Ukraine + Autocephaly = Schism?

In a previous vlog, Yours Truly opined that the auguries for an autocephalous Church for Ukraine didn’t look good. Regrettably, I now come to an opposite conclusion. (By the way, I fully intend to comment further on my recent pilgrimage to Russia but events seem to be spiraling out of control vis-a-vis the Ukrainian front.)

Why was I more optimistic several weeks ago? For one thing, several of the other autocephalous Churches had spoken out vociferously against this prospect. Among them were Bulgaria, Serbia, Antioch, and Poland (besides Russia). On the other hand, no national Church spoke in favor of Ukrainian autocephaly. As such, I did not believe that the Ecumenical Patriarch would be so audacious as to blatantly ignore their advice and consent. Basically, those are the reason upon which is I based my opinion.

In other words, because the Ecumenical Patriarch “consulted” with the other national Churches and found nothing but widespread opposition to this prospect, he was going to do the honorable thing and not grant Petro Poroshenko’s request for an autocephalous Church. (Leaving aside the fact that Poroshenko took over the reins of power because of an illegal coup, which opens up a whole other can of worms.)

It appears now that I was wrong. Based on what is being whispered about, Patriarch Bartholomew has every intention of going down this disastrous path. This of course makes a mockery of his claim that only the Ecumenical Patriarchate can declare a Church to be autocephalous once it has “coordinated” the process and “consulted” with all the other Orthodox primates. He “coordinated”, he “consulted”, but not liking the answers he got, he decided to ignore his co-equals.

In other words, the entire process is nothing but window-dressing. The other patriarchates are nothing but rubber-stamps in Bartholomew’s eyes. This is a glaring example of Metropolitan Elpidophorous Lambrianides’ startling assertion that the EP is primus sine paribus as opposed to primus inter pares, which does not bode well for the future (of which more below).

I shouldn’t have been surprised. In my defense, my earlier prediction was based on the fact that I believed that this “process” of “coordination and consultation” was being done in good faith. As such, I was foolish. If in fact the Phanar issues a tomos of autocephaly, then it will be obvious to everyone that Constantinople has acted in bad faith. In other words, it will have reverted to classic phanariote form.

I do not write these words casually. Worse, there is no “up side” for anyone in the Orthodox worlds –Constantinople included–for this action. As such, I can only come to this conclusion: it’s almost as if the EP is a hostage to puppet-masters who have their own reasons for increasing the amount of turmoil in the Ukraine.

Having said that, the accusation of bad faith is not a flippant one. It can be buttressed by recent proclamations which, if anything, makes it stunningly clear that this entire process is nothing more than another tit-for-tat in the rivalry between Moscow and Constantinople. Worse, if allowed to come to fruition, it will signal for all the world to see that Bartholomew’s ultimate aim has been to solidify the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the Eastern Papacy. At that point, a forced unia with Rome is inevitable. This is why I said that there is no up side. Because of this, it will show that the Phanar is a hostage to the globalists. There simply is no other possible consideration.

So why do I make this bold assertion? Consider three different actions instigate by the Ecumenical Patriarch:

1. The Phanar announced that even if Ukraine were to receive autocephaly, the Ukrainian parishes in North America would not revert to its Mother Church in Kiev but still belong to Constantinople. This is a classic example of the what’s-yours-is-mine-and-what’s-mine-is-mine” kind of deal making. It screams bad faith.

2. The Phanar then made the ludicrous claim that Constantinople was “always” the Mother Church of the Ukraine, having “never relinquished” or “turned over” this claim to Moscow. This fabulous claim is of course belied by the actual historical record. It’s laughable on its face.

3. Then of course there is the fact that no other national Church has signed on to this course of action (as already mentioned above). I don’t mean to beat a dead horse but this fact must be reiterated; in fact the language used by some of these other Patriarchs against this prospect is nothing short of alarmist.

And now consider several different disastrous events that the present Ecumenical Patriarch set in motion from the inception of his archpastorate:

1. The unilateral overturning of the Ligonier process, thus setting in motion the present inertia that is plaguing Orthodoxy in America.

2. The deconstruction of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese into several discreet “metropolitinates” all of whom are subject directly to Istanbul. This plus the fact that most are headed by mediocrities of questionable character.

3. The present malaise which is gripping the GOA, coupled with attendant financial scandals. Tens of millions of dollars are unaccounted for and it will require even more for it to claw its way out of this morass. (St Nicholas Shrine is merely the tip of the iceberg.)

4. The forced retirement of Archbishop Iakovos Coucouzis. This was repeated a few years later when the newly-minted GOA bishops forced Bartholomew to remove Iakovos’ successor. If present indications are correct, that the EP is trying to force Archbishop Demetrius Trakatellis out, then Bartholomew will be three-for-three. Having gotten rid of three different GOA primates back-to-back is not something to be proud of.

I could go on: the record is not a pretty one. If there was something positive to show for all this turmoil then some of it could be excused. Unfortunately, one would have to look in vain for any successes. In North America there is nothing but entropy. Overseas, the picture is not any better. Regrettably, outside of Albania, wherever the EP has pressed his claims or otherwise interfered, there has been nothing but conflict. The list is not a short one: at one time or another, the Churches of Greece, Antioch, Jerusalem and Estonia (to say nothing of Russia) have been at loggerheads with Constantinople for one reason or another.

Let us put our cards on the table: if the pleas of the Ukrainians are so fervent, then what about those entreaties that come from other territories? Like, for example, the United States? What makes the plight of a minority of the Ukrainian populace so special when that nation itself is a unsustainable kleptocracy? A veritable demographic and cultural mishmash which is in the process of imploding and perhaps being divided up into several rump states?

Whose purpose would it serve? Certainly not the majority of Ukrainians who belong to the canonical Ukrainian Church. As for the so-called Kievan patriarchate, that is a blatantly schismatic body recognized by no one in the Orthodox world. And then there are the Uniates, who appear to have been cut loose by Pope Francis. It’s certainly possible that because of their intense nationalism, many of these believers will migrate into a new autocephalous Church. It’s an open question however whether they will leave their papist baggage behind; if not, they will become a major irritant in the Orthodox commonwealth.

The only sector whose interests would be served at this point is the EU/US neoliberal world order. The itchiness of the Western trigger-finger is frightening to behold. They are willing to fight to the last Ukrainian in a war with Russia even if it is inconclusive (as all American wars since 1945 have been). Even though President Trump is an avowed NATO skeptic and erstwhile Russophile, the Deep State has won a significant victory with its Russia Collusion Narrative. He has essentially been pushed into a corner and has been forced to withdraw from any attempts at detente with Moscow.

That however is a story for another day. In the meantime, Patriarch Kirill of Russia has planned several events recently which should be worrisome (to the Phanar). Among them were the recent council of bishops held in Moscow to celebrate the centennial of the re-institution of the Russian patriarchate. Second, there were several choice concelebrations, first with the Patriarch of Serbia then with the Pope of Alexandria. Third, there were two gatherings –one in Moscow and one in Kiev–designed to celebrate the 1030th anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus’. In Moscow, the Pope of Alexandria was present while in Kiev, twelve of the fourteen autocephalous Churches participated with Metropolitan Onuphry (who is the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church). And then there is the fact that Patriarch Kirill is going to Istanbul next week.

I have a feeling that this is far from over. In the meantime, please take the time to watch this episode of The Duran. Alex Christoforou interviews Dmitry Babych, a political analyst from Sputnik International, who provies more in-depth analysis of the Ukrainian situation and its international implications.



  1. Billy Jack Sunday says

    It does look like now that he might go ahead and attempt to issue a tomos of autocephaly on behalf of the Ukraine.

    Acting like an Eastern Pope

    Trying to call all the shots – worldwide!

    All while doing everything possible to block autocephaly for the Church in America

    Worst of all?

    He’s not going to refer anyone to Gimbel’s

  2. And if Ounouphry is agreed upon as Patriarch of Ukraine?

  3. Michael Bauman says

    Nothing will happen George. No ruling Patriarch will actually care that much.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I’ve been told that everyone will ignore it. And then when the Ukraine disintegrates so too will the schismatic patriarchate evaporate in due time.

      I am convinced however that the Phanar will do the wrong thing. It’s their track record: Ligonier, the cashiering of Iakovos, the deconstruction of the GOA, etc.

      It is ironic though that the Church of Greece is playing their own Ukraine Card with the so-called Northern Lands. (The 36 dioceses that are within the borders of Greece but still belong to the EP.) Let’s see how that one plays out.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says

        George Michalopulos

        I think they underestimate the situation

        The EP really does have a HUGE amount of control already – even if being on strings is true

        The Council of Crete has been largely ignored over there – but over here – I hate to say it – stands as a success (only for now I hope).

        The Ukrainian schism would have the financial and global political support and direction of Western State powers

        It’s not by accident this is all happening. Do they really think the players will give up as soon as they get exactly what they need to really cause problems?

        Who is that guy who lives next to the other guy in the Hamptons again?

        On top of that – Pope Francis will back it in his own way

        With all the political support and finances – I don’t see it as a problem that will burn out on it’s own

        It’s fire will continue to get stoked from many different sources

        If successful to it’s aim, it will be known as the true face of Orthodoxy – at least in the West

        The rest of us in the West that do not agree will be labeled as Fundies and be seen as Commies 2.0 – even those that dislike Russian culture. A broad brush will be used to paint opponents as religious Fundie wack jobs – instead of persons who are merely adhering to the true Orthodox tradition

        I hope I’m wrong

        Again, all the more reasons why the Orthodox Catholic Church in America must become autocephalous

        • George Michalopulos says

          Billy, you’ve got a keen eye. Contrary to the Whig understanding of history, events do not develope in a linear or progressive fashion.

          The correlation of forces which you accurately describe are a conglomeration of many different moving parts, some of them antagonistic to each other. Think for instance of how the grand alliance against Hitler quickly unraveled post VE day. And how the British and French were disheartened because we forced them to give up their colonies.

