Time for Another Time-Out

time-outIt seems like Monomakhos runs one of these “Time-outs” every six months or so for one reason or another. Usually it’s because we have to remind some people that they are not addressing arguments but personalities. Lately, the level of vituperation has descended into the use of racial epithets. This has got to stop. Let me be blunt: we will not tolerate ad hominem attacks even those that don’t use racial slurs. If a commentator can’t make your point without calling somebody a clown, bozo, niggah, etc, Yours Truly will simply delete the entire comment forthwith. Because of the volume of commentary, we don’t have the time anymore to delete, emend, or otherwise edit a diatribe in order to save its more cogent parts.

We prefer to publish comments in their entirety. This is because a lot of good, hard work is put into the various replies and we respect the effort put into them even if we don’t agree with a particular correspondent’s opinion. No more. Think of this as constructive criticism. We have many fine, thoughtful, and perspicacious readers. Your opinions deserve a fair hearing. When crafting a reply, consider whether an epithet is worthy of being included in your argument. (Hint: it usually isn’t.) We really want to publish your opinions, please keep that in mind.

Thank you for understanding.

P.S. If somebody wants to write an exposition about the origin of words, or if someone uses words harsh words to describe a thought, that would be another matter entirely. It’s one thing to say that “this argument is cowardly” but quite another to call someone a coward. Of course, if somebody quotes a news-story in which slurs are used or recites a historical event that would be excusable as well. (One could not write about Huckleberry Finn without mentioning one of its main characters after all.) Outside of these two possibilities, I honestly don’t see the need for it.


  1. Fr. George Washburn says

    Hello friends:

    Let me introduce my comment by quoting a sentence from the second paragraph of his editorial remarks: “Think of this as constructive criticism.”

    George might consider holding himself somewhat responsible for the current levels of vituperation, for example his use of the unpleasant acronym USSR to refer to those with whom HE disagrees.


    Fr. George

    • George Michalopulos says

      I would consider it but my Swiftian impulses preclude this. Anyway, it was His Grace Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald who came up with the acronym USSR (I believe it stands for Unlimited Sex Squad Regime) and it does rather nicely capture the gist of a legal regime that presumes guilt on an entire class of people. Not as bloody as how the Stalinists felt about the Kulaks but still troubling.

    • What is wrong with the acronym USSR? Why is it unpleasant?

  2. Fr. George Washburn says

    Dear George:

    What are Swiftian impulses, and how do they operate to prevent you, or perhaps more honestly exempt you, from self-reflection? Are they like a log in the eye which gets in the way of seeing motes in other people’s?

    I see your reference to Bishop Tikhon as a cop out. You are the one who operates this operation, sets the tone, and chooses to both use the USSR thing in the title and the body of the article. Take your whistle and referee shirt over to the Scorer’s desk and check the replay monitor: you will see that you yourself contributed significantly to the run of foul play you recognize as unseemly and out of keeping with good sportsmanship..

    What you are saying, in effect, is that when you use pejorative terms about other people and set a tone that helps drag the level of discourse down, it is OK because you are the boss. And in the way that certain kids in my neighborhood were the “boss” of :”their” swing set o or sandbox, you are.

    What you fail to realize, as those kids did, is that when you create a little world of your own that operates by one set of rules for others and a special set for you, it tends to be a world that many, many others will prefer to stay away from if they have other options. I can’t tell you how many people write you and Monomakhos off for more or less this reason, but if the sample of people I know is any indication, it is a significant number indeed.

    You have created a little world of your own here, George, and you need to recognize it works by the laws of secular political discourse and the playground, where your enemy is your enemy and you do whatever it takes to bring him down. That is how we *expect* politics and playgrounds to work.

    You aspire to vastly more: a definitive dialogue about not only our nation and its future, but also *the Church* and *its future.* It is a broad and daunting task to which few would dare to aspire, and presents the greatest of difficulties because the two worlds operate by such different, not to say opposite, values and methods.

    The world of the Church must always operate by immutable laws of spiritual reality which don’t change just because people ignore them. One of those immutable laws is that in Christ we are all members of one another, and when one member suffers the whole body does. Snide remarks and name-calling convey little content of actual value, but MUCH indeed about the editor or correspondent who uses them. The people who are trying to wrestle with the misconduct issue are members of the Body of Christ despite their failure to live up to your standards, and we dishonor both Christ and ourselves (and close the ears of the brethren one should be entreating gracefully and graciously) to publicly slap nasty acronyms on them. I bet you have some points worth their consideration. but …..

    for what it’s worth,

    Fr. George

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr, I’ve never called anybody a name on this blog. As for “exempting’ myself from self-reflection, may I kindly ask why you never find the time to come to the defense of simple moral propositions like due process and the presumption of innocence? If I may, I sense a little Antiochian triumphalism on your part regarding the superiority of your Archdiocese’s P&Ps regarding accusations of clergy misconduct (which is deserved by the way) but I don’t see any criticism of the new USSR P&Ps instituted by Syosset. Might I request that as an attorney as well as a priest you critique the new ORSMA process?

      What do I mean about “triumphalism”? Two cases spring to mind counterbalancing a third: The former bishop who groped a woman in a casino and a priest in Massachusetts who assaulted a woman have not been defrocked while a priest in California who was arrested by the police for being a paedophile was. (BTW, I agree that he should have been.)

      [A caveat: To all, let’s not forget that in the above-mentioned stories, the clerics in question committed sexual assault of one type or another. There was no consent that was given nor could be given. The persons who were the suject of their attentions were necessarily victims. ORSMA on the other hand is far more loosy-goosey, choosing to view every case of alleged sexual misconduct as one of victimization.]

      A little consistency would be appreciated.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        “Fr. I’ve never called anyone a name on this blog.” is the way George starts his latest reply to me. Wrong.

        Who referred to the leadership of the OCA as “Syosset Apparat” in the September 5, 2013 editorial? You.

        Who called President Obama “Glorious Leader” in October 9th’s article? You.

        Who referred to those pursuing the new initiative as the “Unlimited Sex Squad Regime” just this week? You.

        These are just the easiest examples from the recent past. I am confident there are plenty more..

        I appreciate the fact that you post what you do under your own name, George. Basic kudos for that.

        But now it is time for you to demonstrate for us whether or not you have the basic honesty to admit when you are wrong. You do call names … and either give yourself a subconscious free pass, simply forget, or play fast and loose with the truth.

        I apologize to those made uncomfortable by me holding George accountable like this on something a bit peripheral to the major topics, but unless we call people for their inaccuracies, myopia, mistakes, special pleadings and whatever, then this whole exercise is a transparently bad joke in partisan promotion, and George is just using the majority of us outsiders to stoke the fires of the agenda. I don’t want to be used.

        This is make or break time with me, George. If you want my respect and further participation here, and I can readily see why you might not, then it is time for you to own up to having been a name caller here, or in the alternative to refute the citations I have made above. I am not going to have a dialogue with a man who cannot or will not deal with truth straight up, especially when he is the proprietor, and I am not going to give you a free pass just because I think you are sincere or I happen to agree with you on this or that issue.


        Fr. George

        • for Fr. George says

          Fr. George, are you really and truly still a priest? I recall an era not so long ago when many asked for your removal, your expulsion from the priesthood. And yet here we find you on this blog, two decades later, not having learned the lesson, failing yet again to show love for your neighbor. Fr. George, may you please set a guard over your mouth, a door of enclosure round about your lips, and a pair of handcuffs, if necessary, to keep yourself from typing forth your venom.

        • Don’t forget ” Stan the Tran “..Wouldn’t that be name calling?

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Good morning friends:

          For those who are waiting for George to reply while wondering if I am being a nit-picker by seizing on some isolated examples of editorial name-calling, let’s recall “Lefty” Kishkovsky as George’s name for Fr. Leonid, and more recently “Czarina Glinda” for Cindy Davis. I am sure that people with better memories or skills for searching the archives will be able to furnish us some more, and I hope they will.


          Fr. George

          • Guy Westover says

            For the record, Father Leonid has been referred to as “Lefty” for many years before Mr Michalopulos even thought of creating a blog. Father Leonid has been called far worse names than “Lefty” in both English and Russian.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I didn’t know that! You’ve stolen my thunder! I thought I came up with that all on my own. Oh well.

        • Fr. George, I think the implication was pretty clear that George was saying he’d never called a commenter here “on this blog” by a rude name.

          I do not think he meant that denial to extend to people who do not post here, public figures, stuff he may say to the TV or computer screen, unfortunate playground incidents as a child, etc.

          The sentence is a little ambiguous due to the word order, but you could have asked for clarification before leveling an accusation.

    • Mike Myers says

      Within the tradition (small t) of the essentially pagan imperial cult that for 17 centuries has been growing together, like some alien tare, alongside Christ’s Church and the spiritual Commonwealth of the Israel of God, a mode of public discourse deploying the crude bludgeons of broad-brush defamation, reviling and very, very poor reasoning has its deepest roots in the intellectually immoral tactics imported from pagan rhetorical conventions by John Chrysostom, mediated by his teacher Libanius. It’s obvious, at least to me, that some aspects of the otherwise rich patrimony of this “father among the saints” support the counterproductive blame games, scapegoating, character assassination, rampant contempt for solid evidence and elementary intellectual probity — and ridiculously incompetent argumentation — that George and Hans represent so illustratively on this blog.

      Little-known fact — one I just noticed went piously unmentioned in the orthodoxwiki article titled “Hagia Sophia (Constantinople)” — : after his final deposition, exile and subsequent death, some of Archbishop Chrysostom’s more “zealous” former auditors rioted in the imperial capital and burnt down the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, the site of the archbishop’s preaching during the preceding decade. (They torched the Senate-house, too, but generously spared the Ἁγία Εἰρήνη, Constantinople’s first church). I’m not sure about the fate of Constantine’s third main shrine, the Ἁγία Δύναμις.

      Rebuilt on the site as the Άγια Σοφία and consecrated by Theodosius II in 415, it was burnt to the ground in 532, this time together with the Ἁγία Εἰρήνη, during the infamous Nika Revolt under Justinian, which nearly destroyed the entire capital. He rebuilt its third iteration, the one still standing today in Istanbul (since 1934, the Ayasofya Museum). He also rebuilt the Ἁγία Εἰρήνη, now a Turkish concert hall (with superb acoustics).

      Am I the only one who notes certain ironic similitudes and echoes — admittedly dimmer, tamer and lamer, thus far anyway, in these latter days — on George’s blog of such things?

      Fr. Washburn wrote:

      . . . Snide remarks and name-calling convey little content of actual value, but MUCH indeed about the editor or correspondent who uses them.

      Father, you’ve given me good reason to believe you’re an honest man with a functional intellectual conscience and a sensibility attuned to the consequences for good and evil of historical precedents, unlike too many on this blog, and in the hierarchy of the greater church, unfortunately. There’s certainly a very great deal to venerate in Archbishop Chrysostom’s legacy. But that’s far from being the whole truth about it. Behold one of the consequences of centuries of sweeping this cold, hard fact under the rug, right here.

      It’s probably safe to say I’m not alone in thinking that Orthodoxy could benefit from a Reformation and housecleaning of its own; a wise and skillful dissection of questionable (and worse) human traditions from the Holy Tradition is long, long overdue. Can we look forward to that ever happening? Do “strong majorities” (e.g., ignorant mob mentalities) count for more than the Truth? One hears the claim: Φωνή λαού, οργή Θεού! But I think we have compelling historical, empirical and more importantly spiritual reasons to doubt that that’s always, or even often, the case. Chrysostom’s emphasis on charity in all its forms endures. But this is the consensus of all the Orders, not just of the patristic fathers. Slander, bigotry, petty moralizing, self-righteous hypocrisy, false, prideful ascesis and a comfy wallowing in ressentiment-ridden ignorance, shameless demagoguery and “holy lies” of all kinds are other things entirely.


      “First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win.” Ghandi spoke the truth, there. For how long do the enraged, increasingly desperate but utterly conquered pagan imperial cultists of Babylon imagine they’ll contrive to postpone the immanent (and Imminent!) victory of God’s Son over this wicked old world? They should consider carefully whether, in this age or in the one to come, they may well have to give account, not only to God, whom they reject, but perhaps also to those whom they have deceived and to whom therefore God has abandoned them. Who may not be at all pleased by the discovery of who led them to a place where they would rather not be.

      “. . . When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.

      59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.”

