The Treason of Isengard

The reference above comes from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It describes the regime of Isengard under Saruman the White, the greatest of the Five Wizards (Istari) who are the corporeal semi-divine beings sent to guide Middle-earth.

In the midst of Isengard was the great tower Orthanc, from which Saruman ruled. Originally, he was the steadying hand among the Istari and thus their leader. Neither as bellicose as Gandalf the Grey nor as childish as Radagast the Brown, Saruman was more prudent. He was the steady one. And yet, he fell into error and eventually betrayed his divine calling.

But Tolkien’s world isn’t our world.  At least it wasn’t until last week when we heard unfortunate news:  Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and all-Africa succumbed to the arm-twisting of the Greek government. It was a collective punch to the gut to all of us who are startled by the scandalous actions perpetrated by Bartholomew in Ukraine. Given his prophetic mien, his pastoral kindness and his pilgrimage to Ukraine where he met with the suffering Church last year, his betrayal is most bitter.

We have long expected this from Bartholomew, after all, he has telegraphed his ecumenism and heterodoxy for several decades now. I believe it was back in 1991 when he informed an American journalist that “generally speaking, the Orthodox Church is pro-life”. Words and phrases like “generally speaking” are alarming in and of themselves; rhetorically, they let the cat out of the bag, to borrow a cliché. With each year, with each passing proclamation, we saw the EP push the Overton Window further and further to the left. It was always alarming but in time, everybody saw the mask being peeled away.

Since his ascension to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Bartholomew has never failed to disappoint the Globalists who surround him. Many of us looked the other way (myself included). After all, he is a dhimmi who serves at the pleasure of the Kemalist government in Turkey and thus is no more the archbishop of a Christian city than the man in the moon. He not only rules over a dwindling flock, he must receive permission from the Turkish government to make repairs on the few existing churches that remain in his “patriarchate”. Still, all things being equal, he has played the cards that were dealt to him as best he could.

At the end of the day, what Bartholomew did was no big surprise: We knew that he was going to sell his See down the (Tiber) river. And thanks to the incumbent pontiff that now resides in the Vatican, he has found a kindred spirit.

But not Theodore. We expected more from him. If there is a martyric Church operating in the world today (besides Antioch), Africa is it.

As for the Church of Greece, again, no surprises. A significant percentage of the bishops in that Church are compromised men; the rest are used to receiving their salaries on the taxpayers’ dime. And then there’s the fact that the Church of Greece is a chimera of sorts, with the southern dioceses being the constituent parts of an autocephalous Church while the northern dioceses and some islands are headed by bishops who are appointed by Istanbul. It is neither fish nor fowl, and thus its claims to an authentic autocephaly bogus.

I could go on. Alexandria likewise receives monies from the Greek government (as does Constantinople) and Greece has proven itself to be a pliant satrap of the American State Department.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that the Greek government hobbled the Orthodox Church in its evangelistic mission. Several decades ago, when the leaders of the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC) traveled to Istanbul to meet with Patriarch Demetrius, then-Metropolitan Bartholomew Archandonis of Philadelphia, made sure that the door was shut in their faces. This was on order of the Greek government which did not want an influx of non-Greek Americans flooding the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America.

Why you ask? Because the GOA then and now, is nothing more than an unregistered agent serving the needs of a foreign government. We expected more from the Church of Alexandria.

But there’s the rub. You see, the whole purpose of having a celibate episcopate is to ensure independence from secular powers. Married men, so we are told, are always cognizant of their families. This is true, after all, God Himself mandated this from the start of the human race. A man’s first ministry is to his spouse and then his children, he is naturally going to favor them over another man’s family.

And then there’s the fact that in order to fulfill this ministry, the married man must earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. This is also God’s mandate. That means that his life is not going to be a cakewalk and even in the best of times he will be forced to make compromises along the way. He may even do things that are unethical and even criminal. Even so, these unfortunate actions are the exceptions that prove the rule; which is his duty is to his family.

And so we are told that that is why married men cannot become bishops. Because the propensity towards nepotism and compromise are too great. Most families are only a paycheck or two away from financial ruin. The wolf is always at the door of any householder even when things are going good.

Monks, however, are immune from these threats. Or at least they are supposed to be. Thus we are told, our episcopate should be drawn from their ranks. After all, it is easier for a celibate man to sacrifice himself and his well-being in order to push back against secular forces. He has nothing to lose. Or so that’s the idea.

Clearly, we must assume that the African Church is not being led by authentic monk-bishops. That doesn’t mean that Patriarch Theodore doesn’t have a conscience. You can see the pain in Theodore’s face as he commemorates Sergey Dumenko, the false Metropolitan of Kiev. You can also see the smug look of triumph in the Greek minister’s face whose job it was to twist Theodore’s arms. A real monk, one who lives day-by-day and who has faith in the Lord, would have told the Greek minister to “shove it” and for good measure would have gathered a few monks to throw him out the door.

Several centuries ago, St Basil the Great gave Emperor Theodosius the Great a serious talking-to. The Emperor was taken aback and he scolded Basil, telling him that he never heard a bishop speak to him in such a way. Basil replied nonchalantly : “That’s because you have never seen a real bishop”.

Alas, we could have used one such bishop today, at least in Alexandria. If memory serves, that was the See that was pastored by St Athanasius the Great, another hierarch who never read How to Win Friends and Influence People. And he was exiled no less than five times and for this he is known by the appendage Athanasius contra mundum (“Athanasius against the world”). I’m sure his life was tough and unpleasant. Yet today he stands in heaven as a saint. The time-servers and sycophants who led soft lives and never said a word, not so much.

Perhaps the time has come for the episcopate to be opened to married men. At least with them, you know what you are getting. We’re certainly not getting spiritual leadership from “monks” like Theodore and the Greek bishops of Africa who like their soft lives.   –  I don’t have to explain the graphic.  100% of you will get the picture.  Betrayal at this level bites the big one.


  1. May the Lord have mercy on Pat. Theodoros and his betrayal of the true canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and for stabbing his friend, Met. Onuphry in the back! And, yes…as you say…betrayal at this level bites the big one! (And, now, the Heresyarch of Constantinople has a new playmate for his little playpen!)

    • George. We just returned from family visit to Greece and to Aegina for St Nektarios feast and got back to Bulgaria today. We DID NOT TAKE COMMUNION IN AIGINA. 
      With this news I AM GUTTED! GUTTED!  SICKENED. My polite lexicon has run out. 
      Απατεώνες.  Προδότες,  Αυτός ο ψεύτης,  άτιμος άνθρωπος. ΑΝΑΞΙΟΣ τρεις φορές. 
      He visited Onouphrios and publically stood by him!!. THIS IS WORSE THAN PHANΑR. As u say who expects virginity in a brothel??   
      I am saddened beyond words and angry. 
      I just hope and pray Bulgarian Church will remain strong.  It after all remrmbers the Phanar well. 

    • Rdr. Daniel Kowalcheck says

      You’re absolutely right Alex.

      Here is the video from which George grabbed the still. It’s from just over a year ago when Pat. Theodoros was greeted by Met. Onouphry at Uspenskyy Monastery in Odessa. During the visit, the patriarch also visited Holy Elias Monastery in Odessa, Transfiguration Cathedral in Bolgrad, and other places in southwestern Ukraine.

      The love and joy that the two senior hierarchs exhibited for one another is amazing. During the Liturgy, Met Onouphry did (at least one) exclamation in Greek, and Pat. Theodoros one in Slavonic. The beauty of the brotherly communion is such a joy to witness. Such respect, honor, and love is shown by the locals there who warmly greet the patriarch and continually ask for his blessing.

      So it’s not like Pat. Theorodos was sitting on the fence as some hierarchs were. He was a true supporter of Met. Onouphry, the canonical Church in Ukraine, and of the long-suffering people there.