          It is my regret that the Phanar will be the first to be thrown to the wolves once they are no longer needed.

          That’s all politics though. Instead, as Orthodox Christians we should be ever mindful of our actions, that is to say, are they going to strengthen the Body of Christ or are they going to rend it?

          If I were the EP, I would not want my legacy to be increased division.

          Just sayin’.

          • Focus on defrocking and excommunicating all of the modernists and ecumenists in the Church in the west before considering autocephaly.

        • Zoe Pellas says

          Karloutsos lives in the servant quarters at Olde Towne Crossing but Sorors lives on the beach, a mile away at Old Towne Road. Their homes differ in worth by a factor of one hundred!

  4. There is an upside, George. The Planar is already in heresy. Crete only confirmed this. However, the other patriarchares have been very slow to call a spade a spade and excommunicate him. This would solve that issue, i.e., the scandal of intercommunion with a heretical patriarchate.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      And what is the difference that makes the Phanar heretical that is not shared by the other patriarchates and autocephalous churches? This question is not meant to defend the Phanar, just seeking information.

      • Good point. Why they quiet

      • A1875,

        The Phanar presided at the Council of Crete which sought to create a Unia. Patriarch Bartholomew is on record over many instances and years as saying that the Great Schism is/was a great historical/political misunderstanding lacking real substance of differences. Archbishop Job of his synod considers Roman Catholics simply to be in a state of suspended communion, not schism or heresy.

        I could go on, and with cites, but it all depends on how honest and open a person is about the situation; not any paucity of evidence.

        • The 1054 incident irrelevant really. The questions is ‘What is the Roman communion today’? IT of 1054 was a paragon of Orthodoxy compared to now. The answer is that officially we Orthodox see things in it we feel at home with, and much we do not, but objectively on ground we see a body that is effectively celebety worshipping in the modern papal concept Also a protestant mentality in it’s parishes. The arguements of yesterday are long over thrown as papal authority too
          Truth is we Orthodox and especially you guys in USA are not imnune to this consumerist pick and mix approach to religion.
          As always Christ will be found in our midst, rejected and ridiculed as St John of San Francisco for one.

          I leave aside current sexual stuff as i fear ro look too close to our side.
          Celebate clergy out of a monastic discipline are an ever potential evil and danger to themselves and the Church. Especially surrounded by this financially sexually obscessed world. Many will fall by the way side.

  5. I was going to say that Bartholomew and his cabal of a Synod are apostates. Instead I’ll be more precise: they are jackasses.

  6. anonimus per Scorilo says

    your claim that Phanar is acting because it’s being pushed by anti-Russian globalist forces is not consistent with the fact that the church in Poland (which has a rather anti-Russian pro-NATO and pro-Ukrainian government and culture) came on the side of the Russians.

    also, if Macedonian autocephaly is thrown in together with the Ukrainian one, you can probably count the Bulgarians out. Even if the hierarchy may be pro-Russian, 99% of the population would consider it base treason not to side with Constantinople on Macedonian autocephaly.

    Georgians also have long memories and given the their history I would be surprised if they take Russia’s side

    • George Michalopulos says

      I can kind of explain Poland: the more integrated it has become with the EU, the less enchanted it has become. We see cultural examples of this phenomenon with the so-called Visograd nations who are aligning themselves more and more with Russia.

      Several months ago, the PM of Poland rebuked Merkel because of his refusal to take in refugees. He replied that he’d happily take in European refugees from France, Germany, Ukraine, etc. Just not Africans, Syrians or Afghanis.

      Anyway, Met Sawa of Poland may see the handwriting on the wall and look to Russia for the future. Esp if the Phanar brand of Orthodoxy is going to become more “inclusive”.

      • George Michalopulos says

        As to your first point however, since the time of Athenagoras, Cpole has always been allied with the West. Unfortunately, the roles of the West and East have been reversed.

      • Zeke Xenofides says

        If Stalin had left Lvov inside Poland, today’s problems would not be occuring.

  7. Joseph Lipper says

    The curious thing is, if Patriarch Bartholomew grants autocephaly to the Ukraine , then he will only be casting himself as a problematic wedge between Turkey and Russia. I don’t see Sultan Erdogan as being pleased with that scenario one bit. We all know what happens when you make an autocrat like Erdogan angry.

    Patriarch Bartholomew must know that granting autocephaly to the Ukraine will be equivalent to signing his own death warrant. It will make him out to be a “traitor of the Turkish people”.

    I have to wonder what the “other option” is that Patriarch Bartholomew is now apparently willing to walk the plank.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Joseph, this is one of the areas in which I disagree with President Trump. The sanctions against Turkey are going to drive Erdogan further into Putin’s orbit. I realize that the lira has taken a severe hit and that it’s hurting the average Turk in the pocketbook but so far, they appear to be defiant. I wouldn’t be surprised if they go to the mattresses on this one.

      I just read today that Germany is extending a lifeline to Turkey to withstand the sanctions. In addition, Putin has promised 6 million Russian tourists to Turkey and I one of the emirates is also stepping up to the plate to help them out. In Part 3 of my commentary on my recent pilgrimage, I will discuss the geostrategic angle and discourse on the various trump cards that Putin has at his disposal.

      Trump may be aware of this and he is setting in motion the dismantling of NATO (which is long overdue). As for Tsipras, the less said the better. A truly despicable man.

      Your last sentence intrigues me. What “other option” does Bartholomew have? IMHO, it’s possible that this is something he doesn’t want to do but is being forced to do this –not by the Turks (as you pointed out)–but by globalist forces who are hoping to provoke a confrontation with Russia in the Ukraine. As to what they “have” on the EP, one can speculate: perhaps bail out the St Nicholas Shrine? Perhaps kompromat on some of the bishops within his eparchy? Who knows?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Could it be that the “other option” is that the U.S. Department of State is threatening to close down the Phanar through the sanctions against Turkey? That is, unless Patriarch Bartholomew does the bidding of the U.S. and grants autocephaly to the Ukraine? Just speculating.

        I suppose the U.S. government could easily stop the flow of money from the GOA to Turkey, and that might effectively shut the Phanar down.

        It seems to me that Patriarch Bartholomew is seeing himself as expendable right now. Granting autocephaly to the Ukraine looks to me like a suicide mission for the Patriarch.

  8. Mr. Skrypnyk says

    George, I don’t think you are close on this one. The Phanar is in a very weak political position. Alex Tsipiras is hollowing out the Church in Greece while the GOA is in turmoil. Funding for the Phanar has to be drying up and the Great Council turned out to be a big nothing. The Phanar has talked the talk about Ukraine before but it always winds up to be nothing. Meanwhile the level of political risk for the EP in Turkey is escalating with the economy being unsettled. Patriarch Kiril is going to arrive in Instanbul with a very strong hand and the financial resources back up his words. My prediction is the EP will cave into to Moscow’s demands on Ukraine but will save face by announcing some blue ribbon commission to study the problem while issuing a joint statement and some flowery press releases. Meanwhile, the EP’s problems in America will continue to escalate as the faithful come to the realization that none of the hierarchs of the EP are capable of solving the problems. The church new year will come and go and there will be no major episcopal changes. It will be the equivalent of a ship taking on water while the crew drills holes in the floor to let the water out.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Skrypnyk, I pray that you are right.

      The very fact that you paint such a dire picture of the EP’s American eparchy is spot on. Seriously, given the distressing nature of it, as well as the fact that there appears to be no way out on the horizon, leads me to reiterate that old maxim about “tending to one’s own knitting”.

      Seriously, if the EP wants to hold on to America, he’s got to turn things around here first before he goes off gallivanting in the Ukraine.

      • Alitheia1875 says

        George Michalopoulos, you are probably right in your assessment. Now just pray that Metropolitan Elpidoforos Lambrianidis does not become the next GOA archbishop.

  9. Pdn Nicholas Jannakos says

    IMO, EP Bartholomew, by presenting himself as and wanting to be a EO Pope, has been a disaster for rhe OC, and it will be a very long time, if ever, for his mistakes to be overcome.
    Pdn NPJ

  10. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear George,

    Some see the current severe situation (balamuta) in Ukraine as nothing other than fruit of the spirit of ecumenism, another ecumenical movement coincident, which the E.P. and others push to one degree or another.

    I think many that are against and for the ecumenical movements of the E.P. (and others) all agree that we are to worship God in Spirit and truth in accordance with the word of Gods’ truth. There is much more than common ground there within Orthodoxy which is most significant. Some ecumenist like the bishop of Rome and others continue to promote gatherings and “prayerful” participation with others, pagans, hindus and muslims etc. presenting more and more disturbances for themselves and too many others that keep quite.

    In reality they have actually relegated and categorized that which is most precious the Orthodox Church of the one true God and the Christ loving faithful as one of the three great monotheistic religions, This is done by them so that we also may experience the ecumenical journey, it is audacious scholasticism par excellence at work, all for the sake of “peace in the world”. The Orthodox Church is presented along side with Islam (a well known concoction of the evil one) and others that reject Christ and his One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. One of the first things they did was to group the Orthodox within “Christianity” along side the heterodox and those in schism etc. to be truly ecumenical in spirit. But there are many profound problems they encounter, first and foremost are the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “Broad is the way that leads to destruction and narrow is the way that leads to life.”

    Such fallen worldly artificial unity is also to be found within the World Council of “Churches” that the “orthodox” ecumenical movement and environmental movement proponents love to gather at, sadly some say even the M.P. attends, some have told me to keep the E.P. in check, that does not appear to be working out very well.

    Now the E.P. attempts to lord over, group together with that which is true, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in a worldly politically way with schismatics and heretical politicians as he sees fit. His modus operandi is disturbing again, it is difficult to listen to as he is apparently siding with those that see the Churches within the M.P. as an enemy of the political state of Ukraine, states come and go though.

