Not the Babylon Bee: Goofy Golf in the Cathedral

I could have titled this piece “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” but that was already taken.  Thanks to Rod Dreher for bringing this piece of ridiculousness to our attention:

So you see, in order to be “hep” and “with it”, the Church of England is hurtling headlong into irrelevance at warp speed. In this case, it’s installing a “goofy golf” course in the Nave of Rochester Cathedral, which was built in 1080 and has been the site of Christian worship since the early 600s.

It’s now clear that the Episcopal Church (Anglicanism’s American cousin) was merely a stalking horse for stupidity; if we used marketing terms we would have said that priestesses, gay “marriage” and the like were merely examples of “Beta Testing”. Surely, those of us who were more traditionalists could never imagine that the Anglican Communion as a whole would go along with this East Coast American nonsense. Not in a million years!

Well, we were wrong.

The implications for our future as Christians (in general, not just Anglicans) are sobering. According to the following story, Josh Harris, a hugely popular Evangelical pastor and thinker of the recent past, has decided to reject Christianity.

He is merely one man who “put off Christ” for greetings in the marketplace. We could ask the question “why?” but that is between him and his Maker. For the rest of us who will (hopefully) be the Remnant, the question is “when did the turning point for the Great Apostasy happen”?

I encourage you to read the link above but in any event, here is the kill-shot:

“Sadly, I could add a lot more Christian celebrities to the list. Expect to see more and more of these defections in the coming years as Christianity wanes in popularity and influence and it becomes increasingly costly to remain a follower of Christ. There will be a high price to be paid for those who remain faithful to Christ and the teachings of the Bible. People will lose their jobs, they’ll be denied professional credentials, they will be banned from popular social media platforms and essentially exiled from polite society. Christians will no longer be able to “hide in plain sight” (a phrase recently highlighted by Rod Dreher in describing how all Christians will soon be forced to publicly declare their views on LGBTQ issues). We’ll be asked at work, at our kids’ schools, at Boy Scout meetings, and even in some churches as the culture rallies around sexual minorities, elevating their rights above all others and quashing religious liberty in the process. There will be severe consequences for those who give the wrong answer.

“When all is said and done, years from now we will point to some fads that became widespread in Christianity in the 90s and early part of the 21st century (particularly in evangelicalism) that contributed to the falling away we’re seeing: Seeker-sensitive church growth models, Christian celebrity culture, and the prosperity gospel to name a few, along with the rise of social media and the militancy of the LGBTQ movement. The generation coming of age now, for the most part, has not been taught a robust theology that urges them to take up their cross and follow Jesus. Instead, they’ve been taught to elevate their feelings over doctrine (which, they’re told, divides), to satisfy their felt needs over and above obedience to Christ, and to embrace the world rather than reject it in pursuit of holiness. American churches—packed out with kids who walked the aisle and repeated a prayer and were told they were saved—sent a whole generation out ill-equipped to forsake the world and suffer for Christ. The whirlwind we’re reaping will be borne out in empty churches and increasing apostasy.”


As the author in the link above says, the Great Apostasy reached critical mass when “feelings” triumphed over “belief”, when popularity triumphed over askesis and when taking up your cross became too much of a burden (and an embarrassment to all the “right people”).

I suppose that it could be said that Harris did the rest of us a favor. The Prosperity Gospel and all its attendant heresies (the Prayer of Jabez, feel-good/happy-clappy enthusiasms, chat-shows, etc.) would not withstand the upcoming persecution. His harmful words are as cold water splashed on the face of all emotive, effete Christians (who still believe in the Gospel), hopefully forcing them to come to grips with reality.

As an Orthodox Christian, the scales came off my eyes a few years ago when Frank Schaeffer publicly said “Screw St Paul!” (you know, because of all the beastly things that the old boy said about gays). Anyway, I’m always looking for a silver lining. In Harris’ case, a loud and proud apostate leaves you with no doubt as to who you can trust when the time comes for you to get in the foxhole and fight the good fight. Better a loud traitor than a lukewarm Christian I suppose.

Lord have mercy.


  1. Nadia Bazuk says

    Thank you for the article George.

    I’ve written a piece on the luxurious life of Constantinople hierarchs. They call themselves the leaders of Orthodoxy but all they do is throwing dust in the eyes.

    You can find the article here:

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you, Nadia. Your article is very enlightening.

      • GOA Priest says

        How is it enlightening George? I’m no fan of the EP, but this is not journalism. In fact, the “article” is worthless.

        • GOA Priest:
          “the “article” is worthless”.
          It is very easy to say that with one word. It is more effort to give even ONE REASON to justify it.
          I trust you will provide a good explanation also because you are a GOA priest.

          • GOA Priest says

            I did give a reason — it is not journalism (Who, What, Why, When, Where, How, How Much?). It presents “facts” without investigation or corroboration.
            Therefore, it is useless.
            If Nadia wants to write a real article that proves waste and a misuse of resources, I am all ears.
            As I said, I am no EP cheerleader, but let’s get serious…

            • Michael the concept of beauty will save the world said a noted Russian, ( Dostoyesky!??) and of course the russians were moved by beauty of the St Sophia Liturgy they attended and why I am very care to guard the worship of the Church.  

              • Michael Bauman says

                Nikos, no concept ever saved anything.  There is no true beauty that does not have suffering as it’s foundation.  Apparent beauty without suffering is transient. 
                 That is why real justice lies in mercy.  

                • Michael i meant as expressed in the liturgy and the theology of the Icon and as such are expressed through suffering.  It is the modern heresy to deny suffering.  Yes no body wishes to suffer but it is fact of life in all aspects. But  question is how  we over one it. One can as buddhists deny it as a more  shadow of reality and see to nirvanna or in secular world fall back on denial and stimulents and Sex.  
                  Or one can follow Christ in transforming it into victory.  The beauty of the liturgy, of the Icon, is through this path. 

            • GOP PRIEST.  Yes the article needed references but u know what, and frightening you do not ‘ get it’.   It is these people pontificating on the poor etc etc yet living comfortable batchelor lives and business  style quality that is the scandal. The sheer banality of their cozy batchelor existence  play acting at church. 
              Leave aside the rest of disgusting Ukraine events etc but just it’s banality of GAME PLAYING IN A LA LA LAND WORLD, is PATHETIC.  I am Greek, Thank God living in Bulgaria,  but ASHAMED of the lot of you. 
              I have a good greek friend married to a Phanar  insider, who has told me enough from her visits.  Not great scandal, for that u need Emauella of France et all with his three hair on his chin! ? but just the sheer smug self invested  cosy life with no Christian Charity.  Now seeking union with the Paedophile fan club of Rome. 
              Fr u wonder why your Church dying, yes here and there good news, but over all the elderly die and the young got other things to do.  So enjoy yr borgeoise greekfest happy hour mentality. 
              The experience of the Russian church and eastern Europe over 45-70 yrs of it’s deep monastic spirituality. It’s myriad of martyrs and thinkers and artists etc etc. You seem to know nothing about. 
              What Orthodoxy do you offer? Stone not bread. 

              • GOA Priest says

                I really do not find the spirit of Christ in anything that you have written.

                Your attacks against me are bizarre. How do you know what I know or do not know? How can you be ashamed of me, when you have no idea who I am or how I live? 

                My comment was that what Nadia has written is a series of gossipy claims without any evidence provided. Where in Holy Scripture does it say such a thing is honorable?

                • GOA Priest,
                  ” Nikos, I really do not find the spirit of Christ in anything that you have written”.

                  Ok, then, since you want to reply “in the spirit of Christ”,
                  be so kind and exact and consequent to send your comment on the following which surpasses the importance/consequences of both Nadia’s and Nikos’s words:

                  Bartholomew gifted the “Holy Quran” to the muslim president of a big company in Atlanta, GA October 29, 2009.
                  Watch the luxurious ceremony,
                  Crux of the matter: see from 32:15

                  Please tell 3 simple things, “in the spirit of Christ”:

                  1) Have you watched this film before?
                  2) If yes, what have you done about it so far?
                  3) If not, then,
                  3a) What are you going to do about it?
                  3b) do you realize you did not know very important facts?

                  • GOA Priest says

                    I am not playing your silly game.

                    • GOA Priest says
                      “… I am not playing your silly game.”

