rest of Orthodoxy if that is true. That schism and heresy is OK until you step onto my territory?

  9. Tim R. Mortiss says

    What do the English say? What do the Scots say?

    Who are all these other people? What do they have to do with us? Should we follow the Russians? The Greeks? The Ukrainians? The Georgians?

    What about the Americans?

    It would be nice to have Christian heirearchs who don’t speak for ethnic groups and who are not identified with ethnic groups, especially when those groups have centuries of historical hatreds against one another, and whose followers seem ever incapable of leaving those hatreds behind.

    Except those who came to this country… or, at least, that’s how it was supposed to be.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      These are all legitimate questions, Tim, that I certainly don’t have answers to, save for one. I know who we are to follow: We follow the canonical Church. This would include Russia, of course, but I think we are going to soon hear from all our hierarchs. They are waiting (and praying, no doubt) that the EP changes his mind.

  10. Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

    This entire episode has taught me of what imperial prerogative consists as applied to the Ecumenical Patriarch. With the fall of Constantinople and cessation of the Roman Empire I never imagined the EP would assimilate all the authority and temporal power of the Emperor, and express these presently by acting in such a unilateral and despotic fashion reference Ukraine. All this time I truly believed the EP was first-among-equals and not first without equals. How many conversations I engaged maintaining the Orthodox Church does not have a pope. Yet, how else can you describe someone who believes they have the authority to grant and rescind autocephaly? What else do you call someone who acts as though canon law does not apply to them, and believes they have the authority to either re-interpret it or convene their local synod and come up with their own? The manner in which the EP has conducted himself reference Ukraine should make every Orthodox Christian in the United States shudder with concern for what he or his successor will do in our land.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I wonder if like Pope Leo III he fancies Petro Poroshenko as his Charlemagne? If so, most regrettable.

    • Exactly. And with all due respect the 8th century popes had more excuse and did more good initially. And yes be good if ethnicism could be separated from church to a degree but those here who think like Chamberlain that this is a” far away Orthodox quarrel amongst churches of which we know nothing”, are making a spiritual mistake on same 1938 level.

      All I have to say is USA. Autocephaly?? OCA!!

  11. Gail Sheppard says

    I hope more priests stand up and speak with such frankness, Father.

  12. The holy fathers of Mount Athos have not ceased commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Indeed, the Athonite father have not even issued an opinion on the controversy at hand.

    Do not hold your breath waiting for Mount Athos to chime in. Over the past 26 years, Bartholomew has been busy replacing those monks who are resistant to his extreme ecumenism, with monks who will tow the Bartholomew line. They have ceased commemoration of him over much less than this.
    But now……silence.
    Very disappointing.

    • GOA Priest says

      And what do you base this comment on, aside from your imagination?

      When was your last visit to the Holy Mountain?

  13. The Prophesies of St Cosmos a century or two ago, appear to be an accurate view of the present time. He speaks of WW III and where it will begin, he.names two different starting points as the north and the South. The North fits the present time as Ukraine, and the South fits the present time as Syria. Russia is presently engaged in both arenas of military conflict. I post this here only to inform the Orthodox of the possibility that this terrible war may be very, very near in the present time, and St Cosmos”s warning may not be ignored, but proven to be Divinely inspired accuracy. Time will tell, I wait awake and sober. Peace be unto you. I pray that the Lord will give you His Peace, which can be experienced even during WWW III. I know it can be done, I felt ti this Christmas Season. It is the Good part .that Mary choose, which the Christ ordered will not be taken from her. Glory be to God for all things.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Long time no see.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Most likely the prophecies of St. Cosmas are very relevant today. He prophecied that Orthodox Christians would be tempted to curse the Orthodox Patriarch. Instead, he admonished that Orthodox Christians should curse the Pope, because the Pope will be the reason for the troubles to come.

  14. Eleni Jousma says

    Praying that this renegade Patriarch green patriarch sees that Heaven not Washington is his beacon.

  15. Constantinos says

    Hi George,
    I believe this kerfuffle shows the tremendous need for an autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. Why should we be troubled with these jurisdictional battles between alien Patriarchates? Since the US is the greatest super power in history, and Constantinople no longer exists, and Russia is a useless third world dictatorship,an autocephalous American Orthodox Church should become a reality,and the first among equals. If this does not happen soon, you can kiss Orthodox in America good bye. The very word Russia is anathema to a large majority of Americans. The US should be the new first Rome.

    • John Sakelaris says

      Constantinos, are you saying that the only way to have an Orthodox presence in the US is for American Orthodox to turn fiercely against the majority of the other Orthodox Christians in the world? Think about what you are saying.

      The Orthodox Christians in America survived the first Cold War against Russia without disowning the other Orthodox. Can’t we do the same this time around?

      • Constantinos says

        Dear John,
        I don’t think this jurisdictional battle between the MP and the EP will win any converts to Orthodoxy in America. Also, I think it is very wrong for the EP to look to wealthy Greek Americans as his own personal cash cow. I think the names Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox are a real turnoff to would be Orthodox Christians. It makes it more difficult to evangelize. As you know, evangelism is not one of Orthodoxy’s admirable characteristics. It takes more than smells and bells to become a committed Orthodox Christian.
        I think these foreign hierarchs are religiously abusive toward the laity.We don’t totalitarianism in the US. The US is by and away the greatest nation in the history of the world- and the Orthodox Church in America should be great as well. I’m American to the core of my being. My two greatest heroes are George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Did you know that when George Washington learned that he had been unanimously elected President by the Electoral College, and left Mt. Vernon for New York, it was the greatest triumphal entry in world history? George Washington may well be the greatest person in world history outside of our Lord Jesus Christ. His coronation was certainly more impressive than our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, but then again our Lord was despised by men while George Washington was the most beloved American. The man impresses the heck out of me.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Well, I don’t know about all the rest of it, but I do think it very, very strange that at this late date the big signs on our church are St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, instead of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church.
          They could still have the medallion below showing the Greek Archdiocese of America. But why would you have a sign, on the One Holy and Apostolic Church that tells all passerby (an ours is prominent on a big arterial street), that tells 99.9% of all passerby that this church is for a people they are not.

