Time Out

time-outIt’s time now for one of Monomakos’ infrequent “Time Outs.” The issue this time is regarding discussion of the upcoming Romanian Convocare and the irregular nomination of two auxiliary bishops. (Irregular at least in the sense that no biographies for the candidates are forthcoming.)

To be honest, the intramural debate is a little too “inside baseball” for Yours’ Truly. Not speaking Romanian and being almost completely unaware of the intricacies of Romania and its diaspora, I’m at a complete loss as to tell who’s who. This is not to say that the execution of this event is not irregular. My criticisms are two-fold: (1) the continued existence of ethnic eparchies within the OCA, and (2) the irregular nature of this election in contradistinction to how the territorial dioceses elect their bishops.

In my opinion, the Convocare fails on both points.

That being said, Monomakhos has always tried to devote itself to discussing the Big Picture. It’s hard for me to see how the small-ball nature of this recent dust-up contributes to the grand narrative of Orthodoxy in America. I may be wrong and if events warrant a reappraisal, I will admit my mistake and comment at the appropriate time. In the meantime, no more discussion will be permitted on this subject.

Thank you for your forbearance.


  1. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Well, George, it is small, to be sure, but then lots of subjects here are small, but interesting nonetheless. And it is directly connected with Orthodoxy in our land, and so seems pertinent.

    On the other hand, you’re the moderator, and the confusing stuff that got through may have been the tip of the iceberg…..fun while it lasted, though.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Good criticism Tim. I really wanted to continue discussion on this subset of Orthodoxy in America but I should say that when it comes to the intricacies of the entire Romanian Church situation, I simply can’t tell which way is up. I would welcome any further public elucidation/commentary on this if anybody is willing.

      As for the Convocare, itself, I believe my critique of it –that it’s an anomaly vis-a-vis the normal OCA territorial way of doing things–should be the last word. (Unless of course new information comes forth.)

  2. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    This is a situation where I believe your decision was correct in that it was a demonstration of the reality of the continuing passion of ethnicity that drives these “addenda” to the OCA. It also answers your questions as to why they feel no obligation of “gratitude,” financially or in fidelity, to the OCA, and in fact, are “operationally” the antithesis of the American mission and continue, for all intents and purposes, to be simply maintenance of the ethnic “conclave.” And the final absurdity is that they are encouraged and shepherded by an American bishop. As I wrote in my childhood reminiscence of all too similar passionate “debates,” who knows where the truth lies when the accusations are salacious; agenda is often more important than the truth; the Church always is scandalized and demeaned; and in the end, people leave, and that always includes the young. You would have had my support in “timing out” much sooner, but in any case, I fully support your decision as a wise one.

  3. anonymus per Scorilo says

    Congratulation for the bold decision to close the discussion.

    I hope it was because Abp. Nathaniel paid you one of the millions he stole from the ROEA and not because the anti-Nathaniel creeps menaced to come and kill you and your family when you sleep at night 🙂

    • Subdn Constantin says

      That comment is totally false and uncalled for! Lord have mercy!

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        There is a telltale emoticon there….

        • Subdn Constantin says

          No… just “anonymus” just doesn’t know what he is talking about.

          • Who to Blame says

            Really? According to the OCA Statutes he is correct:

            Article 11 Section 7 Part e

            A judgment of deposition or defrocking of a bishop has final validity only when signed by at least 12 bishops. (If such need arises, bishops may be invited from neighboring ecclesiastical provinces to complete the quorum.)

    • Gregory Manning says

      Aha! AHA! Thank you for this anonymous! George has owed me $33.82 for some time now but has he paid me? No he has not! Always crying poverty, all the while pocketing payoffs from nefarious bishops.

      What else have you got on him anonymous?

  4. gail sheppard says

    Historically, there seem to be suspicions on both sides and stories about how one side did questionable favors during a period of time when anyone who could, probably would. No judgement here. I might have done the same. – I do know the OCA Romanians have been very good to me and for that, I am grateful.

    I don’t know what a Convocare is, however! Maybe we could talk about that. What is it and why is the subject of auxiliary bishops now tabu? (Was going to say axillary, but stopped short of that. Contrary to popular opinion, I do have some sense of decorum.)

    No one even flinched when the Antiochians demoted their consecrated bishops to auxiliary. Seriously, what could be worse than THAT and so unspeakable that we cannot discuss it here?

    Don’t tell me it’s a “mystery.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Not completely true. I remember that I was scandalized when Metropolitan Philip demoted the bishops to assistant status. Of course he did it so that (master strategist that he was) get rid of Bp Mark Maymon and dump him on the OCA but ends don’t justify means. To me, the demotion will always be a black mark against His Eminence.

