A Tale of Two Churches

Left: Holy Virgin Protection, New York City | Right: St. Nicholas, San Francisco

Left: Holy Virgin Protection, New York City | Right: St. Nicholas, San Francisco

We here at Monomakhos have maintained that the so-called gay-marriage debate was not about marriage “equality” but merely a ruse to divide and conquer the Church of Christ. Examples were brought forth regarding the plight of other Chrisian confessions, most notably the Episcopalian Church. In a nutshell, “inclusion” and “tolerance” became by-words that no reasonable person could reject.

The reality however is that inclusion and toleration were merely ruses to show conservatives the door. The homosexual juggernaut has been so successful that we have warned that the same fate awaited the Orthodox Church here in America.

Our alarmism was met with skepticism by some of our more critical correspondents. “We are the Church of Christ, against whom the gates of hell will not prevail.” We concede the point, Orthodoxy in toto will never succumb to the zeitgeist, it never has. When the Church of Constantinople persecuted the Iconodules, safe haven was found in the West. When the Unia was signed at Florence in 1451, the Church of Russia rejected it. And so on.

Such criticism has forced us to clarify our critique and that is good. What we are dealing with here is something more insidious than the mere subornation of Christian doctrine. Instead we will see a division within American Orthodoxy, a division that will not put one jurisdiction against the other per se but will cause divisions within jurisdictions. Having said that there will be some jurisdictions that will be more accommodationist to the anti-Christian worldview. I’m afraid to say that certain dioceses within the OCA may very well be in the forefront when it comes to serving the sodomite agenda.

Case in point: the cathedral of the Holy Protection in New York City, which put out an inflammatory posting recently. It’s rector did nothing less than spit in the face of the Patriarch of Moscow, accusing him of dictating new Russian laws which were inimicable to the homosexual agenda. (Which, even if true, would not have been a bad thing in and of itself.) This blatant and unnecessary rebuke stands in sharp contrast to another Orthodox cathedral, that of St Nicholas in San Francisco, which is being targeted by homosexual jihadists.

One wonders if the rector of Holy Protection would have been so emboldened had Jonah remained as Primate. Given his bold, prophetic witness and his close ties to the Mother Church, it’s hard to see it. Although he may have had administrative difficulties (some self-inflicted no doubt), his insistence on Orthopraxy more than made up for his deficits. We can’t imagine such a horrendous provocation occurring under his Primacy.

I suppose the point is moot now. At any rate take heed: the battle lines are being drawn.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Orthodox Christians Respond to LGBT Protest With Joint Prayer of Clergy and Laity

View pictures of the protest.

Source: Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

The Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and the Russian Church Abroad

protestClergymen and laity of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia responded to an LGBT protest with joint prayers.

On Sunday, August 25, 2013, a protest was held before St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in San Francisco, CA, by local LGBT members against legislation passed in Russia last June banning the propagandizing of homosexuality to children. The day before, blogs on the internet called for supporters of the LGBT community to gather at San Francisco’s Patriarchal cathedral during Divine Liturgy with anti-Orthodox and anti-Russian placards.

With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, clergymen Protopriest Georgy Roshchin, Representative of the International Russian People’s Council to the United Nations, and Hegumen Nikodim (Balyasnikov), both of St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City, traveled to San Francisco to support the local parishioners.

On August 25, Archbishop Justinian spoke via telephone to His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America of ROCOR. The archpastors discussed the unfolding situation, after which they came to the decision to hold joint prayers the next day in the Patriarchal cathedral. Priest Leonid Kazakov, Rector of St Nicholas Cathedral, gave advance notice to the planned action to the local police and to Mr Sergei Petrov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco.





On the morning of August 25, Archbishop Kyrill and His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, Vicar Bishop of the Western American Diocese, arrived for the beginning of Divine Liturgy, where they prayed and partook of the Holy Gifts of Christ. For the edification of the worshipers, the archpastors brought with them a reliquary with portions of the relics of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco from the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” in San Francisco.

Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Fr Leonid and Hegumen Nikodim. Praying at the service were parishioners of St Nicholas and laity of ROCOR.

After partaking of the Holy Gifts, Archbishop Kyrill and Bishop Theodosius performed a moleben with the other clergymen, during which litanies and supplications from the rite of the Triumph of Orthodoxy were intoned.

Bishop Theodosius then read a sermon. Fr Leonid welcomed the archpastors on behalf of his parishioners, thanking them for their prayerful support and words of guidance. Protopriest Georgy and Hegumen Nikodim then thanked the hierarchs on behalf of Archbishop Justinian.

By Divine mercy, neither the cathedral nor any parishioners suffered any violence from the protesters. Member of the police secured the protest area and did not permit the breaking of any laws. The clergy and parishioners of St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral of San Francisco expressed thanks to Archbishop Justinian and Archbishop Kyrill, Bishop Theodosius, the clergymen from New York’s St Nicholas Cathedral, as well as all the other clergymen and laypersons who supported them that day.


  1. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    I hav two questions:

    Is the archimandrite’s bishop fully aware of the contents that go on the church’s website?

    Did Syossett sign off on this? Knowing that they still apparently have to obtain some of the traveling money from MP every time an invite is extended to attend an important event hosted by MP. Thus, it wouldn’t be wise to bite the hands of those that provide such assistance.

    Additional question:

    Is Met. Hilarion (MP), being in charge of international church relations, aware of this?

    • George Michalopulos says

      My guess Lola is that Fr Calin blindsided Bp Michael with this stupid stunt.

      • So remove him.


      • Seriously, do you think he (Calin) will be called to account on this? Or no? This has been going on for quite sometime with him! You should see his Facebook page! I had been on his friends list. One night he was defending Pussy Riot’s right to do what they did, and really laying into the MP over it, as if the whole affair was the Church’s fault! I challenged him on that and he defriended me. Typical liberal! Thomas with ROCOR

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Dear Thomas–You wrote “Typical liberal.” I assume that you meant in a secular, political sense. Even so, your comment provoked me to ask you if you consider “typical liberals: to be unsuitable for the priesthood in the Orthodox Church. I pray that the answer is no, but please answer it anyway. Thanks, Carl

  2. Ya gotta wonder what His Grace, Bp. Michael thinks of his dean’s statement. Especially coming from his own Cathedral.

    • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

      I think that Bishop Michael would not approve of such a statement. In public, he would be afraid to directly contradict/attack the Synod of Bishops and pro-homosexual factions in the OCA, but I think that he will give Fr. Christopher a good dressing-down in private.

  3. BOO HOO BABS says


    I have little doubt that Bp. Michael was aware of the statement and blessed it. Bp. Michael thinks that Fr. Calin can do no wrong. Now, let’s see how far that support goes if Syosset turns up the heat?

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I have no idea whatsoever whether Bishop MIchael, or anyone else for that matter, blessed Father Calin’s statement. You may be in the know and may have been were privy to the correspondence or communication between Bishop Michael and Father Calin. However, you justify your assertion by a general and meaningless statement “Bp. Michael thinks that Fr. Calin can do no wrong.” Therefore, I cannot believe you or trust you. Sorry.

      Regarding the propriety of Father Calin’s statement, I believe it to be inappropriate. Such a statement, particularly one that criticizes another local church and a foreign state can only come from the Holy Synod, inadvisable as it is for the newest local church to criticize her mother church in such offensive and undiplomatic fashion. May be Father Calin has used up his usefulness as the dean of the cathedral.

  4. Disgusted With It says

    You’re all JUST NOW noticing the crazy “irregularities” at the New York Cathedral and the public statements and habits of those associated with it???

    The OCA needs a good cleaning.

  5. For clarification in response to BHB’s comment, I deleted my previous comment because I wrote in error that Fr. Calin was one of Bp. Michael’s deans. When I checked the Diocesan website, I didn’t see his name listed as such. Thus the reason for the deletion. I didn’t want to leave erroneous info out there.Nevertheless, I wonder if His Grace is aware of the statement?

    Is this parish Bp. Michael’s Cathedral?

    BHB, how do you know that Fr. Calin “can do no wrong” in the mind of His Grace?

  6. M. Stankovich says

    I distinctly recall my first visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection on 2nd St & 2nd Ave. in NYC early on a Sunday morning: two homeless men were sleeping on the front steps, apparently having jumped a gate. Apparently accustomed to the occurrence, the front door opened and a monk emerged throwing one, then another bucket of water over the man, yelling that they should “get lost.” “When did we see you, Lord?” (Mat. 25:44) And thanks to God, albeit 25-years in the making, Fr. Christopher has managed to transform a cathedral that sits in the infamous Bowery into a beacon of Orthodoxy in its own community.

    The same cannot be said for St. Nicholas Sobor in San Francisco, sitting in the middle of what is referred to as the “queerest community in the world – the Castro.” Typical of a breed of Russian immigrants who, paradoxically suffered persecution themselves, are xenophobic, isolative, fearful, rejecting, racist, anti-Semitic, intolerant, and hateful. And how can I say this? Because I grew up in this atmosphere.

    Yesterday, as I attempted to explain to Mr. Bauman, we were poor when I was in elementary school, necessitating everyone in the home – parents & grandmother – to work. My parents could only afford a “nanny” for years who was a middle-aged Black woman who gave us breakfast, accompanied us to school, walked us home from school for lunch, fed us lunch, took us back to school, walked us home from school, helped us with homework, and stayed with us until everyone came home. Frequently, my brother and I heard people around us at our ROC parish say loudly enough, “How can they allow niggers to raise their children?”

    My father had struck up a relationship with a County Juvenile Court Judge over the years, and with the Judge’s permission, began bringing a handful of adolescents, who were preparing for release and had met behavioural requirements, to the Liturgy on Sunday. The priest encouraged him. He bought them each a nice pair of pants, a shirt, and a tie, and since my father sat in the front pew, the 5-6 boys sat with him. When he heard “rumours” that parishioners were unhappy, he immediately presumed they were afraid, as if someone would be hurt, and he immediately went to the priest. The priest sat him down and calmly told him the issue – given that most times the boys were Black & Hispanic – was racial. This brought my father to tears, and while the priest was supportive, he never brought another boy or sat in the front again.

    And I will never forget visiting the relics of St. John Maximovitch, venerating the icons of the church, lighting candles and purchasing a bottle of oil from the lamps at St. John’s tomb. When I asked the man, in English, tending the candles what time Vespers began, he responded, in English, with barely a Russian accent, that I should go to the “English Church, and handed me a card on which he had written an address. Being very put off, I went outside and realized the address he had given me was a nearby Anglican church.

    I was in communication with this group of “jihadists” – which they described to me as “about 20 people and 3 rainbow flags” – prior to their protest and they admit they knew very little about the Orthodox Church, other than what they gathered from the media: the symbiotic relationship of the Patriarch & President Putin. I explained many things to them, never expecting the outcome. I have written about this here and some responses to critics here and here.

    This was not an issue of homosexuality. Substitute homeless, or Blacks, or bikers, or parolees, or anyone else and I predict the outcome would have been the same. This was about the Lord among sinners, all sinners: “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mk. 2:17) And where is the perspective: the Lord does not mention homosexuality once – he rails against pride, lack of charity, the lack of love, intolerance, repentance, defense of women & children, the poor, the needy – yet thread after thread after thread, the “authority” is not the words on the lips of the Master himself, but the “portend” of the Christian Right and AIO.

    • Trudge at SmartVote says

      Dr. Stankovich,

      Though you are half right, in what I get from your posts, about the collapse of Orthodox evangelism, which should be shining the light of the Gospel outward, and neglect of the virtues necessary for evangelism as contributing to our moral crisis, you are also repeating the same tactic used by the anti-Christs in sowing moral confusion among the Episcopalians and other Protestant sects.

      Saying that Jesus never spoke once against homosexuality was also used as a thought-stopper for years among the Protestants to lead them down the path to their ugly heresy which we see today. The tactic is to divide Christ from the Church, and scripture from the unity of scripture. The sayings of Christ that we see in the Scriptures left us by the Apostles and the Holy Spirit have Christ also not saying specific things about rape, abortion, incest, polluting the environment, or human slavery – so did Christ in this same logic think that these were not so bad?

      So did Christ condemn homosexuality in the Gospels?

      Yes he did, in the strongest terms, by making the destruction of Sodom itself the picture of God’s judgment against those who reject the Gospel. Then also by making a marriage the event of his first miracle. Then by declaring that nothing would change from the moral principles of the old covenant. Then by raising the standards of the old covenant to a higher level of purity of soul beyond bodily actions regarding sexual standards and in effect all moral standards. Then by exposing the woman at the well for adultery, of which homosexuality is a subtype.

      Finally Christ condemns homosexuality through his disciples the Apostles through the unity we see in their moral principles, as they single out homosexuality as the symbol of mankind’s rebellion against God, as an affront to Him and the created order. The Apostles labor in the Epistles against all kinds of sexual immorality, under various specific names, including homosexuality, enumerating various other vices that the Gospel calls upon all mankind to flee, and blessedly, exhorting their countering virtues for us to acquire.

      Otherwise we are left with the absurd proposition that it is sinful for a man to lust after a woman with his eyes, but not for a man to lust after another man. Finally we understand that the entire purpose of the Gospel is to restore the image of mankind to its original state as God created us, where our adversary Satan seeks in all ways to vandalize this image through the most absurd sorts of distortions, as in the case of the various sexual disorders.

      Rome was not built in a day, and the restoration of Sodom in our very own nation has been under construction for decades now, at least since the so-called “Enlightenment.” But the building project should have been recognizable to the Orthodox in San Francisco 50 years ago, when through evangelism and preaching the Gospel they could have done something about it.

      The portrayal however of the sexual anarchists in San Francisco as only innocent victims does not fit with the well-known public orgies that have been going on there for years, under the protection of the police, where tourists come to gawk and film.

      But again, the sexual anarchists in San Francisco came from somewhere. In fact they are the children of formerly Christian America. I am sure that many of them came even from Orthodox or other Christian communities where as children they never heard the moral teachings of Christianity, taught out of virtue and with specifics and meaning.

    • Mr. Stankovich,

      You statement about Russian immigrants,

      …Russian immigrants … are xenophobic, isolative, fearful, rejecting, racist, anti-Semitic, intolerant, and hateful.

      I am afraid, may apply to me, a sinner. You can also add a plethora of other sins. However, I am afraid you go too far with the generalization as I know many from that group who do not suffer from the sins that you list.

      I think I know where your error comes from. You say that you grew up in that atmosphere. Yet some elements of your own post contradict that statement. For example,

      …since my father sat in the front pew…

      Russians do not sit in church, before God, except for the infirm, and there no pews in Russian churches.

      Frequently, my brother and I heard people around us at our ROC parish say loudly enough, “How can they allow niggers to raise their children?”

      There is no word in the Russian language for “nigger”. This is a peculiar English/American invention, as is its widespread usage in the wonderful world of tolerance and equality. The Russian word “негр” (negro) carries no pejorative meaning and only serves as a descriptor of race.

      I am afraid you had experience with some kind of invented world of your own, or it must have been a very different “Russian” world compared with the one the rest of Russians come from.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I’m sorry Dr Stankovich, but this is over-the-top. I don’t doubt that the word “nigger” was used not unfrequently in the church you grew up in (as it was in mine). The question is not whether racism exists–it does (and I’ve seen it among Amerinds, blacks, Hispanics, and Jews–but whether it’s germane to the question at hand. It’s not.

      For one thing if we are going to go down the road of which priest is “nicer” than another, two can play that game. Which religion is “nicer” than the other? Mormonism or Orthodoxy? Anabaptists or Orthodox? Jehovah’s Witnesses or Orthodox? Black Muslim or Orthodox? I for one have never met a bad Mormon or a bad Mennonite –and I’ve known quite a few. The few Jehovah’s Witnesses I’ve met seemed all soft-spoken and decent. The black Muslims I’ve met have all been impeccably dressed, carry themselves in an erect manner, and treat their women with great respect.

      The question that we are presented with is that which Cathedral is witnessing for the Faith, indeed suffering for it, and which one is needlessly and thoughtlessly provoking another Christian archpastor?

      I for one refuse to abide by the dictum that we should make the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    • sub- deacon gregory varney says

      Dr. Stankovich After speaking to my parish priest he is very upset at the treatment you received at the cathedral in san francisco. Archbishop Kyril would like if you would email him and tell him the time and date this occured as things like this should never happen there. heres his email archbishopkryill@pacbell.net Another thing you should not purchase st johns oil but give a donation. this person was wrong to do this to you. please help the archbishop correct the situation. the cathedral is not like this and should not be viewed as such but every once and awhlel someone gets in power that should not.

      • M. Stankovich says

        SubDeacon Gregory,

        Thank you for your kind consideration. This occurred during the time of Archbishop Anthony, of blessed memory, whom approximately a month later came bounding into the little bookstore that existed next to the cathedral. I asked for his blessing, and he asked who I was, etc, and I told him the story, He too was most apologetic and unlocked the cathedral and took me on a tour, brought out relics to venerate, and was exceptionally kind and warm. He invited me for Vespers, but I was leaving for home in NY.

    • M. Stankovich says

      I long for the days when there was “thinking in metaphor,” poetic license, and and an absence of the banality of concreteness.

      Mitrich, my brother, the parish was a parish of the Russian Orthodox Church – and for the longest time, our Bishop was Dositheus (Ivanchenko), the noted Russian liturgical composer, and the last Exarch of the Russian Orthodox Exarchate in the United States. The parish was a mixture of ethnic Russians, Serbians, and Bulgarian. It had pews. Don’t play me for a fool. You and I both know the shamefully derogatory Russian words for African-Americans. They purposely used the English word so we, as children, would go home and shame our parents.

      Trudge at SmartVote, my friend, with all due respect, you propose an interesting essay on the Lord’s “action by agency,” but it does nothing to change my original point that He made no comment – but in any case, you miss the forest for the trees in that I was quite emphatic in stating, “This was not an issue of homosexuality.” I do, however, find your persistence refreshing.

      Mr. Michalopulos, I purposely made the point that I spoke of a breed of Russian immigrants, an aggregate of which I have experienced and received notable “validation” from Robert Massey (author of Nicholas & Alexandra, Peter the Great, Katherine the Great, and The Romanovs), who somehow ended up in my home when I arrived from work, sitting with guests attending the SVS Summer Institute. Go figure. I sat there in astonishment. If you are somehow suggesting that St. Nicholas Sobor is “is witnessing for the Faith, indeed suffering for it,” after everything I have written, there is nothing left to discuss. But I would offer this excerpt from an email sent to me from a woman who was one of the organizers:

      The good news is that I have established relationships with some extremely knowledgeable people.on a topic I knew very little about, of course only seeing it from my own perspective… and had no idea what we were doing would be perceived as such an insult to the people in the Church. On woman wrote me saying that she presumed that the protestors would show up naked, men in fishnet stockings and she would have to protect her children. Another message resulted in an extensive dialogue with a man who was the prior rector at one of the Churches. One of the Fr. wrote to me and we got into a heated debate and then he ended asking me for forgiveness …. and me confessing my shortcomings.

      “Which now of these three, think you, was neighbor to him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus to him, Go, and do you likewise.” (Lk. 10:36-37)

      • geo michalopulos says

        Dr Stankovich, I have read each of those books you mention. Xenophobia, racism, whatever are not at issue here. As I have mentioned in the previous response to you, I have seen each of those phenomenon (and worse) in Amerinds, blacks, Hispanics, and Jews. Looking at the crime statistics put out by the FBI, I can confidently state that non-whites are far more racist in deed than are whites. Again, I reiterate: they are not at issue here. For one thing, they are endemic to the human condition.

        Whether you or I like it or not is immaterial. Personally, I don’t like it and have tried to live my life according to the words of St Paul who said that “there is neither Greek nor Jew in Christ Jesus.” What is germane is that the good people of St Nicholas in SF are being bombarded by homosexual jihadism which you for some reason choose to make light of. That you preen about Fr Calin’s supposed moral superiority while ignoring his hate-filled diatribe against a Church that has suffered decades of oppression is frankly, quite shocking to me.

        I will take this time to come to Mitrich’s defense. The Russian word negr (pronounced “NEG-ger”) is not derogatory. It is a word borrowed from Spanish, as is our own word “negro” and used to describe the black-skinned people of sub-Saharan African descent. Martin Luther King use this same word (albeit pronounced “NIG-rah”) to describe people of his race. I seriously doubt that you would call MLK anti-black racist.

        The word you’re thinking about is chyorni (“black”). This word is derogatory and is applied to Georgians, Armenians, Circassians, and other Caucausian races ironically enough.

      • Trudge at SmartVote says

        Dr. Stankovich,

        Thank you for considering the points I raised.

        And to keep it in the metaphorical terms that you like:

        You say that I miss the forest for the trees. But I think that you miss that the forest has nearly burnt down and how it was lit.

    • Dr. Stankovich, it seems the “nigger” did an exemplary job of raising you.

      I will make sure to visit the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection sometime this fall; I live in Philadelphia, so it is only a train ride away. I am always interested in real Christianity, which you have so aptly described. Anyone who reads the Holy Gospels will come to recognize the real Jesus Christ — and shun the counterfeit, angry, ideological religiosity that masquerades as Christianity.

      • Wow-you don’t think Stankovich is angry?? Whew!

      • M. Stankovich says


        My brother and I loved her, a simple, religious woman who had no children of her own. When my grandmother retired, we had a special dinner for her, and my bother and I cried & cried and wouldn’t let her go. Had I been older & understood the situation, I’d have taken her to church. We’d have sat in the front pew. Her name was Margie, and may she rest in peace.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Clare, while you go there, give a thought to making a gift to Samaritan’s Purse. It’s a fine ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and has fed tens of thousands of poverty-stricken people all over the world. Also, please consider Chuck Colson’s ministry. I have a feeling though that you might “shun [these] counterfeit, angry, ideological religiosity that masquerades as Christianity.” I hope I’m wrong.

        • Mr. Michalopulos, I suggest that you read (or re-read) the essay of St. Maria Skobtsova of Paris, Types of Religious Lives, paying particular attention to its discussion of the evangelical path at its conclusion. Perhaps St. Maria, were she writing today, would identify yet another type — the ideological type.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “I distinctly recall my first visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection on 2nd St & 2nd Ave. in NYC early on a Sunday morning: two homeless men were sleeping on the front steps, apparently having jumped a gate. Apparently accustomed to the occurrence, the front door opened and a monk emerged throwing one, then another bucket of water over the man, yelling that they should ‘get lost.’ “When did we see you, Lord?” (Mat. 25:44)”

      Easy for you to judge. Unfortunately, this type of action is needed, or the church would be over run as it became known that their gate jumping trepassing was tolerated, soon the church itself would be broken into, looted, and violated (if it hadn’t been already). My church had to drive the homeless away as well, we couldn’t afford the continued theft and repairs and the disruption of Divine Liturgy by events like a man repeatedly riding a bike into the middle of Divine Liturgy and ringing the bike’s bell and aggressively extorting money.

    • Tough Love Sometimes Only Loving Action says

      “I distinctly recall my first visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection on 2nd St & 2nd Ave. in NYC early on a Sunday morning: two homeless men were sleeping on the front steps, apparently having jumped a gate. Apparently accustomed to the occurrence, the front door opened and a monk emerged throwing one, then another bucket of water over the man, yelling that they should ‘get lost.’ ‘When did we see you, Lord?’ (Mat. 25:44)”

      Easy for you to judge. Unfortunately, this type of action is needed, or the church would be over run as it became known that their gate jumping trepassing was tolerated, soon the church itself would be broken into, looted, and violated (if it hadn’t been already). My church had to drive the homeless away as well, we couldn’t afford the continued theft (of central AC units worth thousands of dollars, etc) and repairs and the disruption of Divine Liturgy by events like a man repeatedly riding a bike into the middle of Divine Liturgy and ringing the bike’s bell and aggressively extorting money. Should we have disbanded the parish altogether to please hard hearted “soft hearts” like yourself? Abandoned the building to squatters to dwell and shoot up with drugs in?

  7. Sean Richardson says

    I have a couple questions as well … were these prayers offered in English or in Slavonic (or both)? Do we know, specifically, the focus of the prayers?

