The Russian Orthodox Church As An Instrument of Soft Power in the Balkans

Before I get back to my travel journal, I’d like to post something that came my way from one of our many readers.

It’s about Russia and its confrontation witNATO. It delves into a cultural element that quite frankly, escapes the modern, deracinated mind of Western men.

Truth be told, I was going to hold it until after my journal was complete but recent events between Russia and Turkey have made it timely. Needless to say, I am intrigued by the masterful subversion of Turkey by Putin. Like a chess grand-master, he used last year’s Turkish aggression to derail the “Council of Constantinople.” And now, Erdogan, who was a sponsor of ISIS, has joined the Moscow-Tehran axis, or at the very least has tilted away from the EU.

I imagine the Phanar’s field of vision regarding Ukraine has diminished considerably. We shall see.

In the meantime, please take the time to read the following essay.


Source: Russia Insider

By Filip Kovacevic

“… the soft power of (Russian) Orthodoxy has already become one of the foundational components of Putin’s Balkan policy. This spells serious trouble for the two-decade long U.S.-NATO Euro-Atlantic project in the Balkans.”

The Christian church split in 1054 into the Western and Eastern branches. The Western branch with its center in Rome came to be known as the Catholic church (further splitting during the Protestant Reformation several centuries later). The Eastern branch with its center in Constantinople (Istanbul) was not able to maintain unity as long as the Western branch. Already with the fall of Byzantium and the conquests by the Ottoman Turks, it split into more than a dozen churches tied to the particular monarchs and nations. The Eastern equivalent of the pope, the ecumenical patriarch, remained a politically weak figure.

The same situation persists to this day. The leaders of the national Orthodox churches, 14 in number, are much more powerful in influencing the domestic and foreign policy agenda of their respective countries than the current ecumenical patriarch, Bartholomew I.[1]

Since the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the unshackling of religious expression in the former Soviet political space, the Russian Orthodox church has tried to assert its authority within the community of Orthodox churches. Though this process already started during the last years of the tenure of the patriarch Alexy II (1990-2008), it attained its full public expression in the current mandate of Alexy II’s successor, Kirill I. It has closely matched the strengthening of the Russian state and its geopolitical position in the world engineered since mid-2000s by Vladimir Putin.

In fact, as I will argue in this article, the Russian Orthodox church is one of the primary instruments of soft power that Putin has at his disposal to influence political elites and populations in the majority Orthodox states in the Balkans, such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, Macedonia, and the Serb entity within Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republika Srpska. This carries a great deal of geostrategic significance since both Bulgaria and Greece are members of the increasingly anti-Russian NATO military alliance and the rest are in various stages on the NATO membership path. The recent events which I will chronicle in this article show that the soft power of the Orthodoxy (православие) has already become one of the foundational components of Putin’s Balkan policy. This spells serious trouble for the two-decade long U.S.-NATO Euro-Atlantic project in the Balkans.

Playing the Orthodox Card

The essence of soft power is its ability to sway the “hearts and minds” of the other states’ elites and populations to support particular domestic and foreign policy goals without resorting to military power or any other kind of coercion. During the Cold War, the U.S. political and intelligence establishment has successfully used the products of popular culture, such as Hollywood movies, rock and roll, blue jeans, and Coca Cola, to create dissatisfaction with the conditions and quality of life in the enemy Communist Bloc. However, the destruction, suffering, and pain brought on by the process of neoliberal economic transition proved to be overwhelming and, in many cases, outweighed the benefits of the supposedly democratic political transition, which was in itself incomplete and corrupt. The norms and habits established during the Communist period crumbled and there was very little that neoliberalism offered as moral and spiritual compensation. As the result, most people began looking for psychological support and comfort in the past religious traditions and beliefs. Hence the strong resurgence of the Orthodox religious feeling and trust in the church institutions all across the former Communist Balkans.

In fact, if we take a look at public polling across the majority Orthodox states in the Balkans, we will see that the Orthodox church is generally considered the most trustworthy and credible public institution. While the approval of politicians and political parties is hardly beyond 20 percent, the Orthodox church has consistently had the approval rating of around 50 percent. In some states, such as Montenegro, the approval rating has been even higher.[2] This means that the “hearts and minds” of the majority populations are open to being swayed by the policy positions of the Orthodox church, including its strong anti-NATO stand.

If more than 20 years of the intense, well-financed NATO integrationist propaganda has not been able to reverse this trend, it is clear that the future does not bode well for the NATO advocates in the Balkans. The sweeping infiltration of the political elites, the militaries, and the intelligence structures has not paid off. The millions of U.S. and West European taxpayers’ dollars, which could have been spent in fixing severely underfunded social, educational, and health care programs, have been wasted. The Western military-industrial-intelligence complex has grown exponentially, enriching the scores of executives and contractors in the process, but its expansionist foreign policy agenda in the Balkans is being subverted from the inside by the traditional grass-root political forces.

Notwithstanding the self-congratulatory rhetoric of the pro-NATO Balkan political leaders, we may witness their fall from power in near future. The first on the list appears to be the corrupt, seven-time prime minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic. The recent strengthening of the ties between the Russian and Serbian Orthodox church points to one of the key channels for the Russian support against Djukanovic. In fact, in late December 2015, the Russian patriarch Kirill I wrote to the metropolitan Amfilohije, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, that he “could always count on the help of the Russian Orthodox church, which knows and respects [him] as an old and dear friend.”[3]

Putin on the Throne of Byzantine Tsars

During his state visit to Greece at the end of May 2016, Putin visited the Russian Orthodox enclave on Mount Athos. He was joined by Kirill I who, as the key holder of the soft power of the Orthodoxy, appears to have assumed the role of the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov with regard to the Balkans. The formal occasion was to celebrate the thousand years of the presence of the Russian monks in Greece. However, the political subtext was much broader. It involved the narrative that the Russians, as the most populous Orthodox population and the most powerful majority Orthodox state, are the “natural” and indispensable protectors of all Orthodox Balkan populations from hostile foreign influences, whether they come from the West or the East.

In this respect, what was generally passed without comment in the mass media, but had a great deal of political significance, was the fact that all the Orthodox monks (not only the Russian monks) served the liturgy in Putin’s honor while he sat on the throne that allegedly belonged to the Byzantine tsars.[4] This meant that Russia’s successor status to the Byzantine empire was publicly confirmed and affirmed in present time. Geopolitically speaking, this may be the most dramatic event since the collapse of the Soviet Union and it is likely to have long-term consequences that will affect not only the balance of power in the Balkans and the Middle East, but also in Europe and Eurasia in general.

It is important to keep in mind that even though there seems to be some kind of rapprochement at this time between Putin and the embattled Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, if Russia was to assume the Byzantine geopolitical project, then the hostilities between these two former empires appear to be inevitable and will be readily exploited by their opponents in the West. This has happened many times in the past, the most bloody examples being the Crimean war (1856-1859) and the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1878). In both cases, first Russia, then Turkey, fell victim to the territorial and economic machinations of the Western powers.

The Church Relations in the Orthodox World

Even though all Orthodox churches share a common religious doctrine, the relations among them have been far from harmonious. In fact, their representatives have not gathered in one place since 787. However, spurred on by the aggressive NATO pressures from the West and the terrorist threat of radical extremists from the East, intense efforts have been made recently to coordinate the Orthodox churches’ positions more closely. Earlier this year, all the churches agreed to hold a historic meeting (Sabor) on the Greek island of Crete from June 20 to June 27, 2016. However, the problems soon surfaced as to who would set the agenda and have the ultimate decision making power in formulating future policies.

The main conflict appears to be between the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I and the Russian patriarch Kirill I. Kirill I is interested in having the Orthodox churches more directly ally themselves with the Russian geopolitical agenda, while Bartholomew I, an ethnic Greek who is a Turkish citizen, seems to be resisting. In the end, the conflict could not be contained and resulted in the Russian and three other Orthodox churches (the Bulgarian, the Georgian, and the Antiochian (Syrian)) cancelling their participation in the Crete meeting.[5] The cancellation caused a rift within the Serbian Orthodox church, which spilled into the public view, but was eventually resolved by the decision to attend the meeting after all.[6] However, the Serbian church also promised to look out for the interests of those churches which were absent. This places it in the important position of the mediator for the negotiations which will no doubt take place soon.

The still unresolved tensions and disagreements within the community of the Orthodox churches show that Putin’s policy of using the Orthodox church as a tool of soft power still faces certain obstacles at the top of some churches’ hierarchies, very likely infiltrated by NATO’s agents of influence. However, the grass-root pressures from below which demand an unmistakable anti-NATO policy turn, in tandem with the probable “palace coups” at the top, will diminish the number of resisters in the coming years.


[1] There are several other Orthodox churches, but, for various political reasons, they have not been recognized as legitimate by the already established churches.

[2] What has also to be taken into consideration is that public polling in the Balkans is generally conducted by Western-funded and pro-NATO oriented organizations which have a political stake in underreporting the strength of their opponents.





Filip Kovacevic, Newsbud-BFP Analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles & conference presentations and hundreds of newspaper columns and media commentaries. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco. He can be contacted


  1. Carl Kraeff says

    Strange authority on the subject. In the very beginning, Kovachevic writes this whopper: “…The Eastern branch with its center in Constantinople (Istanbul) was not able to maintain unity as long as the Western branch. Already with the fall of Byzantium and the conquests by the Ottoman Turks, it split into more than a dozen churches tied to the particular monarchs and nations. The Eastern equivalent of the pope, the ecumenical patriarch, remained a politically weak figure.”

    I counted four errors. Not just mere errors but stupid ones. Methinks, our esteemed host could find other “scholars” to make the major point: Russia good, NATO or USA bad.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Carl, you’re correct. Besides the errors there was the foundational premise of the essay which was Western, Neoliberal and viewed through through the prism of the Enlightenment.

      Still, he stumbled on some historical and cultural truths that our Elites are incapable of getting their heads around. The most important of which is the blood and soil aspect of the various national Orthodoxies and how they intermingle and influence their respective polities.

      Having said that, while I do agree with the criticism that Bulgaria and Romania are necessarily influenced by Moscow, and that instead they are part of NATO (which they are), I’m not sure how solid that alliance is. For one thing, if the West is relying on Bulgaria to be against Russia because they are in NATO and if Bartholomew is the West’s point man in all things Orthodox, then they’re in for a rude awakening given the bad blood between Sofia and the Phanar.

      As for Romania that’s a different issue.

      On the other hand, illiberal forces are being unleashed on all of Europe (not just Eastern Europe) which do not bode well for the Neoliberal, Wilsonian project of the “enlightened” West. I’m not talking merely about Jobbik in Hungary, the Liga Nord in Italy, or the Golden Dawn in Greece. A friend of mine who is in the Air Force just returned from Poland where NATO staged the largest ever war games in its history. He called it basically a “dick-measuring exercize against Russia” which had just staged their own massive war games a month earlier.

      Long story short, wherever he went he saw motorcycle gangs from various Western European countries all over the place. These people made Hell’s Angels look half-way decent. They deal in drugs and weapons and they are virulently right-wing and violently opposed to the EU project. They are a reaction to the Islamification of Europe and the wussification of the European male. Since the economies of these countries are not improving it looks like the future belongs to them. Basically, they’ve got nothing left to lose.

      Another point: the women in Poland were beautiful and they clung to American servicemen like glue. This did not set well with Polish men. If things continue along these lines then we will know that we have lost the hearts and minds of the average European.

  2. Michael Warren says

    Generally, it is a waste of time to read a liberal analyze “Orthodox soft power.” Firstly, two Balkan countries with predominantly Orthodox populations, Rumania and Bulgaria, are very much in the EU/USA orbit. Yes, in the case of the Rumanian church, the relationship with the Moscow Patriarchate is at best polite and at times a closeted hostility; the point being Orthodox soft power doesn’t play a role always. In Bulgaria, the relationship with the Russian church has been close traditionally, but factors such as the New Calendar tend to disparage a common Orthodox worldview of Bulgarian versus Russian Orthodox. Of course, the Western EU oriented regime in Sofia doesn’t place much credence in Russian Orthodox soft power. In Montenegro, an authoritarian pro EU/USA/NATO regime acts to suppress the soft power of the Russian church and plays at every gimmick to downplay the role of Orthodoxy amongst Montenegrins, both to combat Serbian and Russian Orthodox populism, even resorting to repression and imprisonment to put down Orthodox democratic agitation. Macedonia uses Orthodox softpower to create an environment open to Russian investment in the hopes of a Southstream gas pipeline: the Macedonian autocephalous church, however, supported by the government is in schism from the Serbian church and only recognized by the Vatican. Thus, Orthodox populism in Macedonia is at the outset confused and ends up divided and compromised by schism.