      • didn’t Metropolitan Jonah give his blessing for +Mark to enter the OCA…. ?
        now all the priests in Eastern Pennsylvania are worried +Mark will hack their email accounts like he did with Fr Fester

    • “A bishop is a bishop, you see. It depends on how much authority you give this bishop. If you make him a metropolitan, then you have a multiplicity of metropolitans in this same archdiocese. If you give him enough authority to say I am wedded to the Diocese of Toledo in the Midwest, we don’t have polygamy in the Orthodox Church. This archdiocese has one metropolitan. When I was consecrated as metropolitan in Lebanon in 1966, I was consecrated as the Archbishop of New York and all North America. Toledo and the Midwest is a part of my archdiocese. I am the metropolitan of this archdiocese and Wichita in mid-America are a part of this archdiocese. So you cannot say that these bishops are wedded. You know, there is polygamy in Islam, but in Christianity, there’s no polygamy.” – Metropolitan Philip to Ancient Faith, http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/metropolitan_philip_saliba_-_on_the_record

      It is actually worse than you all have indicated. What he said, if taken literally, is rank heresy. He (perhaps ignorantly, to be kind) insulted his own bishop for speaking the truth and cast himself in the role of the bishop of North America, all of it. One is not “consecrated” an archbishop. One is awarded the title but there is no separate charism associated with it. And he said that the diocesan bishops were not “married” to their dioceses; i.e., not really diocesan bishops but ecclesiastical functionaries, auxiliaries to the one real bishop. It was all nonsense and an “abomination” against Orthodox ecclesiology which endures to this day.

      Of course there was a reason beyond his own narcissism. It has to do with the fractious history of the AOCNA and with his own reaction to the elevation of all GOAA bishops to the rank of metropolitan. But his ecclesiology was decidedly heterodox.

  5. seeingthrough says

    We just find our that Bisho Irineu, of ROEA was stopped by AB Nathaniel not to participate at the ROEA ellection.
    Otherwise he will be defrocked.
    What a powerful man ?????
    But who cares ?

    • anonymus per Scorilo says

      This is such a blatant lie…

      A bishop cannot defrock another bishop, you need 12 bishops for that ! Not even the OCA synod can do that.

      So either the person who told you that is lying through his gritted teeth, or he is completely ignorant of basic Orthodox canon law. Or both.

  6. seeingthrough says

    We just find our that Bishop Irineu, of ROEA was stopped by AB Nathaniel not to participate at the ROEA ellection.
    Otherwise he will be defrocked.
    What a powerful man ?????
    But who cares ?

  7. seeingthrough says


    August 28, 2015

    My Dear Brothers in Christ our Lord;

    Please do not be surprised at the time you will be reading this comment. It is comming from someone belonging to the ROEA as your brother in Christ the Lord.

    The purpose of sending out this comment to you all is, to properly inform you about what is going on at the ROEA (Vatra Românească) since 2014 ROEA Congress. In order for you to better understand the content of this letter, please read the 2014 ROEA Congress Minutes (http://roea.org/files/Congress/2015/83rd-Episcopate-Congress-Delegate-Packet.pdf.). Some of the materials related to the election of 2 ROEA Vicar Bishops are already posted, but the upcoming ones will be breathtaking. They are from the ROEA files / offices. Nobody can accuse anyone of thievery. We are honest and transparent.

    The ROEA Archbishop will be very much disturbed following the posting of comments over the Internet, totally against the plans of his inner circle and the records hidden to the ROEA people and not only.
    In the light of biblical statement: “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” (Matthew 10, 26.), everything that was diabolically orchestrated by the ROEA Archbishop Nathaniel Popp, Rev. Frs. Remus Grama, Ian Păcurar (alias anonymous per Scorilo) … et al, in regards to the ROEA Archbishop succession will be briefly presented / posted on Monomakhos blog.

    It is important to keep in mind that most of the ROEA clergymen (95 %) came from Romania, following the 1989 Romanian revolution. Romania was not completely liberated of the Comunists, due to the fact that after 26 years many politicians of Romania’s leadership have been educated under the Comunism Regime, and they still in power as it can be seen, due to cronism, nepotism, alliances, the “Securitate” connection, etc. Some ”securitate agents” are part of Nathaniel’s inner circle.

    Unfortunately, so many ROEA clergymen do not know the truth about the ROEA, its Archbishop, persecution of Romanian clergymen and defrocking, initiated and executed by the ROEA Archbishop, less Romanian by origine. Nobody in Romania or here in the USA is telling you the truth about the sovietic / dictatorial style in administrating the ROEA parishes of Archbishop Nathaniel. Please, do not forget that all clergymen came here to minister God, the Romanian Orthodox Church in Diaspora, and the faithful people are looking for their own salvation, and not to serve the Vatra’s dictator and his cronies, who are poorly educated theologically, and pleading alleagence to the Vatra’s dictatorial regime.

    The duty and mission for every Romanian clergymen on the American Continent is to minister God, by putting first God, Holy Bible, Church Canons and Traditions, and not any mortal man.

    Everyone should know that ”Vatra Românească” … from Grass Lake, close to Jackson, MI, has been purchased by the Romanian Patriarchate with Romanian money. The “Vatra” belongs to the Romanian people, regardless where they were born, whether in Romania, USA, or Canada.

    – 2 –

    The canons from the First and the second Ecumenical Council forbid the bishop to select his successor.

    According to the records, 35 years ago the current Vatra’s satrap Bishop Nathaniel Popp, was elected to the episcopacy, therefore succeding Valerian Trifa and Policarp Moruşca to the throne of ROEA.