      He truly did betray with a kiss, and it makes this all the more bitter. God knows what kind of bribe, blackmail, intimidation, coercion was used against Pat. Theodoros. 30 pieces of silver. Lord have mercy!

      • I at the end of the day am  SICKENED totally.  This is indeed the kiss of judas. A WIDER QUESTION.  Can you trust these
        bastards about ANYTHING EVER.?    I for one want rid of them.  

  2. The problem is not having monks as bishops… it’s having “monks” as bishops.

    Everyone knows that in the Greek church, if you get your theology degree and find someone to tonsure you, you’ll be an “archimandrite” without ever having spent a day as a novice, under obedience, in a monastery. But this is not a Greek problem and exists in all local churches, with sycophantic pseudo-monks climbing the ladder to the episcopacy.

    Now, the notable examples of real monks that have become bishops in recent times are few, but generally they are solid Orthodox leaders, like, of course, Metropolitan Onuphry, Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov, Metropolitan Jonah, and most of the bishops of ROCOR.

    If the EP and GOARCH picked its monks from Mount Athos and the monasteries of Elder Ephraim, we’d have a completely different situation on our hands.

    • Fr. Christopher says

      Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory is another example of a true monk. 

    • AnonSaysWhat says

      There are plenty of monks on Agion Oros that follow the ecumenist ideology unfortunately. 
      I’m just waiting for the Patriarch of Jerusalem to follow suit. He’s cut from the same cloth as Bartholomew and Theodore. 

      • Antiochene Son says

        Oh certainly. The Hellenophile hierarchy of Jerusalem has long been problematic in its dealings with the local Arab Orthodox population (refusing to even catechize people using the Arabic language, for example). They’ll toe the Greek line before long, no doubt. Tragic.

      • AnonSaysWhat,
        “I’m just waiting for the Patriarch of Jerusalem to follow suit. He’s cut from the same cloth as Bartholomew and Theodore.”
        Except for the fact that there are many Russians there!

    • Among the list of true monks serving in episcopacy are two names you must not overlook: Tikhon, Metropolitan of All America and Canada and Alexander, Abp. of Dallas and the South and the Bulgarian Diocese. These two men exemplify the best traits of steady and Christ-like leadership without any hint of compromise. They never make the news because no scandal emanates from them in their faithful and selfless piloting of the churches.
      On the other hand, I am at the point now like Nikos of losing all confidence in hierarchs of Greek persuasion, for they show consistent fecklessness and willingness to pervert the teachings of Christ in their governance.
      Fie and for shame, Theodoros! daring to defile the sanctuary of the church in Limassol with the name of the filthy schismatic AFTER YOU WERE TOLD NOT TO COMMEMORATE HIM! Who put you up to this brazen act of destruction in the midst of the Divine Services of Christ? Have you no fear of the living God? Your name is now dirt forever as you proceed to drag other Bishops’ churches into the cesspit where you now swim. All I can hope is that God in His mercy will cut short the days of your career in infamy. May you repent while there is time!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Not only did he do it, it appears as if some in attendance were horrified:

        When the Patriarch commemorated Epiphany, three bishops in the altar immediately ran over to Met. Athanasios and began to tell him something very actively and emotionally.

        After the Patriarch commemorated the schismatic, all the bishops and priests were given an envelope with a picture that read: “Onuphry: Metropolitan, Epiphany: schismatic, Theodoros: Judas.” One of the priests in the Patriarch’s entourage tore up the picture and threw it back at the man handing them out, though several Cypriot priests were grateful that the envelopes had been handed out, saying that they did not support Pat. Theodoros’ decision.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail, clearly I misjudged the situation regarding Pat Theodore.  Here I was thinking that he was a stand-up guy and that he was pained as he betrayed Met Onuphry.  From what I have read, he has done this without a care in the world.
          Sad.  Judas at least had a conscience.

          • Judas despaired of his act of betrayal and hung himself.
            P. Theodore, proud of his act of betrayal, hung Metropolitan Onufriy out to dry.
            For those unfamiliar with this idiom:
            To “hang someone out to dry” means: To abandon someone who is in need or in danger.

            So what kind of reward can the Patriarch of Alexandria be possibly expecting for himself after such an act of betrayal?

  3. This betrayal was the hardest to digest since Bartholomew’s criminal deed last year. It was a punch in the stomach. If memory serves, he was one of the first Hierarchs to stand against the OCU abomination while heaping great praise on his friend Metropolitan Onufriy and his Church…the only canonical Church in Ukraine. And then…wham…he does a 180!!! He thrusts a massive dagger deep into the back of Metropolitan Onufriy. It is a betrayal on the scale of Judas Iscariot. May he repent and return to the Holy Orthodox faith! Lord have mercy!

  4. Alitheia1875 says

    Well, first of all, how many bishops today actually lived in a monastery, living under obedience to an elder in one, before becoming a bishop? Certainly not here in the states, certainly not in the GOA. As for Patriarch Demetrius, and other bishops like him, who do not rise to the level that is demanded of their position, when will the laity speak up, and rise up, to change the order of things? The icon of Christ depicted as a bishop that is on the bishop’s throne is placed there not only to remind the bishop who is the leader of the Church but also to teach that the bishop is supposed to be the living icon of Christ. Hearing St. Basil’s words to the emperor, I am reminded of an incident when Metropolitan Anastasy of ROCOR reposed. Archbishop Iakovos went to pay his respects at the Metropolitan’s wake in the ROCOR cathedral in NYC. Later, Archbishop Iakovos was asked why he went to the wake. His response: because he was a real bishop. ‘Nuff said.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      Mistake……..Patriarch Bartholomew, not Patriarch Demetrius. And Demetrius knew Bartholomew would succeed him and he thought that would be a mistake.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Aletheia, I am cognizant of the fact as to why the bishops should be monks. Like you however, I recognize that few are authentic monks living under a spiritual discipline and answering to a spiritual elder. As for the majority of the bishops in the Phanar, they are not only not monastics of this sort, they don’t even have dioceses to pastor (or even parishes). They are bishops in name only.

      Unfortunately, I don’t see this happenstance turning around anytime soon, at least as far as Istanbul is concerned. As for the Greek bishops who are diocesan ordinaries in Greece and Africa, they are supported by the Greek government. While they are not dilettantes (e.g. Zizioulis, et al), they are most definitely hirelings. In either case neither have flocks of any consequence. Their ethos has descended upon the laity as well, towit the Fordhamites who pontificate on spiritual matters while being safely ensconced within the ivory tower that is a Jesuit university. In neither case is there any accountability to the ecclesial body as a whole.

      As such, in order to survive the Phanar has degenerated into a racket, not necessarily a Ponzi scheme but something pretty close to it; i.e. always on the lookout for another source of revenue. (The Fordhamites don’t have this fear it must be said.)

      Thus we are saddled with the worst of both worlds as far as Istanbul and its dependencies are concerned –dilettantes as well as hirelings. In such a world, I can’t imagine how a married episcopate would be any worse. Seriously, I can’t, not because I don’t believe in a (truly) celibate episcopate (I do) but because I can’t envision the Ecumenical Patriarchate ever stepping up to the plate and becoming a real episcopate.

      • John Belushi says

        I would like to see the Bishops crack down hard on academics and even clerical “theologians” who write in academese. These people either barely understand or don’t understand what is supposedly their own faith and they are doing huge damage to the youth, new converts, and other Orthodox Christians in academia.  Aside from that faurthodox clown Hart, the entire program at Fordham and most of the folks at Toronto and Saint Vladimir’s are similarly compromised. But I suppose before we worry about stuff like this we need to get all our Bishops to turn their backs forever on ecumenical discussion and organizations, and to excommunicate anyone who participates in them. The Latins have been scattered by the Assyrians; their “Popes” bow down to idols and kiss the Koran; there is no point to discourse with them any more, only evangelism. We have to look after Judah and Benjamin before that new Nebuchadnezzar brings on the final act.

