The Memory Hole

ministry-of-truthBeginning today, readers of Monomakhos will notice a new heading where “Fr Robert Arida” used to be. We’re calling it “The Memory Hole.”

The name comes from George Orwell’s prophetic book 1984. In that book, the reader learned that the Ministry of Truth was able to shut up all discussion about inconvenient facts by shunting them down said hole.

In the age of the Internet, this is rather harder to do but it’s not impossible, as anybody who has ever gone to “404 Error”-Land can tell you.

What brought this up is a recent phenomenon in which certain controversial clerics and bishops have had to “lose” or otherwise “forget” that they posted of wrote a controversial opinion. Two in particular, Fr Robert Arida and Archbishop Lazar Puhalo for example, have been “instructed” to take down certain things they’ve said, written or posted. That’s a good thing in a sense in that it shows that Orthodox Church is still not ready to go down the path of Episcopalian “inclusiveness” and so on. The push-back has been severe and we here at Monomakhos like to think that we’ve played a significant role in this counter-revolutions.

Be that as it may, we couldn’t do it without you as much of this nonsense has come to us unsolicited from many of you. (I can’t do it all myself.) Eternal vigilance is called for and for this we thank you.

In the meantime, we want to make sure that these idle and pernicious musings are never forgotten. It is our wish to memorialize them. Thus we ask you all to continue being vigilant; scour the Internet, social media, and so on. Take screenshots (always the best) and send them to us whenever you can so that a permanent record is maintained. This is not to humiliate anybody in particular, but to call them to account.

Real Accountability and Transparency if you know what I mean.


  1. Michalopulos:

    Two in particular, Fr Robert Arida and Archbishop Lazar Puhalo for example, have been “instructed” to take down certain things they’ve said, written or posted.

    What’s your evidence for this “CLAIM” ? Fr. Arida’s essay is still available. +Puhalo takes orders from nobody.

  2. Willard Lemroe says

    Your problem stems from the facts that what you have posted about Fr. Robert Arida and what is reality are quite different. You have made him out to be some sort of demon priest who encourages homosexual activity and compromises church teaching. You are totally wrong. There have been homosexuals in the church since Constantine and the church has handled these issues one-on-one in a pastoral manner. This is the case with Fr. Robert and most priests in the Orthodox Church. This forum is just evil and defames good people. A typical forum that excelled in this was the Indiana List led by convert SYNOD nuts. I guess they just moved over here.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Lemroe, there have been sinners in this Church since Jesus started preaching. I for one am glad that there are compassionate, caring priests out there who are ministering to hurting souls. I’m glad to hear that Fr Arida is one such priest.

      We are not talking about private, pastoral advice. Nor about oikonomia as such. What we are talking about are clever encyclicals which seek to generalize from personal. It’s an insidious process. Perhaps Arida means no such conspiracy; if so, then I beg his forgiveness. However I bet I’m a bit older than you and I saw this exact same process play out in the mainline Protestant denominations. I too was beguiled by the soft, caring words; the aristocratic mien of the concerned, and the stark contrast with the bilious fulminations of lower-class fundamentalist preachers. There was no comparison: one side exuded Christ-like humility, the other Billy Sunday-like sputtering. Yet it was the smooth-talkers who destroyed their denominations and from thence set our land on the road to ruin.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Mr. Lemroe, since you apparently have a different understanding than George Michalopulos does on the piece that was originally posted on the Wonder Blog by Fr. Arida, would you mind explaining this particular paragraph?

      “…If the never changing Gospel who is Jesus Christ is to have a credible presence and role in our culture then the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition. Among the most controversial of these issues are those related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life, the economy and the care and utilization of the environment including the care, dignity and quality of all human life. If the unchanging Gospel is to be offered to the culture then the Church, in and through the Holy Spirit will have to expand the understanding of itself and the world it is called to save. That there are Orthodox Christians who misuse the never changing Christ to promote a particular political agenda and ideology or as license to verbally and physically assault those they perceive as immoral along with those who would question the status quo of the Church impose on the Church a ‘new and alien spirit’.”

