This is a Spiritual Battle

Every now and then, an image comes out in the midst of a crisis which rapidly becomes iconic.  These images encapsulate a conflict in ways that words cannot.  

Last week we showed Archpriest Ioann Protsiuk and his parishioners being escorted out of his church by police . 

Yesterday, we showed videos of Metropolitan Pavel, the abbot of the Lavra, telling Zelensky that God will not forgive him for what he’s doing.  We then see him being fitted with an ankle bracelet, while outside an angelic little Ukrainian sings “Christ is Risen” at the top of her lungs holding the Ukrainian flag in her tiny little hands. 

These images encapsulate the spiritual war that is taking place in Ukraine at present.

For me, the contrast between this bishop and your typical Phanariote episcopal dilletante could not be more stark.

Yesterday, however, there is yet another video capturing the world’s attention.  This time of a young woman praying in the middle of the street outside the Lavra Caves.  What was particularly galling were the people dancing around her, primarily men, singing like banshees and taunting her until a bystander lifted her out of harms way.  Here

I wonder if the Archons of St Andrew, those “champions” of religious freedom will have anything to say about this.  Or the arrest of Pavel for that matter.  Or the persecution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

I realize these are rhetorical questions.  These charlatans care no more about religious freedom than they do about the Man in the Moon.  They happily ascribe to the cult of personality built around the Ecumenical Patriarch because it makes them look like big men in their local communities.  If nothing else, it’s a resume-padder for the CV.

It’s sad, really.  After all, why be part of a racket –a grift in actuality–when you can step up and make a difference?  To date, the New Rome racket has never amounted to much.  Why would anyone expect it to start mattering now?  Especially now that the Russians are on the precipice of liberating all of Donbass and will be dictating terms to Kiev?

And how does one think that what’s going on in Ukraine –short of nuclear war–will be resolved?  What are Bartholomew’s options?  Moreover, how will the Ukronazis (such as those tormenting the woman above) be treated in the new, denazified Ukraine?

Is this the new Orthodox “order” that Estonia, Latvia and whatever is left of Dumenko’s sect want to be part of?  My answer, despite their ludicrously obvious irrelevancy, is “yes.”  These are miniscule populations with an equally miniscule number of parishes, therefore the schismatic sects created in the Baltic states will wither on the vine.  Simply put, Bartholomew doesn’t have the “throw-weight” needed to sustain an international Orthodox order headed by Istanbul.

Perhaps a better question would be, do any of the canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States want to be part of this charade?  

The devout young woman praying in the street, Archpriest Ioann Protsiuk and his parish, Metropolitan Pavel, and the child belting out “Christ is Risen” as if the weight of defending the Faith had been placed on her tiny shoulders, and all the persecuted Orthodox are examples of the type of strength and suffering you see with martyrdom.  A soft martyrdom at present but a witness nonetheless.

The reason we hold the Ecumenical Patriarch in contempt is because he harnessed the OCU to unleash his own unresolved spiritual issues which have become increasingly dark.  The OCU aren’t the “poor Ukrainian people” he portends; they are Nazis and nationalists bent on the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church.   It is them he supports because they are a vehicle to hurt the Russian Church, which he fears is fast becoming the New Rome.         

To the OCU, Bartholomew represented legitimacy within the Church; a legitimacy he does not have.  If he did, his brother bishops would not have renounced his presence in Ukraine or continue to hold that position for the past 4 years.

And this is not the war between Russia and Ukraine which is based on the presence of NATO and involves the military industrial complex.  

This is a war initiated by schismatics whose objective is the soft genocide of the canonical Church.  Instead of Bartholomew making them one of us; he has become one of them.  The patriarch of the schismatics.  And the schismatics are not alone in their quest.  They have teamed up with bonified pagans and satanists drawn to the spiritual unrest.  It’s a vortex to the dark side they are hoping to exploit.  Here

We should pray for the martyrs whose loses have been uncalculatable.  And should the time come for us to experience a similar martyrdom, we should pray for the same strength they are exhibiting because so much more is coming.       


  1. Speaking of spiritual battles, here is a wonderful rendition of “O Champion Leader,” (with subtitles).

  2. New, deznazified Ukraine? Oh Lord, you really want to believe that, don’t you? Wanna believe the “Ukrainians receiving the Russians as their liberators” idiocy. The Ukrainians fighting, and defeating, the Russians, are overwhelmingly Orthodox, mostly members of the “canonical church”, they are defending their homeland as anyone else would do. They are doing the right thing, regardless of clerical disputes. Do you really believe that because they may not like their government policy, they would preffer to have their country invaded and occuppied by a foreign power??? They will continue to fight the invader, they couldnt care less about what someone out of his comfort and ignorance in America thinks about it.

