Crete and the Globalist Agenda

We here at Monomakhos were going to wait another week or so before we read the entrails of the Council of Crete. That’s because things were pretty opaque in the immediate aftermath. The only thing we had was a gut feeling that the globalist agenda was derailed –at least for the moment.

And now, Antioch has spoken, calling what transpired in Crete neither “Great,” nor “Holy,” nor “Orthodox,” but merely a “preparatory council.” Things are starting to come into clearer focus.

So why the boycott in the first place?

Mainly because it had long been suspected that American, British and Israeli intelligence services were the most active in pushing for this Council to take place. In light of this, Moscow felt it had no choice but to throw a wrench in the machine. It did so by ensuring that other Churches led the boycott while it came in late in the game and delivered the coup de grace, effectively demoting it from a “Pan-Orthodox council” to a mere local one. That being said, we can be sure that despite it’s lack of substance, the Phanar and its eparchies will continue to give it more importance than is warranted. In short, it will become yet another lynch-pin in the Canon 28 mythology.

At present, Your’s Truly is poring over the documents from the Council and the only thing I can say for sure is that –to my mind at least–there is less here than meets the eye. His Holiness did his best to consolidate his claim to preeminence within Orthodoxy but given the fact that four of the fourteen universally recognized autocephalous Churches weren’t there, it’s hard to see how Crete will have any binding authority.

This in fact, is the opinion of “You Sunk my Vatican II,” an editorial recently published in Social Matter. The author, Mark Citadel, shows quite clearly how some Orthodox modernists were fervently hoping that Crete would serve as a kind of an Orthodox Vatican II –an attempt to drag Orthodoxy kicking and screaming into the modern world. All the stops were pulled out. Secular editorialists were assuring those of us who were reticent to get with the program. Didn’t we know that Pope Francis has over 30 million Twitter followers?

For good measure the Patriarch of Alexandria tried to shame those Churches, daring them to “come off their thrones” and be a part of the people. This of course is particularly rich coming from Alexandria, which like all Greek-controlled Churches treats the native Christians among them as decidedly inferior. For good measure the Archbishop of Cyprus spoke in a most ungracious manner as well. And of course there was the LGBT community of Europe which wrote paeans to the bishops in Crete entreating them to welcome into the fold of Holy Orthodoxy.

The stars in the modernist firmament were aligning rather nicely. Or so it seemed but neither Antioch nor Bulgaria nor Georgia nor Russia succumbed to their blandishments, while Serbia attended under duress.

Citadel’s take is that for these people, Crete was a spectacular failure. Not only did they fail in universalizing this Council, their desire to make Orthodoxy a part of the New World Order, in the manner of the post-Vatican II Catholic Church was a failure as well. It’s an interesting perspective and I highly recommend that you take the time to read it for yourself. The fact that it uses as its template Vatican II and the Roman Church’s subsequent irrelevancy means that Citadel speaks to the heart of the matter.

How easy it is under the present pontiff to forget that Catholicism was once a bastion against modernism in all its forms in that it saved Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Hungary from submission to the Bolshevist yoke. Under a stalwart pope like John Paul II, it helped bring down an evil empire. How times have changed; Rome has now succumbed to the Zeitgeist in almost every aspect where it counts.

When all is said and done, the fact that four –or five if you count the OCA– Churches chose not to attend means that Crete will be ephemeral. It’s certainly no “Pan Orthodox Council” by any stretch of the imagination, no matter what Dn John Chryssavgis says to the contrary.

Case in point: if we are to believe the Phanar triumphalists, this means that the OCA has no autocephaly at all and is automatically remanded to Moscow. This of course is belied by Metropolitan Tikhon’s concelebration in Istanbul last February. He could not have been there as a bishop of a semi-autonomous archdiocese of Moscow, because he would have had to ask permission from Moscow to attend. And as he is not apart of the GOA, then who did he represent but an independent Church? At any rate, and despite the fact that there is a strong Phanariote impulse in certain precincts of Syossett, I’d be surprised if the Holy Synod of the OCA agreed with the Phanar’s understanding of its newly “codified” status.

To be sure, the impression that Constantinople is the sole arbiter of autonomy in the Diaspora appears to be the Phanar’s only win –a fig leaf if you will. That being said, it is hard to see the various jurisdictions abiding by its directives, especially in the case of the replacement of superfluous bishops within a single city. According to this document, if there is a vacancy in an ethnic jurisdiction which is already served by a Greek ordinary, the non-Greek bishop is not to be replaced. This means that the ethnic parishes within that (vacant) diocese would be merged into the existing Greek diocese.

I wouldn’t hold your breath on this one if I were you.

For one thing, I see problems with this expectation ever coming to fruition under the current crop of GOA metropolitans in America. I imagine most would find it hard to believe that the Serbs (for example) would not elect another Serbian bishop for Chicago, or the Antiochians to not elect another Archbishop of New York when the time comes to do so. Or the Romanians to not elect another bishop for Detroit, and so on. We in the OCA haven’t been able to effect such a change in the ethnic dioceses within our Church and, given the fact that we are the only territorial Church in North America, the dissolution of the ethnic dioceses should be very easy to execute. That we have not been able to do so does not bode well for hopes of the Phanar-triumphalists.

More will be said about the particulars as time goes on. For now, I want to concentrate on the modernist agenda and two men whose work seem to align with the globalist program. The men in question are Alex Rondos and Fr Alexander Karloutsos and, based on what we know, they worked feverishly to make Crete happen through their fundraising skills and their proximity to a certain globalist financier. Much of the information (but not all) which follows comes from, a Russian think-tank closely allied with the Russian Orthodox Church.

According to, both Rondos and Karloutsos are active in globalist circles and extremely close to the infamous financier George Soros. (Karloutsos actually lives next door to Soros in the Hamptons.) For those who may not know, Soros is a notorious speculator and financier, leaving much economic ruin in his wake. An atheist of little conscience, he actually bet against the English pound in 1992, causing Great Britain to be thrown into a recession.

Alex Rondos is a United States intelligence asset who currently serves as EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa. Rondos, a Greek citizen, was born in 1954 in what is now Tanzania. He studied in the UK and was a correspondent for West Africa Magazine and then worked for Catholic Relief Services, an American Catholic non-governmental organization (NGO).

In the 1980s, Rondos met with Soros and remains close to him to this day. Through Soros’ influence, Rondos was able to ingratiate himself into the Patriarchate of Constantinople and in 1992, he founded and headed the major emergency relief agency of the Patriarchate of Constantinople known as International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). Soon after founding the IOCC, Rondos made the acquaintance of Rev Alexander Karloutsos (of which more will be said shortly).

According to Katehon, the IOCC served as a conduit for the flow of monies needed to finance the various “color coded revolutions” under the auspices of philanthropy. If true, this is shocking to say the least. All that is known for sure is that wherever Rondos and/or the IOCC is active, whether in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, pro-Russian governments tend to fall.

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence. However Rondos’ biography is more complex; not only is he involved in the ecclesiastical sphere but he is active in secular NGOs as well. Congruent with his work with the IOCC for instance, Rondos created the Centre for Applied Non-violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) in 2004, while stationed in Belgrade. Shortly thereafter he served as an advisor to the ill-fated Mikhail Sakaashvilli, then President of Georgia, who upon the instigation of American neoconservatives, provoked war with Russia. (Whether Rondos had anything to do with this or not is presently unknown.)

Rondos has also been active in Greek left wing politics. A friend of former Prime Minister George Papandreou (also a Soros protegee), he worked behind the scenes to prevent a rapprochement between Russia and Greece. The Greek government published a report accusing Rondos of using government money to fund one of his NGOs. (For the record, I try not to put too much stock in reports emanating out of certain foreign governments but am merely reporting what the Greek government itself published.)

Rondos is also active within the World Bank and is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), an American think tank which actively promotes the globalist agenda. It may be nothing more than a coincidence but wherever he appears, pro-Russian regimes tend to fall and the neoconservative policy of American hegemonism proceeds apace. Whether this is by design or also under the direction of the Phanar is unknown as well. If true, then Soros and the Phanar are in active collusion and whose primary purpose is to weaken the autocephalous Churches of the Balkans and Syria.

As for Alexander Karloutsos, he likewise is a friend of Soros. As one of the main spokesmen for the Council, it was Karloutsos who swatted down attempts by the Bulgarian and Russian churches to postpone the Council. According to Karloutsos, “there is no mandate to change or postpone and we are going to proceed. They asked for a pre-conciliar meeting on the 17th and we expect them to be here. We are the church of love and embrace everyone.” (Except the OCA it seems.)

“Fr Alex,” as he is endearingly called by various and sundry people, is close to several Greek-American moguls and controls the purse strings of Faith: An Endowment for Hellenism and Orthodoxy. This clumsily named endowment is the largest single source of funds that flows to the Phanar. (In 2014, it gave $250,000 to refurbish the Olympic sized swimming pool at the Ionian Village.) Because of his control of this endowment, the word on the street is that he has more influence in the GOA than any of the metropolitans.

According to Epikera a Greek news magazine, Karloutsos was instrumental in the overthrow of Archbishop Iakovos Coucouzis in 1996 because of his involvment in the Ligonier Conference. His contacts in the Greek government include Dora Bakoyiannis, Constantine Mitsotakis and other operatives within the Karamanlis family. He is also a link between conservative Greek politicians and the Bush clan. In this way Soros plays both ends against the middle: using Rondos to ingratiate himself among the Greek Left while use Karloutsos to influence the Greek Right.

Karloutsos has done well by doing good, as the old cliche has it. He lives in a house estimated at $700,000 in the elite suburb of the Hamptons and his nearest neighbor (as mentioned earlier) is George Soros.

Things get stickier from there. According to Turkish sources, Karloutsos is also close to Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamist leader who resides in the United States and is active with American intelligence agencies. Gulen runs one of the largest construction firms in America and is a leading light of the Charter Schools movement. As such, his construction firm has benefited mightily from taxpayer monies awarded to it by the Department of Education.

Because of these complicated and intertwining alliances, Karloutsos’ and Rondos’ circle of friends make the Patriarchate of Constantinople a “hostage” of the State Department. According to Katehon, “[Karloutsos’] participation in the organizing committee of the Council reflects the desire of the American special services to directly influence this Council.”

Things are stranger than they seem at times. The apparent lack of good faith is stunning to say the least. All things considered, the engineering of the boycott of this Council by the Russians seems the best possible outcome.

No doubt more will be said in the future as more information comes out.

As to what this means for the Phanar and its continuing existence in a hostile environment time will tell. It is ironic that Patriarch Bartholomew, who began his archpastorate as an obstructionist in the service of a globalist program may well end it by being the victim of obstructionists who are opposed to the furtherance of this very agenda. All things considered, we can be glad that Crete will be soon forgotten.


  1. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Due to its recent actions I have unfortunately lost all faith and trust in the EP, and have started to have serious thoughts and conversations with my wife about our future church options.

    Due to the influence and advice of Fr. Patrick Reardon there is an Antiochian Orthodox Church near where we live that we can start attending when the time comes.

    I never thought I would see the day when the EP would fall so deeply into heresy and cause schism in the body of Christ.

    Lord have mercy.


    • Michael Bauman says

      May God guide you Peter

      • YOu mock God with your brigand “fathers”, idolatrous “icons”, counter-kosher “lent”, sleep-deprived brainwash vigils, subliminal incantations, intoxicating incense, pyromaniac lights, and philocalia hyperventilatory hallucinations.

        • Monk James says

          Perhaps ‘Lakis Velotris’ will write again sometime and tell us how he really feels, or — better — why he feels this way. What could have provoked such unkindness?

          Recently a book arrived which I haven’t yet had time to read completely, just skim through it. It’s a short self-published (‘Faith Defenders’ 2015) work by ‘Dr. Robert A. Morey, Ph.D., D.Min., D.D.’ A little research revealed that not all of that alphabet soup is kosher, and some of it comes from a very ingrown evangelical protestant school.

          The book is titled Is Eastern Orthodoxy Christian? and its author is a crackpot. Although he makes some good points, Morey is completely out of his depth in matters of history, language, and doctrine, somehow managing to misunderstand nearly everything he examines. You know, when you think of yourself as a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

          But he has an agenda, and perhaps ‘Lakis Velotris’ does, too. But let’s forgive them and pray that the Lord enlighten them and all of us to know His will and do it.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Holy Cow! It certainly took you took you long enough to get here, for heaven’s sake.

          “From where come you?” “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:7)

          Five long years and you’ve never trolled here to my knowledge. Mr. Michalopulos, you’ve been spared… until now. And it gets ugly fast. Just you watch.

          • Have any of these people ever bothered to read Orthodox theology regarding the evil one? Well, if they can’t get the Petrine thing right . . .

        • That’s an….um….interesting website you have there, Lakis. Are you sure you’re not the one who is intoxicated?

        • Gregory Manning says

          Not to worry, lak. H/T to Denise Garbis and her query of July 5th for the answer. The issues you raise “will be up to discussion at the Clergy Laity Convention now taking place’…..unless they’re not. Be sure to watch your email inbox for further developments as the code of secrecy we all here subscribe to prevents us from discussing these topics in a public forum such as this. Personally, I want to thank you for providing us with the comic relief serious issues you raise. Hilarious Disturbing as they are, they needed to be raised.

        • Michael Bauman says

          God bless your little heart.

    • Peter,

      I can sense your deep disappoint and these ecu-maniacs have certainly disheartened me as well. I rejoice that your love for the faith far exceeds your love of Constantinople. But if you think about it, the Archbishop of Constantinople has been in heresy various times throughout the history of the Church (Macedonius [pneumatomachian], Nestorius and Sergius [Monothelite]. Pat. Bartholomew is on the the threshold of fully implementing a plan laid out by his likeminded predecessors:

      Patriarch Athenagoras – “Why do we not automatically return to Mysteriological (Sacramental) communion? Because it is necessary for us to prepare our peoples for it, both theologically and psychologically. During the nine hundred years that have elapsed since 1054, we, the two worlds of East and West, have come to think that we belong to different Churches and different religions. And, as a result, the purpose of dialogues becomes quite evident. It is to prepare our peoples psychologically to understand that there is one Church and one religion, that we all believe in the same God—the Savior Christ. You and we respect all religions and we esteem the place and the time in which we live.” (from a homily given by the Patriarch in the chapel of Lambeth Palace, London, November 13, 1967, cited in “Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople [1886-1972]: His Statements, Messages, and Activities,” Orthodox Tradition, Vol. XVIII, No. 1 [2001], p. 10).

      St. Paisios the Athonite accurately describes these types: “With sadness I must write that among all the ‘unionists’ I’ve met, never have I seen them to have either a drop or shred of spirituality. Nevertheless, they know how to speak about love and union while they themselves are not united with God, for they have not loved Him.” (A Private Letter on Ecumenism) The pseudo-ecumenists seek to save all the ignorant fundamentalists from the heretical delusion of ‘monoecclesialism’ and Orthodox maximalism. God forbid! According to Fr G. Metallinos, this process has been going on for more than a hundred years:

      ‘The 19th century is especially important for every development, spiritual and political. Not merely were the nation states formed and with them the concomitant replacement of Orthodox Ethnarchy with national autocephalous states, but the ravages of multifarious Protestantism, as missionary activity, engulfed the Orthodox East, paving a way towards the Ecumenism of the 20th century. With the opening of this new period, there also began the progressively uncertain stance of Orthodoxy, particularly the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which hovered between patricity, which had continued under Turkish rule, and the new choices, which would lead to compromise and, today, to identification with that delusion which had for centuries been rebuffed.

      …The robust stance on the part of the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Leadership towards the heterodox West changed officially at the beginning of the 20th century, at the time of Patriarch Ioakeim III (+1912). This discontinuation is patently obvious merely from a comparison of the dogmatic and creedal texts from 1902 onwards with those of the 19th century…

      The prelude to this change had already appeared in 1865, when the headship of the Theological School in Halki was transferred from the traditional and patristic Konstantinos Typaldos, titular Metropolitan of Stavroupolis, to Filotheos Vryennios (+1918) who had studied in Germany and was later to become Metropolitan of Didymoteikhos. With Vryennios, a new stage was inaugurated as regards Western Christendom, which also reveals the change of heart within the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with which the School was always in step. “The voice of the School was its voice”, according to the statement of our Ecumenical Patriarch, Vartholomaios. But in what did the change lie? The spirit of admiration for the West and Europeanization intensified, as did the cultivation of ecumenical relations.
      The re-evaluation of the attitude of the Ecumenical Patriarchate towards the West was a consequence of the change in the political relations of the Ottoman Empire with Western Governments. This change of tack, however, was not confined to the level of political and social relations, but also, unfortunately, affected theology. The re-adjustment of theology is clear in the path followed by the School, which reflected the policy of the Phanar. And here is the proof: according to the school archives, from 1855, when the institution of “Theses” and “Dissertations” began to function, and until 1862, thirteen of the studies by students were related to the Latin Church and, in particular, to the institution of the Papacy, in a spirit clearly of disputation and censure. In other words, some 1/5 of the student’s academic essays were critical of Papal primacy. This was the spirit of the School and of the Ethnarchy at the time. After Typaldos, the studies on the subject from 1869 to 1907 amount to a total of 21. From 1907, however, until 1922, there are no other texts of this nature, while from 1923 until 1971, when, “on the Lord knows what grounds”, the School closed, only three texts appeared. The complete change in spirit is confirmed by the dissertation by Kyriakos Koutsoumalis in 1968: “The Theological Dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church in the Three Pan-Orthodox Conferences”.

      But this means that, at the center of the Ethnarchy, a new attitude was inaugurated, in a positive spirit, towards the West, which had until then been repulsed. This spirit was Western-friendly and in favor of “ecumenical relations”. The main point of reference would henceforth not be the East, but the West, with whatever that meant. The boundaries of this change were laid out by three important Texts of the Ecumenical Throne: the Encyclical of Patriarch Ioakeim III in 1902; the Declaration of 1920; and the Encyclical of 1952. The first put into effect the ecumenical overture towards Western Christendom, while the others are of a purely programmatic nature, inaugurating and promoting the path towards Ecumenism with the “Ecumenical Movement”. The participation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in this led to today’s relations, which the Orthodox conscience censures. The change which followed is revealed by the language used. The “tendrils”, as the Western Christian groupings were called in 1902, became “Churches” by 1920, which, of course, is a matter of praise for Ecumenists, both Greek and foreign. But this has meant, however, a gradual equation of Western confessions with the One Church, the Orthodox. At this point, the last Pope was more sincere when, in 2008, he refused to recognize the Protestants as a Church, while he called Orthodoxy “wanting” since it did not accept his primacy.

      With the Declaration of 1920, the Ecumenical Patriarchate presented the rule-book for the attitude to be taken by the Orthodox party within the Ecumenical Movement. If the Encyclical of 1902 opened the way for our participation in the Ecumenical Movement, the Declaration of 1920 prepared our entry into the WCC, while the Encyclical of 1952, under the tenure of Patriarch Athenagoras, operated as a completion and ratification of this planned course of action. For this reason, great Orthodox theologians, such as Ioannis Karmiris and Fr. George Florovsky, despite their attachment to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, felt obliged to express their reservations towards these overtures and the developments set in train by them.

      For a short time, a brake was applied to this process by the “Resolution of the Conference in Moscow against Papism” in 1948. There, Papism was denounced for all the newly-appeared Roman dogmas. As the Delcaration says, the Popes “corrupted the purity of the teaching of ancient ecumenical Orthodoxy through their newly-introduced dogmas”. Papism is explicitly called “anti- Christian”. This marks a return to the pre-1900 spirit, though there was to be no continuation, as events proved.

      …The true aims of inter-Christian Ecumenism are freely revealed by hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne such as Yermanos, Archbishop of Thyateira (Strinopoulos), who, referring at length to the Declaration of 1920, which he himself wrote, together with other professors of Halki, said: “There is a need for the Churches to realize that, apart from unity, in the strict sense of the term… there is also another, more inclusive concept of unity, according to which anybody who accepts the fundamental teaching of the revelation of God in Christ and receives Him as the Savior and the Lord, should be considered a member of the same body and not a stranger”. “Without going into an examination of the dogmatic differences that separate the Churches”, the Archbishop of Thyateira added, “we should cultivate precisely this idea of broader unity…”. What is clear here is the theory of the broad Church, which demands the marginalization of the faith and of the saving nature of dogma, in contradistinction to the Apostolic and Patristic tradition of all the centuries.

