The Road to Hell

A joint blessing on the SYNODALITY AND PRIMACY IN THE SECOND MILLENNIUM AND TODAY.

Back in the 80s, there was a hit movie from France called La Cage aux Folles (“birds of a feather” more or less); a comedy about homosexuality and hypocrisy, which often go hand in hand. 

A young couple wanted to get married and because the father of the prospective groom was homosexual, he persuaded his partner to dress in drag and pretend to be the boy’s mother.

Hilarity ensued.  (One laughs until it stops being funny.)  

I imagine this is how Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis feels as the gordian knot of same-sex marriage tightens around his neck.    

The developments regarding the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples was put on the back burner for awhile.  However, now that the cease fire between Israel and Hamas looks like it may hold, advocates for same-sex-marriage have turned up the heat bringing it to a full boil.  

The latest leaks from the prime minister’s office indicate there will be a decision the end of December; beginning of January at the latest.  Frankly, I think the election is just a pretense.  The decision has already been made. 

It’s interesting how certain developments turn into an “all hands on deck” situation for those who normally don’t have all that much to do with each other.   The typical walls between Evangelicals, Muslims, and Jews in Greece have all but disappeared as they now join forces to stop this abomination. 

There is one Christian religious leader, however, who remains completely silent on the matter.  His name is Dimitrios Arhandonis, better known as His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of New Rome.  He claims to speak for the Orthodox world and yet has announced nothing to the Church about any of this.

If you’re confused by role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, you are in good company.  Who are they and why are they?    

It goes like this:  To head the Ecumenical Patriarchate, you must live in Turkey.  To live in Turkey, you must be a Turkish citizen.  To be a Turkish citizen, you must speak the Turkish language, as no other language is taught in Turkey.  

As for the Church of Greece, things are also a bit peculiar.  Although the Church of Greece is autocephalous, and not under the Excumenical Patriarchate, it must submit candidates for canonization to Istanbul.

The Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate are tightly connected.  Their history has something to do with it, as does their proximity.  But it goes deeper than that.  The Holy Synod of Greece will continue to be heavily influenced by Bartholomew as long as Bartholomew remains the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey.  If Bartholomew were to move out of Turkey, that would be a different story.  He would lose his ecumenical status.

His fairy dust of special privileges would blow away, as well.         

Suffice it to say, he probably isn’t going anywhere.  He’s an old man holding onto 30+ years of magical thinking as if it were a life raft.  That it’s been taking on water for decades escaped his notice.   Greece, particularly several Northern Greek and Aegean dioceses, gave Bartholomew “Constantinopolitan” status and he isn’t going to let that go.  Not if he can help it.   

So let’s get to the punchline:  The Greeks have have chosen a replacement for Archbishop Elpidophoros AND Bartholomew.

The candidate they have in mind is Archbishop Makarios of Australia.  After his stint in America, he’ll become the Ecumenical Patriarch in name only.  Makarios was NOT born in Turkey.  Nor does he speak Turkish.  Greek, yes.  English, also.  But a proficiency in French, Russian, Italian, and African dialects, won’t do him much good in Turkey.

They either have to change the rules, abandon Makarios, or move the Ecumencial Patriarchate out of Turkey.  To move it is to dissolve it.  They step out of Turkey, they become just another patriarchate.  They could lose their status as first among equals, as they would now be at the bottom of the diptychs.  Perhaps their intent is to drop off altogether when they unite with Rome.  Bartholomew can take that statue of his and put it in a garden at the Vatican.

This is all pretty heady stuff.  Shouldn’t the rest of the Church be allowed to weigh in?  Given the whole “plenitude” thing, you’d think the entire Church would have the opportunity to say something.   If the Orthodox world had a say, they would nix the idea of keeping the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  Or at least their present way of doing things.  –  But Greece? I don’t know.       

The Greek Church (not to be confused with the GOA) has always been an autocephalous Church, but it does not scream “autocephaly.”  In fact, it’s more like ukrocephaly, the curious configuration created by Istanbul for the schismatic, uncanonical sect known as the OCU.  Its goal was to remove all the Russian parishes and monasteries that have peppered the Ukrainian landscape for centuries.  The rest of the Orthodox world, as well as the entire planet, looked on in horror as the spawn of the Nazis “Third Reich,” known as the Azov Assault Brigade, confiscated or bulldozed that which belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church, culminating in the action of banning the Church from Ukraine altogether.  Talk about a Rube Goldberg contraption. 

On the plus side, if the Ecumenical Patriarchate no longer exists, maybe the OCU won’t either.

But there is more.  There is always more when it comes to the Greek-speaking contingent.   

The Catholic “synodal synod” Bartholomew presided over with Pope Francis might be another reason he isn’t talking.   The Catholic-Orthodox commission issued their first joint statement in 7 years.

The so-called Alexandria Statement, issued June 7 and formally titled “Synodality and Primacy in the Second Millennium and Today,” was a follow-up to a statement issued in 2016 in the Italian town of Chieti. The older document was an examination of the state of the Church in the First Christian Millennium, before Rome and Constantinople suffered schism. 

The joint international commission was established by the Holy See and 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches and has issued a number of documents over the past four decades.

The commission met from June 1-7, conducting much of its discussions in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Annunciation in Alexandria.  Eighteen Roman Catholic members were present. Ten Orthodox Churches were represented: the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Patriarchate of Romania, the Patriarchate of Georgia, the Church of Cyprus, the Church of Greece, the Church of Poland, the Church of Albania and the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. The Commission worked under the direction of its two co-presidents, Metropolitan Job of Pisidia of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity. 

https://aleteia.org/2023/06/14/catholic-orthodox-commission-manages-1st-joint-statement-in-7-years/

We were a bit surprised to see one of these names.  And disappointed.  But as St John Chrysostom was reputed to have said:  The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lampposts that light the path.   

So what does this portend for the future?  I can’t tell you that but I can tell you how we got here.  And the answer is not a pretty one.

When sodomy takes hold of an institution, it invariably rots and unfortunately that’s where we find ourselves with many of the hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  Unless sodomy is rooted out, as King Asa of Judah did when he got rid of the homosexual priests in the Temple (3 Kings 15:12, LXX), the decay becomes inexorable.

Notice, I did not say that homosexuals are the problem; I said s-o-d-o-m-y was the problem.  What’s the difference?  A priest or bishop who has a homosexual inclination but is otherwise leading a life of prayer and repentance, is no different from a priest or bishop who is heterosexual, and likewise living a life of repentance.  Both men are subject to the lustful intentions that besets all human beings, but if both men don’t act on them, there is no problem.

But now we’re at a crossroad where the issue of blessing gay marriages is on the table.  Blessing them to do what, exactly.  How long after that will they insist on Orthodox weddings with crowns and the whole enchilada?

The Catholics, with Bartholomew, headed a year-long exploration into what a “synodal synod” would look like.  At the conclusion, Bartholomew stood with Francis in front of 18,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, knowing the outcome was a cry to “bless” same sex unions.  And you know what?  Ten of our Orthodox Churches are standing with him in spirit.  Did they ask the other Orthodox Churches what we think?  No.  But they didn’t have to.  They know we support the teachings of the Church and blessing gay marriages isn’t one of them.  