    • Mike, how do you explain all those statues of Bandera and/or the naming of streets after him? Or all that Nazi symbology tattooed on all the Azovites’ bodies? Or all those newsstories put out after 2014 in the mainstream journals about Nazis and “far=right” elements within the Azov battalions? Or our own State Dept which condemned these units (before 2022)?

      In other words, who am I going to believe, you or my lying eyes?

      Remember: up until recently, anybody in the West who did the Roman salute, sported Nordic tattoos or belonged to the alt.right usually lost his job. In some European countries, simply reading books by David Irving could land you in jail.

      Now, because of this invasion it’s all “well, boys will be boys.”

      • I agree with Mike. Of course, you will find far right elements gravitating around many governments these days, especially in Europe. However, what I have normally seen, is that Jewish leaders and prominent Jewish rabbis are very quick to raise international alarm when they see concerning far right elements within a government. They, more than anyone else, are of course very sensitive to nazi ideology for obvious reasons. And yet I don’t recall any protests of Jewish leaders or Jewish people towards the Ukrainian government. How strange. Only mr Putin is pointing out the ‘nazism’ of the Ukrainian government. Only he seems to have eyes for these things. And he has convinced you and many others. And yet the one killing cynically children and innocent people (like a nazi would have done in the 2. war) is not the Ukrainian government. You don’t like nazi tattoos but you justify the killing of innocent people?

        In my opinion the situation in Ukraine is highlighting the shortcomings (spiritually) both in the schismatic part of Ukraine as well as in the canonical part (we – I – are all weak) It is too easy to vilify those against the UOC and describe as sort of saintly the UOC members. Indeed some information around met. Pavel, for instance, quite disturbed me.

        Playing the victim role is not a Christian attitude (if you kneel with a cross and look towards heaven in the middle of unbelievers who have come to ignite strife, what do you expect? Of course that makes for a good ‘martyr-like’ picture). I don’t think this kind of show is what Christ asks of us. With articles like the above we are just spreading more division (‘we good – you bad’!). Furthermore they highlight the author’s geopolitical (not Christian) strongly held beliefs as well as personal frustrations. If you read the writings of true Christian martyrs (like St. Justin in Rome), even in the face of threat of death, they would still talk with Christian love and talk to their persecutors with respect and love (otherwise what’s the difference between a Christian and the persecutor?). These are examples that will be remembered (and are remembered) because they stayed true to Christian love until the end, without making a show of their belief in the streets when it is not necessary. Christianity is the religion of unity, not division. It is the religion of forgiveness of your enemies. Sadly in many orthodox circles we seem to completely forget (or want to deny?) that. And so, orthodox people today are very keen to raise to almost saintly rank a child who screams ‘Christ is risen’ so they can continue ‘hating’ and showing how ‘bad’ everyone else is. I don’t quite recall that Christ, when tortured and crucified, continued to point out how evil and bad his enemies were. In fact God prayed for them: ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing” (Luke 23:34). Why not pray for the persecutors instead of writing all these self-righteous articles? What makes you think you are better than the people who came to the lavra to mock the monks? Perhaps if you and I had had their lives we could be in a worse state right now! We definitely don’t see orthodoxy around anymore and anywhere, least of all within ourselves.

        • Pat, If (as you say) Christianity is indeed a “religion of unity” what does this say about the EP who divided the canonical Ukrainian Church?

          As for the Ukronazi elements in the Ukrainian government, the fact that some secular Jewish leaders have turned a blind eye to it, may be ironic but it’s not novel. The provisional Zionist government in Palestine worked in tandem with the newly-elected Nazi regime for several years, mainly because both believed in Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine (called the Ha’avarah). They even struck a medal to commemorate this event. Right-wing Jewish leaders such as Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin (later prime ministers of Israel), condemned Western decadence and openly admired rightist leaders in the West, hoping to make common cause with them in order to drive the British out of Palestine.

          We’re talking 1933-1938 (pre-Kristallnacht) so context is everything.

          My point is that here too, the hatred that many secular Jews and gentiles, as well as Protestant Christians with their bizarre “Gag-Magog” theories, have for a Christianized, revitalized Russia, brings them no pause in making common cause with far-rightist elements in the Ukraine.

        • “…the one killing cynically children and innocent people (like a nazi
          would have done in the 2. war) is not the Ukrainian government.”