          Why can we not get beyond this, even in the simplest of ways as that, if nothing else?

          So tiring to talk ancient history, explain why I am not a Greek, on and on, before I can get to reasons to become Orthodox, and why I did.

          Well, this is sure not a new lament, alas….and most of these Greeks (now a minority, probably) are third-generation Americans!

          • Hear, hear!

          • John Sakelaris says

            Tim: Very well-stated. Although I want the process to proceed without fussing or schism, it will be good when in the US we will drop the ethnic names from the parish titles.

            • John Sakelaris “it will be good when in the US we will drop the ethnic names from the parish titles”

              Perhaps the Congress will pass the law ordering that? 😉

          • Michael Bauman says

            I am going to brag: Bp. Basil(Essey), required his parishes to drop the appellation “Antiochian” from the name. All it took for us was a change in the legal documents at the local level. That was over 20 years ago.

            IMO, they are called Greek, Serbian, Russian, etc. because the congregation and hierarchy like the distance those names give. Tim, you might ask your priest what it would take to change.

            The Church has yet to love the people of the United States sufficiently. But why should they, we offer little interest as a whole. So…if we want in we have to storm the gates. Not unlike St. Cyprian of Antioch chaining himself to the altar and demanding to be baptized

            • Monk James Silver says

              God bless Bp Basil Essey and all his good work!

            • Apparently, the idea is spreading. I drove by the recently remodeled St. Mary’s (Antiochian) in Palos Heights, IL – a very ethnic parish overall. Nevertheless…

              Large sign/highly visible: “Saint Mary Orthodox Church”
              Barely visible underneath: “Antochian Archdiocese of North America”

              This is, one might say, “a good sign.”

          • As a greek could not agree more. I am in bul and worship in bulgarian in bulgarian Church. In Greece in greek, in Romania in Romanian etc and in USA staying in whitestone NY where I worshiped in St Nicholas OCA. going to near by new greek church for St Andrew’s Day.

    • George Michalopulos says

      We’ve long needed autocephaly.

    • There already is an Autocephalus Church in America. Are you doing your part? What if every Orthodox in Ameriica jettisoned the ethnic baggage and got serious? Methinks the ethnic jurisdictions would all collapse. Our problem is internal and will not be fixed by a council will ethnocentrism is an issue.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Yes, and I’m in it. What I should have saod is that we should have all pulled together after ligonier and saved each other 25 years of grief. And way more to follow.

        Silver lining? I believe Arb Demetrius has bought us some time. The EP’s horrible mishandling of the Ukrainian situation may have alerted all the American jurisdictions as to what his intentions were for us.

        • Exactly if only and OCA legally autocephalous from it’s mother church, the Church of Russia. Interesting point thst when the russisn churches in Europe during the decades after revolution approached Constantinople for help etc, the then Patrarch,Athenagoras I think, from 1948, advised them to go to their ‘mother church’, the church of Russia, as only there will yr problems be solved ‘ HALLO.!!! ?

  16. Antiochene Son says

    It is being reported that the former UOC-KP and UOAC are continuing to operate as separate entities and both “hierarchies” are continuing to undermine each other.

    But of course. No repentance preceded this arrangement. No attempt was made to save souls through this extreme use of oikonomia (to put it graciously). It is without grace and it will fail.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Well put.

      • Exactly. Did anyone think denisenko flounced out of Moscow in 1991/2 to start his own show to hand it all over now.? And George can u tell me but the other schismatic lot in this non union, are they not double invaded as originally self consecrated as no bishops?
        Bart’s theology of the Divine Patriarchate as Trinitarian theology has zizoulis written all over it. I once saw him as we say down to lunch in the St John Essex uk monastery. He looked totally miserable. Well was lent. But seriously looked a man with no Joy as opposed to the spiritual atmosphere in monastery.

        • Nikos: “Bart’s theology of the Divine Patriarchate as Trinitarian theology has zizoulis written all over it.”

          Zizioulas is a curious guy. He ventures into mysteries of Holy Trinity armed with a modified (allowing for togetherness) Levinas theory of interpersonal relationships. I am still unsure, whether he implies presence of three wills in God or not.

  17. The pseudo-“tomos” has been signed and will be delivered tomorrow. What I find annoying is that Orthodoxy allows itself to be troubled by a clearly uniate graduate of the Pontifical Institute.

    It is not the present travesty that should be concerning. It is bad enough. However, the real concern should be to eliminate the evil illusions regarding the power of Constantinople that led us to this point. It is merely first among equals with only the powers prescribed by canon law – nothing more. It is the folly of the Greeks, and others, for having allowed, encouraged and participated in the creation of the disgrace now known as the Phanar. It is, by its present nature and self-understanding, heterodox.

    The local churches are dragging their feet regarding discipline which is long, long overdue. The Robber Council of Crete was enough of a fiasco to call the ecclesiology of the Phanar into serious question. Now their pursuit of the “sine paribus” heresy has resulting in the potential for widespread violence. Yet most local churches behave as if Constantinople were still first among equals. The inaction of the local churches is a serious sin that may have eternal repercussions for the hierarchs involved. Russia has covered itself somewhat by the excommunication of Constantinople. Hopefully anathema will follow, perhaps on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.