      What exactly is he saying?

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Since neither Mr. Lemroe nor OOM have stepped up to answer my question, I’ll do it myself.

      Mr. Lemroe stated that what Mr. Michalopulos has “posted about Fr. Robert Arida and what is reality are quite different” and that he has “made Fr. Arida out to be some sort of demon priest who encourages homosexual activity and compromises church teaching.”

      Fr. Arida wrote that the Church can “no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition” and he goes on to say that these questions are controversial — specifically, those “related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life…”

      Is there any doubt that Fr. Arida is suggesting that the Church’s teaching on homosexuality (and presumably transgenderism, transvestism, etc. etc.etc. as well), gay marriage, abortion, and euthanasia are open questions in the Orthodox Church? Is there any doubt that he is, by his suggestion, encouraging homosexual activity and compromising Church teaching?

      No, there isn’t.

      • Michael Kinsey 1380805 says

        Right thinking authentic Christianity brings forth the fruits of a sense of the sacred and a sense of decency. To the pure all things are pure. It is obvious the right thinking produces fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is just as obvious to the pure that what Fr. Aderia expounds does not contain the qualities that bring forth fruits of the Holy Spirit, rather it contends against the Holy Spirit. He wishes of open the evil fruits as an acceptable alternative to the acquisition of the Holy Spirit., . The fruits he champions are always unacceptable, Light has no fellowship with darkness and confusion. I wonder if what he is teaching is not a compromise to the government for allowing the GOA to build the new church in ground the GOA.

  3. Michalopulos:

    In the meantime, we want to make sure that these idle and pernicious musings are never forgotten. It is our wish to memorialize them. Thus we ask you all to continue being vigilant; scour the Internet, social media, and so on. Take screenshots (always the best) and send them to us whenever you can so that a permanent record is maintained. This is not to humiliate anybody in particular, but to call them to account.
    Real Accountability and Transparency if you know what I mean.

    Who appointed YOU the Internet and social media police force?

  4. Michalopulos:

    That’s a good thing in a sense in that it shows that Orthodox Church is still not ready to go down the path of Episcopalian “inclusiveness” and so on.

    We’ve included too many angry ex-Episcoplians, especially among the priesthood, that’s for sure. They bring with them the “new and alien spirit” of which Fr. Robert Arida has written so persuasively and eloquently. It is the tired, dying spirit of fundamentalism.

    • George Michalopulos says

      OOM, as far as I’m concerned, we can never have too many “angry, ex-Episcopalians” in the priesthood! After all, they have much to be angry about.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      There are no Aglican fundamentalists. But there are many who now like to call believers in timeless Christian doctrine “fundamentalists”.

    • Thomas Barker says

      OOM, you refer to ‘angry ex-Episcopalians’ and their ‘spirit of fundamentalism.’ I was raised in the Episcopal Church and ‘fundamentalism’ is hardly what comes to mind when I think of the clergy and members I have known over the years. Many were neoterics. Many were there for social reasons. Occasionally one would go ‘Roman’ on us. But fundamentalist? A rare bird indeed. You must be thinking of those right wing secessionist groups that pop up from time to time in the ECUSA, no?

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Ah, I see that you, OOM, referenced the quote I referred to above and asked Mr. Lemroe to explain.

      Perhaps you’d care to do the same?

    • Gregory Manning says

      My dear OOM!
      “Fundamentalist Episcopalian” is an oxymoron. Fundamentalists have strongly held religious beliefs. Worse, they express those beliefs in PUBLIC!!! They actually talk about their belief and faith in JESUS in POLITE COMPANY!!! As I grew up hearing, fundamentalists are, well, not our sort of people. They’re very religious and have the bad form to talk about their religious beliefs in front of everybody. Polite company keep that sort of thing to themselves. It’s very rude to make other people uncomfortable by getting all emotional and talking about, well, you know, “Jesus” and all that sort of stuff.
      “Fundamentalists”! All I can say is “My dear OOM!”