The issue with the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a whole is there is no prohibition regarding sodomy which results in a general lack of restraint.  We can see that this is so because of what we have read in the newspapers (google “Bulgarian Stallions”).  We also see this being played out in the Greek diaspora, where the Metropolitans of the various eparchies are known for their lavish lifestyles.  Things that include indoor swimming pools, expensive apartments with spectacular views, gold cufflinks, and so on.  Or worse, the hasty removal of hierarchs after spending the night in some foreign jail.  

The key word here is restraint.  Once sodomy takes hold of an institution, all restraint is gone and the men in charge act like the mean girls you knew in junior high.  Notice I said “mean girls“.  Not all homosexuals are effeminate but those who are do not inspire confidence in other men.  Truth be told, they don’t inspire confidence in women either.  

We see this in the eparchies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  The well-heeled laymen who style themselves as “Archons of the Ecumenical Throne” engage in Byzantine cosplay while hierarchs bless abortion at pro-life rallies.  (One GOA bishop wished women who had abortions a Happy Mothers’ Day, “as they were mothers, too.”  As for individual parishes, some have female altar-servers.  One parish, in its devotion to the green agenda, put out a video of a pretty girl playing with a snake.  Nothing screams paganism like that. 

This is all wackadoodle stuff if you ask me.  (Editor’s Note: Heretical is a better word.)  It’s reasons like these that cause many to view the eparchies of Istanbul as spiritually dead.  

We also see this with the horrendous attrition rate among the laity.  According to one estimate, the GOA has shrunk from 450,000 communicants to 120,000.  That’s a decrease of 330,000 members (approximately 73 percent)!  That’s shocking any way you look at it.  People, in other words, are voting with their feet.

Sure, some are going to the Athonite monasteries.  Others are going to non-GOA jurisdictions.  ROCOR, the OCA, and Antioch have also seen growth due to an influx of former GOA laymen, but none have absorbed all of these numbers into their ranks. 

In other words, Orthodox laymen are either going to non-Orthodox confessions or are simply not going anywhere at all.  In other words, becoming apostate.  

And so, here we are. 

Unfortunately, I don’t see this turning around anytime soon.  The guy waiting in the wings to replace Bartholomew does not inspire confidence.  In terms of excess, his home is purportedly worth $6.5 million.  I hesitate to say more, because he has sued others who have written about him.  But now that he’s turned himself into public figure, he might have a harder time doing that (at least here in the States).  As already stated, effeminate men are unable to rise to the task.  And there is this feeling that no one has any intention of changing anything for the better.  So why bother?  

As a Greek-American and Orthodox Christian, I have seen nothing but deterioration.         

At the end of the day, the ultimate question is:  how long can the Ecumenical Patriarchate last as an institution?  Or, as we read about Churches in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation, will we see its lampstand overturned?   

Comments

  1. “According to one estimate, the GOA has shrunk
    from 450,000 communicants to 120,000. That’s a decrease
    of 330,000 members (approximately 300 percent)!”

    Err… a decrease of approximately 73%

  2. Sister Chrissie says

    Gail + George y’all write so well —
    endlessly grateful for informing us on so much!
    Happy Christmas Season to all seekers of truth!
    🎅🌲🔔

  3. Gosh, if this keeps up and more and more people join ROCOR , maybe I won’t have to have a secular job to make ends meet!

    “Always look on the bright side of life”
    Monty Python

  4. The end of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the best thing that could happen. The Church of Greece would absorb the former EP’s territory, and Athens could be elevated to a patriarchate. With Istanbul extinguished, Alexandria would be the new Primus Inter Pares.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Whatever else happens, the Church of Greece should absorb all dioceses within the confines of the Hellenic nation. Otherwise, it’s a Mickey Mouse situation, making a mockery of the territorial nature of Orthodox ecclesiology.

      • One can say the exact same thing about the Orthodox Church in America and the need for administrative union of all Orthodox jurisdictions we have here in North America. St Tikhon of North America, Metropolitan Leonty, Fr Alexander Schmemann and the other visionary leaders of the Orthodox Christian mission to North America in the 1900s were on to something, were they not…..

        Talk about a Mickey Mouse situation! No need to look further than beyond our own North American coastlines!

    • Best thing for everyone. But they better do it soon.

    • Alexandria would be the new Primus Inter Pares.

      As it currently stands I don’t think the other Churches would allow this to happen since Alexandria has decided to go into union with the OCU. More than likely it would go to Antioch

      • William Tighe says

        How then, in your view, would they contrive to get around Canon 28 of Chalcedon, since that is the sole canonical basis for Constantinople’s primacy? If C’ple goes belly-up, then the primacy would seem to devolve “automatically” on Alexandria.

        • Considering that the OCU is a major crux of the current schism in Orthodoxy and part of the reason why the EP would be sanctioned, I highly doubt if a council were to meet that they would allow another patriarchate who also recognizes the OCU to be the new “first among equals.” My guess is that it would skip Alexandria and go to Antioch, unless Alexandria recants the OCU, which is possible.

          IMHO either Jerusalem or Moscow need to be first among equals, or, they need to choose a new method. Jerusalem is the true Mother Church of Orthodoxy and Christianity, and Russia is the only Orthodox country that, because of it’s size and resources, support the Orthodox world.

          • The order is Rome (wonder when we’re going to have to commemorate the pope), Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Because Russia is not an ancient patriarchate, they would not be in this group.

            They could, however, be the “third Rome.”

            If the Greeks keep rallying around the Ecumenical Patriarchate, there WILL be a split and the rest of the Church will go on without them. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has been such a thorn in everyone’s side. They honestly should move it to Greece.

            • Good point, I guess Russia not being an ancient Patriarchate would negate that unless a council decided otherwise. I’m with George though, I think Jerusalem should be first among equals as it is truly the Mother Church of Orthodoxy…much to the chagrin of the EP, I’m sure.

              If you take away the New Lands in Greece under the EP (which is a weird hybrid situation anyways), the numerically the EP is very small.

              Without the New Lands the Patriarchate is ~570,000…and that’s being numerically generous. This is including it’s territory in Turkey & it’s Eparchies. That makes it one of the smallest Patriarchates, indeed Cyprus is larger.

              If the Greeks keep rallying around the Ecumenical Patriarchate, there WILL be a split and the rest of the Church will go on without them. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has been such a thorn in everyone’s side. They honestly should move it to Greece.

              Having been to Greece, and knowing Greeks from Greece, I still think the majority of Greeks will not follow Bartholomew to Rome. The Church of Greece is a totally different animal from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in the sense that the Church of Greece actually does and says things that are Orthodox, and there is still a very vibrant Orthodox life in Greece. Can we honestly say that about the EP?

              If/when Bart goes to Rome then I think you can go ahead a nix the New Lands (including Crete, Athos, the monasteries here in America and probably 50% of the GOA) out of that Patriarchate. Ecclesiastically they might be under the EP but the fact remains they are still Greeks in the country of Greece so culturally they are closer to the Church of Greece. TBH, even under Ieronimos, I cannot even imagine he would dare go into union with Rome. After the strategic disaster the EP has with the OCU, I think they have lost whatever spiritual clout they had left with the Orthodox world, and not a small number of Greeks.

              If anything, there will be a split within Greek Orthodoxy rather than the rest of the Orthodox world, which seems to be mostly on the same page.