  8. Trudge at SmartVote says

    Oregon: Christian bakers’ business shut down by gay activists:


    The question: have the fellow Christians of their group, especially their leadership, sought to interpose themselves between these good people and the activists, or are those in their circle not wanting to “get involved” and stay silent about “controversial issues,” taking the “we will pray for you” approach.

  9. Let the OCA do whatever it wants to do. It’s not part of the Church of Russia. In fact, in truth, it is not the successor to the Russian Mission in the US, only part of that mission that split from the Russian Free Church, was a wanderer in the wilderness for two stretches, and then was granted autocephaly by the KGB. Essentially, it has historically been the Carpatho-Russian wing of the Church in America. These stereotypes have a certain validity. They tended to thumb their nose at Great Russian institutions and were even sympathetic to the Soviet state because at times it encouraged Ukrainian nationalism rather than Russification – – i.e., when it wasn’t creating man made famines that killed millions of Ukrainians.

    Met. Jonah, in his famous Dallas speech that ticked off 79th street, also referred to the people who run Moscow and the MP as the same people who ran it under Communism, implying an identity of ideology. It was very strange. Dog biting feeding hand.

    No, I don’t count on the OCA to defend the faith, nor do I count on GOARCH to do so. The Antiochians have a better record on this particular issue because of cultural factors. I assume ROCOR, the Greek Old Calendarists and the Athonites are keeping the faith, as usual. Probably the Serbs as well.

    Each of these jurisdictions has its own character. The neo-Patristics that founded the OCA have a reputation in Eastern Europe as purveyors of liberal Orthodoxy. Par for the course. Did not Fr. Thomas Hopko come out in favor of civil partnerships?

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I read Misha’s post with great sadness. We know that mossbacks over at ROCOR and in the ROC share his view that “The neo-Patristics that founded the OCA have a reputation in Eastern Europe as purveyors of liberal Orthodoxy.” OTOH, the purveyors of “neo-patristics” have been translated into many languages and have been most influential even outside the OCA. Thank God for Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary that has produced theologians of first repute and has founded the first and only International Center of Orthodox Christian Studies, that has already executed a number cooperative agreements with the Faculty of Orthodox Theology of Romania (blessed by the Romanian Patriarch), the Faculty of Orthodox Theology at the University of Belgrade (approved by the Serbian Holy Synod), and the Kyiv Theological Academy (blessed by Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine).

      What really is disappointing the Misha’s post is his inability to see the good and his overly broad brush. If we all approached our church that way, we would be nothing but withering vines. OTOH, I rather like my little corner of the oCA where we are talking about converting folks to Holy Orthodoxy and to imbue them with a sense of discipleship–hardly the goals of a dying church, nor reflective of a church that is reluctant to defend the faith. Come and see.

  10. Rdr. James Morgan says

    You people gotta be nuts! Christians of all kinds are being driven out of Syria and Egypt and killed in both countries, and possibly the rest of the mid-East and you spend this time arguing about a little teeny-tiny protest in San Francisco over gay people.
    Where is the real outrage over our regime (yes, I’ll name it such) that wants to missilize Assad in Damascus, and might well do so, even if Congress doesn’t like it? There are more important issues here than meet the eye, for those who can actually see.

    • How many petitions have you signed, senators have you written and protests have you been in for Syria? We have been active in that arena, just because we don’t write about it here does not mean no one is active.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        colette, you’re the only one so far to brag about it.

        • Thank you. My point being-dear Rdr. James is you have no idea what our lives are like or how much we are outraged. If you wish to talk about Syria then go to another article that talks about it.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Yes, we always must talk about my cause at every time and place, whatever the subject might have been, because my cause is the only cause worth talking about.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “You people gotta be nuts! Christians of all kinds are being driven out of Syria and Egypt and killed in both countries, and possibly the rest of the mid-East and you spend this time arguing about a little teeny-tiny protest in San Francisco over gay people.
      Where is the real outrage over our regime (yes, I’ll name it such) that wants to missilize Assad in Damascus, and might well do so, even if Congress doesn’t like it? There are more important issues here than meet the eye, for those who can actually see.”

      O-bomb-a seems to grasp that encouraging and enabling sodomy is warfare against his domestic and foreign enemies (Russia in particular). So why don’t you? We don’t have the material influence or power to stop Obama and/or Satan on Syria (prayer is our only hope). But, we can and should try to hand Satan as many defeats and as much resistance as possible, even if it seems small beans to you. We can hardly win outside the Church if we allow the weeds among the wheat to openly wage war on the wheat within the Church itself.

  11. Jonathan Johnston says

    Let’s see; Calin was rejected by Hopko for questionable relations in NYC. + Tikhon (retired) supported Calin wholeheartedly. Calin has done good work, but his sexual orientation is questionable.

    • Rodney Buchshotte says

      Is Fr. Calin an active homosexual? If so he needs to be removed.

      • Jonathan Johnston says

        Well, he lives with his close male friend who is the parish lay leader. Ask those who are there.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          As Archbishop Kiprian ( a widower) used to say, Jonathan, “And were you THERE? Were you holding a candle? What did you SEE?”

        • Archimandrite Christopher and the long-time Archdeacon (not “lay leader”) of the Cathedral live in the clergy apartment on premises. Brother clergy accepting less salary in exchange for housing from what has been a struggling parish since the Metropolitan/Chancery’s move to DC/Syosset would be too obvious an assumption, I suppose. A retired parishioner lives in a separate apartment on the premises when he isn’t volunteering with the OCA out of town. I know I was totally gay with all my (male) roommates and all the single men in my building before I got married (to a woman), how could it have been otherwise?

          What would Hopko be gatekeeper to that he could reject Fr. Christopher? Fr. Christopher is a graduate of the former undergrad program at SVOTS (before Hopko was Dean) and then at STOTS. If anything, Hopko likely would have “opposed” Fr. Christopher on the grounds that he was seen as a traditionalist by SVS standards and far too cozy with ROCOR prior to its reunion with Moscow.

          It should also be noted that there is a large Georgian community at the Cathedral who are from a nation and church that is as “conservative” as Russia’s but in no way a fan of Putin and the Russian Church’s close cooperation with (control by?) his government. This is in addition to questions coming from parishioners, friends, inquirers, and neighbors about how the Cathedral, the OCA, and Orthodoxy relate to what they are hearing (right or wrong) about Russia, its record on civil rights (which goes far beyond the single issue of homosexuality), and the ROC’s relationship to the one-party state that is Putin’s Russia. Since “Russian” is part of the parish’s name – literally written in stone at the front door – it’s a question the parish has been addressing often and it’s easier to make a clear public statement than to let people assume what they will.

          Such “distancing” from the politics of Old World Orthodoxy would have been understood in the Metropolia and ROCOR, but it seems some have come to see autocephaly as a muzzle (at least when it comes to Moscow).

          • Robert Alden says


            Fr Calin is NOT a graduate of STS nor SVS. He attended both schools but never graduated. Fr. Hopko’s objections to Fr. Calin’s ordination was based on his record at SVS.

            Just want to correct your misunderstanding of the record.

            • “. . . his record at SVS”? May I ask: what does that mean? Would you please clarify precisely what it is you’re suggesting here, “for the record”? And are you an officially delegated spokesman for Fr. Hopko’s views on this matter?

              When did Fr. Hopko object to Fr. Calin’s ordination?

            • Regardless, it’s good to see confirmation that Hopko’s objections were “based on [Fr. Christopher’s] record at SVS” rather than the innuendo above.

    • Disgusted With It says

      “Calin was rejected by Hopko for questionable relations in NYC.”

      Fr Hopko, frankly speaking, is a pretty liberal guy. What in the world could have warranted a “rejection”? (I tend to find it kind of hard to believe.)

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      “Hopko”, Jonathan Johnstone, has no business accepting or rejecting anybody. Remember, he’s the personage that gave his UNQUALIFIED imprimatur to Mark Stokoe and dissed an Archpriest on the day after Forgiveness Sunday. The Protection Cathedral was “cleaned up” remarkably after Father Christopher Calin was appointed by Archbishop Peter as its Dean. Many resented the appointment of a Romanian American to that post. Anyone who had any knowledge of the goings-on at that place “in the good old days of Metropolitan Leonty and Metropolitan Ireney” and who believed in sexual morality in public and private should be thankful for the moral uplift that place experienced under Father Christopher’s leadership. There used to be a Protodeacon there who regularly embarrrased young clergy wives with his fixed and directed gaze as he vocalized the Litanies. Fr. Benedict Di Socio, while attached there, used to have to be alert to avoid being goosed by the same Protodeacon. A celibate Archpriest from France used to invite seminarians who interested him to come back to his place for a bath. Another man, a perennial Igumen was always lurking and beckoning “Come over here! I’ve got some Scotch…’ If Johnstone thinks that “Hopko” is unfriendly to new attitudes toward homosexuals, he should think again. Ask him what he thought of (Fr.) Alex Dimouras (sp?), MICHAEL IRWIN when he was as student. To make ‘Hopko” some kind of paragon of moral discernment or of conservatism in ANYTHING is just way over the top. The decisive, the critical, the vital criterion of moral judgment for him and those with him that explains his expressed witness against Calin and a couple other outstanding Hieromonks, Vladimir and Joseph, was their attitude toward SVS. Anyone without a positive, even intoxicated reverence for SVS has been demonized. as much as anyone criticizing Israel in Congress.

      • Jonathan Johnston says

        Well BT…I’m quite sure that throughout the history of the Church, there have been many who had a penchant for their own sex and yet, were holy people. Having desires is one thing; acting on them is another. All the more reason to go back to a married episcopacy.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Jonathan, Being married does not solve anything in and of itself. There was a married GOA priest with children here about 20 years back who delighted in his altar boys. Only the persistence of the mother of one of the victims and her willingness to take the heat got him prosecuted. Even so, the whole incident ripped the family nearly to shreds.

          In addition to the suffering of the victims, he had been the only priest who actually grew the parish. That pretty much went under afterwards too.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            You are right. There have been several instances of married Antiochian priests who were suspended because they were secretly practicing homosexuals. Last summer Archbishop Joseph visited a parish with a married priest. Some of the youth asked to meet with him and told him that their priest has been sexually abusing youth in the parish for some time. His Eminence confronted the priest who confessed. He was immediately suspended and the Archbishop turned him into the police. He got 18 years in prison. I once became good friends with a married OCA priest with several children. After I left to serve another parish, he was suspended because he was apparently also a secret practicing homosexual.

            • Trudge at SmartVote says

              Father John,

              It is good that you are muscular in your defense of the moral standards of Orthodoxy – and the most muscular priests in the present state of Orthodoxy tend it seems to be converts from outside the tradition. Also your state, Mississippi, has the highest rate of Church attendance of any in the union. That counts for something in your assessment of your experience that things are okay, because those in your immediate environment preserve a general grasp of basic Christian moral principle that used to be characteristic of our nation. On the opposite end of church attendance is Vermont, which is among those leading the nation in experiments in immorality, such as high school students parading themselves naked in the streets.

              But as children of the so-called “Enlightenment,” we modern Orthodox tend to have a low view of the Gospel and its capabilities, and the power of preaching formed on the anvil of asceticism and spiritual work, where the bishops and priests confine themselves to preaching and evangelism in its various forms and leave the administration of the Church to the office of the deacon.

              So what is the state of the modern Orthodox parishioner, even if they have a correct moral opinion? Please consider the portrayal of Orthodox parishioners in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” written and acted by an Orthodox woman. Indeed she is currently making the rounds in Orthodox churches promoting a book that she has just authored.

              In the film, which is an enjoyable comedy, the Orthodox women are portrayed as voluptuaries, and in the instruction to the bride among the women before the wedding, the bride is told that the great “virtue” of a woman is to be a “sexual lioness.”

              Never in the film is a sense that the parishioners possess an understanding of holiness or of being any different from any other American in terms of their spirituality – the religion is nothing but a beautiful ritual.

              In contrast to our forebears, after hearing Christ preach, after hearing the Apostles preach, people could not longer go on with ordinariness but either of two ways: either extraordinary virtue appeared or dissension. Instead, we see too many cases of the lack of proper fear in modern priests and bishops and the neglect of their own souls in these cases of homosexual priests.

              Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.

              You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake.

              Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.

              Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

              He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

              How can we live routine, conventional lives, imprisoned by mundane thoughts before these words?

              That is why I point out that we lack the violence that Christ and Chrysostom spoke of to obtain virtue and secure the kingdom of heaven for ourselves.

              With bishops and priests of sufficient spiritual vitality and carrying out the full scope of the Gospel in evangelism in their preaching the change in parishioners would be apparent to something absolutely not ordinary, looking something like what Christianity in its strength looked like, which I hinted at in the examples I mentioned in my previous post to you.

              Please consider the military terms of St. Ignatius of Antioch, extended from its source in the Scriptures from Ignatius’ Epistle to Polycarp – “The duties of the Christian flock.”

              Give ye heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you….Labour together with one another; strive in company together; run together; suffer together; sleep together; and awake together, as the stewards, and associates, and servants of God. Please ye Him under whom ye fight, and from whom ye receive your wages. Let none of you be found a deserter. Let your baptism endure as your arms; your faith as your helmet; your love as your spear; your patience as a complete panoply. Let your works be the charge assigned to you, that ye may receive a worthy recompense. Be long-suffering, therefore, with one another, in meekness, as God is towards you. May I have joy of you for ever!

              From this it is seen that the parishioners are to be heavily armed and engaged in spiritual combat with evil, portrayed as a military unit bivouaced together, with the bishops and priests as generals and captains, not reclined in idleness as if there were no war or threat and living merely for the bodily pleasures of this life.

              Parish life would not look conventional, the people in the parish would not look like conventional blasé church people, with a lack of a sense of mission and purpose, and the youth would be shining lights of virtue and filled with evangelical energy if the Gospel were being preached in our parishes and toward the outsiders and heretics in its full scope and without being filtered for modern ears.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Jonathan Johnstone. I heard many confessions in my life at Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral in Los Angeles. I heard confessions from married men of their obsession with and failures to resist what they considered to be attractive men. From time to time, this or that Greek-American couple, members of one or another of a few Greek Orthodox parishes in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, might suddenly show up after Vigil on Saturday night for Confession In several of those cases the husband confessed his sins and sinful obsessions with men. Sometimes their parish priests saw themselves more as counsellors or therapists and turned Confession into rambling conversations turning on politics and society—there was no place save a Russian Church where those men thought they could confess SINS and have their SINS addressed as SINS; where they could express guilt and not be told guilt was unhealthy… At any rate, Jonathan, there are many cultures, not only American cultures, where married men wander outside the marriage ‘bond” to “enjoy sex” with a usually younger man. You shouldn’t delude yourself into thinkiing a married episcopate would be more virtuous than an unmarried one.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  “Trudge at Smart Vote:” Your vision of what the Church would look like if it adopted your approved methods is a pleasant one. Why has the Church NEVER achieved what you see as ideal?

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Dear Vladiko–I also do not think that “a married episcopate would be more virtuous than an unmarried one.” However, if we opened the episcopate to both married and celibate individuals, taking care to observe Saint Paul’s criteria in 1 Timothy 3, we should benefit from a much larger pool of qualified individuals. Assuming that individuals with sexual issues are a certain percentage of the total, with such a larger pool, we will be able to have a larger number of candidates who do not fall and cause scandal.

              • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

                “So what is the state of the modern Orthodox parishioner, even if they have a correct moral opinion? Please consider the portrayal of Orthodox parishioners in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ written and acted by an Orthodox woman.”

                That movie errors even in the title of the movie itself. There’s hardly any “big fat Greek” families anymore, especially “big fat” only marginally religious Greek families. The larger a family is, the more likely the parents are extermely religious, using private education or homeschooling, and limiting contact with the secular society around them in general. Any family with 3+ children (above replacement level) I’m not surprised if I discover that the children are allowed little to no television at all, etc, etc.

          • Michael, I agree that being married of itself solves nothing (regarding the episcopacy); but excluding from eligibiliy and consideraton married men’s whose families have been successfully reared is, under current missionary circumstances, unproductive, limiting and foolish. It would make better sense, and bear better fruit, to find and consecrate as bishops men who know Christ and by the fruit of holiness of life, chastity, humility, wisdom and diligence, whether celibate or married, show proof of repentance and a fullness of the Holy Spirit.

            The world is on fire with the dragon’s breath and there is no sense of urgency among us to meet it with an army of St. Georges, equipped for the task.


            • Michael Bauman says

              lexcaritas, I have no problem with considering the idea of a married episcopate especially with the dearth of seasoned monastics in the United States. However, many folks who comment on the topic seem to think of it as a panacea for all that ails the Church. That is simply false. It will create as many problems as it seems to solve and is not guaranteed to solve the problems folks think it will.

              I am quite concerned for the impact having a bishop as a husband would have on the wife and on the marriage in general. Marriage, after all, is not simply a utilitarian contract for the rearing of children. It is a vocation and a path to salvation in and of itself.

              Paired with the priesthood in the parish setting, it can be a wonderful blessing. I am not so certain of that in the episcopate.

      • Robert Alden says

        Bishop Tikhon,

        Your memory is a sharp as can be. Your recollections of life at Holy Protection Cathedral in NYC are 100% on target. Anyone who gives you a thumbs down is truly ignorant of OCA and Metropolia history.

  12. “ . . . inquisition-like persecutions and xenophobia in concert with the Russian government’s promotion of draconian laws limiting freedom of speech and the civil rights of its citizens.”

    If the person who wrote this pretends to be Orthodox, he should be excommunicated and if a cleric, deposed. Essentially what he is saying is that he disagrees with the Church’s teaching that homosexual sexual activity is sinful and evil. The “draconian laws” to which he refers simply prohibit public displays of homosexuality. The penalties are fines. Hardly “draconian”. Wild exaggeration. And inquisitions? Please. If the laws prohibited public expressions of pedophilia would he object? No, of course not. But the Church has never measured the morality of such activity using the modern liberal touchstone of “consenting adults”. Both sins are vile.

    You would expect this, of course, from the Episcopal Church, but not from anyone who expects to be taken seriously as a Christian.

    BTW, I apologize if I offended anyone with my post above. It was too polemical but you just don’t expect to hear such statements from “Orthodox” clergy.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I appreciate your clarity Misha.

    • There are good Orthodox people all over the world, to include the Russian Federation, who would agree with the sentiments expressed. Now, who made you the Orthodox Sheriff, judge and executioner? Which Orthodox jurisdiction do you belong to anyway?

    • M. Stankovich says

      It would seem, then, you will be excommunicating & deposing our Father among the Saints, John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople:

      Christ came, as Chrysostom used to remind, precisely to heal the will of man. God always acts in such a way as not to destroy our own freedom. God Himself acts by calls and exhortations, not by compulsion. He shows the right way, calls and invites, and warns against the dangers of wickedness, but does not constrain. Christian pastors must act accordingly. By temperament, Chrysostom was rather a maximalist, sharp and rigoristic, but he was always against compulsion, even in the struggle with heretics. Christians are forbidden, he used to insist, to apply violence even for good aims: “Our warfare does not make the living dead, but rather makes the dead to live, because it is conducted in the spirit of meekness and humility. I persecute by word, not by acts. I persecute heresy, not heretics. It is mine more to be persecuted, than to persecute. So Christ was victorious as a Crucified, and not as a crucifier.” The strength of Christianity was for him in humility and toleration, not in power. One had to be strict about oneself, and meek to the others.

      Collected Works, Vol. IV, Aspects of Church History, “St. John Chrysostom: The Prophet of Charity,” pp. 79-80.

      Somehow you seem to miss the point that Fr. Christopher is not condoning homosexual activity, but condemning “draconian laws” that have resulted in indiscriminate violence. How is this not obvious?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Because they’re not “draconian.” There is no corporal, financial, or capital penalty that inures to the sensible laws passed by the Duma.

      • Trudge at SmartVote says

        Dr. Stankovich,

        I think what is happening in your approach to the quote of Chrysostom is confusing the role of the Church and the role of virtuous government in administering justice.

        Here is the Apostle Paul on this matter from the Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 13.

        Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

        From an Orthodox Christian perspective the government in Russia, in this matter, is fulfilling its role appointed by our Creator, no doubt having learned from the disaster in our country.

        In contrast, our government is in the process of delegitimizing itself, having uprooted its moral anchors, once the envy of the world, and has become an anti-virtue institution, rewarding evil and oppressing the good.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Trudge at Smart Vote, there were never any “moral anchors” in any of our governments, and today’s American society is no more virtuous, no more sinful than it ever was. Are you an Orthodox Christian or some kind of invader from a “Trudge-Report-Like” political action front? Do you agree that the Roman government, whose soldiers hung our Lord on the Cross, and who begat generations of martyrs, was “not a terror to good works but to evil?” Do you believe that the Emperor was God’s minister and avenger executing wrath on him who practices evil?

          • Your Grace,

            On one level I agree, and yet on another level I cannot help but disagree that…

            there were never any “moral anchors” in any of our governments, and today’s American society is no more virtuous, no more sinful than it ever was.

            It is true that little has changed in terms of virtue. But it is also true that even in the midst of our vice we once had general agreement on the respective definitions of virtue and vice. Imperfect and thoroughly secular though it was, it was nevertheless a culture that clung to its Christian heritage . There are some notable exceptions, but without the general agreement on definitions the exceptions that have been overcome could not have been overcome. Very few knowingly embraced the outright nihilism of our current culture.

            Several generations questioned the need for the life of Christ while still respecting Him and retaining a legacy of essentially Christian social values. Those that followed rejected Him altogether and embraced confusion and death as a cultural norm.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I agree more with you Brian, than with His Grace in this regard. The Christian ethos that permeated the United States was effusive (if heterodox). Even Thomas Jefferson observed Christian pieties and kept his Deism to himself and a few close friends. In the War Between the States, both sides hurled Biblical epithets at each other as much as bullets. And let’s not forget that the Congress proclaimed Christmas to be a national holiday during the Grant Administration.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Thanks, Brian. You got my point. George may also have done, but he’s more concerned with appearances and conventions. He actually assigns some value to the ‘public morality” of Jefferson!
              i especially noted his positive spin on Jefferson’s hypocrisy in keeping “his Deism to himself and a few close friends. i believe that when he speaks of President Obama hypothetically doing the same, George characterizes it as most egregious. And hurling epithets at one another may be improved by using “Biblical epithets!”
              Is there some Christian virtue in proclaiming “Christmas’ to be national holiday? it seems that George here has openly advocated ambiguity, equivocation, and double-mindedness. Sounds so much like ancient and degenerate late Roman public morality!.
              (Oh….”Your Grace, you missed the point.”) (Saved you the bother.) I can’t agree with assigning ANY value to effusiveness…that’s really, really reaching.

          • Trudge at SmartVote says

            Bishop Tikhon,

            I am most enthusiastically Orthodox, baptized and chrismated a number of years ago.

            I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling, and my hope is to be found Orthodox at the last day, and not a hypocrite. The thought of that terrifies me.

            “He is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” Does this apply any less to the Orthodox Christian?

            That is, Orthodoxy is a virtue to attain, and as St. Mark the Ascetic has said, “Do not claim to have acquired virtue unless you have suffered affliction, for without affliction virtue has not been tested.”

            And Aesop, “It is easy to be brave from a distance.”

            And “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

            The more truly Orthodox we are we will appear to the conventional and nominal Orthodox and progressives as “invaders,” as it always has been.

            The Apostle Paul wrote this discourse on government by the Holy Spirit knowing full well the crucifixion of the Christ – Paul himself approved and persecuted his followers – and knew perhaps his own impending martyrdom at the hands of the Roman government. Therefore, his personal experience in no way invalidated the divine purpose of government and just laws to restrain evil.

            • Trudge at SmartVote says

              Bishop Tikhon,

              More on Christianity and Government: Yet of course that does not mean blind obedience and passivity to the state, God forbid, which at times is an attitude that has crept into American Orthodox laity, others who name the name of Christ, and American citizenry at large.

              We see resistance to evil government authorities throughout Eusebius’ Church History.

              The relationship of Christianity and our government is of course famously observed by de Tocqueville in Democracy in America.

              As for my activities, please see my site http://www.the-smart-vote.com

              The relationship of Christianity to our republic is expressed in two sections on the site:

              1. “Silent Religious Leaders” in the “Political Map” section to the left with other essays linked to this page, including the statement on marriage by Metropolitan Jonah.

