We Ask You Not to Force Us to Choose


We Live in the Age of Dostoevsky

Source: AOI

By Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse

The SCOTUS decision to legalize gay marriage reveals that the corruption of American cultural gatekeepers and institutions is nearly complete. This ruling legitimates the homosexual agenda which at bottom is not about civil rights but the inversion of the moral bedrock of Christian civilization. Religion is the ground of culture wrote philosopher Russell Kirk and when religion changes so does the culture.

The decision codifies into law a definition of the human person that strikes at the heart of the Christian understanding of who God created man to be. All persons and institutions will be judged by the litmus test of homosexuality. When the cultural transformation is complete, the assault on the Church will begin. It will come sooner than we think.

Dostoevsky warned of just such transformation to his fellow Russians when the gatekeepers of Russian culture embraced a vision of man contrary to the received moral tradition, in his case Russian Orthodoxy. He saw a great darkness that would come as a result of their corruption. He was correct.

The conservative judges on the Court recognize the same thing. Judge Anthony Scalia wrote:

Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact—and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.

Gay marriage has never been about marriage. Gay marriage has been about the moral sanctioning of homosexual couplings. It was and remains the wedge issue for the legal codification of homosexual behavior and the overthrow of cultural norms by using the coercive power of the courts. At bottom it is a revolt against Christ and Christian civilization.

Dark days are ahead. There will be no compromise with the forces that will be mobilized against Christians and Christianity as a result of this ruling. Liberty has lost, and next comes the attempt to extinguish the Light the illumined it.

(For more the essay: Homosexual Marriage at the Dusk of Liberty.)

Published in the Washington Post, June 10, 2015

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  1. Glaring absence of any Orthodox or Roman Catholic hierarchs.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      The Conference of Catholic Bishops responded very strongly within 24 hours.

      For reasons best known to themselves, most Orthodox bishops in this country seem to be keeping their heads down.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        They are right.

      • Bishop Benjamin of the OCA DOW responded immediately on the diocesan web page. There for all to see. At least one other bishop has been cited. This is not an excuse, though, for entire synods not being ready for this with joint statements, since we all saw this coming from 50 miles away.

        To be fair, most jurisdictions would require consultation with their patriarchs in the old country, which adds a layer of complication.

        There is a wonderful statement on the main ROCOR website from the Chancery of the Midwestern Diocese. As far as I am concerned, it strikes the perfect tone.

      • Fr. Herman Schick says

        Those of us in the OCA Diocese of NY/NJ are grateful that Archbishop Michael issued a strongly worded statement on the SAME DAY as the Supreme Court decision.

        • Priest Schick:

          Those of us in the OCA Diocese of NY/NJ are grateful that Archbishop Michael issued a strongly worded statement on the SAME DAY as the Supreme Court decision.

          Correction. SOME in the OCA Diocese of NY/NJ are grateful that Archbishop Michael issued a strongly worded statement on the SAME DAY as the Supreme Court decision.

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          But here’s the woefully weak statement of +Tikhon, who has nothing bad to say about gay marriage except, well, we don’t bless it or consider it sacramental: http://oca.org/holy-synod/statements/his-beatitude-metropolitan-tikhon/statement-concerning-june-26-us-supreme-court-decision

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            “Because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”

            • Nicholas Chiazza says

              As I recall, the Jesus Freaks went around saying this to the established churches because they didn’t believe as they did.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                All Christians should be “Jesus Freaks.” Otherwise, are they truly Christian? When the Episcopal Church blesses same-sex marriage and thus disregard Holy Tradition and the Scriptures, is she still Christian? I think not.

                • Nicholas Chiazza says

                  Orthodox Christians should be Jesus Freaks? Fundamentalist Protestants? Vocally saying that we don’t need any clergy? Radical Protestantism is not the answer, Kraeff.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    By “Jesus Freak,” I alluded not to fundamentalist Protestants but those who love the Lord and are his disciples–something that each one of us are called to be. Those fundamentalist Protestants, whom you deride, have many among them who also love the Lord and follow him. Indeed, many such Christians have come home to the Church. The road to the Church is different for folks, but the objective for all Christians who take their faith seriously is one and the same.

          • As with the response he wrote to the Arida article, one could make the argument that he would have been better off just not saying anything at all. If this is the clearest and most strongly worded statement he felt he could make…

            I contrast this to the statement on the ROCOR website, which has both moral clarity and deep pastoral compassion. +Tikhon’s statement? Hard to find many bright spots in it…

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      The Church’s position is pretty clear. Nobody doubts where the Orthodox or Catholic churches stand.

      What’s unclear is my own humility when I pass judgment on hierarchs.

  2. And so it begins……

  3. Chris Banescu says

    Orwellianism has been threatening America ever since the US Supreme Court declared that unborn children are not human beings until they exit the womb. Today, the Supreme Court radically expanded this madness and helped Orwellianism engulf an even larger sphere of our lives. Tyranny, intellectual delusion, and moral corruption are growing exponentially.

    A new Dark Age is upon us America! “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)

  4. I am not surprised that Fr. Jacobse doesn’t get it. That is to say, I think it obvious to everyone other than Fr. Jacobse that those Americans who, in the 1860’s, drafted and adopted the 14th amendment to the Constitution clearly intended to make same sex marriage equal to heterosexual marriages. They just forgot to include that language, and Justice Kennedy has merely rectified their clerical error. Fr. Jacobse is overreacting and clearly has issues…

    Seriously, although we all knew this was coming, it is still a dark and depressing day. Little by little, the remnants of Christendom in its American manifestation are being chipped away.

    • Rymlianin says

      Chipped away? More like hacked away wholesale.

    • Daniel E Fall says

      A total overreaction.

      Someday, if scientists realize homosexuality results from mental disorder, think of how silly this essay will sound.

      • Rymlianin says

        We need to stop “therapeutizing” sin and acknowledge it for what it is: disobedience to the will of God. Homosexuality is “natural” to our fallen state. What we need to overcome is our own fallenness. This can only be done by invoking the Holy Spirit to assist us.

        • Nicholas Chiazza says

          I guess I’ll just have to ask the Holy Spirit to overcome my fallen green eyes.

      • Estonian Slovak says

        I thought you libs believe they are born that eay,Dan.Which is it?

      • Judging the moral culpability of a given man is the work of God. Men are called to resist corruption in the world, and trust God to make the proper judgment.

  5. In his dissent, Justice Thomas rightly notes that a piece of paper does not ontologically change a human relationship (my words; his paragraphs on the point go into more detail).

    I believe this is about homosexuals dealing with self-acceptance issues. The truth is written on the human heart, and natural law is universal, regardless of what hormones you were exposed to in the womb. From my own conversations with open and proud homosexuals, in moments of brutal honesty (often induced by alcohol), they will admit they are not truly comfortable with what they do.

    Since society does not accept their desires and actions, and deep down they cannot accept themselves, they are desperate to find acceptance. The government is the only universal power structure, so this is what they have set their sights on. As Justice Thomas notes, homosexuals are free to make vows in public ceremonies, enter into contracts, change their names, present themselves as married, and raise children. In my view, it is about the recognition itself, the forcing of society to bless their actions, for their peace of mind. It’s extremely sad, actually.

    And now that they got what they want, the next step will be to punish society for their tormented consciences. George Takei and other activists have already shown their hand on that front. And Justice Thomas also warns of this, saying this decision will be used to “stamp out every vestige of dissent (to the new orthodoxy).”

    • ROCOR has updated and republished an existing statement, which is much better than nothing.


      Where are the rest? We all knew this was coming.

    • I sincerely doubt that the LGBT community is out to “punish society” . The gay community I know does not have a “tormented conscience,” but rather wanted the same rights and responsibilities of heterosexual married couples. And this is survivor benefits, access to social security benefits, property assignment, tax benefits, plus many other things enjoyed by other non-gay committed couples. The gay leaders worked hard to obtain this. It’s a good thing and will not wreak havoc on our society, just as interracial marriage did not.

      • You are objectively wrong.

      • Nonsense. Long ago, a great majority of Americans were ready to accept civil unions, which would have had all of those legal privileges that you mention above. But that wasn’t enough. They wanted the stamp of moral and societal approval, saying that their “marriages” were exactly the same. If you think they will be kind towards those individuals and institutions (such as churches) who will never grant such approval, you are either deluded or lying. We will be punished, sooner or later. Full legal equality should be enough, but it will not be.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        If that were the case, the government could have gotten out of the marriage business entirely, reclassified the “rights and responsibilities of married couples” as the “rights and responsibilities of those entered into a civil union,” and recognized marriage as a type of civil union. Let the ecclesiastical authorities define what constitutes a marriage and, if homosexuals wish to have marriage, they can go start their own religion.

        That would have been the fair and reasonable way of going about things, without being offensive to any reasonable person on either side of this debate.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Civil unions provided many of the same protections as marriage, but the protections were only available at the state level. Federal protections, e.g. tax and social security benefits, were not. We should have fought to change this a long time ago and insisted that CIVIL UNIONS BE AFFORDED THE SAME RIGHTS AS MARRIAGE. Had we done so, the institution of marriage would not have become entangled in a battle it can’t win. Nothing trumps civil rights in America.

        • That is logical, but the destruction of marriage and freedom of conscience is the ultimate goal. Civil unions would have pacified them for a few years at most.

          Much of Europe has civil unions, but there too, the switchover to gay marriage is marching west to east. Italy will probably be next to fall.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            So, Ages, what now? What is the plan?

            • As others have said, I don’t believe anything can be done via the law. No politician, no petition, not even a referendum can do anything to stop it.

              I think all we can do is realize this world is not our home and we can no longer put our trust in princes and the sons of men. This could be a tremendous opportunity to strengthen the Church internally, and harden the Church against the powers of this world, if we use it.

              I don’t know if I’m to the point of embracing the Benedict Option, but I think a time may come when it’s that or nothing.

      • Gregory Manning says

        Though I walked away from the lifestyle years ago, I still know people who are still gay and I do occasionally come across information about the goings-on of the movement at large. You may be dismayed when you find out that your movement has been gradually hijacked by ambitious and militant individuals whose agenda has gone way past what you and your friends wanted. Your “leaders” have every intention of undermining marriage as it has been traditionally understood. You and the folks you know may have only wanted what you believed were your “rights” but those in charge of the movement are going after much more than that. In this regard, the gay community is, in large measure, just like straight middle America; you all haven’t been paying careful attention and simply can’t bring yourselves to believe that your “leaders’, would ever turn out to be as duplicitous and conniving as they actually are. Be careful out there. You may discover that you are unwittingly part of a movement whose true nature will manifest itself in ways you never thought likely. I’m pretty sure you and a large part of the gay community are being used. I’m also pretty sure that if you ever decide you want to get off that train they’re not going to be happy.

        • Pure nonsense, Gregory. You obviously were hanging out with the wrong crowd.
          But thanks for your opinions.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            No you are speaking pure nonsense. Gregory is right.


            • And now you are getting nonsensical, Peter.
              As Gail above explained, civil unions did not do everything. Full marriage provides all the local, state, and federal protections available to heterosexual community. There is no hidden agenda to overthrow the world.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                Hahaha! That’s funny.


              • Then you all should have made changes to civil unions instead of taking away the historic understanding of Marriage and infringing on others rights

          • Gregory Manning says

            You’re welcome.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Thank you so much for this message, Gregory.

        • Nicholas Chiazza says

          You may “walk away from the lifestyle,” Gregory. But your sexuality will always be with you. I thank God that some priests and even a few bishops are slowly realizing this. Mind you, I’m not approving promiscuity, which I feel is a sexual gluttony, not do I approve of “homosexuality” being said in the same breath as “murderers” “drunkards” and “thieves.” My prayers are with you, as they are with everyone on this board.

          • George Michalopulos says

            How do you know that his “sexuality will always be with [him]?”

            I can think of no better example of the totalitarian spirit than these six words.

            • Nicholas Chiazza says

              Frankly, George, I think you see a communist around every tree. I hope you won’t be too disappointed when you look behind the tree and find nothing.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I do think Gregory’s “sexuality” will always be with him. I assume from his name and what he writes, that it is male.

          • Gregory Manning says

            You’re partly correct; in the absence of an “intervention” on the part of the Holy Spirit, guiding me back onto the path God intended from the beginning, this will continue to be my cross to carry. But, I no longer despair. What am I to do? Demand I be given a lighter cross? A more tasteful, less embarrassing cross? There’s no such thing. My spiritual father said many wise things over the years but the one I remember every day which has proven to be the most useful and “salvific” is “Who do you think you are?” Not exactly warm and fuzzy, that. But it saves me time and again. Especially when I’m tempted to feel sorry for myself. Anyway, this cross has sensitized me to the pervasive existence of loneliness amongst all my brothers and sisters, straight and gay. Now, when I pray for the consolation in this life and the salvation in the next, of all, I am able to do so authentically. I sincerely desire God’s loving kindness be showered on all.
            When I say I “walked away” from the life-style I mean that, no matter how much I tried to make myself believe otherwise, I had to face up to the reality that, functionally speaking, SSA was a sin, a missing-of-the-mark, because it doesn’t work. This was and is an enormously discouraging realization. I dare say that if I didn’t have my Orthodox faith to turn to and the saving Grace of God which resides in this magnificent Ark of Salvation, I could have suffered the same fatal despair of so many other gay men who, believing they had no where to turn, chose death.
            A Baptist pastor Mac Brunson, recently tweeted an observation which points to the real tragedy coming down the road: “#SCOTUS just promised a nation/generation what it cannot deliver. The Church/Christians must be ready for the disillusioned and despairing.” Just so!

            P.S. I am male and Gregory (Naziansus) is my Orthodox identity. If only it were my complete identity! Alas.

          • Ronda Wintheiser says

            Nicholas Chiazza, the mention of homosexuality in the same breath as murderers, drunkards and thieves must make you very upset with St. Paul.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Oh. sp now homosexuality is the equivalent o drunkenness? Interesting! Should Father Reardon eschew attending wedding receptions where ther might be drunkards present? Shouldn’t he boycott the reception in order to show how evil REPEAL was?

              • Ronda Wintheiser says

                You, of all people, should be the one answering that question, Your Grace.

                Are there, in our Church, sins that can be categorized as they are in the Roman church as venial and mortal?

                Regardless, there are several places in the New Testament, as you very well know, where St. Paul does list these sins in the same sentence. Don’t blame me; I didn’t write it. I just read it.

                The question is whether homosexual activity is sinful. Do we really need to figure out which of these sins are worse than the others? Isn’t it enough simply to know that they are, in fact, sins?

                Besides, the equivalent action from Fr. Patrick would not be his presence at a reception where people are drunk. A rough equivalent might be for him to purchase the liquor, wouldn’t it?

                • Nicholas Chiazza says

                  Ronda, it seems you don’t like gay people. What is worse, you don’t seem to see the fairness and common sense in Vladyka’s Tikhon’s statement. St. Paul listing all these things together doesn’t mean that they are equally bad. I mean shoplifting doesn’t merit the death penalty as far as I’m aware. I can read between the lines in your posting. I know you “didn’t write it,” as the style would be more vituperative if you did. Your statement in addition shows judging your neighbor as well as prudery. “homosexual activity”? Oh, please. I saw a gay man working on his car and I dread to think how many years of penance he’ll have to undergo for that activity. Read St. Ephraim the Syrian. He wrote a very nice and grounding prayer. We usually say it during Great Lent, but I think we should say it the whole year.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Really NC? Orthodox Christianity, the Apostolic faith is founded on encountering the risen Christ and working toward greater unity with Him. It is not some made up mish-mash of moral platitudes that change as one desires.

                  • Ronda Wintheiser says

                    Hm. I don’t seem to like gay people.

                    Ridiculous. What have I said that gives you that impression? I don’t even think in the category of “gay people”. People are people, and I would probably even like you if I met you.

                    I did not say or even suggest that listing all of those sins together means that they are equally bad. In fact, I expressly passed that judgment on to His Grace. And my question “Do we really need to figure out which of these sins are worse than the others? Isn’t it enough simply to know that they are, in fact, sins?” was obviously rhetorical.

                    You’re right, though, about my choice of terms to describe the sexual activity of homosexuals. I don’t like euphemism, either, and I should have used the words sodomy, anilingus, cunnilingus, rimming, fisting, fingering, tribadism, water sports, etc., so that we’re clear what it is we’re discussing.

