Well, We Have a Bishop

That’s about the best way to explain yesterday’s announcement about the new Bishop of Dallas and the South, given as it was announced in such a passive, off-handed tone. It literally couldn’t have been more underwhelming.

Please understand, I have no ill-will towards Bishop Alexander Golitzin of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese. I imagine few people in the Diocese of the South do for that matter. What we do have in the wake of his “election” is bewilderment. Huh? He wasn’t even on the ballot! His appointment to our widowed Diocese came so far out of left field that it wasn’t even from the same ballpark.

Make no mistake, His Grace is a fine man as far as it goes. A first-class, erudite scholar who studied under Metropolitan Kallistos Ware and spent some time on Mount Athos, I’ve also heard that he’s big on missions. Those are good things in and of themselves. They certainly give me cause for hope as erudition and monastic formation are important to me.

That’s all on the plus side of the ledger. Politically, I imagine he’s somewhat out of step with the majority of the people in the South but that’s never been a deal breaker for me. All things being equal, I’ve always felt that Christians should keep their political opinions outside of the Church. Like Jefferson, their religion should influence their politics, not the other way around.

Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury anymore, even in the South. Recently, the Governor of Georgia vetoed a religious freedom bill under the immense pressure of Gay, Inc. and all its secular auxiliaries. Since our Diocese includes Georgia, it’s hard to imagine how an Orthodox (or Catholic or Protestant) bishop is going to provide theological protection for his flock in that State unless he’s a rock-ribbed traditionalist who is willing to go to prison. (Again, The Manhattan Declaration proves to be prophetic.) Hopefully, we won’t get to that point anytime in the near future, perhaps the Supreme Court can invalidate the governor’s veto, I don’t know. Regardless, it doesn’t look good.

That’s all down the road however. For now, we have to ask ourselves: why was the Bishop of Toledo also given the South?

The answers I suppose are manifold: first, I believe that this decision was made in fear. That is, that there was a need to bring the South to heel and to make sure that the money keeps flowing to Syosset. Under the Venerable Dmitri Royster of thrice-blessed memory, our beloved Diocese charted its own way and thanks to Dmitri’s insistence on preaching Christ in every sermon, our little Diocese experienced exponential growth and became financially viable.

A mention must be made at this point about our treasurer, the recently retired Milos Konjevich. Together with his steady hand, the financial priority of the South was the planting of missions. Central administration in Syosset was secondary. How can I put this delicately? Missions came first, remittances to Syosset, in due time. (I’ll let you read between the lines on that one.) Equally as important, we were the first (and so far only) Diocese to eliminate the dreaded head tax.

Secondly, it reflects a dearth of vision in Syosset. The fact that it gave the South to an already consecrated bishop from a different geographical region means that they don’t believe that there are qualified candidates in the clerical ranks. Or more likely, ones that they can trust. Such pettifoggery is reminiscent of the bad old days of American Orthodoxy when the different ethnic jurisdictions recruited mediocre, Old World bishops whose only claim to fame was that they came from the right Old Country. We saw an indication of this in the OCA when in 1970, Bishop Dmitri Royster was the overwhelming choice for its first primate. Unfortunately, he was passed over in favor of Bishop Theodosius Lazor, solely because the former was an American convert while the latter was a member of the “right” ethnic group. And we saw how wonderfully that worked out for the OCA as a whole.

This lack of vision, which is nothing less than a reversion to immigrant Orthodox form, is going to make explaining the mission of the OCA to our Orthodox brethren even more difficult. How can the OCA legitimately claim to be a missionary, autocephalous Church if it wont elect bishops from the ranks of its various Dioceses? It’s laughable really, especially if it can’t even abide by the plain words of its own Statute. The nomination of bishops by the Dioceses and the necessity of the Holy Synod to confine themselves to those candidates who have electoral pluralities (if not outright majorities) is also clear.

Simply put, Bishop Alexander Golitzin’s placement when he wasn’t even a candidate no less, delegitimizes the OCA’s mission statement in the eyes of the ethnic jurisdictions. Worse, the continued existence of ethnic exarchates within the OCA makes a mockery of the concept of territoriality.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been seven long years since the DOS has had a ruling bishop. Too long. That of course is another scandal in and of itself. I’m glad to have finally have a ruling bishop. In that sense I suppose you can say that the glass is half-full. That still doesn’t erase the scandal of our extended widowhood. There’s no way that anybody can convince me that there hasn’t been an acceptable candidate, one who jumped through all the right hoops, took the time to visit every corner of the DOS and provided solid pastoral oversight. And more importantly, one who was beloved by the people of the South.

Didn’t Syosset think of that? Everybody understood that whoever was elected would have awfully big shoes to fill. Whoever was the second Bishop of Dallas and the South was going to always be compared with the founder of our Diocese. Wouldn’t it have been better for that man to at least have had the running start that was given to Archimandrite Gerasim Eliel, who proved himself more than adequate to the task? Syosset is doing His Grace no favors in this selection.

I may very well be wrong, but I see very little upside to this. I certainly don’t have any confidence that Syosset thought this through. Of course, I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. In the meantime, I will pray for His Grace and our Diocese.


  1. Dallas-ite says

    i haven’t been in here in years… had to come back because i cannot for the life of me wrap my head around the decision.

    Once again the Synod has made Lent all that much harder on us here in the South. They are very good at that. We really love Fr Gerasim and thought he would have been a great fit and good leader for us. I sincerely hope they do not move him away from us after all this. That would be cruel.

    EDITED: April Fools is tomorrow… maybe this was an early joke on the Synod’s part?!?!

    • Michael Warren says

      I am the last person to recommend OCA parishes leaving the canonical church for any other jurisdiction which has planted itself on our territory, especially ROCOR. As I have made it clear time and again, I view ROCOR as quasi-schismatic and a burden borne by the Mother Church. However, after giving this prospect some thought, it might be a useful consideration.

      1). +Alexander (Golitzin) is a Uniate, a person untrustworthy and unfaithful to the Church, definitely out of the mainstream of world Orthodoxy and a diametric opposite to the Southern American, traditional orientation of the Diocese of the South. Accepting him as Bishop of this important diocese will cement the 45+ Renovationist record of failure and destruction. I feel that strongly about it. This man at first opportunity will promote Renovationism, Unia, while clamping down on those opposed to him. This is the type who will depose and excommunicate by fax machine and steal parishes from 75%+ of the parishoners with Vatican and Istanbul attorneys. He represents the worst in episcopal temperament and infidelity to Orthodoxy the OCA has to offer. He is the South’s coming nightmare.
      2). The Diocese of the South needs to form lay brotherhoods, sisterhoods and clerical leadership committees to engage media, retain legal representation and interface with elected representatives to prepare for the coming onslaught and radical assault on its Orthodox observance and fidelity. To defend itself from fraud, embezzlement and dissolution.
      3). These organizations can form combined working groups to a). Present terms to Syosset. b). Keep the parishoners in the South aware of what is going on. c). Create a vision statement going forward. d). Respectfully decline the candidacies of such renegade, heretical candidates as +Alexander to e). Establish a self-governing autonomous status for the Diocese of the South not unlike the Romanian Archdiocese, where statutes and bylaws can be written in establishing the sovereign rights and responsibilities of the Diocese of the South in administering an independent, missionary diocese, free of the meddling of a Syosset-Crestwood out of control.
      4).Combined working groups should meet with a ROCOR/MP representation to discuss autocephaly, the role of the Diocese of the South, the possibility of episcopal consecrations and autonomy in the instance Syosset refuses to address the needs and orientation of the South with appropriate sensitivity and respect for its Orthodox orientation.
      5). The combined working groups should also establish compacts with the Antiochian Archdiocese of Wichita to promote a balanced and diverse resolution to Syosset-Crestwood authoritarian policies while at the same time cementing permanent mutual aid/mutual defense compacts with Antiochian organisms.
      6). The combined working groups should also contact ACROD, Serbian, Bulgarian and Ukrainian canonical administrations to negotiate recognition of an autonomous Diocese of the South and permanent cooperative relationships with it.
      7). Where Pan Orthodox consecrations of three Bishops for the Diocese of the South will transpire. This emerging synod will then assume autonomous administration of the Diocese and send its own representatives to the Assembly of Bishops.
      8). The autonomous Diocese of the South will act as an ethnic Diocese of the OCA and maintain parishes throughout the OCA which adhere to its particular American and traditionalist orientation. Acting as an American administrative corollary to ethnic administrations such as the Romanian Archdiocese. The Diocese will transition to a local church model of liturgics, architecture, iconography, chant, spirituality, Orthodox customs and theological orientation, representing the Amero-Byzantinism of the Diocese.
      9). The Diocese of the South will establish its own Pan Orthodox monasteries, convents, seminaries, religious institutions and will gradually cease to send all cathedraticums and financial and administrative support to Syosset-Crestwood.
      10). In the event of either rescinding of the Tomos and OCA accession to Istanbul administration and/or intercommunion with the papacy and Unia, the Diocese of the South will cease its constituency in the OCA and rely on compacts negotiated with other Orthodox jurisdictions to maintain an autonomous administration committed to the missionary success of the autocephalous, local North American church, affirming fidelity to Orthodoxy.

      I think this is what the Diocese of the South must do to survive and thrive. It needs to kick Syosset-Crestwood to the curb. It needs to go its own way. This will either help the OCA get back on track and/or it will redefine what the OCA mission in North America is with a more faithful model.

      • Michael Warren says

        The Announcement of the Extraordinary Joint Conference of the Sacred Community of the Holy Mount Athos
        The Extraordinary Joint Conference of the Sacred Community on Mount Athos, April 9/22, 1980, noting that the issue of the relations of our holy Orthodox Church with the heterodox has assumed a serious and resolute character, especially as it relates to the dialogue with Roman Catholics, has resolved publicly to state the opinion of the Athonite fathers on this subject for general consideration:

        1. We believe that our holy Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, which possesses the fulness of grace and truth and, in consequence thereof, unbroken apostolic succession.

        On the contrary, the “churches” and “confessions” of the West, having in many ways perverted the Faith of the Gospel, the apostles and the fathers, are deprived of sanctifying grace, of real mysteries and apostolic succession. That this is correct, His Eminence, Metropolitan Maximos of Stavropolis stresses: “Orthodoxy is not one of the churches, but The Church herself. She has preserved precisely and authentically the teaching of Christ in its pristine splendor and in all its purity. Over and above a simple, unbroken histoncal continuity and consistency there exists in her a spiritual and ontological authenticity. The same Faith, the same Spirit, the same life. It is this which constitutes the distinguishing feature of Orthodoxy and which justifies her claim that she is and remains The Church” (Episkepsis, #227, March 15, 1980).

        2. Dialogue with the heterodox is not reprehensible from the Orthodox point of view if its goal is to inform them of the Orthodox Faith and, thus, make it possible for them thereby to return to Orthodoxy when they receive divine enlightenment and their eyes are opened.

        3. Theological dialogue must not in any way be linked with prayer in common, or by joint participation in any liturgical or worship services whatsoever; or in other activities which might create the impression that our Orthodox Church accepts, on the one hand, Roman Catholics as part of the fulness of the Church, or, on the other hand, the Pope as the canonical bishop of Rome. Activities such as these mislead both the fulness of the Orthodox people and the Roman Catholics themselves, fostering among them a mistaken notion as to what Orthodoxy thinks of their teaching.

        The Holy Mountain is grievously disturbed by the tendency of certain Orthodox hierarchs who have been invited to participate in Roman Catholic services, celebrations and processions, especially on the occasion of the return of holy relics. Conversely, we congratulate those hierarchs who have publicly expressed their alarm for the fulness of Orthodoxy.

        4. We express our complete approval of what His All-Holiness. the Ecumenical Patriarch said during the visit of the Pope to Constantinople, namely that there exist various impediments between Orthodox and Roman Catholics: “First of all, we have serious theological problems which concern fundamental principles of the Christian faith” (Episkepsis, #221, Dec. 1, 1979, p. 17). These divergences in the principles of the Christian faith requires that we do not advance to participation in common liturgies and worship services before oneness of faith is attained. The mystical character of the kiss of peace during the divine Eucharist always presupposes harmony of faith: “Let us love one another that with one mind we may confess … ” We cannot pray together, especially during the Divine Liturgy, when we do not believe in the same faith and are separated by fundamental questions of faith. Only an indifference to the faith could permit us to do so.

        Moreover, the Holy Mountain cannot accept the opinion, expressed in the joint statement of the Patriarch and the Pope, concerning the “cleansing of the historical memory of our Churches” and the partial opening, by means of a dialogue of love, of the road towards “new movements in theological work and a new attitude to the past which is common to both Churches” (Episkepsis, ibid., p. 19). Actually, the heretics must cleanse their own historical memory of all their own historically acknowledged deviations in faith and practice from the true, evangelical Orthodox Faith. On the contrary, the historical memory of the Orthodox, which is based on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and on the constant experience of the apostolic faith of the God-bearing Fathers, must be lived by all of us in repentance and humility, and must instruct us both in the present and in the future life if we do not wish to fall from that faith. As Orthodox we must cleanse ourselves by means of the historical memory of the Church, but not “cleanse” her with an egotistical and anthropocentric spirit, setting ourselves up as judges of the Tradition of the Church.

        5. The Holy Mountain is convinced, not without great anxiety, that although the Orthodox are making many concessions and compromises to the Roman Catholics, the latter antithetically continue to adhere to their own errors which have served as the cause of their schism from the Orthodox Church and later led to the Protestant split. Thus, the Pope, during his visit to the center of Orthodoxy in the patriarchal cathedral, did not in the least hesitate to proclaim that he was coming to Constantinople as the successor of Peter, “who as the ultimate authority has the responsibility of superintending the unity of all, to guarantee the agreement of the Church of God in fidelity and in the ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ (Jude 3)” (Episkepsis, ibid., p. 9). In other words, the Pope defended (papal) infallibility and primacy; and there are many other actions and manifestations which the Pope has effected on behalf of uniatism. We remember the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Greek Government and the Vatican which, even though it may justify papism, is unjust and strikes out at the Mother and Nourisher of our [Greek] nation, the Orthodox Church.

        6. The Holy Mountain also expresses its anxiety over the constituency of the commission for the dialogue. Uniates comprise a portion of the Roman Catholic delegation, a fact which is a provocation for the Orthodox. The sensibilities and dignity of the Orthodox delegation demand the immediate substitution of others in place of the uniates in the membership.

        No Orthodox whose manner of thinking corresponds to this faith can agree to participate in a commission which includes uniates.

        Likewise, the Holy Mountain is disturbed by the great weakness and insufficiency of the Orthodox delegation. The most remarkable Orthodox theologians are not participating. The Holy Mountain is also not represented, despite the fact that it is the sole monastic center which preserves the faith and the theology of the Fathers, and which is far removed from the influence of secularism and scholastic Western theology.

        7. From the Orthodox point of view there is no justification for optimism in regard to the dialogue, and for this reason no haste should be exhibited concerning it. The Roman Catholics are pressing the dialogue, hoping to strengthen themselves by annexing Orthodoxy to themselves, for they are confronted by very powerful internal disturbances and crises, as is well known. The number of former Roman Catholics who have converted to Orthodoxy also disturbs them. But Orthodoxy has no reason to hasten towards dialogue since the papists remain so obdurate and immovable as regards infallibility, uniatism, and the rest of their pernicious teachings.

        Hastening the dialogue under such conditions is equivalent to spiritual suicide for the Orthodox. Many facts give the impression that the Roman Catholics are preparing a union on the pattern of a unia. Can it be that the Orthodox who are hastening to the dialogue are conscious of this?

        The Holy Mountain maintains that for it there can be no question of accepting a fait accompli, that, by the grace of God, it will remain faithful, as the Lord’s Orthodox people, to the faith of the holy apostles and the holy Fathers, impelled to this also by love for the heterodox, to whom real help is given only when the Orthodox show them the vastness of their spiritual sickness and the means of its cure by maintaining a consistently Orthodox position.

        The unsuccessful attempts in the past with regard to union must teach us that steadfast unity in the truth of the Church, in accordance with the will of God, presupposes a different preparation and a path distinct from that taken in the past and from that which, apparently, is now being taken.

        All of the superiors and representatives of the twenty sacred and pious monasteries of the Holy Mountain of Athos at the Extraordinary Joint Conference.

        • Amen.

          It appears that they will resolve to anathematize those participants in the council who sign on to any statement like the preparatory one regarding the heterodox. Also, they may all be contemplating cessation of commemoration of Pat. Bartholomew. It is truly inspirational.

          • Anonymous says

            What post are you reading?

            Bart wasn’t installed until 1991 and the article was written in 1980 according to the poster. So, you infer from a 36 year old essay that they might be thinking about stopping commemorating Bart who was installed 11 years later(no, that’s not stretching the word conjecture) and then you call that conjecture inspiring? Perhaps the op can come up with a better word than conjecture because frankly I’ve never seen conjecture taken so far.

          • The announcement of from 1980.

  2. I only wish they’d elevated Fr. Robert Arida to the Episcopate and made him bishop of the DOTS. Then my wife and I wouldn’t feel the need to wait a few years until our godly, much-beloved priest retires BEFORE we leave the OCA.

  3. Tommy Katsarellis says

    Hey BT, what goes around, comes around. Anyway, + Alexander has an IQ that is totally off the charts. He does very well in engaging with Protestants and those seeking the Orthodox Church. His “over-seeing” the DOS does not mean he will be there forever, but help in the further transition from + Dimitri. This should not be looked at as a negative, but a positive for the DOS.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Tommy, are you replying to my message:
      (Congratulations on being sent a new ruling Bishop, someone you didn’t even have to go to the bother of nominating!!!!!!).
      How does “Hey BT, what goes around, etc” relate to that?

      This is a great plus for Bishop Alexander. I remember how the late Archbishop Job campaigned in the Holy Synod for the ruling Bishop of the Albanian Diocese, Bishop Nikon, to be made the ruling Bishop of a second diocese because the Albanian Diocese was “too small and poor” to provide an “appropriate salary for him: New England would provide that appropriate salary. Perhaps this was the precedent for arbitrarily electing Bishop Alexander of the little Bulgarian Diocese to rule a second diocese, the Diocese of the South. However, in the first case, Archbishop Job did travel to New England to campaign for Bishop Nikon before he was nominated and elected. Now we see how the Holy Synod has PROVIDENTIALLY cut through all that canonical red tape and just apparently concluded the process of reviewing the last elective assembly of that orphaned diocese, held years ago!
      I only pray for Bishop Alexander. The Diocese of the South is not all The Heavenly Kingdom on Earth. Whoever inherited the diocese would have to think about cleaning house in the home of Frs Gladky, Tutko, Crosby, a Bishop and an Archdeacon and so on, etc., etc.!
      By the way, George is mistaken: The Diocese of the West’s Diocesan Assessment was calculated proportionally since before I became its Bishop, but we did not take the old judaic tithe as the model, but voted on the percentage every year. there were only a few years when the Diocese of ths South was the only Diocese assessing proportionally to parishes’ incomes! Southern Exceptionalism again!

      • Bishop Tikhon, i think you have answered the riddle for us. While you try to distance yourself from the Holy Synod you reveal their mentality and attitude towards Archbishop Dmitri and his flock., one that I witnessed personally having had the opportunity to be at several events where they, the synod, where present. They dislike and outright disdain him and his diocese.

      • Tommy Katsarellis says

        I do hope that the institutional memory of the OCA and DOW in particular, isn’t completely dead. BT, when you were being considered for the Bishop of the West along with Alexander Golitzin, a campaign was waged that wasn’t very nice. Many rumors were flying about Golitzin that were traced back to you. We all knew that + Dimitri was pushing you forward as the preferred candidate, but Golitzin was the “home town” candidate who suffered greatly due to rumors and innuendo. However, the Holy Spirit does work in strange ways and quite possibly, Golitzin wasn’t ready for the episcopate office at the time. This does not excuse what happened and what was said during his consideration for the office of the DOW.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Tommy, you are either manufacturing history or listening to someone who manufactured history. We suffered for a long time, after Bishop Basil got his just desserts, with temporary administrators. I think we had a greater succession of temporary administrators than the South has recently had: Dmitri, Boris,Herman, Job. I was always a district dean or the chancellor in those periods. Many years before, however, when my name had been proposed as an episcopal candidate, I wrote to the then Chancellor and informed him that I would never ever take ONE STEP to qualify as a bishop, so I remained “out of the running for years. However, after a long period of these temporary administrators,I asked Archpriest Basil Rhodes (then the Chancellor (and a very close friend of Father Alexander Golitzin, as he remains today) to intercede at the All American Council to be held in D.C. with Metropolitan Theodosius and explain we wanted to elect a Bishop and we had a candidate: Fr Alexander Golitzin, who was perfectly, even ideally qualified to be our bishop. At the council, Fr Basil did just that. Later I asked him what happened. He said MetropolitanTheodosius said he agreed but he did not want to have yet one more diocesan election with only one approved candidate, that is, with no CHOICE: If Father Basil could persuade Fr Stephen to be a second candidate, we could have an election! Then I caved in. and we subsequently held a special election assembly with Bishop Job presiding. I remember as if it were yesterday, how I and Bishop Alexander walked TOGETHER to put our ballots in the ballot box. Fr Alexander surprised me by grabbing my hand and squeezing it as we approached the box. Tommy. my boy, I was SURE we had cinched the election of Fr Alexander! But, no, somehow I got the majority of votes! Don’t ask me the exact number: it’s on the record somewhere. I assured myself that, since I didn’t have a two-thirds majority, I might still escape, and that the Synod could now elect Father Alexander and no one could claim his election was a pre-determined farce, rather than a real election. However, as we all know now, the Synod did NOT elect Fr Alexander: they elected me, Fr Stephen Fitzgerald!. Tommy, if there were rumors, as I hear FOR THE FIRST TIME FROM YOU, about Fr Alexander I’ve never heard them!
          Tommy! Why don’t you check with ANY of Fr Alexander’s friends among the senior clergy of the Diocese of the West, with Fr Basil Rhodes in particular, and thereby learn facts rather than the garbage and tripe you are purveying here?
          I would like to know, Tommy, what rumors you are referring to, for I know of NONE from those years! Spill it, unless you’ve imagined them!

    • Seraphim98 says

      Why would any sane Orthodox believer want to transition from Archbishop Dimitri, especially now that there is evidence (granted not conclusive) that can easily be construed as pointing to his eventual sainthood? We must build upon his legacy, and grow…but transition from…no, just no. You might as well say Antioch needs to transition away from Sts. Peter and Ignatius. That’s not the way it works when God sends you a true pastor and grace filled bishop. That would just be silly. If however His Grace Bishop Alexander can help us transition away from Syossett, well, that’s worth serious consideration.

      • Michael Warren says

        The only thing Uniate +Alexander’s sitting on the cathedra of the Diocese of the South will achieve is the growth of ROCOR in the South.

        • Seraphim98 says

          I keep encountering this assertion Bishop Alexander has uniate leanings. What is this based upon, and has he spoken to his detractors on these points?

          • Michael Warren says

            Whilst being under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, he supported its unionist initiatives. He did so at Notre Dame. He even supported such ludicrous things as the Bulgarian government erecting a statue to a heretical pope in Bulgaria in response to the outcry of faithful Orthodox Christians.

            +Alexander’s MO ever since he was involved with charismatics in Northern California is to denounce and ridicule the critics, engage in personal attacks and character assassination and then flee the topic. Just like we have seen with Stankovich and the Crestwood clowns here.

            That is the type of intemperant, authoritarian the Diocese of the South got to “get it into line.”

            I say to the Diocese of the South play hardball and send +Alexander packing while you still can and while it still matters.

          • Michael Warren says

            North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Issues Agreed Statement On Filioque, A Question That Divided The Two Communions For Many Centuries

            October 28, 2003

            WASHINGTON (October 28, 2003) — The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation concluded a four-year study of the Filioque on October 25, when it unanimously adopted an agreed text on this difficult question that has divided the two communions for many centuries. This important development took place at the 65th meeting of the Consultation, held at St. Paul’s College in Washington, DC, under the joint chairmanship of Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh and Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk of Cincinnati.

            The original version of the Creed most Christian churches accept as the standard expression of their faith dates from the First Council of Constantinople, in 381, and has been used by Orthodox Christians since that time. Towards the end, this Creed states that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father.” The word Filioque (“and the Son”) was later added to the Latin version of this Creed used in the West, so that the phrase as most western Christians know it reads that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” This modification appeared in some areas of western Europe as early as the 6th century but was accepted in Rome only in the 11th century. This change in the wording of the Creed and the underlying variations in understanding the origin and procession of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity have long been considered a church-dividing issue between Catholics and Orthodox. The Consultation had been studying this question since 1999 in the hope of eventually releasing an agreed statement.

            Entitled “The Filioque: A Church-Dividing Issue?”, the ten-thousand word text has three major sections. The first, “The Holy Spirit in the Scriptures,” summarizes references to the Spirit in both the Old and New Testaments. The more lengthy second section, “Historical Considerations,” provides an overview of the origins of the two traditions concerning the eternal procession of the Spirit and the slow process by which the Filioque was added to the Creed in the West. It also shows how this question concerning Trinitarian theology became entwined with disputes regarding papal jurisdiction and primacy, and reviews recent developments in the Catholic Church which point to a greater awareness of the unique and normative character of the original Greek version of the Creed as an expression of the faith that unites the Orthodox East and Catholic West. The third section, “Theological Reflections,” emphasizes our limited ability to speak of the inner life of God, points out that both sides of the debate have often caricatured the positions of the other, and lists areas in which the traditions agree. It then explores the differences that have developed regarding terminology, and identifies both theological and ecclesiological divergences that have arisen over the centuries.

            In a final section, the Consultation makes eight recommendations to the members and bishops of the two churches. It recommends that they “enter into a new and earnest dialogue concerning the origin and person of the Holy Spirit.” It also proposes that in the future both Catholics and Orthodox ” refrain from labeling as heretical the traditions of the other side” on this subject, and that the theologians of both traditions make a clearer distinction between the divinity of the Spirit, and the manner of the Spirit’s origin, “which still awaits full and final ecumenical resolution.” The text also urges theologians to distinguish, as far as possible, the theological issues concerning the origin of the Holy Spirit from ecclesiological issues, and suggests that attention be paid in the future to the status of councils of both our churches that took place after the seven ecumenical councils of the first millennium. And finally, in view of the fact that the Vatican has affirmed the “normative and irrevocable dogmatic value of the Creed of 381” in its original Greek version, the Consultation recommends that the Catholic Church use the same text (without the Filioque) “in making translations of that Creed for catechetical and liturgical use,” and declare that the anathema pronounced by the Second Council of Lyons against those who deny that the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son is no longer applicable. …

            …In addition to the two co-chairmen, the Orthodox members of the Consultation include … Father Alexander Golitzin. …


            • Carl Kraeff says

              From your lengthy quotation: “in view of the fact that the Vatican has affirmed the “normative and irrevocable dogmatic value of the Creed of 381” in its original Greek version, the Consultation recommends that the Catholic Church use the same text (without the Filioque) “in making translations of that Creed for catechetical and liturgical use,” and declare that the anathema pronounced by the Second Council of Lyons against those who deny that the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son is no longer applicable. ” How does this excerpt prove anything but that we were and are right? If Bishop Alexander had any part of this RC concession, I would think that we would thank him instead of slandering him.

              • Michael Warren says

                Then why did JPII reinterpret the filioque and all talk of removing it by the pope, this consultation and +Alexander cease? Where has +Alexander called for the pope and the papal church to convert to Orthodoxy? The ecclesiological position of this consultation is that the Orthodox and papists are sister churches, two lungs of the Church in schism, which must reunite under CHRIST’s vicar, the pope, in order to restore the unity of the Church, where the Orthodox are called to make concessions and affirm Roman primacy. Filioque isn’t anything +Alexander in all his supposed scholarship has brought to the papists with insistence on the Orthodox teaching. Especially since other documents have called it “a valid triadological formulation.” Unia by branch theory ecumenism is all +Alexander is about: that is uniatism, not Orthodoxy.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  The point here is that this particular citation of yours does not support your idea that it (the citation) supports your slander against a hierarch of a canonical Orthodox Church. Here is one premise that has been proven wrong. In formal deductive logic, that means that your conclusion is wrong. Of course, it is possible that you start with the premise that His Grace Alexander, Bishop of Dallas and the South and the Bulgarian Diocese, is a “intemperant, authoritarian” person and a Trojan horse for the Vatican. I have no idea what sort of perverted thought process goes on in your mind, but I am scandalized not only by your repeated slanderous accusations against my bishop, but also by your call for my diocese, the Diocese of the South to “play hardball and send +Alexander packing,” that is, to be disobedient to our Holy Synod and thus to create a schism. I pray that you cease and desist.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    Syosset-Crestwood, the premise of +Alexander being a Uniate is supported by the document you poorly understood and argued. I suggest you reread the quote provided for you which insists on:
                    1). Disregarding the filioque as a reason for breaching communion with the papist church and/or rejecting papal primacy.
                    2). Suggesting that the Orthodox were wrong in insisting upon condemnation of the filioque, that filioque is not heresy.
                    3). To assert that both the Orthodox Church and the papist church are in schism, are both churches comprising the Church, and are called to reunite under the pope without papal or papist conversion to Orthodoxy.
                    4). That in the future the Orthodox are tasked with the papists to develop a new pneumatology using the Uniate formulations of Lyons and Florence as a means of approaching the filioque. That is Uniatism. +Alexander supports this model of reunion. Therefore, he is a Uniate.

                    +Alexander’s work on this dialogue had led to statements calling for Unia predicated on heretical, ecumenist, branch theory. You insist +Alexander’s role in this was active; therefore, he actively endorses the Uniate pneumatological frameworks of Lyons and Florence making him a Uniate. That is simple deductive reasoning which you seem not to want to get. +Alexander is betraying Orthodoxy, participating in the apostate Orthodox-Catholic consultation. Further elucidation of the document has made that clear. If you choose to disregard facts, then you are simply lying once more and playing the fool. In which case, Syosset-Crestwood, you announce you have no credibility and are here attempting to filibuster your Uniate Bishop whom you are attempting to impose on the South. Hence, your ridiculous nonsense.

                    You were caught red handed as slanderers. Your own semiliterate obfuscations have even exposed you as frauds while stating I have told the truth. You walked into a quote of a document which upon further scrutiny proves beyond a shadow of a doubt +Alexander is participating in a Uniate theological consultation to work out a framework for Unia by means of heretical, ecumenist branch theory. Lyons and Florence are rejected by Orthodox as Uniate and heretical. +Alexander’s participates in a dialogue where their ecclesiological models are considered normative for Orthodox union with Rome. Thus, Syosset-Crestwood, you are shown to be poor liars supporting an apostate who should be retired and defrocked for negotiating the terms of Unia with Rome. Quotes above, yet again, cement that point, especially since you insist on his active role in this Uniate consultation. You have proved +Alexander participates in the “Orthodox”-Catholic consultation to advance unia. It is comical that you outed your own man and discredited yourselves.

                    You are challenged to produce statements which affirm that +Alexander insists on papal and papist conversion to Orthodoxy. That he insists on rejecting Lyons and Florence as ecclesiological and pneumatological models for unity. That he is a faithful witness to Orthodoxy. Because the evidence provided establishes him as a Uniate, apostate heretic. At this point, his participation in ecumenical dialogue is no different than that of a Uniate apologist. He would be condemned by St. Mark of Ephesus for what he is doing.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      This is why what Michael Warren is pushing is heretical:

                      Sons of those who murdered the Prophets

                      Peter A. Papoutsis

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Excuse me, opposing Uniatism is heretical now?! Istanbul has spoken. Or is it the Vatican which pays its bills?!

                      Then again when a conversation is about a Uniate posing as an Orthodox Bishop and you are politically committed to this Bishop’s success, of course you will resort to crass personal attacks when all else has failed. Syosset-Crestwood isn’t alone in its desparation.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Papoutsis,

                      I totally do not understand what you think Mr. Waren “is pushing to be heretical.” I don’t get why he is the topic of conversation when what is being discussed is Bishop Alexander’s work in dialogue to promote Unia with Rome. How is his providing of documentation which sheds light on Bishop Alexander’s promotion of Uniatism equated with “heresy” and “with the sons of those who murdered the prophets”? Is Bishop Alexander a prophet because he is involved in a dialogue committed to Unia with Rome? Is Mr. Warren a prosecutor for denouncing false ecumenism and Uniatism? Is rejection of that type of betrayal of Orthodoxy now heresy? I could see your point from a Roman Catholic or Uniate point of view. But it definitely doesn’t express an Orthodox viewpoint.

                    • I’m not sure what’s gone on here lately with Bp. Alexander and MW but it seems like all h*ll has broken loose. I don’t want to comment on that so much as I do Peter’s video above “Sons of those who murdered the Prophets”.

                      There is a reason I distinguish sharply between Soviets and Russians, between Bolsheviks and White Guard/Royalists. The Bolshevik communists were unspeakably evil monsters. They are absolutely indefensible. However, not having lived under that regime and not knowing the practicalities, I am indulgent with those who experienced a different regime and a different war.

                      “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” Was Stalin a psychopath? Most certainly. Did he murder millions? Yep. He was a monster. Now, he also defeated the Third Reich. It was the manpower of his army, supported by Western munitions and supplies, that did the lion’s share of the actual battle which destroyed the Reich. Also, if you lived in a city and kept your nose clean and uncontroversial during much of Stalin’s rule, you felt as though you were cared for. A comprehensive social welfare system, guaranteed employment, health care, etc. Also, and this cannot be stressed enough, for almost 30 years the price of bread did not rise a kopeck. Not a cent. No inflation because of price controls.

                      Moreover, the Russian people are very practical in this respect: They see Stalin perhaps as a nastily abusive father figure who was not afraid to fight and kill off bandits, murderers and rapists who would invade their home. When the Muslim troubles started up again in Chechnya, you would hear people say, “Joseph would know how to deal with them.”

                      One final thing: At its height in the Soviet Union, the Communist Party had about 16 million members. 16/320 = 5% of the Soviet population. Not without coincidence, the most wealthy 5% of the populace in America controls over 80% of the means of production. Humanity is a hierarchical creature. A strong executive, in and of itself, is not problematic. What is problematic is atheistic socialism – it is by far the most murderous, evil ideology in human history.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      I think the fact that Stalin advanced a model of symphonia with the Church and was prepared to integrate it into the Soviet system as the Church of the Soviet peoples at very least suggests that the Soviet era wasn’t confined to 20s, 30s, early 60s militant godlessness and was capable of evolution into an Orthodox empire. I would go further and write that had the Soviet state in its last decades validated Red symphonia, it would still exist today and the USSR would not have fallen apart.

                      The mere fact that this partisan of Istanbul supports a government – the red, white and blue exceptionally evil empire – persecuting, funding and supporting ethnic cleansing, vivisection of Orthodox Christians labels him as an unhinged and hateful hypocrite. While his Istanbul’s Uniate orientation leaves his labelling of Orthodox Christians as heretics as salient as similar smears uttered by his Ukrainian Greek Catholic co-religionists.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      To Misha, MW, Jeff, et. al., if you dear people cannot see the heresy you are pushing by actually making excuses for the murderous Soviet Union, something ROCOR would never have done back in the day Misha, then we have nothing further to discuss.

                      Btw I have criticized the EP in the past as well as the MP because I am committed to Orthodoxy, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Are you committed to the same Gospel or are you commited to a Russian Gospel? Committed to the false strawman argument of a Unia under every rock, and Moscow is the Third Rome bs?

                      I bid you peace. You have all made my case for me.

                      Peter A. Papoutsis

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      It is shocking to see the word συμφωνία, a word first proposed by Plato, and later assumed by the Holy Fathers, to express concord, agreement, harmony, or unison of sound in the very best sense, to the relationship between perhaps the most murderous persecutor of the Orthodox Church and its faithful! First there is praise and fidelity with the traitor Sergius who was scorned and disavowed by the very blood of the Holy New Martyrs of Russia, and now we find συμφωνία with the son of the devil himself. This is astonishing.

                    • “I think the fact that Stalin advanced a model of symphonia with the Church and was prepared to integrate it into the Soviet system as the Church of the Soviet peoples . . .”

                      He dynamited Christ the Savior Cathedral.

                      Come on. The only reason he backed off early in the war was that Soviet citizens were defecting to the Nazis whom they saw as more tolerant of their religion. After Stalin died, Khrushchev renewed the church closings.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      1 ). Again, ROCOR has a penchant for getting stuck in time but ignoring the entire era. Persecution existed in the 1920s, 1930s and early 1960s. From 1941 to after Stalin’s death the Church was restored to a prominent position in the nation. The role of the patriarchate was public, pastoral and morally authoritative. Stalin built churches, freed clerics, ended persecutions, opened church presses, even encouraged the Church’s role in society and culture. So much so that the Russian Orthodox church hosted the Orthodox world at the Moscow Sobor of 1948, a local synod of ecumenical character known for its sober and traditional stances. The Russian Orthodox church reemerged to occupy a role of symphonia in the worker’s state, a symphonia which had ceased in the era of Alexis Mikhailovich. The Third Rome reemerged under Stalin where the workers’ state administered the material needs of the citizenry and the Church met the spiritual necessities of the Soviet peoples, Church and state acted together in one nation for one culture strengthening what became one Soviet people, Red Symphonia. If you choose to ignore entire decades, you obviously will not see the forest for the trees. But your continued ridicule only addresses your own ignorance. St. Vladimir the Great prior to his conversion to Orthodoxy engaged in persecution of Christians, even human sacrifices. But history appraises who he was after he became an Orthodox Christian, how be lived afterward, his spiritual fruits. ROCOR declared its sergianist rhetoric as schismatic. It seems challenged in uprooting the schism amongst its spiritual charges.

                      Regardless, I remain a sergianist, for cooperation with the workers’ state preserved an ecclesiastical infrastructure to pastor Orthodox Christians without political litmus tests, ultimately converting the atheist state and defeating the forces of anti-Christian persecution. +Patriarch Sergius’ work freed the Church to glorify the New Martyrs and to allow the Russian church to lead the Orthodox world in rejecting secularism, atheism and godless betrayal and reformation, endemic to apostate bodies such as the Vatican payrolled Unia in Istanbul. The Third Rome leads Orthodoxy today.
                      2). Istanbul itself holds to Uniate, heretical “two lungs” ecclesiology, declares the heretical papist church “a sister church” and commemorates the heretical pope of Rome in its diptyches: its Unia is not so cryptic and delegitimizes whatever it or its mouthpieces have to share in appraisal of Orthodoxy; inasmuch, as they HAVE BETRAYED ORTHODOXY. When they denounce “heretics” they do so in a Uniate straight jacket.

                      ROCOR itself repented of its anti-sergianist ecclesiology now over 10 years ago, denouncing it as schimastic. At that time, Istanbul and Syosset-Crestwood had maintained it was schismatic for at least thirty years. But of course today when they are disgraced and increasingly marginalized as corrupt failures, they clutch at any slanders to be considered relevant. Channeling the foil hat vision of Orthodoxy to denounce Russian Orthodox Christians as heretics is a circus event colliding with a train wreck. Let’s appreciate their desperation attacking Russian Orthodoxy. Here they flirt with the fatwahs of Ayatollah Gregory of Colorado. He is inspired and now speaks their truth. Their cynical depravity conjures visions for us of Gregory of Colorado with his handful of followers invading Greek new calendar churches with fire axes, destroying the papal organs and verifying publicly which of the beardless, new calendar Greek clerics in a papal pedophile lounge suit is on a sex offender watchlist, thereafter Gregory & CO march, crusading, led, encircling Crestwood to end the meta-patristic lectures whose utter lack of competence we have witnessed here. Gregory & CO storm the quasi-Hutzul chapel, condemn the gay rights student government from the amvon, and demand the installation of an altar curtain dictating use of the Old Calendar. The ridiculous cynicism and moral bankruptcy of people trying to manipulate foil hat, schismatic propaganda to advance crass Russophobia and cover for Uniatism and Eastern Rite Protestant Renovationism is just an embarassing absurdity. The stupidity of schism.
                      3). Disgraced, Russophobic hacks of Syosset-Crestwood in their mendacity and inadequacy have relinquished any serious consideration. Fabrications have been exposed as nothing but hate and lies, poorly camouflaging ridiculous heretical frauds. Syosset-Crestwood would be well advised to rid itself of its disgraces, for at this point they rob it of its final vestiges of credibility. Russophobic incompetents, liars and frauds have come to characterize you, Syosset-Crestwood. At this point they are just banging garbage can lids hoping the racket allows them another moment or two to lie and define the bathos of the Renovationist riff-raff they are.

                    • Peter,

                      I have never advocated heresy here. Furthermore, I do not agree with everything that MW or Jeff have written here regarding Russia or the Soviet Union. If you look back at my posts, you will find that I have steadfastly denounced the Soviet Union as the focus of evil in the world during the period it existed. It, the Chinese at their worst, the North Korean regime and the Khmer Rouge were practically the devil incarnate – as bad, if not worse, than the Nazis.

                      That being said, neither you nor I have any idea what it would have been like to live in that type of Orwellian world and have to face the types of choices in real life, real time, here and now, with which people were presented. On top of that, information was so controlled and spoon fed that no one inside the empire really knew what was going on except those doing the dirty work and those at the very top. Even after the whole thing collapsed, I’m sure it is difficult for native Russians to know what to believe or to even wrap their minds around what really happened. They certainly are not going to get a frank and open recital of the horror from the American progressive establishment which controls the press and academia. From where else do they get a story they might dare to believe?

                      On top of that, as I mentioned, Stalin did win WWII for Russia. Basically, he was a fiercer demon than Hitler. And, being pragmatic people at heart, Russians tend to respect that. War is not about who’s right. It’s about who’s left. Stalin was the last man standing, monster though he was.

                      So, as long as we’re not reactivating the Gulag and dynamiting churches or nationalizing all productive activity, I’m really not too concerned with Soviet nostalgia. I never engage in it myself and I disapprove of the twisted narrative that MW tries to weave, incorporating the Soviet period as something allegedly “Russian”, which it was not.

                      Finally, regarding the “loss of empire” talk: When Putin and some others lament the demise of the Soviet Union, they are not really talking about the militant, atheistic, communist enterprise that we all know and loathe. What he is talking about is the only modern Russian Empire that he and most all living Russians have ever known. He is mourning the loss of territory and prestige, not the political system, persecution of the Church and communist ideology.

                      But believe and anathematize as you will, Peter. Christos Anesti!

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      Hristos voskrese! / Christos anesti! / Christ is risen!

                      I offer our traditional Paschal greeting to keep in focus the joy of the season, despite the dark turn that this online thread has taken of late.

                      Any attempt to justify the brutal, evil, godless Stalinist regime in Russia–as well as the Leninist regime before it and Stalin’s successors all the way to Gorbachev–is, I must say, simply obscene. I concur fully with Peter Papoutis and Dr. Stankovich on that point.

                      Perhaps those who would speak favorably of a “Red symphonia”–a blasphemous oxymoron–might consult The Price of Prophecy: Orthodox Churches on Peace Freedom & Security (2d rev. ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995) for my critique of Orthodox collaboration with the Soviet regime–particularly the latter’s persecution of the Church and all people of faith, its decades-long violation of human dignity and death toll in the tens of millions, and its foreign policy and expansion of the evil empire (no quotes needed) of communism in Eastern Europe and around the globe.

                      For those who prefer a more authoritative source than my research and scholarship as an Orthodox moral theologian, I would gladly recommend anything ever written by the late literary giant and Orthodox confessor, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Soviet symphonia with the Church! My mind is officially blown.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Then people can actually read about, say, the Moscow Sobor of 1948 and end the red baiting and ridiculous politization of history. The majority of the peoples of the Soviet Union supported the Soviet state. Similar majorities were Orthodox Christians.

                      Thus, we must categorically REJECT dividing Russian Orthodox Christians on the basis of political affiliations and actually respect history. The Soviet atheist ideology was defeated by the Church as a product of the podvig undertaken by +Patriarch Sergius. His administration emerged during the war to unite the Soviet peoples to victory over fascism. His administration gave Catacomb believers a legal church to attend once persecution ended. His administration ultimately glorified the Holy New Martyrs. It was made possible by a concordat with the Soviet state fostered by
                      Joseph Stalin and then renewed by Leonid Brezhnev.

                      No amount of cold war propaganda undoes historical facts. I am expecting the evil empire speech will follow assuredly, all because the Russian Orthodox church refused to bow to Western liberalism and become a Uniate, Renovationist, apostate Istanbul. Red symphonia existed and ultimately had the Soviet state officially embraced Orthodoxy as Zyuganov today hints at, the Soviet state would have survived as a united, social democratic, Orthodox Christian superpower. Russia is that emerging Orthodox superpower today. The Third Rome.

                    • Michael Warren says


                      I don’t think the Mother Church is the least bit concerned with denunciations of sergianism coming from Uniate Istanbul or of ROCOR Vlasovite non recognition of the podvig of the Russian Orthodox Church in pastoring to the Soviet Orthodox peoples of the Soviet Union in their Soviet state. I find the whole ROCOR denigration of patriotism and Russian history detached from reality, where crass politicization still creeps in to not respect the historical continuum of Russia THROUGHOUT THE SOVIET PERIOD, a populist Russian corrective to petrine absolutism. It is laughable in the extreme that a collaborationist ROCOR which did nothing to further the lives of the Soviet peoples still writes crass and schismatic denunciations of Russian history, long detached from it and more often than not antagonistic to it. Pitiful and typically ROCOR. From the Reichstag to the White House to the Maidan, you can count on ROCOR to betray Russia.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Somehow I got pulled into this as a Russophile. I am not and never have been a Russophile. I disregard Mr. Warren’s Russophilia as a character defect.

                      Fr. Alexander, I appreciate your point of view. Indeed, the Soviet government was brutal and repressive. Mr. Warren’s point is that despite the persecutions, the Church emerged to convert the state and people. I believe that has yet to be seen and that it is immaterial to us in North America. I think that if you, Father Alexander, were as critical of religious policies in Western countries, your outrage could actually find an outlet relevant to us in North America.

                      Mr. Papoutsis, I didn’t appreciate you trying to pass judgement on my political views. I despise impositions on my conscience. Now, I will chime in with my two cents as to why I reject your particular brand of Greek Orthodoxy. In our process of conversion, I and my wife visited Greek Archdiocese parishes and monasteries. At almost each parish we were asked whether or not we were Greek as if to ascertain what we were doing in your parishes. We noticed lousy organ play, screechy singing, women in and out of the altar at any given time for no appropriate reason, priests who looked like Episcopalians from Latin America with Antonio Banderas accents and then came the coffee hours where everything from Greek heritage to Obama being a victim to gay rights was discussed. Everything but Orthodoxy. I didn’t understand what the Greek conversations were about, but there was a lot of scowling. Then we went to one of the monasteries. Orthodox definitely, but Greek. I remarked to an elderly monk I couldn’t understand the services. I was told learn Greek. At breakfast, where melons accompanied coffee and honey poured over bunt cakes, I had the good fortune of encountering a fellow named Spiros. Spiros informed me that I had to be thankful to the Greek people for Orthodoxy and for the priviledge of attending their monastery, that it was for their Greek children and that we Americans needed to build our own monasteries, otherwise we would have to become Greek to be welcome. Now you mentioned Mr. Warren’s supposed Soviet heresy. That’s literally a red herring. But what I witnessed in your parishes and at your monastery was the heresy of phyletism crossed with ridiculous attempts at emulating High Church Episcopalianism. If the Greek Archdiocese were the only Orthodox alternative in this country, I would still be an Episcopalian as I have no interest in cheap knock offs.

                      Tim, I really don’t think you have any real interest in Russian Orthodoxy, perhaps not in Orthodoxy at all.

                      Mr. Stankovich, your ridiculous Russophobia was exposed. Just stop. You are a jerk without a moral compass.