    Archbishop Nathaniel, born as William George Popp, from a Greek – Catholic (Uniate) family in Aurora, IL.(His name was American and Hungarian, = no Romanian, according to his biography attached hereto this letter (See: http://www.roea.org – hierarchs). He never studied the Orthodox Theology. His “Naşu” – Godfather at the time of his conversion into Orthodox Faith, (Rev. Fr. Vasile Haţegan of Cleveland, OH), did the best to see his “Finu” – Godson elected as a bishop, succeeding Valerian Trifa in the Leadership of “Vatra”.
    Regarding Deacon David Dancea there are some information in SOLIA Almanac 2001, page 275…There are some reasons which is kicking him out of this election, as follows:
    — He was married to a divorced woman, and he was ordained into Deaconate contrary to the CanonicalProvisions;
    — He is divorced and has a daughter he should take care of her for the upcoming years;
    — His ex wife is living close to the Vatra and close to her ex husband, Deacon David Oancea;
    — He is not a monastic and he never made any monastic vows to be qualified for the episcopacy;
    — He did not make known his biography and especially the real reasons he was divorced from his wife;
    — He does not have theological training or administration skills to be qualified for Episcopacy;
    — He cannot get along with the Romanians born in Romania and with the Romanian Orthodox Culture;
    — He is pushed by the Archbishop Nathaniel to be elected, to make sure nobody will be able to discover and reveal any wrongdoing committed by Archbishop Nathaniel since his election, 35 years ago.
    — He is pushed by the Archbishop Nathaniel to be elected as Auxiliary Bishop and then to be his successor, contrary to the Canonical Provisions:
    *(CANON XLVIII. 1st Ecumenical Council, Nice, 325 A.D. “No bishop shall choose his own successor.”
    *CANON XXIII. The Synod of Antioch in Encaeniis, 431 A.D. IT shall not be lawful for a bishop, even at the close of life, to appoint another person as successor to himself; and if any such thing should be done, the appointment shall be void. But the ecclesiastical law must be observed, that a bishop must not be appointed otherwise than by a Synod and with the judgment of the bishops, who have the authority to promote the man who is worthy, after the falling asleep of him who has ceased from his labors.).
    – 3 –
    *CANON LXXVI. The Canons of the Holy and Altogether August Apostles.
    A bishop must not out of favor to a brother or a son, or any other relation, ordain whom he will to the episcopal dignity; for it is not right to make heirs of the bishopric, giving the things of God to human affections. Neither is it fitting to subject the Church of God to heirs. But if anyone shall do so let the ordination be void, and the ordainer himself be punished with excommunication.
    Related to the former wife of Dn. David Oancea
    DOB: 05-12-1965; POB: Brasov (Romania)
    Parents: Nicolae Oprea, Ioana Oprea.
    Married to VLAICU-OCTAVIAN TODOR on September 27, 1986.
    Godparents: Bujor & Creola Manescu
    The marriage was performed in the ANNUNCIATION ORTHDODOX CHURCH (Biserica Bunavestire)
    30 Nicolae Iorga Street, Brasov (Romania).

    The DIVORCE sentence was performed by the Civil City Court of Brasov (Romania) on January 26, 1988
    Sentence was recorded at Nr. 562/ 01-26-1988.

    She was married here( for the second time) in St. George Cathedral in Southfield MI with David Oancea, and was divorced here, later on.

    Now she lives in Jackson Michigan with her parents and daughter.

    Even St. Spiridon from the First Ecumenical Council 325 AD, Niceea was married but his wife died and than he became a bishop. Metropolitan Laurentiu Streza of Ardeal, Sibiu, Romania was married and his wife died before etc etc. This is just one impediment to bishophoric seat

    Based on his records, no other OCA bishop has defrocked, suspended, or kicked out from his diocese more clergymen as the ROEA Archbishop. These records related to the status of the ROEA clergy could be found and seen on the Annual Reports of ROEA Congresses and OCA Clergy changes throughout the years.
    It is very interested to read the comments of “Anonymus per Scorilo” and to realize how he got the blessing from Nathaniel to mislead all readers of this blog. Not everyone is so naïve to believe whatever he is saying in his comments.

    The investigating committee from OCA is headed by ABN, therefore Oancea was accepted as a candidate for the bishop position. No more comments on this matter!!!.

    The bluffs which will be thrown in your eyes is that the money collected here will be sent to Romanian Patriarchate. Lol. Or the Romanian Patriarchate will select your next bishop, another ,crazy ideas, or you’ll will be part of the Romanian Patriarchate. WHAT”S wrong with that??? All the other Orthodox in USA and all over the world are part of patriarchates, and is nothing wrong with that, we are canonical sound not like today “canonical anomaly”
    – 4 –

    not recognized by anyone in the world.

    Do not forget you have a very strong power and a key duty to select or not to select what you want, and it is the time to be free of any non Romanian and none Orthodox influence.

    May God our Lord and His Mother bless you all with the right wisdom.

    A concern Romanian.