    Suffice it to say much damage is being done to many, all the while claiming to love and pursue unity and healing, just as ecumenism implicitly does, surreptitiously fulfilling its true mission. If the M.P. and others (the older ROCOR and younger Bishops wanted nothing to do with it) want to be ecumenist this can only get worse as time goes by. References to scholastic minded unity can be found in a lot of places these days as well as notions that the Orthodox Church is also responsible for schisms etc. seemingly not being able to see the differences between the worldly actions and the activities of men with agendas and Orthodoxy. After all these years such thinking still remains difficult to comprehend here as clearly it can not manifest peace that comes from heaven above.

    I suppose it is a bit better now as even the ecumenist within all jurisdictions are concerned about Orthodox unity with those who are not ecumenist, then there is Crete to ponder no more.

    To the ecumenist that present, I don’t mean to sound mean, you can either see this as offensive or not.

    In Christ,

    Matthew Panchisin

  11. Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

    Ok, so the fact that:
    1. Constantinople has nothing to gain by granting Ukraine Autocephaly (it would be financially better to claim autonomous claim over Ukraine and never release it).
    2. Russia can offer a better financial offer to Constantinople (and still recognize it as first, which it already has done recently).
    3. That Ukraine is literally asking nothing more than Georgia, Serbia, Romania, etc. etc. has asked.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Respectfully, the difference Fr is that Ukraine already has a canonical Church. Filaret’s outfit is schismatic.

      Let us assume however that the EP is genuine. I ask then three questions:

      1. why doesn’t he release the North American Ukrainian eparchies to their soon-to-be “Mother Church” in Kiev,

      2. he knows that there are three different Orthodox sects in Ukraine with the largest one being the canonical, Muscovite Church. Is he going to create another Estonian situation (which is essentially an ecclesiastical joke}? I.e. two competing Churches on the same land, one of which is recognized by all other national Churches while the new one is recognized by Cpole? If that’s the case, then the new Ukrainian patriarchate will have the unenviable distinction of being the only autocephalous Church which is recognized by fewer national Churches than even the OCA.

      Which brings us to:

      3. why doesn’t he listen to the similar pleas of the Americans who have been asking for an autocephalous
      Church for at least a generation? This should have been an easy one as even the other ethnic primates eagerly conceded that a Greek-American should be the first Metropolitan/Patriarch.

      No, regrettably Fr, I am coming around to the opinion of Joseph Lipper, who sees the nefarious hand of the State Dept/American Warfare State, hoping to instigate a military confrontation in the Ukraine.

      Forgive me.

      • Monk James Silver says


        An interview with Abp Feodosiy Snigiryov of Boyarka:

        • George Michalopulos says

          Fr Harry, I’ve given your response a little more thought, specifically your opinion that “the EP would have nothing to gain”.

          I used to think that leaders of nations acted in the best interests of their respective nations. Looking at Tsipras of Greece or Merkel of Germany, I no longer believe that.

          The list is a long one: just the other day Sen Pocahontas Warren made short shrift of Molliie Tibbet’s life. Why? Because western elites prefer foreigners to their own native population. That’s blatantly suicidal.

          What the EP is (probably) being forced to do is equally detrimental to the Orthodox faith. It will rend the Body of Christ.

          Again, I mean no disrespect.

          • George Michalopulos says

            We must also remember this salient fact: according to the EP’s own umderstanding of his office vis-a-vis the granting of autocephaly, whereby it is only granted after “consultation and coordination” with the other patriarchate, he is behaving in a contradictory manner.

            • Christopher says


              Nobody has ever accused me of being a supporter of the modern EPatriarchate. This Imperial Church of the East is still “pretending”, so to speak, ecclesiologically that the Roman Empire still exists, that there are these worldly “Metro-Polis-‘es” that our centers of worldly and spiritual influence so naturally their bishops would have rank, etc. etc. In the mean time, the Empire has dissolved, Islam has conquered, the West has fallen away from the East, the West had an internal revolution that still fundamentally defines them, the nation state has risen to be THE defining element of the Polis, Orthodoxy has mixed and mingled geographically in both “barbarian” and traditionally Western Imperial Church lands, and Secularism has become the state sponsored religion as well as the fundamental culture (i.e “cult” of worship) of the people almost everywhere.

              The fact that the layperson,/deacon/priest/bishop schema of the New Testament is our given and Revealed fundamental structure does not mean that we have done a good job in its implementation. Orthodoxy has its head buried in a very old anachronism, and we have not had a council about it since before the Empire fell. Not only this, but this anachronism had a certain efficacy and potency during the long Islamic yoke, and even during the communist persecutions of the 20th centuries. How is it holding up (judged by simply being able to sustain the Faith through the generations) in modern, secular, “liberal” western society? No better than the RCism or Protestant ecclesiological answers I would argue. Orthodoxy is failing in its encounter with Secularism.

              Having said all that, I am with Fr. Harry in a sort of “so what” to your dominate geopolitical analysis of Ukrainian autocephaly. You exactly right in that the Ukrainian autocephaly is a pawn, a symbolic tool to be manipulated, in a complicated worldly story of influence and positioning. However, I don’t think it will be either here nor there whatever the EP does. Not really. There will be bloated protests, the wiping of names from the diptychs, the breaking of communion, etc. etc. So what? This Imperial Church of the East, even in the first 1000 years of its existence, is the history of such things. It is the old “normal”. What does it mean for a dysfunctional family to get into yet-another-spat because the drunk uncle was yet-again arrested, just as he was last year and just as he will be again next year?

              My point is the fundamentals of the whole Church’s ecclesiology vis-a-vis “the world” as represented in the EP and all these “Patriarchates” are very old. The Church has more or less successfully grated a canonical structure designed for the Empire onto various real politic circumstances for a very long time. Will the EP’s actions around Urkainan autocephaly be a fundamental threat to this grafting, or even a significant milestone along the way to some sort actual adjustment or change to our basic ecclesiology If so then we will all look out our windows and see flying pigs. Will it make for titillating political theater for the next fill-in-the-blank years (my guess is about 50)? Sure, but so what? It has as much relevance to your and mine salvation as the color of the paint in my bathroom…

              Christopher Encapera

              • Billy Jack Sunday says


                A very informative and thoughtful post

                However, I disagree that Ukrainian Autocephaly is a moot point when it comes to Church and salvation

                I believe the bigger game is ultimately for union with Rome – of which the end game is a one world religion for all

                That’s why the secular humanism we are seeing in our Church isn’t merely a by-product of nominal Christianity – but it is also a purposeful intended inflected growth- IMO

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Remember our friend Hercules? He could draw a cartoon of the pope turning blue as he chokes on a piece of meat (as in, NOT milk) while Soros tries to administer the Heimlich maneuver.

                • Billy Jack Sunday says


                • Joseph Lipper says


                  The “union” with Rome that I am seeing right now is more of an alliance between Moscow and Rome. It will probably be a very short-lived alliance though, because basically everyone hates religious wars. In the end, as always, those who are religious will eventually be blamed and attacked as the instigators.

                  Right now, so many want to paint Patriarch Bartholomew as some kind of idiot who has never read “Byzantine” history. So many who have read just a simple synopsis of the Council of Florence have concluded that Patriarch Bartholomew is on the same path to union. Surely, they conclude, he is ignorant about the council of Florence, and somebody “who has read the history” must stop him before he commits this grievous error.

                  No, I just don’t see it. What I do see is Patriarch Bartholomew eventually getting crucified by the Turks, all while the self-proclaimed “traditionalist Orthodox” yell out “crucify him!”.

                  • Billy Jack Sunday says

                    Joseph Lipper

                    Although I’m watching Moscow and Rome with an upturned eyebrow (because of the meeting with Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis)

                    BTW – if Patriarch Kirill fails to uphold Orthodoxy, the Russian people themselves will be the first on to toss him out on his ear –

                    EP Bartholomew is not some kind of victim

                    He has steered the Church under his leadership into constant chaos and entropy at the same time – let alone trying to wreck Orthodoxy world wide

                    What in the world are you talking about man??

                    • Joseph Lipper says


                      My point is that I really don’t see Patriarch Bartholomew uniting with Rome. Pope Francis in his address to Patriarch Kiril is very clear that he sees this as a dead horse. Pope Francis is not pushing for a “unia”.

                      I have to wonder though, when Patriarch Bartholomew is finally crucified by the Turks, will people accuse the Patriarch of being a “uniate” at his crucifixion, even though no actual “unia” took place?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      BTW – if Patriarch Kirill fails to uphold Orthodoxy, the Russian people themselves will be the first on to toss him out on his ear

                      To which “Russian people” do you refer? The less than 30% of all people who identify themselves as Orthodox Christians in Russia (not surprisingly similar to the US) but who don’t actually go to church other than on Christmas or Pascha? Or you would have to imagine that those, again, perilously close to a million women who had a legal abortion in Russia last year (and the district of Moscow, right in the Patriarch’s backyard, has more legal abortions than anywhere in the country) won’t help toss, no? Or hey, BJS, I’ll just bet you didn’t hear this when you and “yur woman” were out Xmas shopping last December, from TASS, the official Russian new service:

                      MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. The decision to legally prohibit abortions must consider public opinion and the negative experience of other countries, Russian President Hillary Rodham Clinton Vladimir Putin said at his annual news conference on Thursday.

                      “The decision should be careful, reasonable and based on the general sentiment in society and the moral and ethical norms that have developed in society. Nothing should be drastically changed,” he noted.

                      According to the head of state, the abortion ban would lead to a growth in the number of illegal abortions, which has a negative impact on health.

                      “The practice of many countries shows that women go abroad for abortions, illegal abortions are flourishing and so on. An immense harm is done to women’s health and to the possibility to have children in the future, and the death rate increases sharply,” Putin stressed.

                      He added that in most countries women preserve the right to keep or terminate pregnancy.

                      Earlier, activists from the Pro-Life national social movement gave Vladimir Putin millions of signatures on protection of children at the prenatal stage.

