They Just Can’t Help Themselves, Can They?

Hey! I was in the neighborhood!

There’s an old saying that goes something like this:  “no good deed goes unpunished.”  And usually, whenever I say something positive about the GOA, I wind up getting bit right in the you-know-what. 

On more than one occasion in the recent past, I’ve commended Arb Elpidophoros for certain “admirable qualities.”  I even complimented him when I found out he was going to be one of the major speakers at the annual March for Life.  Deep down, I knew this was a political ploy and that his words would be equivocal but in the spirit of Christian charity, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

We shouldn’t forget that his various advisors shrink from the pro-life cause like Dracula from a Crucifix so I imagine he had to put his foot down on this one and  probably told them that since he’s “the Archbishop of America” it wouldn’t be good optics Metropolitan Tikhon gave the invocation.  Otherwise, people would think that the GOA is not the Big Kahuna and that in turn, would reflect poorly on the Archons and Leadership 100 class.  (Because if he’s not the Big Kahuna in American Orthodoxy, then what are they, chopped liver?)

It’s sad that this act should be worthy of commendation in the first place.  After all, given the fact that as a bishop belonging to an Orthodox Church, being pro-life should be a no-brainer.  Then again, we are talking about the GOA, which is an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; therefore we shouldn’t be too surprised.  We shouldn’t forget what Patriarch Bartholomew said some thirty years ago that the Orthodox Church is “generally speaking, against abortion.”

Wow.  What a call to arms.  Shakespeare’s got nothing to worry about.  “Once more, into the breach!  Abortion is wrong but women must have autonomy!  As for innocent babies, Oh dear, look at the time, I must be going!”

Anyway, I thought that this was a step in the right direction.  A baby step mind you but still a step on the right path.  God, as they say, honors the intention.

Still, I should have realized that I’d wind up with egg on my face.  As you can see from the Archbishop’s twitter feed (as well as the speech itself), his words were contradictory.  “Yes, yes, yes, we’re pro-life but we honor all women for their autonomy, just like the Blessed Virgin.”  (Who, incidentally, didn’t use your autonomy to kill the Baby in her womb.) 

Besides approaching blasphemy, this is a circle that can’t be squared.  Think of it this way:  “I’m personally anti-homicide but I believe in the right of personal autonomy, so I must respect your right to commit homicide.”  See what I mean?  Leave the theology out of it; only look at the irrationality of the sentiment itself. 

So, what’s the upshot?  Given the powers-that-be in the GOA were probably not in favor of him going in the first place, we should probably assume that some of his smarter advisors felt some pushback from his disastrous stroll with the BLMers back in June of 2020.  (You remember those “mostly peaceful” protests, don’t you.)  If nothing else, his appearance at the rally would diffuse the argument that most other Orthodox in America see the GOA as being ultraliberal.  Or so they hoped.

It’s a cold calculus I grant you but it seems to connect all the dots.

Anyway, we can question his sincerity.  Regardless, as to the event itself, it was stage-managed to minimize his contact with those icky pro-lifers.  According to my sources on the ground, the Archbishop appeared right before the event and left fairly soon afterwards.  In other words, he didn’t actually “march” for life.  Think of it as a casual drive-by:  “Hello Darling!  I really wish I could stay and talk but I’m in a bit of a rush.  Have your people contact my people!  It was so good to see you!  Ciao!”

On the other hand, he did march right over to the Ukrainian embassy to pay his respects to the personnel and to inform the world that those Russians are just plain awful.  Think of it as killing two birds with one stone.  You know, “hey, since I’m in the neighborhood, I thought I’d drop by and say ‘hello’.”

So yeah, getting back to his appearance at the March for Life, I was wrong.  His sincerity and commitment to the pro-life cause was calculated.  To those who are committed to the pro-life cause –whether Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox, or whatever–we saw right through this ploy when Elpidophoros cynically injected the word “but” in the middle of his “prayer.”  In doing so, it all but invalidated the first part.

So, from now on, I’ll just cut to the chase and impugn bad faith to the Archbishop and anybody else from Istanbul.  I don’t want to, but other than being pharisaiacal and bending myself into a pretzel to pretend that they’re sincere, I don’t know what else to do.


  1. About a month ago I made the decision to leave GOA (along with my family) and join a Church in a different archdiocese. This was an incredibly difficult decision for me since my whole life revolved around one parish. My choices were stay and fight against the tide of bad decisions, OR take my time, talent and treasure elsewhere to another Orthodox parish. I took my time, talent and treasure elsewhere. So far, I am very happy with my decision….especially after these continuous insane stances GOA has taken over the last week.

    • Congratulations, Philippos on you and your family making the right decision! May God continue to guide you!

    • Manny Oleword says

      I applaud your conviction especially in light of the centrality of that one parish in your life. Many of us, in a monocentric parish, find ourselves with the same dilemma because of the Ab’s implied errant positions on so many issues: homosexuality, communion for non-Orthodox, Covid church and sacramental restrictions, the Ukrainian fiasco BLM march and now equivocating on abortion and don’t even mention the financial scandals. I guess I justify my inaction and cowardice by saying I’ll move when Elder Ephraim’s monasteries “leave” the GOA. Of course, there may be legal realities that prevent the monasteries from doing so. Your thoughts, please.

      • Phillipos has made the right decision. If he had stayed where he was, he might have burned himself out fighting, on the one hand, slowly been compromised by the secular agenda, on the other. I left the GOA a month ago, like Phillipos, and so far I’m glad that I did. Half of the relief comes from passing on to others parish council duties and the other ministries to stack up in a small parish. The more important half of the relief comes from finally acting on the godly urging of my conscience.

        Manny, I hope you will prayerfully consider doing what Phillipos and I and many others have done. There is a hidden “virus” in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and you would do well to practice “social distancing”, or else you may become infected with the dread disease, as it were. (It’s not the best metaphor, I know, but you understand.)

        • Hi Lawrence…you hit the nail on the head….I was burning myself out with the fight. Therefore, for me and my family, I believe we made the right decision.

      • “I’ll move when Elder Ephraim’s monasteries “leave” the GOA”

        Was speaking with a friend the other day, who frequents Holy Archangels monastery near Austin/San Antonio, Texas. According to him, one of the strong reasons keeping the monasteries in the GOA at this time is that, without them, the GOA would be fully Byzantine-rite Episcopalian by now.

        The monasteries are probably the strongest thing keeping the GOA focused on Christ and the traditional Orthodox faith in our aggressively secular West. Without them, Abp Elpi and those immigrants who don’t understand the dynamics of modern American culture may otherwise have the GOA fully focused on hobnobbing with American political dignitaries and enjoying wine-and-cheeses with the post-Christian Western Establishment.

        That being said, wonder how far the monasteries will last in the GOA, though? Wonder what would the monasteries do, if/when the Patr of C’ple formally enters into communion with Rome, as is expected by many to happen before the year 2025?

        Trying to fight modernism in a jurisdiction can be a noble effort, but I don’t know of an instance where it has ever succeeded.

        We saw what happened with those who tried to fight modernism in the Church of England, in the Roman Catholic Church, and in the ECUSA and other American mainline protestant churches. They’ve lost entirely and left, formed their own “continuing traditional” churches, or otherwise they tacitly agree to stay in the modernist jurisdictions but to “shut up and be quiet.”

