The Letter

On January 22, the Orthodox Times reported the Ecumenical Patriarch received the Archpriests of the Church of Alexandria, who presented him with a letter from Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa regarding the case of the Moscow Patriarchate’s intrusion into the jurisdiction of the Alexandrian Throne.”  Presumably, it was read; however, the contents went undisclosed.  

On January 29, one week later, the Orthodox Times ran another story entitled: “Predictable reaction of Moscow concerning the decisions of the Patriarchate of Alexandria “. . . which talks about the reason Russia went into the territory previously under Alexandria: 

When His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros suddenly announced his recognition of the Ukrainian schismatic group, Moscow held out hope that he would return to the Church; however, that was before he commemorated its head during the divine services on 13th August 2021, later entering into direct Eucharistic communion with schismatics  . . . 

“As is known, the recognition of the schismatic structure in Ukraine by His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros met with opposition, including within the Orthodox Church of Alexandria itself. Many of its clergymen publicly spoke out in defence of the canonical Ukrainian Church, stated their disagreement with the clearly unlawful decision of their Primate and had no wish to remain under the canonical authority of the person who had embarked on the path of schism.

For two years the Russian Church did not respond to the appeals coming from African clerics, but patiently waited for His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros to change his decision. However, during that time not only did His Beatitude commemorate the head of one of the Ukrainian schismatic groups in the diptychs of the Orthodox Primates, but he also entered into the Eucharistic communion with him and other “hierarchs” of that structure. Those sorrowful developments convinced the Russian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod of the necessity to respond to the coming appeals and under these exceptional circumstances to establish the Patriarchal Exarchate in Africa.

Such difficult decision, taken in the situation when the Patriarch of Alexandria recognized the Ukrainian schismatics, is by no means a sign of claims to the canonical territory of the ancient Church of Alexandria. It pursues one goal only – to give canonical protection to those Orthodox clerics in Africa who do not wish to be involved in the unlawful legitimization of the schism.

We call upon His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and the archpastors of the Most Holy Church of Alexandria to renounce their support for the Ukrainian schism and return to the canonical path in order to preserve the unity of the Holy Orthodoxy.”

* * *

Could this be true?!  Did the MP leave some wiggle room for His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria to return to communion with Russia?   

January 22, the same day the letter was received by the Ecumenical Patriarch, there was another article (that has been scrubbed from the Internet), saying something to the effect about “. . . Alexandria admits mistake”.   

A mistake about what? Was Patriarch Theodoros II acknowledging he made a mistake communing with schismatics?  Did the letter say he repented and was returning to the canonical Church?  Is that why the Ecumenical Patriarch failed to disclose its contents? 

Mrs. M


  1. George Michalopulos says

    One wonders if shame has been deleted from the list of attributes of the Phanar.

    Judging by the EP’s explanation as to why he revoked the tomos of transfer of 16868, I’d say not:

  2. I’m sure we’ll never know what that letter said. Sadly.

  3. A mistake about what? Was Patriarch Theodoros II acknowledging he made a mistake communing with schismatics? Did the letter say he repented and was returning to the canonical Church? Is that why the Ecumenical Patriarch failed to disclose its contents?

    I hope and pray you’re right. I do think if it was something that was pro-EP then he would have released it in a heartbeat. The fact that he didn’t is telling. Maybe he let Bartholomew know that half his clergy would be jumping ship, maybe they both know Antioch and Jerusalem won’t agree based on conversations with them….but, it’s all speculation.

  4. Mrs. M!
    In your browser History, does it still list the title of the article or the URL for the website? If so, I may be able to find something.

    Certainly the MP for a while left “some wiggle room for His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria to return to communion with Russia.” I don’t recall how long after the CP recognized/”reinstalled” the KP Philaret it took for the MP to suspend communion with the CP, but there was a waiting period there too.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I don’t know that the MP ever reinstalled KP Philaret. He would have to repent. In that sense, the door is always open.

      Philaret is known as the “honorary patriarch” by Bartholomew. The CP had to keep him happy because he threatened to go to court and nix the whole deal. They did NOT deliver what they promised him. Epiphany, whom I believe was his spiritual child if I’m not mistaken, lied to him. Philaret was supposed to be the Patriarch of Kiev and All Ukraine. He was hoodwinked by the CP.