        • Monk James Silver says

          While I don’t think that it would be a good idea to cease all intellectual activity in The Church, I agree with what (I think) ‘John Belushi’ is suggesting here.

          The professors among us, clergy and laity, should not write so abstractly as to exclude ordinary Christians. They should be able to make themselves clear enough to their colleagues at the same time as an ordinary parish priest and his people can understand them.

          That being said, I have a personal gripe about academic papers written by academics and aimed at other academics which often find their way into public discourse, and which also often come very close to challenging the most basic things we believe. They like to assign (what they think are) clever titles to these papers, hoping (I suppose) to lure readers into something salaciously different from The Tradition, even if it isn’t. This comes under the rubric of ‘false advertising’.

          Having ‘learned to read the signs’, as our Lord Jesus Christ suggests, I make it a point NOT to read such papers. It seems that not reading them hasn’t hurt me at all, and my faith remains secure.

          The university scholars among us shouldn’t be ignored, but they shouldn’t be granted more credibility than they deserve. They’re mostly just thinking out loud, and perhaps hoping to save their jobs. Remember ‘publish or perish’?

          May the Lord keep theological debate alive among us, and always in ways which will lead us to Him.

          • John Belushi says

            Monk James Silver, thank you for replying charitably, that was along the lines of my original thought. There is another thought that goes like this – the most important truths of our faith aren’t even accessible to dialectical reason – so when we give too much credence to dialectical reason we are likely to screw it up even when we get it right, so to speak. 
            To Claes, there are good people at Saint Vlad’s, I am sorry if I implied otherwise, and likewise HC should have been on the list, even though there are good professors there among the heretics as well. I suppose the wheat will always be mixed with tares, but I didn’t think it was supposed to be this obvious. I am still considering whether I am an anti-intellectual or not; I am a zealot.

          • Pat Reardon says

            I agree with what (I think) ‘John Belushi’ is suggesting here.
            So do I.

        • John Belushi,
          ” their “Popes” bow down to idols and kiss the Koran; “
          Bartholomew gifted that book calling it “The holy Quran”although that book explicitly rejects the Holy Trinity,Crucifiction and Resurrection!
          Please watch this:
          Complete video, quran see from 32:15

          • Antiochene Son says

            Not to mention he calls Muslims our brothers and sisters. 
            No, the only blood I share is Christ’s blood. No Muslim is a sibling of mine. 

        • Alitheia1875 says

          I had the privilege of knowing Dr. Constantine Cavarnos (in monastic life Constantine who reposed at St. Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona) for almost 50 years. I admired and loved him for the Orthodox Christian he was and for the example he showed us. He was a prolific writer while being erudite and as knowledgeable as any Orthodox Christian about any number of topics. And yet, he was criticized by many academics. You see, his problem/mistake, many of them said, was that he expressed himself too plainly, he was not academic in his writings. Fools! He did more to educate more Orthodox Christians (and a good many non-Orthodox as well) in his lifetime than countless others combined.

        • Mr. B., I reject your vague imprecations against academics as it smacks of mere anti-intellectualism and has no substance other than invidious resentment. St. Vladimir’s may not be your cup of tea, but they teach no heresy there. I can’t speak to Fordham as I never knew anyone there; but SVS and its publishing house have done more for the spreading of the Orthodox faith among English speakers than any other institution.
          It was fashionable after the too-early demise of SVS’s leading lights Schmemann and Meyendorff to slag the school that got by with Hopko and Lazor at the head. But never in the history of the seminary has there occurred a scandal such as those that perennially dog Holy Cross, which has never functioned at an academic level to rival the much more modestly-funded SVS. 
          If you feel out of the loop of academia, join the rest of us who don’t live in it. But focus your ire on the true perverters of Doctrine, schooled by German Protestants and Catholics infesting the Fener in ‘Stamboul and claiming tone heads of the Orthodox world. These men deserve defenestration from their ivory towers, not the underpaid profs laboring diligently in our American seminaries.  

          • John Belushi says

            I hope I am not resentful. Probably you are right. I will pray on this. Forgive me.

          • I agree. SVS is one of our most important resources and Hart one of our most important thinkers: no one has done more to illuminate the relationship between Orthodoxy and natural theology that I am aware of, for example. Granted some may grate at offhand remarks about Palamism, but then again are there any real neo-Palamites around anymore? (If the complaint is about apokatastasis, I will worry about that after some general council anathematizes Gregory of Nyssa. By then, the Parousia will have occurred and we will find out in real time…)

    • Monk James Silver says

      All things considered, the problems we’re observing among the churches which are breaking faith with authentically Orthodox Catholic Christian Tradition won’t be solved by ordaining married men to the episcopate.

      And FWIW, some of the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America were trained as monks. Some are widowed, and some are unmarried. This is pretty much the pattern observed in all the churches. In the OCA, though, the fact is that at this time, there are so few theologically well educated monks that pulling them from the monasteries to serve as bishops would severely retard the growth of monastic life in the United State.

      If present trends continue, it might be possible to select candidates for the episcopate from a much larger group of men formed as serious monks in fifty years or so, but it would not be beneficial to our life as Christians to exclude widowed or unmarried men with long pastoral experience.

      Still, it’s my opinion that forcing such men to accept monastic tonsure is mistake. In its way, this is just as much of an abuse as forcing men to be married before they can be ordained, especially if they are not called to marriage but only to the priesthood and not to monastic life. There are tragic examples of what can result when one of the Christian Mysteries is used as a weapon against another.

      These distinctions must be discerned over years of spiritual direction and consensus among a man, his spiritual father, and the local bishop.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Monk James, I cannot dispute the essence of what you say here. However the ideal you prescribe is a catch-22. In other words, we can’t have spiritually-formed bishops until we have a large monastic presence. However we can’t have a large monastic presence because the people don’t want one. How do we know that? Because precious few American Orthodox parents (of whatever ethnicity) want their sons to be either monastics or married clergy.

        The conundrum continues; it’s a vicious cycle or a death-spiral, I’m not sure which at this point.

        Regardless, we can’t have what we need because we don’t want to do that which is necessary. And let’s be honest, the Greek govt and a significant portion of the Greek-speaking laity like things pretty much as they are: That is to say compromised men as bishops whom they can control. If they’re not compromised their mediocrities at best. Exceptions exist but they are the exception which proves the rule.

        • if nothing changes with the episcopate, the Church will become even more of a joke.  
          I would oppose strongly ordaining unmarried men. This will lead to bigger scandal and rc type scenario. 

        • Monk James Silver says

          Perhaps parental resistance to their sons’ choosing careers in The Church is more of a Greek thing, at least in the USA?

          To my knowledge, all of the ‘good’ (well run, English-speaking, Christ-centered) monasteries in America are unable to accept all the applicants who would come to them to test their calling. Consider especially St Tikhon in Pennsylvania and Holy Cross in West Virginia.

          This indicates an upward trend in monastic life here, and that’s is a good thing.

          • Alitheia1875 says

            Many Greek-American parents prefer that their sons not become priests because of the way priests are treated by hierarchs and laity alike in the GOA. 

            • George Michalopulos says

              That’s the start of it Alitheia. There are other reasons as well. One of them that they don’t like how family men are held hostage to the whims of some of the celibates here (not all).

            • Monk James Silver says

              The same people who mistreat the clergy don’t want their sons to become priests or monks because people mistreat the clergy?

              This reminds me so much of a woman in a parish here in New Jersey about forty years ago, when I was asked by the parish priest to do a Q&A session instead of the usual adult education program. She wanted to know why we had so many ‘convert priests’ instead of men who had grown up in Orthodox families. I asked her if she had sons, and she said that she had two, both married professional men with families. I then asked her if she had ever encouraged her sons to consider studying for the priesthood, and she almost indignantly said that such an idea had never occurred to her. The poor parish priest ducked for cover as she told me why that was: ‘You see how badly our people treat the priests!’