    Serbia is the sole case where “Orthodox soft power” is a real factor in the Balkans. Here, the EU/USA/NATO/Vatican has a sordid history of political destabilization, territorial encroachment, persecution, genocide: so naturally the Serbian people have a resentment of things Western and non Orthodox. This did not translate into Russophile political sentiment until Russia’s support of Serbia in Kossovo which sowed the seeds of a Pan Orthodox populism. Then as years followed, Serbs became acquainted with Russian Orthodoxy and Russian Orthodox populism resulting in a kindred worldview which popularly was appraised then shared. Russian volunteers fought for Serbia; Serbian volunteers fought and fight in Novorossiya and the Dniester Republic. Where once there was a general nonacquaintance and lack of emphasis on Russian Orthodox populism, Serbs and Russians found themselves in an Orthodox popular struggle against the colonial encroachments and military aggression of the EU/USA. Putin has become a cult figure reconciling and uniting political ideologies of Slavic and Orthodox peoples in a nascent populism which still has not defined its program or spread its roots into the superstructures of either Russia or Serbia in a systematic way. Thus soft power arose not as an initiative of the MP, which still does nothing to foster it abroad, but as a popular anti-Western religious awakening to unite Orthodox peoples. While Putin’s Eurasianism/Neo Byzantism/Neo Sovietism is only intended to peacefully expand once Russia has domestically, economically ascended and when Russian culture, Russian Orthodoxy, reaches the highest level of development and becomes a beacon for other nations. Until the native threshold of development and highest standard of living set by Stolypin and Witte is reached, the Orthodox populism of Putin is a nation building ideology with the intention of an international footprint: that footprint, however, is still gestating.

    A common Faith, culture, racial consciousness is arising, a modern corollary to Pan Slavism. But Serbian politics has only reacted to it, not embraced it. The Serbian government has chosen the EU, not the Eurasian Union and BRICS. It has chosen to develop relations with NATO and not the Shanghai Treaty Organization, the Serbian government playing both sides to maintain political power with a shared military maneuver with Russia here or political rhetoric there, but still very much pursuing a trajectory toward Brussels. While the Serbian church may have a very close relationship with the Third Rome, it does pursue an independent course and does indeed court the Greek State Church as well. Serbian participation at the Cretan Robber Synod underscores the independence of the Serbian church and state in reacting to a non-suasion of Orthodox softpower, where the Serbian church and state under pressure from the EU/USA lent their legitimacy to an unlawful assembly against the will of Orthodox softpower.

    In other words, this EU liberal assessment is an alarmist overstatement warring with a crystal ball talking about a potential threat to Western colonialism in the Balkans. The terrified words of a secular liberal who is increasingly seen as a foreigner in the Orthodox Balkans, fearing an Orthodox populism his liberalism is hard tasked to coopt. This Orthodox populism could become an autonomous political creature of Russo-Byzantine revanchism, probably will, but at this point, is neither unified nor evolved to a sufficient socio-economic degree to be more than a Pan Orthodox aspiration struggling for independence in the marches of the US/EU colonial holdings in Eastern Europe.

  3. Gail Sheppard says


  4. This is about as clear a view as an outsider could get from a Western perspective. He screws several things up, but he sees remarkably clearly for a Westerner.

    First of all, as we have been trying to explain all along, the Orthodox Church is indissolubly united. We are One Church. There are no other branches. There is a Russian branch, a branch centered in Constantinople (in heresy at the moment, so, really, dead on the vine), a branch in Serbia, Romania, Antioch, etc. But all one Church. We all concelebrate with each other and no one else. This is foreign to the Western “power based” perspective of the Church, but natural to us. The only “power” we are concerned about is the Trinity. Christ is our head, we are His Body, and the Holy Spirit pervades us and us alone, though He is everywhere present as well.

    Now, the Oriental Orthodox did split off from us, but that was before the West broke off to form their own heretical sects. The disputed autocephaly of this or that Orthodox local church is irrelevant. Intercommunion is intercommunion. The only place where intercommunion is not determinative is the matter of administrative breaks such as the break between Antioch and Jerusalem, the MP and ROCOR in the last century and part of this one, and the ongoing break between the moderate Greek Old Calendarists and the the local churches of Greece and Constantinople.

    I did not know that Putin sat in the imperial throne during services attended by the Athonites. If that is true, then the deal is done and it just has to play itself out.

    Russia does have a lot of influence in Eastern and Central Europe but there are many there who are hedging their bets. It’s a squirrely little area over there. I still get FB messages from people I “met” over there a couple of decades ago. No one knows what to do exactly. Hearts divided. But as the article indicates, Orthodox hearts are Orthodox hearts.

    Conflict with Turkey, as the article indicates, I think may be inevitable vis a vis Russia. But it should be put off as long as possible. Erdogan’s plans for a neo-Ottoman Islamic Empire more directly interfere with Western interests for the moment. The West should bear the lion’s share of the brunt of the coming conflict. It is not that far off. If you have the means to relocate to less strategically significant regions of the United States, or abroad, I suggest you might want to consider planning for that contingency. Sunni Islam will likely unite and the resulting conflict with the West will be very ugly.

    If the West is smart, and its not at the moment but certainly might improve depending on the results of the next election and the wisdom of whomever is elected, they will cease playing hardball with Eastern Europe and China and focus on the Islamic problem more intently. They might even want to partner up in some way with Russia to aid in the recovery of oil reserves in the Siberian and Far East regions. America is still a technological leader but the Chinese and Japanese are also quite good at these things so America has no time to lose in getting smart, waking up, and smelling the coffee.

    The other thing to appreciate here is that though Germany is growing ever more powerful, the Germans have a sense of history and know where any East-West wars will be fought. That is enough to align their interests with making Russia feel like it is secure in its sphere. That is all the room Russia needs.

    This thing is really over except for everyone playing out their parts. It is like a chess match between old masters. Everyone else looking at the board may thing that there is going to be a long, hard, fought out match ahead. It goes on for some time. But suddenly, one of the masters sees something that concerns him. He thinks for awhile. Then, he concedes.

    He already knows the possible permutations and can see where it is all leading, inevitably.

    Sooner or later, leaders around the world are going to wake up and start lining up. I’m glad that things have progressed as far as they have on Athos, assuming that the writer is correct about what happened up there.


    There is one thing that is clear without having to be said but I will say it anyway: The article assumes a Western progressive-liberal ideological perspective as normative. This is a false worldview and is being discredited more and more as time goes by. It is not inevitable or the end of history or any such nonsense. It is, instead, sterile and weak, a deathstyle, not a lifestyle. That is why the West is going to suffer all that it will and has suffered all that it has during this era. The West chose poorly.

  5. Gail Sheppard says

    I had dinner with a “cowboy” last night who has led some pretty impressive military operations. He says he has reason to believe that martial law will be imposed by the Administration over an orchestrated emergency, which will stall the election if the democratic party is not going to be the clear winner.

    I got to thinking about last November, when the military closed down LAX’s flight path over the ocean (a significant closure) for a “top secret military operation,” later explained as something innocuous. I forget the subsequent reason. Something about testing a satellite, I believe. There were impressive streaks of light to give credence to the story; however, if that were indeed the explanation, and they shared it with everyone after the fact, why it would it have to be top secret in the first place? Edward’s Air Force Base is always testing things like this and they normally don’t close a busy flight path to do it. Some suggested at the time (information that was purportedly leaked), that the military was practicing how to deploy troops quickly. . . into LA. Why????

    Over the past two years, other peculiar things have happened at LAX. Click on the link below and tell me if this isn’t a little weird AND alarming. If I were going to manufacture a national “emergency,” shutting down the computers at LAX, with a colorful backstory like the U.S. is “under attack,” would certainly do it. “Though the exact technical causes are not known, the spy plane’s altitude and route apparently overloaded a computer system called ERAM, which generates display data for air-traffic controllers. Back-up computer systems also failed.”

    Why am I sharing this now? Because I believe there is some major maneuvering going on at the highest level, with global implications. Putin is playing his hand. What other hands are being played? I am feeling more and more that the powers-that-be (in this country and abroad) have an agenda that is not entirely “American,” i.e. in our best interest as a nation. This New World Order stuff is not specifically tied to Obama, et al.; even Bush was fond of the idea so it seems to be an “elite” thing, as opposed to a Democrat or GOP thing. I’m not one of the “elite” and I don’t want a level playing field when it comes to global events. I want to remain a resident of the most powerful country in the world and I sense that some would give that away, if it benefited them.

    There is a silent party here, with a very short list of members, who want control. Hillary needs to be the clear winner in this election. (Even if she is, I worry for that woman, as “they” may take her out. She does not look well to me.) If the election becomes further in doubt (don’t believe the polls), they will go to Plan B. If Plan B is martial law, you can kiss your guns good-bye and possibly the freedoms we enjoy on the Internet, i.e. the means we have to communicate and mobilize.

    NOTE; I included these specific articles, because they were the first to come up in GOOGLE. These incidences were WIDELY reported at the time, by various news sources, which is why I remember the stories so vividly. As you know I was living in CA at the time, 20 minutes from LAX. If you don’t like a source I used, find another one.

    • Gregory Manning says

      There is every reason to be concerned. What you are talking about are called “false flags” and they pop up everywhere. All of the Middle East wars were instigated through false flags. Ukraine’s Maidan revolution was a false flag. Any time any kind of revolution crops up (Brexit being the rare exception) you should suspect a false flag. Vigilant skepticism is, and should be, the order of the day. Don’t believe any “breaking news” topic until you’ve read as many sources as you can. It usually takes a week for the truth to rise to the surface. Regrettably, western MSM routinely get it wrong and end up with egg on their faces. The internet must be protected at all costs. Information is the foil to disinformation and the devil is the father of lies. There are a plethora of alternative media available. Look for them and read as many as you can. The more view points you have to hand the greater the likelihood you can discern the truth.
      I’m afraid Hillary Clinton is, in fact, one of the elites. As citizens, we’re pretty much cornered, but it’s not over yet.

      • Gregory Manning says

        Here’s an article that addresses the issue(s). Read the comments (not the ones which begin with or include mocking/insulting variations of any political candidates name). Some take issue with elements of the author’s views but nobody doubts the major premises.

        See. It’s everywhere. That’s why you have to read carefully before jumping to conclusions. It’s a lot of work, I know.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Gregory, thank you for responding. I understand about “false flags.”

          The story about the Russian spy plane is “false,” but it will be an important story to resurrect when they (not the Russians) really do take out the computers at LAX to justify the “false” story that we’re under attack and need to institute martial law.

          In contrast, shutting down the flight path at LAX is true, but the conclusions that were drawn are “false.”.

          * * *
          Friday, November 06, 2015
          LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Mysterious maneuvers over the Pacific are forcing a change in Los Angeles International Airport landings late at night, meaning noise for thousands of people in the flight path.

          Instead of landing from the east over Inglewood, planes begin flying from the west and over the ocean to keep noise levels down, but due to secret military operations, the airspace over the Pacific is closed to incoming flights for the next week.

          “We clearly understand that neighbors and communities east of the airport will experience noise and we apologize for that,” said Nancy Castles, LAX public relations director.

          The military is not saying what exactly is causing the change, and LAX claims it’s also in the dark. Castles said all they know is planes can’t be flying at low altitudes to our west.

          SIX YEARS AGO, ABC7 CAMERAS CAPTURED A MILITARY OPERATION IN DOWNTOWN LA. Helicopters were seen swooping between high-rises, close enough that residents were able to see armed soldiers in camouflage outside their window.

          Authorities claimed it was part of a training exercise designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments and to prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployment.

          What’s going on this week is a mystery.