          So…who shelled the Donbass for eight years?
          Who gave them the tools with which to do it?

          I think not…

        • Christianity is the religion of unity, not division. It is the religion of forgiveness of your enemies. Sadly in many orthodox circles we seem to completely forget (or want to deny?) that.

          Alright, Pat, then how do you explain the tenth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel?

          Next week, the Church will reenact the history of Christ’s own passion, death and victory over death. As recorded in Matthew 10, he tells us that what would happen to him will happen to an even greater degree to us.

          25 If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 27 Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

          In summary:

          34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”

          Jesus goes on in Mt. 10 to explain how the most intimate members of a family will turn on each other for his sake. The contention that Jesus is the Messiah was an undeniably revolutionary idea, divisive to the core. As we know from history, ideas have their consequences.

          41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

          What I think our Lord is saying here is that there is profit in listening and taking the words of a prophet seriously and not dismissing them out of hand. And giving a cup of cold water to the man who has preached his heart out is a way to be rewarded.

          I have been around for a long time and yet I have never witnessed such a wickèd time as this. This country is just sicker than a dog. Witness the insane ascendency of the transsexual movement. One of them writes a manifesto and goes out and kills Christian children, and our own politically-correct vice president makes a beeline for Nashville to blame it on the guns the murderer used! Will I be in danger of hellfire if I call the vice president an idiot?

          Every Orthodox priest who has the gonads to speak to the burning moral issues of our times – and, O God, we need them to speak out! – is a hero in my eyes, and a potential martyr. We Orthodox need our bishops and priests to explain to us what is going on and why it’s happening and what the Church would teach us to do in the face of it. In other words, we need help to form an Orthodox phromema specifically for our times. It is not enough for them to tell us to “just pray”. How will we know how to pray if we don’t know what to think? (cf. I Cor. 14:15)

          I commend George and Gail for standing in the gap and doing what they can to apply an Orthodox mindset to the geopolitical problems that we face. They and we who comment are, in figurative sense, shouting it from the rooftops. Would it be a stretch to call that the work of a prophet?

          • 3 Titus

            Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

            3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

            9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      The Ukrainian idea is the product of a wholly deracinated mindset wrapped up in a host of myths that have been fostered—in the most warped way—by centuries of abuse by religious and ethnic adversaries, mostly Polish and Latin Catholic.

      Ukraine is what happens when self-hatred transforms into arrogant pride.

      And we see something similar happen today in formerly Christian nations—on a much deeper, ontological level. Artificial constructs and invented realities.

      The true heroes of Ruthenia are the ones who didn’t forget their Orthodoxy—cursing the commemoration of the Pope in the Uniate liturgy —and who never hid or distorted the legacy of Rus’.

      • Speaking for myself, I am offended by the Banderite mythology, particularly on its renunciation of the authentic Rus’ narrative. It would be as if Italians rejected the legacy of Rome.

      • “myths that have been fostered—in the most warped way—by centuries of abuse by religious and ethnic adversaries, mostly Polish and Latin Catholic.”

        They were inspired by the occultist and racial ideas from Austria of the end of XIX century.

    • “are overwhelmingly Orthodox, mostly members of the “canonical church”, they are defending their homeland as anyone else would do.”

      How do you explain the fact that the government persecutes canonical Church?

  3. We are in spiritual battles everyday, no matter where we live, as long as we follow Jesus. Satan goes after believers. He doesn’t have to bother with non-believers. He already has them.

  4. Reading in another blog this morning that both the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury are heretics, and add in the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Satan has a trifecta!

    Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help

    Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.

    From Psalm145

  5. Yes, this a spiritual battle that affects the ground we stand on. Let’s pay undivided attention. There are many pieces to these events that need our examination ASAP. We are in an existential crisis in our nation.

    Says Victor Davis Hanson in his substack:

    Or, to put it another way: what crime did Trump not do that others did with either impunity or without being arrested? Here is a sample of 20.

    1) Trump did not violate federal law, as did Hillary Clinton, by destroying federally subpoenaed emails and devices in order to hide evidence.

    2) Trump did not violate federal law, as did Hillary Clinton, by sending classified government communications on her own, through an unsecured home-brewed server.

    3) Trump did not violate federal law, as did Hillary Clinton, by hiring—through three paywalls—a foreign national, who is prohibited from working on presidential campaigns, to compile a dossier to smear her presidential opponent.

    4) Trump did not violate federal campaign laws, as did Hillary Clinton, by hiding her payments (as “legal services”) to Christopher Steele through bookkeeping deceptions.