      Philaret is a tremendously flawed man from a Christin POV, but it’s hard not to feel sorry for him at this juncture. He was flat out cheated out of something he built. Without him, they could never have pulled it altogether.

      Patriarch Kirill actually begged Bartholomew not to do it as early as August 2018, I believe. He knew what it meant for the Church. For an Orthodox Christian, this is the worst thing that can happen.

      • Let me clarify what I said. As I recall, CP Bartholomew claimed to reinstall KP Philaret as metropolitan in Oct. 2018, but it wasn’t until a few months later that the MP held a synod and suspended communion with CP Bartholomew. This could imply that the MP was still waiting for the CP to possibly stall on its path of conflict.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          RE: ” . . . CP Bartholomew claimed to reinstall KP Philaret as metropolitan in Oct. 2018″

          Yes. Patriarch Filaret was the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Bartholomew made a deal with Philaret that if he joined the UOC-KP with the other two churches, i.e. the UOC-MP and the UAOCP, he would be the patriarch of all three. The UOC-MP was the “self-ruling” part of the ROC, often engaged in aggressive propaganda against the other two churches, branding them as “schismatic”, “unblessed” and unworthy of any dialog, etc. The other were not so bad.

          The UOC-MP, UOC-KP, and the UAOC all wrapped up under Filaret. They would all belong to the same Patriarchate under Filaret. He would be the Patriarch of Kyiv and All Ukraine if he came under him. He agreed and brought Kiev Patriarchate to the table. However, Bartholomew reneged on the deal. Bartholomew then told Philaret it would be an honorary title that could only be used at the Phanar. Filaret was hoodwinked, and he definitely knew it, but I suspect the powers-that-be made it worth his while not to haul them into court for breach of contract.

          RE: ” . . . but it wasn’t until a few months later that the MP held a synod and suspended communion with CP Bartholomew.” I don’t remember if it was the next month, but yes, that happened.

          Yes, in each case (and this is true across the board) the Church will wait on your repentance and not just for a month or two. If Bartholomew wanted to repent and reunite, today, Kirill would be able that happen. I’m sure Patriarch Kirill prays for this daily.

        • Hal, Constantinople reinstated Philaret on October 11, 2018:

          The MP broke communion 4 days later:

          • Thanks, Jesse
            I must have been thinking of other events that took a while to matriculate. There’s been a gradual flow of schismating events since the CP recognized KP Philaret, with ripples going as far as the CP’s attempted disbanding of AROCWE. Had the CP not recognized KP Philaret and then attempted to disband the AROCWE, ironically ROCOR-Europe would probably still be in communion with AROCWE as it was in 2017.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Jesse, that Holy Synod meeting in Constantinople of October 11, 2018 was very important. Everything is right there. There were 5 major decisions made, and I’ve highlighted them:

            “First, to renew the decision already made, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine;

            “Second, to reestablish at this moment the stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kiev—one of its many stavrorpegion in Ukraine that existed there always;

            “Third, to accept and review the petitions of appeal of Philaret Denisenko and Makary Maletich and their followers who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy of all the autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church;

            “Fourth, to revoke the legal binding of the Synodal letter of the year 1686, issued for the circumstances of that time, which granted the right through economia to the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev elected by the clergy-laity assembly of his eparchy, who would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as the first hierarch at any celebration, proclaiming and affirming his canonical dependence to the Mother Church of Constantinople;

            “Fifth, to appeal to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties as well as every other act of violence and retaliation so that the peace and love of Christ may prevail.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              These are the 5 major decisions Constantinople made to which the MP was to respond, which they did. The MP stopped Eucharistic communion with Constantinople.

            • Jesse said that there were several days between the CP’s decision and the MP’s suspension of the CP. I’m not really sure what J. Lipper’s point is.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                For those who believe that the CP is “first without equals”, he can make decisions that stand regardless of what the other patriarchates think about it. That the MP disagreed 5 days later was a minor annoyance; not a show stopper.

  5. I wouldn’t stress myself out about this stuff. Bartholomew started the game of hardball. Everybody’s just going to have to choose sides and live with the consequences.

  6. Orthochristian just reported that almost the entire Kisumu diocese left for the Russian Church.

    Given that Kenya was one of the strongholds for Alexandria, or at least one of its most successful missions, numbers like that don’t bode well for them.