          “And plus if it’s a military thing it’s a good thing, that means they’re making it safer for us so I wouldn’t let it bother me,” said Steve Devosion of Inglewood. “I’d be more interested in them not doing something about what’s going on than them doing something about what’s going on.”
          * * *

          I don’t believe it is a good thing, do you?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Then there is Jade Helm 15, conducted over an 8 week period, starting on July 15, 2015 and ending on September 15, 2015. 1,200 troops (Army Green Beret, infantry, Navy SEALS & Air Force special ops), gather in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Utah. What did they do? They assumed either an “occupying” or a “resistance forces” role. This is the first time they ever did something like this on this scale.

        I tend to believe the most obvious reason for things. In this case, they are training to occupy places in the United States, because they are PLANNING to occupy places in the United States. Why would the military need to invade the United States? I can think of only one: martial law.

        Hilary Clinton has become a weak link to the elite. She is not performing as they believed she would. She has made some serious mistakes and the disenchanted (an alarming 40%) could go either way this election.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Gail, you just took the red pill. Don’t know if i should be happy or sad for you. I’ll give you this: you got guts! Good job. You are out of the Matrix.


    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, your cowboy friend may be on to something. Just the other day Julian Assange’s lawyer in London met with an unfortunate “accident” caused by falling before a train. Six weeks ago Seth Rich was walking home from his girlfriend’s house in Georgetown. He was the victim of a “robbery.”

      Last week Trump was supposedly 10 points behind President-presumptive Clinton. Now he’s dead even. If it looks like he’s going to win I’d say all bets are off.

      • Pat Reardon says

        Yesterday George wrote, “Last week Trump was supposedly 10 points behind President-presumptive Clinton. Now he’s dead even.?

        I have not watched the news yet today, George, but, as of last night, your assessment sure looked improbable.

        • George Michalopulos says
          • Reality Checker says

            Citing this or that outlier while disregarding established poll aggregators (done by analysts with a solid, proven track record over many election cycles of averaging polls, in some cases [] weighted using sound, evidence-based methodologies) is just one example of the rather global dishonesty and occasionally quite reckless disregard of facts that I’m concerned about in your posts.

            RealClear Politics
            Five Thirty Eight

            What’s the point of using your blog to vault what amounts to disinfo, spurious propaganda, into cyberspace? The point appears to be that, with respect to many topics, you wish to give increasingly strong evidence of an alt-right, nativist, racialist, “white” nationalist and, occasionally, blatantly anti-Semitic (vs. both Jews and Arabs) agenda. You used to be subtle about it but not any more. One big problem is that in the process of establishing your affinity for all this you are openly associating it with Orthodox Christianity. It’s becoming impossible to think that this isn’t your conscious agenda. Encouraging and contributing to a “post-fact” environment for ideological or any other reason is, among other things, no longer Christian.

            Incidentally, to suggest, as you and some others here do, that expressing grave concern about a Trump presidency in itself indicates HRC partisanship or liberal/progressive opinions in general is probably an entirely false interpretation in most cases. It’s clear that Republicans themselves are deeply divided over this candidate for a wide variety of reasons.

            • Reality Checker says

              One big problem is that in the process of establishing your affinity for all this you are openly associating it with Orthodox Christianity.

              Should have phrased that more carefully. You’re attempting, consciously or not, to associate all of that more or less openly racist, nationalist, neo-reactionary “populism” with Orthodox Christianity. It clearly seems as if years of the collective gist of your essays and comments, taken as a whole, have been designed to appeal to the prejudices and worldview common to reactionary and NRx nativists, white supremacists and racists of many varieties. And to be clear I mean to people who consciously identify themselves as such. It is almost as though your goal was to attract such individuals to Orthodoxy — to the extent that you are even sincere about this blog’s connection to the Orthodox faith. I suppose the opposite MO is possible, and that you are trying to persuade on-the-fence Orthodox to embrace this particular form of resentment-driven populism, while nourishing and comforting those already “in the fold,” as it were. Or some ratio of both of these goals comprises your agenda.

              It seems it would be very difficult for you to plausibly deny this. Should you even want to, which at this point I doubt.

              • Michael Warren says

                I think this entire discussion evidences the liberal ignorance of and disdain for populism. It is speaking in tongues after attending a Mother Jones revival to condemn an enemy instead of accepting the failure of Western liberalism, the obsolescence and complete inadequacy of liberalism.

                Populism is a movement aimed at bourgeois restoration, even social democratic economic justice, aimed at an overthrow of the liberal establishment. It is necessarily traditionalist because liberalism has dictated nihlism from the margins in excess at the expense of working peoples. Limousined elites preaching gay rights for all simply do not address the spiritual and material needs of our time.

                Thus, insurgent populism may alloy nessarily with religious orientations and affirm traditional values, but that in no way embodies racist, intolerant, reactionary bigotry. Rather, it is a correction to failed liberalism aimed at the overthrow of its establishment for a revolutionary, traditionalist alternative. It is a rebellion against a West become Sodom and Gamorah to recover a normal, moral, economically just civilization.

                To address the polls, LA Times uses a sampling method which shows a tighter election than, say, NBC News. Rasmussen, Zogby, Reuters tend to arrive at similar trends as LA Times. CNN, CBS, YouGov, ABC tend to show an advantage to the Democrats. There is such a thing as push polling: it acts as voter suppression and tends to convince undecideds. The media has definitely evidenced a liberal bias. So talk of outliers and verbose denunciations of “wishful thinking” obfuscates the fact that we have a biased media engaged in oversampling of liberal voters to promote push polls versus a pool of polls which have traditional, sampling reflecting their results. In all of this polling, however, disatisfaction with the liberal establishment and liberal government is pronounced. Let’s go one further: as Trump becomes more conventional in campaigning and speaks more sympathetically to the working class, he rises in the polls and immunizes himself from the negatives. When he grounds his denunciations in facts and relates his policies in terms which will improve the lot of the Middle Class and includes as many as possible, he defeats Hillary at her best. If Trump were to simply stage a typical campaign, by the end of September, going into the debates, he would lead Hillary, because the scandals and the truth are outing at inauspicious times for her with her being a person who is already viewed by the electorate as a pariah.

          • Reality Checker says

            Princeton Election Consortium is another gold-standard source for poll tracking and election analysis, if reality matters to some of you more than alt-right fantasy and paranoia.

    • Gail,

      I would relax if I were you. If I had to bet on the election today, I would say Trump would win it if it were a fair election held in November, all things being equal and progressing on their present trajectories into early November. But who can really say? Events unfold from day to day. There could be October surprises. Who knows.

      As to a Federal government instituting martial law in this country, that may seem conceivable from the perspective of someone used to thinking in terms of big cities, but it is utterly impractical looking at it from flyover country. There are more guns in US than people. No one is going to “say goodbye to their guns”.

      I’ve heard of similar scenarios being bandied about on the internet and I doubt that anything like that is in the works or, if it were, that it would unfold as anything other than a disaster for the perpetrators. Much of the American South has been contemplating and preparing for such a scenario for years. There would be a civil war such as no country has ever seen in human history if what you are suggesting were to be instigated.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Misha, Trump may not be ABLE to win, if they thwart the election process.

        I agree that it is impractical that they would be able to impose martial law over “flyover country,” which is WHY THEY PRACTICED in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Utah.

        We’re also in agreement that no one is going to say good-bye to their guns and you’re right, again, that it would result in the mother of all civil wars.

      • Michael Warren says

        I think secession should be considered as a states right to precisely avoid civil war and depolarize the nation. That way people could live in the countries which best represented them and people could actually stop trying to coerce others into doing things their way. It would promote discussion instead of blackmail as public policy and result in republican, democratic outcomes for all.

        • Michael Bauman says

          It was a reasonable alternative the first time it was tried. Saw how much reason prevailed.

          If ND, SD, NE, KS, MO, OK, AK, TX, MS, LA, AL all seceded at once under a common government it might stand a chance. But the feds could still starve us out.

          • Michael Warren says

            Nebraska by itself could probably feed all of America with the advances we are seeing in agriculture.

            • Michael Bauman says

              What you are missing is the interdependence each state has on the rest. Without a solid political will and enough strategic control all the Feds have to do is shut down the roads and the airports and it’s over.

              For instance if KS left with out MO the split city of Kansas City would be a weak point. The states I mentioned would have enormous resources strategic control of the Mississippi River and direct access to both Canada and Mexico as well as significant presence in the Gulf of Mexico. But no control of the airspace, the schools or the media or money. The economy is a bunch of digital blips in government controlled computers. You have to realize nothing is local any more.

              As to modern agriculture: if farmers are using GMO plants and seeds they are toast without a supply. Modern agriculture is neither local nor sustainable without industrial inputs the feds would control. Suddenly trying to go back to the old ways of farming would at best cut the agricultural output in half if not more.

              It might have some chance of survival if both Canada and Mexico supported it AND the Washington DC government did not try to suppress it plus large scale support from other major countries which would come at a high price. Highly unlikely.

              Nor would the political will to maintain such a change last long. The propaganda battle would be incredibly one-sided with the mass media, the government schools etc giving a constant anti-secession drumbeat. Schools are not local either.

              Even without such propaganda the political will would evaporate as the fake but comfortable “standard of living” collapsed.

              All the Feds would have to do is wait. Probably would not last much more than a year or two.

              No, political action is not a viable option. We have ceeded control over too much of our earthly lives to the oligarchy and we would have to suffer too much to reclaim that control, if it is even possible, that it would not happen. We have been too throughly trained that suffering is bad and unnecessary. We are weak.

              The answer lies in living authentically Christian lives based on single mindedness toward God, ascetic endeavors, giving alms with a merciful heart, glorifying God in thanksgiving and repentance. Embrace the suffering of the Cross.

              Tough to do, but far more attainable, practical and real.

              As Chesterton said it is not that Christianity has failed, it is that Christianity has never been tried.

              But we know his statement to be untrue. We have thousands of monastics, saints and elders who have tried it and demonstrated the fruits of the Spirit. Thousands more known only to God.

              What is to keep us from personally seceeding from the nihilist/consumer tryanny that is the foundation and substance of our political economy?

              Death or life? Christ or the world?

              Those are the questions I am faced with. It is all too easy for me to take the road that leads to oblivion, madness and death.

              God forgive.

              • Michael Warren says

                Modern agricultural methods don’t need GMO technology to succeed. Why wouldn’t peaceful compacts and treaties be possible between new nations and the older one? Canada and the US, both once British America, seem to have worked it out.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                You’re right, Michael. “The answer lies in living authentically Christian lives based on single mindedness toward God, ascetic endeavors, giving alms with a merciful heart, glorifying God in thanksgiving and repentance. Embrace the suffering of the Cross.”

                I feel so inept on this front. I am not a “pious” person, by any stretch of the imagination. My prayers have no power, except through the grace of God. He has been VERY gracious, but I do not deserve it and I know it.

                I am genuinely afraid for my daughter, Jessica. How do you prepare a 24 year-old girl for what is to come?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Have her follow the example of her mother. Our wicked generation must pass but as long as there is “even one righteous man” God will not abandon His creation.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Gail, allow God to take care of your daughter. Given the attitude and proclivities if my son and the current political client, I fully expect that my son will die fighting. I can do nothing to protect him.

                  I pray and I know that he is in Jesus’ hands. I can’t do any better.

                • “I am genuinely afraid for my daughter, Jessica. How do you prepare a 24 year-old girl for what is to come?”

                  Though it really doesn’t make much difference to me, not even really clinging to my own skin, honestly . . . probably the ride will be easier with Trump than with Hillary, depending on what either the American people decide, or what the powers that be decide the American people should decide.

                  I’m not saying that it matters that much, necessarily. Trump can probably keep a nuclear confrontation at bay longer than Clinton can. That’s the impression I get. The reason is that he will deal with Russia and China (“deal” as in “negotiate”) and will likely deal firmly, but calmly, with ISIS. I can’t say the same for Clinton. Her judgment is too skewed by the money/power thing and the interest group power politics thing. She looks at Russia and China, and at ISIS, through different eyes than Trump does.

                  Trump sees other actors on the stage. He knows he has to share the stage, he just covets the lead role. But he can allow VV Putin to have a supporting lead role in his own sphere and he can let the Chinese be Chinese. That’s what they’re going to do anyway.