    • Φωνή Βοόντος εν τη ερήμω says

      All the Orthodox Churches are ONE. So Philippos let me correct you… you did NOT leave the GOA. In my opinion though this is a WRONG stance. People do it also by moving from Parish to Parish or if they don’t like their Priest they go to another Parish… that’s Spiritual Adultery and should be frowned upon. By all means, if you can help another Parish help another Parish… but don’t leave the one you geographically belong to. Also note that the Church DOES NOT BELONG to the Bishops, Archbishops, the Clergy etc. It belongs TO ALL OF US. Remember if one laity member claims the Archbishop is unworthy and substantiates their charges the Archbishop will have to go. The Christian Church (and by Christian I mean ONLY the unecessarily characterized “Orthodox Church”) is TRULY and GENUINELY Democratic. Speak to your fellow Parishioners, speak to your Priest, speak to your Bishop, speak to your Archbishop. It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

      • Φωνή Βοόντος εν τη ερήμω
        Don’t you think describing this as “spiritual adultery” a little strange and harsh? You basically just said the most horrible thing one Christian can say to another.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          So which jurisdiction do I belong to in the purest sense of the word:

          1. In the GOA where an abbot (AZ) made me a catechumen
          2. In the Antiochian jurisdiction where I attended an Antiochian parish (CA) for a decade
          3. In the OCA because I was baptized & and chrismated in one parish (CO) and later married in the OCA Diocese of the South (TX)
          4. In the SOC jurisdiction for visiting a Serbian parish (CA) to see the famous myrrh-streaming icon from Hawaii whenever she would come
          5. In the ROCOR jurisdiction for attending multiple services in two states (WA & AK)
          6. In the MP where I have visited more cathedrals than we have jurisdictions (Russia)
          7. In the Georgian Church where I helped birth a monastery (OK)

          I didn’t know it was called “spiritual adultery.” I just thought it was “going to Church!” I wish the jurisdictions thought of it that way. God is in all of them. I checked!

          • Which one are you currently on the membership rolls for, and which one did you last commune in?

            It sounds like #2 or 3 on your list, whichever came last.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              The last one, in a canonical monastery, from my spiritual father and because I have been under the weather, my OCA priest offered to come to my home to give me communion and bless our house tomorrow.

              We are Christ’s Church. He has but one. Why would anyone want to put this priest or that bishop before Christ and His Church? Who would you be worshipping if you did?

              • Φωνή Βοόντος εν τη ερήμω says

                The Bishop is representing Christ… The Priests only act at representatives of the Bishops. The laity are NOT ordained. There is a difference. One of the biggest virtues of Christians is submission of our ego, obedience and forgiveness of our and others tresspasses…

                • I just saw the most absurd statement I ever heard in my entire life having grown up a cradle Orthodox Christian! “The Bishop is representing Christ… The Priests … representatives of the Bishops.” What? The bishop is the peoples’ representative in the worship services as authorized by Christ Himself. He never has and never will represent Christ! That’s a Roman Catholic concept. Please go back and learn your Orthodoxy. The bishop is praying on behalf of the people during the Divine Liturgy, etc., It would take too long to explain here.

                  • Salomi, I have to second your surprise at the statement that an Orthodox bishop in any way claims to represent Christ. That’s a RC concept, both of the person serving Mass as alter Christus, which also applies to priests, and of course the Pope’s assertion to be able to act as His mouthpiece under certain circumstances.

                    That said, re: “Priests … representatives of the Bishops,” are you also taking issue with that bit you quoted? It’s my understanding that an Orthodox priest’s authority flows entirely from that of his bishop and he has no own authority of his own such that if the bishop were to withdraw his blessing, the priest could no longer perform Mysteries or celebrate Liturgy. Unlike an RC priest, for example, who’s considered to be a priest forever once ordained independent of his bishop. If you have a different understanding I’d be interested to hear it.

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      The bishop may represent the people before God, but the bishop represents God to the people. . . read St. Ignatius of Antioch

                      “We should consider the bishop as the Lord Himself” (to the Ephesians)

                      “Obey your bishop without pretense or hypocrisy, as this brings honor to God Who loves you. A man who deceives this visible bishop even more so cheats the other, the One Who is invisible. Such a man will not have to answer to flesh, but to God, Who knows all things.” (to the Magnesians)

                      “I urge you to eagerly do all things with godly harmony, with the bishop presiding in the place of God” (to the Magnesians)

                      “When you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, you do not live in a worldly way, but in the way of Jesus Christ Who died for us.” (to the Trallians)

                      “Everyone must respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, and the bishop as a representative of the Father, and the priests as the council of God and the assembly of the Apostles. Without these, there is no Church.” (to the Trallians)

                      “All of you must follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father” (to the Smyrnaeans)

                      We Orthodox take issue with papism not in that the Bishop represents God/Christ, but only in that the Pope of Rome has a unique ministry that no other bishop shares. Orthodoxy teaches that every bishop stands in alter Christi, not just the Pope.

                    • Well, I asked for sources on the subject in another post and you delivered, so thank you Antiochene Son. I’m glad to be corrected on that matter, especially as our bishop is coming to visit soon. 🙂

                  • When the bishop says “This is my body...”
                    and “This is my blood...” whose blood is he talking about?
                    Who is he re-presenting?

                    • Brendan/Christine: During the consecration when he says “this is my body,” etc., the priest/bishop serving represents Christ and speaks in His place, but that doesn’t make his person an alter Christus like in RC belief, nor does it mean he represents Christ outside of that one scripted moment.

                      At least that’s what I was taught many years ago in catechism and never had cause to doubt. Not trying to be combative or debate the point; I’d be genuinely interested if you have any sources which say otherwise.

                      Just for comparison’s sake (not an official source), here’s what people searching for our Church’s position on the matter online are likely to find first:

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I think it gets down to the cuffs. When a priest puts on those cuffs (epimanikia), it doesn’t matter who he is or what he’s done; he is acting as an instrument of Christ.

                    • Peter: “During the consecration when he says
                      “this is my body,” etc., the priest/bishop serving
                      represents Christ and speaks in His place”.

                      This is precisely my point.

                    • Peter, I have found that many modern Orthodox say that we believe the opposite of [insert RC teaching] precisely because it is a RC teaching. I was told this many times when I was making my way in the Church. I was surprised to learn over time that many of these ‘big differences’ don’t exist and that, in many cases, the Orthodox teaching and RC teaching on a number of things are no different.

                      Too many people want to define us in terms of what we are not as opposed to what we simply are, and therefore go too far.

                    • Basil “many modern Orthodox say that we believe the opposite of [insert RC teaching] precisely because it is a RC teaching.”

                      Majority of Orthodox does not know much about “RC teaching”. They are more familiar with Muslims and sometimes with the Buddhist. 😉
                      Look at the map.

                  • The bishop is the living icon of Christ. That is Orthodoxy 101.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      There is a saying: Where the bishop is, there is the Church.

                      I’ve only heard the “icon of Christ” used in conjunction with the Pope.

                    • True. When the deacon censes the church, he censes the icon of Christ on the iconostasis three times, but the bishop nine times.

                      The bishop is the icon of Christ until the Gospel is read (he takes off his omophorion at this point to emphasize this) and until the Lord Himself is present on the holy table after the consecration (he also takes off his omophorion here).

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Interestingly, there 4 orders in the Church: bishop, priest, deacon, and laity.

                  • How would you classify Sub-Deacon and Reader?

                    • Gail Sheppard says


                    • Nope. They’re minor orders and actual clergy.

                      As for ‘order of the laity,’ I only see modern (mostly Vatican II-type RC stuff and Antiochians, strangely enough) mentioning this.

                      I would like to see some evidence that the ancients saw the laity as an ‘order’ as opposed to simply being the people of God as a whole, including the clerical ranks who, as being set apart from the laity, form orders.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Tag, you’re it. Provide some research for your own position.

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      That Readers are a minor order of clergy can be easily deduced from the Holy Canons, which routinely treat them as clergy and not as laymen, in particular their punishments for sins and crimes. Since a person cannot be punished twice for the same crime, a clergyman is only deposed, while a layman is excommunicated. Except for one example that I could find, Readers are always deposed, not excommunicated, for crimes.

