This Time the Fly is in the Ointment

As Petros, one of our commentators just pointed out, it looks like many of the autocephalous Churches which traditionally receive Holy Chrism from Istanbul are saying “thanks, but no thanks” this year.

Ordinarily, this ritual takes place every decade or so to demonstrate the unity of the Orthodox Church.  Several of the local Churches send representatives to the Phanar to participate in this ancient rite.  (Local Churches begin rite for making Holy Chrism / OrthoChristian.Com)

An autocephalous Church can make their Chrism, however, as do Russia, Serbia, and the OCA, but in years past, most have chosen to participate in the ritual of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to show unity and solidarity within the Orthodox Church.   

Not this year.

Tensions being what they are, many of the local Churches have decided not to send their hierarchs to Istanbul. 

The biggest reason, of course, is because the self-ordained charlatan of the so-called “Metropolitan of Keev” (the second one) will be there and a bishop cannot celebrate with a schismatic and remain faithful to the Church.  In doing so, one becomes a schismatic himself.  And as St John Chrysostom wrote several centuries ago, “Even martyrdom does not wipe away the stain of schism.”

Bartholomew knows this.

It’s worth noting, that the Phanar hasn’t been able to bring everyone (or even most) to the table since 2018 when they granted autocephaly to the schismatic sect.  This latest example of “no shows” makes it clear that the Church, as we knew it, has suffered a substantial blow, and there is little hope of healing this fissure, as long as the schismatics remain.

Bartholomew doesn’t see it, but those who are most hurt by his actions are the schismatics, themselves.  We have the Orthodox Church.  They don’t.   If Bartholomew had any love for the OCU, he would want the Church for them, too, by encouraging them to do things the right way.

Thumbing his nose at the greater part of the Church is not the “right way.”  That’s not an opinion; that’s a fact.  

As a result, our Church is no longer united and the responsibility rests solely with the Phanar and their decision to invite in a group of schismatics without insisting they work through the problems they had with the patriarchate (Russia) who originally deposed them. 

Not only did Bartholomew ignore the sanctions of another bishop; he did so against the better judgment of the majority of his brother bishops.  (And by “bishops” we mean Patriarchs.)

Later, when he winnowed down the bishops to include only the “ancient patriarchates,” he failed to get the support he was looking for from them, as well.  (Hats off to Patriarch John X of Antioch for holding the line and derailing this nonsensical notion.)  

So, this stunning rebuke to Bartholomew with regard to making Chrism, is only a symptom and not a surprise to anyone except Bartholomew.  As you may recall, he told the world the Slavic bishops would “eventually get over it.”

It is now abundantly clear they won’t.  Again, no one was surprised but Bartholomew.     

He created a time bomb in Ukraine.  Ukraine’s already fragile relationship with Russia exploded into a full-on war involving all of the West whom he assumed would intervene on the behalf of the Zelensky regime.

Close to 4 million Ukrainians had to leave their homes due to his error in thinking.  Priests have turned on their beloved Church.  Ultra-right nationalists (the new N-word), funded by the globalists, have risen up and taken control from their president who is becoming more of a joke by the day. 

Bartholomew’s unnecessary –and uncanonical, illegal meddling–in that country, set the stage for the present conflict which we predicted in 2018.  Rather than resolving any problems in Ukraine, his actions exacerbated them. 

Worse, there will be no canonical resolution for the Ukrainian Orthodox Christians, even when the present hostilities cease.  For one thing, Dumenko’s fortunes will be tied to those of the Jewish comedian/drag queen who presently serves as president of the Ukraine.  As for Metropolitan Onuphriy, the canonical Metropolitan of Kiev, he is watching his Church being torn asunder before his very eyes.  More than likely, a significant faction will remain loyal to the canonical Church of Ukraine, while the others will join the schismatic sect.  Still others may demand that the sect headed by “Patriarch-Emeritus” Philaret Denisenko be formally recognized as the genuine autocephalous Church of Ukraine, which like the OCU, will go over like a lead balloon.

In any event, any further demands and/or recognitions of an “autocephalous” Church –even the one headed by Metropolitan Onuphriy–will only add to the chaos which Istanbul set in motion three years ago when it made this disastrous decision.  And make no mistake:  it would take nothing less than a genuine –and legitimate–Council to resolve the mess that exists today in the Ukraine, a mess that was created before the present conflict. 

Of course, they are all being archly diplomatic about their no-show status at the Chrism making ceremony.  Once again, they are using the coronavirus “pandemic” as an excuse to not undertake any “unnecessary” travel. 

The irony is palpable: two years ago, many of our religious bodies succumbed to the state’s dictates in closing down our places of worship.  In the Orthodox sphere, the various eparchies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate very often led the way, sometimes doing so in an obnoxious fashion, asserting that they were more “scientific” in their approach to the pandemic, mainly to distinguish themselves from the more “fundamentalist” Orthodox Churches.  But as we reported from the beginning, everything we have been told by the secular world is a lie.      

The moral of the story is . . .? 

Firstly, we shouldn’t have succumbed to fear over COVID to the detriment of the Church.  

Secondly, the Orthodox bishops should not have been willing accomplices to the secular authorities, especially when such authorities are anti-Christian. 

Thirdly, there is only so much uncanonical meddling by Istanbul that the other Churches can accept –and that limit has been reached.  

As for what will be the final status of the Ukrainian Church, only God knows.  For now, however, the various Orthodox patriarchs have expressed their displeasure with Bartholomew and there appears to be no way forward.  Perhaps this is God separating the wheat from the chaff.  That there is a formal schism between Moscow and Istanbul is beyond doubt.  Unless they offer Bartholomew a face-saving way out of his self-imposed morass; possibly through his repentance or a convocation of an authentic Council, things will not be changing any time soon.   


THIS JUST IN:  “Constantinople Reportedly Drops Plans for Pentarchy to Condemn Russian Church” (  This particular meeting of “the Pentarchy” was designed to condemn the Russian Orthodox Church for its role in the creation of an African exarchate.  


We certainly live in interesting times. 





About GShep


  1. John Anon says

    Which church representatives are concelebrating with the schismatic Metropolitan(s)? And which ones are refraining from sending their hierarchs to Istanbul?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      It looks like no one came, using COVID as an excuse. Only the Ecumenical Patriarchate was there.

      Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania, Czech-Slovak, and the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” did not attend but will probably receive the Chrism they need at some point from the EP.

      The rest of the Churches either have what they need or will make it themselves.

  2. George Michalopulos says

    Along the lines of the liberalism in the EP and its various eparchies, please look at this latet directive from Metropolitan Nathanael Simeonides, of the GOA diocese of Chicago (in which he announces that altar girls will be used in his diocese:


    • Antiochene Son says


    • My Greek friends in the Chicago Metropolis tell me that Nathanael is a train wreck. That speaks volumes.

    • I’ll add that if this is indeed the case, the faithful should blitzkrieg the chancery and let them know this will not be put up with. This slippery slope has taken down the Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, etc., the buck needs to stop with us.

  3. Antiochene Son says

    I wonder if the non-attending Churches will still accept the Chrism if it is offered, or if they will indeed make their own?

    • I’d give it 50/50 unless they’re planning on making their own chrism.

      The next question is should they receive chrism from a Patriarch who is on his last leg of Orthodoxy, so to speak.

  4. anonsayswhat says
  5. Guess he’s taking a cue from Cupic.

    This is a terrible idea (obviously) and in Romanism this has caused a plummet in seminarians, among other things. I feel bad for those under the Metropolis of Chicago, they have had it rough under Nathanial.

    I will say though, I’m familiar with the Greek Archdiocese of Australia and though I have some misgivings about Abp. Makarios, their eparchy is way, way more traditional than the EP proper or GOARCH.

  6. Autocephalous churches should simply make their own chrism. For us in the ROC, currently Patriarch John X of Antioch/Syria is the first among equals. Both C’pol and Alexandria have been excommunicated for concelebration with schismatics. Though when Antioch avoids certain responsibilities, Jerusalem has stepped in (as at Amman). Likely one or the other will take over officially eventually.

    The Church is changing rapidly and may not look like it has in the past in terms of ethnicity. The Greeks, excepting those that have already fled the Greek led local churches, are making their way to the door. Theirs are the only churches to have recognized the pseudo OCU. However, I assume Greece itself will split, as might GOARCH, in the event of a formal Unia.

    Orthodox intolerance for heresy ain’t what it used to be, for sure. Embracing heresy (sine paribus) and on top of that recognizing schismatics should be enough to prompt the rest of the Church to remove the cancerous growth. It is the heresy that is of more concern to me. Ostracism of the OCU should take care of it. But Bartholomew’s heresy actually precedes his term as patriarch and has been traced back prior to it. There was a petition before the Synod of the GOC which chronicled his heretical statements and actions over the decades.

  7. Obviously this is a set of questions that would have been appropriate long before this particular article. Here goes:

    Just what was the EP’s end game in Ukraine? What did they think would happen? How did they think that the other local Churches would respond to the OCU?

    But perhaps most poignant of all: Why did they think that this A. recognition and B. “autocephaly” were justifiable?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      If you are expecting a grace-filled answer, you will be disappointed.

      The US State Department wanted to cordon off Russia so they came up with a bogus program under the banner of “Religious Freedom.” Ukraine was a pit stop for the rich and famous and the U.S. looked for an opportunity to leverage anyone they could get their hands on to enter Ukraine militarily.

      Hillary, Biden, Obama the CIA, and the State Department (among others) had multiple meetings with Bartholomew on how they could break up the Russian Church in Ukraine that were under Met. Onufriy to weaken Russia’s ties to Ukraine. The plan was to confiscate all of Russia’s parishes, monasteries, cathedrals, and property and give it to the nationalists; if they could get away with it. (They were not successful, although they tried.)

      Who wanted what:

      – Bartholomew wanted money (widely reported), the U.S. Federal Government to back off from sending the archons who embezzled money from St. Nicholas to jail (reported through back channels), and property in Ukraine for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

      – Poroshenko, the then president of Ukraine, wanted to win an upcoming election by appeasing the nationalists.

      – The U.S. wanted to cordon off Russia, eventually bringing Ukraine into NATO so they could put the squeeze on Russia.

      – Russia wanted to be left alone.

      Poroshenko petitioned Bartholomew to create the autocephalous church. Bartholomew’s brother bishops advised against it. They thought it should be decided in a Council which Bartholomew refused to call because he knew they would all say no. (Reason: Ukraine is in Russia’s territory and one bishop cannot go into another bishop’s territory unless he is invited. Bartholomew was obviously not invited.)

      Patriarch Kirill begged him not to do it, even going to Constantinople to talk to him, as I recall. Letter after letter was written by the ancient patriarchates and the local churches pleading with Bartholomew not to do it, as well.

      Bartholomew ignored them all.

      He and his compatriots tricked one of the Ukrainian schismatics who had been previously deposed by the Russian Church (Filaret) into giving Bartholomew his church, saying he would be rewarded by being the Patriarch of kiev in Ukraine. Bartholomew renigged on the deal and said Filaret could be the “honorary” patriarch (in name only). An unhappy Filaret still walks around in his little patriarch outfit.

      Bartholomew brought together Filaret’s holdings and another disposed bishop’s holdings, combining the properties, as I recall. He made Epiphany, purportedly the spiritual child of Filaret, the “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine”, even though that title belongs to Metropolitan Onufriy under Russia.

      Guess who was made the patriarch of “Kiev and All Ukraine”? Bartholomew, of course, which in reality belongs to Patriarch Kirill. The Tomas was not written like other autocephalous agreements. The OCU can’t do anything on its own without Bartholomew’s approval.

      The Tomas was issued to Poroshenko and Epiphany on a dreary day in January 2019, I believe. Only the Ecumenical Patriarchate attended the ceremony. Bartholomew’s brother bishops did not attend the ceremony, choosing not to recognize Epiphany.

      Bartholomew and his academics have a laundry list of reasons why they think they were justified in doing what they did including a bizarre statement that suggests Russia was only “managing Ukraine” all these years for the EP and now it was time to give it back.

      Bartholomew’s response to all this? “They’ll get over it.” He literally said that. But no one did and here we are. We no longer have a united Church. As if carving out Ukraine for himself wasn’t enough, Bartholomew has made it impossible for the bishops to shepherd our Church. There is a great big hole in it; a true schism. And what are we supposed to do with the unordained, faux church that doesn’t want to be in the same canonical Church as Russia? Bartholomew is now over two separate entities. Is this Orthodox? NO!

      Bartholomew has no love for us. He has no love for Ukraine. Millions of Ukrainians have had to leave their homes. Their military is killing their own people. How do communities come back from trauma like that?

      Where are we today?

      Poroshenko lost the election. The nationalists formed a Nazi party and continue to target the Russian-speaking people who tried to separate from Ukraine in 2014.

      Beautiful Ukraine has turned into an international toilet of money laundering and child trafficking of the elite.

      NATO continues to lurk in the background with a scowl on its face for not being able to rise to the occasion.

      As far as the U.S. is concerned: if the dashboard on your car said you were operating on fumes and you were choking down the freeway in South Central L.A. with a flat tire, it would be a good metaphor for our existence under Biden.

      I think Russia snapped. They just couldn’t take it anymore and I don’t blame them. – I pray for the Ukrainian people. Hopefully, they’ll be able to return home soon. If Russia can build 3 Churches a week, they’ll help them rebuild. Everyone else needs to leave them alone.

      (I’m sure someone will correct my memory if I misrepresented anything. The characterizations are all mine.)

      • George Michalopulos says

        Gail, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

        As far as what we are left with when this whole thing is over with, I like your analogy to the third-to-the-last paragraph: We’re operating on fumes stuck in South Central LA with a flat tire.

        Every day when I drive and pass any underpass, I see growing legions of homeless people. The lucky ones have a grocery cart. It’s all so reminiscent of Soylent Green.

        But By Jiminy! We’ve just sent another $800 million to the Ukraine to fight them evil Russkies!

    • Perhaps EP Bart is a little like General Dreedle,
      who thought that being a General entitled him
      to have his men taken out and shot…
      [Joseph Heller: Catch 22]

  8. Perhaps the venom is in the vaccine?

    First Pictures and Videos of Snake Venom Peptides in Bioweapon Shots

    [Video – 28:15]

    Food for thought…