  8. seeingthrough says

    A desperate action of Ab Nathaniel from ROEA. He know that he is loosing the battle and his freedom.
    This is just the beginning of the end for Nathaniel. A crazy man does crazy and mad things. All Romanian priest are up in arms.
    Let’s see what is coming out.
    The sword has two edges, watch out.


    (September 1, 2015 – Grass Lake, MI) The Episcopate Office has been notified by the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (ORSMA) of the Orthodox Church in America, that His Grace, Bishop Irineu (Duvlea), Bishop of Dearborn Heights and Auxiliary Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, is being investigated for allegations of sexual misconduct.

    His Grace Irineu is presumed innocent pending the outcome of the investigation. According to the Policies, Standards and Procedures (PSP) of ORSMA, His Grace Irineu has been placed on Leave of Absence and does not have a blessing to serve liturgically in our Episcopate or at any other location.

    The process is highly confidential, and no one should discuss the investigation with anyone. However, since this investigation is being made known to others by His Grace Irineu, the Episcopate decided to make a general public announcement about this matter. We pray for His Grace, Bishop Irineu and all those participating in this process.

    +NATHANIEL, Archbishop

    – See more at: http://roea.org/news_150901_2.html#sthash.UTARNwdV.dpuf

  9. Time to Clean House says

    The fact that the OCA has never taken the time to investigate the colorful past Ab. Nathaniel is just another indication of the corruption that infects that jurisdiction.

    When Nathaniel was one of the “three amigos” in Rome, along with Benedict DeSocio and Mark Forsberg (yes the same Bishop Mark Forsberg who has been in a loving relationship with his Archdeacon Gregory Burke) their antics in Rome were notorious.

    +Nathaniel has blocked every attempt to have Burke defrocked. Isn’t it strange that a man, Burke, who ran off to California and married another man, then went back to Florida after Bishop Mark went after him has never been dealt with by ORSMA? The OCA has scuttled his being defrocked because of the efforts of the ruling hierarch of the ROEA. Burke has used “mental instability” as his defense. Really? Maybe the OCA can ask the Albanian Archdiocese why they got rid of Bishop Mark when he was their ruling bishop? May Fr. Arthur Liolin, yes, the brother of Bishop Nikon (Liolin) of the OCA New England and Albanian Diocese, and a frequent guest of Bishop Mark and Deacon Burke in Florida can shed some light on the selective prosecutions of sexual deviants in the OCA.

    Now we see +Nathaniel going after the one man in the ROEA who knows the depth of +Nathaniel’s immorality. And the OCA will just roll over and turn a blind eye once again?. Bishop Irineu brought charges against Nathaniel back in 2005 and then Metropolitan Herman stabbed Irineu in the back by not investigating the charges and tipped off Nathaniel of Irineu’s charges. It was then and since then, that Nathaniel threatened Irineu with deportation if he ever tried to talk about Nathaniel’s past.

    Those charges are still valid and must be investigated. Maybe now the OCA will finally listen to Bishop Irineu and expose the truth about Nathaniel. If it doesn’t then their high profile attempts to establish sexual misconduct rules and investigations are not worth a damn.

    No amount of deflection attempts by Nathaniel’s shills on this site can change the facts. Nathaniel is a desperate man. The ROEA deserves much better than what they have had to deal with these many sad years. And God knows that the OCA would be better off with Nathaniel gone.

  10. Carl Kraeff says

    This thing solidifies couple of other concepts in my mind.

    1. We must cut ties to mother churches in the Old World.

    2. All Orthodox jurisdictions in the USA must have the same stringent accountability and transparency regimes. You can start with OCA;’s and make them stricter but never stringent.

    BTW, I am getting sick and tired of potshots taken against the OCA by folks who are in jurisdictions where there are no stringent accountability and transparency practices.

  11. I personally think that most ties to real churches in the old world are healthy. That is based on my experience in the Serbian church and the ROCOR both before and after reunification. I am not saying that the ties necessarily have to be formal and administrative. Antioch has recognized this by granting autonomy to their North American archdiocese.

    I am not familiar with the Romanian situation, but I find it hard to believe that the old country church doesn’t have a breadth and depth from which Romanians here couldn’t benefit by having ties. A healthy OCA wouldn’t have to worry about their Romanians formally bolting, and would welcome fraternal visits from Romanian hierarchs and monastics who could be of benefit to recent immigrants.

    Alexandria seems quite healthy, precisely because they tend to their own business and have quietly gone about mission activity within their own historical canonical boundaries on a scale matched only by the re-missionizing of the former Soviet Union by the Russian Orthodox Church.

    I have little good to say about cultivating relationships with Constantinople, a “patriarchate” full of bishops over “dioceses” with no faithful, “shepherds” with no flocks (and who have made no efforts to convert the people who live within their “dioceses.”) These are mere religious bureaucrats, beginning with the Patriarch himself, who acts like nothing so much as a cuckoo bird, who lays its eggs in nests built by others.

