Turnabout is Fair Play

Darn it! The ever-delightful Byzantine Texas, has beaten me to the punch again. He even came up with the title I wanted to use. Oh well.


Seriously, what did those desk-jockeys at the Phanar expect? That Russia and the rest of the Orthodox Commonwealth would look kindly on this brazen, obviously political move? Really? Are they really so insulated from the real world that they didn’t see this one coming?

And all for what? Recognizing a “church” whose “patriarch” is a defrocked layman? Especially when there already is a canonical Church located there? One which has been recognized by even Constantinople as canonical? Is it just me or does anybody see that these optics are no good?

This is where the rubber hits the road, brethren: what do you think every other patriarch in Orthodoxy is thinking right now? Especially given the hyperbolic self-congratulatory commentary that came out of the Cretan council; that is to say that Constantinople is the Mother Church of Orthodoxy? As I asked in a previous vlog, is Constantinople the Mother Church of Antioch? of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus, or Georgia? To believe that one would have had to have flunked History 101.

I hate to get all secular here but who in their public relations firm thought that this would sell? If this were a business, heads would roll. Think of the Edsel or Gummy Rats. Or the geniuses who came up with Star Wars VIII: Purple-haired Lesbians Save the Galaxy. (Please forgive the flippancy, I’m on my second glass of bourbon.)

The transparency behind this act is so obvious that even a blind man could see it. The only question at this point to my mind is who in the State Department is the Ecumenical Patriarch’s handler? (I’m thinking Victoria Nuland; could be John Bolton. Perhaps Stefan Halper. I dunno.) Whoever it is, I guarandangtee you that he or she will be nowhere to be found when things go south.

If so, then the Phanar is no different than the ruling classes that make up the globalist elite. Just like the American establishment which couldn’t see the Trump Train on the horizon before it mowed them down or the City of London which didn’t think that Middle England would vote for the Brexit, so too do we see the same arrogant myopia from the bishops-without-diocese that make up the “New Rome”.

I really hate to say this but –I told you so.

I pray that at the end of the day that the Holy Synod of Constantinople will be able to say it was all worth it. As for me –lowly sinner that I am–I’m not seeing it.

Lord have mercy.



  1. A council needs to be held to depose Bartholomew and his minions. And what better place than in the United States? ROCOR should start making plans for a council on American soil (that would piss off the deep stste) with all North American jurisdictions and all bishops who can attend. Depose Bartholomew for violating canon 12 of Chalcedon. We already have enough evidence just in the past week not only for multiple canonical infractions but writings when examined reveal he openly espouses the heresy of papism

    • Joseph Lipper says


      Papism seeks centralization while the creation of another autocephalous church creates decentralization. Who is seeking centralization? Moscow. Who is seeking decentralization? The EP.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Actually, Joseph, the centralization is the other way. Moscow has no designs or hypertropic claims on any other autocephalous Church. It was even willing to give autocephaly to one of its own archdioceses (the OCA).

        It is Cpole which is making novel claims about its right to interfere into the territories of local Churches.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          The EP has a stated position on what to do “in the event that two autocephalous Churches grant autonomous status within the same geographical ecclesial region, prompting contestation over the status of each autonomous Church”:


          The EP continues, “the parties involved appeal—together or separately—to the Ecumenical Patriarch so that he may find a canonical solution to the matter in accordance with prevailing pan-Orthodox practice.”

          This appears to be the current situation. Ukraine is not autocephalous yet, so apparently it’s fair game for setting up shop. And now the EP is doing just that, setting up shop by sending in exarchs. However the EP is very explicitly doing this as a step towards granting autocephaly.

          The EP wants Ukraine autocephalous so that it is canonically no longer “fair game for setting up shop.”

          • Gail Sheppard says

            RE: “. . . the parties involved appeal—together or separately—to the Ecumenical Patriarch so that he may find a canonical solution to the matter in accordance with prevailing pan-Orthodox practice.”

            Did the EP find a solution to the dispute on the canonical jurisdiction of Qatar territories? If he did, I missed the memo. – Frankly, he is much better at creating problems than he is at solving them.