                      Mr. Misha, I was amused to find out I somehow shared Mr. Warren’s Russophile views. For the record, I disregard Russophile agendas precisely because I have witnessed the lunatic asylum of ROCOR firsthand create a religion of fear and tsarism, exploiting weaknesses in other Orthodox administrations to steal sheep and profit from schism. The Russian Empire and the Soviet Union mean nothing to me. Let me be frank – your acceptance of Russian Orthodoxy in North America as an American is ridiculous. Especially when it is the ROCOR type which lives in 1913, ignoring pogroms, poverty, exploitation, a debauched aristocracy, and an out of control bureacracy. Every ROCOR believer believes he is a Russian aristocrat, even the converts, and that Orthodoxy is a future ticket to a tsarist nirvana. Ridiculous, phyletist, monarchical nonsense hawking schism living in an alternate universe.

                      Mr. Warren, really, who cares?! Soviet symphonia. Third Rome. Patriarch Sergius. I get you love your heritage. Love your parish here in North America and do something for it here in North America. Once things get better here then maybe worry about Russophile propaganda. You opened the door for this rogues gallery to spout their hot air. This topic is about a Hierarch appointed for the DOS who has Uniate positions. We don’t need this Russian sideshow. Take it elsewhere, Mr. Warren, or at least to where it is relevant to the topic.

                      Now CHRIST is Risen! Respect the Feast of feasts.

              • Jeff Cahill says


                I still miss the part where the pope and the Roman Catholic church convert to Orthodoxy. Why is it since this document that the pope and his church and the Roman Catholic participants still countinued to use the filioque and the Orthodox like +Alexander have stopped bringing it up? Seems you are struggling to find a sophistry to weave into a lie and history is mocking you.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I merely pointed out that Mr Warren’s citation does not say what he thinks it does. Indeed, it does the opposite as this part of the joint consultation recommends that the Roman Catholic Church henceforth use the Creed as written–without et filioque. I guess that I should be disappointed that the report does not suit you, that it does not call for the heretical, schismatic Latins to return to the One True Church. Let me tell you a secret: consultations do not start with a slap in the face, unless you walked in with a hidden agenda of ending them ASAP. Now, I think that our hierarchs in each of the 15 autocephalous churches are faced with a dilemma: should they obey the Warrens and Cahills of the Internet Orthodoxy and not have anything to do with the Roman Catholics and others, or should they instead heed the Holy Church or the Lord. I was thinking of (in no particular order):

                  “For the peace of the whole world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.” Divine Liturgy, Great Litany

                  “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one…” John 17:22

                  “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13.

                  • Jeff Cahill says

                    Mr. Kraeff,

                    You were addressed and answered. Where does the statement insist on Roman Catholic conversion to Orthodoxy. Why does it go on to say that the filioque should not be seen as a reason to prevent Roman Catholic communion with the Orthodox Church? How is that not unia? Mr. Warren has answered you more than adequately. Why are you ignoring the answer and repeating the same wrong argument?

                    Are you intentionally lying again?

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Why do you insinuating that I am lying? You have no basis for that. Once again, let’s follow what occurred:

                      1. Mr Warren published an excerpt from a larger document, among other citations, in order to prove that His Grace Bishop Alexander is a uniate and unfit to be a ruling bishop in the OCA.

                      2. I showed that that particular excerpt did not support Mr Warren’s allegation/slander. That is all I had to do to show that Warren is a slanderer.

                      3. You brought in other considerations:

                      “I still miss the part where the pope and the Roman Catholic church convert to Orthodoxy. Why is it since this document that the pope and his church and the Roman Catholic participants still continued to use the filioque and the Orthodox like +Alexander have stopped bringing it up? ”
                      “Where does the statement insist on Roman Catholic conversion to Orthodoxy. Why does it go on to say that the filioque should not be seen as a reason to prevent Roman Catholic communion with the Orthodox Church?”

                      It seems to me that you indicted me based on these other considerations, which I would be more than happy to address if you could just quit accusing me of being a liar on the basis of unconsidered and unanswered issues. However, before I address them, I want you to (a) wait until after Pascha and (b) apologize. BTW, you can tell your buddy that I am done talking to him as he is either insane or mad as a rabid dog. Thanks.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Kraeff,

                      You were answered and provided further evidence of Bishop Alexander’s Uniatism with further quotation from that document, a document you insisted Bishop Alexander’s participation was active in. It calls for the Orthodox and Roman Catholics to develop new models of understanding the Holy Spirit based on the councils of Lyons and Florence. Those are Uniate councils. Bishop Alexander sees their witness as essential in uniting Orthodox and Catholics per this document. Why are you ignoring the evidence of Bishop Alexander’s Uniate activities?

                      It seems the only thing you have left to offer is outright lies, slander and defamation to defend Bishop Alexander. Mr. Warren has not slandered you. He has not addressed you personally. He has patiently endured your attempts to try to discredit him. Then he made his case where you were shown to be either not understanding what you were reading or ignoring it to simply heckle and filibuster. So if anyone is over the top and clearly unbalanced, it seems to be you and the people who encourage you to heckle public forums they disagree with. You have disgraced yourself and their agenda by your unethical behavior. You are done talking to Mr. Warren because he has discredited your position and you don’t have anything else to offer. Be man enough to admit it. Then apologize to him and to the rest of us for your antics. Perhaps echo chambers are all your particular point of view can appreciate.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Anyone who predicates union with Rome upon the false councils of Lyons and Florence as a frame of reference for doctrinal and ecclesiological paradigms of unification is from an Orthodox perspective a Uniate. Melkites, Ukrainian Catholics, Ruthenian Catholics formulate their apostasy on such heretical frameworks, and they are Uniates. There is nothing crazy about that simple fact. +Alexander in his work in the Orthodox-Catholic consultation has a hand in formulating documents which reject Orthodox ecclesiology, validate papal primacy, grounded in affirmation of heretical, ecumenist branch theory using Uniate frameworks as a basis for union with Rome. Beyond all doubt, that is Uniatism establishing +Alexander as a Uniate in his pursuit of this agenda. Since he is a Uniate, he is unfit to be an Orthodox Bishop.

                  • “Let me tell you a secret: consultations do not start with a slap in the face, unless you walked in with a hidden agenda of ending them ASAP.”

                    If a consultation does not have a stated goal in mind, it can only mean (A) there a hidden agenda, which you have just derided, or (B) it is idle talk, for we are talking just for the sake of talking.

                    The Church is already unified, and the way back to her is obvious. What is there to talk about?

                    The more of this idle dialogue we engage in, in fact, the more we betray our assertions that the Church is one. If we believe that, then it matters not if Rome wants in or not, except for the sake of our assurance of their sacraments, I suppose.

                    • Ages,

                      It has always made me wonder . . . what did we do to deserve this honor of being courted by Rome? I mean, we are the Church. If they believe they are the Church, then they would seek to convert us to the theology of the Church which they believe they constitute. They would be honest and say, “You are close. You have much. But you are not the Church.” Now, as to our part, we have no need of them to be complete in any way. Christ’s prayer has been realized in full from the beginning. We are one, one Church. And that Church is the Orthodox Church – a fully realized unity. I welcome any and all Roman Catholics to become Orthodox. That is the extent of my ecumenism. There is no “lost unity”. There are simply those who chose to leave the Church. We should abandon all ecumenism and simply work on being the Church. “Acquire the Holy Spirit and a thousand souls around you will be saved.” That should be the project of each Orthodox believer – the quest for theosis. In that way, we will shine our light and all will be converted. Ecumenism is a dead end and little more than a temptation to follow the logismoi into error. Dismiss the logismoi, don’t entertain them.

                      The really fascinating thing is this: The traditional Orthodox are the only ones who seem to have a fixed ecclesiology anymore. Rome used to believe that it alone was the Church. Then they waffled on that. They began to allow us and the OO’s to receive communion. Now it seems that they are warming up to the Anglican Branch Theory as regards the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox (but not the Anglicans, per se). However, they seem to be increasingly willing to say that the Church is wherever there has been some attempt at baptism – the new baptismal theology (NBT). This NBT actually is more all-inclusive than the Branch Theory in that it does not even require apostolic succession for an entity to in some way constitute “the Church”. The only principle that Rome seems to have in mind has nothing to do with ecclesiology but rather to do with uniting everything under it regardless of the rationale – i.e., the ecclesiology of raw power. Nothing new under the sun . . .

                      We all know what a mess Protestant ecclesiology is. Now, Roman Catholic ecclesiology has fallen apart. Really, the only entity that seems to know what and where the Church is, is . . . the (Orthodox) Church. Fancy that.

                  • Carl,

                    It’s not “et filioque”, just “filioque”. The “-que” means “and”. No need for a second “et”.

                    Now, MW does have a point regarding his quotation above. It is a weasely little piece of Wormwood dialogue pointed toward Uniatism. The part that resounds most loudly in the tract is for both churches (moral equivalency) to cease referring to the others’ doctrinal development as “heretical”. If one understands the filioque as being a procession within time and not eternally, then I suppose one could consider that non-heretical. However, why would one put that in the Creed where the eternal nature of the Trinity is being unfolded? But Papal Infallibility and any number of other Roman doctrines are, in fact, open heresy. This is why these dialogues are an awful idea. People get to be friends and want to sell out to reconcile in a kumbaya spirit, devoid of truth. Lord, have mercy! If Fr. Alexander is as bad as MW says he is, he will self destruct in the Diocese of the South. I have ears there and so I will be able to tell how he is doing.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      If Fr. Alexander is as bad as MW says he is, he will self destruct in the Diocese of the South.

                      After every accusation and “incrimination” is said and done, you know nothing more than this: for the past 20-years, Bishop Alexander has been a member of a consultation – a “dialog,” as you say – looking for common ground for a future reunion. While it has been repeatedly stated that he “actively” advocates one position or another, not a single direct quote of him distinguishing himself from anyone in this consultation is offered. And the groundwork, foolish premise to be challenged here is that dialog, in and of itself – as Vladyka Tikhon rightly pointed out early on – is somehow sinful, or even heretical; is the heresy of the Uniates a mnemonic “virus” acquired by discussing re-union? And to be honest, I could name, ten-to-one, historical relationships where friends attempting to reconcile resulted in hard hearts, war, and death, both claiming the truth.

                      MW has avoided my comment that this Orthodox consultation is “unofficial,” non-binding, non-representative of the Orthodox Church, and incapable of “selling out “anyone or anything, if only because they officially represent the interests of no one. This is not Ravenna, Lyons I or II, or the Atlantic Bar & Grill (“Home of the Glasgow Celtic Supporters Club”) in Chicago. This is a contrived tempest in a teapot. Imagine, 20-years of the abject heresy of Uniatism and only now he is about to self-destruct?

                      This discussion is no discussion. At one time, this was a place to carry on an interesting theological debate. Now, you must be prepared to enter the “killing floor” of insult, accusation of “lying,” and agenda; mention Fr. Kishkovsky paraphrasing St. Cyprian of Carthage, and the response posted is not regarding the theology of the Church, but an excoriation of Fr. Kishkovsky as a “Uniate and heretic.” Nice touch. As someone who was a frequent poster but stopped wrote me last week, “It is sad to see George let such people drive his blog into the ground.” Roger to that. I’m tired of fighting.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Actually, everything has been addressed, Syosset-Crestwood’s disgrace, from a). Completely erroneous allusions to St. Cyprian of Carthage which are ridiculous in light of the fact of Uniate Kishkovsky’s ecclesiology and positions on need of Baptism as a means of reception into the Church [comparing that Uniate Ecumenist whose life’s work has been a REJECTION OF THE MODEL OF AKRIVEIA advocated by St. Cyprian of Carthage especially in regard to his take on Ravenna which affirms Orthodoxy and papalism as “sister churches in schism to restore the unity of the Church in affirmation of papal primacy”]》is a blatant admission of deception, ignorance of St. Cyprian of Carthage’s ecclesiology and a continued denial of the necessity for papist conversion to Orthodoxy. Nor are his words +Alexander’s on this topic. b). “Non binding resolutions” have crept into the ecclesiological models of such local churches as Istanbul and have shaped the heretical agenda of its upcoming Cretan Robber Synod: they aren’t so “non-binding.” Such non binding statements have given us branch theory heresy in the form of “two lungs ecclesiology.” c). +Alexander’s ecclesiological positions as expounded by his work in the Orthodox-Catholic consultation expose him as an advocate of unia, a Uniate, someone unfaithful to the Orthodox Church holding to ecclesiological and doctrinal teachings which stand out in opposition to what even Fr. Meyendorff would call the capital “T” Tradition of the Church: that makes him a heretic and as suitable to sit as a bishop of dioceses of the OCA as Uniate apostate heretic Svyatoslav Sczevchuk, whose faith +Alexander shares in rejection of Orthodoxy. If someone sits in commissions advocating Mexican reconquista of the American Southwest and writes papers and issues statements in its advocacy, it is rational to assume such a person will advocate such policy upon assuming political office and such advocacy is rightly considered in determining ones endorsement of such a person’s candidacy for office!

                      All of this has been repeatedly addressed and answered here. One need only read the answers to affirm both Syosset-Crestwood’s deceit and +Alexander’s Uniate record and Uniatism where the tea kettle has boiled over, left a mess on the floor with a Vatican imprimatur where +Alexander is the culprit. Uniates are not suitable to be Orthodox Bishops. Betrayal of Orthodoxy in any type of dialogue with the heterodox is the act of an apostate. We Orthodox reject the episcopacies of Uniate, apostate heretics.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Well, apparently, Mr. Warren, your Third Rome apparently didn’t get the St. Cyrian of Carthage memo. Akriveia, you say? I suggest you take the advice of Archimadrite Ambrosius, “As one who does not belong to the clergy of the Russian Church Abroad, I do not consider myself to have the right to comment on this decision.”

                    • Michael Warren says

                      In other words disgraces of Syosset-Crestwood don’t know what they are talking about and admit it by being obnoxious yet again.

                      For this crowd of Syosset-Crestwood slanderers, silent ignorance is preferable to continued, uninformed and unread meta-erudition.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Mr. Warren is pushing his Soviet version of Orthodoxy that is heretical. You should go back and read some of his heretical views. I think Mr. Warren’s Soviet style Orthodoxy is just as dangerous and heretical as any Unia theology. I also have the pleasure of calling Mr. Warren a heretic personally unlike himself that likes attacking people behind their backs and twisting the facts to fit his narrative.

                  What say you Mr. Warren you a Soviet loving Orthodox as depicted in the video? If so you are a heretic and side with the very people that persecuted Christ’s Church. What say you?

                  Kalo Pascha.

                  Peter A. Papoutsis

                  • Michael Warren says

                    The Third Rome is the future of Orthodoxy. The impending Istanbul Unia is a Uniate disgrace without a prospect, forever deligitimizing the EP as a result. I think the fact that the Soviet Church was recognized by the entire Orthodox world as Orthodox leaves this desparate Istanbul slander as nothing more than GOC rhetoric it itself has condemned as schismatic. So Istanbul is so intimidated by Russian Orthodoxy as to engage in fundamentalist slander of it to defend Uniatism. Dermocopolous grand wizardry in all its silliness. Anyone who comes from a background which sees the papacy as a sister church and commemorates a heretical pope as an Orthodox Bishop betrays the perspective from which he is calling Orthodox Christians heretics: yes, Uniates have believed Orthodox are heretics and schismatics. They have even used the rhetoric of Soviet Church heresy. 70%+ of Orthodoxy is in heresy according to Rome’s men in Istanbul because its politics do not agree with Vatican Unia International and Uncle Sam Uber Alles. Uniate political condemnations of Orthodox as heretics are about as accurate as their claims to Orthodoxy. An apostate Istanbul representing less than 1% of Orthodoxy pushing Eastern Rite Protestant Renovationism is the only heretic here, and its denunciations are nothing but a Vatican funded joke.

              • Michael Warren says

                Since you now admit +Alexander’s role in guiding the “Orthodox”-Catholic Consultation, let’s quote further from it to undeniably establish his Uniatism and betrayal of Orthodoxy, underscoring further points from the document of what we are providing as evidence.

                1). The Consultation does not consider the insertion of the filioque to be a theological error, not even an illegitimate interpretation of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed. Neither Rome nor the papacy will repent of it, nor is it even forseen as realistic to expect the papist church to drop it.
                2 ). It insists that the Orthodox have no theological justification for breaching unity with the Roman Catholics on the basis of the Roman Catholic use of the filioque.
                3 ). It does not see use of the filioque as a hindrance to the affirmation of papal primacy.
                4). It calls on the Orthodox and papists to ecumenically be guided by Uniate councils like Lyons and Florence to “explore new approaches to understanding the HOLY SPIRIT.”

                +Alexander’s role here seems to produce a document the Ukrainan Catholic and Melkite churches find as outright justifications of their Uniate ecclesiologies, their schism, heresy, apostasy from Orthodoxy, while affirming their positions that the Orthodox “have divided the Church and teach schism.” “That Orthodox ecclesiology and pneumatology are untenable overstatements constituting schism from the Church rectified through submission to the Chair of Peter and acceptance of Catholic teaching.” +Alexander’s work in dialogue with papists justifies Ukrainian Uniates while calling on Orthodox to “repent of schism.”

                Thank you for affirming +Alexander’s role in this dialogue to further examine how the statement in the filioque he helped draft calls for Unia under the pope through ecumenist heresy affirming Uniate ecclesiology as his approach to Orthodox-Catholic unity. You have just indicted +Alexander as a Uniate. Thank you for admitting our point. Uniates are unfit to lead the OCA Diocese of the South. We in the OCA are fair to call for the removal and laicization of false Bishops who advocate Unia:

                … Although the Catholic Church obviously does not consider the Filioque to be a contradiction of the creed of 381…

                …Aware of its limitations, our Consultation nonetheless makes the following theological and practical recommen­dations to the members and the bishops of our own Churches:

                – that our Churches commit themselves to a new and earnest dialogue con­cerning the origin and person of the Holy Spirit, drawing on the Holy Scriptures and on the full riches of the theological traditions of both our Churches, and to looking for constructive ways of expressing what is central to our faith on this difficult issue;

                that all involved in such dialogue expressly recognize the limitations of our ability to make definitive assertions about the inner life of God;that in the future, because of the progress in mutual understanding that has come about in recent decades, Orthodox and Catholics refrain from labeling as heretical the traditions of the other side on the subject of the procession of the Holy Spirit;that Orthodox and Catholic theologians distinguish more clearly between the divinity and hypostatic identity of the Holy Spirit, which is a received dogma of our Churches, and the manner of the Spirit’s origin, which still awaits full and final ecumenical resolution;that those engaged in dialogue on this issue distinguish, as far as possible, the theological issues of the origin of the Holy Spirit from the ecclesiological issues of primacy and doctrinal authority in the Church, even as we pursue both questions seriously together;that the theological dialogue between our Churches also give careful consideration to the status of later councils held in both our Churches after those seven generally received as ecumenical. …

                …Despite this growing estrangement, a number of notable attempts were made to address the issue of the Filioque between the early twelfth and mid-thirteenth century. The German Emperor Lothair III sent bishop Anselm of Havelberg to Constantinople in 1136, to negotiate a military alliance with Emperor John II Comnenos. While he was there, Anselm and Metropolitan Nicetas of Nicomedia held a series of public discussions about subjects dividing the Churches, including the Filioque, and concluded that the differences between the two traditions were not as great as they had thought (PL 188.1206B – 1210 B). A letter from Orthodox Patriarch Germanos II (1222-1240) to Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241) led to further discussions between Eastern and Western theologians on the Filioque at Nicaea in 1234. Subsequent discussions were held in 1253-54, at the initiative of Emperor John III Vatatzes (1222-1254) and Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254). In spite of these efforts, the continuing effects of the Fourth Crusade and the threat of the Turks, along with the jurisdictional claims of the papacy in the East, meant that these well-intentioned efforts came to no conclusion.

                Against this background, a Western council was held in Lyons in 1274 (Lyons II), after the restoration of Constantinople to Eastern imperial control. Despite the consequences of the crusades, many Byzantines sought to heal the wounds of division and looked to the West for support against the growing advances of the Turks, and Pope Gregory X (1271-1276) enthusiastically hoped for reunion. Among the topics agreed upon for discussion at the council was the Filioque. Yet the two Byzantine bishops who were sent as delegates had no real opportunity to present the Eastern perspective at the Council. The Filioque was formally approved by the delegates in the final session on July17, in a brief constitution which also explicitly con­demned those holding other views on the origin of the Holy Spirit. Already on July 6, in accord with an agreement previously reached between papal delegates and the Emperor in Constantinople, the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches was proclaimed, but it was never received by the Eastern clergy and faithful, or vigorously promoted by the Popes in the West. In this context it should be noted that in his letter commemorating the 700th anniversary of this council (1974), Pope Paul VI recognised this and added that “the Latins chose texts and formulae expressing an ecclesiology which had been conceived and developed in the West. It is understandable […] that a unity achieved in this way could not be accepted completely by the Eastern Christian mind.” A little further on, the Pope, speaking of the future Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, observed: “…it will take up again other controverted points which Gregory X and the Fathers of Lyons thought were resolved.”

                At the Eastern Council of Blachernae (Constantinople) in 1285, in fact, the decisions of the Council of Lyons and the pro-Latin theology of former Patriarch John XI Bekkos (1275-1282) were soundly rejected, under the leadership of Patriarch Gregory II, also known as Gregory of Cyprus (1282-1289). At the same time, this council produced a significant statement addressing the theological issue of the Filioque. While firmly rejecting the “double procession” of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, the statement spoke of an “eternal manifestation” of the Spirit through the Son. Patriarch Gregory’s language opened the way, at least, towards a deeper, more complex understanding of the relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in both the East and the West. (see below) This approach was developed further by Gregory Palamas (1296-1359), in the context of his distinction between the essence and the energies of the divine persons. Unfortunately, these openings had little effect on later medieval discussions of the origin of the Spirit, in either the Eastern or the Western Church. Despite the concern shown by Byzantine theologians, from the time of Photios, to oppose both the idea of the Filioque and its addition to the Latin creed, there is no reference to it in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, a collection containing more than sixty anathemas representing the doctrinal decisions of Eastern councils through the fourteenth century.

                One more attempt was made, however, to deal with the subject authoritatively on an ecumenical scale. The Council of Ferrara-Florence (1438-1445) again brought together representatives from the Church of Rome and the Churches of Constantinople, Alexan­dria, Antioch and Jerusalem, to discuss a wide range of controversial issues, including papal authority and the Filioque. This Council took place at a time when the Byzantine Empire was gravely threatened by the Ottomans, and when many in the Greek world regarded military aid from the West as Constantinople’s only hope. Following extensive discussions by experts from both sides, often centered on the interpretation of patristic texts, the union of the Churches was declared on July 6, 1439. The Council’s decree of reunion, Laetentur caeli, recognized the legitimacy of the Western view of the Spirit’s eternal procession from the Father and the Son, as from a single principle and in a single spiration. The Filioque was presented here as having the same meaning as the position of some early Eastern Fathers that the Spirit exists or proceeds “through the Son.” The Council also approved a text which spoke of the Pope as having “primacy over the whole world,” as “head of the whole church and father and teacher of all Christians.” …


                • M. Stankovich says

                  Sitting in the sun of a beautiful Holy Saturday in San Francisco, I would offer several comments to Mr. Warren. It is not surprising that your full-length commentary on the filioque would be missing the final sentence:

                  Despite Orthodox participation in these discussions, the decisions of Florence – like the union decree of Lyons II – were never received by a representative body of bishops or faithful in the East, and were formally rejected in Constantinople in 1484.

                  That would seem to provide some very necessary context. What was the point of excluding the final sentence?

                  Much more important, however, is your continuous insistence that there is something inherently wrong, or even heretical, with recognizing the primacy of Rome. This undoubtedly would be because of your misunderstanding of the fact that the primacy of Rome has absolutely nothing to do with the Roman Catholic church or the pope; the primacy is of Peter, and appointed by the Lord Himself: “You are Peter [σὺ εἴ Πέτρος], and on this rock [τῇ πέτρᾳ] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt. 16:18)” Where was Peter martyred? Rome. Why is the bishop of Rome afforded primacy among the ancient churches by tradition? Because it was the city of Peter. Thus, Fr. Kishkovsky is absolutely correct in stating that, when the church is united, the see of Rome has primacy by tradition because it is the city of Peter, upon whom Christ built his church.

                  Finally, as to this whole business of the pope “converting” to Orthodoxy, we have already been through this issue of you not being familiar with the writings of St. Cyprian of Carthage, yet it does not prevent you from “paraphrasing” him. He is, in fact, is the primary source as to managing the “lapsed” – do we “re-baptize” them (and by implication, re-ordain, re-marry, etc.); Chrismate them & receive them in their orders; receive them by repentance & confession; or simply have the bishop “lay his hands upon them” – so I would suggest you and Cahill refrain from commenting on the issue until you read this Holy Father. That’s all.

                  • “Thus, Fr. Kishkovsky is absolutely correct in stating that, when the church is united, the see of Rome has primacy by tradition because it is the city of Peter, upon whom Christ built his church.”

                    No, that is Roman Catholicism, not Orthodoxy. Rome would have primacy, but for its heresy, by right of canon law in the same way Constantinople has it now – as chairman of the board. Peter has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with primacy within the Church. the Fathers do not consider that Christ was referring to Peter’s person as the rock upon which He built the Church. They testify that it was either Christ referring to Himself or to Peter’s confession. Peter’s first see was Antioch, might just as well claim Antioch has primacy.

                    Primacy was given to Rome on the basis of its status as the imperial city and because of the fact that both Peter and Paul were martyred there. “On this rock” primacy is pure Roman bs. Even St. James presided over the Apostolic Council at Jerusalem because he was bishop. Peter was there, spoke wonderfully, his opinion carried the day. But he was not primate there.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Seriously, Misha, “the Fathers do not consider that Christ was referring to Peter’s person as the rock upon which He built the Church?”

                      [this interpretation] implicitly prevails in all the patristic texts dealing with Peter; the great Cappadocians, St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine all concur in affirming that the the faith of Simon made it possible for him to become the Rock on which Church is founded and that in a certain sense all those who share the same faith are his successors… The doctrine of St. Cyprian of Carthage on the “See of Peter” as being present in every local church, and only in Rome, is well known… St. Gregory of Nyssa, for example, affirms that Christ, through Peter, gave to the bishops the keys of heavenly honors… the author of Aeropagitica, when speaking of the hierarchs of the church, immediately referred to the image of St. Peter… The great Patriarch Photius is the first witness to the amazing stability in Byzantium of the traditional patristic exegesis. “On Peter,” he writes, “repose the foundation of the faith.” St. Gregory Palamas [uses] the term, “Peter is the ‘Coryphaeus,’ the ‘first of the Apostles,’ and in a sermon for the Feast of Peter & Paul Palamas goes even further and compares Peter to to Adam. By giving Simon the name ‘Peter’ and by building ‘on him’ his Church, Christ has made him the ‘father of of the race of the true worshippers of God.”

                      Meyendorff, J. “St. Peter in Byzantine Theology.” The Primacy of Peter. The Faith Press, American Orthodox Book Service, Paris, 1963.

                      There are considerably more references to the Holy Fathers and all the quoted sources are available at request. I repeat myself:

                      the primacy of Rome has absolutely nothing to do with the Roman Catholic church or the pope; the primacy is of Peter, and appointed by the Lord Himself: “You are Peter [σὺ εἴ Πέτρος], and on this rock [τῇ πέτρᾳ] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt. 16:18)” Where was Peter martyred? Rome. Why is the bishop of Rome afforded primacy among the ancient churches by tradition? Because it was the city of Peter. Thus, Fr. Kishkovsky is absolutely correct in stating that, when the church is united, the see of Rome has primacy by tradition because it is the city of Peter, upon whom Christ built his church.

                    • Yes, Michael, “seriously”,

                      If Peter’s person was the Rock, then Antioch would be a good place to set primacy, no? Peter’s first see? The Fathers point either to Christ Himself as the Rock or Peter’s Confession (not Peter himself) as the Rock. Primacy, other than of a bishop in his diocese or Christ as the Head of the Church, is a creature of canon law.

                      “implicitly prevails in all the patristic texts dealing with Peter; the great Cappadocians, St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine all concur in affirming that the the faith of Simon made it possible for him to become the Rock on which Church is founded and that in a certain sense all those who share the same faith are his successors…”

                      Yes, but this is not personal to Peter as a man but to his faith and the faith of those who share his conviction. Who presided at the Apostolic council in Jerusalem? St. James. If St. Peter was, in his person, the primate, he would have presided.

                      All that was given to Peter (or restored to Peter after his denial) was given to the other Apostles as well. In fact, we generally speak of Peter and Paul as foremost among the Apostles. But this doesn’t have to do with primacy either.


                      “An examination of the writings of the fathers does reveal the expression of a consistent viewpoint, but it is not that of the Roman Catholic Church, as the documentation of the major fathers of the East and West in this article will demonstrate. This particular article is strictly historical in nature. Its purpose is to document the patristic interpretation of the rock of Matthew 16:18. And the evidence will demonstrate that the Protestant and Orthodox understanding of the text is rooted in this patristic consensus. From a strictly scriptural point of view, the Roman Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is divorced from its proper biblical context. The Roman Church states that Matthew 16 teaches that the Church is built upon Peter and therefore upon the bishops of Rome in an exclusive sense. What is seldom ever mentioned is the fact that Ephesians 2:20 uses precisely the same language as that found in Matthew 16 when it says the Church is built upon the apostles and prophets with Christ as the cornerstone. The same Greek word for build upon in Matthew 16 is employed in Ephesians 2:20. This demonstrates that from a biblical perspective, even if we were to interpret the rock of Matthew 16 to be the person of Peter, the New Testament does not view the apostle Peter to be unique in this role. Christ is the foundation and the Church is built upon all the apostles and prophets in the sense of being built upon their teaching. And in addition, the Roman Catholic interpretation imports a meaning into the Matthew 16 text that is completely absent. This text says absolutely nothing about infallibility or about successors.” – http://www.pseudepigraph.us/2013/06/08/the-church-fathers-interpretation-of-the-rock-of-matthew-1618-an-historical-refutation-of-the-claims-of-roman-catholicism/

                    • Michael Warren says


                      Notice Syosset-Crestwood’s disgrace goes from saying Roman primacy predicated on affirmation of pentarchy and Roman primacy established by petrine succession becomes Uniate Kishkovsky somehow arguing that primacy is based on petrine confession of Orthodoxy and how this is Uniate Kishkovsky’s position now, the reason why Ravenna really calls for an Orthodox papacy, contradicting what he wrote earlier. I hope you can appreciate when a fraud is openly lying and trying to misrepresent the apostate views of people quoted to evade their condemnation. Such methodology disgraces the parties involved as mendacious, heretical hacks.

                    • If you want it straight from their favorite saint, Augustine’s, mouth, here it is: “Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter’s confession. What is Peter’s confession? ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ There’s the rock for you, there’s the foundation, there’s where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer. (Sermon 229).”

                      “For on this very account the Lord said, ‘On this rock will I build my Church,’ because Peter had said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ On this rock, therefore, He said, which thou hast confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock (Petra) was Christ; and on this foundation was Peter himself built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus. The Church, therefore, which is founded in Christ received from Him the keys of the kingdom of heaven in the person of Peter, that is to say, the power of binding and loosing sins. For what the Church is essentially in Christ, such representatively is Peter in the rock (petra); and in this representation Christ is to be understood as the Rock, Peter as the Church (Commentary on the Gospel of John, Tractate 124.5).”

                      “Thus, Fr. Kishkovsky is absolutely correct in stating that, when the church is united, the see of Rome has primacy by tradition because it is the city of Peter, upon whom Christ built his church.”

                      No, Christ built the Church on His being “The Christ, the Son of the Living God”; i.e., Peter’s confession. Regardless, even if it were built on the physical body of Peter (which it was not), that would not extend to Rome (anymore than it would to Antioch). Rome was given primacy because it was the imperial capital and because both Peter and Paul were martyred there, and because it had a certain reputation very early on for doctrinal integrity; not because the rock is Rome or primacy is personal. This is the same mischief that Met. Elpidophoros is trying to stir up with his “First Without Equals” spiel. I suppose that’s what they teach at the Pontifical Institute.

                    • In support of your statement Misha:

                      Matthew 16:16: “And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, the living One.”
                      Matthew 16:18a: “And I say also to thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church”

                      Translator note: “On this rock (Greek word, sorry no alphabet) — feminine demonstrative pronoun and article–does not refer to the person of Peter. Christ would have used the masculine if He were referring to the person of Peter.”

                      Blessed Theophylact: “The Lord is saying, ‘This confession which you have made shall be the foundation of those who believe.”

                      Saint Chrysostom: “‘Upon this rock, I will build’; that is, on the faith of the confession.”

                      Saint Leo: “Upon this firmness, He says, I shall raise My Temple, and it will rise upon the steadfastness of this faith, and the loftiness of My Church will mingle with the heavens. The gates of Hades shall not master this profession; nor the bonds of death bind it. For these words are the word of life, and as they raise those who confess them up to heaven, so they plunge those that deny them down to hell.”

                      Saint Bede: “‘Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock from which thou didst receive thy Name, that is, upon Myself, I will build My Church. Upon this perfection of faith which thou didst confess I will build My Church, and if anyone turns aside from the society of this confession, even though it may seem to him that he does great things, he will not belong to the building which is My Church.'”

                    • Please ignore earlier version (if not already removed):

                      In support of your statement Misha:

                      Matthew 16:16: “And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, the living One.”
                      Matthew 16:18a: “And I say also to thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church”

                      Translator note: “On this rock (Greek words not available on my iPad) — feminine demonstrative pronoun and article–does not refer to the person of Peter. Christ would have used the masculine if He were referring to the person of Peter.”

                      Blessed Theophylact: “The Lord is saying, ‘This confession which you have made shall be the foundation of those who believe.”

                      Saint Chrysostom: “‘Upon this rock, I will build’; that is, on the faith of the confession.”

                      Saint Leo: “Upon this firmness, He says, I shall raise My Temple, and it will rise upon the steadfastness of this faith, and the loftiness of My Church will mingle with the heavens. The gates of Hades shall not master this profession; nor the bonds of death bind it. For these words are the word of life, and as they raise those who confess them up to heaven, so they plunge those that deny them down to hell.”

                      Saint Bede: “‘Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock from which thou didst receive thy name, that is, upon Me Myself, I will build My Church. Upon this perfection of faith which thou didst confess I will build My Church, and if anyone turns aside from the society of this confession, even though it may seem to him that he does great things, he will not belong to the building which is My Church.’”

                    • Thank you, Nicole. I myself stay away from the Greek grammar part because I assume the original conversation was in Aramaic. Nonetheless your quotes are the main thing.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      First, I very much appreciate and compliment you on pursuing this as a theological issue; MW’s reply would have immediately killed any further discussion by virtue of insult and filth in an instant. Perhaps Mr. Michalopulos will note the contrast.

                      I see little purpose in playing “battle of the bands” with the commentary of the Fathers. Fr. Meyendorff and noted Russian theologian Nicholas Affanassieff have amassed a considerable collection – as I noted, a collection I minimally addressed – all duly cited from Patralogia Graeca. Nevertheless, both authors make a clear distinction of two periods of the “theology of primacy,” defined as before and after the capture of Constantinople by the Crusades and the installation of a Latin Patriarch (the Venetian Thomas Morosini) to the Byzantine see. Suddenly, short, anonymous (Wow!) essays and “pamphlets” were being distributed that opposed the Fathers and claimed that, while Peter was the “corypheus,” first among the apostles, Paul was the “chosen instrument” (Acts 9:15), and James had the the “first place” at the Council of Jerusalem. Professor Afanassieff describes is as:

                      Orthodox Church polemics against the primacy of Rome depend, broadly speaking, on Roman Catholic theology. This is not surprising, since the actual aim of Orthodox theology is to refute arguments put out in favour of the Roman primacy. Now the Catholic doctrine of the primacy is founded on their doctrine of the primacy of the Apostle Peter: and therefore Orthodox theologians concentrate their attention on this subject.

                      Afanassieff, N. “The church which presides in love.” The Primacy of Peter. The Faith Press, American Orthodox Book Service, 1963.

                      Nevertheless, Fr. Meyendorff shows the continuity of the theology of the primacy of Peter carried into the 15th century, focusing on Symeon of Thessalonica, Barlaam of Calabria (as you will recall, the nemesis of St. Gregory Palamas) , & Gennadios Scholarios. In essence they all wrote a formulation that is held to this day:

                      The Bishop of Rome has two privileges: he is the Bishop of Rome and the first among other bishops. He has received the Roman episcopacy from the divine Peter; as to the primacy of honour, he was honoured with it much later by the pious Emperors Constantine & Justinian, and by the divine Councils. As bishop he is equal to the others, as every bishop is the vicar of Christ and a successor of the Apostles.

                      But it is Symeon of Thessolonica who makes the critical distinction:

                      One should not contradict the Latins when they say that the Bishop of Rome is the first. This primacy is not harmful to the Church. Let them only prove his faithfulness to the faith of Peter and to the successors of Peter – Sylvester, Agatho, Leo, Liberius, Martin, and Gregory – then we will obey him, not only as Peter, but as the Savior Himself. By no means do we reject the Pope, and it is not with the Pope that we refuse to enter into communion. But the actual Pope, inasmuch as he is no longer the successor of Peter – with Linus, with Clement – in the faith, is no more the inheritor of their throne. The one whom one calls Pope will not be Pope as long as he has not the faith of Peter.

                      Finally, I believe it is important to consider the argument of 123, that the church continues to struggle with the concept of primacy, a “power” fundamentally greater than that of a bishop in his own diocese. Fr. Alexander Schmemann has noted many times times that a true definition of primacy is virtually nonexistent in Orthodox ecclesiology.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Nothing is more opposed to God than pride, for self-deification is concealed in it, its own nothingness or sin. Thus more than anything humility is acceptable to God, which considers itself nothing, and attributes all goodness, honor, and glory to God alone. Pride does not accept grace, because it is full of itself, while humility easily accepts grace, because it is free from itself, and from all that is created. God creates out of nothing. As long as we think that we can offer something of ourselves, He does not begin His work in us. Humility is the salt of virtue. As salt gives flavor to food, so humility gives perfection to virtue. Without salt, food goes bad easily, and without humility, virtue is easily spoiled by pride, vainglory, impatience – and it perishes. There is a humility which a man gains by his own struggles: knowing his own insufficiency, accusing himself for his failings, not allowing himself to judge others. And there is a humility into which God leads a man through the things that happen to him: allowing him to experience afflictions, humiliations, and deprivations.
                      (St. Philaret of Moscow, The Glory of the Mother of God, 9)

                    • M. Stankovich,

                      In your post of May 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm, where you refer to Afanasieff and Barlaam, you convinced me that you do not hold the Orthodox faith. I missed that post earlier in this long twisting thread. But the conception of the Church that you hold is more in keeping with Roman Catholicism than the Orthodox Church. It explains a lot of what you have written here which, heretofore, I assumed was written in good faith. Alas, I have to reluctantly agree with MW (but on this one issue, not all) that you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I have come across them before on the internet.

                      In any case, perhaps you do hold some faith in Christ of some variety. I will pray for you.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    A disgraced voice of Syosset-Crestwood writing more nonsense about material it doesn’t understand to yet again engage in slander is just a discredited ineptitude inserting itself into a conversation it left the minute it announced its own penchant for falsehood, fraud, slander, and ignorance of theology and ecclesiology.

                    1). The Uniate councils of Florence and Lyons were condemned by the Orthodox Church as false councils and heretical, whose frameworks for Unia have been condemned for centuries by the Orthodox Church. The quote was complete and linked for people to refer back to it. It stipulates using Uniate councils as a reference point to bring about a Unia of sister churches predicated upon heretical branch theory, new ecclesiological and theological definitions.
                    2). Papal primacy did have a place in the pre-Nicene and Ante-Nicene Church. It was founded upon Roman affirmation of Orthodoxy. Since at least the seventh century, papal innovations from pneumatological heresy in the form of filioque to ecclesiological errors founded upon notions of papal universal jurisdiction to acceptance of innovations and use of such apostolic condemned practices as azymes led to Rome leaving the Church as a heretical, unlawful assembly already in the eleventh century. Thereafter primacy in the Church was preserved and evolved in ideas of Second and Third Romes. Assuming for a moment Roman primacy could again be validated (or even be necessary, which is a salient discussion to be had), it would necessarily be grounded on papal repentance, conversion and resumption of Orthodoxy, where Roman resumption of primacy is not a spontaneous circumstance of papal repentance. The issue was and is not papal primacy, but Uniate frameworks for it, which betray the Orthodox Church, and in this contention +Alexander’s uniatism is indicted.
                    3). The laughable nonsense offered by people who themselves neither have read nor even provide a semblance of understanding of St. Cyprian of Carthage’s writings regarding the reception of heretics are just more of the same, ridiculous Syosset-Crestwood ignorance and fakery. a). The Synod of 1755 reflects a Carthaginian understanding of the reception of latin heretics. b). This very consultation calls for that Synod to be condemned. c ). They reject St. Cyril’s akriveia in regard to reception of heretics as non normative and in the case of the 1755 Synod innovation (!). d). Thus the rest of this total lack of understanding of the material and pompous and deceptive nonsense is just the typical, disgraced traffic in fraud of certain meta-literate partisans of Syosset-Crestwood. The denigration nothing more but sour grapes over the fact I have read the material and know it well enough to bat away their ridiculous and unread fraud yet again. More of the same disgraced failure normative of a disgraced and failed Syosset-Crestwood.
                    4). +Bishop Alexander still remains a person committed to betraying Orthodoxy and negotiating Unia predicated on Uniate frameworks advanced at Lyons and Florence, but now premised upon the further development of sister churches in mutual schism affirming Unia by negotiating communion predicated on a papal primacy acknowledged and bequeathed upon a heretical pope, where this Uniate consultation rejects Orthodox calls for papal conversion to Orthodoxy as even a consideration.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Thank you conceding the point on the primacy of Peter by tradition. Again, you clearly demonstrate your unfamiliarity with the writings of Cyprian of Carthage and the very important writings of the anonymous bishops against Novation, catalogued with him in Patrologia Graeca. If you spent as much time reading the Holy Fathers as you do thinking up a constant stream of insults, we would all be better off.

                      You have provided no credible evidence whatsoever that Bp. Alexander is anything but an interested member of a consultation; you have not provided a single attributable quotation as to his motivation, his intention, or his commitment distinct or distinguishing him from simply being a consultation member. And if we accept the teachings and practices of St. Cyprian of Carthage – who made a clear distinction regarding those who were once a part of the “living, visible Church” but had fallen away by schism, heresy, or both, they were not “converted” in what we now consider “The Order for the Reception of Converts,” but some by Chrismation, some by confession of Faith, and some simply by repentance and the laying on of the hands of the Bishop. This is a silly argument as this consultation lacks the authority to determine what any local Bishop deems appropriate.

                    • MS,

                      “Thank you conceding the point on the primacy of Peter by tradition.”

                      No one conceded anything. Whatever preeminence Peter enjoyed among the apostles and the primacy of honor of Rome are two different things. The latter is not dependent upon the former. Again, the normal reasons listed at the time for recognizing the bishop of Rome was that Rome had a reputation for doctrinal soundness at that time, it was the imperial city and both Peter and Paul were martyred there. “On this rock” mythology was not the rationale. That came later. You and Kishkovsky were/are incorrect on this point in a way that betrays a Roman mindset.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Disgrace of Syosset-Crestwood, participation in Uniate consultations which have twenty year track records of betraying Orthodoxy establishes the ideological orientation of its participants. It establishes they remain committed to the ecclesiological and doctrinal frameworks they themselves establish, which have been proven here to be Uniate and heretical.

                      St. Cyprian of Carriage called for the Baptism of heretics. By no patristic standard could heretics estranged from the Church over a millenium, employing incorrect baptismal forms, be received into the Church without repentance, conversion and Holy Baptism, especially according to St. Cyprian of Carthage. Fr. George Metallinos, Canon Lawyer – State Church of Greece – explains this position clearly enough for those meta-educated products of a Syosset-Crestwood miscarriage called an education in his book, I CONFESS ONE BAPTISM. Syosset-Crestwood, remedial reading with less ignorant buffoonery is in order. Moreover, this consultation itself has gone on to declare the Carthaginian position and it’s akriveia as non normative for precisely that fact. So this entire line of erroneous buffoonery merely convicts the disgrace of Syosset-Crestwood further. Syosset-Crestwood, find better liars than the disgraces which continue discrediting you.

                      +Alexander is a Uniate and a Uniatizer as much as the hierarchs who supported the consultations of Lyons, Florence, Brest and Uzhgorod: his role in betraying Orthodoxy and theirs is a direct, historical parallel. He is unsuited to be an Orthodox Bishop and should be retired, and if he does not repent of Uniatism, should be defrocked.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Betrays a “Roman Catholic mindset,” Misha. Fascinating appraisal. God willing, by His infinite mercy and lovingkindness (and the outside chance that our Father, among the Saints, Gregory of Nyssa, was correct in regard to ἀποκατάστασις) I again see Fr. John Meyendorff – and hey, let’s throw in the account of the trial of St. Maximus the Confessor for fun, who said:

                      So the sacellarius [a public official who was examining St. Maximus] asks him directly, at one point [in his trial], “Why do you love the Romans and hate the Greeks?’ The servant of God replied, “We are commanded to hate no one. I love the Romans because I am of the same faith as they are; I love the Greeks because I speak the same language. ” Rome, for him, was objectively the home of right faith: “Christ founded both the Catholic faith and the Church on Peter,” he proclaims to his judges, “and I wish to adhere to that confession of faith on which the unity of all the Churches is based.”

                      Detailed in both Patralogia Graeca 90, 93D, and 128C

                      I will be sure to convey to Fr. John your opinion bordering on, what, you referring to him as a Uniate? Oh my, Misha. Now that would take a considerable amount of courage that would even impress me. Nevertheless, on that day when our God will be “all in all,” (1 Cor 15:28), in the never-ending day of the Kingdom, ce qui pourrait être la différence? Am I correct? Certainly I am.

                      I sincerely pray that this remains at an academic level, not breaking down into the ugliness of name-calling and insult that has become pervasive. It is all an interesting exchange of ideas, but after all, this is the internet! On the day that I would, in actuality, decide it was my responsibility to confront a consecrated Bishop for his heresy, it would be based on indisputable facts, face-to-face, and prepared for him to convince me to the contrary. This is our Tradition and the way of the Holy Fathers. Who but a charlatan and a thief would assume to “instruct” a Diocese of the Church that their Bishop is in heresy via the internet; convict and declare him “unfit” and demand he be “deposed” without trial or defense via the internet; and demand the Diocese “play hardball,” himself anonymous on the internet? A charlatan and a thief who celebrates & claims “symphonia” with murderous persecutors of the Church. And on top of it all, this man refers to me as “disgraced.” Madonna Mia! The world is turned on its head and he collects the loose change from its pockets.

                      Having said this, Misha, join me in a rousing chorus of “Let it go.”

                    • Michael Warren says

                      More redacted non sequiter quotes from Syosset-Crestwood’s disgrace, slanderous, mendacious and sectarian as ever. As astute as a wet moldy noodle counseling the cook of its unimpeachable freshness. An embarrassment to anyine with a shred of honesty. Alas, Syosset-Crestwood produces such a sectarian and heretical fringe.

                      Anyone who predicates papal primacy on the basis of the “schism” of the Orthodox Church calling for unity under the Chair of Peter by using the formats of the false councils of Lyons and Florence definitely has a Roman Catholic mindset. +Alexander as evidenced by his ecumenist betrayal of Orthodoxy in the Orthodox-Roman Catholic consultation has affirmed himself as such a Uniate betrayer of Orthodoxy.

                    • Michael,

                      I think you are taking me in the wrong spirit. I genuinely love everyone. Even those whom most would say don’t deserve it. When I use terms like heresy or heterodoxy, I’m using technical terms to describe certain phenomena. I”m not slinging mud. One of my best friends is a Buddhist who is highly regarded in his community as spiritually illuminated. We have chewed much of the same dirt, albeit from different “parts of the elephant”. Obviously, I am convinced that traditional Orthodoxy is the fullness of the truth and the other confessions have defects, but that does not mean there is no truth in them.