    What exactly can those in “diaspora” possibly have to learn from a “church” that has no experience in actually being a real church with real flocks and real mission activity in the historical canonical territory that is its chief responsibility? If that chief responsibility is not the foremost activity of a church, one must ask why not? If the Patriarch of Constantinople were focused on converting Turkey to Orthodox Christianity, he would have little time or energy for all of the international ecclesiastical political games of which he is so fond.

    If we must seek guidance from a Patriarch living in the Mediterranean, let it be from Alexandria, where two successive Patriarchs have quietly gone about expanding the faithful within their canonical territory to 2 million strong. Rather than Constantinople, I personally would find it more logical to look to the Archbishop of Athens, who actually has a flock and knows something about caring for one.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Oh Edward you are just wrong about the EP, but to each his own.


      • If the EP is aggressively missionizing his historical canonical territory and it is going successfully like gangbusters, with churches being built and faithful being baptized, I am happy to be corrected. I know there are some small activities, but nothing proportional to the task. His actions indicate that he is most interested in being a globetrotting Pope of the East, aping the modern Papacy. I really wouldn’t care were it not that he seems partial to ecumenical compromise. A quite sizable contingent on Mt. Athos seems to agree. (Note that Mr. Weigel, in this article, as well as getting Orthodox positions wrong, also implies in his closing statement that Catholics see Islamic pressure as being a wedge with which to force union with Rome. Wonder which Patriarchate would be giving them encouragement along those lines? It’s Ferrara-Florence all over again.)

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Like I said to each his own.


          • I am just surprised, Peter. You have voiced very traditional views on this forum, and you have voiced support for Greek Old Calendarists. I personally find most Greek Old Calendarist positions to be too extreme, but I sympathize with their praxis and many of their concerns. The EP has no such sympathies whatsoever, and is more interested in good relations with Rome (even under this very liberal Pope who seems intent on overturning what little traditional teaching the Catholics still have) than with mending fences in his own back yard with Greek Old Calendarists and with more traditional elements in the Church of Greece and on the Holy Mountain.

            In fact, we find the EP labeling the Russian Church as “diabolical” because they are skeptical about such ecumenism, gaining him a cheering section in the Roman Catholic world.

            If you simply don’t want to discuss it, that’s fine. But to dismiss concerns with a mere “to each his own” leaves questions. I can’t tell you how many devout Greeks have admitted to me that they don’t at all like what the EP has done over the past century, and yet they basically voice support for him. In my opinion, serious Orthodox Christians who put their Orthodox Christianity first, should be more reflective. But, as you say, to each his own.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Disobedience is too extreme. Contrary to what you think I put my trust in the Holy Spirit. See below Edward.


            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              BTW Edward the EP has also reached out to the Greek OC, but it was they the rebuffed him. Yes, I have sympathy for the OC position, but never to the point of disobedience. It is you I humbled ask to reflect on that.


        • Peter A. Papoutsis says


          Although you won’t like this response because you are against talking to the so-called “Unwashed Heretics,” but to counter your point that the Ecumenical Patriarch is doing nothing as far as spreading his ministry I offer this:https://www.patriarchate.org/photo-galleries?p_p_id=flickr_WAR_flickrportlet&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-1&p_p_col_count=1&_flickr_WAR_flickrportlet_action=openSet&_flickr_WAR_flickrportlet_id=72157657676412949

          I believe in talking with the RC, Monophysites, and other separated breathern to see if we can show them the way back to Orthodoxy. Although I like you am critical of the Ecumenical Movement, I will not turn my back on them and not preach them to truth.

          Also, just remember its the Church NOT Athos that holds Orthodoxy. As much as I love and respect Athos they are NOT and NEVER HAVE BEEN the authority.

          As for the home front here in America the EP via the GOARCH has this coming up:http://www.hchc.edu/missions/news/releases/speaking-to-secular-america

          All this reminds me of Philipians 4:5-8

          [4]Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
          [5] Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.
          [6] Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
          [7] And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
          [8] Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

          So I like you can get ticked off, or get ticked off to the point of becoming schismatic and joining an Old Calendar Church, or I can know what I believe and engage in discussions with my separated brethren to bring them back. I choose the later.

          Criticism is easy. Its hard work to talk with someone that you disagree with and praying and hoping that the light of Christ comes across to them.

          I also have to confess that Michael Stankovich was the one that helped me see this. When the protests were going on outside Russian Orthodox Churches by the LGBT community because of Russia’s Anti-Gay legislation, which I agreed with, Michael was the one who on this Blog post said to welcome the protesters in and to talk with them. hear them out and have them hear US out and to know why we believe what we believe about Homosexuality.

          The Church was not going to change, but the truth in love would have gone out to them. After that we let the Holy Spirit do his job and convict men’s hearts. without talking to them about the truth how will they ever know? For that insight I humbly thank Michael.

          So is Ecumenism a Pan-Heresy? Well yes if you are talking about bringing about a synchronicity so as to form a one world religion. However, to talk with our separated brothers in love and to show them Orthodoxy this I cannot and will not oppose.

          also remember The Gospel According to St. Mark 9:38-40

          [38] John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.”
          [39] But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.
          [40] For he that is not against us is for us.