    Orthodoxy is fighting for its survival against the Roman/Progressive Western Borg. The only question is how much of the Church will survive by cutting off the heterodoxy in our midst and how many will succumb to the Eastern papacy.

    Yet Orthodoxy has been faced with this reality before. In the end, it always circles the wagons, expels the heterodox and moves on.

    • Antiochene Son says

      I hope the local churches are just waiting for the Tomos, seeing if he will actually go through with it. Once he does, they will be forced to decide whether to commemorate the new Ukrainian “metropolitan” or not. And if not, what to do about it.

  18. Well… is done. The schismatic Bartholomew has signed the Tomos admist shouts of “Glory to Ukraine!” The false hierarch, Epiphany, gave a speech in which he placed Poroshenko on equal footing with St Vladimir the Great. And Bartholomew sent a letter to all the Local Churches demanding that his new schismatic creation be recognized in the Dyptych. The Orthodox Church of Poland has already rejected his request claiming that he worsened the situation and further divided Orthodoxy. All you sycophants of the Phanar pay very close attention now to see what will happen moving forward.

    1. The situation in Ukraine will deteriorate as the schismatics begin to confiscate Churches and Monasteries and to persecute and kill those of the canonical Church.
    2. The two “united” schismatic groups will continue to undermine and attack each other.
    3. Other local Churches will break Communion with Istanbul.
    4. Poroshenko will not win re-election and will go down in history as the man who started a Ukrainian civil war.
    5. Bartholomew will go down in history as possibly the worst Patriarch in the history of Constantinople….even surpassing Metaxakis of thrice wretched memory.

  19. Greatly Saddened says

    In my heart, I feel the sad reason we will not see a Pan Orthodox Church here in the U.S. for a very long time is, because all the various ethnic Orthodox still want to cling to their old world mother language, old world customs and traditions, and of course is some odd way, home rule.

    What we Orthodox Christians here in the U.S. should be foremost concerned about is to be a truly “Christ Centered” Church. Speaking mainly one language and that language should be the primary language of the U.S., “English!”

    In addition, we should be a “Church” that evangelizes as well! Sadly, up to this point, it has basically been just “smoke and mirrors” and/or a “dog and pony” show. Lots of “pomp and circumstance” with very little if any, substance.

    Say what you will about the Protestants, but in my humble opinion, one thing I have come to realize is, the average Protestant knows much more about Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Bible, than the average Orthodox Christian living here in the U.S.

    Perhaps, a good start would be for the hierarchs to come down off their so called “thrones.” To finally do away with all the “royalty” and “pagentry” fit for a king and lead us as Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did in those days. Living the basic and simple life. Just as the true Shepard did with His flock!

    Rather than, seem to look and talk down to their flock, as so many hierarchs have been known to do. And to try taking on some humility. Perhaps they should try looking at us as equals and as one of us and not separate from us! That would certainly be a good start!

    • Nikos stone says

      Well said although nothing wrong with meaningful custom or good food. Why lose these? But on serious point, one church worshipping in english, english that is worthy not AKA rc Mass level.
      English, and I am greek speaking reading and writing Greek, is the language of Chaucer and Shakespeare and MORE and should take it’s place in the liturgical language of the Church. But above thst a change is needed in the mindset not just language.
      When the bishops live as monks and serve the people and etc, then the Church will preach without words

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        To me the language issue is not much of a concern. Our services are mostly in English, though there is plenty of Greek. There’s a lot of duplication: epistles and gospel readings in both languages, Creed in both languages, etc. Our priest is not Greek, but perfected his Greek as a priest on Cyprus, and the Greek parishioners say that he is much better than they are with ecclesiastical Greek and very good with the modern language.

        It’s the treatment of the Church as the vehicle for the preservation and even extension of Greek culture that is more of a stumbling block to me. I’ve talked about the business of the sign on the church that identifies it to one and all as a place for Greek Christians (of which there are a tiny few), not all Christians (countless people). There’s a lot more, more than the festival (and this parish has a very big and very good one, hugely popular in the larger community). We have an upcoming gala for a fundraiser for a capital improvement. It will be fun, I have no doubt. The theme: celebrating historical and modern Greek art and culture.

        And so on. “I didn’t know you were Greek”. “I’m not”…. I wonder why even have a sign on the church? After all, the Greeks all know it’s there…

        • Antiochene Son says

          I agree with your sentiments. I personally don’t see the language question (by itself) as such a big deal. There was a time when teaching Latin and Greek was a staple of childhood education!

          Just speaking anecdotally: If an ecclesiastical language is such a stumbling block, then why are the Roman Catholic parishes in my area that offer the Latin Mass exploding with vibrant, young families?

          Liturgy can feed the soul in any language, and a person can refuse to be fed even if they understand every word. It’s not the language of the worship that matters, but the disposition of the people and whether they are evangelizing for Hellenism or for Christ.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Latin played such an important role in the Roman Catholic church, and its disuse after Vatican II was a real tragedy, along with much else.

            Of course, the idea of the liturgy in the vernacular makes perfect sense, and has always been the case to one degree or another in Orthodoxy. This perfectly reasonable thought was behind the abandonment of the Latin Mass in Catholicism. But by that time, Latin had long since become the marker of universality, which was the touchstone and strength of the RCC.

            The Tridentine Mass had great beauty and dignity. How well I remember, when I as a Presby lad first went to Mass with my Catholic girlfriend in 1964: the dignity and order of the ceremony, the big church totally full, all the women with headcoverings, from shawls to hats to mantillas and “doilies”.