                      Apostolic Canon 24 names Readers (Anagnosts) among the clergy, saying: “As to bachelors who have entered the clergy, we allow only anagnosts and psalts to marry, if they wish to do so.” Likewise the ancient interpretation says: “Anagnosts…and the lower clerics have a right to marry without prejudice even after becoming clerics and to be advanced to higher orders.”

                      The ancient interpretation of Apostolic Canon 30 names Readers among “clergymen” who are deposed if they conspire with a bishop.

                      The ancient interpretation of Canon 2 of the Fourth Council refers to Readers being “ordained” and “sealed” in their office.

                      Canon 4 of the Quinisext Council punishes Readers (together with other orders of clergy) with deposition for a certain crime, differentiating them from laymen, who are punished by excommunication.

                      The ancient interpretation of Canon 7 of the Qunisext Council prohibits “lower members of holy orders and lower clerical ranks” from sitting ahead of those in higher ranks, mentioning Readers as an example.

                      Canon 33 of the Quinisext Council speaks about the ordination of Readers, and prohibits anyone from reading or preaching from the pulpit who has not received the tonsure and blessing of the bishop.

                      Canon 4 of the Seventh Council prohibits anyone from reading in Church who has not received the laying-on of hands by the bishop.

                      Canon 14 of the Seventh Council prohibits anyone from acting as a Reader without the bishop’s seal, except in a monastery, in which an abbot may confer the seal.

                      Canon 24 of Laodicea refers to Readers and the other lesser orders as “clerics” who “have access to the Bema.”

                      Canon 10 of Sardica requires a candidate for the episcopacy to ascend through the ranks of clergy, starting first with Reader, then Deacon, then Priest.

                      Canon 19 of Carthage states one cannot be “ordained” a Reader before age 14. The ancient interpretation of Canon 15 of the Quinisext Council speaks of a Reader’s ordination and a Bishop’s ordination in parallel.

                      Canon 22 of Carthage differentiates between Readers and the laity by prohibiting them from bowing to the laity after reading.

                      The ancient interpreation of Canon 33 of Carthage refers to Readers as the highest rank among “lower clerics”. The canon itself treats Subdeacons as full clergy.

                      Canon 39 of Carthage requires “clerics” (Readers and other minor orders) to ascend to higher clerical ranks when ordered by the bishop; otherwise they are to be deposed for disobedience.

                      Canon 51 of St. Basil treats all clerical orders equally in terms of punishment: that is by deposition.

                      Also some other citations

                      Reader is the first order comprising participation in the Priesthood of Christ


                      Clergy are not inherently higher or better than the laity in the Church, who are also ordained to a specific ministry as the royal priesthood of Christ. … There are two basic categories of clergy in the Church—minor orders and major orders. The minor orders currently in use in the Church are reader, cantor (chanter) and subdeacon.


                      [In the early Church] there existed a number of minor orders, each of which had a different task and role. The people in them were considered to be clergy of sorts, since they were admitted to their roles with a form of ceremony and prayer, and these ceremonies conferred upon them permanent status and rank. This practice has continued within the Orthodox Church to this day and so, for example, a person in the Orthodox Church who reads liturgically was (ideally) once tonsured a Reader by the bishop.


                    • Well, I think Antiochene Son just did that, and quite sufficiently too.

                      I’m not going to bother going on a deep dive into this, but a cursory run through a search engine for “order of the laity” will only bring up a bunch of modernist Roman Catholic articles, some Anglican stuff, and one blog post on an Antiochian parish website.

                      From a scout around the various places, it seems that “order” has really only been used to refer to those set apart from the rest of the people, i.e. major or minor clerical orders, religious or monastic orders, etc. It appears to me that the laity is the mass from which orders develop.

                  • What about Readers and Subdeacons?

                    There is no ‘order of laity,’ just laity as is.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      RE: Readers and Subdeacons = Ministries

                      THE ORDER OF THE LAITY
                      Firstly, there is the order of the laity (Gr. laos). In Scripture, we see the laity also called “saints” (Romans 1:7; 2 Cor. 1:1; 1 Tim. 5:10), the “faithful” (Eph. 1:1); and “brethren” (Col. 1:2). The faithful are all the people of God, the royal Priesthood. Technically the term “laity” includes Clergy, though in our day the word usually refers to those in the Church who are not ordained. It is from among the laity that the other three orders emerge.

                      THE ORDER OF THE DEACONATE
                      Next, we have the order of the deacons, sometimes called the Deaconate. This order is the lowest degree out of the three major (ordained) orders. Deacons, literally “servants,” are ordained to serve the Church and must meet high qualifications (1 Tim. 3:8-13). The Apostles were the first to take on the service tasks of deacons, and when the workload became too great they called for “seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:3). Besides serving the material needs of the people, deacons occupy a crucial role in the liturgical life of the Church. They will minister to the priest and bishop by:

                      Assisting in the celebration of the mysteries of the Church
                      Distributing the Eucharist in addition to (or in absence of) the priest
                      Leading the people in the collective prayers
                      Reading from the Scriptures during the divine services
                      Keeping the decorum of the public worship, including calling people to attention at appropriate times
                      Any tasks of the subdeacon or reader
                      Other tasks related to Church life, with the blessing and direction of his priest or bishop.

                      THE ORDER OF THE PRESBYTERS
                      Thirdly is the order of the priests. The Presbyters (“priest” for short), or Elders, are visible throughout the New Testament. Their ministry from the start was to oversee, labor in the Word, and teach in the local congregations. Saint Paul “appointed elders in every church” (Acts 14:23) and later instructed his disciple, Titus, to do the same in Crete (Titus 1:5). In no way is the ordained Christian Priesthood a throwback to or a reenacting of the Old Testament Priesthood. Rather, the Orthodox priest is a minister of the New Covenant, which supersedes the Old Covenant. He is joined to Christ Who Is our High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6, 10).

                      THE ORDER OF THE EPISCOPACY
                      The Bishop is the “overseer” of the congregation and clergy in a given area. Often the terms “bishop” and “elder” are interchangeable in the New Testament (Acts 20:17, 28), with the bishop being the leader of the elders. The qualifications for bishop in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:7-9 underscore this role. Nevertheless, “bishop” is a specific office both in the New Testament and in the early Church. The Twelve were the first to hold this office (in Acts 1:20 “office” is literally translated “bishopric”) and they in turn consecrated other bishops to follow them. For example Timothy and Titus are clearly of a separate order from that of elder (see 1 Timothy 5:17-22; Titus 1:5). Early records show James was bishop of Jerusalem by A.D. 49 and functioned accordingly at the First Council there (Acts 15:13-22). Peter is on record as the first bishop of Antioch prior to A.D. 53, and later first bishop of Rome, where he was martyred about A.D. 65.

                      The Bishop’s authority is not over the Church per se, but within the Church. He serves as an icon of Jesus Christ, “the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).


                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      In traditional parishes, the men stand on the right side of the nave, before the icon of Christ, and women stand on the left side of the nave, before the icon of the Mother of God.

                      In traditional parishes, even married couples separate themselves this way. Unfortunately, that’s an order of the laity that I don’t often see in America.

                  • You forgot women readers, trumping tonsured readers for the epistle, but only in March, in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

      • Dear . . .,
        I like BLM and am glad that Abp. Elpidophoros marched with them. I like that CP Bartholomew promotes environmentalism. However, I am having increasing trouble with his claim to being First Without Equals. Do you understand this problem? We EOs are out of communion with Rome over this problem. I cannot make it make sense in my head. Then the CP uses his supremacy power to decide that the schismatic half of Orthodox in Ukraine are The only Ukrainian Church. Now the CP’s latest decision is to use the OCU to consecrate the chrism that he will send to most EO Churches in the world. If I get Unction in those churches, will it be with this new chrism?