      So as we can see, it’s simple prudence for us to do all that we can to avoid such an unpleasant outcome, for the benefit of everyone concerned. As you noted, we’re all in this together. That’s the truth.


      “. . . Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

      4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

      6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

      The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

      9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

      13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

      14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” — Luke 18

      Judging Others

      7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

      3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

      6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

      Ask, Seek, Knock

      7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

      9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

      The Narrow and Wide Gates

      13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

      True and False Prophets

      15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

      True and False Disciples

      21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

      The Wise and Foolish Builders

      24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

      28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” — Matthew 7

      maranâ thâ’

      • Mike Myers says

        For the record, I prefer an emphasis on the credal preterite reading here rather than the vocative imperative above: maran ‘athâ’. But to each his own . . .

      • George Michalopulos says

        Mike, thank you for a thoughtful response. Just a few things: Chrysostom part of the “imperial cult”? Really? The same archbishop who took on the Emperor and lost, not once but three times? As for his followers who rampaged, OK, they were a bunch of lumpenproletarians who viewed Chrysostom as their leader? So what? A lot of Chrysostom’s economic musings were in the prophetic mode and frankly, radical. Not to my tastes but then again I wasn’t some poor laborer working on the docks of the Bosporus.

        Like you, I’d like to see the Church disassociated from the world but to what extent? That it become a purely mystical association of spiritual adepts? That’d leave me and perhaps 99% of others out in the cold. Life’s messy and I’m far from perfect but I like to think that the Church has made the world a better place. Do we want to go back to the agoge of the Spartans? The gladiatorial contests of Rome?

        • And thank you for something relatively meaty for a change. I’ll tell you what Chrysostom shared with the imperial cultists: his unfortunate penchant for scapegoating and social sorcery, for throwing suspiciously selective cuts of red meat to the “religious” mob as diversion. Very bad precedent, that one.

          I admire Chrysostom overall, even with his issues, but his vile rhetoric about Jews and gay people is indefensible; it will almost certainly come back to haunt you if not exorcised from Holy Tradition. If it doesn’t come back to haunt you because, for example, you wind up on a social trajectory similar to the one the ROC and the RF seem to be launched on, that will probably turn out even worse. It must be critically and emphatically renounced by modern Christian leaders. Period. Just as a few sections of the Babylonian Talmud and some of their other polemical crap has got to go. Period.

          And I’d like to take this opportunity to warn those of you who know what’s what about something: I guarantee that Rome will use some of Chrysostom’s rhetoric, and other major defects in Orthodox tradition, vary cannily against Orthodoxy in the coming popularity contests, if you aren’t foresightful and proactive here. It’s perfectly obvious that some of their strategists have been busy laying the groundwork for precisely such sly tricks, to help achieve the ambition of many in the Vatican for universal jurisdiction. An old story. Word to the wise. Face the facts openly and courageously about the many serious problems in the tradition — or prepare to lose once again to Rome’s numbers, superior bureaucracy and transnational political wisdom, to name just three of its many relevant strengths compared to you. Chrysostom’s disfiguring warts is just one of many, many serious problems you simply have not adequately dealt with.

          An American Orthodoxy has unique and unprecedented potential for greatness in glorifying God. Don’t blow it. You’re not helping, George.


          • George Michalopulos says

            Mike, most all of my responses have been “meaty.” It’s just that you don’t like the meat that is served as the main course.

            What do you mean “social sorcery”? His rhetoric about Jews and sodomites may be “vile” in your estimation, maybe even over the top. I wouldn’t have used those words. But who is exempt? Did not our Lord state that the devil was the father of the Pharisees? Pretty darn intemperate if you ask me. Ever read what Martin Luther said about the Jews? Didn’t our Founding Fathers write and say intemperate things about blacks and Indians? (In the Declaration of Independence, the Indians are called “merciless savages”.) As for what the Talmudists say about goyim, wouldn’t you consider those remarks intemperate?

            For the record, during Vatican II, Jewish leaders and Jewish converts to Catholicism (such as Rev John Oesterreicher) importuned on the hierarchy to scrap their liturgical references to the Jews being in “need of salvation.” (Which, btw, is true as it is for all of us.) It’s now official Catholic doctrine. When the Catholics in turn asked for the rabbis to scrap their blasphemously offensive references to Jesus in the Talmud, the rabbis said “we’ll get back to you.” It’s still Jewish practice to execrate Jesus and to view non-Jews as cattle. These beliefs provide the underpinnings of the modern Israeli state which is a segregationist and racially apartheid state. It’s what gives Bernie Madoff, George Soros, Robert Maxwell and others the right to engage in financial mischief thereby bringing down financial markets and robbing people of their earnings.

            Maybe in your ideal world these horrible beliefs will be “scrapped” so that we can all meet your standards of moral hygiene and our critics will be saved from the sting of hypocrisy, but it ain’t happening.

            As for your warnings about how the Vatican is crafting their strategy to take over Orthodoxy, I wouldn’t know and frankly, could care less. Sounds rather conspiratorial to me but even if it is true (not that conspiracies don’t exist), I imagine it’s all part of God’s divine plan. Like the Bolshevist state, the wheat got separated from the chaff.

            • George Michalopulos says

              PS, I also find it curious that you would invoke Gandhi as a resource. While he was one of the great men of the twentieth century, he said some terrible things about Jews and had nothing but contempt for blacks. As for his own personal life, he died estranged from one of his sons and slept while naked with teenage girls in order to test his sexual restraint. (This was after he had given up marital relations with his wife.) There were other curious health programs he undertook as well. In India today, his role is being reassessed and judged more honestly.

              • I bow out of further “dialogue” with you once again, George. You’ve snapped back to type in these last two things, all over the map, screeching incoherently from hither and yon, unfocused, ludicrously generalizing, transmitting from way beyond the Substantive, Rational & Relevant Zone. I can’t recall ever encountering anyone endowed with anything resembling your unique set of qualities as essayist and interlocutor.

                Please note that I was addressing Fr. George originally, not you.

                Maybe I’ll get around to some words about sorcery one of these days. I doubt I’ll do it here though. Wouldn’t want to give many of you any ideas on how to make even more broadly destructive hypocritical mischief.

          • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

            “I admire Chrysostom overall, even with his issues, but his vile rhetoric about Jews and gay people is indefensible; it will almost certainly come back to haunt you if not exorcised from Holy Tradition. If it doesn’t come back to haunt you because, for example, you wind up on a social trajectory similar to the one the ROC and the RF seem to be launched on, that will probably turn out even worse. It must be critically and emphatically renounced by modern Christian leaders. Period.”

            No servant is greater than his master, so why content yourself with attacking the branch whereas you could strike at the root and openly edit the “hate speech” of Jesus, Paul, and the OT? If we could edit Holy Tradition then it wouldn’t be “Holy Tradition.” So saint Chrysostom will always remain one of the greatest saints of the Church, while those who have “issues” with him just expose themselves and their agenda. Let Rome have the role of Mystery Babylon and let the last Pope be the False Prophet to the Antichrist, if they so desire. But, as far as editing tradition with a small tradition, yes, that’s doable, the entire history of the Metropolia/OCA and the fringe theology it has produced could and probably should be undone. But, that’s a localized problem that’s developed over a mere 100 years among a tiny population of Orthodox out in the wild frontier.

            • Laddie, I suppose I could post a few dozen excerpts highlighting JC’s more egregious rhetoric and insist that anonymous Orthofundy poseurs such as yourself defend it cogently, or shut up. No shortage of material to choose from.

              Maybe I’ll do that. First though I want honest answers to a few questions:

              1) Have you even read much of the extant material by John Chrysostom?
              2) How long ago did you “convert” to Orthodoxy?
              3) Are you taking any psychotropic medications? (optional)
              4) Why are you anonymous?

              Won’t insist on 3, but honest answers to the others are a pre-requisite to any chat with me.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Speaking for myself, I can say that Jesus was far more caustic to his critics than Chrysostom ever was. He wasn’t crucified because He went around telling people what they wanted to hear after all.

                Also, we could ask you for some “honest answers” but that would be unseemly. For the most part I believe that we entertain your arguments as they are presented.

                • Mike Myers says

                  Also, we could ask you for some “honest answers” but that would be unseemly.

                  Unseemly? Ask away. What are you chattering about now? One seldom knows.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Well, I guess about your personal religious affiliation, things like that. But I don’t want to. You’ve asked me about my pharmacotherapy and other things but I won’t stoop to that level. I could care less about your personal life (or anybody else’s for that matter). That’s why I’m not hopped up about pseudonymous posters. It’s the arguments of my correspondents which interest me. Nothing more.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Meyers,

                  I must be missing something here in your tact. Do you ever intend to specify the conditions and/or qualifications for approaching you – “Bring me the broom of the Witch of the East” – or do you intend to extend this “spider & fly” dynamic indefinitely? To be frank, having approached Patristics in a structured & systematic manner over the years, and St. Chrysostom in particular, I do not ever recall seeing your name among the valued critics & exegetes. I grant this could be me, but I doubt it.

                  It seems to me that before I would ever consider entering a dialog with you, it would be necessary for you to convince me that the Church holds every utterance of the Saints as significant, let alone meaningful. You seem to be under the impression that if the Saint said it, it has extra meaning and influence, binding the Church to the fabulous or the foolish. Something like the “apocryphal” tale that circulated, post-Vatican II, in the Bronx of the elderly Monseigneur who, on a whim, said the “words of institution” in a bakery on Fordham Rd., forcing the diocese to buy all the bread-turned-Body-of-Christ.

                  Secondly, we have among the ranks of the Saints those who believed and taught what the Church declared as error, even heresy. St. Gregory of Nyssa, the great Father and Teacher, believed in the teaching of ἀποκατάστασις, that God was so merciful, so longsuffering, that He could not endure the destruction of His creation; that in the end, all would be restored by a “cleansing fire” to share eternity as He had intended in the Creation. There are echoes and support even later in such Fathers as Blessed Maximos the Confessor. Yet, the later Fathers unanimously condemned this belief as heresy. I recall Fr. John Meyendorff stating on several occasions that our Father Gregory would have been among the “Three Hierarchs” had it not been for this belief. Nevertheless, he and St. Maximos remain among the ranks of the most revered Fathers and Teachers of the Church.

                  It would seem pointless to proceed further until you to explain both these circumstances in order to give a context to understanding of how John Chrysostom is considered a Saint, a beloved Saint, and is designated specifically with the distinction of one of the “Three Hierarchs.”

                  • Mike Myers says

                    . . . having approached Patristics in a structured & systematic manner over the years, and St. Chrysostom in particular, I do not ever recall seeing your name among the valued critics & exegetes.

                    Dr. Stankovich, I can read. My problems with aspects of Ab. Chrysostom’s legacy are due to the simple fact that, unlike many, evidently, I’ve actually read him. I take it that “having approached … St. Chrysostom in particular ” implies you’ve read him, too. I hope you aren’t saying something so fatuous as that I must be a “valued critic & exegete” to have an informed and educated opinion about some of the rhetoric of “our Father among the Saints” and one of the “Three Great Hierarchs.” Spare me, if so. I read Greek, too. Need to haul out the books these days, admittedly. I am just getting around finally to resurrecting my once moderate facility with the language. Trying to devote an hour a day to that project.

                    “Every utterance” significant, no. Of course not. Running themes in a Major League father, yes, absolutely. His anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism are major themes in his corpus. His vicious, reviling, dehumanizing anti-gay (for lack of a better word) rhetoric, while even worse, doesn’t account for much of his output in words, as such. Arguably, both have been very influential, however, and your attempt at special pleading here fails completely.

                    I share St. Gregory’s belief in the teaching of ἀποκατάστασις. The arguments against it that I’ve read don’t persuade me, nor are they supported by my reading of the NT text. If you’re aware of a case persuasive to you, I’d be interested in reading it if I haven’t already. I don’t take a posture of supine submission to the opinions of “the later Fathers,” as you put it. (Although I would almost exclude St. Maximos the Confessor from that. I revere his opinions.)

                    Because I find reasons to think a certain mob mentality is often present in timorous, double-minded & compromised fathers, too, even if it’s somewhat more genteel, and relatively better informed. Mediocrity of thought and feeling are far from being tokens of holiness to me. They are tokens of mediocrity — and cowardice, too often — all dressed up as “humility,” as goes without saying.

                    So, anyway … should I haul out my dozens of Ab. Chrysostom pericopes for you to defend, then? You want the job, do you?