  5. Michalopulos:

    Take screenshots (always the best) and send them to us whenever you can so that a permanent record is maintained. This is not to humiliate anybody in particular, but to call them to account.

    Georgian Patriarch Blames Deadly Flooding On Communists’ Sins. Is this the kind of UTTER NONSENSE you want us all to find, so that you can hold the patriarch accountable?

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      “The patriarch concluded that the deaths of people and animals were ‘the result’ of the communist rulers’ actions.

      “Ilia suggested that the zoo be vacated and rebuilt in a different location, because the current zoo ‘was founded on sin’.”

      I’d be interested to read his actual words, not a description of them.

      The Pope has been misquoted a number of times, you’ll recall.

      And if that is what he said, well yes, of course he should be asked to clarify himself.

      Is there something wrong with asking the same from Fr. Arida?

      • Patriarch Ilia said that the zoo was built using metal that was robbed from churches, and that crimes like that do not go unanswered, hence the zoo’s disastrous end. Hardly nonsense.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Ah, Father Helga@ Does this mean your God has SHOWN THEM?wow! Does this herald the repentant construction of new churches? Or was it just to satisfy justice…..?

  6. Maria Teresa says

    Ah, all of that information must have gone to the same “memory hole” where the 2008 report of the Special Investigative Committee must have gone. That document has also disappeared from a lot of the places it used to live online.

  7. StephenD says

    Its official…Met Jonah has been released to ROCOR

  8. pegleggreg says

    George. your blog makes my day. keep stirring the aroma is delightful

  9. Jesse Cone says

    Speaking of Memory Holes, today in the news the STL Cardinals baseball team is under federal investigation for guessing at former employee’s passwords in order to access the Houston Astros’ network. ESPN and the NY Times are reminding people that such behavior is a violation of federal law and a felony. (Title XIIX. 1030 if I’m not mistaken). Moreover, the penalty grows if information is gathered or disseminated for the hacker’s advantage.

    Just a reminder to the Synod of the OCA, and to the diocese of E. PA…

    • George Michalopulos says

      Now Jesse, you’re talking about something important, that is major league baseball. I can assure you that secular standards of rectitude and criminality do not apply to other institutions, at least as far as the Chancery in Syosset and their Stokovite enablers are concerned (sarcasm on).

    • And what a massive memory hole that is, Jesse! I only wish the matter could have been pursued in court.

  10. M. Stankovich says

    It is being reported that the the St. Sergius Institute in Paris has suspended all functions rather than be “restructured” by a Greek bishop – originally from a schismatic Ukranian group from Canada no less – who has been an EP bishop for a total of two years. in asserting its 90-year tradition of being the most prominent and renowned Orthodox Theological Academy on the European continent, the French courts ruled in St. Sergius’ favour & and ordered That they not be interfered withand their endowment funding be restored. Upon appeal by the EP’s Bishop Job as ruling hierarch, he was restored authority, but stripped of the authority grant academic degrees. Students wishing to continue pursuing degrees have been forced to transfer to a smaller seminary of the ROC.

    • Gregory Manning says

      Are you able to give us an overview or some back ground to this story? Likewise, if anyone can do the same for this item:

      it would be helpful. Surely I’m not the only one who is clueless as to all the goings-on in world Orthodoxy. Presumably these items are reported because they are of some significance, yes?

      What, exactly, is up?