                      As to ἀποκατάστασις, Gregory of Nyssa and Fr. John Meyendorff, I expect that we will all laugh about it over a pint of Guinness.

                      PS: Please do not confuse me with Michael Warren. I see light in him but the Soviet thing is over the top. I try to be peacemaker but sometimes it is tough going.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      I would think that slander and outright lies would disqualify anyone as “over the top.” But I guess ROCOR chooses Syosset-Crestwood disgraces as preferable to “Soviet things”: after all, liberal Renovationists counting up to less than tens of thousands leaving the Orthodox Church are much more at home with the ROCOR crowd of Vlasovite dillettantes who have disgraced Russian Orthodoxy and betrayed Russia their entire history. Birds of a feather and all that. Over 100 million Soviet Russian Orthodox Christians are Russian Orthodoxy, the Third Rome, the vanguard of Orthodoxy, and we do just fine liberated from a Renovationist – Tsarist/Vlasovite alliance. Good riddance to old rubbish. Although I again am thankful I have nothing whatsoever to do with ROCOR or its shameful betrayals of Russia with its unruly children.

                • MW,

                  Brother, a piece of unsolicited advice: You are very bright and right about quite a bit. I would tone it down. God rules. All will be well.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    CHRIST is Risen!

                    I think in the face of slander, fraud, outright fabrication and argumentative filibustering, I have tried to keep it “toned down.” I would suggest that you find a consistency in your sensitivity: perhaps then your attention will actually notice what has been over the top. All the best…

              • Bishop Alexander was never kept off the episcopal consecration list for his views on the Roman Catholic Church. There were other reasons, justifiable reasons for his 20 years on the no-fly list.

                • Michael Warren says

                  Is it a good thing that a man who is a not so crypto-Uniate isn’t prevented from episcopal consecration because he intends to bring Unia about?

          • Michael Warren says

            Baptism And ‘Sacramental Economy’: An Agreed Statement


            For the past three years the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation has directed its attention to the concluding section of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: in particular to the confession of “one baptism,” and to the faith in one Holy Spirit and in “one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church” to which this single baptism is so closely related, and with which it constitutes an indivisible unity. We have chosen to consider this topic, first of all, as part of a larger and continuing reflection on baptism’s constitutive role in establishing and revealing the fundamental character of the Church as a communion. Secondly, we wish to respond to the criticisms made by various groups of the statement issued by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches at Balamand, Lebanon, in 1993, “Uniatism, Method of Union of the Past, and the Present Search for Full Communion,” especially to protests against that statement’s call for an end to the practice of rebaptism of converts (n. 13) and its reference to the Catholic and Orthodox communions as “sister churches”(n. 14). Finally, we recognize that our consideration of these protests directs us back to earlier statements which our own Consultation has issued: “The Principle of Economy” (1976); “On the Agenda of the Great and Holy Council” (1977); “On the Lima Document” (1984); “Apostolicity as God’s Gift to the Church” (1986); our “Response” (1988) to the “Bari Document” issued by the International Commission in 1987; and finally our “Response” (1994) to the Balamand document itself. In drafting this present statement, we have elected to take our own advice and to offer a “deeper historical and theological investigation” of whether “our churches do in fact find the same essential content of faith present in each other” (“Response to the Balamand Statement,” n. 9).
            In the following sections we shall endeavor a) to summarize our findings regarding our common understanding of baptism, as well as its unity with the life of the Church and the action of the Holy Spirit; b) to elucidate the problems which, in relatively recent times, have arisen with respect to the mutual recognition of each other’s baptism; and c) to present our conclusions, together with certain recommendations which we feel are necessary, in order that on various levels our dialogue be established on a solid and unambiguous foundation. Only if we have reached clarity on our common understanding of baptism, we believe, can our churches proceed to discuss, charitably and truthfully, those issues which at present appear to constitute genuine impediments to our unity in the one Bread and Cup of Christ…

            …The Results of our Investigation: “We Confess One Baptism”

            The Orthodox and Catholic members of our Consultation acknowledge, in both of our traditions, a common teaching and a common faith in one baptism, despite some variations in practice which, we believe, do not affect the substance of the mystery. We are therefore moved to declare that we also recognize each other’s baptism as one and the same. This recognition has obvious ecclesiological consequences. The Church is itself both the milieu and the effect of baptism, and is not of our making. This recognition requires each side of our dialogue to acknowledge an ecclesial reality in the other, however much we may regard their way of living the Church’s reality as flawed or incomplete. In our common reality of baptism, we discover the foundation of our dialogue, as well as the force and urgency of the Lord Jesus’ prayer “that all may be one.” Here, finally, is the certain basis for the modern use of the phrase, “sister churches.” At the same time, since some are unwilling to accept this mutual recognition of baptism with all its consequences, the following investigation and explanation seems necessary. …

            …the canonical collections authoritative in Orthodoxy have included the enactments of third-century North African councils presided over by Cyprian of Carthage, as well as the important late-fourth-century Eastern collection, The Apostolic Canons. Cyprian’s position, supported by his contemporary bishop Firmilian of Caesaraea in Cappadocia, was that salvation and grace are not mediated by schismatic communities, so that baptism administered outside the universal apostolic communion is simply invalid as an act of Christian initiation, deprived of the life-giving Spirit (see Cyprian, Epp. 69.7; 71.1; 73.2; 75.17, 22-25). Influential as it was to be, Cyprian and Firmilian both acknowledge that their position on baptism is a relatively new one… [!] … The Apostolic Canons, included in the larger Apostolic Constitutions and probably representative of Church discipline in Syria during the 380s, identifies sacraments celebrated by “heretics” as illegitimate (can. 45 [46]), although it is not clear in what sense the word “heretic” is being used [!]… Both Cyprian and the Apostolic Canons, in any case, draw a sharp line between the authentic visible Church and every other group which exists outside its boundaries, and accords no value whatever to the rites of those “outside.” …

            B. Constantinople 1755, the Pedalion of Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, and “Sacramental Economy”

            Constantinople 1755: In an atmosphere of heightened tension between Orthodoxy and Catholicism following the Melkite Union of 1724, and of intensified proselytism pursued by Catholic missionaries in the Near East and in Hapsburg-ruled Transylvania, the Ecumenical Patriarch Cyril V issued a decree in 1755 requiring the baptism of Roman Catholics, Armenians, and all others presently outside the visible bounds of the Orthodox Church, when they seek full communion with it. This decree has never been formally rescinded, but subsequent rulings by the Patriarchate of Constantinople (e.g., in 1875, 1880, and 1888) did allow for the reception of new communicants by chrismation rather than baptism. Nevertheless, these rulings left rebaptism as an option subject to “pastoral discretion.” In any case, by the late nineteenth century a comprehensive new sacramental theology had appeared in Greek-speaking Orthodoxy which provided a precise rationale for such pastoral discretion; for the source of this new rationale, we must examine the influential figure of St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (1748-1809).

            Nicodemus and the Pedalion: The Orthodox world owes an immense debt to this Athonite monk, who edited and published the Philokalia (1783), as well as numerous other works of a patristic, pastoral, and liturgical nature. In the Pedalion (1800), his enormously influential edition of – and commentary on – canonical texts, Nicodemus gave form and substance to the requirement of rebaptism decreed by Cyril V. Thoroughly in sympathy with the decree of 1755, and moved by his attachment to a perceived golden age in the patristic past, he underscored the antiquity and hence priority of the African Councils and Apostolic Canons, and argued strenuously, in fact, for the first-century provenance of the latter. Nicodemus held up these documents, with their essentially exclusivist ecclesiology, as the universal voice of the ancient Church. …

            “Sacramental Economy” according to Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain: Nicodemus was clearly obliged, however, to reckon with the approach of Basil the Great and the ecumenically-ranked Synod in Trullo to baptism “outside” the visible Church, different though it was from that of Cyprian. His attempt to reconcile his sources with each other drew on a very ancient term, oikonomia, used in the New Testament and patristic literature to denote both God’s salvific plan and the prudent “management” of the Church’s affairs, and employed in later canonical literature as roughly the equivalent of “pastoral discretion” or stewardship. …could interpret the treatment of Latin baptism by Constantinople at the Synod of 1484 and later Orthodox rulings as acts of “economy” designed to shield the Orthodox from the wrath of a more powerful Catholic Europe. In his own day, he argued, the Orthodox were protected by the might of the Turkish Sultan, and so were again free to follow the perennial “exactness” of the Church. Latins were therefore now to be rebaptized. …

            …the Nicodemean interpretation is still promoted in important theological and monastic circles. Although these voices in the Orthodox world are significant ones, we do not believe that they represent the tradition and perennial teaching of the Orthodox Church on the subject of baptism. … [!]

            III. Conclusions and Recommendations


            The “inconsistencies” to which we referred at the beginning of our second section turn out, on closer inspection, to be less significant than they might appear to be. Granted, a vocal minority in the Orthodox Church refuses to accord any validity to Catholic baptism, and thus continues to justify in theory (if less frequently in fact) the (re)baptism of converts from Catholicism. Against this one fact, however, we present the following considerations:

            The Orthodox and Catholic churches both teach the same understanding of baptism. This identical teaching draws on the same sources in Scripture and Tradition, and it has not varied in any significant way from the very earliest witnesses to the faith up to the present day.

            A central element in this single teaching is the conviction that baptism comes to us as God’s gift in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. It is therefore not “of us,” but from above. The Church does not simply require the practice of baptism; rather, baptism is the Church’s foundation. It establishes the Church, which is also not “of us” but, as the body of Christ quickened by the Spirit, is the presence in this world of the world to come.

            The fact that our churches share and practice this same faith and teaching requires that we recognize in each other the same baptism and thus also recognize in each other, however “imperfectly,” the present reality of the same Church. By God’s gift we are each, in St. Basil’s words, “of the Church.” …

            The influential theory of “sacramental economy” propounded in thePedalion commentaries does not represent the tradition and perennial teaching of the Orthodox Church; it is rather an eighteenth-century innovation motivated by the particular historical circumstances operative in those times.[!] …


            On the basis of these conclusions we would like to offer to our churches the following suggestions:

            … proceed to reaffirm explicitly and clearly, with full explanation, the theological grounds for mutual recognition by both churches of each other’s baptism;

            That our churches address openly the danger that some modern theories of “sacramental economy” pose, both for the continuation of ecumenical dialogue [!] …

            That the Patriarchate of Constantinople formally withdraw its decree on rebaptism of 1755;

            That the Orthodox churches declare that the Orthodox reception of Catholics by chrismation does not constitute a repetition of any part of their sacramental initiation [!] …

            Crestwood, NY
            June 3, 1999


            [+ Bishop Alexander (Golitizin) endorses this document.]

            • M. Stankovich says

              Again, it is clear that you have not read St. Cyprian of Carthage or the collected essays of anonymous bishops against Novation that accompany Cyprian in Patrologia Graeca. The document you cite above states,

              Both Cyprian and the Apostolic Canons, in any case, draw a sharp line between the authentic visible Church and every other group which exists outside its boundaries, and accords no value whatever to the rites of those “outside.”

              Had you read Cyprian & the accompanying essays, you would have found the former to have constituted the “Lapsed,” those who had been a part of the “authentic visible Church,” but had fallen into schism, heresy, or both; and in some cases, even participated in the actual persecution of the Church. Presuming that your [!] is a commentary suggesting outrage, ignorance, or even heresy would be, instead foolishness because it, in fact, accurately reflects the opinions of St. Cyprian and the essayists of his time. Apparently, Cyprian, who originally believed in reception by Chrismation, was convinced by his contemporaries to re-admit to the ranks of the clergy those who publicly repented, spent a designated amount of time in penance and banned from the Eucharist, and finally confessed to a bishop. But too many attempted to be re-admitted early, boasting of their penance and, in effect, “demanding” an expedited restoration. Cyprian then set an indeterminate amount of time of penance and restoration only approved by himself.

              To indicate that Bishop Alexander “endorses this document” is to say nothing more than he joins with Fathers before him in the accepted practices of receiving the “Lapsed” back into the “fold of the authentic visible Church.”

              • Michael Warren says

                Ridiculous and erroneous. St. Cyprian of Carthage calls for the reception of heretics by baptism. And this document says his views are non-normative. Not only does Syosset-Crestwood’s disgrace lie poorly, it doesn’t seem to have fundamental reading comprehension skills.

                This document is a rejection of St. Cyprian’s teaching on Holy Baptism, an affirmation of Blessed Augustine’s Mysteriology to an extent, where this consultation now teaches the sacramental validity of Mysteries of “mutually schismatic churches.” St. Cyprian of Carthage condemned such heretical nonsense. Blessed Augustine would have condemned as a heretic anyone who argued the Church was comprised of heretically, estranged factions sharing, common Sacraments in constituting the Church. Thus this branch theory apostate heretical statement constituting a Uniate sacramental model condemns +Alexander as a Uniate heretic. Disgraced voices from Syosset-Crestwood again offer ridiculous lies and ignorance to wilfully justify Uniate betrayal of Orthodox ecclesiology and mysteriology. The point this heretical statement condemns the Carthaginian akriveia of St. Nikodemos and the Synod of 1755 just leaves Syosset-Crestwood’s outright, desparare lie as an artless fraud. Meta-literacy trying to fake it to make it shouting the disgrace’s of Syosset-Crestwood mewling they are lying and wilfully deceiving to mask their heretical views and total lack of theological competence or even reading comprehension. All to obfuscate +Alexander’s heretical, ecumenist, Uniate views.

                Hooked on phonics might help.

          • Michael Warren says

            This quote is indicative of the way +Alexander witnesses Orthodoxy to the heterodox and his disdain for more faithful and traditional views of Orthodox theology. Mind you, this is based off a lecture he gave to an Orientale Lumen conference, a Uniate organization tasked with convincing Orthodox of the propriety of Unia:


            “…In spite of how my last remarks may appear, I really do not wish to indulge here either in a cheap bout of Augustine-bashing (especially since I have come more and more over the years to appreciate him as one of the great Fathers), or in yet another instance — to borrow from the idiom of Newtonian physics — of an equal and opposing “orientalism”. Either or both would be quite as limited and provincial… Indeed, and too typical of much Orthodox literature, this would simply be to engage in a theology of reaction, defensive in mode, condemnatory in tone, no whit better than the sort of polemic, conscious or unconscious, that I am deploring …”


            • M. Stankovich says

              I just finished reading this article by Bishop Alexander and I would like to know precisely what you see in this highly technical, extremely academic paper that demonstrates “his disdain for more faithful and traditional views of Orthodox theology.”

              • Michael Warren says

                Syosset-Crestwood’s disgrace of course would not recognize the error of self-promotion encased in haughtiness with a very weak, if not nonexistent, loyalty to Orthodoxy. But slander, fraud, fabrication of data precludes its discredited minions from serious consuderation. Arguing with the dishonest and disingenuous only gives them legitimacy and a forum to continue their fraud. The lights are out, and Syosset-Crestwood needs to send people at least honest enough to disagree without disgracing themselves. Syosset-Crestwood’s sorry clown parade is a waste of time.

                • M. Stankovichto pro says

                  As I figured, you never read the essay. Had you read the essay, you would have found that Bishop Alexander is considered among a group of scholars – along with Georges Florovsky and Andrew Louth – who actually hold the traditional Orthodox view of the role of Pseudo-Dionysius in Orthodox theology. Instead, despite it being Bright and Holy Wednesday, what you offer me is your customary avoidance in the form of insult. Perhaps another “adult” read this excellent essay and has some thoughts?

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Just as I figured, you did not read the essay. The “h-index” for this essay is 22, meaning that 22 authors cited this in their own writings; the same number as Georges Florovsky & John Romanides (the three are cited together). In each case, these authors were not cited for “disdain for more faithful and traditional views of Orthodox theology,” but exactly the opposite. They are praised as defending Pseudo-Dionysius as a key to the writings of Sts. Gregory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, Symeon the New Theologian, and Maximus the Confessor. Instead, you again use this as an opportunity to level your cheap form of unqualified insult. You may rest assured I had no intention of “arguing,” but was merely validating the fact that you were insulting an Orthodox Bishop and Oxford scholar without reading the essay in question, and apparently betting no one else would read it either.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    I basically spent the past two days absorbed in the writings of Bp. Alexander – which are abundant and readily available – paying particular attention to his consistency over a protracted period of time, as a monastic and a hierarch. I would note that his style of writing is hardly “self-promotion encased in haughtiness with a very weak, if not nonexistent, loyalty to Orthodoxy,” but meticulous, detailed, bordering, at times, on “obsessively” dedicated to supporting his arguments with the Holy Scripture and the words of the Holy Fathers; reminiscent of the words of Archimandrite Seraphim (Rose) as “a characteristic so typical of the great transmitters of patristic teaching, even great theologians in their own right, but which is so glaringly misinterpreted by worldly scholars as a “lack of originality.” Bp. Alexander’s grasp of the writings of the Holy Fathers, from the obvious to the most obscure, is indicative of his years of study, the spiritual quality and depth of his teachers and mentors, his intuition to seek the both the counsel & spirit of Mt. Athos, and by exercising the ancient tradition of learning by writing and teaching.

                    It is not by accident that he is cited with Florovsky and Romanides, and it is no accident that he is quoted and attributed to by theologians, historians, and scholars. To suggest that exploration of writings of, say, Dionysius the Areopagite, the cornerstone and key to understanding the mystical writings of Sts. Maximus the Confessor, Symeon the New Thologian, and Gregory Palamas is “pointless” because “I’m Orthodox” is foolish, myopic, and ignorant, flying in the face of the words of Archimandrite Seraphim:

                    There has been no period since the very foundation of Christ’s Church on earth when the patristic tradition was not guiding the Church; there has been no century without Holy Fathers of its own. St. Nicetas Stethatos, disciple and biographer of St. Simeon the New Theologian, has written; “It has been granted by God that from generation to generation there should not cease the preparation by the Holy Spirit of His prophets and friends for the order of His Church.” Most instructive it is for us, the last Christians, to take guidance and inspiration from the Holy Fathers of our own and recent times, those who lived in condition similar to our own and yet kept undamaged and unchanged the same ever-fresh teaching, which is not for one time or race, but for all times to the end of the world, and for the whole race of Orthodox Christians.

                    The issue I am raising in these points is simple, and was raised by Bp. Alexander’s students in regard to the baseless & unfounded accusation that “union with Rome was a done deal”: congruence and integrity. There is absolutely nothing in Bp. Alexander’s writings, recorded lectures, or the observation & witness of his students that supports the truly sad and misguided accusations brought against him on this forum. They are completely incongruent with a lifetime of Orthodox scholarship, and not a single sentence directly spoken by him has been offered to accuse him. His membership on an Orthodox consultation has been used as the source of scurrilous, unproven conjecture as to his “promotion,” intention, motivation, feelings, and ultimately an intention to “sell out” and embrace heresy. All we know is that he simply has an interest in re-unification, and Vladyka Tikhon settled this issue many posts ago: it is neither sinful nor heresy to dialog. Apparently, however, the cowards who accuse Bp. Alexander have no intentions of contacting him directly, as directed by the Scripture and Holy Fathers.

                    Finally, much has been made of the call for a “statement,” any statement, where Bp. Alexander criticizes, acknowledges, or anathematizes the church of Rome or the pope. I would suggest that anyone interested be pointed to the Orthodox Rite of the Election of a Bishop, conducted the evening before a bishop elect’s consecration. There are no secrets hidden there.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Yet disgraces of Syosset-Crestwood, due to continued sectarian ignorance, still can’t explain why he clearly shies away from firm confession of Orthodoxy and provides his luminous haze as an affirmation of WCC meta-ecclesiology, patting everyone on the back with relativistic, ecumenist gibberish from Jews to Buddhists to Moslems to especially papists to them set himself apart from Orthodox witness, which he is above, even insinuates is distasteful. That’s as like Frs. Florovsky and Romanides as ridiculous affirmations that the latter taught continual reformation as the Church’s phronema and the former conceded Orthodoxy as the Una Sancta. Typical sectarian ignorance of Syosset-Crestwood’s meta-literate disgraces.

                      Then we read twenty years of statements from an Orthodox – Catholic dialogue which tells us the Orthodox are wrong about everything from Baptism to filioque to papal primacy, are a mutually schismatic lung which needs to find its unity under a heretical pope by going down the Uniate roads of Lyons and Florence: thus +Alexander becomes not so much Fr. Florovsky as he really is Andrew Sheptytsky on the leash of the Vatican and the WCC.

                      +Alexander is a Uniate heretic and should be retired them defrocked. His participation in Uniate headed ecumenism with papists establishes that fact. Uniates are not fit to serve as Orthodox clerics.

                • Michael Warren says

                  Crestwood’s disgrace, the essay has selected quotes here offered by myself. In them, the point illustrated is the haughty and arrogant tone Uniate +Alexander takes in insinuating he is somehow “more balanced and fair than the Orthodox position,” a position Florovsky, Romanides, Lossky, etc. would characteristically evidence without timidity and without distinguishing their personal positions as more important. Moreover, does the idea that x, y, or z exist as a work cited either express the fidelity to Orthodoxy, accuracy or even scholarship of a given paper, work or statement. The mendacious and heretical nonsense Syosset-Crestwood’s disgrace continuously offers here to perpetrate banal and ridiculous frauds shouts that point.

                  My point in providing this quote was to illustrate the haughtiness, arrogance, bathos, dismissive and quiet infidelity of Uniate +Alexander as a character reference. He lacks the pastoral temperament tp be a faithful Orthodox shepherd. The essay itself with its very inclusive, ecumenist tone could hardly be taken as an adequate witness of Orthodoxy or even serious scholarship, for the simple fact that it is lazy and convenient and avoids taking a stand but, rather, caters to ecumenist syncretism. Florovsky or Romanides it is not. Schmemann would see it as self-indulgent and haughty. Hopko would ask whether it had any particular point relevant to Orthodoxy.

                  Syosset-Crestwood, your disgraces teach us you have nothing to offer to Orthodox discussions in our time except the pathetique.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    I say you never read the essay, nor his writings, period, and have contrived an image of him to fit your ridiculous accusations, and not vice versa. I challenge you to actually detail from the actual contents of this essay – not your vague, pop-psychological “assessment” of his “haughtiness” and the other foolish comments you have made without ever reading any of his historical works – and “school” me. School all of us, Michael Warren, in how this exhaustively detailed essay speaks to his pastoral competence or fitness to be a Bishop. “Inconclusive ecumenist tone” when speaking of Dionysius the Aeropagite? You are patently a liar and deceiver. He is a demonstrated patristic, monastic, and Orthodox scholar, a definitive and decisive defender of Dionysius, founded in the ancient teachings of Aristotle, and whose writings were beloved of Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and Symeon the New Theologian. You are a charlatan & a thief, whose entire “portfolio” of indictment is summarized in one pitifully repeated statement: “In addition to the co-chairs, the Consultation includes Orthodox representatives …Father Alexander Golitzin.” Nothing more, nothing less. Florovsky, Romanides, Louth, Schmemann, and Hopko would loath your unfounded condemnations and your fundamental manipulation of scholarship to your own vulgar ends. You are a troll.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Stankovich,

                      I have read the essay. Seems to me you haven’t read it. I can say that on two counts. 1). Mr. Warren’s quote is directly from the text. 2 ). His critique of the piece is accurate, albeit harsh. Yours is of a totally different piece and of a totally different author.

                      We all witnessed your shameful slander of Mr. Warren, your outright lies and fabrications and your long quotes which seldom are accurately presented. Please, find some dignity and stop your degenerate behavior. I am sorry I have to write harshly, but you don’t seem to understand that your antics are disgraceful and inappropriate here. Mr. Warren has a valid and Orthodox point of view. He presents it more adequately than you do yours. If you can’t respect other points of view, perhaps you should stick to places where people of your persuasion congregate and do nothing but pat each other on the back after you kick Russian grandmothers or disrupt Christmas services on January 7th.

          • Michael Warren says

            Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue Lays Out A Vision Of Unity IN Unprecedented Document

            WASHINGTON—Representatives of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have issued two new documents outlining immediate steps they can take to overcome their thousand-year separation. The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation finalized these agreed statements when it met at Georgetown University in Washington, September 30 to October 2. The Consultation is co-chaired by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans and Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh.

            The first statement, “Steps Towards a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future,” is an unprecedented effort to begin to visualize the shape of a reunited Catholic and Orthodox Church that would result from the reestablishment of full communion. The text acknowledges that the role of the Bishop of Rome in the Church is a central point of disagreement and outlines the history of this divergence between East and West. It goes on to summarize the many elements of the Christian faith and ecclesial life that the two churches share, and emphasizes the urgency of overcoming our divisions.

            “Clearly, this cannot be achieved without new, better harmonized structures of leadership on both sides: new conceptions of both synodality and primacy in the universal Church, new approaches to the way primacy and authority are exercised in both our communions,” the document says.

            The agreed statement lists some of the features that would characterize a fully reunited Church and then focuses on the role the papacy would play within it. This role would need to be carefully defined, “both in continuity with the ancient structural principles of Christianity and in response to the need for a unified Christian message in the world of today.” The document then suggests several aspects of the Pope’s ministry in a reunited Church that could be both faithful to Catholic teaching… The document also lists several “preparatory steps” that could be taken even now as a prelude to the future unity of the churches, such as shared prayer and social ministry, and enumerates several questions and problems that remain outstanding.

            The text concludes that “The challenge and the invitation to Orthodox and Catholic Christians … is now to see Christ authentically present in each other, and to find in those structures of leadership that have shaped our communities through the centuries a force to move us beyond disunity, mistrust, and competition, towards that oneness in his Body, that obedience to his Spirit, which will reveal us as his disciples before the world.” …

            The second statement, “Celebrating Easter/Pascha Together,” is a re-affirmation of the Consultation’s 1998 document, “A Common Response to the Aleppo Statement on the Date of Easter/Pascha.” In this new text, the members emphasize the importance of a united witness to the Resurrection of Christ, which lies at the very center of the Christian faith, and the scandal caused by the inability to celebrate this feast day consistently on the same date.

            The Consultation joins many other expressions of support for a recent proposal that would re-calculate the date of Easter for all Christians based strictly on the teaching of the First Council of Nicaea (325), which determined that Easter be celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Determining the Equinox from the Jerusalem meridian and using the most accurate scientific instruments and astronomical data available would require a change for both traditions…

            “For the mission of the Church,” the document states, “a common celebration would support the unity we already share and help to build it further in the future.” …

            In addition to the co-chairs, the Consultation includes Orthodox representatives …Father Alexander Golitzin, professor of theology at Marquette University, Milwaukee…


            • Seraphim98 says

              Thank you Mr. Warren. I see the points you marked as issues of concern…I’m not sure I would characterize them as uniate in nature, but I do see the things that give one pause. Since I’m an a layman of only a thin education in such things I wonder if others bettered informed (Orthodox bishops, theologians, respected monastics) have entered into any sort of dialogue with Bishop Alexander and spoken to him of their concerns on the points you noted, and if Bishop Alexander has offer any public response to them?

              • Michael Warren says

                He calls for a format of recognition of papal primacy to be implemented and Orthodox “reintegrated” within the structure of a church with a Roman pope, who has not embraced Orthodoxy, as primate. I believe that is definitely uniatism.

                • ChristineFevronia says

                  Michael Warren, them’s there fightin’ words. You had better put up a source to prove that assertion you just made right there, or shut up.

                  When I read on this site the other day that the DOS has a new ruling Bishop, after getting over the shock that it wasn’t Archimandrite Gerasim, I made a wager as to how long the new overseer of Dallas would allow this blog to remain up. I give it a maximum of 6 months until George is told by his new Bishop to take it down. I won’t miss these latest posts by Michael Warren, that’s for darn sure!

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Agreed; it would be a very small price to pay.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    It has been up for like three days or more. I quoted +Alexander’s work on the “Orthodox” – Catholic Theological consultation. I even provided links. They have come up with, among other things, a). An affirmation of branch theory “two lungs” ecclesiology and a model for Orthodox acceptance of papal primacy, without the pope accepting the Orthodoxy, where the pope will head a “reunited church.” That is Unia. I believe the docs are above.

                    So I would in all earnestness advise people faithful in the South to reject the candidacy of this not so “crypto”-Uniate Bishop. I would insist people like him and Jillions be defrocked and laicized for advancing Unia and infidelity to Orthodoxy, bareheadedly teaching and promoting heresy.

                    • Dear Mr. Warren:

                      I thank you for raising an issue about possible heresy, which, as I understand it, is the responsibility of the layman as well as the clergy to address. I pray our new Bishop will directly, honestly and properly answer these questions in word and deed to your satisfaction and our own, and ultimately be revealed to be a true Orthodox bishop in the mold of Vladika Dmitri of blessed memory.

                      Best in Christ,

                    • Michael Warren says

                      I wish you and the Diocese of the South only the best and continued fidelity to Orthodoxy. Your witness to date has been impressive and remarkable. Thank you.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Cahill,

                      Let’s see if we can’t dispel a bit of your nauseé with a bit of critical thinking, shall me? I am willing to set aside my trepidation at the fact that you are the only other person to have seen this quotation, and happen to have ridden in here to Warren’s defense with a marching-to-Pretoria attitude, assuming to understand my “motivation” and “fear.” As a matter of fact, I am even willing, for the moment, to concede that the quote exists. But the question remains as to its authenticity.

                      First, I would want to know what authority these Orthodox “consultants” to this commission have in relation to the Orthodox Church. Were they delegated by the Ecumenical Patriarch and the other Patriarchs to “negotiate” union with Rome on their behalves? Why these particular people and not select, chosen representatives of each Patriarch? Whatever one can say – and with no pejorative intended – these are hardly the “best & brightest” of Orthodox theologians the church has to offer for such a dramatic and consequential undertaking. Now, coming forward four full years after Bishop Alexander had – in my estimation – foolishly gone on the record, as an OCA Bishop no less, declaring a “done deal,” what, exactly, do they continue to “negotiate?” Browbeat & harangue the Russians, for heaven’s sake! And is it possible, Mr. Cahill, that the Moscow Patriarchate made absolutely no comment as to an OCA bishop accusing them of standing between the reunification of the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church after 958 years? And affirming the primacy of the pope? Not one single comment? You and Warren saw the quotation, but the Russian Orthodox Church missed it? For four full years?

                      Mr. Cahill, you try my intelligence and patience. Warren has referred to me with the same verbiage with which he has referred to Bp. Alexander – heretic, “Crestwood-Syosset” – and when I asked him to directly quote me once, the same BS. The quote he attributes to Bp. Alexander never existed and you never saw it. You tell me exactly in which forum you saw it “a few days ago,” and I will find it, even if it was deleted. How little you know about the internet. Otherwise shut up and keep your ignorant comments to yourself.

                    • ChristineFevronia says

                      Dear Michael Warren, I’ve read through the texts you have provided, and I am in no place to make the determination whether or not Bishop Alexander is or is not what you make him out to be. I’ve read through the many posts you’ve provided to prove your point, and I am just not seeing what you are seeing. I can tell you are genuinely concerned about this. However, your comment above was very inflammatory because you didn’t cite the source of your statement–which was quite bold. I wish you peace, and a very blessed remainder of Great Lent.

                    • Jeff Cahill says


                      I read the documents Mr. Warren provided. They definitely concede Orthodox positions on many things and they definitely are working out a framework for Union with Rome. They definitely have Bishop Alexander involved in the process. So I am not sure what you missed.

                      It is great that Pascha is almost here. My wife is already busying herself about our basket. She isn’t sure if she wants to make Easter braids or Russian Easter bread. We willl be sharing Paschal brunch with our non-Orthodox relatives; our Priest has tried to invite as many as possible to our agape after the service. Lent has been tough. So we all are looking forward to the feast of feasts.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      The unionist language and intent in the documents cited is clear to all, even those who claim they don’t see it. That’s why they are avoiding it or trying to brush it aside. +Alexander is shown in these documents to be someone who not only supports Unia, but is enthusiastically engaged in a framework to make it happen. How is that not a Uniate?

                  • M. Stankovich says


                    I recommend you not hold your breath for a direct quote. He also stated, “In 2012, he (Bp. Alexander) was quoted as saying, “Union with the Roman Catholics is a done deal as soon as the Russians get out of the way and sign off on it.” A “done deal,” he was quoted as saying…

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Then there is what is above and the decisions of a dialogue with papists in which +Alexander is a very active member.

                      In 2012, +Alexander had told some this. It is on the net.

                      In other words, Syosset-Crestwood, enough of the puerile ad hominem nonsense trying to evade content. The problem is not the Truth, but your rejection of it. The problem is not people who disagree with you, but with the fact that you all disagree with fidelity to Orthodoxy. The problem is not resolved with personal insults, but with personal honesty, where people of various orientations honestly stand by their orientations so that Orthodox Christians be able to decide whether they endorse the fidelity of some orientations while rejecting the apostasy of others.

                      I don’t have to assassinate the character of others to present my views. You do. At the outset, who is trying to deceive to obscure the message? You have spun your webs here for quite some time. I have called you on the inaccuracies repeatedly, enough to totally discount your position, while ignoring your person. I choose to ignore your person and simply reject your Syosset-Crestwood orientation: it is unfaithful to Orthodoxy. It’s Episcopal appointments have histories of infidelity. I pointed some instances out above. To me that is all that matters.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Assassinating the character is irresponsibly & directly “quoting” a Bishop of the Orthodox Church in what is tantamount to heresy – willingness and desire to unite the Church with the heretical & heterodox Romans & cede “primacy” to the Pope of Rome – if only the Russians “step aside & sign off.” You have a documented track record of weaving “paraphrases” and “illusion” to frame your own ridiculous arguments, and as ChristineFevronia noted, “put up or shut up.” When you question Bishop Alexander’s integrity and Orthodoxy and put words in his mouth that would lead others to draw an opinion of his faith and beliefs – and Nicole, above, seems willing to accept you at your “word” – you ought to able to specifically provide when and where those words can be found. Neither my “position,” “person,” nor my “orientation” is of any consequence here. You made the accusation against a consecrated Bishop of the Church, so you are responsible to sustain it. He either said what you attribute to him, or he did not. What could be simpler?

                    • Michael Warren says

                      There are links above with proof.

                      In 2012, he was quoted as stating precisely that about the Russian church. That then caused some chatter on various Orthodox discussion groups. It can be googled by interested parties. I ask all concerned to please Google if it matters to you.

                      It is clear that +Alexander’s work and unionist orientation are certainly part of the joint Orthodox-Roman Catholic theological dialogue, a dialogue whose statements on primacy, ecclesiology, mysteriology, etc. are most certainly unionist in orientation and at odds with Orthodox teaching. They are most definitely Uniate (or Neo Uniate) in expression and intention. Examples again are above for people who sincerely want to read them. +Alexander is totally on board with the statements of this consultation and a person involved in their formulation. Ergo +Alexander is a Uniate and unfit to be an Orthodox Bishop. That statement is honest as opposed to the deceit of Syosset-Crestwood.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      I am not your research assistant, Mr. Warren. You continue to offer “evidence” that he made a direct statement that “union with Rome was a done deal,” includes acknowledging “primacy of the pope.” Further, you claim he said that this plan was impeded only by the Russians – suggesting that the Patriarchs of the remaining ancient sees were “already on board” – who needed to “sign off.” This has nothing to do with Crestwood, or Syosset, or me, but rather your honesty & integrity. You quoted him, you claim there was “chatter,” you claim he is unfit to serve as an Orthodox Bishop. It is your responsibility to properly cite his heretical statement. I am mystified by your reluctance to settle this question directly.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Firstly, there is provided evidence above of this man’s heretical activities and orientation.

                      Secondly, Syosset-Crestwood endorses the episcopacy of this unfaithful, Uniate renegade. Therefore, it allies itself with his heretical orientation. Since some of the work of the Unionist (Uniate.) consultation has occured in Crestwood and it is supportive of its efforts while +Metropolitan Tikhon by appearances at Uniate apologist conferences like Orientale Lumen and Uniate Jillions admitted veneration of papist saints on the OCA website, it is absolutely accurate to link Syosset-Crestwood to the Uniate renegade +Alexander. If only to serve as a device to have any of the choir of crypto-papist perfidy there recant their errors and goad them into disavowing their previous deeds and acts with fresh affirmations of fidelity to Orthodoxy. Thus, all are being appraised by their fruits.

                      Thirdly, the comment in question is readily validated by anyone who wishes to use Google and see for oneself the veracity of this sectarian Uniate’s woeful attitude. Interested parties can Google search the statement and read the chatter for themselves. Since basic internet literacy is a precondition for participation on this forum, the request of interested parties to Google the assertion for themselves is both reasonable and honest. But it is not the primary denunciation of his Uniatism here, but, rather, a relayed character witness of his cavalier infidelity to Orthodoxy.

                      Lastly, the overwhelming evidence above is sovereign in supporting the assertion that this Hierarch is both unsuitable and unfaithful to Orthodoxy, where this Syosset-Crestwood argumentative sideshow adds nothing to the discussion. A pitiful attempt at obfuscation to hope to deflect from the apostate nature of a retrograde, Uniate hierarch. If you wish to establish the veracity of this addendum for yourself, Google it. But you don’t: you are grasping at straws to find a smokescreen by which to obtain cover for a Syosset-Crestwood corrupt and out of control. Fake it until you make it yet again.

                      The only thing Syosset-Crestwood is acting to accomplish here is distraction from the evidence produced above.

                      Now, documentation of +Alexander’s unionist betrayal of Orthodoxy is above. He is a Uniate. He is thus unfit to rule as an Orthodox Bishop. The Diocese of the South should send him packing while the OCA as a whole should seriously consider retiring him if not defrocking him as a Uniatizer.

                    • Jesse Cone says

                      M. Stankovich challenges Mr. Warren,

                      …you claim he is unfit to serve as an Orthodox Bishop. It is your responsibility to properly cite his heretical statement. I am mystified by your reluctance to settle this question directly.

                      I am in complete agreement with M. Stankovich. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a first.

                    • M. Stankovichto pro says

                      Well, it appears that my assumption was correct, Mr. Warren, that waiting for you to provide this direct quote from Bishop Alexander is never going to happen, And equally obvious is the fact that you are not providing it because you contrived the quotation. You consistently ruin the ability to carry on dialog & debate here by injecting the discussions with fabrication and lies.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      And yet all you have to do is read the provided docs above….

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Warren,

                      This is what you said above:

                      In 2012, he was quoted as saying, “Union with the Roman Catholics is a done deal as soon as the Russians get out of the way and sign off on it.”

                      I am contending you fabricated this outright. Why? First, having listened to the lectures of Bishop Alexander – the Oxford trained scholar – and one discussion of how he felt compelled to travel to Simonos Petras Monastery on Mount Athos – not Rome – to answer a personal spiritual question, it is incongruent with his theology, and his manner of speech. Secondly, when I erred in regarding Fr. Florovsky’s use of the term, “Una Sancta,” you corrected me with a Google search in a matter of hours. Verify it or retract it, Mr. Warren.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Warren,

                      You should have provided the link to the forum when you mentioned Bishop Alexander’s comments. I can’t find it now on Google. I sort of remember the discussion. I ran across it last week on Google when this exchange started. I can’t find it there now.

                      I think the statements from the Orthodox-Catholic consultations say a lot about the loyalties of Bishop Alexander. You are probably right about him. I didn’t become Orthodox to end up becoming a Byzantine Catholic. Let me tell you that I also think you were lazy not to link to the comments some people are harping about.

                      They are trying to sandbag you and question your credibility with this tactic of theirs. Maybe the forum took its comments private. I don’t know. You should have linked to them. You seem to have made your case without the links with the other stuff, but I am sure they will keep on ignoring it, because they know something you don’t about where the comments from that forum went.

                      Mr. Warren, you have the delicacy of a bull in a china shop. You are far too blunt and undiplomatic in how you are going at this. We all see Mr. Stankovich and Bishop Tikhon for who they are. No one is taking their insults and namedropping seriously. For people to claim to be so educated and authoritative they come across as obnoxious and tactless. But you should be less sloppy and bring your A game.

                      Bishop Alexander is everything you seem to say he is. You say you are in Detroit, and Detroit is not part of the Diocese of the South. You have made your case. Now let the DOS decide what it wants. The MC probably got the go ahead from Moscow before it started down the road it is following. I really don’t know and I honestly don’t care. I don’t want a Greek or Russian Orthodox church. I am an American of English, Welsh and Scottish ancestry. I am happy being an American in the OCA. Things can’t keep going the way they are going – on that we agree.

                    • I am unsettled by the OCA synod’s behavior, but yes, we will need to see some evidence that Bishop Alexander is a crypto-Uniate.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      There are statements above proving for all who care to read them that +Alexander is a unionist, a Uniate. Please refer to the linked, above statements on the Orthodox-Roman Catholic consultation. Beyond a shadow of a doubt it is clear that +Alexander supports Unia.

                      If you choose not to read statements which prove that fact, please don’t say there is no evidence. There is.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Stankovich,

                      I really don’t agree with Mr. Warren’s russophile attitude. That being said, I find your deceit just too much to stomach. I saw the 2012 topic on a forum just a few days ago when this started. Bishop Alexander was reported to have said such a thing. Now the comments seem to have vanished. It seems that the forum made them private. I believe you know they did. I think you are just here to grandstand.

                      Bishop Tikhon, Mr. Stankovich, Mr. Cone, Fevronia, Helga, the statements Mr. Warren provided about Bishop Alexander’s work in dialogue with the Roman Catholics more than reveal his tendency to compromise Orthodox teaching for union with Rome. It just seems as if someone is attempting to distract people away from the evidence Mr. Warren provided because he or she is aware of the removal of the comment he mentioned elsewhere. I saw it a few days ago. He should have linked to it here. In my opinion, that comment didn’t make Mr. Warren’s case. The documents above do when you read them.

                    • Jesse Cone says

                      Jeff Cahill says,

                      Now let the DOS decide what it wants.

                      This is the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Cahill,

                      I don’t know who you are, where you are from, how you were raised, or how you were educated, but I am personally shocked by someone who would “infer” gross misconduct, and far worse, heresy – literally separating one from the salvation of the Church – without being able to substantiate such comments. Pretty much all we know from Mr. Warren’s “documentation” is that Bishop Alexander attended committee meetings & signed joint statements that are non-binding and keeps the OCA in the news. Everything else he says is Warren’s conjecture. The only thing he offers that is not conjecture, Mr. Cahill, is the quote in question, which you suggest is a cheap ploy. A contrived, direct quote where Bishop Alexander openly admits heresy is devastating. I come from the often contentious, often loud & defensive world of academic rigor in a major research university. You do not open your mouth unless you can substantiate everything you say. I am “sandbagging” Michael Warren, Mr. Cahill? Please. He would not last thirty minutes under the scrutiny of a rigorous environment, if only because he contrives and attributes quotations to the Fathers, to scholars, and to those he disparages with equanimity to serve himself. I can only think of the words of St. John Climacus, “One man lies for the sheer pleasure of it, another for amusement, another to raise a laugh among bystanders, another to trap his brother and do him harm.” I never respond to Michael Warren unless he is wrong.

                      As to your point regarding “name dropping,” let me say this to you: God did not bless me to be an “original thinker,” and I have said this many times on this site because it is the truth. But for whatever reason, he set me at the feet of some of the greatest minds in Orthodoxy in our generation, and I listened, and I remembered. I remember what they taught, what they preached, what they said to me in private, I remember what they wrote. I was both astonished and humbled by the depth of their intellect, but they all revealed their struggles and disappointments as well. Just for example, Blessed Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) was my friend, and I knew his family on both coasts and spent holidays with him and them. I would start listening to him, and whole afternoons would pass by without my realization of time. But this is important, Mr. Cahill: he told me about his friends, Sts. Justin Popovich & John Maximovich, Met. Anthony (Bloom), and Arbp. Basil (Krivosheine). Imagine! Should I have accused him of “name dropping?” What a shortsighted notion. And why? Because it demonstrates a total lack of understanding the difference between the prideful promoting of oneself by the association with others, and gratitude to one’s teachers. And I am hardly unique. There are still those who were with me who treasured this experience. But slowly, time is taking my generation. And when we are gone, you will only have books and articles to describe these great teachers of my time.

                      Finally, Mr. Cahill. if I am promoting heresy in the form of the “vivisection” of aborted fetuses, championing homosexuality, have ever twisted our theology to reflect an “iconography of homosexuality” or any of the other despicable things Mr. Warren accuses, I cordially invite you to find the appropriate quotations of me doing so – in that you have taken on the task of determining & describing what I’m “up to” – and providing them. Trust me, you don’t want me to sandbag you.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Stankovich,

                      He did substantiate his comments. Where I come from, your rudeness has people like you shown the door. I honestly would not have written anything but when I saw the forum which had the comments went private so that people could no longer read them, I felt insulted. Those comments do not make Mr. Warren’s case. His documentation of Bishop Alexander’s participation in the Orthodox-Roman Catholic dialogue does. Mr. Warren made his case about Bishop Alexander with the documents he provided.

                      I find your continual, childish harassment of the man pathetic. I resent that you would stoop so low as to slander him. If this is how you make your case against someone, I respectfully ask the owner of the blog to consider that your unhinged screeds are insults without substance; you lie far too much for polite company. You are out of control. If Bishop Alexander is relying on such crass and immature false witness to assume control of this diocease, he definitely makes me uncomfortable. I think anyone who has made so many concessions to Roman Catholicism as Mr. Warren has clearly documented can legitimately be called a Uniate. Whether or not he is a heretic is the decision of others to make.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Cone,

                      I don’t understand you. Are you saying you are amused that the Diocese of the South could act to reject the appointment of Bishop Alexander or are you just showing contempt for people who don’t agree with you? I am baffled by how a seriously flawed episcopal candidate would be given a pass by some.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Syosset-Crestwood is at it again. More lies by deceitful redaction. Thank you, Mr. Cahill, for pointing out the comments were there and that they are no longer visible. I agree they are grandstanding and trying to filibuster my documentation of +Alexander’s uniatism.

                      +Alexander has worked on the formulation of documents with papist heretics which a). Predicate themselves on branch theory. b). Contradict Orthodox teaching. c). Ridicule Orthodox Saints and practices. d). Recognize papal primacy without calling for papal conversion to Orthodoxy. e). Call for a form of Unia with Rome. While these statements may be “non-binding (for now but the trajectory of the Cretan Robber Synod indicates otherwise),” they definitely outline the vision, temperament and lack of fidelity of the “Orthodox” involved in their formulation. Again, +Alexander has voiced no reservations to these agreements with Rome, but has, rather, been party to their formulation, even a chief spokesman at times, supports their implementation and now is in a position as a Bishop to make this framework for Unia incrementally reality. +Alexander endorses a framework for Unia with Rome and Uniatism. His partisans are here trying to lie that away or minimize its threat to Orthodox Christians +Alexander has been appointed to shepherd.

                      Such sensibilities prove +Alexander is a Uniate, that he endorses Unia and that he is working to bring it about. Syosset-Crestwood’s tactics shout the dishonesty, the treachery of +Alexander’s coming reign of the Diocese of the South. Authoritarianism, deceit, character assassination, Uniatism. That is the “all” of the documentation I provided and the pro-+Alexander Syosset-Crestwood disinformation campaign. Faithful Orthodox are rightfully alarmed by such betrayal of Orthodoxy by a hierarch. Honest Orthodox Christians are rightly repelled by such dishonesty and reprobate massaging of slander. Vigilant Orthodox Christians are rightfully informed of the danger when such a man is labelled a Uniate-what else do you call someone who works out a heretical framework for Uniate submission to Rome? Syosset-Crestwood knows who this man is and the fact that he is unsuitable to sit as an Orthodox hierarch. But they are willing to slander anyone who speaks out against his Uniate agenda, even to destroy evidence. What is that, Diocese of the South?