                  • Mike Myers says

                    It would seem pointless to proceed further until you to explain both these circumstances in order to give a context to understanding of how John Chrysostom is considered a Saint, a beloved Saint, and is designated specifically with the distinction of one of the “Three Hierarchs.”

                    Excuse me, Dr., but what does “a context” that we might get to, or not, if I had the time or interest — which I probably don’t — what does that have to do with the issue in question: Ab. Chrysostom’s text, his perfectly obvious anti-Judaism/anti-Semitism and dehumanizing gay-baiting, and the reviling, profoundly hateful rhetoric with which he targeted Jews and gay people? Hateful rhetoric targeting sinners, i.e., human being, and not so much sins, far too often. Plenty of most embarrassing comments about women, too, but I spare y’all.

                    Would you contest my claim that these very, very serious problems exist in his corpus, or would you decline to contest my claim? Yes or No. Are you perhaps having second thoughts, now prefering to back out of conjuring up some defense for his vicious, reviling, dehumanizing and indefensible rhetoric? Not that anyone would blame you. . .

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Speaking for myself, I contest the claim. Again, regarding his vituperative marks against the Jews, he was speaking about the ethno-cult that Judaism had sunk to, in which it had reduced the Triune God to a mere tribal deity. As well as the violence that Jewish communities visited upon Christians and pagans because of their supremacist beliefs.

              • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

                Mr. Myers (if that is your real surname), I have a two-part question for you:

                1) Are you an active member of an Orthodox church?

                2) If not, what is your religious “affiliation” or “identity”?

                • My “personal religious affiliation”? Roman Catholic, though with more and more interest in Orthodoxy for going on three decades now. Do you honestly not recall that I’ve said as much and more probably a dozen times at least in the two-plus years, off and on, that I’ve been here? (Off mainly, because I can stomach this particular anthropological field trip in only limited, short-term doses, as a rule.*** Although I do always greatly enjoy reading Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald), whose posts cover a multitude of Monomakhian sins as far as I’m concerned. I also appreciate Nate, Ivan V., Dr. Stankovich sometimes, Fr. Washburn and a few others, too. A couple of more or less non-ideological, non-imperial-cult-demagogue-Christianist Right-type priests whom I also used to like reading have long since flown this coop.)

                  You’ve asked me about my pharmacotherapy and other things but I won’t stoop to that level.

                  Right, I did ask months ago if you were on Androgel. I’m nearly certain you are, since I recognize the personality side effects, clear as a bell to me even across the cybermembrane. You didn’t answer me; but then you very seldom reply to any of the questions I put to you, hardball and tough and very very pertinent as they usually are, admittedly. That one I do appreciate was none of my business, though. Curiosity got the better of me there. Mea culpa.

                  But you wouldn’t “stoop to that level,” eh? Interesting scruple. Maybe this rather uncharacteristic fastidiousness has to do with some professional, vocational inhibition, I dunno. Whatever it may be due to, you certainly have no problem stooping far far lower in more ways than I could shake my big stick at. One of the deeply fascinating things about you is how insensible you are to this fact. If you are (?). And to the damage a conscienceless verbal thug like you probably does.

                  I asked Laddie the optional question because, if he’s under psychiatric/psychotropic care (which I have lately come to think may well be the case), I wouldn’t really want to start a frank and hardball chat with him about Ab Chyrysostom’s legacy. I’m simply unqualified to cope with such cases in a context like your sordid, if clinically fascinating, blog, and I openly admit it. His naive fundy beliefs are also unattractive, in a would-be interlocutor, God knows. And if he knows nothing about Chrysostom, which I also suspect, that’d be a total deal-breaker, too. However it does appear that Herr Professor Doktor Oberst (ret.) Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster B.A. M.A. M.T.S. Ph.D. usw. may be tentatively, warily circling, with some interest in such a discussion, perhaps! Be still, my heart!

                  Speaking for myself, I can say that Jesus was far more caustic to his critics than Chrysostom ever was.

                  Stupid, completely baseless, and utterly false assertions such as that rich howler are why I simply don’t care to play with you anymore, Vanity Pundit. You shamelessly make things up; you show very little evidence of a functioning intellectual conscience or any solid sense of intellectual morality at all. Then there’s my suspicion that something kinda masochistic is going on with you, too. I do not wish to participate too much in that particular glitch, if so.

                  Now, I appreciate that you can, in general, safely count on the common denominator on your blog to indemnify you, to some extent, from any real accountability for your effluvia: the low-info, Fox News-corrupted peanut-gallery nature of your constituency, the consequences of a typically American short attention span, and above all the brazen psychological dishonesty and hypocrisy so clearly rife among so many of the correspondents on your blog. That you merely ignore those of us who call you out on your hollow disinfo, and that none of your dittohead-like fellow travelers in delusion mind that you ignore us — however cowardly and dishonest (and utterly lame) this might well seem to any impartial and serious observer . . . — this completes your hermetic seal.

                  FYI: No one who’s read the NT and is also minimally acquainted with the highlights of J. Chrysostom’s corpus would make such a ridiculous remark.

                  *** The honest-to-God biggest reason for why I must take frequent breaks from Monomakhos is that y’all have occasionally come real close to causing me to sympathetically and systematically reconsider the merits of some of Nietzsche’s more appalled diatribes against Christians — a perspective I used to debate quite strenuously as dishonestly tendentious and overgeneralizing. But I’m not at all sure I was right about that, these days.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Mr Myers, you’re so wrong on so many levels, especially my pharmacotherapy. Moving on, this is why I don’t care to ask personal questions about my commentators except when they presume to tell us how to a) run the Church when they’re not in it, and b) critique the OCA when they belong to another jurisdiction. That’s fair game.

                    As for Chrysostom, again I spring to his defense. Though I would not have used his words his sermons against Rabbinic Judaism are to the point. And let’s stop with the “anti-Semitic” stuff: Chrysostom was from Antioch and probably a Semite himself. As for sodomites being “worse than murderers” in his opinion, I cringe at the thought. But let’s explore it. Look at how the current homosexual jihadist cultural regime has all but murdered free speech, free thought, and the many institutions. You and I know how homosexuals feel about heterosexuals –they are called “breeders.” The contempt is obvious. What was once the highest aspiration of young people, to get married, reproduce, and become the building block of civilization is now held in utter contempt. Where will it stop? The eradication of the family and the nurturance of all babies in bureaus (as Plato thought best)?

                    This is totalitarianism. All 20th century tyrannies, from Nazism to Communism hated the family and taught children in government schools that the State was god and their parents a mere formality.

                    So yes, let us think deeply on what will be the end result of elitist homosexual jihadism.

                    Clearly you display much of the same elitism (though whether you are a sodomite or sodomist I do not know nor wish to know). The condescending pose you strike at those who dare to call you out on your various rants shows to me that you take great umbrage at being criticized. Certainly your use of foreign languages and supercilious use of exaggerated titles for those you disagree with confirms this to me. For example: rather than engage Fr Alexander Webster on the merits of his theses, you ridicule his vast educational attainments. I can assure you, he did not go to some cow college for his advanced degrees.

                    And yes, do go back and read the NT. In it you will find a man named Jesus whose sermons against the rabbis and homosexuality were not for the faint of heart (“…it will be better for Sodom and Gomomorrah on the day of judgment than for you.” Why single out Sodom?).

                    As for Chrysostom’s “fundy” thoughts being a “deal-breaker” for “honest” inquirers, well, we gotta start somewhere. The Orthodox Church has suffered much because of high-faluting, better-than-thou sanctimonious pricks who’ve brought their self-righteousness into the Church. (Exhibit A: Frank Schaeffer who fantasized about sodomizing St Paul.) Go ahead and “reconsider” some of Nietzsche’s more appalling comments about Christians. And then when you meet him in the afterlife, you can ask him yourself what he meant about them.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      Calling people “pricks” in a thread started by his editorializing lecture that *other people* stop bringing down the high tone of this blog through name-calling is a new example of just how completely unbalanced, self-deceived and self-justifying our editor/host has become. Reminds me of that great scene in Forget Paris where Billy Crystal, playing an NBS referee, flips out and profanely proceeds to call technicals on – and eject – all the players on the court for using foul language

                      George,George, George…..!?!?!

                      No further questions, Your Honor.

                      almost amazed,

                      Fr. George

                    • Fr. George, I guess it’s good thing that George M. did not refer to them as “whitewashed sepulchres” or “a brood of vipers”.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      I was beginning to wonder if we were EVER going to hear Christ’s “whited sepulchres”, but Helga Babbit-Slocum came through. …. “If GOD did it, it’s ok for ME to do it.”

                      And someone please tip off Collette about that wonderful old English tv series, “Are You Being Served” (it’s the one with the Greek Archimandrite in it) Mrs. Slocum was the heart of the whole thing with her opinions. Her favorite coda to an opinion was, “And I am UNANIMOUS in this!”

                • Mike Myers says

                  Herr Professor Doktor Oberst (ret.) Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster B.A. M.A. M.T.S. Ph.D. usw., I’m not bureaucratically officially canonically sacramentally Orthodox, no. I do intermittently attend a local Greek Orthodox church — or more accurately, I explore Orthodoxy in it, have off and on for decades — and, far more rarely, I attend other churches too in the greater LA area. (In LA, I especially revere Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral (OCA) in Silver Lake.) If you have any genuine interest in my journey, you can read this. I touched on it there. I am obviously not in communion with the Orthodox Church.

                  Why do you ask? May I speculate about that, a bit? Is it, perchance, because you are aghast at the impertinence of my questioning some of the vile and utterly inexcusable rhetoric to be found in our father among the saints? Are you appalled by such monstrous and gravely sinful upstartery? Do you consider it urgent that I ought to be dealt with in no uncertain terms, and with deep solemnity, by my priest, if I had one, accompanied perhaps by grave warnings about my eternal fate inasmuch as I don’t resonate with the Saint’s Jew-hating, gay-baiting pseudo-pieties and revilings?

                  Or, perhaps, do you want to get more data on me so you might rat me out to the NSA? (You needn’t bother with that, by the way, if so. You’ve been totally scooped . . .)

                  And yeah, my Christian name is Michael, surname Myers. Confirmation name David. And I don’t appreciate your entirely unwarranted innuendo about my honesty. Though I have lots of questions about yours. We’ll get to some of those, I hope. Imperial demagogues and “Christian” apologist for mass warfare fascinate me. I know a bit about you.

                  • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

                    Mr. Michael David Myers, re your comment, “We’ll get to some of those, I hope”: no, “we” will not. I do not engage in serious public discussions with folks who bombard their “conversation” partners with jejune name-calling, nasty epithets, and threats. May our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ bless your spiritual journey and lead you to the “peace of God, which passes all understanding.”

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster, B.A. (Pennsylvania) M.A. (Columbia) M.T.S. (Harvard) Ph.D. (Pittsburgh) usw., “we” may not get to them, indeed, as you say. It’s a free country! Sorta, at least as long as the theocrats and scientismists remain chained up and at bay. So no problem.

                      I will, though. Unless you have me disappeared/censored here, that is. Or, it may be that certain Christian Taliban/Dominionists contemplate more ambitious stratagems, and y’all simply bide your time. Bonne chance, if that’s your game . . .

                      I did anticipate that a figure so lettered, respectable and proud as yourself — and prudently ensconced as an astute and self-interested propagandist and demagogue of the neo-empire — would calculate that it would be infra dig. to chat with a snarky, raggedy outsider such as me. I’m deeply wounded, and disappointed, of course. But I’ll buck up.

                      Nevertheless, I raise my Rob Roy to you, ArchFather: Here’s to hoping that what I have to say about you (if I cannot speak in dialogue with you) may yet give you cause to rethink that tactic. And who knows: a certain overdue metanoia may yet become you.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      You know, Mike, there’s always the Episcopalian Church. Have you thought about them?

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                I agree and “second’ Mike Myers’s interrogatory. We can always come back and discuss George’s attempt at preemption later.

        • As for his followers who rampaged, OK, they were a bunch of lumpenproletarians who viewed Chrysostom as their leader? So what? A lot of Chrysostom’s economic musings were in the prophetic mode and frankly, radical. Not to my tastes but then again I wasn’t some poor laborer working on the docks of the Bosporus.

          This deserves a reply. First off I’m wondering why you use Marxist categories (lumpenproletarians). Secondly, I’m curious about the references and sources supporting your assertion about the social make-up of these vengeful arsonists and rioters evidently “inspired” in some sense by the homilies of Ab. Chrysostom. My own impression is that things were much messier and more complex.