          So we can be schismatics like the Old Calendar Churches are and like ROCOR used to be on this issue, or we can be faithful to the words and Gospel of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

          You may not like the way the EP is conducting his ministry, but he is doing it and who are we to judge if he is doing it right or wrong as long as he is faithful to Orthodoxy? Who are you? Who am I, and really who are the Monks of Athos to criticize the EP? I have grown up listening to this monk and that monk saying good things and bad things about this Bishop and that Bishop or the EP and at the end of the day they still read his name. Interesting they still read his name that of big ol bad Bartholomew or even of the Bishop they criticize.

          I have made it no secret that I disagree with my Bishop on several matters, and that after everything that has happened here in the Metropolis of Chicago it would be a good thing if he is removed. However, unless and until that day comes he has my obedience. I am no schismatic Edward so be very careful of the words you use because others are listening and unless you are 100% sure that a certain cleric has violated his oath and that of Orthodoxy I would humbly ask you to reexamine your position and be a little more charitable when it comes to out clerics. They need our prayers not our criticisms.

          Heck I even pray for retired Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) who I disagree with, and have tried, but I know I have failed, to be charitable towards even him. IMHO If we all had more charity towards our Clerics, myself included, Metropolitan Jonah would most probably still be around.

          Think about it Edward. I bid you peace.


          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Vice President Biden to become recipient of Athenagoras Human Rights Award, Oct. 17

            New York, NY

            The Hon. Joseph Biden, Vice President of the United States, will receive this year’s Athenagoras Human Rights Award presented by the Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, at the organization’s annual banquet Saturday, Oct. 17, at the New York Hilton Hotel in New York City.

            In December 2011, Biden became the first sitting Vice President of the United States to visit His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Phanar. Three years later, November 2014, the Vice President returned for a second official visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

            As a strong advocate for religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Biden made the following remarks at the Clergy-Laity Congress in Philadelphia: “The issue that I would like to mention tonight, and one about which I am equally optimistic, is religious freedom and the right of the Greek Orthodox Church to control its destiny free of the influence of any government – of any government at all. The right to decide who the Patriarch is, is not the business of any State to determine. Period. Period. The right to reopen Halki Seminary is basic. And the protection of the holy places and the heritage sites in Turkey is absolutely necessary. It is basic. It is the essence of religious freedom.”

            Archbishop Demetrios responded to the news of the Award as follows, “Vice President Biden has shown again and again his commitment to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and it’s free and unhampered exercise of its spiritual mission. His two visits to the Phanar as the only sitting Vice President of the United States speak volumes about his love of liberty, sense of justice and true friendship with His All-Holiness.”

            National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis added, “We are honored to bestow the Athenagoras Human Rights Award on this exemplary leader, whose love of freedom and human rights has borne such witness for the Mother Church and the rights of all oppressed people.”

            Past recipients of the award have included Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, Mother Teresa, Elie Wiesel and Mikhail Gorbachev.

            The Award is named in memory of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, who served in that capacity from 1948 until his death in 1972. Prior to his selection as Ecumenical Patriarch, Athenagoras served as Archbishop of North and South America.

            Established in 1986, the Athenagoras Human Rights Award is presented annually at the Order of Saint Andrew’s grand banquet to a person or organization, which has consistently exemplified by action, purpose and dedication concern for the basic rights and religious freedom of all people. Visit archons.org/AthenagorasAward.
            Staying true to what I have written before I would like to state, as a Greek Orthodox Christian and member of the GOAA, I was very saddened to hear that the Archons were going to award Vice-President Joe Biden the Athenagoras Human Rights Award.

            Let me say that I do not have any ill feelings towards VP Biden, but I do strongly disagree with him on his stance supporting a woman’s right to an Abortion. Just because VP Biden supports the religious freedom of the EP is not an excuse to award him the Athenagoras Human Rights Award. VP Biden is all for human rights, except for the Human Rights of the unborn babies.

            The Archons have made a very big mistake and I for one cannot support or condone it. I do humbly ask all Orthodox Christians, especially Greek Orthodox Christians to contact the Order of St. Andrew and let your voices of disapproval be heard. http://www.archons.org/contact/

            Again, while I thank VP Biden for standing up for the rights of the EP, VP Biden should be more importantly standing up for the rights of the unborn.

            Thank you and God Bless.

            Peter A. Papoutsis

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            And don’t forget St. Paul in Phillipians:

            “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in that I rejoice.”

  12. I am just surprised, Peter. You have voiced very traditional views on this forum, and you have voiced support for Greek Old Calendarists. I personally find most Greek Old Calendarist positions to be too extreme, but I sympathize with their praxis and many of their concerns. The EP has no such sympathies whatsoever, and is more interested in good relations with Rome (even under this very liberal Pope who seems intent on overturning what little traditional teaching the Catholics still have) than with mending fences in his own back yard with Greek Old Calendarists and with more traditional elements in the Church of Greece and on the Holy Mountain.

    In fact, we find the EP labeling the Russian Church as “diabolical” because they are skeptical about such ecumenism, gaining him a cheering section in the Roman Catholic world.