          • If you read the Crete text it deals with problems that may arise in the diaspora. Secondly in the speech given at Constantinople to its heirarchs it says the Ecumenical Patriarch is the beginning of Orthodoxy and that Orthodoxy cannot exist without it. That is the heresy of papism

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              As an Anglo-Caledonian in the Greek Orthodox Church am I in the diaspora?

              At least I am Caledonian, not a heretic non-Caledonian!

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Tim R. Mortis! You ask: “As an Anglo-Caledonian in the Greek Orthodox Church am I in the diaspora?”
                “Caledonia” was the subject of a ’50s hit by, I think, Lionel Hampton. It began: “Caledonia! Caledonia! What makes your big head so hard?”
                Was this your modest way of confessing to intellectual rigidity?

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  No, just my modest way of saying I’m Scot as well as English. That and an obvious play on Chalcedon.
                  But I freely confess my intellectual rigidity!

  2. Has any one considered that one of the results of all this church politicking as Constantinople seeks to keep wordly power by spiritual means, which what PAPACY did in 1870 to compensate for loss of power in united Italy.? That is all we seeing with Christ Crucified pushed out of the way.
    Well as young greek american believers look at all this, not understanding any of it but knowing NONE of it relating to their lives or spiritual questions in 21st c America, they will shrug shoulders and walk away, surrounded as they are by protestant mentality, even the increasingly secular is that, and consign Orthodoxy to their grandma, IF she still goes. And in most cases what sort of Orthodoxy have they known?

    • sorry to be a buzzkill, but yes, they would easily leave if they could, even if the theology is all wronggg. Younger ones see life and involvement in the ccommunity Bible churches, which are welcoming, not here. Far cry from the insulating attitudes of some parishes which only live for the annual festivals and have no Bible classes or topical classes or any sort of care for ongoing maintenance of the soul.

      • And the pseudo 19c harmonium and BANAL choir worship sitting in yr rigid pews like a spectator worship Greek Archdiocese mostly offers. Yes we do it in greek. Lol.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Niko, that’s a very good point. It was Vatican I, which in 1870, came up with the hyperbolic claims about the papacy just at the time when it lost all its worldly power.

    • As a young person very involved in the Orthodox Church, I actually see Moscow doing exactly what you’re talking about Constantinople doing. Their actions are not what’s pushing the youth away, it’s the lay people commenting on such situations. Everyone is speaking about papacy and heresy and other over exaggerated rubbish. Such situations should not affect your journey to Theosis, it should not affect the Divine Body and Blood of our Saviour that you receive at Liturgy, nor the Confessions we give to our Spiritual Fathers, or any other sacrament for that matter. This issue does not affect your spiritual lives whatsoever. So leave it to the very capable bishops of the Orthodox Church and pray for them instead of judge them.

  3. Lower Manhattan Cynic says

    I am not buying any Russian /Monomachos/ ROCOR/OCA criticism of The Phanar over Ukraine or anything else.

    Church and state in Russia , to include intelligence services , corrupt oligarchs and Putin, are all one—with geopolitical, financial, espionage, and military dominace and goals all intertwined.

    The “Holy Russians” will conspire happilywith the Turks to stomp The Phanar into a tent in Syria, and I am no fan of the Phanar, but that’s the priority.

    Churches, my ass. These are warring tribes wanting turf, money, and serfs.

    Take a look at 100,000 feet, not in the weeds

    • Actually, it’s the EP doing it to himself. If he stayed out of the Ukraine there wouldn’t be a problem. He could continue the “Mother Church of Orthodoxy” nonsense and claiming to be the “Spiritual Leader” and everyone would continue to ignore him. You may not like the Russians, but they are right on this one. Sad that it has come to this. Hopefully the other Patriarchates will step in and defuse the situation.

    • Monk James Silver says

      Lower Manhattan Cynic (September 10, 2018 at 9:52 am) says:

      I am not buying any Russian /Monomachos/ ROCOR/OCA criticism of The Phanar over Ukraine or anything else.
      And the ROCOR and the OCA have exactly what? to do with these matters?