          We agree about the prophetic nature of Chrysostom’s “economic musings,” I think. If they were “radical,” however, that would be due to the fact that they derive from those of Jesus Christ and Sts. Paul, Peter, James, the Prophets, etc. Are these gentlemen not to your taste, too?

          If you would not dissent from the general economic principles and priorities that our Lord and His Holy Apostles taught should guide so-called Christian communities, then I’m wondering where Chrysostom’s “economic musings” depart from their teachings, in your erudite view. Perhaps you could illuminate us here.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Perhaps my sensibilities are not as refined as yours, Father George, but I think there is a HUGE difference between the N word and USSR.

      • Disgusted With It says

        Don’t waste your time Gail. Fr George seems to only see and hear what he wants to, when he wants to. Then he will enlighten all of us who are beneath him.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          To Disgusted With It:

          I’m not sure I agree with you here, although we’ve certainly agreed in the past. I don’t know Father George. He and I have never communicated directly (not that I am aware of anyway), but based on what I’ve read here, he is not mean spirited. He loves the Church. He is extremely intelligent. He is able to look at an issue, as a priest and as an attorney, and express his ideas in a cogent, compelling way. IMO, he is a valuable contributor to this blog.

          To Father George:

          I wish you would lighten up on George. George is just being “George.” He isn’t perfect (fits right in with the rest of us), but he cares deeply about the Church, his articles are thought provoking and he errs on the side of restraint even when under attack. In addition, he is incredibly generous, allowing everyone to post, even people who vehemently disagree with him. I have known other moderators who have bowed to pressure to silence people just because some cleric has a hissy fit. George is too strong a man for that. This makes him honorable in my book and honor goes a long way with me.

          Write George off-line, if you must, Father, but please don’t call him out here. It makes me uncomfortable because: (1) I can’t do anything about it and (2) I respect you both and want to hear what each of you have to say. In spite of your differences, I sense there is love and respect between you or you wouldn’t care enough to lock horns.

          With Love in Christ to All,


          • Fr. George Washburn says

            Hi Galina:

            Thanks for your comments. I am aware that I am being hard on George and making some nice people like you uncomfortable in the process. It isn’t fun for the most part.

            To me your discomfort is just part of the necessary price of honest dialogue about tough issues. Iron sharpens iron, scripture says, and I think the image that is being evoked involves a dialogue that yields some flying sparks.

            I disagree with the suggestion I should contend with George off line. If George is going to do things like call others “pricks” *on this blog* then so long as he suffers dissenters’ presence, I think it is my duty ….or somebody’s …. to call him on it *on this blog*.

            If this isn’t a place where we can challenge each other on the merits of our stated ideas and choices of language and tactics, then what is it? A joke, an exercise in self-deception among many other things, I would submit. Any man who can bludgeon others as roundly as George sometimes does here ought to be just fine with emphatic opposition. I think George can and does take it, and you are perhaps imagining how you would feel if you were being challenged as I try to challenge him.


            Fr. George

  3. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Here is an interesting article in today’s New York Times about the design for the new Greek Orthodox Church at the World Trade Center site:

  4. oliverwendeldouglas says

    Good idea. And for any of my previous statements that were sarcastic, rude or personally insulting and disrespectful, I apologize. (None of that “IF I offended anyone weasel word nonsense). I won’t do it again.

  5. Thomas Barker says

    To Mike Myers: You stated

    …”Orthodoxy could benefit from a Reformation and housecleaning of its own;…” and
    …”Do “strong majorities” (e.g., ignorant mob mentalities) count for more than the Truth?”

    Please share with us a concrete example of one or two items this Reformation would change. Are you able to offer an actual issue or tradition where you would oppose the ignorant mob (as you call it) ?

    • Mike Myers says

      Mr. Barker, a brief response to your good questions. Worth a lot of thought. I’m sure there are plenty of others far more qualified than me to address this, but here we are, on Monomakhos . . . And of course the most knowledgable (among Orthodox in orders and the informed laity) would be the ones saying the least publicly, almost by definition. Anyone who stands out gets beaten into submission pretty quickly among the Orthodox. Not that this isn’t true among Catholics too, but they tend to enforce mediocrity from the top down. In Orthodoxy, a more dangerous bottom-up enforcement is more the rule. Or so it seems to me.

      General Issues:

      Rampant anti-intellectualism common to religious millieus in Orthosphere cultures, in general, something especially common among monastics.
      Far too many grossly ignorant and spiritually crude clergy, monastics, even hierarchs. This is relatively much rarer these days in the RCC.
      Fear and loathing of scholarship & learning is not unknown, especially among Orthodox monks.
      Strong, very perilous monastic tendency to a prideful, Gnostic pseudo-ascesis, with hints of Manichaeism. Delusive narcissism and selfish focus on individual “salvation,” “feeding themselves, without reverence**,” very, very common. Tendencies to mere formalism, superstitiousness and various species of often parochial and nearly always plebeian bigotries and false consciousness (varies depending on the culture) are commonplace.

      This suspicion of and near contempt for learning and scholarship, anything over and beyond a very strait-jacketed and party-line stress on a hyper-rigidly conceived Patristic learning, is something that Roman Catholics find absolutely alien and almost disqualifying. Concern about the dangers of scholasticism and shallow rationalism is well-founded and even laudable, but this can be taken too far, into freakish self-righteousness in ignorance and an unseemly wallowing in stupidity. Though we admire so much in Orthodoxy, we experience this not uncommon ressentiment as repulsive and hugely counter-productive (and unscriptural, obviously). (I hope I can be forgiven for presuming to speak for my papistic brothers and sisters.)

      Particular Glitches:

      Difficult to know where to begin here, so much to point to. One wants to be irenic, too, which for a guy like me is a daunting challenge these days. The spiritual obstacles posed by the inherited, and regnant, mob mentalities (euphemistically dubbed “tradition,” often) that I hinted at are a perennial problem for Orthodoxy (one immense advantage of Rome’s monarchical ecclesiology is that this sort of thing is much less a problem in the RCC, at least post-Vatican II, which cleared paths to great (unrealized) possibilities for achieving a due balance between the One, the few and the many in the Body of Christ on Earth — tho of course this monarchism has a terrible dark side as well). Let me think more about these particulars, under the general theme of triage, and get back to you.

      ** reverence for God and neighbor. And even for one’s true self.

      • George Michalopulos says

        “To thine own self, be true.” –Polonius, Hamlet (a self-aggrandizing idiot).

        • Mike Myers says

          “γνῶθι σεαυτόν” — Socrates

          Good luck on that long, arduous journey, little Georgie.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Pan metron ariston,” Mr Myers. Why resort to belittlement? Is it because you are a sad man with some inferiority complexes?

            • Mike Myers says

              I’m awesomely blessed, and basically a pretty joyous guy, Vanity Pundit. Thanks for asking though.

              It’s very astute of you to discern my inferiority complexes. But I bet you get that a lot — people intimidated by you, I mean. Overwhelmed by you. Being so much larger than life is just the cross you must bear.

              • George Michalopulos says

                I actually don’t. I’m a pretty self-effacing guy. I never like making people feel uncomfortable and if anything, try to avoid confrontation at all costs.

                One of my personality quirks however is that sometimes I don’t pick up the right social “cues” when talking to people and think that they are engaging in an honest debate. (I once took one of those tests in a magazine to find out where a person stands on the autism scale and for a “normal” person I did evince some of the quirks that high-functioning autistics display.) This allows me to waste my time with people who I think are genuinely interested in an honest debate but really aren’t. They just want to score points and fixate on some minute factoid in order to bolster their own ideology. (“Paul! He was a misogynist!” “Jesus! He was a trapped within the social constraints of 1st century Palestinian Judaism! Etc.) People like that are essentially no different than the drug seekers I have to put up with everyday, telling me that the dog ate their Xanax that’s why they need an early refill, blah, blah, blah. They try to come off as sincere but I’ve trained myself to pick up their verbal cues and after two sentences I know when they’re pissing on my leg and trying to tell me it’s raining.

                This type of rhetorical stratagem has been writ large in our society. Often Progressives will use the language of civil rights to deform an existing institution. ECUSA is exhibit A in this regard, using “equality” to shoehorn women into the priesthood. If that doesn’t work then humiliation is used: “I suppose you misogynists want to confine women to the kitchen/bedroom/back alley/etc.!” Reasoned discourse and belief in revelation is never part of the argument.

          • Thomas Barker says

            Mr. Myers,
            Thank you for your reply to my questions. Your denunciatory commentary on ‘Orthosphere cultures’ does contain some interesting ideas for further discussion. But your invidious means of addressing our most generous host is an exchange ender for me.

            • Mr. Michalopulos, have you considered that society at large (including many Orthodox) has become so inured to what is evil that your audience may shrug and say “What’s the problem?”. In my opinion you fight bravely for what is good and just and true, against an astonishing tide of depravity. If I knew how to help “the one who fights alone”, I would. But increasingly the audience is more like the crowd that surrounded the house of righteous Lot, demanding “bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” (Boldface emphasis added, for tragi-comic relief. )

              Depravity takes many forms. Dishonesty, irrationality, intellectual psychopathy, hypocrisy, projection, scapegoating, narcissism, etc. etc. Y’all are indignant about the types that don’t happen to afflict you (?), but astoundingly oblivious to the types in which some of you wallow continually in the little support group clique at Monomakhos. The sins of the mind, soul and of the spirit are potentially far more dangerous than those of the flesh. How many of you get that?

              You and I seem to agree that George needs help, Thomas Barker. But I’m afraid that co-dependent enablers, or, even worse, uncritical fawning fanboys, are not the sort of help he needs.

              “Love your enemies”: a genuinely divine command for aspiring human beings at all levels of spiritual attainment, I think. At a basic level, sometimes those whom one (mis)perceives as “enemies” are no such thing. One is simply under bondage to a spell of delusion and not thinking/feeling/seeing straight. Tough love can be an effective approach in particularly difficult cases, when trying to break through a pseudo-self-imposed cage of gravely unwarranted egotism, for example. To reach the child of God suffocating in there.

              Paradoxically, I may well be one of George’s best friends on Earth.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Interesting. I wonder, does “tough love” work the other way as well? Somehow I think not. Ah well, vaya con Dios.

                • Mike Myers says

                  “Somehow you think not” means what exactly, and whatever it means is based on what exactly? Elaborate, please. Be specific and focused if you can.

              • Thomas Barker says

                Mike Myers, Michael Stankovich, or whatever you are calling yourself today: You haven’t managed to engage my enthusiasm, but I commend you for not leaning on your hackneyed favorites “bonne chance” or “next time I’ll take your shoes.”

              • Mike, from what I’ve read here you are no ones friend who doesn’t see the world as you do. In fact all of this-

                “Depravity takes many forms. Dishonesty, irrationality, intellectual psychopathy, hypocrisy, projection, scapegoating, narcissism, etc. etc. Y’all are indignant about the types that don’t happen to afflict you (?), but astoundingly oblivious to the types in which some of you wallow continually”

                as I observe it applies to you. You have been very ungracious with those who disagree with you. Your name calling is nauseating. You have no business pointing a finger at anyone. Get over yourself.

            • Mike Myers says

              A correction: My comment wasn’t really denunciatory,** first of all, and, if you’d bothered to read it more carefully, you might have perceived that my slam wasn’t directed at Orthosphere cultures as such. What I wrote was that discourse (my experience of which is admittedly mediated by translation, and also relatively limited) in Orthodox religious millieus — a component part of the larger Orthodox cultures — strikes me as being vitiated by rampant anti-intellectual ressentiments. Implied but not stated explicitly was my opinion that the corresponding component parts in the broader Western cultures (Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant religious millieus) seem to me far less vitiated in this way. Generally speaking.

              If there is any culture that I would passionately denounce as anti-intellectual and subrational and nauseating in its vapidity, it is my own, the American mass culture. It just so happens that one experiences a hybrid of the worst of both worlds here on Monomakhos: the level of discourse common in Orthodox millieus and the baleful impact of the larger American mass culture (viz., Fox News, Southrun religiosity/petty moralizing/resentments/hypocrisies/mass delusions, relatively horrific educational attainment and the resulting poverty of critical thinking skills, residual Protestant spiritual shallowness [sometimes manifested in some converts], etc.). Which, I suppose, might partly account for my somewhat morbid anthropological interest in this blog. Now that you’ve got me thinking a bit more deeply about it . . .