    5) Trump did not, as did Bill Clinton, use a crony to search out a high-paying New York job for a paramour in order to influence her testimony
    before a special counsel.

    6) Trump did not, as did Bill Clinton, receive a $500,000 “honorarium” for speaking in Moscow while his wife, our secretary of state, approved a longstanding and lucrative desire of the Kremlin for North American uranium to be sold to a Russian consortium.

    7) Trump did not, as did Barack Obama, promise Vladimir Putin that he would be “flexible” on “missile defense” if during his own reelection bid Putin in return would give him “space”. That quid pro quo arrangement led to the U.S. abandonment of key joint missile defense systems with Poland and the Czech Republic, and, reciprocally, less than two years later a Russia invasion, mostly unopposed by the United States, of eastern Ukraine and the Crimea.

    8) Trump did not boast publicly, as did Joe Biden, that he used U.S. foreign aid monies as leverage to have the Ukrainian government fire a prosecutor who may have been looking into the Biden family’s efforts to sell influence to corrupt
    Ukrainian interests.

    9) Trump did not, as the Bidens did, set up a family consortium to leverage monies from Ukraine, Russia, and China, on their shared expectations that he might soon run for and be elected president and become compromised. Trump is not mentioned, as is Joe Biden, in family business communications as a recipient of a 10 percent commission on such payoffs.

    10) Trump did not, unlike Joe Biden, remove presidential papers—without any authority to declassify them—and leave them scattered and unsecured in a garage and various residences and offices.

    11) Trump did not, as did the FBI, wipe clean subpoenaed mobile phone records.

    12) Trump did not, as did interim FBI head Andrew McCabe, admittedly lie under oath on four occasions to federal investigators.

    13) Trump did not, as did CIA Director John Brennan, admittedly lie on two occasions while under oath to the U.S. Congress.

    14) Trump did not, as did Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, admittedly lie on one occasion to the U.S. Congress.

    15) Trump did not, as did James Comey, claim amnesia or ignorance 245 times while under oath before the U.S. Congress.

    16) Trump did not, as did FBI Director James Comey, summarize a confidential private conversation with a president and then deliberately leak that classified memo to the media for his own agenda of appointing a special counsel to investigate the president—which turned out to be his friend Robert Mueller.

    17) Trump did not, as did Robert Mueller, claim ignorance while under oath when asked about the Steele dossier and Fusion GPS, the catalysts for Mueller’s own investigation.

    18) Trump did not, as did private citizen and former secretary of state John Kerry, meet clandestinely while out of office with Iranian officials to help them resist  current U.S. policy toward Iran—or what the Boston Globe characterized as “unusual shadow diplomacy” to “apply pressure on the Trump administration from the outside.”

    19) Trump did not, as did the FBI and CIA, pay clandestine money to Twitter to monitor and smother news stories deemed unhelpful to their agendas.

    20) Trump did not, as did then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whip up a mob at the doors of the Supreme Court by threatening two sitting justices by name to intimidate them concerning an impending judicial ruling: “I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you.”

  6. Step back and reflect on the Holy Trinity’s conversation in the 2nd Psalm.
    I’m obviously no theologian and would have to improve just to be considered as bad, but what we are witnessing is evil doing its worst because there seems to be very little time left for the adversary. Seeing the good woman kneeling in prayer on the alternating red and white stripes, the foreshadowing of what is happening here with respect to religious freedom, is striking to me. Perhaps, I may have stepped on a rake once too often, but that’s the way I see it. I Remain in Christ, Mishou

  7. Spiritual battle, indeed.

    Once again, this is a war between worldviews. The three in real contention are the Secular Humanist (atheistic materialist) worldview, the Christian worldview and the Islamic worldview.

    The participation of Islam (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran) in the present festivities seems to be allying itself with the Christian worldview (Russia, et al) against Secular Humanism (US/West). Perhaps this is inevitable since Christians and Muslims have had a lot of experience not only of conflict but of coexistence in various dynamics. However, Secular Humanism (SH) is the sworn enemy of both.

    There will be a conflict between the Ummah and Christendom eventually. But eventually is not today. Presently, Russia seems to have made the strategic calculation that alliance with Islam is wise given the threat posed by SH. Alliance with China is a similar phenomenon. Cultural nationalism is a common feature of the New Christendom as well as of China, India and Islam.

    We should not be surprised that the SH’s have weaponized fascism as their means of coping with their desperate situation. They cannot really rally around Bolshevism because of its overt anti-business imperative and their interdependence with MNC’s. Fascism is a much better fit. No god, no axe to grind against capitalism, yet fully totalitarian.