  4. Yes. The new Metaxakis must be deposed. Batholomew must go. Anaxios!

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Don’t you mean ANATHEMA!?
      I’d like to see Metaxakis and his legacy officially anathematized. None of his prestadigitation produced good fruit.

  5. Will Harrington says

    Lower Manhattan Cynic

    You are not looking from a clear perspective. The Ecumenical Patriarchate exists at the mercy of others. First, at the mercy of the wealthy of the so called Greek diaspora who fund it, since the patriarchate has no real wealth, or even much of a flock, in Turkey. Second, they are at the mercy of the Western Elite, who view it as, at best, a minor political pawn. Most importantly, the Patriarchate exists at the mercy of Turkey, an increasingly radicalized Islamic nation with no love of the Church. It should be obvious to anyone that the Patriarchate needs an escape hatch. Ideally that should be provided by Orthodox nations, but political history has seen the EP align with the West, so that would be very difficult. If worse comes to worse, the EP would have to go into exile in the EU or the US, or maybe Australia. The site of an exile would probably be the US because of the GOARCH and because the higgledy-piggledy-ness of the jurisdictional territory here means that no one could effectively object.

    The West, or at least the globalist elite of the west, have an interest in using Ukraine to try and destabilize Russia. The EP can cause increased conflict in Ukraine by issuing this tomos. If he does not, then it is likely that his diplomatic protection against Erdogan. and even his path into exile, will simply dry up and blow away. He is in a damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t situation. This is not tribe against tribe. This is cynical geopolitical games amongst great powers of the world.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Brilliantly cool and dispassionate analysis.

      • Yes, in truth this is in no ones best interest other than Foggy Bottom. It is an attack on the MP which puts Constantinople legitimacy in question with most other patriarchates. No sane cleric in the Phanar would advise this absent foreign ties to Washington. It serves no purpose unless a Unia is certain. The only alternative explanation would be if the Phanar does not think that Putin will fight and win any armed contest in the area. That means ignoring recent history. . . What do you think happens when the pseudo church under the Phanar starts seizing MP churches and holy sites? God have mercy.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        Here’s a scenario:

        EP goes into exile, say, in the US.

        EP eventually assumes the title of Patriarch of All America.

        A new metropolitanate of Constantinople (under the jurisdiction of the American Patriarchate) is eventually established if the climate becomes less hostile to Christianity in Turkey.

        In time, this metropolitanate will grow horns against its American Mother Church and demand autocephaly. The metropolitan bishop will begin to style himself as the Patriarch of Constantinople and break away from the true Patriarchate of Constantinople (which became the Patriarchate of America).

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Thanks for the fresh perspective that may explain the crazy behavior of Bart right now, and cause us to relent on condemning him. I’ll try to hold this in my thoughts so I can pray for him compassionately.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      The new location of the EP in America should be Independence, Missouri, in my opinion, inasmuch as this is the location of the Second Coming, according to the Latter Day Saints.
      Who can say them nay?

  6. Joseph Lipper says

    George, it is true that I was previously wondering if the Phanar was being pressured by the U.S. State Dept in regards to the proposed Ukrainian autocephaly. However, the more I read about this, I don’t think so. I believe the only one that is “pressuring” the Phanar for autocephaly is Poroshenko.

    Perhaps the U.S. Government (or somebody else?) is pressuring Poroshenko. That could very well be. However, it is very, very difficult to see how the Phanar could possibly gain from this. Granting an Ukranian autocephaly is already inviting the reprimands of most the Orthodox churches around the world and provoking the Russian bear. It will probably provoke Erdogan, and it will probably be condemned by Pope Francis to boot.

    Patriarch Bartholomew could easily be murdered over this. I believe the man is sincere.

  7. Lower Manhattan Cynic says

    You guys are all a self-licking ice cream cone. You make up the game and are your own fan club.

  8. ChristineFevronia says

    Just one word can sum up the timing of Bartholomew’s decision:. Idlib.

    Lord have mercy.

    • Not seeing the connection.