              **When I want to denounce something (George’s imposture, for example), you’ll know it.

              • “Now that you’ve got me thinking a bit more deeply about it . .”

                Finally-your actually thinking deeply about something. I thought your stick was just placing eveyone lower than yourself.

            • Mike Myers says

              And one last point, spoken into the air, since you too have pronounced yourself above condescending to risk chatting with wicked, mean old Mike — I doubt I’m the only one here who’s noticed that, with few exceptions, it’s the most rational, articulate and well-informed correspondents who also just happen to be the most loudly and sometimes indignantly critical of “our generous host.”

              Who’s genuinely generous here, and who’s mostly parasitizing the substance of the rational, intelligent, knowledgable and charitable contributors who embellish an otherwise quite pitiable blog? Even if many don’t seem able or willing to grasp just how pitiable it is.

              Something for y’all to think about. I’m fairly certain George has thought about it, which may be why he’s so “generous” and “tolerant.” In some ways, he’s no dummy.

              • George Michalopulos says

                And also one of the most humble.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Mr. Myers, an interesting strategy; Make bombastic criticisms then label anyone who disagrees with you inferior. Wins every time (in your own mind). You don’t have to actually engage anyone since you have already declared your own incontestable superiority.

                I have a pretty high opinion of my own conclusions (at least the ones that conform to what I’ve been taught in the Church) but wow.

                Since the majority of the denizens here are both incorrigible and of such low intellectual ability in general and the Orthodox Church needs your wise reformation–why even bother?

                The Orthodox Church is not sinless because it has real people in her, but how does one reform the Body of Christ?

                It is not the Church who needs reformation, it is we in her. But that is the whole purpose of the Church in the first place: to reform, transfigure and bring to holiness all of her people through repentance, worship, prayer, almsgiving and the practice of forgiveness–all by the grace and mercy of our triune God. The Church is the portal (icon) into the heavenly Kingdom. All who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

                Whether you see it or appreciate it or not is wholly irrelevant since you will not enter and do not have the bridal garment. Just remember that the least in the Kingdom are greater than the greatest outside.

                • Mr. Myers, an interesting strategy; Make bombastic criticisms then label anyone who disagrees with you inferior. Wins every time (in your own mind). You don’t have to actually engage anyone since you have already declared your own incontestable superiority.

                  A puzzling retort, Michael B.. Are you seriously suggesting that I don’t engage with posters here?

                  Let’s start with the many, many times I’ve attempted to “actually engage” you. Do you need links or maybe a digest to refresh your memory? These attempts at serious and substantive engagement with you were typically met, at first, with an elementary misreading of what I wrote — often clear enough, I think — which I’d point out, and then you’d drop out of any further dialogue soon enough. I took the fact that you went AWOL from further engagement, time and time again, as a tacit admission that you had nothing to say to my objections or critique nor to my encouragement of deeper reflection, with suggestions on how to get there via dialogue. I could easily demonstrate this, if you’d care to deny it. So much for your false accusation, with respect to yourself.

                  With respect to any suggestion that I don’t “actually engage” with George, if you mean to imply that … ? You’ve gotta be kidding. Blatantly and scandalously false.

                  I think very little of this blog and the general level of discussion here, that’s true. With good reason. It’s clinical interest grows, though.

                  • I detect a certain coalescence forming (to be euphemistic): many of y’all have taken to intoning the petulant mantra that I’m a terrible meanie and all around horrible person to good Orthodox people who simply “disagree with me,” as if the purported “disagreements” were only about matters of opinion. That’s delusional. And really whiny.

                    The truth is that the “disagreements” are often over points of fact, quality of evidence, basic logic, sense of due proportion, competency in reasoning and critical thinking skills — and basic intellectual decency. A couple of untranslatable German words nicely express my view of the reception my hard questions get on this blog: y’all’s cliquey and to me quite unwarranted Gemütlichkeit is regularly threatened by my Gretchenfragen. Or would be, if you could appreciate them. I wonder if many of you even do. In any case, you have no idea how much I spare you. The fourth-rate pharisaism on this blog is revolting.

                • Since the majority of the denizens here are both incorrigible and of such low intellectual ability in general and the Orthodox Church needs your wise reformation–why even bother?

                  Never claimed it needs my “wise reformation.” That’s a red herring, a transparent evasion, or maybe just a simple and to me completely unwarranted rejection of the issue. I’m quite prepared to defend my opinion that an aversion to the intellect and to solid learning is a serious problem in the Orthodox tradition, and that shallow sophistry is all too destructively commonplace. Destructive to the unity of believers in Christ. This is a great scandal, and it is false to suggest, as many Orthodox do, that this is all or even mostly the fault of the Roman Catholic magisterium and/or the papacy.

                  I’m interested in actually engaging anyone willing and competent to engage me substantively on this question. If you’re volunteering, please identify with more specificity and concreteness the bombastic criticisms to which you refer, if you can. We could begin there.

                  • I want to qualify what I wrote. It’s probably inaccurate to deny that the scandal of formal Church disunity (RC and Orthodox), with all of its terrible ramifications, is or at least at one time was mostly the fault of the Roman Catholic Magisterium and the papacy. Maybe overall it’s mostly their fault; I don’t know. But whatever the correct ratio of blame is in the big picture (known only to God, no doubt), RC contributions to the ongoing scandal are no excuse for Orthodox sophistries, bigotry, cozy mediocrity and guile, which among other problems were and remain contributing factors, too.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Well Mr. Myers thas jus cuz ize jus a dum ol redneck hick that donn no nuthin.

                    I goats to go now an fry me up sum squirl bellies. Hmmmmmm mighty tasty there sir. Scuse me for intrupting yo sir.

                    Nite now.

                    • Mr. Michael,

                      Before you fry up any part of a “swamp rat” or ” tree rat”, remember to soak it overnight in milk to get rid o that gamey flavor. Then, they will be tasty varmints. Bellies need less skinning.but tree rats are good, overall.

                      Best not to engage Mr. Myers. He’s either an episcopalian or a roman catholic since he accidentally mentioned a CONFIRMATION name. But he is trying to sound as if he understands Orthodoxy and has chosen to reject it from knowledge. Both aforesaid religions don’t have confirmation names, btw.

                      No reason for us to judge an enquirer, if he is one, andt it’s tricky sticky business to engage with someone bent on judgement who is ignorant of his topic. We want neither to discourage a journey (for which, see Father Alexander Webster’s excellent post) nor to engage combatively nor to even correct ignorance.

                      Want my recipe for whole wild hog scrapple with all native ingredients?

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      Hello friends:

                      I think Mr. Myers adds something useful to the discussions here and I would love to see it continue ….constructively. The guy has done a lot of homework, shows that he can think and write, and observes the key questions and people from a standpoint that is both different enough from the prevailing one here and similar enough to it (he is not an African Muslim or a Japanese Buddhist, after all) to make some good contributions.

                      Of course we sense that he feels and acts rather superior, and that engages the fearful “little me” that is inside all of us spiritually-unhealed internetters, fearful that maybe he is right and we have some real growing (or mouth shutting) to do if we are not going to be embarrassed on the field of play in exchanges with him. But I would also exhort Mike as a brother to ask himself if it isn’t his own “little me” that prompts him to write with such an edge in some of his key posts. I do not sense hearts and minds opening to what he could add, as we can see from the series of rather content-free responses to his recent general denigrations. And I would be astonished to learn that it was *God’s* Spirit prompting him to dilute his efforts like that.

                      Which brings us back to the editorial that began this whole thread: George’s call for a Time Out from nastiness. George has defended his own use of name-calling in the least convincing way imaginable (“because it’s my blog and I get to do what I want”) for adult Christian discourse.

                      That is curious to see in a man who seems to refer everything possible back to Met. Jonah, and to purport here to act as often as possible as Met Jonah’s standard bearer. Who can possibly imagine Met.Jonah would encourage, approve of, or take comfort from the use of “pricks,” “Glinda,” “Tran,” etc. in public discourse? That is the opposite of how he “rolls.”

                      And my apologies for any times something cranky or edgy has appeared here or elsewhere under my byline. It is hard to follow my own advice, and I mustn’t pretend otherwise.


                      Fr. George

                    • But I would also exhort Mike as a brother to ask himself if it isn’t his own “little me” that prompts him to write with such an edge in some of his key posts. I do not sense hearts and minds opening to what he could add, as we can see from the series of rather content-free responses to his recent general denigrations. And I would be astonished to learn that it was *God’s* Spirit prompting him to dilute his efforts like that.

                      No doubt my little old man isn’t yet entirely toast. But if you’re suggesting that the edge is all on my head, or his, and undeserved or overdone, I’d mostly reject that. Denigration denotes unfairness. In fact, I think I’m relatively charitable about the overall quality of chatter on this blog, because in general I think it really reeks. It would be a lie to pretend otherwise. IMO I’m doing them a favor, George especially. If I were embarrassing myself in public as risibly as many of these people, some in nearly every post they send, I’d want someone to warn me. The Golden Rule covers the case. I work pro bono.

                      Who’d want to be in a church or any fellowship with most of these people? Not me, that’s for sure. No one I care about. That’s the bottom line for me. The discourse here is often emetic. It’s a scandal.

                    • I do want to commend George for taking my hits, though. He disappeared two of my posts this week, but they were fired at Archpriest Webster. I don’t recall his ever censoring anything I directed to him. That is admirable.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Meyers,

                I certainly “have [not] pronounced [myself] above condescending to risk chatting with wicked, mean old Mike” because before I could offer a response to your comments to me, you chose to take the bait of raw meat hung before a hungry dog: “Are you an Orthodox Christian?” “Housecleaning the Orthodox Church.” “Have you considered the ECUSA?” Then (Lord, help us), Mr. Barker confuses me with you! I would demand an apology for the insult. You’re no “chat risk,” Mr. Meyers:

                You got blood on yo’ face
                You big disgrace
                Wavin’ your banner all over the place

                In providing you with Fr. Meyedorff’s comment, had it not been been for ἀποκατάστασις, Gregory of Nyssa would have been among the “Three Hierarchs,” I had thought you might question, “Replacing whom?” An invitation to “chat,” Mr. Meyers; to dialog regardinging our Father among the saints, Chrysostom. Alas, you chose to “eat your own guts and ask for more” (to quote Pvt. Joker from Full Metal Jacket).

                I get the idea that the “discussion” of the Saint was, as Voltaire noted, “a piece of ingeniously reticulated pretence,” to knock a few heads around. Could this be the odd phenomenon where, while the fish are biting, sometimes they bite the fisherman? Who am I to say? But I will say, Thomas Barker, votre attention, s’il vous plaît: la prochaine fois que je vais prendre vos chaussures, et bonne chance!

  6. But “Stan the Tran” is okay, right?

  7. Fr. George Washburn says

    A couple more recent, unkind editorial name-calling examples have been brought to mind: “Czarina Glinda” for Cindy Davis and “Lefty” for Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky. Anybody else care to add to the list?

    • George Michalopulos says

      For the record, I’ve never called the Sex Czarina “Czarina Glinda.” It’s too clunky. What I am talking about is what we call each other on this blog. It’s my blog and it’s my prerogative to set the rules. You can start your own blog and craft your own rules.

      Officials in the public realm are allowed to be mocked and will continue to be mocked. That’s one of the essences of satire. So yes, I will continue to call Kishkovsky “Lefty” (because he’s a Leftist who preaches radical economics dressing them up in Christian garb), I will continue to call the Screeching Eunuch “Stan the Tran,” and His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama, Jr “Glorious Leader,” and so on.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mr. Michalopulos,

        I appreciate that that you are the host – and I have expressed my gratitude on many occasions – and I acknowledge your prerogative to set rules as you will. Nevertheless, when you set a “time out” to clarify that we are addressing “arguments” and not individuals, your case is nonsensical. Despite your determination that Fr. Kishkovsky engages in “radical economics,” he is an ordained Orthodox priest. Please show me in our Holy Tradition where, even in the “public realm,” you are allowed to mock the shepherds of the Church. And I continue to be ashamed of your allowing the demeaning, insulting comments – whatever anyone thinks of him – made to Vladyka Tikhon (Fitzgerald), the anointed of God, who has earned the right not to be insulted in his eighth decade on this earth. As to the webmaster and editor of VOR, you are knowingly and purposely mocking this persons fallen state – that which separates her from Christ the Physician & Healer. I fail to see your “satire” as any different than gathering around the adulterous woman with a stone in your hand.