                      In Fortune Magazine’s report of this news conference, President Rodham Clinton Putin is also quoted as saying, “In the modern world, the decision is up to the woman herself.” What in the world is going on here, BJS? The Prime Minister & his wife are Pro-Life, or so I… watch out! Man, I almost – I mean INCHES from being hit by one of those little motorcycles… I’ll be honest, you “trads” (is that what Mr. M. called y’all?) are all blistered and sweaty that a few homosexuals might sneak to the “Chalice,” but have no issue with the dude paying the bill for off the hook millions of legal abortions in “Holy Russia,” at the front of the line.

                      And finally, BJS, as long as I have your attention, nobody has explained to me why the Moscow Patriarchate felt it necessary to shoop that photo with Patriarch Kirill wearing a Rolly on his arm (like he’d been pouring Chandon, ’cause he can roll the best weed cause he got it going on) but unfortunately left the reflection on the table. What does that tell you, BJS? Why didn’t “the Russian people themselves” rise up, “in these confines with a monarch’s voice and cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war; That this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial,” and toss him out on his ear? Ha!

                      Les homosexuels, la Crète, le ROC. Vous avez un panier complet de problèmes, mais pas de réponses. The good news? Pick one more item and you’ll earn free shipping!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      You ask for perfection. All I ask for is proper phronema. God works through sinners as much as He works through saints.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      M Stankovich

                      Ah, the dead baby argument

                      Let me know when the Russian Orthodox Church blesses abortions

                      No one has ever accused me of being a Russophile – just ask a few of our Slavic friends on this blog

                      I’m GOA, nigga

                      I never said Patriarch Kirill was my favorite

                      [Although I do think Gene Hackman is a very good actor. Am I the only one who sees this? I’m pretty sure Fidel Castro was Liam Neeson]

                      However, where Patriarch Kirill is right, he’s right

                      The watch incident was totally comical

                      I do believe I’m the one who first (and only? not sure) to have mentioned the alleged 4 billion dollars of revenue generated for the Russian Church off of the sales of tobacco

                      That is alleged and out there. Maybe true, maybe not

                      But it’s not hard to find for you Google scholars out there

                      No, I’ve never said support for being tied to a different foreign bishop from any country

                      But you’ve done an excellent job of demonstrating that anyone not on board with this secular humanistic mind set will quickly be considered a hater and a Russian commie som’bitch

                      Dude, your arguments are as tired as your hip hop references

                      You can’t touch this

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      It’s been fun, BJS. The banter, that is. But I’ve been waiting for one, single, solitary, simple, clear, non-sarcastic, easily understood, emphatic statement from you as to what an Orthodox Christian needs to do in times like these. As near as I can tell, the sarcastic “call the Metropolitan out” letter got a few props from your boys, but no “official” response (but you knew it wouldn’t); you basically dogged the prayer & faith in God approach (I don’t know…); I think you got fished by a priest (but that’s me…); and, in the interest of public safety, you were offended at the “hands-on” lynching approach (though I strongly believe you contrived a bit of the outrage). So, where does that leave us? Was this a riddle you intend to pull together in the end, or is that the point? It is so ethereal we’ll leave it with a nigga joke? Come on man! “Now then do it! for the Lord has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.'” (2Sam. 3:18) You started out big, champ, “heading for an iceberg,” imminent catastrophe. And nothing? Can’t touch this? Hit me up, champ. I’ll set an alarm.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dr S, I’m sorry to say but several countries have it all over us when it comes to taking away the right to abortion on demand. Russia is just one of them.

                      Good on them.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      You again offer your customary serving of lukewarm gruel as salve. I repeat: when something is immoral and unethical by violating the natural law at the hand of our God, or as set in Scripture to guide us on the narrow path of holiness, it always immoral and it is always unethical no matter who the perpetrator or the rationale for the conduct.

                      Your insistence that Russia has done anything significant to limit abortions is as ridiculous as it is deceit. The amended law allows legal abortion for any woman for any reason (for no reason) up to the twelfth week of gestation. At that point, a woman must “appeal” pursuant to a standardized list of conditions in order to receive a surgical abortion beyond the twelfth week. According to public health officials, an appeal is rarely, if ever, denied, and >90% of the time the “condition” for which the appeal is granted is for “economic hardship.” As I noted previously, just this month, a united group of hospitals and healthcare professionals conducted a moratorium of all activities related to abortions, and in some instances, some literally stopped performing abortions (and do keep the wife of the Prime Minister, Svetlana Medvedeva, in your prayers, as she is truly a champion of the pro life movement).

                      Mr. Michalopulos, you need to take a serious step back and see reality for what it is: Mr. Putin is pro choice & believes the government should fund legalized abortions. This makes him one of the largest providers of legalized abortion services in history. He also claims to be an Orthodox Christian, and I believe a communicant. The Patriarch has made two statements regarding abortion since 2012, while more legal abortion occur in the the Moscow district /city than anywhere in Russia.

                      Now you ask yourself, do you imagine this form of “holiness” is destined to lead the Orthodox Church of the future?

                  • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                    RE: ‘What I do see is Patriarch Bartholomew eventually getting crucified by the Turks, all while the self-proclaimed “traditionalist Orthodox” yell out “crucify him!”’

                    Mr. Lipper, I think you may wish to “walk back,” as they say in political circles, that uncalled for, stereotypical, simplistic, mean-spirited, vile smear.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster

                      From the 2016 Council Of Crete:

                      “The Orthodox Church considers all efforts to break the unity of the Church, undertaken by individuals or groups under the pretext of maintaining or allegedly defending true Orthodoxy, as being worthy of condemnation”

                      I find these words especially disturbing seeing the maneuvering that is going on

                      I wonder what might be said of Holy Trinity seminary in the future, if things continue as they are?

                      This is no joke

                      Your work is extremely important

                      I hope all this mess can dissipate instead of come to a boiling point

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      The picture you paint is a dire one. Unfortunately it is what we are facing. I can see it now: “All you ‘trads’ who are under the sway of Moscow and/or Athos are nothing but a bunch of fundies. So there!”

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster,

                      Is the “smear” you refer to my use of the phrase “traditionalist Orthodox”? I always believed that Orthodoxy was inherently traditional. Orthodoxy is about the tradition and presence of the Holy Trinity in the Church. Is there ever such a thing as “non-traditionalist Orthodox”? I don’t really think so. It’s Orthodox, or it’s not Orthodox.

                      It is often the case that those who are officially in schism with Orthodoxy will proclaim themselves as “right believing, genuine, true, and traditionalist Orthodox”. Typically they are not really defending Orthodoxy by this, but rather they are defending the fact of their schism. They are actually trying to make the point that there is such a thing as “non-traditional Orthodoxy”.

                      I’m not accusing anyone on this blog for being “traditionalist Orthodox”. Some self-proclaim themselves as such, but what is the point of doing so? What does that prove? Weren’t the jews who crucified Christ self-proclaimed “traditionalist Orthodox”?

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      Mr. Lipper are you willfully blind or trying to be flippant?

                      The “smear” to which I refer is, obviously, your comparison of what you term “self-proclaimed ‘traditionalist Orthodox'” to the bloodthirsty crowd at our Lord’s trial in Jerusalem.

                      Have you no shame, Mr. Lipper?

                    • Zoe Pellas says

                      Traditionalist? Most of the Russian Aristocracy attend Episcopal churches to satisfy their snootiness while they pay “convert” useful idots to attend snotical ROCOR parishes. Archetype is that Murray Hill dandy with a cane (expelled from YAF) who takes in borders willing to discharge his member. Old calendar czar freaks of ROCOR were spawned by triple agent soviet provocateur “Prince” Turkul (Unholy Trinity 1998 p.152) to make them look foolish. If they really wanted “old” calendar they should have used to Hebrew lunar Jesus used not the one his Roman slaughterers did. Czars were just as communist as Stalin as they had free health care and education. and were intolerant of land ownership on grounds the grand obschina was their mother Mokosh. Cardinal sins and toll houses are Persian Ishtar astrology also found the pseudepigraphas of Reuben and the twelve patriarchs. They are no different than purgatory or reincarnation. They are dharmic syncretism just like hyperventilating hallucination hesticlasim. Uspensky and Kapustin went to buy up Jerusalem properties now under ROCOR to prevent Moses Montefiore (the Jewish Tositsas) doing so on behalf of the British.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster,

                      We are potentially on the precipice of a new bloody religious war in the Ukraine that will primarily involve Christians. Do you have any doubt that such a war will involve Christians who fight on both pretenses of Soviet-era Russian nationalism and self-proclaimed “traditionalist Orthodoxy”?

                  • Billy Jack Sunday says

                    Joseph Lipper

                    You said, ” I really don’t see Patriarch Bartholomew uniting with Rome.”


                    It’s that kind of mentality that has empowered him to do all that he’s done so far

                    Can’t see it coming?

                    What do you need to do? Steal his diary? Talk to his housekeeper? Wait for the movie to come out? Employ a psychic? Run an internet algorithm? Consult your physician? Check your barometer? Ask Dr. Phil? Use that little weird 4 section origami paper thing? 411? DNA analysis? Word from the Oracle? Alexa? Carnival gypsy? Fortune cookie? Alex Trebek? Saruman? Farmers Almanac? H & R Block?
                    Starship Enterprise computer? Bagua? Talk to your Public Defender . . . ?

                    The guy unashamedly telegraphs all his moves out loud in technicolor

                    What else does the guy gotta do to get your attention


                    A man outside you front door wearing a mask, black and white striped shirt, black gloves, carrying a flashlight and a crowbar- while shouting, “I AM A HOME INTRUDER . . . WHERE YOUR FLATSCREEN AT??!!”

                    You don’t open your door and ask for 4 boxes of Samoas

                • George Michalopulos says

                  It’s called “prepping the battle ground”

                  • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                    RE: ‘I can see it now: “All you ‘trads’ who are under the sway of Moscow and/or Athos are nothing but a bunch of fundies. So there!”’