      • M. Stankovich says

        This is a rough translation of what is posted on the website of os St. Sergius Institute, dated June 16, 2015:


        1. While the Institute celebrates its ninety years of existence, the time comes when, more than ever, it is “to account for the hope that is in us” (1 P 3, 15). Driven by totalitarianism, our Founding Fathers did their exile providence. They agreed to live fully the West, Europe, France, to stand voluntarily to meet other Christian denominations, other religions, philosophical movements, consciously assume the academic discipline of teaching and research, dialogue and debate. They courageously surpassed divisions of the Orthodox world to accommodate all of the Orthodox Churches and witness to the universality of the Orthodox Church. They patiently built the only Orthodox theology school, on the Old Continent, is entitled to have crossed the gloomy twentieth century in constant freedom. As Olivier Clément wrote there ever to that twenty, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Institute: “It is here that Orthodoxy can now try to modernity without knowing the curse without either dissolve it, but to overcome it from within, in fidelity to the true tradition that is, in the Body of Christ, the ever renewed newness of the Spirit. ”

        2. It is this heritage that we have to wear the same height which invites us to know and show us modest resolved. It is this legacy that today suffers a demolition company leading to its destruction. Since his controversial election in November 2013 at the head of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe, Bishop Job of Telmessos has continued to denigrate, to destabilize and impede the activity of the Institute, he denying autonomy as guaranteed by French law and European law. His constant aim was to transform the honorary charge of Rector of the Institute by the rightful use and settlement in a total control over the life of the Institute. Accordingly, for examples:

        – From late 2013 to mid 2014, Mgr Job Telmessos intervened, unsuccessfully, to the services of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research to sit by the republican authorities of the rights which, under the law and the statutes of the Institute, as it was then reminded him, can be his, such action offender also the secular regime.

        – On 19 June 2014, during the closing session at the end of the liturgy, Bishop Job of Telmessos denounced from the pulpit, “malfunctions, problems of ecclesial, administrative, academic,” “a mismanagement, poor level, “” generalized incompetence, “” a lamentable situation, grotesque, shameful “that the cause would be” ownership “of the Institute by a” secularist tendency “that would have triggered” a glance State, an entry into the war “against his person so that the Institute should have towards him” the report of a child to his mother, “that is to say, recognize all powers.

        – On Monday, September 29, 2014, Bishop Job of Telmessos could repeat his attacks at the first meeting of an “ad hoc Independent Committee” in fact autosaisi, in order to “audit” the Institute after Bishop was in Job fact legitimize the principle and the existence of the Holy Synod of Constantinople on the basis of a unilateral report of its fact remained confidential since and more than likely biased in view of the result. We can only regret that honorable personalities required to serve on this committee have believed participate in an objective body that was formed reality, captured and exploited by an ambition more subjective.

        – On December 25, 2014, Bishop Job of Telmessos launched the traditional Christmas quest, which is conducted each year in the parishes of his diocese and to the benefit of the Institute, asking that donations be sent to now ” Hill St. Sergius, “a parallel association, founded by him and called unequivocally for clever confusion.

        – February 8, 2015, at the solemn meeting of the Institute, Mgr Job Telmessos was read a statement in response to the fact that the Institute had considered it his duty to serve in a letter from a qualified legal expert February 2, 2015, the “Ad Hoc Committee” that he placed himself objectively in a situation of abuse of rights. The intention of the Institute was clearly to protect the authorities and the personalities involved, beginning with the Holy Synod, the illegitimate action to which Mgr Job exposed them pursuing its own goals disguised. In his statement, Archbishop Job nevertheless offending “member of the Board of the Institute”, accusing them of “place themselves outside the Church”, taking the name of a truth-cons, to “remember that the canons prohibit wearing ecclesiastical matters before the civil authorities”, that is to say, implicitly threatening the clerks working at the Institute and under its jurisdiction to be dragged before an ecclesiastical court.

        – May 18, 2015, at the meeting between the court and the AMEITO Endowment Fund Institute of Culture and the St. Sergius Orthodox thought, two organizations that financially support the Institute, as civil parties to M . Brispot Patrick, former treasurer of Ameito found to have diverted funds, Bishop Job of Telmessos intervened without consulting or warning the associations concerned, that the Archdiocese is doing and strangely parallel civil party, not without declare by his lawyer that, because of its alleged negligence, the Institute would be morally responsible part of the serious injury that it is actually indirectly the victim. Which amounted to weaken the position and the ability of the Institute to recover its funds.