        Finally, Mr. Michalopulos, I agree with Fr. George that some here are “more equal than others.” That too is your prerogative because it is your site and you are the host. For two two years, you have allowed extended riffs on my last name, discussions on the length of my hair, questioning of my personal sexual orientation, whether I utilized “gay” icons on my personal website, my “motives,” my “mission,” and so on, yet censored my posts, presumably, because they were too confrontational for your “more equal than others.” That’s fine. In retrospect, it may on occasion have been wise to do so. It would be nice to know, however, that the rules applied to all equally.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Dr Stankovich, your points are very well taken. Yes, I have been harsh on Fr Kishkovsky, but I have it on good authority that he was the primary author behind last years OCA encyclical for Thanksgiving, in which a “radical restructuring of society” was called for. That’s Bolshevism dressed up in clerical garb.

          Even if I’m wrong and he wasn’t the author of that screed, what are we to make of his constant involvement in the WCC? Even after one AAC after another has voted overwhelmingly to get out of that rat’s nest? He has singlehandedly kept the OCA in the NCC/WCC, always finagling a way to table discussion of our involvement until it has “been studied” more intensely.

          As for calling hierarchs names, my God! what has Syosset done to His Beatitude? Both publicly and privately?

        • Michael, you say that Bishop Tikhon has earned the right to not be insulted in his eighth decade on this earth.

          For starters, His Grace is in his ninth decade. He is past 80 and has, therefore, already completed eight decades.

          Metropolitan Jonah’s parents are the same age as Vladyka Tikhon, but both you and Vladyka Tikhon have had no qualms about treating them rudely, inserting yourselves into matters that are none of your business. I don’t care how old you are, what clerical rank you hold, or what qualifications you have in a certain profession, you both should be ashamed of yourselves.

          You yourself have no right to complain about personal attacks when you yourself have engaged in reckless personal attacks on other people, most infamously your lurid and unfounded claims about Metropolitan Jonah’s mental health. As for the mocking of your surname, letting something slip through moderation does not mean George endorses it. After all, he lets you post here, even though sometimes what you say is hurtful and offensive to others.

          George has given you, Bishop Tikhon, Carl Kraeff, Mike Myers, Ashley Nevins, and others a great deal of leave to come here and openly challenge his arguments, insult him and other commentators, and you reward him by engaging in all manner of anti-social behavior. It is far, far beyond anything I would have tolerated on a site of my own.

          Considering George’s work schedule, we are fortunate that he has been able to moderate this blog single-handedly and so well. It would be fitting for you to repay his efforts by reconsidering your past behavior and resolving to do better in the future, not this rude rebuff of his effort to improve the social atmosphere here.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thank you Helga.

            For the record, I put a stop to the mocking of Dr Stankovich’s surname over a year ago. Unless I’m mistaken, there has been no such reoccurrence.

          • M. Stankovich says


            You hide behind this ridiculous, cowardly facade – with Mr. Michalopulos dutifully playing along – apparently believing you are the inheritor of Gabbatha and the last box of “I voted for the Sons of Job holding the OCA in abeyance!” t-shirts. Are you serious?

            Vladyka Tikon rightly pointed out that the Orthodox services for tonsuring a monk is emphatic:

            You have renounced parents, brothers, wife, children, forefathers, relatives, associations, friends, habits, the tumults in the world, cares, possessions, goods, empty and vain pleasure and glory; and you are renouncing not only those things which have just been said, but even your own life, according to the voice of the Lord which says: ‘Whoever wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’

            “Mom, Vladyka Tikon said Met. Jonah should hate his parents and abandon them to live on the streets!” Hmm. Not exactly. Wisdom and common sense would suggest that arrangements are made before one undertakes this great calling of the angelic life of the monastic. And the final question to end the service?

            Question: Do you thus profess all these things in the hope of the strength of God and do you agree to persevere in these promises until the end of life, by the grace of Christ?

            Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.

            Personally, I do not question how you continue to play this foolish game, but I am concerned as to why you continue. Your obsession with Jonah is not righteous, it is scandalous. The idea that you would attempt to justify insulting Vladyka Tikhon, who served in the vineyard of the Lord faithfully for 24-years, by referring to Jonah’s parents is ludicrous. Likewise, your “identity fraud” and your silly persistence falls on my deaf ears. “Helga.” Give me a break.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Dr Stankovich, this is why this blog so fascinates me: because of challenging commentary provided by yourself. Of course Helga will speak for herself but I want to latch onto a point or two, specifically the prayers for the tonsuring of monastics.

              I get it, they’re pretty categorical.

              That doesn’t mean that a monastic’s family should be smeared and/or talked about openly as has His Beatitude’s. That’s just wrong –and hurtful.

              But let’s talk further about the others vows of priests and bishops: to not conspire against another priest or bishop, to not level false accusations against him, etc.

              Really, and this is to all of us: we’re really got to stop this picking and choosing of which canons we are going to follow.

            • Michael Stankovich writes, “Wisdom and common sense would suggest that arrangements are made before one undertakes this great calling of the angelic life of the monastic.”

              Why would you assume he did not make arrangements before becoming a monk? Metropolitan Jonah’s monastic tonsure does not grant his family immunity from unexpected hardship.

              The “strength of God” has been shown in that Metropolitan Jonah has had the means to care for his family when they needed him. He lost his employment and most of his income through no fault of his own, but here, the “strength of God” is he has earned wonderful friends and allies who now make sure that he has the wherewithal to continue providing for his family.

              You say, “Your obsession with Jonah is not righteous, it is scandalous.”

              You only know me in the context of my occasional comments on this blog, where Metropolitan Jonah is a frequent subject. I avoid sharing anything about my other interests here, and I have no desire to give you any information about any other part of my life.

              You say, “The idea that you would attempt to justify insulting Vladyka Tikhon…”

              I said that it was hypocritical for you to demand others respect him because of his age, when both you and the one you are defending have been very disrespectful towards other people, including people who are the same age as he. It is flagrantly disingenuous for you to call this an “attempt to justify insulting Vladyka Tikhon”.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Helga (or Mrs. Slocum), You wrote this: “both you and Vladyka Tikhon have had no qualms about treating them rudely, inserting yourselves into matters that are none of your business.” Helga (or Mrs. Slocum) you are not the Living God. You cannot discern what qualms, if any, have disturbed me about any of my actions or lies about them. You have neither the perception nor the least moral standing to determine what is “my business.’ You it is, who has rudely and recklessly made EVERYTHING about Metropolitan Jonah and his ramifications grist for the public mill of Monomakhos. Your fulsome and noissome defences of Metropolitan Jonah have been of no benefit to him. On the contrary.
            Please, do yourself a great favor and study these words of an intelligent woman;
            ‘Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.’ (Charlotte Bronte)

            • George Michalopulos says

              Your Grace, can’t you see that the commentary put out by some regarding His Beatitude’s family is hurtful? I think ultimately that’s what Helga has in mind. I certainly do.

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                Good morning friends:

                If i know Met. Jonah, and I used to, he does not dwell much on the negativities about his family a few commentators here might toss in the mixer from time to time. I am sure there are moments when he is tempted to take the poison in and let it damage him, but I hope and believe they are isolated.

                I think His Grace’s point valid about the “use” of Met. Jonah’s troubles by the prevailing posters on this site. You guys are not doing him or your “cause” any favors by the constant rearguard focus on this one man. Time and history will sort out what was best…and least…in his administration, and with little help, one hopes and believes, from those who want to use him as either a martyr or a whipping boy.


                Fr. George

                • Fr. George, you are right that Metropolitan Jonah is not the kind of guy to focus on the negative.

                  However, you are wrong in thinking that this is purely about Metropolitan Jonah, because it isn’t. This is, and always has been, about the OCA being in the hands of people who have established a brutal and uncanonical pecking order, controlling the church using the selective treatment of certain vices.

                  Metropolitan Jonah was not perfect, but he was our rightful Metropolitan. He is a good man and he did nothing to warrant being removed from office. That’s all there is to it.

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    Helga does not get a passing grade in reading comprehension based on *his* message of November 12, second paragraph, sentence one. Please re-read mine carefully.

                    I’ve never said that this ever was or is purely about Met. Jonah. In fact to the extent that both “sides” have *made* it about him, I would venture to say they were doing so pretty “impurely.”

                    I am saying that I believe he has been nominated by *both* ostensible “opponents” and “friends” as a surrogate for the culture war issues that are sometimes addressed directly, and sometimes indirectly, by their respective proponents. .

                    As to Helga’s comment about what defects in the OCA contributed to the early end of Met. Jonah’s administration, I could only speculate. In light of my self-assigned role here as curmudgeon-in-chief re: distinguishing actual, direct evidence from gossip, speculation, innuendo and hearsay, I should not and will not take the bait.

                    As to Met. Jonah being a good man innocent of any offense that *required* his removal from office, I believe based on personal interactions with him years ago and what is public so far, that Helga is right.

                    But I think Helga is also tilting the table a little when we aren’t looking, stretching the seeming lack of any evidence of turpitude against Met. Jonah to stand for some other propositions that have not, in my opinion, been established:

                    – Met. Jonah was a good fit for the office and all would have been well in the OCA if he stayed
                    – because people pressured him in various ways seen and unseen, pleasant and unpleasant, and for good, bad and indifferent reasons, he was “removed from office” and did not make a voluntary decision to withdraw
                    – the illegitimacy of some people’s tactics and motives in the buildup renders both his resignation and his successor’s elevation nugatory
                    – the interests of Met. Jonah and the OCA are best served for the foreseeable future by regularly using him as a martyr to the cause of those issues where he differed from some of his strongest detractors.

                    Isn’t it better, more intellectually and spiritually honest, more honoring to Christ and Met. Jonah, to separate the two questions and address the merits of the culture war more openly and directly? The presence or absence of a pro-gay cabal that conspired to get rid of Met. Jonah proves little or nothing, in my opinion, on the ultimate questions themselves, and based on my observation of this blog, regularly seems to sidetrack attempted dialogue on the merits into questions of personality and politics.


                    Fr. George

                    • One Year Anniversary says

                      There is a different culture. I miss the old


                      Consider what we have lost

                    • Fr. George,

                      I regret that it seems we are talking past each other. You admit that you have appointed yourself ‘curmudgeon in chief’ for this website, yet you summarily dismiss commenters who do not directly identify themselves. Why are you so worried about names? God knows what they are.

                      Also, you don’t appear to know anything about Metropolitan Jonah’s supporters outside this website. Whether or not you still want to use your self-proclaimed title, please do not consider yourself knowledgeable about Metropolitan Jonah’s situation simply from your use of this website. Did you think this was all some garbage people argue about on the internet for no good reason? Please consider, at least in theory, that the information derived here is not hearsay or speculation but things that real people have seen and experienced.

                      Figures that I would need to write all of this when I am very pressed for time, but there you have it. God help you, Father George.

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    I don’t think I am talking past Helga one bit. I believe I respond directly to what he writes. Helga, by contrast doesn’t engage with the *actual* positions I am taking (as opposed to the way Helga spins what I have said).

                    Example #1- Helga misquotes on curmudgeonhood. I did not say I am curmudgeon in chief of the whole blog, on all issues, but rather only on *one issue:*: use of actual evidence instead of pseudo evidence. Helga ought to be one of my biggest supporters on this issue since he seems to claim that lies, manipulations, half-truths, innuendos, hearsay and the like were a big part of what made Met Jpnah’s position untenable.

                    I do summarily dismiss most anonymous commentators, especially when they are shooting at someone from ambush with claims they ask us to take on faith.

                    I am not interested in broader engagement with or exposure to Met. Jonah’s supporters. To the extent that they are treating this good man generously, supportively, bravo. I truly like it. I do criticize them, however, to the extent that they’re engaged in making him a religiopolitical football in the Culture Wars World Cup, although their martyr-mongering is doubtless not as offensive as the people scapegoating him.

                    Helga has always been “too pressed for time” to engage me on the substance of any issue.

                    Fr. George

                    • Heracleides says

                      Doesn’t your hobby-horse ever become winded?

                    • Heracleides says

                      Case in point…. “Lecture!

                    • Heracleides says

                      Case in point… “Curmudgeon!