                      The core message of my post was the factual evidence:
                      Bartholomew gifted the “Holy Quran” to the muslim president of a big company in Atlanta, GA October 29, 2009.Watch the luxurious ceremony, of the matter: see from 32:15
                      And remember, the gifted “Holy Quran” rejects
                      -the Holy Trinity
                      -The Crucifiction of Christ
                      -The Resurrection
                      And you just reply:
                      “… I am not playing your silly game.”

                      You call factual evidence, “silly game”?
                      Why is it silly?
                      Why is it a game?
                      Excuse me, you are an Orthodox Priest and you REALLY think THAT is a SILLY GAME?

                      I am very sorry, this is as …unbelievable
                      as the thief yelling “Catch the thief!”
                      (Do not twist my words, I am not calling you a thief.)
                      I guess this is your only alternative reply, or else…
                      you would have to make VERY BIG decisions, e.g. perhaps leaving the GOA…

                      The people here, reading your clever reply to me,
                      ( I am not likewise saying “your silly reply” )
                      are very clever too, and they understand its FULL meaning.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      To Nikos, the GOA Priest & Ioannis,

                      You know how you can be introduced to someone and later learn something about them that changes everything? Let’s say you’re watering your flowerbeds and you see your new neighbor, Jim, pull up to the curb and get out of the car. You’ve been wanting to meet him so you enthusiastically wave “hello,” but before you can drop the hose to walk over there and introduce yourself, you see him quickly head for the door. Day and after day, he does the same thing and you say to your wife, “Gee, I don’t know what’s up with that guy. He sure isn’t friendly. It’s rude the way he brushes me off. I go over to say hello and he can’t get to the door fast enough.”

                      Time passes and your wife is diagnosed with terminal cancer. You have to work to pay the bills but if you could, you wouldn’t leave her side. You’re surprised when you come home and find Jim, of all people, mowing your lawn. You assume your wife paid him to do it and you’re feeling a little guilty because you should be taking care of these things, not her, and then, of all people, she had to go and ask Jim. He’s the last guy you’d want mowing your lawn.

                      You walk over to Jim but before you can say a word, he starts talking: “I just heard your wife was ill. Man, I am so sorry. I just lost my own wife. I thought I’d mow your lawn so you’d have one less thing to worry about. I’ve been in your shoes. At the end of the day, all you want to do is get through that door so you can spend every precious minute with your wife. I’ll take care of the mowing the grass for you and I’ll water the flowerbeds, too, because I know how much it meant to my wife, Lucy, to look out our windows and see the roses. I bought some fertilizer to help them bloom. Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you. Again, I am so very sorry about your wife. Anything you need, consider it done.”


                      With regard to the GOA Priest’s comment to Nikos, misunderstandings like this are common, even in face-to-face meetings.  If we don’t see Christ in someone else it may be because Christ is not within us at that particular moment!  How much better it would be to keep looking, assuming Christ is there somewhere, rather than write someone off and be wrong.

                      On a blog, we don’t know who we’re dealing with and the nuance is often lost. You guys seem to be talking past one another and not to one another. I have a feeling that if you could change this, you would all benefit.  

                      To GOA Priest: Why not assume Nikos is well-meaning and Ioannis is serious when he asks his questions? Even if they seem silly, they probably would not have been asked (repeatedly) were they not important to Ioannis. I suspect he’s going somewhere with this. In a court of law, when an attorney says, “Would the court please indulge me, Your Honor; I intend to prove why this line of questioning is relevant.” The judge will often say, “I’ll allow it” or something to that effect. Why not just answer the question and let Ioannis make his point. What harm could it do?

                      To Ioannis: Maybe you could explain why this question is important to you.  It might help the GOA priest (who is a priest, BTW) understand where you’re going with this. It is my belief that, like Nikos, you are a genuine person and sincerely love the Church. In other words, it is not your intent to embarrass or put this priest on the spot. Maybe a few words to this effect (from you) would go a long way to soften his heart so he will answer your questions and let you make your point.  However, if your intent is to further aggravate the situation (which I don’t believe is the case), it might be a good idea to drop it.

                      Forgive me for interjecting but you all are important to me.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Beautiful. I for one need to “start seeing the Christ in others”.

                    • Gail, there is no need to forgive you.
                      That is the only thing I don’t agree with in your perfect post.

                      I fully agree with all your assumptions/explanations.

                      You have done your Christian duty to your brethren in Christ, and it is a blessing.
                      I, for my part, am always prepared to give a full answer to anybody who asks me. I am not perfect, far from that, I am constantly struggling. I am certainly very sorry if I have insulted anybody here ( GOA priest or others).
                      I do not hate anybody, I do not want/like to aggravate a situation, for the sake of it.

                      If GOA priest finds it awful to receive criticism from a layman. But I will lovingly remind that he, a few days ago also strongly criticised a Bishop! Any body even a small child can criticise me too. Nobody is infallible (save the Pope?)

                      It so happens that I want to be absolutely certain of the exact meaning of my message (regarding the Faith) and this means that I may, at times, used ROCK-HARD words. I certainly apologise to all about that. Now you know what happens.

                      You are an angel!
                      I am so happy you are with us, sister Gail!   
                      Keep up the good work!

                • GOP. I indeed wish to reply to you. Firstly yes I apologise if I seemed to be attacking you personally who I do not know.  I had not meant to.
                  But there is enough I have experienced and know, especially about  the Phanar to be critical. 
                  And perhaps on broader front  it is not me who should be called out for responding to events, but those CAUSING THE SCANDAL.  It would be nice to not have to and to just be a believer in the Church working out his/her salvation. 
                  I have always disliked extremes and one of my favourite books is the Diaries of Fr Alexander Schememn, who for saw all that has developed re post communist Orthodoxy and the Church in America. 
                  I spent my entire career looking after the  dying and sick in mind and body ,  in senior nursing, physical and mental   and then in  clinical psychology. And some volunteering abroad. 
                  I was brought up with compassion and love of Christ by parents whose entire lives were ones of sacrifice and often suffering that u can have no idea about dear fr. I was brought up to live the Faith, avoiding church  politics and the rest and my grand father would say to our mother, ” Go to Church often and stay away from the clergy. ” A very common Greek attitude. And yes I am Greek, (Greek born with greek mother and half greek father)  with passport included. 
                  Part of my pivotal experience of Orthodoxy has been great knowledge of, experience of, including in Russia, Serbia,Romania and now we live in Bulgaria,  of the experience of Persecution and the flowering of monasteries and spirituality coming from the suffering and intense persecution experienced under communism and the myriad of saints as well as St mother Maria of Paris, Fr Dmitri Klepenin etc and surgeon Dr  russisn bishop in London,  bishop Anthony Bloom.  And the monastery of St John Baptist in Essex Uk. And Fr Sophrony and Bishop John of Cisco, on and on.  I know none of this is known to u greek Americans unless it’s introduced the organ to Albania and korean Orthodox!! But it has formed my faith.
                  We are in crisis as Orthodox and major part is the delusional Bubble of a dead world the decayed Phanar lives in and insists on governing the Church with and now within papal pretensions that no Orthodox can accept. Shades of Roman church 1870.!!  It’s dealings in Ukraine a disaster and also AMORAL and a total denial of Orthodoxy.  Enough has been said on that level  elsewhere. There must be good people in Phanar and  of course clergy, but the lack of governance  and structure has lead to the mess and  scandal we have seen.
                  I do not see much of Christ and his message in the cozy life style of the Phanar et al elites.  I could go on but have said enough,and elsewhere. 

                  • GOA Priest says

                    Dear Nikos,
                    Thank you.
                    As you can imagine, I am not unaware of these things.
                    My comments were originally directed at an “article,” which is really nothing more than a series of gossipy innuendoes. Maybe what Nadia has written is true, but for anyone to conclude they are true from what she has written is an absolute joke.
                    If people want to critique the EP, then by all means, go ahead. But do it with factual data — actual verifiable information. Anything else is just worthless.
                    Playing an investigative reporter on this website is a lot different than being a real investigative reporter in real life.

                    • Fr.   I understanding how difficult it is to be a priest especially in secular environment.  I am saddened beyond words that i cannot post more often about how we can live our faith and the questions that relate to it in our fast changing world and how to pray and deepen our faith and service to the community around us   
                      I know there are many greek archdiocese clergy as u who are dedicated and giving their best.  You need support from hierarchs, not undermining work you do. 
                      Today here in Bulgaria in my Parish we had a christening, done within the Liturgy and a wedding and marvelous celebration of Joy after.  This is the Church,  not the rest.   Asking for yr blessing. Nikos 

                  • Well said Niko, bravo!