      But another equally prominent Hierarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and one of its leading members, the former Archbishop of America, Iakovos, made this aim even clearer in an interview he gave in 1999: “What really made me cross was all the battles and then the relative failure of the Ecumenical Dialogue, which aimed at the union or rapprochement of the Churches and then, more generally, of all religions”. This is a genuine confession of the aspirations of the Ecumenical Movement and its connection with the inter-religious dialogue, as well as the New Age objectives for the achievement of a Universal Religion.

      Fr. Justin [Popovic] was able to foresee the outcome of ecumenical relations, which culminated in the decisions of Balamand (1993) (= confirmation of the Papist heresy as a sister Church and of the Unia, which took part officially in the Dialogue) and of Porto Allegre (2006) (=acceptance of Protestant ecclesiology), as well as the de facto recognition of “baptismal theology”, “common service”, without unity of the faith, of “the expanded Church” and of “cultural pluralism”.

      Ecumenism in all its dimensions and versions has proved to be a real Babylonian captivity for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all the local leaders of the Orthodox Church. The boasting and self-congratulation of our Ecumenists about a supposed “new era” which the Ecumenical Patriarchate opened with the Patriarchal Encyclicals of 1902 and 1920 are not justified because “what has been achieved is to legitimize the heresies and schisms of Papism and Protestantism”. This is the carefully-weighed conclusion of Fr. Theodoros Zisis to which I fully subscribe.

      It is therefore clear that Ecumenism has now been proved to be an ecclesiological heresy, a “demonic syncretism”, which seeks to bring Orthodoxy into a federal union with the Western heretical panspermia. But in this way Orthodoxy does not influence the non-Orthodox world soteriologically, because it has itself been trapped in the pitfalls of Ecumenism, in the persons of the local leaderships who are working towards wearing it down and alienating it.

      So, instead of following the example of our Holy Fathers in the preservation of Orthodoxy as the sole chance of salvation for mankind and society, our Church leadership is doing exactly the opposite: by confusing Orthodoxy with heresy within the sphere of Ecumenism and, to all intents and purposes, recognizing the heretical delusion, it has brought about the dilution of the criteria of the Orthodox faithful and is depriving them and the world of the chance of salvation.

      …because this Protestantizing movement weakens the Patristic tradition, without which Orthodoxy is unable to withstand the maelstrom of Ecumenism and compliance with the plans of the New Age. And, to paraphrase Dostoevsky: “Without the Fathers, everything is permitted”! Whereas according to Saint Gregory Palamas: “In this lies piety: not doubting the God-bearing Fathers”.’ (From Patricity to Post-Patricity: 
The Self-Destruction of the Orthodox Leadership)

    • Dear brother in Christ Peter, please consider what you are doing. You have sought counsel from a priest who announced on this very site that he served a Trisagion for the Pope of Rome and who dismissed the understandable concerns of the other members of this blog.

      You will be switching from one patriarchate to another and yet your potential new home, while not seeing it fit to break communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople over matters of the faith, has broken communion with its Christian brothers at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem over a church in Qatar. Also, the leader of your potential new home of resistance against ecumenism will be speaking in September at an ecumenical conference in Bose, Italy.

      Please consider taking this matter to your spiritual father and leaving it to his judgment. A discerning spiritual father will help us avoid the errors and extremes that we are vulnerable to when we attempt to handle tough issues on our own.

      • Estonian Slovak says

        Said priest also has no problem entering a synagogue to pray the psalms in Hebrew. In what way is he witnessing to Christ?

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Maybe he thought Christ knew the Psalms in Hebrew or that the Apostles frequented the Temple and only stopped when they were kicked out?

  2. Denise Garbis says

    Do you think this will be up to discussion at the Clergy Laity Convention that is now taking place, or will it be tabled for future discussion?

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Not even talk about officially. Unofficially very likely by the laity.

  3. Honestly, I do not trust any of the New Calendarist jurisdictions at all anymore. I do not think it is conspiracy so much as it is an infiltration of bad doctrine through SVS and Holy Cross. Many there are quite confused as is Fr. Patrick Reardon regarding the status of Rome. I make no recommendations of any sort and urge others to seek refuge wherever the Spirit leads them.

    I for myself, at present, trust the ROCOR, the Athonite monateries here in America, and, for the time being until the dust settles, the Serbs and other Old Calendar “canonical” Orthodox. The calendar is not a magic talisman, but it seems to be coincidental to some extent with right practice. Also, personally, I think it is time to quit ostracizing the moderate Greek Old Calendarists, especially the group including Abp. Chrysostomos of Etna. I assume grace remains in their mysteries.

    • I like the G.O.C. says

      I have a huge respect for the Greek Old Calendarists these days. Yes, they are certainly Orthodox. They may be in schism from canonical Orthodox churches, but they are certainly Orthodox. I think their status is somewhat like the status of ROCOR before it went into communion again with Moscow in 2007, though ROCOR was always in communion with the Church of Serbia. No one ever doubted that ROCOR was Orthodox (or if they did doubt, they were wrong). The purpose of the church is to produce saints, and ROCOR certainly produced saints, as I’m sure the Greek Old Calendarists do and will do.

      Food for thought: how many saints do the modernist churches produce? Don’t know the answer, obviously, but it’s interesting to think about. The modern protestant and modernist Catholic groups don’t even seem to bother to try to produce saints, or they don’t believe in theosis anyway.

      The Greek Old Calendarists in North America are opening their theological seminary this fall in Etna, California — St Photios Seminary! Glory to God!

      • How can you be Orthodox and not be in communion with the Church? Or pick and choose which groups you are in communion with. Sounds like an oxymoron to me. Schismatics are not part of the Church. By the way, the Catholic Church has canonized several saints over the last several years most notably Mother Theresa.

        Please don’t forget the 2 Greek Old Calendarist bishops who were absorbed into the GOA under Spyridon–Vikentios and Paisios. Very pious and traditional, nice long beards along with all the religious paraphernalia, yet the story did not go well.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          So the heresy keeps on rolling on. I hear you. Don’t upset the apple cart and actually read or follow what the New Testament says. Got it.


        • How can I be Orthodox and be in communion with heretics? That is the question. The other question is, “Where is the Church?” One thing I do know is that the Church is not in communion with heretics.

          Now, temporarily it may be, however, It takes time for the wheels to turn. I understand that. What has happened has not really sunk in to most people. What Constantinople attempted to do and what it means by all of this has not really sunk in to most people. I get that.

          But even with what has sunk in, traditional bishops from the old countries are making loud noises. I hear the Athonites are going to cease commemorating again. B F deal. They did not commemorate Athenagoras from the time he rescinded the anathemas. Fat lot of good that did them.

          Look, the cancer is there. You can let it eat you or cut it out. Not acting means it eats you. There is nothing else to say other than that everyone has to make their own personal decisions about this. I suggest it be done quickly and in such a way as that you don’t find yourself having to kick the can further down the road every time another domino falls.

          As to the Athonite monasteries, Abp. Chrysostomos’ church and ROCA, I know of no heresies they embrace. Yet they have to be on the table if one considers the present situation. Christ said that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, yet most of the “canonical Church” is in communion with a branch of the RCC, Constantinople. This cannot last indefinitely or else all that will be left of the Church will be ROCA and other “schismatic” Orthodox groups.

          When you exhaust all other possibilities, what you are left with is the truth, no matter how unlikely it may seem.

    • Pat Reardon says

      Misha says, “Many there are quite confused as is Fr. Patrick Reardon regarding the status of Rome.”

      I stay pretty busy and don’t have leisure to think much about things like “the status of Rome.”

      I don’t know enough to be “quite confused” on the subject.

      I leave to scholars—Misha, for instance—the task of explaining the constant stream of miraculous healings at Lourdes and Fatima.

      • Fr. Patrick,

        As I thought. Don’t you suppose God wants people healed? Do you think He withholds all grace from non-Orthodox? I certainly don’t. To put a finer point on it, why would He withhold healing from those who had faith in Christ even if their theology/icon of Him is imperfect? He is the Lover of Mankind. The Holy Spirit fills all and is ever present. However, the grace of the mysteries is not conveyed outside the Church.

        God is love. Love is not god. God called out a Church. It is not Rome, at least not for a long time now, over 1000 years. They left the Faith and His Grace left their sacraments.

        The reason I made that remark, btw, was that I simply do not know where Antioch is going to stand. In fact, I’m not sure Antioch knows where Antioch is going to stand. I recall that you are involved with Touchstone and, of course, I do not subscribe to its founding premises.

        And I believe you were educated at St. Anselm’s and the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

        Consider the source.

        • Pat Reardon says

          Misha declares, “I simply do not know where Antioch is going to stand. In fact, I’m not sure Antioch knows where Antioch is going to stand.”

          What we have here is some anonymous person, whose theological credentials are unknown, having rendered public indictments of heresy against Patriarch Bartholomew and any number of other bishops, now declaring that he suspends his judgment with respect to the Apostolic Church of Antioch.

          Am I the only one not bothered by this display of adolescent arrogance?

          • M. Stankovich says

            You studied Scripture at the Pontifical Institute in Rome, and I studied bioethics with some of the foremost pioneers in the field, who happened to be Jesuits, at what is termed, the Jesuit University in the Bronx. In the real world, both experiences would be looked upon with the respect they deserve. In the Candyland of the Internet, however, Google is the “traditionalist” school of choice because half-truth is as good as truth; arrogance is as good as earned authority; and error… well, Google scholars never acknowledge nor apologize for mistakes, but simply move on to the next thread. Apparently then, Fr. Patrick, the only appropriate response to your question is, “Deal with it.”

          • Fr. Patrick,

            If you had been around here for very long, you would know I am not anonymous. I’ve even posted my FB page on here at times.

            As to theological credentials, I have none. The number of traditional hierarchs weighing in against the Council and Pat. Bartholomew’s antics speaks for itself…

      • M. Stankovich says

        There reminds me of an anecdote written by surgeon, author, & avowed athiest Richard Selzer in his book, Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery, of a diner owner in NYC where Selzer had breakfast every morning before going to work. He observed that the owner began to look pale, tired, unenthused, started wearing a baseball cap, and seemed to be constantly wiping sweat from his forehead. Selzer asked him if he was sick, and eventually the man removed his cap and a bandage to show him a cancerous ulceration that had passed through his scalp, his skull, and the protective dura covering his brain – meaning the “sweat” which he continuously wiped from his brow was, in fact, cerebro-spinal fluid. Selzer was shocked and attempted to bring him to the hospital that moment, but the owner said, “I hate hospitals, doc, and whatever is going to happen will happen.” Selzer was so distraught that he could not return to the diner. But six months later, Selzer felt himself drawn to the diner to check on what he could only believe would be the news of the owner’s death. But instead, there he stood at the cash register, looking his old jovial self, talking & joking with customers. He warmly greeted Selzer and eventually removed his hat and bandage to show a layer of tissue and the beginnings of skin that now covered the ulceration. Selzer said, “So you finally went for treatment.” The owner said, “Well, doc, actually, about a month after I last saw you, my sister came back from this place in France, Lourdes, and brought me some water. The nuns said to to put 2-3 drops on my head every night before I went to bed and to say the ‘Lord’s Prayer.’ And there you have it.” And there, Fr. Patrick, you have it.

        • Tell me, Anonymous M. Stankovich and Father Patrick, are you aware of any miracles occurring in Protestantism? Islam? Judaism? Sikhism? Hinduism? Miracles performed by shaman of polytheists? Like, say, even in the Bible?

          My point being that the fact that God chooses to heal people, even through association with heterodox or non-Christian entities, has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth or falsity of the confession in the absolute. It just means God is merciful and rewards faith.

          Dream on.

          • Pat Reardon says

            Misha asks, “Father Patrick, are you aware of any miracles occurring in Protestantism?


            • Yes, and there are miracles among Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, etc.

              My point is that the occurrence of miracles in all of these mutually exclusive faiths is not good evidence of the objective reality of any of them. God heals where He wills and it is not necessarily dependent on right doctrine. You were using miracles as evidence of right doctrine.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Indeed, I have heard of many more miracles in Protestant circles than Orthodox ones here in the US at any rate. The Spirit blows where it will. What I have not heard of are saints. That reflects, to me, a difference in approaching God.

              I have been blessed many times by my intersection with Protestants but that does not mean that their theology is the same or that I want to fellowship with them on any but a casual basis or in specific situations where God makes it clear.

              God loves all of us the same nonetheless.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                I fellowship with several Protestants on a more than casual basis several times a week, including the many among my children and grandchildren.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Timor they are your family. That makes it both more difficult and more comfortable at the same time. When my wife’s family used to have regular gatherings I was always asked to bless the food. At one point I asked my priest if that was appropriate and was told if there was no outward disrespect it was OK.

                  Well, they don’t get together any more as the family dynamics have degraded. But in that moment they allowed me to be Orthodox and pray in an Orthodox manner even though none but my wife had a clue.

                  What I am talking about is different. I went to a funeral recently and it was all good until the minister started extolling PSA in his sermon. I started crossing myself and praying to God for mercy (quietly).

                  Just can not go too deep in that stuff. It is toxic.

                  I know from personal experience just how toxic heresy is. It corrupts the soul, but as long as you are free to be Orthodox and you love your family it is a good thing.

        • Pat Reardon says

          Lovely and inspiring story.

          Thank you

        • Chris Banescu says

          Illuminating story.

          “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Anybody ever try that one?
            We need better commentaries….

            • Bishop, You lake faith, that’s why you won’t see the promise land.

            • With God, all things are possible. Simply go with God and accept all He delivers and you will have everything, all will be added. And patience is a virtue.

      • Monk James says

        Muslim women come to the miraculous ikon of the Mother of God at the Sayedna Monastery in Syria to pray for fertility and safe childbearing, and their prayers seem to be heard. Christians tuck petitions into the Temple’s western wall in Jerusalem, and their prayers seem to be heard. People of all faiths or none at all go to Pochaev and Czestochowa and Lourdes and Fatima to ask for the intercession of the Theotokos, and their prayers seem to be heard.

        What does this say about the various beliefs whose adherents care for these shrines?

        It says NOTHING about the faiths of these good people. It tells us only that God loves us, and that the most holy Theotokos is the mother of all humanity.

        Didn’t she intercede for the embarrassed young couple who ran out of wine at their wedding? Didn’t Jesus heal the daughter of the Phoenician woman and forgive the Samaritan woman? Didn’t He cleanse ten lepers, among whom there was a Samaritan who turned out to be the only one to return in thanksgiving? Didn’t the Holy Spirit enlighten Cornelius before he met Peter or knew about Christ? Kindness, grace, peace granted by God to pagans and heretics. Literally.

        Let’s remember the parable of the vineyard whose owner hired more workers all through the day, and paid the latest as much as the earliest. When the early arrivals complain, Jesus has the vineyard’s owner say ‘What’s it to you if I am generous?’

        So if the most holy Mother of God or the Lord Himself grants healing and peace to people who ask, even if they aren’t orthodox Christians, what is that to us? It just shows how much each and all of us are loved.

        Now let’s stop wondering about God’s care for people outside The Church, and try to behave in a way which acknowledges the great treasure of faith and hope and love, of Truth Himself, which we bear in such fragile vessels as our own fickle hearts.

        • Pat Reardon says

          Father James writes, “Muslim women come to the miraculous ikon of the Mother of God at the Sayedna Monastery in Syria to pray for fertility and safe childbearing, and their prayers seem to be heard. ”

          Yes, I anointed some of them when I was there.

        • Thomas Barker says

          Beautifully expressed, Monk James.

        • Gregory Manning says

          Thank you Monk James!

      • [J]ust as “His magnificence is without limit” (Ps 145:3), so “there is no penetrating His purposes” (Isa 40:28).
        – St Maximus the Confessor, 400 Chapters on Love

  4. Peter-accusing the EP of heresy is serious. Of what particular heresy are you concerned? Do you believe the Antiochean Church is some how purer and not infected with secularism and the same heresies you believe the EP is promoting.

    Others on this blog believe that only Old Calendar churches are pure and not in heresy. Certain monasteries on Mt Athos believe only their monastery holds faithfully to Orthodoxy. Holy Transfiguration monastery, a so called traditionalist old calendar group, is known to be a bastion of homosexuality. As much as we would like to believe that the church is guided by the Holy Spirit, and I believe it is, we must also acknowledge that it is a human institution as well.

    If we were to judge every Orthodox Christian on dogma, I know there would be a variety of positions on several topics. No 2 individuals believe exactly alike. Several years ago, I read a paper on the passage from the Gospel of Matthew stating “thou are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.” I don’t remember the exact number but there were several different interpretations from the Fathers on this passage. The point being, the Fathers disagreed on issues and that there is no monolith we can call Orthodoxy. Variety is evident in the life of the Church. We have 4 Gospels and several valid liturgies. Yes, there are certain absolutes and we must vigilantly promote and defend those absolutes but there is still plenty of room for diversity.

    As I stated in a previous post, the apostle Paul identifies the most important aspects of the faith in I Corinthians 15.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Valid disagreement within an acceptable range that never violates the basis of our faith is no a problem and never has been.

      However, to state that there are other “Churches ” thus directly violating a direct tenent of the Creed is heresy.

      To state that God’s church and Rome are merely in a state of broken communion while denying ALL of Rome’s heresies IS heretical.

      FOR YEARS I gave the EP a pass because it Never crossed the line of recognizing Rome as the One True Church. I also gave the EP the benefit of the
      doubt that it truly wanted to shine the light of
      Orthodoxy to the heretics and to actively bring them back to Orthodoxy NOT synchronize with them.

      Further, I am still in the GOAA, but for how long?


      • Peter,

        What I’m hoping will happen is that one of the other local churches will gather the courage to inquire of Constantinople as to what its relationship with Rome is, explicitly – i.e., is Rome in heresy? Is it doctrinally in some error that renders it in schism? Or is it in akoinonesia without a doctrinal divergence?

        If they answer the last, or refuse to answer, the inquiring local church should break communion with it until Constantinople clarifies its position on Roman Catholic beliefs (i.e., denounces them explicitly as heresies). Other local churches should follow.

        Hopefully, the GOARCH churches here and elsewhere would seek the omophor of the Church of Greece after that local church follows suit in breaking communion with the Phanar.

        But really, I have no idea what they will do. They sat on their hands and really deserve this for letting Constantinople buddy up to Rome as it has all these years. The Athonites warned everybody loudly and continuously about this, but to no avail.

        From a certain perspective, they’re all in heresy at the present moment.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Thank you Misha. I had to come to the very uncomfortable truth that the EP is no longer faithful to Orthodoxy after I read the documents from the council, the speech by his Metropolitan and the comments by Archdeacon John Chryssavgis. I examined everything very carefully and could only come to one inescapable conclusion: That the See of Constantinople has fallen into heresy.

          For others I want to be very clear I do not say this with any rush to judgment. In fact I have been a staunch supporter of the EP, even though acknowledging his many faults and interesting interpretations of the canons to say the lest, and have tried very hard to give the benefit of the doubt to the EP in this whole mess, but I just couldn’t. I wanted to, believe me I wanted to, but I could not.

          This so-called Great and Holy Council produced a document titled: RELATIONS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH WITH THE REST OF THE CHRISTIAN WORLD which states in paragraph 5:

          “The contemporary bilateral theological dialogues of the Orthodox Church and her participation in the Ecumenical Movement rest on this self-consciousness of Orthodoxy and her ecumenical spirit, with the aim of seeking the unity of all Christians on the basis of the truth of the faith and tradition of the ancient Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

          First off the Church has NO ecumenical spirit! where is this in ANY part of the New Testament? None that I know of. What we do have in the New Testament is: “8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9.