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Father George Washburn’s messages lately, most of them free of the moralizing which has tempted him in the past, are accurate when characterizing or summarizing various tenaciously held positions relative to Metropolitan Jonah, the OCA, and so on, such as are preached by George, Helga, and others. I enjoy his messages because they show an ability to think and express thought clearly. He’s also the only one who’s responded fairly to Mike Myers’s thought-provoking insistence on assuming nothing about anybody and challenging fashionable ideologies. Otherwise, with few exceptions, a lot of the verbiage spent here is self-advertising inanition… As for Mike Myers’s contributions, I find it a little worrisome that his questioning,as an inquirer, of the appropriateness of the title ‘Golden-Mouthed’ has been met with mostly fury and defensive noise from those who could have taken his question seriously. Our hagiography is NOT the Gospel and not Holy Tradition. St. John was appointed (note; NOT elected) to the see of Constantinople by the Emperor Arcadius at the recommendation of the Imperial Eunuch Eutropius and became known as an expert orator and rhetorician–sometimes almost ‘golden” mouthed. At first he was favored by the pious Empress Eudoxia,but when he began ranting and raving against wealth and privilege while insisting on his own prerogatives,some might have called him, in today’s idiom, a ‘garbage mouth.” When he was removed, I don’t believe there was any indication of discontent from the Faithful of his see. His gross anti-Jewish rants were implementation of the “boss’s” current policies, those of Arcadius’s predecessors and successors. part of the Imperial,governmental crackdown on pagans and Jews….kind of a ‘jihad’ with imperial “fatwas” and so on to which the Church rather complaisantly conformed.

                    • Fr. George, you say you are not talking past me, yet here you are talking about me in the third person, even though you are addressing a comment I made!

                      I guess what I’m trying to say, Fr. George, is that it’s hard to take your outrage over name-calling seriously, when the OCA did something far worse to Metropolitan Jonah and it doesn’t seem to bother you enough for you to fully investigate, much less protest.

                      Fine, you claim to be ‘curmudgeon in chief’ on the use of pseudo-evidence versus real evidence. You say we are asking you to take things ‘on faith’. Yet you seem curiously dismissive of any possibility that Metropolitan Jonah was indeed forced to resign and that the charges made against him were slanderous, even though you admit you haven’t looked into it beyond this website.

                      Have I always been “too busy” to engage with you? I was indeed preoccupied yesterday morning. I don’t usually like to contend with you at all. since you don’t seem interested in the deeper issues. However, I did want to say something here before the thread closed automatically.

                      You admit you have let your acquaintance with Metropolitan Jonah lapse, so maybe you should find out for yourself how he is living these days.

            • Your Grace
              What do you mean Mrs. Slocum? Are you “outing” this person? or is this a joke? I hope it’s the later . . . . not cool otherwise.

              • Its from the BBC television series “Are You Being Served ” Colette.

              • One Year Anniversary says

                You are not missing anything, Colette. The British TV show, antique, features an elderly woman who wears dayglo colored wigs and makes suggestive comments, a homosexual fellow who makes sexual innuendo jokes, a boss who accompanies himself with eye candy, a young woman who is fairly normal but treated as inconsequential and a floor manager who seems oblivious to normal management skills. No redeeming social value or subtle humor. T is for tasteless

  8. Fr. George Washburn says

    Almost overlooked “Stan the Tran” used here by George in a comment as recently as October 28 at 11:16 pm.

  9. Fr. George Washburn says

    Hello friends:

    Having been forced to admit (and chosen to ineffectively justify) that he is a name caller, George M. now also admits this is not a balanced truth-seeking forum in which each person or side gets an equal chance to operate by the same rules and be judged by the same objective criteria. He and his views are right, and thus get special play. Thank you.

    For better or worse I see it as a very short distance indeed from saying a self-serving “L’ Etat, c’ est moi” on name-calling rules to “L’ Etat c’est moi” in the spinning or outright falsification of facts. After all it serves the “greater good” of advancing George’s views, which are always correct, doesn’t it?

    His reminder that this is a blog and he is its sole proprietor is important information for us all to keep in mind. How ironic that someone who probably read Animal Farm as having to do with communists now says that in his barnyard “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    Again apologies to those who fid this direct approach uncomfortable. The difference between truths that enlighten and set us free, and the half-truths than continue to deceive, darken and imprison (albeit in different kinds of chains than the other guys use) is sometimes very, very small and hard to detect.

    In this morning’s message George denied ever calling Ms. Davis the Sex Czarina. I went back and re-read the two recent editorials, and he was right!! Sort of.

    He published two photos with the caption of Sex Czarina, stated “Isn’t it curious that the Sex Squad is chaired by a woman,” commented extensively (and I would have to say thought-provokingly for me) on potential secular feminist roots for the ORSMA document, and then queried “Is the new Sex Squad and/or the Sex Czarina going to fly (to locations where a priest is accused)…..” and at substantial expense to the Church?

    In the face of the captioned pictures and the above quotes, my question then is this: Is it intellectually honest for George to deny that he called her Sex Czarina when we were meant to understand that it did? Sadly, I do not believe it is intellectually honest of him, and I so admonish George as a brother.

    And for that anonymous commentator from the past, this isn’t venom. It is just tough love, as opposed to swallowing things whole just because they are being offered by someone with high ideals who seems nice. The scriptures say that the person who pleads his case first sounds right, but then his neighbor comes and “searches him out.” It is inevitable that my attempts to participate in this exercise are flawed; I apologize for any and all of those actual flaws, but not for the discomfort some might feel at a priest’s participation in the truth-seeking process. In fact I think that the combination of truth and love, tough love, is supposed to be standard equipment for clergy …and starting with ourselves.

    Fr. George

    • Fr. George, I think you know darned well that George did not mean he has never called anyone a name, ever, only that he does not do it to other commentators on this blog.

      You call this tough love, but who are you to make that kind of call for someone who is not your spiritual child, and worse yet, to do it in public? You have overstepped your boundaries as a priest, your accusations are blatantly unfair and disingenuous, and if anyone needs to apologize, it’s you.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Helga, I think you’ve gone WAAAAY too far this time. Father George Washburn is an ordained Presbyter ini good standing of unimpeachable high moral standards in the Orthodox community. His main Achilles Heel is, to be sure, a chronic and invincible tendency to moralize. But his moralizing has never ever approached the pontifical heights of your excited words, “You have overstepped your boundaries as a priest.”
        If you are going to continue to adopt the womanly and middle-aged persona, you might have done better to choose “Mrs. Slocum”, and sign off on your more giddy posts, ‘And I am UNANIMOUS in this!” What was it in particular that pressed your button, I wonder?

    • Fr Washburn,

      Do you have a parish? An actual life as a pastor of souls? I ask because you write like Dr. Stankovich who waxes long about the ills of the OCA and condemns those who disagree with him and pontificates about the OCA of which he is not a member. George has afforded you a platform of which others would never be so patient. I will not presume to question your motives but I will suggest that you write here because it may be the only platform where you can work out your issues as a quasi or real narcissist?

      Seriously, are you a priest as rector of a parish or just assigned as a lawyer, part time priest and full-time barrister, not that being a lawyer is a bad thing unless you ascribe to what Shakespeare concluded about such? Sarcasm alert off.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Hello friends:

        James suggests that I write like Dr. Stankovich – who I like and respect without agreeing with some of his tone or content. James cites three reasons, none of which hold water.

        1. That I “wax long” about the ills of the OCA. Somebody check the archives and let us know if even one singles post can be found in the last 12 mo in which I do as he suggests. I wax long about other issues.

        2. That I condemn those who disagree with me. Sometimes I am hard on people who make silly, ad hominem replies, etc. No condemnation though, not in Christ for any of us.

        3. That I pontificate about the OCA of which I am not a member. Jurisdiction promoting or bashing are outside my MO here or elsewhere.

        Yes, as he sort of note, and surely exemplifies, we are all working out our “issues” or salvation here, James and me included. I hope I don’t ever speculate publicly about his as he does about mine.

        We can simply note that the ad hominem tone and content of his post. There is not a single word of substantive engagement with ANY position I have taken here, recently or ever.

        Gail, I do not dislike or detest all things George. He posts under his own name, tries to stand for some important traditional values, tackles tough issues, allows people who disagree with him awfully broad scope to participate. I have complimented all that before more than once. However I do think George is on the opposite of “a roll,” for example squandering the opportunity to be heard by those who like and will employ the ORSMA document …in favor of his agenda of insulting and embarrassing them (and, unwittingly, himself) with the name-calling and other tactics I have criticized.


        Fr. George

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Father, I don’t think you detest, George. You don’t have it in you and you wouldn’t post here if you did. It’s just difficult for me to read. Maybe it’s because my ties to this list are the last tenuous ties I have to the Church and I see it coming to an end. It’s all simply too much. – I love you both.

        • “However I do think George is on the opposite of “a roll,” for example squandering the opportunity to be heard by those who like and will employ the ORSMA document …in favor of his agenda of insulting and embarrassing them (and, unwittingly, himself) with the name-calling and other tactics I have criticized.”

          Fr- George’s blog has served a most important purpose-whether you see it or not. There must be a place for confronting and exposing wrongs in the Church with free dialogue(whether they use their name or not). There needs to be a check and balance within the church to keep it honest. George allows all types to have it out. Other blogs and list serves do not allow people to post if they don’t agree with the poster-even if the healthiest thing would be to discuss the matter and hear fully both or many sides of the issue. Considering the fact that we are all from different parts of the country and world with varing backgrounds–it is surprising there is so much agreement. However sometimes maybe George over states himself or even gets his info wrong. He admits when he is wrong and seems willing to have his mind changed if the argument is reasonable. So what if he is wrong sometimes? It does not take away from the function of this blog.

          As for name calling . . . George’s names for people are on the comedic side, I do not read any hate in George’s colorful discriptions and believe his intentions are for the good of the church. I do not feel that way about Mike Meyers or Mr. Stankovich’s discriptions and or sometimes intentions. I think you are unfair to George.

      • M. Stankovich says


        There must be some reasonabilty behind your choice in the midst of Mr. Michalopulos’ designated “time out” to “remind some people that they are not addressing arguments but personalities,” but damned if I can figure it out. Did you costume yourself as the hat-check-girl for Halloween and decided to “roll wid’ it,” checking ID’s and such for the ever-patient host of this site? As near as I can tell, the copyright at the bottom of the page does not include you; I do not recall Mr. Michalopulos setting any rule as to who may comment on what topic and for what reason; judging by your general fund of information – of which I am qualified to evaluate – I would suggest you are in no position to assess anyone’s narcissism; and whether a priest happens to be a rector or not, they are the ordained and chosen of God, and even a satirical allusion – “Let us kill them” – should never have been allowed by Mr. Michalopulos in the first place. As I have said several times, James, you seem constitutionally incapable of bringing anything positive or edifying, and if your comment was intended as supportive of Mr. Michalopulos, I hope he is embarrassed.

    • Rodney Buchshotte says

      This overwritten and overwrought reply has the distinct odor of self-positioning.

      Sex Squad? Sex Czarina? My goodness! Off to the gallows!

      What a bland world you want us to create for us Fr. George Washburn.

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Fr. George, you say:

    George M. now also admits this is not a balanced truth-seeking forum in which each person or side gets an equal chance to operate by the same rules and be judged by the same objective criteria. He and his views are right, and thus get special play. Thank you.

    Can you identify any forum on or off the internet that is ‘balanced’ and in which each person or side gets an equal chance especially if they have a political point of view? Even on the best, most irenic blogs I know of, the rules are set by the owner and principal commentator of the blog.

    OK, I’ll grant that we could all, including George M, be much more irenic and less provocative in our language, but I just don’t get the rest of your point.

  11. Gail Sheppard says

    Your dislike for all things “George,” is palatable, Father. This can’t be good for you OR George.

  12. Guy Westover says

    Mr. Michalopulos,
    As I have said before, I rarely agree with your point of view and you are gracious enough to encourage different viewpoints. Many bloggers do not.
    As for those few who have called you out on this topic, might I suggest you invoke Rule One of the International Association of Bloggers.
    Rule 1. My Blog. My Rules. (I pay for it, I write it. Don’t like it. Don’t read it.)

  13. Francis Frost says


    This justification for your conduct is simply perverse.

    You refrain from name calling to those who are present in the conversations. After all, they might reply in kind or rebuke you for your childish use of language. If your name calling prove slanderous, they might reply with legal actions.

    On the other hand you freely mock, belittle and demean this who are NOT present, and thus not able to reply.

    In other words, you are willing to call people names behind their back, but not to their face. This is malicious, hypocritical and cowardly. In our local parlance, you are acting like a chicken- shit.