                      +Bishop Alexander is the type of Hierarch Saints like St. Mark of Ephesus, St. Photios the Great, St. Germogen of Moscow condemned as an apostate. His work on a committee devoted to creating a framework for Unia is the same as the work of those unfaithful hierarchs and churchmen who formulated the unias of Lyons, Florence, Brest, Uzhgorod, Galicia, Transylvania. The Church rightly has condemned those who betrayed Orthodoxy in these theological consultations as Uniates, as apostates, as schismatics, as heretics. Syosset-Crestwood made +Alexander a Bishop and then appointed him to rule the Diocese of the South, the least likely diocese in the OCA to accept Unia or union with Uniate Istanbul. Think about why +Alexander of all hierarchs is being forced on the South, faithful Orthodox Christians.

                      Diocese of the South, let’s put this in perspective. Would a person on a commission tasked with surrendering Texas and the American Southwest to Mexico within a La Rasa federation, who formulated documents and a framework for forcing the Americans living there to accept such a political reality be considered a loyal American by you? What if these documents he drew up with La Rasa and the government of Mexico were “non binding,” but he were running for governor of Texas? Would you vote for him? Would you consider him a loyal American? Would you be right in assuming he favored surrendering the Southwest to La Rasa and Mexico because he formulated plans on how it could be done, plans he unwaveringly supports?

                      +Alexander is a Uniate heretic and should not be received as Bishop of the South. He should be retired as an active Bishop in the OCA and then defrocked. +Alexander is an affront to the Orthodox fidelity of the Diocese of the South.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Cahill,

                      First you said you saw the quotation “a week or so ago, ” then specifically “two days ago,” now it has “gone private so no one can read it.” What a tragedy! And what a convenience. I will ask you one more more time to provide me with the exact address of the forum where you read the direct quote of Bishop Alexander verbalizing what Warren has redacted him to say, and I’ll take it from there. It makes no difference that it was deleted or “taken private.” I believe I have adequately explained why it is significant in this argument.

                      A final note here, did you actually quote your 5-year old son to say, “He’s a bad man?” In reference to the anointed of God; a calling greater than that of the angels themselves? Not that I actually believe this is your correct name, but the idea that someone could actually sit down and state that an innocent could determine someone is “bad” simply by observation is the product of a jackass of great import. Let’s just hope you were employing a literary “license,” and not actually referring to your own son. Oh, and for the record, son, you may refer to me as “Dr. Stankovich,” and you I suggest you stop attempting to play me.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Warren,

                      Please tone down the rhetoric. I get you don’t like the current administration of the OCA. I can see how you are upset that people who support it are abusive and underhanded. I appreciate some of your reservations about Bishop Alexander. But don’t succumb to the urge to be a Christian jerk. Don’t condemn Unia by making yourself into some sort of Orthodox pope condemning people you feel are either dishonest or unfaithful to Orthodoxy. Don’t give them the satisfaction. Give us the courtesy of reasonable dialogue and less polarized language. Most of us understand you and them. Respect the people who don’t agree with them by allowing us to find ways to agree with you in some things. Respect us enough to sort this out for ourselves. You have provided enough on Bishop Alexander. Let things run their course. Come what may, I have the faith and the courage to say we will get it right. We won’t need a lynch mob.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Stankovich,

                      You are a Christian jerk and you are happy to be one. I saw the quote. I believe you know it was there. I believe you know it was taken down. I believe you relish slander. Your behavior is ignorant and hateful. I was going to provide the link to stop your slander of Mr. Warren, but then it disappeared. I am surprised you missed that fact? I don’t know what you mean by anointed of God, and I don’t care to know. I was anointed when I was chrismated. Going after my five year old son in and of itself tells me that you are an immoral predator without a conscience. I feel dirty for just talking to you. The only thing you have adequately explained is that you are a sick individual who will stop at nothing to bully people. You don’t have anything left to say that can be taken seriously.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            I’ve never heard of that, Seraphim98.

            Totally unrelated: In colonial days there was a famous Golitzin who was politically active in Pennsylvania–as a Jesuit missionary priest. He’s mentioned in histories of the time and place.

            • Seraphim98 says

              Bless, your Grace,

              That is comforting to hear. There is a great deal of behind the curtain stuff I’m far from privy to and I don’t want to automatically give credence to everything I hear. Some posters on Monomachos have asserted uniate sympathies for Bishop Alexander, and I was wondering just what this assertion is based upon.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Seraphim98. I know Bishop Alexander as well as anyone posting here on Monomakh, To claim he is a crypto-Uniate is malicious and unfounded. If he PREDICTED a future union, EVER, that is no indication whatsoever of his favoring such! I have never criticized or blamed Bishop Alexander for anything EVER. I admit to having pointed out the OUTRAGEOUS written statement of Archpriest Thaddeus Wojcik which the latter wrote down as the testifying to the content of (then) AlexanderGolitzin’s Lifetime Confession, which went into Golitzin’s personnel files maintained at the OCA and DOW Chanceries for reference by any and all who had a need to read them. The mean, puerile, and ignorant false witness of Michael Warren in Bishop Alexander’s case is most obnoxious–repulsive and unconscionable! Avoid contact or interaction with such! But don’t ever let False Witness be ignored!

                • Jeff Cahill says

                  Bishop Tikhon,

                  Mr. Warren’s documented proof of Bishop Alexander’s participation in the Orthodox-Roman Catholic dialogue makes him anything but a false witness. Your denunciation of him disregarding the evidence he provided seemingly makes you a false witness. I don’t get it. Is this a coordinated effort to deceive people into ignoring the documents provided? In my mind, negotiating the terms of papal primacy by neglecting to recognize the pope is not Orthodox is Uniatism as much as I understand it. Why all these attempts at personal attacks to distract from the message? Why this deceitful grandstanding? Are you all really that threatened by Mr. Warren?

                  For the record, I think Mr. Warren was lazy here. I know he was not deceitful. I have my doubts with all these others protesting so much. Mr. Warren has an overly simplified solution to a complex problem. Becoming a Russian satellite will not save the OCA; it will indenture the OCA. It will chase Americans away. I disagree with Mr. Warren’s solution. I find him to be too blunt in expressing his views. The other people involved in this conversation just want to keep other people from reading what he says, and they seem prepared to do anything in their power to silence Mr. Warren. I find that type of deceitful behavior to be beneath contempt.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Jeff, participation in any “Orthodox/Catholic Dialogue” is not indicative of ANY agreement with Roman Catholic thought or teaching, let alone crypto (OR SECRET)-Uniatism! It is malicious false witness to draw that conclusion! You accuse someone of “deceitful grandstanding.” Where’s the deceit, Jeff? Where’s the grandstanding, Jeff? Surely you are not referring to the daily and all-day obsessive messages of that wannabe Russian, M. Warren?
                    This sentence of yours is an incomprehensible mess with no discernible reference or meaning:”In my mind, negotiating the terms of papal primacy by neglecting to recognize the pope is not Orthodox is Uniatism as much as I understand it.”

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Bishop Tikhon,

                      Stop personally attacking people. That type of behavior is just low. I am not Russian. You are not Russian. It doesn’t serve the interests of anyone to go about this the way you are going about it.

                      You are slandering Mr. Warren. The documents say what they say. It is clear that Bishop Alexander has had a hand in their formulation. Beyond a shadow of a doubt they are working out a framework for union with Rome. I would like to believe you, that Mr. Warren is wrong about Bishop Alexander. Perhaps you can show us something which shows Bishop Alexander has distanced himself from these statements and His work in this Orthodox-Catholic consultation?

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria: “If the priest isn’t at least gracious, then all his ministry goes to waste”

                      Source: http://www.romfea.gr

                      The Hieratic Synaxis of August took place yesterday, Thursday the 1st of August 2013, at the Sacred Metropolitan Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos, in Kastoria.

                      During the Synaxis, both His Eminence as well as Archimandrite Athanasios spoke about and clarified to the Clergymen of the Metropolis various ecclesiastic and administrative matters. His Eminence also analyzed the content of the exhortative encyclical that was given to all the Parish Priests, which pertained to the virtue of graciousness.

                      More specifically, what graciousness is, what the characteristics of a gracious person are – and more so of a gracious Clergyman – stressing characteristically that “If a priest is not at least gracious, then all his ministry goes to waste.”

                      Below is the full text of the encyclical by His Eminence the Metropolitan Seraphim:

                      To all the Reverend Presbyters of our Metropolis

                      My beloved Fathers,

                      We are preparing ourselves again this year – with the help of God and with the bounteous intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos and of all the Saints – to celebrate the “Mother of God’s Pascha of the Summer”, which is the Dormition of the Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.

                      On the occasion of this event, I would like once again to communicate with you and deposit my agony over what is happening in our homeland as well as around us, regarding the factor of the people’s daily strain under the numerous tribulations and difficulties, and especially about those who are raiding our country and homeland to this day, without seeing the slightest sign of help.
                      Of course above all this and beyond it, is the Hand and the Providence of God. However, what is absent is our participation in the move forward.

                      That is why the words of Saint Gregory the Theologian apply in our days: «You ask how our affairs are also so bitter: […] the sea voyage is by night, there is no torch anywhere, Christ is sleeping…». 

                      Allow me to deposit to your love a few thoughts borrowed from the Holy Fathers of the Church regarding a virtue that is scarce in our day and age; a virtue that is missing from the persons of our Clergy, but also from all of us: it is GRACIOUSNESS.

                      First of all – what is graciousness? It is not simply a virtue, but a resultant of many virtues.
                      It is not merely the guide to proper behaviour, containing certain rules of social life, but the fruit of an inner life which comes as a result of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the space of our soul.
                      Graciousness is the overflowing of one’s soul towards fellow-man. It originates from the excess of the heart. It is born within a reborn and renovated heart.
                      It is the resultant of a struggle for an upward course. It expresses itself in every person – young and old.
                      The content of graciousness is underlined for us by the Apostle Paul: «…Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…» (Rom.12,10). 

                      It is lauded, furthermore, and admired by the Fathers of the Church: «Man must not be arrogant or a flatterer, neither should he also reach audacity, or stoop to subservience, given that “inconsiderate behaviour is wrong”», as Saint Isidore the Pelusian stresses. 

                      Secondly – A gracious person is simultaneously a discerning one.
                      He becomes “weightless”; that is, he does not become burdensome, to each and every fellow-man.
                      He always applies the words of the Apostle Paul in his life: «And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself» (2 Cor.11:9).
                      He does not ask for anything; he gives. In that way, he preserves both his freedom as well as his dignity.
                      A gracious person avoids harshness, and even more, audacity, which is repulsed by people, because he is aware that audacity is not a strength but a weakness. And one reaches the point of audacity, when – as the Fathers of the Church stress – he does not implement boldness with measure.
                      Graciousness never goes as far as using abusive language and vulgarity. It does not familiarize itself with disrespect and impertinence, which, according to Saint Theodore the Studite, is a «huge and devastating evil». Besides, Saint Ephraim the Syrian will say that impertinence is the mother of profligacy..

                      Thirdly – A gracious person never talks about himself.
                      He never presents himself as a saviour. He does not create followers or groups, but always behaves with prudence. In general, he is a balanced personality.

                      A gracious person respects and honours the elderly, not hypocritically, but spontaneously and honestly, in every way and at every moment in his life. 

                      A gracious person is patient, consistent, willing, careful, pleasant, grateful, and he never becomes tiring and a nuisance. 

                      A gracious person is one who controls the quality of his behaviour: first of all inside himself, and then also inside his own home. Because one cannot be a tyrant at home and towards his own, and at the same time be seemingly pious to those outside. One cannot appear barbaric to his children and at the same time wear a broad smile for all the others.
                      True graciousness begins from within the space of our heart; it is expressed inside our home, to our family members, then to our fellow-man, and it is addressed to everyone, without discrimination.
                      A gracious person always willingly and sincerely apologizes, not for the sake of appearances, but because he can feel his conscience bothering him.
                      A gracious person is simultaneously meek. He is tolerant. He does not resort to the passion of anger. He is discerned for his sobriety. But most of all, he is careful with his use of words. He thinks before he speaks, how he will speak, if he should speak, and when he does speak, he will say what is appropriate.
                      Whispering is absent from a gracious person, as Saint Basil the Great says, and «also speaking unbecomingly», as Saint Gregory the Theologian reminds us.
                      A gracious person furthermore is careful, even about his gaze, which quite often can offend his fellow-man. That is why it is written that a gracious, modest and respectable person has, as his motto, the words of Saint Gregory the Theologian: «observe, decently».

                      My beloved fathers, I have conveyed all the above to you, because this virtue of graciousness is inclined to diminish in our day and age, even from the persons of our Clergy.

                      In my ears are echoing the words of the Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery: «If you can’t become saints, at least be gracious».
                      A Clergyman, especially in our days, must be a par excellence gracious person:
                      Gracious in our home.

                      Gracious to the people of our Parish. 

                      Gracious and beneficial to people who are suffering.
                      Gracious to the various Public Services, from which we daily seek assistance.

                      Gracious to every person, regardless of his status.

                      The various localisms and the supposed privileges that we think we have are rejected and condemned by our Church.

                      That is why I am addressing a fervent request to your love: Let us embrace this virtue of graciousness, which is the fragrance of many virtues. Only thus will we succeed in attaining our spiritual balance and calmness in the space of our heart, and that love and peace be offered to our fellow-man who is in such need of them.

                      If the priest is not at least gracious, then all his ministry goes to waste.

                      In view of the Most Holy Mother’s feast of the Dormition, I would like to remind you once more, as I did in the previous years, of the following and request that you show your concern:

                      1. Perform Vespers on a daily basis in the Holy Temple, followed by the Paraclesis Canon (the Minor or Major one) to the Most Holy Mother, in accordance with the Typikon of the Church, having previously notified your parishioners of the Sacred Service and the exact time that it commences. I would like to recommend, fraternally and paternally, to not omit every day – in your homes and before the holy icons – to chant the Paraclesis Canon to the Most Holy Mother, and also, every evening, along with the Evening Service, to read the Service of Salutations to Her. You will have the blessings and the grace of the Holy Mother, Who will shelter you and your families.

                      2. For the benefit of your parishioners, you should perform liturgies more frequently during this period, perhaps even on a daily basis. It is a sacrifice and an offering that will nevertheless provide many blessings.

                      3. In this context of Divine Worship, you should perform a short Night-Vigil on the 13th towards the 14th of August, thus preparing your faithful for the grand feast-day of the Holy Mother. Have with you the Typikon of this Sacred Night-Vigil. You can even arrange to perform the Sacrament of Holy Unction and in that way also prepare your flock. (A reminder that on the feast-day itself of the Dormition of the Theotokos, MEMORIAL SERVICES ARE NOT PERFORMED).

                      4. We must pay attention to fasting. Fasting during the 15 days of August is without oil on week days, except for Saturdays and Sundays. We should ensure that we observe this first, after having informed the people about the significance of this Fast. We must of course inform all the various Church Clubs as well as our Christians that they should not break the Fast on the eve of that important Feast-day of the Holy Mother, which will result in no-one partaking of Holy Communion on the following day.

                      5. We should exhort the faithful to participate in the Mystery of Holy Confession and Holy Communion.

                      6. If your Parish Church celebrates on that day, prepare it suitably for the feast-day (cleanliness, adornment of Icons, comeliness of the entire Temple). Furthermore, ensure that there is a timely announcement of the schedule of Holy Services for the Eve and for the Main Feast-day.

                      7. At the lead of this feast day is the Sacred Metropolitan Temple of Kastoria, which celebrates on the 15th of August and where Major Celebratory Vespers and the Praises to the Holy Mother will be performed on the 14th of August at 7pm, then in the morning of the Feast-day a Hieratic Divine Liturgy and in the afternoon of the same day at 6.30pm, the descent of the Holy Icon of the Theotokos from the Metropolitan Temple to the Sacred Monastery of the Panayia Mavriotissa.

                      8. The participation of all of you in the Sacred Night-Vigil that will be performed at the olden and historical, celebrating Sacred Monastery of the Panayia Mavriotissa on the 22nd towards the 23rd of August on the occasion of the Apodosis of the Dormition of the Theotokos. It is the Apodosis – the reciprocation – of the respect and the obligation that we have towards the maternal protection of the Panayia. It is worth dedicating a few hours of the night to Her, Who, in spite of our sins and mistakes, continues to shelter us and intercedes.

                      9. During this period, the following also celebrate: the Sacred Monastery of Panayia Faneromeni, of the Saint Kyriaki community (30 and 31 August) and the Sacred Monastery of Panayia of Kleisoura (7 και 8 September).

                      This way, my Fathers, we will have the opportunity to help the souls of the Christians for a spiritual detoxing: to relieve them with the Mystery of Holy Confession and to nourish them with the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist; to lead them to the Most Holy Theotokos, and to project to all of us the Holy Mother – the Mother of our Lord and our Mother – as the role model for our own lives.

                      With my wish that you may all have the blessing of the Holy Mother richly, in your lives, in your families’ and your parishioners’. I also beseech you to pray for my insignificant person, both at the Sacred Altar as well as in your personal prayers.

                      I greet you in Christ, with very much love

                      THE METROPOLITAN
                      OF KASTORIA, SERAPHIM

                      Translation: A.N.
                      Article published in English on: 8-8-2013.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Dear Mr. Cahill–Mr Warren is at best wrong, and at most slanderous in almost all that he writes. I do not think that he is lazy at all. That said, I am surprised that you think that the documents that he provided are any sort of proof. It beggars the imagination that one can deduce from them the unwarranted and ultimately slanderous conclusions that Mr Warren persists in publishing. In other Orthodox fora, he would have had to justify his slanderous accusations and, failing that, be kicked out.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Kraeff,

                      It is strange you and Bishop Tikhon both use the word “beggars” here. I agree with Mr. Warren about these documents because in plain English they are working out concessions to Roman Catholicism to bring about a union with Rome. I didn’t miss that point. I am surprised you did. I am also surprised you missed that Bishop Alexander was involved in these documents coming to be. I have seen on many forums moderators remove people who attack other people and engage in slander, yes. That is why I am surprised you and the others are the ones calling for censorship when you all are so guilty.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    Mr. Cahill, what you are encountering here is the typical disinformation of people who hate all other sounds but the echos of their own voices. If +Bishop Alexander were to be received into the UGCC and appointed its Bishop of Chicago, these same people would say that that wasn’t Unia, that it proved nothing, because he didn’t obtain a canonical release from Syosset or that he was writing a book on St. Mark of Ephesus which proves his loyalty to Orthodoxy. They would slander everyone pointing out that +Alexander was a UGCC Bishop, demand them to prove that they personally witnessed him serving as a Uniate with an affidavit and then impugn the notary. My sorry experience with this Syosset-Crestwood crowd is they insult, slander, disinform, filibuster until they either seed enough doubt of the truth or until the people outing them shut up or are silenced. That is the unfortunate reality of dealing with these people. This is how they have held on to power for 45+years despite the fact of their miserable failures, embezzlement and corruption.

                • Jesse Cone says

                  Thank you for speaking to this Vladyka.

                  • Jeff Cahill says

                    Is it customary to thank people for being dishonest? I don’t get it. He slandered Mr. Warren in plain sight while disregarding 3000 words of documentation which contradict his endorsement of Bishop Alexander. Are you thanking him because you agree with him?

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      I promise NOT to thank Jeff for being dishonest!

                    • Jesse Cone says

                      Well now Jeff, that is neither a responsible or charitable reading of my words.

                      I thanked Bp. Tikhon for speaking as to what he knew of Bp. Alexander’s “uniate” views and actions. If you think he’s being dishonest, do tell, but I have to admit your credibility with me is waning with every unsubstantiated accusation.

                      Moreover, Bp. Tikhon makes a good point between a bishop “predicting” rather than “advocating” for a certain outcome. It would be a shame to accuse a hierarch of heresy based on an irresponsible misreading. Lord knows the OCA likes to assassinate their hierarchs–the shameless means by such things occur should be scrutinized.

                      Now it is true I was also subtly thanking Bp. Tikhon for something else–namely, the mention of the irregularity with Bp. Alexander’s certification from his spiritual father. I have no animus against Bp. Alexander (who I very much want to succeed) or Fr. Thaddeus. I do, however, appreciate reminders that the Synod’s irresponsibility and/or intermittent attention to the good order of the Church is not forgotten and their hypocrisy is apparent.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Bishop Tikhon,

                      Honesty forced me to speak out when I noticed you were slandering Mr. Warren.

                    • Jeff Cahill says


                      I don’t believe I ever had any credibility with you. It is not me you refuse to believe. You refuse to believe Bishop Alexander who has spent almost twenty years working out a framework for union with Rome without Rome’s conversion to Orthodoxy. The fact you still haven’t bothered to acknowledge that yet is incredible. The fact you thank Bishop Tikhon for openly lying and slandering other people in the process leaves you totally uncredible. Again you out yourself.

                • Your Grace, I was wondering when you’d mention that business.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Thank you, “Helga”! I think it’s now fair to assume that Metropolitan Jonah, UNLIKE his predecessors, made a thorough examination of all the relevant materials and resolved all outstanding questions before elevating Bishop Alexander…

                    • Your Grace, as far as I know, the documentation of Alexander Golitzin’s impediments to ordination had disappeared prior to 2012. I also believe Metropolitan Jonah opposed the election of Fr Alexander Golitzin to the episcopacy, not that a single vote was enough to do in an episcopal candidate in those days.

                      I think Warren and Cahill are trying to distract everyone with the unproven Uniatism in order to take over discussion here (notice how many of the sidebar posts are those two?). It’s also possible that they are trying to avoid anyone focusing on why Golitzin’s spiritual father would place such a ridiculous statement in his file to begin with. Repented of all canonical impediments! Really!

                    • ChristineFevronia says

                      What exactly is a “canonical impediment” anyway? (And that’s interesting about Met. Jonah opposing Fr. Alexander’s elevation to the rank of Bishop.)

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Helga! This is STRANGE: You wrote:

                      “the documentation of Alexander Golitzin’s impediments to ordination had disappeared prior to 2012. I also believe Metropolitan Jonah opposed the election of Fr Alexander Golitzin to the episcopacy, not that a single vote was enough to do in an episcopal candidate in those days.”

                      I know of NO “documentation of Alexander Golitzin’s ‘impediments” at all–ever! I just know that the pre-ordination signed oath must be maintained in every cleroc’s personnel file, and that on that oath is the certification of the individual’s spiritual father that he has heard the life’s confession of the candidate and that there are NO CANONICAL IMPEDIMENTS to ordination. I only certified to having read the strange certification of the Polish-American Priest, Taddeus Wojcik which (almost like a bad Polish joke) certified that Golitzin had “repented of all canonical impediments!”Are you claiming, Helga, that that form has ben removed from Golitzin’s personnel file at the Chancery of the Holy Synod in New York and at the DOW personnel file in San Francisco? How would you KNOW that, Helga? Or are you just preemptively protecting Metropolitan Jonah from a hasty consecration of the same? No one accused Metropolitan Jonah of being hasty or in a hurry!

                    • Jeff Cahill says


                      When a person produces statements for almost twenty years working out a plan for union with Rome at the expense of Orthodoxy, he is writing out his beliefs and intentions. Bishop Alexander himself has written he wants union with Rome in these statements he has often co-authored. I want very much to read just one document, paper, interview, anecdote where he has at very least shown reservations to the Unionist activities of the Orthodox-Catholic consultation. Show us.

                    • Your Grace, a priest who certifies that an ordinand has “repented of all canonical impediments” is certifying that the ordinand HAS canonical impediments.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Helga, you’re quite right. That’s what made some us refer to Fr Wojcik’s bizarre “certification”as “the latest and worst Polish Joke! And wonder why Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman in succession accepted it without investigation, while Metropolitan Jonah (who MUST HAVE done his “due diligence”?) apparently did not!
                      If, as you hinted, the certification mysteriously VANISHED from the man’s personnel file, WHO IS BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE? I venture to opine that this sort of thing couldn’t have happened in the old days before Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick was suddenly locked out of the Chancery, and non-chancery employees were given total access to those files!

                    • Jesse Cone says

                      Your Grace,

                      You seem to be anticipating Helga saying something she hasn’t yet said: that the document in question has been removed or destroyed.

                      I have heard this, and also that a standing bishop is responsible for this document snafu. Interesting you would bring up the DOW…

                      As for accountability, for this we would need a SIC. Who would arrange for such a thing?

                • ChristineFevronia says

                  from: https://www.monomakhos.com/part-iv-lights-out/
                  For those who are new to this blog and may not know to what His Grace Bishop Tikhon is referring to, here is his very clear clarification on the issue of his not knowing about any canonical impediments:

                  Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:
                  February 10, 2014 at 11:33 pm

                  I reported that on the Oath and Ordination certificate, Archpriest Thaddeus Wojcik certified as Spiritual Father that he had heard the Confession of Alexander Golitzin and “he has repented of all canonical impediments.” Nowhere did i claim that Fr. Alexander Golitzin had impediments: I only reported that Fr. Wojcik CERTIFIED that he had repented of “all canonical impediments.”

                  Although then Bishop Gregory (Afonsky) went on to ordain him to the Priesthood, this did not clear up the mystery of WHAT the Polish American Archpriest meant by repenting of “all canonical impediments.” I certainly knew nothing of the matter until I became the diocesan bishop and in; the process of reviewing his personnel file for compleeeness (as I did for all the diocesan clergy’s files) I came across this bizarre and anomalous statement. Almost without exception the statement of the Spiritual Father in all other priests’ files read like this; “I have heard the confession of N. AND THERE ARE NO CANONICAL IMPEDIMENTS TO HIS ORDINATION.” No bishop should ordain anyone without that very certification.

                  Not long after reviewing his and others’ files, there was a meeting of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Theodosius presiding, at which Metropolitan Theodosius read off the names of all the men being ;more or less considered for the episcopate. During the ensuing lunch break, I spoke privately to Metropolitan Theodosius and asked him if he knew what Father Wojcik had written on his certificate. He said, No.” So we went to the Syosset personnel files and His Beatitude pulled out the Syosset copy of the certificate, read it and turned pale. ‘I’ll take care of this,” he said. After lunch, he announced that Golitizin was taken off the eligible list.

                  After Metropolitan Theodosius had a series of strokes, he announced his retirement. At the All-American Council to elect his successor, Bishop Seraphim got themost popular votes, but the Holy Synod, as usual, did not agree with the popular vote and instead elected Metropolitan Herman. During the first full synod meeting in Syosset after that, Archbishop Job asked to place Father Alexander Golitzin on “the list” (of eligible candidates for the episcopacy). Not having heard of any explanation or revision of Father Thaddeus Wojcik’s testimony, I asked Metropolitan Herman, during a break, if he had read Fr. Alexander’s personnel file. He had not. We went to the personnel files and he read the same statement again. He clenched his jaws. At the next session, he announced that the name of Fr. Alezander Golitzin “is permanently removed from eligibility.

                  THAT’S all I know, George. I never learned what canonical impediments had been divulged in Confession. I still don’t know what they might be. All I know is what his Father Confessor certified to .

                  • Jeff Cahill says


                    I must have missed something. One person here asked for reassurances as to whether or not Bishop Alexander was involved in activities working out union with Rome. I don’t see the connection of that with anything you have written in regard to Bishop Tikhon’s response. I don’t get it.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Why, Jeff Cahill! You’ve missed a lot, it seems to me! And you’ve imagined stuff that didn’t happen! I believe I’ve never used the verb “beggars” as in “beggars the imagination”, but you wrote to Mr Kraff that both he and I had done so! There’s nothing wrong with the idiom, but I’ve tried NOT to use the tired kind of figures of speech to which that Cyber-Stinker, Michael Warren, is apparently addicted.

                      Oh, and I find it highly thought-provoking that you, of all people, would be indicating approval of graciousness. Now THAT TRULY “BEGGARS THE IMAGINATION.”
                      You and the Cyber-Stinker should review some of the documents produced by the hierarchy in RUSSIA relative to Orthodox-Catholic dialogue! Look for stuff on which Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev) and/or Patriarch Kirill (Gundaev) labored! BETTER YET , why not read the results of the annual joint meetings of representatives of the Russian Church with RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP of The Islamic Republic of IRAN? Will you and the Cyber-Stinker begin to call the Russian PAtriarch a “Crypto-Muslim?”
                      And when may we expect to see any “Graciousness” emanating from YOU?

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Bishop Tikhon,

                      I was offering you a helping hand, but you are addicted to hating and loathing anyone who disagrees with you. I am uncomfortable even writing you. I truly feel sorry for you.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Jeff Cahill wrote this:
                      “Bishop Tikhon,
                      I was offering you a helping hand, but you are addicted to hating and loathing anyone who disagrees with you. I am uncomfortable even writing you. I truly feel sorry for you.”
                      Does anyone know what he’s talkmg about? When did this guy offer me “a helping hand?” And who is it he thinks I loathe or hate?
                      He couldn’t find me using the expression beggars the imagination,” either! But he said I used it, or, rather, he accused me of using it. His excuse is that he feels uncomfortable…..

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Mr. Cahill, the ravings of internet stalkers who are retired in disgrace and irrelevant are inconsequential. Don’t feed the slander and it will dissipate. Some are immune to morality and truth. Leave them to their bliss.

                  • Who to blame says

                    Helga wrote

                    “Your Grace, a priest who certifies that an ordinand has “repented of all canonical impediments” is certifying that the ordinand HAS canonical impediments.”

                    Hold on there. HAS? Shouldn’t that be “HAD”? Isn’t the point of confession and absolution the forgiveness of sins?

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Impediments aren’t necessarily sins! That also makes the statement, “repented of,” to be iusane!

                    • Bishop Tikhon is quite correct. You can repent of a sin that caused an impediment, but not all impediments are sinful, nor are the impediments erased by repentance. The formerly prodigal, repentant son was accepted back into his father’s household, but he did not receive any further part of his father’s livelihood.

                      Some people aren’t allowed to drive because they have violated traffic laws, while others aren’t allowed to drive because their eyesight is too poor. The latter group consists of people who have not necessarily done anything wrong, but the fact remains that neither can be allowed to drive. The note in Bishop Alexander’s file is like the DMV saying that a prospective driver has repented of every reason that he cannot drive safely!

                      Whether Bishop Alexander was the ordination equivalent of a law-breaker, or a blind person, repenting of his disqualification does not make him worthy of ordination.

          • Bogdan Bucur says

            Please watch this short video of Bishop Alexander. I believe it can shed some useful light, especially for those who don’t know him and for those who think they know what this man is about.

            And this one, in two parts:

            • and part three is here


              Note that all three videos have a closed captions option so that the soft voice of Bishop Alexander can be heard in print

            • Jeff Cahill says

              I honestly am not that impressed. He reminds me of overly educated bishops who talked out of both sides of their mouth in the Episcopal church. I don’t feel comfortable with him in a “make sure the silverware is all there before he leaves” kind of way.

              • Jesse Cone says

                Jeff, on what is your discomfort based?

                I plan on inviting His Grace over for dinner once he settles in Dallas, and I’m not too fearful for my silverware.

              • Jeff Cahill says

                Well, I guess you outed yourself for everyone then. I just know inside when someone is untrustworthy. My wife, not knowing Bishop Alexander said, “Oh no,” when she heard him speaking. My five year old son said, “Daddy, that is a bad man.” The last time things like this happened we saw Hillary Clinton at a rally. It is more than a “creep” factor-something along the lines of the feeling you get when you know people are going to try to steal from you or use you. I sense harm. That is our collective impression of Bishop Alexander.

              • Bogdan Bucur says

                Consider what he’s accomplished as a scholar of Dionysius. It is the exact opposite of stealing the silverware or crypto-Uniatism.
                His book (Mystagogy: A Monastic Reading of Dionysius Areopagita) “proposes an interpretation of the Pseudo-Dionysian corpus in light of the liturgical and ascetic tradition that defined the author and his audience. Characterized by both striking originality and remarkable fidelity to the patristic and late neoplatonic traditions, the Dionysian corpus is a coherent and unified structure, whose core and pivot is the treatise known as the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy. Given Pseudo-Dionysius’ fundamental continuity with earlier Christian theology and spirituality, it is not surprising that the church, and in particular the ascetic community, recognized that this theological synthesis articulated its own fundamental experience and aspirations.”

                And the scholarship is very much his person. Here is the video in which he explains his very personal stakes in making sense of Dionysius, the Liturgy, and the monastic life. His monastic vocation and scholarship are linked.

                • Jeff Cahill says

                  Mr. Bucur,

                  I am not a scholar on pseudo-Dionysius. I am Orthodox. The Cloud of Unknowing was something I read in the Episcopal church. I believe that has something to do with the writings of pseudo-Dionysius. Reading that book didn’t make me Orthodox. I don’t get the linkage between pseudo-Dionysius and how that supposedly contradicts plain English documents which call for union with Rome.

                  The reason why I wrote “overly educated speaking out of both sides of his mouth” was to indicate Bishop Alexander seems to want to be seen as a scholar, but in doing so, he comes across as someone who is everywhere and no where in particular to promote himself without any pronounced confessional loyalty. That is why I wrote that I thought it would be appropriate to make sure all the silverware were still there before he left; Bishop Alexander comes across as a person who looks after himself without any qualms about Orthodoxy or even Christianity. That type of smug overconfidence in the Episcopal church often meant that sound doctrine was discarded for ambition and personal agenda. I don’t think the DOS would be well served by him as a result.

                  The documents Mr. Warren provided about Bishop Alexander’s work hoping to bring about union with Rome showed me that Bishop Alexander was a person who wanted to be bigger than church boundaries and the Church’s discipline. What you provided showed me he was comfortable with his ideas but not necessarily loyal to Orthodox Christianity. Your response putting scholarship out there as the basis of his Orthodoxy does not follow for me. Plenty of people are scholars of Byzantine Christianity; many of them are not Orthodox.

                  • Bogdan Bucur says

                    I find it dangerous to go with your initial impression about someone you’ve not even broken bread with. Why not meet the person, look him in the eyes, ask your questions, listen to what he says, etc. “Can anything good come from Nazareth” vs “Come and see”. And asking those who know him well (as a bishop, as a priest, as a monk, as a professor, as a scholar, as a friend, as a family member) would also be more useful than passing judgment after a few minutes on youtube.

                    On the relevance of scholarship: he himself explains how his scholarship flows from his Orthodoxy. Anyway, what he did for the Church through his articles and books and academic mentorship is not nothing. Why not ask him why and how he thinks the Church was served by participation in the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue? Rather than the suspicion and conviction that you already know “what the deal is” with or that, better a measure of good will and trust, as among brothers.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Thank you, Bogdan!

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Why would I break bread with someone who betrays what I hold to be true and holy, who unsettles my family with his insincere and creepy fakery? Why would I enable what I find to be so disagreeable? Would you break bread with a Lesbian, Sophia worshipping, Episcopal Bishop to ascertain if she truly were a person who taught error and was advocating immorality? I wouldn’t put my family through that.

                  • Jesse Cone says

                    Jeff continues to voice his hunches…

                    Bishop Alexander seems to want to be seen as a scholar, but in doing so, he comes across as someone who is everywhere and no where in particular to promote himself without any pronounced confessional loyalty.

                    …except the fact is his hunches run against some obvious truths. Bp. Alexander IS a respected scholar, he’s not TRYING TO BE SEEN as one. He’s also retired.

                    Those who know much about ecumenism and the academic world know that writing on Dionysius is choosing a difficult career path. Orthodox Christians who are begging for scraps from the academy have many easier in-roads at their disposal; and some of them don’t even have to be academically rigorous. One could also cozy up to the ecumenical table by joining the WCC or declaring an interest in “sexual minorities”!

                    Seriously Jeff, I have little qualms in speaking against Syosset and/or bishops of whom I have knowledge of wrongdoing. My history is (unfortunately) a testament to that. You are, however, out of line with these accusations.

                    • Jeff Cahill says


                      I don’t equate papers written on pseudo-Dionysius to be affirmations of someone’s scholarship or Orthodoxy. I have explained why; you ignored my explanation. You have also outed yourself as an admirer of this man. That’s great, but the rest of what you write ends up being argument without substance. Yes, my family’s moral reservations, coupled with Bishop Alexander’s very soft loyalty to Orthodoxy, and his work in promoting union with Rome legitimately ground my reservations. The nuances of ecumenism don’t interest me; I am Orthodox and my Church is not the WCC. The perils of academia encountered by Bishop Alexander are not the concern of the Diocese of the South, which needs a faithful Orthodox shepherd to lead it. Bishop Alexander, in my estimation, is not that faithful, Orthodox shepherd.

                • Michael Warren says

                  And yet +Alexander not only endorses the Ravenna Statement, he has been involved/is actively involved in the process that led to it. The Ravenna Statement aims at defining the role of papal primacy in the Church while excluding all mention of papal conversion (even affirmation of) to Orthodoxy, offered as an ecclesiological model for restoration of Communion. Orthodox union with the papal church defined on the basis of what degree of papal primacy the Orthodox will accept, not on the necessity of conversion to Orthodoxy by the papal church. But that’s not Uniatism or Crypto-Uniatism or even Unionism: it is fidelity to Orthodoxy because +Alexander wrote a book on St. Dionysios the Areopagite. Right.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Specifically, where is your proof of this, other than some generalization that he is on a member of this consultation? Unless you provide some manner by which he distinguished himself – by verifiable statement, decree, lecture, address, or some form of personal communication – I do not trust a thing you say. Truth means nothing to you. Further, I believe in the tradition of the Holy Scripture and the Patristic Fathers, it is incumbent upon you, in so ruthlessly proclaiming this Bishop of the Orthodox Church to be a heretic and unfit for his office to confront him personally. Realistically, however, I know you do not have the courage to email or call him directly. You are a coward and will always be a coward. Maybe you can convince Jeff Cahill that this is manner by which people of integrity pursue such matters. I suspect, however, he is less inclined than you.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Turn out the lights on your way out:

                      Orthodox-Catholic Consultation Responds To ‘Ravenna Document’

                      November 4, 2009

                      WASHINGTON—The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation finalized a joint response to the international dialogue’s 2007 “Ravenna Document” at their 77th meeting, held at Saint Paul’s College in Washington, October 22-24. Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh and Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans presided over it.

                      This was Archbishop Aymond’s first meeting as Catholic Co-Chair. Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, named Archbishop Aymond to succeed Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk last summer. Archbishop Aymond, who had been with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in New Orleans the day before the meeting, extended the Patriarch’s warm greetings to the Consultation. Most of the meeting centered on finalizing the Common Response, the full text of which is found at http://www.usccb.org/seia/RavennaResponse.pdf

                      Overall the North American dialogue welcomed the document, and viewed its adoption as a sign that the international dialogue, that has faced significant difficulties in the recent past, has been able to resume its study of ecclesiology and present an approved statement on the topic.

                      The Common Response examines the Ravenna Document’s treatment of conciliarity and authority at three levels within the Church: the local level (diocese), the regional level (Episcopal conferences, metropolitanates and patriarchates) and the universal level. …

                      …The full title of the Ravenna Document is “Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church: Ecclesial Communion, Conciliarity and Authority.” It is available on the Vatican website at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/ch_orthodox_docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20071013_documento-ravenna_en.html and on the website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople at
                      http://www.ec-patr.org/docdisplay.php?lang=en&id=848&tla=en The North American consultation has also issued common responses to the earlier agreed statements produced by the international dialogue.

                      Members also continued work on the theme of primacies and conciliarity in the Church. They examined a first draft of a proposed agreed statement on this question, entitled “Steps Towards a United Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future.” Still in its preliminary stages, the text will be revised and considered again at the next meeting of the dialogue. To enhance the consultation’s examination of this theme, Father John Erickson presented a paper entitled “Primacy and Conciliarity at the Regional Level,” …

                      …In addition to the co-chairs, the Consultation include Orthodox representatives …Father Alexander Golitzin…

                      …The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation is sponsored jointly by SCOBA, the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since its establishment in 1965, the Consultation has now issued 23 agreed statements on various topics. All these texts are now available on the USCCB Website at http://www.usccb.org/seia/orthodox_index.shtml and the SCOBA website at http://www.scoba.us/resources/orthodox-catholic.html


                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Half-truths avail you nothing. Did I not recommend Fr. Kishkovsky’s commentary on the Ravenna Statement:

                      There is, and always has been, an Orthodox consensus that the bishop of Rome holds a primacy of honor among all the patriarchs and bishops of the Christian West and the Christian East—when there is no schism between Rome and the Orthodox Churches. When the unity of the Christian West and the Christian East was lost (approximately in the 11th century), the primacy of honor among the Orthodox Churches passed on to Constantinople, where it remains.

                      Thus, from the Orthodox point of view, the primacy which the bishop of Rome has depends on the full unity of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. For the Orthodox, unity comes before primacy.

                      Any questions?

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Stankovich,

                      The document cited does not call for the conversion of the Roman pope to Orthodoxy. Its model for unity establishes conditions for Orthodox churches to accept papal primacy and the Roman church with its current teachings. That is a form of Uniatism. You mentioned half-truthes. Here you provide an outright lie. Mr. Warren provided you the evidence you demanded. Here you are yet again not honest enough to accept your failure to adequately contest his assertion that Bishop Alexander is a proponent of Unia with Rome.

                      Or can you provide documents from Fr. Kishkovsky or Bishop Alexander which state clearly that the Bishop of Rome must become Orthodox as a condition of Orthodox recognition of Roman primacy in regard to the Ravenna document? Please provide one direct quote from Bishop Alexander. After all, Fr. Kishkovsky doesn’t speak for Bishop Alexander’s approval of the Ravenna document; how is he even relevant? But please provide something which states these men call for the conversion of the Roman pope to Orthodoxy as being part of this Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Stupid is as stupid does:

                      1). Proof of +Alexander’s endorsement of the Ravenna Statement was demanded. It was provided. That was a whole truth end to the conversation.
                      2). Then somehow notorious, ecumenist betrayer of Orthodoxy, Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky, was offered as a source for legitimizing +Alexander’s endorsement of the Uniate model of primacy advanced by the Ravenna Statement. Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky’s statements are his and not +Bishop Alexander’s. To top it off, his comments somehow condemning me of “half-truths” call for a framework of acknowledging papal primacy once Orthodox and Catholic churches reunite (notice the inherent branch theory in the statement) without papal conversion to Orthodoxy. This isn’t uniatism. (Just Neo-Uniatism constructed on branch theory and betrayal of Orthodoxy) Neither was Lyons and Florence then.
                      3). Syosset-Crestwood has lost this debate. Here we have proof that not only is +Bishop Alexander a Uniate, unfaithful to Orthodoxy, Fr. Leonid Kishkovksky is as well, and their Syosset-Crestwood supporters aren’t competent enough to understand statements which state the Ravenna Statement relies on heretical, branch theory ecclesiology in the formula of “two lungs, sister churches,” both in schism (!), to affirm papal primacy in a “reunited church” where conversion to Orthodoxy does not happen. The Orthodox Church “reunites with its other lung,” acknowledging papal primacy in Uniate submission where neither the pope nor the papal “church” converts to Orthodoxy. Thus my whole truth is admitted by them. They have made my case for me with their profound lack of understanding of Orthodox ecclesiology and imbecilic lack of understanding of the quotes they provide. The lights are turned off, and all Syosset-Crestwood has left is Uniate, lunatic ravings in the dark.

                  • Bogdan Bucur says

                    As I said: ask him and the other Orthodox scholars and churchmen who have been appointed and sent by the Church to participate on the various theological consultations with non-Orthodox, with Judaism and with Islam, what it is they think they are doing and why.

                    By the way, on the matter of “unity /disunity of the Church” and ecumenical relations, I found this beautiful and true statement from Sister Vassa Larin (ROCOR nun and a solid scholar of Liturgical Theology):

                    For my part, I am glad that the US consultation has Golitzin (among others, of course) to articulate the Orthodox position because I know him to be a man of deep faith, a monk molded by Elder Aimilianos — a warm heart guarded by sobriety, humility and a good sense of humor — as well as a high-caliber scholar. If one doesn’t know him, or doesn’t understand some of the theological reasoning, why not meet and ask? Bishop Alexander is one of us, monk, teacher, and bishop, and we all know and agree that suspicion, denigration, character assassination, condemnation, etc should have no place among us.

                    • Jeff Cahill says


                      If Bishop Alexander has provided a clear paper trail which proves he is advancing union with Rome without the necessity of Rome’s conversion to Orthodoxy, am I supposed to ask him why he is betraying the Church or just sit with him, a man who clearly creeps my family out, and allow him to either dodge the questions or outright lie? The Church didn’t send him to work out Unia; he decided on his own to go that route. What will eating with him accomplish? Will it cause him to disavow his betrayal of the Orthodox Church in these dialogues? I don’t think so.

                      Perhaps you could provide some evidence that Bishop Alexander has reservations about the Unionist dialogue with Rome he participates in. Please do so. I would really like some substantiation of this Bishop’s fidelity to Orthodoxy. Finally, the self-important scholarly aires and the shadey demeanor of the man offend my family’s sensibilities, scare my five year old son. I wouldn’t allow my son to serve with him. Why would I receive him in my house?

                    • Michael Warren says

                      +Alexander has been shown to be a Uniate. His scholarship is so uncommitted to strong affirmation of Orthodoxy as to not convincingly assert anything but his opinion of himself. While quoting ROCOR Uniate sympathizers like Sister Vassa and asserting heretical ecumenism is somehow commissioned by the Church discredits your appreciation of what is actually Orthodox, what is Uniate and what is sectarian.

            • Centurion says

              zz, zzz, zzzz, ZZ, ZZZ, ZZZZZ, ZZZZZZZZZZZ

              Good grief, his talks are permeated with the spirit of “religiosity” with scholarly and esoteric observations but with little clarity and zeal or passion; mostly gray. He would make a great librarian and wonderful monk/priest.

              This is not the kind of bishop the Church needs in the dark and tumultuous times that we live in. We need more evangelists and warriors for the Lord, not career bureaucrats/academics!

  4. Still writing in the dark says

    This type of surprise, “gotcha”, political behavior by the Holy Synod is revealing of the deep sickness in the Church that keeps many of the clergy and faithful too scared to post here under one’s real name. Dissent is not tolerated. Back room deals are the norm. The talk from the Chancellor and his ilk about the calm and peace today versus the “time of troubles” (him term)…is all a sham. If the HS is angry about the handling of Archbishop DMITRI’s disinterment, then just “man up” and say so. Leadership is not eating donuts in Syosset while jamming a square peg in a round hole. Real leadership would be to: sit down with Fr. Gerasim, explain to him what he did wrong, provide him an opportunity to explain his actions and ask forgiveness, and, finally, to publicly forgive him. But no, we don’t forgive. It’s just more back room deals, public humiliation, and scandals. IS THIS WHAT YOU LEARNED ON YOUR TRIP TO THE PHANAR???

    What is tomorrow’s announcement going to be? That you sold out the OCA to the Ecumenical Patriarch?

    You have done no favors for Bishop Alexander, who is a fine man, and the Church should pray even more fervently for him and the faithful of both His Grace’s dioceses.

    • What could there be to get miffed about in the transfer of Archbishop Dmitri’s remains to the cathedral? The Metropolitan himself and Archbishop Alejo were there. It was SRO as it was. All of the surrounding events appeared to go smoothly. The services were beautiful and very moving. No clergy made any public statements about the astonishing, inexplicable condition of Vladyka’s body.

  5. Jesse Cone says

    Here’s an interesting thing.
    From the OCA Statute (Revised), Article VIII, Section 6, sub. f. dealing with the qualifications of a candidate for a vacant episcopal see.

    “f. Diocesan bishops shall not be eligible for nomination for another Diocese.”

    This is because of the sacramental unity between a bishop and a his diocese, to which he is said to be “married”.

    • Statute for Dummies says

      Why not have a Statute that simplifies things? For example, “The Holy Synod, prayerfully led by the Holy Spirit, does what it wants to do. The End.” That would have saved Fr. Alexander Rentel and Archbishop Nikon and the others a lot of time and money.

      Article VIII, Section 6, sub. f, as noted in the above post, is the most glaring Statute violation.

      Here’s another. Article VIII, Sec 1. “He shall reside within the limits of his Diocese.” Presumably, the Bulgarian diocese covers all 50 states, so living in Dallas is acceptable from a Bulgarian point of view. The DOS, however, is territorially limited. So, living in Toledo, which is outside of the DOS, is a violation.