        – On 26 May 2015, the delegation of the Institute who asked her audience to look up the terms of a renewed collaboration, Bishop Job of Telmessos said he required: a) that the Institute apologizes to members of the “Ad Hoc Committee” to deliver to the latter the requested documents whose balance sheets of financial periods and university curricula for teachers; b) that the Institute grants him the following set of powers concentrated in his person ex officio: President of the Board of the Institute; Presidency Ameito; veto over the person of Dean elected by the Board; right invalidation on a periodic basis teachers. In conclusion, he reiterated his refusal to countersign traditional diplomas printed at the end 2015 as was the case in 2014 on the pretext of a question entitled meantime resolved and continuing in this way to keep students in a situation that amounts to that of hostages.

        – May 29, 2015, Bishop Job of Telmessos received the Institute of students to explain he declined all responsibility in this impasse was due to the Institute, he had a Project staff, new teachers and funds to conduct a radical overhaul of the Institute, it was so hard to countersign their diplomas and he advised them for the year 2015-2016, for “prudence” of contracting a dual enrollment or enroll other than the Institute.

        – On 15 June 2015, during his verdict in the Brispot case the Court, which ruled in favor of significantly IAMEITO and the Endowment Fund Institute of Culture and the St. Sergius Orthodox thought, and recognized fully entitled to recover their stolen funds, also dismissed Archbishop Job of his application for incorporation in civil party who has been found inadmissible, the court incidentally confirming the independence of these associations, and hence of the Institute, in as legal subjects.

        3. Before all else, we must sadly admit that we have learned nothing new about the spirit of our former student and teacher Job Getcha provisions, since joining the Institute in 1996 to our refusal collective to renew its mandate Dean in 2007, event which we believe are the source of its current maneuvers to recover absolute power of God he believes hold the pretext of a false conception of the episcopate which we recognize that indirectly it overwhelms our talents pedagogues against him.

        4. However, during this year of open and underground hostilities agitated by one who had become meanwhile Archbishop Job, we preferred to remain silent in the hope that the scandal continues, it does not overflow within of the Church, that are needed reason and communion. We apologize to anyone who did not understand the reasons for this expectation has removed the bitter idea that the Institute renounced his vocation and mission.

        5. Indeed, we are not alone in suffering the onslaught of Archbishop Job of Telmessos in his frantic quest for power and recognition. It is with a sad heart that we turn our thoughts to fraternal Diocesan Council, parishes, priests and faithful of the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe which have also to stand arbitrary vindictive and vexatious, as evidenced by the many relationships and formal and informal complaints, issued by mail or relayed on the Internet. Also, all those who are assaulted, injured or offended by the actions of Archbishop Job of Telmessos, we affirm with humility but certainty, following the Fathers and Doctors: “This is not the Church of Christ. This is not Orthodoxy. ”

        6. With the Apostle we thus “coated heart of our patience” (1 Col 3, 12) until the extreme point where it is necessary that “our yes be yes, and our no be no” (Mt 5: , 37; Jas 5:12). For as the command Saint Maximus the Confessor, who was alone to bear against orthodoxy his time: “Before all and for all, be sober and vigilant […]; keep the great and especially the first remedy of salvation, I mean the excellent heritage of faith, confessing openly in the body and the soul, as the Fathers taught us “(Letter 12).

        7. Therefore, taking into account the increasing difficulty of our circumstances, but above all as a sign of resistance to the draconian desire Mgr Job Getcha, to his conception of the episcopate as autocracy, his disdain of the laws of French Republic and the European Union, we, members of the Board of teachers having prayed, exchanged and concurred in the same breath, have decided, by an overwhelming majority, with the unanimous approval of the Board, to suspend regular education on site of the Institute, throughout the academic year 2015-2016.

        8. This is the inviolable right of the St Sergius Institute, higher private educational institution recognized by the State and governed by a free association of law 1901 which, de facto, can legally raise the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe, which is a diocesan union of religious associations of the 1905 Act This is also the imperative duty of the St Sergius Institute, in view of the pan-Orthodox mission he accomplished over ninety years in the service of all, the Committee and the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France, of all the Orthodox Churches in the world and first of the Ecumenical Throne has always guaranteed up today, freedom of the Institute as an expression of its own radiation.