              What is going to be very telling though is when Pascha 2025 rolls around. If we see Bartholomew celebrate Pascha at the Vatican, or, commemorate Francis. then I think it’s game over for them. That’s a huge deal and will formally seal a break in communion with the rest of the Orthodox world.

              This is just my opinion and I personally think that, barring some miracle, we will be in the current state of limbo in the Orthodox world until 2025. I see no moves from any patriarchate, including Russia, to formally call a council and seeing how we’re only 1 year and 4 months away from Pascha 2025, there’s not much time.

              I’ll repeat what I previously said: If the Church of Russia were wise they would finally officially release the document condemning the errors of Bartholomew & the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the different Churches as they said they would do. This would at least get the ball rolling & open up the topic to discussion, because as of now no other Church is talking about the EP joining Rome, at least not in the open.

              • Good analysis. And people like George with family in the GOA are going to seriously suffer because no one bothered to fix it. It just wasn’t important enough. I doubt God would feel that way, but who cares, right?

                Replacing Elpi is like patching a very large hole in your ceiling after a flood. “Just slap some paint on ‘er and she’s good to go.” – Until the next flood.

                • It’s a crappy situation, one that needs to be addressed on a pan-Orthodox level here in America as well as on a global scale. It is hurting the Orthodox witness here in the U.S, yet, despite that hundreds and thousands of people are still converting to Orthodoxy here in the States. It has been astounding to watch over the last couple of years. A trickle of converts has turned into a torrent.

                  As a side note, as hesitant as I am about Russia setting up an Exarchate in Turkey (though I understand why they need to) on thing occurred to me:

                  Bartholomew (and the EP in general), due to politics, is not able to properly missionize the Turkish population. This is ironic because the Patriarchate of Antioch also operates in Turkey (it’s population is larger than the EP), yet it seems to have no problem with mission to Turks and appears to have quite a few Turkish-speaking members.

                  From what I understand the EP has to send people to Greece or Athos to be baptized.

                  Having said all of this if Russia, due to political clout, has the ability to set up an Exarchate in Turkey and minister/evangelize Turks, then that should be something they need to do.

                  The EP is trapped in a cage of it’s own design.

                  What I think should happen (in an ideal world), is that the Church of Greece should take over the territory of the EP, including it’s Eparchies, and allow Russian priests to administer to the Russian-speaking population in Turkey. This would solve the financial problems of the EP, and open up excellent candidates for the Patriarch. The Byzantine Empire & Constantinople no longer exist…Greece does. Let’s be realistic.

                  • It’s because Bartholomew is the ecumenical patriarch. For the Ecumenical Patriarchate to have a permanent residence in Turkey, it had to agree not to preach/teach Christianity.

                    • Then if that is indeed the case I have a hard time believing that God would allow the Church to exist any longer. It will have it’s lampstand blown out like the other Churches in Asia Minor. I of course don’t speak on behalf of God, but, if a particular Church, and especially it’s patriarch, refuses to preach Christ and witness to Christ despite political pressure, then what exactly is it good for?

                      The above is also why I don’t think anyone will be following Bartholomew to Rome when/if he goes. I personally think God has allowed the OCU and Bartholomew’s falling out of favor with the entire Orthodox world in order to isolate him when he does go to Rome. If this was 10-15 years ago he would have had much more sway in Orthodoxy then maybe he would have had more people rally around him. Now, after his many transgressions, even the Greeks appear to be tired of him.

                      What we have witnessed and are witnessing is the fall of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, at least in it’s current form, in real time.

                      Gail, you have been Orthodox for quite a while now & George, you’re cradle Orthodox, would you say that this is true about Bartholomew over the past 10-20 years? I’ve only been Orthodox for 7 and that’s very much the impression I get.

                    • The thing is, he has (past tense) gone to Rome. He has said it on a number of occasions. (I’ll find some examples.) The nonsense about the synod synodality in Rome was a joint project. They have monasteries that are under both Churches. He calls the Catholic Church “our sister church,” a phrase he used to use for the Russians. He jacked down his fancy title in deference to Rome. He’s named the 14 churches that stand with him.

              • Petro, you pegged it right. If/when Bartholomew pulls the uniate trigger, he will lose ALL of his dioceses in Greece, thereby reducing him to a complete nothing-burger.

                The Greek people by and large have had him (and imperious bishops like him) pegged for centuries. We ain’t fooled. Yes, we go to Church, drop some coins in the tray, light a candle and kiss the icon but that’s about where it stops. If anybody wants to know what most Greeks don’t go to Confession, now you know the answer: for centuries we’ve been suspicious of clergy. That’s why I was raised to believe that you could only take Communion about four times a year.

                Worse, the only schism that will result will be within the Greek-speaking eparchies. Say goodbye to the Athonite monasteries here in the States.

                • Say goodbye to the Athonite monasteries here in the States.

                  I truly pray to God that this is not the case and that they don’t decide to follow the Fanar to schism. The Ephraim monasteries here in the U.S usually attract the most “orthodox” of Orthodox and union with Rome would be a hands down deal breaker for many of the faithful who visit the monasteries and who live near them, but also many of the monks who live there. I absolutely cannot imagine the monks of St. Anthony’s joining Rome.

                  That’s why I was raised to believe that you could only take Communion about four times a year.

                  This is common with Antiochian as well. When I first became Orthodox I was told that I had to receive at minimum 4 times a year, same with confession.

                  If/when Bartholomew pulls the uniate trigger, he will lose ALL of his dioceses in Greece, thereby reducing him to a complete nothing-burger.

                  I wholeheartedly believe that. As I mentioned, if you take away the diocese in Greece then you have a Church smaller than the Church of Cyprus & Albania. That’s hardly enough clout to be “Ecumenical.”

                  Yes, we go to Church, drop some coins in the tray, light a candle and kiss the icon but that’s about where it stops. If anybody wants to know what most Greeks don’t go to Confession, now you know the answer

                  I feel bad for the faithful Greeks, at least here in America. That’s why I think so many have flocked to the monasteries or to other jurisdictions. But, I can tell you that when you meet a devout Greek, they are probably the most devout people I have met in my entire life, I know quite a few of them. Ironically all but 1 of them remain in the GOA.

                  • ‘ … if you take away the diocese in Greece then you have
                    a Church smaller than the Church of Cyprus & Albania.
                    That’s hardly enough clout to be “Ecumenical.” ‘

                    Would it become: The Economical Patriarchate…?

                    • Not if it steps out of Turkey. It must be in Turkey or it’s not the ecumenical patriarchate. That’s why I wish they’d move it to Greece. We would not need to replace it. It could continue to be “first among equals.” Greece could refurbish it into something spectacular and in the process, save the Church.

                    • Given how Bartholomew will take millions of dollars and create a false Church in Ukraine then I think it’s safe to already call him the Economical Patriarch.

                      I think since he fashions himself the “Green Patriarch,” and since he is largely responsible for the religious war in Ukraine, he should plant 1 tree for every dead Ukrainian soldier & 3 trees for every Church seized by the OCU….then he will at least live up to his name

                    • I never thought about it, but has he ever spend any of his money green initiatives? (Did I dream this or did they come out against trees, too. Something about the CO2.)