                  With ISIS, Trump knows that he has a lot of Muslims here in America, but that the real Sunni Islamofascist problem is in Europe. It’s a powderkeg which is beginning to explode slowly. It needs to be managed. There has to be a gradual recognition that radical Sunni Islam is incompatible with coexisting in the West. Not a one day or one year realization, but a process that separates out those with whom we can live from those with whom we can’t live unless and until they are converted to Shiite Islam or Christianity.

                  That’s the game, make that kind of thing happen before it blows up bigger and broader than it already has. Every Sunni here is a potential threat in the long term. It’s the ideology. It conflicts so severely with everything they see around them that if they hold onto it it makes them – mujahidin.

                  So what you have to do is wean them off of it with Shiism, if possible. Or, preferably, Christianity. Christianity may be a leap too far for some of them. But Shiism, for reasons I have already gone into, resolves with Christianity in its eschatology, unlike Sunni Islam. What I mean is, Shiite Islam is less likely to conflict with Christianity in the short term than Sunni Islam. It is preferable. Christianity can be explained in terms of Shiite Islam, but not Sunni Islam. It’s the Mahdi thing. The Persians gave themselves a way out of hell, so to speak.

                  Hillary understands nothing of this. Her main advisor is Saudi. Huma Abedin. Hillary only sees misogynist Islam as one thing, bully Russia as one thing – – it’s all a Male Borg to her, symbolized by Donald Trump. Ticking time bomb, if ever there were one.

                  She will strike and ask questions later if it gets hairy. She will figure she can cover her butt if she makes the wrong call. OR, she will choke and fold at the wrong time, like she did at Benghazi, figuring she can cover her butt.

                  This isn’t a dress rehearsal. At State, she had someone above her. In the White House, she had Bill above her. Now, she has God above her, if she even believes in Him?Her/It.

                  But if God’s a “He”, wouldn’t “He” be part of the Borg?


                  If God’s a “She”, well, God only knows where that would lead her.

                  But I don’t want to go there.

              • Secession is an outdated concept, a trumpet blared by pundit buffoons. The concept fell apart when the US military bombed Japan in the 40s. The idea that Texas would develop its own military and get protection from the US mainland nuclear arsenal is one of massive humor among any thoughtful person. The people that buy into such garbage as secession are typical propaganda eaters too easily fired up by the likes of Alex Jones or even Glenn Beck maybe. Guys that make their money getting people riled up about such madness.

                United we stand, divided we fall.

                E pluribus Unum.

                One nation, under God. From the pledge friends…

                Secession would last for about a week until the seceding state realized they forgot about x, y, and z. The neighboring states and the nation would not have any trade agreements and when the oil pipelines running crude into Houston got shutoff and rerouted to refineries elsewhere, Texas would have to declare war against a state protected by the other 48, or a state two states away. Damn you can’t make up …. this stupid.

                The proposal for secession in the US is a proposal for civil war. And it is only done by the mad, the hateful, the fools who want to pay Alex Jones for his dribble.

                No good American boy who recited the pledge would ever talk such garbage.

                • Michael Warren says

                  Spoken with American exceptionalist pride.

                  There is not one America today, but many Americas: America is fractured. The political establishment is out of touch with the needs of the various Americas and acts through coercion to impose a liberal social engineering, statist, one size fits all solution to further divide people. In the end, that will cause civil unrest.

                  Secession is an adult solution to a political reality which cannot put the pieces back together. It is a mature way to justly respect all segments of the population, a means of political enfranchisement for all the states. It is a brave resolution to respect all parties, their views, their liberty. And if done properly, it is simply a means of establishing new nations which will interact the way the US and Canada interact. It is a preventative measure to preempt revolution and civil war and promote political enfranchisement, social justice, peace.

                  Self determination is held as a fundamental principle of international law for all peoples. That principle has only gained more weight and incumbency since the 1940s. So I believe that those who broke America should not scream about how exceptional they are in having divided a nation to then bully most Americans into accepting their liberal rule and policy vision when most Americans disagree with the direction of the nation and have done so for decades.

                  Insulting, dictating, demanding liberal social transformation instead of listening, cooperating respecting large segments of society and regions of the country is precisely how we have gotten to this point. Here we have a liberal doubling down on an exceptionally incompetent and repressive policy position. Speaking at the alienated will only accelerate the process of national dissolution.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Yeah, but there would be governing bodies to set up (executive, legislative, judicial), some sort of military and regulatory agencies. We lose all that federal funding: Medicare, SSI, grants, disability, educational and healthcare, etc. I doubt we’d get much cooperation. It would something that would take years to negotiate, if it’s even possible. We’d then have to establish ourselves around the globe. All these trade deals would work against us and we’d be even MORE vulnerable at our boarders. – We have to think outside of the box, become experts in our respective areas and use a divide an conquer approach. The Elite is used to operating unhindered. We have to do what we can to see what they’re doing (before it’s done), figure out how it negatively impacts different demographics and make some noise. People love reading conspiracy theories and we could certainly give them fodder for conversation! – That “cowboy” tells me there are people who are training the “resistance,” as we speak. They are currently focusing on snipers. They are THAT sure martial law is going to be declared. He may be just a crazy “cowboy,” but . . . maybe not.

              • Michael Warren says

                Gun control advocates often tell me that the Second Amendment could never empower an American citizenry having uninfringed access and ownership of small arms to overcome a tyrannical government in DC with atom bombs, space weapons, NSA surveillance, and fighter jets and tanks. I simply respond that the Viet Cong and NVA seemed to manage. And that tends to quiet their anti civil rights propaganda.

                • Rivet Counter says

                  Over the course of the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong were effectively destroyed, and in 1972 alone the NVA lost more Soviet-supplied armor than the Wehrmacht ever fielded in WWII. Congratulations, you shut up someone even more ignorant of military history than you with a bogus example. Well done.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    Last I checked, there was no longer an American colonial government in South Vietnam. There wasn’t even a South Vietnam. And we have all seen the footage of the NVA seizing Saigon, greeted by the Vietnamese people as liberators.

                    So I guess in your alternate universe, the US won the Vietnam war. But the historical reality is that Vietnamese citizens armed with small arms, employing small unit tactics defeated the USA and achieved their political goals and affirmed their political will, defeating American colonialism and the American armed forces. If you win 100 battles yet lose the war, you are the loser.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Asymmetrical warfare seems to always favor the “weaker” force. But the Viet Cong had a realitively safe zone and a great deal of support. Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the Chinese rebels did not fare so well.

                  One must also consider the political will and ability to be absolutly ruthless. Will the US military be that way if martial law is imposed? We have a big country. Even if ruthlessness prevails will the be able to really control all if it? How much will do those in opposition have to leave comfort?

                  Of course the most likely happening by far is that the US will continue down the path of destruction until it just falls apart as a national entity. That is the course all Empires have followed. The inbred, hedonist elite become exhausted and dissipated. Outside military pressure sometimes results or hastens the demise.

                  Of course with nukes floating around …?

                  Come Lord Jesus!

                  • Michael Warren says

                    Well, the British had the absolute advantage and a sizeable Torrie complement in the thirteen colonies. In the end, the Torries ended up in Canada while the Americans obtained their own independence. And all it took was a tea tax and British gun control laws to light the spark.

  6. A little corresponding fodder. Something similar is currently brewing in Serbia.

  7. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Oh well…….”Needless to say, I am intrigued by the masterful subversion of Turkey by Putin.” Calvin and Hobbes would have a FIELD DAY with that one!

    “MASTERFUL!?!” Is this not like Judy Garland addressing Clark Gable’s photo in that 1950s movie? George is “intrigued” by Putin;s “MASTERFUL” action! Like Robin writing about Batman!

  8. Phil R. Upp says

    Will Ankara take aim at Patriarch Bartholomew?

    DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of PLC.
    By Arthur H. Hughes Aug 17, 2016 (updated: Aug 17, 2016)

    Against the background of the failed coup in Turkey and the ongoing crackdown on sympathisers of Fethullah Gülen, Ankara might take aim at the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, or try to win him, writes the US Ambassador (retired) Arthur H. Hughes.

    Arthur H. Hugues has served as US Ambassador to Yemen in 1991-1994, after which he became the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. He has also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Near East and South Asia and has held numerious other posts with the U.S. Foreign Service, including as Deputy Chief of Mission in Tel Aviv.

    At least since Mustafa Kemal’s time, Orthodox Christians in Turkey have witnessed repressions from the state. Thousands of Turkish-tongue Christians had to emigrate. In 1971, the Halki theological seminary was closed down. The dissemination of orthodox literature and missionary activities of any kind are banned. In an attempt to foster patriotism and obtain a wider support of the conservative part of society, the Turkish government tried to build relations with nationalists, most radical of whom even made several attempts at Patriarch Bartholomew! [Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople is the 270th and current Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, since November 1991.]

    It’s no wonder that such a situation induced the Patriarchate to establish close ties with the American political elite. Congregations in the US and the donations from American businesspersons of Greek origin are the main sources of income for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In its turn, Washington considers the condition of religious minority in Turkey an ace in the diplomatic game to put pressure upon Ankara. Moreover, being primus inter pares among the heads of the other Autocephalous Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople can affect the whole Orthodox world. And, obviously, the US intelligence couldn’t have missed such a chance.

    Thus, one of the members of the American-Israeli lobby in the Constantinople Patriarchate is Father Alexander Karloutsos, Public Affairs Officer close to Archbishop Demetrios. Thanks to his ties with high-level officials and Greek-American billionaires, he is basically the only person who controls the money flows from the US to the Phanar, and that gives him wide possibilities of exerting pressure upon the Ecumenical Patriarchate. On the other hand, Karloutsos is also in good relations with former CIA Director George Tenet, and with the preacher Fethullah Gülen cooperating with the American intelligence. That means the amount of financing is directly bound to how successfully the Patriarchate’s heads accomplish the tasks they receive from their US supervisors.

    Besides that, Patriarch Bartholomew personally has met with Gülen, or Hoca Efendi, as he calls him, quite a number of times. For instance, they met on 6 April 1996 to discuss the prospects of interfaith dialogue. This was before Gülen fled to the US with the assistance of the diplomat Morton Abramovitz, CIA agents Graham Fuller and George Fidas, and the above-mentioned Fr. Alexander Karloutsos.

    The Patriarch of Constantinople praised Gülen in 2012 when he took part in a meeting of Journalists and Writers’ Association (GYV) founded by the Turkish preacher. About a month before the event, the Chicago Tribune published an interview with Bartholomew in which he highly appreciated Gülen’s efforts to develop interfaith dialogue and foster intimacy among faiths “for the benefit of humankind.” Then, a week past the Association’s meeting, on 13 May 2012 in an interview dedicated to the award Bartholomew received from Roosevelt Institute, the Patriarch publicly mentioned his friendship with “Hoca Efendi” [Gülen]: “We really love him. We hope he comes back soon.” Should anyone wonder than why the Patriarch of Constantinople touched upon the inadmissibility of Muslim services in Hagia Sophia only on 11 July – a month after they had begun – and just 4 days before the attempted coup?

    Does the Turkish government realize its failure after the recent coup attempt? Would they try to win the Orthodox patriarch over or crackdown on him? Obviously, it would be much easier for Erdogan to cut off the foreign financing of the tiny Turkish Orthodox community to get rid of it for good. On the other hand, the cooperation with its own Orthodox Patriarch could give Turkey new possibilities to improve its reputation and expand its influence in the Orthodox world. Should the authorities recognize the Ecumenical status of the Patriarchate of Constantinople at last?

    Unfortunately, it would be extremely hard to ground such a decision at this moment. Instead of consolidating Orthodox Churches, the Council held in June on Crete simply alienated them. We saw Patriarch Bartholomew incapable of uniting the Orthodox world. Moreover, it turned out that his influence doesn’t affect even a half of Orthodox Christians! The reasons are his authoritarianism, pertinacity and hostility towards the Russian Orthodox Church.

    Such a fact diminishes the Patriarchate’s value for those in power in Turkey. And Patriarch Bartholomew seems to have not that much time to attempt to change the situation.