    • I’ve been saying that based on how community and word of mouth works in Africa, not to mention they take Christianity seriously, I expect over half their clergy to move to the Russian Church.

      Who are the priests going to listen to, Greek bishops or their fellow Africans? I think we already know the answer.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Under the circumstances, I can see Alexandria changing its mind with regard to the schismatics, which frankly seemed coerced at the time. I don’t think Alexandria ever supported what Bartholomew did and they certainly don’t want what Bartholomew did in Ukraine to happen to them.

        • How Alexandria will act (and has acted) will depend in part on the Greek Government, and how the Greek Government will act will depend in part on what the U.S. wants. One should keep in mind that Pyatt, the former ambassador to Ukraine, is now ambassador to Greece, and in a sense ambassador to the EC. I don’t think his presence in Greece is an accident or a coincidence.

        • Gail, I really hope you’re right.

          I suspect that is why Alexandria almost immediately called for a council of the 5 ancient patriarchates. Given the words of Patriarch Theophilos the other day calling for another meeting in the Amman format, I’m guessing he said no to the “five ancient patriarchates” deal, and rightly so, this should involve the entire Church, or at least include the Church of Russia…it’s dumb to think Bartholomew (the offending party!) can attend but not Kirill.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Not only that, Petro, it is a deviation from the teachings of the Church. No patriarch has the right to carve out those who are likely to disagree with him! Just like in Crete. 2/3s of the Church (or thereabouts) did not participate. That’s not a “great” or “Holy” Council. It’s a disaster.

            He doesn’t seem to realize is that the greater part of the Church has fallen away from his leadership.

            • There is a strange stasis setting in which Antioch cannot afford. I suggest they begin to act more decisively. The Amman meeting was the beginning of the continuing Orthodox Church that will survive Phanariot papism. Antioch was not there due to Qatar, I assume. That is unfortunate. If Antioch tries to make its participation in the continuing Church contingent upon the Qatar situation they may find themselves standing astride an ever-widening fissure. Russia will play with the team that shows up.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                At some point, they’ve got to accept they got their resolution to Qatar. They just don’t like it.

                To me, it looks like the Church is having two Councils. One called by Jerusalem and the other called by CP. Some are on both party lists.
                Maybe Antioch is above all that. Did they accept the CP’s invitation?

                • Yep. Another way to look at it is one is being called as a consensus of all Orthodox primates and another is being called by a bunch of ethnic Greeks who agree with each other. I really believe the only reason they added Cyprus was because Chrysostomos agrees with them.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Does he? I’m never sure which way the wind is blowing with him.

                    • He currently recognizes the OCU. This explains why they invited Cyprus as the only non-Pentarchy Church, when in fact Georgia as an Orthodox nation goes back to the 4th century AD. For that matter, Bulgaria (Thrace) has a very early Christian history too (probably apostolic).

                    • Gail Sheppard says


                    • I believe so, its the only reason I can see why they would invite Cyprus and not any of the above ancient patriarchates that Hal mentioned.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                The problem with Antioch is that they still think they have a card to play. – They got their resolution with respect to Qatar. They just don’t like it.

                • The Qatar situation looks unresolved.
                  Did they ask the CP to “arbitrate” and then reject the CP’s “decision”?
                  It seems No. It seems that they asked the CP to help, but the CP didn’t really fix the issue.

                  The CP ended up with the JP’s parishes in the US, although I don’t know if that was part of the JP-Antioch negotiations, and it’s not any explicit resolution about Qatar. At most, getting the JP’s parishes could be seen as a factor that could incline the CP to be more sympathetic to the JP.

                  IMO, it would seem good that the JP would be spreading Orthodoxy in Qatar, but Qatar seems that it should belong to Antioch. One reason is that the JP was carved out of Antioch. It would seem that the Antiochian Church should get all territories not explicitly granted to the JP. Also, Antioch has claim to territories south of Iraq, IIRC. Also, Antioch has claim to Iraq, and Iraqi Christians historically were in Bahrain, although they were probably OOs or Nestorians.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    The lack of resolution was the resolution.

                    The CP has no intention of revisiting this. Antioch got the short end of the stick.