            I remember many Catholics being deeply distressed by the change from Latin. Those who had travelled the world said that it had been the same wherever they went; they always knew exactly what was going on.

            So many losses in this sad contemporary world, in so many, countless, ways…

            • Tim, it wasn’t just the change from Latin. It was the change to debased English in the English-speaking world instead of the beautiful King James/Douay Rheims. And gutted prayers, truncated psalms, wording so weak and watered-down they are like sawdust in your mouth. I’ve been to Masses around the world in different languages, I don’t need to know the language to understand it. But the language you DO understand really makes a difference. And they trashed it.

              And not only language. It was the overnight trading of chant, beautiful vestments and altar cloths for rock bands with bass and drums and vestments/altar cloths that look like cheap tablecloths. It was the priest turning away from God, instead of leading the congregation in facing and worshipping God, putting the spotlight on himself, glad-handing and joking and trying to be everyone’s best friend, even at times traipsing up and down the ailes in his efforts to entertain.

              It was getting rid of candles and incense (except on major feast days) and turning on bright, harsh lights so everyone could sing bad modern hymns from cheap missalettes (and most people just stopped singing).

              It was moving from communion on the tongue to communion received in the hand and eaten like a potato chip. Widespread in parishes today are communion hosts afterwards found dropped on floors and under pews by people who don’t bother consuming.

              That does not begin to address what happened to preaching, spirituality, morality. All tossed out and pop psychology/pentecostalism substituted. Not to mention pedophilia.

              I converted to Catholicism nearly 20 years ago after time in the Protestant world, and was very involved in Church life. But I recently converted to Orthodoxy. I’m Antiochian and we chant beautifully in beautiful English, while Catholic bishops argue and say “It’s too hard for people to understand, you have to dumb it down for them!” And dumb it down they have. They have trashed and ruined their Church and good Catholics are paying for it, I’m sad to say.

              To the Orthodox all I can say is, hang tight to your traditions. Don’t compromise. Buck the bishops if you have to. There is an evil spirit in this world and it’s going after Orthodoxy, too – and I hate to see the Orthodox world, which I have so recently come to love, go the way the Catholic world has.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Theo, I agree with most of what you say, and based on personal experience. I myself was never inclined to become a Catholic, given my combination of serious Presbyterianism with decades of being a sort of fellow-traveler with Orthodoxy. But I nonetheless had a great respect for Catholicism, or for what it was. To this day I fervently hope and pray that they ultimately continue to adhere to the core of the Faith.

                I strongly agree about the language. It was a tragedy of huge proportions that the time of the abandonment of Latin coincided with a time of debasement and “experiment” with English liturgical language. The Orthodox who moved to English happily followed, mostly, the Revised Standard Version language, which, notwithstanding certain shortcomings is a very good balance between the cadences and general beauty of the King James with needed updating. Indeed, I continue to believe that the RSV (not the NRSV) is superior to the New KJVs in most respects.

                But so much has been lost that once was great.

                • “I continue to believe that the RSV (not the NRSV) is superior to the New KJVs in most respects.”

                  Very interesting. Would you mind to provide a few passage comparisons?

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    Perhaps in the future, but for purposes of the duration of this thread, I haven’t time.
                    I was raised with the RSV, which pretty much became the bible of mainline Protestantism in the 1950s into the 1980s. It also became widely adopted by Catholics, and when I began to attend Orthodox services in the early 1980s, both Greek and OCA, I noticed at once that it seemed to be in wide use.
                    I think the prefatory, introductory, and essay material in the Oxford edition of the RSV, with Apocrypha, which is familiar to most of us, give a very good explanation of the process of the RSV translation, and its efforts to stay well within the Tyndale and King James translation tradition.
                    At any rate, it is important to have a good translation in liturgical use, particularly for memorization purposes. For the latter purpose, one must stick to a single translation, and to me that’s the RSV.
                    Not that I’m against the NKJV, and of course they are pretty close on that score (and my references are to language only, not other translation issues).
                    Just a few thoughts for now.

                    • I only meant a couple of favored passages, as I like to ponder on differences in translations. But if you are too busy, it is OK>

                  • Martin, you can find it online, like at Just be sure it’s the RSV, not the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), which uses “inclusive” language and has other issues. I like the RSV.

                    But the Douay-Rheims is my personal favorite translation, very similar to the King James in style, but including the deuterocanonical books. It has some interesting word choices I like because influenced by a more sacramental understanding of scripture.

                    For example, Acts 2:42 in the RSV is translated, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers,” ‘fellowship’ being a pretty standard Protestant term that means Christian community.

                    The DR translates it “And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” ‘Communication of…’ (the Greek word also having that meaning) puts the emphasis on communion, receiving the Eucharist, being communicants, not simply keeping company with other Christians. The use of “doctrine” raises it to the formal level of teaching given during the liturgy. So the passage is rendered as a reference to the early Christian liturgy and Eucharist, which doesn’t come across as clearly as in Protestant translations, including the RSV.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Every serious translation has merit. Douay/Rheims is, of course, one of them.
                      But the Tyndale/KJV/RSV lineage displays wonderfully apt qualities of the English language.
                      A shortcoming of the RSV is that it could not break away from the Thou/you issue with regard to “God language”; understandable given the KJV history. Also, there are many places where language could have been used that in later times would have been called “inclusive”, without any of the latter-day baggage now associated with the term. Such may have helped hold the line against much of the NRSV. But this is only to say that every translation to some degree reflects its times.
                      So all translations have something to offer the believer. But there still must be a common liturgical text. My experience is limited, but every Greek or OCA priest I have heard recite Psalm 50/51 has used the RSV version, which to me is beautiful and perfect. This RSV usage (just one example) helped me into the Orthodox Church. We are, after all, speakers of a profound and wonderful language!