        9. This period of suspension of regular education on site will be developed in compliance with the students concerned and the proper pursuit of their studies that will make possible our various cooperation agreements with sister institutions and the maintenance of theological training by correspondence. But this period is mainly used, ninety years after our founding, our thinking overhaul for the next ninety years by adapting the spirit of our origins to current challenges. Throughout fiscal 2015-2016, the Institute, thus escaping the deleterious paralysis in which Archbishop Job of Telmessos works to the dive, do remain nonetheless a lively place, open to all and preparing his future. That all those who have continued to accompany and help are fully assured of our commitment to return perpetuate our vocation. We also invite to participate in our reflection on the future of the Institute.

        10. This decision therefore not equivalent to a withdrawal of the Church, but a defense of the Church. It certainly is a risk of marginalization or even disappearance, which nevertheless seemed a lesser evil in terms of the canonical asphyxiation business and ideological diversion led by Mgr Job Getcha. For we are not fighting for ourselves but for the testimony of faith. Thus, it would be better for the Institute no longer exist rather than surrender to a spiritual death that would result in the continuation of his name as he would have lost his identity.

        11. Because we want lively St. Sergius, we dare ask, respectfully but trust, His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew and His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, which we know how deep their attachment to the Institute, so they give us the spiritual and canonical support that will enable us to continue our mission in a climate of authentic ecclesial communion, legal compliance and human dignity. And that, in turn and in their name we can communicate “living water” of Orthodox theology to any woman and any man “who feels thirst” (Rev 22, 17).

        12. Endorsing the definition of Father Sergius Bulgakov which at the same time of the establishment of the Institute and was its first Dean, declared that “Orthodoxy, to be itself, can not be only richness of faith and life by faith, but must be as prophecy, “we make our own finally the word of our Father among the Saints John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, and say with him:” Thanks be to God for everything. ”

        The St Sergius,

        In Paris, 16 June 2015.

        They apparently intend to conduct their already scheduled summer symposia in Church Slavonic for Chanters, Readers, and choir members through the end of June.

    • Anonymous per Scorilo says

      Students wishing to continue pursuing degrees have been forced to transfer to a smaller seminary of the ROC.

      I do not think this corect, they have been told to pursue the studies at other serious Paris institutions with which St. Serge has class-transfer arrangements. I do not think the ROC seminar in Epinay-sous-Senart is anywhere in that group – it reminds me more of the line in the movie “The In-laws”: “This was not a caterer, it was just two guys and a truck and lettuce”

  11. Michael Woerl says

    No longer can the Church expect its faithful and the wider public to accept its decrees, exhortations and admonitions that often ignore sophisticated and refined theological scholarship, science and technology. If the Church is to “expand its mission” it can no longer turn away from, ignore or condemn questions and issues that are a priori presumed to contradict or challenge its living tradition. Among the most controversial of these issues are those related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life, and care for the environment. If the Church is to “expand its mission” then, in and through the Holy Spirit, it must be able to expand the understanding of itself and of the world it lives in.

    “How to Expand the Mission – The 18th All American Council” by Father Robert Arida

    • M. Stankovich says

      Mr, Woerl,

      While my opinion of your cheap theatrical “piling-on” should be quite predictable, I would offer you my thoughts as offered to Fr. Hans on his evolution of Robert Arida from “Episcopalian” to “Gnostic”:

      I have known Fr. Robert Arida for more than forty years – he was one of my first roommates at seminary – and I can assure you that, while his is a brilliant mind, his is not the calculating mind of which you accuse. Personally, I am angry and disappointed that he has written in vague terms and refuses to respond or expand to his critics, but you have developed an impression and the accompanying jingoism of which those on the Right are so fond on the flimsiest of actual statements. I would note that you have previously mocked those who “quote the bigshots” like Fr. Georges Florovsky, but I have not seen you critique Fr. Florovsky’s statements in regard to “Living Tradition,” which he so beautifully delineates and crafts in at least five separate articles in English of which I am aware. And only one of these articles was ever criticized, I believe by ArchBp. Averky of Jordanville, originally titled “Thoughts About the Limits of the Church,” which Fr. Georges amended before publishing. The point being that Fr. Florovsky took the concept of “Living Tradition” much further than Robert Arida, yet you do not group him among the “Gnostics.” The reason? You are fixated on a “theology contra-homosexuality.” That was my argument with you on Monomakhos, that you would turn the mystery of Christian Marriage into the “antidote” for homosexuality. The only difference between the arguments of Fr. George Florovsky and Fr. Robert Arida are exactly two words: “human sexuality.” The remainder of your argument is complete conjecture. If you are comfortable and confident referring to Robert Arida as a “Gnostic” based only on what he has actually written, than you have no choice but to also refer as well to Georges Florovsky.

      Fr. Hans then asked my opinion, “So what do you think Fr. Arida is saying? What is his thesis? And why did he write in such “vague terms?” And my response was:

      I believe you can read his “thesis” as well as I can: the church, in the context of the “public square,” must address the issues “related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life, the economy and the care and utilization of the environment including the care, dignity and quality of all human life.” It seems fairly obvious to me that by not doing so, by not providing a voice of moral authority, we are complicit with the indifference that has allowed the courts of this country to determine these issues for us. Now, had I written these same words, I do not believe you would have any comment whatsoever. But Fr. Arida had 1) previously written a short commentary regarding homosexuality and the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in his home state, and 2) Fr. Arida is not Fr. Georges Florovsky. It is only when people like you pounced on the two words that distinguish the two author’s (and I might add Met. Kallistos (Ware), as well) thoughts on “Living Tradition” – human sexualitythen in my mind, his essay becomes “vague.” And I am very disappointed & angry that he has not addressed and clarified the issue directly (and addressed Fr. Alexander Webster, whom I have commended for taking the high road in attempting to contact him directly). I believe no one in a position of educating the faithful has the right to cloud the “public square” with vague “theolegumena.”

      It seems to me that a wiser course of action for you and many others would have been to explore the role of Living Tradition in the Church, because it seems to me that this fundamental magical thinking that has guided us to believe that, in the analogy offered by Met. Kallistos (Ware), was posed by the 14th century Byzantine statesman Theodore Metochites, such that, “All that needs to have been said has already been said” has landed us in the moral crisis in which we now find ourselves. As Fr. Florovsky wrote:

      Our theological thinking has been dangerously affected by the pattern of decay, adopted for the interpretation of Christian history in the West since the Reformation. The fullness of the Church was then interpreted in a static manner, and the attitude to Antiquity has been accordingly distorted and misconstrued. After all, it does not make much difference, whether we restrict the normative authority of the Church to one century, or to five, or to eight. There should be no restriction at all. Consequently, there is no room for any “theology of repetition.” The Church is still fully authoritative as she has been in the ages past, since the Spirit of Truth quickens her now no less effectively as in the ancient times.

      In this sense, we are bound to say, “the Age of the Fathers” still continues in “the Worshipping Church.” Should it not continue also in our theological pursuit and study, research and instruction? Should we not recover “the mind of the Fathers” also in our theological thinking and teaching? To recover it, indeed, not as an archaic manner or pose, and not just as a venerable relic, but as an existential attitude, as a spiritual orientation. Only in this way can our theology be reintegrated into the fullness of our Christian existence. It is not enough to keep a “Byzantine Liturgy,” as we do, to restore Byzantine iconography and Byzantine music, as we are still reluctant to do consistently, and to practice certain Byzantine modes of devotion. One has to go to the very roots of this tradi- tional “piety,” and to recover the “Patristic mind.” Otherwise we may be in danger of being inwardly split—as many in our midst actually are—between the “traditional” forms of “piety” and a very untraditional habit of theological thinking. It is a real danger. As “worshippers” we are still in “the tradition of the Fathers.” Should we not stand, conscientiously and avowedly, in the same tradition also as “theologians,” as witnesses and teachers of Orthodoxy? Can we retain our integrity in any other way? St. Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers, pp.112-113