    • The Phanar has been in Washington’s pocket for quite some time and allied with Western powers against their own Orthodox people for longer. Moreover, the Phanar is more of a puppet than a player. Pope Francis and the West were behind the Crete thing. Pat. Bartholomew was merely their guy on the ground.

      It makes little difference. Real Orthodoxy is increasingly healthy and ecumenist “Orthodoxy” is on its last legs. The only sure thing is that God’s justice will progress.

      • Michael Warren says

        Turkish accession to the Eurasian Union will mean a fairer situation for Christians in Turkey, akin to the situation in Kazahstan, and an end to Phanariot Uniatism and a future of Orthodox Patriarchs in Istanbul: as Russia, not the Vatican and the US/EU, will decide who occupies the patriarchal throne. That will mean an Athonite ascendency, an end to Ecumenism, New Calendarism, Renovationism, and final break with the heretical AHEPA freemasons abroad. The times they are achangin’ and the lunatic fringe 1%, pew and organ, papal pedophile lounge suit gang of Eastern Rite Protestants in the USA will soon be banished into the marches of condemned heretics to celebrate their rejection of Orthodoxy with their Uniate, papist and Anglican co-religionists. Renovationists have much to fear. The Orthodox have a cautious glimmer of hope to embrace.

        • I doubt that the EU will admit an Islamic dictatorship to membership in their group. Erdogan’s recent (staged?) coup is being followed by many hard-line actions against those who don’t support him personally. Christians and insufficiently ardent Muslims are being harassed, with the ever-present threat of violence/death in the air, even if not explicitly threatened.
          (side note: if the Schengen borders aren’t reinstated, Europe is doomed much sooner than most of us would be willing to believe. By “doomed,” I mean the Western values of human rights that most of us grew up with.)

          • Michael Warren says

            The Eurasian Union is Russian led and currently includes Belarus’, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kirgizhstan. Erdogan has expressed an interest in joining it and the Shanghai Treaty Organization.

    • Timmylemur says

      It’s noteworthy that the magazine of “Leadership 100” made the following observation back in January of this year:

      “The Gulen movement and its allies in Turkish government – whom the Church relied heavily upon – are on the run in the Turkey and around the world, as the Erdogan government has clearly decided to eliminate Gulen and his followers as a political force in Turkey.”

  9. Kelly Williams says

    I would challenge the entire premise of this essay. I would say the Church protects Russia more so than Russia protects the Church.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Amen, Bro’.

    • Gregory Manning says

      If the Church is protecting the State and the State is protecting the Church that would seem to indicate a form of “symphonia”, yes?

      • I just love a good symphony, especially when Orthodoxy is involved, as it is in Russia.
        Was just referred to this website.
        Thank you for the thoughts and comments.

      • Gregory,

        It’s more than protection, it is synergia as well. They work together for the public good and the propagation of Orthodoxy, which are synonymous.

        • Gregory Manning says

          I should have placed quotation marks at either end of my use of “protection/protecting” to make it clear that I was responding to Kelly Williams’ use of the same word. Better yet, I should have begun by writing “In response to Kelly Williams……”.

  10. Terry Myles says

    “Symphoia” is polite way of saying that the Church is a willing tool of the state, yes?

    • Michael Warren says

      Symphonia is the concept where the Church and state act as co-equal in the socialization and public consciousness of the citizenry to maintain an Orthodox Christian state improving in an Orthodox Christian civilization which acts in Orthodox Christian policy domestically and internationally.

      Kinda like the West’s alliance with secular, liberal multiculturalism/Neo Pagan-Neo Atheism, but with a basis in Truth in the GOD-man JESUS CHRIST. So symphonia with degenerate, radical, liberal fascists/dictators from Woodstock or symphonia affirming the Truth in CHRIST JESUS. Western civilization vs. Russian civilization. Sodom & Gamorah 2.0 vs. New Zion.

    • Gregory Manning says

      Depends on what the state is trying to accomplish.

    • No Terry,

      It is a blatant way of saying that the Church and State are agents of one another and that they each have an absolute Faith in an omnipotent God to guide them, a faith which democrats infallibly lack.

      • Terry Myles says

        A Patriarch and a former KGB Colonel “playing” each other does not a symphonia make. The 21st century Russian Federation and the “Third Rome”are not the Byzantium of old.

        • George Michalopulos says

          That’s historically illiterate. Besides the fact that Putin was at most a mid=level functionary in East Germany (because he was fluent in German) the fact remains that it’s the job of bishops to meet with secular leaders. Have you ever catalogued all the photos of the EP and Erdogan or Khamenei of Iran? Or Pope John Paul II and Yassir Arafat? These types of meetings have copious precedents, the first being Pope Leo the Great meeting with Attila the Hun.

          • Michael Warren says

            Putin was part of a faction in the KGB which advocated an Orthodox Christian, traditional transformation of the Soviet Union. It is amazing how stale Cold War propaganda and utter ignorance of the late (even the Soviet Union since the WWII era) Soviet state remains pervasive. Grabbe’s grave has been robbed and he speaks undead among us.

        • Terry,

          Putin served in KGB but led FSB. Get up to speed. He’s quite good with media, which was his forte in East Germany. And he “ain’t playin'”. Russia is larger and more powerful than Byzantium could ever have been. It is not as economically powerful as the United States, of course, at the present moment. However, it has powerful friends as well. And the bear has nuclear teeth which, again, Byzantium never dreamed of.

          Insofar as one can be manifested given present political realities, Russia is an Orthodox Empire.

          • Misha, you have got to be kidding. If Russia is an Orthodox Christian Empire the gates of hell have prevailed.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Johnkal, have you been to Russia recently? It’s possible that in my bewilderment I’m wrong but the stark differences between the present cloacal culture which predominates in America and the resurgent Orthodoxy of Rusia cannot be more apparent.

              If the people in Russia are all pious hypocrites then that’s between them and God. All I know is what I saw. The spiritual poverty I now feel has led me to the doorstep of despondency.

              • George, I have not been to Russia lately-12 years ago. Maybe my impression of Russia is distorted by the media but considering the institutionalized doping of athletes and the incredibly high rate of abortion I do not view Russia as Holy Russia nor do I consider it an Orthodox Empire. I pray that positive change is on the horizon.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Johnkal, I respect your observations but it seems we are talking past each other. Here’s basically what animates my own (sinfully positive observation:

                  1. The major criticism of Russia’s resurgence and Putin’s strong-man leadership from the secular sphere is informed by the “undemocratic” nature of Russia’s governance.

                  2. My observation of the resurgence of Orthodoxy in Russia was based on the massive reconstruction projects that have taken place since the fall of the Soviet Union.

                  Allow me to elaborate on both.

                  1. It is risible for us in the West –particularly America–to sing the praises of “democracy” when the rug of republican governance is being pulled out from under us as we speak. Let me give you just a few examples.

                  a. After seven years and at least 25 separate statements made by the President that he had no authority to grant executive amnesty to millions of illegal aliens he did just that in November of last year. (He even had the audacity to say that “he wasn’t a king” one of those times!)

                  b. Hillary Clinton won two of the early primaries against Bernie Sanders by a coin toss and a flip of the cards. Primaries in which he had the most votes.

                  c. The present governor of Virginia, the thug Terry McAuliffe granted a mass amnesty to 16,000 felons. He was overruled by the Supreme Court of Virginia but a few weeks later, he did it anyway.

                  Does any of this sound democratic to you? Why don’t we just cut out the middleman and declare the President to be a Czar and the governors feudal lords?

                  2. My own observations about the massive construction of churches in Russia is colored by my own experiences in building projects in Orthodox churches here in the USA. I’ve talked to other parish council presidents/senior wardens throughout the US and the story is the same: it’s like pulling teeth.

                  Having said that, I honestly don’t know where the Russians are getting the money to build, rebuild or otherwise refurbish churches but I say “more power to them.” Even this misses the point however, which is this: these churches are not museums dedicated to preserving the past, but active, functioning parish churches. They are full. You can get all the money you want from this oligarch or that mafioso but that’s not going to fill up these churches. And they were full. Even on the weekdays baptisms, moliebens, confessions, what-have-you were taking place. Every day. As I will write about our trip to Diyeevo, we attended liturgy at 5:30 in the morning. There were at least 2,000 people there. And Diyeevo is in the middle of nowhere.

                  Just some points to consider.

                  • Yes, Russia is coming around. Orthodoxy does not have to be hyper-ascetic and morose. And Russians are not naturally so anyway. But they are naturally Orthodox to the extent fallen man can be. That is the product of 1000 years. They will re-acclimate to their natural habitat, and quickly.

                    One-eighth of the inhabitable surface of the earth is a good start, don’t you think? Think of the possibilities in China vis a vis Cha’an Buddhism, a close cousin. I’ve got a guy working on that angle right now, it has legs. You firm up the Russian and Chinese partnership and it’s a wrap. The West and Sunni Islam can settle their business on their own dime and rebuild after whatever destruction awaits.

                    Nonetheless, Marana ‘tha!

            • johnkal,

              No doubt the gates of hell have prevailed against Protestantism. But it was a creation of the evil one in the first place, as was Roman Catholicism. And, as we know, Protestantism is legion, thousands of cults at last count.

            • Michael Warren says

              Russophobic nonsense.

        • Michael Warren says

          The Byzantium of old is not the Byzantium of old if one confines it to some orthophobic, russophobic template.

          A KGB Russian Orthodox populist and a populist Russian Orthodox churchman cooperating in nation building does a symphonia make in the here and now. (It never fails to amuse me how people who rail against the KGB have NOTHING to say about CIA/Mi6/MOSSAD, etc. involvement in influencing the various churches they hitch their russophobic wagons to!)

          The RF today is the only emerging Christian nation which is emerging with an Orthodox identity where Church and state cooperate in shaping the culture and civilization. That is symphonia.

          Russo-Byzantinism defined by a first millennium template to validate twenty-first century symphonia is as apt as applying a First Temple template to validate modern Orthodox ecclesiology.

          • M. Stankovich says

            No, that is not symphonia. You and Scott are so off the mark in your understanding of what Aristotle and the Holy Fathers intended by this term it is embarassing. What you mean is what Rodney King meant after that ass–whooping he took at the hands of the LAPD: “Can’t we all just get along?”

            • Michael Warren says

              I don’t take lectures from russophobic frauds who consistently have proven they don’t know what they are talking about.

              I actually went to school and got an education.

              It was Plato in the Republic who advanced the idea of the Philosopher King…

              • M. Stankovich says

                Provide me a quote, if you would be so kind (hint: “symphonia” first appeared in the writings of Aristotle. Get a refund for that “education” of yours).

                • Michael Warren says

                  I wasn’t educated at a Renovationist think tank like Crestwood – THANK GOD! – but at the University of Michigan after being accepted to Harvard and Stanford so I don’t engage in the unread, liberal stupidity you do.

                  Addressing preChristian conceptions of symphonia one appreciates the concept of the Philosopher King versus a Republic and how the state is to act in conjunction with the divine order. When one argues Plato did not precede Aristotle in this model of political development, it is a glaring reason why such an ignoramus is neither a competent nor agreeable interlocutor. READ THE REPUBLIC or the Readers Digest version if Hooked on Phonics hasn’t gotten you to that level of reading comprehension yet. You are a buffoon unworthy of my time and I won’t legitimize your stupid, liberal talking points. If you don’t know the fundamentals and have a proven track record of fabrications and obnoxious discourse, you are not to be taken seriously and only denied a forum to spew your unread ignorance.

                  So go and see if Crestwood can get you into a remedial PoliSci program at CUNY or something. You are a ridiculous poster child for its second rate education. Whatever cereal box school conferred a doctorate upon you needs to be subject to a RICO investigation. Smash the beetles! Smash ’em! Cuh, cuh, cuh…

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    And so is Mr. Warren’s oblique eau de faggotry statement that he will not – because he cannot – be providing any credible citations for anything he has said contradicts me or constitutes “fraud” on my part. And I can promise he did not learn this at the U of M, and he is acutely aware of every aspect of my education. He has “settled” this matter previously; he has proven” me a liar & deceiver; blah, blah, blah. Bullshit.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      The Crestwood, Renovationist midlife crisis continues.