        Your answer is “Speak to your fellow Parishioners, speak to your Priest, speak to your Bishop, speak to your Archbishop.” OK. CP Bartholomew said “Skasilou Mou” about the Russian Church suspending communion. Lawrence Wheeler got excommunicated by GOARCH, apparently for criticizing GOARCH online. What kind of discussion are you thinking of? You can tell GOARCH leaders your concern, and they can repeat their position to you, and back and forth until they stop answering you or you get very very tired out like Phillipos did. Then what is your next step?

      • Thank you for the standard, run of the mill, reply.
        Now, back here in the real world…..
        Good on you Philippos!

  2. Don’t worry. This is why God made a hell.

    we should probably assume that some of his smarter advisors felt some pushback from his disastrous stroll with the BLMers back in June of 2020.

    It’s only disastrous depending on the end intended. I think they were trying to humiliate the laity and make them feel like the Church was out of their control. I think the march was remarkably successful.

    So, from now on, I’ll just cut to the chase and impugn bad faith to the Archbishop and anybody else from Istanbul. I don’t want to, but other than being pharisaiacal and bending myself into a pretzel to pretend that they’re sincere, I don’t know what else to do.


  3. Unbelievable. When I hear statements like this from the EP or bishops under him, a part of me always wonders why we (Slavic Orthodox) don’t just anathematize them already and fully recognize the GOC.

    Say what you will about the Old Calendarists, aside from the issue of formal communion we have a lot more in common with them than we have with modernists like Bartholemew and Elpidophoros.

  4. Insanity is catching…

    Christians Stand Trial In Finland Today For Affirming Men And Women Are Different

    ‘ Today in Finland, two Christians will stand trial for publicly stating the theological and scientific truth that men and women are different. Finnish Member of Parliament Paivi Rasanen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola stand accused of “hate crimes” for affirming basic Christian theology and natural reality concerning the sexual differences between men and women.

    One of the three charges against Rasanen includes a count against her for tweeting a picture of a Bible verse in challenging the state church of Finland’s decision to sponsor an LGBT parade. Another charge attempts to criminalize her participation in a 2019 public debate.

    If the court finds them guilty, Rasanen and Pohjola could face fines or up to two years in prison. It would also set the precedent of making quoting the Bible a criminal offense in Western countries. … ‘

  5. The devotion to Russia of many Orthodox is really amazing. They base much of their life and politics on whatever the Russians say or do, regardless of this being good or bad for their country and most important, for their faith. This is kind of logical if you are a Russian Orthodox, where church and politics are pretty much in the same business yet is quite revealing to act like sheep, in the bad sense, and support whatever Putin or such says, assuming this is a matter of faith and not politics designed to favour politic interests.

    • Putin’s policies strengthen Russia and the Orthodox Church.
      Biden’s policies dismantle the Republic and rend the Church.

      Matthew 7:20 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”.

    • Mike, I’m going to assume you’re American, as I once was. What has the Russian Orthodox Church done that is contrary to your faith? That will tell us more about you than about Russia, by the way. As for “your country” if you haven’t figured out yet that the US is the Bad Guys, you simply haven’t been paying attention. Sorry.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well said. I know what the fruits of the Russian Church are. I also know what the fruits of the Western-aligned EP/GOA are.

        For me, it all goes back to the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Two Israelites, a priest and Levite, passed by “the man set upon by robbers” (who was probably a Jew like themselves). Yet it was the hated Samaritan who cared for the poor victim.

        “By their fruits, ye shall known them.”

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I wouldn’t say, “bad guys.” Certainly “one of the bad guys” depending upon who’s in charge.

        There are the self-professing sweet, kind, peaceful ones who start color revolutions killing people, jailing citizens for trespassing (not talking about the border), and find meaning in creating 112 genders. . .


        The rest of us, plain ‘ol males and females, who mostly sit around saying “You’re kidding” to one another, scratching our heads in the process.

        Just so you don’t think I’m “woke” enough, here are all of the genders listed alphabetically with a description. Notice “male” and “female” didn’t make the list.

        (Note: All types of attractions may be used as suffixes along with ‘-fluid’ and ‘-flux.)

        A- : lack of attraction
        Abro- : having an orientation or feelings about it that constantly change and cannot be pinned down for this reason
        Aceflux: similar to genderflux where the intensity of sexual attraction you feel fluctuates; asexual to demisexual to allosexual and back
        Aego- : feeling attraction or desire only for situations that does not involve oneself; previously known as autochoris-
        Akoi- : the feeling of attraction but not wanting it reciprocated or losing it when it is reciprocated; used as an alternative and potentially less problematic form of lithosexual/lithromantic
        Aliqua- : not normally feeling attraction, but feeling it on occasion under specific circumstances
        Amicus- : when you’re attracted to people you’re platonically attracted to
        Amorplatonic: experiencing romantic attraction but only wanting to be in queerplatonic/quasiplatonic relationships
        Apothi- : being aromantic/asexual and not experiencing any romantic/sexual feelings in any shape or form; aromantic/asexual individuals who are romance/sex repulsed
        Aromantic: feeling no romantic attraction regardless of gender or situation
        Aroflux: similar to genderflux where the intensity or romantic attraction you feel fluctuates; aromantic to demiromantic to alloromantic and back
        Arospike/Acespike: feeling no attraction except in occasional bursts of intense attraction and then plummeting back to no attraction
        Asexual: feeling no sexual attraction regardless of gender or situation
        Auto- : the feeling of attraction only towards oneself
        Bellusromantic: having interest in conventionally romantic things yet not desiring a relationship; part of the aro spectrum
        Bi- : the feeling of attraction towards two or more genders, generally your own gender and other(s)
        Borea- : having an exception to your usual orientation
        Burst- : having spikes in attraction that fade away after a while
        Cass- : feeling utterly indifferent towards attraction and believing its not important
        Cease- : usually beeing allo- yet occasionally feeling a sudden loss of attraction and then returning to normal
        Cetero- : the feeling of attraction towards nonbinary people; replaces skolio- because “skolio” means bent or broken and implies that nonbinary people must be fixed; this is reserved for trans/nonbinary individuals because cis people were judging nonbinary people based off of presentation alone
        Culparomantic: feeling romantic and platonic attraction at the same time
        Cupio- : the feeling of having no attraction towards any gender yet still desiring a sexual or romantic relationship
        Demi- : not feeling attraction towards someone until a certain closeness or bond has been formed
        Desinoromantic: when one does not experience full-on romantic attraction, but experiences “liking” someone instead of loving them romantically, at which point the attraction goes no further
        Duo- : having two or more well defined orientations that you switch between
        Ficto- : only felling a certain type of attraction towards fictional characters
        Fin- : feeling attraction to fem(me) identifying people
        Fray- : only experiencing attraction towards those you are less familiar with; the feeling is lost when they become closer or more familiar; the opposite of demi-
        Grey- : the feeling of usually not having any attraction except occasionally depending on the situation; typically paired with asexual and aromantic
        Heteroflexible: the feeling of having mostly hetero- attraction yet having an openness for other genders
        Hetero- : the feeling of being attracted to a gender other than your own
        Homoflexible: the feeling of having mostly homo- attraction yet having an openness for other genders
        Homo- : the feeling of being attracted to your own gender
        Iculasexual: being asexual but open to having sex
        Idemromantic: being able to categorize others as having either a platonic or romantic attraction based on outside factors yet feeling no difference in the type of attraction
        Kalossexual: the desire to have a sexual relationship yet never feeling sexual attraction; part of the ace spectrum
        Lamvano- : feeling no desire to do sexual/romantic things to someone, but wanting to be on the receiving end; opposite of placio-
        Lesbian: someone who identifies fully or partially as a woman who is attracted to other fully or partially identified women
        Limno- : experiencing attraction towards depictions of attraction (writing or drawings) but not the physical acts
        Ma- : feeling attraction to men
        Min- : feeling attraction to masculine identifying people
        Multi- : attraction to more than one gender
        Neu- : feeling attraction towards people who are genderless
        Nin- : feeling attraction towards androgynous identifying people
        Nocisma- : feeling attraction to everyone except cis men because of associated oppression
        Noma- : experiencing attraction to every gender except for self identifying men
        Novi- : feeling complicated attraction or lack thereof in such a way that it is difficult or impossible to fit into one word or term
        Novo- : when one’s orientation changes with gender
        Nowo- : experiencing attraction to every gender except for self identifying women
        Omni- : the feeling of a lack of preference in gender and may be attracted to all genders equally; similar to pan-
        Pan- : the feeling of attraction towards any gender or all genders; similar to omni-
        Penulti- : feeling attraction towards every gender except your own
        Platoniromantic: feeling no difference between platonic and romantic attraction
        Polar- : feeling either extreme attraction or intense repulsion
        Poly- : the feeling of attraction towards most or several genders (but not all)
        Pomo- : the feeling of having no orientation
        Pre- : a placeholder term for someone who doesn’t think they’ve experienced enough attraction to know their orientation
        Proqua- : feeling attracted to feminine people when you yourself are feminine
        Proquu- : feeling attracted to masculine people when you yourself are masculine
        Queer: the feeling of not being hetero- yet not wanting to further identify with any conventional sexuality
        Quoiromantic: from the French word quoi meaning “what”; the feeling of not being able to distinguish romantic from platonic attraction and therefore being unsure if one has experienced it; used to replace wtfromantic because of vulgarity
        Recip- : the feeling of only experiencing attraction once someone else has experienced it towards them first
        Requies- : not feeling attraction when emotionally exhausted
        Sans- : when there’s no trend line in the attraction one feels, it just does what it does
        Sensu- : an orientation that is based off of sensuality as opposed to romance, sexuality, etc; different from sensual orientation; when romantic or sexual type pleasure is derived from sensual acts or situations
        Skolio- : the feeling of attraction towards nonbinary genders; replaced by cetero- because of problematic wording
        Specio- : feeling attraction towards someone based off of specific traits, not gender
        Thym- : feeling attraction which varies depending on emotional state
        Volit- : feeling attraction that is not directed at anyone in particular.
        Woma- : feeling attraction to women.