              2. “The Good” section to the right with brief essays on MLK Jr and FDR’s view that we are a Christian nation, and the example of Christianity expressed in the life of Abigail Adams.

        • Ridiculous! Folks who think like you are responsible for the myth of the righteous ruler. If you look at the history of lords and kings, you will not find many who are paragon’s of virtue, wisdom and compassion (modern day constitutional rulers excepted). As for democratically elected rulers, their primary virtue is that most have fixed terms.

          • George Michalopulos says

            No ruler is perfect Carl. Not even “righteous rulers.” In saying that, you stand perfection in opposition to goodness. Some of the greatest bishops in the Orthodox Church here in America made deplorable mistakes. Yet their pastorates remain beacons that shine to this day.

            In the final analysis, I’d rather have a man who at least recognized righteousness (such as the Founding Fathers) rather than scapegraces self-described libertines and atheists like Barney Frank who engineered the Housing Bubble. In an earlier, more virtuous age, such a creature could not have been elected dog-catcher in Bugtussle.

      • ????? Laws do not result in indiscriminate violence–violent people do. Laws justly applied restrain violence


        • M. Stankovich says


          Are you serious? How would you like to explain the shameful exercise of indiscriminate violence & discrimination – how many murders? – over integrated education? Brown v. Board of Education. You known exactly what I’m saying, and it didn’t end until 2006 in Boston. Please, don’t take my statement into another moronic, tangential, smiley-faced, “NPR “Have a way with words!” misdirection.

      • It is not obvious because it is not true. The reason he characterizes the laws as “draconian” is because he does not see the public evil against which they are directed as being evil. Substitute normalization of pedophilia for normalization of homosexuality and we would not be differing about this (well, I’m giving you credit there). How is that not obvious?

      • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

        Stankovich, why don’t you use facts from the saint’s life, or quote from St. John directly, to try and make your point, rather than quote a summary of him? You think Misha would be “be excommunicating & deposing” St. John because you find Misha at odds with how you read a paragraph by a modern commentator that glosses over the saint? Wow. Unfortunately, that’s the level of “neo-patristics” right there.

    • Incarcerating those women in Russia for two years for disorderly conduct is draconian. Harsh treatment of young mothers will not result in an embrace of Orthodoxy. Putin effectively drove people from the faith.

      Most young people simply say why bother participating in such an institution that marries itself to an oppressive government.

      If the devil were involved; he won easy.

      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

        Dan, you obviously didn’t see what this particular “young mother” did on camera in a public art gallery — for the revolution, of course. Or what her sister-in-anarchy did on camera with a chicken in the meat aisle of a grocery store — for the same revolution, which has already happened here, by the way. Here, in the good ole U.S. of Dan Fall, we fine young mothers $7,000 for not photographing gay weddings. Draconian? How about diabolical?

        • I have expressed my view that there is a difference [to me] in discrimination against behavior versus color. I am consistent. The Russian women deserved jailtime; not two years. Thirty days would have been a lot for their rude behavior. The judge could have imposed a suspended sentence on any more acts in the church as well. The church was victimized, but ultimately is the innocent villian; which instead of arguing; you ought find sad.

          For a church based mainly on the New Testament concept of forgiveness; reconcile two years imprisonment for nasty dancing in the church. If you can; I submit you are in the wrong country club.

        • M. Stankovich says

          “Some of those who work forces, are the same that burn crosses.” RATM

        • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

          Hear,hear,Fr.Deacon! In Stalin’s time,one could get seven years for wrapping a piece of fish in a newspaper with the leader’s pictue.All you had to do back then was HINT that you disapproved of Stalin and it was a trip to the gulag.If you knew someone who said something about the leader and didn’t denounce that person,you could win yourself a trip there,too.I fear Americans won’t their lesson until it happens here.

  13. So, if the OCA is in such a mess what jurisdiction of Orthodoxy is recommended for a potential convert?

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Dear Cramer–there is no jurisdiction anywhere on earth that does not have issues. If you have the luxury of living in a city with more than one Orthodox church, visit all of them and then choose the one that takes the faith seriously, regardless of jurisdiction.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        From the official web site and Chancellor’s Diary of The Orthodox Church in America TODAY: “Archbishop Duncan and the representatives of the Anglican Church of
        North America, together with Father Chad Hatfield and Father John
        Parker, finished their visit to the Chancery yesterday morning with a
        prayer service in the Anglican tradition followed by a paper and
        discussion on moral issues.”

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          I feel that the Saint Sergius Church at the Chancery should be officially and publicly re-consecrated.

          • Bishop TIkhon,

            This “Anglican Tradition” service that John Jillions boastfully proclaimed WAS served within the confines of St. Sergius Chapel. This has now been confirmed. Another example of the OCA’s deeper dive into the emasculation being led by ecumenists like Jillions, Kishkovsky and John Parker.

            Can anyone explain the credentials of Fr. John Parker to be the chairman of the OCA Department of Evangelism?

            • Anonymous posters have no right to demand an explanation for Father John Parker’s qualifications to be the chairman of the OCA Department of Evangelism. That said, I will answer you. First, he was appointed by the Metropolitan of the OCA, who at that time was +Jonah. Second, he is the parish priest of a church that progressed quickly from mission to church status. Third, he is in my deanery, the Carolinas Deanery of the Diocese of the South, both leaders in evagelization and growth through missionary endeavors. Are these enough reasons for you?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Anonymous posters are more than welcome here. Isn’t it ironic that Jonah was thrown out because of anonymous allegations, which have still to make the light of day?

                As for Fr John Parker, I concur. If you want to hold a summit on evangelism his parish would be one of the best venues to do so. (Tragically, there used to be more.) On the other hand, why wasn’t this “summit” publicized before the fact? Why wasn’t it live-streamed on AFR? Does anybody have any A/V feed from this event? Transcripts?

                Unless we hear otherwise, I’m afraid that there was less here than met the eye. I’m afraid that my initial reaction, that this was a hasty, post-facto put-up job to make Tikhon look good, will probably stand the test of time.

                • My sources, who were on the ground, say otherwise. The published account is on the money.

                  • Carl,

                    One would hope that the recent meeting in SC will produce fruit that can be shared with others. It does little to have a meeting/gathering/summit for just those involved. How what was learned is shared and then translated and planted for growth is what finally counts. Will the results of this event be shared?

                  • Disgusted With It says

                    Your anonymous “sources”.

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    I suggest that the next poll on this site should pose the question: “Should ‘Monomakhos” be changed to “Cassandra”?

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      FLASH! Here’s the latest on this topic from the house eunuch, who writes on “Voices from Russia”:
                      “Mollard has to send JP out of the District (but not to California nor to the South, where Tikhon Fitzgerald would succor him and his supporters… JP was Fitzgerald’s protégé), ”

                      Say what you will about the eunuch, he’s always good for an industrial-strength, large-eConomy-size GUFFAW!
                      “Breaking Wind from the Drezhlington Post!”

                  • geo michalopulos says

                    You know Carl, for someone who takes anonymous sources to task, you sure are trusting when it comes to your own “sources.”

                    Let’s see, the “summit” was (1) not publicized in advance, (2) lightly attended, and (3) the “published reports” are perfunctory at best.

                    In another post, you right how Dr Stankovich’s anonymous sources in ROCOR buttressed the anonymous sources of Stokoe (who we forget, manufactured news to suit his agenda) and who was unceremoniously thrown off his own diocesan council as well as the Metropolitan politburo.

                    Whole lotta anonymity there going on, Carl.

              • Carl Kraeff,

                I go to Holy Ascension in Mount Pleasant-Charleston, SC.  It is a mystery to me who your supposed ‘sources on the ground’ could be.  Nobody from Holy Apostles took part in the summit, nor did I recognize anyone from your parish at our services that weekend.

                This summit amounted to twelve people from the OCA using our parish to have a private meeting, that is all.  They came to Vespers and Sunday Divine Liturgy, but nobody outside their group was part of the summit itself.  You seem to want to treat this summit as some kind of revolutionary, revitalizing event in the life of the OCA, but it was just a private meeting of a dozen people. That’s fine, I hope it was productive, but please don’t pretend that it was anything more than it was.

                Just so you know, +Tikhon was asked here about providing for +Jonah.  He promised to let +Jonah continue his bible classes and visits to the ROCOR cathedral in Washington, DC.

                • Chucktown,

                  So +Tikhon told you that he would allow +Jonah to continue his bible study at the ROCOR Cathedral. Was that before or after +Jonah was told only to have his bible study at St. Marks?

                  Either +Tikhon flat out lied to you, told you what you wanted to hear and then got out of town, or indeed told you what he wanted but was then bullied into changing his mind by his OCA handlers.

                  Which one do you think it is.

                  Oh, btw, Carl, the meeting in Mount Pleasant was NO SUMMIT and let’s see it is a couple of weeks now since it and not one word or sharing of any information from this SUMMIT.

                  More OCA non-news. I wonder how much that SUMMIT cost you all?

                  • philippa.alan says

                    James wrote,
                    Either +Tikhon flat out lied to you, told you what you wanted to hear and then got out of town, or indeed told you what he wanted but was then bullied into changing his mind by his OCA handlers.

                    SOP for His Beatitude. He’s famous for saying things in person, making assurances, and then forgetting them once he gets back to his ‘office/home.’ As any priest in Eastern PA.

                    BTDT – got the t-shirt.

                    • Phillipa.alan

                      I have heard the same thing which is funny because wasn’t that one of the things that +Jonah in hot water, promising things and then not delivering?

                      Sounds like SOP for OCA bishops.

                      And they still wonder why folks don’t take them seriously. Very sad.

                  • James,

                    I’m sorry, I should have been more clear.  +Tikhon told me he had given Metropolitan Jonah a blessing to continue his classes at St. Mark’s in Bethesda.  +Tikhon never said to me that he would let the classes continue at the ROCOR church.  

                    However, I did specifically ask him about letting +Jonah celebrate and attend services at the ROCOR cathedral in Washington, and it looks like that will be permitted sometimes.

                    This whole arrangement is not what I would consider ideal, but at least they know that people still care about +Jonah.

                    I don’t know how much the summit cost or who paid for it. It was a planning meeting, not something meant to be a parish conference or anything like that.

                    • Chucktown,

                      Thanks for the clarification. It brings up another question, why does +Tikhon and the OCA Synod care where +Jonah is teach his bible study? He was doing no harm teaching scripture at St. John’s. What was the danger or threat to the OCA?

                      I am glad that +Jonah can teach his classes at another location, of course, what were they going to do, tell him he couldn’t teach on the scriptures?

                      I idea being peddled by that “wacky website” of Babs D. floated the idea that Fr. Victor P. wanted +Jonah out because he was stealing Fr. Victor’s limelight is total baloney. St. John’s has grown since +Jonah’s exile from St. Nicholas in DC. It is closer to the truth that the OCA is hoping that people who followed +Jonah out of St. Nicholas will follow him to St. Mark. Well maybe for the bible study but not for the parish life in Bethesda. Between St. John’s and St. Mark’s there is no comparison in liturgical piety and parish life.

                      Again, thanks for the clarification.

                    • ChristineFevronia says

                      It’s been a little over a year since Met. Jonah resigned, and it’s my understanding that he has been receiving $1,000 per month as his retirement stipend, and that he is currently looking for a place on the East Coast where he can house a monastery. He’s loving teaching and caring for his parents. I wonder why Stanley Barbara-Marie feels the need to make it more than it is?

                • geo michalopulos says

                  Chucktown, that’s a shame because one of the participants, Fr Jonathan Ivanoff, is an evangelist par excellence. I had the pleasure of attending a seminar he gave at the local GOA parish here, which was well attended by people from other jurisdictions (and even a deacon from the ROCOR parish in OKC).

                  It was on a Saturday in which I happened to be off and went from 10-3 (two breaks) and it was inspiring. I’ve been intending to write something about it and his program for parish revitalization. In the meantime, you can look it up for yourself at http://www.ONCD.org until I get around to it.

                • Mr. Chucktown,

                  You wrote: “I go to Holy Ascension in Mount Pleasant-Charleston, SC. It is a mystery to me who your supposed ‘sources on the ground’ could be. Nobody from Holy Apostles took part in the summit, nor did I recognize anyone from your parish at our services that weekend.”

                  ME: I am very happy that you go Holy Ascension and thus are a brother/sister of mine in the Carolinas Deanery. I am somewhat at a loss on how to respond to your implication that I somehow lied when I said that the official news release was collaborated by my “sources on the ground.” (Actually, I am somewhat dismayed and saddened by your implication). Let me ask you in turn: If the summit was such a private affair, and nobody other than those listed in the OCA news release participated in it, how could YOU know that nobody from my parish, Holy Apostles, took part in it? BTW, I know some of the listed participants, none of whom are indeed from Holy Apostles. Why do you assume that one of them is not a source?

                  Chucktown: You seem to want to treat this summit as some kind of revolutionary, revitalizing event in the life of the OCA, but it was just a private meeting of a dozen people.”

                  ME: I certainly hope and pray that this summit will be seen in the future as a revitalizing event in the life of Orthodoxy in the United States. However, I certainly did not say that in any of my posts. I was merely responding to one of the usual doom and gloom folks who frequent this site, and merely introduced the news release by asking “Does this look like a church that is “inward-looking and hide-bound”?” The quotation that I objected to came from our esteemed host’s essay. See https://www.monomakhos.com/banished-to-bethesda-2/#comments. I think that you are leaping to conclusions if you think that the entire OCA does not need to catch the spirit and missionary zeal of the OCA’s Diocese of the South and the Antiochian Diocese of Wichita and the Midwest.

                  Another point to make is that this meeting was indeed a summit of folks who have a role in evangelization, not just a private little meeting of a dozen people. This is the list of the participants:

                  His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon;
                  Priest John Parker, chair of the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Evangelization;
                  Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary;
                  Archpriest Jonathan Ivanoff and Deacon Alex Cadmen, both of whom have been associated with the Department of Evangelization for many years;
                  Andrew Boyd and Deacon Jason Ketz, Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry;
                  Priest Robert Miclean, unique campus ministry;
                  Priest David Rucker and Christina Semon, international missions;
                  Matushka Valerie Zahirsky, Department of Christian Education; and
                  Archpriest Antonio Perdomo, Spanish-speaking ministry.

                  I do not know if this is an exhaustive list, but I believe that it is a good list of principals who were/are involved in evangelization and outreach. I really do not care what it is called; summit is fine with me but others scream that it certainly is not a summit. Vow! Certain folks are certainly touchy if any evidence or assertion is put forward that disagrees with their narrative. And, what is this narrative of our esteemed host and others? That without +Jonah, the OCA is doomed. So much for the Lord’s promise in Matthew 16:18 and Saint Paul’s injunction in 1 Corinthians 1. Lord have mercy!

                  • Carl Kraeff,

                    That is not an either-or question.  The summit of people involved in evangelism was a meeting of a dozen people!  

                    It’s ironic that you would accuse other people getting “touchy” when evidence disagrees with their narrative.  Yet here you are prooftexting the OCA website, trying to rub George Michalopulos’s face in the mud.

                    It would be great if this meeting leads to the OCA turning itself around, but the church leadership needs to recognize that a lot of people have been hurt by what they did to Metropolitan Jonah. In the meantime, your triumphalistic behavior is embarrassing and hurtful to me.

                    • It appears that Carl K. is not the sola Vox Vocis for the Carolina Deanery of the OCA/DOS. Another voice, a counter-voice is calling him out on his perception of said reality.

                      Let this debate continue in the hope that Carl will substitute OCA kool-aid with a more sober and truthful beverage. Even a nice mint julep would be preferable. 😉

                      Kudos to Chucktown.

        • I’ll take Archbishop Duncan over many of the characters I have met in Orthodoxy.

          • Especially on Monomakhos. 😉

            • George Michalopulos says

              Present company included?

              • Heh, heh.
                For the sake of clarity, I hope everyone understands that Archbishop Duncan is an orthodox (note the small “o”) Anglican not in communion, afaik, with the Episcopalians. I’m not suggesting that justifies the common prayer service; I suppose that’s a question for canon lawyers to work out. Did Metropolitan Jonah ever publicly pray with orthodox Anglicans? Just curious.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  I suspect that what happened is what we did during the North American Orthodox Lutheran dialogue. We would observe a Lutheran service but not actively participate and the Lutherans would observe Orthodox services, but not actively participate. We were always very careful when we approved the official press release not to give the impression that we prayed together. In the case of Anglicans, it is very easy for Orthodox to observe traditional Anglican worship since we have Western Rite parishes that use almost the same services as traditional Anglicans carefully revised to clearly express Orthodox theology. I remember that once when I was in seminary at Holy Cross, the Orthodox Catholic dialogue met on campus. The Catholics had a Mass, but not in the seminary chapel.

                • One of Jonah’s first acts as Metropolitan was a meeting with “Orthodox Episcopalians” (aka schismatics) in Fort Worth. I’m assuming they prayed 🙂


          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            There are Orthodox Christians with horrible and repulsive character flaws: there are Muslim and Communists and zMormons who are very pleasant and who Jeff msy understandably prefer to the Orthodox. So?????
            When I once remarked in a letter to Father John Meyendorff that I was praying at St. John the Baptist (ROCOR) Church almost as often as at St. Nicholas (OCA) and that I found the atmosphere at St. John’s and at every other ROCOR church I’d ever visited to be much more friendly and welcoming than the atmosphere at St. Nicholas at that time, Father John rather testily wrote back “You can find hugs and kisses in a Communist cell, too, when it comes down to that.”

            • But…ROCOR was anti-Communist.
              Whatever could Fr John have meant?
              Sometimes the very intelligent miss the most obvious things.
              Untested pre-conceptions and political commitments are almost always to blame, in my experience..

    • Disgusted With It says

      Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.

      • “Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.” What a joke! + Philip is a dictator. He emulates Saddam, Quadafi and currently supports Assad. He plays as if he is an American/Arab, but don’t kid yourself, he’s as sly as any Byzantine. Going into the Antiochian Arch. is like entering the mafia with a head who is totally autocratic. It doesn’t effect the lay people like the clergy, but be assured, it is not an American church. Neither are the Greeks. Both want you to believe you are accepted and they are American as apple pie, but in reality, you are a 2nd class citizen. The OCA is the ONLY hope for America. As far as scandals are concerned, nothing that the OCA has endured is close to the scandals in the Antiochian Arch. and the Greeks – BELIEVE IT, IT’S TRUE!

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          You could not be more wrong. He is not a dictator. Anyone who writes that never actually had any interactions with him. I have always been impressed by the ability of Metropolitan Philip to listen with attention when I have had the opportunity to talk with him. He is strict when it comes to upholding the doctrine of the Church and does not tolerate immorality among his clergy. I am not of Arab ancestry and am not treated as a second class priest in the Antiochian Archdiocese. The large number of converts shows that your statements are not true. If converts were mistreated, so many converts would not become Antiochian clergy Now the majority of our clergy are converts. In the Deanery in which I serve the Dean and every other priest is a convert. Remember when no one else would take in the Evangelical Orthodox, Metropolitan Philip had the courage to bring them into the Church. When one looks at the Antiochian Archdiocese when he became Metropolitan and the Antiochian Archdiocese today one sees progress in every area of the life of our Archdiocese. He will go down in history as one of the greatest leaders in the history of American Orthodoxy.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            When someone from the OCA denounces our Metropolitan and Archdiocese, it only contributes to the continued division of Orthodoxy. Why would an Antiochian want to unite with a jurisdiction that has people who hold us in contempt? If only part of what I read on this site is true, the OCA has enough problems of its own to resolve. People in the OCA should worry about their own problems and stop criticizing any other Orthodox hierarch or jurisdiction.

            • Dear Father John,

              I have no doubt that each jurisdiction has at least one person who holds one or more other jurisdictions in contempt. That would not make me not want to unite with any canonical jurisdiction.

              • Carl,

                You are correct, yet the OCA has one in its midst, a former bishop of the Antiochian Archdiocese who actively worked against his Metropolitan (Philip) and actively worked to undermined his ministry feeding Mark Stokoe surreptitiously information that OCAN was happy to spread.

                Maybe that is one reason why the OCA finds itself marginalized today. The OCA should recall the marks of a bully that Fr John Jillions enumerated last week.

                • Who is this

                  former bishop of the Antiochian Archdiocese who actively worked against his Metropolitan (Philip) and actively worked to undermined his ministry feeding Mark Stokoe surreptitiously information that OCAN was happy to spread.


                  I cannot understand your statement. What precisely did Fr. John Jillions say?

                  • Errata–I would advise against delving into the past few years in the long and fruitful ministry of Metropolitan Philip. There are folks in the Antiochian Archdiocese and elsewhere who have passionately held views, but that is water under the bridge. A complete and honest appraisal will have to await couple of decades at least.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Bishop Mark Maymon now Bishop in residence of the OCA

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                Dear Karl
                I get along well with the local OCA clergy. However, on this list there are constant criticisms of Metropolitan Philip and our Archdiocese and Antiochian liturgical practices. There are also too many places where the OCA has established missions in competition to an Antiochian mission or small parish and builds there mission by taking people from our community. Finally, the picture that one gets of the OCA from this site is hardly compelling.

                • Like the Antiochians did in Pensacola, Florida when they opened a Church there even though there was an established GOA parish?

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    There was a need for an English speaking convert friendly parish in Pensacola. That is different from opening a competing mission where here is already a mission under Antioch or another jurisdiction that is English speaking and already convert friendly. If the local Orthodox parish worships in a foreign language and does not accept people who are not of their particular ethnic group, there is justification for opening a pan-Orthodox English speaking mission. In Tennessee, we had a priest and the Greeks had a building so our Bishop Antoun met with Met. Alexis and made deal to combine the two communities. That is the kind of cooperation that we need. We do not need to compete with each other.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr John, if I may: while I agree with you in toto regarding the need for the establishment of convert-friendly (specifically Antiochene) missions in areas where established ethnic (primarily GOA) parishes already exist, many of the congregants of the existing parishes do not see things in the same light as you. They think that they are friendly “enough” to potential converts and that these converts should appreciate the sacrifices them made in establishing and maintaining their parishes. In their eyes, the saying of the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the odd “Lord have mercy” in English is a massive concession to “evangelism.” More, they often resent the demands of the converts who they view as Johnny-come-latelies and who will leave anyway.

                      Whether the Assembly of Bishops meeting today in Chicago will resolve this issue is doubtful. It seems that this meeting will have even fewer bishops than the last. Seven out of the 42 US-based bishops won’t be there (that’s an astounding 17%).

                • Dear Father John–I am distressed to hear that OCA purposely starts missions in competition with Antiochian Churches. I know that is not the case in my current location (Columbia, SC) where there is a giant Greek church that is served by one priest, an OCA church (mine), a ROCOR mission and an Antiochian mission. The latter three are small to middling and were established for purposes other than to compete with the Greek church. I do not think that the Antiochian and the ROCOR churches were established solely to compete with anyone either. Certainly, the area can well afford to have more than four Orthodox churches. Another locality with which I am familiar, Austin,Texas, has a number of Orthodox churches. You know that out of the only Orthodox church in the Seventies, St Elias, came out the Greek, Serbian and two other Antiochian churches, and a Romanian mission is temporarily housed in St Elias. In Austin, there have not been any attempts that I am aware of to establish an OCA church to compete with St Elias. Again, the Austin area can stand to have even more Orthodox churches as St Elias is once again bursting at the seams. Glory be to God!

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    Carl what happened is Austin was justified. Austin could probably support another mission or two. The problem is places where the OCA has opened missions where we already have a small struggling mission and and the OCA mission takes members from our mission. Believe me it has happened more than once. We should work together and not compete with each other. If one jurisdiction has an English speaking mission somewhere another jurisdiction should not start a competing mission. If, however, the established Orthodox Church uses a foreign language and does not welcome converts, the situation is different and it is justified to start an English speaking mission. If there is a parish that is English speaking and a large number of immigrants move to the town, the best thing to do is not upset the balance of the English speaking parish, but to start a mission that worships in the language of the immigrants. We need to work together and not compete. That is my point.