                    I believe (going by memory) the CP walked away with Jerusalem’s parishes in the U.S., the heart of the dispute as far as Met. Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese was concerned, as he wanted all the Arab parishes in America (and their resources) under him.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      This kind of reminds me of what happened with the OCA back in 1970: the Metropolia went to Pat Athenagoras and asked him to resolve their semi-autonomy, if memory serves, they asked him if they could be made an eparchy of Cpole.

                      He said: “you are Russians, go to Russia to resolve your problems.”

                      They did.

                    • I’m not arguing the merits of the case between Antioch and Jerusalem. To the best of my knowledge, Antioch has the better part of the argument but that was not my point.

                      The point is that regardless of whether the situation is resolved or unresolved, the way for Antioch to pursue its preferred resolution is not to boycott any meetings involving Jerusalem as if Jerusalem were schismatic or had fallen into heresy. Find another way to get what you want besides distancing yourself from the emerging critical mass of continuing Orthodoxy. Because if you don’t, you could find yourself left out in the cold and Jerusalem at the titular head of an international Orthodoxy which is de facto led by the ROC.

                      The picture of the Amman synod was an Orthodoxy with Jerusalem presiding at the top of the new diptychs, followed by Russia. Antioch should either lead or it will lose. Pouting is not an option.

                    • IIRC, the Antioch – JP debate over Qatar probably stems from Qatar politics. I take it that the JP and Qatar are more aligned with “the West” than with Syria, or for whatever reason have some much closer political link, particularly with Qatar’s government and politics. As a result, there’s a practical reason why it was much easier for the JP to start and run parishes in Qatar than for Antioch to do so.

                      This would seem to add to the difficulty in finding a resolution. It’s not as if Qatar is going to recognize Antioch’s claim over the JP’s if politics play a role. And even if the JP wanted to leave, Qatar would not be as inclined to have Antioch take over.

                      Of course, perhaps I am mistaken in my assessment and politics doesn’t play a role, but this is just my impression.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Your assessment is just as good as anyone else’s.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      One of the obvious problems with the idea of Jerusalem being the “titular head” of the Orthodox Church is that it’s very existence, quite sadly, is threatened by Jewish extremists, “ultra-Orthodox Jews”, who absolutely hate Orthodox Christianity and aim to take over the Patriarchate’s property. It’s not even a safe place for a “titular head” of the Orthodox Church.

                      Patriarchate Theophilus has recently made this fervent plea:

                      “Our presence in Jerusalem is under threat,” the patriarch wrote in the article, published a day after the Greek Orthodox celebration of Christmas.

                      “Our churches are threatened by Israeli radical fringe groups. At the hands of these Zionist extremists the Christian community in Jerusalem is suffering greatly, he said.

                      “Our brothers and sisters are the victims of hate crimes. Our churches are regularly desecrated and vandalised. Our clergy are subject to frequent intimidation.”


                    • That’s not a real problem, Joseph.
                      The Israeli State at least has always wanted to look like a Western secular state allowing freedom of religion of its subjects. Worst case scenario, the JP can go to Jordan like Antioch’s HQ went to Syria.

                  • Yea the Qatar situation doesn’t make sense to me, at least geographically. I’ve been to the parish in the UAE, which is under Antioch, but Qatar just to the north is under Jerusalem.

              • Antiochene Son says

                Why should Antioch accept the theft of their territory if Russia isn’t accepting the theft of theirs? And honestly for that matter, Alexandria?

                This lawlessness in the church needs to end. It continues to spiral. Good fences make good neighbors.

                • Gail Sheppard says


                • “Why should Antioch accept the theft of their territory if Russia isn’t accepting the theft of theirs? And honestly for that matter, Alexandria?”

                  Because if Antioch doesn’t value theology and needs of the whole Church over territory, then Antioch doesn’t deserve territory period, and Jerusalem can have ALL of Antioch’s territory, until Antioch repents and begs to come back into the Church, and then perhaps Antioch could be granted back the modern state of Syria and nothing else.

                  Keep it up, Antioch, and find out.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Who said Antioch doesn’t value theology or the needs of the whole Church? If true (it isn’t), what does that have to do with what they “deserve”, and to whom would they need to beg to come back into the Church they never left?

                    The bigger question is this: What practices do we have within the Church to deal with disputes and why did these measures fail in this case?