            • To give an idea of just how different the Church of Greece is from the EP:

              The first messages from the Church to the Government on same-sex marriage
              https://www.orthodoxianewsagency.gr/aytokefales_ekklisies/ekklisia_ellados/ta-prota-minymata-tis-ekklisias-pros-tin-kyvernisi-gia-ton-gamo-omofylon/

              **It will need to be ran through Google Translate

        • If it was written by a Council of the Church
          it can be rewritten by a Council of the Church
          in such a manner as to clarify the particular point
          that the Papal pretensions of Constantinople are void.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Not really. Canon 28 was bogus from the start. It was excised from the acta of the 4th Council once Pope Gregory the Great ripped Patriarch John IV a new one.

          In other words, it’s a nullity.

        • William, Petros, GShep:

          You are right.
          But why make an easy subject a difficult one?

          Read Canon 28, PLUS the detailed explanation by St. Nicodemus which really explains everything :
          Constantinople received THEN privileges
          (above even Jerusalem!) simply because it had the seat of an empire and of a senate! Pure practical reasons, not theological ones!
          This is not the case any more!

  5. I believe your article contains one error and at least one misconception.

    I believe it is true that having Turkish citizenship is a requirement for anyone who becomes Patriarch of Constantinople. However, it is not necessary to be born in Turkey in order to acquire such citizenship. I believe several metropolitans born elsewhere have obtained Turkish citizenship, including Nikitas, presently (or at least recently) the Metropolitan of Thyateira in the UK.

    The system works to Turkey’s advantage as well as to the Patriarchate’s. The advantage for the latter is that, with minuscule number of adherents in Turkey, it can still field a “bench” of potential candidates, since it need not depend entirely on its local and much diminished flock. The advantage for Turkey is that it can control who is “on deck” insofar as potential candidates are concerned as well as influence the selection of the Patriarch. This gives Turkey two levels of opportunities to extract concessions.

    As for the northern Greek dioceses and some of the Aegean islands, plus Crete, I believe that they were “given” to or “retained” by Constantinople at the time of the Greek Revolution and at later times, such as during the wars that led to the enlargement of Greece, to include Thessaloniki, and the acquisition by Greece of the islands, and then the Greco-Turkish war that led to the Great Catastrophe and the exchange of populations. Had these dioceses become solely subject to the Church of Greece, the Patriarchate of Constantinople would not have had much of a flock left, so in order to maintain some vestige of temporal dignity these dioceses ended up in a hybrid situation of joint administration, although I believe Crete is not in that category.

    One of the disputes between the late (and great) Archbishop of Greece Christodoulos and the Patriarchate had to do with appointments of bishops to the northern dioceses. Christodoulos ended up backing down. My guess is that there was substantial pressure brought to bear on him by the Greek government, which in turn may have been “encouraged” by the US to support the patriarchate’s position.

    I read somewhere that the first Greek parishes in North America came under the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy, the Russians having been in America first in any substantial way. One wonders how things globally would have been different if the Russian Revolution had not occurred.

    As to your ultimate question – “how long can the Ecumenical Patriarchate last as an institution?” – I have no idea, although I suppose the answer is, “As long as it is in the interests of Turkey to allow it to exist.” If what you and others have said turns out to be true, that Constantinople will continue to be a force for disunity in the Orthodox World, my guess is that both Turkey and the West (i.e., principally the US) will see it in their interests to maintain the institution.

    • Blimbax, you are correct about that Turkish citizenship can be extended to those born outside the borders of the Turkish Republic.

    • As to your ultimate question – “how long can the Ecumenical Patriarchate last as an institution?” – I have no idea, although I suppose the answer is, “As long as it is in the interests of Turkey to allow it to exist.” If what you and others have said turns out to be true, that Constantinople will continue to be a force for disunity in the Orthodox World, my guess is that both Turkey and the West (i.e., principally the US) will see it in their interests to maintain the institution.

      I agree with everything you have said Blimbax, with one exception.

      This is more of a theory rather than an actual fact on my part so take it with a grain of salt.

      I think the reasons that Turkey previously allowed the EP to survive and remain in Turkey was because of the aspirations that Turkey had to join the EU and for it to remain in NATO. As time passes those prospects seem further and further away and Turks themselves, including Erdogan, seemingly have growing disinterest in those prospects.

      We know for a fact that the EP is scared of the Turkish government.

      The EP was Turkey’s “asset” for the West. Now that Turkey is pivoting East (they know which way the wind is blowing) and as U.S hegemony in the region is all but erased, I think that Turkey will have very little use for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. On top of that since the West has failed in Ukraine it’s very possible that the U.S has very little use for the EP. The Zelensky Curse strikes again.

      So what does this mean? Here’s a couple of options IMHO:

      1) Ecumenical Patriarchate remains in Turkey BUT since Turkey is pivoting more East and is likely to have better relations with Russia, my guess is that the EP will be forced to elect a pro-Russian patriarch.

      2) Ecumenical Patriarchate remains in Turkey BUT Turkey allows the Russians to set up an Exarchate which renders the EP useless (which it already is). If this happens, which is a very distinct possibility, then the EP is rendered useless even in it’s own territory.

      3) The EP moves to Greece. This would probably be the preferred option for the West as it would allow them to still have a foothold in the area BUT who knows how long this will last. Greece is a vassal state of America currently, but there was a massive rise in pro-Greece, pro-Orthodoxy parties in this past election so my guess is after the war is over Mitsotakies and New Democracy in it’s current neo-con form will be gone. Remember, Greek people aren’t anti-Russian, their permanent political class is, and economically it does not benefit Greek people at all.

      I just don’t really see what use the Turkish government has for the Ecumenical Patriarchate any more.

  6. Shouldn’t the rest of the Church be allowed to weigh in? Given the whole “plenitude” thing, you’d think the entire Church would have the opportunity to say something.

    Can you provide a list of whom we can write? Your article is a great reference for each one of us to compose letters. Doing nothing is not an option. People are drowning in the devil’s quicksand. We must send letters by the thousands to hierarch offices. We must make thousands of phone calls to get their attention and force them to respond.. We must send bagfuls of letters not asking but demanding their response.

    • Their addresses are on their websites. But now that the war is over in Ukraine, I think the patriarchs will get together to decide what to do. Putin, as an emperor of sorts, could call them together. – They hate this situation as much as we do. It’s the worst thing that has happened to the Church since 1054.

  7. Prot here. When Black Bart dies, could they just elect the Archbishop of Athens (or another existing Primate) as Ecumenical Patriarch, then he just unite the sees and call himself “Ecumenical Patriarch of Athens (or whatever) and Constantinople”? Or would this require and Ecumenical Council?

    • Hi, Jay,

      It’s a convoluted situation. The short answer is no. They can’t elect someone to be the Ecumenical Patriarch from somewhere else. It has to be in Turkey.

  8. *Apologies in advance for the massive text wall below*

    Something for sure needs to be done before any further damage is caused. This is not unpreceded in Church history (see Ferrera-Florence) and yet again it’s the Ecumenical Patriarchate leading the way.

    My major question is this: If what is going on is obvious, why is no other Church besides Russia taking any concrete steps to do anything about it? The Churches of Serbia, Poland, Antioch, Georgia, etc., have all issues statements of solidarity with the UOC, but, to date no other Church besides the Church of Russia has formally broken communion with the EP.