                    George, that is precisely what various purveyors of “enlightened” Orthodoxy have been bellowing with increasing volume and ferocity for several years, trying to distract us from their own theological and spiritual subversion. They have no further need of “Trojan Horses”: the Church is currently confronting a steady, echeloned frontal attack.

  12. Nick Tsoumochores says

    Just like the Autocephaly of the OCA, the Autocephaly of Moscow was invalid.
    Moscow is the vile Magog, the result of Russia’s Tatarization by Ivan’s accepting Tatars as Russian Nobility after Kazan. And the fraudulent “Third Rome” claims of Trnvo. Just as Francesco Moraglia is the Patriarch of Venice, Bart Arcantony can be the Eastern Rite Patriarch of Kyev and Thessalonia.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Is this a joke?

      • George you sure do get them on here!!, along with the informed and thoughtful and Christ filled, you do get the odd nut! ?.
        I think all are entitled to their views,including me, but we all need to make sure we have facts to present.
        We can argue over the implications of those facts but a rant based on prejudice as our Nicholas Tsoumochores tends to engage in, does no one including the truth any good.

    • Monk James Silver says

      Mr Tsoumochores would do well to study some history from books and sources not contaminated by Phanariot politics.

      • Nick Tsoumochores says

        We are fed up of this patronizing distorted racism the pan slavs have towards the Greeks. Most Greeks feel the Russian desire to control access to the straits is the reason Byzantium fell to the Turks. Because the Slavic Jews are supporting the Greek son Macedonia, now the Slavs accuse all the Northern Greeks of being Jewish.

        • Monk James Silver says

          During the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, Russian ships were approaching Constantinople. They could see the skyline of the city and were ready to take it back from the Turks. The heavily involved British (remember Gallipoli?) convinced the Russians to back off, and so they did.

          The rest, as they say, is history. And authentic history wequires serious study, not emotionally prejudiced foregone conclusions.

          If Nick Tsoumochores were right (but he isn’t), the Russians would have ignored the British, and Hagia Sophia would now be a Christian temple once again,

          The Jews, whether in reality or in people’s imagination, had les than nothing to do with any of this.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            “Take it back” from the Turks? When did the Russians have it?

            Those darn Brits, again. But there’s always somebody!

            • Look with these people tenants of.history are long gone. What ever takes their fancy
              Nothing changes The Church is in the world and rhe World knows it not. BUT Then some of it’s.hierarchs do not either.
              As regards the Phanar, a human tragedy past it’s sell by date. I just recall a story of a greek lady whose husband was connected to phanar and who knew many of the past and current actors.
              She visited on Easter day and was met by then bishop of chalcedon ( B must have been Patrarch I think just) dressed in start suit and the and with three hair on his chin, who said he was just about to eat so could not see her. Did not even offer her a dyed egg. That story says more to me than endless mails.
              Past fading glory. Does God need any of this pathetic delusion.?

  13. Fr. Andrew Phillips in the UK has been saying for years that the Phanar is America’s lackey.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I’ve never wanted to believe that but the appearance that the Phanar is in the grip of the State Dept is unavoidable.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        “Unavoidable”? I think it is in the grip of the little motorcyclists.

        Alas, everything is a conspiracy, isn’t it?

        • M. Stankovich says

          I don’t known, Mr. Mortiss, but ever since I was six & taken to the Greatest Show on Earth, I have been infinately more stunned by how they could fit all those guys into that little car! And now, I continually, obsessively, and foolishly am damn-near disabled by attempting to calculate exactly how many homosexuals, cospiratori, travitori, theologians, translators, and self-righteous saviours of the church can pile in! Don’t play that “There’s a trap door in the floor – it’s all in the parking” with me! I went to the floor of Madison Square Garden and there is no trap door, damn it! It’s magic!

          • Joseph Lipper says

            There is a trap door. It leads down and out of a Trojan horse.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Mr. Lipper,

              Thankfully, my childhood fantasy remains unscathed. I will admit a momentary – and I mean momentary – panic you were headed to the unimaginable vulgarity of the “trap door, down and out” of the proverbial camel whose nose we find under the tent… But to my relief, you wisely stuck with the tautology of the “old saw,” the trojan horse. To you, sir, I tip the helmet and chin strap. It’s been a tough day for the truth.

    • anonimus per Scorilo says

      so has 02varvara, and plenty others. But this does not make it true.

      These guys report at most to the Greek foreign ministry, they are too small and powerless for the State department to even bother 🙁

      if the State department really decided to push on Ukrainian autocephaly you can be sure the governments of Poland, Czechia, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and even Serbia would exert
      enough leverage that the corresponding churches would immediately say yes sir, and start praising the wise and pastoral decision Constantinople made leaving Russia alone (or perhaps with the OCA, which, strange as it may sound, is probably the only autocephalous Orthodox church worldwide that cannot be squeezed into submission by the government)

      the fact that this does not happen and that everybody has expressed diverse opinions on this proves that this is just a Phanar decision

  14. Why does Moscow recognize the EP at the first if he is in heresy, anti-canonical and politically suicidal? The answer I usually get is because there is a hesitancy to cause a schism.

    There is a hesitancy to cause a schism over the Faith, the Canons, etc. but no hesitancy to cause one over ecclesiastical jurisdiction. It all appears very hypocritical. Lord save Thy people!

    • Joseph Lipper says

      It’s looking like Pope Francis will take the side of Patriarch Kirill, if and when the schism goes down. His recent address to Patriarch Kirill took a stance against “Uniatism”:

      “And when some Catholic faithful, be they lay people, priests or bishops, take up the banner of ‘Uniatism’ which no longer functions, which is over, for me it is also painful. The Churches that are united with Rome must be respected, but ‘Uniatism’ as a road to unity does not work today. ”

      If and when Ukrainian autocephaly goes down, I’ll be waiting for Pope Francis to condemn Patriarch Bartholomew as a “schismatic Orthodox heretic”.

      • Joseph,

        I honestly don’t believe that Pope Francis believes that heresy or schism even exists. Unless one is a traditionalist Roman Catholic…

        • Joseph Lipper says

          I believe Pope Francis will proclaim the EP as heretical once Vladimir Putin responds to an Ukrainian autocephaly with war, and Pope Francis (who is always preaching peace) will blame the EP for instigating that war.

          Remember that an Ukrainian autocephaly would cause some Uniat parishes to become Orthodox. It would thus be considered an attack not just on the Moscow Patriarchate, but also on Roman Catholic Eastern Rite dioceses, and Vladimir Putin would be seen as defending both.

          Pope Francis (and the EU) will take the side of Vladimir Putin. Did you you see the very recent photo of Angela Merkel and Putin sitting down all comfy over a glass of wine for a friendly chat? Wow!

          Probably most Orthodox Patriarchs, Patriarch Kirill included, will simply TRY to ignore the autocephaly like it never happened. It’s Vladimir Putin that won’t ignore the autocephaly, and when he goes to war, he will make it impossible for anyone to ignore it.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Regarding your comment about the recent meeting between Putin and Merkel, Angela basically cried “uncle”, she’s so desperate to save the Nordstream pipeline.

            I have a feeling that this is how NATO starts to fracture.

  15. For one says “I am of Constantinople” or “I am of Moscow” and another “I am of Ukraine…”

    I thank God I left this ethnic cabal of Caesar-Papism nonsense behind. Where is the Good News of the Gospel in any of this?

    • Joseph Lipper says


      Many people on this blog say, “I am of the United States of America”.

      Isn’t that the same thing?

      • Michael Bauman says

        Mr. Lipper, it certainly can be. It is a constant temptation to put my own preference and the created things before God. Even the Bible can be miss used in that way

        God is meeciful.

    • Billy Jack Sunday says


      “I am of Calvin”

      It’s quite a thing, you know . . .

      Few are more “sectarian,” if you will, than the Calvanists

    • Reformed licentiousness says


      If you think that the founders of the reformation were saintly men, then you’re delusional. We just don’t talk about the licentiousness of the likes of Martin Luther, John Calvin, or Ulrich Zwingli because this is a predominantly Protestant country, and these men are often cultural pseudo-saints.

      Remember, in Orthodox Christianity there is no movement that bears someone’s name. What occurs over history is the work of the entire body of the Church, not homage to any particular person. The only movements in Orthodox Christian Church history that bear someone’s name (like Arianism) are heresies.

      I pray that Christ draws you back to His Church, despite its difficulties.

  16. Michael Bauman says

    Reformed, the Gospel is everywhere one looks within the Orthodox Church. ‘Those with eyes to see, let them see.”

  17. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Reformed,

    God forgive you.

    In Christ,

    Matthew Panchisin

  18. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Constantinople, August 27, 2018

  19. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Cognate Page website.

    “Broken Promises”: Is Ukrainians’ Criticism of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fair Enough?

  20. I would note that you never got around to answering the question in your title. Metropolitan Hilarion has been raising the specter of schism should the EP dare to recognize the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church. But I’m not sure why schism would necessarily follow. There is no issue of doctrine or practice on the line here. It’s just one of those overblown matters of national pride and the vanity of bishops.

    • George Michalopulos says

      How about war and bloodshed? How about the fact that the Cretan Robber Council has a convenient clause which automatically brands any local Church as “schematic” because it has a problem with gay marriage?

  21. Michael Bauman says

    We are DOOMED, all of us DOOMED. Doom despair and agony on me, deep dark depression excessive misery.