        • Don’t forget the zoo-osexuals (who ‘like’ animals).
          If nothing else, it completes the alphabet soup.

      • I don’t know that the US were good guys or bad guys at all. I have not speak about the Russian Orthodox Church but about many non Russians Orthodoxs, Americans un this case, whose socio political view of the world in many cases is basically to be cheerleaders for whatever Russians do or think. I believe it shows a very limitated world view and a total lack of own criteria, the opposite of what many might believe they support. Is Russian fullfilling a Christian mission when they spread their Church influences toward other Orthodox countries? Are they doing God’s work when they support China, who annihilates Christians and supports the Marxists un America that you reasonably decry? I don’t know. Russia like China or the US want power, to confuse that out of anger is not a good idea.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          We’re not cheerleaders! All we hear is “Russia, Russia, Russia” and not in a good way. Some of the people here still call them the Soviet Union. Our present government is terrified of Russia (as they should be) as are the cronies who have crossed paths in Ukraine.

          As a Church, we support them as we would any canonical Church.

          Yes, Russia is fulfilling a Christian mission here, there, and everywhere. A few years ago when I was there, they were building 3 churches a week. They rid Syria of terrorists and are helping them rebuild their parishes so Christians have something to come home to.
          ( has made a whole blog about the things the Russian Church does for the Church. Take a look at it.)

          The CCP is a dictatorship of crony capitalists. The attachment to China can be found virtually around the world. Even our own president’s family, not to mention 100 or so of our top scientists at the NIH, as well as respected universities, have financial ties to China. I don’t want to shock you (kidding) but that Wuhan virus that took a chunk out of the world population, . . . well, we might have helped create it. DARPA told Fauci ‘forget it’ but Chapel Hill was only too happy to assist (a little “before it’s news” kind of news).

          We’re (the U.S.) one screwed up country but we’re turning it around. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the positive turnaround is due, in part, to a little help from our friends in Russia and in China, neither of whom are fans of the CCP.

          The MP went into Africa and Turkey. Doesn’t that count as mission work? You probably won’t think so.

          • Well madame, you only reafirm my original comment, something that you don’t deny in the first place so I don’t understand the kind of anger I perceive in the comments. In other words, Go Russians go! By Ukrainian cronies you mean Ukrainian people and goverment? Are they not in their right to have a goverment and a country? There is something called nationalism, many people are fond of nationalism until the moment they found they are the enemies of a particular nationalism. Russia builds 3 churches a week? In the US it must be 3 churches every day. And you are again mixing the Russian Church, I have not said a word about that, with my comment, that was regarding the attitude of many of this blog participants of outspoken devotion to Russia’s policies in which the Church and faith are only a part of it.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              What makes you think I’m angry?

              I am tired, though, so I’ll take issue with just one of your statements where you said, “the U.S. must build 3 churches a day”.

              Reality: While 320,000 to 350,000 churches were started in the United States, 4,500 closed in the year before COVID-19. It hasn’t gotten any better.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Yes, even here in OK, “the buckle of the Bible Belt,” I’m astonished at how many churches have closed –and worse–been razed.

                For decades, some of these churches were landmarks, a la “turn left on Peoria then right at Bloombury Presbyterian,” or “it’s right across the street from 2nd Church of Christ Scientist.”

                When I first passed by one that was no longer there, I was disoriented, I actually thought I was lost. As for the younger generation, I don’t think it even makes a difference.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Policies? Like their emphasis on families, perhaps? Or protecting the Church? What’s not to like?

              Cronies are old friends who do favors for old friends. Think oligarchs. I assure you their numbers are few.

              Gotta go.

            • Mike “Ukrainian people and goverment? Are they not in their right to have a goverment and a country?”

              Present rulers got to power as a result of the 2014 events, during which democratically elected president was forced to flee to Russia. In the last election the new president promised to improve relations with the eastern neighour and got 73% of votes. Did you know that?

            • George Michalopulos says

              Nothing wrong with nationalism. I wish the Ukrainians well. But it’s a sword that cuts two ways: if by nationalism you mean oppressing minorities, like what the CCP does with the Uighers and the Tibetans, or the Israelis with the Palestinians, then you shouldn’t be surprised when secessionist movements arise.

              The best thing that could happen to Ukraine (which was never a polity in its own right but the origin of Rus’, like Kosovo was for Serbia) would be for the eastern third to be formerly amalgamated into Russia, the western 1/3 given back to Poland and the middle third (centered around Kiev) given the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to continue as a rump state or reenter into the Rus’ commonwealth.

              • Actually, George, some Ukrainian intellectuals called for Western Ukraine(mostly Uniate) to become a separate state. That might be one solution, but it would make things even harder for the Orthodox remaining in the new state. I personally favor a monarchy with a hetman as ruler. Of course, such a ruler would almost certainly be pro Russian, something the extremists couldn’t accept. As I said before, I pray every morning for the return of the monarchy to all Orthodox nations.