    • Interesting. Would a DOS member or parish ever threaten legal action on those grounds?

      • Jon Duttweiler says

        I would think if a Parish wanted to challenge the trust clause in their deed this would provide some legal basis that the OCA does not adhere to its own bylaws. If the Synod and Metropolitan council treat them arbitrarily, how can they apply them stringently to a parish that wanted to take its property and join another jurisdiction?

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      If anyone imagines the Holy Synod is not just carrying out the wishes of the Metropolitan Council…what can one say?

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Jesse, I explained (to “me’s”consternation) how Bishop Nikon of the Albanian Archdiocese was made additionally the Bishop of Boston and New England, Before that Archbishop Kirill of the Bulgarian Diocese was made additionally the Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Apparently, this “DOUBLE-DIPPING” is necessary for some of our more impoverished, needy American hierarchs, but, most importantly and most decisively, the Metropolitan Council approves of this sort of thing, as long as the Synod takes the heat!

      • another Orthodox says

        The Metropolitan Council has no responsibility or competence (per the statutes) on the election of Bishops.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Exactly! “per the statutes.” That’s why I mentioned their approval—so NECESSARY, yet not mentioned in the statutes. I might have been plainer if I had written “the members of…”

    • Michael Warren says

      I have a longer post about this, but let me simply offer a solution.

      The Diocese of the South needs to declare its autonomy, write its own statutes and elect its own Bishops. It needs to become an ethnically Southern American, Amero-Byzantinist Archdiocese within the OCA functioning in much the same way as the Romanian Archdiocese throughout the OCA. Then Syosset-Crestwood and its flunkies will be able to do much less damage and not impose on the Diocese of the South.

      The choice is clear submit to Syosset-Crestwood Renovationist transformation with a Uniate Bishop they impose upon you or create an autonomous archdiocese and remain faithful to Orthodoxy and the North American local church, having your own Bishops consecrated and your lives in Orthodoxy respected.

      I suggest a transition to a Southern Autonomous Archdiocese and rejection of an unqualified Uniate Bishop from Syosset-Crestwood.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Is schism ever an honest option? The non-Arian bishops never thought so.

        • Michael Warren says

          Just some references:

          “As we walk the unerring and life-bringing path, let us pluck out the eye that scandalizes us, not the physical eye, but the noetic one. For example, if a bishop… who is the eyes of the Church conduct himself in an evil manner and scandalize the people, he must be plucked out. For it is more profitable to gather without him in a house of prayer, than to be cast together with him into the gehenna of fire together with Annas and Caiaphas.”

          Saint Athanasius the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria
          (Migne PG 26, 1257 C)

          “Do not err, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And if those that corrupt mere human families are condemned to death, how much more shall those suffer everlasting punishment who endeavour to corrupt the Church of Christ, for which the Lord Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, endured the Cross, and submitted to death! Whosoever, “being waxen fat,” and “become gross,” sets at nought His doctrine, shall go into gehenna. In like manner, every one that has received from God the power of distinguishing, and yet follows an unskillful shepherd, and receives a false opinion for the truth, shall be punished. “What communion hath light with darkness? or Christ with Belial? Or what portion hath he that believeth with an infidel? or the temple of God with idols? “And in like manner say I, what communion hath truth with falsehood? or righteousness with unrighteousness? or true doctrine with that which is false? For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that His Church might breathe forth immortality. For saith [the Scripture], “Thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore have the virgins loved Thee; they have drawn Thee; at the odour of Thine ointments we will run after Thee.” Let no one be anointed with the bad odour of the doctrine of [the prince of] this world; let not the holy Church of God be led captive by his subtlety, as was the first woman. Why do we not, as gifted with reason, act wisely? When we had received from Christ, and had grafted in us the faculty of judging concerning God, why do we fall headlong into ignorance? and why, through a careless neglect of acknowledging the gift which we have received, do we foolishly perish?”

          St. Ignatius the Godbearer, Hieromartyr of Antioch
          [ Epistle to the Ephesians ]

          “How then does Paul say, ‘Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves’? (Heb. 13:17) After having said before, ‘Whose faith follow, considering the end of their life’ (Heb. 13:7), he then said, ‘Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves’. What then (you say), when he is wicked, should we obey? Wicked? In what sense? If indeed in regard to matters of the Faith, flee and avoid him; not only if he be a man, but even if he be an angel come down from Heaven; but if in regard to his life, be not overly-curious.”

          St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople (4th Century AD)
          [ Homily Thirty-Four on the Epistle to the Hebrews ]

          “Is the shepherd a heretic? Then he is a wolf! You must flee from him; do not be deceived to approach him even if he appears gentle and tame. Flee from communion and conversation with him even as you would flee from a poisonous snake.”

          St. Photius the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople
          [ Homily Fifteen , 10]

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Oh dear, back to the Mason Dixon line. I suppose such a diocese could add “Confederate” to its title. You sound like an angry man.

        • Michael Warren says

          I don’t think addressing me personally is appropriate, nor do I believe my proposal is particularly angry. Nor is it regional or even “Confederate” inasmuch as I call for a non-territorial, American Orthodox Diocese of the South which promotes its brand of Orthodoxy throughout North America. Besides that, I insist on DOS autonomy and cooperation with other Orthodox jurisdictions within North America because Syosset-Crestwood has treated the DOS shamefully for far too long: its neglect and gamesmanship is negatively impacting the DOS’ missionary witness.

      • Michael Warren says

        Autonomy is not schism.

        The anti-Arian party supported non-commemoration of heretical bishops, which was not considered schism.

        • Jeff Cahill says

          Mr. Warren,

          I don’t think any of us are embroiled in an Arian controversy today. I understand the context of Mr. Bauman’s comments, but I don’t believe we are in a situation where non-commemoration is warranted. Please be more careful in your rhetoric; you are implying radical measures be taken when all that is necessary is an honest and frank discussion.

          Should the Diocese of the South become an autonomous, non-territorial diocese? That sounds like advocacy for the creation of a parallel administration to the OCA within the OCA. I have reservations that such a radical step could be taken. I know that the Diocese of the South plays best in the South. I just can’t see it happening. I think the flight of some communities to ROCOR and the Antiochian Archdiocese to be much more likely and maybe even preferable .

          • Michael Warren says

            Sir, I don’t see any value in promoting schism to allow Syosset-Crestwood to have its way.

  6. No surprise . (disappointment , but no surprise) All of us in the DOS knew in our hearts they would pull the rug out from under us (again).

  7. OCA Violates Its Own Statute says

    From the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, Article VIII “The Diocesan Bishop,” Section 6 “Qualifications”:
    (f) Diocesan bishops shall not be eligible for nomination for another Diocese.

    —this qualification alone should disqualify Bishop Alexander of the Toledo/Bulgarian Diocese from even being eligible to become the bishop of yet another Diocese.

    Section 7 “The Vacant See”:
    (a) In the event of a vacancy in the office of Diocesan Bishop, a Locum Tenens, appointed by the Metropolitan, shall convoke and preside over a special Diocesan Assembly for the sole purpose of nominating a candidate as Diocesan Bishop.
    (b) Should the election of a new Diocesan Bishop be delayed for an extraordinary length of time, the Holy Synod may authorize the Locum Tenens to assume additional authority proper to a Diocesan Bishop, as required by the best interests and continuing welfare of the Diocese.
    (c) The special Diocesan Assembly shall conduct the nomination in accord with the provisions of the Diocesan Bylaws, and the Locum Tenens shall submit the nominee to the Holy Synod according to procedures established by the Holy Synod.
    (d) Upon the acceptance of the nomination by the Holy Synod, the candidate shall be summoned to a session of the Holy Synod for canonical election.
    (e) If the special Diocesan Assembly fails to nominate a candidate acceptable to the Holy Synod, the Synod may elect another qualified candidate as Diocesan Bishop, or they may authorize another Diocesan Assembly to nominate.

    —-Was Arch. Gerasim ever “summoned to a session of the Holy Synod for canonical election”?
    —-This is how the OCA got around the DoS’s overwhelming choice of Archimandrite Gerasim, i.e., he was not a candidate who was “acceptable to the Holy Synod.” Why, then, bother having the expense of a Diocesan Assembly to nominate candidates for bishop? Why not just have the statute say “The Holy Synod will choose all Bishops.”

    It seems that the Syosset wants to give the pretense of caring what its faithful think is best for their Diocese, without actually caring about what its faithful think is best for their Diocese. In other words, they want the DoS’s money and want the DoS to keep quiet.

    Vladyka Dmitri was a purebred Texan, and Arch. Gerasim has spent a long time getting to know the peculiarities of southern life and the particulars of Orthodox life in the South. Nothing against Bishop Alexander, but he’s a Yankee through and through — it’s just who he is. He has no more business being Bishop in the South than I have being a Bishop in Russia. The more I ponder it, the more ridiculous it becomes.

    But “move along, there’s nothing to see here….”

    • Monk James says

      Here, it’s clear that our OCA’s bishops have violated not only our own badly written , logically inconsistent and canonically flawed statutes, but also the whole Tradition of The Church.

    • Declining to Violate says

      Dear Violator:


      It;s hard to avoid the dufulousness of some of this site’s posters, but Californians are NOT ‘Yankees’. His Grace was born in Burbank, CA, a far cry from Cape Cod and vicinity.

      • Statute Violator 2 says

        Californians are not Southerners or Texans either, despite what all the transplanted Californians in Austin may tell you.

        The elephant in the room — which needs to be discussed — is that if the OCA cannot find adequate candidates for the episcopate within its own territorial dioceses, then honestly does it have any business being an autocephalous church? The obvious answer is No.

        I do think God’s will is at work here — I have always thought that the OCA was granted maturity well before it was ready, much like handing the teenager the car keys before he proves his responsibility. (After autocephaly was granted in 1970, the Metropolia/OCA from thenceforth ceased to publicly speak out against the religious persecutions in the Soviet Union — a likely quid pro quo with the KGB. We will grant you autocephaly if you quit talking publicly about how bad we are.)

        Perhaps Syosset’s recent action will be yet another step toward the OCA’s reintegration with the Moscow Patriarchate, or, as George has recently pointed out, integration with the Patriarchate of Constantinople perhaps. The most obvious step would be for the OCA to be absorbed within ROCOR and thus be back under its mother’s bosom (the MP) for more nurturing, which it desperately needs.

        I already hear the cries of the autocephalites — no, no, no! We are ready! We’ve been ready! We are 13 years old but we know how to drive the car! We’ll be home before midnight and we will never crash it! Come on, Mom and Dad, we’re ready to be independent! It’s you old fuddy-duddies who are holding us back!

        I pray for Bishop Alexander as he moves to Dallas — he will need it. I hope he is a strong leader for the vast and unique DoS, or I pray that he manages it well as it integrates over the next decade back into the MP/ROCOR or into the EP.

        Honestly, if Syosset never wanted Arch. Gerasim (which they clearly did not), just man up and say so from the beginning. Why go through the charade? There’s a well-known crisis of masculinity in the Western world these days, but there seems to be an even more acute crisis of masculinity in Syosset/Crestwood.

    • Vladyka Alexander was not nominated for the South. He was elected by the Synod. Nomination is not election. You confuse two different processes here. The Synod is completely within its competence–as defined by the Statute– to act the way it did.

    • lexcaritas says

      The lack of political savvy and charity among the Synod and the powers that be does not cease to astound. His Grace Bishop Alexander may be a fine choice for all I know, but it would have been right and wiser to follow the statues and not elect one who was not a nominated candidate. The right and wiser course would have been for the Synod to say that, after study of the matter, examination and observation of the existing nominee and other candidates the Synod had determined that none was, at this time, worthy of election –and perhaps saying why–and to call for more nominations at a future Diocesan meeting.
      It would enhance the welcome that eventual occupant of the See would receive.

      Beyond this, it has always seemed to me that the statue has things backwards–if the Synod is to have the ultimate say AND the voice of flock is to have any real force, the Synod should propose two or more nominees who have been vetted and are satisfactory to it and the people should be able to vote and select the final choice. Provision could be made for the diocesan clergy and laity to propose an alternative nominee but in the case of his nomination it would but subject to approval and election by the Synod. the point is to get the man who is the most worthy icon of Christ and likely to be seen as such by the people and his brother bishops on the Synod. The current process does not seem fitted to produce this result.


  8. Michael Warren says

    I think this is a prime example of Syosset’s disconnect with reality and a show of contempt for the Orthodox orientation of the Diocese of the South. Syosset – Crestwood’s out of touch, power mad, larcenous orientation is clamping down on the dissidents. It wants everyone to die out with its liberal, Renovationist orientation.

    1 ). I have never been a fan of + Alexander, neither when he had links to charismatics in Northern California, nor when he embraced an ecumenical sensibility in dialoguing with heterodox “to not underscore differences,” nor when he became open about a PJ-esque sympathy for Istanbul, nor now when he is not so closetted about his Pro Vatican unionism. This hierarch is a personification of all that is wrong with Syosset – Crestwood being used as a “Manchurian Candidate” “to get the South in line.” Anytime your Synod of Bishops “wants to get you in line so that your Orthodox fidelity doesn’t get in their way” you will experience authoritarian repression and an impending betrayal of Orthodoxy.

    2). The laity and clergy of the Diocese of the South has a say in whom they wish to be their shepherd. They endorsed +Metropolitan Jonah. Then they endorsed Hieromonk Gerasim. How many vetoes does it take of their sentiment before they openly state that Syosset – Crestwood’s authoritarianism acts to the detriment of their evangelical witness and development of their local Orthodox piety? Syosset-Crestwood’s disrespect for the witness and piety of the Diocese of the South acting to stifle Orthodoxy in the region?

    3). Here we receive yet another message from Syosset – Crestwood that the only way to prevent the 45+ year liberal, Renovationist model of incompetent failure from sabotaging the entire OCA is to play hardball and clean house with the financial scandals and ideological games of administrative musical chairs it perpetrates on faithful Orthodox it wishes to subjugate. Attorneys should be kept on retainer and the press should be kept abreast of Syosset – Crestwood’s maneuvers to prevent its pillaging and despoiling of the Diocese of the South. Its 45+ year record of incompetent, spiritually immature, larcenous failure is the writing on the wall, indicating these people are out to steal the last penny and close the last OCA parish refusing to be held accountable for their failure to fulfill North American autocephaly.

    • Jon Duttweiler says

      Well put, Michael. I became vastly disillusioned with the OCA after the Met. Jonah fiasco and hearing the half truths and obfuscation presented by the Chancellor at the DOS meeting in Florida shortly thereafter. Very little of what he said gibed with known facts and it was all about damage control and attempting to keep the clergy in line. What amazes me is that men are so attached to the piddling support they actually get from the OCA they won’t speak out against this in fear of losing that pittance. I left a shrinking denomination 25 years ago that even now, when less than half its former size, is 100 times larger than the OCA has ever been and never looked back. Thankfully, Orthodoxy in America is NOT the OCA and standing up and speaking out against the OCA is NOT forsaking “the Church”.

      • Anonymous says

        Isn’t it winderful [sic] that in order to find salvation you deem it important to rip on the OCA’s management failures?

        • Michael Warren says

          When you have tens of millions of dollars embezzled by the management and lose 92%+ of your membership due to their Renovationist antics, how is it that the administration should get a pass with you?

          Isn’t it awesome that certain people unconcerned with Orthodoxy erroneously place faithful stewardship of the Church in the way of salvation?!

  9. Tommy Katsarellis says

    Archpastoral Letter of Metropolitan Tikhon to the Diocese of the South

    His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon issued an Archpastoral Letter dated March 31, 2016 to the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of the South concerning the election of His Grace, Bishop Alexander as Bishop of Dallas and the South by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America. Bishop Alexander was elected during the Spring Session of the Holy Synod on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

    The complete text appears below and is available in PDF format.

    Archpastoral Letter of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon
    To the Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Diocese of the South
    Concerning the Election of Bishop Alexander as Bishop of Dallas and the South

    March 31, 2016

    The Feast of the Repose of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to America

    To the Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Diocese of the South:

    Christ is in our midst!

    So that you might greet the Great and Holy Feast of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ’s Resurrection not widowed and without an Archpastor, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America prayerfully gave consideration to filling the vacant See of Dallas and the South.

    Pursuant to its prerogative set forth in the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America, VIII.7.e, the Holy Synod of the Church, after prayerful and careful deliberation, has elected His Grace, Bishop Alexander of Toledo in the Bulgarian Diocese, to be the Bishop of Dallas and the Diocese of the South. The Bishops of the Holy Synod ask the clergy, monastics and faithful of the Diocese to receive this news with thanksgiving to God and to welcome their new Bishop with joy. Chief among the priorities of the Holy Synod in making this election was the pastoral, administrative and spiritual need on the part of the Diocese of the South and its people to fill the vacancy of the see of Dallas which had gone unfilled for many years.

    The Metropolitan and the Bishops of the Holy Synod unanimously recognize and appreciate the services to the Church and to the Diocese rendered by Archimandrite Gerasim (Eliel) who has faithfully led the Diocese of the South as its Administrator. His commitment to and love for the people of the Diocese and their spiritual welfare has been evident in all that he has accomplished in the Diocese of the South. The Holy Synod is of one mind in viewing the labors of Archimandrite Gerasim as those of the good and faithful servant of whom our Lord so lovingly spoke.

    The Holy Synod asks all of the Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Diocese of the South prayerfully and humbly to receive the election of Bishop Alexander as a providential decision that seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to the Bishops gathered in Council.

    Sincerely yours in Christ,
    Archbishop of Washington
    Metropolitan of All America and Canada

    • Another letter from Syosset that says NOTHING to the DOS. The letter should have said WHY Fr Gerasim was unacceptable to the Synod.

      But, you can bet, the SOB won’t condescend to the little people outside their bubble to tell us why. They truly believe they are above having to explain their actions. They ran the DOS through the ringer, they let us go through the motions of participation in the “great conciliar” OCA, and then just told us to “stick it.”

      Another prime example of the Potemkin Village that is the OCA. 20,000 financially supporting members and dropping.

      • Jesse Cone says

        I echo your frustration, but there is a silver lining to this letter’s emptiness. It doesn’t besmirch Fr. Gerasim. We know the Synod is willing to publicly embarrass those they don’t like–to the pain and dismay of the faithful and, indeed, of the truth. But they didn’t do it here, and I think we should think twice before either tempting them or forcing their hand.

        The letter can be read as follows: “We were at a stalemate and so we punted out of bounds on the usual side of the field. Rejoice!”

      • Jon Duttweiler says

        Precisely. They want to be the Orthodox equivalent of the ECUSA, presiding over an ever shrinking group of “faithful” and using trust clauses to keep parishes from abandoning it in droves. So it suffers death by a thousand drips, believing that one drip here and there won’t matter, until they drown.

      • M. Stankovich says


        While there any number of issues upon which you can work your customary “magic” – and this is certainly not to say that I am here to question any of their validity – but neither you nor I know how this decision was reached. One has to suspect that the adamance in stance of one or even several voices has the ability to prevail. Nevertheless, your form of argument – the “magic” to which I refer – is the always an underlying suggestion that something is amiss ecclesiologically; obviously, others have picked us this “call and response.” I have noted to Mr. Michalopulos that he has in his possession a true gem that he should pin for easy access, and that is the brilliant essay on church authority, conciliarity, and sobernost written by Priest Alexei Karlgut in 2013, beginning in the final portion of this essay. The issues of “promise fulfillment,” “justice,” and the like are worthy arguments, but Fr. Alexei certainly settles the question of whether we are a “democracy.”

        • Michael Warren says

          I always find it amazing how Syosset – Crestwood’s flunkies who for 50 years screamed “Sobornost!!!” to the rafters at the Russian party to take over, decried the “authoritarian methodology” of Russian party +Jonah, today are perfectly content to offer ROCOR-esque top down arguments of “the Church is not a democracy” to stay in power after a 45+ year record of Renovationist failure. All to steal whatever they couldn’t for 45 years.

  10. He seems like the perfect Bishop for the South. I think the DoS is a little spoiled feeling hornswoggled in not getting to pick their Bishop. We must remember that the bishops gave in on +Mark and Dallas almost ruined themselves with their choice before finally being freed of the burden they originally begged for.

    Can we not live with the fact that the council of Bishops made a great choice and the DOS has the leadership they’ve longed for. Seems like a win win.

    • Seraphim98 says

      He may be a great choice. That however remains to be seen.

      The essential problem is that he was simply foisted upon the DOS contrary to the OCA’s own rules of governance. The rumbling this has caused in the DOS is not entitlement; it is sorrow, and perhaps some anger that once again the OCA Holy Synod bent over backwards in complete contravention of it’s own published standards to effectively betray the trust and hopes of the DOS. Then they send us letters stamped with yellow happy faces and tell us to rejoice at how lucky we are and how this is the will of the Holy Spirit as if Met. Jonah was not the will of the Spirit too (and look what they did to him). Then, practically upon the eve of this meeting of the Holy Synod our former bishop is found to be incorrupt after almost 5 years in the earth. Was there any humility and deference if the face of that…none that I could see? Indeed if other comments in this thread are any indication, this fact infuriated a number of them. And voila, we habilimus a bishop…no matter his election is contrary to the OCA’s own rules…which the Synod is either ignorant of or chose to ignore. I’ll grant there might be some other traditions and precedents that informed their decision. But until they inform us of what entered into the decission to ignore their own rules, and ignore the express will of the people and clergy of the DOS, we’ll never know.

      Personally I’m ready for a big old mother church style intervention. Enough is enough. This is a scandal and an outrage upon the people of the DOS. I’m just sorry His Grace, Bishop Alexander is going to find himself in the middle of something is not likely to go away any time soon.

      If the Holy Synod is set and determined to undermine and ultimately destroy the DOS, they’re doing all the right things.

      Where we go from here is hard to say. The DOS should certainly give our new bishop a fair shake and a chance to demonstrate he is for Holy Orthodoxy and for us. The real problem appears to be the Holy Synod or a powerful cabal within it disposed against the DOS and the blessed memory of Archbishop Dimitri. May God have mercy on us all.

      As others have indicated this time round I’m not that angry, I never expected them to actually want to do right by the DOS, but rather do anything they can get away with to avoid it. Ultimately, I’m more disappointed and resigned that this is the new reality.

      Now I’m hoping ROCOR starts expanding it’s missions throughout the south. The nearest one to me is 3 hours away. If one were even within 2 hours, if the priest consented, I would be investigating leaving the OCA…and I love my parish and my priest. I just have no trust, and only so much good will as I don’t want them to die horribly or go to hell, left in the OCA Holy Synod.

      My only silver of hope is this, even though those who sit in the seat of the apostles have conducted themselves in ways abhorrent to the sensibilities of the DOS, it may be this election was prepared for a particular time of trouble to come for which he is uniquely suited to Govern in a God pleasing fashion. I’ve seen situations like that before with the “bad thing” or the accident turned out to be a good thing in the end…not because the bad thing/accident was good, but because God was gracious and brought good out of calamity. May it please God to do so again.

      • time for me to leave the OCA and join ROCOR
        The OCA does whatever it wants including molesting the
        Divine Liturgy…

      • I’m ready for a big old mother church style intervention.

        I’ve believe that’s what just happened to the DOS. Doesn’t sound like anyone likes there likes it. Everyone always likes the strong man, but only when he’s on their side and there’s no chance the other side will ever get one into the top job. The trouble, similar ironically to what we are seeing in the Republican nominating process, is a misunderstanding of what nomination of a candidate means. It isn’t like a direct election. The Republicans in each state choose delegates in various ways (primaries, caucuses, etc.), and they are responsible for electing at the Convention. In the OCA, the Diocese nominates potential candidates that the Synod can decide to elect, or not. Typically, this can all run pretty smoothly, but that’s not the situation we find ourselves in so the details matter. Ideally, the DOS would have sought guidance from the Synod on who they found acceptable for election. The Synod has been sending pretty clear signals for a good length of time that Arch. Gerasim was not, in fact, acceptable at the end of the day – though they would be sports and give him every consideration (as is typically done with most ‘internal candidates’ in the corporate world). The DOS didn’t listen, thought it knew better (and might, for all we know), but the buck stops with the Synod and when push came to shove they decided they needed to pull rank on the DOS. I have said here before that I think this has as much to do with the rater extreme language put forward by defenders of Fr. Gerasim as anything to do with Fr. Gerasim as a man, a cleric, or as a potential bishop. Insulting and defaming the OCA, its bishops, its leaders, its history, its structure; holding grudges against past sleights; and threatening to withhold funds, join another local church, or even go into schism… well, these are not ways to win friends and influence people – or to get them to vote in your favorite representative (who could be considered to have the legal right to actually take a diocese out of an episcopally organized church, cf. the lawsuit between Continuing Anglican Dioceses – as opposed to parishes – about leaving the ECUSA with all their property. ) Tactical and hysterical, hyperbolic rhetorical failures abound, so the DOS gets a well-respected company man until things cool down.

        • Michael Warren says

          The Mother Church had nothing to do with the appointment of Istanbul’s Uniate man to take over and bust out the Diocese of the South. +Alexander and Moscow are mutually exclusive: that stems from his aristocratic family being dispossessed during the Revolution.

          • Michael Warren says

            And I don’t think any diocese should have a Uniate Bishop forced upon it against its will. +Alexander has a paper trail of unionism and infidelity to Orthodoxy laced with a haughty disregard and contempt for Orthodox fidelity. All these factors shout this man lacks the scruples and temperament to be an Orthodox Bishop.

            While the Metropolia began its independent existence by refusing to be ruled by Bishops appointed by someone else insensitive to the Metropolia’s needs. Would the Romanian Archdiocese be wrong in rejecting a Russophile Russianizing Old Calendar Bishop appointed by Syosset-Crestwood to rule it? Would it be going into schism if it left the OCA due to such an authoritarian out of touch imposition?

            Syosset-Crestwood seems to be challenged in both its fidelity to Orthodoxy and its consistency in standards which respect the local needs of OCA dioceses.

    • Jesse Cone says

      I don’t understand you here.

      We must remember that the bishops gave in on +Mark and Dallas almost ruined themselves with their choice before finally being freed of the burden they originally begged for.

      I was present for this fiasco, and, from what I understand of what you’re saying, find it in error.

      This may turn out to be a win-win. I hope so. But it is hard to see the six + years of work and money that have gone into the DOS vetting, nominating, electing, and preparing a candidate go down the tubes without so much as a hand wave. To reiterate–in case you think we’re “spoiled”–the clergy and the faithful had been tasked by the bylaws and our locum tenens to do this work, which was done in good faith.

      Why then did we labor? We did we do what was asked for? Was it a charade?

      In the end they gave us who they wanted–a man who doesn’t know us and has the unenviable position of being wed uncanonically to someone who was joyfully expecting another. The way the Synod has undertaken this process has groomed neither the bishop nor the diocese for success, but rather for turmoil and a long learning curve. Whether or not they admit it, the responsibility is theirs.

      If you don’t see a problem with that, you’re not being honest. And if you can’t feel for the shocked and shaken people of the DOS, I can’t help but think you’re willfully stubborn.

      • I certainly have no insight into how all this went down, but I do understand that the synod values unanimity, certainly in its most important decisions. That can be a good thing, but it also grants enormous power to a small number of holdouts to be the tail that wags the dog. I hope that nobody wanted to “stick it” to Dallas and the South out of envy, spite, heterodoxy, or whatever, and that the decision proceeded from wisdom and love. Some things can’t be shared, and the DOS may have to be okay with that, too.

        Surely the report of Bp. Alexander’s pro-Vatican union stance in this thread is mistaken. If not, God forbid, then that’s a 100% deal-breaker. I would not dishonor the memory and significance of St. Mark of Ephesus and will not throw in my lot with those who even toy with such an idea under present circumstances. Any hierarch who would advocate such an idea rejects the Orthodox faith–maybe any faith–and is rightly to be rebuked and finally disavowed if he does not regain his senses. Rome’s errors have only multiplied since the time of Florence. The notion is pure poison. But surely not, right?

        • Michael Warren says

          +Alexander has been a chief figure in the Orthodox – Catholic dialogue in North America. This group of Uniates, has rewritten the Orthodox stands on filioque, the Unia, Baptism, Ordination, papal primacy, etc. +Alexander is as Uniate as any renegade Bishop from Lyons, Florence, Brest or Uzhgorod. Actually, he is worse, because those Uniates of yore resisted revising the Orthodox stances on vital points: they were content to just assert the moral equivalence between Orthodoxy and papal heresy. This man has acted to justify and institutionalize papal heresy. He should never have been consecrated a Bishop. This person will betray Orthodoxy as soon as the chance presents himself.

          In 2012, he was quoted as saying, “Union with the Roman Catholics is a done deal as soon as the Russians get out of the way and sign off on it.”

    • Kelly,

      You are woefully misinformed. The DOS never wanted +Mark. He was a bust from the first day he set foot in Dallas.

      You are also wrong in that the OCA allows and codifies the participation of the diocese in the process of the selection of a bishop.

      How can you say the Synod made a great choice when +Alexander hasn’t done a thing in his new diocese. The Synod made a choice. Whether it is good or bad, time will tell.

      What is clear is that the Synod never wanted Gerasim to be a bishop. But what is also clear is that they never had the guts to man up and tell the DOS last year or the year before. So now they sneak in their man, not the overwhelming choice of the orphaned diocese.

  11. Ordination to Bishop is no right. It is certainly none of the laity’s business. Father G has not “earned” any position. Nor has he lost it. It’s not a job promotion. This kind of reaction by the laity of the DoS really portrays perception of entitlement. The elevation of a Bishop is the responsibility of the bishops as they are lead by God.

    • Just because they’re bishops does not mean they’re following God’s lead.

      Nor does the blatant violation of statute and anaxios of the people mean they’re not.

      We’ll have to judge the fruits of this arrangement.

      • The outrage doesn’t seem to be about procedure, it’s about not getting Fr. G. He’s not a Bishop. Nothing about voting and assemblies changes anything. He can’t be the presiding Bishop because he’s not a Bishop.

        We, as Orthodox are supposed to obey our Bishops. We can’t elect them or depose them on when we are displeased. Nothing heretical or abusive has happened here. The DoS needed a Bishop and it got a good one.

        • Jesse Cone says

          Then you don’t understand the outrage. They asked us to work towards welcoming a new bishop, to choose a new bishop, to work with this man. As you suggest, we obeyed the bishops.

          One party acted in good faith; the other dismissed the work and relationship summarily.

          The outrage is almost entirely about the process.

        • You know, for a second the thought ran through my mind, that If I was any more cynical I might think you’re one of the bishops. But, of course, you’re not.

        • Michael Warren says

          It got one of the worst of them. Fr. Gerasim was endorsed by a model of Sobornost to be consecrated as their Bishop. Instead, a Syosset-Crestwood company man was put in his place without the Diocese of the South even being given a curtesy call. Obeying Bishops who obey the Church and enforce its good order of course is a necessity. That isn’t what happened here. Here a corrupt band of power mad Bishops in authorian fashion imposed a corrupt, not so crypto Uniate on the Diocese of the South. Mind you, this same band of hierarchical ambition uncanonically removed+Metropolitan Jonah weeks later citing his “authoritarian tendencies.”

          Obedience to the disobedient is betrayal of the Church and of CHRIST. The Diocese of the South should lawyer up and media blitz. In Protest, it might consider getting some bags of azymes from a Catholic bookstore and send them to +Alexander.

        • lexcaritas says

          I think you are spouting foolishness, Kelly. Leaving out the current election, to speak in general terms: no man should be a bishop of two dioceses; nor should one man be the bishop of a diocese that extends from Virginia through New Mexico and comprises about 80 parishes and missions. The bishop is to be the icon of Christ to His flock: he cannot do so when there are so many and they are so widely dispersed that they rarely see him in person. Frankly, a See’s cathedral should be no more than half a day’s drive from the outskirts of the diocese and the ratio of parishes to bishops ought to be such that he can visit each of them 3 or 4 times a year. For eight years, I have been asking myself what plan there is to rectify the existing anomalies and accomplish this kind of environment for deepening of faith and participation and growth in numbers as well, but, alas, I have seen no signs of action in this regards whatsoever, nor have I heard it discussed by anyone with authority to make it happen. It is not worthy of Christ’s Body, which is to be apostolic not only in succession but also in its urgent sense of mission. +++Dimitri had the vision and the energy. ++Jonah appeared to. I think many thought Fr. Gerasim has–though we do not know that for a a fact. Let us hope ++Alexander has. We look forward to meeting and serving with him as he may instruct.



        • We are sheep, but rational sheep. We follow our bishops, but not into error, heresy, or hell if the case may be.

          It seems the OCA is violating its own statutes by enthroning a sitting bishop in a second diocese. So this could be a very wrong thing to do.

    • Pat Reardon says

      Kelly says, “Ordination to Bishop is no right. It is certainly none of the laity’s business.”

      The first statement is manifestly true.

      The second flies completely in the face of very ancient traditions.

      • Father Patrick,

        Let me clarify my remark. If I am still in error I will accept your correct. My statement, in context, is that the Bishops have the responsibility of ordination. They should be in prayerful contemplation about who they ordain. We trust that they, though men like us, hold the burden of the greater judgement. They should be guided by their conscience. We, the laity, are not called by God to ordain, nor are we held accountable for the synod’s decisions.

        It’s true there are moments of last resorts where the laity stands in the gap, but these are extreme cases. Nothing canonical was violated here, and it seems the DoS is getting a pretty good Bishop. Certainly mission friendly and convert friendly.

        I don’t think the laity should have the final say in who they want as a Bishop, especially when he is not a Bishop.

        Can’t we just pray for our Bishops and if they’ve made a poor choice, pray God has mercy at their judgement, as I hope they pray the same for me.

        • Michael Warren says

          The laity have the responsibility of defending the Holy Faith and maintaining the good order of the Church with the clergy, monastics and hierarchy. Not doing so is a sin.

        • You have your opinion on who is responsible for elevation of a bishop. The OCA has their newly minted Statutes.

          So I’m sure your opinion should control.

          One good thing about this kind of behavior, it does keep the DOS on their knees in prayer.

      • Pat Reardon says

        Saying that the laity do not determine who is ordained a bishop is very different from saying, “It is certainly none of the laity’s business.”

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Father Philip. Thanks for listing (uncanonical) precedents! How should the “Supreme Canonical Authority” in The Orthodox Church in America regard the Statutes (old and new) of The Orthodox Church in America? Any opinion on that topic?

      • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

        Your Grace:

        Master, bless!

        The canonical problem is, I must suggest, actually that of having two or more dioceses represented in one territory (e.g., Bulgarian diocese, Romanian diocese, and the territorial diocese in Detroit). As much as it makes me want to grind my teeth below the gum line, mirabile dictu, the RCs actually have it right: one bishop, one diocese, ethnic Latin Rite parishes along side Latin Rite territorial parishes in that one diocese. Within a 12-block radius of our temple, the RCs have three territorial parishes and the Italian parish, Croatian parish, Hispanic parish, Portuguese parish, German parish, Polish parish (one of two in the city), and First Nations parish, all part of the same diocese. As Your Grace knows, that is exactly what the proper canonical arrangement of our parishes should look like as well. (And for the moment, let’s leave aside the issue of Uniate parishes and dioceses; that’s a whole other question, in that they are of a Rite different to the Latins.) It is the existence of our ethnic dioceses (not to mention multiple jurisdictions on the same territory) which is the canonical anomaly. The decision to have Bp. Alexander do double duty is making the best of a bad situation.

        As for the contention that Bishop Kyrill (as he then was) led the Bulgarian Diocese out of ROCOR because their Synod refused to respect the pastoral needs of the Bulgarian Diocese of Toledo and Toronto, at the time Dedo Kyrill said nothing of the sort to his clergy. Rather, he said (quietly, admittedly) that he saw the OCA as the future of Orthodoxy in North America. Now perhaps he was at odds with ROCOR’s Synod; but he never said so to us, and I never saw any evidence of it.

        Concerning our own Holy Synod and their application of the Sacred Canons, Your Grace must know that I would not want to be responsible before God for applying the Sacred Canons to situations to which the Synod must apply them. I have my own thoughts and opinions on the matter and have, on occasion, voiced them to my own Bishop. All I can say is that every so often even the Holy Synod makes a mistake and, usually in not too long a time, re-validates Galatians 6:7.

        I understand clearly the frustration of the clergy and faithful in the DOS. We went through something similar with a respected candidate proposed to be Vicar Bishop whom the Synod chose not to elect to the episcopate. Yet while I have no insight into a future that never was, I do know that the person whom the Synod did elect to be Vicar Bishop, and who eventually became ruling Bishop, was and is the right man in the right place at the right time. Lacking solid information, I cannot understand what happened with Fr. Gerasim; but I must confess that the word SNAFU comes to mind. What I do not see, however, is malice on the part of the Holy Synod; nor do I see some kind of attempt to put down/control/punish the DOS. What I see is a group of sinful, fallible humans trying their best to take all available information into account and to heed the voice of the Spirit, knowing that they will have to answer for it at the dread Judgment Seat of Christ. Neither in reason nor in charity can we rightly expect anything more.

        • Michael Warren says

          The Syosset-Crestwood crowd even lies poorly. The Bulgarians left ROCOR because ROCOR was mandating their continued use of the Old Calendar and mandating the Bulgarians observe a more Byzantinist Orthodoxy. Then Bishop +Kirill felt that such impositions were not representative of the needs of his flock: thus he took it into the OCA seeing it “as the future.”

          Let’s be honest and not argue out of both sides of our mouth.

          • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

            Michael, I am hardly part of “the Syosset-Crestwood crowd,” never having even visited either place, and having no particular relationship or even correspondence with any of those folks. Secondly, when I was ordained to the holy priesthood (1973), the mission I first served, then the Toronto parish I served, were both on the new calendar; and if the ROCOR Synod was having difficulty with that, it never filtered down to my level. Thirdly, what I wrote in a previous post about Dedo Kyrill’s rationale for moving to the OCA was what he himself told me, and on more than one occasion. And I have absolutely no reason to believe he lied to me; and I don’t take kindly to your accusation that he did. Fourthly, in our part of the world (Edmonton, Alberta, and environs), of the (by my count) 16 OCA parishes in our area, 15 are on the old calendar, including the parish I serve. And that doesn’t count the other 15 or so rural parishes which, although canonically ours, are currently served by the Moscow Patriarchate, and are also on the old calendar. So old calendar vs. new calendar is not an issue for us here.
            As for your rash accusations of lying and dishonesty, I suggest you reflect long and hard on John 7:24.

            • Michael Warren says

              The Bulgarians left ROCOR over ROCOR pressuring them to remain on the Old Calendar and to assume a more Byzantinist model of Orthodox formation. +Kirill felt that was an imposition on his Bulgarian faithful out of touch with their needs.

              Secondly you apppeared here towing the Syosset-Crestwood line and spinning their side of the story. Whether you have been to Syosset or Crestwood is immaterial when you stand with it.

              Just to be clear, I am not emphasizing one calendar or the other, or even stating the South should not be anything than what it is. Syosset-Crestwood has other plans for the South. That is the problem, because they plan on imposing them against the parishoners’ will.

              I believe in a segmented model of Orthodox formation and presence where a given community’s needs and practices are supported to create a local church structure which accommodates most.

              Lastly, I thank you for your pastoral concern. I am happy to take it if that dialogue goes both ways. I am not opposed to learning and growing in the Faith. I only hope that you aren’t as well.

  12. Alex Slepukhof says

    Some say, “The glass is half full.”
    Some say, “The glass is half empty.”
    I say, “We might be pouring water into the wrong glass.”

    A portion he money I donate to my parish/mission is passed on to the Diocese.
    A portion he money received by the Diocese is passed on to the national Church.
    But the money I contribute to a monastery stays at the monastery – every last penny of it.

    My next monetary donation is going to my favorite monastery. They have a building project to complete in South Carolina. But there are other monastic communities in the DOC.

    Put your money where it will do some good. As for Syosset, let them eat cake.

  13. Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

    As I pointed out in another thread, ever since 1976, when Archbishop Kyrill (in ROCOR, “Bishop of Toledo and Toronto”) brought the Bulgarian Diocese into the OCA, the Bishop of the ethnic Diocese was also Bishop of a territorial Diocese. In Dedo Kyrill’s case, that was Toldedo (Bulgarian Diocese) and Pittsburgh (Western PA). It is the same now for Bishop Alexander: Toledo and Dallas (or, ultimately more likely in his pheme, “Dallas and Toledo).

    So please! Enough of the Synod-bashing, as if our Synod were engaging in some wild innovation. Kindly remember that this practice exists elsewhere, too. Metropolitan Philaret of Belarus, for example, is “Archbishop of Minsk and Slutsk;” His Holiness, Patriarch Irenei, is “Archbishop of Pech, Metropolitan of Beograd, Patriarch of Serbia.” And again: it was not those wild-eyed radical renovationists in Syosset but ROCOR, then headed by the unabashedly conservative Metropolitan Philaret, who assigned Dedo Kyrill the title “Bishop of Toledo and Toronto.” So how ’bout dialing back the overheated rhetoric and doing some homework before posting?

    As for whether or not Fr. Gerasim was treated unfairly and/or the expressed preference of the DOS special assembly was arbitrarily ignored, none one here seems privy to the intel necessary to resolve those questions definitively; what we’ve got is a lot of speculation and suspicion. Well, after 70 years in this world I’ve finally gotten it through my thick Sicilian skull that just because something looks a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean it is that way. That’s why, in John 7:24, the Lord Jesus tells us bluntly, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Further, in 1 Corinthians 13:7 the Apostle teaches that love “believes all things:” not that love is gullible, but that it chooses to believe the best about another person and their intentions, rather than the worst. And whether one likes it or not, the Lord’s commandment in John 13:34, “Love one another,” extends to the hierarchs too, OK?

    All this rancor is the work of the enemy who, says Revelation 12:10, is “the accuser of our brethren.” It’s not surprising that such temptations come, especially during the Great Fast; but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to yield to such temptation. So let’s get a grip and get some biblical perspective on these matters. Otherwise, we’re in danger of losing our souls for all eternity.

    • Father,
      Do you really see “all this rancor?” Rancor– bitter, rankling resentment or ill will; hatred; malice.
      reading the few that have written here and knowing those in Dallas pretty well, they are really not given to such. I think they are sad, hurt, discouraged. I don’t believe they have ill will or hatred toward their new Bishop or even the Synod that foisted him upon them. They have been through a lot since the retirement of +Dmitri. I’m sure they will give Bishop Alexander a fair shot at being the bishop they want and need. If he will love and lead them as a true Orthodox shepherd, they will love him back and follow him — in spite of their disappointment–because that is who they are.

    • Jesse Cone says


      Let’s say we concede the canonical point based on precedence.

      Why did the Synod have the DOS spend all this time, effort, and money on the process only to dismiss it? The expectation was clear–talk to the priests and laity that communicated with the hierarchs. It’s been seven years of preparation and anticipation, anticipation that had taken shape, and the next steps of the diocese were in focus. And then—WHAM!–that door is slammed shut.

      That’s painful. And it’s not the fault of the DOS.

      The Synod may have been within their right. But either this election was a pastorally responsible move and the past seven years were not, or vice versa.

    • Michael Warren says

      +Bishop Kirill led the Bulgarian Diocese out of ROCOR because he felt it was being “unfairly treated by the ROCOR Holy Synod which refused to respect the pastoral needs of his flock.” Ahem!!!

    • Exactly.

    • It may be canonical as far as church law is concerned, but if OCA bylaws prohibit it, it is illegal under US law.

      A corporation such as the OCA must follow its internal rules. If a rule says a sitting bishop is not eligible to be placed in a second diocese, it cannot be done.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        RE: “. . . but if OCA bylaws prohibit it, it is illegal under US law.”

        This argument didn’t hold water within the Antiochian Archdiocese, nor did the argument that consecrated bishops remained married to their dioceses. Bylaws are really “bye-bye” laws when it suits the powers-that-be.

        • The more I understand that mess, the more I suspect it was a huge misunderstanding. Met. Philip certainly used the uncertainty to bolster his cred, but in fact only metropolitans are ruling bishops in the Byzantine sphere of the church. Yes it’s due to title creep, but it is what it is. No sense rehashing it again.

          But in that case nobody sued over it. Not sure anyone had grounds to. In this case an argument could be made.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            You’re right, Ages. No one sued. We just lost two chancellors who had devoted the greater part of their lives to the Archdiocese. In terms of “grounds,” I’m not sure our constitution had a clause to ensure consecrated bishops remain so. Who knew we’d need it? – Does the term “ruling” bother you even the least bit when put in front of “bishop?” You seem to mirror a certain complacency when it come to ecclesiastical matters. I didn’t realize until now that you are probably Antiochian. – I suspect no one is going to sue the OCA either, but it doesn’t make it right. Just saying. . .

  14. My take after doing lots of reading and thinking about this.

    * What if the synod was severely divided on the election of Father Gerasim? What if there were several bishop who strongly favored his case and/or the DOS and others who opposed him? What if one in favor of his election was the Metropolitan, who drew out the proceedings to give DOS chances to keep making its case?

    * A key question: So, with the synod divided, were the deans of the DOS then consulted? If so, odds are they would have refused to hold another election. It’s clear that the DOS leadership has clearly stated its choice of who it would elect. Right?

    * A key factual question here: Under the canons a diocesan bishop cannot be NOMINATED for an election (thus preventing one diocese from raiding another), but the synod can ELECT a diocesan, sending one from one diocese to another. Is this correct?

    * So let’s say the DOS leaders finally say: We need a bishop based here in Texas. Now. Church leadership then offers several bishops who are eligible. Who would those bishops be? I can think of at least one that would be totally unacceptable to DOS leaders.

    * So the DOS leaders, knowing Bishop Alexander’s academic work and reputation, accept him as the best choice under the circumstances in the divided synod.

    * So what is the story here? There are several. At 68 years of age, Bishop Alexander could be seen as a transition figure. And what happens to Father Gerasim? Watch to see if — through actions by supporters on the synod — he becomes an auxiliary bishop in another diocese. Where are his supporters? Might that happen in the West?

    So what is the final story? I would, as a journalist, ask the following factual questions.

    On the synod, who are the bishops who best know Father Gerasim and would support him? Who are the logical bishops to form a cell that would oppose him and/or the wishes of the DOS? (It is not a conspiracy theory to note that Father Gerasim has close ties to Met JONAH.)

    Does this make any sense. The key: The synod was divided.

    • ChristineFevronia says

      That’s an interesting take on it–that the Synod was divided. They did make this decision in a closed session.

      I actually think the key is the link between the very recent unearthing of the remains of Archbishop Dimitri and this out-of-left-field decision that the Synod made. Talk was out there for all to read about the discovery of the miraculously-preserved remains of Archbishop Dimitri and what that might have meant in terms of possible Sainthood for the former leader of the Diocese of the South. Why was Dimitri reburied in such haste without an investigation or clear documentation of the body’s state? Shortly after this incident–after years and years of no Bishop in the DOS–the Synod decided that the Bishop of Toledo, Ohio, should also serve as the Bishop of Dallas, Texas.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “Who are the logical bishops to form a cell that would oppose him (Father Gerasim) and/or the wishes of the DOS?”

      Close allies of the Metropolitan Counsel, i.e. Pokrov, began a campaigning against Father Gerasim several years ago because he was linked with Father Herman Podmoshensky and HOOM, via the Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis , a vagante, old calendar, jurisdiction. Podmoshensky invited Samuel David Allen to visit Platina to see if he had a vocation to become a member of the brotherhood. Samuel David Allen is the man who molested the Pokrov woman’s children. THIS is why Father Gerasim never really had a chance. It was guilt by association.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I should have explained further. . . Father Gerasim could not have known about Podmoshensky. Neither could HOOM. There were others in the OCA who joined the Archdiocese of Vasiloupolis, which is also excusable in my mind. Father Gerasim is blameless in this regard, but Pockrov does not share my opinion. They DO have influence with the Metropolitan Council, who DOES, IMO, run the Holy Synod.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Pokrov, not Pockrov. The edit function will not let me correct this. I do not want to insult these women by getting their name wrong. We don’t agree on who the “bad guys” are, but I am in 100% agreement with them that we must (not should) expose child molesters.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Gail, you are mostly right about Pokrov’s machinations; however, you were wrong to say that Mr Allen molested “the Pokrov women’s children.” Mr Allen was never charged with molesting any children at Holy Trinity Cathedral, although one person who visited him in jail (for molesting other children not connected to HTC) said that Allen told him he had intended to molest children at HTC, but had never carried out his intentions. There is no record of any of trial of Mr Allen, or plea deal, etc. for having done anything to any children at HTC. Pokrov APPEARED to be more interested in suing an Orthodox parish and diocese and Church than in doing ANYTHING about the man they accused of molesting their children Sam Allen. Just saying. If anyone can show I’m mistaken, please, do so!