              One of the slogans I remember best from the 960s was ‘If you’re not part of the solution, you must be part of the problem.’

              I still don’t think that the marital status of candidates for the episcopate, or the fact that our bishops are unmarried while most priests are married men with families, is a factor here.

              Folk dancing and cooking instead of Christian education, superstition in place of faith, belonging to ethnic clubs instead of eucharistic communities, and the anticlericalism which inevitably emerges from such a toxic mix is much more likely to be at issue.

              I am not singling out any particular ethnic group here, since the problem is widespread, but if the shoe fits….

              • “Folk dancing and cooking instead of Christian education, superstition in place of faith, belonging to ethnic clubs instead of eucharistic communities, and the anticlericalism which inevitably emerges from such a toxic mix is much more likely to be at issue.”

                Amen, amen, amen.

              • Pere LaChaise says

                Monk James, I concur that the deeper the investment in ethnic culture the less love of Christ. It is literally a zero-sum equation. Suckup clergy who grew up at the feet of suckup clergy are largely to blame for unregenerate parish culture (I’m looking at you, GOARCH). Wherever they soft-pedal the Gospel, trivialize Divine Worship with kitsch while striving diligently to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy about their ´Ελλενισμός these sycophants are poisoning the earth they were sent to till. You can’t blame sheep for the deficits in their hireling pastors. It’s a sick culture that needs to utterly die out so that it can be replaced  by a wholesome one. 
                Thankfully it is already happening. And many of the fancy churches they erected will be inherited by God-fearing people.  

  5. Joseph Lipper says

    Considering the enormous pressure coming from Moscow not to recognize the OCU, it’s amazing that the Patriarchate of Alexandria eventually did anyways.

    • Considering the even more enormous pressure coming from Constantinople, the Greek state, the US State Dept, and a whole host of other players, it’s amazing that the Patriarchate of Alexandria held out so long.
      Two can play that game.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Hierarchs do many amazing things.
      It’s amazing that John VII, the first hierarch of the Ecumene, ordered the icon of Christ over the gate of Constantinople to be removed and stoned. Yet it happened, and he is eternally memorialized in the Anathemas as the “Forerunner of Satan.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Not at all Joseph.  Remember, neither Theodore nor Hieronymus did the stand-up thing and bring it before their respective synods.  If anything, those synods would have rejected it.  It’s still very unclear what the bishops of the CoG did; some of the witness there (that were bishops) said “no vote was taken”.

      Let’s be honest, the entire ratification process of both Churches stinks to high heaven.  In fact, the case can easily be made that both decisions can be rescinded.

      The point however is that it wasn’t Theodore being courageous but being craven.  The Greek govt and certain of the Greek-born bishops of Africa had him by the short and curlies.   In both cases it was a chicken-sh!ted methodology that was used.

      Sorry, but in neither case will we find their stories in the next edition of Profiles of Courage.

      • They should remember Saint Nectarios. They took his Bishop’s throne away from him for excessive holiness, but like Obi-Wan Kenobi (except real!), he has become holier than they could have possibly imagined. 
        If we could just convert a few of these Bishops to Christ so much would be possible.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Because of troubles in my own little life, I identify closely with St Nektarios of Pentapolis, and I rely on his prayers.

          It’s a pity that many of our contemporary bishops haven’t learned much from his holy example.

          If they ignore St Nektarios, couldn’t they at least follow the advice of our Lord Jesus Christ to many of the people He healed, telling them to ‘sin no more’?

    • Not really. The episcopate of the Church in Africa is essentially a relic of Greek colonialism…. a nearly fully Greek episcopate, though a nearly entirely black African flock. 
      Now’s the time for truly Orthodox leaders to step in and make a truly black African episcopate for the Orthodox Church in Africa, since the apostasy of the Greek speaking patriarchates/ churches seems well underway.  If the leadership of the Church in Africa is apostasizing from the faith, as it seems to be, then it’s fair game for someone else to step in and give the people the faithful, Christian Orthodox guidance and leadership they need… namely, the Church of Russia. 
      Good riddance all all of the Greek speaking hierarchs who don’t have the mental or testicular fortitude to stand with the faith. All of them would’ve clearly gone with the “Living Church” of the Soviet government and would’ve actively persecuted Saint/Patriarch Tikhon, Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky, St Peter of Krutitsa, among others. The Vatican is waiting to take all of you traitors in. 

      • Interestingly enough, along with the EP the Patriarchate of Alexandria was the only other local church to recognize the “Living Church” 

        • George Michalopulos says

          Curious, was that because Meletius Metaxakis was patriarch of both those churches?

          • Solitary Priest says

            I wasn’t aware that Alexandria recognized the”Living Church,” but that exclamation makes sense.
               I’ve had my suspicions about Patriarch Theodoros long before this. He has already ordained women Subdeacons, causing the Fordham- Women’s Lib crowd to gush enthusiastically about him. 

        • I am greek as many on this blogg and I am ASHAMED. We wait now for the Church of Cyprus.. 

  6. Rhonda Dodson says

    >>…Perhaps the time has come for the episcopate to be opened to married men. At least with them, you know what you are getting…<<<

    The problem is not married vs non-married episcopate; nor will the problem(s) be solved by changing to a married episcopate as if by magic. As always, the problem roots in the human heart; i.e. the unstable nous.

  7. Martin Ross says

    You did not get the St. Basil story straight (among others). The emperor he was defying was Valens, and the remarks you quoted were addressed to a powerful bureaucrat named Modestus. 

  8. Rhonda Dodson says

    Here is an example of what can happen with a married episcopacy:
    Archpriest Follows His Sons Out of ROCOR Into Constantinople

    • George Michalopulos says

      Perhaps the betrayal coming as it were from a married man who had a family to support wouldn’t sting as much.

      • Antiochene Son says

        But, “No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him.”
        The problem is elevating men who are prone to civilian pursuits, of whatever calling. The issue is that a decent married man will have civilian entanglements (and rightly he should, as is his calling; though there are stories from the lives of saints of parents leaving their children in the care of monasteries, this isn’t ideal), while a celibate man only may.
        We need to raise the quality of all our hierarchs and pray fervently that God will send us the clergy we need, not those we deserve. Parents, talk to your sons about the priesthood.

        • Antiochene Son
          “No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him.”

          St.J.Chrysostom said it in another way too:
          “He who does everything to become a bishop,
          will also do everything to remain bishop”.

          Still another way to express the current tendency is:
          “To get to a high position you must preferably have some secret sensitive blame, which the big boss knows,
          so he can always manage to “convince” you to obey.

          Now, by applying St.Chrysostom’s logic you can find the best candidate bishops in no time as follows:

          Go to a monastery and tell each senior hieromonk the they need him as bishop. If he agrees to come, forget it. If he insists he does not want, THEN organize a ‘friendly” kidnapping (as they did to St.Chrysostom) and just get him to the Cathedral where he will be immediately be made Bishop. HE will not be afraid to lose his bishopric, he will do the right thing only!

    • Rhonda that is a particular circumstance. Wrong doing and human failing we cannot stop. But it is a deeper reality we looking at. 
      We now have ‘ professional monks ‘,  who lead comfortable batchelor lives with no experience of work or getting a living that married or single have,  or any monastic formation.  They are just celibate Men. I am leaving out scandal and rest..  
      A married man or at least a celibate of later life, brings an experience of life,  of work ,  of live lived, that relates to  that of ordinary people. Otherwise we have comfortable batchelors and worse openly corrupt ones.  

  9. No less “amazing” than the betrayer Ephilates leading the Persians down the goat path to outflank Leonidas and his Spartans and the other True Greeks who stood with him.
    Ephialtes expected to be rewarded by the Persians, but this came to nothing when they were later defeated at the Battle of Salamis and he had to flee with a bounty on his head, a bounty that was eventually collected.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Ioan, you speak truly. Never in the subsequent 2,300 year history of the Greek language, have I ever come across the name “Ephialtes” being given to a Greek boy.