      • ChristineFevronia says

        Where is the battlefield of Istanbul versus Moscow? Syria is the ring for the match-up of Pat. Bartholomew and Pat. Kyrill, and both Orthodox patriarchs are very much aligned with the leaders of their countries (Turkey and Russian Federation, respectively). The situation in Syria has recently escalated considerably, with the Russian Federation sending more troops to Idlib, against the wishes of Turkey. I think it’s likely that Turkey/Pat. Bartholomew decided to retaliate against Russia/Pat. Kyrill in one of the only ways they could: by granting autonomy to the rogue Ukranian Church, which is a political strategy in a war game rather than a spiritual act.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Interesting connection you are making. I’ve been wondering what’s been keeping Patriarch Bartholomew alive and/or out of jail.

          The Russian involvement in Idlib goes against Erdogan’s wishes. This is matched by the Ukrainian autocephaly going against Putin’s wishes, and it gives Erdogan some bargaining power with the Russians. It’s an ace up his sleeve, at least for now.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Erdogan and Putin just met in Sochi today, and they can be seen here shaking hands:


          Apparently they’ve come to an agreement about Idlib. Interestingly the Idlib deadlines for mutual withdrawal seem to coincide with the same dates the Phanar is proposing to grant Ukrainian autocephaly in early to mid October.

          A coincidence? I’m sure the Ukrainian autocephaly was part of their discussion.

  9. AsianObserver says


    please see this (it is in English):


    It is clear now that the US government is behind the renewed push for Ukrainian autocephaly.

  10. Joseph Lipper says

    When will the Moscow Patriarchate address the double dealing they have with the OCA? They granted autocephaly to the OCA in 1970, and then since 2007 have accepted a schismatic ROCOR as an autonomous church of the Moscow Patriarchate in the same territory and jurisdiction as the OCA. Isn’t that a violation of the OCA’s autocephaly?

    And now Moscow is complaining about the EP setting up a temporary exarchate in the Ukraine, even though there is no canonical autocephalous church in Ukraine that is being violated by this.

    If there are papal pretensions, I would say it’s coming out of the “Third Rome” of Moscow.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Admittedly, ROCOR made “extravagant” claims for itself but there is no dispute that it was a successor of the ROC, made up as it was by exiled bishops who met in Serbia.

  11. Joseph Lipper says

    …and of course before the OCA was granted it’s autocephaly by Moscow, it was the schismatic “Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in North America” or “Metropolia”.

    Moscow granted autocephaly to a schismatic group, even though Moscow recognized there were other canonical Orthodox churches already in America, such as the Greek Archdiocese and the Antiochian Archdiocese.

    • George Michalopulos says

      The Metropolia was a descendant of the Russian Orthodox Archdiocese of NorthAmerica

    • M. Stankovich says

      Mr. Lipper,

      Your analogy of the canonical situation of the “Metropolia” and the situation in the Ukraine is incorrect. It seems to me that there is an over-exaggeration of the difference between heresy and apostasy, which are matters related to divergence from the Orthodox Faith, while schism is “merely” a violation against church order and authority. No one challenged the fact that the Metropolia or ROCOR were not “canonical,” but were in defiance of the authority of the ROC; in fact, they claimed they were the ROC. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the patriarch of the Ukrainian schismatic group was deposed for moral reasons, but refused to accept having been deposed ( a most fascinating precedent in the US being the matter of Bishop Dionisije (Milivojevich) of the Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the United States and Canada, who was deposed for similar matters, refused to accept his deposition, went to court, and in 1976, the case went all the way to the SCOTUS!).

      Secondly, the ROC did not grant autocephaly to a “schismatic group,” and how could it? Conversely, what integrity would the new OCA have if it accepted autocephaly from the ROC without acknowledgement & resolution of the reason(s) they chose to separate themselves? They first had to acknowledge and reconcile the schism – which they did – before moving to the granting of autocephaly. As I have followed this discussion, I have wondered why no one has reasoned that, should the EP follow through with their expressed intention, they will frame it in terms of “reconciliation,” which seems to me is the right, if not the responsibility of the EP when all other measures have failed.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        M. Stankovich,

        Thank you, good point about how the EP will first have to reconcile with the schismatic “Kievan Patriarchate” before autocephaly is granted, just as Russia had to first reconcile with the Metropolia.