    • Terry Mattingly asks,

      A key factual question here: Under the canons a diocesan bishop cannot be NOMINATED for an election (thus preventing one diocese from raiding another), but the synod can ELECT a diocesan, sending one from one diocese to another. Is this correct?

      Terry, your comment is a string of speculative “what if” questions, each depending on the previous question’s speculation proving to be true. It sounds to me like your questions are based on a series of events you’ve been told.

      Allowing that “election” loophole for existing diocesan bishops would completely undermine the rationale for forbidding the nomination to begin with. How can the Synod elect someone who would not have been eligible for the nomination? That’s absurd.

      By the way, Bishop Alexander is not being moved from one diocese to another. He has been given a second wife, so to speak.

      What if the synod was severely divided on the election of Father Gerasim? What if there were several bishop who strongly favored his case and/or the DOS and others who opposed him? What if one in favor of his election was the Metropolitan, who drew out the proceedings to give DOS chances to keep making its case?

      If anyone intentionally dragged out the proceedings, only to finally capitulate to the hold-out, he should recognize that he has only created more problems. The hold-out has learned that digging in his heels will get him what he wants, regardless of the majority’s wishes. Fr. Gerasim has spent years of his life for nothing. The Diocese of the South has gone far longer than necessary without a bishop, only to end up getting an outsider foisted upon them.

      The nomination didn’t just affirm Fr. Gerasim’s popularity, it also revealed a lack of realistic alternative candidates for the see. If there had been any, perhaps Fr. Runner Up would have prevailed, Fr. Gerasim would have been able to move on with his life long ago, and the diocese wouldn’t have had to endure an additional year of delays ending in a unilateral election by the Synod.

      So let’s say the DOS leaders finally say: We need a bishop based here in Texas. Now. Church leadership then offers several bishops who are eligible. Who would those bishops be? I can think of at least one that would be totally unacceptable to DOS leaders.

      I would have to ask, why was getting a DOS bishop so urgent all of a sudden? It’s not like the vacancy in the DOS has been a particular cause for concern for the past seven Paschas, so why the trouble to eliminate it this year? Why are the DOS deans suddenly willing to take anyone to be their bishop (except the one you say would have been “unacceptable”)? Rejecting Fr. Gerasim’s nomination would not have forced an immediate election, so what caused them to carry it out? What changed the situation? That’s what I want to know.

      Finally, I will point out that, to Bishop Alexander’s credit, he has apparently decided to move to Dallas. So there’s at least one part of the Statute that won’t be violated.

      • Jesse Cone says

        Helga, you ask why the urgency all of a sudden?

        Two reasons. First, because we’ve been in an unfortunate holding patter than has been thwarting the growth and mission of the DOS. Second, because the Synod has been dragging this out since 2012 when the deans of the DOS offered Fr. Gerasim’s name to go forward at the assembly for election…only to have Abp. Nikon cancel the election in response. I am very grateful for +Nikon’s service to the DOS, and, as his letter suggests, this was not his desire. Still, they dragged it out for about four years, and the eventually the heat was turned up.

        The question is, as tmatt asked, who are the petty tales that are wagging the dog? One hopes once a certain bishop retires and a couple of archpriests are removed from their unfortunately influential roles, Fr. Gerasim will have a chance to serve in an episcopal capacity.

        As for the Pokrov ladies; allowing them to have a say in this election was an unconscionable abdication of responsibility.

      • anonymus per Scorilo says

        Fr. Gerasim has spent years of his life for nothing.

        Please stop insulting Fr. Gerasim. You sound as if the whole purpose of his ministry in the DOS has been to become a bishop. This is false (and be careful, you may be projecting on him some of yourself). The purpose of his efforts have been to serve Christ !

      • My post was based on what I saw as the evidence that the synod was divided. The rest of my questions flow out from that.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I could answer many of your questions, but just listen to Bishop Tikhon. Look at the Metropolitan Council.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Gail–I think you are pointing at the wrong body. First, the Metropolitan Council has no part in the episcopal nominating and election process. Second, the last AAC elected two clergy from the DOS–Fr. Antonio Perdomo for the six-year term and Father Thomas Moore for the three year term. I think that this may be the first time that two clergy from the DOS were elected to the two regular (as opposed to alternate) MC memberships. I don’t want to take away from Frs. Antonio and Thomas–both are outstanding priests, pastors and visionary leaders–but, I think the AAC may have wanted to let the entire OCA know of its’ support for the Diocese of the South and for the lone nominee for its bishop, Father Gerasim.

  15. Can a diocese reject the bishop appointed to them and insist on the candidate that they nominated?

    • Priests could refuse to commemorate him, but would have to be willing to take whatever flack they get in return.

      • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

        “Flack”? Yikes!!! Refusal to commemorate one’s Bishop is an act of schism, for which the one and only canonical remedy is deposition from Holy Orders altogether. Only if a Bishop were an open heretic could such a refusal be justified, and Bp. Alexander is not a heretic. But the notion that one is free to obey only what one agrees with, and to disobey what one disagrees with, is on the edges of heresy and is certainly schism.

        And no, a diocese does not have the right to reject its canonically-elected Bishop. As Fr. Schmemann so rightly insisted, “the Church is hierarchical;” the Bishops, as the successors of the holy Apostles, exercise governance. Yes, the Scriptures, the Canons, and the Fathers do set limits on the exercise of that governance (cf., e.g., 3 John 9-10 concerning a Bishop too big for his boots). And a careful look at Acts 15 shows that it was not some sort of general assembly of the Church, but “the apostles and elders” who “came together to consider” the issue of Gentiles becoming Christians (v.6). It is they who arrived at that Spirit-led consensus which “it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole Church,” to send to the Gentile believers (v.22). The Bishops are wise if, in true humility and with genuinely open minds and hearts, they consult with the faithful. But that does not mean they must follow the advice they receive. As the ones who have to answer to God for their decisions and, as teachers in the Church, “receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1), they must follow as best they can what they perceive to be the leading of the Holy Spirit.

        • Michael Warren says

          “As we walk the unerring and life-bringing path, let us pluck out the eye that scandalizes us, not the physical eye, but the noetic one. For example, if a bishop… who is the eyes of the Church conduct himself in an evil manner and scandalize the people, he must be plucked out. For it is more profitable to gather without him in a house of prayer, than to be cast together with him into the gehenna of fire together with Annas and Caiaphas.”

          Saint Athanasius the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria
          (Migne PG 26, 1257 C)
          “Do not err, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And if those that corrupt mere human families are condemned to death, how much more shall those suffer everlasting punishment who endeavour to corrupt the Church of Christ, for which the Lord Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, endured the Cross, and submitted to death! Whosoever, “being waxen fat,” and “become gross,” sets at nought His doctrine, shall go into gehenna. In like manner, every one that has received from God the power of distinguishing, and yet follows an unskillful shepherd, and receives a false opinion for the truth, shall be punished. “What communion hath light with darkness? or Christ with Belial? Or what portion hath he that believeth with an infidel? or the temple of God with idols? “And in like manner say I, what communion hath truth with falsehood? or righteousness with unrighteousness? or true doctrine with that which is false? For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that His Church might breathe forth immortality. For saith [the Scripture], “Thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore have the virgins loved Thee; they have drawn Thee; at the odour of Thine ointments we will run after Thee.” Let no one be anointed with the bad odour of the doctrine of [the prince of] this world; let not the holy Church of God be led captive by his subtlety, as was the first woman. Why do we not, as gifted with reason, act wisely? When we had received from Christ, and had grafted in us the faculty of judging concerning God, why do we fall headlong into ignorance? and why, through a careless neglect of acknowledging the gift which we have received, do we foolishly perish?”

          St. Ignatius the Godbearer, Hieromartyr of Antioch
          [ Epistle to the Ephesians ]
          “How then does Paul say, ‘Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves’? (Heb. 13:17) After having said before, ‘Whose faith follow, considering the end of their life’ (Heb. 13:7), he then said, ‘Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves’. What then (you say), when he is wicked, should we obey? Wicked? In what sense? If indeed in regard to matters of the Faith, flee and avoid him; not only if he be a man, but even if he be an angel come down from Heaven; but if in regard to his life, be not overly-curious.”

          St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople (4th Century AD)
          [ Homily Thirty-Four on the Epistle to the Hebrews ]
          “Is the shepherd a heretic? Then he is a wolf! You must flee from him; do not be deceived to approach him even if he appears gentle and tame. Flee from communion and conversation with him even as you would flee from a poisonous snake.”

          St. Photius the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople
          [ Homily Fifteen , 10]

          • Fr. Philip (Speranza) says

            Michael, if we’re going to engage in an exchange of quotes, try these on for size.

            Canon 31 of the Holy Apostles says, “If any Presbyter, condemning his own Bishop, draw people aside, and set up another altar, without finding anything wrong with the Bishop in point of piety and righteousness, let him be deposed, on the ground that he is an office-seeker. For he is a tyrant. Let the rest of clergymen be treated likewise, and all those who abet him. But let the laymen be excommunicated. Let these things be done after one, and a second, and a third request of the Bishop.” And The Rudder explains the phrase “without finding anything wrong with the Bishop in point of piety and righteousness” this way: “without knowing that the latter is manifestly at fault either in point of piety or in point of righteousness—that is to say, without knowing him to be manifestly either heretical or unjust.”

            The very lengthy Canon 13 of the 1st-and-2nd includes this: “the holy Council has decreed that henceforth if any Presbyter or Deacon, on the alleged ground that his own Bishop has been condemned for certain crimes, before a conciliar or synodal hearing and investigation has been made, should dare to secede from his communion, and fail to mention his name in the sacred prayers of the liturgical services in accordance with the custom handed down in the Church, he shall be subject to prompt deposition from office and shall be stripped of every prelatic honour.”

            In my 43 years of priesthood, I’ve learned that trying to be wiser than the collective experience of the Church usually doesn’t work out all that well….and neither does being consumed by rage.

            • Michael Warren says

              I totally agree with you. The problem is this particular Bishop teaches heresy, branch theory, and his track record with the Orthodox-Catholic consultation shouts that.

              Thus, the canons you cite don’t supersede the ones I did: they give them their teeth. For the Bishop you are supporting is disobedient to the Church and unfaithful to the Bishops and Synods that preceded him. Therein lies the corrective to your position: I am being faithful to the Bishops and obedient to the Church in calling for non commemoration and condemnation of a Bishop disobedient to the Church, teaching error engaged in an ecumenical betrayal of Orthodoxy which constitutes heresy and schism.

              Or do you believe the canons you cited call for obedience to heretics and schismatics, Father? Branch theory has been condemned as heretical by the Moscow Sobor of 2000. +Alexander not only teaches branch theory, he has agreed to take steps to implement it in his agreements with papists and his sympathies for Non Chalcedonians, q.v. “Two Lungs ecclesiology” and “Orthodox family of churches.”

              As a matter of fact, Father, you could be condemned by the
              Canons you cited by calling for obedience to a heretical and disobedient Bishop unfaithful to Orthodox Bishops and the two thousand year witness of the Church.

              Lastly, I cited those Fathers to make it clear that the Church sees as proper not commemorating or receiving, even fleeing, Bishops who teach heresy and schism. I cited +Alexander’s Uniate work with the North American “Orthodox”-Catholic theological consultation and his commitment to enforce its decisions as proof of his endorsement of branch theory heresy, Uniate apostasy and schismatic disobedience to the Canons, some which you cited.

              • Which is why I said a priest can refuse to commemorate a heretical bishop.

                But even if he is a heretic, and has thus forfeited his office in the eyes of God, he may still (illegitimately) exercise the office’s powers and punish the priest. The priest must be ready to suffer for being right.

                (Though he also risks being wrong and committing the sin of schism, so he had better be sure.)

                It is basically akin to the RC sedevacantist view.

                • Michael Warren says

                  An antipope argument predicated on an institution which insists on papal supremacy is a logic loop which cancels itself out.

                  This isn’t about schism as much as it is about obedience to the Church and fidelity to Orthodoxy. The South has an obligation to either approve or disapprove a Bishop appointed for it. In this instance, this Bishop has an alarming track record which calls into question his suitability to be an Orthodox Bishop. He openly works with heretics to spread heresy and promote schism in the Church.

  16. Does anyone know whether Bishop Alexander will truly reside in Vladika’s home by the Cathedral in Dallas or function more as a locum tenens Bishop with signing privileges from afar? Thank you for any information. Having Vladika in his Chapel is much-needed consolation this week.

  17. Michael Kinsey says

    Archbishop Golitizin did me no harm when I went back to my hometown for 5 years. This is an improvement over Fr. Gerasim. I have no history with the new bishop, but he kept a viable church in Bedford, across the river from me, intact.Toledo is a rough,tough nasty place, with the largest percentage of people living under the poverty level in the US. It is proud of it’s verv diverse ethnic communities, and it’s Margret Sanger public library. How many towns in the DOS have libraries honoring Margret Sanger? May he be in Communion with the Saints of the Church Triumphant, whose help in always effective, and is always thrilling to experience. Peace be unto him.

  18. Jon Duttweiler says

    The OCA’s treatment of Met. Jonah, it’s refusal to consider the DOS’ wishes in Archimandrite Gerasim, and the apparent lack of ability on the part of the “Holy” Synod to be honest are all reasons I will never step into, nor donate to, another OCA parish. An organization of such a paltry few that views itself as some grand THING – the hubris is daunting and the parochialism distressing.

  19. Jon Duttweiler says

    What some may not be aware of is the letter that was released some months ago regarding the Synod’s continued “pending” of decision on Fr. Gerasim. The rationale in that letter was stated that the Synod had to “take into consideration” a candidate that would not somehow upset the brotherly concord of the Synod. Easy enough to read between the lines is that the Synod did not want someone it could not control, who was not in lockstep, who would be another Met. Jonah. The charade of “righteousness” is pathetic and the tired call to “obey our bishops” and “judge with righteous judgment” is purile. A pox on all their houses.

    • Can’t you read that as a statement that the synod was divided?

      • Carl Kraeff says

        His mind is made up. Like many other +Jonah-loving and OCA-hating folks here.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Carl, no one here “hates” the OCA. You are trying to come to grips with the fact that you and other Jonah-critics have been had. You all thought that if you played by the rules then the South would get the bishop we overwhelmingly voted for. Didn’t happen.

          To all: please understand, Bp Alexander Golitzin may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to us since the repose of the Venerable Dmitri. That doesn’t obviate the fact that a diocese of the local, autocephalous Church here in America, the one that allows the laity the ability to nominate a slate of candidates, had the rug pulled out from under us.

          • Michael Warren says


            I can see this hierach as accomplishing a deleterious agenda from which the DOS may not recover. The man is a Uniate. +Mark was a superior candidate ten- fold, due to his fidelity to Orthodoxy and his mildly Byzantinist orientation. He was rejected. This person being rammed down south is an open insult foreboding only ill.

          • Jesse Cone says

            Carl claims people hate the OCA; George insists no one does. The real question is, does anyone respect it?

            Not respecting something is quite different from hating it, but I think some people mistake the former for the latter.

          • Tony Kartopolous says

            George: Bsp. Alexander is going to Dallas because the Synod of the OCA sees this as the best choice AT THIS TIME. This does not mean that he will be in Dallas 5 or 10 years from now. These decisions aren’t made at a whim nor to punish anyone, but for the good of the Church. Be patient and see how things work out.

            • Jesse Cone says


              It is against the Statute of the OCA (and Orthodox tradition) to move a bishop from diocese to diocese. So, unless Bp. Alexander retires, the diocese is restructured/dissolved, or (God forbid) he is deposed, this is our bishop. We welcome him and pray for him.

              I am not sure, therefore, what you are suggesting. The election of Bp. Alexander out of nowhere shows the Synod yanked our chain somewhere over the past seven years. It’s like our parents encouraged us to date someone for three-plus years and then arranged a marriage to someone we’ve never met at the last minute. As I said elsewhere, if you don’t understand the shock, confusion, and fear people are expressing I have to think you’re either willfully stubborn or simply haven’t been paying attention.

              I’m optimistic about Bp. Alexander as the DOS’s new spiritual father, and I’ve written a letter welcoming him and offering my support. And I meant every word.

              But there’s a reason there’s been no defense offered for the Synod’s actions: they’re indefensible.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Now that’s funny. Be patient George, just be patient and your overlor..er..bishops will eventually give you what you want. You had an election, a trial period, further education, and STILL you should be patient!

              Gotta love the establishment they are everywhere.


            • Tony,

              If you only knew how these decisions are really made, you would not be so quick to absolve the SOB decision making. There is no reason to think that Bp. Alexander won’t be in Dallas for the rest of his life. Last time I checked, that is what a true bishop does. Oh, wait, we are talking about the OCA where they move bishops willy nilly. Sorry, no respect for OCA leadership.

        • Michael Warren says

          Syosset-Crestwood IS NOT the OCA: it is a Renovationist overthrow of it.

  20. It is with great sorrow that I watch the Synod continue to make it up as they go along. In doing so they throw away the credibility of the OCA by the fistfuls.

    We are told that no one can be elevated to Bishop without attending an Orthodox Seminary. It was for this reason, in obedience, that Fr. Gerasim went to St. Vladimir’s, and IIRC, emerged as Valedictorian of his class. But never mind, we will elevate Bishop D. Brum without such attendance.

    The South was told that we must nominate a Bishop from the “approved, vetted, list.” So they did that. Silly South, who thought that vetted meant “acceptable to the Synod.” Acceptable to be elevated to the episcopate in the OCA. So despite the vetted list, despite the “seasoning” as administrator, despite two nominations of Fr Gerasim from the South, the Synod elects a bishop that already has a diocese to pick up another one. And this is done after leaving this diocese widowed for almost a decade.

    If you didn’t want Fr Gerasim, why make him jump through all the hoops? Why have him travel all over the South and deprive his parish of his services if you never intended to elevate him? Why bother with the kabuki dance of clergy and lay input if you intend to ignore it? Over and over again.

    Orthodoxy is hierarchical – that is an understandable concept. But lets not waste the time and money it takes to pretend that the faithful have input when they clearly do not. Poor Bishop Alexander will have to manage the damage that was caused, not by him, but by the handling of this situation.

    I pray for the DOS, Bp Alexander, and the Synod, as they all surely need it.

    Fr Gerasim may have dodged a bullet.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Yes, “really?” and tmatt! No doubt there is at least one hierarch and maybe more members of the Metropolitan Council who have been saying all along, like atheists, “Over my dead body!” Some of them, we know, believe that having been associated in any way with HOOM, CSB, and/or Father Seraphim (Rose) of blessed memory is no “ordinary” sin, like adultery, murder, blasphemy, or heresy, but is an incurable infection with a spiritual (and communicable!) leprosy that threatens our own purity!
      Jealousy of Father Seraphim’s spiritual legacy is, in addition, a trans-jurisdictional infection. One might facetiously comment, ” How can anybody revere the memory of a Samaritan like”Rose” above the splendid aura of our own legendary teachers, some still alive?”
      But don’t imagine that this Synod, unlike any previous Synod or Greater Sobor of Bishops, would do *anything* important if it were opposed by that sacred cow, the Metropolitan Council! This applies as well to the blame put on that Synod for Metropolitan Jonah’s *decision* to resign his position of first hierarch. There are pages and pages of blamr put on the Synod, while the Metropolitan Council remains unscathed!
      I don’t think it’s difficult to understand which hierarch(s) adopted the “over my dead body” stance. They also supported those responsible for doing nothing about a retired bishop and his diaconal familiar.

      • Well said.

        All too often these necessities of being a legal entity in the United States (i.e. boards of directors/councils) are used to overturn canonical order in which the clergy are in charge.

        In some ways it might be better if the laity didn’t have official input in these matters. At least there would be no hurt feelings. Just deal with the bishop you get and move on. (Or as one priest I know says, deal with the bishop as little as possible.)

        • Michael Warren says

          This Bishop is willing to betray Orthodoxy and accept Unia.

          So you think dealing with that is OK? Why not collectively say Anaxios! Defend Orthodoxy? Not in 2016?

      • Master bless:

        Once again, I was reading and thinking like a journalist, as much as being a churchman.

        Think over this key point: Why did the process go on so long?

        If one assumes that the Metropolitan saw Father Gerasim with favor, it makes no sense for the process to go on and on if the goal is to defeat the candidate. If you are going to shut him out, you do it and that’s that. The only reason for delay, with the DOS leadership offered chances to offer more input and perhaps (perhaps) to change a mind or two, is a positive one, for Father Gerasim. But in the end, there were minds that were never going to change. So who was in the “Over my dead body” chorus and why? That’s the only real question worth debating, for those who believe that the DOS was wronged.

        • Jesse Cone says


          You are entirely right about the shameful prolonging of this election process, and how it is made especially shameful given its eventual pointlessness. It’s obvious pastoral irresponsibility.

          May God bless both Bp. Alexander and Fr. Gerasim, and may the DOS–through the intercessions of Vladyka Dmitri–be found pleasing in the eyes of God.

          • You totally missed my point, of course.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says


              I think you are completely missing the point. Holy Synods in the Orthodox Church, whether they be Greek, Russian, etc., are men not necessarily led by the Holy Spirit, but men with agendas jocking for position and power. Now that may sound cynical, which it is, but it’s also the truth most of the time.

              The delay had less to do with changing minds than with the Synod attempting to get Fr. Gerasim to mess up, screw up and throw up their collective hands and say see we knew he wasn’t ready.

              Now when that fails, as it looks like it did in this case as I didn’t hear of any screw ups, then we go to the next step, pulling the rug out from under him and the DOS. Just look at the past and how the church has done such things in the past. Same tactics, just different names.

              However in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter as Christ rules and reigns and all this other stuff is just Kabuki theater. Happy Lent.


        • Jon Duttweiler says

          Tmatt, agreed. One can be safely assured if, as +Tikhon states, the Met. Council was at work, that the Chancellor had a hand in it.

      • Is the Metropolitan Council similar to the GOA’s Archdiocesan Council, or is it something different altogether?

      • been there says

        Well, when a bishop resides in cold climes, he has to have somewhere warm to vacation!

        in response to: Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
        April 2, 2016 at 3:12 pm

  21. “Bulgarian Diocese” is not a geographical diocese; therefore, H.G. Alexander can serve the (geographical location) DOS and the Bulgarians. This is not difficult to see.

    It is also Great Lent. This is a time of fasting, prayer, and repentance. Clamoring on a blog about one’s opinions of how a bishop for the DOS should have been elected, stirring up other’s passions in the process without a bit of consideration for their salvation, is not Christian. We should trust God, and always give Him glory with a grateful heart because whatever comes our way, however things work out, God is fully in control, so we should be mindful of that fact always. Whether something seems agreeable to us or adverse, we should be grateful because God “causes all things to work together for the good of them that love God and are called according to his purpose.”

    God bless

    • Lamb Chops says


      Your heart is in the right place, but your thinking is not. The Bishops are supposed to bring unity of mind and spirit to the flock, but their actions in this situation have caused division. Therefore, the proper response of the faithful is to push back, and call out their clericalism. It is for their salvation that the faithful are questioning this capricious decision because obedience to the rules, even when they are inconvenient, is part of the labor of faith. Bishops are held accountable, too. We are to faithfully adhere to the tradition we have been handed down, and in our weakness follow it to the best of our ability. Rightly dividing the truth does not equal making it up as we go along.

      Violating the new Statute, especially after everything that was involved in accomplishing that, sets a horrible precedent. How do we know when and which parts are OK to violate…just the ones that are presently in the way of what we want to do? You rightly point out that we are in a time of fasting, a time to discipline our will. If, on a whim, the Bishops permitted themselves fillet mignon last week that also would have drawn questions about their judgment.

      Yes, God is in control, but we are to cooperate with God. If your home was invaded, and your wife and daughters were being attacked, would you be so complacent as to let them have their way? Do we sit back and watch God do all the work? See Matthew 7:15, if someone is scattering the sheep, it’s OK for the sheep question their leadership.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Good, “dbc’! I went so far as to pray a Molieben of Thanksgiving on behalf of Archimandrite Gerasim, delivered from spiritually risky associations!

  22. Seraphim98 says

    After having read the letter sent to the parishes of the DOS by Fr. Gerasim, and his grace, Bishop Alexander, I’m feeling much more relieved about the situation over all. Fr. Gerasim gave believable reassurances that all is well and he is content with the outcome of the election. Bishop Alexander speaks warmly of the Diocese, Archbishop Dimitri, and of Fr. Gerasim and how he wants to live among us and get to know us. The process was still squiffy, but the outcome does not seem to be so strange or dire as it did a few days ago. In it all I’m reminded God is still in charge and in the warmth and good will present in the communications of Bishop Alexander and Fr. Gerasim, I am reassured that the DOS has not been abandoned. It’s still early, but all indicators so far point to God giving us a worthy bishop and true pastor. We’ll see over the years to come, but until there is good reason to think otherwise, I am more than content now to offer him my unqualified eis polla ete Despota.

    • Fr. Gerasim seems like a good man. Perhaps it is better that he wasn’t elevated to the episcopacy. Perhaps in his heart he never wanted it? It’s speculation but plausible.

    • Andrew Eells says

      Hello Seraphim98
      Although your post was several days ago, perhaps you will see this and clarify a point. You reference “the letter sent to the parishes of the DOS by Fr. Gerasim, and his grace, Bishop Alexander.” In searching, I found only a letter from Metropolitan Tikon, which was not co-signed by Archimandrite Gerasim. It is dated March 31 and is posted here: http://oca.org/news/headline-news/archpastoral-letter-of-metropolitan-tikhon-to-the-diocese-of-the-south.
      Is this the letter you mean?

      • Seraphim98 says

        No, there were two letters, one from Fr. Gerasim shared with the parishes of the DOS (at least with ours), and a letter to the DOS from his grace Bishop Alexander. The latter letter I think has been posted in Church News on Orthodoxy.net.s forums.

  23. Michael Bauman says

    I wonder Mr. Warren if you had been on that Libyan beach with the 20 Copts would you have prayed with them as each of you prepared to be beheaded? Or would you have told your captors to set them free as you were the only “real” Christian there?

    The only heresy hunting that should occur is in the reaches of my own heart.

    • Michael Warren says

      Well, you profess a singular creed which isn’t Orthodoxy. But this isn’t news. You know better than the Church. So much so that you presume to sit in judgement of her.

      After all, you find it impossible to pray with the Church and other Orthodox Christians. So your lectures to us to embrace
      ecumania are nothing but a ridiculous sham.

      • Can’t help wondering whether Mr. Warren was sent over here by the hate-mongers who patronize the “Euphrosynos Cafe.”

        He appears fully blind to those who are conservative, traditional, anti-ecumenist members of New Calendar jurisdictions. (I do not claim that they constitute a majority; however, they exist, and should not be ignored.) I shall hope that instead of blindness, he has massive cataracts — a curable condition.

        • Michael Warren says

          I am a member of the OCA and attend a New Calendarist parish.

          Guess your straw man argument as character assassination just fell apart…

          Now when you are ready to engage ideas and discuss points of you then you will learn to respect people you disagree with and actually take the time to learn about whom you are talking about before writing nonsense.

          And if ad hominem hate is all you have, keep it to yourself.

          • Your reply flirts with the humorous, because you know nothing about me, nor of what I believe. I shall remain with, and prefer, that order of things.

  24. Michael Woerl says

    “Synod violates OCA statutes.”
    Boys and girls! Haven’t we learned ANYTHING observing the O. C. A.??? See, here’s how this works: “Statutes” and all other types of “rules,” you
    know- like them there “Canons,” are not for Bishops, see? Bishops (especially in America!) can do any ole little thing they want, by their Great & Awesome Power of “Economia,” a.k.a., “We can do any dang thang we wanna do!” So, don’t forget this lesson, boys and girls! Next time ya think ya got the shaft, or ‘wronged,’ etc., don’t cry, you really didn’t! You just got OCAEconomiaized! Perfectly legit, ’cause Syosset sez so! And, 100% approved by S&M! No higher authorities exist!

  25. Another point of fact: Could someone offer a current list of the members of the Metropolitan Council?

    I do not know that by memory.

  26. To all of you in the OCA DOS who are upset about yet another display of contempt for you by the, uh, “Holy” *cough* Synod:

    YOU are the problem, because YOU remain in the OCA. They do this to you because they can, and you just sit there (or stand there, as the case may be) and take it. So.

    Either leave, or quit your complaining. You DO have options.

    Thank you sir! May we have another!

  27. Sviati Tyati says

    The scuttlebut is that one member of the Synod was adamantly opposed to Fr. Gerasim and would not budge. I have a feeling that Bishop Alexander is going to be an interim bishop. He has already said that he is keeping Fr. Gerasim in Dallas. Eventually, the lone hold out on the Synod will either change his mind or will go on to his reward in heaven, at which time Fr. Gerasim can be elected as an auxiliary bishop, or even split the gigantic DOS into two. Because the Synod was not united on a candidate, something had to be done. It’s been 7 years since the DOS had ruling bishop (I think it’s 7). That is far too long. Something had to be done. That something was to find a candidate that could actually be elected by the Synod. That is exactly what has been done.

    • That fits with what I am reading and hearing. But could only one standout really shut this down?

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        tmatt, yes! I think you meant ‘holdout’. “Over my dead body” has been heard before. Ever-memorable Bishop Dmitri once said that, LONG AGO, referring to one of our retired Metropolitans who was then only a candidate for the hierarchy, accompanied by a colorful epithet!: “That (colorful epithet) will only become a bishop over my dead body!”

  28. What a coup for the married pseudo bishop of the South. Name a bishop who is already having to tend to another diocese and the pseudo bishop can continue functioning to help relieve the stress. Handing out clergy awards, handling clergy discipline, etc etc. Let’s hope Bp. Alexander gets him under control.

    • Who is the “married pseudo bishop” in the DoS? Are you talking about the retired Bishop Mark in Florida and the archdeacon who left him to run off and “marry” another man, and then changed his mind, and came back to Florida?

      Will Bishop Alexander do anything to rectify the homosexual scandal among the clergy in Florida?

      • M. Stankovich says

        Seriously, do we need to go to this place again for the 100th time? How quick you are to unload filth when given the opportunity. When people like you don’t even have the courage to affix their own name to “charges” against the bishops of the church, or when provided with the opportunity to object, stand by silently, hypocrisy dictates the bishops you deserve (to paraphrase Fr. Thomas Hopko, may his memory be eternal!). Cowardice never cease to be ugly.

        • Michael,

          Beautiful ad hominem attack to avoid the question asked — it sure adds a nice touch. You honestly sound like a shill for the Syosset establishment.

          “If there’s a man serving as a deacon at one of our parishes in Florida who had gone to California and married another man and then came back to Florida and we put him back in place as a deacon and he’s buds with one of our retired Bishops there…. well, that’s none of your gosh darn business. Just get used to it and be quiet. And keep sending your money.”

          Um, yes it is our business. God charges us to be *responsible* stewards of His Church, not to keep our heads in the sand as we all strive to care for His Church. If something looks fishy, then it probably is. Questions need to be asked. If there’s nothing untoward going on, then just put that out in the open and put everything to rest. But if no one wants to answer the question, then fine, but they must deal with the ramifications of their silence. Questions will always be asked.

          You know, often times it appears on these pages that many of the faithful are not happy with their hierarchy. But I postulate that the opposite is actually true — many of the hierarchy are not happy with the faithful that they have. That, my friend, is sad state.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Excellent, Who 2. I will take this as a challenge. To prove me as otherwise than a “Syosset shill,” come forward with your full name and which diocese in the OCA you belong, draft a formal statement asking each and every question you deem necessary, and expressing just how unhappy you are with your hierarchy. I, in turn, will sign it with you because I am equally disgusted with the situation in Florida, and have already made my opinion openly known. In fact, I have resigned from more volunteer positions for the OCA because of their incompetence – the last being ORSMA, which compromised my professional ethics and my personal safety – than I’m sure you ever thought of. And in each and every case, I made my opinion openly known. Why? Beacuse I fear no one. You have a need to get in my face accusing me of “avoiding” anything? Step into the light and accept my challenge, or slither back to where you came from. You can’t have it both ways.

            • Michael Warren says

              His/her crime is they aren’t a crime of you and don’t tow the Syosset-Crestwood party line. He/she wants Orthodoxy. This person wants the 45+ year record of Syosset-Crestwood Renovationist failure and corruption to stop. You demand his/her personal information to assassinate his/her character for the Syosset-Crestwood agenda.


            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              I agree with Michael. Reveal your name and take a stand. I have a family, children and a law career. But my mom and dad didn’t raise me to be a coward. Right or wrong I put my beliefs on the line because that’s what you have to do to be brave and not a coward.

              If these issues were raised by someone in person would you say nothing because you can be seen and identified? No you speak up. In HBO movie Conspiracy where the Nazis were talking about the final solution for the Jews only one man, notably a lawyer, stood up and said it cannot be done. Now he was not a Jewish sympathizer or had some grrat love for the jews, but simply said that if they were going to kill the Jews they needed to have a reasonable basis in law so ad to do it. The Nazis basically told him it can be done and they do not need a basis in law to do it. They went back and forth back and forth until finally the Nazi who was arguing with the one guy the attorney said I’m going to remember your name and the attorney said you should it’s very well-known. You understand?

              So reveal your name and who you are or to me you are just a pimple-faced kid in their mother’s basement typing out stuff behind a computer in the dark.


              • Carl Kraeff says

                Speaking of names, I do not think that Michael Warren and Jeff Cahill are real names. Nor do I think that Michael Warren is a member of an OCA church in the Detroit area, as Jeff Cahill alleged.

                In addition, at times the responses of Warren and Cahill feel coordinated. Two birds of the same mind, a puppetteer and his puppet, or perhaps one hand but two persona.

                • Jeff Cahill says

                  Conspiracy theories trying to come up with a fishing expedition to engage in character assassination. I think you, Mr. Kraeff, can’t respect points of view other than your own. You are far too quick to personally attack others when you lose an argument. Your penchant for slandering people is disgraceful. When that fails, you want to go after their friends and family to censor them. That type of repugnant and dishonest behavior is precisely why I chose to speak out.

                  Your collusion with others here to try and suppress a quote to slander Mr. Warren says everything we need to know about who is engaged in underhanded and despicable tactics.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Mr Jeff–You are correct that I was trying a bit of fishing to find out who you and Mr. Michael really are. I note that you did not confirm or deny anything. That said, you are wrong about me. What I want is to report to the appropriate church authorities what you and Mr. Michael have posted on this site. I really believe that your writings have grossly slandered and demeaned a ruling Orthodox bishop and that Mr. Michael has openly called upon OCA members to commit uncanonical and schismatic activities.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Schismatic activities like negotiating Unia using the frameworks of Lyons and Florence? That’s Bishop Alexander. It is the obligation of the faithful to expose hierarchs who betray Orthodoxy like Uniate Alexander has.

                      Syosset-Crestwood just can’t stand losing an argument and being called on betraying Orthodoxy.

        • Michael Warren says

          Until they are defrocked and the faithful are told where the faithful’s money went in support of these perverts, yes, Syosset-Crestwood, we do. We will make sure this is not forgotten.

          Syosset-Crestwood constantly fleeing its 45+ year of betrayal of Orthodoxy and Christian morality.

        • Why should anyone affix their names?

          History has shown that clergy who behave badly engage in witch hunts to punish those who find them out. They don’t come with humility as servants.

          And I am one who believes it is unjust to treat clergy as guilty until proven innocent, as is usually done these days (e.g. automatically placing them on leave of absence when accused). But the obfuscation that some clerics have engaged in has ruined it for everyone.

          The invalidation of someone’s comments, only because they are anonymous, is ad hominem.

          • M. Stankovich says

            There are places on the West Bank, where every Friday afternoon, young men and children of Hamas gather on their side of the border with buckets of rocks and stones. At a predetermined time (enough news coverage), with faces obscured by scarves, they throw the rocks across the border at the Israeli soldiers protecting the border. No one is ever hit or harmed, and it appears the Israelis have determined that simply waiting out the “incursion” is the best choice. In effect, Ages, this is what you advocate: mind-numbingly repetitive rock throwing that is as pointless as it is unhelpful. And like the stone throwing ritual, it repeats itself weekly like a scene from Sartre’s No Exit.

            It is truly an unfortunate reality that those who choose to be witnesses in opposing wrongdoing and injustice must be prepared to experience consequences; this is the way of this fallen world. Equally unfortunate is the idea that the Church is exempt from this reality, because the Church, in reality, is more scrupulous than the world: “Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.” (Matt. 18:15) It is our Tradition, the Tradition of the Fathers, to face one’s accuser, not some supposedly “anonymous” jackass who is internet-courageous, but would wilt in terror in person.

            Ages, by inserting the issue of “guilty before proven innocent” into an argument such as this – supporting anonymity rather than confrontation – is a cheap convention. Whether the world or the church, when there are accusations made by a child or issue of violence of any kind, the research is very clear: accusations are considered true until proven false, and the priority becomes the protection of victims.

            Finally, I did not “invalidate” anyone’s comment. The “horse had left the barn,” so to speak, for the 100th time. And done in the cowardly “statement in the form of a question” manner, with the mistaken presumption that, even if the information is true, it is not engaging in murderous gossip. And quite to the contrary, rather than negate, I offered to help in a concrete, specific way. Using my own name. Because I fear no one.

      • Look no further than the person who has been handing out clergy awards, enforcing edicts from Syossett Central and otherwise pretending to be the bishop.

  29. Gail Sheppard says

    Bishop Tikhon has left more breadcrumbs than Hansel and Gretel. Read his posts.

  30. There’s a great old volume of the SVOTS Quarterly that went into minute detail on the back and forth at the 1917-1918 Moscow Sobor about how to increase involvement of the entire Russian Church in the selection of bishops. Some wanted pure elections, i.e., dioceses as a whole (priests, deacons, laity) to elect their own bishops, full stop. Others wanted to keep all power in the hands of the Synod (the Patriarchate hadn’t yet been voted on). In fact, a compromise was made that confirmed the canonical requirements around bishops being elected only by a Synod of bishops while respecting the need for greater participation and input from the church as a whole. Same for representation at the kinds of Sobors they were then taking part in. The tension remains. Bishops elect, but now, with input and nominations from the church as a whole (laity, minor orders, deacons, priests, deans, and the monastics). But, the canons are still in force and it is bishops who decide. The only power against that is soft power, and the rhetoric and stance of the DOS was quite obviously not focused on simply ‘influencing’ the Synod, they wanted to bend it to their will. They lost because they never had the power to do otherwise.

    • been there says

      No, I would respectfully disagree.

      The de facto process for selection of Bishop in the DOS is that the Synod would “bless and approve” the slate of candidates from which the DOS committee could select a nominee. It was at this point that the Synod could have and should have disqualified Fr. Gerasim if that was their will. Fr. Gerasim was on the list of approved candidates.

      Instead, both the DOS and Fr. Gerasim spent enormous amounts of time, money and angst trying to align with the process that the Synod had laid out. The nomination vote was not even close. After an unconscionable delay, the DOS gets a decision out of left field. This was not a situation of “trying to bend the Synod to their will.” In fact, the DOS expended extreme effort to work with the Synod on this issue. The converse? Not so much.

      There is no dispute that the Synod of Bishops have the power to elect the bishop for the DOS. The reaction to the announcement comes from the fact that the Synod controlled the front and the back end of the process, both the vetting for the approved list, and the actual selection. The way this was handled made the process in between – “the input and nominations from the church as a whole” – a complete sham.

      So it should’t be surprising how the DOS responds to “We’re from the Synod, and we’re here to help you.”

      • George Michalopulos says

        Exactly. My only concern was that the process was never going to be followed. Bp Alexander’s name likewise should have been profferred (as was Bp Ireneu’s). For that reason –and to avoid the appearance of scandal–Fr Gerasim’s name should have never been approved from the get-go. Equally as important, the Deans of the South should have been informed as to why Fr Gerasim was not a suitable candidate. That didn’t happen, most probably because he was a suitable candidate. Hence the scandalousness of this all.

        • Jesse Cone says

          Since Vladyka Dmitri’s retirement eight bishops have been consecrated by the OCA, and one more transferred in. And yet, after a seven year process wait, this is how the Synod goes about doing things. It’s indefensible.

          I hope the Synod (and Syosset as a whole) can look at themselves honestly in the mirror for this. It was mismanaged, in no small way. And it’s public.

          Don’t be surprised when chickens come home to roost. The OCA remains plagued by standing scandals. To name a few with the most negative repercussions: the way in which Robert Kondratick was defrocked, the suspension of +Jonah and conspiracy driven by members of the MC, the Synodal decisions in Chicago (2011) that ran counter the OCA Statute and de facto defended the theft of emails between clergy and parishoners, the brazen disrespect of their Metropolitan in Seattle’s AAC, the publication of untruths and half-truths to tarnish the reputation of their former metropolitan, and now this. Add to this the issues regarding Frs. Susan and Wood, the retirement of three metropolitans, the removal of a standing bishop of the Midwest, the conflict of interest by a certain “married” journalist,the publication of Fr. Arida’s article on the OCA’s “Wonder” blog, etc, etc. etc. Eventually people get the picture.

          But perhaps most on display is the continued scandal of a certain (formally married) deacon and a retired bishop in Florida.

      • M. Stankovich says

        If I am not mistaken, there are two unacknowledged issues in the “scandalousness” of this dilemma: 1) there has been a continuous complaint here that the “scandal” was the fact that there has been a passive, virtually non-existent locum tenons and not a diocesan bishop for too long; and 2) it has been suggested that a member (or members) of the Synod adamantly opposed the candidate proffered by the DOS (the rumor is that it is two members, one seemingly totally unexpected), regardless of the remainder’s opinion of the preferred candidate’s “suitability.” I believe some consideration needs to be given to the thought that – at least for the time being – the new bishop is a “compromise” to no bishop at all.

        While I certainly respect your prerogative, Mr. Michalopulos, in correlating everything ill befalling humanity & the church, short of Zika virus, to the injustice against “Jonah,” you did choose to censure my opposing opinion that doing so is again – in the French idiom il fait un vent à décorner les bœufs – returning to “bad weather.” It is a dead-end topic, certain to result in unchanged opinion and “new blood” hack. I smell it in the air…

      • I don’t disagree that Fr. Gerasim’s name should have been removed earlier in the process if the Synod believed he wasn’t an appropriate candidate. That fact it wasn’t together with the Synod’s focus on collegiality among its own members likely points to a small number for/against his candidacy and a majority of the members willing to let the process play out further so as to be open to new information, changes of mind, the diocese taking the hint and not pushing Fr. G forward, or simply as a way to respect the input of the various stakeholders involved (those for/against on the Synod, the DOS, etc.) If that was the case, the overwhelming vote for Fr. G (and therefore not any of the other candidates) effectively gave the Synod the choice no choice but to elect Fr. G or someone brand new since the Plan B candidates had already been rather clearly and forcefully declined by the DOS. It looks to be a prime example of a time where the band-aid should have just been ripped off quickly (Fr. G’s candidacy vetoed); attempting to respect all views simply allowed things to move into areas the Synod was never going to let them go, and creating further ill-will and hurt feelings, not to mention the waste of time and money on a process that was sidestepped at the last minute (as is the Synod’s right, objectively, but what a waste considering the outcome).

        • been there says

          Your point about a vocal minority is well taken. At some point, this pursuit of unanimity among the Synod allows a tyranny of the minority,

  31. Prediction…..

    H.G. Alexander will give up the Bulgarian Diocese in a year and the SOB will elect H.G. Daniel (Brum) to Toledo. The DOS wanted no part of Brum and Brum refused the call by the SOB to take Dallas because he knew he wasn’t wanted.

    So Brum, with no Orthodox theological education, which was an impediment to OCA SOB rules, until they changed them for Brum but insisted for Gerasim, will get a diocese.

    And people wonder why there is no little respect for the OCA.

  32. Seemingly lost in the middle of all of this is the purported rationale laid out when the Synod initially refused to confirm Fr. Gerasim’s nomination. There was no indication that he was unsuitable. There was no indication that he was unacceptable to one or more members of the Synod. It was simply that he needed to gain administrative experience. Other recent examples were pointed to as an assurance that the decision of the diocese was not being ignored.

    At that time I warned that I did not find the explanation credible and that by forcing Fr. Gerasim to serve under or with the existing Chancellor it was nothing but a smokescreen to permit those who oppose this nomination to gather dirt to justify a later decision to choose another candidate. Since no explanation whatsoever has come forward suggesting that Fr. Gerasim proved to be an incompetent administrator, it seems clear that the initial failure to confirm him as the bishop was mere smokescreen and delay on the part of the Synod. By putting off this decision for a year, clearly the plan has been successful as nobody is placing this decision against the backdrop of the initial communication when the election was delayed.

  33. M. Stankovich says

    Of all coincidences, I happened to stumble upon the source of the quotation attributed to Bishop Alexander that union with Rome is a “done deal.” It was not removed, nor was it hidden. It begins here and is truly epic lunacy. It begins near the bottom of the page and is offered by someone named “Maria.” If this is what the Warren/Cahill duo proffers as credible evidence of the heresy of Bishop Alexander as a “Uniate,” likened to another Judas, it seems to me a call to demand more scrutiny for such accusations is justified on this forum. And just a note: be sure to click through to the link to Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky’s commentary regarding Primacy, the Orthodox Church, and the Ravenna Statement, from 2007. It gives significant perspective to the idea that the Orthodox Church values unity over primacy, and simply being in dialog – even making non-binding agreements in principle – does not a heretic make.

    • Jeff Cahill says

      Mr. Stankovich,

      Just stop being a jerk. No one wants to read that. Everyone has moved on from that statement besides you. You used it to granstand and then slandered Mr. Warren. Now you say you found it, but it doesn’t matter. You found because I believe you knew about it and you knew where it was hidden. While you and Bishop Tikhon with Helga and ChristineFevronia tried to make it into a smoking gun. Which is it?

      What is clear is you owe Mr. Warren an apology for slandering him regarding that statement. You are a bad liar. I hope you take this as an opportunity to call yourself to account and work out your issues. I wish you the best.

      It is clear in my mind that people who work out conditions for union with Rome which don’t include Rome’s conversion to Orthodoxy are people who espoused union with Rome while compromising to the papacy. It doesn’t take a doctorate to make the correlation. These statements are affirmations of the beliefs of their authors. Bishop Alexander is one of them. That means Bishop Alexander wants a Byzantine Catholic type of union with Rome.

      Please show us where Bishop Alexander holds to other positions regarding union with Roman or where he has turned his back on these statements, even criticized them. Show us at least some of his private reservations to the work of the Orthodox-Catholic he participates in. If you can’t, please stop the lies and deceit. Bishop Alexander has been caught red-handed working out union with Rome at the expense of Orthodoxy, and he has been at it for almost twenty years. This isn’t a blip. It is who the man has said he is on paper, for nearly twenty years.