  10. Ronda Wintheiser says

    “The Union of Orthodox Journalists published a rebuke by one of the Athonite monastics directed at Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople for the anti-Christian activity he has been involved in, especially in recent times…”–z64T4ZWHhO_aoKomxPBtCspVX5swJax3_PCpL40Q

  11. The one thing we need to realize is the Greeks do not dominate Christianity. ,,,,and inorder to be a true christian you need to need to be Greek,,,,this is hog wash,,,,,

    • Certainly rjklancko!
      The purpose of  life is not for anybody (Greek, Turkish, Russian etc) to dominate Christianity
      but rather for everybody to be dominated by Christ and the Holy Spirit.
      That’s a huge difference!

  12. The Alexandian Judas is now on record as saying that his recognition of the OCU schismatics will heal the rift because all other Churches will now follow his lead. You can’t make this stuff up!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Shades of Peter Arnett who as a journalist during the Vietnam War interviewed an American officer who said “We had to bomb that village in order to save it”.

    • I cannot see Cyprus holding out.  But above and beyond Ukraine do not people see how corrupted and empty this makes the Church.  What can you say to the young??? 

      • Based on the information in this article, Cyprus might yet have some fight left. Note in particular the number of clergy who chose not to serve with the Patriarch:

        • George Michalopulos says

          Basil, also if I read correctly, the exarch of the Jerusalem patriarchate chose not to serve liturgy with Theodore when he learned that he was going to commemorate Dumenko. That may point to Jerusalem not going along with the globalist designs of Patriarch SoroBartholomew.

      • Solitary Priest says

        The church has survived scandals since Judas. Our Lord promised the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. Even the Old Israel experienced apostasy. I’m in the middle of the Fourth Book of Kings. We speak the truth in love, as someone suggested. The devil wants us to throw up our arms and quit in disgust. Let’s not give him that victory.

  13. Matthew Panchisin says

    It seems to me that we are seeing right before our eyes the Church of Greece becoming the Greek Catholic Church of Greece and Alexandria the Greek Catholic Church of Alexandria as they accept and advance the first without equals movement, the unmasked ethos of Bartholomew with the papal heresies rooted by the greatly flawed Trinitarian ecclessiology that has been fabricated in Constantinople with outside support.
    When they say to those within their jurisdiction “depart in peace” as they co-create turmoil for them and the entire Orthodox Church (within the Liturgy commemorating schsimatics) something is profoundly askew within them, much more could be said.
    It seems here like it’s actually the same sort of spirit when some of the sick RC clerics say to the faithful (go in peace) while abusing the Christian children of the faithful, however we are not groomed innocent quieted children, many of Latin faithful knew better, but didn’t do much or say much. There are so many good people there and that actually happened and happens.

    I think in the years to come as they move hand in hand with RC ecclessiology and there are more and more Latin ‘clerics” around we should always pay careful attention to all the little children, teenagers etc.

    It’s not just a matter of disturbing the peace.
    George I appreciate your pragmatic comments in this column, I have no doubt that you have Saint George as a friend.

  14. Alitheia1875A says

    George, just in from Romfea. A Roman Catholic cardinal passed out the bread from the artoklasia at the vespers for St. Demetrios in a (Greek) Orthodox church in Aachen, Germany. I’m not sure what was worse, allowing him to do this, seeing Orthodox people kissing his hand as they were given the bread, or noticing that the church has a barely 3 foot high iconostasion (with icons on it). So discouraging.

    • Antiochene Son says

      There seems to be something deeply wrong with Christendom in Germany. Much of Rome’s recent heresy is being pushed by the German cardinals as well.
      But, hey, the Germans gave the world Martin Luther, and a thousand years earlier Pope St. Sergius had to send St. Boniface to Germany to sort the German hierarchy out, so maybe it’s something in the beer.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        There is a saying in Russian, “all the heresies come from the Germans”. While of course this is deflection, as Russians have invented plenty of their own heresies, it smacks of the truth. 

    • Unfortunately, the Greek Metropolitan in Germany ist deeply ecumenistic…

  15. No married Bishops.

  16. Saint Basil the Great, The Morals, Rule 72, parts 1-2:
    Concerning the Hearers: That those hearers who are instructed in the Scriptures should examine what is said by the teachers, receiving what is in conformity with the Scriptures and rejecting what is opposed to them; and that those who persist in teaching such doctrines should be strictly avoided. That they who possess little knowledge of the Scriptures should recognize the distinctive mark of the saints by the fruits of the Spirit, receiving those who bear this mark and avoiding those who do not.
    Comment: In other parts of The Morals, and particularly in the two rules preceding this one, Saint Basil uses “the teachers” primarily to refer to the Bishops. The People of God know their true shepherds, and are enjoined to not to follow any others, by no less an authority than Saint Basil. In much of the world today, where the Bishops can’t even get their act together to have one over all the Orthodox Christians in each city, we often have four or more choices that don’t even require us to move or join the weepers and kneelers in protest when our Bishop teaches wrongly. 

  17. Canon 45 of the Holy Apostles: “A Bishop, or a Presbyter, or a Deacon that only prays together with heretics, should be excommunicated; if he has permitted them to perform anything as Clergymen, let him be DEFROCKED.”

  18. Antiochene Son says

    It gets worse:
    Theodore ignores the request of Cypriot bishops and commemorates Epiphany anyway. 
    What a nice thing for a guest to do, embarrass his host. I had no idea Theodore was such a tool. ?

  19. Johann Sebastian says
    This Kalmoukos guy is a real piece of work. If he has (and I don’t) an icon-corner, I’ll bet he has statues of Zeus and Apollo in it.
    Calls John of Antioch a coward–a man who lost his brother to the very people his fellow Greeks are selling out to!
    The one person Theodore should have consulted prayerfully with–before heading down this path–was Onufry.

    • George Michalopulos says

      JohannSebastian, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I will soon call out Theodore Kalmoukos for his scandalous slurs against Patriarch John X of Antioch.

      He is worse than a racialist, he is a moral coward as well.

      • Kalmoukos is not a journalist. He is a propagandist. I would be pleased if he insulted me…because it would mean that I was on the correct path. He is opposite of everything that is meet and right.

    • Pfui. A paywall. When the entire article is available, please let us know. 

      • Susan, Try again.  For some reason I was able to get the entire article.  When I tried again, I ran into the pay wall.  It may be an intermittent thing.

  20. johann sebastian says

    interesting. it worked on my computer this morning but looking through my phone, i now am prompted by the same paywall.
    i don’t have the link handy but either orthochristian or spzh are reporting that brownbeck or whatever his name is met with pat. irinej today.

  21. Lord have mercy! They are not even trying to hide it! The notorious Brownback and another representative has paid a visit to Serbia. Will they cave now?!?

    • George Michalopulos says

      We can only pray that the EU/NATO axis will fail in its efforts to launch its crusade against Russia. It pains me to think that the Orthodox lands of Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania are going to send their sons into the charnel house to promote “democracy” (which today is anything but).

      Lord have mercy.

      • If the Serbs suddenly cave then there is no question that the US is trying to destroy The Church.  And if that happens I can say that it will just strengthen my conviction that the MP is the last bastion of Orthodoxy.  

        • George Michalopulos says

          True that. The only silver lining would be the rising up of the OC churches in Greece and elsewhere that will constitute a synod-in-resistance and offer spiritual shelter for the remaining Christians who are observant. At that point, it would behoove the MP to recognize these churches as canonical. While that would make unity in the future difficult, it would serve as condign punishment to the CoG, Alexandria and who knows who else joins them in their treachery.

          The other silver lining would be sabotage by these same Christians when the tocsin of war is sounded.