                      You fabricated statistics to float russophobic agitprop. You were caught redhanded when real numbers and facts were provided. Thereafter you forfeited all legitimacy. You are a meta-educated fraud who lacks all scruple. No one can take you seriously. Even the people who believe that dated, Eastern Rite Protestant nonsense you traffic in, because you don’t even do that mid-twentieth century, liberal fad justice.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Michael Warren, you give me all the legitimacy and credibility I will ever need. Mr. Michalopulos “invited” you back and you are like a fish on a hook since your return, squirming, twisting, bleating through your boring catalog of silly insults, hanging on my every word, simply unable to move on to attempt to victimize someone more on your level. “I will not be lectured to by a [fill in the foolishness].” Well, apparently, yes you will. And you should have gone somewhere other than the U of M because you are woefully and inadequately prepared to deal with me. I can wait you out, friend. And I have the same message for your cohort. If you know I have erred in matters relating to Greek philosophy, Patristics, the Septuagint, New Testament Greek, Orthodox Theology, human medicine, genetics, or psychiatry, I invite your correction, and I will openly admit my error. I will not answer any longer to faggotry.

            • When was Aristotle baptized and why should we care what he thought “symphonia” means?

              The Church coins its own terms of art to describe its own mysteries and qualities. It is not dependent on the meaning that pagan antiquity gave to terms, nor is Christianity a misbegotten form of Plotinism (Neoplatonism), but rather vice versa. That is one meme in the West that seems to be dying a slow agonizing death.

              There is an obvious possibility that you people are overlooking: That Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, is the definitive, literal Truth and that everything else is composed of shadows or derivatives. I know it sounds too good to be true

              – – but it is true.

              • M. Stankovich says


                Maybe you can quote me the Patristic source(s) for the term συμφωνία. Perhaps you are simply unaware of the fluency, influence, and essential reliance on the ancient philosophy of Aristotle, frequently verbatim, contained in the writings of Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, Symeon the New Theologian, and St. John of Damascus? Apparently, these greatest of Holy Fathers, while not the least bit interested in the baptism of Aristotle, were quite interested in what had been revealed to him – Basil the Great especially- as noted by Sts. Chrysostom & Gregory the Theologian, for his ability to debate with the philosophers of his day and bring them to the Source of ancient revelation. How long do you predict I should wait in “shadows & derivatives” before I answer this question for you?

                • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                  I must confess bewilderment at the kerfuffle here of late concerning the religio-political concept of symphonia. As I indicated two decades ago in The Price of Prophecy: Orthodox Churches on Peace, Freedom, and Security (2d rev. ed.; Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1995), pp. 27-29, that notion of Church and state cooperation appeared early in Byzantium. However, the Epanagoge (“Introduction”) of St. Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople, epitomized the symphonic ideal in the 9th century.

                  To be sure, implementing that ideal was no mean feat, and one may argue, as I do, that it has been honored more in the breach than in practice. One may even contend, albeit with a much steeper burden of proof, that symphonia has amounted, historically, to little more than a quixotic notion. Still, for Orthodox Christians, appreciative of our rich but, shall we say, checkered history in the Byzantine and imperial Russian eras, to abandon the symphonic ideal of Church-state relations in a preemptive surrender to the forces of secularism is to divorce Christology from social ethics.

                  Perhaps more to the point of contention on this website, I would refer readers to a more recent online publication on September 3, 2015: “Patriarch Kirill and Russian Orthodoxy Deserve Respect Not Insults: An Open Letter to George Weigel.” This joint effort by Mitred Archpriest Victor Potapov, James George Jatras, and yours truly may be readily accessed at or George Weigel, a distinguished Roman Catholic scholar, biographer of Pope John Paul II, and a former colleague of mine (and president) at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, has gone off the rails in the last few years in his anti-Russian rants and even more egregious ad hominem insults hurled against Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfayev) of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

                  Here is the pertinent section of that “Open Letter”:

                  II. Symphonia—Not “Separation”—of Church & State

                  Far from a throwback to Soviet-era practices—as you have suggested, both in your own words and though uncritical quotation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s (UGCC) Major-Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk (“Ukraine Rising,” National Review, Nov. 10, 2014), the close cooperation between Church and state in Russia today is more reminiscent of the pre-1917 symphonia, the Orthodox standard throughout our history since the time of Byzantine Emperor Theodosios I in the late fourth century. That organic instead of adversarial understanding of the sacerdotium and the imperium united, harmoniously albeit with some tension, in a single Christian commonwealth is obviously antithetical to the neo-Jeffersonian principle of strict “separation” of church and state, now political dogma in virtually all Western countries imbued with the notion of secular liberal democracy.

                  In the restored symbiosis in post-Soviet Russia it is hardly clear that the Church is the junior partner dutifully “amplifying” state policy. To the contrary, as Professor Nicolai N. Petro of the University of Rhode Island pointed out (“Russia’s Orthodox Soft Power,” Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, March 23, 2015), Kremlin policies “are popular precisely because they have the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church.” Grounded in a religio-cultural vision of Russky mir—the “Russian World” descended from ancient Kievan Rus’ and embracing the people in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and perhaps Kazakhstan—the balance in the contemporary Russian neo-symphonia, as it were, depends on the respective priorities of Patriarch Kirill and the Putin government. As Petro astutely observed, Russky mir is, for the state, “a political or a cultural concept” by which the Russian Orthodox Church “can be a useful tool” for Russia’s domestic and international advancement. But Russky mir is, for the Church, “a religious concept” by which the national governments can be “tools” for the “second Christianization” of the historic lands of Kievan Rus.’

                  We would argue that, since AD 2000, the Russian neo-symphonia has begun to tip in favor of the Church, not the state, and praise God the Holy Trinity for that! The comprehensive document titled, Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, produced by the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate under the leadership of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfayev)—whose moral character you have besmirched—is the gold standard of contemporary, yet very traditional, Orthodox social ethics. Other ecclesial initiatives have provided the main impetus for recent Russian laws—decried, alas, by Western liberals—to curb propagandizing and proselytizing of young Russians by “gay rights” advocates, reduce the enormity of abortions in post-Soviet Russia, and protect the sanctity of religious temples from unwanted intrusions by miscreant groups like “Pussy Riot.” In addition, the Russian Church has established a profound inter-confessional collaboration with U.S. evangelicals to promote strong families and traditional marriage between one man and one woman alone.

                  None of those accomplishments was possible throughout most of the twentieth century. As each of the co-authors of this open letter have acknowledged often in print, Russian Orthodoxy had to endure the godless Soviets for 74 years, including the shameless betrayal of faithful confessors and martyrs by Orthodox hierarchical collaborators with that regime. For you to compare that horrific era to the miraculous re-emergence and moral integrity of the Church since 1991 is a shameless libel.

                  Whatever criticisms one might have of the symphonia model, blanket condemnation is hardly appropriate as we witness the trend in our own country, where Christianity is increasingly marginalized, moral vices are officially promoted as virtues, and abortion “rights” and homosexual “rights,” in particular, are now key components of U.S. foreign policy—a trend we are sure you deplore no less than we.

                  • Yes, I don’t think ecumenism has had much positive effect at all on Roman Catholic notables like Weigel which is why I suggest it cease altogether.

                    Let them eat each other and battle the Sunnis.

                    They deserve it.

                  • Gregory Manning says

                    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Father!!

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Fr. Alexander,

                    I applaud your addressing this issue as a published expert in subject matter, long overdo, and after reading your argument in its entirety, I would suggest you reconsider your initial assessment as “kerfuffle.” As I recall, you once related to me as having heard AI Solzhenitsyn deliver an address, no? Thereby personifying in my mind the essential need to emphasize the fact that words have meaning. We must be concerned with why the translators of the Septuagint, and why the Holy Fathers selected the specific words and terminology that they did to to define and illuminate our Theology. These are all theological revelations for us, yet are being framed by the ignorant and ambitious as “showing off,” as points of sarcasm – admiring the fonts – and diminishing the beauty of the linguistic and poetic beauty of the wisdom of these Patristic & Scriptural athletes. It is specifically for this reason that I object to Google scholarship and worse – implications and insults without a single factual basis – that true scholarship with an intent to edify and enlighten, “joining with the Fathers before us,” so scrupulously strives. You are a subject expert, and I believe it is incumbent upon you to assume this role. Kudos.

                    It seems to me essential to emphasize a “model” of the ancient concept of συμφωνία, that the Fathers well understood as “cohesive,” in agreement, and unified in purpose with the polity and the religious entities of the empire, but the concept always held a dimension of “transcendence”. When the Fathers spoke of our anthropology, for example, they spoke nearly verbatim of what was described by Aristotle – from St. Basil the Great to St. Gregory Palamas – as an aggregate composition of “symphonic” elements at the Hand of the Creator (and iconographically depicted as a hand forming the letters IC XC stretched forth from heaven), elements that would be rendered misconstrued singly if separated from the aggregate; and once removed, destroy the integrity of the aggregate itself. And I would add that Aristotle spoke of this in terms of “natural law.” How are we not struck by the enormity of the brilliance of this concept – individual “sounds” or voices joined together into a unified song praising the Creator? And how is it possible to not be shocked at the abhorrent association of this term with systematic oppression, terror, and murder? Surely, Fr. Alexander, you can appreciate that “kerfuffle” strikes me as insufficient to describe the conflict I find with both the “casual” application of the term to what strikes me as a Google scholar interpretation of the current church/state relationship in Russia to date, or the “red symphonia” that has suddenly taken on undocumented “official” history (which I believe will always be undocumented fiction – and rightfully so) . In any case, you obviously demonstrate more restraint than me, and kudos for that as well.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Actually, historical facts were mentioned which educated you as to the reality of Red Symphonia. Moreover, historical context and modern circumstances both defy Byzantine frameworks and some sort of hackneyed and unread scriptural fundamentalism with a bigoted, meta-educated framework. You still haven’t gotten to Plato’s Republic to appreciate how symphonia arises and why for Aristotle or St. Leontios of Byzantium. Maybe the apostles in Salt Lake City can pray so that the expert in ancient Hebrew hieroglyphics, Joseph Smith, can visit you in a vision and lend you his golden plates, his seer stones and his magic hat which gives life to snowmen so you can supercharge your expertise in Alexandrian Greek from the Ptolomaic era. Really, do the remedial reading before writing non sequitur gobbledy gook. You are an unread, pompous amateur and fraud.

                      Evidently you either don’t like and/or don’t understand the quote which says that the emerging Russian state of Putin is establishing its identity in collaboration with the Church, which refutes all the Russophobic nonsense you have been spewing about Russia for months. It must be hard to admit you have intentionally slandered Orthodox Russia for months, difficult not due of remorse but due to the coming Ragnarok of your Crestwood Renovationism. Russia is emerging as an Orthodox superpower. As a traditionalist, Orthodox superpower. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the rest, but you are a functional cretin so I understand.

                      It is clear that Putin’s ideology is centered on Russia reemerging as an Orthodox state where the people and culture are formed by the Church as moral, patriotic citizens and by the state as faithful, responsible stewards of their Russian Orthodox cultural identity, civilization. In that role, Putin and Patriarch play independent and coordinated roles with similar levels of trust and approval by Russian culture as a whole (70%+). That is the genesis of not only a Russian state, but because Russia is the sole Orthodox superpower, whose church represents over 70% of all Orthodox by itself, and a state which acts as policy as advocate for the rest of Orthodox in the world, Russia is being establiahed as the center of Orthodoxy, with primatial authority, defined by the Orthodox role in the Russian state as being the basis of Orthodox civilization. This relationship in our modern context defines symphonia and reinforces the idea of Moscow as the Third Rome.

                      Now people who get second rate educations at Renovationist flophouses to dodge the draft and later order a doctorate off the back of a cereal box don’t get to define their unread and ignorant russophobic befuddlement as the sine qua non of Orthodox symphonia. They would be better served rubbing a bobble head of Obama, chanting their mantras to George McGovern as they adore the idol they see when they worship at their mirrors. Pew and organ Eastern Rite Protestant hacks have no future in Orthodoxy.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Happy Name’s Day under the New Calendar – August 30 to all the Alexanders and Alexandras out there as well, especially to my son Alex. Happy Name’s Day Agape mou!