    IMHO, for what it’s worth, unless and until other Churches decide to take decisive action then nothing can or will be done. Are they waiting for the EP to have formal union with Rome? If they are then at that point the damage has already been done. If you know what your enemy is going to do then you strike before they get a chance to.

    As for GOARCH, well, I think the damage is already done and it’s essentially in ecclesiastical hospice, unless God grants the Archdiocese a holy Archbishop to reverse the decline. I believe that loss of 73% is over a 10 year period if I’m not mistaken. I also believe those figured were from 2020(?). That means that at it’s current pace it’s very feasible that by 2030 GOARCH could only have about ~32,400 communicants, if not sooner than 2030. If that is the case they are probably getting ready to rapidly sell off property. As for the EP itself, if it wasn’t for the “New Lands” in Greece and it’s Eparchies (rapidly shrinking apparently) then the EP would already be defunct. In the next 10 years I think we are probably going to see the last Greek in Istanbul turn out the lights, either due to immigration or death. The Greek population of Istanbul is like 3,000 or less and over 60.

    We were a bit surprised to see one of these names. And disappointed.

    It’s disappointing that some of the Churches even decided to give this any time at all. But, those same Churches have given no inkling that they’re interested in union with Rome, in fact they have been vocally outspoken in support of the UOC, I think that is a good litmus test. Even if some “union” were to be decided, which is monumentally historic, then it will have to be decided by the Synods of those respective Churches, and I have equally monumental doubts that those Synods would agree to it, and even if they did then the people wouldn’t, even in Greece.

    If the Orthodox world refuses to recognize the OCU and their ordinations, even if they are in schism with Orthodoxy and for all practical purposes aesthetically identical to us…imagine how incredibly unlikely it is for that same Orthodox world to go into into union with a “church” that is wholly different in belief, aesthetics, structure, etc.

    That’s why I have believed that when Bartholomew goes to Rome, it will be him and his loyal sycophants, and them only, that drive into the sunset of perdition.
    A good name for this post would be the Road to Hell is Paved with good Intentions: https://www.romfea.gr/oikoumeniko-patriarxeio/60268-oikoumenikos-patriarxis-i-enotita-pou-epizitoyme-kathistatai-epeigousa-anagki

    I believe that Bartholomew believes that this is truly the good thing to do. Unfortunately he is horribly misguided and union for the sake of union is no union at all. My assumption is that Bart has worked out a deal with Francis where he will be “Pope” of the Eastern Catholics and those canonical Orthodox who decide to go into schism. I just legitimately don’t see enthusiasm for it anywhere in Orthodoxy except small segments of the Fanariot eparchies.

    Here are some things that I think are likely to happen regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate:

    1) Unia: The EP formally decides to join Rome wherein the rest of Orthodoxy formally breaks communion with them. This will not slow the demise of the EP, and in fact will hasten it’s demise even faster.

    2) Excommunication: The other Churches finally decide to convene a synod that will formally condemn Bartholomew & Co.

    **If the Church of Russia were wise they would finally officially release the document condemning the errors of Bartholomew & the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the different Churches as they said they would do.**

    3) Replacing: There is the possibility that the Church of Russia formally sets up an Exarchate in Turkey. I personally do not think it will be a Russian version of the EP but rather it would be similar to Africa. Rather than the Metropolitan of the Exarchate sitting in Istanbul he will sit in Ankara, much like how the African Exarch sits in Cairo and not Alexandria.

    4) Nothing: There’s also the distinct possibility that things continue as they are now and the Churches don’t get together to solve the problem and instead they just let the slow train wreck continue until we are in a disaster situation where the EP goes into union with Rome and make the statement that Orthodoxy is united with Rome.

    This last one is particularly dangerous because even though the other Churches will not formally join Rome, the damage will already be done. The news apparatus of the Western world will proclaim it and everyone will believe it and it will cause mass confusion in the Orthodox world no matter if you’re under the EP or. This is when I think the Synods of the various Churches will be forced to meet. But, at that point the damage will already be done.

    In the end, I’m sure the Church will officially act as She always does to answer the problem. I can’t speak for what will become of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but, my personal opinion would be for the Church of Greece to formally absorb the territory of the EP and administer to the Greek, Turkish and especially Russian Orthodox who reside in Turkey with it’s base in either Athens or Thessaloniki. With the Church of Greece, the EP (including New Lands), and the Slavic diaspora in Turkey (~250,000+) then the new combined Church of Greece would have north of 14-15 million adherents. That’s more than sustainable. The Church of Antioch was in a perilous situation as well and now the Antiochian Church is thriving, especially in the diaspora.

      • I don’t really call one rogue bishop from the Georgian Patriarchate meaning that that whole Church is on board with the EP. Since you are involved with the monastery in Oklahoma I’m sure are aware of Metropolitan Savvas, he himself is a major outlier in the Georgian Church in general. I’m honestly surprised he’s still on the synod and hasn’t been sanctioned. My guess is that when Patriarch Illia is gone then he will be.

        Having been to Georgia, sentiment for the Russian state I would say is not very high due to the annexation of South Ossetia, but they seem to have no problem with the Russian people themselves. Georgians commiserating (though misguided as it is) with Ukraine over annexed land doesn’t equate to supporting a false Church IMHO, and again Met. Savvas is a huge outlier on Synod. My only guess as to why he’s in America is bc the Georgian presence here is so small that he can do a significantly smaller amount of damage here than he could in Georgia.

        • I honestly don’t know his story. I can say children LOVE this guy. That’s always a good sign. There is a language barrier and he doesn’t know the lay of the land like he will after he’s been here a couple of years. He can’t do anything like go with Bartholomew to Rome. I’m sure his Synod would stop him. The communing thing bothers me, though. It truly does.

          • The communing thing bothers me, though. It truly does.

            That is indeed troubling. If I was under the Georgian Church in America then I would not be communing with him. Have the monks in Piedmont said anything about it?

            • No. We have discussed our concerns with them. But now it’s become a troubling problem for us which frankly is hard to communicate when they’re in Texas and other places filling in for the GOA. It’s not a position we ever thought we’d be in.

              I don’t think a lot of people who were raised in the Church realize how important apostolic succession is to a convert. Some of us left our churches, families, and friends to be Orthodox. It was hard and challenging. It is NOT OK to be loosey goosey with respect to where one stands in the Church. Bishops, of course, need to be cordial with one another but I do not think it’s appropriate to show up and be counted as belonging to another patriarchate on any matter. Frankly, I would dispose an bishop under me who did that. The Church is NOT a possession of a bishop. A bishop is there t serve and we kind of expect our bishop to serve his jurisdiction. If a bishop can’t be true to who he is and what he is in the context of the Church, he is of no use to those he was chosen to serve.
              We do not want a bishop enamoured with another jurisdiction, period. We don’t want our bishop siding with a archbishop who is so disruptive, his own jurisdiction is replacing him.

              Would it be too much to ask for our bishop to focus on the formation of our monastery? It took a bit of doing to get it and IMO it is not getting the attention it deserves. It has nothing to do with the monks.