              • Most of Ukrainians, in the west and the center, decided a long time ago they don’t want to be part of Russia (I don’t know what Poland has to do with this) but to be what they are today, a country of its own. That is something that the Russian Federation can’t accept, like if NATO place troops in Baltic countries, literaly a few miles away from St. Petersburg, they have to accept it like it or not, but if they decided to place troops in Ukraine then there is a risk of invation, like if Ukraine was a Russian backyard. Many people are rightfully upset by that. But what my comment was about, and I finnish with this, it’s about the support given by certain Orthodox people to all things Russian, whether is to invade or threat to invade a democratic country (Ukraine) or to support dictatorial regimes (Belarus, Kazajistan) To support these regimes only because they are “anti liberal” or “anti woke”, makes no sense to me. It places you in the Chinese-Russian bloc, in which Christianity plays a role of convenience. The same bloc that doesn’t hesitate when it comes to promote and finance all the anti-Christian, inmoral policies that are destroying the US and you despise.

                • Russia had no problem with Ukraine setting up
                  as an independent state in 1991 (nuclear weapons apart).
                  What caused the problem was the coup d’etat (alias: colour revolution) instigated and supported George Soros, the US and the EU; in which an elected President was violently overthrown and driven from office by Russia-hating Nazis.
                  Persecution of Russian speakers then ensued in an attempted eradication of their language, their culture and (subsequently) their Church – in short, genocide became official policy in the Ukraine.
                  Hence Crimea seceded and Donetsk and Luhansk rebelled – as a direct result of the policy of the usurping ‘authorities’ in Kiev. Russia had nothing to do with it.

    • Wrong. I base it on my own eyes and ears. The US, not Russia, is the country that has spent most of my life going all over the globe wreaking terror and havoc. The US is the country that brought a coup to Kiev (so much for spreading democracy). Russia has zero desire to take over a bankrupt, war torn country. In short, whatever side the US is on, is the wrong side. But hey, keep on believing what you see on CNN. It beats actually thinking.

      • That’s the mentality that any Soviet agent would want to see in an American, “The US spreads terror and imperialism across the world and we Russians do the exact opposite” What is the difference between that and cheap Communist Cold War propaganda? I mean, that’s exactly what Soviet wanted to hear during much of the 20th century. “America spreading terror”, you could be either a Third World person brainwashed by propaganda or an Anti American woke living in 2022. Most of people who lived behind the Iron Curtain would have disagreed however with your statement. I don’t watch CNN or television. You should not watch to many YouTube channels.

    • Mike, I agree however after being in the Russian church for many years, I have noticed that it’s usually the American converts who are enamoured with Putin and Patriarch Kyril.

      My many Russian friends don’t feel the same way. In fact, I can’t think of one (out of dozens of them) who like either Putin or Patriarch Kyril. Several friends have told me after visiting friends back home that the Russians must walk a thin line and will not speak out for fear of reprisal. One brought back a Matroshka doll for me that is quite commical. The large doll is Putin, followed by Gorbachev, Stalin and Lenin.

      • Each person’s mileage may vary.
        The Russians that I know do like Putin and Pat. Kyril.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I had a Russian Uber driver tell me he didn’t like Putin or Trump. He didn’t know who Kirill was.

  6. Ella Marie says

    Wondering if I was taught another version of the Annunciation, I googled it and read the relevant passages. But none of them sounded like what epi said. We would have been kicked out of Greek school and Sunday school if we repeated his story. Faithful from every economic stratum are blowing up the phones in ny, metropoli, and locally. Even the really really megabucks are mystified.
    I think it’s simply a language/cultural thing. Maybe a detail or two of the Annunciation was lost in translation from his native language into Greek/English? Or there’s a secret version that only epi knows. And now he’s sharing w us a glimpse into his groove. Like it’s a totally different occurrence in his parallel universe?

  7. Manny Oleword says

    I applaud your conviction especially in light of the centrality of that one parish in your life. Many of us, in a monocentric parish, find ourselves with the same dilemma because of the Ab’s implied errant positions on so many issues: homosexuality, communion for non-Orthodox, Covid church and sacramental restrictions, the Ukrainian fiasco BLM march and now equivocating on abortion and don’t even mention the financial scandals. I guess I justify my inaction and cowardice by saying I’ll move when Elder Ephraim’s monasteries “leave” the GOA. Of course, there may be legal realities that prevent the monasteries from doing so. Your thoughts, please.

    • Hi Manny…my choices were stay and fight or leave. In my case, at my old parish, I would have been spending more time fighting than praying. It was too distracting for me to stay and it was interfering with my spiritual growth.
      If there was support in my old parish for documenting dissatisfaction on some of these issues to GOARCH with a formal letter, I would have stayed at my old parish. Even if it was just one issue we formally complained about, I would have stayed. However, no one really had an appetite for disturbing the apple cart. Even parishioners that agreed with me didn’t want to go “too far”.
      I don’t consider it cowardice for you to stay where you are. The strategy of staying and fighting is just as valid as the approach I took. However, you should try to build momentum with your parish to communicate their dissatisfaction with at least one of these issues.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Philipos, that’s an interesting prospect you bring up there. If there was some sort of mechanism in which laymen could document their grievances on the one hand, and if there was a mechanism in which these grievances would be given a fair and open hearing on the hierarchical level.

        Does anybody have any ideas?

        • George,
          Certainly you are on the right path, looking for ways to raise this issue within GOARCH. If Greek Americans felt strongly about the issue in the way that we do, we would not be in the current situation. Instead, they seem on average not to care much (my impression), and then we have the Archons and big movers seeming favorable to the CP’s new supremacy teachings. It’s disturbing and makes me appreciate you trying to raise awareness.

          But this also looks tough within GOARCH. Lawrence Wheeler wrote on Helleniscope’s comment section that GOARCH excommunicated him for his blog. What is this, medieval Roman papacy? There does not seem to be a path to go against the CP in terms of structure. At most, Greek Americans could vote for a different primate of GOARCH and then the CP could choose whether to agree or not with the request.

          • Sorry, Hal. I’m a little late to the party here. I’ll need to clarify my comment on Helleniscope, which I made in the immediate aftermath of the event. I’m still unlearning and relearning ecclesiastical terminology, especially as it is understood in the Orthodox Church.

            When I resigned from the parish council of my GOARCH church, I was given the opportunity to enumerate my reasons for leaving the parish and GOARCH altogether. I could have given a laundry list of reasons, but I kept it to my objections to Pat. Bartholomew’s unjustified arrogation of power and Abp. Elpidophoros’ scandalous antics. The comments were well-received. It was in that buoyant spirit that I sent a link to my blog to the rest of the council and to other key members of the parish that I thought would be interested in hearing my point of view, since that wasn’t exactly in vogue in my parish.

            Boy, was I naïve. One or three of those people complained to the priest, who got a little upset and emailed me in a huff before the liturgy on Sunday. He said that I and another author on my blog should not approach the chalice that morning. Further, we should not approach it until we had taken the blog down or removed the articles critical of the two hierarchs in question. That is what I mistakenly called excommunication. I don’t know what to call it in one word. A “temporary prohibition”, perhaps? That’s two words. Anyway, the move was not characteristic of that priest’s normal gentle behavior, so we two authors were a bit taken aback.

            That was late in December. Soon afterwards we had a long talk with the priest in question. The other author decided to remove himself from the blog and stay at the parish; I was on my way out the door already, so I decided to shake the dust off my sandals and move on to the next chapter in my journey into Orthodoxy.

            Please excuse me for what seems to have been blown out of proportion by my hyperbolic use of the word “excommunicated”.

            • “Further, we should not approach it until we had taken the blog down or removed the articles critical of the two hierarchs in question. That is what I mistakenly called excommunication.”

              That sounds like excommunication by me, as in “You are excommunicated until…”

              Oxford Languages:
              Definition: “the action of officially excluding someone from participation in the sacraments and services of the Christian Church.”