                      As an aside, if you asked me what I miss most about my old Presby church, I would say lay reading of the bible in services. I could put it out there better than any Reader I have ever heard! Indeed, we have one who does very well, one who you cannot hear at all, and one who sounds like a gravel truck….a chanting gravel truck, no less!

                    • “The DR translates it “And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

                      I like it. Thanks.

                • “To this day I fervently hope and pray that they ultimately continue to adhere to the core of the Faith.”

                  I agree, I agree. And there will always be a core group of people who hang on and do what they can. It’s just that having been on the “inside” for so long, there are so many problems, I don’t know how they will rebuild. And it won’t happen quickly, there have been decades of malformation and disregard of authentic tradition, including, I discovered, among some of the priests I thought were the best and most knowledgeable, and in seminaries I respected. How do you recover what you don’t even know you’ve lost?

                  It may take generations, not just a few years, and will be a work of God, not of man. And will require a lot of purging to get there. But then that process does seem to be underway, if the news headlines have anything to do with it. We will see.

              • Antiochene Son says

                What’s interesting about the post-Vatican II situation in the RCC, is that the council did not mandate the use of the vernacular, did not tell the priest to turn his back on God, did not instruct anyone to replace Gregorian chant with guitars, did not command churches to be gutted in a wave of iconoclasm the likes of which had not been seen since the 9th century.

                It was done almost everywhere, but nobody told anyone to do it.

                The Roman Church was deeply sick before Vatican II, because parishioners would have had the heads of their priests for doing these things in better times.

                It’s instructive for us, and I would echo Theo’s exhortation. The faithful are the rational sheep of Christ, and if our priests or bishops do questionable things or make unsanctioned “improvements” to our liturgy, it cannot be allowed. The Church does not belong to any one of us, from our bishops to the laity. It belongs to Christ, and we are only its current custodians.

                Our only role in the Church is to take what our grandparents gave us and give it to our grandchildren.

          • I agree it’s not the liturgy language of and by itself. But attitude and I would say if a sermon can or cannot be preached in english.
            We would take my late greek mum to Russian services in London and if the sermon, as was, given in english as well as Russian, she was at home. Indeed prefered mymosyna in Russian church.
            She was happy to hear english in greek services but would always say for her worship was in greek. Fair comment really. For me also but I have no issue with even martian where needed. With modern english, martian indeed.

    • Greatly Saddened: “all the various ethnic Orthodox still want to cling to their old world mother language, old world customs and traditions”

      Which exactly American traditions would you like them to embrace, that they did not yet?

  20. Greatly Saddened says

    Well said and so true, George. Unfortunately, I guess after basically being so called threatened at the time by Patriarch Bartholomew, the bishops of the then Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America decided to rescind their signatures at Ligonier. What a sad day in Church history for our Orthodox Church in the U.S..

    What a wonderful and historic time that would have been for all us Orthodox Christians living here. But, unfortunately, the bishops buckled under pressure. Too bad and so sad!

  21. Antiochene Son says

    Well the deed is done. I wonder if there is any way to find out if the primates of any of the other churches commemorated Ukraine today.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      There needs to be more of a consensus for the other primates to break communion or anathematize the EP. That might not even happen.

      The EP has categorized the situation in Ukraine to be primarily a territorial dispute, and the rightful role of the EP is to settle such territorial disputes.

      For the other primates to break communion with the EP, they would probably have to find other charges against him.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Joseph, I must disagree for the reasons stated below:

        First, there was no “territorial dispute” in question here. In fact, the canonical Ukrainian Church encompassed those areas (such as Crimea, the Donbass, etc.) that have seceded from Ukraine. It is in fact, a territorial Church representing the polity known as Ukraine as it was constituted pre-2014.

        Second, there was no “dispute” regarding the parameters of the original Tomos of Transfer of the Metropolia of Kiev to Moscow, either in word or in fact. Either during its crafting of its subsequent understanding. This was therefore, a naked land-grab.

        Third, the abject horror of it all is being internalized by every other autocephalous Church. They know that if this most unfortunate principle is allowed to stand, then no Church is truly autocephalous.

        Fourth, this is neo-papalism, pure and simple. Hence, it must –and will–be vomited out by the Orthodox Church just as every other heresy has been vomited out throughout our Church’s entire history. “What has Belial to do with light?”

        Fifth, even many of the Ukro-rightists/Nationalists will come to regret it when they begin to realize that this was a trojan horse, not merely to effect unia with Rome but to undermine traditional morality in order to make Ukraine more in alignment with “Western values” (i.e. more open to the LGBT regime). I imagine that many of the actual Uniates themselves will be horrified in due time when they realize the true meaning of the Globalist agenda for their beloved country.

        And of course the real fear is this: will this new sect provoke a war with Russia? How long will Russia restrain itself?

        I of course, as well as many of you, will be able to sit back and say “I told you so”.

        • well said George. Whst does the esteemed Mr Lipper not quite get after all this time.?

          Perhaps he is over awed by Denisenko’s evidence sanctity?

      • Antiochene Son says

        “primarily a territorial dispute”>

        Oh please.

        The “territorial dispute” was caused by the EP unilaterally lifting Moscow’s anathema against some schismatic sects, and then granting Moscow’s territory to them. And then they “solved” the dispute by nullifying the UOC-MP.

        This is literally the EP’s Reichstag Fire.

        If the EP is soooooo concerned about territorial disputes, why has he refused to mediate in the schism between Jerusalem and Antioch, after multiple appeals? Why has he taken no pastoral action to regularize the situation in the New World, aside from lording EP hierarchs over the other churches whenever he gets the chance?