                    • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

                      I’m sure this has happened on more than one occasion. I can say in at least one instance there was intentional coordination or at least clearance between the AOCANA and the OCA in the planting of a mission. As our Orthodox military community at Fort Campbell made plans to plant a mission in nearby Clarksville, TN in 2008, one of our OCA priest’s directly involved in growing missions in the south called Fr. Peter Gillquist and discussed the matter with him; being sure to determine whether the AOCANA had plans to establish a mission in Clarksville. Fr. Peter affirmed there was no such plan, and we proceeded with a mission. I’m hopeful the Assembly of Bishops will eventually provide a place where such matters of where missions ought to be started can take place, facilitating our work together and not in competition.

                    • The problem is not language but praxis. Competing missions get started because the current mission is seen as being inadequate for valid or subjective reasons. I can think of some cases where economy has been taken to a protestant extreme to where I would not want to subject myself or my family to that kind of enviroment. Similarly the are examples of cultish traditionalsm. Insisting on one parish per area is essentially teritorialism. The Latins tried that in this country and it failed.

                  • Carl Kraeff, if the OCA does not try to take away members from other jurisdictions, ask your Father Thomas Moore why he started an OCA mission in Aiken, South Carolina, in order to take members away from an Antiochian mission there.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To Dan

                      You are right there are some parishes in all jurisdiction that exist to perpetuate an ethnic heritage and not to practice Orthoodoxy. Usually they are minimalists who I call Eastern Rite Episcopalians. There are also those who go to the other extreme and try to recreate 19th century Greece or Russia in their parishes. However, there is a legitimate point to be made here. We clergy should teach out people that the liturgical and musical practices of other traditions of Orthodoxy are just as valid as our own. I know for sure of a case of someone who left an Antiochian mission because we were not “Russian.” Eventually, he successfully started a competing OCA mission in town. That is the kind of thing that I mean. It is wrong to identify Orthodoxy with one liturgical practice or musical tradition.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Archpriest Morris and Gamecock! Your remarks reflect a spirit FAR from the spirit of Metropolitan Philip Saliba.
                      When I announced long ago the formation of our OCA St. Paul parish in Las Vegas, there were loud and indignant protests from the Antiochene Priest there, who protested that the Greeks had their Church and the Serbs had theirs and HIS Antiochene parish took care of all the possible needs of English-speaking Orthodox. He didn’t realize that I had, prior to opening our mission, written to both Metropolitan Philip and Bishop Anthony (GOA) announcing my intention. Metropolitan Philip, “Gamecock”, wrote back that he greeted the new initiative with joy and said “only one more is NOT ENOUGH!” I would think the same philosophy should apply to Aiken. Or is it a village capable of supporting only one parish?

                    • To Fr. John.

                      I agree with you. Too often, however, bad practices are perpetuated as just variations when in fact they cause confusion and division. I am convinced it is partly an education problem and part discipline. Generally speaking there is very little difference between “Greek” and “Russian” practice, as opposed to anectdotal practice, and instead people tend to fixate on variations of pious practice.

                      Often times I think people confuse ethnicity for degrees of piety and faithfulness. The person who left may have been under the mistaken impression that Russians are more pious etc… In reality they may have been reacting to an underlying problem within the parish or it could be just them. I don’t know. Either way the person left.

                    • Gamecock–Father Thomas just does not work that way. We at Holy Apostles are always looking to start new missions, but the initiator is not our parish or our priest but local folks who contact us. I am fairly sure that this is what happened in Aiken. Let me give you examples closer to home. We have one each ROCOR and an Antiochian churches in the Columbia metropolitan area, both of which started after Holy Apostles. Instead of whining and groaning about the competition posed by these two wonderful parishes, we concentrate on cultivating inquirers and embracing catechumens. There are enough unchurched and heterodox folks in our area to support many more Orthodox churches. Also, too many Orthodox folks must travel more than 30 minutes to attend church. I think our energies can be best used to make the pie bigger and not to fight over the size of the slices.

                  • Mark from the DOS says

                    Actually Carl, the OCA did try to open a mission in the Austin area, which one of the Antiochian parishes felt was an “infringement” on their turf (even though it was about 20 miles away) and led to several terse letters from the Antiochian parish council to the mission and other things of an unpleasant nature. After the closure of the OCA mission three years later, that experience made me unwilling to worship in that Antiochian parish even though it is far close to me than any other English speaking parish in the Austin area.

                    I understand that having just finished a building program, the priest there may have been concerned about a mission that was of interest to people who had concerns over the direction of the parish. Still, I found the response to a new mission in a different city in an unserved part of the metro area to be over the top and not conducive to the spirit of unity or charity. And ultimately, I’m sad that one of our local parishes is not a place I feel welcome.

                    • I totally agree, Mark of the DOS, resentment at the planting of missons on one’s supposed “turf” is unkind and short-sighted, too.

                      There should be far more Orthodox Churches in every city throughout the South than presently exist–if not elsewhere as well.

                      At only 1% of the population here in our metropoliton area, we ought to have 10,000 Orthodox Christians. At 500 members per parish that would be 20 parishes. We have 4.

                      And why should we settle for 1%? The fact is that an increase in the number of parishes and total number of active members will create a synergy that will lead to the growth of every one of them and to the planting of futher missions. We are no where near the saturation point. Besides this is not a zero sum game. It is the Gospel of Life.


                  • Hi, Carl!

                    An OCA mission in Georgetown ultimately folded. I would not say that it was founded to “compete” with anybody, but was founded to provide services to people who live in Georgetown. There also is a ROCOR parish in Pflugerville. Again, not founded in order to “poach”.

                    Eons ago, when you, Fr. John, and I were in Austin at the same time, I kept hearing that there was an informal agreement between the OCA and the Antiochian jurisdictions that if one group had an existing parish in a particular town, the other group would refrain from establishing one. I guess that fell by the wayside?

                    Without question, I wish that all parishes within a given city would work together, mingle socially and liturgically, do all the things expected of people who share the identical faith. Occasionally I hear of places where this actually happens. It is not the case where I currently live, though. The annual Pan-Orthodox Vespers during the Great Lent is an admirable effort. In between services, though, and throughout the remainder of the year, the Metroplex returns to “isolation business as usual.” We can’t even motivate the various local OCA parishes to get together for much of anything, even with explicit invitations!

                    • Hi Antonia–That was my impression also. In fact, I often marveled at the lack of an OCA mission in the Austin metropolitan area, thinking that one way or another Bishop Basil and Archbishop Dmitri had made an informal deal. The OCA mission in Georgetown did nothing to change my mind because previous “competition” did not hurt St. Elias and was about 16.5 miles away and about 25 minutes driving with traffic from the nearest Antiochian church, St John the Forerunner in Cedar Park, which could also “lose” members to the following churches in the area (distance/time from St. John of the Ladder in parenthesis):

                      1. St Elias (Antiochian), 408 East 11th St, Austin, TX (20.9 miles, 29 minutes with traffic).
                      2. Holy Protection (ROCOR), 1701 Peridot Rd., Pflugerville, TX (19.1 miles, 30 minutes with traffic)
                      3. St Luke’s (Serbian), 214 Amandas Way, Leander, TX (10.1 miles, 16 minutes with traffic)
                      4. Holy Transfiguration (Greek), 414 Saint Stephens School Road S, Austin, TX (20.8 miles, 32 minutes with traffic)
                      5. St Mary (Romanian), 200 Monaco Drive, Cedar Park, TX (3 miles, 7 minutes with traffic)
                      6. St Sophia (Antiochian), 225 Rose Dr., Dripping Springs, TX ( 41.9 miles, 61 minutes with traffic)

                      I hope everything is going well for you and your loved ones.

                    • Mark from the DOS says

                      As one of six families that petitioned the OCA to start what became the Georgetown mission, I can say without a doubt, the location had nothing to do with trying to “steal” Antiochian parishioners. It had to do with an underserved area of a rapidly growing metro area. It is a shame that the mission has closed. I hope somebody will look to the Georgetown area for mission work.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      To Karl

                      Very often someone gets mad because they do not get their way on something in a mission and tries to start a competing mission. Whenever someone from a place that already has an English speaking mission contacts a priest from another jurisdiction and asks them to start a mission, the first thing that he should do is contact the priest of the mission to see what is really going on with the person who contacted him. More often than not the person trying to start a competing mission is motivated by reasons that are less than pure. He should be told to go back to the mission and make his peace with the priest or whomever he has had a conflict. If he wants a mission that follows a certain liturgical or musical tradition, he should be told that there are more than one authentic liturgical or musical traditions within Orthodoxy and that he should learn to appreciate the liturgical or musical traditions of the mission. If he has legitimate concerns about abuses in the mission, he should be told to contact the Bishop with authority over the mission. Under no circumstances should anyone start a mission that competes with another struggling mission that is part of the canonical Orthodox Church or come to town telling the people that the liturgical and musical traditions followed by the established mission are not really Orthodox, or suitable for American converts.

                • Because critisising Antiochian Liturgical practice is like shooting fish in a barrel. What is wrong with following the Typicon?

                  • Robert Alden says


                    Are you an expert on Antiochian Liturgical practice? What makes “your “better? What makes you a better Orthodox Christian? Because you parish serves 3 hour vigil on Saturday nights?


                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      If the Russians combine Vespers with Matins on Saturday evening, how does that make them better than us Antiochians who serve Vespers on Saturday evening and Matins on Sunday morning before the Divine Liturgy? Except for that there is not that much difference between us and the Russians. It is LIturgical imperialism for either us or the Russians to claim that our liturgical practices are the only ones that are authentically Orthodox. It is precisely these kind of silly arguments that are keeping us divided. Within the Orthodox Church, there is room for local expressions of the one unchanging Holy Tradition of the church. If my tradition tells me to wear white at Pascha it does not mean that I think that the Russians are heretics if they wear red.

                    • To Fr. John

                      The Vigil that you are refering to looks like Great Vespers followed by Matins from a layman or chanters perspective. The priest’s service book has additional things that make the service unique as a Vigil. This is similar to the difference between the Liturgies of St. John and St. Basil, except for the noticeable change of the hymn to the Theotokos. As I understand it the Vigil was common in Greek practice prior to the 19th century. The timing of Matins has always been squishey. Sometimes anticipated, sometimes early in the morning or later. It’s not like the Divine Liturgy which is taditionally (and the may be a canon involved) around 9am in the morning although as early as 6 is not unheard of. The point is that the timing of Matins is not a real difference in practice but the serving of a Vigil may have become so if it is no longer in the Greek Typicon.

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    Dan’s comments are an example of the kind of OCA arrogance that I find so offensive. We do follow the Typikon to the best of our ability. It is difficult for a monastery do everything mandated in the Typikon, much less a parish. The OCA also makes adjustments to fit the needs of parish because it is not possible in a parish to follow full monastic style services. No parish does everything mandated in the Typikon. I know because I edited a complete English edition of the Typkion. It is available in Pdf format at http://almoutran.com/pdf/typikon.pdf As far as I know this is the only complete Typikon available in English. I remember once using an OCA book for Epiphany. I just assumed that the service would be complete, but was shocked that half of the prayer for blessing water was not there. I have also looked at the Russian rubrics for Holy Week and found that we Antiochians do a lot more during Holy Week than the Russians.

                    • Robert Alden says

                      Fr John,

                      I agree with your comments 100% and find the kind of silly OCA triumphalism to be a by-product of their “we are the local church therefore you have to do it our way” which is totally out of touch with reality.

                      It is also the line of bull that was fed by OCAN in its attack on Metropolitan Philip branding him as a strong man type based largely on the clandestine assault led by Bp. Mark Maymon who fed OCAN directly stuff that OCAN was more than willing to use to make Maymon out to be one seeking truth and transparency.

                      All of this even my critical comments are a result of our jurisdictional division but what is especially galling is that the OCA is in no position to preach to anyone about much of anything given her recent scandals. Folks like dan are a small part of the real OCA laity. Most could care less who their bishop is and will support the efforts of a real local Orthodox Church, one bishop in one city and let the Grace of the Holy Spirit work to create a unique and local expression (typicon) of the Faith rather than the ghettozing of competing liturgical and missionary activities here which only hinder the call of the Lord to “baptize all nations…”

                    • Well I thought I had deleted that comment since it was done in haste and offensive. I ask your forgiveness.

                      Since it is there allow me to explain. There is a difference between abriviation and innovation. Omitting a Kathisma is abriviation. Nothing wrong with that. It’s a perfectly pastoral thing to do. Mixing and matching parts from different services is innovation (ex dropping the Matins Gospel in the middle of Vespers, unless a Gospel reading is called for such as on Holy Friday)). Another example would be serving the Divine Liturgy of St. John or St. Basil in the evening or Vesperal Divine Liturgies when they are not called for.

                      Now to be fair I’ve seen these sorts of things in OCA and Antiochian and Greek parishes. The question is why is this even necesary? Our Church provides a wealth of services and there is no need to mix and match but rather to stay true to the tradition. Instead I have encountered either ignorance or an attitude that people can do whatever they want. The former is a lack of education while the latter is a serious problem.

                      So to ammend my origional comment, OCA, Antiochian, and Greek Liturgical practice is easy to critisize because the anomalies are so common. They can’t be glossed over.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Archpriest John Morris should not refer to the document at the link he provided as “the Typikon.” It would be more honest and lest tendentious of him to have called it “A Modern Edition of What We Antiochians follow as Typikon.” I believe all Orthodox Churches follow their own Typikon.
                      Further, “OCA arrogance” is not an adult expression.

                    • You think because of my comment I’m part of the OCA? I was not aware there was an OCA vs Antiochian rivalry.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      I have never heard of anyone reading the Matins Gospel during Vespers, except, of course, on Holy Friday, where it is called for in the Typikon. The Greeks did move the Matins Gospel from its traditional position after the Anabathmoi and before the Canon to after the 8th ode of the Canon, but we Antiochian follow the older tradition and read the Gospel where it belongs before the canon.
                      I do not share your objections to Evening Divine Liturgies, because they make it possible to serve the Divine Liturgy on the feast day. The old usage of moving the Feast to Sunday is not correct, because the observance of a feast belongs on the actual feast day. However, in many parishes most people cannot attend a Divine Liturgy on a weekday morning. However, by using the pattern set for Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday which are Vesperal Divine Liturgies, I am able to serve the Divine Liturgy on the feast day and have a congregation. Naturally, this practice has been approved by my Metropolitan. No one should take it upon themselves to make changes in the order of services set forth in the Typikon, but must always follow the directions of their Bishop.If you study the history of the Typikon you will find that it has never been set in stone, but has changed through the centuries. The Typikon was really only stabilized in 1545 with the printing of the Typikon in Venice, the Turks would not let the Orthodox have their own printing press, so it was published in Venice. It is obvious that the whole Holy Week cycle was shifted so that Matins for the day, which is the main service for most days of Holy Week, is served in the evening so that more people could attend. Therefore, it is not unheard of in the history of Orthodox worship to shift the time of services so that more people can attend. The Greeks moved the Matins Gospel to before the 9th ode because people came late to Matins and more would hear it if is chanted then instead of earlier in the service. I am quite sure that if I were more familiar with the Russian tradition, I could give examples of changes that were made for similar reasons. We must also remember that the Typikon is monastic and that no one in any parish anywhere according to any tradition does everything mandated in the Typikon. Every tradition makes adjustments with the Typikon, because the most important thing is not a legalistic following of the Typikon, but helping our people grow spiritually. I have answered you, but I do not to start a fire fight and will not answer a dozen posts criticizing our Antiochian practice of Evening Divine Liturgies.
                      If you look at the places where we have placed our Bishops, we have deliberately avoided putting one of them in a city where there is already another Orthodox Bishop. For example our Bishop with authority over Pittsburgh is in Charleston, West Virginia. Our Bishop over Boston is in Worcester, not Boston and so forth.

                    • Fr. I appreciate your reply and I understand you have the blessing of your Bishop for the evenining Divine Liturgy. Never the less it is an oddity. Don’t be surprised if people have issues with it.

                      There seems to be an idea that there is a monastic and parish typicon. The reality is that thereis only one typicon. The difference is how many of the daily services and to what extent they are served. It’s like fasting rules. There are no separate fasting rules for monastics, rather monastics tend to adhere to them more strictly than those in parishes but if you read the accounts of various saints sometimes non-monastics piously keep them more strctly.

                      I can understand concerns of legalism but adhering to the traditions of the Churchbrings discipline, something our society has completely rejected.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      The basis for the for the “Typikon” are the words of St. Paul, “Let all things be done decently and in order,” (1 Cor. 14:40) “for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (14:33). St. Paul is not primarily speaking in this chapter to the oddities of practice that is occurring among the Corinthians, but whether the practices are edifying:

                      Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise you, except you utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for you shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be to him that speaks a barbarian, and he that speaks shall be a barbarian to me. Even so you, for as much as you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to the edifying of the church. (1 Cor. 14:6-12)

                      I believe I could make a cogent, satisfying argument pursuant to St. Paul – “I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” – that I would be more edified at the evening liturgy celebrated by Archpriest John Morris, sanctioned by his Metropolitan, than the Всенощное бдѣніе where I have stood many times, without a book, struggling to follow along, undoubtedly missing more than I’ll every grasp.

                      Secondly, dan, you are absolutely incorrect in that Russians have always understood what is referred to as the “Cathedral Typikon,” and it is to what Isabelle Hapgood was directed in formulating her English language Service Book. It is not a “concession” or an “oddity,” or an admission of spiritual “weakness” on the part of the Church. In our modern age, it has been soberly described by Met. Anthony (Khraopvitsky) as understanding, that while we always strive for the ideal, we understand “we are far removed from the time of Grace,” and that the “victories of piety” and spiritual perseverance are measured in the day-to-day struggle and the reliance on the relationship with one’s confessor and spiritual guide. To reduce the Typikon – or the Canons, or the pious traditions and Traditions – to a Penal Code by which we would measure and judge “piety” and “Orthodoxy” is seriously misguided and a misapplication and misunderstanding of the concepts. Most importantly, these are decisions left to the bishops. And adhering to the traditions of obedience is something our church has completely rejected.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      I consider the 1888 Typikon of the Constantinopolitan Church to be a modern edition of the Typikon. If you want to learn more about these Typica, I recommend getting a copy of Skaballanovich’s monumental “Tolkovoy Tipikon”. in which almost all Typikons ancient and modern are discussed in detail and fully documented. He answers the question, when did the Ecumenical Patriarchate first start to fall out of the consensus, with the information that a Patriarch Gregory, in preparing for a year when Annunciation fell on the day of Pascha itself, announced that “our” uneducated clergy will never be able to follow such complicated rubrics, so we’ll just transfer the observance of the Annunciation to Bright Monday. That was the germ that grew into the modern edition of the Typikon to which Fr. Morris refers. it usually has the grandiose title ‘The Typicon of the GREAT Church.” Talk about overweening!!!!

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    dan, I’ve been Antiochian for 26 years. During that time I have attended Divine Liturgy in numerous OCA parishes, a Greek parish, a Serbian parish and a couple of Patriarchal Bulgarian parishes. Guess what, Jesus Christ is present in all of them. The chance to put aside my sins and lift up my heart to God is there in all of them. Confession and the administration of the other sacraments is available in all of them. I rather suspect that the saints and the angels are participating in all of them.

                    That is what I look for, what I expect and what I long for when I enter into worship.

                    Regardless of what ‘jurisdiction’ we worship in, we are all called to the same sacramental life of worship, prayer, almsgiving, fasting, repentance/forgiveness, praising God for all things. We are all blessed to share this life together and have the opportunity to bear one another’s burdens.

                    The antithesis of that is to be ‘a critic’. The best description of what that mindset entails I have ever read is in Stanislavsky’s classic book: “Building a Character”.

                    Please pray for me.

                    • Agreed. Like fictional characters often say, however, it is complicated. There are numerous factors why folks attend one of several Orthodox churches, such as the jurisdiction where you joined the Orthodox Church, your ‘mother” church, how you get along with the priest and the other parishioners, your personal predilections (regarding the calendar, chanting/music, worship, theology, ethnic affinity etc.). Often, the establishment of a mission is dependent on the availability of a priest, especially one who has roots and/or a secular job. I think missions rarely start because there is a carefully drawn master plan, particularly one that includes poaching.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      The Typikon that I edited and to which I provided a link is not “A Modern Edition of What We Antiochians follow as Typikon.” It is a complete translation of the official Typikon of the Patriarchate of Antioch which is a translation into Arabic of the 1888 Typikon of the Ecumencial Patriarchate. I edited it following the example of the Antiochian Liturgical Guide to make it easier to follow. Nothing was left out of the text of the 1888 Typikon of the Ecumencial Patriarchate. However, it is augmented with notes indicating more ancient practices such as those of the 1545 edition of the Typikon published in Venice as well as those of the St. Sabba Typikon. We also added directions for serving the Vigil that are not actually contained in the 1888 Greek version of the Typikon and a few other additions to make it easier to use such a charts showing the proper Psalms for different services under different circumstances and a chart showing when Katabasias of the season are used. I also gave the complete order for services for times when the Typikon directs that we refer to another feast day for the pattern of the services. We also added notes indicating that we do not follow all the directions in the 1888 Greek Typikon, which calls for chanting the Gospel after the 8th ode of the canon. In proper Antiochian practice as duly mentioned in the notes, we chant the Gospel in its original place before the canon. There are a other places where the notes indicate that contemporary Antiochian practice does not follow the revisions made in the Typikon by George Violakis in the 1888 edition of the Typikon, but instead adhere to the more ancient practice. In every case where something was added, it is clearly noted that these are additions to the Greek and Arabic versions of the Typikon. It is not an abbreviation, but is the complete Typikon published by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1888.

        • My grandparents were second class citizens too, but I’m not. Just give it time.

          As for no scandal in the OCA matching the Antiochians and Greeks, just give it time it’s only 40 years old!

    • Cramer,

      There are good Orthodox clergy and parishes in every Orthodox jurisdiction here in the USA. Why I am wary of the OCA is because of its leadership in the highest echelons and to the degree that such compromised leadership can move the OCA in the wrong direction. It’s uncharitable treatment of +Jonah and their refusal to take any responsibility is a bad signal to others and simply can cause clergy and laity to not engage with other Orthodox to bring about a closer unity of Orthodox witness here.

      The OCA has become a laughing stock in the Orthodox witness here and around the world. That has known and unknown consequences and to the degree to which clergy and bishops have to exert energy to defend the OCA, it takes away from their witness of the Gospel.

      As for a recommendation of another Orthodox jurisdiction, visit all the Orthodox churches in your area, spend time with the people and let your heart move you to where you feel at peace and at home.

    • I would go with -Antioch, ROCOR or Capatho-Rus

    • Michael Bauman says

      Cramer, which jurisdiction you convert in is ultimately immaterial. You are not seeking union with a jurisdiction, God forbid. You are seeking union with Jesus Christ and entry into the sacramental life of salvation. You will be tested in any case. You will be found wanting, as we all are, and a life of repentance and forgiveness will follow.

      I have been Antiochian my entire time in the Church, I had no other choice in my city except for a largely moribund, Greeker than Greeks, GOA parish with a questionable history. The nearest OCA parish is 3 1/2 hours away, the nearest ROCOR parish a days drive.

      The Orthodox community in Indianapolis, IN has just about every jurisdiction represented and they all work together on both the priestly and the lay level. Great place to be Orthodox, IMO. But the truth is, we are all a mess in one way or another, often in multiple ways at the same time. A great place to practice the disciplines of refusing to remember wrongs, forgiveness, repentance and praising God for all things.

      You need to test the parish, both the priest and the parish family to see if there is a fit and you are welcome. Sometimes that means becoming involved in the activities of the parish to the extent you are able. If you don’t fit, that does not mean that the parish is bad or any of that, it means you don’t fit.

      I have a great many friends in the OCA in many parts of the country. Without exception they are faithful and devout people who seek to live the faith. There are many outstanding people in the OCA but it obviously has its problems.

      We Antiochians also have our problems, just not the same ones. I am quite blessed to be in the diocese and the cathedral parish of one of the finest Orthodox bishops in the country who is working diligently to build a truly Orthodox community in the fullest sense in his diocese (yes his diocese for those who doubt). He has brought us into his vision and leading us so that we can bring it to fruition in Christ.

      I am happy I am in the Church unworthy though I am. The challenges we face are shared by us all, some more intensely for a time than others. The Antiochian Archdiocese is probably the most stable because we have had one primary bishop for 40 to 50 years. No other jurisdiction, to my knowledge, has that kind of continuity.