    If you simply don’t want to discuss it, that’s fine. But to dismiss concerns with a mere “to each his own” leaves questions. I can’t tell you how many devout Greeks have admitted to me that they don’t at all like what the EP has done over the past century, and yet they basically voice support for him. In my opinion, serious Orthodox Christians who put their Orthodox Christianity first, should be more reflective. But, as you say, to each his own.

  13. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    I translated this little booklet from Modern Greek into English several years ago, but did not finish it entirely. The Very nice lady that shared the book with me wanted it back, but I managed to translate a good portion of it before I had to return it. I share what I have translated with you. Enjoy.


    The Symbolism

    The pure and tender candle symbolizes the true character of our souls. Just as the candle melts quietly and illuminates, this is also how we should melt with the happiness of God until our very last moment of earthly pain, always sacrificing for those near to us. We should always illuminate and be charitable to those around us, being meek in spirit and without overt displays of piety and happiness for the love of Christ
    The candle that is found at the candle table in the sanctuary also symbolizes our own death. Once we place the candle upright and lit upon the Church’s candle stand- a symbol of the resurrected Jesus- we confess our own resurrection. For sometimes we are spiritually dead, but Christ makes us alive again and we become living lights of Christ: “Even when we were dead through our trespasses, He made us alive together with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:5).
    With candles at funerals, at memorials and in the kolliva, we confess our faith in the resurrection of our dearly departed.
    With the pure candle that we hold during Pascha, we confess even our own resurrection through Christ. The faithless, the godless and the unrepentant see nothing beneficial from such a confession, because they are spiritually dead.
    With the lit candle during the sacrament of baptism we confess the spiritual re-birth of the one being baptized. The one who is baptized is buried with Christ in the baptizmal basin and is later resurrected with Him.
    With the lit candles during the sacrament of Holy Matrimony we confess, as these pure candles illuminate all around us, this is how we shall be glowing with the happiness of God as an example to our children and we shall not betray the honor of our marriage.

    Pure Candle or a Paraffine Candle

    God desires that we offer to Him the most pure and clean things. The same as with the candle or the lamp, they must be made from pure beeswax. Unfortunately, the realities of purchasing such expensive materials always have a negative influence in the making of such pure candles for the Lord. However, may we take care, if at all possible, to use a pure candle in our home.

    The Lighting of Many Candles Brings Far Better Results?

    The custom that we Orthodox have of lighting many candles is one that is a mistaken mind-set and creates frequent problems.

    One or two candles are more than sufficient for the living and the dearly departed souls. When we light the candle with much reverence, prayerfully we can say: “Christ, You are the light of the world, help me, so that my life warmly melts from your love that is near me and that it shine forth like the humble light of a candle.” Or more plainly: “Lord, shine forth upon all my brothers and my family and forgive the sins of the dearly departed souls of those who are my brothers that have fallen asleep.” Further, let us pre-examine the manner of our lives, because no matter how many small candles and big candles we light towards the affirmation of our resurrection, they will not save us, if we do not live with a spirit of repentance, confession of sins, and prayer, within God’s holy communion.


    Within the History of Man’s life

    Before the coming of Christianity the heathen, never sparingly, would hang small golden perpetually lit lamps before the face of idols and other pagan statues.

    The heathen would keep the sacred flame of the vestal virgins, The Vestal Virgins of Rome, continuously and perpetually kept it lit.

    At the Tabernacle of Testimony of the Jews the seven candle lamp that was inside shined forth, and was made from pure gold. In this sacred lamp they burned oil, pure and unadulterated oil. In other words, oil that was virginal and pure.

    The first Christians who came from the jews, and from the idolaters, established many of their usual religious practices at the very center of their new Christian form of worship.

    Candle lamps and regular oil lamps have been found by archeologist by the crypts and in the catacombs of Rome, of Carthage, of Alexandria and of Palestine with the following inscriptions: “Light of Light” and “The Light of Christ is obvious to all.”

    Significance and symbolism

    From the above mentioned inscriptions we can infer that the lamp symbolizes the perpetual light that is Christ and we are called to imitate Him.

    To enlighten ourselves with the light of His knowledge.

    For us to become lights of Christ like the disciples of the Great Light.

    For us to become luminaries of Christ to the world with our pure lives.

    To direct ourselves to the goodness of the light’s brightness, and to hold our lamp perpetually lit just like the five wise virgins.

    If every Christians becomes a lamp of Christ, if every congregation becomes a seven candle lamp and every cathedral chandelier were lit, then in fact would the light of Christ shine forth upon the earth.
    Bishop Achridos Nicholas Velimirovitis stated seven reasons as to why we light the sacred lamp.
    1.) To remind us that our faith is itself a light. Christ said: “ I am the light of the world.” The light of the sacred lamp reminds us of the light that Christ uses to illuminate our souls.
    2.) To remind us that our lives must be as illuminated as those of the Saints, which the Apostle Paul calls “The Children of Light.”
    3.) To reprove with its light our darkest deeds, to remind us of our wickedness and lewd desires and to return to the path of the Light of the Gospel, so that we realize the meaning of the word of the Lord: “So let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
    4.) To remind us of the unceasing nature of prayer. Every time the sacred lamp is lit, it reminds us, that there must be prayer.
    5.) To be a terror to the might of darkness, that attacks us with evil before and at the time of prayer and wants to distance our thoughts from God. The demons love the darkness and are fearful of the Light, the Light of Christ, that illuminates those who love Christ.
    6.) That it may urge us to self-sacrifice. As the wick burns only with oil in the sacred lamp, so must our will burn with the flame of love before Christ and always be subject to the Will of God.
    7.) So that we learn, that as the sacred lamp cannot be lit without our hands, likewise the inner sacred lamp of the heart cannot be lit without the Hands of Gods. The labors of our virtue is the indispensable fuel that consumes everything, in other words, the wick and the oil, that ignite and illuminate, require the flame of the Holy Spirit.