        If Bartholomew would pretend to be our Supreme Archpastor, why does he throw his sheep into briar patches? Why does he give his children stones when they ask for bread?

        He is a wolf in shepherd’s clothing. He has lost all moral authority and he deserves to lose his episcopal authority along with it. As much as it pains me to say this about an Orthodox hierarch, I pray another takes his bishopric before he causes any more damage.

  22. Constantinos says

    Hi George,
    There are many faith destroying events happening in the Orthodox Church right now. I ask myself,”Where is Christ in all this?”
    Well, as a break from that, I would like to tell you a true story involving me this past Saturday. All of a sudden, I keep getting the blue screen of death on my computer. It was crashing constantly, then it wouldn’t start at all. I thought it was junk so I thought I might as well take it apart for the heck of it. Before, I started, I laid my hand on the CPU and prayed, “God, please heal my computer. God, please help me to fix my computer.” I began to take my computer apart, then I thought there were too many screws to keep track of so I put it back together, and, lo and behold, to my utter astonishment, my computer began working perfectly, and has continued to work like a top since then. No crashes, no blue screen of death, just purring like a pussy cat. It came to me; the problem was in my power cord, and nothing inherently wrong with the computer. That was a real double answer to prayer. Of course, I’ve always known that prayer works; this is just one more example. It wasn’t a miracle, but it was a definite answer to prayer. Praise God in all things!

    • Constantinos you asked a great question. Where is Christ in all of this? Nice story and glad your prayer was answered! Glory to God! I have a better one. Last November (2017) one of my young rescue kids who we took off the street to live in our home got re-hooked on drugs and ran away. Sweet young man, product of two addict parents. By Theophany last year I was desperate and thought he was lost, never to been seen by us again. I went to Church for the feast and for most of it tears were streaming down my face. The priest came up to me afterwards to see if I was okay, and we prayed together for a while for the young man. Father told me he believed my prayer would be answered. As I was pulling out of the Church parking lot my phone rang. After eight weeks of him being on the run and not having heard from him, it was the young man asking if he was welcome back and if I would help him get clean again. He is now six months clean and sober (we had some early setbacks), working, and in two weeks moving into his own apartment to restart his life. I believe with all my heart God timed his call, minutes after the priest and I finished praying on Theophany for such a call, to remind me how great a God he is, and that he is so great he can even work some good through a great sinner like me. For his privacy I won’t mention even his first name, but I humbly ask everyone who reads this to say a brief prayer for him and his continued health of mind and body and sobriety. To answer your question my brother Constantinos, this is where Christ is in all of this. I am no especially good person, and sin every day. But getting involved in things like this makes even an great sinner like me feel closer to Him. This is at least partially why I get so angry (God forgive me) at our preening Holy Synod Metropolitans in Istanbul and our GOA hierarchs in America who do nothing but prance around in gold robes with crowns in limousines using and handing out fancy titles living like princes powing around with billionaire sycophants. When is the last time any one of them saw the inside of a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, prison or (unless a billionaire was sick) prison. I guess I just need to remember what our Lord said about the Pharisees who sit in Moses’ seat.

      • Constantinos says

        Dear Michael,
        Outstanding post full of substance and insight. It’s one of the finest posts I’ve read on any site. It’s just excellent. I will definitely pray for you, your family, this young man, and all who suffer from addictions. I can’t tell you what a blessing this post is to me personally. Thank you so much. So much to think about.

        • Constantinos thank you for your kind words, for which I am humbly grateful, but especially for your prayers for me and my family, the young man we are caring for, and especially all who suffer from addiction. It is a horrible curse in our country and these afflicted people cannot recover without help and love, and God’s mercy.

    • There are many faith destroying events happening in the Orthodox Church right now. I ask myself, ”Where is Christ in all this?”


      He is right with us in the middle of it, sharing our sorrows and caring for us as you found in the case of your computer. Yes, I know some may scoff and say, “God doesn’t care about computers.” Perhaps not, but he hears us cares for us.

      I am not one who puts undue emphasis on signs of the end because we are clearly told we cannot know it. Nevertheless, it is not without reason that our Lord and His apostles told us that things such as these that we are now witnessing would come to pass, and in a paradoxical way they can and should serve to strengthen our faith.

      God is with us! Christ is in our midst!

  23. Nikos stone says

    I live in Bulgaria and am greek Orthodox. The worship here is now in bulgarian, not church slavonic and Serbia now the same in Serbian. As church slavonic is from old bulgarian ( macedonian) not a big change.
    I agree that problem is not just language, that should be obvious, although important ro worship in the language of the country too. The question is as said the level and Sadly the west reduced liturgical language to a dead joke.
    As to worship greek american with it’s rigid row of pews and organs etc should give passengers for thought with congregation reduced to Theatre goers.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I wonder how many GOA churches actually still have organs. As I’ve said before, my parish got rid of its harmonium 30 years ago.

      As for “rigid rows of pews”, in Cyprus this last October we saw several churches with “rigid rows’ of seats: not pews, but may as well have been. They were no longer confined to the sides and back of the sanctuary.

      • Nikos stone says

        Tim yes re pews, and they better than chairs, yes Sadly we greeks had installed them since early to mid 1970s i would say remembering Athens and Patras Churches in Greece.
        One of course habituates to what is given but I have always worshiped too in Slav churches so have always been able to feel and understand the difference as here in Bulgaria .
        With the use of organ etc my feeling is that this is on the decline although there are hot organ spots as New York Holy Trinity Cathedral and Los Angeles St Sophia . The Bay Risge Holy Cross and Paulos Heights parishes were without that i attended..