      Dire things are predicted for us by some when Met. Philip reposes. Knowing the quality of bishops we have and some of the preparation going on, I am much more optimistic.

      Pray, experiment, pray some more it still comes down to faith in Jesus Christ.

      May He open a way for you and lead you where He wants you to be.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        After 65 years as a Presbyterian I am now, with one of my sons, a catechumen in the local Greek Orthodox parish.

        To me to be in a local parish church is of great importance. I have only hitherto ever belonged to one church, not denomination– church, six blocks from where I live and a mile from where I grew up.

        St. Nicholas is only a mile and a half away. Then again, you may not have the luxury of a nearby Orthodox church. We have an OCA church 20 minutes away. I know people both places and have for 30 years. I’ve gone to services off and on both places for 30 years. If the OCA church was a mile away and the GOC 12 miles, I’d go to the OCA church, but that’s me.

        I’m joining the Orthodox church. To me, that first, and the parish second, is the important thing. The “jurisdiction” is much less important.

        • Congratulations! says

          Dear TImothy,

          Congratulations on becoming Orthodox! May God grant you many years. Do you have a new Orthodox saint’s name or should we put up petitions for the newly illumined Timothy?

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Thanks. Tim R. Mortiss, however, a mere blogger’s cognomen. My given name is Edward, which I believe gets me Edward the Confessor as an Orthodox saint! There’s aso Edward the Martyr, another Englishman….

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          You are right Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy regardless of the jurisdiction. There are good and pious clergy and faithful in every Orthodox jurisdiction in the United States. However, we are all sinners and all have problems. If you are looking for perfection, you will not find it in this world. Look for a parish where there is love for Christ and each other and where everyone knows that they are sinners and will always need spiritual growth.

      • Peter,

        “We are especially blessed to have Fr. Ephreim’s monasteries, and many young and committed priests that hold fast to Holy Orthodoxy.”

        Ephreim’s monasteries have been “hot beds” of homosexuality and mind control for the young. Hardly a blessing.

  14. Just want to make sure I’m reading this right …

    The folks who run and who frequent this conservative blog are outraged (outraged, I tell you!) that anyone would criticize the ROC for tightly aligning itself with Vladimir Putin, a former KGB official and very lightly reconstructed Communist?

    And you’re also outraged that a priest in America would clarify that his church is separate from the ROC and that he wants nothing to do with a political alliance with the government of Vladimir Putin?

    And you feel so strongly about the sanctity of this POLITICAL alliance with the lightly reconstructed Communist that you cheer on those who call for the priest’s excommunication for distancing himself from this political alliance?

    Wonders truly will never cease.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Well, wonder away.

      Lemme make sure I got this right: The ROC which did not write the laws of that secular republic is to blame for said republic’s legislative body voting overwhelming to pass a law?

      And yes, I am outraged that an American priest would criticize a horribly persecuted church for something it didn’t do, nor was guilty of. (The ROC xenophobic? Really? When it has priests and bishops from almost every ethnicity in the Russian Federation?)

      Moreover, I’m outraged by Fr Calin’s rant because it was unnecessary. If he wanted to take on Putin he could have done so. To lob in the ROC was gratuitous.

      At the end of the day, I’m glad that he and other homosexual-rights activists such as yourself have shown your true colors. It shows the majority just whose side you’re on. It’s been difficult to describe to people that what we’re fighting against is the open adulation and non-stop celebration of homosexuality. Because of the stridency of the homosexual jihadists it’s getting easier to do so.

      • You cannot really be describing the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church as “horribly persecuted”?

        The inconsistency is staggering … The ROC enjoys eternal exemption from criticism because of the horrors it suffered under Communism (ignoring the current reality that it is very effectively resurrecting close state/church identification and mutual support) — so with respect to the ROC we are forever living before 1990.

        But Putin is a hero of moral clarity — so with respect to him, nothing that happened before 1990 exists.


        [and you’re putting words in my mouth — I said nothing about homosexuality above]

        • George Michalopulos says

          Yes I can. The historical record proves it: from 1918 to 1991 the ROC suffered more persecution than the previous nineteen centuries combined. During part of that time, the most I ever had to worry about was whether we’d get the proper licenses in time for our annual Greek food festival.

          • So, the contemporary church (2013) is the same Church that suffered under Communism (1918-1991). Wonders never cease! Let me offer you a definition:

            “con·tem·po·rar·y [kuhn-tem-puh-rer-ee] Show IPA adjective, noun, plural con·tem·po·rar·ies.
            1. existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time: Newton’s discovery of the calculus was contemporary with that of Leibniz.
            2. of about the same age or date: a Georgian table with a contemporary wig stand.
            3. of the present time; modern: a lecture on the contemporary novel.
            4. a person belonging to the same time or period with another or others.
            5. a person of the same age as another.”

            Please quit trying to justify everything that you write. You know, sometimes you do exaggerate and rave and rant; there are parts that are not supportable. Also, while you are broad brushing folks, let me return the favor. “At the end of the day, I’m glad that he and other anti-homosexual activists such as yourself have shown your true colors. It shows the majority just whose side you’re on. It’s been difficult to describe to people that what we’re fighting against is the open adulation and non-stop celebration of homophobia. Because of the stridency of the anti-homosexual jihadists it’s getting easier to do so.”

            • George Michalopulos says

              You know Carl, “contemporary” in Orthodox terms is rather more elastic. There are young people alive today living in Russia who very well remember the persecution just as within my living memory I remember the Cold War and undertaking disaster drills in school. Like the Great Depression and WWII, national traumas have a way of imprinting themselves on a population.

              So yes, I consider the ROC to have been horribly persecuted. God’s mercy was not absent however in that such persecution separated the wheat from the chaff. The question is how will you or I fare under such circumstances. If I were you I’d take a more humble attitude in the face of people who have suffered for the sake of Christ. Much like Constantine the Great, who when he saw the mauled faces and mutilated bodies of some of the bishops he called to Nicaea, was shaken to the core.

              • Any sentient being with even a glancing familiarity with history considers the ROC to *have been* horribly persecuted.

                The question is what that means 20+ years after the persecution ended. Does it mean that the persecution is still a part of the living memory and experience of the church and her faithful? Sure.

                But does it mean that the ROC gets a free pass on all lapses of judgment in the present? No.

                Quite apart from the issue you all seem so unhealthily obsessed with, I and many others are aghast that a church that historically lived by the state and then almost died by the state would choose, in a new and free environment, to once again opt to live as a state church firmly aligned with one party rule by the barely reconstructed communist apparatchiks that make up the current Russian government. It’s depressing.

                It is also a reality that in America it is an impediment if people perceive our churches to be aligned with the pseudo-democratic oligarchy that is modern Russia — there are very few Americans (with the exception, ironically enough, of the author of the Voices from Russia blog) that have any interest in aligning themselves, even indirectly, with the current Russian government.

                As pointed out above, with “Russian” inscribed in stone on the building, a diverse surrounding community, and a substantial population of Georgian congregants — it’s really not difficult to understand why the priest at the NYC cathedral would want to clarify the distinction and distance between his church and the ROC.

                Also, as a historical note, the push to distinguish from the ROC goes way back in the lived experience of OCA parishes, with many of our parishioners having personal memories of being viewed suspiciously during the Cold War.

                And while I’m commenting, because this will be my last comment here for a long time, I’ll just throw in a random thought on something I noticed in another thread — it seems to me that the only way to parse the all too common “love the sinner; hate the sin” bromide that is consistent with the spiritual literature to which we are heirs as Orthodox Christians is to interpret it to mean, “Love others whoever they may be, whatever they may do, whatever I (when giving in to the temptation to judge) may think they do; reserve judgment and hate for my own sins, and be unstinting in the effort to extinguish MY OWN sins.”

                • George Michalopulos says

                  The trouble is that it wasn’t the ROC which pushed through those sensible laws. It was the Parliament and it was unanimous. Much like the overwhelming vote passed by the Congress in the nineties when they created DOMA.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I am convinced that the church-state collaboration that is being implemented in Russia is a bad thing for the Church.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    The state-supported churches in Europe are mostly dead. The idea of close state-church collaboration may have been good in East Rome and in Muscovy and other places. It’s no good anymore. It will always corrupt the church. It’s the wrong path now.

                    But George is right that the state can be motivated by religious principles without being an arm of the church. So was once the case here, and we are suffering greatly from its loss.

                    Why does this person in New York need to issue press releases? We all know why. It’s time for Orthodox churches to stop reacting to supposed public opinion as it breaks.

                    Let the heathen rage. They won’t be mollified by these “disclaimers”, you can be sure of that.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Carl, look around you. Do you not see the slough of despond to which we have sunk? Is this nation still great? How can it be with 50 million legal abortions, broken families, girl made homeless and driven to prostitution because their mother’s latest boyfriend doesn’t want them around?

                      I believe in the seperation of Chuch from State. What I don’t believe is the seperaton of religion from culture. We’ve achieved that. The Russians are trying to stave off this debacle. Time will tell who was more successful.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I would think that we American Orthodox should mind our own business and not become involved in the politics of other countries.Our own country is messed up enough to keep us busy working to help our own country get back on course. Let the Russians worry about Russia. We should worry about the destruction of our own culture by the acceptance of immorality that has overwhelmed American popular culture.

                    • George–You are right in one thing. After the latest fiasco, I started to consider whether there should be two nations, not one, in the present United States of America. It seems to me that the federation of states are being shoe-horned into one monolithic entity. I am most concerned with the rejection of religious views as a basis for public policy. It may be time for states to consider the wisdom of banding together and formally asking for secession in accordance with the Constitution and case law.

                    • Trudge at SmartVote says

                      Father John,

                      You are right and to the point better than me.

                      We should worry about the destruction of our own culture by the acceptance of immorality that has overwhelmed American popular culture.

                      But the destruction of our own culture has come because Christians have become bystanders and passive consumers of the culture rather than active shapers, guides and creators of it.

                      For example, why do we not have funds for literary projects, screenplays etc. to stimulate our youth to good works?

                      The lives of St. Macrina the Younger and St. Basil, or St. John Chrysostom have great merit for a screenplay.

                      And this is just scratching the surface of what is possible.

                    • The abortion rate is Russia is one of the highest in Europe..So much for Holy Russia ! One abortion is too many but the rate in Russia is very high.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Stephen, do you not think that 70 years of aggressive materialist indoctrination can have no influence on the population? The persecution of the Church is not without consequences.

                    • ChristineFevronia says

                      After the latest fiasco, I started to consider whether there should be two nations, not one, in the present United States of America. It seems to me that the federation of states are being shoe-horned into one monolithic entity. I am most concerned with the rejection of religious views as a basis for public policy. It may be time for states to consider the wisdom of banding together and formally asking for secession in accordance with the Constitution and case law.

                      Is this the same Carl who vocally scorned OCA members who moved into other jurisdictions after the Synod’s “STINKBOMB” letter, calling us “schismatics” even though we merely moved from one Orthodox jurisdiction to another?

                      And now he is advocating that states secede from the Union?

      • I am looking at Fr. Calin’s statement from the point of view that he may have a good number of Russians who come to the Cathedral and he also wanted to make sure that there was no misunderstanding as to where his parish stands on the issue of Russian law about homosexuality.

        It took some courage for him to say what he said because it opens the door to people who have had their suspicions about his personal lifestyle choices. I make no judgement because I have no personal knowledge, but I also can see George’s point that people in favor of the OCA having a progressive view of homosexuality would interpret Fr. Calin’s actions as some sort of rallying cry for gay rights, thus George’s reply to Rebecca M.

        The OCA has had homosexual clergy and still does. I am not saying that Fr. Calin and his deacon are in that category, but if they are then that is a matter for their Bishop Michael to deal with to better understand exactly the nature and scope of their life choices and ministry.

        However, when an Orthodox priest divorces his wife because he is gay and is still allowed to serve at the Altar, you have two clear impediments for continued sacramental service in the Church. I know, and this is not from hearsay, but know first-hand for two of those situations. One priest is now retired, but still serves when asked and the other is assigned to an OCA parish. Again, this is a matter for their respective bishops to deal with but the question is have they? A divorced priest can continue to serve but I find it amazing that given the circumstances for these two divorces any bishop would think it proper for them to continue to serve.

        Again, this becomes the fodder for mixed signals given by the OCA to the world. I am not naive enough to think that there are not homosexual clergy and bishops in other Orthodox churches around the world – of course there are but when a jurisdiction like the OCA is so public about rooting out clergy misconduct and then do nothing about these documented cases, one wonders exactly is their definition of clergy misconduct and how are they approaching it? I do know of another recent case of a priest who was only accused of misconduct and was defrocked by a bishop who had no authority to do so, the bishop only being the administrator of the diocese. In other words, he was removed from his parish and told he is removed from the clergy based only on an allegation. If this is how the OCA handles things, then they really are in big trouble.

        Sadly, just another crazy day in the OCA.

        • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

          Hold on a minute.A bishop cannot singlehandedly defrock a priest.He may suspend a priest under his jurisdiction or forbid an outside priest from serving within the boundries of his diocese.

          • Father Andrei,

            Father Bless!

            I know this as you do but apparently the bishop in the OCA does not nor does this bishop know that as only and administrator of a diocese he had no authority to do anything. But it appears in the OCA canonical procedures are open to complete definition.

          • Yes Fr. Andrei, how does it work-doesn’t a Bishop need other Bishops in a council to laisize a priest?

            • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

              Collette is correct.My own spiritual father was suspended by the late Archbishop Job just prior to his joining ROCOR(together was his Connecticut parish).Archbishop Job might have persuaded the OCA Synod of bishops to defrock Fr.Stavros,but he didn’t;although later on as Bishop of Chicago,His Grace Job DID get the OCA Synod to defrock another cleric for a similar action.BTW,Fr.Stavros told me that he was reconciled with Archbishop Job before the latter’s death.
              In my case,I left the OCA as a tonsured Reader;no action was taken against me.Now that ROCOR and the OCA are in communion,I’ve served in OCA parishes and with OCA clerics.(After posting here,I suspect I may no longer be welcome in some OCA circles).
              I do maintain that the priest in question was SUSPENDED from serving or else banned from the diocese by the bishop in question rather than defrocked.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Archpriest Andrei, thanks for this report from your own personal experience. I believe there was an element of the “Hell-know4th-No-Fury-like-a-Woman-Scorned” in the turnabout of ever-memorable Archbishop Job’s sentiments toward Father Stavros. I remember cringing upon learning how that hierarch had travelled to the church where Fr. Stavros was rector only to grab Father’sGold Pectoral Cross and rip it off him in front of the Faithful,providing a fine example of principled leadership and Christian love. Well, he didn’t stamp his foot or kick Father in the shins, did he… Belated congratulations on your parish’s Feastday, the Dormition of the Theotokos!

      • (long time lurker, first time poster)

        My biggest issue besides all of you talking past each other here is why were these protesters protesting at a small Russian Orthodox (MP- Patriarchal) parish and not at the Consulate-General at 2790 Green St (which is a huge distance of 13 blocks from the OCA catherdral and far away from ANY SF Orthodox parish)? If you want to protest Putin and Russian laws, then protest over there. I believe the days of “Russian Mafia Connections” at St. Nicholas-MP on Church St in the Castro are long past.

        Mr. Stankovich, I believe the rude treatment you received was likely long ago. Things have changed for the better the past several years at Geary St.

        • Vladimir Vandalov says

          I agree that the Russian Consulate would serve as a reasonable (additional, not alternative) place to protest. It is tragic reality that the injustice and violence against Russian LGBTQI citizens have a direct link to the Russian Orthodox Church. Working closely with Patriarch Kirill, the Putin regime is deliberately playing to the primitive stereotypes, ignorance and hatred of a conservative majority. It is reported that Russian Orthodox vigilantes have taken to patrolling the streets of Moscow at night, dressed in all-black clothing emblazoned with skulls and crosses. These Russian Orthodox Christians are likely taking their cue from their leader, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.” The fact is that there IS a direct link between St. Nicholas Cathedral and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia. The parish is under direct control of the Moscow patriarchate; and, according to its website, Patriarch Kirill appointed Father Leonid Kazakov of the Russian St. Petersburg Diocese to lead the San Francisco church in 2010.

          It seems to me that a narrow focus of the Russian patriarchal parish as an inappropriate venue choice for the protest eludes more substantive questions requiring careful thought. Is an Orthodox Christian’s life directed by the commands of Christ or by prevailing circumstances? Does Jesus call us to provide a witness for our faith and to manifest love even for our “enemies”? If so, I contend the parishioners missed an amazing opportunity to demonstrate that Orthodox Christians actually do care for others by their failure to extend a loving “hand of fellowship, of charity, and of Christian love” to their perceived enemies, the protestors. Rather than fleeing alleged hostile protestors and creating an unwelcoming environment by summoning the police, a particularly Christian response would have been for the parishioners to hospitably without derision invite the protesters to join them for a cup of tea or, at a minimum, to offer a bottle of water to the protesters, to the observing neighbors and to the police. It’s hard to be aggressive toward someone who is drinking and eating with you.

          Jesus instructs us to replace evil with good; love instead of hate. St. Seraphim of Sarov counsels us that grace is transmitted to society by the quality of own lives, to everyone and to everything with which we come into contact. We must strive to never be the cause of injury to our neighbor. Jesus was remarkably aware of His audience and responded sensitively to all people, because He understood that how His audience perceived His message was acutely critical to the successful communication of that message. I would submit that throughout history, Christians could have stopped bloodshed and devastation had we authentically reflected Christ’s example of sensitivity and charity in our pronouncements and behavior.

          What message about Orthodox Christianity has been communicated to the protesters and now to the world by the behavior and subsequent pronouncements of Archbishop Kyrill, Archbishop Justinian, and Bishop Theodosius? The statement released by the Western American Diocese on the official ROCOR-MP website stated: “… After partaking of the Holy Gifts, Archbishop Kyrill and Bishop Theodosius performed a moleben with the other clergymen, during which litanies and supplications from the rite of the Triumph of Orthodoxy were intoned… By Divine mercy, neither the cathedral nor any parishioners suffered any violence from the protesters. Member of the police secured the protest area and did not permit the breaking of any laws.” As on observer, my perception of this statement would likely be that Orthodox Christians believe they are the “good guys” and others are “the bad guys”; that Orthodox Christianity doesn’t value the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; that this church is complicit in the oppression and persecution of gays in Russia; and, basically, that “outsiders” are not welcome. We’ll never know the potentially positive outcome had the protesters been graciously welcomed and been permitted to peacefully and respectfully listen to one another’s alternative perspectives. Perhaps they might have found some common ground, touched on some disagreement, and ended with an amicable publication of a joint photo. But we will never know.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Mr Vandalov, this is a thoughtful response. Perhaps some opportunities for dialogue were missed. But let us be frank, when confronting the demonic spirit behind feminist-abortionism and homosexual jihadism, “dialogue” is next to impossible. The only reasonable response is prayer, fasting, and securing the premises.

            Why do I say “feminist-abortionism”? I’ll tell you why. Several years ago, some “pro-choice” feminists wanted to start a dialogue with pro-life Christian women. The stated purpose on both sides was so that an honest exchange of ideas could take place and that both sides would stop demonizing each other. They met a few times but nothing has come of it. Why? Because it was merely a ruse to get the pro-lifers to quiet down as they were making significant headway in the culture.

            It’s no different here. What these jihadists want is nothing less than the capitulation of Christianity to their sexual desires. They will not be content until every corner of society openly and incessantly celebrates their sexuality.

            • Vladimir Vandalov says

              Dear Mr. Michalopulos, Your use the term “homosexual jihadism” bespeaks the lack of charity of which I wrote in my prior comment. I appreciate your willingness to publish my thoughts; however it appears there is no place for civil discourse on this blog. Thank you for your consideration.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                One law of physics and history is that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. We have been flooded with pro-gay propaganda. They even try to get laws passed making it illegal to try to help a youth troubled with same sex temptations overcome them and redirect their sexual interests to the opposite sex. They use the schools to teach our youth that our moral principles are bigoted and homophobic. Even the term homophobic is biased because a phobia is usually considered an irrational an neurotic fear. It is not irrational or neurotic to fear the moral break down of our society and the destruction of the family or of marriage as between one man and one woman. Therefore it is natural that concerned Christians should begin to react. The pro-gay demonstrators chose the Russian Orthodox cathedral in San Francisco because the movement they represent is anti-Christian.The fact that their basic argument is that they were born that way can cannot change shows the weakness of their whole cause. They should not have access to youth because same sex attraction may be only a passing phase, but these people will tell a teenager that they are homosexual and cannot change thereby tying to trap them into the homosexual lifestyle for the rest of their lives. That is why they are trying to get laws passed making it illegal to try to help a teen who thinks that he or she may suffer from same sex attraction liberate themselves from this affliction and redirect their sexual urges in a natural way towards the opposite sex. Do not kid yourself there are gay activists who want to recruit as many people as possible into their movement.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Fr. John,

                  I read this and I want to weep, and weep bitterly and your cold-hearted ignorance and self-righteous, unqualified bigotry. You have for a year made unsubstantiated, outdated, ridiculos, bias, and unsupportable claims with an arrogance without precedent. I could “bury” you with refutative data – and that is your academic standard, no? – but to no end because you are unqualified and ignorant. I could take you to the debate hall, civil, reserved, before neutral judges, necessitating you to defend your ridiculous statements, but you would never submit – nor anyone else who has “taunted” me for my lack of humility. I would bury you.

                  I would bury you because I do not promote homosexuality, proclaim “normalization,” same-sex marriage, “recruiting youth,” gay movements or “agendas.” I never have nor will I ever. As Fr. Schmemann wrote:

                  And here we must point out to these accusers something very important which they have apparently forgotten. They have forgotten that peace and concord in the Church are inseparable from the Truth. An outsider who does not believe and is not part of the Church would smile and shrug his shoulders, “What is truth?” That is precisely Pilate’s question to the Savior who stood before him. And the Savior did not respond, because an “outsider” does not believe in the possibility of Truth. For him the truth is always relative and measured according to advantage, improvement or expedience. But for us who know and believe that the Church is founded on the Truth made flesh, that all her life is in Him who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” for us there is nothing in the Church which is unimportant, because everything is measured by this Truth and is subordinate to it.

                  Just how many time times can I say, prove me wrong? Not one of you. You and they answer none of my questions – not one – but offer more “tangents.

                  I promote that we “follow after the things which make for peace, and things with which one may edify another.” (Rom 14:19) Again, Fr. Schmemann:

                  Only a deep, fearless, and constructive evaluation of this situation in the light of the genuine Tradition of the Church, only a creative return to the very springs of our dogma, canons and worship, only a total commitment to the Truth of the Church can help us overcome the crisis and transform it into a revival of Orthodoxy. I know that this task is difficult and that a long tradition has taught theologians to avoid hot issues and not to “get involved.” I know also that a certain traditionalism which has nothing to do with Tradition has made self-criticism and spiritual freedom a crime against the Church in the eyes of many. I know that too many “power-structures” have a vested interest in not allowing any question, any search, any encounter with Truth. The forces of inertia, pseudo-conservatism, and plain cynicism are formidable.

                  The last word: ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν βιάζεται, καὶ βιασταὶ ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Mr. Stankovich I did not accuse you or any other person of anything. I wrote about the negative impact on our society of the gay rights movement.
                    There is nothing that I wrote that is not true. Look at what they have done in California. I do not want to see our whole nation become like California. They have passed laws that require that children be taught positive images of homosexuals in school. Their sex education teaches youth that our moral values are narrow minded and out of date. They have made it illegal to try to help a teen who thinks that he is afflicted with same sex attraction liberate himself from this curse and develop normal attraction towards the opposite sex. Just the scenes from gay pride parades that I have seen on TV shows me that I do not want that in my town. In San Francisco it is legal for a man to participate in a gay pride parade stark naked. Harassing Orthodox Christians during their worship is a hate crime against Christians.
                    I do not know what Bible you are reading, but it is quite clear in the New Testament that homosexual acts are always sinful. Romans 1:24-27, I Corinthians 6:9-10, I Timothy 1:8-11. Then there is Orthodox Canon law. Canon VII of St. Basil, ratified by the Council in Trullo in 592, which was ratified by the 7 Ecumenical Council, II Nicea in 787, requires that those who commit sodomy are to be penanced. Exactly what part of the Holy Tradition do you not understand? I could also quote from the Holy Fathers that homosexual acts are always sinful.
                    It is not love to confirm someone in their sins. It is love to try to help them see the sinful nature of their actions and to repent of them. We must treat a person who is struggling with a particular sin, but we must do so in a way that does not endorse their sin.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Well said, Fr.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      There is nothing that I wrote that is not true.