        In the case of Ukraine, I believe the main reason for the schism was to resist interference from Russia. This has probably been the main rationale for those who have fled the UOC-MP for the UOC-KP. Also, Filaret was not the first primate. He was elected primate a few years after the schism took place. So, he actually did step down, but then he was re-elected. My guess is he will be retired when the EP reconciles with him.

    • I do not defend the Soviet MP during that period. Their actions were indefensible. They were routinely communing Roman Catholics during that period. If you read the OCA tomos closely, you will see that it does not even purport to grant the Metropolia exclusive jurisdiction with exceptions. It exempts practically every other local church from the necessity to recognize the OCA. The supreme ecclesiastical authority in the ROC during that period was the ROCOR, not the Soviet MP. The OCA remains a complete anomaly and the ROCOR has no plans to join it.

      This has nothing to do with Ukraine though. In effect, Constantinople has proposed stealing a large share of the MP territory as revenge for not coming to Crete and saluting the little tin god. The MP is replying that the Church is not big enough for the two of them.

      Get out the popcorn. The game is afoot.

  12. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Monday on the Daily Sabah website.

    Turkey’s Sümela Monastery to open its doors after three years of restoration
    TRABZON, Turkey
    Published September 10, 2018


    • What the EP will not tell you is that Liturgy held at Soumela in past years for the Dormition of the Theotokos is entirely the result of a Russian Politician with close ties to Putin. Ivan Savvidis is a Pontic Greek Russian who even asked Erdogan to return Hagia Sophia of Trebizond to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in exchange for him funding a brand new mosque for the area. If one researches wikileaks you can see the hatred Bart has for Russians. He has reached out to U.S. state department to help him, convincing the Americans that Russia wants to steal the Ecumenical Patriarchate and move it to Moscow!!! Does he mean move St. George Cathedral brick by brick??? I suggest looking through various wikileaks concerning the phanarites, its preposterous and displays a hatred of Russian Orthodoxy.

      • George Michalopulos says

        It’s becoming more and more obvious now, isn’t it? I however still hold out that it’s not any personal animus per se that drives the Phanariotes to Russophobia but a willingness to let their emotions cloud their judgment and thus become an easy prey for unprincipled state actors (such as the CIA, State Dept, etc.) who have their own agendas.

        Perhaps that’s my naivete speaking; my willingness to impute the best intentions to people whose actions startle me.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        “Putin’s dream is that the Russian Patriarchate should replace the Constantinople Patriarchate as the ‘first among equals.’ Furthermore, Putin dreamed of creating an ‘Orthodox Vatican’ in the ancient city of Sergiev Posad, northeast of Moscow.

        “In line with this dream, Putin has been enticing, bribing and threatening various Orthodox churches to pledge loyalty to the Russian church, rather than the Constantinople church.

        “Putin’s dream sounds reasonable when you consider that the Russian church is the largest Orthodox Church in the world, in terms of numbers of members and parishes. However, if Ukraine becomes an independent church, then the Russian church will lose almost half its parishes, and that will be the end of Putin’s dream. It will also cost the Russian Patriarchate a great deal of money. It will also encourage other former Soviet republics, like Belarus and Georgia, to follow the same path.”

        “So this pending decision by Bartholomew is far more than symbolic. It has major religious and geopolitical implications. Putin would certainly retaliate. He might retaliate in Ukraine with a renewed invasion. He might retaliate by trying to convince his new pal, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to take some action in the Phanar, the portion of Istanbul still occupied by the Constantinople Patriarchate. So Bartholomew’s decision, expected by the end of the year, should have major consequences.”


  13. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Greek Reporter website.

    Turkey’s Constitutional Court Rejects Proposal For Hagia Sophia’s Conversion To Mosque
    By Nick Kampouris
    Sep 13, 2018


  14. Michael Bauman says

    Now and an Obama lawyer is caught up in the Ukraine mess