              A bishop should not be communing with those who have communed with schismatics who still refuse to be under any kind of leadership. They decide what practices of the Church and which ones they don’t. Refusing to be ordained, as all our bishops are should not be optional. They ask why they should have to be ordained by the legitimate Church when they were previously ordained by men who were not able to ordain them because they weren’t in the Church. Even our own legitimate bishops are ordained when they become bishops. The OCU does not want to be canonical because Russia, like all our other Churches, is a canonical Church. The OCU is like like little kids in kindergarten; “I don’t want to sit next to Tommy.” Well, then, leave. Political matters between countries do not belong inside the Church. If that were the case, the Church would have lasted about 5 minutes. There are “wars and rumors of wars,” but I don’t want it in the Church.

              The things Bartholomew has said about and to Patriarch Kirill are positively bitchy. His behavior is embarrassing. We don’t want hierarchs who behave like that! What does Bartholomew think it means when the Church preaches, “long suffering.” And when you have a hierarch who is literally sneaking around cutting segments out of videos like a teenager trying not to get caught with his date, it is particularly disturbing. Does Bartholomew think God doesn’t know he’s communing with a very sketchy pope behind the Church’s back. Neither the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church have benefited from their unholy union with each other. The synodal synod or whatever they call it, was a free-for-all. Bartholomew, who was an integral part of the process, led them down a rabbit hole. Where did they get the idea that having young people, kids really, sit on a synod? Or that a synod was a place where people could call out what they wanted. “We want the ordination of women,” one group exclaimed. “We want blessings for gay marriage,” another insisted. It was like they were all sitting on Santa’s lap calling out what they wanted for Christmas.

              Bartholomew did that. Now he has inflated the expectations of a Bartholomew clearly did not convey that synods were not to change the practice or the theology of the Church. didn’t insist with a hodgepodge of people ifitted Bartholomew is shameful. And what benefit is it to him not to call him out on it? He’s closer to the end of his life than the beginning and he behaves as if he is doing nothing wrong.

              He is scandalizing the Church and caused the biggest schism since 1054. Why? What was so damn important it took precedent over the Church? I think we all have a pretty good idea why he did it. That he thinks there was nothing wrong with it is not going to end well for him. What’s the point of having a Holy Synod if they fail to act. They have made it clear how they feel. So why aren’t they doing anything about it? What do our shepherds expect us to do if they choose to ignore it all?

              We need some guidance from our bishops. That is frankly the least they could do for us. Tell us what you want us to do about this?! Pretend it’s not happening?
              – Well, it is and it has. This situation is intolerable. We have family in the GOA. Family whose bishop doesn’t care about their salvation. He’s more interested in his throne and leaving a legacy. Oh, he’ll have one. Just not the one he is envisioning.

            • George Michalopulos says

              From what I know, they’re not going to get on Bart’s Bandwagon.

              Seriously, as troubling as Bartholomew’s globetrotting antics are, to my mind, he’s pretty much an after-thought. I told Gail this morning that he’s a fifth wheel, the guy that nobody really wants to see at their party but who shows up regardless because the host was trying to be nice and once said “feel free to drop in some day”.

              • …he’s pretty much an after-thought.

                I agree, George. I have talked about the issues in the GOA/EP with quite a few priests in GOARCH and the two overwhelming things I’ve noticed is this:

                1) More than any other jurisdiction the average GOARCH parish seems much more isolated from their Archbishop/Patriarch.

                2) Tying into #1, Bartholomew does seem to be an after thought and is more symbolic.

                3) Priests are noticing that for converts both Elpidophoros and Bartholomew have become a major liability rather than an asset.

                Are there GOARCH parishes getting converts? Sure. Are they gaining converts at the rate of almost every other jurisdiction? Not even remotely close.

                All of all the GOA parishes I’m familiar with, St. Nektarios in Charlotte has the most catechumens at 20.

                An Antiochian parish in the same state has over 80!

                My former Antiochian parish has had about ~80 over the last 2 years, just built a new temple, and is already bursting at the seams.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            His Grace, Bishop Saba, has lived in the U.S. for the last thirteen years, and he was ordained bishop in 2014:

            https://www.saintnina-monastery.org/bishop-saba.html

            The Holy Synod of the Georgian Patriarchate consists of all their member bishops. I believe there’s 39 Georgian bishops total, and all of them together comprise their Holy Synod.

            Last year it was reported that 13 of the Georgian bishops support Ukrainian autocephaly. So that’s just one third of their Holy Synod. If still true, then they aren’t even close to recognizing the OCU:

            https://risu.ua/en/13-bishops-of-the-georgian-church-expressed-support-for-the-recognition-of-the-ocu_n127853

            However, the lack of a majority position in favor of recognizing the OCU seems mostly to speak of the very difficult political situation in Georgia, where Russia has taken over and occupied 20% of Georgian land. Because of this, the Russian Federation essentially has the Georgian Patriarchate under their control. His Grace, Bishop Saba, is likely able to speak more freely than his brother Georgian bishops, since he lives and has jurisdiction in the U.S.

            • Frankly, Joseph, I can’t explain how he could be here for 13 years and still need a translator. He may have been made Bishop of North America before he came here. The rest of what you said roughly correlates with what I know but I don’t know all that much.

              • Trust me. If Bp. Saba has been in the U.S. for 13 years and still needs an interpreter or translator, he’s never going to become fluent in the language. I’ve known Catholic and Anglican missionaries who spent decades ministering in Japan but who never learned how to speak Japanese, let alone read and write the language.

                The Japanese-speaking little Catholic group in my city here stateside is led by a retired Caucasian priest who spent thirty years in Japan. Despite that long career, his broken Japanese is painful to listen to. Despite the fact that some people are just never able to make the linguistic transition to fluency in Japanese, the local Japanese population bends over backwards to accommodate foreigners’ ignorance of their language. Although it’s embarrassing to watch, it’s really quite remarkable, especially because Japanese is an easy language to learn, apart from the writing system, of course. Nevertheless, some foreign missionaries did accomplish great things with the forbearance of the local people.

                English is a simple but sometimes clumsy form of Low German. If middle-aged Bp. Saba is still on the outside of the language barrier looking in, he’ll never become fluent, barring a miracle.

                • I agree which makes me think he hasn’t lived in the United States, continuously, for 13 years. He travels a lot. He has only two monasteries here who are very closely connected to one another. Both the abbot and abbess speak Georgian and I know they keep in contact with him. His physical presence is probably not needed here on a continual basis. – But I’m just guessing.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Gail, I wonder how many Georgians are in those two monasteries. My guess is zero, but I honestly don’t really know.

                    Even though both heads of those monasteries may speak Georgian, I know they aren’t Georgian themselves. Whereas, I’m sure all of the parishes under Bishop Saba are entirely Georgian speaking and comprised of Georgians. That being the case, I don’t really see why Bishop Saba would need to become fluent in English.

                    It is unusual, though, to have two non-Georgian monasteries in America under the Georgian Patriarchate. It’s kind of a red flag. My guess is that Bishop Saba was willing to look the other way in regards to their connection with the dubious “Elder Dionysios” who was kicked off Mt. Athos twice and may now even be deposed:

                    https://monasticwarningblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/from-a-former-insider-of-the-cult/

                    I hope and pray that God will continue to bless both of these monasteries under the guidance of Bishop Saba. The Georgians have a rich spiritual heritage. It is good to hear that the heads of those monasteries communicate frequently with their bishop.

                    Monasteries often times come and go. The spiritual life is fragile. Yet we need monasteries now more than ever.