    What is more, you routinely publish unsubstantiated, slanderous accusations against the clergy by anonymous or pseudonymous posters. By so doing, you are complicit in this slander and deceit. If you or your posters cannot tell us the truth about who they (or you) really are; why should we believe anything else that they (or you) say?

    You have specifically and routinely targeted the bishops and senior clergy of your own jurisdiction, which you have previously described as the only legitimate jurisdiction in North America. This too, is perverse. You, like some parasitic worm, attack the church from within. You divide the Body of Christ into “us and them”, with an all out attack on those you consider “them”.

    You routinely refer to the leadership of the church as “the Lavender Mafia” and accuse them of “pushing a homosexual agenda” Yet the sole piece of evidence that you have to support this thesis is the restoration of an errant deacon in your own Diocese of the South, a restoration made by your own beloved Archbishop Dmitiri!

    In order to deflect this uncomfortable fact, you declared that Vladyka Dmitiri acted under duress, yet you have failed to produce one iota of evidence that other bishops even discussed the case with him. What is more, anyone who knew Vladyka Dmitirt knows full well that he was not susecptible to pressure or duress from anyone, much less his fellow bishops.

    You have routinely belittled and mocked the chancellors of the OCA, Father Alex Garklavs and Father John Jillions, without cause, despite the fact that they and their families have served the church for generations! You mack the most senior clergy with the title “Protopresbyterians” […] You and your posters have a penchant for attacking especially those who have served the church diligently and with honor. Frankly, you seem to have a problem with legitimate authority. You really are a little long in the tooth for this kind of extended teenage rebellion.

    You claim that the church’s leaders are “fair game” as public personages. While that may be true in the civil legal realm, it is NOT true morally or spiritually. Indeed it is directly contradicted by the scriptures.

    I wonder, George, have you ever even read the Bible? You seem blissfully ignorant of its contents, especially the saving commandments.

    For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
    Matthew 12: 35-37

    For it is written, “you shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.” Acts 23:5

    Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. … Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch over your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy, and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13: 7, 17

    For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you as I wish, and I shall not be found by you such as you wish: lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults, lest when I come again my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornications, and lewdness they have practiced.

    This will be the third time I am coming to you. By the mouth of two or three witness every word shall be established. I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come againI will not spare – since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him; but we shall live by the power of God toward you.

    Examine yourselves to whether you are in the faith.

    II Corinthians 12:20 – 13: 5

    George, you seem uniquely oblivious to the contradictions in your entire schema. you claim to be protecting the clergy from unfair accusations; but you routinely publish just that kind of unsubstantiated and slanderous accusation. You claim to support due process and transparency; but you allow scandalous accusations by anonymous and pseudonymous posters.

    You have claimed that the OCA is the only legitimate orthodox jurisdiction in North America; but you have endlessly worked sedition against the OCA – promoting the schism of the DOS, and defection to the ROCOR or MP. You claim to be a supporter of tradition; but your acts are denounced by the scriptures that are at the heart of tradition.


    The truth, George, is that your are operating under a spiritual delusion, which the Holy Fathers call ‘plani’. Since you are a Russophile, in the Russian language this is called ‘prelest’ which means charmed or bewitched. Your web site has done great damage to the church; but not nearly so great a damage as you have done to your own soul.

    Repentance, like charity, must begin at home. Take the log out of your own eye, and then you can try picking at the specks in others. May God help you while there is still time.

    Francis Frost

    • George Michalopulos says

      Where to begin? As usual, you offer me a target-rich environment:

      1. I “freely mock, belittle” those who may not be present because they are public figures. Do you not know the meaning of satire? You claim later that I “never read Scripture.” Have you never read St Paul’s laudations to the Corinthian church? If you did you would be aware he was being quite sarcastic. Ever read Isaiah, Jeremiah, or the other OT Prophets? What liturgy does your priest celebrate every Sunday. Ever heard of Chrysostom and his choice words for certain people? (Not that I compare myself to these worthies, only to point out that mockery and ridicule were not invented my little ole’ me.)

      2. You say that the eminences I mock are “not present.” You sure about that? It’s not that hard to trace IP addresses. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I know full well that this blog is read daily in foreign as well as American chanceries. As for Syosset itself, it has used certain toadies to comment on this blog (usually in a negative fashion). There are even people further up the food chain who have leaked me information. (Don’t worry, your secrets are safe with me.)

      3. I never said that the OCA was lead by a “Lavender Mafia” only that there was a gay cabal burrowed within it, sabotaging bishops and priests they didn’t like. Exhibit A was Bp Basil Radzianko; Exhibit B was Metropolitan Jonah. Ever heard of Fr Vasile Susan and how he’s been left twisting in the wind for almost a decade? (I’ll write him a little note telling him that a certain Francis Frost assures me that there is no Lavender Mafia operating in the OCA. I’m sure that will comfort him as he tries to put food on his family’s table.)

      4. As for the OCA being the “only legitimate jurisdiction in North America” I don’t recall ever saying that in such stark terms, although if pressed, I would be forced to concede that our autocephaly means exactly that. Furthermore, one of the more famous abbots of your jurisdiction, Archimandrite Tomas Bitar (sp?) said exactly the same thing. Are you willing to follow along with me on this same path? If not, why not? At least I have the courage of my convictions: I do believe in our autocephaly. I fear however because of the evil machinations of contemptible men that we are in danger of losing it –or our membership, whichever comes first.

      5. I’m not sure how the Venerable Dmitri entered into this conversation but yes, I’ve been told by several sources that he was importuned on at least one occasion by others to act against his own better instincts. The case of Archdeacon Burke is one such example. While it is true that Dmitri was very much his own man and not subject to duress, that wasn’t always the case. Clearly you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      6. As for your defense of Frs Garklavs and Jillions, you are clearly out of your depth. Both were actively conspiring against their Primate. Ever heard of the Canons? Some very choice words about priests and bishops who conspire against one of their own.

      7. This one is especially rich: “You shall not speak evil of the ruler of your people.” See #2 above and the slanders heaped upon His Beatitude. Or did I miss your defense of His Beatitude? Remember the Stinkbomb Letter? Let us go down memory lane a little bit: if memory serves, you have reprinted heated criticisms of President Putin of Russia in toto. Do these critics need to listen to your proof-texting of St Paul? I can hear them now: “Gooolllyy! Francis Frost says that St Paul says that we should not speak evil of our rulers! What were we thinking?!? Please forgive us Vladimirovich! We won’t do it again!” Clearly you have no sense of irony.

      8. I know about plani (prelest, delusion). I also know moral cowardice when I see it.

  14. Metropolitan Jonah Sighting says

    at the arrival of the Hawaii Theotokos icon


  15. Speaking of time outs, why can’t the OCA hierarchy figure out when to open their mouth, and when to keep it shut?

    Bishop Benjamin is in Alaska, and led a mild protest against the Russian government. Greenpeace activists trespassed on an oil rig and have been detained for breaking international law, i.e. crossing borders without permission, trespassing with intent to harm, etc. And Bishop Benjamin is there in Alaska, taking “a stand” against the Russian government for detaining the activists.

    This could be a PR nightmare and might deepen the rift between the OCA and Mother Russia.

  16. Heracleides says
  17. Fr. Peter Dubinin says

    George: I just listened to Protodeacon Peter’s presentation in Cleveland, OH on the work of the Episcopal Assembly on administrative unity; perhaps time for a new thread? I’m sure over time just about every issue relative to administrative unity has been stated and restated here, but I’d be curious to hear people’s reaction to the content of the presentation.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr, I’ve been collecting my thoughts about the EA process and truth be told, there is much here that is both positive as well as negative. I plan on writing something soon. In the meantime, I would welcome any editorials from clergymen such as yourself as I think they would have a clearer perspective than myself.

  18. Fr. Peter Dubinin says

    My remarks are in reference to the presentation of Protodeacon Peter Danilchick in Cleveland, OH on the work of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops on administrative unity – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJpnoCl1OnA.

    It is good the hierarchs are discussing the tough issues; putting on the table for the record their concerns and real feelings, beliefs about administrative unity; concerns, feelings, beliefs about which many have speculated in the past, which are now confirmed. Many thought that once the bishops had to discuss how an administratively united Church would look, all the ‘sacred cows’ would manifest; and manifest they did.

    So, it appears there are a number of hierarchs who need clarification from the signatories to Chambessy on what exactly “canonical anomalies” means? The intimated reason for the clarification seems to be how much of the status quo can be maintained (i.e., direct influence of mother Churches in the life, welfare of their parishes in the US; maintenance of ethnic, linguistic interests – of course these interests are cloaked in the pious shroud of pastoral concern for the immigrant) and the work of the Assembly in the US still fulfills the charge given it by Chambessy.

    That bishops in the Assembly seem uncertain as to what constitute “canonical anomalies” in the Orthodox experience in the US is to me very disturbing. One could be tempted to think that perhaps there was never such a thing as an Orthodox Christian Church, let alone one that has been present in the world for 2,000 years; such that those gathered in the Assembly are starting from nothing. Really, we have bishops who don’t know what a canonical Orthodox ecclesial structure looks like? If I didn’t believe that the grace of God continually fills up that which is lacking, I would throw in the towel and just cry. Yet, I know why this is the case; see paragraph above. Until we all give up our “idols” for the sake of Christ, we are going nowhere… nowhere. Not to overly glorify Ligonier, but I remember more than one hierarch express their experience in that assembly precisely in terms of everyone ready to give up their “idols” for the sake of Christ.

    I admit my Orthodox experience is limited to the US, but how do the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches minister to the Orthodox Christians in their midst who do not speak the principle language of the national church because they are recent immigrants? America cannot be the only place in the world in which there are Orthodox Christian immigrants from other countries. C’mon folks; once the immigrant arrives American shores, their ethnic experience changes, not to mention their mother language. To think that somehow the immigrant will maintain their ethnic, national experience untainted through participation in their ethnic parishes in the US is just plain fantasy; God forbid that such a thought could potentially derail the move to unity in the US.

    At the end of the day whether he intended to or not Protodeacon Peter presented an apology for the ecclesial structure of the Orthodox Church in America. Look at the ecclesial structure which seems to have the most support at this point, territorial dioceses with ethnic vicariates.

    I came away from the presentation with one of my most basic beliefs reinforced – in order for the Orthodox Church to be what God intends and desires, He will need to perform a miracle; just as He has done in every generation from the beginning of time to the present.

    • Gail Shepppard says

      Father Peter, I agree with you 100%. – The term “canonical anomalies” is an oxymoron. – “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Gail, the term “canonical anomalies” WOULD be an oxymoron if it denoted anomalies that are canonically pristine; however, it denotes anomalies that have arisen through history DESPITE an effort to be canonically pristine. Thanks for your quote of the Apostle’s anguished and perhaps despairing PLEA.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I’m not clear on why the Patriarchates aren’t getting together to resolve various anomalies at their level. Seems to me that this should take place first, as their agreement would filter down to our jurisdictions in North & Central America and give us the proper foundation upon which to build. – My fear is that if the jurisdictions in North & Central America come up with some sort of hybrid model, we will be out of sync with one or more of the Patriarchates, which just exacerbates the problem. I should probably direct my question to them.

      • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

        Gail, my take on “…why the Patriarchates aren’t getting together to resolve anomalies…” is what may be their assumption the hierarchs in the US as custodians of the canons should know better than anyone what constitute “canonical anomalies” among the Orthodox churches in the US, and as such, be able to set a course to rectify said anomalies. Yes, to a significant degree the Patriarchates must take their responsibility for the “mess” that is the Orthodox churches in the US, but I do not believe it is in our best interest as Orthodox Christians and churches to invite more involvement of the Patriarchates in the solution than is absolutely necessary.

        We hear the reports on the work of the Assembly of Bishops and wonder why the difficulty in identifying “canonical anomalies,” and identifying an appropriate ecclesial structure, because our hope is their work will result in an autocephalous Orthodox Church in the US. If there are bishops in the Assembly for whom this is not the objective then to find a way to reshuffle the deck in order to maintain the status quo would be one explanation for why something so basic as identifying “canonical anomalies” and or an appropriate ecclesial structure for the Orthodox in the US is such a mystery.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Father, I understand your point completely. It is certainly not in our “best interest as Orthodox Christians and churches to invite more involvement of the Patriarchates.” – It is my sincere belief that our bishops have the mettle to make unity a reality and with God’s help, it will happen.