          • Alitheia1875 says

            The GOC  (the main OC group in Greece which is in communion with OC groups in several  countries, and which is growing in the US) would say that Moscow recognizing it as canonical is of no concern to them. The issue is ecumenism which has far surpassed the calendar issue. After all, only Constantinople and Greece use the new calendar (thanks to the cousins Metaxakis and Venizelos). Any bishop of any church that is involved in joint prayer with non-Orthodox will not be accepted by the GOC, even if an Orthodox church is not directly involved in joint prayer (are there any?) but is in communion with an Orthodox church that is.

            • I can confirm this. I have a good friend who is GOC and this is their main issue; the 13 days is a problem but as much so as a symbol as directly. I support their position 100% even though I am in the OCA – all joint prayer, all joint theological dialogue (except possibly the attempts to convert the non-Chalcedonians, who are still close to us in certain ways), all ecumenical activity needs to cease, the New Calendar needs to be ejected, and the moral teachings of the Church need to be upheld.  Now it seems to me that the GOC are schismatics, even though spiritually speaking they are in the right; it seems to me that they have abandoned their brothers in the fight when we need them most; but if much of world Orthodoxy continues on its present path it may turn out otherwise.

          • George, which Old Calendar church are you speaking about. The O C churches are as fragmented as the Protestant churches are in America, with each of the OC churches claiming to be the only “true” church. From what I have been told, there as many as 12 different OC churches in Greece.

            • George Michalopulos says

              JK, I don’t have the answer to that question. I am sure however that we will soon find out which of these OC churches are amenable to being canonically recognized by Moscow.

              • George the most coherent and consistent old calander church in Greece is as i have said, the Fyli,near Athens based Synod in resistance.  They have wide ties with Bulgaria and Romania and much missionary work in Africa.  Their monastery at Fyli is a haven of Orthodoxy and peace  and liturgical order and superb byzantine chanting.   
                As i have often said I follow the daily prayer blogg of the Tampa Bay greek priest  AND GOOD DEDICATED MAN,  but his blog is 90% what u would hear from any positive psychology guy. Nothing wrong with what he says,  not at all,  BUT ANY ONE COULD SAY IT. You do not need God.   He claims only way to communicate with people. QUITE, WE UNDERSTANDING.  Feed them Pop psychology ( and was my profession) and that is all they expect. 

            • Jk,
              80% of old calendarists in Greece belong to one synod under Met. Kalkinikos (Florinites) and are in communion with those in Serbia Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus. And at one time have been in communion with ROCOR longer than Rocor has been in communion with the GOA.  Their St. Irene Chrysovalandou Monastery is the most famous womens monastery in all of Greece. Also New calendar Orthodoxy is way more fragmented. Ukraine, Macedonia, Montenegro, Estonia, China etc . In the United States there are a bunch of charismatic orthodox and “eparchies” lead by former clergy of canonical churches.

              • The St Irene monastery is more famous than Ormelia, you are mistaken. I doubt your 80% figure but it sure is good propaganda. I don’t know that there are charismatic orthodox churches. Please let me know where I can find one. I looked on the Internet and nothing came up. These churches must either be fictional or under ground. Old Calendar churches are in communion with NC churches-seems odd to me. To which OC church do you belong? I bet that it is the only true church.

                • He’s obviously talking about vagante churches, hundreds of which exist in the United States, some of which can claim “succession” from a number of former Orthodox bishops that went renegade. Aftimios Ofiesh and those who claim succession from him is the best example, but there’s also Rene Villatte.
                  Also, Gus, when you write that ‘new calendar Orthodoxy’ is fragmented… you only named churches on the old calendar.

                  • Basil, it’s TRUE that many are on the old calendar but they are not old calendarists. These churches are fragmented because of politics and phyletism nothing dogmatic and canonical, if to be recognized means changing to the N.C. they would. And yes their exists n.c. uncanonical churches as one example a popular Orthodox author named Jordan Bajis left canonical (n.c.) Orthodoxy and started his own parish with charismatic practices added in. This guys articles still appear on the GOARCH website. Look at Macedonian (fyrom) churches who actually have atleast 5 successful parishes in my area, I figure they are on the old but obviously it’s a non issue as they claim they were given autocephaly in 1967.  Here is the website for one of their parish is, quite huge:
                    The arguments against old calendarists is basically the pot calling the kettle black mixed with propaganda and a good dose of circling the wagon (on both sides).

                • Jk- 
                  You must of misunderstood my post. I said that about 80% of old calendarists in Greece are under the Florinite synod lead by Kallinikos. They are no more divided than we are as exhibited in Ukraine, you can even include the uniates who were the Orthodox that joined the union of Brest. There are large swaths of uncanonical churches from Macedonia to the United States. There is a popular parish in Woodside Queens NY St. Fanourios full of Greek and Romanian immigrants run by a defrocked GOA clergy. You have the St. Simeon Charismatic Brotherhood found in florida by the GOA priest Eysebius Stephanou. You still have vagante sects originating from bishop Oftiesh etc.  We are not immune even in Greece  such as the monastery running the site is non-canonical new calendar
                  No I am not an old calendarists not that it should matter. 
                  And yes St.Irene Chrysovalandou Monastery in Greece is BY FAR more well known among the Greek laity than Ormylia. 

        • Matthew Panchisin says

          Dear Dan,

          Only the ecumenist and ecumenizing so easily betray Holy Orthodoxy, out of consistency of spirit.

          The Serbs are not ecumenist (with only a few bishops as exceptions to the rule to be tolerated?) so they won’t move with the heterodox west against Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            “Serbs are not ecumenist”, and yet Serbian Patriarch Irenej is accused of being just that:
            “Even more explicitly, Patriarch Irinej fundamentally denied the authority of the Ecumenical Councils which anathematized the Monophysite heretics, and proclaimed that the ‘Syriac Church’ and his own Serbian ‘Church’ were, in fact, ‘One Church’:

            “What unites us is love and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; we are one Church, although, sorrowfully, the historical circumstances had divided us”.

            “It is clear that the Serbian Patriarch, along with the Antiochian Patriarchate [which has already an agreed ecumenical agreement with the Monophysites allowing joint sharing of ‘sacraments’ in some cases], has already in essence, by denying the anathema of the Ecumenical Councils and teachings of the Fathers and Saints about there heresy of the Syro-Jacobites, confirms its already apostate state from the Orthodox Church.”

            • Johann Sebastian says

              There are Uniate Coptic, Syriac, and Armenian churches–which surely accepted Chalcedon in their union with Rome.
              If Rome could convince them, then so can we. Instead we grovel at the Papal throne, with jokers like Elpidophoros and Bartholomew.
              It’s interesting that we spend so much time courting heretics who affirm the Councils in theory but in practice disregard them. Yes, the monophysite formula is heretical, but their practices and statements today appear to affirm what we believe more closely than those who claim to accept the fourth Council.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Johann, you bring up a couple of excellent points. I wish I had come up with them earlier.

                As a practical matter, I cannot see why the OCs cannot heal the splits with these other “non-Chalcedonian” churches, especially when, as you say, they uphold the traditions of the Church while instead we pant after the “Chalcedonian” churches which uphold the dogmas of the Church but not their practices.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  George, many no longer uphold anything. Yet, the Copts have withstood far worse than the EP for longer.  The tragic flaw in the EP has always been the desire for power.  Historically when under stress they have played footsie with Rome while trying to “pull rank” within the Orthodox communion.  It has always been winked at.  We see the results.  
                  That tragic flaw is a fruit of the terrible idea of symphonia.  I hope that same flaw is not also taken root in the MP. 
                  The state will always have more worldly  power, that is God’s order.  The Church and her people are not supposed to cooperate with or have co-equal power with the state except in righteousness but we are to maintain our prophetic voice of mercy and God’s providence.  Even to the point of marytrdom. That is the spirit that enlivens warrior priests I think.  Indeed any true warrior.  It is what sets them apart from hierlings..