                  • Michael Warren says

                    I think that applying standards of symphonia which hail from first milenium Byzantium to the Third Rome, either in the fifteenth century or in the twenty-first is an exercise in burning a straw man. If certain scholars can accept an “evolving historical understanding of the papacy in its ecclesiological and political roles,” one is hard tasked to not abandon appeals to reaction in appreciating the distinct roles of Church and state in Orthodox nations, past, present and emerging. Context, culture, political economy mean everything.

                    Again, the US symphonia between state and secular humanist ideology is a clear cut example of a modern, symphonic reality. The difference here could be better defined perhaps by captives to secularist denunciations by considering the role of state churches in liberal democracies versus traditionalist democracies. But I guess if you believe that the only type of democracy is liberal democracy, you could never make the necessary paradigm shift to abandon secularist programming.

              • Stankjoshka,

                I’m quite content to let you ask and answer your own questions from here on out. I’m not much interested anymore.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Terry–When the state is fully formed and confident, the Church does become a tool of the state. However, when the nation is being formed (Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania) or put back together again (Russia after the Tatar period), there was some honest to goodness symphonia between the Church and the state.

      • Amazing how quasi-heterodox in the OCA can reject the periods of positive symphonia in Byzantine and Russian imperial history from their perches atop the rantings of Schmemann, Meyendorff, etc., as well as reject the clear teachings of the Church Fathers regarding monarchy, polyarchy and anarchy. And they have the gall to pretend to be faithful Orthodox.


        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Misha! “Amazing?” You don’t sound amazed at all…On the contrary.
          I’ve heard both Fathers Alexander & John of blessed memory, and I testify that neither of them ranted or raved. Further, you are mistaken about the teaching of the Church Fathers: if you have something of value to relay from the Fathers on those exact topics, please , do so!
          “Symphonia” is not at all an Orthodox doctrine: rather, it’s a very early example of “spin” used in an attempt to counter charges of Caesaro-Papism. NOW we are confronted in Russia with Putino-Papism and “symphonia” is trotted out again. It’s no more effective now than it was then. Why, recently, the Russian Patriarch blessed the dedication of a monumental statue of “Caesar” (Tsar Ivan Vasilievich the Terrible ) in the city of Orel!. That was the same Caesar that married as many wives as a rich Islamist and persecuted, then martyred, Holy Hieromartyr Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow, through the hand of his faithful lapdog, Maluta, Yes, monarchs have, indeed, rescued the Church from heresy: the Sultan conquered the Uniate Byzantine state and Church and forced Orthodoxy on the Church.
          Before that, Emperor Julian the Apostate FORCED the Church to accept a Patriarch who agreed with the Council of Nicea, after Constantine and his successor sons had continued to enhance the supremacy of Arianism. Twice, non-Christian monarchs did what Christian monarchs failed to do! That is not “symphonia:” it’s Byzantine Caesaro-Papism.
          “Symphonia” gave us Iconoclasm as well, although the Church of Rome defiantly had nothing to do with it! The Constantinopolitan heresy of Nestorianism, though, failed because The Enemy’s, Persia’s, Church, agreed with it!

          • Oh, Fr. Schmemann of not so blessed memory did rave on in written rants against the sound teaching of ROCOR. What is eternal fate is, I care not to speculate. He did much to popularize Orthodoxy but much to denature it in the OCA as well, as did a number of the neo-patristics.

            What they taught was not really Orthodoxy.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Misha, please, produce ONE QUOTE by Father Alexander that was a rant or rave “against the sound TEACHING of ROCOR!” Just one will be enough!

              Are “neo=patristics” (SIC) people? I thought Patristics was a field of study and learning!

          • Michael Warren says

            More Eastern Rite Protestant nonsense.

            St. Leontios of Byzantium says otherwise.

          • Michael Warren says

            Now Obama’s sponsorship of the Cretan Robber Synod and Istanbul’s neopapalism: that’s the symphonia Eastern Rite Protestant meta-bishops approve of!

        • Michael Warren says

          The Paris School from which Frs. Schmemann and Meyendorff emerged did indeed advance a Russian messianism which some in the OCA reacted against. That being said, Fr. Schmemann maintained a close friendship with A. I. Solzhenitsyn and was sympathetic with much of his political thought. Fr. Meyendorff was not at odds with fellow Russian aristocrats on Long Island in his political views. And Professor Verkhovskoi actually was a quiet proponent of the Russian messianism of Kartashev and Paris: many of the Metropolia Bishops (some early OCA Bishops as well) were. Unlike ROCOR, they were not at war with modern reality but tried to develop their views appreciating it.

          • ROCOR has never been at war with, for example, technology. ROCOR has been at constant war with ecumenism, and rightly so. But that is not “modern reality” but the modern illusion perpetuated by the Western beast into which OCA (and the Phanar, btw) has always been heavily invested.

            That’s really the difference. ROCOR has never “signed a treaty” with the evil one as have OCA and the Phanar. Now the Church Abroad is an integral part of the MP and having a positive effect, over time. Not fast enough to suit most people, including myself, but nonetheless an effect. A little bit of leaven, so to speak. I mean, the reconsiderations that the MP has been undergoing sure as hell did not come from Syosset which just put a Uniate on the throne of the DOS, no?

            • Michael Warren says

              I think people who created an alternate world where Tsarist Russia never ended, denouncing anyone who would question such mythology as captive to the evil one, have a serious problem with modernity. I won’t go into the errors of some ROCOR Bishops. Ahem! I will just write that living in a Grabbe bubble will eventually turn you into Cy.

          • M. Stankovich says

            What a ridiculous idea. Fr. Alexander Schmemann pitied the fact that Solzhenitsyn could not separate ethnicity/religion from the Church – and it was his thinking behind the “two no’s & a yes.” It was the reason their relationship ended, Schmemman openly lamenting him in class as released from the oppression of the Soviet state, only to create his own “gulag” in New Hampshire, in a sequestered compound with fences, security cameras, his own chapel & priest, advocating the restoration of the Russian Monarchy, and railing at the immorality of the Russian society from Public Access Cable TV. Had Fr. Alexander lived, he undoubtedly would have been quite bewildered. Schmemann, Meyendorff, & SS Verhovskoy 3rd Rome Russian Messianists? You are out of your mind!

            • Michael Warren says

              Firstly, you clearly neither understand the context of Solzhenitsyn’s political thought, nor that of the Schmemann family, nor even that of the Paris School. That is woefully typical of your Renovationist meta-education: you are an incompetent, unread, Russophobic fraud.

              I will share for serious people a few more thoughts. Solzhenitsyn espoused a constitutional monarchy, borrowing from Ilyin to some extent, as the future government for a freed Russia. In this he sought to answer liberal criticism of autocracy and provide for representation of the Russian people in the government. The Schmemann family held, still holds to these ideas of constitutional monarchy for Russia: one need only ask Fr. Alexander’s twin brother if he is still living. Fr. Alexander rebelled at a young age against the emigre monarchists with their pretenders and demands on a modern Russia from which they were excluded, but he never broke with his heritage and his love of Russia, and, indeed was sympathetic to Solzhenitsyn’s ideas for a constitutional monarchy. Where the two disagreed with one another was in Solzhenitsyn’s flirtation with Old Believerism and the Old Believer concept of obryadnost’: Fr. Alexander felt that was an archaic escapism fuelled by Russian nostalgia. Fr. Meyendorff came from a Russian aristocratic family and along with most of the liberal, White, Russian aristocrats on Long Island sympathized with Constitutional Democrats and Prince Lvov. Professor Verkhovskoi was good friends with Professor Kartashev and shared his views that the Russian diaspora was seeded abroad by GOD to witness to the Truth of Orthodoxy and bring the precious cosuffering/coredeeming dynamic of Russian Orthodoxy to a languishing Western world in crisis: in this he affirmed the Russian messianism of the Paris school.

              Secondly, in none of this is the Third Rome ideology a construct, save as a historical footnote. The fact that it is conflated as an asinine rejoinder by someone clearly incompetent in addressing topic underscores the russophobic semi-literacy of the Renovationist buffoons spawned by the Crestwood of yore. People who neither know the language, nor the history, nor the literature should either task themselves with learning or remain silent when content is presented.

              • M. Stankovich says

                It has been the Tradition of the Church, from the beginning, for the saints to encourage, to sustain, and to support one another with inspiring, first-hand reports of the Hierarchs & teachers of the Church, Mr. Warren. Google and YouTube far too frequently fall short of this edifying tradition, and because of your ego needs, you shamefully resort to referring to this sharing words & ideas of the “Patristic Mind” that even predates the written exchange of the Holy Scripture, as “name dropping” or fraud. The fact remains, you are no more aware of what Fr. Alexander Schmemann or Prof. SS Verhovskoi actually “thought” than than any other imbecile who types their name into Google. I know it torments you that I actually had relationships with these indivuals you are presenting as Google caricatures, but demeaning them by referring to them as my “name-dropping” is your loss.

                Fr. Schmemann taught an elective course entitled, The The Church in Russian Literature. If you would scorn me, you may as well scorn the packed-to-capacity Bashir Auditorium for the three times all heard Fr. Alexander systematically berate the “construct” of the 3rd Rome in perhaps one of the best detailed mixtures of Scripture, Patristics, and history one would ever need to see what disaster such foolishness paved for the future of the ROC. Strike one, Mr. Warren; waist high fastball, swing & missed.

                First, Vladyka David, for some reason I have a New Hampshire association in my mind, and although I have been corrected several times, I can’t seem to make it permanent! Thank you for catching it! Is it too obvious to point out Fr. Alexander’s obvious disappointments with Solzhenitsyn as recorded in his journals? Nevertheless, if that is truly not sufficient, Fr. Alexander brought Solzhenitsyn to St. Vladimir’s – though he did not say a word – and apparently, this made him “fair game” for Friday morning Litugical Theology’s much anticipated “10-minutes of stand-up with Fr. Alexander.” He could not and would not tolerate nor entertain anything to do with Russian “monarchy” in any shape or form. You have fabricated this entire notion from your backend! I recall several occasions when he was asked to serve a memorial in Manhattan (and we were his “back-up singers”) for some newly departed “prince/general/duke/whatever,” we learned about in the Friday morning stand-up… Key words to listen for as to Schmemann’s real thoughts about the former “monarchist”: “We are not his judge, God is his judge.” Swing, Mr. Warren! Madonna Mia! Change up, middle of the plate, waist-high. Ask Schmemann’s brother? Strike two. Caught you looking. I tried.

                Finally, Professor SS Verhovskoy – whose very name you disrespect by providing your own pretentious spelling – would not even address you; the man who told us our calling was to be Ezekiel, bone in hand, shouting the truth, a messianist. Ouch. Curve, low and inside, at the knees. Tough pitch to hit in the best of circumstances, but I would bet it was coming with two strikes and no balls. Strike three, Mr. Warren. Take a seat. You had your chance. What was the name of that pitcher, you ask? Somebody named “Truth.” Ha! Babe Truth. Copyright Saturday Morning Stand-Up

                • Michael Warren says

                  In other words, you are totally ignorant of all these peoples’ politics, Russian transliteration, the Russian messianism of the Paris School, the political sympathies of the Schmemann family, and the relationship between Professor Verkhovskoi and Professor Kartashev, as well as the long discussions Fr. Alexander had with A. I. Solzhenitsyn in Vermont. Furthermore, your answer is to insert a non sequiter and unread anecdote here or there to reinforce your russophobic stupidity and then splice your typical obnoxious invective into it to say you don’t have anything else to say, aren’t a legitimate interlocutor and should just be ignored like the poseur, Renovationist riff raff you are.

                  Take your liberal mid-life crisis elsewhere. You are as pertinent as a loudmouth drunk at a Hillbelly wedding and not as rational.

                  Your expertise in patristics is summed up in your plastic anthropology and decontextualized quotes of the Holy Fathers to come up with a “deifying nature to gay sex.”

                  Please do shut up and take your ignorant, Gong Show act where liberals like yourself are stupid enough to believe the insipid nonsense you make up. Or just go visit the baboons at the zoo if they will still have you. Perhaps they could improve your communication skills and introduce you to humanity as a second species understanding of maturity

            • David Black says

              Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s sequestered, fenced compound was in Cavendish, Vermont.

              • George Michalopulos says

                It was my pleasure to stand at his grave in the Donskoy monastery and pray. Even more than Orwell, the true prophet of the twentieth century. (Nietzsche and Dostoevsky being the prophets of the nineteenth.)