    How about: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

    • M. Stankovich says

      To be fair, for anyone who is actually close – proximity wise – to human suffering, to another failure, to viciousness, to unexpected (and seemingly “undeserved”) tragedy, and so on, it frequently becomes cumulative. I had to stop taking hours doing admissions & assessments in the emergency departments for several months now; the tragedy plusthe level of aggression that becomes so personal so fast; to find myself having to step between an, ordinarily, extremely compassionate older Protestant chaplain and a gangsta; or trying to talk “sense” to a young kid who would walk away from treatment and return to jail rather than turn over a prescription for five stupid pills – not even enough for one good “high”; patients whose “relapse” is not simply using drugs or alcohol, but over-dosing and dying. Sometimes, on some days, I couldn’t buy joy, Michael Bauman. Where is my ability to take this poor kid’s hand, if I “have faith and do not doubt,” and if I “shall say to this mountain, be removed, and be you cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatever I shall ask in prayer, believing, I shall receive,” (Matt. 21:21-22) yet I am totally impotent. I’m presuming your comment is reacting to the cumulative responses, and while the Pascha Canon tells us that: “Today, all things are filled with light; heaven and earth, and even the places under the earth,” and that darkness no longer has its former power, we will continue to live with the night until the end. And that will always be the struggle.

      • Christopher says

        Well said Mr. Stankovich. If only more had experience in an ER, or a prison to see a great mass of humanity chained in a hell, a literal hell. There is no moral solution, and all the medicine and help and “sense”is just so much impotency. What a strange thing it is our God does, this Cross through suffering and death that is the very path to Light and Life…

    • Billy Jack Sunday says

      Michael Bauman

      I think we’ll be alright – as long as they don’t have any giant robot camels . . .

      • Michael Bauman says

        BJS, I am sure they are coming. Until the AI community adopts Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics” or something better we face planned extinction but I reckon I will go down singing “Lord God of Hosts be with us for we have no other help in times of sorrow but thee. Lord of Hosts have mercy on us.”

        Blessed Prophet Job pray for us, St. Symeon and St Daniel the stylites, pray for us.

        Rejoice in the Lord always…..

        • Michael Bauman says

          OR BJS, simply order a case of fine Elderberry Dry Reserve wine from Wyldewood Cellars, the largest most awarded winery in the heartland with over 600 international awards achievef in blind taste tests. Forget all the California and French crap.

          “Wine makes glad the heart of man”

          • Billy Jack Sunday says

            Michael Bauman

            It sounds like you have great wine!

            Wine is indeed great but malt liquor is my drink

            I now prefer a 40 of Steel Reserve – 2nd choice being Old English

            Pardon me, as I don’t talk too much about myself here –

            but since we are talking about drink, I need to pay tribute to someone now

            I just got word that my mentor died: Crazy Jack.

            My name derives from Billy Jack as well as Billy Sunday.

            However, I always considered the name – Jack – in my name to also be in reference to him

            It should. After all, the man taught me how to kick!

            He was truly legendary and had learned from true legends as well

            He was also a good friend. And, I was totally terrified of him

            He was larger than life – even superhuman. I’ve got copies of unreal photos from his long ago demos to prove it

            Therefore, I will be drinking rice wine – sake – in his memory

            I used to leave a bottle of it in the dojang for him overnight on Christmas Eve the last few years I was training with him

            I thought of myself as Sake Clause

            Not being much of a drinker, he would let the years pass and the bottles collect

            But if and when he drank, he liked sake – so the reason for the tradition

            He taught me how to fight both physically and mentally – to have an indomitable spirit – fearing no one

            He gave me something back in a time in my life when everything was being taken away from me

            He showed and gave honor, where others gave dishonor and rejection

            He was very honorable, extremely skilled and real. Totally dangerous if crossed – yet protective and kind

            We all need mentors. I was fortunate to have him as one of my most important ones

            May his legacy live on with his students

            May his memory be eternal

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Then there’s Preacher Jack, the craziest of them all. Check youtube, those who know not the preacher..

  22. Gail Sheppard says

    Like the fig tree that withered for lack of fruit, the day the Lord has made is coming to an end. The Protestant faiths have succumbed to the age, the Latin church is imploding and people are worshiping anything and everything that is anti-God.

    “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.”

  23. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Asia News website.

    08/29/2018, 11.26 RUSSIA-TURKEY
    Fate of Ukrainian Church in Istanbul meeting between Kirill and Bartholomew

  24. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today by the Associated Press, in The National Herald.

    Cleric: “No Going Back” on Ukraine Split from Russia Church
    By Associated Press – August 31, 2018

  25. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Moscow, August 31, 2018

  26. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodoxie website.

    Patriarch Irinej of Serbia addressed a letter of protest to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople about the Ukrainian “autocephaly” and other similar schismatic entities
    By Emma Cazabonne
    31 August 2018

    • George Michalopulos says

      What’s funny (in a not-so-funny way) is that when I attended the Clergy-Laity Congress in 2002 in Los Angeles, one of those metropolitans-without-a-diocese who was an observer for the EP, spoke in a private meeting with several of the delegates. I was told by some of the delegates who attended his closed-door session that the patriarchates of Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, etc. weren’t really “real” patriarchates.

      I imagine that we’ll see some interesting and not-so-good things start to spill out in due time.

      • George as living in one of those not real patrarchates ( sic) and in Tarnovo ( Veliko Tarnovo) to boot, actually!! I want to say that the current head of the Bulgarian Church is spiritually worth a 100 istambul Rome university professional conference goers and his fellow delusional play actors living of the hard earned money of else where.

  27. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a news release from yesterday on the Ecumenical Patriarchate website.

    His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill of Moscow at the Phanar

    • Constantinos says

      Dear Greatly Saddened,
      The thing that strikes me in the release is all the fancy titles: His All Holiness, His Beatitude, His Eminence. Whatever happened to humility? For goodness sake with all these pompous titles, it sounds like it was a gathering of Freemasons. Listen,when they sit on the toilet, their crap stinks just like everyone else.

      • George Michalopulos says


        • Greatly Saddened says

          Yes, I whole heartedly agree. These titles, along with the emperor look is much too much to handle. These pompous individuals should try coming down off their high horse and come down to reality. If they are supposedly an icon of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, perhaps they should try to emulate him as best as possible. First thing should be trying some “humility!” It would serve them well. Are they “Christ like” or “emperor like?” Do they even know themselves?

          • Joseph Lipper says

            That’s one of things that has impressed me about Patriarch Bartholomew. It’s not entirely uncommon for him to greet visitors himself at the entrance to the Phanar. He doesn’t strike me as being pompous at all. I don’t think Patriarch Kirill is pompous either, however, his role as a head of the Russian state requires a lot of security guards, even when he serves in the altar. Because of this, Patriarch Kirill is much less approachable.

  28. Gail Sheppard says

    This “news release” is filled with everything but what we want to know. Why put out a news released on who picked up Patriarch Kirill from the airport? It ends with the following: “At the conclusion of their two-and-a-half hour conversation, His Beatitude departed for Moscow.” Seriously???

    How long is the EP going to drag this out? Metropolitan Emmanuel of France is doing all the talking. The EP needs to stand up and speak for himself if he’s determined to go down a path that will lead the Church into schism, lighting a match that may spark global war. I don’t think this is a “done deal.”

    • Joseph Lipper says

      They were all supposed to have dinner together at the Phanar after the conversation. The fact that the Moscow group left immediately after the conversation meant that the meeting ended abruptly. The Moscow group basically stormed out. Patriarch Kirill left unhappy.

      • George Michalopulos says

        If what you say is true, then if I were the EP, I’d be very worried. The Russians have exceedingly long memories. And they excel at playing the long game. Just ask the Ukrainians who foolishly gave up their nukes back in the 90s.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Joseph, thank you for sharing this. They obviously didn’t reach a consensus. From now on (assuming we survive this) we can’t afford to let the EP continue in his capacity. 60% or better of the Church does not support his efforts, but he doesn’t care. If he doesn’t feel the need to work with his brother bishops, he should be thrown out of the Church.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Well, the EP might get thrown out of Turkey for this.

          I suppose Putin will complain to Erdogan about Patriarch Bartholomew “meddling” in Russian affairs. I’m sure Erdogan wouldn’t hesitate to act.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I think that I agree with you.

      Lord forgive me but I fervently believe that every primate should remember two words: Meletius and Metaxakis.

      Nuff said.

  29. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Gail,

    “How long is the EP going to drag this out?”

    I used to wonder the same thing until somebody mentioned to me that the longer it drags out, the more the money comes in. Some want autocephaly and some don’t, some want money and some can print as much as they see fits in the situations that have been created.

    God forgive us and save us.

    In Christ,

    Matthew Panchisin

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Matthew, this is disappointing to hear. Does the EP have ANY love for the Chruch or is all about money?

      • Constantinos says

        It’s always about money unless it’s the Catholic Church, then it’s all about money,and the homosexual agenda of the priests and bishops.I know George likes Church Militant,well Michael Voris claims that half of all the priests are homosexuals. If the Lord doesn’t deal against all this pornographic obscenity, then He goes to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Costa, it’s not so much that I “like” Church Militant it’s that they’re pretty good at calling a spade a spade. In other words, you’ll pretty much get the facts correct –albeit from a Catholic perspective. While I don’t agree with their theology they are very careful in their criticisms and analyses of the many different topics that beset the RCC and culture in general.

          • George,
            Have you read Pat Buchanan’s latest column on his website? All but demands the pope to resign. He understands that homosexuals will destroy his church. As he states, nearly all of the abuse occurs with males, young and old.

            There needs to be a purge at the Vatican…
            And it needs to be stated clearly:This is a homosexual scandal.

            -Pat Buchanan-A Cancer on the Papacy

            • George Michalopulos says

              Dino, I had not. Thanks for linking it.

              I know I’m going to get into trouble for saying this buy here goes:

              What is coming out is that this is not a paedophilia/pederasty problem but a homosexual problem. According to the stats 86.6% of the victims were post-pubescent males. Not just 14-16 year old young men(ephebophilia) but young post-16 year old men, especially seminarians.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Costa, your point is well taken. Money does indeed talk and it goes both ways.

      • George Michalopulos says

        To even ask this question runs the very real risk of answering it.

  30. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Friday on The Russian Orthodox Church website.

    31.08.2018 20:10
    Fraternal meeting of Primates of Church of Constantinople and Russian Orthodox Church

    Inter-Orthodox relations, News, Patriarchal Ministry, DECR Chairman

  31. Gail Sheppard says

    I think the contrast between the way the EP and Patriarch Kirill chose to relay the story regarding their recent meeting is telling.

    In one case, you have someone who wants to control the narrative by being “Johnny-on-the-spot,” releasing the story to not less than 30 news sources, the first of which appeared 3 days ago, as the meeting was taking place! He showed cowardice by using Metropolitan Emmanual of France as his mouthpiece and tried to cover his own insecurity with bravado using the explosive words: “No going back’ on Ukraine split from Russia Church!” He demonstrates further weakness (and of course, this is all my opinion) by leaving himself some wiggle room in case he HAS to go back by saying “there is still one final step.”

    In contrast, Patriarch Kirill waits until he has at least exited the building and offers a sober-minded assessment stressing the need for collaboration and dialog for the good of the Church.

    That’s my characterization, admittedly, but I’m unlikely to find ANYTHING the EP does worthy of praise after all this.

    • George Michalopulos says

      It’s a perceptive analysis Gail.

      I’m especially intrigued by your last sentence. Lemme think about it.

  32. Michael Bauman says

    Well Gail I have been hard pressed to see anything the EP has done ever as worthy of praise. The entire Patriarchate has been corrupted by the Turkish Yoke. The heresy of simony has rotted the Patriarchate to the core since AD1453. Metaxakis was just the logical out come. The current EP an ugly step-sister

    If the other Patriarchs and bishops cannot see the corruption and respond, they share in it.

    All things will be revealed.

  33. Gail Sheppard says

    You make a good point, Michael, and you’re right: All things will be revealed.

  34. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Bloomberg website.

    Ukraine Could Beat Putin in Church Battle

    The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is likely to win independence from Moscow.
    By Leonid Bershidsky
    September 3, 2018, 9:07 AM EDT

  35. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the BBC News website.

    Orthodox Church split fuels Russia-Ukraine tension 
    03 September 2018 – Europe

  36. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Cognate Page website.

    Constantinople Patriarchate to Seek Help from Local Orthodox Churches?
    on SEPTEMBER 3, 2018

  37. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Sunday by Sputnik News, on the Orthodox Cognate wrbsite.

    Ukrainian Orthodox Church Refutes Reports Alleging Autonomous Status Claims
    on SEPTEMBER 2, 2018

  38. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Nun Cornelia (Rees)

    • George Michalopulos says

      Brilliant and biting analysis by Nun Cornelia. Thanks, GS

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Nun Cornelia quotes the analysis of the National Catholic Reporter:

      “If the Ukrainian church is recognized, Moscow can break away from Constantinople and proclaim itself the new center of Orthodox Christianity.”

      This is key. Rome would favor a schism over an Ukrainian autocephaly, and Rome would probably take the side of Moscow as “the new center of Orthodox Christianity”. Pope Francis, in his recent address to Patriarch Kirill dated May 30, 2018, said:

      “the Catholic Churches, must not interfere in the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, nor in political matters. This is my stance, and the stance of the Holy See today. And those who meddle do not obey the Holy See. That is for politics.”

      An Ukrainian autocephaly would not fare well for Rome. It would result in some Catholic churches becoming Orthodox. It makes sense then that Pope Francis would side with the Moscow Patriarchate.
      If schism does happen, then I would expect Pope Francis to condemn Patriarch Bartholomew and the Ukrainian autocephaly.

    • Great article, but perplexed by one thing says

      Wonderful essay by the Nun Cornelia.

      She points out that 11 of the canonical autocephalous churches have formally (or have hierarchs who have formally) spoken out in support of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Metropolitan Onuphry) and the Church in Russia and have denounced the EP’s intervention in Ukraine. These are the Churches of Alexandria and All Africa, Antioch, Jerusalem, Georgia, Serbia, Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Cyprus.

      This leaves only the Churches of Romania, Albania, and the OCA who (at least per Nun Cornelia’s article) have not spoken publicly on the Ukrainian issue.

      As an American Orthodox Christian, I am perplexed as to why the OCA has not spoken out on this issue. I’d think that as the daughter of the Russian Church and as a church that has experience in obtaining autocephaly from her mother Church (i.e., not from the EP), then wouldn’t the OCA firmly support the canonical Ukrainian Church and the Church in Russia?

      Not to mention that the OCA lost one of its oldest parishes in 2017 when it left the OCA and joined the schismatic group of “Patriarch” Filaret (St Nicholas Church in Philadelphia).

      Only thing I can surmise is that the OCA is afraid of offending the many fellow Orthodox Christians in the United States and Canada who are under the jurisdiction of the EP, if it speaks out in favor of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church-MP.

      Is there any reason why the OCA would not support the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church-MP in this dispute over the Ukrainian schismatics? Is there any chance she would support the EP?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Interesting question. The OCA has many people whose background is from from ex-Soviet states or ex-Soviet domination. Many of these people do not trust the Moscow Patriarchate. My sense is that Metropolitan Tikhon might try to avoid taking sides, but who knows? That’s a difficult position to be in. He currently enjoys warm relations with both the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    • We imagine that all of the Hierarchs serving within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Throne know very well that the 4th Ecumenical Council, among other decisions, honored the exceptional privilege of “the right to appeal” (ekkliton) of the Throne of Constantinople with the decrees of its 9th and 17th Canons. Numerous instances of the exercise of this right to appeal by Hierarchs and clergy of other jurisdictions have been recorded through the centuries in the historical journey of the Mother Church. Worthy of mention here is the determination of the canonist Miodrag Petrovic, that “the Archbishop of Constantinople alone has the privilege to judge and adjudicate conflicts of bishops, clergy and metropolitans of other patriarchs.” (Nomocanon on the 14 Titles and the Byzantine Commentators, p. 206)

      Funny how this same “Archbishop of Constantinople [who] alone has the privilege to judge and adjudicate conflicts of bishops” absolutely refuses to adjudicate the issue of Jerusalem and Antioch.

      And then, with a hubris that far exceeds the very worst of Roman Popes, we read…

      At times, we confront trials and temptations precisely because some people falsely believe that they can love the Orthodox Church, but not the Ecumenical Patriarchate, forgetting that it incarnates the authentic ecclesiastical ethos of Orthodoxy. “In the beginning was the Word . . . in him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1.1,4) The beginning of the Orthodox Church is the Ecumenical Patriarchate; “in this is life, and the life is the light of the Churches.” The late Metropolitan Kyrillos of Gortyna and Arcadia, a beloved Hierarch of the Mother Church and personal friend, was right to underline that “Orthodoxy cannot exist without the Ecumenical Patriarchate.


      • George Michalopulos says

        Lord have mercy.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Patriarch Kirill himself when he just visited Istanbul, referred to it as the “Queen of Cities”. It is in Istanbul, which means “to the city” and refers to the City of Constantine, that Orthodoxy was born. The concept of Orthodoxy emerges in Christianity with the Ecumenical Councils that began there. The Ecumenical Patriarch has had from the beginning a traditional and central role in those councils and in Christianity. The idea that an Ecumenical Patriarch is no longer necessary would be non-traditional, progressive, and entirely novel.

        • Respectfully Joseph,

          First Council – Jerusalem
          Second Council (commonly known as the first) – Nicea
          Third Council – Constantinople

          I’m not sure anyone, including Pat Krill, is suggesting that a “first among equals” is somehow a bad idea (I am certainly not) . The question is the understanding of what being that “first among equals” is. And I do not hesitate for a moment to say that “The beginning of the Orthodox Church is the Ecumenical Patriarchate; “in this is life, and the life is the light of the Churches” is a myth bordering on blasphemy that has no basis in revelation, Scripture, or Tradition, a foundation built upon the shiftiest of sand.

          We do not ‘believe’ in a first among equals, though we acknowledge the office for practical and traditional purposes. We believe in one, holy catholic, and apostolic Church.

          • Joseph Lipper says


            The council in Jerusalem is certainly a Christian council, it is an apostolic council, and it is part of Holy Scripture, but it is not the first Ecumenical Council. It is a pre-Ecumenical Council. There were many other pre-Ecumenical councils also, between the period of this Jerusalem Council and the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea. For example, there was the Council of Rome in the year 155, the Council of Carthage year 251, and the Council of Antioch year 254.

            If think we would all agree the beginning of the Church goes back to God’s creation of the angels and continues for us to the present. However, the concept and action of “Orthodoxy” comes out of the Ecumenical Councils. It is from the Ecumenical Councils that it was no longer sufficient for people to simply call themselves “Christian”, but rather they also needed to identify as “Orthodox”.

            The “Orthodox” Church is born out of the Ecumenical Councils. The birth of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, under the Roman Emperor St. Constantine, is the beginning of those councils. In this way, I would agree that the beginning of the Orthodox Church is the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Joseph, respectfully, I must disagree. The Orthodox Church began on Pentecost, in Jerusalem Jerusalem. That city is the Mother Church.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                George, yes, the Spirit of Truth descended on Pentecost in Jerusalem, but “Orthodox Christianity” is proclaimed by the Ecumenical Councils.

                Where is the phrase “Orthodox Christianity” used in the New Testament? At that time, people were only just starting to call themselves “Christians”.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Actually, The Church began with Christ’s sacrifice “before the foundation of the world”. That is why the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Pentecost was a particular revelation of reality of the Church.

                As for my participation in her, well that’s the rub isn’t it? None of us can control what the Hierarchy does. In fact I believe Jesus command to Peter in the Gospel of John 21:22 covers that.

                Pray, fast, give alms mercifully, repent and worship seeking union with Him who is.

        • Orthodoxy originated in Jerusalem at the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. It had nothing to do with Constantinople which has often been an embarrassment and left the Church for Rome during the Council of Florence period. Saying Constantinople is in anyway necessary to Orthodoxy is an antitraditional lie. It did not even exist as a Christian city until hundreds of years after the Resurrection.

          • Constantinos says

            I agree with you Misha. Good post on your part.

          • Joseph Lipper says


            Where is that verse in the New Testament that says, “They were first called Orthodox in Jerusalem”…?

            • Michael Bauman says

              Joseph, prior to AD 1054 there was no reason to call the Church the “Orthodox” Church. We were just the Church. Weather you accept or not the Orthodox Church, despite our many deficiencies, remains the full Incarnation of the Church established through Christ’s sacrifice “before the foundation of the world”.

              No other body has any legimate claim. There is only one Church, just as there is only one incarnate Son of God.

              That does not at all mean that we are a pure and spotless bride, if we were no sinful human being could be in the body. Repentance is required. Those who refuse to repent or arrogate their ethnicity above their humanity are excluding themselves from the salvific reality of the Church no matter what they think. St. Paul and the Council in Jerusalem are quite clear on that.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Very well said, Michael.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Michael Bauman,

                Before 1054 AD the Orthodox Church condemned many heresies through the Ecumenical Councils: Arianism, Docetism, Monophysitism, Nestorianism, Iconoclasm … just to name a few. There was a great need for Orthodox Christianity way before the “Great Schism of 1054”, and there still is a great need for Orthodox Christianity today. Many of the heresies that were condemned by the Councils still exist by those who call themselves “Christians”.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Yes, and all those groups and heretical theologies are still around, but only the RCC claims itself as the universal Church. They are heretical too and we have the EP who has been courting them for decades and nothing has been done. Mostly IMO because of the strange, bizarre and ludicrous pathology of being GREEK and neither Christian nor human.

                  God help us. The Church will not fail but many candlesticks will be removed.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  As for iconoclasm, remember that it was never a heresy in the Western Church, nor the non-Chalcedonian churches. It was a heresy of the Orthodox Church. Saying that it was not “orthodox”, thus not of the Orthodox church, rather begs the question.

                  I have often wondered when I have heard Orthodox criticisms of Roman Catholic “iconography”: statuary, realistic paintings, etc. Note also the rather primitive iconography of the Oriental churches. Without Iconoclasm, what would have been the iconography of the Orthodox Church? Every time I see the ancient St. Catherine icon of Christ, I think: rather realistic, actually.

                  • Estonian Slovak says

                    Whatever do you mean, Mr. Mortiss? The so-callved non Chalcedonians are in fact Monophysite heretics. They were condemned as such by the 4th Ecumenical Council. If they are in fact Orthodox, let them accept the three remaining Ecumenical Councils.
                    Also, the Papacy is heretical. If those seeking union with Rome as she is today were honest, they would insist Rome return to what was prior to 1054 AD. Or, if they feel Rome has preserved the faith, they should join with her as Eastern Rite Catholics.
                    In the Ukrainian situation, the EP is pushing an agenda. I’m part Ukrainian myself, I would like to see a legitimate Autocephaly in Ukraine. I just question the timing. In an ideal situation, one could argue that Ukraine was part of the EP’s territory, which she had to cede for political reasons. Now, it appears earthly politics are rearing their ugly heads again. The EP started out with the calendar change, now it’s second marriage for priests and papal pretensions. Next, it will be women clergy and same-sex marriage.
                    I take no pleasure in predicting this. I wish you and everyone else who has found the true faith salvation. The church itself will prevail as Our Lord promised. Sadly, it may be in reduced numbers.

                  • Nikos stone says

                    Not quite sure of yr point.
                    Different local churches had different heresies to respond to. Why West developed its eucharistic worship and feast that East although holding same faith re eucharistic, did not.
                    When expression of faith via iconography developed, what was at hand in style was used and that was natural presentation to degree as you say, but as the Church sought to express pictorially what and how believed it started to use the style that best expressed this. The style comes from Egyptian funeral paintings in which one can see the beginnings of the iconic style.
                    The non chalcedobian churches and West never have iconoclasm to deal with in way Constantinople and related Patrarchates did.
                    The painting style developed to express the theology. What is so complex about this?

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    Historically, and with the notable exception of pelagianism. all the best heresies originated in the Greek-speaking churches — they had a deeper reservoir of theological vocabulary.

                    As a direct result of even imperially approved destruction of ikons in the eastern half of the Roman Empire, three-dimensional images — no less and no more ikons than their two-dimensional counterparts — were considered undesirable because of their prechristian and pagan associations. So, at and after the 7th Ecumenical Synod, statues were not forbidden, but paintings were preferred.

                    We need to acknowledge that (with some exceptions) one of the most characteristic aspects of the protestant revolt against the church of Rome was a destruction of sacred images. Where did they get that idea? From other. more ancient heretics!

                    The most ancient Christian ikons seem to have been frescoes and other wall paintings, as we find them still in the catacombs of Rome. Mosaic ikons, much greater in size and elegance, followed shortly after the building of the first public churches allowed by the decriminalization of Christianity by Emperor St Constantine i in 313 A.D.

                    Seeing the grandeur of the holy images in their churches, Christians began to ask for panel ikons to keep at home for their personal veneration. Late eastern Roman panel painting, perhaps best exemplified by the facial portraits applied to mummies in Egypt in the fourth Christian century, were very realistic — and so were the ikons of the day.

                    Painted in the same encaustic (melted wax) medium as the portraits on the mummies, the earliest panel ikons preserved at the monastery of St Catherine at Mt Sinai are very realistic, the two major examples being one of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the other of the holy apostle Peter.

                    Styles of ikon painting have varied over time, reaching their high points in the later years of the Byzantine Empire and in 16th-century Russia. Attempts at realism/naturalism in ikon painting over the last three hundred years or so are generally now regarded as maudlin and overly sensual.

                    Twentieth-century revivals of ikon painting in several of the Orthodox churches have relied on the more classical styles, and are purer, less sentimental, and more theologically correct.

                    For a thorough examination of all these points, please see The Meaning of Icons by Lossky and Ouspensky.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      My point is extremely simple. It’s just a speculation, really. Had there been no Iconoclasm, how would the iconography of the Orthodox Church have developed?

                      It appears to me that it is possible that the development of the theology of the icon in significant part arose out of the opposition to Iconoclasm. So I wonder if different developments regarding “imagery” outside of Orthodoxy deserve any particular criticism. That’s all. I just speculate that if there had been no iconoclastic heresy, that icons and the theology related thereto may have developed differently.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Without iconoclasm, there would be no “Sunday of Orthodoxy” on the first Sunday of Great Lent.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Yeah, but as much as I enjoy the Sunday of Orthodoxy, I don’t think I’d have enjoyed the 2 centuries of persecution that it took to get there.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      ‘Tim R. Mortiss’ needs to remember that not only ikon painting, but almost every aspect of our faith addressed by the ecumenical synods was a reaction to errors in belief, and sometimes to blatant heresy.

                      Unlike RC canon law, the canons of the ecumenical synods never respond to hypothetical situations. They don’t answer any questions beginning with ‘what if?’

                      Instead, the authentically Orthodox Catholic Christian Tradition assumes that ‘the Faith only once entrusted to a holy people’ is under siege by other people not so holy. It’s only then that The Church moves to explain things in the canons.

                      This is especially true in the theology of sacred images.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      What Monk James writes is factual; however, it overlooks the role Islam played in preserving our holy icons—not just on Mount Sinai, but in places like Damascus, where St John of Damascus’s grandfather helped throw open the gates of Damascus to the Moslem hordes in order to protect their icons from the heretical iconoclastic hordes of the Byzantine Empire and Church. The “ecumenical” see seems to have adopted a RECORD amount of heresies in its long history. Why it was even Uniate when it fell to the Moslem invaders..The “ecumenical” Patriarch then fled to Italy, and the Turkish, Islamic sultan called the monk George Scholarios from his island exile (wouldn’t accept “filioque”) and FORCED the “Sacred” Synod to make him a bishop and then install him as Patriarch. Nestorianism is even named after an “Ecumenical” Patriarch Nestorios. Ridicule the papacy for declaring the pope to be infallible when speaking the truth, but no pope had a heresy named after him!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      As usual, Your Grace, your knowledge of history is spot on.

                • Zeke Xenofided says

                  Rome continues to argue the east produced all the heresies. True, but the east also produced most of the world’s religions, too.

                  • Constantinos says

                    Your Grace,
                    Once again I am able to gain insight from your wisdom. You know something else I really like about you as a person? You have a magnificent sense of humor. Thank you, and please don’t ever leave this forum.

  39. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Wednesday on the Interfax-Religion website.

    05 September 2018
    Any unilateral actions by Constantinople Church on ‘Ukrainian issue’ to aggravate unrest in Ukraine – Ukrainian Orthodox Church

  40. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Byzantine, Texas website.

    Russian Church rep. accuses EP of “Eastern Papism”

  41. Gail Sheppard says

    Ecumenical Patriarchate Appoints Its Bishops as Exarchs to Ukraine

    MOSCOW, September 7. /TASS/. The Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I has appointed its representatives to Ukraine, Reverend Nikolai Danilevich, a deputy chairman of the section for external relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate told TASS on Friday.

    “I’ve just received a report that the Constantinople Patriarchate has appointed Bishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton as its exarchs to Ukraine,” he said.

    Ukraine is part of the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, since the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has a broad autonomy but is affiliated with Moscow Patriarchate.

    The institute of exarchate in the world of Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church of the Eastern signifies a special administrative and territorial entity that is located in a different country and is set up for the specific purpose of caring for the needs of believers of a given rite there.

  42. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Moscow, September 7, 2018

  43. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a news release from yesterday on the Ecumenical Patriarchate website.

    Ecumenical Patriarchate sends Legates to Ukraine
    September 7, 2018

  44. Zeke Xenofides says

    If Irene had followed Leo on iconoclasm, Islam would have been contained.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I am always amazed by these kinds of utterly unprovable assertions….

    • Unprovable and then explain the non chalcedoniam churches who not iconoclasts . But no real developed theology etc of icons, yet well done over by islam.
      The only thing that would have made islam happy would have been her conversation to islam.