            • Matthew Panchisin says

              Dear Joseph Lipper,

              The Serbian Orthodox people are not ecumenist, some of them have icons of Saint Justin Popovich and have read his writings on the subject matter etc. nor are they interested in creating or joining the unia, getting rid of their slava, autocephaly etc. They don’t embrace the spirit of apathy in such matters.

              Patriarch Irenei is not considered to be the supreme spiritual leader, an infallible pope, superior to the Saints, the Orthodox Church doesn’t work that way, Joseph.

              I know some people that know Patriarch Irenej quite well, when I have a chance I’ll ask them and report back to you.

            • Brute from bygone ages says

              Joseph, it’s  rather bad translation of HH words. 
              Besides, what’s your point? 

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Brute from bygone ages,
                Here’s another such story, “Pro-Ecumenist Serbian Patriarch Attends Anglican Services”:
                “On the night of New Calendar December 24th, the ecumenist Patriarch of Serbia, Irinei, allowed the local Anglican community to use one of his churches in Belgrade, as well as attended the Anglican Christmas services. Patriarch Irinei is well-known for his ecumenical views and practices, such as participating in Jewish religious services. The Serbian Patriarchate since the mid 20th century has involved itself in ever greater ways in the heresy of ecumenism and the heretical ecumenical movement, while simultaneously departing more and more from traditional Orthodox praxis [for example, baptism by triple immersion, while known in the Serbian Patriarchate, is no longer widely practiced].”
                The website that publishes both stories is run by a group called the “Russian True Orthodox Church” who is in communion with nobody except for the “Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece”.  Both groups routinely justify their break in communion with the Orthodox Church mainly because of ecumenism.  They have a point in that ecumenism is certainly something that deserves analysis and criticism.  Perhaps the Serbian Patriarch is pushing the limits of what’s acceptable? I don’t know.  However, do the actions of the Serbian Patriarch justify their schism?  I don’t think so.
                I’m just trying to point out that schism is what happens when anybody puts anything before Orthodoxy.  An “Ecumenist Orthodoxy” will lead to schism just as much as “Traditionalist Orthodoxy”, and as seen here by the so-called “True Orthodox” and “Genuine Orthodox”.

                • Brute from bygone ages says

                  Joseph, with all due respect you just wrotr a pile of informations.
                  Patriarch Irinej goes visiting other Christian groups at their services, but it’s something all Primates do. I am not to happy about it, and I hope it will change, but I don’t think they are heretics. What I don’t get is what are you trying to point here. You are not Old Calendarist. You are supporting Patriarch Bartholomew who certainly did cross a line at his Ecumenical activities. So what’s going on? 

                • Steven J. M. says

                  While we’re on the topic of heterodox services, I want to ask if anyone would be able to tell me if going to a Roman Catholic wedding ceremony would be a problem.
                  If the ceremony happens with a service and the priest asks for the signal of peace, or the shaking of hands, I believe it would be improper to partake; but apart from that, and providing I don’t pray with the Catholics or cross myself, would I be guilty of anything?
                  Thank you  

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Steven, I see no problem. I’ve attended more than a few myself.

                  • Antiochene Son says

                    Yes, that is OK. The rules of thumb for heterodox services I have been given are these:

                    1. Don’t participate, but respectfully observe.
                    2. Don’t attend a heterodox service at the expense of attending an Orthodox service. 
                    3. Don’t make it a habit. (St. Raphael of Brooklyn taught his flock that, in the absence of an Orthodox Church nearby, it was better to pray at home than to attend the services of the heterodox. It’s easy to get drawn in.)

                    A wedding should easily check all those boxes.
                    In most cases that would be OK, but I did once make the mistake of attending the Catholic wedding of a friend who apostatized from Orthodoxy to Rome, and I deeply regretted it afterwards, as it filled me with such anger. YMMV.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Antiochian Son, as you note there are a myriad of issues involved in attending such services. Frankly, even though I have the freedom to attend such special event services (mostly funerals in my case), I have found it to be a problem for me so I am going to be even more selective going forward.

                      I made the mistake a few years ago of attending the funeral service for a long time casual friend, wife of business colleague, who was Mormon. The woman’s daughter got up and “testified” for about an hour, it seemed much longer, concerning the Mormon theology of death (that was eye opening). It was pretty disgusting actually. Never again.

                      RC funerals are just depressing (and their services in general), as the person who has reposed is stuck in a coffin, wheeled to the front and then ignored as the Funeral Mass is celebrated. Compounded with the fact that young women were the primary altar attendants, actually placing liturgical items on the altar for the priest, etc.

                      There is really no reason to go to most of them unless the person being married or the family of the deceased is quite close to you.

                      But it is good to talk to one’s priest in any case as Mikhail says. However, some of them are mercifully ignorant of the degree in which other communions have fallen away from the truth of things.

                      As I understand it the canonical prohibition is “regularly participating” in the services of other groups. I have been told that just attending to honor/comfort a friend is not usually a problem–unless it is.

                      Good story, the Protestant mother of the wife of my boss died about 15 years ago. I did check with my priest and I traveled about an hour to the funeral which was a pretty standard Protestant memorial service. There was actually nothing to participate in. My boss’ wife was quite grateful and remains grateful to this day. It was absolutely the proper thing to do.

                  • That is a question for your spiritual father.

                    • Steven J. M. says

                      George, Antiochene Son and Mikhail, thanks a lot for your responses. I appreciate it.

                    • Agreed Mikhail.  And a spiritual father who is steeped in the Holy Fathers and the Tradition. The Saints/Holy Fathers and the Tradition in the Canons and Councils speak quite substantively to many issues.  My concern about autocephaly for the OCA is the fact that I still hear from priests and laypeople “I think”, “I have decided”, “I don’t see anything wrong with” or deference toward atheistic scholars or even Orthodox scholars who are dismissive of the Holy Fathers in deference to the intellectual field of study they prioritize over our Wisdom.

                      The Protestant “I” and desire to be the authority is still so strong in us here that many don’t really accept the notion of the Holy Fathers and Tradition as our authority.  As part of our healing, my SF and other Patristic priests, quoting the Fathers, urge us to be transformed in our minds by humility rather than our egotist thoughts and to absorb their surpassing wisdom attained in revelation from the All Holy Trinity.  I am no example myself of submission or ascetism, but know I should be.  Certainly the monks, nuns, priests and followers of the Elder Ephraim monasteries as well as those of Elder (St.!) Sophrony’s Essex, St Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, etc. defer always to the greater wisdom of the Holy Fathers and our Tradition. Not much “I” and always seeking the wisdom and mind of Christ definitely found in the Saints and our Tradition.  Claes please stand down from reflexively feeling insulted on behalf of the OCA ~ true of many clergy and laity in all jurisdictions in the US. We need wisdom from the Churches and leaders with that wisdom embedded within them. Just an observation from the Fathers which I can see now as a former proud Protestant and Roman Catholic who was queen of the “I think” and is glad to be in the Hospital with the Holy Fathers and their followers  for the cure.   

                      Recently a Patristic GOA archimandrite summarized a teaching on Love in Truth with these words: “Truth and love are innately bonded. If you separate them, you lose them both!” We must learn them from the reposed Holy Fathers alive in Christ and from those teaching from them in our midst in order to know the truth and therefore truly be able to love as Christ did. Praying for us all to get there.

        • Antiochene Son says

          I had the displeasure to watch part of the impeachment proceedings this morning, and that lackey from the State Department was giving his opening statement. He said, quite proudly and openly, that a major project of the State Department today is to destroy the influence of Russia within the former Soviet bloc.
          Of course, that means destroying the canonical Ukrainian Church. And really, the whole Orthodox Church, because Russia comprises half to two-thirds of its members.
          It is no understatement to say that the US Deep State is now openly at war with the Orthodox Church. We need to pray for our hierarchs to remain strong, and we need to call out those in our midst who do Satan’s bidding to weaken the Church.
          This man lauded the Ukrainians for overthrowing their rightfully elected government because it was pro-Russia and for crowd-sourcing (!) weapons. (Funny way to describe terrorists trafficking weapons.) He likened them to the Minutemen of American history.
          There is no doubt that the US Government is up to some very evil stuff and the Orthodox Church is squarely in the crosshairs. I am an American, born and bred, but my first allegiance is to Christ and His Church. Come and get me, Schiff!