                    • Thank you.  It is days like today that strengthened me in the Church. 

                    • Friends are in St Petersburg, (we  go at end of week to Moscow to see friends,),   , and  they attended Vigil yesterday for Transfiguration fesst.  With Patrarch present. They said the experience was so JOYFULL and moving  they did not wish to leave the Church, even at end.  And the singing so fresh and powerful. 

    • Nadia says “I’ve written a piece on the luxurious life of Constantinople hierarchs,” but the link goes to an article on that subject but purportedly written by senior editor Gordon Duff.  Could someone please clarify?

      • Nadia Bazuk says

        This article was written by me but published by Gordon Duff on his website. Usually they mention the author below the article but not this time unfortunately.

  2. Fr Alexander Schememn always said that the american threat to the Church, of secularization of the altar, was far more dangerous and lethal, than the then communist threat. How right he was.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Regretfully, I must agree.

    • Nikos, yes, exactly.

      During communist times, yes they could easily shoot you or send you to Siberia, but it was always clear that the communists hated the Church and persecuted her mercilessly.

      In America and the West, what we have are lots of bodies claiming to be “Christian” and throwing Jesus’s name around here and there. But in reality they are not Christian at all, in that they do not preach Christ crucified, they don’t preach or understand God’s love, and they do not preach that the only way to approach God is through the Cross.

      The Western/American subversion of Christ and His Church is far more sinister and far more covert — hence, far more dangerous to the believer. I suppose there was something like this in the Soviet Union during the times of Vvedensky’s “Living Church,” but thank God that phenomenon died out by the 1940s.

      It’s true that faithful Christians who come from a culture steeped in Church history can often sense a charlatan from miles away. Those who venerate St Seraphim or Sarov or St John of Kronstadt or St Nektarios of Aegina are not likely to notice too much the latest American evangelical fad (such as Josh Harris when he was a Christian or when he was popular). America does not have that kind of deep Christian history, thus most Americans are prime targets for charlatans and fake Christians.

      It’s for these reasons why it’s very important that Orthodox Christians in the West simply stay faithful, be there, and to be visible. We never know when that Orthodox parish that we are struggling to build or the witness that we have in our soft-spoken daily Christian lives will have meaning for someone who happens encounters it or us. We certainly will never be acknowledged on CNN or FoxNews, but that is not our goal.

      • Anon2 thank you for a cogent summary, exactly, much better than from me.
        Yr point about the depth of our Christianity is crucial and timely
        I have mentioned the decent, dedicated greek priest in Tampa, Florida. Some of you may know his daily prayer blog. He is a shaven and harmonium man so to speak, and you know my Orthodox views, but a dedicated, believing good man who labours for his people and has expanded. his Church. AXIOS!
        But in correspondence it is obvious that he knew next to nothing about the communist. persecution of the Church nor anything of the Slav spirit tradition and the martyrs and great figures of those 70 yrs. Nothing about St Seraphim of Sarov, bishop Luke, for instance, or the staretz tradition, not even the modern greek gerondes . I personally cannot imagine an Orthodoxy with out!!!
        This is also made clear by most of the blogs. that are good in what they say about the Church, our responsibility as believers and various aspects of current church life, but almost ENTIRELY within a protestant ethos and thinking. True he mention the pivotal part the liturgy plays, but could hardly be an Orthodox priest or believer without this.
        I would suggest it is this mentality that under pins GOA.
        I have had sent to him books on mother Maria of Paris, bishop Antony Bloom and his writings. The sermons of Fr Alexander Men and diary of fr Alexander Elchaninov etc . And cds of Russian church choirs and worship in english in USA. I do put my money where my mouth is

    • Certainly – suppressing the Church by violence has historically done nothing but create martyrs and heroes for the faith. The enemy has clearly seen that that life of pluralism, ‘tolerance,’ luxury, comfort, and apathy cause far greater destruction to the spiritual lives of believers and has used it accordingly.
      If the Kingdom is taken by ‘men of violence,’ (i.e. those who struggle), how can a life of ease, a fully belly, and a full wallet prepare people for persecution?

      • Basil yes. The communists found leaving clergy with just the clothes on their back as happened in Russia, strengthened the Church while allowed the Church to amass large amounts of cash it could not legally spend and to  pay larger than average salaries etc, did it’s work well 

    • Gale. Thank you for yr comments.  You are so right.  
      It is the nature of our dawning revulsion at what is going on. As u say, IT does encourage extremes and our discourse should be ‘ in Christ’,  but I honestly am really shocked by betrayal of the Church by not the wolves. , but the shepherd. 
      It shocked me. 

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I know. Me, too.

      • Yes, it is terrible, but true.
        However, as St. Chrysostom says, we must have them.
        But we must also remind them if they don’t do what they have promised in their ordination. 

  3. Add a labyrinth and it’s the complete anglican theme park.  Until they think of some new desperate way to draw a crowd.  It must be frustrating to be a Catholic in England.  It would never occur to the government church to let them have an unused (that is, anglican congregation died out) building back again.  Orthodox congregations would never be given a thought.  They try to find space in terribly run down abandoned places, funeral chapels, railway station buildings.  The Tudor taliban started, the Windsor taliban are mopping up. 

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Westminster Cathedral, the Roman Catholic cathedral in London, is a magnificent and beautiful building; a Romanesque building, it has a Byzantine feel to it.

      • Lucky for the Catholics that church is fairly modern, built AS a Catholic church well after the Tudor bloodthirst was over.  I’ve seen the place, it is beautiful.  I was first confused, but realized this was Westminster *cathedral*, not Westminster *abbey*.  The abbey is the stolen church, the cathedral the one built by more recent Catholics.  Their bishop is styled Bishop of Westminster, too, not “of London”.  Although not long ago an Anglican Bishop of London became Catholic.

    • Monk James Silver says

      It must be nice for English Catholics now not to fear losing their property and even their lives to the Anglicans — not that they didn’t return the favor when their side held the throne.

      While I can’t speak to the situation of Catholics in England vis-à-vis their access to properties now left unused by the increasingly unchurched majority of their neighbors, theoretically belonging to that country’s officially established church, I know that Orthodox Christian parishes have taken over a number ‘redundant’ churches from the CofE, via the ‘National Trust’, for nominal payments.


    I sent this one in, as well, but it appears to have gotten lost.

    UK woman marries a chandelier (after previous union with Statue of Liberty).

    • BlueHorseshoe says

      well, she had to know that the chandelier had to be a swinger.
      ( I’ll show myself out )  :p

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I guess this is a “thing” (falling for inanimate objects).  They even have a name for it.  It’s called objectophilia.

      I saw where some guy fell for his Monte Carlo, but I figured it was a more extreme version of what all guys feel for their cars.  A lot of guys have names for them.  We had a “Red Ryder” (an old, red, beat-up truck) and a “Candy” (a candy red BMW) in our family, among other things. The Beach Boys even sang about their cars in I Get Around, Little Deuce Coupe, Custom Machine, No-Go Showboat, Car Crazy Cutie, and Cherry, Cherry Coupe.

      This woman is just taking it one step further by wanting to marry her chandelier.  She has one problem, though:  What if the Statue of Liberty shows up?!

  5. Detroiter says

    I know it is common among Orthodox to bash Protestant Evangelicalism (sadly), when I was one (Orthodox now) we did the same to Roman Catholics. Though, criticism is due for the liberal mainline’s descent into the abyss. But I wouldn’t put this on evangelicalism or their effort to attract seekers (at least they aren’t turning them away through foreign language elitism). The real culprit is the secular humanist religion’s takeover of public education, entertainment and the media. These are forces, whose influence is very difficult to resist, especially for anyone under 40.

  6. George Osborne says

    So what’s with the Greek infatuation with gold cufflinks?  All the bishops wear French cuffs sticking out of their sleeves and all seem to have expensive gold cufflinks.  Not much show of apostolic poverty (leave all behind and follow me) and certainly not monastic.  While I theologically understand the costly vestments, etc., man alive, I get the willies every time I see bishops in extremely ornate vestments looking like a Byzantine vizier and the marble Patriarchal throne elevated above the Holy Table in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow makes me physically ill.  I’m certainly not Protestant but I don’t think Jesus would have wanted any part of that nonsense.

    • Agree totally.  Again not protestantism  but the times call for simplicity. That show does not speak to us anymore.  I cringe with the titles. ” My humility!!! God save us!!!
      The reality looks even more out of place with clean shaven prelate, or three hairs on chin  as standard Phanar fare. 
      Mind u western ones look equally stupid.  The worse are the latinised Armenians. 

      • Solitary Priest says

        Look, gentlemen, if you want a return to the early church and it’s simplicity, let’s just go back to the St. James Liturgy. It calls for the bishop to be dressed simply, no miter, no rugs, no panagia nor pectoral cross.
             Problem is that it’s celebration is much more complicated than the liturgies of Sts. Basil and Chrysostom. Plus, we already have people blubbering about how long the liturgies are now.
             My point is, you will never please everyone. I’d love a liturgy in Ukrainian, but I can’t abide the modernism and ecumenism of the Ukrainian church. Some of you whine about beards or the lack thereof. Who is to say what the times require? The times require us to save our souls. That hasn’t changed since Our Lord’s founding of the church, nor will it change until the end of the world.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Very well said, Fr. We do need to return to simplicity (however defined) but even more importantly, we need to return to our “first love”, which is evangelism. (And that we can only do when our hearts are pure and childlike.)

          • George, our first love, as the evangelist John tells us in Revelation, should be Jesus. A natural out growth of that love is evangelism-fist things first.

        • George Osborne says

          There is absolutely no reason the DL of either St. John or St Basil cannot be served more simply. 

          • Monk James Silver says

            I wonder just how George Osborne would simplify these forms of the Divine Liturgy.
            It might be helpful to remember that the DL of StJC is thought to be a ‘simplification’ of the DL of StB.  It’s certainly a few minutes shorter, if that counts.

    • The cufflinks will soon become another part of the overcooked vestments.  Mystical meaning to follow.  What will the deacon mumble as the hierarch solemnly dons the links?  The liturgy just got 5 minutes longer.

    • George O, agreed. Chrysostom, following the path of our Lord, would never have been caught dead in the outfit of today’s bishop. We need to get rid of the Byzantine regalia: the bling, the lamp shades, the margarine commercial headware and of course the cufflinks and the fancy watches.

      I saw Bishop Gerasimos, a saintly man of blessed memory, serve liturgy as a priest without the Byzantine garbage. We are in need of liturgical renewal, starting with the Bishops outfit.
      By the way, I am not certain that the apostles lived in poverty as you suggest

      • Monk James Silver says

        Let’s not get too worked up about this.

        The DL of St James as we have it now is full of anachronisms, such as the Trisagion and the _Monogenes_ hymn attributed to Justinian.

        Still, an officiating bishop is directed to be vested only as a priest with the exception of the great omophorion, which is supposed to be of white wool with black crosses, no miter or anything else on his head. The deacons wear their orariums crossed over their chests at all times.

        These are vestiges of a more ancient practice, but not necessarily norms which should be expected today.

        Still, I’d like to see, even in the DLs of St John Chrysostom and St Basil, a general return of the practice,indicated for the DL of St James, that the laity receive Holy Communion just as the clergy do, accepting a particle of the Body of Christ in their hands and taking a sip of His Blood from the holy cup.

        The communion spoon has a history, but not a legitimate excuse for its use.

      • Jk. Exactly And solitary priest while understanding where u coming from, but it IS POSSIBLE to make a few judgements.
        Beards, yes should be and 2000 yrs tell us so and aesthetic. Robes, the return to the simple episcopal robes pre 1453 and the Transformation of bishop via Patriarch, into the emperor. And no mitres.
        The doing away with the grandiose addressing of each other and the mock humility. And bishop worship, although worse in Russian tradition than Greek.
        These things a judgement already made on.

      • George Osborne says

        There is no reference at all or even tradition that suggests that the apostles actually owned anything much more than the clothes on their backs and perhaps a bit of cash.  St Paul had to make tents for a living.  St John died a prisoner on Patmos. No reference to homes, servants…or golden cufflinks.  There are many stories about funds being handed over to the apostles and being used to feed the hungry, however.  One item that seems to be overlooked is the effect of Peter 1st Tables of Rank.  When Peter reformed the military, civil government, and church during his reign (not suggesting his abolishment of the Patriarchate was a good idea!), the Tables of Rank had equivalencies, i.e. a military Captain might be equivalent to a certain rank civil servant in pay and prerequisites.  Same was true of the Church.  The Captain might be equivalent to a priest with a gold cross and a kamalavka.  I have an idea that all of the various Church awards in the Russian Church for deacons, priests, and bishops are hold-overs from those Tables as they do not seem to be in vogue before that time.  If true – and I suspect it is – much of what we attached theological significance to (“Gird thy sword on thy thigh”, etc.) is merely a holdover from the man who single handly did more to hurt the Church in Russia other than Lenin!

  7. Solitary Priest says

    I worship no bishop. I honor the office, worshipping God alone. My point being, you folks are free to offer opinions, but unless one of you plans on becoming a priest, or at least a deacon, I think you should quit whining on how things ought to be.
         I told you all, I’d prefer Ukrainian in the liturgy, but since nobody in my flock knows that language, it would stupid of me to use it. My one Serbian lady can’t speak Serbian, the Greek lady can’t speak Greek, but they are faithful, thank God. They even have their grandchildren baptised and participating in church life, not so common in North America. And while being English-speaking, except for one Bulgarian lady with three children, we manage to incorporate the Serbian Slava and the Vasilopita on the feast of St. Basil.
          If any of you is more qualified to offer advice or opinion, it would be Monk James. Fr. James, while communion in the hand is a beautiful and Orthodox practice, I see possibilities for abuse. The spoon has its reasons. I have a nephew who accompanied an OCA bishop to Soviet Russia. He told me that Communists used to stand in the communion lines in large churches. After receiving, they would turn around and spit the Mysteries out, to show their mockery of the faith. To prevent this, the deacons holding the communion clothes, would have to interrogate each communicant thoroughly, if they didn’t know him.

    • Monk James Silver says

      Right, Father, but the spoon didn’t prevent those sacrileges.

      In my many experiences of the DL of St James, I have never seen the slightest sign of irreverence, nor has anyone — not the grannies and not the children — dropped the smallest crumb of the Lord’s eucharistic Body or accidentally spilled even a drop of His eucharistic Blood. On the other hand, in the DL of St John Chrysostom, I have (twice!) seen priests knock over the holy cup and spill the Lord’s Blood all over. We have to be careful.

      Rather than distort the Lord’s own commands to eat His Body and drink His Blood by mixing them together on a spoon and feeding Holy Communion to adults as if they were infants, it would be a good idea if we re-examined the more ancient usage of the first nine or so Christian centuries and gradually and gracefully reintroduced it. Perhaps serving the DL of St James a little more frequently would be a good place to start.

      Distributing Holy Communion to actual infants is another matter,

      • New skete celebrate the liturgy of St James and have a cd of the liturgy with the excellent singing. 

        • Monk James Silverf says

          For some reason, New Skete serves the DL of St James on the Sundays of the Great Fast, when the Typikon directs us specifically to serve the DL of St Basil the Great.  This is not a good thing.
          There are more than  three hundred fifty other days in the year when no particular DL is specified.  They ought to choose some of those days, even Sundays, for the DL of St James rather than violate the structure of the Fast.

          • George Michalopulos says

            apropos of the communion spoon:  I am starting to come around to your point.  For what it’s worth, my beloved father has long lectured anybody who would listen that the spoon is a relatively modern invention and that it’s rather infantile.  

            I for one would gently push back that it’s not a hill I wish to die on but I do see the wisdom of his (and yours) position.  

            • GOA Priest says

              How did your father come to the conclusion that it is a “relatively modern invention”? Is he a liturgical scholar? The evidence shows that this practice has been definitely used for nearly 1000 years, though in certain circumstances, such as for communicating the sick, even longer. 
              And why is it “rather infantile” to communicate the faith in this manner?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Just a guess, I imagine. I did some research for him and found out that the spoon came about in the 12th century or so. The official line is that it was because some miscreants were palming the Eucharist and selling it on the street. At least that’s what I heard.

                By Orthodox standards that’s rather “modern”. 🙂

                • GOA Priest says

                  “Official line” means what, exactly? Why would what could be received for free be sold “‘on the street”?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    The Eucharist. Supposedly miscreants “palmed” the bread (which was dipped in wine) and sold it to passers-by or I imagine, those who were excommunicated.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      Although it might be true that some miscreants used the eucharistic Body of Christ in magic rituals,no method of distributing Holy Communion could prevent such abuses. 

                      The practice of eating a small piece of unconsecrated bread immediately after receiving the Eucharist (later with a sip of wine) was recommended by St John Chrysostom as a way of assuring that communicants had indeed swallowed the Lord’s Body and Blood.  But people can get creative when they put their minds to it, and sacrileges occur to this very day.
                      Additionally, faithful (but superstitious) Christians had occasionally taken the eucharistic Bread home with them to be used in ‘medical’ treatments.  They mistakenly thought that the ‘Medicine of our souls and bodies’ somehow worked better if it was applied to wounds or enclosed in a patient’s bandages.
                      In any event, eliminating the innovation of the communion spoon and restoring the ancient custom of the laity’s receiving Holy Communion just as the clergy now do would neither encourage nor prevent such abuses.
                      The most interesting thing about all this, though, is that the clergy continue the ancient practice, while the laity are fed like infants.  If this practice truly does not disobey or at least distort the Lord’s explicit command to ‘eat’ His Body and ‘drink’ His Blood, then why don’t the clergy use the spoon?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Your last sentence says it all. I now call for a return for the ancient practice.

            • We have had friends over from London, former colleagues of mine. Very good people,Gerry, Geraldine that is,and Stuart.
              On Sunday before we went to Arbanassi to see the famous unesco trapeznaya church frescos and have lunch as Arbanassi is a beautiful place in hills above Veliko Tarnovo, they asked to attend the liturgy with us, held in the small chapel this week.
              Gerry has before, but first time for Stuart. I do not pry but I think safe to say they are respectful agnostics.

              I think it worth repeating their comments after
              Gerry wonderful if Communion by spoon and kissing the Cross ( unlike Greek Church, Slav Churches have priest holding Cross to kiss when receiving antidoron) was unhygenic. I did put them straight.
              Apart from that protestant view, they both remarked on the beauty and deeper feeling of a cappella singing, the abscense of rigid rows of chairs, and the feeling of freedom felt in the liturgy this brought, compared to western churches. Honestly we did not put words in their mouths!!! ?

          • New Skete holds that any service over 45 minutes is unpastoral and medieval (as is fasting which they frown upon). Even after omitting the three antiphons and most of the litanies as they do, the Anaphora of St. Basil crosses that sacred boundary. They will be happy to point you to all the Roman scholarship which proves Orthodox are wrong about this and many other things. 
            If violated structures interest you then see their major rewrite of the office for Holy and Great Week for some real howlers (published as “Passion and Resurrection”). If you loved being American Catholic parishoner in the 1970s, you will feel right at home.

            • Estonian Slovak says

              Then why didn’t they just stay Uniate? 

              • George Michalopulos says

                Good question.

              • They did stay Uniate as a state of mind. They are overtly pro-ecumenist and anti-traditional and so maintain Byzantine-flavored liturgy on the outside and post-Vatican-II franciscan brainwash on the inside. Their founder and abbot of 30+ years was a big fish seeking a smaller pond where his weird opinions would get more of an audience and so they talked their way into a young and optimistic and very naive Orthodox jurisdiction. Maybe they appealed to Schmemann’s documented hatred of monasticism cuz they are about as monastic as a college theater department. 

                • Fr Alexander Schememn was against the sect like Cult of old calander groups that sprung up  with their guru type pseudo staretz and undoubted sexual goings on  and quite rightly. He was not against monasticism per se and wrote in his Diaries about monasticism in the world, and of course there was the example of Mother Maria of Paris and Grand Duchess Elizebeth. 
                  Unfortunately with New Skete he fell into the trap of not seeing and maybe not as clear then,  the pit falls of other extreme.  
                  I regard  them as a type of some hippie commune, with  waist- line threat delicious ( so they tell me) cheese cake.  Lenten cheese cake!! ?.   
                  Are they less or more modernist than GOA??? 

                • Monk James Silver says

                  Oh, this isn’t even half of the problem, merely a few of its most obvious symptoms.

                  Please don’t despair. The OCA has had to deal with the fallout eventuating from these mistakes for many years now, and the end is in sight.

      • nonsensemuch says

        Dear “Monk” James,

        Please give it a rest. Distributing Holy Communion by spoon is not a distortion of the Lord’s commandments. 

        And your “many” experiences of the DL. of St. James is exactly how many? What is your sample size? What was the context of the samples? Parish? Monastery? How many communicants?  Where? When?

        How can you know that someone did not drop the “smallest crumb” of the Lord’s body? 
        Really…your argumentation leaves much to be desired.

        • Monk James Silver says

          The aptly pseudonymous ‘nonsensemuch’ asks a lot of questions not because my ‘argumentation leaves much to be desired’ but because he appears to dispute the veracity of my statements.

          I was tonsured as a monk in 1978 for the monastery of the Tikhvin ikon of the Mother of God in Louisburg, Kansas. For our sins, the community failed, and I have lived as a solitary monk since 1982. In 1983, shortly after Bp Boris Geeza assumed responsibility for the OCA’s Chicago eparchy, he gave his blessing for us to serve the DL of St James on the saint’s feast day (23 October) each year. Since that is also my nameday and I have great devotion to the saint, I prepared an English-language translation of the service based on the Church Slavonic edition of Johann von Gardner, published by the ROCOR at Ladimorivo in 1938. It needs some revision, since I’ve learned a few things in the last forty years or so, but it was a good place to start.

          In the ten years before I left Kansas City with the blessing of Abp Job Osacky to pursue doctoral studies here in New Jersey, we served the DL each 23 October — just as I described it — in our OCA’s Holy Trinity Parish in Kansas City, Kansas. The parish church has since been moved a few miles away, to Overland Park, Kansas.

          This service was always held in the evening, and attendance varied between forty and sixty at a time, as I recall. Not the whole parish, but a good number of the people came, and some interested visitors, too.

          When I was able to live closer to the parish church, we also served a Serbian-style ‘slava’ for St James Day at my house, just down the street from the church, again, all in English.

          Clergy from the Greek and Serbian parishes, as well as the OCA, participated in these events.

          I know that no one dropped a crumb of the Lord’s Body or spilled a drop of His Blood because we were especially watchful, careful to prevent just such accidents.

          The subsequent illness and early death of the parish priest probably contributed to the custom’s falling into disuse after I left Kansas City, and it hasn’t ever been revived there, as far as I know.

          I trust that this puts to rest such questions as ‘nonsensemuch’ raises here.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I hope so as well, Fr. I myself have never attended a St James’ liturgy but perhaps I should start.

            • They celebrate the St James liturgy at new skete, Just saying!!! ? 
              Also in Lesvos, and Jerusalem I think.  The late Archbishop Christodoulos  of Athens ( such a loss!)  celebrated each year in Athens. It was broadcast on Greek state tv. 
              It is a liturgy that should be better known. 

              • George Michalopulos says

                Niko, my father witnessed this liturgy on TV several years ago and was pleasantly surprised to see the Arb distribute the Eucharist in the hand of the communicant. He has feverishly tried to find a copy of this videotape. Perhaps on YouTube?

                • George. Yes. Re liturgy of St James.   I had a video take of it but long lost with moving countries and having no old fashioned video now.!!   It is a very dignified liturgy.  I know the Copts give Communion separately. 

  8. I’ve never been a fan of New Skete. I believe that New Skete has the potential to cause huge problems to the Church a la the Living Church of the 1920’s which impressed the liberal wing of the Church such as the Patriarch of Constantinople. Why does the OCA Synod seem to let New Skete do their own thing? I’ve always thought that the New Skete would be  great in the Episcopal Church. You know dance to your own drummer. Do what your feelings tell you to do. Don’t be bound by rules.But, I’m no expert. Please, I welcome your corrections if there are things that I have wrong about New Skete.

    • Go spend some time there and ask a lot of questions. They love to talk and you will find that they consider themselves more/better Orthodox than anyone. But they freely criticize and dismiss received Orthodox tradition as so much museum-keeping. They defend this arrogance with appeals to antiquity and historical-critical scholarship. They just want to keep a different museum is all. Read their writings and translations/paraphrases which are full of cherry-picking from western theology and pop psychology to suit their tastes. They see their mission as mainly a political enterprise to change the church from within (see above under Uniatism) and so they court so-called progressives of any church to support their activities, because they think this is the cultural trend and will attract members. Which might have worked 50 years ago. Unfortunately cultural trends are bunk, as the Orthodox Church remembers. What U.S. Orthodox monastery is growing today? Holy Cross in West Virginia. 

  9. Interesting about new skete.  I have been torn between seeing them as a attempt to move forward an american church.  I have not been there to stay  so i guess that is the litmus test, but if what i read here is true,  they are on a dangerous road.  And why allowed? 
    I guess also I’ve tended to think anything outside of GOA cannot be worse. 

    • Michael Bauman says

      Nikos, New Skete does a good job of training dogs and, I am told, make good cheese cake. However, I am afraid they offer nothing compelling to Orthodox in the New World.

      • Michael thank you. I am great dog lover so would love to see the puppies but would ignore the cheese cake!!    And the new age fuzzy feel good stuff.   I have seen their liturgical english and yes modern roman Mass comes to mind. 

        • Michael Bauman says

          Nikos, New Skete even had their own dog training show on Animal Planet some years ago(lasted one season). Unfortunately, they tend to take a Franciscan approach to allowing the animals into Divine Liturgy, etc.

          Still they clearly love and respect the dogs and train them out of a knowledge that human beings have dominion over the animals. It is to the best interests of the human owner and the animal for that dominion to exercised. The dogs thrive under obedience to their masters; an obedience marked by love and respect and non-violence.

          It is actually a good monastic model as well.

          • Michael yes agree. Their singing is impressive and they good humble people.  If they were only Church problem we could rest easy!! 

    • Why allowed you ask? Try asking that at the next sobor. Suggesting that jurisdiction bishops have supervisory responsibility for the wingnuts in their flock – it has been tried and found to be ecclesiastical suicide. New Skete’s stavropegial bishops (they are under the primate) have always been too busy trying to create the appearance of autocephalic legitimacy and don’t want a public fight much less another scandal. Synod bishops think if they ignore something it doesn’t exist and therefore can’t hurt anyone. Orthodox people don’t join New Skete so as long as they don’t recruit seminarians then who cares, the thinking goes. Everyone assumes the place will eventually wither on the vine. As long as New Skete don’t criticize the hierarchy they are left alone to act out their religious fantasies.

  10. Fr. Justin Frederick says

    Mr. Dreher attributes the great apostasy to the 1990s? The decisive step was taken in the Middle Ages by the West with the decision to wed Christianity and pagan Greek philosophy in what is euphemistically called by historians “the Renaissance”. The full working out of the betrayal has taken centuries; we now draining the sour lees of that cup. (See Tristam Englehart’s “After God”, SVS Press, 2017).

    We are worried about vestments and communion spoons and the Liturgy of St. James? Tinkering with these things will revive the Church? We need, rather, faithful priests and bishops who have repented fully, encountered the living God, and can preach the Gospel unapologetically, calling this wicked generation to repentance in accordance with Christ’s first and fundamental command in the Gospel. Without true repentance and encounter with Christ, nothing else will matter.

  11. Michael Bauman says

    Fr. Justin, Totally agree with you, the western theologians basically undid several hundred years of work the Church put in to take Greek philosophy, digest it and use what was genuinely helpful for the Church and her people.

    You are also correct that if I do not turn from my wicked ways and seek the living God, nothing else will matter. Least of all who is President of the United States or Brexit

    I have been blessed to encounter God in the Liturgy of St. James, as well as the Divine Liturgies we use more frequently.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I will strike a different note.
      I am Orthodox, and though I come late to the Church, I did come with some background. No need to repeat that again.
      I profess Christ and His Church to others when the opportunities present themselves, which is often nowadays.
      But I am a man of the West, not the East. I read Dante’, I read Shakespeare, I like Michaelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael, I roam the precincts of European literature and art. I hold the Constitution of the United States in high regard, notwithstanding the Diests and Protestants who mostly wrote it.
      I could go on. In my inadequate efforts at evangelism, I seek to turn folks toward the Orthodox church. If they express interest, I do not tell them that they must reject the Renaissance and its progeny.
      By and large, I avoid negative speculation about the ‘wrong turnings’ of the West. It is contrary both to my temperament and to my education.

      • Tim, you are right re rejecting renaisaance per se. It’s a no brainer and you are as you say a westerner. You CANNOT deny that experience, good and bad.
        But the crucial point  is that from within  the light of the  Orthodox church,   it influences the Renaisaance to different outcome. 
        But there is a gap and that can be seen in how often the western mind rejecting and revolts at Orthodox teaching. And when i say western mind, that can be bulgarian in Veliko Tarnovo or Russian in Moscow, as much as californian in Cisco. 
        It was the fact that in West, and it was after all byzantium via Italy that was. the  catalyst for renaisaance, the Roman church because of it’s corrupted post schism state, was unable to christianise It.  But late byzantium struggled too. 

      • Tim, I find it difficult to understand how an effort in evangelism could digress into a discussion about the philosophical faults of the west. I am reminded of the words of St Paul, I determined to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified. Evangelism is telling people about the crucified and resurrected Lord.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Yes. Converting to Orthodox Christianity does not involve becoming Russian, Greek, or whatever.

        It’s disappointing to enter a church where the people — mostly converts — look like they’ve just stepped out of a novel by Dostoevskiy or Tolstoy.

        At the same time, it’s helpful to remember that the Byzantine liturgical usage is just as international as the Roman, and that both work best when served in local languages.

        Still, it remains true that none of the ancient patriarchates and Byzantine-rite Orthodox Christian churches but Rome (with its protestant offspring) has become heterodox. The non-Chalcedonians, outside of the Byzantine liturgical orbit, also left the unity of The Church.

        Sure, there are a few uniat and other break-away groups, but the vast majority of those who follow the Byzantine rite have remained Orthodox. This fidelity of the Byzantine churches to The Tradition might be an aspect of the highly didactic qualities of their liturgical services, enhanced by being sung in the vernacular. It also helps if they are accurately translated.

        The Roman-rite Latin church, though, fell into great error with the ‘Gregorian Reform’ of the early eleventh century, when Rome unilaterally decided that it would ignore the canons of the seven ecumenical synods and emplace its own laws and customs as normative. This, of course, led immediately to the Great Schism of 1054, a break which can be blamed entirely on Rome.

        While the cultural patrimony of the West must be acknowledged and deserves to be appreciated, it must also be regarded carefully, since many of its influences are steeped in the attitudes which either led to or resulted from that Great Schism. Those influences might not always need to be emphasized, but they cannot be ignored.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          It appears that the Liturgy of St. James remains the primary liturgy of the Syriac ‘Jacobite’ churches, including the Indian churches. (A little Wikipedia learning I found quite interesting.)

          • Tim yes it does. And as the old tridentine mass it is a very altar focused liturgy, as the very romanised Armenian one. 

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              The Armenian service is of great interest to anyone who has an interest in the ancient churches. 
              I don’t think one can say that the Armenian liturgy is ‘Romanized’, although both Roman Catholicism and Presbyterianism made inroads into the Armenian church in the 19th century.
              The Armenian rite from ancient times was the Latin rite. The sources I don’t know, but this is from antiquity, not from later Roman influences. It is always startling to see Armenian bishops with full Western-style mitres, except more so. And the atmosphere of an Armenian church today feels something like an austere Catholic one; the altar is very reminiscent of a Catholic altar, as is the church in general, at yet it has much less in the way of iconography and no statuary. The religious pictures are Western in feel.
              All very interesting, especially in contrast to their co-religionists, the Copts, whose services seem like Orthodoxy on steroids!

              • Johann Sebastian says

                This is not entirely true. The development of the Armenian rite parallels that of the Maronites in many ways. Initially an outgrowth of the West Syriac/Antiochene tradition, there were subsequent layers of Byzantine and Latin influence during Middle Ages and Early Modern periods.
                On a bit of a tangent, the Syriacs of India have experienced their share of Latinization on account of the presence of the Portuguese and English; they also make heavy use of Western-style iconography, place their altars against the apse wall, and model at least some of their vestments after Western prototypes.
                And on yet another tangent, there were a plurality of Western rites before the 16th Century: Ambrosian, Gallican, Mozarabic, Sarum, an so on and so forth.
                And on to another tangent:
                The ancient West sounded very Eastern, didn’t it?

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  All most interesting.