            • Nicholas Chiazza says

              Actually Rhonda, the fact that St. Paul, an Apostle who never met Jesus and knew nothing of His life story mentioning temple prostitutes (male prostitutes for hire in pagan temples) along with murderers, drunkards and thieves doesn’t make me upset at all. This is obviously some kind of cheap shot on your part, and it doesn’t work. I am no more upset of St. Paul’s mentioning temple prostitutes along with murderers, drunkards and thieves than I am with conservatives being mentioned along with bigots, racists, homophobes and ignoramuses.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Mr Chiazza, if you’re going to posit false dichotomies as the only choice available for someone who believes in the Gospel, then with much regret I for one would gladly hold my nose and align myself with “ignoramuses” than “murderers.” After all, as another great Sooner named Will Rogers said: “We’re all ignorant, just on different subjects.”

                • Nicholas Chiazza says

                  Well, George, they say ignorance is bliss. And some people are pretty blissful.

              • Oh, not the old “temple prostitutes” canard! Really, you can’t do any better than that? Break down the Greek word St Paul uses, and show me which part of the word means “temple” and which part of the word means “prostitute.” OK? After that, compare the Greek word St. Paul uses with the Greek words the LXX translators used to convey what the Prophet Moses wrote in those two famous verses in Leviticus.

                Anyone who goes through this little exercise will discover that what is sometimes called a “mysterious” or “obscure” word used by St Paul, is actually simply a direct quotation from the Leviticus prohibitions as it appears in the Greek text of the OT, and thus has nothing to do with any temple prostitutes. The Greek speaking readers of St. Paul’s letter would be using the LXX of the OT as the only Scripture they knew. I imagine this direct quotation would remind them that the full list of sexual prohibitions in that passage in Leviticus were still in effect. (Not with your mother, not with an animal, not with your sister…)

                Peter Papoutsis and I have explained this before, and will doubtless patiently have to explain it over and over. But probably not for long. At some point, people will start being honest and just say that they really don’t care what the Scriptures say on this topic… Your comment about St. Paul knowing nothing about Jesus probably reflects the next stage of deconstructing his writings, since they are inconvenient to so mamy who wish to nurse their pet passions.

                In fact, I must congratulate you on your breathtaking intellectual chutzpah, although I realize you are just parroting things you’ve read. It takes some real cajones to accuse St. Paul — a contemporary of Christ who spent extensive time with the Apostles — of knowing nothing about Christ, while claiming to know with certitude that St. Paul was talking about “temple prostitutes” when you not only never knew him, but live nearly two millenia after his death.

                • Nicholas Chiazza says

                  Do better, eh? How about Jesus never said anything about it? It seems if it’s such an important matter he would have SPECIFICALLY said something about it in his parables or teachings. He did not. I may not be a gifted scholar or think Greek is the magical language of the Church, but I do know who is the HEAD of the Church. As far as I’m concerned, anything Jesus said outranks anything Paul said. By the way, I don’t see intelligence in your post. What I do see is an excuse to hate your neighbor, and an attempt to find your way around Our Lord’s commandments. Now, Edward, you live with that.

                  • I’m not the one who was throwing around the old “temple prostitutes” bit — you started that, and I finished it. There’s nothing magical about Greek — it just happens to be the language that St. Paul wrote in in the passage you were attempting to refer to authoritatively, and you were making claims about what he said that were obvious nonsense to anyone who knows what language he wrote in and what version of the OT that his audience used.

                    No Christ didn’t say anything specifically about homosexuality, but neither did he say anything about child molestation, incest, rape, having sex with animals, or cheering for the New York Yankees — all things that are self-evidently sinful, and all of which were condemned in the Old Testament. Well, I made up that Yankees bit, I must confess. In any event, the reason that people are forced to speak out against attempts to rewrite this part of Christian morality is not that we are fixated on it. We rather are forced to speak out because attempts are being made SPECIFICALLY to declare homosexuality to not be a sin. If organized and concerted attempts were being made to convince the church that SPECIFICALLY, child molestation was not sinful, we would be pretty specifically opposing that, as well, even though Christ never SPECIFICALLY mentioned it (nor did St. Paul).

                    What Christ did say, incidentally, was that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. And when the Apostles, who knew him quite well, decided at the Council of Jerusalem what parts of Mosaic law had to be obeyed by Christians, sexual immorality was specifically one of them. The content of all subsequent Christian canons indicate that the internal understanding of the Church was that this included all of the Mosaic laws regarding sexual morality.

                    And of course, if one believes that the Epistles were written through the inspiration of God (as Orthodox Christians do), then Christ was every bit as much involved in the writing of the Epistles as of the Gospels. And if one doesn’t believe that, then what reason is there to believe that the Gospels have any particular authority or that they have any particular accuracy in recording the words of Christ, either? Can’t have it both ways.

                    As to your comment about finding excuses to hate my neighbor and getting around the commands of Christ, this is a wild and desperate accusation — one that shows you haven’t been paying attention. And my goal is not to look intelligent — it is to write what is true.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    NC who is taking a radical fundamentalist protestant stance now? You do not seem to have firm principals from which to make your statements other than dislike of Holy Tradition and love of modernism.

                    Modernism and Orthodox Christianity do not mix. You cannot serve two masters. Those who serve the world are like Esau and a mess of pottage is their inheritance.

                  • As far as I’m concerned, anything Jesus said outranks anything Paul said.

                    No, your bizarre reasoning is that anything Jesus didn’t say outranks anything St. Paul said. There are several Protestant sects who believe that sort of thing, you can go join them if you’re unhappy in the Church.

                • “It takes some real cajones to accuse St. Paul — a contemporary of Christ who spent extensive time with the Apostles — of knowing nothing about Christ, ”

                  Not to mention that little run in with the risen Christ . . . .

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                That St. Paul was only talking about “temple prostitutes” is a favorite contemporary myth among those who dislike the Church’s teachings; long exploded.

                As for the statement that St. Paul “never met Jesus”— he’d be a liar if that were the case.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Another canard used by the gay lobby is the bogus claim that the Early Church blessed same-sex marriages. Here is a useful article by Fr Damick that debunks that lie.


              • Ronda Wintheiser says

                “Actually Rhonda, (sic) the fact that St. Paul, an Apostle who never met Jesus and knew nothing of His life story mentioning temple prostitutes (male prostitutes for hire in pagan temples) along with murderers, drunkards and thieves doesn’t make me upset at all.”

                Nor does it upset me. I can’t figure out what exactly *is* upsetting you, Nicholas. What are you so mad about?

                “This is obviously some kind of cheap shot on your part, and it doesn’t work. I am no more upset of St. Paul’s mentioning temple prostitutes along with murderers, drunkards and thieves than I am with conservatives being mentioned along with bigots, racists, homophobes and ignoramuses.”

                A cheap shot? Not really. A simple observation.

              • ReaderEmanuel says

                St. Paul never met Jesus? Really? Then who was it that appeared to Paul and blinded him on the road to Damascus? Go back and reread your Bible.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  No reader I’m sure NC thinks that was just a manifestation of Paul’s schizophrenia.

          • Actually you are incorrect. I know more than one person who lived a gay lifestyle, walked away from it and married traditionally. After some time those people have said they no longer struggle with SSA, but now struggle with attraction to women outside their marriage. God can always change you and there will always be struggles.

            Maybe you need to get out more and talk to people outside your crowd . . . .

            • Nicholas Chiazza says

              If they say that, they are not being honest with themselves. They are living a lie in order to make the bigots of the world breathe easier.

              • Daniel E Fall says

                Maybe the lie is lust for the phallus. Maybe it is a step shy of full development, or maybe it is a permanent state of a subordinate male in the group. Your self righteousness is not different than a bigot because you are on the other side of opinion.

                The SCOTUS decision did not say homosexuality was a beautiful, now you must enjoy it, social norm.

                Sorry. I can find it just as disgusting as before.

                I went into the dermatologist years ago for my dry scalp and the nurse made me strip to a gown. The cock loving Dr walked in an opened my gown and stared at my penis for way too long. I told him it was my scalp-look at the chart. I told him I wanted the scalp itch to go away for my upcoming wedding. He asked me right then if I was going to sue him. I said no. I knew he was a gay guy and went there cuz I figured I’d get a high standard of care. He thought it was dick admiration time. I don’t need to find it beautiful Nick. You, like the hard righters here, need to accept that portion of reality where other opinions matter and are even sometimes helpful.

                Lumping disgust for homosexual sex acts with the classic bigotry of racism is unfair. The gay man is acting on urge, desire, etc amd yes, might have been born to achieve that sorry (by me) state. The black man does not act. Again, sorry to point out facts.

          • Daniel E Fall says

            To suggest all homosexuals are rooted in attraction to the same sex is false. If you don’t know this, you are mistaken. There are many switchers…sorry to break it to you…and it works both ways so conservative horn blowing can rest here. Plenty of married men have joined team rump ranger.

            To suggest Manning is always looking for a man to dominate sexually or vice versa is incorrect. Call it love…I don’t mind. Gay marriage is not based upon love, but a twisted state of denial of appreciation of gender differences, of a twisted state of constant domination or subservient(ism), among others.

            St Paul was a fool to lump gays with murderers. Gays are foolish, sad, and not gay at all. The conservative march for marriage is stupid. Gay folk are deeply troubled and need mercy.

            The tack of defending marriage is a major oops. Defend an institution against sad crazies?

            Call a spade a spade and be sad for all of them. Prayers not marches. Prayers not encyclicals. Prayers not letters of self righteousness.

            • Nicholas Chiazza says

              Your choice of words, Daniel, tells me a lot about you. You simply don’t like gays. Worse, you tell lies about them. If any are sad, it is because the way they are treated by self-righteous bigots with their cruel and ignorant piety. I feel sorry for YOU. You think you’re better than they are. How does ignorant contempt justify superiority? Gay marriages ARE based upon love–something that is painfully absent on these boards. I see no love here–what I do see is a group of people who fear what they don’t understand. Your comments remind me of the propaganda Southern racists said about African Americans–that they were stupid, sexually incontinent, fit only for manual labor, and education was wasted on them. To enforce these lies, laws were passed forbidding anyone teaching slaves how to read in order to justify the propaganda and thus keep them in their place to give white Southerners the illusion that they were superior. You are deluded. What you have just said cannot be proven in a court of law.

              In a town, there was a Baptist church whose minister preached hateful sermons against Roman Catholics every Sunday. Every Sunday the same thing–vicious and false words. Finally, after months of this, two teenage boys broke into a Roman Catholic Church and desecrated it. They were caught by the police, who brought them to the minister for an account.as they boys told them about the sermons they had heard. “Well,” said the minister. “I didn’t TELL them to go out and do it.” Perhaps not in so many words. But the minister’s lies brought forth evil fruit.

              I suggest you be very careful about what you say about gays. Or if you must continue the way you have, make sure you back it up with sound proof. One day, you may have to bring that proof before a judge.

              • Daniel E Fall says

                You are wrong. Most all the right wingers here can’t stand my perspectives; their problem is they, like you, want full agreement. I’m my own man.

                So, let’s talk about gay sex Nicholas. More specifically the gay sex act. Is male sexual domination an act of love? I say no. When a male gorilla wishes to show his superiority, what does he do? I am not against gay marriage, but don’t consider anal sex acts love. Likewise, I do not consider that act done by heterosexuals an act of love. You can call it love, I can disagree. When I meet my maker, if I am judged by disgust for visions of ugly homosexual sex acts; some God.

                You can call it love, but I see something else. Even the lesbian sex acts are less than great, although pornography has made that into a heterosexual fantasy.

                And I am not against gay marriage. Companionship takes many forms.

                I just don’t see men loving men as a beautiful thing. I find it to be ugly. It is not a thing for which you ought judge me. It is like a painting you see in a museum of a train on no rails full of people. Some might find it a unique statement of togetherness, others might see people unable to move forward.

                You can judge me as you wish, but I see no beauty in homosexuality. Sorry.

                You want to judge me? Judge me for my blunt, outspoken nature. My failure to stay close to the church. My disgust for anal sex-fine.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Well Dan, nobody could accuse you of not being your own man.

                  I really can’t disagree with you at all on almost all your points, except one: when you say that lesbianism has been “mainstreamed” because of pornography, you’re not totally right in that the type of “lesbianism” that is glorified is a more aesthetic type of artful posing employing two nubile (and almost always heterosexual) females. I guarantee you if Penthouse magazine showed two females more emblematic of that particular subset (i.e. a “diesel dyke” and a “lipstick”) going at it, their offices would have been burned down in a nonce by their readers.

                  On another note, may I make a prudential statement, a warning perhaps? Because you called a spade a spade regarding the intrinsic ugliness of anal coition, you will find the full wrath of Gay, Inc and the Brownshirts. My point is that this whole brouhaha took place in order to salve the consciences of those who engage in this act. This act must be celebrated at all costs. You, an honest liberal who wishes to live and let live, will not be left alone because you just committed hatespeech.

                  • Daniel E Fall says

                    The SCOTUS did not say anal sex was pretty. It is still gnarly. And we still are free to say so.

                    I always get a kick out of the liberals who get upset with me for being fine with gay marriage and being disgusted with homosexual sex acts. Many of those women would never allow their husbands to go for the anus if they even wanted, but find it great that two men ass romp.

                    Poor Nick is really frustrated with me. I’m a bigot because I find gay sex a step short of pretty or pretty gross. And yes Nick, maybe sad crazy is what I see and it is wrong I see that.

                    And now I’m evil for saying ew.


                    Limburger is gross to me, too. I have a great limburger story.

                    This editor is not iphone friendly.. Too hard to edit..

              • Estonian Slovak says

                Wow!So you are threatening to bring fellow Christians before a court of law for defending the teachings of the church? Even a liberal like Mr. Fall?

                • Naw he saying talk like that gonna get him arrested for hate speech osslt

                • Daniel E Fall says

                  He thinks God will judge me for finding homosexuality gross. I’d hang out with gay folks if they can put up with my opinion. Got nothing against them…just find the acts ew.

              • Michael Bauman says

                The totalitarian voice: be silent or be punished. Think correctly or we will force you. ….and what would the punishment be NC? Loss of job, money freedom or something worse?

            • St. Paul was a fool? Yikes. Were you drunk when you wrote this? Without him you would not have heard of Christ . . .. And he was hardly the only one of our Fathers to lump man on man sex with murder.

              • Daniel E Fall says

                Sorry…it was Chrysostom that was said homosexuality was worse than murder. I keep getting them mixed up in this context.

      • Nicholas Chiazza says

        I shall light candles in front of the icon of St. Timonthy.

        • Daniel E Fall says

          Pray for homosexuals.

          • Michael Bauman says

            I will, I do that does not preclude saying a public NO to the demands of the state when the state exceeds its legimate authority and seeks to impose a totalitarian solution to a hyped up virtually non-existent social problem.

            • Daniel E Fall says

              The right hyped it more and first. Doma ring bells? Blaming the state for a petty issue is borderline humorous. Sorry Michael….I really like your postings, but which is it? Petty non, why bother or national crisis?

              I say yuk and move on…

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Ages–I agree with you. May I use your words in my own argumentation?

  6. Mikail02 says

    Prepare for martyrdom.

    • Nicholas Chiazza says

      They threw Christians to the lions, not conservatives. Don’t flatter yourself.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      No. Not yet. That time will come. We need to try to think our way out of this.

      • Rymlianin says

        What is much more likely is “martyrdom by ridicule” , in the initial stages coupled with withdrawal of 501(3) (c) status. Expect to have the MSM treat all Christians who do not succumb like Westboro crackpots. Only later , will they resort to taking your kids away because you are insane. It will take a few years for them to get to outright torture, imprisonment and execution.

        • Nicholas Chiazza says

          The only “martyrdom by ridicule” you are likely to see is when you go up to a typical gay and ask him about Orthodoxy you will most likely get a blank expression. Orthodox Christianity is the furthest thing from their minds. The worst thing they will say is that we’re the Church with the cute hats they saw on Seinfeld.

      • Nicholas Chiazza says

        “Think your way out of this”? I really don’t see how judging by some of the comments posted here.

  7. This is the result of many years of work going on behind the scenes. Most are too naive to realize what has been going on. Maybe people will wake up. Henry Makow has been writing about this clearly and warning people for years. Unfortunately by calling any real description of what has been going on a “conspiracy” (a term coined by the CIA itself for any counter mainstream view) people’s minds have been closed.

    Like one commenter from Russia recently said, the Americans are the most mind controlled and propagandized people in the history of man. We are too proud to realize this, that we are being had.

  8. I’m disappointed that neither the ACOB, nor any of the jurisdictions, have issued a statement yet. Surely they knew this was coming and could have had a bold press release ready?

    I have witnessed Orthodox Christians celebrating this with joy and homofascist rainbow emblems on social media. Some of the flock are nearing the cliffside; where are the shepherds?

    “Be ready always to give an answer,” indeed.

    • ROCOR has updated and republished an existing statement, which is much better than nothing.


      Where are the rest? We all knew this was coming.