        This is not a discussion in semantics but affects Orthodox worship in profound ways as sure you understanding. .
        Best wishes.

    • Constantinos says

      Hi Nikos,
      I enjoy your posts. You are a very intelligent man. You belong in the US, not Bulgaria. We need more people like you.

      • Constantine thank you. I do know USA, from NY to Chicago to Cisco and have friends there in military and connected in Marriage.I have great respect for the protoporoi who established the churches with little epuscopal support apart from that of Russian church which showed itself to be open and clear sighted, especially under Bishop martyr Saint Tikhon.
        You are a great Country thst has the strength if u take it to overcome current situation.
        I am just a jo average not very good Orthodox layman who is at home in West and not afraid of it. Who loves my Greek heritage and being the vehicle in which i have expressed my faith but can see outside of it and knowing Russia and the Slav churches I see further.
        Before all this Ukraine business I always understanding that Constantinople would never stand up for the integrety of Orthodox worship as witnessed by GOA , the needs of ordinary believers in diaspora etc etc. But now it is clearly papal in belief,with not even a Peter in sight.!!
        Some on this site glory in division for it’s own sake. I do not. I respect other faiths and other christians and their insights and wish for union if possible but NOT to betrayal of the Church or anadyne language to mean nothing as comes out of Constantinople at every professor like encyclical economic mood music speak.

        I am sad that we are taken up with Politics and not with how we can witness to Christ, what does are worship mean to us and How do we worship?. What is appropriate language to express our Faith in today, that our beliefs may make sense to those listening.? When i hear such phraseology as ‘he came down from heaven ‘ does that make sense any longer to anybody outside the flat earth society?. Often my belief is sustained and fortified by science, not by the Church. Are we truly understanding the message of the Soviet experience of Russia and eastern Europe of the last 70 odd yrs, or do we not even think about it? And no I am not calling for modernism .
        Why is it that in General it is us Greeks who destroy church tradition with kitsch pseudo western crap. From korean students worshipping with us here in Veliko Tarnovo, i learnt how back home they worship with harmonium and 19c western kitsch music. Is this witnessing to Korean culture in their country? , let alone a western cultural imperialistic attitude and how different to the Russian established japonese church.
        Sadly these issues will never get a look in on this blog or be pushed away as tribal so folks can get back to Politics. Including me!! ?

  24. Gail Sheppard says

    Tomos in English:

    Bartholomew, by God’s mercy Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch:

    “You have come to Mount Zion . . . and to the Church of the first-born” (Heb. 12.22–23), as the blessed Paul, apostle to the nations, declares to all the faithful, appropriately likening the Church to a mountain to affirm conviction and recognition as well as steadfastness and stability. For although the Church of God both is and is called one flock and one body of Christ—everywhere sharing the confession of Orthodox faith, the communion through the sacraments in the Holy Spirit, and the constancy of apostolic succession and canonical order—already from the earliest apostolic times it also consists of local and native Churches internally self-administered by their own shepherds, teachers and servants of the Gospel of Christ, namely, their regional Bishops, not only for the historical and secular significance of these cities and lands, but also for the particular pastoral needs of these places.

    Therefore, inasmuch as the most devout and divinely-protected country of Ukraine has been fortified and magnified by heavenly providence, while also acquiring comprehensive political independence, and inasmuch as its civil and church leaders have avidly sought its ecclesiastical self-administration over more than thirty years—thereby further echoing previous similar requests periodically addressed by its people to the most holy Apostolic Throne of Constantinople, which is obliged by a lengthy canonical tradition to care for the holy Orthodox Churches facing difficulties, especially those with which it has always been associated through canonical bonds, such as the historical Metropolis of Kyiv—our Modesty, along with our most reverend Metropolitans and most honorable beloved brothers and concelebrants in the Holy Spirit, in the imperative concern of the Great Church of Christ within the Orthodox world for healing long standing schisms and divisions in the local Churches, unanimously determine and declare that the entire Orthodox Church contained within the boundaries of the politically constituted and wholly independent State of Ukraine, with its sacred Metropolitan, Archdiocesan and Episcopal sees, its monasteries and parishes, as well as all the ecclesiastical institutions therein [which would presumably include the MP’s 34,764 parishes and 926 monasteries since THEY exist within the same “political” boundaries], operating under the Founder of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, our Godman Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, shall hereafter exist as canonically a u t o c e p h a l o u s, independent and self-administered, having and recognizing as its First Hierarch in all church matters its presiding canonical Primate, who shall bear the title “His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine,” without any lawful addition or deletion to this title without permission from the Church of Constantinople. This Primate shall preside over the Holy Synod, annually comprised of Hierarchs invited by rotation and seniority from those serving within the geographical boundaries of Ukraine. This is how the affairs of the Church shall be governed in this land, as the sacred and holy Canons declare, freely and in the Holy Spirit and unimpeded, far from any other external interference.