                      You promote yourself as an academic, and I can only presume people read your statements as from the authority of an academic. I would ask you kindly to provide credible, legitimate research – not what you’ve seen on television – academic citations that support the following:

                      “They should not have access to youth because same sex attraction may be only a passing phase, but these people will tell a teenager that they are homosexual and cannot change thereby tying to trap them into the homosexual lifestyle for the rest of their lives.”

                      “Gay activists want to recruit as many people as possible into their movement.”

                      “The pro-gay demonstrators chose the Russian Orthodox cathedral in San Francisco because the movement they represent is anti-Christian.”

                      “That is why they are trying to get laws passed making it illegal to try to help a teen who thinks that he or she may suffer from same sex attraction liberate themselves from this affliction and redirect their sexual urges in a natural way towards the opposite sex.”

                      Hopefully, I will be discharged from this hospital in an hour for home. I’ll await your answers, and I will bury you.

                    • You are so right Fr. John. It really is disturbing that people do not understand children go through phases and developments. Parents job, churches and even societies job is to give guidance to the child during each phase -not stop them from going through the phase. These days to give guidance is a crime, because apparently the schools know better than the parent. They are reprogramming our children and we allowing them. . . . and Stankovich thinks it’s great.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      I said to you approximately a week ago, I have been respectful to you, I have answered every question you have put me thoroughly, completely, succinctly, and to the best of my ability; and when I am unsure or I do not have an answer, I have been completely honest and straightforward. You made a long statement to Mr. Kraeff, in which you included my name. I stated that this was a perfect example of your misrepresentation of my comments and ascribing beliefs to me that I do not hold. I said: if you believe I am in opposition to any teaching of the Church, be specific. You chose to ignore me. Now, again, you write some childish stupidity about what “Stankovich thinks it’s great.” I studied Structural Family Therapy at The Ackerman Institiute for the Family in NYC, and I have taught and supervised family therapist. I am aware of developmental phases and markers. I would rather not embarrass you and Fr. John with your woeful lack of understanding for what “phases” and “stages” actually constitute.

                      You obviously have nothing to learn from me, and I tire of seeing my name associated with your mean-spirited comments. I take no offense to correction when I am wrong. But please, find some other foil for your “reaction formations” when you can’t find healthy outlets for your anger.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To M. Stankovich

                      One does no have to be an academic to see the moral rot that is corrupting our society as a result of the ideas that you represent. As an Orthodox Christian, I believe that the moral teachings of the Holy Scriptures and the other manifestations of Holy Tradition are much surer guides to correct Christian morality than the standards of our morally corrupt society or the political correctness that you represent. I became Orthodox and left the Episcopal Church to get away from these kinds of arguments by joining a Church that does not change its beliefs to conform to secular society.

                    • anonymus per Scorilo says

                      Before making Fr. John’s arguments swiss cheese with the newest research in the field I have a few stupid questions:

                      1. Didn’t the World Health Organization list homosexuality as a mental illness until 1990 ? Didn’t the pre-1973 DSM do the same ?

                      2. Are we to believe all the respectable scientists behind these opinions have been horribly deluded for more than half a century, and one morning they just woke up and saw how wrong they had been ?

                      If answer to 2 is yes:
                      3. Given this history, what guarantee do we have that 20-30-50 years from now new scientific evidence will not overthrow the current dogma ?
                      If the answer is yes, then clearly the previous dogma of the field (that homosexuality is a mental illness) was a fad, and was wrong. How do we know that the current dogma is any better ?

                      If answer to 2 is no:
                      4. Aren’t the statements Fr. John made coherent with the pre-1990 WHO classification ?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Archpriest John W. Morris,

                      Enough, enough, enough of this self-righteous, unsubstantiated, and unfounded accusation of “moral rot that is corrupting our society as a result of the ideas that you represent.” This comment requires a great amount of confidence, a firm belief in the premise upon which this statement is built. I challenge you to go to my site http://www.mstankovich.com, read the series on the science on same sex attraction, sexual orientation, the removal of Homosexuality from the DSM and the issue of reparative therapies, etc. and find THREE (3) arguments that I have made that are contrary to the Scripture, the Patristic Fathers, the Canonical Fathers, and our Holy Tradition AND contribute to the moral corrupting our society. You can even print them out as PDF’s. I’m home, recovering, and going nowhere, Take your time.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I’d like to jump in if you don’t mind. I have read some of your fine work. It’s very intriguing and perhaps even conclusive. That being said, how do your findings (1) obviate against the apparent moral rot that is destroying the fabric of our society, and (2) invalidate the Pauline strictures against placing sodomites –and especially effeminate men–on the episcopal throne?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      anonymus per Scorilo,

                      These would be interesting questions, had I not been though this on my own site – and I am not simply “drumming up traffic,” but it is covered extensively there – and elsewhere previously.

                      Let me make this very simple: from the very beginning, I have emphasized that it was the renewal of the “whole personal” concept of healing in the field of medicine – addressing the patient as a bio-psycho-social-spiritual being – that returned me to the Orthodox anthropology of Sts. Maximus the Confessor, Simeon the New Theologian, and Gregory the Theologian. While I was careful to initially insist that any “segregation” viewed outside the context of the “symphonia” of this whole could end in error, the nature of the argument has often drawn me out of this context. My point: science relies upon data and the ability to independently replicate data (i.e. you are as good as your data). I do not intend to present again why I believe the genetic information I provided is significant; search my posts, go to my site.

                      As to your questions regarding the DSM. I have written a series, Taking Sexuality in for Repairs, that addresses the issue of the removal of Homosexuality from the DSM in 1973. I am well aware that press sold the idea that the “gay lobby” forced the removal. This is ridiculous, and you can read my opinion in the series.

                      You raise the question, “Are we to believe all the respectable scientists behind these opinions have been horribly deluded for more than half a century?” I would offer you the example of a stomach ulcer or gastritis (“inflammation”) . Forever, ulcerations of the lining of the stomach were believed to caused by diet, stress, anxiety, alcohol, etc. They were treated with antacids, anxiolytics, bland diets, rest, and so on. When it was reported in 1982 that a gram-negative bacteria helicobacter-pylori (h. pylori) had been discovered in stomachs of 85% of ulcer patients and resolved by antibiotics, it was unbelievable. Physicians may have been shocked, but as scientists, they were not surprised.

                      With the rapid pace of the current technology, we are bound to leave many traditions of medical science behind us. I take strong exception to terms like “fad” in medical science, if only because it was the best information available with best technology available at the time. Therefore, I have been emphatic from the beginning that information I have presented is the best information at this time and could change tomorrow. Any good scientist knows this. Never, ever have I have attempted to be dogmatic, but only attempted to offer more expand the library of our symphonic anthropology.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To Dr. Stankovich

                      Psychology of all academic discipline is the least scientific. There are many different schools and theories of psychology. I once taught at a university with two different psychology departments, humanistic psychology and psychology as a social science, because the psychology professors could not agree on what psychology actually is. Psychology may be qualified to determine what is a mental illness, but it is totally unqualified to make moral pronouncements. Besides our academic institutions are so infected with political correctness that truly unbiased scientific research is impossible especially on this issue. Moral principles for Orthodox Christians are found in the Holy Tradition of the Church which clearly teaches that homosexual acts are sinful, not in the ever changing theories of psychology. Just because the American Psychiatric Association allowed itself to be intimidated by gay activists to change its definition of homosexuality as a mental illness does not mean that the Orthodox Church should change its moral teachings. Besides persons considered perfectly sane by psychology still sin. You have forgotten that the persons that you study are still corrupted by ancestral sin which in some cases manifests itself with a distorted sexuality that causes same sex attraction. As an Orthodox priest my obligation is to uphold the moral teachings of the Orthodox Church which without a doubt teach that all sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman is sinful. As a psychologists who calls himself an Orthodox Christian, you should be doing research on what causes this distortion of sexuality and how to cure it so that persons cursed with same sex attraction develop a normal attraction towards the opposite sex not arguing against the moral teachings of the Church.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I must concur.

                      Dr Stankovich, you cannot simply wave away unpleasant facts such as how the APA was brought to heel in 1973 by homosexual thuggishness. It’s well-known. As for your analogy with discovering the real etiology behind stomach ulcers, it falls flat. As you say, only 85% of ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori. While making an overwhelming percentage, that’s not universal. Proton-pump inhibitors and old-fashioned H2-antagonists are still used.

                      So too with Same-Sex Attraction. We don’t know what causes it. We are fairly confident that some of it is innate, perhaps congenital rather than genetic. We also know that a lot of it is behavioral, whether by means of early-childhood trauma or situational (in prison for example).

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      I believe I have been absolutely consistent in stating that we need to replace Fox News and alignment with the Christian Right, the heterodox, the schizmatics, and the heretics and return to the direction of St Basil the Great: “When there is conflict, always look to the way of the Fathers before us.” As I quoted Fr. Schmemann above:

                      And here we must point out to these accusers something very important which they have apparently forgotten. They have forgotten that peace and concord in the Church are inseparable from the Truth. An outsider who does not believe and is not part of the Church would smile and shrug his shoulders, “What is truth?” That is precisely Pilate’s question to the Savior who stood before him. And the Savior did not respond, because an “outsider” does not believe in the possibility of Truth. For him the truth is always relative and measured according to advantage, improvement or expedience. But for us who know and believe that the Church is founded on the Truth made flesh, that all her life is in Him who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” for us there is nothing in the Church which is unimportant, because everything is measured by this Truth and is subordinate to it.

                      The only intention of my “findings” was to promote a lessening of stigma, an installation of hope, a basis for dialog, an extension of charity and tolerance, and offer the possibility of a life of chastitiy, obedience, singleminded (sophrosyne/tselomudrye), and repentance in the fullness of the Church to which we are all called. I do not promote “normalization,” same-sex marriage, “unions,” or anything other than the sacramental marriage between one man and one woman. Thus, “peace and concord in the Church are inseparable from the Truth.” Perhaps you can appreciate why I am so outraged when unsupported and unsupportable, contrived, conjectured, and fantasized information is promoted in these arguments as “truth,” and when we cannot show charity and run away.

                      As to your second question, it has no direct relation to anything I have specifically addressed other than to say, I find nothing in the Holy Scripture, the writings of the Patristic Fathers, the writings of Canonical Fathers, or our Holy Tradition that would suggest that same-sex attraction, in and of itself, is sinful, and it is the same-gender sexual activity that is forbidden & the abomination. We know historically of bishops and priests who bore this “podvig” victoriously to the end of their lives, indicating – that as a pastoral decision between confessor/spiritual father/abbot – one who lives a chaste and obedient life does so worthily ordained or consecrated. I would strongly urgue you to read Fr. John Meyendorff’s Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes for his excellent discussion on the Cannons & Economy.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      To Archpriest John W. Morris,

                      You are as predictable as the morning paper. I am reminded of the dialog of the narrator of CS Lewis’ The Great Divide with the Episcopal Ghost, even as he desperately tries to save him:

                      “Do you really think people are penalised for their honest opinions? Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that those opinions were mistaken.”

                      “Do you really think there are no sins of intellect?”

                      “There are indeed. There is hidebound prejudice, and intellectual dishonesty, and timidity, and stagnation. But honest opinions fearlessly followed-they are not sins. I know we used to talk that way. I did it too until the end of my life when I became what you call narrow. It all turns on what are honest opinions. Mine certainly were. They were not only honest but heroic. I asserted them fearlessly.”

                      “We were afraid of crude salvationism, afraid of a breach with the spirit of the age, afraid of ridicule, afraid (above all) of real spiritual fears and hopes.”

                      “I’m far from denying that young men may make mistakes. They may well be influenced by current fashions of thought. But it’s not a question of how the opinions are formed. The point is that they were my honest opinions, sincerely expressed.”

                      “Having allowed oneself to drift, unresisting, unpraying, accepting every half-conscious solicitation from our desires… in the same way, a jealous man, drifting and unresisting, reaches a point at which he believes lies about his best friend: a drunkard reaches a point at which (for the moment) he actually believes that another glass will do him no harm. You’ll be justifying the Inquisition in a moment!”

                      “Listen! Once you were a child. Once you knew what inquiry was for. There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them. Become that child again: even now.”

                      “Ah, but when I became a man I put away childish things.”

                      “I will bring you to Eternal Fact, the Father of all other facthood.”

                      “”I should object very strongly to describing God as a ‘fact.'”

                      “Do you not even believe that He exists?”

                      “Exists? What does Existence mean?”

                      blah, blah, blah.

                      The writings on my blog are exhaustively researched theologically & scientifically, contemplated, prayed over, dictated, re-dictated, written, re-written, and submitted to trusted and respected individuals for criticism before they were ever posted. But without showing me the respect of reading them, you would presume to instruct me – my degree is in medicine, not psychology – as to what I should be doing? As I learned with Fr. Hans, the idea of soliciting an apology for unsubstantiated, unjustified accusations of heresy, or now, a role in the corruption of our society apparently is offensive to the former Anglican clergy. I am in no rush.

                      Final thought: Violation of Rule 403, Excluding Relevant Evidence for Waste of Time

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      Don’t over-reach your qualifications. It was an analogy.

                      I had a clinical supervisor in the 1980’s, Lothar Gidro-Frank, MD, who was the former Dir. of the NYS Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Institute- NYS Psychiatric Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. This is the same institute where Robert Spitzer, MD, acknowledged as the person responsible setting the groundwork and acceptable conditions for removing homosexuality from the DSM, practiced medicine, was a researcher, and faculty member. Gidro-Frank said the same thing everyone who knew Spitzer said: no group of “homosexual thugs” influenced Spitzer of anything. Spitzer was influenced by one thing only and that was research, and primarily the research he had conducted himself. And Lord knows I won’t waste my time referring you to my site to the entire story yourself. Gidro-Frank respected Spitzer as a man of both personal and scientific integrity.

                      Obviously Spitzer knew he would be championed by the gay community, but he remained detached. When he published original research regarding the possibility of reorientation therapy ten years later, he knew he would be trashed by the gay community, and he was, brutally. As time proceeded, and he began to question the long-debated methodological problems of his original research – even addressing them and openly questioning the validity of his results in public – he was old, retiring and without ally. It was only within the year that he acknowledged that the methodological problems were insurmountable and the data was wrong.

                      You need to listen to Spitzer explain himself and the historical and contemporaneous interviews are widely available. I trust the word of colleagues and my respected supervisor, Dr. Guidro-Frank that Spitzer was a man of personal and scientific integrity. His first and foremost concern was patient care and safety and he most certainly would not jeopardize them for the sake of any lobbyists. Neither would it explain why, having “favorably” appeased the “gay thugs,” why he would then devote his research efforts to a therapy modality that he knew, if feasible, could jeopardize his vocation if you admit the power of such a lobby. It is nonsense.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Stankovich writes:

                      “The only intention of my “findings” was to promote a lessening of stigma, an installation of hope, a basis for dialog, an extension of charity and tolerance, and …”

                      Wait a minute: Tolerance? Tolerance of what? Dialog? With whom, about what? Lessening of the stigma? So that homosexuality doesn’t strike people as abnormal and revolting?

                      All of these words are ploys to undermine our basic sense of decency and goodness, just so homosexuals can feel good about themselves. Yet what Stankovich intends has never been the Christian way of handling this particular sin. It has never been the Christian way to allow people sexually attracted to their own sex to publicly identify themselves as a special class of sinners deserving tolerance, acceptance, and accommodation including only kind words said of their sinful desires. It has instead been the Christian way to condemn such sinful desires in the strongest possible ways, so that people struggle mightily against them both publicly and privately, maintaining for everyone’s sake the decency and order that God intends.

                      What God intends for homosexuals is that they live as heterosexuals, keeping the homosexual in them not in the closet but in the grave.

                    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

                      “would ask you kindly to provide credible, legitimate research”


                      Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.

                      “At best genetics is a minor factor,” says Dr. Neil Whitehead, PhD. Whitehead worked for the New Zealand government as a scientific researcher for 24 years, then spent four years working for the United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency. Most recently, he serves as a consultant to Japanese universities about the effects of radiation exposure. His PhD is in biochemistry and statistics.

                      Identical twins have the same genes or DNA. They are nurtured in equal prenatal conditions. If homosexuality is caused by genetics or prenatal conditions and one twin is gay, the co-twin should also be gay.

                      “Because they have identical DNA, it ought to be 100%,” Dr. Whitehead notes. But the studies reveal something else. “If an identical twin has same-sex attraction the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11% for men and 14% for women.”

                      Because identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. “No-one is born gay,” he notes. “The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors.”

                      Dr. Whitehead believes same-sex attraction (SSA) is caused by “non-shared factors,” things happening to one twin but not the other, or a personal response to an event by one of the twins and not the other.

                      For example, one twin might have exposure to pornography or sexual abuse, but not the other. One twin may interpret and respond to their family or classroom environment differently than the other. “These individual and idiosyncratic responses to random events and to common environmental factors predominate,” he says.


                      “The authors were pro-gay and they commented that the only stability was among the heterosexuals, who stayed the same year after year. Adolescents are a special case—generally changing their attractions from year to year.”

                      Still, many misconceptions persist in the popular culture. Namely, that homosexuality is genetic – so hard-wired into one’s identity that it can’t be changed. “The academics who work in the field are not happy with the portrayals by the media on the subject,” Dr. Whitehead notes. “But they prefer to stick with their academic research and not get involved in the activist side.”

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      NoLadder of Divine Ascent,

                      Let me repeat the question: “I would ask you kindly to provide credible, legitimate research.”

                      As a graduate of the Google School of Medicine, take your exhaustive research findings regarding Dr. Whitehead to the National Library of Medicine (PubMed) and tell me the number of credible and legitimate citations you find. Then, in the right hand column, count the number of credible and legitimate books and research articles that cite Dr. Whitehead. Better, in academic scientific writing, there is the H-Index which is an algorithm that calculates an “influence & impact” score based on the number of times a given scientist is cited as authority in another publication. So, rather than hand count, you can go to the Google Citations Gadget and enter Dr. Whitehead’s name. Now, Ladder of Divine Ascent, totaling everything, what did you come up with? What? Speak up. ZERO, you say? ничего? You begin your post quoting me, up in my face with… nothing. Aye. Let me explain this to you.

                      Neil Whitehead is a charlatan. He is “self-published,” not because scientists don’t want “the truth revealed” as he claims – his “truth” is everywhere on the internet – but because he cannot meet the threshold for publication in a legitimate scientific journal. His research has been directly and indirectly refuted so many times that no one bothers to continue to specifically refute him. He is at the Christian Extreme Right with NARTH & other practitioners of reorientation therapies despite no research to support that it is either effective or does not cause more harm than anything else.

                      Presenting this as legitimate when you have no reasonable perspective is dangerous and confusing. I fail to see the point of post what “looks goods” without comprehending its significance. Or perhaps that is the point?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Mr Vandalov, there is no reason to be charitable to Alinskyites who don’t crave honest dialogue. This rather reminds me of how Tsar Nicholas II treated Lenin and Stalin when they were caught robbing banks: because he was a Christian, Nicholas banished both these evildoers to Siberia where they were allowed to take their mistresses with them, hunting rifles, and a remarkable range of movement. They did not suffer in a gulag like what they would subsequently create.

                And what good did such sagacity get Nicholas?

                • Honest dialogue? What kind of honesty is there in your repeated rhetorical abuse of your go-to phrase homosexual jihadists. A phrase you apparently feel applicable to anyone who supports equal legal rights for same-sex couples. Of course, I can see how you would use that term after all those suicide bombers with rainbow bomb vests blowing themselves up at pro-DOMA rallies and the rainbow hooded kidnappings and video decapitations of pastors who preach sermons advising putting gays into internment camps… Oh wait, those acts never happened and you are engaging in a deliberate act of demonization and dehumanization through dishonest rhetoric.

                  Of course if we take this to it’s local conclusion:

                  if Mr. Michalopulos believes jihadism must be countered with force…
                  if Mr. Michalopulos believes advocates of same-sex rights deserve the term jihadists…
                  …Mr. Michalopulos is a bit of a hypocrite for not vociferously demanding drone strikes on same-sex marriage rallies. /sarcasm

                  If you wonder why surveys end up with results like:

                  When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers.

                  And your answer is exclusively to blame the “gay lobby”, and have no comprehension that your frequent and eager use of terms like “homosexual jihadist” or “sodomite nupitals” convey a rather strong impression that in your inner heart you view homosexuality as something to be dealt with via the cleansing fire of high explosives, well, get used to being viewed as functionally indistinguishable from a radical Islamist. And that your religious beliefs are merely moral justification for your distastes and desires: the whole Gospel thing is an irrelevant shriveled fig leaf of a sideshow.

                  You quite possibly grew up playing “smear the queer” (before even knowing what the term meant), I know I did. That was its own form of cultural indoctrination, just one you agreed with. Yes, the culture did change, and like it or not, you are the one making yourself look like an extremist. Looking at photo galleries of inaugural same-sex ceremonies in various states and contrast with your blog: which one do you think the wider culture is going to equate with the Taliban? Applying violent rhetoric to a couple 50 year old lesbians smooching on courthouse steps doesn’t convey an impression that they want to impose violence on you, let me tell you what…

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Nate, now you’re being delusional. I have NEVER advocated violence against ANYONE. Self-defense is another matter entirely. And any fair-minded reader knows that I’m a “live and let live” kind of guy. (I’ve only said that about 100 times on this blog. If you want me too, I’ll type slower so that you can read it.) And yes, I do believe that the Gay Cabals are increasingly jihadist in intensity. As another correspondent pointed out, they chose to protest outside the ROC cathedral in SF when they could have gone just a mile down the road and protested at the Russian consulate.

                    I never played “smear the queer.” I am 54 years old and this is the first time I’ve come across this term. Stop projecting.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  To M. Stankovich above

                  I never wrote that it is a sin to be tempted. We are all tempted to sin. Therefore it is not a sin to suffer from same sex attraction. However, neither is a sin to be tempted to have immoral heterosexual sex. It only becomes a sin when one yields to the temptation. There is no way that I can ignore the clear teaching of the Bible and other expressions of the Holy Tradition of the Church on homosexuality. The difference between heterosexual relations is that they are good and holy within the context of marriage, whereas homosexual relations are always sinful. According to Orthodox theology sin is by definition unnatural, because God made us to live in harmony with His moral laws. We would not be discussing this issue if there were not a well organized and funded effort to normalize homosexual relations which according to our beliefs are always sinful and therefore unnatural. I am skeptical about scientific theories, because my studies of history have taught me that scientific theories are always changing. Despite its claims to objectivity, science is not absolute truth. Science is only the conclusions of fallible scientists based on the data they have at the moment filtered through their own prejudices. Another scientist with different prejudices can look at the exact same data and come to completely different conclusions. I do believe that the power of political correctness and pressure from gay rights groups have greatly compromised the integrity of American research on this subject. A psychology professor who does not adhere strictly to the new orthodoxy that homosexuals are born that way and cannot change risks loosing their job and career. That is a fact. I know what I am writing because I used to teach on the college level and saw the overwhelming power of political correctness and the way that it has destroyed academic freedom in our American institutions of higher education. True academic freedom is gone in America. Our universities are no longer places for the free exchange of ideas, because no one dares question the dogmas of political correctness. This includes any discussion of homosexuality. There is so much emphasis on tolerance and understanding that no one dares even hint that homosexual behavior is unnatural much less sinful.

    • Texan Orthodox says

      More and more it’s becoming apparent that most of us in the USA have no idea how a culture that still has some sort of moral compass (or at least tries to have one) operates.

      This “law” would not have been abnormal in America in the mid-20th century. Yet because America believes in no moral absolutes anymore, except the absolute that there are no moral absolutes (yes, this doesn’t make sense, but it’s what most people in America believe), we don’t understand when other countries still try to have some sort of moral compass that might guide their laws.

      Yes, the ROC did not draft the “draconian” Russian law — the Russian government did. Why does Father Christopher not bitch against the Russian government? Because as an “American Orthodox priest” it makes a much stronger statement to bitch against another Orthodox church!

      Also, whine about the Russian law as much as you want, but ostensibly its purpose is to protect children during their formative years. Crazy as it may seem, maybe the Russians don’t want their 12 or 13 year old children acting as full-fledged gays and lesbians (we in America are told to celebrate it when our 12 year old son brings his boyfriend home — isn’t it crazy that those in another nation wouldn’t want to celebrate this as well?!?). Children are not little adults — a lot of changes go on as a child is developing, and his/her brain as a 13 year old doesn’t operate as an adult’s does. The adults’s job is to protect and guide children until they have reached adulthood (I know, such a novel concept!).

      An important thing to remember is that many of those in the gay community do not think about protecting and guiding children since many gays and lesbians never have children. Many in the gay community, either conscously or unwittingly, simply use “children” in the abstract sense to help achieve political ends, but they often never have to care for or raise children directly.

      I wonder how +Metropolitan Leonty of blessed memory would feel about the rector of his former cathedral posting this ridiculous rant? I think Met. Leonty would probably agree more with the “draconian” Russian law!

      I can add this as reason #3452 why I’m fortunate to no longer be in the OCA. I had many wonderful times in OCA parishes in the past and leared much about the faith — but that was when things were probably a little less bizarre. It’s a question of leadership (or lack thereof), and the OCA certainly suffers from a sad lack of leadership. How many dioceses remain vacant? How was Met. Jonah railroaded out of town? But let’s not go there again.

      Fr Christopher’s online rant may work well in urban and trendy NYC, but the average American to whom the OCA (at least ostensibly) is trying to witness the truth of Orthodoxy is more likely to want to protect his children from the influence of flamboyant homosexuals than he is concerned about the “rights” of homosexuals to give homosexual propaganda to 12-year-olds.

      • Having grown up in the Metropolia which became the OCA in 1770 and having had contact with Met.Leonty of Blessed Memory I cannot say how he would deal with this issue as he was a man who could often surptise you but I think he would have been the first to offer the protesters tea and cookies. Metropolitan Leonty was all for engagement and showing Christ to the world. I am positive he would never go against Church teachings and tradition. though. I am starting to become very tired of converts or “johnnies come lately” rewriting the history of the OCA.

  15. Several points from the perspective of one who has been in the muddy trenches that might, just might, be the same ones now being occupied by those conservative Orthodox folks (lay and ordained) who are being accosted by the liberal agenda. (yes, I know, the labels conservative and liberal are not fair but I use them for the sake of easy reference – calm down) It is not about homosexuality. The point is the point is not what you think it is. That is part of the strategy. There is a deeper agenda. It is about a whole view of reality that is completely foreign to the view of reality of you on whose doorstep they are now camping.

    The assumption of conservative folks is that the liberal(s) are telling the truth about their feelings, and needs, and so on. They are not even though they think they might. Some liberal(s) are well intentioned. But, the vast majority of well intentioned folks are unwittingly being used by a deeper malevolence.

    It is smoke and mirrors. Reasonable folks attempt to engage the liberal(s) on the basis of reason. It is not about reason. Caring folks attempt to engage the liberal(s) in a caring and fair way. It is not about being caring and fair. It is about power, fear, alienation, isolation, division, etc. These are difficult to engage in any way except the cruciform way.

    Are people being mistreated? Yes. Are they being targeted? Yes. Is it right? No. But, my conservative brothers and sisters, be careful what you assume. Things are not what they appear to be. And that is part of the frustration. The usual tools for fighting, the world’s tools which we Christians have adopted because they appear to be pragmatic and effective, are of no use – reason, logic, dialogue, counter-protest, etc. You will be vilified no matter what you do so get used to it.

    It might be helpful for folks who are entering this fray to read Rules for Radicals, by Saul Alinsky.
    Hold fast, pray fast, live true. Let the chips fall where they may. The fight is, on any other basis than the cruciform one, a lose lose proposition.

  16. The first part of the archimandrite’s note, clarifying the jurisdictional separation, was appropriate.

    However, the remainder of the message:

    “ . . . inquisition-like persecutions and xenophobia in concert with the Russian government’s promotion of draconian laws limiting freedom of speech and the civil rights of its citizens.”

    seems to be an opinion more appropriate to a blog ( many priests post regularly to their own, and others’, blogs.)

    In a hierarchical church, the administration of this kind of dressing down of a jurisdiction is a bit above the pay grade of a cathedral dean, isn’t it? It would seem to be a bit edgy even on a blog, but this is the official website of the cathedral church of the OCA in NY. That carries some official status. The statement is a pretty aggressive stance to take toward one’s “Mother” church. Being posted on the Cathedral website would indicate to me that this is, at minimum, the policy of the cathedral, and its presiding bishop. To a non-Orthodox visitor, it could imply that this is the position of the entire OCA, and that the Russian church is an adversary jurisdiction.

    But if it is a personal opinion, well, never mind. After all, no one minded when Met Jonah signed the Declaration… oh wait…

    • M. Stankovich says


      So, let’s assume all things being equal here: you are “sue,” a woman & obviously not clergy, and have a reason other than the Federal Witness Protection Program for not identifying yourself, but have taken it upon yourself to delineate the responsibility(-ies) of the Dean of this cathedral without the courtesy of inquiring. Secondly, in in discussing the “hierarchical nature” of the Church, as near as I can tell, you were neither privy by invitation nor flat out shamless gossip to the events leading to the publication of this letter. And finally, if you “put your card on table,” your purpose was simply insult by sarcasm. Still somewhat noble by the standards of this sit.

      By comparison, in my response, I submitted it to two bishops & three priest – not for “endorsement”, but for determining my appropriateness in making such claims. Only then then was it published.

      Some have mistaken me for a “maverick,,” a spontaneous hot-head,” and of weak character; as if to say as “deficient” in Orthodox Theology, the arts & sciences, as I am in CSPAN:

      Dr. S., you have some nerve to label as “fair reporting” your self-important, arrogant, nasty rant. “Shame” on you, Dr. S.! You owe a public apology to all three of the Russian Orthodox bishops whom you denounce by name for not meeting your own twisted standard of hospitality toward confrontational extremist political agitators who descended upon a little Russian Orthodox Church on a Sunday morning in a “picket line” armed, like the early Bolsheviks, with banners, megaphones, and ideological chants. You lament, as if it’s all about you, “I am embarrassed.” No, sir: you are an embarrassment to your fellow Orthodox Christians in America. Take your own frequent, unsolicited advice for once and demonstrate a smidgen of humility and repentance by begging forgiveness from the three bishops.

      You may read my response here. I was schooled by Jesuits, the Orthodox Fathers of our generation, and some of the world’s best scientists. It breaks my heart I’ve been fooled once. And so it goes.. My point sue, I played by the “rules…”

      Met. Anthony, of blessed memory, described this best: :”We are far removed from the time of Grace.” And we are a long, long way from home.

      • Dear Mr. Stankovich,

        I hope that your fever is brought under control and that you are feeling much better soon.

        It is clear that you are proud that you “played by the rules.” Good for you. These appear to be rules of your own making. Your comments, however, do leave me puzzled.

        Being an anonymous woman and not a member of the clergy is totally irrelevant to the discussion. I hope you would not be implying that being female or a layperson makes one unable to have an opinion. Forgive me for feeling that you do seem to be looking down your nose…

        Your comments make clear that you are involved in the San Francisco protests and possibly the resulting in New York comments in a way that I clearly am not. I will assure you that my point was not to insult by sarcasm. No one sent me a copy of your rules. I actually think that your tea and cookies idea has some merit, but not being at the protest, I don’t know the dynamics of the situation. My discussion was focused solely on the comments left on the website in NY by Father Christopher.

        My point was that the Russian church was being insulted in an official venue by an OCA priest. My point was that this might have unintended consequences. My point was that such harsh comments on parish websites may make things more difficult in OCA relationships with her mother church. While you might believe that comments such as these come under the job description for a cathedral dean, I do not. Obviously, as an anonymous female layperson, my opinion doesn’t mean much.

        I did notice, however, that the comments have been removed from the site.

        • M. Stankovich says


          You will pardon me for not clarifying my analogy! Feeevah will do that. You said the official dressing down of a jurisdiction from a Dean was “above pay grade,” while at the same time there is a repeated phrase among the Fathers – the exact wording escape me – “the old woman should not fear confronting the Patriarch.” And the implication is, when he is correct we stand together, but when he is wrong, he stands alone. Thus, anonymous woman, not clergy…

          The “rules” to which I refer were to submit the historical comments I had made, my interactions with the protesters, and my proposed response to two bishops and three priests, asking my authority as an Orthodox Christian to make such a statement; whether my assertions were in conflict with the Scripture, the Canons, or our Tradition; and whether it was disrespectful. One bishop offered several comments which I incorporated, and I did not post until all agreed I had met the criteria.

          I have written this evening another opinion regarding this matter of offending the Russian Church, and I do not want to repeat myself, but let me simply say that I took great offense at the interview of Archpriest George Roschin regarding this matter. He was manipulative, misrepresented both the dispute over the Russian law and the events in San Francisco, and attempted to play the [Absent] Mother Church card: “The paradox lies in the fact that it was the Russian Orthodox Church from which the Father Archimandrite so strongly distanced himself gave autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970.” While the circumstances are obvious, the ROC had little to no formative influence in the OCA for more than 25 years, and for all intents and purposes, benefited from their relationship with the Americans. This is a disingenuous, cheap argument. Not unexpectedly, I have received email and messages at my own site from clergy and others that are supportive and encouraging. We are not interested in becoming a “Russian Church,” as we are learning Met, Jonah was willing to take us, and we need to decisively defend our autocephaly, respectfully and with gratitude, even from those who declared it.

          Again, I apologize for even giving the appearance of disrespect, and even though I have only an “elevated” temperature, I am fighting the urge to say, “even as an old female layperson, your opinion means much.” No wait! That was a joke! Aye! You get it…

          • George Michalopulos says

            I don’t doubt that you’ve received “many” letters and emails in support from clergy who “don’t want us to become a Russian church.” I don’t either. I’d much rather be an American church. But if being American means being limp in the face of heresy, well then I would want nothing to do with such an “American” church.

            Really, this is no different than what the Anglicans are facing. ECUSA is now a neo-pagan Christic cult that panders to homosexualism and femininazism while the Africans are traditionalists and are aghast at what the American branch has become.

            At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple.

            More to the point, should these clerics who embolden you in your agitation be so dismissive of Russia, with its tens of thousands of martyrs and it’s 1,000 year long Christian witness? How many native saints has North America produced? How long have we been in America? 200 years? What have we to show for it?

            If I were these priests, I’d be a little bit more humble.

          • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

            “We are not interested in becoming a ‘Russian Church,’ as we are learning Met, Jonah was willing to take us, and we need to decisively defend our autocephaly, respectfully and with gratitude, even from those who declared it.”

            And we who are loyal to Orthodoxy within the OCA will continue to fight you (so long as we continue to remain and not flee to another jurisdiction) and the modernists who seem all to willingly too allow us to become apostates. Autocephaly is nothing compared to loyalty to God and Orthodoxy as a whole, if Met. Jonah treated it as something that could be bargained away, he was absolutely correct.

    • “The cathedral church of the OCA in NY” is a small parish in a building with a lot of OCA history, but it’s a small parish. It would have closed were not two single clerics willing to take on the task of revitalizing a parish just off the Bowery in the days before the neighborhood gentrified. The OCA had been trying to sell it, in fact, but couldn’t find a buyer. It doesn’t even really play that much of a role among OCA parishes in the tristate, so I think we can dial down shock over “The Cathedral!” being impolitic. The difference between a parish priest and the primate of a local church should be obvious regarding the response appropriate to the actions of each.

      Besides, there are all sorts of things about the way various issues are written and spoken about by clergy that are “offensive” to other Orthodox with whom they disagree and which can and do confuse inquirers and outsiders. That’s it’s in a sermon or on a personal blog makes little difference to the confused and offended. Right or wrong, this is part and parcel with the very ecclesiology that gives us autocephalous local churches to begin with. “Offensive” and “Real Orthodoxy” are too often in the eye of the beholder – for those on the Right, Left, and everywhere on every issue.

      My point is that most parish websites function as little more than online newsletters or bulletins. It’s just easier to repost things from the web. “Official” statements like this could likely be found in similar paper documents throughout the church in the old Metropolia days. Believe it or not, Russia and the Russian Church were not all that popular not all that long ago among Russians not in Russia.

      What is autocephaly anyway if we’re scared to do anything that might upset the one who set us free from itself?

      • 123,

        We, (sorry, I) was not talking about a blog or a sermon. My “shock” as you put it, was that an official website of the church was used to take another jurisdiction to the woodshed.

        The fact that statements like these would be found in the old Metropolia days does not argue for bringing such days back. Nor should the use of websites as “newsletters or bulletins” excuse bad manners.

        Your last line is really amazing.

        What is autocephaly anyway if we’re scared to do anything that might upset the one who set us free from itself?

        My albeit limited understanding of autocephaly is that it means that the OCA has grown and matured enough to govern itself; that it can raise up leadership from within its own membership. With five vacant dioceses, and no immediate plans to fill them, the ability to fulfill this fundamental requirement of autocephaly is in question.

        Forgive me, but I do not believe that autocephaly was granted so that priests of one jurisdiction could publish nasty things about another. If autocephaly grants the right to “upset the one who set us free from itself” then I have missed the point of granting it entirely.

        Such is the state of a anonymous lay female, I guess.

  17. M. Stankovich says

    It seems to me I register my disgust for these particular events not in terms of homosexuality, but against an indefensibly contrary manner of action as the Lord did Himself, with the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the lawyers, the officers of the temple, the Romans, Pilate, and the devil himself in the wilderness: He faced them. To the Samaritan woman, to the adultress, to the lepers, to the woman with an issue of blood, to the insane and possessed, to anyone loathed, despised, rejected, and feared – “Why does he eat with sinners?” – he spoke, he touched, he healed, he forgave. “When you have done this to the least of my brethren, you have done this me.”

    It further seems to me that the response has been to demonize the individuals involved, rather than address the matter I have raised. In San Francisco, the group morphed from “activists-protesters-mob-“early Bolsheviks”-jihadists” just short of “savages.” In NYC, Archimandrite Christopher is “Hopko-Scorned-eccentric-(and, buddy, didn’t you see it coming) “questionably oriented”-“setting a battleground”

    I sent an email to Fr. Christopher but have not heard from him, but I have had much contact with members of the group from San Francisco. The issue is not to promote homosexuality, nor is it specifically against the law that prohibits propaganda regarding homosexuality. The issue is the consequence of the law: indiscriminate unleashing of violence and open discrimination against LGBT citizens who have not broken any law. Innocent individuals. The violence is considerable and vicious. Why protest at the church? They saw numerous photos of Putin & the Patriarch. They read quotes: “Putin is God’s gift to the church,” “The Soviet ethics are dead. Government looks to the church for morality.” They tried on numerous occasions to contact someone to speak with and were ignored. They arrived pre-announced, respectfully, promising to be peaceful and non-disruptive, to be met by an empty cathedral and a ton of cops. Later, they read they had been “triumphantly vanquished.” I take the liberty of presuming the same for Fr. Christopher.

    There is no issue here of defending the Faith because the Faith is and was not being challenged. This is and was not about promoting, normalizing, or accepting homosexuality. The protest was about violence and discrimination against random LGBT citizens who had not broken any law.

  18. Jeffery Erickson says

    Carl Kraeff says:
    September 5, 2013 at 10:01 am
    George–You are right in one thing. After the latest fiasco, I started to consider whether there should be two nations, not one, in the present United States of America. It seems to me that the federation of states are being shoe-horned into one monolithic entity. I am most concerned with the rejection of religious views as a basis for public policy. It may be time for states to consider the wisdom of banding together and formally asking for secession in accordance with the Constitution and case law.

    Given the most recent fiascos the OCA is suffering, your suggestion should be considered by the different regions in the OCA. Syosset trying to “shoe horn” parishes in the South and West into its Northeastern liberal elitism view of the Church doesn’t play well south of the Mason-Dixon line or out here on the Left Coast!

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Dear Jeffrey–It is the conceit, fantasy and/or lie (your pick) that “Syosset (is) trying to “shoe horn” parishes in the South…into its Northeastern liberal elitism view of the Church.” Please note that I did not include the West from the above quote, simply because I am currently familiar only with the Diocese of the South.

  19. 123,

    Your comments below betrays your parochial (very OCA) understanding of the Orthodox Church worldwide.

    “The cathedral church of the OCA in NY” is a small parish in a building with a lot of OCA history, but it’s a small parish. It would have closed were not two single clerics willing to take on the task of revitalizing a parish just off the Bowery in the days before the neighborhood gentrified. The OCA had been trying to sell it, in fact, but couldn’t find a buyer. It doesn’t even really play that much of a role among OCA parishes in the tristate, so I think we can dial down shock over “The Cathedral!” being impolitic. The difference between a parish priest and the primate of a local church should be obvious regarding the response appropriate to the actions of each.

    You are trying in vain to beat back the flames of this issue by saying the OCA Cathedral in NYC is just a small parish, which isn’t really true compared to most urban OCA parishes. The ill advised comments of the Cathedral dean have ignited an international response. His remarks have hit the cyber world and the printed press in Moscow. The Russian Orthodox Church has lodged formal complaints with the Assembly of Bishops as well as the Russian Mission in NY has also lodged a complaint.

    You see, 123, the Russian Church reads websites, including this one. Recently I had occasion to go to the MP Cathedral in NYC and in the small anti office, with two desks, both had Monomahkos up on the screen. They also monitor the website of the OCA and, yes, the Cathedral in NYC.

    You can’t put the genie back in the bottle on this one. Only the Cathedral dean can make amends by a full apology. He should do it quickly. He should not force the hand of his weak knee bishop who if he feels the pressure to remove him will do so (didn’t Fr Jillions go to Johnstown last year and get a copy of Bp. Michael’s ACROD file?)

    Yes, 123, there is a difference between a parish priest and a primate and in the rest of the world priests are accountable to their bishops and the bishops to the primate. Because this is woefully absent in the OCA, the rest of the world can’t understand how the OCA understands ecclesiology.

    The NYC Cathedral is a vibrant community and brought back from the brink of closure by the leadership of the current Cathedral staff.
    The infection of bad OCA ecclesiology from the top down caused a momentary decent into dumbness by the Cathedral dean, but can you fully blame him when he sees his jurisdiction’s bishops give no true vision of Orthodox ecclesiology, rather self-serving actions?

    • I would refer the ROC and the Russian Mission in NY to my comments regarding the size and standing of 2nd Street, too. If they mistake Monomakhos (and Vara, I presume) as representative views of the Orthodox world in America it’s no wonder they would take a post on a well-designed “Cathedral!” website for more than what it is. While 2nd Street may be as big as many urban OCA parishes, it’s not big by GOA standards, and it definitely doesn’t fit what a Russian would think of as a Cathedral in its largest city.

      That said, I agree 2nd Street is a vibrant community and that fact (and its very existence) is due to Fr. Christopher and the Archdeacon there, but it’s still just a small parish and has nothing like the mistaken or faux importance being placed on it online and elsewhere.

      The post was also not just about homosexuality. “Civil rights” in Russia include the response of Church and State to the Pussy Riot affair, the free press and free elections in Russia, the existence of opposition political parties, the standing of religious minorities, etc. This particular issue is a tempest in a teapot for reasons of inter-Orthodox and US-Russian maneuvering here and abroad, Vara’s single-minded and unquestioning russophilia, and the Monomakhos community’s fear of gays in high places and “liberals”.

      (FWIW, there are profound theological reasons that make Orthodoxy in America different than the ECUSA that go well beyond rite. Primarily, Orthodoxy is the Church and the ECUSA is not and never has been. The fate of that and other mainline Protestant denominations seem to be the bogeyman many are constantly fearful of when reflecting on the OCA, American Orthodoxy, and anything that hints in the direction of the ‘culture wars’.)

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      If the “Russian Church” reads this website, I just want to say “hi”!

      Seriously, I do have a question that someone might be able to answer, though. My wife and I were in Moscow in 1987 on a Finnair tour (the best travel bargain we have ever found- ever- but that’s another story). I went to a Vespers service at a small church which was in a large park not far from the Cosmos hotel. It was clearly an active church back then, although small and out of the way. I was a bit conspicuous. Does anyone know what church that might have been? I did not record the name and don’t remember it. I assume some folks here may have knowledge of Moscow at the time.

      While on that trip, I was able to attend a noontime liturgy at the church at the Alexander Nevsky monastery in [then temporarily] Leningrad. Interestingly, the (quite large) church was packed, mostly with well-dressed young and middle-aged people. I believe that this reflected to some degree the movement to the Church in late Soviet times as a way of taking a stand against the lies of the regime.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      This is why I asked if the OCA bishops were fully aware of this, because they’re going to have to deal with the repercussions.

  20. “Yes, 123, there is a difference between a parish priest and a primate and in the rest of the world priests are accountable to their bishops and the bishops to the primate.”

    Are you talking about the Roman Catholic Church (headed by Pope Francis)?

  21. M. Stankovich says

    Holy Cow, James! I’m in the hospital with a terrible fever, but I’m wondering what is the statistical probability that Momomakhos was on the screen when you slithered in? Unbelievable x5?

    There is just no other way to approach this other than with frank, unmistakable directness worthy of your manner of thinking: you, James, are a creep. Anyone who would answer the gentle observation of this individual who has witnessed the transformation of a wasted “building” into a respected and functional parish of the Orthodox Church in America is objectional. But to go further, and to utilize this humble achievement, over a protracted period of love and humility, and reduce it a threat against the fashioner of change – but wait! for the same price, we’ll double our cowardly smackdown! – and then savor a knife to the Chancellor and the “weak-kneed” Bishop Michael. You rock, buddy, You rock. You are a creep, James.

    And I’ve made a vow, James, you anonymous coward: You are exactly right that the Russians will be reading and following because I have already begun posting my essays to as many Russian religious sites as I can find. Everyone of my posts that take issue with people like you will be read. Mr. Michalopulos censors me, Fr. Hans censors me. My site won’t be censored. If you threaten the clergy, and you are on the internet, you can be found.

    • M. Stankovich says


      I write this having just returned from CAT scan, quite zooted on narcotics, and with fever of 103.4. I was, as I wrote below – an hour later – angered by your post. I wrote this, posted it, and within 1 30-second re-read, deleted it: “Do you wish to permanently delete…” “Yes” “Your post has been permanently deleted…” Well, Mr. Michalopulos, maybe not..

      Forgive me, James.

    • Michael,

      Your fever must be causing you some delusions. You sound rather panicked that somehow you must tell the world that your views are necessary. I have no idea what you are ranting about censors and such. I think you need to take a long rest. You appear to be losing control.

      “Threaten the clergy”? What are you talking about? My words don’t threaten the clergy, it is the actions of the clergy who have done wrong that threaten them. There is objective Truth, just as there is One Who is Absolute Truth. Not me, not you. He has spoken, His Church has spoken and when clergy deny that Truth by their actions, they threaten themselves.

      Michael, you really need to get a grip.

      • M. Stankovich says


        At 104.2 last evening, you might well be correct. Today is another day and I have been discharged. Sarcasm does, indeed become you, but it gives you away.

        There is nothing elitist nor grandiose about about my “views,” and I have received a surprising amount of email and messages at my site from clergy and others encouraging me to continue to speak out, particularly in regard to the interview with Archpriest George Roschin. I, for one, am happy to see that the former Soviet propagandist interviewers have again found work in the Russian Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, someone should explain that autocephaly is not “granted,” like a major league baseball franchise, but “declared” when one of the Autocephalous Churches determines that a local church has met the canonical requirements for self-governing. It is then “declared” to the other Autocephalous Churches. While the reasons are obvious, the ROC played little to no role in the establishment and direction of the OCA for more than 25 years. In fact, the ROC probably benefited more from its relationship with the Americans. And now, with a rejuvenated ROC, Archpriest George Roschin seems to be playing the [Absent] Mother Church card.