          By the way the Greek there for accursed is ἀνάθεμα. I have never understood and never will understand how Constantinople can lift the anathemas against Rome in 1965. Growing up I just thought that this was a way to soften the RC’s heart and start them down the path back to the One True faith. I now know I was wrong. The reason I was wrong was because Rome NEVER stopped preaching a heretical Gospel. Never! Even after we proved that Rome unilaterally changed the Creed, changed the Orthodox understanding of the Holy and Blessed Trinity the RCC never renounced its heresy. So how is the RCC Christian? according to Orthodoxy it is not and is heretical.

          again the council states:

          In accordance with the ontological nature of the Church, her unity can never be perturbed. In spite of this, the Orthodox Church accepts the historical name of other non-Orthodox Christian Churches and Confessions that are not in communion with her, and believes that her relations with them should be based on the most speedy and objective clarification possible of the whole ecclesiological question, and most especially of their more general teachings on sacraments, grace, priesthood, and apostolic succession. Thus, she was favorably and positively disposed, both for theological and pastoral reasons, towards theological dialogue with other Christians on a bi-lateral and multi-lateral level, and towards more general participation in the Ecumenical Movement of recent times, in the conviction that through dialogue she gives a dynamic witness to the fullness of truth in Christ and to her spiritual treasures to those who are outside her, with the objective aim of smoothing the path leading to unity.

          What? We have been involved in the ecumenical movement for over 60 years!!! How much more dialogue do you need with heretics? Why is the Church accepting that heretics call themselves the Church or Churches? Why? Again, I go back to the New Testament. What does St. Paul say? Well he says this:

          “10 As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Titus 3:10-11

          Again, here is this passage in Greek: 10 αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον μετὰ μίαν καὶ δευτέραν νουθεσίαν παραιτοῦ, 11 εἰδὼς ὅτι ἐξέστραπται ὁ τοιοῦτος καὶ ἁμαρτάνει ὢν αὐτοκατάκριτος.

          Anybody want to take a guess what the word αἱρετικὸν is? Yes, you guessed it heresy or more precisely in this passage “Heretical.” In fact a better translation of Titus 3:10 would be “As for the heretic (or heretical man or person)…” So if I take St. Paul at his words, and I don’t see why I should not, I would be safe in venturing that within those 60 years of “ecumenical dialogue” with the heretics we admonished them MORE THAN ONCE OR TWICE! So now why are we violating the clear teachings of the New Testament, St. Paul, the Words of the HOLY SPIRIT and still “dialoging” with the RCC, Lutherans, Anglicans, etc., etc., etc.,?

          Also its been 60 years. How much more smoothing of the path back to us do we need to do? From what I can see the so-called path has been smoothed for the RCC, especially under Pope Francis, and others to move AWAY FROM ORTHODOXY! so really what is truly going on?

          Basically I can go on and on and on as I did with this document and the rest and I simply held them up to the light of the New Testament and the Nicene Creed and the consensus of the Fathers of the Church and came, again, to the inescapable conclusion that Patriarchate of Constantinople, with all its mental and theological gymnastics notwithstanding, is in open and full blown heresy.

          Also whosoever accepts these documents coming from this so-called Holy and Great council will become immediately heretical. This is why I am completely at a loss in my current commitment to the GOAA. I would love to go. Trust me I struggled with this and I want to leave, but I have a family with deep roots in a local parish with many good and solid Orthodox people, with a good and solid Orthodox priest. I have a hard time leaving a good Orthodox family when there is no rot in them at least not to the point of vomiting. so I am conflicted to say the least. For how long? That I do not know.

          But as to what is heresy that I do know and it has unfortunately reared its ugly head in the EP and all those that accept these documents from this council.

          PS for the record and for what its worth I denounce this council and urge all Orthodox Christians to do so. This robber council and will never be our so-called Vatican II. HELL TO THE NO, NEVER!!!


          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            Thank you, Peter, for sharing your heartfelt, spiritual anguish. I have always respected your contributions to this message board, never more than the present moment. I invite you to communicate with me offline via email. My email address is

          • Peter,

            I will give you credit regarding Moscow as well. When Met. Hilarion published his online catechism and took pains to equivocate regarding the two different ways of “explaining” the doctrine of original sin, I read it with incredulity. He was giving the Augustinian perspective equal treatment with the Orthodox.

            That is Uniatism.

            Other statements that have come out of the MP are also problematic in that regard. Statements regarding the validity of orders, for example. They could have been uttered by a Ukrainian Greek Catholic.

            Moscow seems to be getting the message. The footage I saw of Kirill addressing his synod after the Fr. Longin incident showed a much more humble man. They seem to be walking back erroneous and problematic statements. They need to work closely with Jordanville where the faith has been preserved intact and unadulterated.

            It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I think the Russians will break with Constantinople. I think they will see very shortly that they must. Too many noetic theologians are sounding the alarms. The Phanar will try to ostracize those who reject the authority of the council. The local churches who do not wish to follow into Unia should allow themselves to be ostracized even to the point of rejecting the council even if the Phanar breaks communion with all churches not accepting it. That would be the ideal situation, just let the Phanar do all the heavy lifting and, after they and all who wish to follow them are gone, remain united to uphold Orthodoxy.

          • Cyril Hovorun is very open that he was hoping for the Orthodox Vat II:

            ‘There seemed no reason to hope that a “Vatican-II effect” would occur at this Council. (That is when a conciliar event, strictly pre-programmed by church bureaucrats to prevent surprises, suddenly turns into something unpredictable, a true manifestation of the Church.) But by the end of the Council, it was clear that a Vatican-II effect had developed at Crete, albeit partially.’ (A Blessedly Unpredictable Council)

            I wholly disagree with Hovorun’s ecclesial outlook and aspirations but I agree with his view that the Great Council is an event modeled after Vat II.

            • Goodness!, Rome has gone deep has it not?

              Well, truth is truth. The only question is how many subscribe to it and where they gather. And we know how it all ends.

              In the meantime, may I make a few recommendations?

              1. Avoid communion, direct or indirect with Rome (or any other heretical gathering).

              2. Stay out of the troubles brewing between the West and Islam as long as possible. Also, learn to distinguish between Sunni and Shiite. In the interim, at least, this is important.

              3. Pray, fast as prescribed if practicable (but don’t make it a straightjacket) and have complete faith in the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

              He who confesses Jesus Christ, resurrected in the Flesh, and who keeps the Law of God as it has been handed down through the Fathers in the Orthodox Church, is trustworthy.

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

              RE: Hovorun’s wistful comment: “There seemed no reason to hope that a ‘Vatican-II effect’ would occur at this Council.”

              That “hope” was in vain, and rightly so, from the outset, expressed only by Orthodox clergy and laity who, inexplicably, desire to ape the contemporary Roman Catholic communion. As a devout Roman Catholic lad too young and disinterested to follow the proceedings of Vatican II from 1962 to 1965, I experienced with eyes wide open the immediate deleterious effects of that council. The so-called aggiornamento (“modernization”) of Vatican II led, soon enough, to my exit from the Roman Catholic communion as a high school junior (attending a Roman Catholic high school run by the Brothers of St. Jean-Baptiste de la Salle) in 1967.

              The last thing for which we Orthodox should hope is a “Vatican-II effect” on the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church–unless we’re personally and communally prepared for the imminent return of our Lord.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I can’t know this so take it for what it’s worth: I think the true Church is within the “Church.” The true Church are those who hold, to the best of their ability, to the teachings, regardless of what is going on around them. It is possible to do that even if it comes down to being a “party of one.”

            Peter, the REASON I said I respected you in an earlier post (another thread), is because I believe you and your family are part of Christ’s true Church.

            If I’m right (and I am about this), nothing is going to change that. I also know (not just “believe”) that you will make the right decision for you and yours, whatever that decision turns out to be, for “. . . we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

      • Peter–St Photios reconciled with the west even though they continued in heresy. The west continued to use the philioque, use unleavened bread in the Eucharist, impose celibacy on all clergy and claim the universal authority of the Bishop of Rome. Peter I guess you would have left the Church when Photios was patriarch.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Really? Well you have the floor sir to show us poor Old Orthodox how we have been wrong all these years. Would love to see these theological gymnastics. Just wait so I can get my popcorn.


        • Funny that a Roman Catholic should pick the name “johnkal”. Trolls everywhere.

        • Btw, johnkal,

          1. Photios never accepted the filioque even though delegates of Pope John VIII were there to recognize him as patriarch at the beginning of his second term. Due to his support of the emperor in certain controversies, when Basil died, Photios was dismissed as patriarch. This was only 7 years after his reinstatement. It is unclear whether he would have continued indefinitely in communion with Rome but for the precariousness of his position and his eventual removal. He made no apology to Rome and Bulgaria became Orthodox.

          2. It is “filioque” not “philioque”. Latins should know Latin.

          • Your ad hominem arguments are boorish. I am not a Latin; however, I am not your brand of Orthodox either. Nevertheless, you miss the point. There was rapprochement between East and West even though there were differences. I do not question whether Photios accepted the philioque, I know he did not. A reading of the scriptures indicate that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Father alone. Even most Catholic theologians accept the fact the philioque is a later addition. By the way thanks for correcting my spelling–woops– I made the same mistake.

          • Misha:

            Your ad hominem statements are boorish. I am not a Latin; but I am certainly not your brand of Orthodox either. You miss the point. There was rapprochement between east and west even though there were differences. I know that Photios did not accept the philioque and a casual reading of the scriptures support his position. The Gospel of John clearly states the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and the Father alone. By the way, thanks for correcting my spelling–woops–I made the same mistake.

        • johnkal,

          Please research the things your saying…

          St. Photios the Great:

          There is one Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, not more, nor even two; congresses other than this are synagogues of wicked men and a synod of dissenters; thus do we the true Christians think, thus do we believe, thus do we proclaim. (Epistle 284, Against the Heresy of the Theopaschites)

    • “Several years ago, I read a paper on the passage from the Gospel of Matthew stating ‘thou are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ I don’t remember the exact number but there were several different interpretations from the Fathers on this passage. The point being, the Fathers disagreed on issues and that there is no monolith we can call Orthodoxy.”

      None of the early Fathers suggested it referred to the person of Peter as a personal charism. Some wrote that it referred to Christ Himself as “the Son of the Living God”, others to Peter’s confession of that fact. None came remotely close to saying what Rome alleges. Yes, there is a “monolith”, One Rock, Christ (who needs no vicar), One Church, the Orthodox Church.

      • Monk James says

        Well, then, here’s a teachable moment.

        A very recent reading from chapter 16 of St Matthew’s gospel (as I heard it in church) quoted our Lord Jesus Christ as telling His holy apostle Peter: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church. and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it…..Whatever you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven.’

        But this is all wrong. The greek source text’s attemptedly literal and starched-stiff renderings into Latin (and into English and many other languages depending on Latin) have frustrated theologians for thousands of years, and its misinterpretation gave rise to vaticanism
        So, please, let me offer some thoughts.

        First, let’s all remember that this is a conversation going on in Aramaic (the native language of Matthew, Peter, and – most importantly — Jesus) but translated into Greek (however soon). Generally, in the greek scriptures, hebrew/aramaic waw is rendered as kai (‘and’). But the semitic word is much more flexible than the greek one, although kai is certainly capable of many more meanings than ‘and’.

        Then, let’s also remember that ‘this’ refers to something closer to the speaker than ‘that’, which would be farther away when speaking of things or even of ideas. In this situation, the ‘this’ expects that Jesus is pointing to Himself, not to Peter (Kephas) who is farther away.

        Finally, we must be aware that the phrases ‘will be bound’ and ‘will be loosed’ have been badly mistranslated into Latin (and usually from there into English and into any other languages affected by roman catholic ecclesiology) from the greek text of the gospel — as close as we can yet be to an Urtext — , in which these are future-perfect-passive-tense forms.

        Although first-century Greek doesn’t have a fully formed passive periphrastic construction as does Latin of the same period, it’s obvious what meaning is intended when the Greek of that time sort of imitates the Latin. This grammatic construction clearly and unmistakably indicates a condition of necessity rather than of simple futurity.

        So, honestly interpreting the grammar of these greek words with an awareness of their underlying aramaic context, I confidently — even urgently — suggest that this text be rendered as something like:
        ‘You are a stone, but it is upon THIS ROCK (gesturing toward Himself) that I will establish My church, and even the gates of Haides will not overcome it.’

        Sequence-of-tenses protocols being what they are in indo-european languages, we have to wonder why MT 16 has the greek present-tense forms ‘whatever you bind/loose’ followed by the future-perfect-passive forms ‘will have been bound’, and why this abrupt shift of tense isn’t reflected in either Latin or – more importantly for us – in English, which insist on ‘will be bound/loosed’..

        Well, as we all know, we’re always at the mercy of the translator when we can’t read and understand original texts ourselves. Personally, I don’t have that problem, God bless me, so I try to mediate the differences – not that I and my emendations are always well received, human nature and our ‘comfort zones’ being what they are.

        Here, the greek text of MT 16 says something like: ‘Whatever you bind/loose on Earth must have been bound in Heaven’ and ‘retain/restrict’, too.

        Clearly, parsing this grammar accurately lets us understand that the apostles, inspired by divine wisdom, will reproduce on Earth what is already the will of God.

        Otherwise, we find ourselves in the somewhat ridiculous position of expecting God to ratify human decisions.

        Expressed in these terms, I don’t think that even the Pope of Rome would arrogate such authority to himself, at least not honestly.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Personally, may God so richly bless you with the opportunity to personally correct our Father Maximos the Confessor with your eloquent emendations. He is specifically on record – which I have posted on this site twice verbatim from Patralogia Graeca – at his unjust trial and public condemnation refuting you. As near as I can tell, the only thing outside his “comfort zone” is the fact that, as punishment, they brutally cut out his tongue so he could no continue to preach, and later cut off his hand so he could not write.

          If you are, in fact, asking anyone to accept your scholarship and theological interpretation in these matters over that of St. Maximos; St. Gregory of Nyssa (PG 46, 312); St. Athanasius I, Patriarch of Constantinople (Letters to Andronicus, 2219, ff); St. Photius the Great (PG 102, 909); St. Theophylact of Bulgaria (PG 123, 1073-1076); St. Gregory Palamas (PG 143, 356-63); and closing out the list with the polemicists of the late-Byzantine period, Barlaam the Calabrian, Nilus Cabasilas, Symeon of Thessalonika, and Gennadios Scholarios, who all reached the identical conclusion, I would simply suggest this: don’t do it. You hold yourself out as an indemnifier against “vaticanism,” a vulgarity which you ascribe to the greatest Patristic Saints of the Church. Do you imagine you are the first to suggest these errors? You should have left it alone, rather than to, again, suggest yourself an authority, now more correct and accurate than the Holy Fathers themselves.

        • Monk James,

          Some of the Fathers came to the conclusion that Christ was referring to His own Person when He said “upon this rock”. I assume for similar reasons. As to the binding and loosing, He gave this power to all of the apostles, perhaps to Peter first, perhaps this was simply a reference to their activity in spreading the Kingdom as you suggest.

        • Very interesting insights, thank you.

  5. George,

    The other post here was for Peter.

    As to this piece, “Bravo!” I’m impressed with how deep you went on this. Somewhat Saker-like.

    I suppose the question is, and believe me I am “asking it up the food chain”, if Bartholomew really . . .

    1. is this hip deep in with the RCC and Western intelligence, and
    2. has skewed the council documents to support his seizure of dioceses, and
    3. if the rest of the Church sees this,

    then, how is it that they cannot seem to see that . . .

    4. when he openly calls heretical assemblies “Churches” in draft documents which he locked in by procedural intrigue and to which he attempted to coerce the Church and the Holy Spirit to bear witness, and
    5. when he posts on the EP council website a speech by one of his metropolitans that declares Rome merely in “akoinonesia”; i.e., an absence of intercommunion for no doctrinal reason, that

    6. he . . . is . . . in . . . heresy?

    • Regarding your 5th point, legally speaking Rome is indeed akoinonesia. The anathemas were lifted, so legally there is nothing stopping intercommunion from happening. At least from a certain point of view. (The EP’s point of view.)

      The real question is how could the anathemas have been lifted when the causes that precipitated the anathemas have not changed? Rome has not changed her position on any of their heresies; on some they have doubled down—the papal claims have gone from mere claims to dogma! Roman dogma states, in no uncertain terms, that there is no salvation for any person outside of communion with the Pope of Rome. Unacceptable!

      This being the case, an argument can be made that the EP has been in schism since 1965. Again, from a certain point of view.

      This is a very, very tangled web, and this synaxis—not to mention the whole process leading up to it—has done nothing but make it worse.

      • Ages,

        Not exactly. Anathemas are curses. One curses heresies because they are offensive to the truth. One can lift anathemas, so to speak, without accepting the heresy, at least in theory.

        But heretics must always be excommunicated. One cannot be in communion with heresy and remain Orthodox. Intercommunion means you share the same faith as the other party.

        What was done in 1965 was simply for Constantinople alone to lift whatever curses/anathemas it had against Rome. It did not at that time affirm Roman Catholic doctrine. To my knowledge, there was no statement that they were merely in a state of akoinonia and that there were no doctrinal differences. Were that the case, there would be no need for the Phanar to participate in the Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical discussions, at least not on the Orthodox side.

        But in stating that these other confessions are “Churches” and in stating that the RCC is simply in a state of akoinonia, not heresy or any other form of schism, whatever that might be, the Phanar is stating that the faith of the RCC is the faith of the Phanar. It is the same. It may be “expressed” differently as the Uniates state (falsely), but they share the same identical faith.

        That is heresy. It cannot possibly be anything else than heresy if Rome is in heresy. Whether or not they continue to voluntarily refrain from communion with Rome for the sake of not upsetting the Orthodox, nonetheless, they have proclaimed Roman Catholicism as their shared faith. It is done.

        And that is why this is a big deal. The Phanar does not need to intercommune with Rome to be in heresy with it. Simply stating that they share the same faith; i.e., that there are no doctrinal differences, that they are merely in akoinonia, is enough to establish that they are in heresy. The lack of communion with Rome is yet another subterfuge to undermine the integrity of the Orthodox Church.

        And undermine it they are. Pay very close attention to this next point:

        At present, the Orthodox local churches are in communion with a branch of the Roman Catholic Church – that is, the Church of Constantinople. It shares the Roman Catholic faith/heresy, has proclaimed as much, and has attempted to lead the rest of the Orthodox Church into a Unia with it.

        The Churches of Russia, Serbia, Antioch, Georgia, Romania, Greece, Athos, etc. are, as we speak, in communion with Rome. They are in communion with a local church (Constantinople) that openly confesses that it shares the same faith as the Roman Catholic Church, the only separation between them (Constantinople and Rome) not being a difference in faith, but the voluntary refraining from intercommunion. The Church of Constantinople is Roman Catholic and it remains in communion with the Orthodox local churches.

        That’s the problem. And, as I said, it will be interesting to see where the Orthodox Church actually is. The Church cannot possibly remain in communion with heresy for very long. At this moment in time, the only Orthodox local churches I can firmly and surely identify on Earth are the ROCA churches that never united with the MP and the Genuine Orthodox Churches of Greece. All others, omitting a few canonically problematic ones, at this point are in communion with heretics.

        I strongly suggest that these local churches remedy their status.

        • Misha,

          I completely agree. This has been going on for years and none of the other local churches have done anything substantial about it. Infringe upon some territory, the bishops will rise up and act… trample upon the Faith and no one does a thing. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, our Diocese”… oh! I mean “our Faith”. (cf 1 Jn 5:4)

          I would suggest you guys research True Orthodoxy a little more. It has some great advantages but there are serious problems there as well. Some of the Synods are flat-out uncanonical splinters and founded by some schismatic, a deposed charlatan or a pedophile, so one must be very careful. Many of them believe the New Calendar itself to be inherently heretical or grace-depriving. This is the equal and opposite heresy of ecumenism according to Elder Philotheos Zervakos and Hieromonk Seraphim Rose (both were in communion with some Old Calendarises btw). This hyper-Orthodox belief, dubbed the “Matthewite view”, has adherents throughout most True Orthodox synods, and the Old Calendar Greeks even made official pronouncements that the Greek State Church was graceless in 1935 and 1974 because of the New Calendar. These actions prompted many moderate Trues to break off and/or form splinter synods (e.g. Petros of Astoria and Cyprian of Phyle). Conversely, this view also prompted some True groups to reject ROCOR as an ecumenist jurisdiction in the 1970s since ROCOR would not declare the New Calendar to be heretical.