    • Michael Bauman says

      The Assembly of Bishops is the organ for such statements ant the Greeks in control notably Met Savas will not act.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      The Eastern Orthodox Bishop’s Assembly has already spoken on this issue. See http://assemblyofbishops.org/about/documents/2013-assembly-statement-on-marriage-and-sexuality

      • That’s good, but pointing to a two year old statement is not bold enough for my taste. I like that the OCA issued a new statement but also linked the old.

        Still waiting on Met. Joseph. I have no doubt where he stands, and I know the synod is meeting in Lebanon right now, but surely it’s better to say something. I’m grateful for all our holy priests who are pulling no punches.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Ages, he may not respond to me, but I will make the attempt. Tell me what to say to him . . .

          • “Your Eminence, your flock needs a word from you.”

            People at my parish are distraught. Some are doubting the orthodoxy of our hierarchs as their silence continues. Parish priests have no direction, not even a statement to read. What can parents say to their children, who have been made to swallow the postmodern homofacist propaganda hook, line, and sinker at their government schools?

            • Ages:

              People at my parish are distraught. Some are doubting the orthodoxy of our hierarchs as their silence continues.

              Dear people at Ages’s parish, the bishops could publish 50 statements about this issue, and that would make them no more ‘orthodox’ than they already are.

            • Nicholas Chiazza says

              And what do you expect them to do? They have already made the Church’s position on this issue known. Do you want them to repeat themselves? Picket gay marriage ceremonies? Let them do their jobs in peace and pray for them, I say. Remember, they’re our bishops, not some elected politician.

              • Nicholas,

                They need to act. If there are people who have gotten married to the SS partners then they are excommunicated.
                They need to teach and encourage the laity what the faith is and what it is not and how to find strength in times of persecution.
                They need to prepare the people. People may lose their jobs or worse by following their conscious and not promoting sin by their efforts.
                They need to be watchful and encourage the faithful to be as well.
                There is a lot to do, especially now.

                • All very well stated. Valuable words. I pray our clergy will be given strength and wisdom to do these things. There indeed an immense work ahead.

                • Nicholas Chiazza says

                  I think attacking people who love each other will not make the Church stronger. If at all it will weaken it and make it seem ignorant and intolerant. Why do you seem so hot to have some bishop excommunicate a gay couple (excuse me if I don’t use your belittling “SS” terminology) for their love? It’s just as bad as the Catholic Church excommunicating someone for marrying outside their Church. Are you aware that you are wishing our bishops to destroy people spiritually? Is that what you wan’t? Will you feel smugly satisfied if they are cut off from the Church? Very well, go ahead. I just hope you have a good excuse in case some day you are called to account for it.

                  • Wow, you just don’t get it. If we look the other way for this sin, then we invalidated all sin. We acknowledge all sin. And deal with it, but what you are proposing is that we make an exception. Not only do you interpret St. Paul through secular eyes-and not how the Church has understood him for 2000 years, but you would prefer to look the other way with certain sins. . . . You can’t change this faith. These are the ways of it. You need to read more on the topic. There is a whole list that has been published here before. I don’t have time to look it up . . . but you need to understand this from the Traditions view point.

                    • Nicholas Chiazza says

                      Oh, I “get it” all right. If you are going to talk about “Holy Tradition,” which is unchangeable, I won’t presume to change that. But there are things that need to be changed, outdated things that are still in canon law. Like the prohibition of carrying on commerce with a Jew–you do that every time you see a movie. Or the one that says you can’t sit down and eat with the unbaptized. How can you tell this? A lot of canons make sense–others reflect the prejudice of their times. I recall St. Paul stating that women are forbidden to speak–I don’t endorse that because it suggests that they can’t have an opinion. I recognized that Paul was reflecting the cultural bias of a first century Jew and not someone who was speaking for Christ. Now you can accuse me of “interpreting St. Paul through secular eyes.” I DO however, recognize his teaching on the Redemption and the Resurrection. If his teaching reflect Christ, that cannot be changed. The Church HAS changed down through the centuries out of necessity. Things have developed with the times. Holy Tradition, however, has not, and will not. For as far as I am concerned, it would be impossible.

                      One of the things that needs to be changed is the idea that the Orthodox Church sanctifies conservative or liberal politics. It doesn’t sanctify any politics. The Church follows the teachings of its Founder, period.

                    • Daniel E Fall says

                      Colette…in a closed thread you responded that I said something untrue.

                      If a business owner says ‘I’d rather not’ serve a homosexual, it is stating a preference and is not absolute rejection. The rejection or ‘I will not’ is unlawful.

                      If the homosexuals have a right to preference, so does the business person.

                      It is a First Amendment right and it doesn’t get the news because I’d rather not only results in business bashing. And the right likes to play victim here.

                      I will, but I’d rather not is totally legal.

                  • Daniel E Fall says

                    I’m with you on this one Nick, to a degree. If the gay couple asks to be treated in a special way; the church should act. First to tell them no, then ask them to leave if it becomes a problem. For example, the church can reject homosexual pda (in church). You will probably disagree on this bit, but you need to understand the church does not want to promote homosexuality.

                    But, the church should never be witch hunting gays. That will hurt the church and I agree with you that if they get married for financial reasons- Who cares.

                    One of the main goals of homosexual marriage was financial. The age old practice of spousal healthcare coverage has been an inequity to singles forever. If the courts had made it any second person v spouse-gays might not have cared about marriage for 20 years longer.

                    Furthermore, my opinion is the church, except in employment, does not need to recognize gay marriage. If so, then so. You cannot say we will not recognize gay marriage, then start trashing gays that marry outside the church. You simply say we don’t recognize your marriage.

                    I’m sure my opinion will be unliked by all, but it is a Solomon styled approach.

                    You don’t have to like it, science and the courts don’t have to prove it, but some parents don’t want their children exposed to sexual confusion before they mature. This might bother you, but it is not winnable in court or the copo for gays to mess with children. And it is not fair to mess with the kids on adult issues. Orientation does not occur early for all humans. My little boy is asking where babies come from. I won’t be explaining he can marry a boy and adopt, even if some might.

              • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                “Picket gay marriage ceremonies?” My, my. Doesn’t that put a point on the issue?

                No one has been picketing gay marriage ceremonies. No one has even talked about picketing gay marriage ceremonies. No one has tried to stop gays from having their abominable ceremonies officiated by their heretical priests. No, that’s not the issue at all.

                The issue is gays using the force of law to coerce participation in their abominable ceremonies and marriages, no matter how such participation violates deeply held religious beliefs.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Still waiting on Met. Joseph.

          Be patient. He’s in the Middle East right now, I believe.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Yes, a truly toothless statement. All it says is, “We do not agree, and we won’t change the way we do things.”

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Father. You are so gifted. You love God so much. Please help.

        • True. We need some good apologetics at this stage. Not that anyone will agree, but we can’t just say “we never change anything”. Met. Joseph “condemned” the Charleston shooting, will he and others “condemn” this decision with the same force? I pray so.

          And let’s not couch it in so many “but Jesus loves you” qualifications that the denunciation of this wickedness is diluted. We are dealing with hell here, and sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. Jesus’ love goes without saying, and a good father’s punishment is loving. More so than permissiveness.

          Boldness is what we need, at least equal to the boldness of lighting up the White House as a homofacist rainbow and the raising of the flag thereof over many a city hall in this land.

          • Rdr Thomas says

            Our faithful need to be educated, that’s true. And our Church needs to practice what it teaches regarding this matter. However, as concerns those outside the Church, unfortunately apologetics only work when one is capable of rational thought. This subject is wrapped up so tightly in emotion that reason and thought do not apply. When a Justice of the Supreme Court utilizes the language of emotion rather than rational thought and law in supporting his decision to overturn quite literally thousands of years of established tradition, it’s a clear sign (to me, at least) that no amount of apologetics will work.

            To my way of thinking, our apologetics needs to consist in us living our lives as Christians, showing the world what true love means, and having faith that no matter if we lose our jobs, or are subjected to fines (the secular version of a dhimmi “jizya” tax), we are acting as The Lord would have us act.

            Be of good cheer, for The Lord has overcome the world!

      • ReaderEmanuel says

        This statement talks about sex outside of marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual. It has little to do with the issue at hand. We need a new statement from all American jurisdictions and bishops. OCA and ROCOR and I believe the Antiochians have spoken. Where are the rest? Why not a unified proclamation?

        “When a person disobeys a commandment of God, only that person is responsible to Him. But when something which goes against the commandments of the gospel is made into law by the state, then the wrath of God comes upon the whole nation in order to be pedagogically taught a spiritual lesson.”

        – St. Paisios The Athonite

    • Nicholas Chiazza says

      Oh, Ages, Ages–the rainbow flag is not the symbol of the gay community. It is the symbol of diversity. Each one of those colors stands for the diverse human population on this planet and what they have contributed. It is the symbol of tolerance, not enforced sameness. If you don’t like gays or refuse to go to their bake sales, that’s your choice. It never ceases to amaze me how some of the people on these boards are expecting gays to break down their doors, and ship them off to concentration camps. I have always thought the Orthodox Church was a struggle against good and evil–not liberal against conservative–that is politics and has nothing to do with divine truth.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Yeah, “diversity,” that’s the ticket. I suppose we can come to you when churches that aren’t “diverse” enough start losing their tax exemptions. “But Nicholas told us this wasn’t going to happen! It flies in the face of the teachings of the great god Diversity!”

        Kind of like those jokes told in the Soviet Union of revolutionaries who were rounded up and arrested. As they were standing against the wall waiting for the firing squad to execute them, one of them would say “this is all a horrible mistake! Wait until Comrade Lenin finds out!”

        • Nicholas Chiazza says

          I just told you what the flag stands for and you just twisted it into something evil. Worse, you equated it with an evil time in history that has nothing to do with it. Slander is your weapon, George, based on sick fantasies.

      • Try opposing gay marriage and tell me how tolerant of diversity they are.

  9. We now have left behind the age of reason. . . . .

    • Nicholas Chiazza says

      We shall see.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      We’ve certainly left behind the age of decency.

      • Nicholas Chiazza says

        As if the 21st century was peculiar to that. “The Age of Decency”? Come now. Ever since the the Church was protected by the government there have been indecent laws and actions against non-Orthodox groups. Heretics, Jews, Muslims, other Christians to name a few. I don’t think the current time is any different to past times. Human beings can be just as nasty in this time as in Byzantine times.

        • In some ways I prefer Byzantine times-people passionately spoke up. Here, now, we are zombies. All the Zombie movies out now are commentaries not fiction . . .

          • Nicholas Chiazza says

            Are you aware what Justinian did to gay people? It’s so evil I can’t even mention it here. About as evil as some of the comments I’ve read.

            • Yep, being married to a Byzantine scholar, I know quite a bit. Are you aware of what most cultures did to those who had abnormal sex??

              • Nicholas Chiazza says

                Are you aware that you have justified murder? Justinian falsely accused his political rivals of homosexuality so he could kill them. Theodora did the same in spite of the fact many in Constantinople knew they were innocent. Yet you smugly post that you “know quite a bit”? I think if you had the power, you’d be another Theodora. At least you’d be comfortable in such a time.

                • Daniel E Fall says

                  One of the most common ways to destroy a political foe is a claim of homosexuality.

                  Malaysia Air ring any bells.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Mr. Fall,

                    Of late, I’ve become enamored with the “We Don’t Need No Stinking Papers” tactic, allowing unlimited smack & shade, justified because I possess “confidential” proof of incrimination, to be revealed only in the “unlikely event” you press charges. This is alternately referred to as the “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain whose pants are aflame” tactic. The beauty of this tactic is that it is equally effective for purposes of exoneration (i.e. “Let it be known that we refused to present evidence of innocence to this kangaroo court. In the proper setting, we will prove innocence.”). It is noted that the effectiveness of this tactic decreases exponentially with each additional offense. Apparently, we now just wait for the OCA to elect a descendent from the Spanish Inquisition…

  10. Michael Kinsey 1380805 says

    Fr.Seraphim Rose,wrote in his book, The Coming Religion of the Future. The logical conclusion of humanism is occultism. The humanism of today will lead to the totalitarian intolerance in the future, buy people who say in their hearts. I am a queen and shall see no sorrow. The early Church endured this type of persecution, and so can the present day authentic Christian Church, the Body of the Christ..The Holy Trinity does not ever make mistakes, The Holy God is Absolute Perfection, whose Command is Life Eternal, This is the Holy Trinity’s Prime directive, and it IS accomplished, the One that IS,. It is just a matter of time. which will end, when the Prime Directive is fully manifested. The supreme court judges look pathetic, and powerless in comparison to Authentic Divine Authority, and they WILL answer to it. In the perfect Just Judgement of the Righteous One..

  11. M. Stankovich says

    All persons and institutions will be judged by the litmus test of homosexuality.

    As I wrote on Fr. Hans’ site, I don’t know what he heard during Holy Week, but I distinctly recall the scathing admonition of the Lord in Matthew 23 that concluded with the words:

    Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. (Matt 23:27-28)

    Fr. Hans claims to not understand my reference here, or why I would suggest that the words of Fr. Alexander Schmemann in The Problems of Orhodoxy in America regarding the indifference and secularism of the clergy is mirrored in the “faithful”; that indifference rules – “live and let live, this is America”; that the hierarchy are openly mocked & scorned by anonymous creeps entitled by their $150 per year “tax”; where obedience to anyone is a lamentable sign of weakness; and the real culprit is Robert Arida, who did not stretch the limits of the concept of “Living Tradition” a quarter the distance as Fr. George Florovsky, yet not one critic possesses the raw intelligenence to take on Florovsky! Woe to you, scribes & Pharisees, hypocrites! You sat on your collective asses arguing Jonah Paufhausen and Mark Stokoe while the LGBT community cake walked this issue into history. Prepare for martyrdom? Where are your “men of muscle,” Fr. Alexander Webster? Apparently reading Vogue Magazine.

    • The problem is that the enemy has not been properly defined. People still think they can change things by voting. They don’t understand who the enemy is. In the seminaries you study ancient heresies, but you don’t study how current occult groups influence our society. You never learn about the Freemasons, the Kabalah, modern Gnosticism and the role of secret societies or “Illuminati”. They are conveniently filed under “conspiracy theories”. They are revealing themselves as we run forward to the Antichrist.

      Sergius Nilus, the man who gave is the letters of Molovitov, also published the infamous Protocols. I don’t believe God plays tricks. The most telling part was his appendix, where he urged the then hierarchy to convene the Eighth Ecumenical Council to denounce the movement. He understood, as did St Nikolai Velimirovich, as did Father Seraphim Rose, as did newly sainted Paisios. The methods were described long ago. But we don’t want to believe them. We have been bought by the riches of the west. We reap what we sow. The Gulag is coming. Be ready.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Mr. Stankovich.

      I resent your insinuation that Fr. Hans is being coy or disingenuous.

      I also resent the implication that you are a man of muscle, unlike those you are sneering at down your nose.

      If memory serves me, you were right here, on your sanctimonious arse, in the thick of the fray.

      What did you do about the LGBT cake walk?

      • M. Stankovich says

        Ms. Wintheiser,

        Pardon me for awaken you so late. Had I known you were interested, I would have informed you that on the morning after CA Prop 8 passed by 1.8% of the vote in 2006, preventing same-sex marriage, papers were already filed in the state supreme court requesting the legislation be set aside as “unconstitutional.” By that afternoon, the LGBT community had announced its “transparent” plan to utilize the DOMA, Prop 8, and two similar cases to proceed on appeal through the 9th District of the Federal Court of Appeals and on to the SCOTUS. By evening, I already had an essay on my blog providing the details, including the fact that the US Dept. of Justice had no intention of providing any opposition.

        And where have I been since then, Ms. Wintheiser? Certainly not disingenuous. On pretty much ever major LGBT website and the sites of the NY Times, LA Times, WaPo, etc. challenging the idea that the AMA, APAs (psychiatry/psychology), NASW, Family & Marital Therapists – all who had declared reparative therapies unethical – had “medical evidence” that such therapies were “dangerous and/or harmful.” I offered each site to use my picture and apology if they could provide scientific evidence – not anecdote – of such harm. It hasn’t happened yet. But where has the real battle been, Ms. Wintheiser? Here and on Fr. Hans’s site. Is this because anyone Orthodox has proposed an argument with a demonstratedly superior outcome for change than anything I have suggested? Heavens no. In fact, Fr. Hans & Deacon Mitchell repeatedly align themselves with the heterodox & and heretical charlatans somehow begging for me to embarrass them with the truth that they are so grossly unqualified and irresponsible to be entering a discussion at the level of discussion they attempt to enter. Yet, they are constitutionally incapable of admitting their error or apologizing.

        So, Ms. Wintheiser, in that I have no unmet needs to be satisfied – and am fundamentally fearless – I have sent a substantial amount of literature to hierarchs of nearly every Orthodox jurisdiction in America, with generally no acknowledgement whatsoever. And, as you may have noticed, whenever given the opportunity, I note the fundamental lack of a moral voice. In this sense, I believe, like Emile Zola, I have therefore earned the right to say, “J’accuse!” Apparently you seem to consider this arrogant. My response to you is: Too bad. I have fought alone.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          I often find myself on the verge of agreeing with you, Mr. Stankovich, but I never can quite figure out what you mean.

          Apparently one has to have been taking notes here and from other blogs for years to get it.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Mortiss,

            More often than not, you make my day! The issue was,

            If memory serves me, you were right here, on your sanctimonious arse, in the thick of the fray. What did you do about the LGBT cake walk?

            Thankfully, my vanity was spared and the modifier spoke to my arrogance, rather than largesse… Nevertheless, this has been a long process, years in the making; ample time for the Orthodox in America to unite to do something more constructive than formulate statements post-SCOTUS decision (amidst the bitching that the statements were not being issued soon enough). When I discovered I was arguing more with the Orthodox than anyone else, I did what I thought was most expedient and went to the sources of contention directly, or published it myself (two examples here and here). I had this identical discussion with the person posting as Basil previously, all to say, “I’m out there, brother, by name.” Am I a “man of muscle?” The magazine is not interesting enough for me to pay to find out. But I am fearless in principle and merely did what I could. Did I make a difference? When one is faithful to the Scripture, the Patristic Fathers, the Holy Canons, and the Holy Traditions, how is not possible? “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I think that the most effective argument made by the same-sex marriage proponents have been to point out the habitual transgression of Christian standards by Christians. In effect, their argument has been to point out the great gulf between theory and practice. This has convinced some folks of the righteousness of the gay rights movement and many other folks of the weakness of the Christian witness. That is why we must bolster our case across the board and not harp on same-sex marriage. Let us talk about use of Internet pornography (by one estimate used by 1 out of 4 men), fornication (initiation of sexual activity by both girls and boys becoming much earlier), cohabitation before marriage (virtually the cultural norm), divorce (close to 50% of first marriages, higher in subsequent marriages), adultery ( infidelity rate has increased dramatically within the last twenty-five years in the United States), etc…We have to be consistent across the board and, more importantly, be seen as practicing what we preach.

        • Ronda Wintheiser says

          The gentlemen doth protest too much, methinks.


      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Ronda says to Stankovich, “I also resent the implication that you are a man of muscle.”

        Come on, darling, let’s pause for a moment. Resentment uses up too much psychic energy, don’t you think?

        Clowns should inspire amusement, not resentment.

        • Ronda Wintheiser says

          Sigh… You’re right, Fr. Patrick.

          But at this moment, there are 37 people who agree with me that he’s not that funny. 🙂

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Here’s what I wrote:


      The assault of the Church began with abortion rights and the granting of state sanctioned murder as a form of “women’s health rights.” You have lost all sense of perspective. Fear indifference, “tolerance,” and secularism in the Church – as Fr. Alexander Schmemann wrote in The Problems of Orthodoxy in America – among the clergy as well as the faithful. Fear that the Orthodox in America do not care.


      Abortion represented a radical shift of values in the culture, but there was no legal requirement forcing compliance with abortion ideology. Homosexuality is different given it is categorized as a human right.

      I’m not really following your point about Holy Week or why you quote Fr. Schmemann since secularism in the Church has been challenged by me and others (see: Fr. Robert Arida: Why Don’t You Become Episcopalian?). The real problem is the inability of the OCA Bishops to deal with priests like Fr. Arida. That’s not secularism. That’s confusion or a lack of courage.

      Above you wrote:

      You sat on your collective asses arguing Jonah Paufhausen and Mark Stokoe while the LGBT community cake walked this issue into history.

      Not accurate. Met. Jonah, Fr. Alexander Webster and others confronted the gay juggernaut head-on and got excoriated for it. You made a personal crusade of trying to discredit Dn. Patrick Mitchell.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Fr. Hans,

        As I indicated, you lack the theological forté to tangle with Florovsky, so you took the cheap shot with Arida and the two words that separate them. Fr. Arida, in actuality, would return you to your seat.

        It is quite astonishing to me that, after the ship is sunk – and you, Met. Jonah, and Fr. Alexander are safely on shore – you are so bold as to be claiming valiant efforts to save it. Don’t your type generally revel in going down with the vessel? If there is anything for which to take credit – and there is not – it would be by faith, certainly not by anyone you have mentioned. Dn. Mitchell customarily discredits himself without any intervention from me.

  12. Chose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. Joshua 24:15

    Meanwhile Christians in many parts of the world are suffering for their faith. It looks as if it is our time to be tested.

  13. Philippa says


    His Grace, Bp. Paul has released the above. At least it’s something. God bless him. Wonder how he’ll handle the priest(s) who do commune ‘married’ homosexuals? Will he follow through?

    • Fr Thaddeus Wojcik says

      The Holy Synod of the OCA has updated their Synodal Affirmation of the Mystery of Marriage adding the following.

      In light of the decisions rendered on June 26, 201{5} by the Supreme Court of the United States of America with regard to same-sex marriage, we, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, reaffirm that which had been stated in June 1992, namely that marriage involves the union of one man and one woman, as divinely revealed and experienced in the sacramental life of the Church. As such, the Church does not, and can not, condone or accept marriages apart from those involving one man and one woman who seal their relationship in the all-embracing love of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.


      • Michael Bauman says

        That means no civil marriages can be accepted in the case of converts?

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Michael Bauman inquires, “That means no civil marriages can be accepted in the case of converts?”

          I can name a parish in Chicago where they won’t be.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Father would you also say that those married in nominally Christian denominations which have or shall accept the new social construct would also be in doubt?

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              I have to think about this.

              It has been a long time since I have accepted an Episcopalian baptism.

              • Father, assuming that one accepts Western ideas about the validity of sacraments outside the Church, which historically were based on form and intent, and assuming that the forms of heterodox sacraments are equivalent to that of Orthodox Mysteries (an increasingly hazardous assumption) and that the heterodox officiant intends to do what an Orthodox priest intends to do (an even more hazardous assumption)– when is the last time you could be certain that an Episcopalian priest(ess) would actually have followed the prescribed form and would actually have intended, more or less, to do what you do?

                I do realize, for example, what the formularies for reception of converts that were developed in Russia say, but it seems they arose in an era that couldn’t have been more different from ours.

                I recall a priest telling me a story of someone who came to his church wanting to be received, and not wanting an Orthodox baptism, which the priest recommended because of his uncertainty about these things. The convert had actually had a triple immersion and said (this being the modern era) that he actually had video of the baptism. They sat down to watch it together, and the pastor’s extensive remarks at the beginning (which the convert had forgotten), describing what they were about to do, was a very clear articulation of a theology of baptism that was dramatically different from — even specifically opposed to — Orthodox beliefs. With the priest not having to say a word, the convert turned off the video and asked when they could do the baptism in the Orthodox Church.

                Issues like ubiquitous gay marriage in “mainline” denominations and the absence of any identifiable theology in the megachurches that are increasingly the “new mainline” have the potential for rendering moot a lot of old arguments about things like baptism vs chrismation and wedding or no wedding for many converts. But only if our clergy are willing to observe and acknowledge that it’s not 1950, let alone 1850, anymore…

                • Christopher says

                  Very well stated. Our Church, and her priests and bishops can be forgiven for the speed at which all this has happened has been too quick for almost everyone.

                  The rug has been pulled out from under them so quickly that they are in the air still falling so to speak, they are still adjusting their position for the landing…

              • Priest Patrick:

                It has been a long time since I have accepted an Episcopalian baptism.

                So Priest Patrick REBAPTIZES after trinitarian baptisms, too! Who knew? He’s going completely ROGUE or at least completely ROCOR! Quaere: Does GOD accept Episcopalian baptisms? Do enlighten us, Priest Patrick.

                • As I pointed out above, being able to be sure that an Episcopalian (or any other Protestant) baptism will have been carried out with even the bare minimum form (let alone intent) of the traditional Trinitarian baptisms assumed by the Russian forms of reception of converts is largely a thing of the past.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              What are you talking about, exactly? My wife and I, for example, were married in the Catholic Church 48 years ago. Does this count?

              • Tim R.:

                What are you talking about, exactly? My wife and I, for example, were married in the Catholic Church 48 years ago. Does this count?

                A control freak/fundamentalist priest might say: NO! He might tell you you are living in sin until the wife is chrismated/rebaptized and you have the marriage blessed. Ask the Ephraimites/convert priests what THEY think.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  It’s a moot point because I ain’t asking nobody….it was a rhetorical question! 😉

                • George Michalopulos says

                  the question is not what the Ephraimites think but what the hundreds of parish priests think. We know what the Athonite movement is doing vis-a-vis evangelism in this country. What is it that the ethnic parishes are doing? Ultimately, all we can really know is what we see by the fruits of their labors.

          • Daniel E Fall says

            So, if a gay couple gets married before they convert and then want to seek the church, you would require divorce before they can seek the church? Or would you simply say the marriage is not recognized? Or an existing member gets married…you would excomm or say we won’t recognize the marriage?

            It is essentially the same if the church does not recognize a Muslim wedding. What then? It recognizes a ceremony performed by an imam? A buddhist monk? Any state marriage, save gays?

            It is meant to provoke discussion, not anger.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Would angry discussion be OK? 😉

            • So, if a gay couple gets married before they convert and then want to seek the church, you would require divorce before they can seek the church?

              I would certainly set a requirement of a civil divorce before they can become catechumens, as a sign of their serious intentions to become Orthodox and to leave their former life of sin behind—as all converts must. One would likewise expect that a freemason would be required to resign his membership, a prostitute to leave her profession, and other such examples before a person could be enrolled in the catechumenate.

              The difference between a gay marriage and the marriages of other religions is that a gay marriage is fundamentally unnatural. Meanwhile, the natural marriages of those in other faiths can be sanctified upon entry into the Church, either by way of the Chrism or by performing the marriage service in the Orthodox Church, depending on the customs of the diocese.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                ” Meanwhile, the natural marriages of those in other faiths can be sanctified upon entry into the Church, either by way of the Chrism or by performing the marriage service in the Orthodox Church, depending on the customs of the diocese.”

                So what is the “official” status of Christian marriages performed outside of the Orthodox Church, when one spouse converts to Orthodoxy? The other does not, but is perfectly well-disposed toward the Church. Are there demerits or official disadvantages? (I have certainly not encountered any.)

                I ask this purely out of curiosity, not out of concern, I hasten to add. Unlike a Roman paterfamilias, I cannot order the conversion of my wife and household. I am a patriarch, all right, but constrained by the provisions of Anglo-American common law.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  I keep “redirecting” to Fr. Hans’ site, but he posted an interesting article by Dr. Vigen Guroian – and while it is unfortunately “clothed” in a tactic to prevent same-sex marriage being forced upon the church – he notes that the Service of Marriage is a later development in the liturgical life of the Church (and see Fr. John Meyendorff’s Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective from the SVS Press for a more complete history). Christian Marriage was both sanctified and acknowledged by participation in the Eucharist. The “tactic” aspect is that, by returning the connection of the marriage service to the Eucharist, same-sex couples would necessarily be excluded.

                  At the same time, this addresses the notion of the “validity” of the sacraments outside the parameters of the Church. Fr. Florovsky has addressed this issue several times and notes it is a manner of thinking that is foreign to the thinking of the Fathers, which is, essentially, an eschatological manner of thinking, and the understanding that “We know where the Holy Spirit is, we do not know where the Holy Spirit is not.” The sacraments performed “outside” the limits of the Church are not “validated” in the Church, but rather “fulfilled” in the Church in the Sacrament of the eschaton, which is the Eucharist. Those baptized in the name of Trinity are “fulfilled” by Chrism and the Eucharist. Prof. SS Verhovskoy wrote a wonderful booklet regarding the fact that in this world, many circumstances arise – and at the time, state-endorsed atheism and the communist state were on his mind – that dissuade and even punish or penalize those who would “formalize” their relationships through marriage, as well as simple indifference, etc. Yet, the Church has the power to transform. The ROC issued a statement within the past several years acknowledging that because of forced communism/atheism, etc. individuals now return to the Church having lived as families in a “marital state” of commitment of faithfulness, and are to be received into the Church simply by Confession & the Eucharist, acknowledging that a state of marriage existed by economy. In the same way, the marriage of an Orthodox Christian and a non-Orthodox spouse is “fulfilled” in the Eucharist of the Orthodox spouse. I highly recommend Fr. Florovsky’s On the Limits of the Church

                • I have not studied it in detail personally, perhaps others can say with more knowledge. It seems to me that the Church leaves a lot of these sorts of questions undefined, to be dealt with on an individual basis.

                  To your example, in my mind, the marriage would be sanctified with the hopes that the wife would also become Orthodox. For as St. Paul says in today’s timely Epistle lection, “the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.”


            • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              We recognize that men and women marry; we don’t recognize that anyone outside the Church marries them. They marry themselves by becoming one flesh. If they come to us as man and wife, they remain man and wife. But two men can never be man and wife. Neither can two women.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Daniel. It is not a marriage. The standard for those living in fornication is that the couple separate, cease the fornication andconfess before Chrismation. There might be some other things involved as well.
              Two people who have already been received into the Church could likely face a bigger hurdle as they dishonored the sacraments.

        • Michael,

          From the full context of the statement, I take this to mean that only the marriage of one man and one woman – that is, a marriage which by nature is capable of being the icon of Christ and His Church – will be accepted/recognized in the Church regardless of the civil legality of so-called ‘marriages’ which are contrary to nature.

          I so appreciated Bishop Paul’s brief, straightforward statement, for unlike the one issued by the synod, his also included a very clear direction to his flock concerning Church discipline on this matter:

          “Even though same-sex marriage is ‘legal,’ no blessings will be given to any priests to conduct same sex-marriages in our parishes. Those who are in same-sex marriages conducted by their respective states, who are unrepentant, will not be communed.”

          • I can not applaud his clear direction enough. Thank you Bishop Paul!

          • So do Bishop Paul’s words now mean he has drawn a line in the sand and Mr. and Mrs. Steve Brown are officially excommunicated? Will Fr Ted Bobosh comply?

            • Christopher says

              Is Mr. and “Mrs.” Steve Brown and Fr. Ted Bobosh in Bishops Paul’s diocese?

              If so, Bishop Paul has to walk the walk and not just talk – otherwise it is a real tragedy for the Church…

            • Centurion says

              Valid question!

              Will Bishop Paul practice what he preaches?

              Will he draw a line in the sand and deal with the public rebellion and celebration of sin of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Brown?

              Will Fr Ted Bobosh comply?

              You shall know them by their fruits. Words are cheap, action is where it counts.

              • M. Stankovich says

                And Centurion transports us to a greater level of action mediocrity, reminiscent of the 8th chapter of the Gospel according to John: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.” (v. 3-6)

                The Centurion asks, “Will he draw a line in the sand?” “But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.” And so we ask, what could he possibly be writing? Our answer comes from very close to home in the form of our Blessed Father Nikolai of Žiča, Abbot of St. Tikhon’s Monastery: “They were horrified to see the Lord writing the secret sins of each accuser in the sand.” “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.” (v. 6-8) Yeah, buddy. The Centurion rightly observes, “You shall know them by their fruits. Words are cheap, action is where it counts.”

                Is this what it all comes down to? Baggin’ up a couple of guys under the cover of darkness? Three mouth-breathing “anonymous” heroes hopped up on self-righteousness, knitting strawmen for an anointed hierarch of the Church. Beware the sand traps, lest someone doxes you but good.

      • ReaderEmanuel says

        They WILL accept it if forced to do so by the government, which is the next step. It will be either accept it or be sued.

        • Rymlianin says

          Correction: accept it or lose 501(c)(3) status

          • ReaderEmanuel says

            Or go to jail. Betcha dollars to doughnuts.

          • The next step, yes. But then will be clergy losing their ability to perform legally recognized marriages if they don’t do same sex marriages. Then boycotts and demonstrations in front of churches (activists always need something to do).

            But eventually, getting sued for discrimination will follow as surely as night follows day. Even if the suits are initially unsuccessful, they will take a huge toll on resources and on already frayed nerves.

            • ReaderEmanuel says

              Not to mention that there is also a calling to remove the tax exempt status of churches. If that happens, many, many smaller churches, especially Orthodox ones with strained budgets as it is, will be forced to CLOSE. Do you see where all this is leading, folks? It’s an attack on Christianity, plain and simple. It’s not about sex or love at all! It’s about the destruction of the church!

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              Edward prophesies, “But then will be clergy losing their ability to perform legally recognized marriages if they don’t do same sex marriages.”

              That is why they should stop signing the State’s marriage licenses NOW.

              They cannot logically accept the State’s authorization to conduct marriages unless they are prepared to abide by the State’s rules.

              I explained all this to the reporter from the Chicago Tribune who interviewed me yesterday.

              Unlike most Orthodox priests I know, she seemed to understand it.

              • Except that it is not yet the state’s rules that clergy must perform ssm. I respect your view, and I think those who say that it is better to force the state to wrest it from us also have an excellent point. Back in the day, there were martyrs who made the state send soldiers to hunt them down where they fled and hid, and martyrs who marched up to the authorities and put their necks on the chopping block. We revere both as saints. What they have in common is that both suffered for not renouncing Christ.

              • Christopher says

                Unlike most Orthodox priests I know, she seemed to understand it.

                I too am perplexed by the very muted response and sometimes naivety from much of the NA Church clergy/bishops. They actually seem to be convincing themselves that the line is where it is, and will not move. Yet, the line has been continuously moving and “the civil rights movement” end game is so obvious that one has to be truly “in denial” to tell one self “it’s ok, we still have religious freedom and SSM will never be forced upon the churches”…

              • Has anybody actually read the decision? It specifically REJECTS the idea that clergy could be forced to officiate a ssm. By not signing the marriage license, all that’s accomplished is a gigantic pile of legal complications for the newlyweds – unless they ALSO get a courthouse marriage with a signed license from the judge. (Does Patrick’s bishop approve of his breaking the law in this manner?) As for 501c3 nonprofit status, probably 95% of all churches do NOT have it already. Churches don’t declare profits so there’s nothing to tax. It’s really moronic to suggest that the government is going to take away something churches neither have, want nor need!

                • lexcaritas says

                  OOM, tax exempt status (501(c)(3) has nothing to do with the profits of the tax exempt organization being taxed. That status comes from being incorporated in the state as a not-for-profit entity.

                  The tax exemption at issue here is the TAX DEDUCTIBILITY of donations and contributions by the donors.

                  If a household currently gives $15k a year to its parish, the after-tax cost to the giving unit is, say, only about $9k because of the $6k in state and federal tax savings. If tax exempt status is lost, the household will have to pay the $6k in taxes and will only have the $9k to give to the parish, which will be a net loser of the $6k.


                  • Lexcaritas:

                    The tax exemption at issue here is the TAX DEDUCTIBILITY of donations and contributions by the donors.

                    Then why was 501c3 status mentioned??? A church’s 501c3 status is irrelevant to deductIbility of donations. Most churches are not 501c3’s. All church donations are deductible if itemized. It’s not ‘at issue’ at all – unles by ‘at issue’ you twist logic and the English language to mean ‘some ignoramus on the Internet believes without any factual basis’ the deduction will be disallowed in the future. And FYI: 501c3 status is FEDERAL not state.

              • lexcaritas says

                I believe you are exactly right, Fr. Patrick: accepting the state’s authorization to perform marriages entails a submission to its rules. It is virtually certain that this is how the courts as currently constituted will view the matter.

                We also need to start budgeting (and teaching our people tithing) now because tax exemptions for churches will almost certainly be removed within a matter of years.

                lxc, JD

        • Club organizations have a lot of legal precedent going in their favor. Orthodox parishes only marry Orthodox people, and the rules for those marriages are clear and apply to all members. If two Orthodox men want to be married, you excommunicate them until they repent, and they have no legal case.

          I do think a time is coming where parishes will need to rethink the policy under which we allow anyone and everyone to witness the Liturgy. Perhaps we need to consider expelling the catechumens and strangers after the homily once again. To borrow a Mormon phrase, “it’s not secret, it’s sacred.”

          The real hazard is with parishes that rent their halls out for events. These cash cows may have to be sacrificed if parishes can’t find a legal way to bar gay weddings from using them. (And actually, they aren’t that lucrative. I recall a priest lamenting how much it costs to continuously update such a venue with all the bells and whistles, eating away much of the profit. Perhaps parishes will cut their losses and find other sources for income.)

          • Christopher says

            I do think a time is coming where parishes will need to rethink the policy under which we allow anyone and everyone to witness the Liturgy. Perhaps we need to consider expelling the catechumens and strangers after the homily once again.

            Very good point, I have not thought of this. This needs to be explored…

            Yes, the parishes will find their “renting of public accommodations” to be legally perilous. I suspect many of them will have to learn the hard way…

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Brilliant idea– expel the catechumens!

              I’ll bring that up at the next meeting of the Missions Committee….

              • Funny the Church had no problem doing missions in the 1st-3rd centuries, when the practice began by necessity.

                Funny the Mormons of all people have no problems doing missions today, and they do not permit non-members to witness certain things.

                The Church is not beholden to modern concepts of democracy any more than society is beholden to the Church.

                • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Words matter, Ages. We still dismiss catechumens; we have never expelled them. The former means “to send away”; the latter means “to throw out.”

                  • Pdn:

                    Words matter, Ages. We still dismiss catechumens; we have never expelled them. The former means “to send away”; the latter means “to throw out.”

                    And either way its a dumb idea.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    I am pretty sure I never would have become Orthodox if I had been “dismissed” (as not even a catechumen, but a mere protestant) in mid-service; I probably never would have attended a second one, rather than the many dozens that I did over the intervening years.

                    • To each his own I guess. It wouldn’t have mattered to me.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Is this done still in some places? I never saw it in any Orthodox church I have ever attended, including Russia and a couple of other foreign lands.

                      Is there an appointed person who approaches one and asks one to leave? (This is a serious question, by the way. It had been my impression that the practice was wholly defunct.)

                    • It’s my understanding that the practice has been used in places hostile to Christianity in relatively recent times.

                      I would assume that the minor clerical order of the Doorkeepers were responsible for carrying out the dismissal.

                    • When I was a catechumen, I thought it would have been a good idea to leave at that point and have some catechesis instead of standing through a communion service when I wasn’t going to commune. We had small children, and we often just left on our own at the dismissal of the catechumens. We went home and read lives of saints to them and read prayers to them and what not. I can’t get enough of the Divine Liturgy today, and would attend and commune daily if I could. But back then? Pre-baptism, it held barely a fraction of the meaning it holds for me today. I just wasn’t ready for it.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      When I was still just a seeker, I read about the dismissal of catechumens before attending a Divine Liturgy. Made sense to me. I rather liked the idea.

                      Somehow I missed the part about catechumens no longer leaving. So when I did get around to attending a Divine Liturgy and heard, “Depart, ye catechumens,” my wife and I gather our two little ones up and left the sanctuary. The kids were ready for a break anyway.

                      We waited in the church hall until the service was over. The others in the service were surprised to find us still there, and we were surprised, and a little disappointed, that the Orthodox don’t always live up to their own traditions.

                      After that, it became my job to run after anyone attempting to leave at the dismissal, until the deacon started doing the dismissal in Romanian so no one would get the wrong idea.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Well, I always leave if I have catechesis, which fortunately seldom happens, and then only in winter.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald says

                      Timor, I agree with you. But there are MANY MANY others,like Protodeacon Mitchell. who have a warped view of Orthodox Tradition, and think it would be correct to dismiss THE BAPTIZED at the time when catechumens (UNBAPTIZED people in the temple) are dismissed!


                      The Orthodox Churches recognize that Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Copts, Armenians, etc., Arians, HAVE REAL HOLY BAPTISM.. These crypto BAPTISTS who want to find THE TRUE CHURCH only before Constantine, are constantly haranguing others, especially the Orthodox Christians, that they must do as the Baptists do, that is, “As it was ORIGINALLY DONE. They, and some who call themselves not only Orthodox, but Orthodox CLERGY Obviously, but ignorantly. DENY that the Holy Spirit has always been guiding and illu unless baptized non-Orthodox are not expelled from their holier company. minating the Church. They petulantly go “Hmmph!” when the dismissal of the unbaptized (catechumens) is announced.
                      Here on Monomakhos, I identify them with those to wwhom Dr. Johhnson referred:
                      “Censure is willingly indulged because it always implies some superiority. Men please themselves with imaginings that they have made a deeper search, or wider survey than others, and detected faults and follies which escape vulgar observations.”

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Bishop Tikhon, did I not say that I liked the idea when I was “just a seeker”? Nowadays, of course, as desirous as it might be to reserve the celebration of the Eucharist for only those about to partake, sending others away would very difficult if not impossible. We don’t much do discipline anymore. What would we do if people refused to leave?

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Not only did a Protodeacon overlook Catechumens being defined as the unbaptized, he now confuses “DESIROUS” with “Desirable!” Oh, well, the important thing here on this blog is to stomp one’s feet while declaring through various more or less pretentious outbursts, “WE’RE DOING THIS AND THAT ALL WRONG!!!!!!!”

                    • Vladyka, I will say again what I have said before. The Russian procedures for accepting heterodox converts were developed in a time when there was confessional and liturgical discipline in the heterodox world. The Russian hierarchs knew exactly what baptismal formularies had been followed in those confessions and what confessional catechesis those converts had undergone in their youths. That world is every bit as gone in the West as is the Emperor in the East, and the Orthodox Church needs to catch up with the times in this regard. At the very least, there has never been anything sinful or irregular about conditionally baptizing and marrying converts if they request it — and I personally think it is highly logical in this day and age to encourage converts to request it, especially when priests have no idea what exactly happened, in form and intent, with most heterodox baptisms. I would hope no loving Orthodox priest would deny such a request.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      It seems to me that Vladyka Tikhon speaks from a certain authority: “Let all things be done decently and in order,” (1 Cor. 14:40), “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” (1 Cor 4:33). Converts “hear” all manner of practices and irregularities from sources such as the internet, and may imagine that their Trinitarian baptism and marriage would somehow be more “real” or “valid” if they were “made-over” in the Orthodox services. As I have previously posted (with a link to Fr. Florovsky’s “The Limits of the Church”), we do not think in terms of “validity” and “form & intent,” but rather completing and fulfilling, through sanctification of Chrism and the Eucharist, what “was” into the eschatological reality of the Kingdom to come. A “loving” Orthodox priest would explain that these “requests” are unfounded, and serve only to deny the Church’s power to sanctify and fulfill what it acknowledges existed, but in less than its fulness. [I personally have never heard of “conditionally” administering the Sacraments – in case the original priest confusedly substituted “Montanes” for “Holy Spirit” in the Baptism? – and I defer to Vladyka Tikhon].

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Well, your Grace, you got me on “desirous.” What was I thinking?

                    • Michael S., I completely accept that one becomes fully Orthodox at the moment that one receives Holy Communion when a bishop says to do it that way. No qualifications. I believe Vladyka Tikhon has eloquently described the reception by vesting alone of previous Catholic clergy, and pointed out that the chalice is the ultimate point of reception. I don’t disagree.

                      But, then, why are not all converts simply received by confession of faith and Holy Communion? Why bother with Chrismation? And why bother with the distinction between baptized and unbaptized unless you are willing to scrutinize form and intent? It is nonsense to insist on a Trinitarian baptism and then claim not to be embracing the notion of “form.”

                      I completely agree that Orthodoxy does not traditionally think in Western terms of form and intent. But modern Orthodoxy in America has inescapably embraced those notions, whether it wants to admit it or not, and so have you, unless you are willing to admit that reception by Chrismation makes no more theological sense than does direct admission to the chalice. Reception by Chrismation makes sense as an economia, without which there might be a stumbling block to reception. But it has never made sense to me to deny baptism to those for whom it is not an impediment.

                      It seems clear to me that everything the Orthodox Church does in its Holy Mysteries, is done for a reason. I always found it a bit off putting, frankly, to listen to those who had the benefit of a full Orthodox baptismal service and Mystery of marriage, hold forth authoritatively to potential converts on why they intend to deny us the same. I translated it as “we don’t want to be bothered,” and “we dont want to offend the folks we hobnob with at Fordam or the GTU,” frankly.

                      But I digress. I want to return to my main point. I simply point out that Russian forms of reception of converts were developed in an orderly 19th century religious and theological landscape, but in case no one has noticed, that world is very, very dead and gone, and isn’t coming back anytime soon. What would the bishops who developed and approved those formularies do when faced with today’s world? Who knows? But pretending there isn’t an elephant in the room and pretending that Protestant still reliably means what it did in the 19th century makes no sense to me. Those who think it does really need to get out more.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      I’m aware of what is “by-the-book” and what is actually done “in form and practice.” As Vladyka Tikhon noted, “stomp one’s feet while declaring through various more or less pretentious outbursts, “WE’RE DOING THIS AND THAT ALL WRONG!!!!!!!” One bishop, massive diocese, visitation every two years, many priests do their own “tradition” except for that one weekend. “Open the doors, close the doors, pull the curtain, open the curtain, I don’t even have a curtain, OR catechumens to dismiss.” For all intents and purposes, parishes are entities unto themselves. When was the last time you actually heard someone asked as to what they actually renounce?

                      Do you renounce the false doctrine that, for the expression of the dogma touching the Procession of the Holy Spirit, the declaration of our Saviour Christ himself: “who proceeds from the Father:” does not suffice; and that the addition, of man’s invention: “and from the Son ” is required ?

                      Ah… sure, absolutely. Yes I do.

                      The ROC, ROCOR, and the OCA have very explicit, very clear instructions on the manner by which a priest is to receive a convert into the Orthodox Church. If it not clear, for heaven’s sake contact one’s bishop. Duh. And I repeat, the “desires” of those converts who would “request” the Sacraments are ill-founded and in opposition to what will be required of them:

                      Do you promise true obedience, unto your life’s end, in guidance which is salutary unto the soul, to the [governing Synod of the Church into which you are being received]; and to the Bishop of this Diocese, as the true Pastors appointed by the Holy Spirit ; and to the Priests ordained by them ?

                      I promise true obedience, unto my life’s end, to the Most Holy Governing Synod, to the Bishop of that Diocese as the true Pastor of the Church, and to the Priests appointed by them.

                      Then the priest gives him the end of his priestly stole (epitrakhit) in his right hand, saying; “Enter into the Orthodox Church…”

                      Finally, I always find it sad that the concept of economia has come to be a pejorative – a “concession” or a “can’t we all just get along,” don’t-rock-the-boat avoidance. “But you must admit there have been ‘abuses’ of this concept!” I would no more impose myself into a pastoral decision any more than I would impose myself into someone’s confession. While I may disagree, I am undoubtedly unaware of many details that contributed to a decision, and I am not answerable for these decisions. That is why we have bishops.

                    • Michael, you are completely avoiding my major points. I will try one last time — a brilliant SVS guy like you should really be able to follow this. 1. How many converts today actually meet the criteria for being Lutheran, Calvinist, even Catholic — in belief, and in their sacramental history, etc. that are set out by the old Russian guidelines? How many of those bodies bear any resemblance to what they did when those guidelines were set forth? 2. How many, for that matter, in these days where the nondenominational mega-church is the new “mainline” Protestant, fit into one of those categories at all? 3. How many of the people being received by chrismation are able to produce a baptismal certificate to prove that they actually received a baptism of any kind, let alone one that has a sufficient denominational paper trail that can prove with confidence what form that baptism took? How many priests insist on a baptism if a convert can’t produce one — if not, why not? What, after all, is the difference between a former Protestant who can’t prove that he was baptized and how he was baptized, and, say, an Muslim convert, if the point is whether a Trinitarian baptism actually took place?

                      I am absolutely not advocating that any priest go against his bishop’s instructions — you should know me better than that. In fact, based on the first exchange we had on this forum, I somehow doubt you were agitating in your local parish to make sure that Vladyka Tikhon’s liturgical and translational guidelines were being followed to the letter, whereas I guarantee you that I certainly was. But good Lord, Stankovich, you are the guy who defended your hero Schmemann for humiliating and castigating his own Metropolitan in an extremely public forum. Surely you will grant me the privilege of asking whether priests and bishops in the Russian tradition are actually following the spirit and letter of their own guidelines. I am not questioning the validity of the Russian guidelines — I am asking when the last time was that the conditions of those guidelines could be fairly said to apply in the American religious landscape. I am arguing that they don’t apply to the vast majority of converts today, since old-fashioned Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Calvinists are pretty thin on the ground. It is pretty rich knowing that Orthodox on the “liberal” side castigate and ridicule the alien nature of conservative Protestants, and also knowing that should those conservative Protestant present themselves as potential converts, they would be denied baptism by those same individuals because of all that they supposedly share with Orthodoxy.

                      And don’t get me started on renunciations. What should I have renounced — the Calvinism of my upbringing, or the Episcopalianism I embraced as a young adult? (As it turned out, it didn’t matter, my priest had me read the Lutheran renunciation, and I didn’t see the point in correcting him, since I wasn’t sure whether any of them applied — Certainly none of them applied to my wife.) The last priest with whom I discussed renunciations said he no longer did them, since he got tired of spending hours catechizing former Lutherans on Lutheranism and former Calvinists on Calvinism, so they understood what they were renouncing — even though they didn’t hold those beliefs anyway. So how ‘bout them “very specific” rules that the Russian Church has? Are the bishops enforcing the required renunciations — or are they just enforcing the ban on baptizing anyone who maybe, possibly had a heterodox baptism that was probably Trinitarian? Can’t have it both ways.

                    • Michael, I’m not sure what we are going to accomplish if you avoid what I clearly identified as my main point.

                      You should know my positions well enough to know I am not questioning the authority of bishops — in fact, it was right in my last post, as clearly stated as could be.

                      When Vladyka Tikhon was diocesan bishop, I quietly made sure that my parish followed his liturgical and translational (and other) instructions to the letter. Did you?

                      I see no contradiction between respecting my bishop’s directives and the following regarding those 19th century Russian directives for the reception of converts:

                      1. Do bishops follow those directives in their fullness — do they require the renunciations with the same vigor with which they suppress administering Holy Baptism to heterodox converts? Do they ensure that everyone being chrismated can produce a baptismal certificate from a denomination, the formularies of which can be depended on to have been Trinitarian (and not “Creater, Redeemer, Sustainer,” for instance?) Do they make sure that everyone being received actually fits into one of the categories specificed by these “very explicit, very clear” formularies for reception of converts?

                      If you think it is out of place to ask whether bishops and jurisdictions are actually following the procedures that they are appealing to as authoritative when denying the Mysteries of Baptism and Matrimony, then we are far apart indeed. If you do think that bishops are so beyond asking questions that this is out of line, then why do you leap to defend Fr. Schmemann ridiculing and humiliating his Metropolitan in a highly public forum?

                      2. Should these 19th century Russian forumularies (which were never universally adopted in the Orthodox Church) not be reevaluated in light of the fact that “Lutherans,” “Calvinists,” and the other categories no longer mean what they did, even 50 years ago? To avoid this key point of mine strikes me as being willfully obtuse.

  14. I understand evangelical, megachurches being out of sorts and thinking this means the world is coming to an end. I am a little surprised to see Orthodox react the same way. Since when does our faith require concurrence of a government of men? Frankly, we’ve lived too long in a land of comfortable Christianity, where we assume that our beliefs and the dominant culture reflect one another. It has made churches lax, turned the faithful into a bunch of whiners, and removed us so far from the reality of Christian life that we seem to believe our faith depends on approval from our government. We see people cry persecution if someone tells them Happy Holidays during the Nativity season.

    Yes we will face tribulations in this world, but He has overcome the world!

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      No one is saying our faith depends on approval from our government.

      Do you have children, Makarios?

      I am fearful for my two daughters and what they have to face. It is not the future I faced. And one of them is profoundly disabled. I wonder what will happen to her.

      I appreciate the reminder, though, of that verse. It has long been my favorite verse in the Scriptures. This is a perfect opportunity to live it.

      • I do have children, Ronda, and they were bombarded by the world before this decision and will be for years to come. They are now young adults, and I pray that what they have learned in the Church will help them turn away from the madness of the world. Like all of us, I am sure they will fall. I will pray they get up again.

        If we’ve misplaced our trust in the world to reflect our values (or even just assumed that it would always be the way it was), this is simply a reminder that our trust was misplaced! Continue to look to God and the Church. Our faith is steadfast, even when those around us in the world are weak.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Ronda, we can only do our best to prepare our children and pray for them. We cannot guarantee their future in this world. We try and let God give the increase. May God bless you efforts and continue to watch over you send your children.

      • I don’t know how many saw the example I posted here on how this movement is affecting our children . . . But Ronda, I’m with you! What a horrible thing to guide children into confusion . . . . and not just confusion but the possibility of losing your job or having people tell you you are hateful for following the faith . . . . most of us here know the terrible persecution in Russia and now to see it starting here. But it may not work out like we think. Things may be dying down. . .


  15. ReaderEmanuel says

    I think our government officials need to read the 5th chapter of the book of Daniel. That’s all I’m going to say. We’re finished no matter who gets elected in 2016.

    • This much is certainly true.

      Obama succeeded in one thing: fundamentally transforming America. This place is very different from what it was just 7 years ago.

  16. The day will come in less than a year that gay couples will demand to be married in an Orthodox Church. A rogue Orthodox priest or parish will marry the two and a precedent will be set. This will all be by design. Churches will have to be re designated as more of a private club than their current tax exempt status. Again, this is by design. The work of the Bishops needs to commence immediately. Sokoe will probably be the one to test the waters.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald says

      George, I don’t think you know what you are talking about/ Why would any homosexual man want to be exhorted to “MULTIPLY LIKE INTO RACHEL!!”
      And what’s this “rogue priest or parish?” They can do that NOW if they feel like it—they always could. Why in the world would or should they wait around?

      • A rogue priest would pastorally strike that phrase and replace it with, “may you multiply in love like unto David and Jonathan,” or such like.

        • There was a rogue Russian priest who performed a crowning for two males, and merely assigned one to be the “bride”.

          I liked the Russian church’s reasonable response to this travesty. They excommunicated the two men and everyone in attendance, defrocked the priest, then bulldozed the church and burned the rubble.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald says

            George M. missed that one entirely: in fact, he’s just getting around to predicting it within the coming months. Don’t ask him how the rogue priest didn’t need to wait for any Supreme Court decisions anywhere!

          • Link? Source? While it’s a great story, and while I appreciate it when hierarchs actually respond to evil vigorously, I have to say that when I read Russian service books and liturgical manuals — which have remarkably detailed instructions of what to do in the case of various defilements, desecrations, and disasters that might befall a temple — I don’t recall bulldozing the church being in any of the rubrics… Maybe Vladyka Tikhon, who has a remarkably encyclopedic knowledge of such things, can enlighten us.

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            Do you have more information on when this happened? Any links to news articles?

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says


              • Very interesting. Not quite the full story when originally told, but it sounds like the folks in charge took advantage of a fortuitous confluence of circumstances to make a much needed point. I doubt they will bulldoze Christ the Saviour if a rogue priest somehow gains access and does a gay wedding in the dead of night…

                Incidentally, it sounds like part of the problem was not that the priest was a gay marriage proponent, but rather that he was trolling for Treby — all too common in Russia from what I understand, in part because priests aren’t paid enough to do their jobs. Who knows how many other similar ceremonies have been performed for a hefty check where the priest wasn’t tattled on — here in the US, too.

                • Edward,

                  I was attending an OCA parish in the Diocese of the South when this happened. I recall more details but I don’t have links. It was big news then. There were articles posted about the incident and the response of the ROC on the church bulletin board.

                  A rogue parish priest took around $300-$400 (i.e., that equivalent in Russian currency) in order to “marry” two men. Not all of the parish was in attendance at the ceremony, of course. The bishops got wind of the incident.

                  A minor synod of bishops of the diocese and surrounding dioceses was held in order to decide what to do about the situation. It is true that the church had already been scheduled to be closed and demolished at sometime in the future. Recall that the money was flowing towards the restoration and new construction of church buildings at that time. Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral had just been rebuilt in 2000.

                  The synod decided that the priest was to be defrocked and that the entire parish was to be excommunicated. Later, the excommunication was lifted for those who were found to have been absent from the abomination.

                  The church building itself was dealt with in the following manner. All the holy vessels were gathered in the center of the church, the building was burned (having been defiled) and the remnants were bulldozed under.

                  Thus spake the Church of Russia.

  17. Makarios says
  18. Makarios says
    • And he is still a deacon in the Orthodox Church??

    • Philippa.alan says

      Wow! Any bets on whether his priest will bar him from the altar and the Chalice?

      • You aren’t really serious, are you? Wheeler seems to be untouchable. And he knows it.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Correct me if I am wrong, but as one who considers the Protodeacon as one of my dearest of friends for more than 40 years, and who will unhesitatingly vouch for his integrity and character, have I not delivered the identical message since arriving at this site nearly five years ago? Have I not argued that same-sex attraction, in and of itself, is not sinful, but rather the Church condemns any sexual activity outside the sanctity of Christian Marriage between one man and one woman; that it is possible to be same-sex attracted and live a live of repentance, purity, celibacy, “singlemindedness,” and obedience in the fullness of the Church on the narrow path to which we are all called; and that dialog, discussion, and following the instruction of St. Peter:

        Sanc­tify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a rea­son of the hope that is in you with meek­ness and fear: Hav­ing a good con­science; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil­do­ers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good con­ver­sa­tion in Christ. (1 Pet. 3:15-16)

        leads to repentance, not decadence; and most importantly, all may be accomplished while preserving the integrity and sanctity of the Faith? As long as you are so boldly prepared to separate Protodeacon Eric Wheeler from the eternal, life-giving salvation of the Orthodox Church, Philippa, you need to include me as well.

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          You have argued more than that, Michael Stankovich. You have argued that SSA is “ontological” and must therefore be accepted by one and all as a “reality” of one’s being, for which one is not responsible and which therefore needs no cure.

          You have furthermore stressed a biological basis of SSA; insisted that there is no “scientific evidence” that SSA is the result of one’s postnatal environment; dismissed the testimony of those who have overcome SSA as mere “anecdote”; railed against those offering therapy to overcome SSA, calling them “charlatans”; objected to the use of the word sodomy; railed against Orthodox Christians for publicly condemning sodomy; and condemned those who would deny Holy Communion to others openly living in sodomy.

          For those reasons, perhaps you should be separated from the life-giving mysteries of the Orthodox Church, lest you eat and drink your own damnation.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Five long years long years you have had to prove me wrong. Five long years. And this is the best you can manage? Oh, my sides! “Father Pat” referred to me as a “clown” and Mr. Michalopulos has held my response in “moderation” for three days. You pull your head out of the freezer today and he shoots you to the top of the heap. What lesson have we learned? In faggotry veritas. Go bait someone from your sodomy brigade because you are a waste of my time.

            • Michael Stankovich writes,

              Mr. Michalopulos has held my response in “moderation” for three days.


              In faggotry veritas. Go bait someone from your sodomy brigade because you are a waste of my time.

              Gee, I can’t imagine why anyone would hold that in moderation.

              A point goes to Protodeacon Patrick.

              • Monk James says

                Helga July 1, 2015 at 5:45 pm) says: (

                Michael Stankovich writes,

                Mr. Michalopulos has held my response in “moderation” for three days.


                In faggotry veritas. Go bait someone from your sodomy brigade because you are a waste of my time.

                Gee, I can’t imagine why anyone would hold that in moderation.

                A point goes to Protodeacon Patrick.

                I didn’t see the Stankovich post which Helga quotes. My glaucoma causes me to miss a lot, but I got at least this.

                And there was all this stuff about Pdn Eric Wheeler’s jubilation over the SCOTUS’s very odd ruling about same-sex marriage.

                I am confident in saying that — no matter how disingenuously they present themselves — ALL the members of ‘We Are Their Legacy’ group, including Michael Stankovich, Pdn Eric Wheeler, Fr Robert Arida, Fr Alexis Vinogradov and whomever else benightedly is in association with them, are in error and in disagreement with the authentically orthodox catholic Tradition of The Church.

                Let us pray that they will cease their assault on bottom-line, basic christian morality and return to the standards of The Tradition which we have all received.

                If these men and other like-minded people continue to serve as clergy and continue to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion, I can’t imagine what will happen to them, although I pray that the Lord will be merciful to them and to us all.

                ‘Father, forgive them — they don’t know what they’re doing.’

                • M. Stankovich says

                  It is not as if I am completely insensitive to your motivation in attempting to make opportunity of, as Nirvana sang in All Apologies, “Choking on the ashes of [your] enemy,” and who among us has not, at one time or another, experienced a “flash” of rash, raw indignation. Nevertheless, what you and the Deacon seem to lack is the fundamental, God-granted filter – expressed in Psalm 140, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” (v.3) – and it certainly has noting to do with the fact that both of your comments were directed at me. Fr. Alexander Schmemann settled this matter for me long ago, in a story I have reported previously, where he took by the cassock in the chest during confession – literally “punching” me – as he inquired of the source of my complaint, “Who is he to you? Grow up and be a man!” This is a message from Alexander Schmemann not easily forgotten.

                  But as I read the Holy Fathers, notably St. Chrysostom, struggle with the idea that their entire ministry – let alone their own salvation – in their their minds literally hung upon the appropriateness and correctness of their pastoral decision of separating someone from the soul-saving walls of the Body of the Church specifically for their correction and ultimate salvation – over which they agonized in prayer, and fasting, and repentance – it is unimaginable to read your words. And why? Because I know your entire motivation is because you were embarrassed by your interaction with me, and you are driven by your own morbid pride and arrogance.

                  My response to both of you is as consistent and identical as it has been for the five years I have presented it: if I am wrong, correct me as to substance. Better the Truth prevail. Otherwise, who are you to me?

        • Michael, I don’t always agree with what you write, but I am at a complete loss to understand how you can equate your generally carefully worded arguments to “Yes, yes, yes — way to go SCOTUS!”

          • M. Stankovich says


            I was responding to Protodeacon Eric’s message on the Yahoo Orthodox Forum regarding the SCOTUS decision:

            I have thought the past few days about your statement that the homosexual community made this an issue within the Orthodox church. You and I were both schooled at the seminary during the time when a liturgical and sacramental renewal was taking place – freeing us from the western captivity of the uniate practices that held sway over the metropolia to grant us an Orthodox approach to understanding our church and practicing our faith. I often wonder today if we haven’t fallen into an evangelical captivity – reducing our church to the stand that is taken on abortion and the approach to the LGBT community – as we become nothing more than to a conservative haven for those who have fled their former delusion. And the noisy wheel today in the online Orthodoxy communities seems to be taking on a form of an Orthodox Tea Party that is trying to hijack my church – making it a conservative bastion determined to fight the liberal society. Now that is something I never heard discussed while growing up in the Orthodox Church! And while homosexuality may not have been discussed, it was pastorally dealt with – there were gay parishioners, gay seminary students and even gay professors growing up – all pastorally dealt with in my Orthodox church – an never once compromising the church teachings. I think the biggest problem is the fear brought on by those who have fled former delusions that any dialogue leads to a slippery slope of total acceptance. Now this is just not Orthodox, and a type of evangelical captivity that we have to free ourselves from.

            -Deacon Eric

            I do not see any, “”Yes, yes, yes — way to go SCOTUS!” Apparently he made several statements.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              If this is Protodeacon Eric’s response then the man truly does NOT know Orthodoxy. Its not about liberal and conservative its about staying true to the Gospel. According to his standards then the Church of Greece, the Church of Serbia, ROCOR and the Church of Russia have somehow magically been hijacked by so-called American Conservative Evangelicals.

              This thinking will not be exposed as wrong until people’s religious liberty, tax exempt status and pressure to perform SSM in the Church starts to heat up. This will happen unfortunately in a very short time.

              I knew this type of heterodox thinking was out there in the Church, especially in the GOA and the OCA, but one is still shocked to see it come out so blatantly. May God have mercy on us all. We are truly living in interesting times.


            • Protodeacon Eric also says he’s “Not gay, but very supportive,” with a image of a rainbow brassiere.

            • Michael, I am referring to the link that began this portion of the thread. I am surprised that you do not see the fundamental problem with Dcn. Wheeler’s statement that you quote above — although putting it together with “Yes, yes, yes — way to go SCOTUS!” may make it easier for you, in spite of your friendship with him.

              The fundamental problem is seen in the use of terms like “Orthodox Tea Party” and being distressed that there might be those who see Orthodoxy as a “conservative bastion determined to fight liberal society.” For all of his flowery words about such folks being “just not Orthodox” in their thinking, and for the way that he pushes your feel-good buttons by evoking what for you were the glory days of SVS (in a major non sequitur), it seems clear to me that Dcn. Wheeler’s distress is primarily driven by his secular political urges, not by his Orthodox piety. In so doing, Wheeler reveals himself as being simply the flip side of the fault he claims to find in politically conservative Orthodox Christians (not all of whom are converts, I would hasten to add).

              I am the first to admit that we converts bring with us some of our baggage and sometimes have difficulty seeing how our “former delusions” still affect our minds and hearts. There are few of us who are not acutely aware of this danger, and thus are constantly studying and asking questions in attempts to avoid this problem. By the same token, I think that “cradle Orthodox” need to admit the extent to which their immigrant experience determined their families’ political affiliations — and how the persistence of those political affiliations into the 21st century have taken many of them down paths towards moral stances incompatible with historic Orthodoxy.

              There is nothing in Orthodox faith, praxis, tradition, canons, Scripture, ascetic wriitngs, dogmatic writings, etc. that could possibly lead to “Yes, yes, yes — way to go SCOTUS!” That kind of ecstatic outburst can only be driven by secular social and political fervor, not by a life lived deep in Orthodox Christian prayer. By contrast, one need barely scratch the surface of Orthodox moral teaching to see why others of us — regardless of what our politics are on things like foreign policy or tax rates — are deeply wounded and distressed by what the process that culminated in this SCOTUS decision represents for us and our children and grandchildren.

              You worry about a secularized Orthodox Church that is morally indifferent — I think that in your dear friend, there might be more of that than you care to admit.

              • M. Stankovich says


                Perhaps it’s the security I have on my system, but I see TinyPic, tags across the top of the page, etc. but nothing but a white screen. Nothing.

                • That would explain your response. Try someone else’s computer, and you’ll see Wheeler’s comment (or at least a comment by someone named Eric Wheeler — you can see the photo for yourself).

                  • Actually, Edward, Dr. Stankovich’s computer was probably working just fine. The comment of Eric Wheeler was, in fact, invisible several days ago although many, including me, saw it when it was visible earlier. I checked the link today, and his comment appears to be visible once again.

                    Not knowing the Protodeacon myself, I cannot say with certainty that it is actually his comment although it is filed under Tags: eric –wheeler-oca- deacon- same sex marriag. His name is listed as Eric A. Wheeler. Dr. Stankovich, who apparently knows him personally, can verify the identity of this Eric A. Wheeler from the Facebook-style photo and perhaps ask him about it directly.

                    If it is in fact Protodeacon Eric Wheeler’s comment, his exclamation of joy over the SCOTUS ruling is highly incongruent with his Yahoo forum comment quoted by Dr. Stankovich. How does one speak of the virtues of pastoral care for sin while rejoicing over a decision that promotes the sin itself? Does one not mourn over such events as the faithful mourned over Manasseh’s promotion of wickedness in the land? Moreover, what the protodeacon fails to understand when he writes…

                    “I often wonder today if we haven’t fallen into an evangelical captivity – reducing our church to the stand that is taken on abortion and the approach to the LGBT community – as we become nothing more than [to] a conservative haven for those who have fled their former delusion.”

                    …is the fact that no such reduction exists in the minds of those faithful who find refuge in the Orthodox Church. What does exist, however, in the hearts of those faithful to Christ is a crystal clear knowledge (gnosis) that one cannot be in favor of the promotion (be it in the civil or ecclesial spheres) of these most heinous of sins against our very humanity while claiming knowledge of God. And to be clear, one cannot be in favor of any sin while claiming knowledge of God. The Lord is compassionate and merciful, as is His Church, toward all sinners. But there can be no compromise or dialog with death, and no ‘deep theological’ understanding or nuance can make it otherwise. Any claim to a ‘deeper theological knowledge’ that denies this is akin to believing one has the capacity for algebra or calculus without first having a grasp of basic mathematics. The faithful know this intuitively, and thus cannot abide those who claim knowledge they clearly do not posses.

                    And yet there is, indeed, such a thing as deep theological knowledge. It is a knowledge born not of ‘theological’ education (without in any way despising it), but of obedience to the commandments of God. It transcends the commandments in the way a building transcends its foundation while ever resting firmly upon it. The fruit of this knowledge manifests itself not in judgment of others, but in ever greater love, mercy, and compassion for even the most heinous of sinners – all the while steadfastly affirming the only foundation on which the truest good of his fellows can be built. It is the kind of mercy that those who falsely claim ‘deep theological knowledge’ will never understand, for it is a mercy in the likeness of God whom they know not. It is a mercy that knows the meaning of human freedom from within and thus can neither peddle nor rejoice in the sort of ‘freedom’ that confirms its victims in bondage to the passions.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      I made a statement as to how I came about making the statement I did regarding Protodeacon Eric Wheeler. If you would have wished to “debate” the content of that statement, I might have given you a brief digest as to evolution of my relationship with the Protodeacon; spoken of what, in my mind, the significance of respecting and defending a man’s integrity and character entails; and might have, again, re-posted St. Climacus’ poignant statement regarding being judged by the same judgement you utilize.

                      But instead, you determined the wiser course of action was to accuse me of willful deception (ghetto translation: “lyin'”), or minimally, not conducting some “post-fact” forensic investigation as to the true author/source of the posting you find so disturbing (even while conceding the incongruence with the published post on the Orthodox Forum – which I know was written by the Protodeacon). And not yet being satisfied, you would then so arrogantly set about to take the Protodeacon (and here – I pause to deliver you a “thumbs up” for admitting you are about to engage in murderous gossip “Not knowing the Protodeacon myself, I cannot say with certainty that it is actually his comment”) and me to “theology schoolin'” Nice Touch!

                      My response to you, son:

                      Gird up your loins now like a man:
                      I will demand of you, and declare you to me.
                      Will you also cancel my judgment?
                      will you condemn me, that you may be righteous? (Job 40:7-8)

                      Five years I’ve been personally insulted by people like you. Who are you to me, and who cares?

                    • Michael,

                      If you read a bit more carefully you will find that:

                      1.) I accused you of nothing.
                      2.) I was confirming your statement that you, in fact, couldn’t see Eric Wheeler’s comment by clicking on the link. First it was visible, then it was invisible for a while (although the link was valid), and then it became visible again. I have no idea why, but it was in fact true that if you happened to click the link during a certain period of time, neither the comment nor his photo appeared.
                      3.) You may be forgetting that not only am I one who has not insulted you, I have in fact defended you against unjust accusations.

                      You and I may not agree about some things. I, for example, do not share the degree of your confidence in scientific research. But in spite of your often impenetrable prose I have every confidence in your faithfulness to – and fervor for – Christ.

                      I am your brother. That’s who I am to you.

            • First he bemoans the Uniat captivity he was raised in, then he complains about seeing things today that were missing in the Orthodoxy he was raised in. Maybe he’d be better off starting his own church, so he can have everything just as he likes it.

              And what are these pastoral dealings he speaks of? Is he saying homosexuals were permitted to commit sodomy? If that’s true, woe to them and their pastors, for economy is not a carte blanche.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says
                • Well that’s no surprise. . . .

                • How wonderfully democratic to take a vote on what truth is. This is yet another nail in the already tightly sealed casket of the Episcopal “Church” and the Anglican Communion. Poor Archbishop Justin. He surely knows that this dashes all hope for serious dialog with any Church remotely resembling Classical Christianity. But he saw it coming and refused to witness strongly against it for the sake of that most sacred of Anglican values: peace. Truth and faithfulness be damned. However false, there must be peace.

                  “The Rev. Jose Luis Mendoza-Barahona of Honduras gave an impassioned speech, saying the new church law goes against the Bible and would create a chasm in the church.

                  “The fight has not ended, it’s starting,” he said. “Those of us in the church who are loyal followers of Christ are going to remain firm in not recognizing what happened today.”

                  …and yet another of those pesky new and alien spirits. How shall we ever rid ourselves of these who, like St. Basil and so many others of his ilk, have the unmitigated gall to insist that the canon of Scripture is a measuring rod of truth?

                  God bless you, Rev. Mendoza-Barahona. Come home to the Christ you love and to the communion of His Church. But prepare yourself for yet more ridicule from those who swim in the same corruption you have so faithfully witnessed against.

    • Wow.

  19. pegleggreg says

    We Ask You Not to Force Us to Choose

    Please be specific. what are the choices? Are you talking about Walmart being open on Sunday? States granting divorce? Interracial marriages? Gays in the St. Patrick’s day Parade? Putin or Orthodoxy? Invading the Ukraine? Reuniting with Rome? Sunday liquor sales? Organ music during Liturgy? Which calendar to follow?

  20. Abp. Benjamin, who receives (unwarranted and unfair, in my opinion) negative attention from time to time on this forum, has spoken to his diocese.

  21. Jim of Olym says

    Well, get over it Fr. Hans. They marry them, we don’t. So there!
    Just look at how many homosexuals in the entire population of the USA
    compared to the heterosexuals here, maybe 5-10%? and you are so scared
    by legal marriage that may or may not involve anal sexuality?
    Perusing some rather nasty blogs, I can tell you that many heteros do he same.

  22. There is only one answer to all of this, and with even this vile sin being widely accepted (in secret) as normal by our own orthodox church (believe me, Arida is small potatoes) and that answer which seems to get buried somewhat is what our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us to pray…
    Your Kingdom Come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven: After acknowledging the character of God, we pray for His purposes. Because God cares for us and is greater than we, we submit our will to His. We trust that His way is better and pray that His will be accomplished on earth.
    Yes brothers, we pray for God’s Kingdom (Government) To Come To The Earth!
    We (man) have pretty much screwed it all up, and no amount of voting for another guy (or gal) is going to change anything at all.
    Focus on the Kingdom as the answer to mankind’s extreme troubles. As Jesus has commanded… “Thy Kingdom Come…” Pray for God’s Kingdom to come to earth as it already is in heaven.
    It appears to me that the church is failing at this as they still are having us look to the politics of men to solve man’s problems. There is no man made solving of any of this.

  23. We ask you not to force us to choose.

    This caption must have been written by someone who hasn’t studied the lives of the saints: past and present. There are so many believers through the ages who have chosen Jesus over secular governments. We call them martyrs. Is it our turn now? Or will we wimp out? Perhaps God is separating the sheep from the goats.

  24. Sophocles says

    Anyone here familiar with Jonathan Cahn and his book, The Harbinger? As early as this September, we may have a lot more to contend with than persecution alone….

    Jonathan Cahn recently gave this address on Capitol Hill:


  25. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Thank God love wins, right?

    The Blaze Love Wins, Right?

  26. quasicon says

    Since male and female no longer exist except in the human mind what is the point?

    If you can insist upon having your birth certificate changed to reflect your imaginary gender, what right would any institution have to even ask what your gender is in order to be married?

    Anyone can marry for any reason.

  27. Michael Woerl says

    “Protodeacon Eric Wheeler” is not found on the OCA website, which includes a listing of clergy …

  28. While Antioch has finally scraped together a statement (a warmed-over letter from two months ago, but it’s something), GOARCH has conspicuously continued in silence.

    +Demetrios has managed to release an encyclical celebrating July 4 and all America’s wondrous “diversity” though. I feel like he’s being a try-hard, wanting to be on the cover of a magazine like +Iakovos (much as +Bartholomew constantly seeks to share the pope’s limelight).

    • George Michalopulos says

      Ages, right now I don’t know which is worse: GOA’s silence or the tepid letters put out by the AOCNA & OCA.

      • Antiochian Friend says

        Mr. Michalopulos,

        I expect that the Antiochian Archdiocese will make a statement on the Supreme Court decision at the biennial Archdiocesan Convention later this month, just as it did two years ago after the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down. The excellent 2013 resolution can be found here .

        As Ages noted, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has been in Lebanon for an important meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch. The Patriarchate’s English-language website has five separate pages under translation from the past week: two Statements of the Holy Synod, two news releases, and one liturgical posting. I don’t read Arabic, so I don’t know whether any of these items is available in full on the Arabic-language website. As of this morning, the Arab Orthodoxy blog had not posted any unofficial translations.

        All of this is to say: Have patience. The Antiochian Archdiocese has a lot on its plate at the moment, but it has not “gone all wobbly.”

        • George Michalopulos says

          They better get cracking. I’m sorry for what’s happening in Damascus but our house here in America is getting burned down around us.

  29. Why is Fr Dn Eric Wheeler is allowed to continue to be a member of the clergy!!??!! What possible dysfunctional mental illness does Syosset have that they continue to do NOTHING!!??!! Why do you OCA’er tolerate this!!??!!

    What is it going to take before the OCA is excommunicated!!??!!!

    • Estonian Slovak says

      Why is the Archdeacon in Florida still a member of the clergy? He “married” a man in California, then left him to resume serving at the altar. He is still a monk, but shouldn’t be a deacon. Let him work out his salvation as a simple monk.

  30. “While Antioch has finally scraped together a statement (a warmed-over letter from two months ago, but it’s something), GOARCH has conspicuously continued in silence.”

    Who cares about statements at this point!?! That is all they ever do!! And what does putting out recycled statements do? NOTHING!!!!!

  31. Gregory Manning says

    I simply don’t understand why no one in the Orthosphere seems to consider this a rather astonishing development!


    This was reported July 9th and not a peep anywhere!!!

    • Gregory Manning says

      OK! http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/80578.htm picked it up. There’s one. We’re on a roll!

    • Fr. Herman Schick says

      It was carried in the Orthosphere on pravoslavnie.ru english, but I haven’t seen it anywhere else.

    • Gregory is right. This is worthy not only of notice, but of celebration, small victory though it is.

      Interesting how those ‘backward’ countries still have a grasp of what it means to be human. Go to Africa. You will find poverty (by our standards) to be sure, but you will also rediscover the beauty of humanity. And Russia? They have obviously learned at least some lessons from the very suffering we in the West seem intent on inflicting upon ourselves.

  32. Popping in briefly to correct something that may confuse faithful and non-Orthodox alike:

    “The Orthodox Churches recognize that Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Copts, Armenians, etc., Arians, HAVE REAL HOLY BAPTISM.”

    This is false. None of the above have baptism unless and until they are received by some rite (baptism, chrismation, confession, etc.) approved by an Orthodox bishop into the Orthodox Church. Otherwise, they would have been joined to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, somehow, by those outside that Church. The very idea is ludicrous.

    Also, the proper, canonical method for receiving converts from outside the Church (and all of the above are “outside the Church”) is through baptism, which none of the above have received before. The grace of the mysteries simply does not extend outside the Church.

    However, per the example of St. Basil the Great, et al., we do accept the “visible side” (in the words of Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky), of blessed memory) of baptism practiced in some other Christ seeking organizations. It was an empty ritual when administered but may be filled with grace upon reception into the Church, as an exception of economy, if this method is approved in this instance by the bishop:

    “The principle of economy, in the sense of the practice of concession, has most often been applied with regard to the reception of heretics and schismatics into the Church. The most ancient of the canons have established the teaching that there are no mysteries outside the true Church and have forbidden any religious communion with heretics and schismatics. Prayer in common with them and even presence at their prayer meetings is prohibited (Apost. 45, 65; Laodicea 33). Their presence at divine services is not permitted, nor can they participate in the prayer of the faithful (St. Tim. of Alex. 9). Ordination by heretics is not considered true ordination (Apost. 68), the baptism of heretics should not be recognized and it is laid down that those who are baptized by them should be “re”-baptized (Apost. 47, 68; Laodicea 8).” – http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/strictness.aspx

    “However, when the zeal of any of the heretics weakened in their battle with the Church, or when the question of their mass conversion to Orthodoxy arose, the Church, to facilitate their union, received them into her bosom through another form. In his first canon, which was incorporated into the decrees of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, St. Basil the Great indicates the existence of various practices in the reception of heretics in different countries. He explains that every separation from the Church deprives one of grace and writes concerning schismatics: ‘The beginning, true enough, of the separation resulted through a schism, but those who seceded from the Church had not the grace of Holy Spirit upon them; for the impartation thereof ceased with the interruption of the service. For although the ones who were the first to depart had been ordained by the fathers and with the impartation of their hands had obtained the gracious gift of the Spirit, yet after breaking away they became laymen, and had no authority either to baptize or to ordain anyone, nor could they impart the grace of the Spirit to others, after they themselves had forfeited it. Wherefore, they [the ancient partisans of Sts. Cyprian and Firmilian] bade that those baptized by them [the heretics] should be regarded as baptized by laymen, and that, when they came to join the Church, they should have to be repurified by the true baptism as prescribed by the Church’. However, ‘for the sake of the edification of many,’ St. Basil does not object to the use of another form of reception for the schismatic Cathari in Asia. Concerning the Encratites he writes: ‘If, however, this is to become an obstacle in the general economy’ [of the Church], another practice may be employed, explaining it in this way: ‘For I am inclined to suspect that we may, by the severity of the prescription actually prevent men from being saved. . .'”

    “Thus, St. Basil the Great, and through his words the Ecumenical Council, while confirming the principle that outside the Holy Orthodox Church there is no true Baptism, allows through pastoral condescension the reception, called economy, of certain heretics and schismatics without a new baptism. In conformity with such a principle, the Ecumenical Councils permitted the reception of heretics in various ways, corresponding to the weakening of their embitterment against the Orthodox Church.”


    Essentially, this question is totally misunderstood by most Orthodox in North America due to the confusion and ecumenical mindset of bishops here. See also:



    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      “Prayer in common with them and even presence at their prayer meetings is prohibited”. “Prohibited”, eh? By whom?

      Don’t think I’ll miss my grandchildren’s weddings, though. Or those of my lifelong friend’s children, or the funeral of my law partner’s husband, or…..and on and on.

      Interesting historical note, though.

      • V. Rev. Andrei Alexiev says

        Tim, I may have addressed this before. I don’t think anyone in his right mind would “prohibit” you from attending your grandchildren’s weddings. I think common sense has to prevail. In my opinion, there is a huge difference between you attending a wedding of your grandchild in, let us say, a Catholic or Lutheran church, and the situation in Finland, where the Orthodox bishop invited the female Lutheran “bishop” to the altar and had the deacon mention her name during the litanies.
        I am pretty sure that most of the Orthodox clerics posting here would not object to your being present at the situations you describe .If, on the other hand, you made a habit of alternating between attendance in your church and non-orthodox churches, and especially if you, being Orthodox, communed in non-orthodox churches, yes that might be a problem.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          I see these things as utterly different (i.e. “alternating attendance” and “communing” juxtaposed with “presence at their prayer meetings”).

          Obviously, one does not “commune” with non-Orthodox. Nor do I any longer attend non-Orthodox services qua services: i.e., Sunday or other regular worship services. But I do not hesitate to attend non-Orthodox services incidentally, as in weddings and funerals.

          I’m not worried; I was a Protestant for 65 of my now 67 years– that I will always be unmoved by some fine points of “canon law” is inevitable. How could it be otherwise?

          Misha, consider this: for 35 years I attended Orthodox services during Lent and Holy Week, all the while a Presbyterian. I observed the Lenten fast during those many years (some years better than others!) and held a Pascha feast every year. My kids were raised with “Wester Neaster and Easter Neaster” (as they said when they were young– they now range from 47 down to 38).

          So I became Orthodox when I invited my youngest son two years ago to a Lenten vespers service, and he said: what are we waiting for? We became catechumens and were Chrismated together.

          So now I stop praying with my other devout Christian children and grandkids? It’s to laugh! God’s Providence has already taught me His wondrous and roundabout ways to His Holy Church!

          • Tim,

            Ask your priest or bishop, if you haven’t. It is up to the bishops as to how to enforce canon law, at least as a practical matter. This is one reason for St. Athanasius’ famous remark about the roads of hell.

            Contrary to the tripe coming out of SVS, the canons do prohibit prayer with the heterodox, not just communion. There would have been no need to prohibit what everybody new was already forbidden nor would there have been a need for two sets of canons, one to guide the laity, one the clergy.

            Obviously the canons do not apply to prayer led by an Orthodox believer in an Orthodox or neutral environment. Otherwise, there would be no provision, for example, for heterodox visiting Orthodox churches, nor for evangelizing the heterodox, in general. The real question is, “Who is leading the prayer and what are they praying?”

            When I am at some event where prayer is being led by someone outside the Church, generally I simply ignore it or just stand quietly out of respect that someone else is praying. I never cross myself or give any other indication that I am participating. On rare occasions I have departed from this practice but it is definitely the exception.

            A university student invited me to a little discussion group he was hosting. It wasn’t sponsored by any particular church although I knew the bible was going to be the subject. At the end, they decided to conclude with a prayer. I politely interrupted and explained that as an Orthodox believer I could not pray with them in that manner. They were understanding and respectful and one of them even took a greater interest in Orthodoxy as a result. Go figure.

            God only knows what the kid was going to say in prayer. Could be full of heresy, definitely not particularly Trinitarian, probably concluding with “in Jesus’ name”, as are many low church Protestand prayers.

            And if I’d offered to lead, what would be their reaction to something like?:

            “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Lord have mercy (x3)
            Lord bless!, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of your most pure Mother, and of our righteous and God-bearing Fathers and all the Saints, have mercy on us.”

            They would bristle and perhaps dissent just as readily as I would at their prayers. Really, if you look at it in that light, Protestantism and Orthodoxy are two different religions.

      • Tim,

        Well, this “historical note” happens to be canon law in effect today, yet of course, ignored by many bishops and most faithful [to the detriment of their souls, no doubt]].

    • M. Stankovich says

      Well, if it came from the authority of the orthodoxinfo.com, it is undoubtedly correct, and “economy” by which one acts in place of the Master in His own household is, again, relegated to the role of “concession,” rather than in the interest of salvation. Somehow the words of Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky), calling us us to bear in mind that “we are far removed from the time of grace” are lost, as is the fact that the Service for the Reception of Converts we North American morons utilize was commissioned in English by Archbishop Tikhon, later to become the long-suffering St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, and our Patron, at the hand of Madame Hapgood. Fr. John Erickson, Former Dean of SVS, and Professor of Canon Law has written a short, succinct, and thankfully unpretentious paper that does not attempt to correct the whole continent, and it is available here.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        An interesting and useful paper.

      • 1.Generally, if it comes from orthodoxinfo, it is either correct, or at least easily defensible. Disparaging the site is not an argument but more of an ad hominem.
        2. Fr. John Erickson’s essay is written from the perspective of someone more preoccupied with history and a strong desire to reconcile with the Romans than of someone respectful of Holy Tradition or the opinions of more traditional minded experts on canon law:



        3. It is quite easy to spot where Fr. John goes wrong.

        “5. Proof of the fact of baptism must be established by an authentic document or by the testimony of a qualified witness. The priest must undertake to instruct the applicant in matters of the Faith and practice that govern the inner life and outward behavior of the Orthodox Christian. If the applicant has not been baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity in a Christian church whose baptism could be accepted in the Orthodox Church by the principle of oikonomia, he or she must be baptized as prescribed in the Service books. In cases of doubt, reference to the Bishop is mandatory.”

        The problem is that heterodox baptism is never accepted as baptism. The empty ritual is filled with grace upon the person being received into the Orthodox Church. Prior to that, it is merely a bath. He then mentions the approaches of Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky), to which I referred and which is well explained and defended in the links I provided, as well as the position of Fr. Georges Florovsky which, while apparently rejecting St. Basil the Great’s opinion, nonetheless preserves the canonical akrivia. Yet where he really goes off the deep end into heterodoxy is here:

        “Still others have adopted its vocabulary only to modify it in diverse significant ways: Economy
        ‘cannot create out of nothing’ but is rather a matter of healing that which is infirm (Abp. Alexis van der Mensbrugghe); it can come into play only when ‘something, exists but presents a curable defect’ (Abp. Peter L’Huillier); it is a matter of ‘discernment’ of the ‘presence or absence of the mystery of the Spirit’ (Fr. John Meyendorff).”

        “Thus understood, the ‘principle of oikonomia’ suggests that outside the Orthodox ‘there is a Christian reality that possesses a certain significance for the universal Church,’ that ‘the heterodox have maintained a certain relationship with the Church and therefore the possibility of enjoying the grace of the Church’ (Fr. Ion Bria).”

        But the filling of heterodox baptism with grace at reception into the Church does not “create out of nothing”. There was a visible rite which was administered. The invisible grace was lacking and thus it amounted to no more than a mimicking of Orthodoxy outside the Church. Certainly it could have no power at all to join one to a Church which took no part in the heterodox baptism. There is no patristic, conciliar or canonical evidence given to support this last position. It is wholly dependent upon the sheer will of its proponents. It is not orthodox but heterodox, much like, for example, Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s recommendation to the OCA synod that they adopt, in some cases, what amounts to Episcopal Church style general confession. SVS is not a reliable standard of anything other than a problematic ecumenist strain within the Church.

        See also: http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_app1.pdf for a refutation by Patrick Barnes of Fr. John’s entire method of reasoning on these matters.

        Schmemann, Meyendorff and Erickson all belong to an era when much of American Orthodoxy was deeply intimidated by Western Christianity and modernity and . . . not itself.

        incidentally, Mensbrugghe was brought into the Church by Met. Evlogius from Roman Catholic Benedictine monasticism. Evlogius was instrumental in the founding of St. Sergius OTI in Paris (thus we speak of the “Parisian school of theology”). St. Sergius OTI was instrumental in the founding of SVS.

        Huillier, another “Parisian”, converted to Orthodoxy in Paris in 1945. Despite teaching as an expert on canon law, he advocated that the Orthodox accept the Western calculation of Pascha/Easter.

        Fr. John Meyendorff was born into a Russian emigre family in Paris and later became dean of SVS. Fr. Ion Bria was a Romanian Orthodox priest and a champion of ecumenical efforts in many forums, including serving as executive director of the department “Unity and Renewal” (“Faith and Order”) for the World Council of Churches between 1991-1994

        Essentially, what Erickson was engaging in is the same type of dishonest scholarship that characterized progressives throughout much of the twentieth century. One creates authoritative opinion out of thin air by getting a few people to venture the same opinion, then they quote each other extensively, and soon the absence of any real foundation to their views is forgotten. Justice Louis Brandeis and his colleagues were famous for this type of thing. Get an article published in a law journal, then get a sympathetic judge to quote it from the bench, then do more articles on the decision, then get more quotes from the bench . . . pretty soon you have a new line of legal reasoning created out of thin air. Such is the methodology of neo-Orthodoxy.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Well, Misha, I agree with the part starting with Brandeis; after all, I’ve been practicing law for nigh onto 42 years! You left out a couple of steps: you quote the journal in a dissenting opinion, then later in concurring opinions….then you’re nearly through the door…..

        • M. Stankovich says

          Oh, Madonna Mia! Straight from the ad hominem footlocker. Schmemann & “general confession” – I was there; it never happened; you are full of three types of French semi-soft cheese. Schmemann/Meyendorff’s (Erickson was not of their era) & American Orthodoxy were deeply “intimidated” by Western Christianity; I was there, they scoffed, while the West ate from Florovsky’s hand, who, by the way, openly proclaimed himself an “ecumenist,” yet who accused him of compromising the Faith? Prof. Erickson is an internationally acknowledged Church Historian – duh – such a scurrilous accusation that this would be his interest, and your claim that his respect of Tradition of Canon Law & Tradition is “clouded” by a “desire to reunite with Rome” is your ignorant contrivance; I was there and he was my instructor. This entire arrogant mess speaks to the fundamental distinction between a formal theological education. – based in the communal life of the chapel and experiencing the words and teaching of real human beings – distinguishes itself from phony “Internet” scholars whose authority derives from anonymous compilations of “data.” You self-righteously decry any challenge to a website as ad hominem, only to turn around and defend fabrication and individuals with what you decry. And nowhere do you address the fact that the liturgical Service for the Reception of Converts , specifically instructed to be used in America, was commissioned by a Saint of the Church. This is the methodology of the Internet scholar.

          • Пресвятая Богородице, спаси нас!!!

            Stankovich, you don’t know what you are talking about:



            Furthermore, I never claimed to be a scholar on the subject, internet or otherwise. So that, of course, is a strawman. Florovsky repented of his more aggressively ecumenist views later in life. He still must be read with caution. The rest are neo-Orthodox, ie, “God is doing a new thing.” I did not suggest that Erickson was the same age as the rest but that they were of the same era. I would put that era as really only having begun to wind down with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the reconcilliation of the MP and ROCOR. I mean, I still hear irresponsible babble coming from the SVS trained.

            Neo-Orthodoxy is like a freshwater lake on the island of Oahu that somehow is thought by some to be the Pacific Ocean. In time the island will sink and the lake will again be reunited with its salt-bearing surroundings.

            Also, frankly, you write as if you don’t even understand what the issue at hand is. Most Orthodox who use the Church (Julian) calendar will receive converts by chrismation if they have received “baptism” in another church that satisfies certain criteria. However, they are explicit in the understanding that the formerly administered “baptism” was only a visible ritual and lacked the invisible grace which can only be found in the Church. The question is, before they are received into the Church, have they received a true baptism or some ritual which somehow conveyed some type of grace, some aspect of the grace of the Mystery of Baptism; or, on the other hand, did they simply partake in a ritual which mimics Orthodox baptism but had no effect at the time it was administered as far as “dying and being reborn with Christ” and being joined to His Church.

            This distinction is crucial. The end result of the former view is a blurring of the lines between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy. It is the reason, for example, that a Patriarch of Constantinople can receive a Pope of Rome with the honors reserved for an Orthodox bishop [to the great consternation of the monks on Athos, who reproved him]. The pope is not even a layman in the Orthodox Church, much less clergy.

            • M. Stankovich says

              So, if something is a dumb idea one time, why not repeat it and see if it gets better with repetition? Let me try to be as succinct as possible, Misha. I was there, in person. I heard what Fr. Alexander said, and I saw what he did. As he clearly wrotes in his diaries and discussed in class, Confession had become one of the most trying aspects of his priesthood. People wanted to discuss “problems,” tell him what they hadn’t done, and that “basically, I’m a good person.” As he described again, again, and again, what he referred to as “General Confession” was not the Sacrament of Confession; was not an illusion to the Sacrament; it was not an approximation; it was not an imitation; nor was it a “substitution” for the Sacrament. The form of the service bore absolutely no resemblance to the form of the Sacrament, nor the language of the Sacrament, other than the words, “Let us confess to God…” It was exactly as described in the link you provided: “a school of repentance.” Fr. Alexander’s intention was for it to be way to learn how to confess. You would not know this, however, because you were not there, nor have you taken the time to investigate. This has the tell-tale stink of “internet scholar” like an air-freshener from the 7-11.

              Finally, it would seem to me that I have addressed most of your quacking by offering the Service for the Reception of Converts and its accompany commentary, from the hand of St. Tikhon, Metropolitan of Moscow. In as much as you indicated you were only quickly dropping in to, apparently, set Orthodox America straight and quell the irresponsible babble coming from the SVS trained, and don’t seem prepared to correct St. Tikhon, I suggest you move along.

              • Once again it is painfully evident that you have no idea what you are talking about and have no grasp of what the issue is. Therefore, I will leave you with the following:

                1. It is clear from the above articles that General Confession includes absolution: i.e., after simply hearing a reading of common sins, participants are absolved of their unconfessed sins:

                “(f) The priest then invites those who find need for further expression of their sins to stand aside while the remainder approach for the prayer of absolution and adoration of the Crucifix. (g) Finally, after the prayer of absolution has been read over each penitent, the prayers in preparation for Holy Communion are read while those wishing to add to their confession approach the confessional.” – https://oca.org/holy-synod/encyclicals/on-confession-and-communion

                2. It is also clear that there is an impression among the faithful that General Confession is a substitute for real confession, whatever the intention originally might have been:

                “Pastorally speaking, however, one may also say that the best explanations, the best teaching, and the best preaching on the nature of General Confession cannot guarantee that people will not abuse it by considering it as a replacement for individual Confession. In cases where individual Confession has all but disappeared in favor of General Confession, one cannot necessarily assume that the fault lies with the pastor or his teaching style. [The best math teacher in the world cannot guarantee that every one of his or her students will understand what he or she is teaching in exactly the same way.] So, to some degree, General Confession has created some confusion in some places, especially where the people, despite the teaching of the parish priest, elect on their own to participate in General Confession while refusing to participate in individual Confession.

                In my own pastoral experience, I noticed two things years ago:

                Indeed, many people came to individual Confession much better prepared because they had consistently participated in General Confession.

                At the same time the number of individual Confessions, as well as their frequency, was greatly reduced.” – https://oca.org/questions/sacramentconfession/general-confession

                But the real point is that General Confession is not Orthodox at all and is simply a willful imitation of heterodox practice suggested by Fr. Schmemann. And, of course, if it really was not meant to be a replacement for frequent confession, there would have been no absolution for those who did not make personal confession. I think both Fr. Schmemann and the Synod were dishonest in that regard.

                As to the reception of converts:

                “For the record, the Eparchial Synod of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with the concurrence of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, has determined to recognize by extreme Oikonomia the heterodox Baptisms normatively performed according to the prescribed form in the following denominations and churches: (a.) Anglican Catholic (b.) Anglican Communion (Church of England, Episcopal, etc.) (c.) Assembly of God (d.) Baptist (e.) Church of the Brethren (f.) Lutheran (g.) Methodist (h.) Moravians (i.) Non-Chalcedonian and Monophysite Churches (j.) Old Catholic (Polish National Catholic Church, Church of Utrecht, Liberal Catholic Church, etc.) (k.) Presbyterian (l.) Roman Catholic (m.) United Church of Christ.” – http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/liturgics/reception_of_converts.htm

                And that is the policy of the GOAA, one of the most liberal jurisdictions.

                As to St. Tikhon’s service, if he stated anywhere that reception was a recognition of heterodox baptism itself rather than reception through economia, then you might have a point. But I doubt he ever stated any such thing.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Misha, what is the Bible in the hands of a Roman Catholic or a Protestant? “Just a book”? It becomes the Holy Bible only when an Orthodox Christian reads it?

          • Holding a bible does not make one a Christian, or even a monotheist; standing in a garage does not make one a car; and getting dunked by Pastor Bob does not join one to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.