  8. Joseph Lipper says

    “Priest Georgy Maksimov said that as soon as he heard that the Ukrainian authorities wanted to take the Kiev Lavra from the UOC, he ‘realized’ everything, and ‘the puzzle came together.’

    “The priest and theologian of the Russian Orthodox Church, Georgy Maksimov, said that the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is being selected because a decision was made at the UOC Cathedral in Feofania to boil holy myrrh.

    “According to Fr. Georgy Maksimova , ‘self-inflicted peace is another sign of schism, a proud claim to autocephalous status, which according to the UOC, no Orthodox Church in the world recognizes.’

    “The priest recalled his old interview in which he said that ‘people who are anointed with this oil, I believe, should be anointed again.’

    “‘That is, then I was in charge of myrrh, but today I paid attention to the place where the new schismatics under the management of Onufry were going to cook myrrh,’ said the priest of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    “He noted that ‘if in August 2022 there were only conversations about this, then on November 23, 2022, the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially decided to restore reconciliation and created the corresponding commission.’

    “The theologian said that, as he was informed, ‘already in February of this year, the UOC was developing practical steps to implement this lawlessness. And they were really going to do it in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.’

    “The priest of the Russian Orthodox Church noted that as soon as he ‘realized’ this, it ‘became clear to him why the Lord allowed the current attack on the Lavra by the persecutors’ and ‘why now’.

    “If the leadership of the UOC was going to use the Lavra for this, it is not surprising that the Lord deprived the Lavra of its protection. This is my personal opinion, which I do not impose on anyone, but for me the puzzle is complete.” [Google translated from the Ukrainian]

    That’s a pretty controversial viewpoint from the Russian Orthodox missionary in Africa, Fr. George Maksimov.

    Even more controversial is the recent statement from his bishop, Leonid of Klin:

    “The hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church wrote that all UOC bishops who supported the Council in Feofania ‘must be swept away with a bad broom.’

    “On March 30, 2023, the head of the Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Africa, Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, said that when Ukraine ‘will be liberated’, there will be no UOC hierarchs in it, who supported the Cathedral in Feofania.”

    • Frankly, Joseph, this is the most bizarre thing I think you’ve ever posted.

      Gregory Maksimov is a missionary priest who gained notoriety when he came under the scrutiny of Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria who asked that he “return to the church system, observing the canonical law of the Church, and to immediately stop services with parishioners in Africa.”

      He was even threatened with ecclesiastical punishment.

      So now, based on his opinion, is it your contention that the monks of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra are being evicted from their home of a thousand years because they boiled holy myrrh?!

      Talk about a “nat,” Joseph. You’d think God would be more concerned with the nationalists in the OCU under Bartholomew who are using children as human shields, but so far, He’s letting them work out their salvation rather than evicting them from the planet.

      There is no evidence God has targeted anyone, anywhere, for myrrh boiling. This is a preposterous statement and not one shared by any of the sane bishops; wayward clerics not withstanding.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Gail, I found it pretty shocking myself. As we know, the African Exarchate was started because a group of African priests basically wanted to remain in communion with Metropolitan Onuphry in Ukraine. They petitioned and were received into the Moscow Patriarchate.

        Now their bishop, Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, is saying that Metropolitan Onuphry and the UOC bishops that met in Council at Feofania last year “must be swept away with a bad broom”. Fr. George Maksimov apparently already considers the UOC to be schismatic. As far as I know, these sentiments are only coming from these two. Even Constantinople does not consider Metropolitan Onuphry to be schismatic.

        Meanwhile, the Church of Bulgaria ruled last February not to concelebrate with this African Exarchate:

        Gail, to answer your question, and I hadn’t thought of this before, but this planned eviction might very well be to prevent the UOC from confecting their own Holy Chrism. Holy Chrism is only confected during Holy Week. It’s a very intensive process that requires clergy around the clock to read the Gospel while stirring it, I think from Sunday evening until Holy Wednesday. Could they confect the Holy Chrism some where else? Sure. It’s just that having Holy Chrism confected at the Kiev Caves Lavra would be especially significant for the UOC.

    • Fr. Seraphim says

      Joseph, Fr. Georgi Maksimov (not Maksimova; only a woman would use that form) is not a “priest and theologian” but rather a missionary priest. Referring to him as a theologian appears to be an attempt to give him more status in the Church and thus make his statements seem to carry more weight. His statements are simply the personal opinion of a missionary priest. They carry no more weight than that and are not at all widely shared in the ROC.

  9. George Michalopulos says

    I hope all the bishops at the Phanar are happy: