My Thoughts Today . . .

We witnessed the 101st anniversary of the first Veterans’ Day. It used to be called Armistice Day because, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 2018, the Allied forces secured an armistice with the Central Powers. An armistice is a truce: Germany did not lose the war and the Allies did not win it. At least according to the original terms of the truce. But that is a story for another day.

Armistice Day came to be celebrated every year in honor of the end of the Great War. In time, however, it morphed into “Veterans’ Day”, to honor all veterans of the American armed forces, not only those who fought in World War I but all subsequent wars. We owe these men (and the overwhelming number of them were men, some were boys to be sure but you get the picture) a debt of immense gratitude. Especially from those among us who did not serve in our nations’ military (for the record, I did not to my everlasting regret).

I often think about this day because both of my grandfathers served in the Greek Army during that war (and the subsequent disastrous Anatolian campaign). I never knew my father’s father but I grew up with my “Pappou” who was a significant presence in my life. He often waxed poetic about those years, more in sorrow than in triumph. I learned second-hand the horrors of war first from him. For me, he embodied the flower of youth that was cut down in the trenches of Europe. Sometimes I remember him shivering uncontrollably in his bed at night (my bedroom was next to his) and I would get in bed with him and try to restrain him. This was probably the after-effects of malaria which we were sure he had contracted then.

Here is a picture of him from that time:

Sgt George N Hlepos, 1st Infantry Division, (Lt-Gen Konstantinos Nider, commanding); photo taken while on the Macedonian Front.

I’m sure you all have your own stories about veterans in your life. Perhaps you are a veteran yourself. I believe it was Plato who said that “Only the dead have seen the end to war”. He was right. War, unfortunately, is inevitable. It does no good to castigate those who fight in war because we may not agree with the particular conflict. In retrospect, all wars look futile and wasteful. Why did we fight in the Spanish-American War? Why did the British fight in the Boer War? Or the French in Algeria?

It’s easy to criticize those wars but even the so-called Good War can be called into question. It began more or less when Hitler carved off a slice of Czechoslovakia. Yet sixty years later both the Czechs and the Slovaks went their happy ways. The Union committed horrendous war crimes to prevent the Confederacy from seceding but when Norway seceded from Sweden in 1905, not a shot was fired; no one cared.

What was once a burning issue becomes quizzical upon further review. What is now inconsequential can become a conflaguration at just the right moment. It is not the responsibility of ordinary soldiers to sort it out but to obey orders. Nor should we forget that “the king does not hold the sword in vain” (Rom 13:4). That means something. Specifically that we live in a fallen world and there are malefactors, ever ready to inflict mayhem on the innocent. God in His wisdom and mercy has ordained certain men to keep the peace. We can call them kings, emperors or presidents. They need and deserve our prayers for they have a divine calling, even if we can’t see it.

And thus (paraphrasing Orwell) we pray for those “violent men” who place their lives on the line “so that peaceful men can sleep at night”.

In the photograph below, we see a Greek Orthodox bishop who exhorts the ordinary men of that country to become heroes. They certainly had their misgivings yet they did their duty, as did he. I cannot help but weep at the differences between then and now. Between bishops such as this man who is in the trenches with men about to die and the dilettantes, hirelings and mediocrities whose main concern is their seating arrangements.

All men are called to be warriors, even clergymen, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers” (Eph 6:12). The physical battlefield is merely an extension of the spiritual one. Would that we had warrior-priests now as we did back then.


P.S. Monomakhos will be publishing a series of stories about veterans from an Orthodox perspective. I have several photos that I will publish in due time along with some of their stories. If you, the Reader have any such stories, photos and/or videos that you would like for us to publish, please feel free to send them to me or publish them on your own as a comment. And don’t forget, be sure and thank a veteran.


  1. George thank you for that and yes the contrast and I have ‘ My pappou’ who fought in Balkan wars as a barely legal soldier, Macedonia, and Asia Minor and in 1941 too injured ( leg) to go to Albania, as a teacher helped on home front and in the bombing raids would calmly shave by light of the search lights and unable to kneel would calmly stand on his stick as the bombs came down. All I learnt from my late mother.
    And of Damaskinos who stood up for the jews and executed , that great man, or of his predessessor who refused to swear in quisling government, locking Athens Cathedral door in their face, and met General Lizst, face to face with blunt language. WHERE ARE THEY TODAY.? YOU wonder why people denigrate the Church?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Pace Theodore and Hieronymus, how far we have fallen indeed, both as an ethnicity and as a Church.

  2. Antiochene Son says

    My thinking on war changed dramatically when my cousin, a green beret, left the army after two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. He didn’t like to talk about it, but I got the sense he felt both wars were useless mistakes and every death was in vain, in service to geopolitical interests, not the American people.

    (And who are the American people they supposedly defend anymore? H1B visa holders? Illegals? Our country is in a death spiral.)

    I was in deeply interested in the Air Force at the time and he said flatly, don’t join the military.

    My great-grandfather who served felt the same way about WW2. He was proud of his service and that of his comrades, but he wasn’t proud of the mission, or certainly what became of the world he supposedly helped to save. I could say the same of my great uncle who served in Vietnam.

    We often laud our adventurism, saying the troops are fighting for our freedom, but American freedom has never been at risk by foreigners since 1812, the last just American war. Only our own government and the global corporations they serve threaten us today.

    Much respect for my relatives and all the troops who at least believed they were fighting for our country. It’s not the fault of the boots on the ground. Sending men into meat grinders for no reason has happened in every empire that ever existed. But the bloom is coming off the rose and that’s a good thing.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Basil, you are largely correct. I am however doing some research into the Mexican-American War. While several of its combatants (and future generals such as U S Grant) thought it was an unjust war (on our part), there is some evidence that Jefferson had thought that Texas was part of the Louisiana Purchase and thus had been illegally annexed by Mexico (which had only recently broken off from Spain).

      More to follow.

      Still, your point remains. As Tacitus said of Rome: “You have created a desert and called it peace”. When I see the wreckage of American civilization today, I wonder if our hegemony is worth it. I am of the opinion that Michael Savage is correct: because of our present immigration policy, even if Trump wins, we are headed for a dark age.

      And I’m not even bringing up the fact that thanks to homosexualism, feminism, multiculturalism, etc, we’re already at Gomorrah-level decrepitude. Soon, I will write about our military and how it has been subsumed by the forces of nihilism.

  3. Ronda Wintheiser says
  4. GoArmyBeatNavy says

    Where was the Archepiscopal Encyclical on Veteran’s Day from the Archbishop of AMERICA? Not a single word or gesture appeared anywhere. 
    It still must be in translation from Greek to Turkish to English.  Let’s hope so. 
    Real truth? They aren’t Americans. They are all Levantines and non-American in their beliefs. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      Ouch! A harsh, but nevertheless fair assessment.

      And yet here’s the thing: the vast majority of Greek-Americans who are now into the 4th & 5th generation are incredibly patriotic Americans. Why can’t the “Leaders” see that? I’ve given up hope on the GOA metropolitans.

  5. Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

    What the…  As one who has served and continues to serve, as one who has spent 23 years doing what my Church, my country asked of me – which meant I was geographically separated from my wife and kids for a total of 10+ years, I take this article and some of the comments to this point as a personal affront.  I am saddened at the degree of neglect of our Orthodox sons and daughters serving in the military by the Church, and yes, this means the people in the pews or standing in our temples.  As a country we send our 18-25 year old youth to do the unimaginable and how do we as a Church prepare them for what they may experience?  Crickets – I thought so.  How do we receive them back into our communities when their service is done?  O, let me guess – they’re not coming back.  Why should they?  If any of them have seen combat, one of the most characteristic responses is belief their nation’s leaders let them down, the nation’s people let them down.  And guess what, their Church let them down.  Some will respond with, but how do we prepare them – we ourselves never served in the military.  That’s right, at any given time only 1/2 of one percent of the nation serves in the military.  The fact of the matter is, our sons and daughters will always enlist, no matter the opinion/declaration of the Church at large on present and future wars, or of a few disheartened souls who have the luxury of personal peace, affluence and comfort as their backdrop for speaking their mind.  If I had it to do all over again, I would do it – in a heartbeat.  I would change only one thing.  I would have requested from my bishop his blessing to enter the military as a chaplain, at a younger age.  Paximus nobiscum.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr, please explain: what exactly in my article constitute a “personal affront”? I was laboring under the suspicion that my words were honoring our veterans and that at one time we had a chaplaincy made up of priests and bishops that were not hirelings.

      I certainly meant no offense, either to the armed forces or to the men therein.

      • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

        Please explain, “Would that we had warrior-priests now as we did back then.” Stating this communicates we do not have warrior-priests today. Au contraire. God raises up in every generation those needed for His Church. Trust me. We have warrior-priests in our midst. The vast majority of them are quietly doing the work for which and to which God raised them. For myself, among the assignments I had the good fortune to fulfill was 7 1/2 years with the Army Special Forces – “Quiet Professionals.” No more need be said.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I stand corrected, Fr.

          Still, the diminution of the See of Constantinople to being an academic/administrative one on most fronts, would seem to indicate a loss of manly courage among the episcopate, could we at least agree on that? Seriously, we have bachelor bishops for the most part. Or am I wrong?

          • I think Fr. Peter is seeing something that isn’t there. Your comment about a lack of warrior-priests I understood to be a shot against the cowardly clerics and hierarchs that are selling out our Church for a mess of pottage, not about a lack of military chaplains.

    • Few people know this, but the most senior-ranking officer who was killed in the Beirut terrorist bombing was an Orthodox Christian: Major John Macroglou, USMC, from western Pennsylvania. He was a cousin by marriage… I was too young as a child when he was killed to have ever known or met him.

      I offered his name to the Veterans Memorial list at St Nicholas Cathedral in D.C. for their ongoing list. Despite the shenanigans that often go on at that cathedral, their American Orthodox Christians’ national war memorial (for those American Orthodox Christians who have lost their lives while serving with the U.S. military) is a most venerable undertaking. I am thankful for it.

      I’ve been on active service with the U.S. Army for more than 20 years now. Probably will be wrapping up my Army service in the next 1-2 years but am very thankful for the experiences that it has offered to me.

      I also agree that what passes for Christian “chaplaincy” in the modern U.S. military is generally pathetic milque-toast stuff, not to mention overwhelmingly evangelical protestant and even now a lot of post-Christian garbage. There is plenty of room for the next Fr Alexander Webster, Fr Peter Dubinin, Fr Gregory Pelesh, or Fr Vladimir Borichevsky, and countless other examples of Orthodox Christian military chaplains, to serve.

      Interesting tidbit: The future Abp Dmitri of Dallas, that great missionary bishop in the American South, first came into contact with English-language Orthodox Christian worship on a military base, courtesy of a military chaplain. Fr Vladimir Borichevsky (the first American military Orthodox chaplain) was serving as Orthodox chaplain at the Presidio of San Francisco during WW2, where the future Abp Dmitri served and then deployed from as a Japanese translator.

      Who knew that the Texan who walked into Fr Vladimir’s tiny English-language chapel on base would become a venerable native-born American bishop?

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I am glad to say that we have a strong military and veterans ministry in our church; we have sent several members recently to new duty stations, including combat stations, with full prayer ceremonies before the congregation, and we have a strong veteran’s program after Liturgy on both Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It helps that we have a retired Greek-American Army Colonel who has worked hard to develop this ministry over recent years.
      This community of course has a strong military presence with a major Army and Airforce joint base.

  6. I am a former Marine Combat Officer RVN 2/1 66-68, double purple heart recipient Dong Ha/Con Thein, I am also a cleric who speaks his mind. My pride is that I am now and will always be a warrior priest

    • Monk James Silver says

      My father was awarded two purple hearts for injuries he suffered in battle during WW2 in the Pacific — in spite of that area’s optimistic name. He was as loyal a marine as the First Division ever saw, and was one of only a handful of men who survived their platoon’s destruction, experiencing ‘survivor’s guilt’, much later diagnosed as PTSD.

      Recuperating as part of the USMC Quartermaster’s Corps with the American occupation forces (he had refused a stateside transfer), he learned to speak Chinese and thought that he’d met St John Maximovich in Shanghai, but I’m not sure about that. I was not strong enough to follow him in military service, being excluded because of my poor eyesight, but I always loved him and respected the hard and bloody work he had done to help save our nation.

      While he was generally reluctant to talk about the horrors he had witnessed, my dad always spoke reverently of the medics and chaplains who went into battle with our soldiers. He thought that they were examples of a special kind of bravery, since they carried no weapons but bore the insignia of the cross prominently — not that the enemy always respected that symbol of help and salvation.

      In any event, Father, while I do not want even to appear to be disrespectful of your faithful service to God and country I have to say that I’m a bit put off by the very notion of a ‘warrior priest’.

      The soldiers do what they must, God bless them and keep them safe, and the medics and chaplains help God to help the soldiers.They do not themselves bear arms or fight and kill the enemy, but do their holy work selflessly and sometimes at great personal cost. Their love covers many sins.

      Semper Fi!

      • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

        Monk James – Your final paragraph strikes at the heart of what it means to be a warrior.  In the minds of most people, the term ‘warrior’ speaks of one who is trained to kill and kills.  However, the term ‘warrior’ I believe speaks to the ‘heart’ of a warrior – one who commits themselves to fight in behalf of those who are least able to fight for themselves, one who delivers justice in measured proportion that the one fought might have opportunity following the engagement to repent and live.   To be sure, in combat, the warrior kills. For the Orthodox Christian who kills in time of war, there is canonical sanction of three years bar from the Holy Eucharist (I agree with this, as there is significant priestly work which needs to be done with the one who has killed in war to prepare their soul for reception of the Eucharist). At the heart of the warrior-Christian, of which a priest is an expression, is the commitment to allow oneself to be sacrificed for the other.  Is this not partly what we mean in using the appellation for the one who comes to receive Holy Illumination – newly enlisted warrior of Christ?

        • Monk James Silver says

          I hope you’ve been well, Father Peter, since we last met at St Tikhon Seminary maybe ten years ago. You were there to speak with students about the possibility of their serving as military chaplains.

          Yes, the New Testament is replete with battle imagery. We’re not fighting human enemies, but spiritual foes, and we are armed not with knives and bullets and bombs, but with the cross of Christ, His ‘weapon of peace’, and our armor is our firm faith in Him. As part of our clothing, newly tonsured monastics are given a prayer cord, which the service book calls ‘the sword of the spirit’, while the monastic hood is called ‘the helmet of salvation’.

          But the words written here by ‘usmc12’ didn’t lead me to those thoughts. Instead, what came to my mind was the folkoric image of Alexander Peresvyet and Rodion Oslyabya, both said to have been monks of the great skhema, blessed by St Sergius of Radonezh to fight under Prince Dmitriy ‘Donskoy’ at the battle of Kulikovo against the invading Tatars in 1380.

          Naturally, since there are ecclesial rules and traditions which forbid clergymen and monastics to fight or even to carry weapons, this has always been a little embarrassing for the Russian Orthodox Church. The very existence of the two warrior-monks has been questioned by scholars of the period’s history and culture, although there is a possibility that Oslyabya actually lived, but that he was a nobleman, not a monk.

          Whatever good this tale may have done for the Russian national psyche was not worth the bad example it gave, especially considering the many soldier-saints who laid down their arms and died as martyrs rather than ‘resist evil’.

          In any event the concept of a ‘warrior priest’ brought these discomfiting images to my mind, so I’m grateful for your thoughts on the subject. There might be a better expression for this sort of struggle on the part of military chaplains, one less likely to cause even a theoretical conflict of commitments.

  7. Michael Bauman says

    George, ” It used to be called Armistice Day because, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 2019,…” Really? I have long labored under the misconception that it was 1918.

    • George Michalopulos says

      My bad! I need to put down the Bourbon before I type.

      • Michael Bauman says

        If my eyes are not deceiving me, it now says 2018. Still a hundred years off. I don’t blame you, we all want to forget the devastation and corruption of the 20th century. Or as George Patton was quoted in the movie: ” God how I hate the 20th century.”

  8. Michael Bauman says

    George, your statement that there are “no warrior priests” could easily offend those who are exactly that. The nature of our society requires that warriors (except social justice warriors) cloak themselves if they expect to continue as warriors.

    NOW: The failure of the Church to address the needs of her people on all levels is quite evident. Whether it is in relation to soldiering, sexuality, marriage, divorce, abortion, you name it. there is a lack of adequate or even truthful response. GoArmyBeatNavy is, in part, correct that is due to the majority of our bishops being from other countries, but the US and Canadian born bishops are doing little better. But we, the people of the Church, also have a responsibility on these things. To educate ourselves and our hierarchy. To know and stand for the faith in all things.

    The truth is that the Church has always had an honored place for warriors who bear arms righteously. If one does any research on the life and the history of the Church at all, that place of honor can be easily found. Anyone who objects is either ignorant, stupid or following an agenda that is no of the Church.

    It is a place that is fraught with danger however, and the people of the Church need to understand that and, as Fr. Peter says, we need to respond much better to the needs of those who serve both by giving specific spiritual formation and support for those who want to serve in the military and receiving and responding to the needs of those returning. Again, there is a lot of information about how to do that within the history and experience of the Church both ancient and modern, but like so much of the healing balm the Church has, it is not applied often enough or consistently enough. Such support can be done without either glorifying war or minimizing the atrocities that occur in any way.

    We, the Church, are not rooted in this land, nor is the Church rooted in the deep hearts of many of the people who are Chrismated Orthodox. After all, “everybody knows” that religion in an entirely personal matter.

    We are in the midst of a great sorting out in this country. As many as 2/3 of Americans believe we are in a run up to a civil war. That war has been on going for most of my life, it just became obvious. It will continue to split the people in the Church. Everyone will be force to choose, I am afraid. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    We will all be called to account. Lord have mercy.

  9. I have to admit I really struggle with Veterans Day and the noble portrayal of war. First of all, I in no way want to take away from the heroic personal sacrifices of those who have fought and given on behalf of their loved ones. So I thank you for your personal sacrifice. I do contend that we have a greater responsibility to call out the lies of those at the top who sent you off to war to begin with. They leveraged some of the best characteristics of mankind for evil. War has been the most effective destabilization tool of the elites in the history of mankind. They finance and control both sides of the conflict and benefit at every turn and at every level. World War 1 and World Was 2 had the net result of taking and leveraging the best men that walked the earth regardless of nation and got them to decimate each each other. It takes men who have much more in common than not, and via lies and propaganda gets them to bludgeon each other, destroy their civilizations, rape their women, rewrite their history and control their societal “rebirth”. Satanic. TRULY Satanic. War is hell. I resent how the powers that be use Veterans Day, parades, troops at football games, anthems, flags and the like to propagandize the next generation of cannon fodder to further their globalist agenda. All the while removing any practical means of truly fighting them by creating continual division among those whom they most fear. We as Christians need to wake up and realize what is being done to us and how it is being done. Thank you for your service. Your term is not up. The service goes on. We must elevate the conversation to what is really going on and not eternally linger in perpetual propagandized memories. Let us continue to be willing to fight to the death against the true enemies of Christ. I have no desire to send any of my 5 boys off to die for the Zionists in Israel. If they fall in defense of Christ then Glory to God!
    Please, I have no intent to take a shot at anyone for writing this or for your service. I grow fonder of George and this blog community each and every day. It is just wrong to me to not stand up and defend this current generation against what is headed our way. It is the continuance of the very same battles that we remember here. Those who died on all sides and know the fulness of truth demand nothing less of us.
    In Christ, Mike

    • Monk James Silver says

      We owe the deepest respect to our veterans.  Whether they have served in war or in peace, they were ready to defend us who couldn’t be with them in the trenches.
      But our respect for our veterans shouldn’t blind us to the reality that war is —  by definition —  one of the worst things we human beings can do to each other  I’m confident that the veterans of military service in war would be among the first to affirm this.
      War is evil.  It solves nothing.  War merely makes it possible for the temporarily stronger to defeat the temporarily weaker.  And when the defeated get bigger, stronger weapons, they come back at the victors.  And so it goes.  And so it goes.
      Only Christ is the answer to these endless conflicts. 
      ‘Come, let us bow down and worship Him!’  Let us lay down our arms and work harder at being missionaries, even if we must be martyrs!  Let us gently lead everyone to worship Him!

      • George Michalopulos says

        Monk James, I quite agree with you but for this: war actually does solve things. Violence always does. It’s not pretty and it’s not moral but the history of civilization –that is to say, “progress”–is written in blood. I don’t like it, I certainly don’t condone it but there it is.

        • Nathaniel Adams says

          Either way, it seems like the occurrence of another major conflict is unlikely, precisely because of the material existence of nuclear weapons and the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. Not only that, but today’s fighting men and women are increasingly likely to be found in computer labs controlling drones and other forms of artificial intelligence and it wouldn’t surprise me if, in the near future, we’ll see any remaining boots on the ground receive some sort of cybernetic enhancement. These days, you can’t rule anything out.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Nathaniel, the cyberization of warfare increases the probability that war will occur. It dehumanizes everything. It is like a video game. Even the existence of nuclear weapons when lunatic tyrants in N. Korea and Iran have them.

            As Tom Lehrer so poignantly pointed out in 1968:

            First we got the bomb and that was good,
            ‘Cause we love peace and motherhood.
            Then Russia got the bomb, but that’s O.K.,
            ‘Cause the balance of power’s maintained that way!
            Who’s next?
            France got the bomb, but don’t you grieve,
            ‘Cause they’re on our side, I believe.
            China got the bomb, but have no fears;
            They can’t wipe us out for at least five years!
            Who’s next?
            Then Indonesia claimed that they
            Were gonna get one any day.
            South Africa wants two, that’s right:
            One for the black and one for the white!
            Who’s next?
            Egypt’s gonna get one, too,
            Just to use on you know who.
            So Israel’s getting tense,
            Wants one in self defense.
            “The Lord’s our shepherd,” says the psalm,
            But just in case, we better get a bomb!
            Who’s next?
            Luxembourg is next to go
            And, who knows, maybe Monaco.
            We’ll try to stay serene and calm
            When Alabama gets the bomb!
            Who’s next, who’s next, who’s next?
            Who’s next?

            • Monk James Silver says

              This reminds me so much of a poem written fifty years earlier, scarred by memories of WW1.

              While you’ll have to briefly indulge the customary British mispronunciation of Latin in order to make its closing lines rhyme, it eloquently mourns the horrors of war, yet stings the souls of patriots, urging us to do better in the future. It speaks for itself.

              Dulce et Decorum Est
              By Wilfred Owen

              Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
              Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
              Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
              And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
              Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
              But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
              Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
              Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

              Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
              Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
              But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
              And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
              Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
              As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
              In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
              He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

              If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
              Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
              And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
              His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
              If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
              Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
              Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
              Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
              My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
              To children ardent for some desperate glory,
              The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
              Pro patria mori.

        • Michael Bauman says

          George, indeed progress as defined in modern thought is inherently violent and destructive producing endless wars, large and small. The modern myth of progress where everything must be improved, changed and all “must make a difference” is demonic in origin and content and all modern politicians buy into it. Monk James is right, although there is a sacred space in the Church for warriors willing to give of themselves to protect others through force of arms if necessary, such men are increasingly unwanted in the military.

          Monk James is also correct that wars do not change the heart of man in a positive direction and seldom even the political maps. War is a tool of revolution not metanoia. At best, war will temporarily stop evil or redirect it in less obviously destructive ways.

          The old saying, “Be careful of who you choose as enemies because in fighting them, you will become like them” is absolutely true and historically proven. That is why Jesus commands us to “Resist not evil, do good.” Even He, did not ‘fight’ the evil one. He went to the Cross.

          The sacred space within the Church for physical warriors is there for people who are willing to lay down their own lives not just for their friends but for strangers and even, at times their enemies. That course of action is becoming increasingly difficult with modern weapons and tactics including drones. Shoot as a recent Army recruiting add shows you can destroy your enemy from the comfort of your own neighborhood–never risking anything.

    • Mike, et al.
      We owe the deepest respect to our veterans.
      Whether they fought in a righteous defence (eg WWII)
      or in a wrong war promoted by some industries or corrupt politicians, nationalism, hegemonism, etc.
      The veterans had to sacrifice themselves in all these cases.
      Memory eternal!

  10. I am a veteran of World War II and a member of the Great Generation, blessed to be able to add two and two together and still come up with four as an answer. Now in my 93rd year, I can recall how it was in the America of my youth during those dark days of a horrible war.  That said, I often regret that folks today can never know the upside of the time, when as a patriotic nation we stood proudly as a people united in a common cause.  We had difficulties then for sure, and our lives were controlled in numerous ways, such as the rationing of food and materials, and the censorship of newspapers we read and the radio broadcasts we listened to every night. But we were spared the provocative media outlets besetting our world today, and our mantras were punctuated by lofty notions of “God and Country.” And although societal problems existed in abundance then, nothing clawed continuously at our psyches as is the case today.  It was a time to cherish. 
    I was a kid from a small Midwestern town inhabited by a single Greek family living amid a sea of Northern Europeans.  An overriding concern of mine at the time was that the terrible war would be over before I had the chance to serve. Obsessed by the thought, I enlisted in the Navy at age 17, and before finishing my senior year of high school. In 1944, Orthodoxy was not yet designated a major Faith in America, and the U.S. Navy identified its personnel with dog-tags marked either as Catholic, Protestant, or Jew.  I chose to be listed a Catholic.    
    One Orthodox chaplain served the entire Navy, and he was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Base outside of Chicago.  I recall that his name was Fr. Sianevsky (sp?), a Russian Orthodox priest from Minneapolis. He, alone, represented the Orthodox Christians of an entire branch of the armed forces. And that he did with commitment to the Faith and with no regard to ethnicity. What a joy it was for us men in uniform to experience the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in English among comrades of Greek, Russian, and Antiochian backgrounds. Yes, there we were 70 years ago, a Pan-Orthodox community worshiping together as one. Imagine! How far have we failed to come since those halcyon days on a journey toward a unified jurisdiction!
    Most of my personal encounters in Orthodox worship prior to my days in the Service were those we celebrated at home in the Greek language provided by a journey-man priest, who ministered to families living far from any Orthodox church. I was baptized in a wash tub as were both of my brothers as well. Since the first words I spoke as a child were Greek, and because I was home-schooled in the language by my mother, I have always considered myself a consummate Greek, proud of the dual citizenship I subsequently acquired. That said, I lament the fact today that far too many persons in the GOA cannot accept the fact that for Orthodoxy to live and grow in America, ethnophyletism must be eschewed. Asked why I stay put in the situation I’m presently in and with views that I strongly oppose, I reply that by doing so I can argue and agitate vigorously for change.
    I digress, however. More to the point of this posting is a lamentation of sorts for what our at-large society has become as opposed to how I remember it once being.  But as we celebrate Veterans Day, let’s remember what others have so well said—that soldiering doesn’t necessarily mean the bearing of arms, a fact that convinces me an obligatory period of service to our country in one form or another would, instead, go far towards instilling a sense of purpose and patriotism among our youth. On a personal note, I credit the time I spent in the Navy as having been the impetus that led me to become a physician. I served my country as a boy with pride and zeal and benefited by having done so. I know that many young men and women today would profit by doing this as well.

    • Monk James Silver says

      I regret that I have no idea who wrote these words, but I was very grateful to read them.

      • George Michalopulos says

        As am I, Monk James.  
        J-Ro, we thank you for your service to our country and for your reminiscences.

        • J Ro. As a fellow Greek I thank you, you are what made America and what makes a greek.  Sadly today we are lost in a LUNATIC ASYLUM. 

    • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

      J-RO, Thanks for sharing your memories and impressions. How you remember attending Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Navy chaplain describes the Orthodox community at Ft. Campbell, Ky – pan-Orthodox. We had Bulgarian, Romanian, Syrian, Greek and of course Americans like me. I had the blessing to serve this community for 11 years as an Army chaplain. In 2008. The community planted as a mission parish outside of Ft. Campbell in Clarksville, Tn – Protection of the Holy Virgin Mary, with the blessing of Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory. Our antimens may be among the last he issued prior to his death. Our mission remains the same – to bear witness to the Holy Orthodox faith and be a place where service members along with their families may receive spiritual strength and refreshment as they fulfill their commitment to our country. To all an invitation – come by and worship with us if your travels bring you through Nashville. We are less than an hour northwest by car.