      Fr. Hans responded to me, “All this is to say that recourse to Fr. Florovsky, Schmemann and the other great luminaries of the Paris exile also demands of your listener that he enters the spirit of the culture as it existed when they wrote. But that culture doesn’t exist anymore. Anyone who was born after the 1980s has no idea of what life in 1950s New York was like. They have no reference point. It’s like us looking at scenes of Bangkok.” I say they were visionaries and fathers of our generation instructing us in the mayhem which was to come, and is now upon us. And by ignoring them, what I pitifully read on this forum is, “What do we do now?” You are simply too shallow an observer, Mr. Woerl to be finger-pointing, not once, but in three posts consecutively. Have a seat somewhere and sell your ROCOR coffee mugs and hoodies out of my sight. There is enough blame for everyone to share.

  12. Michael Woerl says

    Apparently, the exact same article appeared in the first issue of “The Wheel,” self proclaimed as “an Orthodox Journal.” So, this call to heed “sophisticated and refined theological scholarship,” which seems is the product of academics who need to “say a new word” to get that next degree, but disdain asceticism and monasticism; that entire milieu is also fond of pointing out disagreements on various topics involving different Holy Fathers, with the upshot that, consequently, we now need the view of whichever academic it is on whichever topic they are addressing, from the Vatican proclaimed “greatest Orthodox Theologian in the world,” to the “Priest (Author/Speaker),” to that guy with a BS in “theology” from a Protestant seminary that feels it a necessity to explain the Canons (of course, on the most pressing issue in Orthodoxy today-the ‘non-canonical’ situation in the US) to Orthodox Hierarchs … because he knows better.
    At any rate, following are links to “The Wheel,” and Fr. Robert Arida’s spiel on “How to Expand the Mission,” this time with no “18th All American Council” subtitle … if this is, indeed, the same article that appeared on the “Wonder Blog,” Fr. Arida is sure gettin’ a lotta mileage out of it!

    “The Wheel:”

    “How to Expand the Mission,” by Father Robert Arida

  13. Michael Woerl says

    And now that ‘gay marriage’ is legal, I suppose efforts will be redoubled by those who seek to have the Orthodox Church also “legalize” it … wouldn’t want anyone to get in trouble with the law, now would we?

  14. Michael Woerl says

    The Saint Sergius Institute was staffed, predominabtly, from its beginnings by Russian philosophers who were exiled from the Soviet Union in the early 1920s. Many of them left the Soviet Union on the so-called “Philosopher’s Ship,” and, if they couldn’t afford the ticket, the Soviet government paid their way. The list of these intelligentsia philiosophers was drawn up by Lenin himself. There are also reports that the Soviet government paid stipends to some after their arrival in Western Europe, to help with living expenses. All this, at a time when Orthodox Hierarchs, Clergy, and Laity were being imprisoned and martyred in the Soviet Union. Many of those on the Philosopher’s Ship had been involved with various aspects of the Silver Age of Russian Literature, noted for it’s deep fascination with the occult, perhaps most notably, Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society. Many were early advocates of ecumenism, also advocating, and practicing, “intercommunion” with Anglicans. Of course, St Sergius Institute was the Alma Mater of the Franco-American academic theologians … and where one was introduced to Roman Catholic and Anglican ‘Liturgical Renewal’ movements of the 1930s, for which we have to thank for the rather famous “actually, in the third century” justification of … just about whatever you like! Innovation central! And people wonder about Fr. Arida’s calls for … all he calls for! “Wherever did this come from!” Why, Gay Paree, of course!!

  15. Michael Woerl says

    FREE ROCOR HOODY to Dr Stankovich! Wear it in health!