    Moreover, we recognize and declare this Autocephalous Church, established within the boundaries of the sovereign territory of Ukraine by means of this signed Patriarchal and Synodal Tomos, as our spiritual daughter, and recommend that all Orthodox Churches throughout the world acknowledge and commemorate it by the name “Most Holy Church of Ukraine” with its see in the historic city of Kyiv, without being henceforth entitled to establish bishops or found extraterritorial altars in regions already lawfully dependent on the Ecumenical Throne, which bears canonical competence over the Diaspora, but instead restricting its proper jurisdiction within the territories of the State of Ukraine. Indeed, we bestow upon this autocephalous ecclesiastical Authority all the attending privileges and sovereign rights, so that from this day the Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine shall commemorate “Every Orthodox Diocese” during the liturgy, while the surrounding choir of most holy Hierarchs shall commemorate his name as First Hierarch and Primate of the most holy Church in Ukraine. As for matters related to internal ecclesiastical administration, these shall be arbitrated, adjudicated and determined absolutely by the Primate and the Holy Synod, adhering to the evangelical and other teachings—in accordance with sacred Tradition and the venerable canonical regulations of our Holy Orthodox Church, as well as the teaching and injunction of Canon 6 of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea, which dictates that “whereas the common vote of all is reasonable and in accordance with the ecclesiastical canon, in cases where two or three disagree by reason of personal rivalry, let the vote of the majority prevail” [which is why SOMEBODY better figure out how to call a Council, even if it’s Putin as “emperor”] —while further preserving the right of all Hierarchs and other clergy to address petitions of appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who bears the canonical responsibility of irrevocably passing judgment over matters related to bishops and other clergy in local Churches, in accordance with the sacred Canons 9 and 17 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon.

    In addition to the above, we declare that the Autocephalous Church in Ukraine knows as its head the most holy Apostolic and Patriarchal Ecumenical Throne, just as the rest of the Patriarchs and Primates also do, while having along with its other canonical obligations and responsibilities, as its foremost mission, the preservation of our Orthodox Faith inviolable as well as the canonical unity and communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the other local Orthodox Churches unwavering. Furthermore, the Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine, as well as the Hierarchs of the most holy Church of Ukraine, are from now on elected in accordance with the provisions of the holy and sacred Canons as well as the relevant regulations of its Constitutional Charter, along with mandatory agreement in all matters on the regulations of the present Patriarchal and Synodal Tomos. All the Hierarchs have the duty to shepherd the people of God in a manner pleasing to God, advancing, in the fear of God, peace and concord in their country and Church.

    Nonetheless, in order that the bond of spiritual unity and association of the holy Churches of God may remain in every way undiminished—for we have been instructed “to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4.3)—His Beatitude the presiding Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine is required to commemorate, in accordance with the ancient traditions of our holy Fathers, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Their Beatitudes the Patriarchs and other Primates of the local Autocephalous Churches, in the sequence of the Diptychs, according to canonical order, assuming his proper place after the Primate of the Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia both in the sacred Diptychs and church assemblies.

    At the same time, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, through its Primate or else the canonical locum tenens on the Throne of Kyiv, is obliged to participate in periodical Inter-Orthodox consultations on significant canonical, doctrinal and other issues, in accordance with the sacred custom of the Fathers that has prevailed from the outset. The First Hierarch, after being installed, must also immediately dispatch the necessary Irenic Letters concerning his establishment both to the Ecumenical Patriarch and the other Primates, just as he is also entitled to receive the same from these, while commencing his irenic journey as customary from the First-Throne Church of Constantinople, wherefrom it will likewise receive the Holy Myron as affirmation of its spiritual unity with the latter. In the case of major issues of ecclesiastical, doctrinal and canonical nature, His Beatitude the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine must, on behalf of the Holy Synod of his Church, address our most holy Patriarchal and Ecumenical Throne, seeking its authoritative opinion and conclusive support, while the prerogatives of the Ecumenical Throne over the Exarchate and Sacred Stavropegial institutions in Ukraine shall be preserved unmitigated.

    Consequently, on the basis of all the above and on the basis of these conditions, our Holy Great Church of Christ blesses and declares the Orthodox Church in Ukraine as Autocephalous, invoking the abundant gifts of God and boundless treasures of the All-Holy Spirit upon the venerable Hierarchy, the righteous clergy and pious people throughout the land of Ukraine, and praying that the First and Great High Priest Jesus Christ—through the intercessions of our all-holy and most blessed lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary; the holy and glorious prince Vladimir, equal to the apostles; the holy and glorious queen Olga; our venerable and God-bearing Fathers, the ascetics and monastics of the Kyiv Lavra and all the Monasteries—may forever support the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine, now reckoned in the body of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, and grant it stability, unity, peace and increase for His glory and that of the Father and the Holy Spirit.

    These things, then, are deemed and determined, joyfully proclaimed to you from the venerable Center of Orthodoxy, having been ratified in synod, whereas this Patriarchal and Synodal Tome is issued for permanent protection, being recorded and signed in the Code of the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, delivered in an identical and accurate copy to His Beatitude Epifanios, the Primate of the Most Holy Church of Ukraine, and to His Excellency the President of Ukraine, Mr. Petro Poroshenko, for abiding verification and permanent confirmation.

    On this sixth day of the month January of the year two thousand and nineteen,
    Of the XII indiction

    + Bartholomew of Constantinople, hereby determines in Christ God
    + Panteleimon of Vryoula
    + Gennadios of Italy and Malta
    + Avgoustinos of Germany
    + Germanos of Tranoupolis
    + Evangelos of New Jersey
    + Kyrillos of Rhodes
    + Evgenios of Rethymnon and Avlopotamos
    + Ambrose of Korea
    + Konstantinos of Singapore
    + Arsenios of Austria
    + Chrysostomos of Symi
    + Nathanael of Chicago

    See Greatly Saddened’s Link EP43

    • In addition to the above, we declare that the Autocephalous Church in Ukraine knows as its head the most holy Apostolic and Patriarchal Ecumenical Throne.

      Someone needs to provide these gentlemen with a dictionary.

  25. Perhaps Patr. Bartholomew should issue tomos recognizing Old Calendarists and express an abject apology to them?

  26. well said George. Whst does the esteemed Mr Lipper not quite get after all this time.?

    Perhaps he is over awed by Denisenko’s evidence sanctity?