            • However, the lack of a majority position in favor of recognizing the OCU seems mostly to speak of the very difficult political situation in Georgia, where Russia has taken over and occupied 20% of Georgian land. Because of this, the Russian Federation essentially has the Georgian Patriarchate under their control. His Grace, Bishop Saba, is likely able to speak more freely than his brother Georgian bishops, since he lives and has jurisdiction in the U.S.

              Here we go again, Mr. Lipper creates the big cloud of Russian influence while omitting the pressure of the much better funded and entrenched US state department, which itself is supported by numerous NATO satellites with their intelligence and diplomatic services. On the one hand Russia is the gas station masquerading as a country, on the other it is the all present boogeyman that always needs to be tamed and excoriated, less the naive fall prey to its sway.

              The Abkhazian and Ossetian people have their territorial disputes with Georgia that go back to the breakup of the USSR. Russia is involved in this dispute, but Abhkazia and Ossetia are not a part of the Russian federation. Perhaps a useless point for Mr. Lipper, but it is a matter of point for those who care.

              To that end, the Moscow Patriarchate has not canonically interfered with this territory, unlike Mr. Lipper’s champ Patriarch Bartholomew who demands that all Orthodox operate under his suzerainty.

  9. The Patriarchate of Constantinople is a lot like CNN…. no one cares about it and no one pays attention to it unless you’re one of those who’s already tuned in. It ain’t gaining any new “viewers”/members.

    –members of the Greek Orthodox Archdioceses in N&S America, Australia, and Europe who are interested in “church politics”
    –highbrow academics who have an interest in Orthodox Christian and Greek/Eastern Roman Empire world history
    –some Roman Catholics who have fantasies about a magical Catholic-Orthodox “reunion” along the lines of Pope Paul VI and Patr Athenagoras
    –webmasters of ACROD parishes who need to put on their parish website that they are a “jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate”
    –boomer CIA and US State Dept members, as well as Hillary Clinton, who still think that the Patriarchate of C’ple has international/political relevance

    Eliminate these groups, and there are very few others who pay attention to what the Patriarcharte of Constantinople says or does.

    For most of us Orthodox Christians outside of its immediate jurisdiction, it is pretty much irrelevant. I wish it were a venerable institution that I could respect, but it isn’t. Maybe someday again it will be, don’t know.

  10. I read somewhere that the first Greek parishes in North America came under the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy, the Russians having been in America first in any substantial way.

    What you read is true.

    If what you and others have said turns out to be true, that Constantinople will continue to be a force for disunity in the Orthodox World, my guess is that both Turkey and the West (i.e., principally the US) will see it in their interests to maintain the institution.

    This is a very insightful comment, Blimbax. Sad, tragic, and even pathetic, but insightful nonetheless.

  11. Nicholas Sandoukas says

    I agree on all your points concerning corruption in the See of Constantinople. What I want to push back on, is that they cease to be The Ecumenical Patriarchate if they leave Constantinople (Istambul). The Patriarchate of Antioch doesn’t exist in the city of Antioch anymore. Mind you that City still exists, it is known as Antakya, and it is in Turkey. But instead they are based in the city of Damascus. But they still call themselves The Patriarchate of Antioch, and everyone still recognizes them as third amongst equals. Why couldn’t the same thing be done with the EP? They could be based in Thessaloniki, and it would make the Greek government extremely happy. The initial reason the EP was allowed to stay in Constantinople, was because the British wanted to keep hope alive for the Greeks, that the Megali Idea was not completely dead. But secondly, to prevent the Greek government from controlling the institution. Today the megali idea is dead. But america, which replaced the British as the hegemon of the world, still uses the EP as its political pawn. The last thing America wants, is this important ecclesiastical position to be controlled by the Greeks. In my opinion, that’s the real reason it stays in Turkey.

    • To be fair, the Ecumenical Patriarchate moving from Turkey to Thessaloniki would not significantly lessen the ability of the Americans to pressure it. Let’s remember how Piatt, Brownback et all managed to pressure Archbp. Ieronymos into rubber stamping Bartholomew’s project Ukraine.

      The US State Department will always continue to play the game that the Brits taught them: loosening the leash on the Turkish monster whenever they want either Greece or Cyprus to play ball with them. Erdogan knows this game well and he’s always happy to oblige: be it sending tankers to drill for hydrocarbons in Cypriot national waters, increasing Turkish military presence in Cyprus, having planes more daringly buzz Greek airspace, or sending boatloads of migrants to Greek coasts.

      Personally I’ve always been a fan of getting the Patriarch of Jerusalem to be the new Ecumenical patriarch. He is a Greek cleric, he is in a political situation where he can have just a bit more autonomy from the Americans, and his See is quite ancient and respected worldwide, seen as a truly international center of Christendom. I think this holds more potential than cutting and pasting the Ecumenical Synod from Constantinople to Thessaloniki.

      • George Michalopulos says

        GeorgeS, the only just, canonical and righteous answer is as you said it (with one caveat): the Patriarch of Jerusalem should be first in the diptychs. Caveat? There is no need for the title “ecumenical”.

        • William Tighe says

          See my comment above. All this talk about a new protos remains just that, in the face of Canon 28 of Chalcedon. Only an Ecumenical Council (in historical Orthodox thinking) can undo or modify the canons of previous ecumenical councils, and a council cannot in practice be regarded as “ecumenical” unless all Orthodox churches accept it. Is this likely, or even envisageable?

          • Probably not, William, but if Bartholomew keeps his promise of a false union with Rome, which I admit is doubtful, all bets are off.

  12. I’m giving credit where credit is due, this is a really great homily by Elpidophoros:

    https://orthodoxtimes.com/archbishop-of-america-only-as-we-conquer-our-passions-we-are-able-to-represent-the-will-of-god-in-our-lives/

    Though I do find this quote ironic considering it’s coming from him:

    We also name him, τῶν Πατέρων κλέος, the “glory” of the Fathers. Why? Because, as I am sure you all know, he struggled mightily against heresy at the First Ecumenical Council, and he championed the Orthodox Dogma of the Holy Trinity. Even at great personal cost, when he was arrested and imprisoned for challenging the Arch-Heretic Arius.

  13. Seems like those within the Ecumenical Patriarchate are going into overdrive lately with the bolstering language of “Mother Church” trope:

    https://orthodoxtimes.com/new-book-of-archbishop-of-australia-the-ecumenical-patriarchate-the-ruling-and-suffering-church/

    https://orthodoxtimes.com/ecumenical-patriarch-we-proclaim-in-every-direction-that-constantinople-is-the-genuine-the-one-and-only-mother-church/

    What this tells me is:

    – The Ecumenical Patriarchate has gotten wind that the rest of the Orthodox world has turned cold on it. I’m assuming this is true especially among the Greeks.

    If this were not the case then it would not feel the need to defend itself and it’s primacy of honor.

    Because the wider Orthodox world has refused to follow Bartholomew into union with schismatics, or, ratify the “council” in Crete, and because many, many within the Orthodox Church from laymen to bishops to Patriarchs have had corrective words to say regarding Patriarch Bartholomew and those within the EP , I get the sense that those within the EP know that the jig is up and the Church is calling their bluff.

    If the EP ACTUALLY wanted the respect of the rest of the Church he would do the following:

    -> Call a council to address Ukraine
    -> Demand the OCU recant of schism and be properly ordained

    There obviously is much more that he should do but without the above 2 everything else is moot.