        Likewise, I have read on this site how many times, “What unilateral decisions did Metropolitan Jonah make?” Friends in the ROC informed me at the time what Fr. George Roschin notes now: “Metropolitan Jonah offered to change the canonical status of the Orthodox Church in America, with an autocephalous to autonomous within the Russian Orthodox Church.” What he does not say is that is Met. Jonah lobbied hard for the position of Metrpolitan in this new configuration until all of this was found out by ROCOR and the OCA Synod. My friends in the ROC said the Patriarch did not find the “lobbying” attractive. La fin de Jonas.

        And finally, James, when I got back from the CT scan last night, I had four messages on my phone from priests taking great offense to your direction: “Only the Cathedral dean can make amends by a full apology. He should do it quickly.” Their question, “Or what?” Thus my comment regarding what sounded to them as a threat. They all asked me if I knew who you might be, which led me to say, if you are on the internet, you can be found. Not by me, mind you, “The law is my delight! (Ps. 118:77) Many, many do not want to become a Russian Church, and while “gratitude” in any Autocephalous Church is unending, it is not leverage for silence. There is more here than meets the eye, and there is more than meets the eye to Met. Jonah. And those that urge caution, restraint, and demand respect for our Autocephaly, even from the one who declared it, know it has been a long time coming.

        Get on the bus to the ROC or ROCOR, James. This all sounds unbearable. Perhaps they’ll give you an “anti office” to monitor the situation. How’s my grip tonight?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Dr Stankovich, what you don’t seem to understand is that Metropolitan Jonah was (legally still, is) the Primate of an autocephalous church. Your continued championship of the OCA as such (even though you don’t belong to it) means that you are aware of these implications. Should Jonah be received into either ROCOR or MP, this consideration must be taken into account. I therefore question your assertion that people in ROCOR/MP were put off by Jonah’s supposed primatial exertions.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Michalopulos,

            Read, re-read, and simply for good luck, read again the extraordinary essay by Fr. Alexey Kargut, which you are so fortunate to host on your very site regarding Church governance, conciliarity and catholicity, and authority. The accountability of the Primate to the Synod of Bishops is thoroughly addressed. This was a unilateral decision. More importantly, the senior bishop in the US is Metropolitan Hilarion, who was consecrated a bishop by Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) in 1984.

            Met. Jonah has not been received into the ROC or ROCOR. Let me be emphatic here: it was not my assertion that the Patriarch was not pleased with the “lobbying.” Clergy in the ROC told me this. They said “He will not be received into the ROC.” I have heard the same from friends in ROCOR, that great offense was taken at this offering of OCA autonomy in the ROC and lobbying above the senior Metropolitan without consultation. The kindness extended to Met. Jonah has been by individual clergy, and he will not be received into ROCOR.

            You are welcome to question my assertions to your heart’s delight, Mr. Michalopulos, but these are not mine. But ask yourself, Mr. Michaopulos, what purpose was served by Archpriest George Roschin revealing this information about Met. Jonah? Nessun dorma…

            For the record, if I am home and have not worked all-night, I walk to the Greek Church. If I have worked all-night, I drive to the ROCOR parish. When I travel to do genetic research, I drive to the OCA parish.

          • “…Metropolitan Jonah was (legally still, is) the Primate of an autocephalous church.” What???? Which autocephalous church, pray tell? He did sign that resignation letter, or he once again has changed his mind? Are you channeling him? What in the world is going on?

        • Michael,

          I am glad you are out of hospital and recovering.

          Sorry to say that I made no threat to the dean of the NYC Cathedral by suggesting he apologize. Nor did I put any limits on that apology. Just like forgave you and you forgave me, sometimes the best thing to do is simply say “I am sorry.” Sometimes people apologize not for what they said but how they said it.

          I am sorry that some took my suggestion as a threat. There was no “or else or what”. I suppose if there was any “or what” it would be the chance that the dean of the Cathedral would be removed which would cause a great fissure at a place that was once dead and is now alive.

        • “Likewise, I have read on this site how many times, “What unilateral decisions did Metropolitan Jonah make?” Friends in the ROC informed me at the time what Fr. George Roschin notes now: “Metropolitan Jonah offered to change the canonical status of the Orthodox Church in America, with an autocephalous to autonomous within the Russian Orthodox Church.” What he does not say is that is Met. Jonah lobbied hard for the position of Metropolitan in this new configuration until all of this was found out by ROCOR and the OCA Synod. My friends in the ROC said the Patriarch did not find the “lobbying” attractive. La fin de Jonas.”

          So, Stokoe is confirmed once again and his detractors are put to shame! I am hugely enjoying this. 🙂

          What is much more important however are the confirmation of the core reason why the Holy Synod asked for +Jonah’s resignation: the man could not act in a conciliar fashion bur preferred to act as a lone cowboy. Here is the entire section from Father George Roschin:

          “In the Orthodox Church in America, there are different tendencies . One part of the clergy wants closer relations with Moscow , while on the other hand another distancing itself from ties with Russia and underlines the uniqueness of American Orthodoxy.

          As an example, recall the episode in October 2008 . Then Bishop Hilarion of Vienna (now Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate ) was considered as a possible candidate to the chair the widowed Orthodox Church in America. One of the statements , for example, said: “Bishop Hilarion would be a perfect candidate … If Moscow will let him administer us, what can be better to strengthen the links between the different Russian churches and even different jurisdictions in America? ‘.

          One of the signed petitions in support of the candidacy of Bishop Hilarion was recently the ordained Bishop Jonah (Paffhausen) , in the end he became Metropolitan of All America and Canada.

          Later, Metropolitan Jonah offered to change the canonical status of the Orthodox Church in America, with an autocephalous to autonomous within the Russian Orthodox Church. This tendency, along with a certain authoritarian decision was one of the reasons for the resignation [departure] of the primate on 7 July 2012 at the request of the members of the Synod of the OCA . As Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky said in a comment to “Neskuchny Sad (Garden},” : ” It did not correspond to the self-identity of the majority of our faithful , many of whom do not have any relation to the Russian community — who are Romanians , Albanians or converts from Protestant denominations .” (my emphasis)

          Where in the Tomos or the By-Laws or in the Canons is the authority of the OCA Primate to unilaterally offer to change the canonical status of the OCA? Where? I will tell you where: in the fevered imaginations of George, Helga, Nikos, etc…(the latter are perhaps one person, perhaps many, but who in the world can tell them apart?). No wonder, the Patriarch of Moscow was reported to have pulled the plug on +Jonah.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Carl, you realize of course that this is all water under the bridge, don’t you? That no other Orthodox church believes in the real autocephaly of the OCA? (Otherwise, Moscow would demand that the MP/ROCOR join it.)

  22. M. Stankovich says


    I’m in the hospital with a fever, and I admit a low tolerance for self-righteousness, but this is over the line even for you. I have begun posting comments and links to my essays to as many ROC and legitimate Russian religious sites as I possibly can. Let the those in the “ant offices” really grasp the jackass American contretemps such as yourself, with noting to offer but empty criticism; with no plan forward and no ideas for a future; and the fundamental lack of tack or wisdom to simply shut up. Critics always propose something, while jackasses only continue to bray. And you do: ceaselessly, incessantly, pointlessly, and worst of of all, hopelessly. You always begin as if you know better than the Saints themselves, and in the end… the same uninspiring, lifeless, empty, skata. Old, old, old, James. And boring. You are fresh out of dogging, dog.

  23. Michael,

    I am sorry you are in hospital with a fever, but may I ask why you feel compelled to share this or to share that you are sending what you write to every ROC religious site. Do you think like Fr. Jillions that the world is waiting to hear what you have to say? Is that same type of elitism that bores people to tears.

    I do hope to send your landmark work on Homosexuality to the Russian sites. I am sure that you will enlighten them greatly. And don’t forget to tell them that Wheeler, Arida and Jillions were your staunch supporter on “Legacy.”

    Now get some rest, drink plenty of liquids and listen to the nurses.

  24. cynthia curran says

    iven the most recent fiascos the OCA is suffering, your suggestion should be considered by the different regions in the OCA. Syosset trying to “shoe horn” parishes in the South and West into its Northeastern liberal elitism view of the Church doesn’t play well south of the Mason-Dixon line or out here on the Left Coast!
    Well, people forget that Houston Texas has an openly gay mayor, not everyone in the south is conservative: yet, folks here think everyone in the North east or California is pro-gay marriage and everyone in the south is against it. In fact Bakersfield Ca is to the right of Houston on this issue or at least Houston Democrats.

  25. Ladder of Divine Ascent says

    “Well after the media misquoted Pope Francis by incorrectly saying “Who am I to Judge” in reference to Homosexuals, Pope Frances sets the record straight, no pun intended, with his new encyclical”:

    Francis’ liberalism is always pouring out of him in ways that condemn him and the post VII church that replaced the schism that pretended to be the Catholic Church (which of course is us, “Eastern” Orthodoxy):


    Nobody reads his encyclicals, so unless he agrees with the message that “everyone is going to Heaven” (although, frankly I think this is the real Roman theology these days) then he needs to learn to better control what he says.

  26. M. Stankovich says


    Exactly! With the single caveat, with all due caution and relying on the most reasonable scientific data available to us at this time, I believe that if a definitive “answer” is to ever be discovered, it will only be discovered in the extraordinary complexity of epigenetics. And while I apologize for again appearing to be “drumming up business,” I made this point on my site in 2012 for anyone who bothered to read it:

    The emer­gent state of human genet­ics is the exam­i­na­tion of the com­plex, and at this point in our in knowl­edge and tech­nol­ogy, nearly impos­si­ble task of the role of the inter­ac­tion of genet­ics and every­thing out­side the genome: human beings as psy­cho­log­i­cal, envi­ron­men­tal, social, and spir­i­tual beings. And this is referred to as epi­ge­net­ics. We are begin­ning to under­stand that many – per­haps if not the major­ity – of what we oth­er­wise under­stood as “famil­ial,” inher­ited, or genetically-influenced human char­ac­ter­is­tics are “acti­vated” only by, or in the absence of, an exter­nal, extra-genomic event(s). While this dis­cus­sion is not specif­i­cally focused on epi­ge­net­ics, as we shall see, I will point out one recent exam­ple uti­lized by Dr. Richard Fran­cis, who weaves the theme of the epi­ge­netic effects of the Dutch famine of World War II on their cur­rent rate of obe­sity through his exam­i­na­tion of the emerg­ing sci­ence. We will undoubt­edly see more and sim­i­lar data explored.

    Likewise, if you search your or my comments, there was an exchange between us regarding the matters of “genetic influence,” “genetic determination,” “genetic predisposition,” and “genetic markers”; as I recall, you stated you were going to question me as if I were on the witness stand! At that time, I told you that the more complex the human characteristic, the less likely that a single gene with a verifiable, predictable “marker” on a given chromosome would be identifiable. I also said that, given the complexity of homosexuality, a specific gene could never be responsible. This does not mean, however, that it is not “familial” or genetically influenced – and “epigenetic” simply refers to genetic actions that necessitate influence or activity, such as methylation, to be activated or deactivated. To grossly oversimplify, you may have, as the excerpt mentioned, “miRNAs” (mini-RNA) which assist in “transcription” of coding instructions otherwise “inactivated” (think a light switch) until an external event occurs to “activate.” This can be positive – say some activity of the immune system, otherwise innocuous, were you not born where a particular disease was endemic – or signaling a cellular “repair” error that results in vulnerability to a form of cancer because your mother was exposed to an environmental agent.

    Regardless of the fact that I have never changed my opinion of reparative therapies let me state it, Peter, clearly and succinctly so it can be referred without repeatedly challenging me, and these are the words of Robert Spitzer, MD, who authored the landmark study, “Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation?” published in 2003:

    The ability to make such a choice should be considered fundamental to client autonomy and self-determination. These findings of considerable benefits and no obvious harms in the study sample suggest that the current recommendation by the American Psychiatric Association (2000) that “ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals sexual orientation” is based on a double standard: It implies that it is unethical for a clinician to provide reparative therapy because there is inadequate scientific evidence of effectiveness, whereas it assumes hat it is ethical to provide gay affirmative therapy for which there is also no rigorous scientific evidence of effectiveness and for which, like reparative therapy, there are reports and testimonials of harm (Gonsiorek, 1982; Throckmorton, 2002). The author concurs with the American Psychiatric Association Position Statement on Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) that “encourages and supports research by the National Institute of Mental Health and the academic research community to further determine ‘reparative’ therapy’s risks versus its benefits.” Clearly, it is only this kind of research that can provide the information that both clinicians and potential patients need to have to make informed decisions about reparative therapy. What is needed is a prospective outcome study of reparative therapy in which a consecutive series of volunteer individuals are evaluated before starting therapy and after several years. Such a study could provide data as to how often significant change in sexual orientation is reported. It could also examine how often individuals who are unsuccessful in the therapy are harmed in some way and the magnitude of the harm.

    As it stands under the law in the state of California, any university that enrolled human subjects in a protocol of research – albeit voluntary subjects – to investigate the potential benefits or harm of reparative-orientive therapy for homosexuality could lose funding and all licensed healthcare professionals could potentially lose their professional credentials to practice. If the subjects were minors – with an identified potentiation of suicidality and self-harm notwithstanding – they could be criminally prosecuted under the new law, as well as lose their licensing. Unless the law is changed, we cannot establish a benefit-to harm-ratio, and we cannot ethically expose patients to the possibility of harm based on anecdote. Obviously I am vehemently opposed to charlatans who conduct what they term as “reparative therapy” who present “success rates” that defy credibility and clinical experiene, the results of which are published in their own created, un-refereed “journals” where raw data is unavailable to the scientific community. The only benefit of these new laws may be that these rodents will be closed down and their litany of anecdotal harm will be ended. The law must be challenged.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      I agree with you in your assessment, but if we are to accept the epigenetic model, and support more scientific and unbiased research in this area then we must demand it not only from within the scientific community but from the culture at large. That step number one.

      Step two is to actually talk about rehabilitative therapies as being able to provide a benefit to people who truly want and seek out behavior modification in regards to their same sex desires. We have rehabilitative therapies for alcoholism and drug abuse, that are tried and tested, subject to oversight, peer review and monitoring, but we do not have the same for homosexuality.

      So everything that you have said is true, but we must now make a value judgment as to the very intrinsic worth of the homosexual lifestyle, that we have also made with alcoholism, drug abuse, and all other destructive behavior addiction that have enslaved us to our passions and desires.

      For as outside agents have acted upon us to change our behavior once they can do so again. We have now fundamentally changed the argument from a non-mutable behavior to a mutable or, at least, possibly mutable behavior. However, having said that we as a society, as well as a church, must come back to the very foundation of our moral theology in holding fast to the belief, as stated by scripture, the fathers, and the teachings of the church that homosexuality is a sin and an aberration. If we can get to that point again as a society then our scientific and therapeutic organization will invest the time and energy into properly structured and supervised rehabilitative programs for those that want to come out of homosexuality.

      As it currently stands this is not possible given the institutional positions and beliefs of our scientific institutions, and a deeply held belief that homosexuality is not problematic nor destructive. Thus, any form of positive efficacy towards rehabilitative services for men and women struggling with homosexuality will never come about.

      As I stated to you months ago it is this type of scientific and peer review and oversight that is needed to root out the charlatans, and to properly structure rehabilitative services geared towards those struggling with homosexuality, but first there must an acknowledgment that homosexuality is a problem worthy of correcting. As it stands that belief is currently non-existent or in such a small minority that proper scientific study and review of any rehabilitative services will never happen.


      • I wish I could give you 10 thumbs up.

      • M. Stankovich says


        But we cannot so focus here on science as to lose my original point: “In the beginning,” we were created “κατ’εἰκόνα θεοῦ” (Gen 1:27) as a fun­da­men­tal unity or a συμφωνία (mean­ing a unity of “sounds” that result in a sin­gle “voice”) of biol­ogy (includ­ing human genet­ics), psy­chol­ogy (includ­ing the impact of devel­op­men­tal expe­ri­ence and “events”), social (includ­ing envi­ron­men­tal events), and spir­i­tual (includ­ing one’s faith, moral­ity, integrity, tran­scen­dence, and sobri­ety) dimen­sions. These are the words of Sts. Maximus the Confessor, Simeon the New Theologian, and Gregory the Theologian and they are hardly limited to homosexuality. The “healing” of our humanity was accomplished by Him who became everything that we are – Καὶ ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο (John 1:14) – except sin, in order to restore us, biologically, psychologically, environmentally, socially, and spiritually. My point has been to emphasize the biogenetic only in as much as it my perception that it is the least understood and the most controversial, and we have relatively little open discussions in regard to bioethics.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I do not disagree. In fact, I have come to find your thoughts and perspective refreshing, and solidly within the Orthodox tradition. Unfortunately, being that we have cultivated a crusader mentality on these issues instead of living fully with the Gospel of Christ misunderstandings and mistrust arise. I humbly ask for your forgiveness, and prayers.

          Good night Michael and feel better my friend.


      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        All very interesting.

        Nobody talks much about everyday experience. I’m 65, been a lawyer for 40 years, been around the block, seen a fair amount of life. I’m not dashing enough to be a man of the world, but I am a worldly man, alas….

        I’ve known a fair number of homosexuals. Some were clearly headed that way from birth. Some would never have been homosexual if not for adolescent sexual experiences. Some have homosexual inclinations along with heterosexual ones, and, again their behavior turns a lot on early experience.

        With some, there is little or no element of choice in their attractions. With many, it’s optional, or was at some stage.

        The “born this way” stuff is true only for a subset. The rest is propaganda and politics. This is among the reasons to resist “normalization” strongly.

        These are my non-scientific observations. With women, the question is very complex, and often has a lot to do with treatment by men in life.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Mortiss,

          When I read your “non-scientific observations” I thought, they are not unlike so many of us. But what is so startling to me is the “secondary” observation and the secondary loss we experience as men. I wrote this on Fr. Han’s site, and with Mr. Michaopolus’ indulgence, I post it as a response to you:

          My contention is that, while homosexuality is a direct consequence of the fall of our humanity, so is the fall of our male gender and what we perversely term our “masculinity.” It seems the predominant theory is that “boys” necessarily must be “masculinized” over a course of developmental actualization, modeled by “masculine men” (e.g. father, siblings, male friends) who awaken innate, but otherwise dormant appropriate gender roles. Deficits in this modeling could predict “weak­ness in male con­fi­dence” and is dan­ger­ous to our “devel­op­ing” male chil­dren – inca­pable of dis­cern­ment – leaving them some­how “vul­ner­a­ble” to per­sua­sion, all of which “are major uncon­scious fac­tors in the devel­op­ment of same-sex attrac­tions.” Now, is this some “psycho-babble” from the fringe? No. This comes from the August 2011 edition of a prominent Roman Catholic medical journal The Linacre Quarterly [Kle­po­nis, PC and Fitzgib­bons, RP. ”The dis­tinc­tion between deep-seated homo­sex­ual ten­den­cies and tran­si­tory same-sex attrac­tions in can­di­dates for sem­i­nary and reli­gious life.” Linacre Quar­terly. Vol­ume 78, Num­ber 3. August, 2011. pp. 355–362.]

          So, you have to think, according to the last census, more than 50% of all first marriages in the US end in divorce, nearly 50% of all “new” marriages in the US are the 2nd or greater marriage, and less than 50% of custodial mothers receive the court-ordered child supported to which they are entitled. Single-female head of household families among African Americans and Hispanics are widely described and we need not go there. I mention all these things for one reason: the likely absence of the father’s phys­i­cal pres­ence. Certainly, some boys are role-modeled by “proxies,” but there is no evidence whatsoever that a “paucity” of gender role-modeling affects gender or sexuality. If it were the case, we would inundated with homosexuality, yet the prevalence remains virtually unchanged. And you want to be stunned by “role-modeling,” I recommend Prof. George Barriois, friend of Fr. Florovsky, and author of Jesus Christ in the Temple from SVS Press, who wrote with such delight of “He Who was God before the ages,” seated as a child (Ἰησοῦς ὁ παῖς) in the Temple at the feet of elders, “listening to them and asking them questions” (Lk. 2:4 ff) of the very words He had spoken to them in the Scripture! Imagine!

          But in my mind, the greatest tragedy is the loss of fraternity among men. Essential, loving, non-sexualized fraternity. We need and we desire affection, warmth, love, support, and fraternity from same-gender relationships. But somehow in this corrupted, twisted brokenness of our fallen world, the action of Ham (Gen 9:22) has played out as a “psychodynamic” abhorrence for the intimacy that we desire; that Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) described as, “we can no longer imagine a state of innocence growing into a state of holiness… and rather than want­ing to under­stand and to know the world from within [our] com­mu­nion with God,” we attempt to “under­stand and to know the world and [our­selves] by our own means.” Western men experience the discomfort, the fear of “being observed” as affectionate, the display and sharing of emotions, that Middle Eastern and Slavic men kiss one another on the mouth, that David would say over the dead Johnathan, “your love to me was won­der­ful, pass­ing the love of women.” (2 Sam. 1:26); or that Jonathan would be described as “bind­ing” with David because he “loved him as his own soul (ψυχὴν ἀγαπῶντος αὐτόν).” (1 Sam. 18:1) is so terrifying as to be “miscast” as homosexuality. But in either case, a presumption that a non-sexualized same-gender relationship like David & Jonathan is a “special capacity” so freakish is wrong, shamefully wrong, as Met. Anthony noted, because of our lack of faith; because of our resistance and reliance on “our own means.” I believe that we, as men, neither admit, nor do we mourn “absolutely no deep human connection with another person” when we perceive no other mechanism of “connection” but sexuality. And when sexuality is not the “ontological link of love with the Head of the Body,” as spoken of by the Ecumenical Patriarch, it ultimately results in isolation and darkness.

          All of us are called to the same path, with no exceptions nor distinctions: a life of chastity. And unfortunately, this word sophrosyne [σωφροσύνη]has been reduced to infer simply “sexual abstinence” thereby missing the richness of its greater meaning which is “singlemindedness,” or “balance.” revealing rather the victory is in the struggle.”

          And my thanks & compliments to Mr. Bauman for his addendum: “Chastity is purity of heart and soul out of love for God not just a moralistic abstinence from sex.”

          • Michael Bauman says

            MS, I am pleased we have common ground here. The loss of non-sexual male companionship on any but the grossest of levels is a tragedy. (We can spit, scratch, knock heads get drunk and kill with each other but not much of anything else).

            By glorifying lust for the last 60 years or so we have made men into sexual beasts while castrating us as true heads–rogue elephants all. At the same time we’ve made women into either erstatz men or sluts.

            Community, culture, children and our fundamental humanity suffers as a result.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I hadn’t said anything about male role-modeling, but I think that it is a thing of great importance. I say this as the oldest of five brothers (plus a sister), children of very fine parents and who consider their dad to have been in many ways a great man. They had been married 53 years when our mom died.

            His dad, our granddad, and our grandma were also great role models. We hunted a lot with our granddad, and I knew him closely until his death when I was 29. They had been married 56 years at his death.

            My wife and I were married at 19 and have 46 years in. We have 5 grown children, in their 40s and 30s, two of them boys. Between them, they have 12 children. One of my girls has already been married 23 years, another 15. We start young and get down to business!

            I believe strong role-modeling by both father and mother is of the utmost importance in countless ways. I do doubt, as you seem also to do, that in and of itself this has much to do with sexual orientation, although I conclude that it may to some degree. But it has a lot to do with the forming of lasting and stable relationships with members of the opposite sex, and in turn, strong families.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Just to clarify I agree that there should be, and must be intense study into reparative therapies, but if the institutional and societal belief is that there is nothing to repair then those studies will never occur.

      I believe we may be agreement on this matter.


  27. In these times the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall onto the world. One nation shall face-off against another. Peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. The church leaders will consider useless anything concerned wit salvation, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks, and they will despise any such concern. All will show eagerness and energy for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They’ll be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they’ll not have any interest to imitate them, nor even to hear them. But rather they will complain and say that “if we had lived in those times, then we’d have behaved like that”. And the bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man’s rights will not be defended, they’ll afflict widows, and harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most won’t believe in God, they’ll hate each other and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other, they’ll be drunk and will walk about as blind.

    The disciple again asked: What can we do, in such a state?

    And Elder Pambo answered: My child, in these times whoever will save his soul and prompt others to be saved will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Abba Pambo, died 385 AD

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