    What materials do we use?

    One clean glass, pure olive oil (not seed oil), and a wick, either from special wicks from the mountain, or from yarn.
    We use olive oil so that we remember Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, where there was a grove of olive trees. Olive oil is the best oil and the most pure and it is this oil that we must present to God. So that stinginess does not take hold of us as it once did Cain.
    The lighting of the sacred lamp with olive oil is one of our small sacrifices, a sign and token of gratitude and love, because of our indebtedness to God, for the great sacrifice He did for us. With this sacred oil and with our prayer, we give thanks to Him for our life, for our health, for our salvation and for everything His divine and infinite love freely gives to us.

    What do we do with the used material?

    We gather up the material and we place them in the garden or we throw them in the sea, and never place the used materials in the garbage.

    Where and When do we light the Sacred Lamp?
    The perpetual sacred lamp must be kept by our house’s Icon stand as a reminder that within the spiritual struggle for our salvation we are obligated to be just as perpetual, tireless and full of light.
    We light it first before the Icons of the Holy Sanctuary, then always before the Holy Altar, next before the Bishop’s Chair, and finally on the graves of our dearly departed.


    Its Historical Origins

    People from the Near East loved fragrant incenses and placed them as a special honor before the faces of high class individuals. This is why one of the gifts that the three Magi from the East presented to the King of Bethlehem was incense.

    The incense from the palaces of the Near East was used at their alters for the worship of their God. In similar fashion the Hebrews used incense to honor the true God.

    And the Church of Christ obtained the use of incense from the former’s Jewish worship rituals. In the beginning the Church also used incense for sanitary reasons. The catacombs had odorous vapors coming from the tombs and the walls of the underground crypts had upon them a musty dampness. Therefore an antiseptic was needed to moderate the impurity in the air. However, later on, the Church did not want to use incense as a representation of a spiritual fragrance as a model of “The Heavenly Worship.”

    However, this changed when in the Apocalypse St. John the Evangelist saw, as gold vessels, incense holders and incense burners that were presented before the golden alter by an angel as the prayers of all the saints (Rev. 5:8).

    The Meaning and Symbolism of Burning Incense

    The burning incense symbolizes our prayers that rise as smoke before the Throne of God. “Let my prayer be set forth as incense before You.” (Psalm 140). Just as the incense meets the burning coal, and does not remain there, but heats up very much and spreads its fragrance, likewise souls should be aflame and have a burning faith; worshipers should not be bound to the earth and to their possessions, when they are worshiping God, but fly towards the high reaching sweet-smelling fragrances, letting go of all material concerns.

    With the uplifting of our mind and our soul towards the higher things of God, “Thus lifting up our hearts,” our prayer becomes more pure and our communion with God becomes so much more substantial.

    Incense takes us to the realm of the Saint’s prayers and emphasizes the coming of Christ and the Saints in our life.

    The incense is intended to symbolize the gifts of the Magi. Once the offering is completed and the priest covers the holy gifts with the pure coverings, he incenses these gifts, and says “unto an aroma of spiritual fragrance;” I surmise this is how the descent of the Holy Spirit is upon the people in church and upon the offered gifts on the altar.

    Incensing before the Great Entrance indicates the mixture of myrrh of Nicodemus. The incensing in the Great Entrance symbolizes the Holy Spirit with the sweet aroma of the incense. Then there is incensing of the Holy Gifts after they are placed upon the alter-cloth and they are covered with the Aer (that symbolizes the stone in front of Christ’s tomb), represents the aromas of the Myrrbearers.

    After giving Holy Communion to the faithful the priests places the Holy Gifts upon the Holy Altar Table and he incenses them. This incensing represents the rushing like wind of the Holy Spirit particularly upon the Apostles after His (i.e. Christ’s) Resurrection.

    What Items are Used

    For incensing we use the incense holder (or incense burner), a coal, or coal dust, and incense (or frankincense).

    The incense burners or incense holders that are used in Church are portable metallic objects where coals, or coal dust, are placed in their receptors. The censer is attached to four chains with twelve small bells. This symbolizes the Church with the Twelve Apostles.

  14. Peter A. Papoutsis says
  15. George Michalopoulos,

    I don’t know where else to post this. I was waiting for an article and discussion on this issue. This is the litmus test of religious conscience and freedom vs. Federally sanctioned Gay Marriage.

    Kim Davis

  16. That makes two of us.