      • M. Stankovich says

        I posted this link for two specific reasons, which I suspect you are well aware: credibility & integrity. You are the man of Psalm 7 who “lays traps for others, and falls in himself.” You were the one who insisted that this quotation was “taken down” and set to “private so no one can see it,” and Warren thanked you for setting the record straight. Why? Because you are both of the genus & species rattus norvegicus. The fact is – as I have insisted – without such an authentic quote, there is nothing to suggest that Bishop Alexander has anything more than an interest in dialoging – as a member of an Orthodox consultation – with representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, regarding issues of a common ground that could serve as groundwork to a later reunion. That makes no one a heretic. And your observation pretty much sums it up: “they’ve been at it for twenty years.” How ludicrous are your words. I don’t suspect you took the time to read Fr. Kishkovsky’s thoughts on the Ravenna Statement, or looked at the reaction of Bishop Alexander’s students and associates to “Maria’s” accusation: it is completely incongruent with anything he has ever taught or expressed in his personal interpretation of the theology of the church. And finally, I believe you should think long and hard about the fact that each and every time the Fathers confronted those they believed were in heresy, it came after careful and deliberate examination of their writings, direct scrutiny of their words face-to-face – as the recording of the local & great councils of the church clearly describe in detail – allowing them every opportunity to clarify & elucidate their opinions to the best of their ability. And only then, based on evidence, did they render a decision. You, apparently, find him “too creepy” to afford the respect due the anointed of God, and Warren is too much a coward to face him. He is not simply a man “on paper” for you to Google. Mark my words, this is a path you will live to regret.

        • Michael Warren says

          Syosset-Crestwood, you engage in slander. You record as always is lies and fabrications shielding your fraud to preempt final rejection of the disgrace you embody. The consultation itself has rejected Orthodox ecclesiology and advances Unia. You continue to fail to even allude to where any of the people betraying Orthodoxy in the slightest affirm fidelity to Orthodoxy. They don’t. Their histories chronicle support of ecumenist branch theory and Unia fuelled by compromise and contempt for Orthodoxy, much like your own. You have disgraced yourself as a slanderer and fraud while the people in question betray and have betrayed Orthodoxy, in this instance documented to espouse Unia. The intent of outing this information is to once and for all discredit ecumenism, uniatism, Renovationism so that Orthodoxy in North America develop in the Tradition and fidelity of the Church and we move on, necessarily without the disgrace of the sectarian ideas and failed approaches you advocate. We want a future without your failure, corruption, fraud, disgrace, slander, betrayal of Orthodoxy, Syosset-Crestwood. And we will have it. No, you won’t have a place at that table in that future -everything you represent is antithetical to mature and authentic, local Orthodox development.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Maria is always entertaining, but she belongs to “GOC under Archbishop Stephanos,” which is as anti-EP, anti-ecumenism as any one can be. Here is one description:

      “The Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece – Matthewite Synod (Greek: Ἐκκλησία Γνησίων Ὀρθοδόξων Χριστιανῶν), also known as the True Orthodox Church of Greece, is a Greek Orthodox Old Calendarist jurisdiction, which broke with the main body of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece, known as the Florinites, in 1943 under their leader Bishop Matthew Karpathakis, due to a dispute over the nature of grace in the sacraments of the official New Calendarist Church of Greece. They see themselves as traditional Orthodox Christians upholding their faith against renovationist and ecumenist innovations.

      The Matthewites are widely regarded as the most intransigent of the claimants of the Old Calendarist legacy; they are hostile to World Orthodoxy, regard it’s sacraments as completely graceless and are unwilling to give communion to New Calendarists. The Cyprianites of the Synod in Resistance, on the other side, are regarded as more open to New Calendarists, while still opposing ecumenism and renovationism. The main body of the Old Calendarists, the Florinites, fall somewhere between the two.”

      So, Maria belongs to a minor and most extreme sub-set of a self-designated Orthodox sect. I am not surprised that she could be the source of Mr Warren’s slander.

      • Jeff Cahill says

        Mr. Kraeff,

        I don’t understand how being opposed to the EP and to ecumenism connects this person with Mr. Warren. Is it because Mr. Warren has spoken out against the EP and ecumenism? Has Mr. Warren quoted her? Show us. Has Mr. Warren been linked in any way with the Matthewites? Again tell us when. Is this Maria participating on this forum? Then how dare you introduce her as a strawperson to burn in effigy. Shouldn’t she be given the courtesy of answering your denunciation of her? You are engaged in acts of hate which are very cowardly and beneath contempt. Show us where this Maria is a source for Mr. Warren or apologize to him immediately. We both know you won’t, because you lack fundamental fairness and Christian charity. From what I understand of the Matthewites, they consider Mr. Warren a heretic. I have pointed out how dishonesty and slander seem to be something you are guilty of. Here you are doing it again.

        Just stop being a Christian jerk. Your unhinged slander of Mr. Warren is pathetic. I get that you are scared of him and feel threatened that he is attacking what you believe and stand for. Your lack of human decency and fundamental honesty discredit you, buoy his position, and hand him victory. Your lies and slander only make you out to be the crazy, the bad guy. While they discredit your position and the people you support. I have gone from sitting on the fence to questioning Bishop Alexander’s appointment to accepting Mr. Warren’s rejection of Bishop Alexander. I got there because people like you, Bishop Tikhon, Stankovich, Jesse, Helga, ChristineFevronia and Bogdan not only are lying to advance your support of Bishop Alexander, you are also slandering, sandbagging, insulting, filibustering, hating Mr. Warren because he dared to prove his point and challenge your ideas and worldview. Your collective witness here comes across as fanaticism, fundamentalist hatred of other Orthodox Christians. I could never in good conscience morally support your deceit. In good conscience, I am concerned with a Bishop Alexander who might allow himself to personally profit as a result of such vile behavior. Being a Uniate is far better than publicly affronting Orthodox Christians with such unhinged hate. Your actions are shameful, sinful, evil. Mr. Warren is strident and very committed to his views, but he doesn’t act out of hate to share his views. You do. If I were Bishop Alexander, I would distance myself from people like you who come across as nothing but thugs, extremist nuts. Excuse me for being so direct.

        Mr. Warren provided over 3000 words of documentation spanning almost twenty years proving that Bishop Alexander has been involved in a process of compromising Orthodoxy for union with Rome. Bishop Alexander has done this, and his activity is rightfully called Uniate. End of story. Now it is our choice in the South whether we want him as our Bishop. I don’t.

        Mr. Warren, on the other hand, has condemned schismatic groups continually, even fought with them here. Yet you are shameless enough to write he is linked to them because you support the EP and ecumenism while he doesn’t, because he has provided evidence detailing Bishop Alexander’s unionist collaboration with Roman Catholics, because Mr. Warren dared to disagree with you? Excuse me, but your post assaults us with the crazed, irrational language of hatred.

        I really am not Mr. Warren’s ally here, but I can’t help but be opposed to you and people joining in with you, because your deceitful way of attacking people is appalling. Your lies and slander are admissions of guilt, your guilt, and the guilt of Bishop Alexander. I hope you realize that. Mr. Warren can have his future of russophilia and love of the Moscow Patriarchate for all I care, without me and my family. I might shake his hand out of polite courtesy if I ever were to meet him. But I don’t want you and people like you in any way, in any churchly office, involved in my life, near my family, or even visiting my parish. Mr. Warren is a misguided idealist. You are a vengeful person who has no respect for the boundaries between truth and lies; there is something definitely sick about you. I pray you find healing.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Mr Cahill–This is truly a shocking turn of events. Let’s review:

          Mr Warren openly slandered Bishop Alexander by saying that he was quoted to say “the Orthodox union with the Roman Catholic is basically a done deal pending the approval of the Russian MP.”

          Many folks, myself included demanded that Mr Warren provide the source of that quotation. He instead provided lots of verbiage but never the source for that direct quote.

          Dr. Stankovich, OTOH, was able to dig it out from the Orthodox Christianity.Net, where Maria wrote “A few years ago, when I spoke with Bishop Alexander of the OCA who had worked on several Catholic-Orthodox conferences, he said that the Orthodox union with the Roman Catholic is basically a done deal pending the approval of the Russian MP.”

          Having been a moderator of that forum, I was aware of Maria being a member of an Orthodox schismatic sect. I then gave y’all the background information, with my conclusion that “she could be the source of Mr Warren’s slander.”

          Consequently, you just exploded, calling me a liar, vengeful, extremist and slanderer, among other things. Not only me, but like a rabid dog you also went after “Bishop Tikhon, Stankovich, Jesse, Helga, ChristineFevronia and Bogdan.” I think that your reaction is most illogical–an extreme over-reaction of the sort that is displayed by some folks who have lost the argument. May be you are Mr Warren posting under another name or his evil twin?

          • Jeff Cahill says

            Mr Kraeff,

            Mr. Warren didn’t slander Bishop Alexander, did he? Especially since you admit you are a moderator on the forum where the quote was found and you admit the quote does exist and does indeed say what Mr. Warren said? Mr. Warren didn’t place a lot of emphasis on this quote. You and your friends did. You being a moderator could very well have made the comment private to slander Mr. Warren. I believe you did. At this point you are just being an unashamed slanderer. Again, you owe Mr. Warren an apology for slandering him.

            Since you are an admitted moderator on that forum, you would have been aware that the quote existed. Since you are a moderator, you would also know that attacking people who are not available to answer for themselves is not ethical behavior. You also know that slander is a reason for being ejected from a forum. Yet you continue to slander him? I think the reason you engage in this type of behavior is because you are inadequate in presenting your position in civilized dialogue and not adult enough to concede when your views are shown to be lacking. You lack fundamental social skills so you compensate for your shortcomings by attacking people who challenge your inadequacy.

            It seems Mr. Warren is as inspired by Maria and the Matthewites as you are. You do understand what slander is, don’t you? Linking Mr. Warren to a group he has distanced himself from, a group which distances itself from him, is as accurate as saying you are here to advance the cause of Orthodox Traditionalism and have links to ROCOR. Your pathetic and amateur slander is an embarrasent.

            Everybody who disagrees with you is Mr. Warren, Maria, a Matthewite, the enemy, your object of immoral hate. So I totally understand where you are coming from. I can’t say I am left with any respect for your methodology and what you stand for, nor the people you stand with. It seems to me the evil twins are all part of the company you keep. Mr. Warren and I have fundamental disagreements. You and I have a fundamentally different understanding of morality. I have no respect for the traffic in lies, deceit, slander and hate to advance an agenda. That is repugnant. Sadly, that is what you here admit you and your friends are all about.

          • Michael Warren says

            Pathetic is insulted by this rank amateurism being associated with it. Here we have Syosset-Crestwood caught in a lie insisting I somehow slandered +Alexander by alluding to a true statement they have known about and have made public themselves. This liberal, Renovationst sideshow is a testament to the bankruptcy of a failed, sectarian, ethically challenged fringe. When all is lost, lie, insult, slander to underscore that Syosset-Crestwood is a band of failures convinced of a self-satisfaction, publicly denouncing themselves as nothing but unhinged jerks. Yet they expect people not to speak out against their infantile and corrupt incompetence. Cartoon characters are more adequate than this mob of slanderous toilers.

        • Bogdan Bucur says

          Dear Jeff Cahill, I certainly did not mean to insult anyone, or spread hate, or “lie to advance support of Bishop Alexander.” I’ve only pointed out that this man, your bishop, deserves some respect and credit, and that, as a matter of principle, one should first get to know him rather than begin with criticism, etc. I won’t be posting here again, it seems that participant on this forum have been hurting each other so much that it has become difficult to take seriously the truth that we are among brothers. Imagine the following: Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishops Tikhon and Alexander at Syosset, with all on this forum as the worshipping community. Can you participate? Can you receive from the Chalice? Is Christ among us? Can we “embrace each other and say ‘brother’…”? If this exercise is unbearable maybe there is a serious problem more pressing than the problems of everyone else — Golitzin, Obama, EP, Moscow, and so forth. Anyway, I won’t be posting anything else. Thank you, Mr. Michalopulos, for allowing my contributions.

          • Jeff Cahill says

            Mr. Bocur,

            I embrace many non Orthodox as brothers. My problem is when certain people masquerade as Orthodox not to embrace me as a brother, but to put me on a papal leash. I have no desire to become a Roman Catholic of any rite. That is why I reject Bishop Alexander and everything he stands for.

        • I do not support Bishop Alexander. The Synod’s treatment of the Diocese of the South is disgraceful. Like most of the OCA bishops, Bishop Alexander deserves to be held accountable for taking part in the collusion against Metropolitan Jonah. His “election” to the see of Dallas is a matter of rearranged deck chairs on the O.C.A. Titanic.

          I simply don’t believe Michael Warren/Jeff Cahill’s accusation that Bishop Alexander is a Uniate. They have been given ample opportunity to provide any proof of their allegations, and they have furnished nothing substantive. I suspect “they” might even be one and the same.

          • Michael Warren says

            Then there are thousands of words of documentation where he has spent twenty negotiating with papists a model of union which 1). States the Orthodox Church is a body in schism from the papacy. 2). Papist theology and mysteriology is valid and does not need to be revised, nor does the papist church need to repent of anything. 3). The Orthodox Church should reunite with the papist church and recognize the primacy of the papacy as it is, without repentance or conversion to Orthodoxy and that the councils of Lyons and Florence should be referred to as a basis for new eccclesiological and theological formulations reconciling the schismatic Orthodox Church to the Chair of Peter. +Alexander was party to the formulation of these documents, affirms this model, participates in this dialogue as “an Orthodox Bishop” but somehow he is not a Uniate when he has come up with theological and ecclesiological statements Ukrainian Catholics and Melkites have advanced for centuries as the basis of their Unia with Rome.

            Thus, we are forced to conclude that some either have not read these provided documents and/or they don’t understand what Unia is and/or some bias or agenda impels them to promote disinformation.

            Anyone who calls the Orthodox Church schismatic, then argues papal ecclesiology, mysteriology and theology are best encountered through templates such as Lyons and Florence where submission to the Chair of Peter occurs without papist repentance and conversion to Orthodoxy is a Uniate. It is documented that this defines +Alexander’s position. Thus the case is made.

            • Warren, it would be nice if we could have more investigation of Bishop Alexander’s file and the impediments his spiritual father is said to have testified to. We can’t have that discussion with you filling the threads with the same tired phantom Uniatism.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Helga, why not just check with Metropolitan Jonah? It was on his watch, not that of Metropolitans Tikhon, Herman, or Theodosius, that Bishop Alexander was made a bishop. After all, some aver that it was Metropolitan Jonah’s moral rectitude that led to his surrendering the primacy!
                You’re quite right, of course, to discourage reference to Warren’s distracted outbursts about Bishop Alexander’s purported “Uniatism.” Mark Twain hit the nail on the head where Warren’s wordy rants about Uniatism are concerned”
                “Noise proves nothing, Often a hen who has merely laid an egg will cackle as if she had laid an asteroid!”

              • Michael Warren says

                It is not phantom when it is documented. But you evidently have your own agenda. So the information is substantiation as opposed to trying to unlock the confideliaty of a relationship with a spiritual father, where when and if you could, you find out +Alexander has a sict loyalty to Orthodoxy and personal agendas. His sins are really none of our business.

                Either way, Uniate +Alexander is rejected as an episcopal candidate it seems by the both of us, with me actually documenting why without recording someone’s confessions…

      • Well thanks for sending me off to that time suck of a thread!

      • Michael Warren says

        No “Maria” here and no “Mathewites” either, but, look – it is a petition originating amongst Greek New Calendarists condemning the errors of the EP and calling it to repentance:

        Conscientious Christians who are serious about their Orthodox Faith should sign this petition because scandals are being caused, confusion is being sown, the Faith is being adulterated, people are being led astray and we need to clear important things up & take heed of what our traditional, God fearing Hierarchs & Elders have to say.
        Petition created/signed by the Synaxis of Orthodox Clergy & Monastics, presents & examines the new ecclesiological views recently expressed by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
        6 of Greece’s Hierarch’s already added their signatures & it will certainly be signed by broader segment of clergy & laity in coming days (it ALREADY HAS, by clergy & laity across the world).
        The effect of this text will be increased if you & any other clergyman, monastic or layman whom you know, add your SUPPORT TO THE PETITION in regards to OUR FAITH.
        Table of Contents
        The New Ecclesiology of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
        1. Various formulations of ‘Divided Church’ ecclesiology.
        2. Historical instances where this new ecclesiology has been applied.
        3. Denial of the Creed, faith “in One Church”.
        4. The Church is eternally indissoluble, the unity of Christ and the is faithful unbreakable.
        5. Since Christ “cannot be divided”, it is self-evident that unity is a mark of the Church.
        6. The cutting off of the heretics does not affect the Church.
        7. Has the Priesthood of the Bishops been abolished?.
        8. Past resistence by ceasing the commemoration of Patriarch Athenagoras.


        • M. Warren—I believe your time would be better spent challenging the Greek Old Calendarists, who are schismatics at best, and their ecclesiology, rather than the EP. Of course, you may be an Old Calendarist yourself—I suspect so even though you claim to be a member of the OCA. Your rhetoric reminds me of the propaganda that comes from Holy Transfiguration in Boston.

          Furthermore, without an “ecumenist” mentality the Photian schism would never have been healed. Rapprochement between East and West would not have been achieved. People like you would not have even accepted Photius as Patriarch because of his uncanonical consecration. And by the way, St Photius was willing to comprise. For example, the West did not change the use of the Philioque clause, even though challenged by Photius, nor did the West cease using unleavened bread in the Eucharist. History is messy and to assume that there is one absolute witness to Orthodoxy is absurd and naïve.

          • Michael Warren says

            I think that you need a straw man to burn because you are desparate to find a point. My point is essentially fidelity to Orthodoxy. My theological orientation is Byzantinism, of the Russian and/or Athonite variety establishing its North American context. Now, in the Orthodox Church, viewpoints establish their legitimacy in fidelity to the Tradition and the Holy Scripture, obedient to the Church and its canonical order expressing the MIND of the Church, supported by the Patristic consensus often and by the testimony of those living the theandric life. Can there be variant positions arising in this franework? Variant emphases, which have resolution only within the Church. Neither HOCNA, nor your ecumenist and Renovationist coreligionists seem to reconcile themselves with that patristic model of catholicity, putting you all in the same boat and indicting yourselves as disobedient, unfaithful, schimastic, prone to error. So next time bring more than a straw man, an unserious allusion, and a fundamental lack of understanding of Orthodoxy massaging a personal bias: it exposes your sectarianism.

            The EP is unfaithful to Orthodoxy, teaches branch theory and insists upon Eastern Rite Protestant fundamentalist Renovationism. It is a falling see on the verge of Uniate apostasy and is the single most schismatic threat to Orthodox Christians in the world today. As such, it is rightfully condemned and emphasized as a sectarian institution.

            BTW, that petition was generated by people within the EP calling for its repentance. They have identified and validated denunciation of the EP. They aren’t HOCNA, and HOCNA doesn’t consider them Orthodox. 80%+ of the Church is Old Calendar, an entire diocese of the OCA and considerable minorities within the OCA prefer the patristic calendar. I don’t have anything to alleviate your poor and incomplete, Orthodox formation: you refuse remedial reading to even arrive at a competent Orthodox worldview. Instead, you offer Renovationist and ecumenist talking points which are Eastern Rite Protestant, inept, seeded with hate and infidelity. At very least, you could get your facts straight before embarassing yourself.

      • Michael Warren says

        Look here: A Confession of Faith Against Ecumenism with no Matthewites, no Cyprianites and no Maria, originating in the Greek New Calendar church:


        Guess my inspiration doesn’t come from foil hats after all, but from Orthodox Christians. Orthodox Christians are not the same as the Renovationist breed of slanderers the Syosset-Crestwood crowd is. Renovationists and Orthodox Christians are mutually exclusive.

    • Michael Warren says

      Syosset-Crestwood lies and slanders only to amnesty itself when its lies are uncovered. Advocating Unia with Rome does a heretic and apostate make. Being cavalier in the act only affirms the reprobate nature of the heretic. Since this statement, now miraculously appearing after it was asserted I lied and slandered someone by aluding to it, was hyped up into the crushing blow proving +Alexander’s unionism by no less than four people, I take its affirmation here as an admission of three things: 1). Condemnation of +Bishop Alexander since it was such a heinous act of infidelity affirmed by four people including the great researcher who miraculously found it after the forum had so conveniently taken the forum where it was to be found private. 2). Admission of its existence where I did not slander +Alexander, but, rather, I was slandered. 3). Concession of the fact that I have truthfully denounced +Alexander as a unionist/Uniate.

      For anyone to doubt my denunciations of Syosset-Crestwood and +Alexander at this point when the slander and subterfuge is admitted by these people is an exercise in feigning ignorance and refusal to believe ones lying eyes. These people are desperately trying to hold on to power with deceit, slander, lies, hate, betrayal of Orthodoxy. I have to thank them for so blatantly broadcasting their lack of scruples and making my case for me.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Here is the difference between me and you, Mr. Warren: I have caught you distorting, twisting, manipulating, and contriving the truth, to outright fabricating quotes and lying so many times that, anyone with actual integrity would have fled for the hills. You, however, are shameless. Secondly, while the quote you provided “exists” verbatim, its veracity is so dubious, is so much snake oil, is so much $5 shineola, that only a page-6 hack would somehow feel “vindicated” and “slandered” by its discovery. “Lack of scruples,” you say? It was you and Cahill who insisted this lunatic quote had been removed! When I found it, I could have easily said nothing, and you & Cahill would have been none the wiser (no pun intended). Integrity suggests it is always necessary to tell the truth. Watch me pull a rabbi from my hat… Pardon me. I need to enunciate. I meant “rabbit.”

        You just can’t imagine how entertaining I find all of this. I spent a lot of time behind a one-way mirror, observing students with patients, and picking up a phone to offer suggestions, but frequently just to suggest how to get themselves unhooked from lunacy. Seriously, who cares what you think! All anyone need do is read your sage advice – such as the DOS should break away from the OCA and form their own church, if only so Crestwood-Syosset can’t “have their way” (the laugh of the week!) – to know you are the “Maria” in all of us. Seriously, who cares what you think!

        • Jeff Cahill says

          Mr. Stankovich,

          I said the quote was removed. It was. You found it because your friend was the moderator of the forum where it was to be found and could have easily provided it. It seems to me the fact that you found the quote after saying it didn’t exist and calling Mr. Warren a liar, a slanderer, when you yourself ultimately found the quote totally undermines your credibility. Asserting the correctness of equating Mr. Warren with Matthewites after you deceptively built up that quote conveys just what this is all about-defamation. You are trafficking in defamation of character because you have lost the argument and can’t muster anything else. Pathetic.

          You have provided quotes which don’t support your conclusions, from authors who disagree with you, often unconcerned when you are found out. Mr. Warren has been honest enough to either link to a quote or state that he is paraphrasing someone. To paraphrase someone is essentially to explain how one understands the ideas that person presented. Mr. Warren has analyzed people and information through his template. You have done so through yours. It seems you have been the one who is consistently found wanting, engaging in insults, slander, deceit, filibustering when your shineola is shown to be nothing but scat. You even mischaracterize Mr. Warren’s advice to the DOS; he called for the DOS to pursue autonomy in the OCA. The fact the truth doesn’t seem to stand in your way just says you have no respect for it. Frankly, your behavior is obnoxious and anti-social. If you lack the competence to defend your ideas in civilized dialogue, have the curtesy to remove yourself from it. Because at this point, you are nothing but a Christian jerk. A jerk. No one cares about what a slandering jerk has to say.

          You slandered Mr. Warren. Be man enough to either apologize or leave the discussion. Right now you are nothing but a troll heckling someone whose ideas you hate but can’t adequately address in polite company. That is weak. You are an embarrassment to all the names you drop, Dr. Stankovich.

        • Michael Warren says

          Me and you is not part of this paradigm. I have legitimately substantiated my positions, and I am not your peer: you are a fraud. You were shown to be a hack who 1). Argued for state non-interference in abortion and the sale of remains of aborted infants. 2). When you argued that Fr. Florovsky defined the phronema as continual Reformation. 3). When you argued the iconography of Homosexuality in your ridiculous anthropology. 4). When you argued Fr. Florovsky felt Monasticism was really escapism. 5). When you argued Fr. Schmemann didn’t believe that nominalism was a prime factor leading to secularization. 6). When you argued that Istanbul was canonically entitled to primacy in the Church and that primacy didn’t evolve. 7). When you argued Slavonic and Old Calendar use was responsible for the 92%+ loss of the parishioners of the OCA despite the FACT that the losses occurred after forced Americanization, calendar reform and ridiculous liturgical Renovationism, neglecting the FACT that from 1956-1976 the OCA doubled its parishioners as a Russian jurisdiction employing the Old Calendar, Slavonic and Traditional Orthodox liturgics. 8). When you argued that the Russian church’s numbers were nominal only to be shown that you were a hack who refuses to acknowledge that numbers of bodies you support are even more nominal and the Russian Church has an improving trend totally undermining your Russophobic nonsense. 9). When you provided fraudulent numbers on the Russian economy and were shown to be a ridiculous liar. 10). When you argued that Putin and Patriarch Kirill have done nothing about abortion yet were shown to not know what you were talking about because they are known for their crusade for traditional values. 11). When you argued that Mt. Athos’ reservations about Non Chalcedonian christology were not germane in resolving its Orthodoxy. 12). When you argued there was no substantiation for the Third Rome but were educated that +Jeremiah II of Constantinople affirmed the concept in establishing the Moscow Patriarchate. Or when you misquoted St. Justin (Popovich) 13). In your ridiculous redaction of Khomiakov to argue he indicted the Russian Church as chauvinistic where he really argued that the Russian Church held to the universal Orthodox Faith without national borders. 14). In your constant use of quotes which seldom support your conclusions and often are from works which assert the opposite of the Renovationist nonsense you advocate. 15). In your feigned knowledge of Orthodox authors and constant delusions of grandeur and ridiculous namedropping, from Sesame Street use of Russian to Fr. Florovsky not calling for universal conversion to Orthodoxy to your role of playing Henry Kissinger for the Patriarchal Exarch in the USA and his diplomatic acceptance by +Metropolitan Philaret of ROCOR. 16). In your open slander of me insisting a quote did not exist in order to later provide it yourself to attempt to distract from documented proof that +Alexander is a Uniate and unfit to be an Orthodox Bishop.

          You are a fraud. Your nonsense here is done. The fact all you have left is slander, insults and absurdity solidifies your capitulation. You have been nothing but wrong – a ridiculous, morally challenged, liberal Renovationist sideshow of Syosset-Crestwood. An unripe meta-erudite parody, which I have corrected consistently and accurately to the point where all you have left is bathos and hubris. You in Syosset-Crestwood are alarmed enough to slander me and try to shut me up for exposing the ridiculous and sectarian incompetence of your 45+ year record of fakery, failure, corruption and incompetence. Your model is being torn down. Your idols are being toppled. You are shown to be nothing but an unscrupulous, inadequate crank. Your side is losing the argument despite your circling of the wagons. Your fraud is exposed. You are dilletantes in over your head and your party is over. No amount of slander or stupidity will save your fraud. The adults are back.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Sixteen separate “charges” you put forward, and over the course of months, you are unable to provide a single direct quote – not ONE – to substantiate anything you say, but this is your customary mode of operation, rant ‘n roll, drive-by. This will not change because the “evidence” does not exist. It’s as simple as that, and you will not hook me in to debating as to what I have not stated.

            The bottom line is very simple: My fraud is exposed? I am in “over my head” and my “party is over?” “Slander & stupidity” will not save my fraud? The adults are back in town? Michael Warren, who actually cares what you think? You somehow honestly imagine, as you sit before the computer in your Spiderman pajamas, pounding out invective, that the Patriarch of Moscow is following this “discussion,” packing his Gucci overnight bag because you have laid the groundwork for his “primacy” in the US? You are so silly! This is the internet, playground for Orthodox kooks of every stripe! Good lord, man, you are so grandiose as to begin believing your own trype [sic]? Try this instead: stand before (what is it you said?) the mirror of your own idol and repeat after Jessie Jackson, “I am somebody.” This is the internet! Nobody cares what you think because you are nobody.

            • Michael Warren says

              All has been witnessed here and is contemporaneous. Syosset-Crestwood has no qualms with embarassing itself. Bathos and hubris meet the Gong Show. Actually, Syosset-Crestwood, you are nobody, and your con game is over. The gong is struck. The lights have been put out.

            • Jeff Cahill says

              Mr. Stankovich,

              Just stop embarasssing yourself. No one cares about what you have to write because you have shown you either lie or you don’t know what you are talking about. You have a lot of growing up to do.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Mr. Stankovich–I think you are wrong. Mr. Warren is a sock-puppet of somebody who also uses another sock-puppet, Mr. Cahill, to try to make his points through a one-two combination. The problem for him is that Warren/Cahill is too clumsy and limited; hence his logorrhea.

              • Michael Warren says

                Just more of the same sour grapes from a Syosset-Crestwood which refuses to realize its failure is rejectured by rank and file OCA who want a different course. We have witnessed your failed collusion, failed slanders, fabrications, insults, disinformation. You speak of sock puppets when you all are embarassing Jim Henson by going to extremes to justify Unia, ecumenism, Renovationism, baptismal ecclesiology, SSA “iconography,” russophobia, the Cretan Robber Synod, everything which for five decades has been addressed, discredited and rejected as inimical to Orthodoxy is your platform coupled with embezzlement, authoritarianism, slander, assassination of character, namedroppomg to arrive back at the scene the disaster your crowd of incompetents has made of the OCA. Sick puppets of a third party filibustering? Yeah, here you are yet again, Syosset-Crestwood. But this time you will lose, and in the future you will be challenged and discredited as well. You will not engage in the sectarian nonsense you have been for fifty years any longer: it isn’t Orthodox and we the faithful of the OCA are done.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Are the “faithful of the OCA” aware that you are their spokesperson? I asked around at the coffee hour today and no one seems to have heard of you.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    What we know for certain is that Syosset-Crestwood and its slanderous disgraces most certainly do not represent the OCA, by deed and admission.

                    Nor do Uniate ecumenists like +Bishop Alexander…

                  • Jeff Cahill says

                    If you cannot be merciful, at least speak as though you are a sinner. If you are not a peacemaker, at least do not be a troublemaker. If you cannot be assiduous, at least in your thought be like a sluggard. If you are not victorious, do not exalt yourself over the vanquished. If you cannot close the mouth of a man who disparages his companion, at least refrain from joining him in this.

                    – St. Isaac the Syrian

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    The only reason he’s attached himself to the local dying OCA parish is that his home parish in that neighborhood,, St Michael’s Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of the old Exarchate of the MP, closed down and moved to the suburbs “opposite Livernois.” Otherwise, he’s just repeating the stuff that used to come out of theat jealous old exarchate. He’s about as Russian as Filaret Denisenko! Some have opined that he’s a combination of those characters, “Rostislav,” “Brother Nathanael,” and Gregoria of Buena Vista! Whatever, Monomakhos is his LIFE, Michael What would he and Jeffie do if George ever cut them off? You, I, And a couple others are like oxygen for them. Cavafy had a wonderful poem about the barabarians purported coming and then NOT coming, letting everyone down! The guys NEED us, in other words, Michael!

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Bishop Tikhon,

                      I believe I have told you to cease your stalking of me. Others have insisted upon it. Yet you continue it. You know nothing about me or my background, nor is your nonRussian lack of bonafides of “russkost'” germane to this discussion. Nor is character assassination anything appropriate, ever to civil discourse. Perhaps stronger medication coupled with the prayers of a father confessor and a motivated Syosset would help you overcome your unseemly sociopathic stalking. At this point you embarass no one but Syosset-Crestwood and your friends when you act the part of an unhinged clerical predator.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    There are three powers, only three powers on earth, capable of conquering and holding captive forever the conscience of these feeble rebels, for their own happiness – these powers are miracle, mystery, and authority.” (5.5.11)

                    Fyodor Dostoevsky. THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, “The Grand Inquisitor.”

                    According to Ivan’s Grand Inquisitor, false religion like that of the Renovationist Ecumenism of Syosset-Crestwood (not Orthodoxy) deprives men of their free will through engaging their belief in “miracles” or false displays of heretical religiosity; disabling their critical thinking processes through mystery or by counterfeiting information, redacting quotes and authors to compose lies which support their heretical worldviews; and controlling their actions through authority by censure, ridicule and mandated conformity. Thereby these rebels and apostates lead the unsuspecting by demanding obedience and submission to their false teachings, errors and infidelities with not so veiled threats of consequences, slander, punishment. All is a lie, a fabrication, a banal meta-humanist counterfeit. The disobedient thereby traffic in “obedience” to the idols they make of themselves and their false teachings: the fraud and disgrace of Syosset-Crestwood.

  34. Carl Kraeff says


    Regarding the accusations made by Michael Warren and Jeff Cahill against His Grace Alexander, Bishop of Dallas and the South, please permit me to ask the following questions before I go any further:

    1. Is it your understanding that the repeated accusations made against Bishop Alexander made by Michael Warren and Jeff Cahill may be considered slanderous?

    2. If so, have you asked them to justify their slanderous accusations?

    3. Are you familiar with Canon 6 of the Second Ecumenical Council? It is a lengthy one but does have some elements that may be applicable here.

    “Forasmuch as many wishing to confuse and overturn ecclesiastical order, do contentiously and slanderously fabricate charges against the orthodox bishops who have the administration of the Churches, intending nothing else than to stain the reputation of the priests and raise up disturbances amongst the peaceful laity; therefore it seemed right to the Holy Synod of Bishops assembled together in Constantinople, not to admit accusers without examination; and neither to allow all persons whatsoever to bring accusations against the rulers of the Church, nor, on the other hand, to exclude all. If then, any one shall bring a private complaint against the Bishop, that is, one relating to his own affairs, as, for example, that he has been defrauded, or otherwise unjustly treated by him, in such accusations no examination shall be made, either of the person or of the religion of the accuser; for it is by all means necessary that the conscience of the Bishop should be free, and that he who says he has been wronged should meet with righteous judgment, of whatever religion he may be. But if the charge alleged against the Bishop be that of some ecclesiastical offence, then it is necessary to examine carefully the persons of the accusers, so that, in the first place, heretics may not be suffered to bring accusations touching ecclesiastical matters against orthodox bishops. And by heretics we mean both those who were aforetime cast out and those whom we ourselves have since anathematized, and also those professing to hold the true faith who have separated from our canonical bishops, and set up conventicles in opposition [to them]. Moreover, if there be any who have been condemned for faults and cast out of the Church, or excommunicated, whether of the clergy or the laity, neither shall it be lawful for these to bring an accusation against the bishop, until they have cleared away the charge against themselves. In like manner, persons who are under previous accusations are not to be permitted to bring charges against a bishop or any other clergyman, until they shall have proved their own innocence of the accusation brought against them. But if any, being neither heretics, nor excommunicate, nor condemned, nor under previous accusation for alleged faults, should declare that they have any ecclesiastical charge against the bishop, the Holy Synod bids them first lay their charges before all the Bishops of the Province, and before them prove the accusations, whatsoever they may be, which they have brought against the bishop. And if the provincials should be unable rightly to settle the charges brought against the bishop, then the parties must betake themselves to a greater synod of the bishops of that diocese called together for this purpose; and they shall not produce their allegations before they have promised in writing to undergo an equal penalty to be exacted from themselves, if, in the course of the examination, they shall be proved to have slandered the accused bishop. And if anyone, despising what has been decreed concerning these things, shall presume to annoy the ears of the Emperor, or the courts of temporal judges, or, to the dishonour of all the Bishops of his Province, shall trouble an Ecumenical Synod, such an one shall by no means be admitted as an accuser; forasmuch as he has cast contempt upon the Canons, and brought reproach upon the order of the Church.”

    a. The first thing that I readily see is that the accusations made by Warren and Cahill are serious in nature and must be brought before the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America.

    b. It may be the case that by giving them a free rein to make these allegations, the Monomakhos Blog and you personally may be complicit as well. What have you got to say about this aspect?

    Finally, I am considering the wisdom of bringing this matter to the attention of the Holy Synod. Not hearing from you will considerably hasten my decision. In short, please tell me why I should not.

    • Michael Warren says

      The accusations have been substantiated. The truth is not slander. While we have witnessed how Syosset-Crestwood traffics in slander and has disgraced itself. Shall we quote canons condemning Bishops who openly reject the teaching and discipline of the Church? In a perfect world, this Uniate would be brought before a spiritual court and defrocked. That is precisely why what Syosset-Crestwood represents today is an affront to Orthodox Faith and discipline. That’s the point. Change in Orthodox renewal is called for. While those trying to forestall that outcome necessarily have no loyalty to Orthodoxy. Syosset-Crestwood trafficking in obfuscation to mask its betrayal of the Church.

      • Mr. Warren,

        Keeping in mind the provisions of I Const. 6 that Mr. Kraeff pointed out above, it would seem you have a moral obligation to bring suit as an accuser against +Alexander in an Ecclesiastical Court. If not, you are complicit in allowing a man you believe to be a heretic to remain on the episcopal throne, and you then bear a share of the responsibility for whatever actions he takes.

        Foreseeing your objection due to how you think “Syosset-Crestwood” would handle such a Court, I would also point out that the canons allow for appeal of the Court’s decision to Constantinople.

        If you are unwilling to perform the proper – and canonical – actions necessary to remove a man you call a Uniate, then please stop making accusations on an internet forum. At best, your posts are unedifying, and at worst, outright slander which will result in your own excommunication.

        • Michael Warren says

          When Syosset-Crestwood steps out of the way and allows Orthodoxy to function in the OCA, ridding ourselves of Uniates like +Alexander will become academic and will be done, rest assured. However, this blog and other media have chronicled just how Syosset-Crestwood has made the OCA dysfunctional and failed it with corruption, Renovationist fads and authoritarian abuse of the faithful. Your solution is to validate that model and call for censorship because you don’t like it being challenged by being discredited along with its heretical personae. Then you insist that I should adjudicate my denunciations before the very people responsible. Cynicism and hate of truth seem to be well served in your smug loathing of open substantiated, discussion. Now, discussing the truth in dialogue to expose error and corruption isn’t a process clotured by its antagonists: that means the day of just resolutions is not left in the hands of slanderers demanding the truth be silenced to secure their positions. I totally agree of the need for a spiritual court, but such a court involves the entire people of GOD and can only be adjudicated by faithful Orthodox shepherds. 45+ years show us that process is left in a holding pattern where today exposing and denouncing Unia on the part of some churchmen is actually an act of Orthodox stewardship. Removal of the corrupt Syosset-Crestwood administration will necessarily allow for spiritual courts to go forward. That day is coming, and they will.

      • M. Stankovich says

        For, as it has been decreed by all of us — and is equally fair and just— that the case of every one should be heard there where the crime has been committed; and a portion of the flock has been assigned to each individual pastor, which he is to rule and govern, having to give account of his doing to the Lord; it certainly behooves those over whom we are placed not to run about nor to break up the harmonious agreement of the bishops with their crafty and deceitful rashness, but there to plead their cause, where they may be able to have both accusers and witnesses of their crime.

        St. Cyprian of Carthage, To Cornelius, Concerning Fortunatus and Felicissimus, or Against the Heretics., LIV, 14.

        • Michael Warren says

          We all know how committed and open Syosset-Crestwood is to adjudicate spiritual courts. Sodomites and embezzlers…still have not been defrocked after a protracted revelation of their misdeeds, nor has a spiritual court been called to hold them to account.

          Indeed, patristically, they would be tried and defrocked, excommunicated along with the public liars and slanderers here by whom Syosset-Crestwood constantly disgraces itself: as the presence of Syosset-Crestwood shows here in all its artless effrontery, patristic standards aren’t welcome, rather the slanderous disgrace is.

          • M. Stankovich says

            This is hypocrisy. You accuse so many of “obfuscation,” yet you are a master. You are attempting a misdirection of the mandate of the Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers – if there is heresy, you are to directly bring charges as an accuser – by blaming others for your own cowardice. You claim “we,” not because you actually speak for or represent anyone, but you imagine you are subtly encouraging others to take action so you will not have to reveal yourself. The moral inability or lack of desire that you claim “motivates” the spiritual court is of absolutely no consequence, if you believe God is a Just Judge, and it is He who will vindicate you. Quite obviously you do not believe this, and your weak ego seeks the praise of men, or you would not be blaming others for your cowardice and inaction, or ascribing “disgrace” to others for what you refuse to do yourself.

            • Michael Warren says

              Actually, you discredited and disgraced yourself manifold times by misquoting texts, fabricating statistics, engaging in character assassination and then returning to continue the behavior, Syosset-Crestwood. You aren’t a legitimate interlocutor nor are you honest enough to pass muster in discussion. We, honest and faithful members of the OCA, reject your mendacity and betrayal of Orthodoxy.

              If someone who is sincere and honest wishes to dialogue with appropriate respect for truth and decorum, we will gladly expound and clarify our position. But we refuse to cede our dialogue to slanderers, mendacious fabricators and wilfully obtuse obfuscators of given topics. We refuse to elevate liars to the status of equal partners in dialogue, Syosset-Crestwood, especially when they teach heresy by insults and fabrications.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Well, Mr. Warren, an analysis of your speech betrays you, as I have duly noted. An examination of your speech says you very much “elevate” what I have to say, absorbing my vocabulary, patterns of speech, and style. Don’t humor yourself. In any other case I would be flattered, but I am quite sickened that I have fed your narcissistic needs based on your level of insecurity. The fact is, you hang on my every word and do not miss a single word; neither you, nor your alter-ego Cahill, who is certain to follow.

                Now, I am reasonably convinced by your response that you have no recourse but to resort to insulting me personally, because you have no answer to make for your fundamental lack of courage in accusing Bishop Alexander as anything but a charlatan, a thief, and now a thug, and I rest my case.

                • Michael Warren says

                  Syosset-Crestwood has nothing left to say so it tries to say “me too” with insults to deflect from the Uniatism of +Alexander. Disgraced liars, slandererss, embezzlers. And here we have an obnoxious plea of “Talk to us because we want to be considered legitimate for lying and insulting you.” No, the grown ups are back and house will be cleaned. You will be evicted.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      George–It has been a week since I asked you some relevant questions. Not only have you not answered me, you have continued to allow two individuals to continue to slander His Grace Alexander. May I ask why the delay in answering me?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Carl, I haven’t replied because no “slander” was imputed on this blog. I accept the decision of the Synod and the validity (as it were) of Bishop Alexander Golitzin’s election. From what I hear he’s a fine man and if he turns out to be as interested in missionary work as what I’ve been told, then the DOS is in for some pleasant surprises.

        The question that seems to vex you is the contretemps regarding his participation in Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. This is a little bit more complicated. As some of our correspondents have noted (in excruciating detail no less), there has been much dialogue –perhaps too much dialogue. More importantly, to what end?

        I realize that as an academic for the greater part of his adult life, His Grace has had the time, energy and the intellectual chops to engage in such dialogue. And, given the hierarchical nature of our church, was charged with being involved in said dialogue (for whatever reason), but that doesn’t mean that some people in the DOS have concerns about where this will lead to.

        Carl, make no mistake: what has been reported were the (1) acts of these meetings, the (2) verbiage of these meetings, and (3) the implications of these meetings. That’s all. Now that he’s a diocesan bishop of a real, territorial diocese, he’s got more than his hands full. Because of the Syosset maladministration, our diocese has been unnecessarily widowed for seven long years. Too long. Both he, and we, need to get cracking. Any “dialogue,” save for that which helps the pro-life movement (which is probably deader than a door-nail thanks to the feckless GOP Congress), is and should be a thing of the past.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          As for George’s “(3)”, I think “inferences I drew from those meetings”, rather than the undemonstrable “implications of those meetings” would be less nakedly propagandistic!
          I’m sure both Archimandrite Gerasim and Bishop Alexander are capable of tidying up those long long standing LGBT leftover matters in the DOS. These go back to long before “Accountability Days”…
          Bishop Alexander is no more a Uniate than Patriarch Kiril!
          Let’s pray for these guys here who fear God so litle that they risk bearing False Witness several times a day in pursuit of vainglory. At any rate, they have reluctantly had to eschew branding a Golitzin with “Russophobia!” The spectacle of a Carpo-Ugro alumnus of the old MP Exarchate playing the Great Russian card against a Golitzin would be too much even for this blog!
          Christ is risen! Indeed, He’s risen!

          • Jeff Cahill says

            Bishop Tikhon,

            Still stalking Mr. Warren? I just find comical that convert clergy abusively involve themselves in games of Russophilia versus Russophobia. Sad commentary on a veiled envy which seems to try and justify a rage of self loathing – you aren’t Russian, Bishop Tikhon. I don’t think your appreciation of other people’s heritage is either accurate or appropriate. You look like an angry predator trying to wound someone. That is sick.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Mr Cahill! You claim I’m stalking this Warren guy? Did I mention him in the nessage to which you now reply? You point out that I’m not Russian. I know that. What’s your point? One need not be an ant to be an expert on ants!

              • Jeff Cahill says

                Bishop Tikhon,

                Your slanderous behavior of insulting, engaging, provoking Mr. Warren after he has told you repeatedly that he refuses, even disdains, contact with you is a type of stalking for which restraining orders are issued. It is sick, unhinged and pathetic. If you can’t appreciate what someone else has to say because his views conflict with your own, politeness dictates you personally remove yourself from the discussion, not engage in slander. I shouldn’t have to explain this to an adult, much the less a retired Bishop. You are intentionally trying to start fights in the hopes you can claim victimhood and then hide behind your office demanding appropriate redress of the grievances you initiated. Then you put on the sires of ROCOR-like Russian chauvinism to incite and insult people of stated Russian ethnicity when you are as Russian as George Clooney. Since now I have explained to you again why your behavior is inappropriate, even disgraceful, you might take to heart this reply to simply stop and be more polite and cease stalking people. No one really takes what you are doing seriously except for the handful of people engaging with you in this crass and inappropriate behavior. It is about time you stop and be some semblance of an Orthodox Christian or at very least hang up your panagia instead of embarassing the Church with your unhinged and poorly expressed disaffections.

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  Good luck with that, Jeff! Maybe next year someone will let you substitute for an inning in right field!

                  ‘Poorly expressed disaffections!” You should try stand-up.

                  Christ is risen! Haven’t you heard?

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Michalopulos,ot

          I am not exactly sure how to interpret your statement of “vexing contretemps,” as I suspect you are unaware of the nuance of the word as it used by the French. It originally referred to a “misstep” as one made in a formal dance, but so obvious that people of social “substance” hid their smiles so as not to embarrass the “blunderer” for their error. In other words, contretemps suggests a misstep that we politely ignore in order to preserve the dignity of another. If that was your intent, that was a significant mischaraterization.

          What has transpired here is twofold: an accusation was made of heresy, and lest anyone forget, this means that someone, with clear thought, and by full volition & choice, has accepted an opinion as truth when, in fact, it is not simply false, but it is destructive in a way, as described by the Fathers, that would “tear asunder the seamless garment of the Lord,” the analogy being the Church. After attempting to change an individuals mind without success, the Church declares them separated from the Life-Giving Fountain that is the Church; and it should be emphasized that all one needs to do is read the anguish of St. Chrysostom expressed in On the Priesthood over such decisions, to see exactly how far such “suggestions” that a diocese “play hardball” or “[boot a bishop out] while you still have the chance” diverge from the Patristic mind. The second point is this accusation was made against a consecrated Bishop of the Orthodox Church. I was reading the writings of Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov during Great Lent, and I was struck by his comment, “If God allowed you to fully see the glory he has bestowed upon his Bishops & Priests, you would fall down.” Whatever one thinks about an individual Bishop or Priest is no excuse for the shameful disrespect that happens on this site. None.

          Finally, Mr. Michalopulos, I sincerely hope I am not the only person who patronizes your site who feels badly about your lack of protection for individuals who were “victimized” and have since withdrawn, and I offer two examples. Archimandrite Philip (Speranza) was new to this site, joined the discussion, offered some interesting historical information, until he happened to mention a direct discussion he had with his Archbishop. He was referred to as a “Crestwood-Syosset liar.” He is a monastic priest in Canada. He is an ordained Orthodox priest. He is gone. Secondly, there is Bogdan Bocur, who struck as a sincere person, fairly benign, and attempting to express his opinion. Unfortunately, it happened to be the “wrong” opinion for for several of your “correspondents.” He too is gone, having actually thanked you for allowing him to participate. I am no prophet, but I am on record as saying the threshold for truth on this site was falling, and would continue to fall. Now, everyone is a liar. And if your are no longer protecting the innocent, I am questioning why I should remain here and watch this turn into a troll haven.