              According to St. John Chrysostom, if someone misses the Eucharist three weeks in a row, one is “excommunicated” automatically. I have heard this from several clergy on several occasions. I take it that this is informal, and if you have a good reason for missing, then the ban doesn’t apply.

              “In the Eastern Orthodox Church, excommunication is the exclusion of a member from the Eucharist. It is not expulsion from the churches. This can happen for such reasons as not having confessed within that year; excommunication can also be imposed as part of a penitential period. It is generally done with the goal of restoring the member to full communion. Before an excommunication of significant duration is imposed, the bishop is usually consulted. The Eastern Orthodox do have a means of expulsion, by pronouncing anathema, but this is reserved only for acts of serious and unrepentant heresy.”


              One time when I was in college and visited a new parish for confession for the first time, the parish priest asked me if there were “any bans against” me. Maybe one other time I got asked this question, at another parish for confession, but I don’t remember. I found it a little humorous at the time, because I had never ever been threatened with a ban before.

  8. George, the GOA is not a church. Is a continuous criminal conspiracy. Wise up and stop being a nice guy.

    The Russians? Well, their church is being used by Putin the same way the Czars used the church—-for political and influence gain.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Are you sure about that last sentence? I’ve heard from some conservative Greek-American friends (who are still under the neo- spell) that the Russians are sinking billions in to restructuring churches, reviving Orthodoxy, etc. to mollify the people. It seems to me that if that’s the case, the money could be better spent on stuffing soy into foods, encouraging opioids, promoting pornography, feminism, alphabet people, etc. That’s much cheaper than building three churches from the ground up every week.

      But that’s just me.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      So which lollypop do you like? Red, black or green?

  9. A Greek Metropolis is back with mask mandate in church. Even the priest has to wear one.” Serving the gov’t, not the church”.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Talk about whom “one is serving” these days . . . Gone are the days when only Fauci can tell us what to do, so can the people who are planning high school reunions these days, who, in my case, is an aging flight attendant. I’m told that being a flight attendant most of your adult life is pretty heady stuff. After all, how many of us can boast that we brought George Bush a Coke one day in First Class?

      The reunion flyer says this: “As I mentioned in the last email, I am still flying for American Airlines and have been Covid free since the pandemic by adhering to protocols to ensure I stay safe being around hundreds of people a day. I am fully vaccinated and boosted, as well. [George and I are neither (vaccinated or boosted) and we haven’t gotten COVID either*.

      “Karen [Mr. Flight Attendant’s wife] and I purchased 600 sanitary wipes, masks, gloves, and other items to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time. Staff will be masked, gloved, and strict protocols will be the norm! If I can remain healthy after all the people I am around at work, I will ensure, to the best of my abilities, we have venues for this occasion where everyone will feel safe!”

      Can you imagine trying to recognize a bunch of people from 50 years ago with masks on their faces?

      Instead of getting all dressed up and going somewhere nice, we will be showing up in jeans and sweatshirts because it’s an outside venue (golf course) during rainy season. “Par for the course”, as they say. He chose the ‘ol waterin hole between 9th and 18th for our 20th, 25th, and now 50th reunion. (Yes, I’m that old but George tells me I don’t look it.)

      So what does he mean by “other items” and “strict protocols will be the norm”?

      Have they hijacked the old PCR tests (that never worked) to test us as we register and pick up our name tags? Will we be required to stand 6′ apart while waiting in the buffet line? I tried to contact him about the particulars but he wouldn’t answer my email because I didn’t give him my name. (He scares me!)

      These aging flight attendants need to reduce their handicaps and up their game. Too many strokes will land them in a sandpit, or worse, off the green. No one is going to want to play with them.

      * * *

      *OK, forget what I just said. George walked in and told me he had COVID. I had sent him to a “doc in the box” to get a chest X-ray. He was a little tired, but I thought it was from celebrating our second-year anniversary. 😉 – Yes, this means I might have COVID, too. George and I will probably end up in those attractive masks at my reunion after all.

      Go Flight Attendants!!!

  10. WHO has charge of naming the speaker for the annual March for Life ?

  11. Zoey Metaxas says

    There’s exceptions to the rule:
    Morally, you can be against abortion but honestly,
    if your daughter was raped by a demon would
    you not allow her to abort?
    I would!

    Will I get hit with a pie now?

    • Zoey, it seems that you are advocating from the perspective of the hypothetical mother and ignoring the right of the baby. Abortion is murder, according to the Church Fathers. The baby’s right to life, however it has been conceived, is absolute and independent of the mother’s trauma from the rape and from her sense of inconvenience at being forced to bear and rear the child. The mother has the opportunity to overcome the lifelong ramifications of the predicament by giving the baby up for adoption to a couple who eagerly want a child but have been unsuccessful conceiving their own.

    • If a piano fell out of the sky…….sigh…..

    • Just because someone got raped doesn’t mean that they should, in turn, murder a child.

      • George Michalopulos says

        And neither do demons rape women, so that’s a hypothetical. (Having said that, I am writing something about Gen 6:1-4. In any event, those women “the daughters of Adam” were not raped but willingly cavorted with the “sons of God.”)

        • Not wanting to dive into the whole Genesis 6 controversy, but the whole succubus/incubus/alien abduction phenomena suggests that they, in fact, can sexually violate people.

          Of course, that’s not to say that they can get them pregnant. That’s impossible.

          • anonsayswhat says

            “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”

            Moses is telling a quick back-story of good people and bad people here. Sons of God are the Elohim. Sons of the Mighty (Might/Mighty a term for God). It just means bad people, the lineage of Cain. They sought their own strength and technology w/out God. The good people were repentant, meek and “weak”. Their daughters were taken by them.

            • True, the majority of Fathers hold to the Sethite/Cainite thesis, not the idea that fallen angels impregnated women. I’ve never heard Elohim being used to refer to the Sethites, only as a name for God.

              • anonsayswhat says

                The term “Elohim” is referring to Cain’s lineage I believe in this particular thesis. Because the daughters of men (άνθρωπος) theologically speaking are those that are maintaining through repentance (Seth’s lineage) the image of God, as He made us – (άνθρωπος). Cain’s lineage being obsessed with power/technology-metallurgy/etc. became mighty, a term designated for God.

                If you or anyone else knows Greek, this recently reposed Metropolitan that was well versed in the Old Testament (although I heavily disagreed with his stance at the time on Ukraine and the virus) had this to say, but as you said it is common among the majority of the Fathers:

    • Demons can’t procreate or have sex.

      • “Demons can’t procreate or have sex.”

        The majority of the Early Fathers, pre-Blessed Augustine, said otherwise. As far as I know, this is only topic that Orthodox doctrine ever changed on, and should probably change back, seeing that DNA altering, species mixing and chimeras are things science is capable of right now.

        The angels transgressed this appointment and were captivated by love of women. And they begat children, who are those who are called demons. Justin Martyr (c. 160)

        In the days of Noah, He justly brought on the Deluge for the purpose of extinguishing the most infamous race of men then existent, which could not bring forth fruit to God. For the angels who sinned had commingled with them. Irenaeus (c. 180)

        So, unless the Pre-Flood era, maybe the Tower of Babel, and perhaps some other eras, were at least our level of science; and the fallen angels only figuratively produced literal giants who were cannibals, by inspiring the GMO tech of the time; that’s the only way I see of getting around the Bible, Second Temple Jewish sources, and Early Fathers.

        • I think that demons can “have sex” in the sense that they are able to violate people, much in the same way that they can beat people up, like Saint Anthony the Great.