                  • The Armenian chant has been since the slaughter under the turks been given over to organ and polyphony, of a higher order I would say than Greeks, but adding to the western feel. I personally find their bishops ‘ drag’, OVER THE TOP TOTALLY. There is a movements in Paris and interestingly supported by venice uniate Armenian monastery, to return to classic Armenian chant which is superb,  and do away with organ. 
                    Yes the Copts are very byzantine in worship although they would disagree. I have great respect for them and love their worship. In London Kensigton side by side, is a flourishing coptic church and a traditional built all white Stone,Armenian church.. The Syrians nearer to Armenians and the ‘ nestorian’ assyrian church has an almost protestant style church and worship but do not know if this tradition as opposed to western influence. 

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I have been to two Armenian services. They are somewhat Western in the ‘feel’ of the space and altar. But they felt eastern in that the entire service was sung. There was no organ (this was California).
                      Most interestingly, during Lent the entire altar area is completely curtained, and you see nothing until a deacon comes out to read the Epistle.
                      The problem for the outsider is that the entire service is in Armenian, except the epistle reading. Indeed, the only thing I understood in the entire service besides that was the word ‘proskomen’ which they obviously incorporated from the Greek long ago.

        • Monk James Silver,
          very well put. 

      • George C Michalopulos says

        I too, am very much a man of the West, especially –like you–its literature.

        Having said that, short of the West embracing patriarchy again, I don’t see a future for it. One can argue whether the loss of patriarchy is because of egalitarianism foisted upon us by the Enlightenment or whether this “wrong turn” began with the Renaissance (or earlier).

        The danger at this point is not if the West embraces Orthodoxy (which would be nice but unlikely) but whether Orthodoxy will continue to be seduced by what now passes for the West.

        We are at an inflection point. The Slavic churches had the hesperophilia beaten out of them thanks to Calvin’s descendant (Karl Marx). “Been there, done that” those who suffered behind the Iron Curtain think to themselves. Unfortunately, it is Cpole which allows itself to be seduced by the West.

        Not the resolute West of the pre-1950s but the present totalitarian crapitude that is presently driving candidates for the American presidency to embrace abortion for biological males.

        At this point, I think the only purpose of 50+ year olds such as myself is to advise the younger generation to ignore the Dionysian excesses of Woodstock and to concentrate on the Apollonian successes of the Apollo space program. That once, America really was a great country and that Europe was Christendom.

        • George Michalopulos: “One can argue whether the loss of patriarchy is because of egalitarianism foisted upon us by the Enlightenment or whether this “wrong turn” began with the Renaissance (or earlier). ”

          I think the root was planted earlier, with the Papacy becoming a Papal State, and introduction of coercion and lust of power into spiritual life. This led to Filioque, then quarrel with Constantinople, Schism, war for domination over kings and resulting revolts of Hus, of Renaissance humanists , Reformation, Enlightenment and todays secularization and antinomianism.

          People yearn to be free, when you convince them that God is a tyrant, they will flee from Him. (It is in The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis)

        • George C Michalopulos: ” One can argue whether the loss of patriarchy is because of egalitarianism foisted upon us by the Enlightenment or whether this “wrong turn” began with the Renaissance (or earlier). ”

          I think that all that was and is a revolt against the coercion in spiritual life introduced by Papacy.

          People yearn to be free, and if you convince that God is a tyrant, they will flee from Him (like in the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis)

          • Michael Bauman says

            Martin and George one should not understate the absolutely miserable performance most men have had with our headship.  Mostly this involves mistaking authority for control. The authority comes from our willingness to embrace our own Cross to care for others above ourselves.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Understood, Michael. And yet, like our parents, we are called to “honor them” whether they were Ward and June Cleaver or not. The Fifth Commandment is one of God’s great mercies because it gives all critics pause whether they have children or not. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the older I get the more I realize what an outstanding job my parents did against circumstances that are difficult to describe. Likewise the head of the nation –who we are told “does not bear the sword in vain”.

              So too, does a wife need to understand that being a provider is no easy task. As providers, we screw up (I know I have) but at the end of the day it is the patriarch who must answer for his family. I know I’m going to catch a lot of flack for what follows but it is the wife’s duty to support her husband as he tries to protect and provide for his family. (Unless of course he’s abusive, etc.)

              • George Michalopulos: “Likewise the head of the nation –who we are told “does not bear the sword in vain”. 
                Yes, this is the job of the government, to “bear the sword”.
                But when a bishop or patriarch takes the sword and becomes a ruler of a powerful state, as Roman Popes did for eleven centuries, with armies, police and prisons,  they betray their calling. And they did not give up the Ring of Power voluntarily, it was taken from them by violence – by the revolutionaries led by Garibaldi. And what Popes did next? They proclaimed themselves to be infallible.
                The successors of Caesar have right to use force and coercion, the deputies of Christ do not.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I don’t disagree with you at all Martin. That’s why we have to get back to the basics.

                  I received the latest two issues of The Orthodox Observer and it came to me why we need a king or emperor. And that is because without such a secular ruler, all of the imperial regalia and the corresponding cult of personality devolve onto the episcopate. And that is definitely not good.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  One should not lose sight of the fact that the conditions in the European west after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West were considerably different than those in the eastern empire, where there was never any collapse of civil authority and imperial continuity remained intact for centuries. The political role of the Church in the West was to a considerable degree thrust upon it by a multitude of circumstances that did not obtain in the East.
                  Nor should one underestimate the degree to which the West was for centuries isolated from the eastern empire, particularly in areas north of Italy.

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    What has this to do with the Roman Christians’ deliberate rejection of the authentically orthodox catholic Christian Tradition? By way of their ‘Gregorian Reforms’ in the early eleventh century, they have left The Church.

                    And — were there such a thing — could such an explanation excuse the unchurchly behavior of Rome over the last thousand years or so, having exempted itself from the canons of the seven ecumenical synods accepted by The Church before and since then?

                    Rome can certainly explain it in their mistaken ways, but any explanation on their part is vapid, empty, useless, and wrong. There is no excuse for their causing the Great Schism.

                    May the Lord bring the Roman Catholics to repentance, and lead them back into His Church!

              • Michael Bauman says

                George, indeed that is part of it. All I am trying to point out that it is a bit disingenuous to place the blame for the decline in patriarchy on the Papacy. To me, the rise of such things as the Papacy and egalitarianism is due to the apostasy of many prior to those things. I can do nothing about any of that. My responsibility is to recover as much of that as I can within my own life.

                It is sad that the Church in this day and age does not do a better job in teaching the fundamentals. It is a rich and deep part of the Gospel beyond the moral precepts of a Christian marriage that is being ignored so the false equality taught by the world tends to become dominant.

                Fortunately, God is merciful because even knowing what I know after doing the study on my own for almost 50 years, I fail at it miserably but God keeps giving me more opportunities nonetheless.

                • George Michalopulos says


                  A digression: the Church has much to teach. But until the people demand that the hierarchy do its job, She cannot teach adequately. Instead, we are more than content to play the Pharisee and find excuses as to why we should not do the right thing. Seating arrangements at the Episcopal Assemblies are but one such exercise in futility. The wanton tearing up of canonical norms in foreign countries based on delusional understandings of correct protocols is another.

                • Michael Bauman,
                  “It is sad that the Church in this day and age does not do a better job in teaching the fundamentals. It is a rich and deep part of the Gospel beyond the moral precepts of a Christian marriage that is being ignored so the false equality taught by the world tends to become dominant.”

                  I get your message and I generally agree, Michael s always.
                  Just consider some details:

                  The Church in NOT the clergy only but the people as well.
                  In fact some functions of the laity cannot be doe without the laity.
                  If the Church “does not do a better job” it means the the laity of the Church do not do a better job.
                  The laity must also read besides the Bible, the canons of the Church (the Rudder), the writings of the Fathers etc.
                  Unfortunately, there are clergy out there, who, for reasons they know, they lack knowledge of important things in the Bible, the Canons and the writings of the Fathers.
                  If their superiors do nothing about that, then it is the duty of the laity to lovingly tell the clergy about that.
                  We, the laity, wrongly assume that EVERY Bishop out there is doing his job perfectly, and that our only “right” is to say “Axios,Worthy!”.

                  It may be debated whether this lack of interest of the laity is somehow encouraged by the modern paradigm etc.