                • Reality Checker says

                  Nietzsche a prophet? Amazing. A prophet of whom? Probably your most pernicious howler ever.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Yes, the atheist Nietzsche in his own way a prophet. I stand by that. Alone among all atheists, he correctly saw where the eradication of God from Europe would lead. He was not a happy man nor could he be seeing as he did the future.

                    • Nietzsche said some deep stuff. It’s just that he lost it.

                      But he lived long enough to write this:

                      “One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.”

                    • Reality Checker says

                      . . . he correctly saw where the eradication of God from Europe would lead.

                      Sounds like more Google scholarship to me. Are you suggesting your ‘prophet’ Nietzsche opposed “the eradication of God from Europe”?

                      Words do have proper, conventional meanings, you know. It isn’t sane to simply make up your own private lexicon and still expect to communicate meaningfully. Presuming that’s the point. I note that many of you appear to have your own private “facts,” evidently dug up from your own privately certified “sources,” that you then spin into various interpretations and alternative para-“realities.”

                      But I’d recommend avoiding blatant blasphemy. In the context of the Judaeo-Christian heritage, a prophet has a specific denotation: a spokesman for the One Living God.
                      Again, whom did Nietzsche speak for?

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Actually, Nietzsche lamented the death (or murder) of GOD in the West and chose to deify the Will to Power which would act to herald the coming of the Superman and a reinvigoration of absolute truth. He was a prophet of a humanism of metaphysical great achievements and a new humanity.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    George is right. Nietzsche was a prophet of doom.

                    • Phil R. Upp says

                      Nietzsche said God is dead; God said, Nietzsche is dead!

                    • He ended up being a prophet of doom but I doubt he ever intended to be. He had a strong spirit but seemed to intellectually or emotionally reject God at some level and that pushed him over the edge. Still, much can be gleaned from what he said. You can see his path up the Ladder, crudely maneuvering onward and upward. Without God, it leads to madness, with God it is a stairway to heaven.

                      There is even a sense in which God is beyond all duality. Yet that is beyond the understanding of most men. Originally, for example, there was no evil at all. Evil resulted as a product of free will misused. It gets lost on most people but it is not that Adam and Eve could not see or distinguish between good and evil in the world. The disobedience itself created evil in the world. The world was created “good” and man was created “very good”. Now, the potential for evil already existed in the heavens, of course, because of the Fall of that angel of light.

                      Nietzsche got lost in Western mythological tradition: Apollo and Dionysius. He did not take the Eastern Church seriously enough. Due to the falling away of Rome and later Protestantism, there was no path open for him to go where he wanted and needed to go in this life. Thus he want “mad”. Had he understood Orthodox theosis, however, . . .

        • Reality Checker says

          Misha blathered:
          “. . . Amazing how quasi-heterodox in the OCA can reject the periods of positive symphonia in Byzantine and Russian imperial history from their perches atop the rantings of Schmemann, Meyendorff, etc., [blah, blah, blah]”

          Tell us more about the “positive symphonia” instanced in the reign of Muscovy’s first czar, the anointed paranoid schizophrenic/homicidal maniac, Ivan IV. Since you clearly wish to sound like an accomplished amateur scholar with significant knowledge of this most timely topic of “symphonia,” I’m certain you can perform to the point of briefly summarizing some key indicators of how “periods” of “positive symphonia” were manifest in Russian imperial history during and after the reign of Peter I, too.

          When was Aristotle baptized and why should we care what he thought “symphonia” means?
          The Church coins its own terms of art to describe its own mysteries and qualities.

          (Hmmm. First, though, perhaps you’d be well advised to bone up a bit on the textual antecedents representing the concept “symphonia” and the intellectual history of its use in the Christian tradition. A good place to begin would be the obvious: Aristotle’s explication of the term in “Politics,” just as every single one of the learned Fathers did. A tactical suggestion: Pretentiously parrot the distinction he carefully drew between it and “homophonia,” so that you might falsely appear to the simple and gullible to have the remotest clue what you’re babbling about.

          I’m confident that your distinguished achievements in this area have equipped you to competently summarize for us how the church-state relationship in Putin’s “post”-Soviet RF evinces even the latter, much less the former of these political concepts.

          I’m all ears.

          • Well, Stankovich and “Reality Checker” are definitely the same person.

            Glad we cleared that up.

            Again, why am I concerned with the pedigree of the term “symphonia” and Aristotle? Oh, wait, right . . . I’m not. You are. Well, blather on if you must.

            I’m content with the form of government that has been passed on to us by the Church Fathers whose testament to monarchial government and rejection of polyarchy and anarchy is decisive.

            Given that, there must be a synergia of Church and State. How could there not be? That synergia, when applied to Church and State, is called symphonia by the Orthodox. Who first coined the term in its Orthodox meaning is perhaps a matter for Church historians. If you are curious, delve on.

            Here, this might help:


            Harakas, of course, is as wrong as wrong can be. It is elementary, actually.

            The Kingdom to Come will be a theocracy where the political and religious power will be embodied in one ruling Leader: Christ.

            In the world, in the meantime, there is clearly a religious leadership which is decentralized to some extent (the Church with its diocesan and synodal structure). There is also a temporal leadership fully endorsed by the Fathers, the monarchy. It seems so fantastic because and only because we lack faith in the sovereignty of God Almighty.

            Divinely guided monarchy too is decentralized in this fallen era to a greater or lesser extent. There have been, and may be again, various Orthodox Christian monarchs. Putin or his successor might be an example. Serbia might see fit to restore the monarchy as might some other Orthodox cultures. Hard to say. Then the Church and State could operate in symphonia, agreement, as they were meant to.

            All this stress on who’s in charge!


            God’s in charge.

            He acts through both Church and State, his Arms, so to speak.

            • M. Stankovich says


              If I’m not mistaken, that Russian guy, Solzhenitsyn, said “Words have power.” That seems sufficient enough cause to blather on.

              For the record, I am also Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous and anonymous; the sad, confused voice of Harambe the unfortunate gorilla shot at the Cincinnati zoo; frequent narrator of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town; and, believe it or not, Scott, under the stage name “John Faceda,” was the voice of NFL films from 1966-1984 and frequently referred to as the “voice of God.” There, thankfully we have finally settled these matters. Are you still bored, Scott? Levity…

          • Michael Warren says

            Yeah, Russia was only set on the path to Orthodox superpower under Ivan IV. Your Galicia was enserfed to Polish landlords who beat them for walking on the wrong side of the street in Galician cities. You offer such great accomplishments for your Uniate, Banderofascist civilization! Ridiculous and unread russophobe.

    • Sean Richardson says

      As a multi-generational American born convert, honestly I worry about any connection that is too strong between church and state. In the good times, everything is wonderful. But when the bad times roll around, and the pendulum always swings, then suddenly both the church and the central government are in trouble, and seek to blame the other, or to take our their hostility on each other. I am perfectly content with separation.

      • Michael Warren says

        But you have no separation as an American between a liberal, secular humanist, political ideology and cultural movement (religion) and the state in America? Rather, there is a sacrosanct symphonia in effect between the two.

        • Michael Bauman says

          On that you are absolutely correct MW. There can be no such thing as a “separation of church and state”. Without the true Church, the state becomes it’s own church or creates a public pseudo-religion.

          The U.S. started out with the public religion and has descended into the statist tryanny we are moving into.

  11. Michael Bauman says

    Yes, MW Nietzsche did lament the death of God and saw, quite rightly that only the human will was left. We are reaping the consequences, the fruit of the schismatic and heretical Christianity that murdered God.

    The greatest tragedy in Nietzsche is his failure to recognize the “sacred yes” of the child in Zarathustra for what it really is–yes to the Incarnate Lord and Savior, not as the dissipated heretical moralistic Christ he was taught but as the ressurected lover of mankind.

    What Nietzsche saw as destruction is really the death to the world we are all called to. He only saw it in terms of the Christ of the rational, humanist materialist. That speaks to his crippling dualism as well.

    So we have the world he envisioned. The way out is, as Elder Sophrony recognized, the way down.

    Not in the false triumphalism and ideology that errupts on this blog so often. Whether it is you or Stankovitch or Misha or our good enemy Ashley Nevins or whomever it is the same nonsense devoid of real truth. The same will to power no matter how cloaked in churchly language.

    ….and I most of all. God forgive us.

  12. Gail Sheppard says

    In 1976, Professor Peter Piot was a young scientist in Belgium who became part of a team that discovered the Ebola virus. When asked if he had expected to see an epidemic of recent proportion, he replied: “No, not at all. On the contrary, I always thought that Ebola, in comparison to AIDS or Malaria, didn’t present much of a problem because the outbreaks were always brief and local. Around June 2014, it became clear to me that THERE WAS SOMETHING FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT about this outbreak… it was at that point that I began to get really worried.”

    The professor was also asked if he thought that we have lost complete control of the epidemic. He said: “. . . it should be clear to all of us: this isn’t just an epidemic any more. This is a humanitarian catastrophe. We don’t just need care personnel, but also logistics experts, trucks, jeeps and foodstuffs. Such an epidemic can destabilize entire regions. I can only hope that we will be able to get it under control. I really never thought that it could get this bad.”

    However, someone named Pianka believed it COULD and SHOULD (get that bad). Back in 2006, in an acceptance speech for the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist Award from the Texas Academy of Science, Eric Pianka, cause quite a stir when he “endorsed the elimination of 95 percent of the human population”. . . suggesting that the planet would be ‘better off’ if the human population were reduced and that a mutant strain of Ebola would be the most efficient means.”

    Pianka later stated that his statements were taken out of context and that he was simply describing what would happen from biological principles alone if present human population trends continue, and that he was not in any way advocating for it to happen.

    But THAT’S NOT WHAT HE TOLD ME when we exchanged emails. He admitted that he had said the population should be reduced by 95%, because the planet had become unsustainable, and that the release of Ebola would be the preferred method to accomplish this objective. I remember asking how he would feel if his grandchildren contracted it. He didn’t seem too worried about it; not because he didn’t care, but because he felt it was unlikely (or so it seemed to me).

    What’s interesting about the 2014 outbreak is that it purportedly started with a toddler. He was not exposed to the virus the usual way and it’s unlikely he was the sole member of a village who ate contaminated bushmeat or bats. So how did he get it?

    During the initial outbreak of Ebola in 1976, it was rumored that some of Pinaka’s students brought back the virus for further study. Until 2014, there have been sporadic outbreaks of the virus that have been relatively self-contained. This is because the virus needs a host and the virus kills so quickly (in the later stages, through blood and other bodily fluids), it doesn’t have the opportunity to spread beyond a village. However, that was not the case with the 2014 outbreak that threatened to go global. Apparently there are now a variety of mutant strains.

    If I were the Elite and my strategy were to control the lives of the masses, I’d want as few to take care of as possible. Wouldn’t you?

    They have the tools and the means to do exactly what they want and we’re seeing it happen. A vaccine is in the works, but they say there are so many mutant strains that they may not be able to address them all. I suspect there are a few who have a vaccine that does.

    • Clancy wrote a book about this, Executive Orders. Essentially, it addressed an ebola like virus weaponized by radical environmentalists. The problem is the mutation over generations of those to whom it is transmitted. Higher mortality rates early in the transmission sequence, then they level off as mutation from carrier to carrier progresses. The other thing you have to deal with is people who have steel resistance. There are those types out there too.

      In the end, if you shut down air travel, it dissipates. Could be bad, but not extinction level or “95%”.

      Amazing how little faith some people have. “Unsustainable humanity.” Seriously?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Ebola did just the opposite: It did NOT level off. You can’t shut down air travel, but if you could, it wouldn’t matter if the virus was being given to people, as was the case of this toddler, as he certainly couldn’t have contracted it on his own.

      • Michael Bauman says

        We are the cancer upon the earth. Notice how few of these folk want the extermination to begin with them however. It is always someone else. It is an extension of the imperialist, scientistic nonsense where real racism dwells.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Interestingly, Pianka used those exact words: “We are a cancer on the earth,” albeit with different intention. He signed his emails with a figure of some kind under his name, using special characters. I later realized it was a lizard.