          I don’t think that they can impregnate human women, though, as they are not made of the same ‘stuff’ as we are. I know some early Fathers wrote this, but the majority reject it. Saint Irenaeus was a millenarian too, but that was later rejected.

  12. Its almost like the GOA wants every other jurisdiction to break communion with them, so the only place they have to go is Rome.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I’m not sure they planned it that way but effectively that’s what’s going to happen.

    • It’s not “almost like” that. It is that. The calculus going on the minds of the Phanar bishops is how much pontifical authority to exert in order to make sure that those who remain in communion with them remain due to their asserted authority (sine paribus) rather than their canonical authority (inter pares). They are separating the chaff from the wheat, or wolves from the sheep, so to speak so that they know who they can rely on to follow them into the loving arms of Rome when the time comes. They’d rather head off the canonical challenges while still ostensibly “Orthodox” so that they have a minimum of challenges coming from Greece, GOARCH, Alexandria, Cyprus, etc. when they announce the Unia.

      At least that is how I read it.

  13. Chris Banescu says

    Apb. Elpidophoros spoke out of both sides of his mouth and worded his message in order to appease the pro-abortion leftists and progressives in the Church. He was intentionally deceptive and ambiguous. He knew exactly what he was doing when he spoke with a forked tongue. While pretending to preach the Orthodox Christian faith, he backhandedly lent credence to abortion supporters by saying that we “affirm our respect for the autonomy of women” to let them “freely choose” to give birth.

    In other words, we must respect a woman’s “free choice” on whether she will have the baby or not. Therefore, he is saying that we must respect a woman’s “free choice to have an abortion,” if we’re to take his argument to its logical conclusion. This is diabolically deceptive and wrong!

    This is how corrupt politicians talk. This is how unprincipled executives mislead. This is how shady individuals equivocate. This is never how Orthodox clergy, especially hierarchs, should talk or behave. “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).

    Here’s some basic theology and true Orthodox Christian teaching for this impostor bishop to consider: Murder of a baby can never be a choice for any mother, especially an Orthodox Christian mother.

    Orthodox Christianity has always taught that life begins at conception. The Church Saints and Fathers have all defended the sanctity of human life. The Orthodox Church is and has always been absolutely, unequivocally, positively, universally PRO-LIFE!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Interestingly, the Theotokos did not use her “autonomy as a woman;” she forfeited her autonomy to be obedient to God’s will. Were all women to do that, there would be no need for abortion.

      • Φωνή Βοόντος εν τη ερήμω says

        She did use her autonomy. She was not forced she chose Life! That’s not the problem with what Archbishop Elpodoforos’ words. The problem is that the way he worded it… he allows people to misconstrue, misinterpret and distort the meaning of his words. He didn’t technically speak from both sides of his mouth… but it sounds like he did… And that’s unfortunate with leaders who DO NOT WANT TO TELL IT LIKE IT SHOULD BE TOLD! Yes women and men have bodily autonomy and freedom… (of course Elpidoforos forgot that when he mandated all the GOARCH employees to forcefully become guinea pigs of PFIZER, Modern etc… and get mandatorily vaccinated or else… not that these are vaccines that are tested on aborted human beings cell lines… mind you!!!)

        • The Archbishop had every chance to clarify his words but he did not. He must know many devote are unhappy or at least confused by his “choice” of words but he has not taken any opportunity I know of to clarify. If this was his first controversial statement I would not assume anything. However, in the context of his past polarizing actions and statements, I can only assume he calculated his words carefully.

  14. Alright, can I call him a heretic now?

  15. This will be one of the best 9 1/2 minutes you will ever spend:
    May God enlighten those who would advocate the taking of the life of an unborn child!

  16. What I have a legitimately hard time understanding is how is Elpidohphoros still the head of the Assembly of Bishops?

    • He would have to mess with most of the member churches of SCOBA to the same degree and as openly as the CP messed with the UOC-MP before SCOBA would break up over the CP. Currently everyone recognizes the CP as legitimate, as technically the MP has only suspended communion with it. SCOBA is an organization uniting all canonical EOs, except of course the MP that opted out lately. You would basically need the canonical churches to suspend relations with the CP like the MP did for it to break up, and that won’t happen unless the CP messes with them to a similar strong degree. And for that matter I don’t really see the CP as interested in messing with other Churches per se. The Ukraine issue may have had more to do with Geopolitics than with the CP’s fully independent choices. You would need some kind of comparable Geopolitic thing for him to mess with the other EO Churches, and that’s not on the foreseeable horizon. There would probably be a few other things that could trigger it, like if he made union with Rome, but that’s really unlikely because the CP apparently wants to be in a supreme position (First Without Equals).

      Meanwhile, I don’t see much of a way for the other Churches to have an equal footing, open dialogue with the CP, since the MP is really the biggest Church other than the CP, and the CP says Skasila Mou about the MP. Look at how they have been giving the Albanian Primate a hard time. Add on top of that the GOC, Cyprus Primate, and Alexandrian Primate going on board with the CP’s decisionmaking, and it looks unlikely for the EO Churches to have a pan-EO synod/council on the topic, even though that would be the “Orthodox” way to address the issue.

      • True enough, Hal. Though I do feel like we are getting closer to having a synaxis of primates. It is being called for by more and more hierarchs, plus I feel like the Alexandrian patriarchates plan to just get the five ancient patriarchates together has gathered no steam (I could be wrong), mostly because that’s not how Orthodoxy works. Just recent Patriarch Theophilos said he expects a meeting in the coming months in the same format as the Amman meetings.

        Now that Russia has called everyone’s bluff and created an exarchate in Africa, everyone seems to realize we need a council, which I’m assuming Moscow knew would happen. I really hope that when this synaxis does happen that they address the new Constantinople papism as the root of the problem.

  17. “Though I do feel like we are getting closer to having a synaxis of primates. It is being called for by more and more hierarchs…”

    In the current situation, any synaxis of primates would have to be voluntary on the part of the attendees, and this makes it unlikely that the current set of primates would agree to meet, vote on the issues, and be bound by the majority decision, even though theoretically this is one way that the issue could be resolved. There are both church-political and geopolitical reasons for this.

    In terms of Church politics, it’s hard to see the CP going along with this, or for that matter the “Greek world” churches. If all the EO primates were to meet and vote, they would reject
    A) CP Over All Primacy or whatever the best term is, like First Without Equals, and would reject
    B) the OCU, because currently most primates don’t accept either A or B. The CP is well aware of this fact and thus would want to avoid putting himself in that kind of bind.

    What could the EO primates do that would force him to participate in such an unwanted synaxis? There are a couple factors, none of which are present:
    A) The Greek world and its members (eg laity and clergy) would mostly and strongly demand that the CP attend such a gathering, which the Greek world’s people don’t seem to mostly care about in fact;

    B) The other EO churches would mandate it and threaten suspension of communion if the CP refused to attend, but the CP seems to take a Skasila Mou attitude about such impositions, and anyway the EO Churches generally don’t seem to want to suspend communion over this,

    C) The geopolitical winds would have to blow strongly in the opposite direction and the main political powers, eg. US, EU, Turkey, or whoever dominates the CP would have to want the synaxis. However, this is also not realistic, for many reasons. The West and the Ottomans have dominated Istanbul for the last 500 years, and Russia’s GDP is a fraction of the US’s and EU’s. The Western powers would reject the CP dominating Rome, but why might they care if the CP claims to dominate the EOs? Theoretically Yes, Rome might think that the CP controlling the Eastern Christians gives too much power to a potential small rival, the CP, but currently the Western Powers don’t seem to have much problem with this. I don’t see the Western Powers wanting something to happen in the East and the CP stepping in and saying, “You can’t do that, I rule the East,” and then the Western powers arranging a synaxis to solve the question of Church powers.