                    Jerusalem and Antioch appealed to Constantinople who neglected to settle the dispute. Not only did the dispute remain unsettled, but it set a dangerous precedent which we will continue to have to live with as time goes on.

                    • Yes, Gail. The CP’s failure to adjudicate the JP-Antioch dispute is looks weak in light of the CP’s claim to its jurisdiction over all EO appellate disputes.

                      Of course, the CP’s adjudication could be considered to just let the JP do what it wants in Qatar, but that was not some formal decision by the CP.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I believe Qatar had an old parish that either belonged to or should have belonged to Antioch because of where it was. It had been used by Jerusalem for many years but wasn’t officially their’s.

                      This dispute was never about Qatar, per se.

                      It was about Jerusalem and the parishes they established in America.

                      In Antioch’s mind, the Arabs in America (especially the Palestinians) should belong to the Antiochian Archdiocese.

                      Bartholomew could have left everything alone as you suggested but that’s not what he did. He dissolved the Jerusalem jurisdiction in America and used them to create the Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Communities in the USA, directly answerable to the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

                      Bartholomew used the opportunity to take the goods himself. – Again, speaking from memory. I’m happy to be corrected.

              • I think Holy Thursday will be telling in regards to Antioch. If they accept chrism from, or they themselves participate in a liturgy, with schismatics (of which I think Bartholomew is now formally one), then that will raise all sorts of issues as I think the chrism is sent out to the Antiochian diaspora if I’m not mistaken, America included. That would be a major problem.

                My thought is that Antioch has zero to gain from siding with the EP.

                1) Patriarch John isn’t ethnically Greek & neither is his flock
                2) The EP is pro-West, which essentially means anti-Assad (who Christians in Syria love)
                3) The EP doesn’t even have the economic resources to keep his own See afloat let alone Antioch, as the Russian Church is able to do.

                As a side note, #3 is also why the Russia Church is the only Church that can combat the EP and his cronies. The MP is probably the only Orthodox Church that has the resources and finances to set up exarchates like Africa, SE Asia, etc. I’m sure Bartholomew & Theodoros know this.

            • He doesn’t seem to realize is that the greater part of the Church has fallen away from his leadership.

              I actually think he does indeed realize that and I think that explains his attacks on the Russian Church.
              Had he not invaded Ukraine I believe the Churches would have continued with the status quo and Constantinople would have continued to covertly subvert the Church, but, Bartholomew overplayed his hand and he’s on the losing side. Now the majority of Churches seem to have stopped pay lip service to the “Mother Church” and have instead started asking why we need him.

              This will only get worse once he holds the chrism hostage on Holy Thursday.

              At least that’s my perception and as always I’m open to criticism.

    • After the untimely death of +Athanasios of Kisumu, there was a void. He was a bright and visionary bishop…..and one of their own. AP took their time naming a successor, a Greek Bishop from South Africa was chosen, despite many worthy native African candidates. While the chosen Bishop was qualified, he had no experience with the culture of the people of Kisumu. The disappointment with the choice was clear, and not helped by the newly appointed bishop taking over 4 months to arrive and serve the people he was appointed to serve. Another facet of this is a bit of colonialism….can the African clergy be considered learned enough to not depend on imported Greeks? One of the advantages of being under the Russians is that hopefully the services will finally be fully translated and celebrated in the vernacular. This has not historically been the legacy of Greek missionaries.

  7. Is this what you’re thinking of about Patriarch Theodoros admitting his mistake?

    I don’t think he’s admitting a mistake, but is rather just saying he’s surprised by how it turned out. I think he’s still holding to the party line that what he did was objectively correct (although, deep down inside, he must know this is a massive lie)

  8. RISU reported on January 12:

    The Patriarchate Alexandria decided to inform both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the local Church through Patriarchal letters, which will describe the actions of the Russian Church, while applying faithfully and directly what is provided by the rules of ecclesiastical punishment, to offenders.
    This is referring to the letter that the AP decided on January 12 to write to the CP.

    On that same day, the AP made statements in the course of the “working session” on this topic that you can read above, eg. “we have suddenly faced the immoral invasion and intrusion of the Russian Church”. This doesn’t sound like the AP would be admitting a mistake. But since we don’t have the letter’s text we don’t really know.