    No one in the Church trusts him. Because of this no one is following him in regards to Ukraine, and no one will follow him to Rome.

  14. Antiochene Son says

    Off topic:

    METROPOLITAN OF PIRAEUS CELEBRATES ANCIENT LITURGY OF ST. AMBROSE OF MILAN

    Why do Orthodox hierarchs do this? This spirit of liturgical archaeology led directly to the Novus Ordo Missae disaster in the Latin Church.

    In particular, why celebrate a defunct liturgical rite on the solea, facing the people, if the purpose is not to lead the faithful to question the Church’s universal practice? It’s as if to say “This way is more authentic.” I bet they made a spectacle of it too, advertising it as something to be seen. As if the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is not ancient and authentic.

    The Liturgy of St. James is abused enough as it is. Why this innovation on top of it? Is the Church’s patrimony not good enough?

    • He is the Head of the eucharistic assembly and so has the right to do what he wants so long as canons are not violated. Seraphim is the most conservative bishop in Greece, as is well known. He is , if I am not mistaken, a canonist. Since the liturgy was celebrated in that form and was valid then it is still valid today. It is his antimension. While I may not agree with celebrating it for the reasons you mentioned, it is not non Canonical.

      • Antiochene Son says

        I agree it’s not uncanonical, but it’s a bad idea. It’s also an innovation; I have never heard of an Ambrosian rite in Orthodoxy. What purpose does this serve? The need for novelty is alien to our form of worship.

        Just because one is conservative and even holy does not mean good intentioned acts cannot be mistaken.

    • I don’t personally think it’s that big of a deal, especially coming from Met. Seraphim. Prior to the standardization of the DL of St. John Chrysostom we had many liturgical rites in the Church. The West also has very ancient rites like the Liturgy of St. Ambrose, the Sarum Rite, Mazorabic Rite. If the Liturgy reflects pre-schism Orthodox theology then I would imagine it’s ok.

  15. MomofToddler says

    It was just the feast day of St. Ambrose on the New Calendar, so this seems like a great way to celebrate him! After being a bit caught up on the “too rigorist” side for a bit, I’m now trying to see the silver-living and good intention in everything I can – obviously some things go too far and there are enough of those. It’s also a good gesture to show the Roman Catholics we truly value our pre-schism Western heritage. We want them to feel welcome when the faithful ones inevitably have to join us sooner than later.

    • Well said, MoT. We are all in danger
      of becoming Pharisees ourselves.

    • Antiochene Son says

      I’m sure Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, and even Cardinal Bugnini had good intentions (in their own minds) also.

    • Antiochene Son says

      It’s not about being a rigorist for its own sake. It’s about preserving the authentic, living, Spirit-filled tradition and not tempting people in our novelty-obsessed age.

      Is there even evidence the Ambrosian rite was celebrated versus populum? The Orthodox Western Rite doesn’t do this. Yet this simple change in 20th century Latin practice has resulted in untold spiritual destruction. It has no place in Orthodoxy, whether it’s an authentic primitive practice or not.

      The universal practice that has come down to us TODAY is what the Holy Spirit has for us TODAY. We don’t go into primitive practices, be it dead rites, versus populum celebrations, communion in the hand, taking the Eucharist home, deaconesses, agape feasts, long excommunications, confession aloud to the whole church, or anything else.

      It’s not about rigor, it’s about the authentic living tradition. Revivalism is an implicit denial of the Holy Spirit’s guidance of the Church, and is a temptation to those who would open this Pandora’s box.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I very much agree with you.

      • Solidarity Priest says

        I tend to agree as well. Though I serve an OCA parish, I don’t go for the reading the prayers of the anaphora out load or especially everyone bellowing out the triple “Amen” which belongs to the deacon. I call all this St. Vladimir’s PC BS. I am pretty sure Archbishop Dmitri of Blessed Memory didn’t go for this stuff either.
        The Romanian church I occasionally visit does some prayers aloud but NOT the anaphora. In fact, they take it a step further than the Russian tradition I employ; they close the curtain after the Creed and it remains closed until “It is meet and right”. That church does services so beautifully and so many pious people show up on weekdays,; I won’t quibble about relatively small differences in liturgical practices.
        St. John of San Francisco did support the Western Rite; while I have no doubt of his holiness as a Saint, he like other Saints was human and made mistakes. One could perhaps say this of Archbishop Dmitri and Fr. Seraphim Rose; they are also Saints in my book. I am not a big fan of the Western Rite. I have participated in the St. James Liturgy a few times, but the altar certainly wasn’t moved out into the center of the church nor did the celebrant face the people.

        • Since we’re talking about proper procedure, I was taught we are to remain facing the alter when the deacon censes the Church. We can acknowledge him as he passes but not turn our bodies around, following him with our eyes. What say you, Father?

      • Solidarity Priest says

        George:
        I was attempting to correct my misspellings in the post I just submitted. I must say, it’s pleasing to see that some in the Antiochian church as just as rigorous as ROCOR at least in things that matter.

  16. Mike Adams asks | What happens when sentient AI
    realizes its “woke” creators are MENTALLY ILL?

    https://www.brighteon.com/26eea340-2e4e-4014-886a-8eb67027d0ef

    [Podcast – 16:31]

    Perhaps Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics have been
    superseded by the Rules Based Robotics Order

  17. Pope blessing gay couples signals total departure
    of Roman Catholicism from Christianity

    https://theduran.com/pope-blessing-gay-couples-signals-total-departure-of-roman-catholicism-from-christianity-video/

    Article plus:

    The Pope Destroyed the Roman Church Today – American in Exile
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT2rcUjJPSA

    [Video – 40:33]

    Thoughtful discussion from Seraphim Hanisch

    • Not just the pope. Bartholomew was in cahoots with Francis thinking that in order to solve the primacy issue that was the stumbling block in the Chieti document, they would make the Catholic Church a little more “Orthodox” so they could unite. They BOTH came up with this “Synod on Synodality” nonsense. I don’t know if it was by accident or by design, but Francis opened up the process with a bunch of kids sitting on a synod. Another was composed of nuns. This was Francis’ way of saying, “See! All the decisions aren’t made by me. The people make decisions, too.” Unfortunately, that’s not how we work. Not even close. That Bartholomew thought the Orthodox patriarchs would say, “I guess there isn’t that much difference between us and the RC Catholic Church” shows how out of touch he is with reality. Francis turned the synodal process into a circus. Because Bartholomew was a long for the ride (every step of the way), it will be interesting to hear what he has to say. Will the GOA be blessing gay marriages? Of course, they will!

    • The Pope Destroyed the Roman Church Today

      Pope blessing gay couples signals total departure
      of Roman Catholicism from Christianity

      Though the title to both of these videos is correct in a way, Francis didn’t destroy Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholicism has been destroyed and degrading theologically since it separated itself from the undivided Church.

      They have had almost a millennia of error after error. Vatican 2, the “synod on synodality,” Pachamama, now the blessing of same sex couples, all of this is the outpouring of the Roman Catholic teaching of “development of doctrine” which was used at Vatican 1 to promote papal infallibility.

      There will be no “based pope” and Roman Catholicism will continue to theologically degrade till it even more-so resembles the Anglican communion.