                  We read thousands of pages of useless secular material, and we devote practically no time for reading Bible, Church Canons and Church Fathers.
                  We are to be “congratulated” for the results.

                • Michael Bauman “It is sad that the Church in this day and age does not do a better job in teaching the fundamentals.”
                  I am not sure what you mean by “the Church” and “fundamentals”. Your parish priest does not give sermons? You do not have access to the writings of the Fathers or lives of the saints? Words of Liturgy?
                  I can give you some links, if you need 🙂

                  • Michael Bauma says

                    Martin I have been studying what it means to be a Christian man for almost 50 years. I am not saying I do not know. More that it is difficult for the Church to support and propagate the truth. The parameters are simple and not hidden. It takes a willingness to live them. I had to do the work to read the Scriptures, pray, repent, etc.

                    Sermons have been few that helped specifically.

                    Genesis, Job, Luke, Ephesians, to name a few. Lots of grace, a wonderful wife.

                    There just seems to be few places for men to be Christians together and learn from one another.

  12. Dear brother Michael,
    simply shocking!
    I guess they make good money, qed.

    Lord have mercy!

  13. Michael Bauman says

    Tim, as you know, ideas have consequences and while the particular items you mention all have value and beauty. I love Shakespeare. He created something like 20,000 words that are now part of the English language. Reading him helped me on my journey to the Church, but there are some things that one must reject as an Orthodox believer. Scholastic theology is one for sure. Papal theology for another. Part of the Protestant Reformation was rejecting some of the same things, but without returning to the full truth in the Orthodox Church. Calvinism is a specifically condemned heresy so are all forms of iconoclasm that are found many Protestant expressions.

    What is more important and what the Church has failed to do in the West is to complete the story that the often transcendent beauty you mention is once again subsumed into the Church and re-Christianized so to speak. It is too easy to say “anathema” when there is no reason to.

    Saying “no” is never sufficient. We have to find a way to say “yes” to the truth and beauty that is there. Indeed that is the heart of real evangelism.

    • Michael the concept of beauty will save the world said a noted Russian, ( Dostoyesky??) and of course the russians were moved by beauty of the St Sophia Liturgy they attended back in 11c and why I am very careful to guard the worship of the Church.  

  14. Michael Bauman says

    The fact of the matter is, none of us can know in advance who will stand up and who will compromise. Two of my favorite stories one fictional, one true:
    1. The Power and The Glory by Graham Greene which deals with a “whiskey priest” who has broken every vow he ever made except for revealing what he heard in confession. He refuses to do that which leads to him being killed.

    2. From the Lives of Everyday Saints: The small Russian monastery who’s monks had led dissolute and scandalous lives until the Soviet’s came to put them out of the monastery telling them they could go off and live ordinary lives or refuse and die. The abbot looked at the other monks standing there and told the soldiers that while they had not lived for Christ, they might as well die for Him. He got unanimous agreement from the other monks and each was shot that day.

    May Our Lord strengthen each of us by His Grace and mercy.

    • Moving story and the book it’s from an amazing book. 
      One of saddest things for me is that the bulk of greek- american  clergy and laity in USA have almost no knowledge of the communist yrs and the new martyrs and suffering.  Maybe because it offends their borgeoise greekfest happy hour mentality. 

  15. Tim R. Mortiss says

    The Power and the Glory is a great book, a favorite of mine. I first heard about it from a sermon preached by my Presby minister about 40 years back.
    I knew of Greene before of course but don’t think I’d ever read him. I read the Power and the Glory, then The Heart of the Matter, then a few others. I like him and it’s probably time for a revisit.
    Your reference to Greene puts me in mind of another of that generation, now little remembered– Malcom Muggeridge. His stand against the modern world was great. His autobio– Chronicles of Wasted Time– is outstanding.

  16. Michael Bauman says

    Tim, just thought I would post a positive about some Protestants. The Angelus Temple in Los Angles has a homeless program that takes people off the streets, sees to their needs and mentors them in an effort to return them to stability. Just read about it on Fox News.

    Now Fr. Paul Abernathy, Orthodox priest in Pittsburg is doing a similar thing but concentrates on the community he grew up in. The FOCUS ministry is also doing similar things in various parts of the country.

    Deficient theology or not, these Protestant folks are doing the work of the Lord. Indeed, faithful Protestants all over the country are engaging in such acts of mercy out of love of Christ.

    We have the fullness of the truth but we need to act on it more. In our case we are too often deficient in a love for this land and her people right before us, living in a long dead past or a romanticized ancestral culture instead. So …if we have not love, we are a clanging cymbal… The active love of Christ for those nearest us is what transforms and transfigures and builds real community. Incarnational theology is not real if it does not result in incarnational acts of mercy, we become Pharisees instead, laying heavy burdens on others and living a life of self justification. That is surrendering to the ideological lies of our world.

    May the Lord of mercy on us, forgive us and increase the love in our hearts.

    • Although he is a clean shaven organ loving priest ( as he says it’s all he knows) The priest and community of Tampa Bay greek church do great work re poor etc in area with other churches  and are  growing.  I disagree with him on much liturgy etc but a good decent man. Sad his knowledge of the russisn experience of last 70 yrs nil.  I have been helping him via books sent and my own experience to change that,and politely and contructively challenge the organ and pews etc mentality. 

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I do often wonder about the fruits of our Faith. “By their fruits you shall know them.”
      Do the Orthodox catch any special attention because of their works, exceeding those of other groups because of the fact that their faith represents the fullness of truth? Are their congregations on the whole more devout in their practices, rising even only somewhat above those of their heterodox neighbors? If not, why is this so?
      The Roman Catholic church sowed hospitals, colleges, and organized charities wherever it went in this country. Many of the ‘mainline’ Protestant churches did so, also. While their faith fades, many of their works live on.
      Obviously, the Orthodox along with all other denominations in this country have charitable and outreach programs, many of them remarkable.
      But is there any one church that is widely associated in the public mind with “works”– i.e,  some kinds of virtues which are very widely practiced by their faithful, to the extent that they have a reputation for them? The only one I can think of is the Mormons. 
      It’s something of a puzzle….

      • Michael Bauman says

        Tim, the Church is still producing saints.  Holy men and women and still drawing people to repentance.  The fruit in North America is sparse primarily because the soil here is not good.  If persecution comes, that may change.

  17. GOA Priest,
    ” Nikos, I really do not find the spirit of Christ in anything that you have written”.

    Ok, then, since you want to reply “in the spirit of Christ”,
    be so kind and exact and consequent to send your comment on the following which surpasses the importance/consequences of both Nadia’s and Nikos’s words:

    Bartholomew gifted the “Holy Quran” to the muslim president of a big company in Atlanta, GA October 29, 2009.
    Watch the luxurious ceremony (which has nothing to do with the spirit of Christ),
    Crux of the matter: see from 32:15

    Now, I trust you want to be a very learned person and that you know the important facts about the Quran:
    It rejects:
    the Holy Trinity,
    the Crucifiction of Christ, and
    the Resurrection of Christ!
    i.e. the very foundations of our FAITH!

    Now these facts are very important because you want to talk “in the spirit of Christ”.

    Please tell me 4 simple things, “in the spirit of Christ”:

    1) Have you watched this film before?
    2) If yes, what have you done about it so far?
    3) If not, then,
    3a) What are you going to do about it FROM NOW ON?
    3b) do you realize you did not know very important facts?
    4) On the basis of the above info, will you please stop intimidating people like Nadia and Nikos? Thank you.

    • Thank you.   I am sad if my words are harsh but I honestly see we living in harsh times where just being nice to untruth will not do.  
      All I can say ro GOP is the Patriarch of Constantinople is preaching Catholic papal pretensions and in Ukraine has committed evil let alone breaking of Orthodox sacramental belief.   Now as happens I do not think the much martyred Russian church always correct and I not biggest fan of Kyril,but that irrelevant.   
      If wanting the Orthodox church to live in real word and attempt to evangelise it with truth and love and to live According to the spirit of the Church, in a fast becoming anti Christian world,  well if that is wrong, then I am in wrong church. If the hierarchs taught and lived in reality In Christ,  and we know as with bishop John etc etc those that have and do,  then I bow in front of them as a failing sinner seeking repentance.  But when i see other FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE, no I will not be quieted by you or anybody else. 

      • Niko, I think my above post has being misplaced here, and your post is a reply to something else too.

        Sorry for the confusion (μπερδευτήκαμε).