    On January 20, “Patriarch of Alexandria briefed Archbishop Sinai on Russian intrusion”

    You may have been thinking of this article:
    Alexandria, January 20, 2022
    It’s about comments that the AP made in person.

    Then on January 23, “Patriarch Theodore II thanked the OCU representative for supporting the Church of Alexandria”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Yes, that was essentially it but in the Orthodox Times. Thank you, Hal.

      I’m still not getting why Bartholomew did not share the letter if it was something he and Alexandria had agreed to previously. Clearly, Pat. Theo II was ambivalent throughout this whole process. He believed Bartholomew when he assured him the rest of the Church would accept the OCU eventually. When that didn’t happen it must have seemed like a sad irony that the Church had, in fact, unified, but on the opposing side without Alexandria.

      We all loved Alexandria and counted on them. I was so sure they would NOT commune with schismatics or be a party to splitting the Church. It was a real punch-in-the-gut kind of thing when I realized I was wrong. Something you don’t get over right away.

      That said, I’m not sure Alexandria realized the Russians were holding the door open for them until last week. A “do-over” might seem awfully good at this point and whatever (it was rumored) Alexandria got from Bartholomew could easily be matched by Russia.

      I can’t imagine why Bartholomew and Alexandria would think it would be a good idea to outline punishment for the MP. (It doesn’t surprise me at all that Bartholomew would get Alexandria to do it. He doesn’t like dirtying his hands.)

      The MP is not in communion with either of them. What can they do to them? Excommunicate them after they have severed communion??? The EP has no authority over the MP at this juncture.

      No, what Alexandria has done is force us deeper into schism. This isn’t “punishment.” This is a death blow to the entire Church. Alexandria knows this. Their remorse is real.

      If Alexandria does not walk through the MP’s open door, history will remember that it was Alexandria who took the sword from Bartholomew’s hand and delivered the final blow.

      • Great comment Gail!

        hello, I think personally the MP has acted in that way in Africa simply to push for a council to go ahead and/or to stop any further churches from either recognizing the fake Ukrainians or even for the ones that have to stop any concelebrations happening (ArchB. Chrysostom of Cyprus and Ieronymos of Athens in particular). If the Archb. Of Cyprus does concelebrate with the OCU then he will have a total revolt on his hands, would the other bishops of Cyprus against him ask to go under the Russian church in such a case?! That’s why the sanctification of Chrism/Myrrh planned by PB with the OCU representatives is going to be a big issue for many churches! Let’s see how that goes…

        P. Theodoros has probably considered changing his mind when he saw nearly half his clergy now leaving and maybe more; think of the stress he is under. It would not surprise me if that letter to PB did contain something like ‘I regret doing this, look at the mess I’ve created, I’ll soon have nothing left’. However, the Greeks and the CP backed by the US S.D. will not allow the AP to go back, not sure what blackmail they had against him in the first place to make him jump so abruptly but they will surely hang that over his head again! I guess either a money or sex scandal!

        I have to stay I’m surprised that no AP bishop has said anything or even spoken out against his decision, think of Cyprus and Greek bishops, some have.

        I’m sure the MP could do good work in Africa but I hope the door is open for the AP to go back in the foreseeable future and for the MP to withdraw in such a case (would they?), that’s why I hope they go slow

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I don’t think the MP wanted to conquer anything for their own gain. I think their intent was to help the AP hold onto his patriarchate while he thinks this through. No one wants Africa to slip through the cracks. If Bartholomew were given the keys, the AP would never get them back.

          • George C Michalopulos says

            Darling, these last couple of comments are superb. Truth be told, I haven’t thought this through until just now and between you, Philippe, and Hal, y’all may have cracked the nut.

            I too, see the MP giving Theo II a face=saving way out. The only question is how many sleepless nights he’s having. On the one hand, you have your Church (in Africa) which is slipping away while on the other you have the State Dept, the Greek foreign ministry & Soros’ millions, doing what they can do to keep you afloat.

            Still, as we’re seeing with our friends in the Great White North, the Elite have some serious thinking to do.

            This things about “the sword” is superb.:

        • The best outcome, at this point, would be 1) for Alexandria to repent (although I won’t hold my breath) and 2) for Moscow to dismantle its structures in Africa but to stay behind and assist with the renewed mission work.

          At this stage, point 1 doesn’t seem likely, so Moscow will have to bear the load on their own.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            The thing I love about Moscow is that if that’s what it takes to keep the Church together, they’ll do it.

            What a pain in the a@# Constantiople is being. Running around inviting in the Pope, acquiescing to demands from crooked politicians to deliver a tomos to a bunch of people who refuse to be ordained, (where in Church tradition does it say we can do away with the laying on of hands???), running a type of brothel for his metropolitans, who hold positions over absolutely nothing and no one, talking about green this and green that and allowing the GOA to put together a video with a seductive young woman whos look like the quintessential farmer’s daughter (what all men dream about) with a snake draped around her shoulders.

            What could God be thinking looking down this spectacle?

      • If Alexandria does not walk through the MP’s open door, history will remember that it was Alexandria who took the sword from Bartholomew’s hand and delivered the final blow.

        Agreed and it would be an incredible shame too since Theodoros has overseen an incredible amount of mission work in Africa. I’ll give him credit for that. I agree I think he was strongly coerced into recognizing the OCU, that’s the only thing that explains the complete turnaround in his support for the UOC.

  9. If you need help looking through your history to get old webpages, you can find instructions online, depending on your browser.
    I could even walk you through it. Google Cache might still have the page cached if you can give the URL for it in the next 20 days or so. Feel free to email me for help on this.

  10. Ronda Wintheiser says

    “According to the Russian Patriarchal Exarch in Africa, Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, the number of African priests who joined the Exarchate had already grown to 150 from the initial 102 as of early last week. And that number continues to steadily grow, the Metropolitan has said.

    “According to sources in Africa, a large number of those priests come from the Kisumu Diocese (Kenya) of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

    “OrthoChristian was initially informed that 53 of the diocese’s 71 priests have joined the Moscow Patriarchate. While that exact number is unconfirmed, several other sources on the ground have confirmed that an overwhelming majority of Kisumu priests have switched…”

  11. On January 20, “Patriarch of Alexandria briefed Archbishop Sinai on Russian intrusion”

    How does the AP have the authority to brief the Archbishop of Sinai on the topic, unless in some purely collegial cross-Church/inter-Church way? Sinai is part of the JP, not the AP, correct?

    • William Tighe says

      I believe that, like Cyprus, Sinai is autocephalous.

    • Sinai is autonomous under the Jerusalem Patriarchate, or autocephalous, depending on who you ask. It’s a complex situation going back centuries. Panchenko’s book on Arab Orthodoxy really digs into the matter at length.

      • I understand the Abbot/Archbishop considers Sinai autocephalous
        whereas the Patriarch of Jerusalem considers it to be autonomous.
        I imagine an Ecumenical Council will sort it out, one day…

  12. I think we are missing reality. The era of divine right is over. If due to ineptitude Africa is being lost to the Roman Catholics and protestants , should that not our concern? And both of them do not need the patriarch’s permission. Now if the church of Russia has the resources and skill to do a better job, then logic says that they have earned the opportunity. The Hellenistic fervor of the patriarchate is its own down fall. Isn’t Africa the territory of the oriental orthodox? The copts and Ethiopians are much larger churches and know how to work with in indegenous people’s. So we we should support and applaud moscow’ s concern and abilities. The patriarch of Alexandria had it’s chance and it appears, at least to me, that they blew it. Our charge is the evangelize and not hellenize. The world has changed, reality has changed. It is now imperative that we change the marketing model, and go with the third time, for they are earning this honorific, aren’t they?

    • George Michalopulos says

      RJ, they “blew it” a century ago when they humiliated and exiled St Nektarios of Aegina.

      They need to publicly repent of that crime.

  13. George Michalopulos says

    Next time anybody tells you that “Russia is a gas-station with nukes,” ask them to read this:


  14. More importantly are the African churches using the old calendar which is the traditional calendar of Alexandria and thus of Africa? We know from St. Athanasius festal epistles and Theophilus of Alexandria’s paschal tables the Church calendar is based on the Egyptian. We know the Orthodox calendar New Year was based on falling 2 days after the end of the flooding of the Nile. Or are they still using the secular European based calendar that begins on Jan 1 completely detached from the feast day of Nayrouz?