          The True Greeks (Florinites + Cyprianites), Romanians and Bulgarians are now fully in communion with one another and recently, the True Serbs are looking to unite with these Synods as well. I’m very pleased by this. The Ecclesiological Union Statement of the True Orthodox Greeks and the Synod in Resistance seems to leave the issue of World Orthodoxy and grace open, but it only prompted one Russian splinter group (RTOC) to plan to ordain bishops for Greece since there are NO Orthodox hierarchs there! Here is controversial statement:

          “More specifically, with regard to the Mysteries celebrated in the so-called official Orthodox Churches, the True Orthodox Church, within the boundaries of Her pastoral solicitude, does not provide assurance concerning their validity or concerning their salvific efficacy, in particular for those who commune “knowingly” [wittingly] with syncretistic ecumenism and Sergianism, even though She does not in any instance repeat their form for those entering into communion with Her in repentance, having in mind the convocation of a Major Synod of True Orthodoxy, in order to place a seal on what has already occurred at a local level.”

          Hence, the Greek Trues at present leave it up to a major Synod to decide if World Orthodoxy is utterly fallen. However, Matthewitism always threatens to thwart True Orthodox unity. Ive talked to many Trues who acknowledge my Orthodox faith but nevertheless believe me to be a graceless heretic by association. Many of them also believe all the notable Athonite Elders (especially St Paisios) to be false prophets and heretics. See here:

          I agree with Peter though, in my estimation the EP is in bareheaded heresy, and has been. For my part, I’ve always held the GOC (“mainstream and moderate” True Orthodoxy) to be true churches out of communion with us due to stumbling blocks in our midst (pseudo-ecumenists on our side and hyper-orthodox on theirs). I’m in good company with this view…

          Elder Joseph the Hesychast: While I was praying, I saw a brilliant, beautiful church. It had a small exit on the side, and everyone was coming out of the church. In the courtyard, they were arguing. One person shouted, ‘I am right!’ Another person shouted, ‘I am more right!’ And a third person, ‘I am the true church!’ This reveals that although they were arguing, they all belonged to a single church. They have dogmas in common, and they have grace, but they were arguing because they don’t have an open mind and haven’t achieved sainthood. So how could I say now that the official Church of Greece is heretical and lack’s God grace. Should I call it heretical only because of the Calendar? And should I say that their bishops are damned? I am with the Old Calendar, but I think differently from the Old Calendarists. (My Elder Joseph the Hesychast by Elder Ephraim pp. 502, 506. The Calendar Issue)

          Photios Kontoglou: I saw what struggles you are going through, and with justification, over Church matters. But do not fear. There is faith among our people. The Old Calendarists truly are the most genuine Orthodox. However, I think that there is no schism; simply a division. May the Lord make ‘the rough ways smooth.’

          As for the Old Calendarists, you are right about everything. But they are also split into countless parties and, as you say, all you have to do in order to be reckoned an Orthodox Christian, if not a Confessor [of the Faith], is state that you are on the Old Calendar. But be that as it may, on account of the mess that the New Calendarists have created, our stand leans toward the former. Excerpt. Kontoglou on the Old Calendarists‏. Two Modern Greek Titans of Mind and Spirit

          Hieromonk Seraphim Rose: …the Lord has reserved in the world, even as in the days of Elijah the Prophet, seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal [Rom. 11:4] — an unknown number of true Orthodox Christians who are neither spiritually dead… They are not carried away by the movement of apostasy nor by any false “awakening,” but continue rooted in the holy and saving Faith of Holy Orthodoxy in the tradition the Holy Fathers have handed down to them, watching the signs of the times and traveling the narrow path to salvation. Many of them follow the bishops of the few Orthodox jurisdicitions that have strong stands against the apostasy of our times: the Catacomb Church of Russia, the Russian Church Outside of Russia, the True Orthodox Christians [Old Calendarists] of Greece. But there are some left in other jurisdictions also, grieving over the ever more evident apostasy of their hierarchs and striving somehow to keep their own Orthodoxy intact; and there are still others outside of the Orthodox Church who by God’s grace, their hearts being open to His call, will undoubtedly yet be joined to genuine Holy Orthodoxy. These “seven thousand “are the foundation of the future and only Orthodoxy of the latter times. (Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future)

    • They cannot see the truth because acknowledging the truth is too hard. It would make them go where they don’t want to go or make hard decisions they don’t want to make.

      Much easier to live in fantasy land and ignore the data. Until it’s too late and *boom* your patriarch or bishop goes public as a Uniate. “Oh well, I guess we’re Uniates too! It doesn’t really matter, does it?”

      Heck, we’re Americans, it’s so much easier to blame everything on the Russians anyway. “Patriarch Kyrill, yeah, it’s his fault! I don’t even know why, but yeah it’s the Russians’ fault!”

      Etc. Acknowledging reality is simply too hard sometimes.

    • 378928Tikhon says

      Please provide me with the speech the Met. you describe has made. Is it available in English? I do not speak Greek.


      • – it was Archbishop Job of Telmessos, Permanent Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the WCC

        Look at the next to last paragraph.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        “Therefore, if the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople are now in a state of rupture of communion (akoinonesia), due to historical events and theological disputes, while both sides wish today to restore the full ecclesiastical communion, how can some dare, even through the voice of a local synod, not to acknowledge the Church of Rome as a Church, or to consider her members as schismatics, or even, as heretics?”

        This is the problem. This is the heresy. This is the betrayal of the one true faith and a complete violation of the scriptures, canons and Nicene Creed.

        Lord have mercy for we desperately need it.


        • Peter,

          Yes, you get it. And it explains Constantinople’s actions from Meletios IV through Athenagoras to Bartholomew. It also explains why Bartholomew locked heretical language into the drafts of the Relations document so that his approval would be necessary to make any changes. It explains why he implored and threatened the reluctant local churches to attend. He wanted the council to be something he could claim had the blessing of the Holy Spirit. A Uniate Council.

          And he put in language granting him quite an inheritance: all churches in the diaspora. It defaults to him as bishops of other jurisdictions pass away since the Diaspora document says that no new ones are to be appointed in territories where there is already a bishop (i.e., a bishop of the Phanar).

          Notwithstanding the fact that 4 local churches did not attend, he still got the word “Churches” used in reference to the heterodox, albeit acknowledged as such.

          My only question is this, “What does an Orthodox patriarch have to do to get deposed, murder a child in Hagia Sophia in front of live news cameras?”


          • Peter A. Papoutsis says


            Do you know what happened to the proposed amendment that was offered by the Church of Greece? I am curious to know.



            • The main representative of the Church of Greece who was present did not stand firm and push their language through. Another compromise amendment carried the day which I think got some of the votes of the bishops of the Church of Greece, but not the most outstanding one The following should answer most of your questions:


              Eventually, he’s going to fully unload on the proceedings in Crete and its orchestrators and he will likely take no prisoners.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                Good for him. He set the record straight. I definitely will wait to see what he says further on this subject.

  6. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    The die-hard Bolsheviks are still with us, in a way. They, too, anathematized “globalism” but they called it “cosmopolitanism!”

    It’s a syndrome. Another example is when some identify Nazism AS SOCIALIST because NAZI was and acronym for National Socialist Workers Party. They don’t realize it’s the same thing as saying the USSR was Republican! “The Union of Soviet Socialist REPUBLICANS?” And they, too, said “We’re not democracies; we’re republics!”

    • Michael Bauman says

      But the Bolsheviks were globalists they just wanted their own brand so they inveighed against other brands.

      NAZI’s practiced what today is called crony capitalism. It is their economic ideology that has largely carried the day and fuels today’s globalism.

      IMO both Hillary and Trump are fully on board with that though Hillary tends to be more explicitly socialist at home.

      Just another reason why I vote “none of the above”

  7. Michael Kinsey says

    The Church; s calling to bind on earth and in heaven has an eternal consequence. The authentic, faithful church with the the Holy Spirit does not bind anything in Heaven and earth that is not already bound in Heaven ( Heavenly Ordained there already).. If the wayward church attempts to bind in heaven the gay agenda and bind it on earth, if cannot do so. Fallen creation can only be added to the Eternal when it is in perfect accord with the Truth in Heaven. What the authentic Churches bind on earth must be of the Holy Spirit when it is done, or it cannot be bound in heaven.When bind on earth we build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Fallen creation cannot bind anything in heaven.

  8. George Osborne says

    Question for all you theologically minded: “Can a person even be considered Christian if he or she is not “right-believing?” In short, if the Lord God is undiluted truth in pure simpleness, can a defective understanding of Him be considered salvific? If you confess a patent falsehood as “truth”, are you in the Truth? If “God is Light and in Him no darkness at all,” then can there be an admixture of theological light with heterodox darkness and call the admixture “Christian” because it touts a portmanteau Christ? If any of this is true then it seems clear that the Council of Crete was valueless because (1) a group of hierarchs that could lead their flocks into any falsities by acknowledging false Christs lacks the pneumatological imprimatur and (2) If there was no pneumatological unity of opinion then all pronouncements are suspect and consequently are not trustworthy. True or not? And don’t pillory me for asking, I just play piano in this establishment! 🙂

    • George,

      There is Truth and there is Theosis/Salvation and there is Judgment. Often these are confused but we need to clarify because it causes many anxiety. Let us start with Judgment. Christ Himself laid out the criteria by which He will judge us on the last day. There is precious little dogma involved:

      From Matthew 25

      31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

      41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

      You will notice he makes no reference to the Creed. The heart of the Law is mercy and Christ will have mercy on the merciful. That about sums it up. But there will be judgment and consequences.

      For my part, I would be more concerned about the Particular Judgment that occurs for each of us shortly after death. The theologoumena of the aerial toll houses and the cleansing fire are attempts by the Fathers to explain this spiritual reality to us.

      At death, the Light is turned on. We awaken, so to speak. And all our sins are revealed. The Light is the Cleansing Fire. At this point, angels and demons dispute over our souls. This is a sort of triage or spiritual medical procedure. God sends his angels to try to untie all the knots in reality, all the lies, all the evil ,all the sins, that we have in our souls. Demons of our own invitation resist this treatment.

      Here is where the initial and perhaps most significant determination is made. Will God and His angels treat the patient successfully so that he may rise to a heavenly repose or will the demons the patient has taken into himself drag him to a repose of perdition?

      Bear in mind, this is not an external punishment or purgatory. This is simply the natural result of a soul, willfully or otherwise, under the power of diabolical delusions suddenly cast into the light, like out of Plato’s famous cave. What a monk might exorcise over the period of 50 years, a newly departed soul must exorcise in 40 days or bust.

      Weeping and gnashing of teeth, spiritually, so to speak.

      When confronted with the evil we have done and the hell we have created, under the clear shining light of the Truth, there will be agony. The amount depends on how well we conformed to the Law of God in our earthly lives. Essentially, this Cleansing Fire is a form of theosis. We can choose to meet God in this life or we can be dragged kicking and scratching in the next, but regardless, God is coming for us. He is our Maker. It is His Right to do so.

      Blessed are they who have believed without having seen.

      As far as the Truth and Salvation/Theosis are concerned: The Truth is the Orthodox Faith. The religion could be named “Theosis” and it would be appropos but God decided “Christianity” would be better in honor of His Son. Salvation is God’s Kingdom coming to you through Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is a bit like Eastern Mysticism, a realizing of who and what we are and Who and What God is. It dawns on us. But it is active. The purpose of gnosis is theosis. Knowledge is not a value unto itself. Its purpose is to draw us nearer to God and to deify us.

      To my best lights, Orthodox Christianity is true in all its traditional particulars. To realize how deep it is, you may need to go beyond the services into St. Denys, St. Gregory the New Theologian, St. Gregory Palamas and, a latter day guide, fairly reliable, Lossky’s Mystical Theology.

      Read and re-read these. The Truth takes time to sink in. It is more glorious than most people dare imagine. Oddly, it is all laid out in Orthodox eschatology regarding the New Jerusalem and the World to Come. It’s all out there in the open. It’s just too fantastic for most people to believe. However, God’s going to make believers out of us all over the next decade and a half or so.

      You see, when enough of the prophecies of the Apocalypse, Daniel and other eschatological writings begin to actually manifest in reality, it will slowly begin to dawn on people that this Christianity, this Orthodoxy, this Bible, these Fathers, etc. . . . these were not just fables fashioned for our spiritual benefit.

      I don’t know if you ever saw the scene in Independence Day when Will Smith turned his girlfriend’s head up to see the spacecraft above Los Angeles. But the realization that people will undergo is somewhat like that. It’s just that it will not be the realization that aliens have come to visit us. It will be the realization that God is real and He is returning . . . quite shortly.

      My money is on 2029-2030, around Ascensiontide. God likes round numbers and that would be about 2 millenia after the Ascension. He said Christ would return just as He departed.

      Until now, the major players referenced in the Apocalypse could not be lined up with the capabilities described by St. John. Only now is this possible. The machines and firestorms described by the Beloved Disciple are part of modern armory. The actors are lined up as well. Christendom passed with the Romanovs. The devil has had quite a time to play, whether you calculate it from the fall of Constantinople or the Abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, you must admit that the last few centuries have been quite bloody and this last century has been the bloodiest of all.

      For 2000, the Davos crowd had the Millenium Development Goals. Now they have Sustainable Development Goals, landmarks of “progress” to be accomplished by the year . . . 2030.

      Now, in case anyone might miss this, “Sustainable Development Goals” means that Davos/UN/WestInc intends to take charge of the economic and political development of the whole world, without exception. As they move forward with their programs, which include abortion, feminism, normalization of homosexuality, etc. they will provoke a Great Conflict. Stay tuned.

      This is the calm before the final storm.

      • Sorry, that should be “St. Symeon the New Theologian”, not “St. Gregory”. Typing off the top of my head.

      • George Osborne says

        Hi, Misha!

        Your points are well-made; however, I was not speculating on salvation per se. Salvation is God’s business and is too much of a mystery to be speculated on anyhow since none are righteous “no, not one.” Understanding grace is beyond my pay grade. I just hope to be a beneficiary. My point was rather that faith and belief as an informant of action require “right” faith and right belief. Otherwise, we run the obvious risk of sincerely believing a falsehood that might, just might, alienate the grace of God. It’s hard enough to bear the “light and easy burden” of right belief much less the cross of false (albeit sincere) belief. Councils have the divine responsibility for interpreting and presenting the Truth to us poor slobs in the pews (metaphorically!) so we can adjust our actions accordingly in our attempt (vain as it may be, of course) to please God. The Fathers don’t call it struggle for nothing! Don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time keeping the car on the road with GPS as it is without getting lost down some dirt trail going nowhere!

        As far as timelines are concerned. I’m not particularly worried about the “Big One.” At my age, I’m more concerned about my own personal apocalypse when I’m asked to report in at headquarters about how I’ve kept the watch.

        By the way, regarding dates, remember the calendar is off somewhat not due to astronomical miscalculation but a historical miscalculation. More than likely, Jesus was incarnate 3-5 years (maybe as many as 7 years) before “the Year Zero” A.D. So, not getting obsessed by dates, still the fuse may be shorter than you think!

        • George O,

          My point with the long spiel is that God is very concerned with doctrine vis a vis our salvation in the sense of theosis and judgment at the particular judgment. He is not particularly concerned with doctrine at the final judgment but rather with how merciful we have been to the least of these. Even at the particular judgment, the doctrinal question will likely be more of a problem in that willful embrace of wrong doctrine, or even accidental, can lead to sin and acquiring distortions of the truth within us that it may be painful to resolve.


    • M. Stankovich says

      Mr. Osborne,

      Can you play anything by L. Ron Hubbard? It somehow seems appropriate at the moment.

      • George Osborne says

        How about my personal favorite ” How to Become a Multi-millionaire by Inventing Your Own Religion?” In the key of “F?”

        At least the council didn’t speculate on intercommunion with Thetans and the validity of their mysteries!

  9. Dollar Vasileos says

    Who is really paying for the Great Council? Media outlets report the cost of the Great Council to be 2.8 million with 60% paid by the USA. 60% of 2.8 million is 1.68 million. Now lets look at the GOA budget published at (click on documents). And Voila! the GOA increased its budget to the Phanar over the next two years to by about 1.5 million. It makes you wonder.

  10. Gail Sheppard says

    I have been thinking a lot about Metropolitan Philip. He was a complicated man and though I took exception to the way he did many things, I find myself thinking, “He would never have stood for this. . .,” in a positive way.

    I am beginning to wonder if the impetus behind his decision to change the status of our diocesan bishops was because he saw this coming and feared some of our bishops would go along. He kept talking about the importance of “unity” within our “God protected Archdiocese.”

    I know he was not enamored with the EP (not that I could tell) and he pulled out of the National Counsel of Churches and SCOBA.

    Could it be that Metropolitan Philip KNEW the EP, et al., were going in this direction and feared some of our bishops might follow and THAT’S why he did what he did?

    • That is possible. I was not an admirer of Met. Philip. However, I respected him in a way. You kind of had to if you understood Syrian Orthodox history in this country at all. If I were to deliver a eulogy for him, I would say that he rose to the occasion and gave his best although not all would agree with him on the particulars. He was not a traditionalist. On the other hand, he was quite dedicated to preserving the Tradition as he understood it and, perhaps even more, to preserving that which he was blessed to lead. No one can fault him for that.

      It’s hard to say what he might have done were he alive today but I think it is safe to say that he would have been deeply hostile to the idea that Constantinople should inherit all of North American Orthodoxy and head an imperial Orthodox Church over a synod of yes-men as if he were a pope without infallibility. On the question of “Churches”, I do not know where he would have personally stood. However, we know where Damascus stands and I think he would have agreed with their leadership on the issue.

      He may very well have seen some rumbling in the leaves that alarmed him. Recalling the personalities he was dealing with at the time, that would make sense.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Gail, I think you are probably correct. Met Phillip was a complicated man but he was also concerned for the welfare of his people. His immediate concern was over one bishop in particular who went to the OCA.

      The bishops that remain seem unlikely to sell out, but I only know one well, Bishop Basil.

      I do hope that all of our bishops would be more vocal, but that is not Bishop Basil’s approach. He expects his priests to do it knowing he has their back. Every priest I have seen come through St. George seems to be that way.

    • George Osborne says

      Okay, speculate about this. If what you say is true abt Met. Philip, then why is the OCA cozening up to the EP? Having they decided who is going to win the tussle (in their estimation) and have decided to jump in another lifeboat? The Ukraine just asked and the EP agreed to get involved in Russian canonical territory to sort out the multiple church situation in that land. Think the OCA may be positioning itself to gain widely recognized autonomy under the EP since autocephaly was stillborn? The MP doesn’t seem to be buying what the OCA’s selling. Maybe there is a new friend at court? Could the EP have pulled the Metropolitan aside during their confab a few months back and said, “Hey look, nothing personal, but if you want to play a role in the new Greek-dominated episcopal assembly process in N.A., you need to go back and tell your Synod to smell the coffee.” Just too many coincidences for my poor brain to fathom.

      • George,

        This would not surprise me. OCA has been quasi-Uniate from its inception and I expected that if Bartholomew had officially declared a Unia at Crete that the OCA would take as many of their people into it as would follow. It was created for the most part out of Ukrainian Catholics and Syosset and SVS seem dominated by that quasi-Uniate mentality. Contrary to the popular belief of many, it is only in certain pockets that the OCA has a lot in common with ROCOR in terms of mindset. The Diocese of the South was one pocket, but even it was not monolithic. The priest at a nearby OCA parish is much more respectful, for example, of Schmemann and SVS than of any of the ROCOR figures or Jordanville – by far. Yet he is a frequent flier at the nearby ROCOR monastery and speaks Russian. Go figure. Lotsa confused people out there.

        But yes, Syosset is not at all predisposed or loyal to traditional Orthodoxy and therefore is a more natural bedfellow to the Phanar.

  11. Pat Reardon says

    Since others have already introduced my name—with criticism in one case—into this discussion, I beg leave to post here a piece on “ecumenism” I wrote nearly seven years ago. It expresses impressions and sentiments I still hold.


    December 20, 2009

    Just as interesting as the recent Manhattan Declaration, perhaps, is the variety of responses the document elicited among those conservative Christians who declined to endorse it.

    Commenting on this subject not long ago, I was reluctant to ascribe motives to such individuals, beyond the reasons they explicitly offered. I had my suspicions, nonetheless, as I hinted by mentioning their refusal to “associate with the other signers.” That is to say, I suspected that the identity of some of the signers was taken, in certain cases, as a reason for not signing.

    For example, Father Jonathan Tobias, an Orthodox priest, wrote derisively of “a whole dizzy array of denominations and ‘parachurch ministries’ and even strange things called the ‘Alliance Defense Fund'” and complained that the “Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is listed six entries down from something called ‘Performance Matters Associates.'” That is to say, the signers included an unfortunate herd of the weird and unwashed.

    Some Evangelical spokesmen objected to the inclusion of Roman Catholics and Orthodox under the label “Christian.” For instance, R. C. Sproul, admitting that some real believers could be found in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, contended that such people “are Christians in spite of their church’s official doctrinal positions.” Sounding much the same note, Alistair Begg regarded the document as a “declaration of Christians mutually recognizing the reality of each other’s faith.” According to John MacArthur, the Declaration “constitutes a formal avowal of brotherhood between Evangelical signatories and purveyors of different gospels.” That is to say, the signers included a lamentable assembly of heretics and unbelievers.

    I weigh these sad assessments, not only from my interest in the Manhattan Declaration, but also because they touch a larger preoccupation that might be called “ecumenical.” Using this expression, I have in mind a sympathetic interest in brethren who are separated from me — and from one another — through various tragedies suffered throughout Christian history.

    In approaching this res ecumenica I have long been inspired by biblical history, particularly the tragic departure of Israel’s northern tribes at the time of Jeroboam’s revolt.

    Although St. Augustine regarded that separation as “not religious but political” (The City of God 17.21), his assessment strikes me as overly simplified. The ancient alienation of the north involved at least two theological problems: a repudiation of God’s covenant with the house of David and the establishment of other shrines as rivals to the temple at Jerusalem.

    Now it is plain that both those institutions — the Davidic covenant and the Solomonic temple — pertained to the very content of divine revelation. Their repudiation in the north, consequently, was not only schismatic but also heretical. This is surely the reason the Chronicler refuses even to mention the Northern Kingdom until that historical period when it no longer existed!

    Still, even in schism and heresy, the people of those northern tribes remained a special object of the Bible’s sympathetic interest and concern. During the two centuries of the Northern Kingdom’s existence (922-722), the Lord sent them such prophets as Elijah, Elisha, Amos, and Hosea. In fact, He dispatched one of those prophets to anoint them a king! Although Holy Scripture pronounces a harsh judgment on those responsible for the separation of the northern tribes, it contains no criticism of those whose sole offense was that they happened to be born on the wrong side of the border.

    The Bible’s solicitude for those “separated brethren” provides, I believe, a workable model for analogous situations today. Some believers, in short, were just born on the far side of a border, but, as far as I can tell, they love and trust Jesus as much as I do. Now then, friends, how should I regard them?

    Although the “gospel” as defined by Sproul, Begg, and MacArthur causes my spirit to faint within me, how can I bring myself to say they are not Christians? However badly they understand salvation, do I dare declare them unsaved? The canonical literature that interprets the history of salvation found a niche also for the northern tribes. God help us, are we justified in thinking less of these long separated brethren?

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Father, thank you for this. However I do have a question, “What do we do with Galatians and Titus? Those pronouncements are harsh and absolute. How do we balance heresy in our midst and the belief of those born on the wrong side of the border so to speak? At what point do they bare personal responsibility for their own beliefs and not the accident of their birth?

      Also, I think we may be confusing salvation, per se, with the one true faith. I nor anyone can tell God who He can and cannot save. But if we know the true Gospel and the True Church then we have a far better chance at salvation inside the True Church than outside of her.

      The inverse is also true in that just because you are in the true faith and true church does not guarantee one”s salvation. However, one will have a far better shot at salvation in the true faith ad true Church than if one were outside of her.

      So one’s ultimate salvation I will, as I must, leave to God. However, I can increase my chances at salvation within God’s Ark rather than outside of God’s Ark, while acknowledging there will always be Hams inside the Ark as well. Therefore, the better path is the clear path, and not the one with all the potholes and cracks.

      The cracked and pothole strune road may get you to heaven, but it’s risky and very dangerous. The clear and even way is much better and far less risky, but it’s still a road, and you must pay attention or you will still fall and hurt yourself and/or others.

      So the question really is which road is the better road to follow and use to get to our destination? I think the answer to that is self-evident.

      Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated Fr. Patrick. Thank you again for everything and please keep me and my family in your prayers.


      • Pat Reardon says

        Peter asks, ““What do we do with Galatians and Titus? Those pronouncements are harsh and absolute.”

        The texts have to do with the pastoral supervision of teaching in the Church.

        They have no application to our relationships to other Christians from whom we have been separated for centuries.

        This discussion has clarified at least one thing: It is no secret that Patriarch Bartholomew and I have advanced theological degrees from institutions in Rome. (Indeed, we were there at the same time.) Apparently this bothers Misha.

        • No, Father Patrick, it does not bother me in the least. However, Patriarch Bartholomew is a heretic and he acquired his heretical phronema somewhere.

          • “However, Patriarch Bartholomew is a heretic and he acquired his heretical phronema somewhere.”


        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Thank you Father, and I agree with what you say, but after 60 plus years in the Ecumenical Movement I do believe it is time for all of Orthodoxy to do the same pastoral thing your Archdiocese did and leave the movement. Do do what ROCOR and a few others have done and officially denounce ecumenism as a heresy and be done with it.

          I have seen no movement to the one true faith, but I have seen a movement away from it. I do believe the pastoral supervision which you Archdiocese rightfully exercised in this situation should be followed.


    • M. Stankovich says

      Oh for heaven’s sake, Fr. Patrick, you can’t leave now. Your thoughts are precisely what I have been thinking ever since this entire wave of “apocryphal hoo-ha” hit this joint, first from Crete, and always tied to the “Amerikan politic” (and Who didn’t see this coming):

      There’s nothing in the streets
      Looks any different to me
      And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
      And the parting on the left
      Are now parting on the right
      And the beards have all grown longer overnight

      My mind continually returns to nine words written by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) that are as profound to me today as when I read them so many years ago, from his instruction to priests in a small volume titled Confession: “We are far removed from the time of Grace.” Specifically, Vladyka Anthony referred to the imposition of ἐπιτιμία, or “penalty/punishment,” some form of “corrective” behaviour to compensate for sinful actions and activities. But his greater point was that the world is “different” now, and we are “different” now; and who could only imagine what Vladyka would say today.

      Further, I have posted here so many times (I will not do so again, as, apparently it is not as significant as I might have imagined, to more than me) the warning of Fr. Florovsky that the Church dangerously risks withdrawing itself from the “world” with the argument, “What communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14); “if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Rev. 3:20); “Once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door [and you] knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us’; and he shall answer and say to you, ‘I know you not from where you are.'” (Lk. 13:25); and “And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when you depart there, shake off the dust under your feet…” (Mk. 6:11). In every other aspect of our lives, we give no heed to these comments whatsoever, yet the in the compartmentalized aspect of “internet religion,” it is paramount.

      But what of the fact that ours is a jealous God (“You knew that I reap where I did sow, and gathered where I have not strewed: You ought therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received my own with interest (Matt. 25:26-28); that the Scripture reports that, even though “unbelief” prevented the Lord from performing miracles [δύναμιν], it did not prevent him from trying (Mk. 6:4-6); that the Lord, the Master of the house, is persistent in filling his house for the Banquet (Lk. 14:21-24); that not only has the Lord instructed us to “baptize all nations” (Matt 28:19), but “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4) if not by us? Nevertheless, it seems to me that this site has taken the posture of “no prisoners”; a step outside the “line” is “darkness.” It is as if ἀκρίβεια has been translated as “shariah,” and extending mercy and οἰκονομία is offensive, intolerable, and a “concession” to be loathed. And as Hamlet said, “the rest is silence…”

      “Far removed from the time of grace.” “Truly I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mk. 13:31-32) Reading crystal balls and “sign-‘o-the-times” are devilish pursuits unfit for mature Orthodox Christians. These divisions among people who refer to themselves as Christian is something over which to grieve, not something over which to gloat and scorn. We are servants of this Faith, hardly its “possessors.” As Fr. Florovsky noted in a report submitted in 1950 by a Roman Catholic group about the participation of the Orthodox Church in the WCC:

      It is the urgent duty of the Orthodox to strengthen their voice and witness in the Ecumenical conversation, not only by adding numbers, but primarily by putting a new spiritual energy into their witness. The real handicap for the Orthodox in the World Council is not in their numerical minority, but rather in the indifference of the Orthodox society. Many Orthodox simply do not know that they are keepers and stewards of the glorious Truth. It was openly stated that the Orthodox should unite in order to bear witness with an undivided voice and conviction in the divided world. It was then expected that future conferences of Orthodox theologians could become a permanent and periodical institution. The Second World War frustrated this hope, but the problem remains.

      Seventy-five years later, “the problem remains.”

      Might I suggest, Fr. Patrick, that what is missing here are voices of “longevity” and season (with no pejorative intended), Orthodox experience, education & study beyond Google & the “quick quote,” and patience. This was an excellent, sobor response, and I, for one, appreciate it.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I totally agree. Fr Patrick’s voice is eminently one of reason.

        • Thomas Barker says

          I believe that “I beg leave to post here a piece…” means “I ask permission to post here a piece…” and has no connotation of Fr. Pat threatening to leave Monomakhos.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Thomas Barker,

            For your consideration:

            KING CLAUDIUS: Break not your sleeps for that: you must not think that we are made of stuff so flat and dull that we can let our beard be shook with danger and think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more: I loved your father, and we love ourself; and that, I hope, will teach you to imagine–

            Enter a Messenger

            How now! what news?

            Messenger: Letters, my lord, from Hamlet: This to your majesty; this to the queen.

            KING CLAUDIUS: From Hamlet! who brought them?

            Messenger: Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not: They were given me by Claudio; he received them of him that brought them.

            KING CLAUDIUS: Laertes, you shall hear them. Leave us.

            Exit Messenger. Claudius Reads:

            ‘High and mighty, You shall know I am set naked on your kingdom. Tomorrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes: when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden and more strange return. ‘HAMLET.’

            What should this mean? Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?

            This is the one, single occasion Shakespeare employs the phrase in any of his popular plays, and I made a “dandy” of it, somehow to distract from just how old Pete Townsend looks in that video. And quite obviously, no one left [ and in the OED it also has the dual meaning of “asking forgiveness]! You, however, are a sleuth, Thomas Barker!

            • Thomas Barker says

              Fellow pilgrim Stankovich,

              I recognized the idiom from my salad days of reading various works of Charles Dickens, who was apparently fond of the expression. Why choose Shakespeare as the standard? Your Pete Townshend reference baffles me. Are you alluding to Rough Boys?
              “Rough boys
              Don’t walk away
              I very nearly missed you
              Tough boys
              Come over here
              I want to bite and kiss you”
              If so, my opinion is that it fits better in Misha’s discussion of the violence and sado-masochism inherent in gay relationships. Good day to you, sir.

      • Michael Bauman says

        We have to be strong enough to bear witness rather than being corrupted. The overall experience has not seem to show that we do what was hopped but that our witness is diluted.

      • Pat Reardon says

        M. Stankovich writes, “This was an excellent, sobor response, and I, for one, appreciate it.”

        Thank you.

        But especially appreciated is the long quotation from Father Georges Florovsky

        • M. Stankovich says

          Anyone may beg leave to download the original article from where this quote was taken, The Doctrine of the Church and the Ecumenical Problem by Georges Florovsky (whom no one of any substance has ever accused of the heresy of compromising the Faith to the heresy of Ecumenism, save Google scholars) by clicking here.

          For someone to suggest that the call for love, mercy, rapprochement, or adopting the spirit of the shepherd so devastated as to leave the larger flock in order to seek the single lost sheep (Lk. 15:3ff) is somehow the “wrong,” or impractical, or inappropriate road to our ultimate destination is breathtakingly shortsighted. Recall the anguish and suffering in the words of the Lord immediately before His own Passion:

          O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kill the prophets, and stone them that are sent to you; how often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen does gather her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you desolate: and truly I say to you, You shall not see me, until the time come when you shall say, ‘Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.’ (Lk. 13:34-35)

          The Truth needs no defense from us or any arrogant claims of “traditionalism” to “be.” We are servants holding a precious gift, continuously demonstrating how ill-prepared, unworthy, and ungrateful we actually are as the last chosen. And the fact the we are the final chosen, the last to be called, and the beloved of the Master is lost on us: like His disciples who frantically searched, where should we we find Him? Among the outcast, the despicable, and the lost; Samaritans, prostitutes, tax collectors, even hanging between two thieves. “So don’t dare lecture traditionalists about our “fundamentalism”. You people have done more than enough damage already.” Right. Silly white-geese who cannot imagine answering for the fact that “many Orthodox simply do not know that they are keepers and stewards of the glorious Truth.” And who would have imagined that it was not a bishop to deliver a warning to the public square, but Bob Dylan.

    • Fr. Patrick,

      First, the straw dummies: I never said at any point that these other seekers after Christ were not “Christians”. I am quite generous with the term since it is almost meaningless. I do not begrudge it to Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons even. It merely signifies someone who purports to follow Christ in some way. With the term “Church”, we need be a bit more circumspect.

      Second, I never said that any particular person in any of these denominations or even in other religions might not be saved on the last day. Since salvation is something we work out with God, and since He gave us a clear criterion for salvation that has precious little to do with doctrine – “As you have done to the least of these, so have you done to Me.” – I do not presuppose to delineate who will be counted among the sheep and who will be counted among the goats.

      So with those false allegations dispensed with, lets get to the heart of the matter. The Truth. It is written that “the Truth shall set you free”. I.e., the Truth unties the knots of our sins and passions, heals our souls and is, like light, the best disinfectant. It is Medicine.

      Those of us who know that Orthodoxy is the Truth do not appreciate it in the slightest when hand wringing old women who ask, as Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?”, in the name of ecumenism begin diluting the medicine which is the only cure for the fallen condition of Man. That’s why we don’t like ecumenical conversations that discuss the Faith. That’s why we do not accept Pat. Bartholomew’s attempt at Unia, that is why we are suspicious of all such products of Roman Catholic education – because they mix medicine with poison. It’s that simple.

      It has been a long term project of Rome to undermine Orthodoxy. It has done so through its own institutions like the Pontifical Institute; it has done so through the vehicle of the “Ecumenical Patriarchate” and Holy Cross; and it has done so through the Paris School/St. Sergius/SVS. Half-baked Ukrainian Catholic hybrid theology never helped anyone. It is poison mixed with medicine in proportion that it endangers the patient as much as it helps him.

      That’s the honest truth. Those are the demons we are attempting to exorcise. On top of that, we have the Western Liberal Establishment coming at us full force so you will have to give us a little room to work here. There are many who profess brotherhood who buy into the ideology of the Beast to some greater or lesser extent and we just can’t afford to trust them with sharp objects like pens anymore. What was penned in the name of Orthodoxy in Crete was a disgrace and bordered on open heresy. What was intended to be penned was heresy. And what Constantinople has published on its own website and thus probably believes in its heart is doubtlessly heresy. So the threat is not imagined, it is very real.

      So if one wants to cooperate with non-Orthodox in matters like opposition to abortion, or philanthropic endeavors, etc; on the face, I have no opposition. But do not further evil in the process. Do not encourage the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN when they mix poison with medicine (abortion, feminism, normalization of homosexual activity).

      But a caveat: I do not know of one soul converted to the Truth as a result of Touchstone, the Manhattan Declaration or any ecumenical endeavor. Nor am I aware of any changes in the legal framework accomplished by the Manhattan Declaration. I suspect that all such intra-Christian endeavor is “full of sound and fury signifying nothing”.

      Yet the unfortunate aspect is that it brings the Orthodox into close cooperation with the heterodox and thus osmosis takes place, and not only in general morality. That is the only thing that the Orthodox have gotten out of the ecumenical movement – a bad case of theological and ecclesiological flu.

      So don’t dare lecture traditionalists about our “fundamentalism”. You people have done more than enough damage already.

      I have no objection to your being included in any conversation of which I am a part, Fr. Patrick. But I will not sugar coat it for you. You’ll just have to deal with it.

      What ecumenists, et al, have lost sight of is the one needful thing, the Pearl of Great Price, the Kingdom of Heaven: theosis.

      It is “Why”. And the only faith that teaches it in fullness, undiluted, is Orthodox Christianity. Roman Catholicism does not, Protestantism does not, Judaism does not. Other religions approach and approximate it in some of their forms. Some of the C.S. Lewis type Anglicans are “on to” to it in a sense, but do not seem to have fully pursued it.

      It was preached by Christ Himself in His parables about the Kingdom of Heaven. Peter referred to it as “partaking of the divine nature”. St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Denys and others wrote about it extensively. St. Gregory Palamas refined it into a teaching of sorts.

      With it, all things are possible. It is the Way to God. It is Christ’s Will for man. It is the Holy Spirit filling us. With it we grow to see God. With it we care gratefully for “the least of these” as for Christ, sincerely. With it we can defend the vehicle for theosis to mankind, the Pillar of Truth, the Church, from all enemies of Christ.

      But it should not be mixed with the poison of lesser, erroneous teachings – i.e., with heresy.

      • Pat Reardon says

        Misha declares, “I do not know of one soul converted to the Truth as a result of Touchstone, the Manhattan Declaration or any ecumenical endeavor.”

        Those converted to the Orthodox Church by reading Touchstone re pretty numerous.

        • I would have to see testimonies. I tend not to believe such assertions. Mostly, evangelism is either personal or people attend a service or read some type of exclusively Orthodox apologetic. Conversion from ecumenical interaction is very, very minimal if ever. There is a truce regarding exclusive faith claims which is inherently un-Orthodox. Moreover, Orthodoxy is seldom portrayed accurately at such encounters.

          It’s a similar reason why many traditional Orthodox do not feel comfortable if they attend some public event and are called to give an inter-faith invocation. We know of no such animal.

          “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, through the prayers of Thy Most Pure Mother and out Righteous and God Bearing Fathers and all the Saints, have mercy on us, Amen.”

          Other than Catholics, that would offend pretty much everyone else in some form or fashion. But we don’t water down the Truth.

      • Monk James says

        Misha (July 11, 2016 at 6:58 am) says:

        But a caveat: I do not know of one soul converted to the Truth as a result of Touchstone, the Manhattan Declaration or any ecumenical endeavor. Nor am I aware of any changes in the legal framework accomplished by the Manhattan Declaration.
        It’s a great blessing, a divinely given grace, for us to know ourselves so well as to not only acknowledge our ignorance interiorly, but admit it in public..

      • Misha said: “But it should not be mixed with the poison of lesser, erroneous teachings – i.e., with heresy.”

        Thank you for this post, Misha. You are spot on!

    • “Some believers, in short, were just born on the far side of a border, but, as far as I can tell, they love and trust Jesus as much as I do. Now then, friends, how should I regard them?”

      You love them unconditionally and become a living example of the holy Orthodox faith so that they may see the fullness of truth and come to know Christ’s true Church. But you don’t compromise the true faith.

      “Although the “gospel” as defined by Sproul, Begg, and MacArthur causes my spirit to faint within me, how can I bring myself to say they are not Christians?”

      Are you a true Christian if you deny the ever virginity and purity of the Most Holy Theotokos? Are you a true Christian if you believe in infallibility and supremacy of the “Pope” of Rome? Are you a true Christian if you deny and attack the holy Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church? Are you a true Christian if you mock apostolic succession? Are you a true Christian if you delete certain books from the Sacred Scripture? Are you a true Christian if you belittle the holy fathers of the Church. Are you a true Christian if you twist the interpretation of Sacred Scripture to agree with heretical teachings? Are you a true Christian if you profess that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son?

      Only God knows.

  12. Phil R. Upp says


    Met. Philip was a wonderful man. He was educated by Frs. Schmemann & Meyendorff and understood well how important a unified American Church was. In fact, in the 1970’s Met. Philip had Fr. Schmemann speak at the Antiochian conventions about unity. If Met. Philip would have taken the American Antiochian Archdiocese into the OCA in the 1970’s, there would have been very little Damascus could have done; Met. Philip was too popular and powerful. This would just left the Greeks out in the cold yet, + Iakavos would have followed suit. Although Met. Philip & Archbp Iakavos tried to move forward with American unity in Ligonier, + Iakavos was forcefully retired. What + Iakavos should have done was to reject the retirement and taken as many Greek parishes as he could and join the OCA. + Philip would have then followed suit and today, we’d have worked out most of the issues with a united American Church. Please understand, both Met. Philip and Archbp Iakavos would have been taking the CANONICAL action required in a “territory” where a canonical autocephalous church is established. The overseas bishops could do nothing canonically. Defrock them? That would have been a joke!

    • Michael Bauman says

      Saying Met. Phillip was wonderful is a stretch IMO. He could certainly be charming, even witty and he treated those close to him with great solicitude. But he also treated those who disagreed with him harshly even cruelly when there was no reason to.

  13. Harold Knudson says

    Oh how I wish that someone, anyone, would discuss the contents of the posted article! Namely, the role that geo-politics and economics play in influencing our religious institutions and how it holds them captive.

    Karloutsos is (relatively speaking) a very small, albeit deadly fish swimming in a murky pond with significantly larger fish.

    Does anybody recall the reason that the Patriarchate of Antioch broke off communion with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem? The short version is the illegal establishment of a bishop’s seat in Qatar which traditionally belongs to the Church of Antioch. This caused Antioch to withdrew from the Council in Crete and was the impetus of other Churches doing the same.

    Now lets’ examine a few convenient coincidences:
    – Qatar has become the new hot spot for foreign investors to put their money.
    – major figures in the Greek and Greek American community (former director of the CIA George Tenet, former Ambassador Patrick Theros, just to name two) have major business investments in Qatar
    – The majority of the Clergy in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem are imported from Greece.
    – George Tenet is related to Patriarch Theophilos.
    – Patrick Theros (also an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarch, btw) is credited with getting the Israeli government to recognize Patriarch Theophilos.

    What’s the link between all these people? Fr. Alex Karloutsos. All this can be verified easily through a google search.

  14. Joseph Lipper says

    Here’s Metropolitan Jonah’s comments on the Crete Council, as from a CNS news article entitled, “U.S. Orthodox leader have mixed but hopeful reactions to council”:

    Metropolitan Jonah said of the council’s documents, “I wasn’t impressed. They didn’t really say a whole lot.

    “It’s just a reaffirmation, and it’s a reaffirmation around common things that no one’s going to disagree on.”

    The council’s final encyclical affirmed church unity, the traditional structure of the family, the importance of morality in education and bioethics, the spiritual and ethical implications of the ecological and migration crises, and the importance of dialogue among Orthodox churches and with the world.

    Metropolitan Jonah doesn’t see the ethnic divisions in the church as being an issue to resolve — “that’s just how we’re organized” — but wished the council had focused instead on some of the more divisive issues that it ultimately set aside as churches like Russia dropped out in protest. He mentioned in particular the issue of different churches using different calendars.

    “My hope is that we can come to a more common vision between the various churches so that we can actually deal with some of these issues and come to a common mind,” the metropolitan told CNS in an interview in Alexandria, Virginia.

    “I think that the ecumenical project with the Roman church is a very good and important thing that we need to pursue,” Metropolitan Jonah said. “We need to pursue that, but on the terms of a unanimity of faith” among the Orthodox churches.

    • Met. Jonah is well meaning and does much good, but he is beyond naive.

      • “I wasn’t impressed. They didn’t really say a whole lot.”

        That was kind of what I felt about MJ’s bland and often garbled comments.

        “It’s just a reaffirmation, and it’s a reaffirmation around common things that no one’s going to disagree on.”

        So he clearly didn’t read the pointed and very clear encyclical that his brother bishops in the ROCOR published prior to the council.

        As I’ve said before, how he ever became lionized as some sort of voice of tradition in the OCA completely goes over my head. I had hoped that his time in the ROCOR would have some sort of salutary effect…

        I remember listening to one of his “lectures” on SJB cathedral’s YouTube channel, and his garbled and incomprehensible explanation of the calendars was embarrassing and had outright factual errors. And the subtext was clearly one that was running down the Old Calendar. He has every right to that opinion, but it struck me as clueless behavior coming from a man who had just been taken in as a refugee by a church on the Old Calendar. So you can imagine that I wasn’t impressed to hear him criticize the Council for not taking on the Calendar issue, knowing his opinions are in opposition to those of the ROCOR and Russian Church generally that befriended him.

        • MJ is from OCA and OCA is quasi-Uniate in essence. Of course he doesn’t see the obvious. SVS teaches a quasi-Uniate pseudo-Orthodoxy. It’s a real problem that is finally, decisively, rearing its ugly head. The only question is whether it has mortally wounded “canonical Orthodoxy” or not.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Edward the Lionhearted,

          Is that glint of the sun or an actual bullseye you’ve pasted on your back. Yikes! Although a truer statement could not have been made, better you than me. But who’s always got your back, ‘brotha?

    • Pat Reardon says

      Joseph, thank you for posting these sensible comments of Metropolitan Jonah.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      This is ROCOR’S official statement against the Pan-Heresy of Ecumenism which was then and still is now my standard that I came to my judgment against the EP:

      So as much as I respect Metropolitan Jonah I disagree with his assessment. Those who accept these documents accept error.

      Also I think that many view ecumenism as simply talking with Roman Catholics and Protestants and coming to some general acceptance of Universal Christians moral and faith principles and thats it. However that is NOT what is occurring. As much as I want to wish otherwise ROCOR set the standard. I judge these documents and the EP’S concurrent and subsequently statenent as a violation of that standard.

      If we were dealing with pre-Vatican RCC and evangelical Protestants who truly wanted to reconcile then I may have been open to this as I truly believe there would have been genuine movement towards us and the One True Church.

      However we have been having dialogue with liberal Protestants, liberal Anglicans, and a post Vatican II RCC that started it’s long descent into Libral theology and liberation theology.

      How has this dialogue benefited us as Orthodox? How has this benefited the hetetics? As there been a genuine move towards Orthodoxy or away from Orthodoxy?

      From what I have seen it has been a movement away, FAR FAR AWAY! If I am wrong Ok please explain it to me. I listen. I want to learn. So please tell me where I am wrong.

      You have ROCOR’s statement and 60 plus years of object historical fact. Let’s talk honestly about ecumenism because for me it has been and continues to be a massive heresy. However I am more than willing to be corrected as I still want to give the EP the benefit of the doubt, but I just don’t see it.


    • That is an overstatement. 60 monks does not “Athos” make. Their appeal may cause something broader to happen on Athos, but I wouldn’t hold my breath, given how the EP and the Greek government have cracked down on noncommemorators in the past.

      • You may be right, Edward. I was critical of them on another website about their co-dependent relationship with the Phanar. Their legitimacy is in question. This is not really about the Phanar anymore as much as it is about “canonical Orthodoxy”. Do they have the courage to remain Orthodox and excommunicate Bartholomew? I don’t know. Time will tell. Part of me doubts it. Part of me believes they will tolerate the heresy for political reasons and bring the Orthodoxy of the entire “canonical Orthodox’ body into severe question. That is why I’m hedging my bets and looking around at ROCA and the moderate Greek Old Calendarists. They may be the last bastions wherein the Church is manifest.

        • I was only saying that Athos has not yet taken the step that you imply. It is not for any of us to say whether the Fathers should take the momentous step of schism. There are intermediary steps that can be taken. I personally think that splinter groups end up being very unhealthy, and mainstream Orthodox churches become more unhealthy as traditional folks leave. There is a reason why the Church has always treated schism as a grave step.

          • And there is a reason why the Church has always rejected heresy.


            For the umpteenth time, take a gaze at the next to last paragraph of the above. It reflects the current mindset of the Phanar. They have it on their Great Council website, out in front of God and everybody.

            Now, you may have missed it, but at Crete Pat. Bartholomew attempted a Unia. He worded the preparatory documents and rules for the council such that the Relations document would essentially recognize Rome as a sister “Church” and he rigged the rules of the council so that the draft language of the preparatory documents could not be changed except by unanimous agreement at the council itself. The drafts were simply approved by a number of the patriarchs (to their shame).

            What Bartholomew probably intended was for everyone to show up; their presence be a witness that the Holy Spirit was active at a Great Council, and have the Council proclaim that Rome is a sister Church as well as state that he inherits all the dioceses in the diaspora vacated by death or retirement. You can look at the council documents if you doubt me. It’s all there in black and white.




            Now, as it stands, he did not manage to get all local churches on board with this. Also, the language in the Relations document refers to “heterodox Churches”. That was a “compromise” between the amendment offered by the Church of Greece which spoke of “confessions” and other views. At first, I myself thought that the worst case had been averted by inserting the word “heterodox”. However, upon further reflection and taking into consideration the views of a number of traditional hierarchs of different local churches who have protested fiercely, I have to agree that the use of the word “Church” in any construction was what needed to be avoided.

            “Heterodox”, in the English language, is a polite way of saying “heretical”. This is so because we have all sorts of violent imagery associated with the Western Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church and we are loathe to use the technical term “heretic” or “heretical” feeling that it is almost violent, in and of itself rather than being a simple description of views or a mindset.

            In other languages, however, this does not obtain. “Heterodox” may mean nothing other than “other belief” or “alternate glory”. The key word is “Church”. That is what the Phanar insisted upon and that is what they got.

            So, if the Crete Council is indeed ecumenical, then there is more than one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Rome for instance. Or the Anglicans. Or whomever. Regardless of doctrinal differences.

            That’s why all the hubbub. Pat. Bartholomew has been a very, very bad boy, has tried to lead the rest of the Church into a Unia and has apostacized into heresy.

            Now, I personally do not hate or even dislike the man. He may be doing what he thinks is right. Most of us do, most of the time. However, if Orthodoxy is correct and/or to continue as a distinct faith, this needs to be dealt with in some manner.

      • Let us pray that the entirety of the Holy Mountain come out against this robber council.

      • M. Stankovich says

        This is a primary example of the attempt to impose “authority by home address” and association alone. Again, there is the conclusion, in contradiction to the Holy Scripture and the ancient and Holy Tradition of the Church, that it is the “100 years of extreme oikonomia” – or for that matter, any mercy extended by the hand by the “manager of house of the Master” in His stead, in consideration that we are “far removed from the time of Grace,” and for an individual’s ultimate salvation – at the heart of the collapse of the moral life and imperative in Orthodox America. Somehow, with a resumption of ἀκρίβεια at the hand of “traditionalists” and other “mind & heart-numbed” squabs, a healing and re-direction will take place.

        One example: Somehow, our God and Saviour, Creator and Fashioner of time, set us in a Creation of freedom conditional only upon our obedience. Even in our cosmically destructive rejection of His love for us, in a choice of disobedience that set a course of human suffering and sorrow which He never desired, He came to us fully as a man, the Timeless One entered into time as a living sacrifice in order to overcome our mortality, and return our humanity to the right-hand of the Father. Yet, we are to believe, if one diverts 13 idiotic days one way or another, there is darkness! “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you?” (Matt 6:33) No! It is totally irrelevant! The Lord sacrificed Himself in order to enslave you to a calendar. There seems to be a misunderstanding that a sense of internal chaos will be resolved by radically imposing order on external circumstances. History, it seems to me, has proven the foolishness of this tactic.

        To this communiqué, as to so many others in this world, my response to the dear fathers is that their arrogance speaks louder than their words. They simply cannot grasp in their widest imagination the extent of indifference in the Orthodox world, and I strongly suspect that, like most “traditionalists,” they are self-anointed and more comfortable with “speaking” than with listening. I am struck that a marvelous point made by Gail has passed without a single comment: there is a Church within the church, where eternal Truth is maintained as the Lord intended. When you find it, you know it, such is its attraction. And most importantly, having found it, the urge, then, is to become obedient and serve, not impose and control. “You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (Jn. 15:16)

        And who would have thought that the answer to the “crisis” in the Church would not be ἀκρίβεια cum “slavery,” but rather “obedience” [ὑπακοή] that brings freedom? ἔρχου Κύριε Ἰησοῦ!

        • Akrivia and oikonomia are two manners of dealing with matters that arise. Both are necessary and both are always with us. Akrivia is the norm. Oikonomia is pastoral leniency for this or that particular situation after which we automatically return to akrivia. That is the Orthodox Faith.

          I’m not sure where these people learned Orthodoxy. I don’t mean as to institutions. There are better and worse institutions. I mean whom, more or less directly, have they formed the habit of listening to or consulting? Surely not the Church Fathers. It must be from more modern neo-“Fathers” that they have learned these errors.

          Oikonomia comes from the Greek “law of the house”. It is properly understood not as “leniency” but as a way other than canon law of furthering the building and operation of God’s house or Divine Plan. Thus, it must be in keeping essentially with that Plan.

  15. Michael Bauman says

    Ecumenism and all of the various isms with which we are afflicted require each of us to do a radical reassessment of our own actions, belief and state of complacency.

    I admire Peter for doing that and being open to conversation and correction along the way.

    Thank you Peter for your honesty and humility.

  16. M. Stankovich says

    οἰκονομία is derived from the ancient Greek οἰκονόμος to mean one thing: the management of a household. When a Jew heard the parable:

    There was a certain rich man, which had a steward [οἰκονόμον]; and the steward was accused to him that he had wasted his goods, he called him, and said to him, “How is it that I hear this of you? Give an account of your stewardship; for you may no longer be steward” (Lk. 16:1-2]

    they knew the role exactly: “the one who stood in place of the Master himself; the one who acted on behalf of the Master himself; the one who acted, knowing how the Master himself would act .” Equally, St. Paul would be completely understood when he stated:

    Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors [οἰκονόμους] until the time appointed of the father. (Gal. 4:2)

    The presumption here is that Master has entrusted the οἰκονόμος with the right to make decisions in his house, in his name, beyond the scrutiny of anyone but himself:

    Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God [κατὰ τὴν οἰκονομίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ] which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God (Col. 1:25)

    and to each other “serving [διακονοῦντες] as good stewards [οἰκονόμοι] of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Pet. 4:10)

    There are not “two manners of dealing with matters that arise,” there are one, and that is the manner in which the Master, in His own house deals with individuals before Him, now and in The End which is to come, and how He has established his οἰκονόμος to manage His house in His stead. I have no idea from where you have determined that ἀκρίβεια is the “norm.” It is from the ancient Greek, “a rigid discipline,” “an application of precision or exactness,” cf. ἀκρίβεια νόμων, “strictness, severity,” (Socrates & Aristotle) ; ἡ ἀκρίβεια τοῦ ναυτικοῦ, its efficiency, rigid discipline (Aristotle); ὕδωρ δι᾽ ἀκριβείας ἐστί τινι “parsimony” & frugality (Perseus offers an amusing definition of the Law of Persimony as “the logical principle that no more causes or forces should be assumed than are necessary to account for the facts”); but most importantly; ἀκρίβεια occurs exactly once in the New Testament, when St. Paul is seized in the Temple in Jerusalem (Acts 22), and in attempting to establish both rapport & authority with the Jews who held him, he indicated that he had been “taught according to the perfect manner [κατὰ ἀκρίβειαν] of the law of the fathers.” (v.3)

    Since there is neither a “precedent” nor instruction on the lips of Him who is both the Fashioner of the Divine Plan and the Keeper of the Father’s “House of Many Rooms” (Jn. 14:2) save two questions specifically related to faith (“And who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15) and love (“Simon son of John, do you love me?” (Jn. 21: 17), in establishing the Church, it would seem that an appeal to Canon Law is, at best, “thin.” And not to belabour the point, but Blessed Chrysostom has an entire homily (PG 158, cols. 945-952), That We Should Not Anathematize the Living or the Dead, addressed to the laity (and that would be all 60 of the Athonite monks, et alii), calling all to imitate St. Paul, “And I include myself among you,” reminding us that that Lord, “did not cast out Judas, nor does He cast out those who come to grief as he did, until each of them individually is led astray by deception and surrenders himself to it.” Certainly the Father who relentlessly battled the Eunomians & the Manicheans does not suddenly advocate “tolerance” for heresy, but he certainly insists it be confronted with wisdom by those skilled to do so: in his commentary on the following verse from the Second Epistle to St. Timothy, “Be gentle unto all men” (2:24), he quotes two verses from the Epistle to St. Titus, “Rebuke with all authority” (2:15) and “Rebuke them sharply” (1:13); likewise, “A strong rebuke, if it be given with gentleness, is more likely to wound deeply; for it is possible… to touch more effectively by gentleness, than when one overwhelms by boldness” (Homilies on the Second Epistle to St. Timothy 6). This is the Orthodox Faith.

    • Anonymous M. Stankovich,

      How you manage to perpetually distort the faith and twist things into a wrong headed mess is amazing. Akrivia is the norm. It is strict adherance to canon law. Baptize everyone for example. That is the default position of the Church and it is unchangeable. “Go forth and baptize all nations . . .” for example. Oikonomia is a way of keeping the spirit of the law without making the letter a straightjacket in individual cases of pastoral necessity. Oikonomia is calculated to further the basic building plan of the house of the Kingdom of God, so to speak, Read the article to which I linked to above and you might understand that.

      Oikonomia is my no means a norm or standard for anything other than a broader leeway to follow the basic Law of God than what is specified in the letter of canon law. A council, for example, could make oikonomia standard practice, I suppose. But it could never make it the norm or the default. It would be a running exception and should be re-examined when conditions change to see if a reversion to akrivia might be in order.

      That is the faith. You have no idea what you’re talking about. “Either” of you.

      • M. Stankovich says


        I have dutifully quoted the Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers in twisting this “fine mess” to make a simple point: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim, 2:3) I have no idea what I’m talking about? This is exactly the reason I do not speculate and pose over positions I have “gleaned” from the Google school of theology, but rely upon the what I was taught in the systematic study of Orthodox Theology by fathers & teachers, who were taught by fathers and teachers, and so on. As Fr. Patrick noted, when you quickly reach your “scholarly depth,” you then resort to adolescent insults and, reminiscent of annoying graffiti “tagging,” attempt to anoint yourself as an “authority” and move along. The problem is this: we are scholars. Perhaps others will nod their heads and accept you at your word over any damn thing you say – and that is not to say anything regarding your capacity or intention – but you need to distinguish your opinion from fact, and cite fact at its source. Disagree with me as you will, but “how I manage” to reach my conclusions is to read the Scripture & the Holy Fathers, and most importantly, direct you to exactly where you might find the source of my argument. If you are not at a level of such a discussion, save yourself the frustration and limit yourself to admirers.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          “Economy” may involve being LESS strict than a given canon or MORE strict than the same Canon. STRICTNESS AND FORBEARANCE ARE BOTH THE ECONOMY WE GLORIFY IN THE TONE ONE RESURRECTIONAL TROPARION. The OCA and others use a MISTRANSLATION when they sing “Glory to Thy Dispensation!” The Greek very clearly reads: “Glory to Thine ECONOMY!” We never praise or glorify strictness or laxity. We glorify the Divine Economy!

          • M. Stankovich says

            You are absolutely correct, Vladyka Tikhon. As you note, the Resurrection Troparion (Απολυτικιον) in Tone One, concludes:

            Glory to Your Resurrection, O Christ [δόξα τη Αναστάσει σου Χριστέ];
            Glory to Your Kingdom [δόξα τι βασιλεία σου],
            Glory to Your economy [δόξα τη οικονομιία σου;]
            O Only-Lover of Mankind [μόνε φιλάνθρωπε]

            The point I continue to make – with the assistance of the Scripture and the Holy Fathers – is that the Church does not “think” in the juridical terms of this world, nor understand the Canon Law as analogous to a system of jurisprudence of this world. It is the mindset of the West – and the “new Uniate masters” – to appeal to the “canons” as if they were a Penal Code established by the Church for its governance, and a “sentencing guideline” which must admit “leniency” as a philosophical mitigation. And we again come full circle only to face the dead end confrontation of St Paul: “If justification comes by law, then Christ died in vain” (Gal. 2:21) Who could imagine that the Lord came to free us, only to allow us to be enslaved to the Pedalion? Apparently Misha. And Misha would have me enter into into a new Bataan Death March – “I’ll agree to try to avoid it if you will” – because the Byzantine Fathers – beginning with St. Basil the Great, in his Letter to Amphilochius forward – did exactly as you say, Vladyka, glorify the Divine Economy, as Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos described it, “as an imitation of God’s love for man” and not an “exception to the rule.” (PG 111,213a).

            • What you desire, AMS, is not a pass from the law, but a pass from the Truth. The Law has been fulfilled in Christ, He completed it. Canon law is a tool for the bishops to use in their administration. Even in my interactions with Isa al-Misri, I have always maintained this. Law without judge is but a mark on paper. And canon law is not legislation in the Western sense. We can agree on this, of course. But these categories are indeed useful, nonetheless. Why else do we call it canon law?

              But it is up to the bishops, either individually or in council to apply it or to apply oikonomia which Russians would understand probably as the “Law of God” in the sense of the catechisms written including that title in the Russian tradition. The Divine Plan or Economy. We call it, “Закон Божий”.

              I’m not sure what enslavement you have in mind. Christ came to end our captivity to sin. Not our “captivity” to the Divine Economy, which is the very Life and Liberty to which our deepest longing aspires.

          • Vladyka,

            That’s what the article I quoted A.M. Stankovich essentially said, though economy is most often less strict than akrivia. Economy activity taken with the mindset of keeping within God’s plan for building the Kingdom. Though akrivia and oikonomia are contrasted, they are not opposites. The article clearly states this. There is another expression used to contrast with strictness:

            “The 102nd Trullian Canon also expresses another principle closely bound to oikonomia: that of the power of tradition in the Church: it states that from the concept of wise oikonomia one must guided in certain cases not through acrivia (exactitude or severity in the observation of the letter of the law), but by tradition: “For we ought to know two things, to wit, the things which belong to strictness (τα της ακριβειας) and those which belong to custom (και τα της συνηθειας).” It is important to note that acrivia is contrasted not with oikonomia, but with custom, for the sake of oikonomia (see the 8th Rule of St Gregory of Nyssa, in which the Holy Father calls leniency the custom [συνηθεια]). The rule thus says that in practice (that is, by custom), departure from the letter of canonical prescription is permissible for the sake of the ecclesiastical constructiveness, “house-building” and oikonomia practiced by the pastors of the Church. The same was written by St Basil the Great in his first rule, as we will see below.” –

            So, A.M.S.:

            1. Please bother to read stuff I link before going on about it.

            2. Quit trying to make oikonomia the standard of canon law. Tradition is the standard of canon law. Akrivia controls in general. It is the letter or precision of the law. When some particular context arises that calls for it, oikonomia may be invoked in order to deal with the particular circumstance. There’s no way to escape canon law. It was put there for a reason. It is up to bishops to apply it in their discretion, individually and collectively of course, but it is what it is. If a council says that for the time being, that X is permissible in oikonomia given the situation, that is fine. But akrivia is still the norm or default until such time as the canons are changed, if ever.

            “. . . a new Bataan Death March.” Please, AMS, we’re not making a Western here.

            • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

              Misha, with all due respect, you are way out of your league here. Don’t confuse your ability to express your opinion with some sort of equality of opinion. Your opinion is uninformed compared to +BT and MS on this subject (*note I am not saying on all subjects, but on this one certainly).

              You may be surprised that there are many examples of how economia (oikonomia) is far more strict than it is lax on many levels. For example, the practice of the ROC that one must have confession before every Communion even if one is a frequent communicant, or the COGreece requirement of some bishops that people fast from meat (even during a fast free week!) to commune is FAR more strict of an economia than the canons require. But let us look at some instances in which they are more lax. One instance of economia where our virtually universal practice is more lax is the practice of following the (local monastic) typikon of St. Sabbas practice of having Presanctified ONLY on Wednesdays and Fridays in Great Lent. Yet the Canons demand that priests serve and laity attend them every weekday of Great Lent. But I would venture to say that you would make an exception to your so-called inviolable principle that economia is not the norm on this count. And don’t give me that the church has by consensus overridden it by praxis, because that is still economia, not akrivia, since the canon has never changed. And yes, I can assure you that +BT and MS know what they are talking about on this subject. I am a Canonist, and don’t just play one on the internet. And I expect you to repent.

              • Fr. Harry,

                Expect on. If you are defending Stankovich’s writings here, you are out of you league as well. I don’t claim to be a canonist. One need not be to appreciate and respect the opinions of the authorities cited in the article to which I linked. Grow up, Fr. Harry. Stankovich may or may not be an “authority’ in the scientific area in which he was trained, but that’s about it. Nothing I have said would contravene a bishop’s or synod’s authority to apply oikonomia in the instances you cited. Even your reading comprehension leaves a lot to be desired.

                If you expect repentance in the face of your nonsense, you came to the wrong place. Forget it. If you want to hear a louder, more emphatic version of what I have been stating all along, keep interacting with me. Those are your only two choices.

                BTW, Fr. Harry, I see that you are with the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States” under the Phanar (which is currently in heresy). It should not surprise me that you defend Stankovich’s warped view.

            • M. Stankovich says


              You are offering me Sister Vassa Larin, who in turn is relying on the Uniate hack, Jean Meyendorff, for authority (sigh), and you both authoritatively misquote him from Byzantine Theology:

              “In both historical and theological literature, the principle of oikonomia is often referred to to illustrate the particularly Byzantine ability to interpret the law arbitrarily to suit political or personal purposes. Such a use betrays an obvious misunderstanding of the term, and is an injustice both to the principle itself and to its proper application. The term oikonomia does not belong originally to legal vocabulary; meaning “household management,” it designates in the New Testament the divine plan of salvation: “He has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan [oikonomia] for the fullness of time, to recapitulate all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ep 1:9-10; V. also 3:2-3). But this divine plan for the management of history and of the world has been entrusted to men. For Paul, preaching of the word is an oikonomia, entrusted by God (1 Co 9:17), and, therefore, we should be regarded as “servants of Christ and stewards [oikonomoi] of the mysteries of God” (1 Co 4:1). More specifically, the “management” or “stewardship” belongs“to those who fulfill the ministry of leading the Church: “The Church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office [oikonomia] which was given to me for you” (Col 1:24-25). In the Pastorals, the oikonomia belongs particularly to the episkopos: “For a bishop, as God’s steward [oikonomos], must be blameless” (Tt 1:7).
              Among the Greek Fathers, oikonomia has the standard meaning of “incarnation history,” especially during the Christological controversies of the fifth century. In a subsidiary way it is also used in canonical texts, and then, obviously, places the pastoral “management” entrusted to the Church in the context of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind.”

              Wow. And while Sister Vassa points out – with importance – the comparison of συνηθειας with ακριβειας in the “102nd Trullian Canon,” she seems to have missed that in St. Basil’s Letter To Amphilochius, concerning the Canons (Letter 188) – the precedent for economy in consideration of the majority/the most [οἰκονομίας ἕνεκα ῶν πολλῶν], he did not use the word συνηθειας for “custom” once, but a more common word, νομίζω. And, in fact, all comparisons to strictness were made against οἰκονομία. ακριβειας was reserved for a discussion related to abortion, where “their treatment depend not on mere lapse of time, but on the character of their repentance.”

              And for heaven’s sake the incarnation history is economia! Our God established a plan for our salvation before the ages, for which He established the sacrifice of His Only-Begotten Son “for us and for our salvation.” Nowhere have I tried to “make oikonomia the standard of canon law,” if only for the fact it is foreign to our thinking.

              I suggest that you devote yourself to primary sources. Obviously, Sister Vassa earned a degree in the systematic study of theology – and I may disagree with her conclusions – the excellence in scholarship is notable. ” The die is cast and distinct paths have been chosen.” Google will only lead you to so far, my friend. Is this is as far as I go with you.

              • Look, AMS, let it go. You are arguing with the wrong person. I’m simply standing on what the Church has always said. Oikonomia is often understood as pastoral leniency in the same vein that St. Basil used the word “mercy” to refer to it when he invoked it regarding baptism.

                Nothing I have written or quoted is the slightest bit inaccurate or in any way distorting of the faith. Your assertions however that in letting canon law be canon law and akrivia be the norm or default it was designed to be, that there is something uncharitable afoot is totally misguided. That is the same misbegotten sentiment that is driving the whole dispute between the Phanar and most of the rest of the Church at this point. They desperately want to be seen as kind and loving by “the world”. Yet letting the world die in its sins without the Truth is neither kind nor loving. That is the message that traditionalists, to no avail it seems, have tried to get through to them. But they are incorrigible. The arrogance and the lust for power have overtaken them and they are hellbent on imposing heresy.

                So be it. But they should expect the Orthodox to reject the entire mindset.

                “Let us accept, then, the tradition of the Church with a sincere heart and not a multitude of rationalizations. For God created mankind to be upright; instead they sought after diverse ways of rationalizing. Let us not allow ourselves to learn a new kind of faith which is condemned by the tradition of the Holy Fathers. For the Divine Apostle says, ‘if anyone is preaching to you a Gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed’ [Gal 1:9].” – Patriarch Jeremiah II of Constantinople

              • Also, this meme regarding “Google scholarship” keeps appearing vis a vis some of us here. I should say a few things about that. Sometimes I use google to look this or that up, as do most people. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with that in any way, shape or form. Thank God we have this resource at hand. For those who lack an education, it can be an equalizer of sorts to enable them to understand what they are reading online pursuant to subjects that interest them. It would be caste-Pharisaic arrogance to begrudge people such a thing. Shameful.

                But as to myself and others here who use it from time to time, I’m not sure what the allegation is supposed to suggest. I have read Pomazansky, Slobodskoy, St. John of Kronstadt, much of Chrysostom, Athanasios, and several other Fathers (this is an ongoing project), Khomjakov, Met. Kallistos (Ware), Abp Chrysostomos of Etna, et al. That is far from an exhaustive list, but it gives one the right idea. I have read this and that from the neo-Patristics but am rarely impressed by them. Mostly by Florovsky and Romanides, but they have their limitations.

                I stick mostly with old, traditionalist sources of information so I will not necessarily recognize Meyendorff, for example, though I have read a bit of what he has written, but not intently.

                What I mean to say is that Google is wonderful and a valuable resource since so much is on the internet these days and it is much easier to find it online and copy and paste than to go to the books and dredge therein and type anew, which I do from time to time as well – especially if you know from reading what the terrain looks like already.

                We read a ton in law school, with a fine tooth comb as to what each word meant. Religious texts require a different approach, but the same meticulous intent. I can say that the volume of what I have read in Orthodoxy is probably equivalent to a deep Masters Program, though not, I would think a doctorate. I aspire to that kind of knowledge regarding St. Gregory Palamas’ theology, but that is a work in progress.

                So google on all. Google cannot make what you say correct or true. It cannot make one more or less in accord with Orthodoxy. It is merely one tool among many. Familiarity with the patristic mindset is the only real standard. It is not about a “system” of theology. I have occasionally been assumed to have such a system of my own. This is not the case. Orthodox theology does not lend itself readily to systemization though some have attempted it in their own reserved way (St. John of Damascus, et al.). In Orthodoxy, the theologian is the one who prays. He even reads prayerfully. There is no system but a phronema, a mindset. Theology is reality. God is real, the only Reality. We live in His Reality and thus that is our mindset, His Reality, Theology. The Law of God can be written in books but it is meant to be written on our hearts as real living activity of the Holy Spirit.

                That is a difference between Western theology and that of the Church, we live theology, they study or fashion or “do” theology.

                I recall a graduate class I took in getting a BA in Russian Studies, Russian Religious History, I had with Prof. Jennifer Spock. She was delightful and had adopted the monks of the Solovetsky Monastery as her “own”. “Her” monastery, so to speak. She was very bright, though not Orthodox (Quaker, I think), but she understood the difference in the ways of knowing – academic vs. tradition. I did a study of Avvakum under her.

                Academia is geared toward knowledge for its own sake. It is quite fallible. Ptolemy was fallible, Copernicus was fallible, Einstein was fallible, etc. It is always evolving and being corrected and never grounded, really, on anything other than its own method. In that sense, it is an ideology.

                Tradition is something quite different. It is a way of knowing, noetic prayer, hesychasm, that is far above material reality which is merely one manifestation of divine reality.

                • M. Stankovich says


                  Since you have basically made my argument for me, I will clarify my point and not mention it again.

                  You very accurately describe the Google scholar as one “who has read” the topic under discussion. If this were sufficient in regard to Orthodox Theology, then there would be no need for seminaries, none. Simply “projects” like your own. We would gather a team of designated scholars to develop a reading list and a set of examinations. Then – I don’t know what – take the top fifty of those examined and have a contest (Orthodox Idol) of preaching and teaching where anyone can vote by internet, and in the end, we have the next generation of “theologians.”

                  You totally ignore the fact that, for example, Frs. Florovsky & Meyendorff were classically educated in philosophy, history, literature and poetry, and the classic languages. Secondly, but most importantly, these were men of great piety – ordained priests who both indicated that their primary ministry was not “academic” or “scholarly,” but the priesthood; it was the ordained ministry that enabled and inspired their academic pursuits. And in either case, your comment that “academia is geared toward knowledge for its own sake,” is quite silly when one considers the depth of the knowledge of ancient philosophy – Plato and Aristotle in particular – seen in the writings of Sts. Basil the Great, Greogory of Nyssa, Gregory the Theologian, Maxiumus the Confessor, Symeon the New Theologian, and Gregory Palamas, to name but a few. The nature of the calling of teachers and preachers is “Patristic,” in a word, an “academic” pursuit that is hardly “unto itself,” but, as in the Troparion to St. Chrysostom, “Grace shining forth from your lips like a beacon.” While it is certainly true that we are all called upon to arrive at a Patristic “mindset” – and this is exactly why I challenge the notion that our sanctified Liturgical Canon, where so many may learn the theology of the Church, is “corrupted” with heresy – this does not make one who has “read” the Fathers a scholar.

                  Finally, I say again to you, that you are categorically unqualified to dismiss Frs. Meyendorff & Florovsky and Met. Illarion; it is that simple. You are most certainly not “occasionally” using Google, because you do not, by your own admission, have the familiarity with the Patristic literature, nor the understanding of the Greek language – fundamentally imperative for clarifying the underlying intentions and subtlety of the statements being made (words have power). And I strongly object to your childish Google-driven “private detective” attempts to discredit by “association” alone (e.g. studied at the Vatican, a priest under the EP, etc.), or pejorative conclusions (e.g. “twisted”) without ever addressing the theological argument. I make it a point to provide specific citations. Google them, if you must. An honest scholar makes an honest answer. A Google scholar avoids. If this issue arises again, this will be response.

                  • AMS,

                    I’m not sure what I have done to get your back up, but I’m not really concerned with that anyway. Anyone has the right to get their back up about anything. Be offended if you like. It’s free.

                    Now, as to my being “unqualified” to have an opinion, I beg to differ. I am what I am. I’m not presenting credentials in order to get anyone’s stamp of approval. I don’t need one. It’s that simple. I can say what I want and you can like or dislike it. It makes no difference to me.

                    I made my remarks about “Google scholarship” in order to call attention to the fact that I do not find the line of reasoning behind deploring or criticizing doing internet research as well as reading this or that in hard copy rational or defensible in any way. Nor do I think that academic credentials in the humanities or theology amount to much anymore other than a certificate that one has the right ideological mindset to please ones professors. True theologians are those engaged in theosis. This is more likely in a monastery than in the academy.

                    Two plus two always equals four and one does not need to hear that from someone with a doctorate in mathematics to have confidence in the answer. It is what it is.

                    Everything I have said about everything here is verifiable unless it is an opinion. Most, if not all, of my opinions are shared by notably well educated Orthodox. Just not your brand of Orthodox.

                    So take a deep breath and try to come to grips with the fact that you have no control over the world or anyone in it except yourself, if that.


                    • It should always be with trepidation when one wanders into the middle of someone else’s dispute, but since I respect what both of you contribute here, I think that a little ‘splainin’ might help. Or maybe like a cop called to a domestic disturbance, you might both just start taking it out on me rather than on each other.

                      Misha, I imagine that there is a realm of competence (I believe you mentioned law school) in which you know a whole lot more than the average bear, and in which you would be inclined to roll your eyes at the well-meaning (for the sake of argument) legal pontifications of someone like me who never went to law school, let alone practiced law. Now I might be repeating the assertions of very well educated jurists, and I might have a lot of quotations and so forth at my disposal, but if you are a real lawyer, you will see right through the fact that my knowledge, even if correct, is neither deep nor grounded in the kind of understanding that you as an educated and working attorney has.

                      This does NOT mean that my opinions are wrong and that yours are right. I feel quite confident that the bottom line of my legal opinions are more sound than the bottom line of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the issues of the day. In the argument between her and the late Scalia on how to do law, I think that Scalia (and I) are right and she is wrong. But the truth is that in any real discussion with her, or even with a less august attorney, I would have my head handed to me on a platter, simply because I don’t have the kind of understanding of the law to have that kind of conversation.

                      Stankovich obviously is of the opinion that this kind of disparity exists between his grasp of theological matters and yours. And in fairness to him, just as I might not, in a superficial exchange, recognize just how inferior my understanding of the law is compared to yours, that wouldn’t keep you from recognizing the gross limitations of my ability to have an actual debate. Again, this doesn’t mean that what you believe is wrong and what Stankovich believes is right — I think it should be obvious that my opinions probably more commonly align with yours than they do with his.

                      Now I do disagree with the implication that Stankovich seems to make (although I don’t think he means to) — namely that seminary is what produces theologians. That would come as a surprise to many of the fathers of the Church. The kinds of things that can happen in seminary — prayer, the example of deeply pious and learned teachers, active teaching and challenging of incorrect thinking in lectures, discussions, or conversations, etc. are by no means things that cannot be acquired in other ways (maybe even acquired more effectively and efficiently in other ways under ideal circumstances), nor is attendance at even the finest seminary an assurance that one will actually acquire them. Frs. Florovsky and Meyendorff were indeed likely men of deep and broad classical education — but as I recall, neither of them obtained the most important parts of that kind of education in institutions that approximate what happens at, say SVS. I certainly have my doubts that such an education is either something likely to be acquired in a modern seminary (because that isn’t really their purpose) nor is the prior acquisition of such an education required for admission. Good thing, since we wouldn’t have very many priests if it were.

                      I left college, where I had an old-fashioned and rigorous liberal arts education, feeling that I had only started to scratch the surface. I am still reading books that my professors, more than 30 years ago, told me were essential to read at some point in my life if I wanted to be truly educated. But I struggle to imagine trying to acquire the kind of self-education I’ve been engaged in throughout my lifetime without the framework of how to think and how to approach that body of knowledge that I acquired from my mentors — including those whose views I didn’t share, just as I think that it would be very difficult for someone to teach himself the law from books alone.

                      When it comes to the things in which I actually am either a real expert or somewhat of an expert, all were either the result of rigorous formal education and training, or the result of close and direct mentorship by true experts. And I can spot people who haven’t had that kind of education and/or mentoring from a mile away.

                      In one sense, you gave yourself away as far as I am concerned, Misha, when you told me to “get over” Metropolitan Hilarion. I could write several paragraphs on the habits of mind that a comment like that betrays. Same for bold statements of heresy regarding the EP (for which you know I have little high regard). That one probably would require pages.

                      “Where angels fear to tread…”

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      Let me clarify one point, and anyone who wishes to pursue this further need only read Fr. Florovsky’s “The Lost Scriptural Mind,” “The Catholicity of the Chuch,” “The Church: Her Nature and Task,” “The Function of Tradition in the Ancient Church,” and “St. Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers,” all found his Bible, Church, Tradition: an Eastern Orthodox View, Volume 1, of his Collected Works. This is a volume I know is well known to you. Otherwise, it is quite ludicrous that I should have to raise this “authority” for “hobbyists.”

                      Let me clarify that I am not a “travel agent,” or recruiter for seminaries; hence my outrage at the misdirected insinuation that the sacred Liturgical Canon is “infected” with heresy; certainly it is intended for thanksgiving and praise – “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” (Mk. 2:27) – but it is also a primary source of theological education: “Let him with the ability to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says” – [Ὁ [let him/the one] ἔχων [possessing] οὖς [an ear/ability to perceive] ἀκουσάτω [hear/express what one actually hears] τί τὸ πνεῦμα [what the spirit] λέγει [says] – (Rev. 2:11). But the unanswered question here remaining to be asked is why have seminaries at all? Convenience? To foster an elitist faction to dominate discussion, or even to intimidate? The same follows true, as why is it not our Tradition that even the pious, the gifted, and the most sought after spiritual guides and monastics – laity – do not preach within the context of the Liturgical services? Men or women. This could go on & on, and no one will read it, so the short answer is a simple one: “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit.” (Jn. 15:16)

                      As I have noted here previously, Fr. Schmemann saying every year as the school year began – and noting that it is what he heard as his school year began, and those before him, and those before them – “The life of the seminary is not focused in the classroom or the library, but the chapel, which sanctifies the beginning and the ending of each and every day.” Where does the ER resident learn the complexity of trauma and emergency medicine? From years of experience in the ER, hands-on. Where does the surgeon learn the delicate intricacies and the “gentle art” of surgery? From long hours under the scrutiny of chiefs & attendings, taking one step of responsibility at a time. Where does a lawyer learn to argue effectively and successfully on behalf of a client in the intricacies of advocacy under the law? In the courtroom. Is this difficult to grasp? Yet somehow, having the mere access and availability of the Scripture and Patristic texts under Google – and the dedication of their study in a concerted “project” – everyone is suddenly deemed on a level playing field. Imagine going to the ER with crushing chest pain radiating down your left arm, diaphoresis, & dyspnea, only to hear the the doc say, “Hmm, let me check Google, it might just be indigestion…” This is an inconceivable arrogance of our modern time, and thus the syllogism: a) by this document, the Ecumenical Patriarch has accepted heresy; b) therefore everyone who is in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch accepts heresy; c) therefore, the vast majority of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Faith of the Fathers, has accepted heresy. Madonna Mia! Is it just that simple? Or does St. Chrysostom have a point in “Why we must not anathamatize either the living or the dead,” directed at poseurs? And I conclude by saying, your final comment is a powerful message that must stop use all in our tracks, because it speaks to essence of the message: the Church has designated and appointed those whose ministry it is to be “Patristic,” and it is not a “sideline,” a “project,” or a “right” to which we are all somehow entitled. Not even the angels themselves.

                    • In one sense, you gave yourself away as far as I am concerned, Misha, when you told me to “get over” Metropolitan Hilarion. I could write several paragraphs on the habits of mind that a comment like that betrays. Same for bold statements of heresy regarding the EP (for which you know I have little high regard). That one probably would require pages.

                      “Where angels fear to tread…”

                      * * *

                      Met. Hilarion has most definitely been misguided in his appreciation of Augustine as well as his estimation of the validity of Latin “sacraments”. Obviously you do now know his views as well as you think you do. There is no “tip off” for you to have gotten. I stand by every word.

                    • The tip-off is that you write off the entirety of a learned Orthodox hierarch’s written works because of something you disagree with. And that betrays habits of mind that are superficial, sloppy, and unhealthy — hence I begin to see Stankovich’s point about your pontifications.

                      When I quote someone, it probably means that I agree with that idea, not that I agree with everything that he has written. The fact that someone might show me something else he has written that I wouldn’t agree with doesn’t change the soundness of what I quoted.

                      I do not share Metropolitan Hierotheos’s enthusiasm for Fr. Sophrony, but that hasn’t made me go back and revise what I think about the many books of his that have deeply shaped my thinking and spiritual life for two decades.

                      There are views of Bp. Kallistos (Ware) that I find concerning, but the overwhelming bulk of what he wrote in The Orthodox Church is sound, and had a profound effect on me — playing a critical role in my conversion nearly 30 years ago.

                      There are things in Fr. Florovsky that I don’t agree with, yet in general I have come to trust that most of what he writes is sound and worth serious consideration.

                      I don’t care for Fr. Schmemann’s writing and style of thought in general, but I have read things of his that had a deep and positive effect on me, and even in the things I disagree with, he is a worthy adversary who one brushes off at one’s intellectual peril.

                      As I said, your comment betrays a habit of mind that is as sloppy than anything you might criticize in Metropolitan Hilarion. I might agree with you about whatever you find lacking in some of his writings. But that would have nothing to do with the particular article I was quoting — which could hardly be less Latin in thought had it been written by St. Gregory Palamas himself.

                      As to St. Augustine, read some of his sermons and Scriptural commentaries, and you will find that he gives our own Chrysostom a run for his money, and then some. He is more than his unfortunate theological speculations, which is why he is a saint of the Orthodox Church. To dismiss St. Augustine with a casual back-hand verbal slap is small-minded parochialism of the sort one usually finds only among lamentable HOCNA pedants.

                    • Edward,

                      The tree is known by its fruit.

                      As to Augustine, there is too much that unsettles to bother. It is that simple.

                      As to Met. Hillarion (Alfeyev), he and Pat. Kirill are works in progress. It should be obvious to you that the Church of Russia is having a catharsis regarding its ecumenist tendencies following the Patriarch/Pope and Fr. Longin incidents. They went too far down the rabbit hole of Western mindset. Face it. It’s a fact they are having to face as we speak.

                      As to the rest, these are issues best discussed with your priest or spiritual advisor. They do not interest me.

                    • Fr. Herman Schick says

                      Misha: “As to Augustine…”

                      Looks like Misha has forgotten already that the Orthodox Church counts the Bishop of Hippo among the saints. What a rude awakening he must get every June 15!

                    • Fr. Herman,

                      The Greeks put him on the calendar at some point, but that was not for his theology, merely for his piety. He is utterly unreliable as a theologian.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Whenever I read “It’s just that simple” in regard to Orthodox Theology, it’s a sure sign that it is anything but simple, and time to again remember the words of St. Dionysus: “It is better to have said nothing at all.”

                      Met. Illarion is not distinguished by an “incident,” but by the fact that he is a gifted Orthodox scholar, borne out by such examples as his doctoral dissertation at Oxford University regarding St. Symeon the New Theologian and Holy Tradition; his numerous essays and discussions of the writings of St. Isaac the Syrian; his numerous commentary on the writings of St. Mark Evegenikos; and a three-volume “catechism” that is superlative. I have personally read everything to which I refer, and suggesting Met. Illarion may be dismissed because of “ecumenist tendencies” is shortsighted and mistaken, reeking of another not-so-easily forgotten individual who attempted to mischarterize without ever reading a hierarch’s writings. Authority comes with expertize, and that does not come from Google.

                      Gratzi, Fr. Herman for stating the obvious. Ask Misha to justify his statement that Augustine is in the calendar merely for his “piety,” or to cite Patristic sources for his “unreliability” as a theologian… A long, long night of Google lay ahead.

                    • Yes, Father Herman, St. Augustine is in the Russian edition of the Jordanville liturgical calendar, which means he gets commemmorated as a saint in every ROCOR church by the priest at Proskomedia whenever a liturgy is served on June 15/28.

                      He has also long been in the St. John of Konstadt Press liturgical calendar — the ROCOR English language standard prior to reunification, and currently the English language standard in the main group that broke off from ROCOR after reunification.

                      Refusing to acknowledge him as a saint at all is mainly the hobby horse of some fringe Greek Old Calendarists like Michael Azkoul, who was monomaniacal in his determination to get St. Augustine downgraded to just plain Augustine — never mind that he was universally recognized as a saint in that part of the Orthodox Church who knew him best — the West, while it was still thoroughly and unquestionably Orthodox and producing saints…

                    • Look, Stankovich and Edward,

                      I don’t want to put too fine a point on this, but you’re boring me. We with ADD just don’t put up with that. So, really, you’re entitled to your opinions, as am I. But don’t bore me with your feelings. If I need to wipe my . . . nose, I have other means to do so.

                      As to Met. Hilarion, for example, compare these morphing attitudes:




                      You can see that over the last 14 years he has been all over the place on this. The reality is that the MP is playing catch up with ROCOR which has preserved the faith undefiled.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Unfortunately, Misha, you apparently do not seem bored enough to stop commenting on every post in every thread as if you are the last word in every category under the sun, blah, blah, blah. If ADHD is the issue, tell me where you live and I’ll find someone to help you . Madonna Mia! Take a break already.

                    • ADD, and it is treated. But it’s nice to know it’s getting to you. As you know, it’s not what people think. About certain things, we can devote truly astounding amounts of attention.

                      Anyway, I’ve tried to stay away from the gay crap and the overtly (domestic) political as much as possible since I have such little respect for debate in those areas. I will likely redouble my efforts on that account.

                    • Don’t worry, Misha, no one would ever mistake what you said as being “too fine a point.” As to my supposed feelings, I looked back through everything I wrote in this thread and was not surprised to find a lack of anything emotional, so I’m not sure what you are talking about. You on the other hand have shared your emotions with us — namely boredom — magisterially telling what others should and shouldn’t say, lest we disturb you by saying things that you, as you put it, are not interested in hearing.

                      You do not respond substantively — amazing, really, given the sheer volume of space you take up on this forum, on every thread declaiming magisterial pronouncements on every subject.

                      You say that ROCOR has “preserved the faith undefiled,” unlike MP senior hierarchs who you (again magisterially — and arrogantly) pronounce to be “works in progress,” in spite of the fact that you have demonstrated no standing to made such judgments.

                      And yet when I point out that ROCOR liturgically commemorates St. Augustine as a saint — and did so both before and after reunification — well, all I hear is crickets. You pointedly refuse to refer to St. Augustine as a saint — he is merely “Augustine” to you. On what grounds do you refuse to accept the judgment of his sainthood by the church you say has “preserved the faith undefiled?”

                      I pointed out to you, using specific examples, that most writers will have things that are true and things that may not be (or at least things one agrees with and things one disagrees with). In response you (again magisterially and arrogantly) send me to my father confessor. I still don’t know what I wrote that would require either repentance or spiritual guidance…

                      Then you send links to things Metropolitan Hilarion has said or written — most of which I have seen before. Again I ask — so what? I had already stated that there are things in his writings that I might not agree with — because that is true of virtually anyone. So what is the point of sending me something that he has written, when I never set myself up as a defender of the entirety of his written corpus in the first place?

                      The obvious answer is that you attempt to deflect, with sheer volume of verbiage, from the substantive point that I was making — namely that an intellectually honest and rigorous reader cannot simply write off the entirety of someone’s writings because of something he wrote you disagree with.

                      You pick and choose — you link to an article by Sister Vassa, while being quite aware that there are other things she has written that you unquestionably disagree with (and her mentor was the Uniate, Taft, no less!) You quote Metropolitan Hierotheos in spite of the fact that he rejects the Old Calendar.

                      But with others, everything they write is to be rejected? This is madness. I didn’t realize that they are calling it ADD these days, but I wonder…

                    • It’s not even worth responding to anymore.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      It’s only an expert hunch but,

                      314.01 Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Combined Type.

                      314.00 Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Inattentive Type

                      314.01 Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Hyperactive – Impulsive Type:

                      ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code F90.9 Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

                      Mishinka! Lean over to the computer speaker. Come here! You should have Googled it, dude. We is experts.

                    • Stankjoshka, little brother,

                      I call it ADD because I don’t have the hyperactivity component. I have no interest in what the “professionals” call it. They have misdiagnosed me several times and once gave me medicine that kept me from sleeping much at all for about a year. My experience with the “experts” is that they are uniformly, utterly incompetent.

              • Pat Reardon says

                “the Uniate hack, Jean Meyendorff,”

                This is the censorious sort of comment—-along with recent sustained accusations of heresy against the Ecumenical Patriarch—that makes it very difficult to be part of the discussions on this thread.

                Let me recommend attention to what Saint Paisius of the Holy Mountain called “the passion of censure.”

                I fear that other Christians, if they stumble on this web page, may say, “See the Orthodox, how they hate one another.”

                • Father Patrick,

                  Stankovich wrote that phrase (re: Meyendorff) and I don’t think he meant to impune the man, just to mimic his perception of my opinion of him. Notice, I did not write that.

                  As to accusations of heresy against Patriarch Bartholomew, when someone posits that the only thing separating Constantinople from Rome is akoinonia, a lack of communion, without any doctrinal divergence or other matter behind the absence of communion, which seems to be the position of the Phanar; and when the Phanar introduces language in a draft of a document to be issued by the Church in council that refers to other legitimate Churches besides the Orthodox Church, then people begin to wonder.

                  I for one have wondered enough. Bartholomew’s record is clear as is his intent. He is in heresy. It is just that his brother bishops have not gathered the cajones to publicly state the fact.

                  Perhaps he is “First Without Equals”? Time will tell.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Fr. Patrick,

                  I intended this comment as “ironic,” alluding to the hypocrisy that Fr. John Meyendorff was now being cited as an “authority” by the same individual who disgracefully disparaged him as being a “Uniate” in his definitive examination of the primacy of St. Peter in Byzantine Theology. This was nothing of a “censorious” comment in the least.

                  Besides the fact that John Meyendorff was a world-recognized scholar in Patristics – and acknowledged with Georges Forovsky in the neo-Patristic revival of the 20th century – he was my confessor, my mentor, and my friend. His sudden death left me with a great loss felt to this day. Some have said on this site that I unreasonably place individuals on “pedestals.” Priest John Meyendorff does not need my defense. He was a great theologian and scholar, but more so, he was an exceptional human being. May his soul rest with the saints and may his memory be eternal!

                  • Pat Reardon says

                    I intended this comment as “ironic,” alluding to the hypocrisy that Fr. John Meyendorff was now being cited as an “authority” by the same individual who disgracefully disparaged him as being a “Uniate” in his definitive examination of the primacy of St. Peter in Byzantine Theology. This was nothing of a “censorious” comment in the least.

                    My sincere apology for this misunderstanding.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I fear that I fall under that accusation father. As such I ask for your forgiveness and fully accept your instruction and admonition on this issue. You are correct. Please forgive me for any scandal that I have caused. I haven’t changed my mind on the things i have said, but I do not want to scandalize the faithful.


        • A.M. Stankovich,

          Touchy aren’t we? I just pointed out that your understanding of oikonomia was more like that blossoming among the new Uniate masters of the Church of Constantinople than anything the Fathers ever wrote. But, no worries. Neither one of us is really listening to the other at this point. The die is cast and distinct paths have been chosen. Yet we interact here for some reason.

          I’ll agree to try to avoid it if you will.


  17. This is heartbreaking if true.

    I know for a fact that CANVAS is diabolical.


    This is Met. Hierotheos’ post-mortem of the council. At least his initial one. He is a very polite fellow and begins very respectfully. He never loses the respectful tone but as his assessment moves forward, especially the last half or third of it, he is in full tilt boogie denunciation of what happened at Crete. I mean, he really lets them have it, expounding the true faith in the process. He also quite emphatically refutes the notion that the Latins are merely schismatics or excommunicates, citing a number of Fathers and councils.

    It is uncertain where it will go from here. I’m sure most tradition-minded hierarchs and onlookers share his assessment to a large degree. Lenin once remarked that power was laying in the streets waiting to be picked up when he led the October Revolution. The same is true in the Orthodox Church today.

    The only question is who will be the first patriarch to decisively declare that the emperor has no clothes and thus assume the mantle as the new helmsman of the good ship Pravoslavie.

    Tasty excerpts:

    * * *

    The second point is that the Third Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held in October and November 1976 in Chambesy, Geneva approved the text ‘Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world’. In one particular paragraph it writes that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and it recognises the actual existence of all the Christian Churches and Confessions. Subsequently, however, there is a phrase which not many people noticed: The Orthodox Church “believes that its relations with them should be based on their (the Christian Churches and Confessions’) clarification, to be made as quickly and objectively as possible, of the whole ecclesiological issue, and particularly of their overall teaching on the sacraments, grace, priesthood and the apostolic succession.”

    This means that non-Orthodox Christians must clarify their teaching on the sacraments, on grace, on the priesthood and on the apostolic succession.

    I concluded that issues concerning the Church are not matters for this present ‘Holy and Great Council’. They are irrelevant and not included in the Organisation and Working Procedures.

    * * *

    And Met. Hierotheos quoted St. Mark of Ephesus to this effect near the end of his notes, which I think is very telling:

    * * *

    Also, St Mark of Ephesus, in a letter that he sent to the Orthodox after the Council of Ferrara Florence, as well as characterising the Latins as heretics and writing that they were cut off from the Church, at the same time writes about the “Greco-Latins”, that is to say, the Orthodox who accept Latin customs and doctrines: “We must flee from them as one flees from a snake or from them [the Latins] themselves; surely they are much worse than they are, being Christ-traders and Christ-profiteers”!

    * * *

    This is all to say, “A storm’s a comin’.”

    • Misha, you quote Hierotheos as if he is a saint when it is convenient. Do you know that Hierotheos is one of the most outspoken opponents of Old Calendarises in Greece. Seems, as usual, you have a consistency problem.

      • Misha, you quote Hierotheos as if he is a saint when it is convenient. Do you know that Hierotheos is one of the most outspoken opponents of Old Calendarises in Greece.

        No he isn’t. Stop making things up.

      • johnkal,

        I am not concerned with Met. Hierotheos’ views regarding the Old Calendarists in Greece. Many New Calendarists have a lot to answer for before the Lord regarding how they have treated His Own. I have no consistency problem because I have not treated Hierotheos as a saint, merely as a force within the Church opposed to the Phanar’s heresy. The enemy of my enemy is my ally. Moreover, the Phanar is not really an enemy of mine. They are simply misguided and know not what they do. They should be deposed or excommunicated by competent bodies as soon as possible in keeping with Orthodox teaching. But that is for their own good. They will die in their sins but for the correction of the Church.

  19. Murray Rothbard says

    A Serious question for George. Are you familiar with the writer known as Mark Citadel? Are you familiar with the fact that he has in other places addressed an open letter to the Roman Catholic pontiff as “Your Holiness” ( ) ? Are you familiar with the fact that he has in other places publicly questioned Holy Tradition with respect to Holy Matrimony and called for an alignment with RC teachings on marriage? Are you familiar with his endorsement of Neoreactionary political thought? Overall, a poor choice for reference with this article.

  20. I stand by every word that I have said here thus far, except for a satire which I posted and then retracted when a more dispassionate perspective won over. One needs to be careful with satire.

    As to Patriarch Bartholomew, I have spoken my peace. As to Mr. Stankovich, I respect him but do not align with the strain of Orthodoxy he seems to have adopted. I do not smell the mindset of the Fathers in his comments which I find beautifully etherial, but just that. I could write such things if I wished, but it is akin to an aikido practitioner standing firm but redirecting forward motion upward toward infinity rather than contending with it. It is an indirect form of perpetual surrender without saying uncle or calling time without a whistle. I get it. That’s fine. There is certainly room for a variety of perspectives in Orthodoxy. I apologize for having troubled him and will do so no further but rather put a leash on it and restore comity.

    My sincere regards, Michael.

  21. Reality Checker says

    It’s only an expert hunch but, . . .”

    On the evidentiary basis of months of his often bizarre comments, my non-expert hunch is that it sounds more like incipient mania, maybe potentiated by questionable pharmaceutical treatment of possibly misdiagnosed, or incompletely diagnosed, “ADHD”? Grandiosity, flight of ideas, loose association, a marked tendency to issuing seemingly megalomaniacal, global judgments, apparently pathological euphoria, pseudo-prophetic pronunciamentos, and so on. I worry about whether something on the bipolar spectrum might be playing out in Misha.

    But what do I know? Anyway, I hope he passes through it to a more balanced and humble plateau and stays there.

    • Like I said, not worth commenting on. But it is an interesting little symptom of someone else’s troubles that they are diagnosing someone merely from their writing. I think that’s a no-no among “professionals”, albeit ones for whom I would have little respect in any case.

      • Reality Checker says

        Not a doctor, not an expert or a “professional.” As I noted in the post. I sincerely hope you develop more insight into your manic tendencies and the grandiosity and self-righteousness so evident in your posts. Most if not all of us are susceptible to such things. Vainglory is a passion that seems to never die in any of us.
        Lord have mercy.

        • Amused that some don’t realize that pseudonyms can be tracked on this site. In any case, I suffer from no passion, though sometimes it seems like a mixed blessing.


          • Reality Checker says

            No passions, eh! Talk about grandiose. Like I said, I hope you grow in self-awareness. Pride is the worst of the passions.

            • Oh, shadows of this or that that rise in awareness from time to time. But by and large, once it’s over, it’s over.

    • Dr.Stankovich
      If you are such an expert shouldn’t you have used the correct DSM -V codes…We have not used DSM -IV for about two years here.

      • M. Stankovich says

        San Diego County bypassed DSM 5 and officially adopted the ICD-10 system on September 1, 2015.


    The local churches of Georgia and Greece just got together to discuss the “unorthodox” council of Crete. Stay tuned, intrigue afoot.