      • It pains me greatly to think that my country is actively trying to destroy my Church!!!

    • Brute from bygone ages. says

      I don’t think this visit was directly connected to Ukraine. Issue was removal of bishop Maksim of Western America from chair at University. He first two letters of repentance, and promissed not to make any fuss about his removal, after that, he exactly maid a fuss in pro-Western press, there was also some petition of liberal “Orthodox” professors in his support. Bishop Grigorije of Germany supported him, they attacked Patriarch and Synod for granting medals to President of Serbia, and Serbian member of Presidency of Bosnia. Anyway, Americans failed this time. Maksim was removed from Theological Faculty by direct intervention of Patriarch and Synod. Bishop Ignjatije, dean of Faculty was forced to resign, because he didn’t follow Synodal decrees to relase bishop Maksim and professor Vilotić.
      There are some news from the well informed sources Synod will send a comission in US, to examine dealings of Irinej of Eastern America (rummored to be CIA asset). 

  22. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear George,
    Trump is ignorant or no good? It’s his state department?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Matthew, if you saw Gov Nikki Haley yesterday and today make the rounds on the various chat shows, you will have learned that there is an Deep State that was actively working to undermine Pres Trump. She specifically mentioned Gen John Kelley (former Chief of Staff) and Rex Tillerson (former SecState), both of whom wanted her to join them in their cabal.

      Unless one is willing to call her out as a liar, her announcement proves the point –that there is a Deep State.

      And for the record, I have never been a Nikki Haley fan; as Gov of South Carolina she horribly misplayed the Rebel Flag issue buying into the claptrap about Dylann Roof. Because of her cowardice, the great purge of Southron memorabilia, statues and monuments began.

    • My thoughts also, Matthew. There can only be two options. Trump is either ignorant or corrupt in this area. There is a great irony here. The progressives who claim to be Orthodox (such as the Fordhamites and friends) have complete disdain for Pres. Trump. And yet his state department is helping them to dismantle the Holy Orthodox Church. These are difficult times.

  23. Anthony de Castro says

    I suspect that there is a Catholic connection in the attempts to bring down the Russian Church. Sam Brownback is a devout Catholic, a convert of the now-disgraced Fr. C. John McCloskey. 
    The Catholic media, to the extent it has paid attention to the Ukraine, has blindly supported Bartholomew and relentlessly demonized Russia and the Russian Church. Catholic media coverage of the Francis-Kirill meeting, the Crete “Council” and the Ukraine uniformly portrayed Russia as Mordor. It is Catholic liberal institutions (Fordham, Collegeville, Ukrainian Catholic University) that openly fund and give a platform to liberal Orthodox “experts”. 

    • Probably tied to Fatima in their eyes. As a former RC, devotion to Fatima is huge among trad Catholics, they all think that Russia will convert to Roman Catholicism en masse 

      • Monk James Silver says

        Yes, this is sadly true.

        Many years ago, I asked officials of ‘The Blue Army of Fatima’ how they understood the promise they attributed to the Mother of God when she said ‘Russia will be converted’.

        Contrary to what other people — even RC Bp Fulton J. Sheen — thought, the ‘Blue Army’ people were quite certain that this meant that the Russian Orthodox Church would turn Roman Catholic.

    • George Michalopulos says

      There you have it.

  24. Michael Bauman says

    George, many no longer uphold anything. Yet, the Copts have withstood far worse than the EP for longer.  The tragic flaw in the EP has always been the desire for power.  Historically when under stress they have played footsie with Rome while trying to “pull rank” within the Orthodox communion.  It has always been winked at.  We see the results.  
    That tragic flaw is a fruit of the terrible idea of symphonia.  I hope that same flaw is not also taken root in the MP. 
    The state will always have more worldly  power, that is God’s order.  The Church and her people are not supposed to cooperate with or have co-equal power but to maintain our prophetic voice of mercy and God’s providence.  Even to the point maytrdom. That is the spirit that enlivens warrior priests I think.  Indeed any true warrior.  It is what sets them apart from hierlings..

  25. Michael Bauman says

    Mikhail, in the entire history realpolitik has always trumped support of the Christian faith. I have said before that only one US President has actively fought for Christian freedom–Thomas Jefferson when he sent the miniscule US fleet to destroy the Musselmen pirates of Tripoli because they were taking Christian men as hostages among other things.  His action was primarily motivated by the fact that Muslims attacked Christians.  
    Brownback was a horrible choice for his office, an office which is un-Constatutional any way.  The office itself guarantees that religious policy will be part of US foreign policy which it should not be.

    • Yes, Michael. It is very sad. This Brownback character seems to be everywhere…like a bad virus.

  26. Antiochene Son says

    And to the surprise of no one, Greece cucks again.
    They announced the restoration of blasphemy laws, but got scared by some edgy teenagers on Twitter. 

  27. Wonderful to see a faithful hierarch who is stable and unchanging in his Patristic and canonical understanding and his continued support of Met. Onouphry and the canonical UOC:    Met. Athanasios of Limassol (Cyprus), a respected Patristic hierarch and the real-life “Father Maximos” in the wonderful book of a spiritual journey “Mountain of Silence”, is typical of the stable (unchanging) Patristic  point of view on the situation in the Ukraine:

    • Gail Sheppard says

      So perhaps what one priest told me is true: “God allows bad things to happen so good men will stand up.” – I did not know Met. Athanasios was “Father Maximos.” It makes sense.

  28. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a “Letter to the Editor” from yesterday in The National Herald, by Theodore G. Karakostas of Boston, MA.
    Response to Kalmoukos on Patriarch Theodoros
    November 18, 2019

  29. Met. Athanasios of Limassol (“Father Maximos”) in full about Ukraine. Transcript plus a link to the Greek audio (oh how I wish I spoke Greek!). You lucky Greek-speakers. What a warm, peaceful and loving voice too.

  30. Metropolitan Agafangel to Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria:

    A Heartfelt Letter to Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria


  31. February 21, 2017


    According to Metropolitan Nicholas of Plovdiv, the entirety of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church values His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev as a wise pastor, ably leading his flock on the path of salvation in such difficult times, reports the Information Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

    “Vladyka Onuphry is the Orthodox and canonical bishop who walks along the path of faith and eternal salvation with fear of God in his life and service. He is a man who always has the image of our supreme Shepherd the Lord Jesus Christ in view, and serves Him faithfully. It’s not just my opinion, but that of the whole Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the opinion of the Bulgarian Orthodox people,” Met. Nicholas emphasized.

    November 28, 2019

    Bulgarian hierarch leads the service commemorating Epiphany

    On November 27, in the church of St. Athanasius and Sts. Acacius and Damascene the Studite in Langadas, the services were led by Metropolitan Nikolaos of Plovdiv. During the liturgy, the deacon read out the local diptych, which included the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Epiphany Dumenko, the Romalewfronimati website reports.

    The Langadas Diocese is included in the list of dioceses being undesirable to visit for pilgrims of the Russian Orthodox Church. A complete list of dioceses is available here.

    As reported by the UOJ, the Primate of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Neophytos, met with the ambassadors of Greece and the United States.

  32. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Times website.
    Home > Orthodoxy > Patriarchates > Patriarchate of Alexandria

    Patriarch of Alexandria: The ancient Churches do not ask for evidence of History, they are History
    Nov 29, 2019 | 19:25

    • Theodoros’ statement that he and Bart ‘are history’ is hilarious on so many levels. It’s almost an admission that they will soon be consigned to its dustbin.   

  33. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.
    Nicosia, November 29, 2019

  34. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    This is also an article i greatly agree with.