          • Jeff Cahill says

            Mr. Stankovich,

            Thousands of words of documentation substantiated Mr. Warren’s contention of the Uniate orientation of Bishop Alexander. His partisans were engaged and left when their points of view couldn’t pass muster. They were adult enough to leave once they lost the argument. You and your friends then took it upon yourselves to slander Mr. Warren. I caught you and exposed you. Then you were forced to out the quote you hid. After crying to the heavens Mr. Warren made it up. Then you resorted to fabricating statistics, misquoting anyone and everyone, namedropping everyone who you want to align with yourselves to support you whether they do or not (mostly they don’t), even when they are at odds with what you are saying. That has been accompanied with a steady stream of insults, crazy talk, unsubstantiated innuendo, straw man arguments and calls for censorship. Your group of OCA corruption loyalists tried to gang up on Mr. Warren and make him into a goat. In the end, you discredited yourselves, only have the soft support of your partisans left, and he beat you. You lost the argument and you discredited yourselves in the process.

            Here you are trying to save face by engaging in a rehash of the same argument you have lost over a dozen times, hoping this will all distract from an episcopal candidate for the DOS who is unfit to be an Orthodox Bishop because his views are Uniate. Unia is considered schism, apostasy, heresy. Yes, we should and will play hardball, sobornost, with Bishop Alexander in the DOS and those people who think it is appropriate to send ecumenically challenged, Uniate leaning hierarchs to our diocese. Perhaps in your diocese such people are “scholars, consecrated vessels, and sacred personae.” To us their ecclesiological confusion leaves them challenged to the responsibility of representing our Orthodox flock and our Orthodox orientation which we received from Archbishop Dmitri. How can it not be clear – we want faithful, traditional, Orthodox Bishops. We have told your handlers the kind of candidates we endorse. Instead we have received a person with Uniate sympathies, who is a committed ecumenist, a haughty quasi-scholar, who would be just fine if our churches were called Byzantine Catholic instead of Orthodox. He has more in common with Melkites, literally, than he does with the Diocese of the South. We don’t want union with Rome.

            No amount of filibustering is going to end our rejection of the man. Until he shows some signs of loyalty to Orthodoxy, recants the Uniate Orthodox – Catholic consultation, and starts being a humble, Orthodox Bishop, he will be seen as just another mistake of Syosset being forced on the OCA. Of course, we aren’t going to receive a Uniate sympathizer without a fight in the DOS. I want to point out that your attitude, tactics, continued contempt, and participation in this process is fomenting schism. People want to leave our parishes because this man is so unfit to be an Orthodox Bishop.

            The talk of coadministration with Fr. Gerasim is an insult reminiscent of the Seraphim Sigrist – Bishop Irenee debacle in Canada. We don’t want that in the DOS. The OCA administration by forcing Bishop Alexander, a documented Uniatizer, on the DOS, is disrupting the cohesion of the faithful of our diocese and opening the door for defections to the Antiochians and ROCOR. Definitely playing hardball in the form of our laity taking an active role in sobornost’ is necessary to prevent the DOS from imploding like the rest of the OCA imploded under people aligned with you.

            We resent your crowd of ne’erdowells sticking your nose in our business and forcing the way you do things upon us. We don’t need and don’t want liberal, Northeastern condescension from the OCA administration in Syosset. You have polarized this discussion to your disfavor. Your unhinged sour grapes and constant non sequiter whining have only discredited you and your Uniate episcopal appointment. We neither want him nor you and we aren’t amused by an administration which traffics in your lack of ethics. The fact they are represented by people like you is a disgrace. Really, think more, write less, and get out of our business – we just have no use for corrupt, inadequate people who traffic in lies and slander.

          • Michael Warren says

            “The Bishop is in the Church,” and this means that neither one bishop nor the episcopate as a whole are above the Church, or (to quote here a famous formula) act and teach ex sese et non ex consensu Ecclesiae. It is rather the bishop’s complete identification with and his total obedience to the consensus Ecclesiae, to her teaching, life, and holiness, as well as his organic unity with the people of God, that makes the bishop the teacher and the guardian of the truth. For in the Church no one is without the Holy Spirit, and according to the Encyclical of Eastern Patriarchs, the preservation of the truth is entrusted to the whole people of the Church. Thus the Church is both hierarchical and conciliary, and the two principles are not only not opposed to each other but are in their interdependence essential for the full expression of the mystery of the Church. …

            Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann. “Ecclesiological Notes”

        • Carl Kraeff says

          George–I took my time before replying to make sure that I considered carefully what you wrote. I do have a problem with your inability to distinguish between opinion and slander, and between recommendations per se and calls for schism. These character/s *Warren/Cahill) are not merely opining, they are repeatedly and purposefully insulting and slandering a hierarch of OCA–the church that you and I belong to, and you shrug your shoulders as if to say “boys will be boys.” Second, these character/s are not merely exploring their own options but urging members of the OCA to schism. Slander+schism do not make a “contretemps.”

          • Michael Warren says

            Actually, +Alexander’s Uniate activities have been documented and I have spoken out against schism.

            But Syosset-Crestwood has no high regard for truth, does it?

            • Carl Kraeff says

              “2). The Diocese of the South needs to form lay brotherhoods, sisterhoods and clerical leadership committees to engage media, retain legal representation and interface with elected representatives to prepare for the coming onslaught and radical assault on its Orthodox observance and fidelity. To defend itself from fraud, embezzlement and dissolution.

              3). These organizations can form combined working groups to a). Present terms to Syosset. b). Keep the parishoners in the South aware of what is going on. c). Create a vision statement going forward. d). Respectfully decline the candidacies of such renegade, heretical candidates as +Alexander to e). Establish a self-governing autonomous status for the Diocese of the South not unlike the Romanian Archdiocese, where statutes and bylaws can be written in establishing the sovereign rights and responsibilities of the Diocese of the South in administering an independent, missionary diocese, free of the meddling of a Syosset-Crestwood out of control.

              4).Combined working groups should meet with a ROCOR/MP representation to discuss autocephaly, the role of the Diocese of the South, the possibility of episcopal consecrations and autonomy in the instance Syosset refuses to address the needs and orientation of the South with appropriate sensitivity and respect for its Orthodox orientation.

              5). The combined working groups should also establish compacts with the Antiochian Archdiocese of Wichita to promote a balanced and diverse resolution to Syosset-Crestwood authoritarian policies while at the same time cementing permanent mutual aid/mutual defense compacts with Antiochian organisms.

              6). The combined working groups should also contact ACROD, Serbian, Bulgarian and Ukrainian canonical administrations to negotiate recognition of an autonomous Diocese of the South and permanent cooperative relationships with it.

              7). Where Pan Orthodox consecrations of three Bishops for the Diocese of the South will transpire. This emerging synod will then assume autonomous administration of the Diocese and send its own representatives to the Assembly of Bishops.

              8). The autonomous Diocese of the South will act as an ethnic Diocese of the OCA and maintain parishes throughout the OCA which adhere to its particular American and traditionalist orientation. Acting as an American administrative corollary to ethnic administrations such as the Romanian Archdiocese. The Diocese will transition to a local church model of liturgics, architecture, iconography, chant, spirituality, Orthodox customs and theological orientation, representing the Amero-Byzantinism of the Diocese.

              9). The Diocese of the South will establish its own Pan Orthodox monasteries, convents, seminaries, religious institutions and will gradually cease to send all cathedraticums and financial and administrative support to Syosset-Crestwood.

              10). In the event of either rescinding of the Tomos and OCA accession to Istanbul administration and/or intercommunion with the papacy and Unia, the Diocese of the South will cease its constituency in the OCA and rely on compacts negotiated with other Orthodox jurisdictions to maintain an autonomous administration committed to the missionary success of the autocephalous, local North American church, affirming fidelity to Orthodoxy.

              I think this is what the Diocese of the South must do to survive and thrive. It needs to kick Syosset-Crestwood to the curb. It needs to go its own way. ” (my emphasis)

              Source Michael Warren, April 5, 2016 at 6:01 pm, this thread.

              • Congregationalism at its worst. Orthodoxy in the image of Carl.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  johncal–You should read more carefully and count to ten before you start typing. I merely quoted the Warren/Cahill creature to disprove his claim that he did not call DOS to schism from the OCA. Your apology is accepted.

              • Michael Warren says

                Yes, absolutely, I totally endorse this course. Our own Metropolia did it in 1925 to prevent corruption and ecclesiastical turmoil from undermining our mission as the North American local church. It is as schismatic as the Romanian Archdiocese of the OCA. Local churches historically accomodate, even foster, autonomous, missionary dioceses, synods. The DOS should do this postulate to end Syosset-Crestwood’s abuses and interference in its mission. Absolutely.

      • Jeff Cahill says

        Mr. Kraeff,

        Telling the truth isn’t slander, but obstructing it to defame people as you and your friends did here is. Mr. Warren made his case. You failed in making yours. Then you personally attacked him. You personally attacked me. That failed. Now you demand censorship because outing dubious hierarchs like Bishop Alexander is a precedent set which challenges your worldview and the administration you support. I think such methods discredit it and yourself. I certainly want you out of the business of my diocese.

        Mr. Michalopoulos,

        I have more reservations now than I did a month ago. I ended up polarized against Bishop Alexander, not because of Mr. Warren’s documented contentions against him, but because of the underhanded campaign of slander and character assassination and outright lies for him. I don’t want him in the DOS. I don’t wish him well. I hope that he is sent packing like other candidates were. He is not worthy of following Archbishop Dmitri. I am thoroughly disappointed that Syosset is sending this man to us. I question its faithfulness to Orthodoxy as a result, and I have come to believe it wants to stop or denature the missionary work in our diocese. I have a problem with that.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          The days are too short!

          • Jeff Cahill says

            I believe you are aware of denatured, missionary work, Bishop Tikhon. Things like Bishop Nikon encouraging a Ms. Leonova to push for women’s ordinatio , gay marriage as “a moving of the Spirit.” Or perhaps some of the things you did yourself, Bishop Tikhon, when you agreed to poach the Ben Lomond community from the Antiochians, giving them assurances you would aid their transition only to stop them like a hot potato when the storm came, you even criticizing their Orthodox missionary activities and leaders to save face. Unfortunately, these days are not short enough in the OCA when we are forced to deal with unfaithful and unscrupulous members of the episcopate who denature and betray Orthodox missionary work.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          His Grace is not a candidate to be “sent packing;” he is the ruling bishop of Dallas and the South. I am sure that +Alexander cares about you as one of his flock. You certainly have said many times that you are a member of DOS. If you are serious about it, why don’t you stop acting like a wolf that is trying to cause other folks to schism? Frankly, the honorable thing for you to do is to leave OCA and DOS and to shut up.

          • Michael Warren says

            Actually, you need to shut up. Concilarity calls for the faithful to participate in the stewardship of the Church and defense of the Faith. +Alexander has been documented as being a Uniate. So unless he has gone over to the Ukrainian Catholics, his coreligionists, he should be sent packing, suspended and laicized, excommunicated for apostasy. We have had enough of the Renovationism, ecumenism and Uniatism of Syosset-Crestwood. Your party has chased away 92%+ of our parishoners. Enough. You have fomented schism and apostasy and we are done with your crowd of Eastern Rite Protestants. We will have Orthodoxy in the OCA. We are rejecting your schism.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Actually, the Holy Fathers called for example, Arius before them directly gathered, heard his argument in minute detail, questioned him specifically and called upon him to directly answer their concerns, and only then did they condemn his beliefs as contrary to the teachings of the Church, and call upon him to repent. When he refused to repent, only then did “ἅπαντα ἀνεθεμάτισεν ἡ ἁγία σύνοδος,” the Holy Synod anathematized him. (Letter of The Council Of Nicaea To The Egyptian Church, PG 67, Col. 77). What you speak is contrary to the explicit directions of the Holy Fathers. “We.” You are a charlatan, a thief, and now a common thug. You speak for no one because you are no one but a troll.

              • Michael Warren says

                Disgrace of Syosset-Crestwood, your slander and lies have seen their day. Too long has your sectarianism preyed upon our OCA. Now your time is up. You are exposed. You are rebuked. You are convicted. You are a fraud. Your time is over. The gauntlet is dropped. You are not welcome in our Church.

              • Jeff Cahill says

                Never has there been such an age of false teachers as this pitiful twentieth century, so rich in material gadgets and so poor in mind and soul. Every conceivable opinion, even the most absurd, even those hitherto rejected by the universal consent of all civilized peoples — now has its platform and its own ‘teacher.’ A few of these teachers come with demonstration or promise of ‘spiritual power’ and false miracles, as do some occultists and ‘charismatics’; but most of the contemporary teachers offer no more than a weak concoction of undigested ideas which they receive ‘out of the air,’ as it were, or from some modern self-appointed ‘wise man’ (Or woman) who knows more than all the ancients merely by living in our ‘enlightened’ modern times. As a result, philosophy has a thousand schools, and ‘Christianity’ a thousand sects. Where is the truth to be found in all this, if indeed it is to found at all in our most misguided times?

                In only one place is there to be found the fount of true teaching, coming from God Himself, not diminished over the centuries but ever fresh, being one and the same in all those who truly teach it, leading those who follow it to eternal salvation. This place is the Orthodox Church of Christ, the fount is the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, and the true teachers of the Divine doctrine that issues from this fount are the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church.”

                + Fr. Seraphim (Rose)

              • Jeff Cahill says

                ON APOSTASY

                Archbishop Avery of Syracuse

                We have neither the strength nor the authority to stop Apostasy, as Bishop Ignatius stresses: “Do not attempt to stop it with your weak hand…” But what then should we do? “Avoid it, protect yourself from it, and that is enough for you. Get to know the spirit of the times, study it so that you can avoid its influence whenever possible” This is what the same Bishop Ignatius teaches us.

                And do not his words, written more than 100 years ago and so obviously related to our time, exude genuine prophetic inspiration and undoubted enlightenment from on high: “Judging by the spirit of the age and the intellectual ferment, one must suppose that the structure of the Church, which has long been wavering, will collapse terribly and quickly. There is no one to stop or oppose this. The means adopted to support it are borrowed from the elements of the world which are hostile to the Church and will hasten its fall rather than prevent it. May the merciful Lord defend the remnant of those who believe in Him. But this remnant is tiny, and it becomes more and more so.”

                Thus we evidently have lived to see this “terrible and quick collapse of the structure of the Church!” The enemy of the human race is employing all his efforts and all his means to pull it down, and he is widely supported in this by open and secret apostates from the true faith and Church, including even those who have betrayed their high vocations and oaths as clergymen and even as hierarchs heading certain individual churches.

                In truth, we are experiencing a terrible time, a time such as has never before been seen in the history of Christianity, in the history of mankind! A time of almost total instability!

                And insofar as we wish to remain faithful to true Orthodoxy, many obligations are placed upon us. We must, as Bishop Ignatius instructs us, avoid and protect ourselves from the Apostasy which is growing so rapidly in the world. We must defend ourselves against the corrupting spirit of the times to avoid its influence.

                And to this end we must first of all understand and never forget: that at the present time not everything that bears the most holy and most dear name of Orthodoxy really is Orthodoxy. There now also exists pseudo-Orthodoxy, which we must fear and from which we must flee as from fire; that true Orthodoxy is only that which does not accept and does not permit in anything, either in teaching or in church practices, any sort of innovations opposed to the Word of God and the decrees of the Universal Church; that true Orthodoxy does not bless and does not indulge modern fashion-the morality and customs of the modern, corrupt world, which, even more than in Apostolic times, is lying in evil, for it is a world which has abandoned God; that true Orthodoxy considers only pleasing God and saving souls, not arrangements for temporary, earthly happiness, a career, and earthly advantages and possessions; that true Orthodoxy is spiritual, not natural and carnal, not attached to the earth-to earthly feelings and experiences.

                From Stand Fast in Truth, the Works of Archbishop Averky, published by St. John of Kronstadt Press and distributed in part on the Internet by the Brotherhood of St. Niphon, New York.

  35. Anonymous says

    The lights are turned off, and all Syosset-Crestwood has left is Uniate, lunatic ravings in the dark.

    What a wordsmith.

    • In fairness to all, I’m not fond of laying the “heretic” label on others. I will label a statement or formulation as heretical or heterodox if it seems obvious to me that it is mutually exclusive to the dogmatic witness of Orthodoxy.

      As to these statements that MW has reproduced here – they are indeed troubling. Assuming for the sake of argument that he has quoted them accurately, frankly, what Bishop Alexander seems to have signed off on are teachings contradictory to Orthodoxy. Now, are his motives Uniate? I’m not sure. I don’t know the man and reserve comment on that. But the conclusions of the statements regarding the validity of baptism and economia display reasoning contrary to that of the Church. And Kishkovsky’s reliance on the person of St. Peter regarding primacy is patent Roman Catholicism and mutually exclusive with Orthodoxy. Not sure what to think here. I can’t say I always agree with MW. But I also know that the Uniates are out in full hunting gear this season because of the big pow-wow in June. Well, let the chips fall where they may. As I said before, I know where the Orthodox Church is, I know where it isn’t, and there are yet a number of gray areas out there that seem to be clarifying their allegiances as we speak.

      • http://www.pravoslavie.ru/80888.html

        Just FYI, I think this sums up part of the problem we seem to be encountering here. I have great respect for Fr. Peter who penned this and am sure his conclusions are sound. As to Uniatism, it is not a radical jump from mutual recognition of baptism to Uniatism but I’m not sure it is automatic. Nonetheless, the new baptismal theology is actually more troubling than a simple acceptance of the Anglican Branch Theory. The Anglican Branch Theory would limit the boundaries of the Church to that of those entities with apostolic succession. The new baptismal theology does not do even that.

        I prefer old fashioned Orthodoxy, not neo-Orthodoxy. I’m sure there are many well meaning, even holy, people outside of the (Orthodox) Church. I trust that God will save them in proportion to their imitation of Christ as He is represented in the Church. Yet I have to insist that Holy Orthodoxy, and it alone, is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church and that all who dissent from this assertion do not hold the catholic faith.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          A careful reading of Fr. Peter’s article would reveal that there is a difference of opinion regarding baptismal theology in World Orthodoxy.

          On the one hand, there are many theologians, hierarchs and local churches that do not support re-baptism of a person who had been baptized by the heterodox as long as certain basic requirements are satisfied. It appears that many of this group do so because of economy, but others have delved deeper into the validity of the heterodox baptisms per se.

          In North America, the latter group includes “Metropolitan Maximos (Pittsburgh–Carl Kraeff), Bishop Demetrios of Xanthou (GOAA Ecumenical Officer–Carl Kraeff), Fr. Alexander Golitzin [now Bishop (OCA)—ed.], Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology–Carl Kraeff), Professor John Erickson (St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary) and others were among the Orthodox representatives who signed the Agreed Statement of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation on “Baptism and Sacramental Economy.” It is not surprising that GOAA and OCA theologians are so involved; The Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation had been formally established earlier in 1965 by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America, now the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, and by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, now the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

          There are of course many other Orthodox who have advanced a new understanding of heterodox baptism. Among others, Fr Peter includes:

          a. Archbishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis of Thyateira and Great Britain and Metropolitan John Zizoulis of Pergamon (both of the Patriarchate of Constantinople);

          b. “Australian dioceses of the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Antioch, and Romania that signed the so-called “Covenanting Document” of the National Council of Churches of Australia, whereby they recognize the sacrament of baptism administered in the heterodox communities (Roman Catholic, Non-Chalcedonian, Anglican, Lutheran, Congregationalist, and Uniting) and promote the use of a common “Certificate of Baptism.” That is to say, Orthodox hierarchs in Australia, and by implication in Constantinople, Damascus and Bucharest, have recognized baptism as existing per se in the heterodox confessions.”

          c. Finally, Fr Peter cites the Balamand Declaration that was agreed to by representatives of the Catholic Church and nine autocephalous and autonomous Eastern Orthodox Churches participated: Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, Russian Orthodox Church, Romanian Orthodox Church, Cypriot Orthodox Church, Polish Orthodox Church, Albanian Orthodox Church, Finnish Orthodox Church under the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

          NOTE: As shown in an article article cited below, in modern times there have been just two approaches to the reception of converts: the Russian (not strict) and the Greek (strict). With Constantinople repudiating the Council of Constantinople of 1756, the adherents to the strict approach are becoming fewer in number. See On the Question of the Order of Reception of Persons into the Orthodox Church, Coming to Her from Other Christian Churches by Archimandrite Ambrosius (Pogodin). Originally published in Russian in Vestnik Russkogo Khristianskogo Dvizheniya (Messenger of the Russian Christian Movement) Paris-New York-Moscow, Nos. 173 (I-1996) and 174 (II-1996/I-1997) at http://www.holy-trinity.org/ecclesiology/pogodin-reception/reception-ch4.html.

          Fr. Peter cites a few modern Orthodox theologians who have criticized the emerging baptismal theology; Fr. John Meyendorff and Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos are cited often . I would add Ft Peter himself, who does an admirable job in his critique and his call for a return to strictness.

          My point in all this is that there is a genuine difference of opinion in many issues that divide all those who claim to be Christians and Christian churches. It may be that some of the hierarchs and theologians are primarily motivated by the desire to unite at all cost. I doubt that this is the case with the theologians, nor with the vast majority of the hierarchs. In the case of the US consultation, I am convinced that the Orthodox participants approach their work without a compulsion to sully their work with a hidden agenda of uniatism.

          • Carl,

            There is a valid difference of opinion as to whether the liberal use of economia is wise in the present age. There is no valid disagreement regarding the efficacy of heterodox baptism. No one is advocating “rebaptism” because those “baptized” outside the Church never received baptism at all. The alternative is a development born of the ecumenical movement. It is contrary to the Orthodox faith.

            In baptism we die and are raised again with Christ and are joined to His Body, the Church. The notion that this is possible outside of the Church is ludicrous. However, that is what is being asserted. The reason is that some want to cozy up to Rome and “recognizing” RCC baptism facilitates this. However, it is so irrational that it defies explanation as to how those outside the Church could somehow join a non-Christian to the Church that no one really attempts to get to the bottom of the rationale. But the bottom of the rationale is that the RCC is part of the Church. And that is the Branch Theory, which is heterodox. And that, Carl, is why some get so exercised about these matters.

            Bear in mind, I’m not arguing against the possibility of receiving a convert who received a purported baptism in another “church” being received by economia; i.e., by chrismation, for example, instead of an Orthodox baptism. The chrismation conveys all the grace of both mysteries. I myself was received by chrismation. No argument with that.

            The problem is in recognizing heterodox baptism as somehow valid, in se. That is definitely heterodox teaching.

            • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcTeAlVmdqg

              As the year rolls on, I am becoming more and more convinced that this is the hill where the battle will be fought. The New Baptismal Theology effectively broadens the definition of “Church” to any group whose baptismal rite one is willing to recognize – with no control over doctrine or even particular concern with doctrine. This causes a problem because it obscures truth. The One Church has it substantially right. But there is no witness to that fact without the One Church being the One Church. So it has to remain separate from all error in order to be itself. Regrettably, perhaps, we are rapidly approaching the point at which individual decisions must be made. On one side will be the traditional Orthodox, on the other side will be Rome, “Eastern Catholics” [a true misnomer], some high church Anglicans, perhaps some of the Lutherans who have preserved the episcopacy, and whomever else they decide to let in the club.

              But there is no doctrinal discipline in this new entity. It has no means of discerning truth other than by fiat. Tradition and the Holy Spirit will have “left the building”.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I think I understand what you are saying. According to Fr. George Dragas, “…there are three ways of receiving heterodox into the Church:

              a) by re-baptism (actually, baptism), when the celebration of heterodox baptism is considered deficient or invalid either on account of deficient faith and/or practice,

              b) by Chrismation and signing of an appropriate Libellus of recantation of the particular heresy that the converts previously held, and

              c) by simply signing an appropriate Libellus or Confession of faith, whereby the errors of heterodoxy of the person received are properly denounced and the Orthodox faith is fully embraced.

              The reception of Roman Catholics into the Eastern Churches, which occurred after the great Schism of 1054, was done in any one of the three above-mentioned ways. Practice varied according to times and circumstances. The key issue in determining the manner of reception was the Orthodox perception of the Roman Catholic baptism. This perception changed for various reasons, including Roman Catholic practice, and it seems that such a change became an important factor in determining the manner of reception of Roman Catholics into Orthodoxy.”

              Fr. George covers all relevant Orthodox councils that addressed this issue and essentially agrees with you. However, I rather liked his conclusion:

              “…hopefully the recent suggestions/issues of the Agreed Statement of the American Orthodox-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation will be finally determined by the Great and Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church…Better still, one may hope to find the answers to these problems by an ecclesial rapprochement of Orthodox and Roman Catholics (and indeed of all other Christians) on the basis of the venerable Holy Tradition which was once delivered to the Saints from the Apostles and the Fathers in the course of the new millennium which lies ahead of us.”

              • Michael Warren says

                Everything presupposes papal conversion to Orthodoxy which you seem not to like so much.

                • Michael Warren says

                  Let’s remember the “Orthodox”-Catholic consultation has come to advocate “mutual recognition of the sacraments of churches in mutual schism.” That is patently heretical, ecumaniac, ecclesiological gibberish.

              • This is by no means an original observation that follows. I am indebted to a friend for sharing it the general contours of what follows.

                One can look at the relative security and strength (physically, politically, and theologically) of a local Orthodox Church historically and see some strong correlations between this and the degree of economia that is exercised by that Church in the reception of converts.

                When a Church is very secure, it can afford to be more magnanimous, so to speak, in exercising economia. When it is under siege, it has generally tended more toward akrevia, as it were. It is more complicated than that (Greek OC influences, for instance) but just the experience of the ROCOR can be considered. Under the strength of the Russian Empire, policies heavily tending to economia were followed in the Russian Church (even while the Greeks at the same time in the mid 18th century formalized exactly opposite policies, in part perhaps reflecting the more perilous state of those local churches), yet those very same Russian bishops and their successors moved readily toward making reception by baptism the norm during its time of being under siege and in exile.

                And now, with the relative increased security of reunification with the MP, one detects a more cautiously “economical” approach in the ROCOR.

                It is hard to get up on any given morning and read the news headlines and then conclude that traditional religious belief in any form — let alone something as radically counter-cultural as the Orthodox Christian Church — is particularly secure and safe. That there are theologians and bishops who are advocating not only for an approach that is at least as “economical” as that of the Russian Church at its height of security — but actually going beyond that and functionally redefining the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church — suggests to me that some corners of the Church are perhaps being deprived of the older, more prudent instincts of Church leaders to err on the side of caution in times of peril.

                And this, again, is all without getting into the very real question of just how recognizably Christian in belief and in their baptismal rites the 21st century Anglicans, Lutherans, and mainline Protestants are — not to mention the true “mainline Protestants” of our day, who largely inhabit massive entertainment complexes/mega-churches and hosts of mom and pop small church imitators.

                • Michael Warren says

                  This is only true insofar as a stronger local church generally exists in a stronger Orthodox nation where mass conversions tend to be more a possibility due to the influence of church and state on a given heterodox, religious body. Then indeed oikonomia is more apt to be applied because most local churches are not set up for mass conversions.

                  However, in the developing world, Africa, the Philippines, China, Latin America (even Albania) mass baptisms have been performed by local churches which are not particularly strong or predominant in these areas.

                • M. Stankovich says


                  As always, your points are important to an authentic discussion of a very real issue of how converts are to be received into the Church, the fundamental question of the appropriate application of oikonomia, and has “exception” become the norm. As far as I am concerned, Misha, Carl, 123, myself, and a few others have approached this issue as the theological question that is. On the other hand, with the permission of Mr. Michalopulos, Michael Warren has been flooding this site with anything he can drum up in his Google hypermania, not to contribute to a theological discussion, but as ammunition to prove Bishop Alexander is unfit to be, first, a Bishop of the Church, which obviously would preclude him from being the Bishop of the DOS, which I believe is more to the point. This all has the stink of the same Dollar Store cologne worn by the “Sons of Job,” the merry “Wifes of wherever,” and other such liars who went so far as to threaten to “hold the OCA in abeyance.” Warren & Cahill are a “bit” more of prideful trolls in that they presume to speak of we the Church, the adults, the DOS, speak for many, etc. and really appreciate just how provocative and annoying they are (“You would address me personally?” “You have been owned,” “You have been addressed & answered,” “The evidence has been presented”). If you intended to actually have a serious discussion about this topic, it will not happen when two trolls are running rampant. It needs to go elsewhere.

                  Let me conclude with something interesting, the result of which is both sickening and totally amusing. When I was learning to program in Python, I discovered an interesting project being done by and for Homeland Security for forensic author attribution of anonymous terrorist email. You can read about the science of statistical inference of author attribution here. One idea is to examine a person’s style, based upon a set of complex lexical and grammatical characteristics, from anonymous writings and compare them to an author’s know works in order to suggest the attribution (e.g. one project is attempting to identify who, as many believe, are the many writers of the Federalist Papers by comparing long examples of writings of the Founding Fathers). Another is to compare the writings of “strangers” to help determine if they are, in fact, “strangers” to one another. Anyway, I took four large samples of Warren, Cahill, Thomas Jefferson, and myself (i.e. 4 sample x4) and ran these through a Python academic author attribution program four separate times looking for concordance among anonymous members of the aggregate. Who would be surprised to find that the only significant concordance was between Warren & Cahill? Measuring on a scale of 0-1, they scored .86 on three of the samples, and .81 on the last. What was sickening? That in examining lexical and “topic-related keywords,” Warren began inserting words and phrases into his speech that I had said, and which he had never used befiore I had said them, including the word, symphonia. Are they the same person? Are they colluding? Pardon me, but who cares, and who cares what they think. I suggest not feeding the trolls, lest they threaten to hold the DOS in abeyance.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    St. Maximus the Confessor: “A soul that is nurtured by hatred toward man”

                    “The deiform soul cannot nurse hatred against a man and yet be at peace with God, the giver of the commandments. ‘For’, He says, ‘if you do not forgive men their faults, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your faults’ (cf. Matt. 6:14-15). If your brother does not wish to live peaceably with you, nevertheless guard yourself against hatred, praying for him sincerely and not abusing him to anybody.”

                    + St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 4.35, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

                • Michael Warren says

                  Now consider something like this. Prior to the Revolution, +Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky) found returning Uniates to Orthodoxy sufficient simply by Confession and Communion. Fifty years later, his ROCOR mandated returning them by strict observance, Baptism, citing “change in baptismal forms necessitating it,” even though most Uniates received the same types of Baptisms as Orthodox faithful were receiving in America. From the standpoint of regularizing a form, the ROCOR decision could even be justified by strict observance. What changed really between 1916 and 1970? Was it simply ROCOR being a conservative exile church “under the influence of Old Calendarists”? Or was it a reaction to ecclesiological and doctrinal abuses which had crept into Orthodoxy as a result of a “pseudomorphosis” in Orthodox ecclesiology, theology, practice. I believe it was a bit of both. But the latter reason of observing akriveia to upend pseudomorphosis is actually a very necessary path of Renewal. ROCOR unilateralism it itself has repented of.

              • Carl,

                Re: Dragas,
                Yes, there have been different methods. However, the novelty at this point is the notion that there is something valid, in se, about heterodox baptism. This is a truly new, innovative and heterodox teaching. It is necessarily heterodox because it is mutually exclusive with the Church’s understanding of what it means to be “the Church”. Effectively, it erases the line around the Orthodox Church and redraws it around the OC and any church considered capable of administering a valid, effective baptism (or any other divine mystery). This is the reason that startsy are rending their clothing. It is a direct attack upon the line of the Creed stating “[I believe] in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church”.

                Reception by economy is possible, but it should be tailored to the circumstances in which the Church finds itself vis a vis this or that particular grade of heterodoxy. However, to state that “Mysteries served outside the Church convey their grace,” is to state a contradiction in terms. A person who actually understands Orthodox theology cannot sincerely make that statement. One must doubt either that they are in fact mysteries which do indeed convey grace or, alternatively, one must doubt that the heterodox body in question is indeed “outside the Church”. Both of those things cannot be true.

                In the alternative, one must ask oneself, “Why would God use a rite of baptism served outside the Church to convey His Grace of Baptism, the purpose of which is for the baptized person to die and rise again with Christ and be joined to His Body, the Church?” There is no rational answer to this question inasmuch as at the end of the heterodox rite, no one joined to the Church has joined anyone outside the Church to the Church. In fact, no one involved even has the eyes to be able to recognize the Church where it actually is, not having the Orthodox faith. It’s all completely absurd.

                However, it serves the interests of the RCC which simply wants to absorb the OC. And it serves the interests of “liberal Christians” within the OC who long ago gave up on the notion that expressions such as “grace conveyed by mysteries” have any supernatural connotation or reality behind them.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Misha–Believe me that I get what you are saying. I am not unsympathetic.
                  One thing that always struck me as odd was the notion that an Orthodox mystery would complete what was lacking in a heterodox sacrament. Regarding baptism, if a heterodox baptism lacked grace, how could an Orthodox Chrismation complete anything, if there is nothing to start with. So, acceptable heterodox baptisms had to have some grace, no? Therefore, I don’t think that it is a new development to consider that “there is something valid, in se, about heterodox baptism.” If not stated or camouflaged by words related to economy, I think the Church has done exactly that in the past. As in the past, our problem today is that across the globe there are Orthodox churches who differ in their admission of converts. I am perfectly happy if the upcoming Council would regularize the process. Frankly, I would support any decision they make; it is truly one of those things that we have pan-Orthodox councils for (even though it would have been better to include many more bishops, as well as priests, deacons, monks, nuns, and lay theologians).

                  • “One thing that always struck me as odd was the notion that an Orthodox mystery would complete what was lacking in a heterodox sacrament. Regarding baptism, if a heterodox baptism lacked grace, how could an Orthodox Chrismation complete anything, if there is nothing to start with. So, acceptable heterodox baptisms had to have some grace, no? ”

                    No. There is no “completion” with respect to grace. The grace is the “completion”. Before it was a bath, an empty form, devoid of significance to the Church unless and until a person was to be received into the Church, which is the purpose of baptism to begin with. Chrismation (or theoretically other mysteries) would then convey by economia both its grace and that of baptism which was absent in the heterodox ritual.

                    As to the “council”, if it “regularized” the process, it would by that fact become a robber council and those who would accept the new definition of the Church would be embracing heresy.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Once again, I confess that I am perplexed. I may be stuck at how Archimandrite Ambrosius (Pogodin) describes the “Russian” approach:

                      “The Orthodox Church in America (the former “American Metropolia”), founded by Russian missionaries and later forming a diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church with its center first in San Francisco and then in New York, and which for a time had as her diocesan bishop the future [Saint] Patriarch Tikhon, inherited the traditions of the Russian Church with respect to the rite for the reception of the non-Orthodox converting to the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church in America receives non-Orthodox by three rites:

                      1. Those converting from Judaism, paganism, and Islam, as well as those who distort or do not accept the dogma of the Holy Trinity, or where the baptism is performed by a single immersion, by means of baptism.

                      2. Those whose baptism was valid but who either do not have sacrament of chrismation or who lack a hierarchy with apostolic succession (or if it is questionable), by means of chrismation. This group includes Lutherans, Calvinists and Episcopalians (Anglicans).

                      3. Those whose hierarchy has apostolic succession and whose baptism and chrismation (or confirmation) was performed in their church, by means of repentance and repudiation of heresy, following instruction in Orthodoxy. This group includes persons of the Roman Catholic and Armenian confessions. If it happens that they were not chrismated or confirmed in their churches or if there is any question about this, they are anointed with the Holy Chrism.”

                      He further states:
                      “So, to return to the subject at hand, we repeat that the Patriarchate of Constantinople and its Exarchates in America and in Europe have adopted that practice for the reception of non-Orthodox to Orthodoxy, which the Greeks call “Russian,” and effectively rejected the decision of the 1756 Council of Constantinople (which was motivated by intolerance) and the explanation in the Pedalion.

                      Thus, in the “Guide for the Orthodox in Connection with Contacts with the Non-Orthodox Churches,” published in 1966 by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America, recommended for guidance by the clergy of our Orthodox Churches, the following rule is given:

                      “Upon the reception into the Orthodox Church of one who converts of his own will from non-Orthodoxy, the priest receives the candidate by means of one of three rites, prescribed by the Quinisext Ecumenical Council: by means of Baptism, Chrismation or the confession of faith, depending on the case.”

                      Here we see that only Jews, Muslims, pagans, and non-Trinitarian self-designated Christians are re-baptized. The article elsewhere shows that that historically only a part of canonical Orthodoxy re-baptized (and that for a relatively short period of time) and the ones that consistently re-baptized were sects such as such Donatists, Novatians, Montanists, Priestless Old-Ritualists. So, we are presented with a larger problem than variations in practice; we have a situation where most of the local churches may have been in error for long periods of time, that is, if we are to accept your approach. Could you tell us which of the current churches that do not rebaptize are heretical in this regard? How are we to measure the apostolicity of such churches?

                    • Carl, do you really believe that modern day Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Protestants do not for the most part “distort” the dogma of the Holy Trinity — not to mention basic Christology?

                      And do you have confidence that, whatever formularies for baptism might be published in a given denomination’s books, that its priests/priestesses/ministers actually have the ecclesiastical discipline to follow them reliably as written? When is the last time that someone of St. Tikhon’s stature actually examined said formularies and the Christological and Trinitarian teachings held by heterodox denominations? And what of the majority of American heterodox today, who do not belong to any kind of confessional body at all?

                      As I have said before, St. Tikhon’s guidelines belong to a sweet orderly world of confessional Christianity in the West, where seminaries trained and ordained men of the cloth who could be expected to uphold the longstanding confessional teachings of their respective ecclesiastical organizations. That world is so very long gone… I grew up in the 1970s in a corner of the remnant of that world, so I know whereof I speak.

                      I recall a priest saying that he finally stopped requiring the formal renunciations found in the Russian formularies — sometime in the 1980s. Why? Because he found he was, for instance, having to spend an inordinate amount of time teaching Lutheran converts what classical Lutheranism holds, only to have them renounce it. What they had actually learned in church bore little resemblance to what they were solemnly renouncing.

                      This is, I realize, a separate issue from the question of whether their baptisms are theoretically “valid” in a sacramental sense versus “valid” in the sense that the form is minimally able to be considered an empty ritual that can be, by economia, filled by the grace of an Orthodox baptism at the time of chrismation.

                      I am saying, “look around you.” The state of modern heterodoxy — both in dogma and praxis — should render all such discussions moot, or at the very least, force a detailed root and branch reconsideration of the suitability of the old, orderly, Russian system for the reception of converts. It is fascinating that we are pressured and ridiculed by some within Orthodoxy into reconsidering various “outdated” aspects of Orthodox praxis, and yet these relatively late Russian formulas of the reception of converts are treated as though they came down off Mt. Sinai in the hands of Moses.

                    • Carl,

                      You are indeed perplexed. And the source of your “perplexion” (if that is a word) is the meaning of the word “valid”. As used in the quote you cite above, “valid” does not mean that the purported baptism had any effect of grace whatsoever. “Valid” simply means that the form of baptism was followed (three fold immersion using the names of the Holy Trinity). Recognition of heterodox baptisms as valid in the sense of effective or conveying grace subjects one to the canonical penalty of deposition.

                      But there is something further wrong with the Archimandrite’s summary. Baptizing all who were not baptized by the Church is the strict norm. No one has the power to change that. That is the faith of the Apostles. What we are discussing is the application of economia. Bishops can and have differed in local councils on this point. The archimandrite was wrong to state that the council (the decision of the 1756 Council of Constantinople) was somehow erroneous. Notice the Archimandrite’s adoption of the modernist rejection of “intolerance”. The council simply decided for their jurisdiction how economia would and would not be applied for a period of time given their circumstances.

                      Ulimately, Carl, the problem is that acceptance of heterodox baptisms as somehow valid in se constitutes acceptance of the branch theory. One is stating that the Church is not of one mind on doctrine but that it is divided on a number of very significant issues and that this is of no great significance. That is essentially what the Anglican Branch Theory states. Yet what has been proposed is actually more sweeping than that. The Anglican theory merely extends to the RCC, Anglicanism and the Orthodox. The New Baptismal Theology extends to all communities whose baptisms would be recognized as valid; i.e., they are really truly part of the Church, yet heresies of various types are officially held by them. That is nonsense and madness.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      Your point regarding the “refutations” of heretical beliefs, AKA “former delusions,” as found in the Office For Receiving into the Orthodox Faith Such Persons as have
                      not Previously been Orthodox, but have been Reared from Infancy Outside the Orthodox Church, yet have Received Valid Baptism
                      , at the very hand of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow – begging the question as to why this Patron Saint and Protector of America would leave a liturgical “mechanism” for all converts, save Jews & “Mohammadans,” by Confesson and Chrismation alone, and in English, no less – frequently leads to a somewhat comical interaction:

                      Bishop or Priest: Do you renounce the false doctrine, that the predestination of men to their salvation, or their rejection, is not in accordance with the Divine foreknowledge of the faith and good works of the former, or of the unbelief and evil deeds of the latter; but in accordance with some arbitrary destiny, by reason of which faith and virtue are robbed of their merit, and God is held accountable for the perdition of sinners?

                      Convert: (Facial expression says,”Ah, yeah, sure, whatever…”) I do.

                      Fortunately, s/he who converts is neither asked nor required as what such a renunciation actually means, or more importantly, to what they are accepting in its place. Almost mercifully, in the English text of 1909, the Bishop or Priest finally sums it all up with the question, “Have you renounced all ancient and modern heresies and false doctrines which are contrary to the teachings of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Eastern Church?” Again, the words of Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) seem appropriate: “Bear in mind we are far removed from the time of Grace.”

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Edward–No, I do not think that the “Russian” practice should be maintained as if nothing has changed in the past 50 years or so. Yes, I agree with you that “modern day Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Protestants … for the most part “distort” the dogma of the Holy Trinity — not to mention basic Christology.” I pray and hope that the upcoming Council will update our current approach in a loving and charitable manner.

                      In my exploration of the Orthodox practices on the reception of converts, I limited myself to exploring (1) the historical record and (b) the logic behind the variations. The context for this exploration was the claim that the SCOBA member churches, and the vast majority of the local churches were influenced by thelogians and hierarchs more interested in unity with the heterodox than with correct Orthodox praxis, and who were simply wrong to see any sort of validity in the sacraments of the heterodox. I reject both of these views; I think that the theologians and hierarchs involved in various commissions and dialogues with the heterodox are truly seeking common grounds that could lead to unity and that they are arriving at their conclusions honorably–that is, without hidden motives. I also think that the issue of validity of heterodox sacraments need to be addressed similarly–without throwing rhetorical bombs (charges of uniatism, for example) or without consideration of the Orthodox praxis over the centuries. Again, I am willing to trust that our local churches will in Council update the current approach that is almost universal. I am also willing to wait for the results.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      There is no doubt that the modern Presbyterian church (‘mainline’ version, to use a now-anachronistic term) “distorts” the doctrine of the Trinity, and virtually every other Christian doctrine. The baptismal “rite” will vary from place to place now.

                      This was not true in former times as Edward says. Certainly not when I was baptized in 1948. When I became active again in the Presby church in my late 20s, in 1977, all of the forms were still rigorously adhered to. That has long since ceased to be the case.

                      I was received into the GOA by Chrismation.

                      As an interesting aside, when I checked my baptismal date before I became Orthodox (I knew I had been baptized in ’48 by family lore, and I was still in the same church), the record showed Nov. 1948, and that I was one of, as I recall, 14 children baptized that year (a modest-sized congregation). The baby-boom was well underway!

                    • Michael Warren says

                      The Russian practice arose due to a pseudomorphosis in Russian theology and betrays a Western, Augustinian understanding. I thought we have spent the better part of 80 years returning to the Fathers?!

                    • Carl Kraeff says


                      Thank you very much for tolerating my inability to fully grasp some fairly complicated issues (at least to my aging, 70-year old mind). You wrote:

                      “As used in the quote you cite above, “valid” does not mean that the purported baptism had any effect of grace whatsoever. “Valid” simply means that the form of baptism was followed (three fold immersion using the names of the Holy Trinity). ”

                      I truly appreciate your explanation; it does clear up my misunderstanding of that particular rule. Now, would you please throw some light into the following:

                      “3. Those whose hierarchy has apostolic succession and whose baptism and chrismation (or confirmation) was performed in their church, by means of repentance and repudiation of heresy, following instruction in Orthodoxy. This group includes persons of the Roman Catholic and Armenian confessions.”

                      It appears, at least to me, that “repentance and repudiation of heresy” is an entirely different thing (mystery?) than either baptism or chrismation. It seems to me that the Church treats these heterodox converts differently, that their baptism and/or chrismation were valid not only according to form but also that they were conveyors of at least some Grace.

                      Forgive me but at his point I am more than perplexed; I am plumb flummoxed.

                    • Carl, forgive me for jumping in. The reason you are flummoxed is that many within the Church itself in positions of authority are not sure about why things are done — and increasingly they simply disagree.

                      As it was explained to me, the ultimate moment of fully being sacramentally joined to the Church occurs at the chalice. Ordinarily, the progression is baptism, chrismation, communion.

                      When one is received by chrismation, the empty form of a heterodox baptism is filled by the grace of an Orthodox baptism. When one is received by renunciation of errors, one is joined to the Church sacramentally at the moment of being given Holy Communion. At that time, the empty form of one’s heterodox baptism is filled with the grace of an Orthodox baptism, and the empty form of one’s annointing at confirmation/chrismation is filled with the grace of an Orthodox chrismation.

                      Even the discussion of “apostolic succession” regarding those who can be received by renunciation of errors and confession of faith is merely an attention to form, not “validity.” Chrismation — the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit — can only be bestowed by a bishop. In the Orthodox Church this is done indirectly, with chrism coming from a bishop. By tradition, chrism is only made, blessed and distributed by the chief hierarch of an autocephalous Church. So all chrism in the ROCOR comes from the Patriarch of Moscow. In the Roman world, I believe the annointing at confirmation is still done personally by the bishop, at a later time. This reflects a different view of that sacrament that developed in the West.

                      The point is that because the form of consecration of bishops in apostolic succession has been preserved in the Roman church, the form of chrismation/annointing at confirmation has likewise been preserved. While Anglicans and some Lutherans still perform annointing at confirmation, because they didn’t preserve the form of continuity of apostolic succession, the form of confirmation has not been fully preserved. Hence they cannot “skip” the step of physically going through a chrismation.

                      The reason that there is controversy with some about baptizing heterodox but no real controversy about chrismating Roman Catholics (and “reordaining” Roman Catholic clergy who convert) is the phrase “one baptism”and strictures on repeating a baptism. There is no such stricture on repeating a chrismation or ordination, that I am aware of. There is disagreement on whether that means any Trinitarian baptism by just anyone, or only properly administered grace-filled baptisms within the one Church.

                      Bp. Tikhon has described his reception of a Roman Catholic priest by renunciation of errors, confession of faith, vesting, and communion, all according to the formularies of the Russian Church that developed in later years. As I recall, he pointed out that the Mystery of joining to the Church in that case was the receiving of Holy Communion — as in a sense it is for all of us, ultimately.

                      I am not claiming that he would agree with all that I have written here. We all agree that the “Russian” formularies are canonically acceptable. Where the disagreement comes is in the description of what exactly is happening. What I have described above is the classic understanding of economia in the reception of converts.

                      There are those who place a different meaning on these acts of reception, saying that the physical act of baptism, chrismation, and/or ordination is not repeated because those heterodox sacraments were “valid” in the sense that they are grace-filled. The Orthodox Church merely “tops off the tank” a little by what it adds at chrismation and/or communion. This reflects a fundamentally different ecclesiology, since it means that those heterodox bodies are truly part of the Church (for the mysteries cannot have grace outside of the Church). The Holy Orthodox Church is, under this conception, not the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, but merely a part of it (albeit perhaps the most right-believing part of it), divided from the other parts of the Church by mutual schism.

                      For others, it reflects a different sacramental theology, accepting the idea that mysteries, especially baptism, can be somehow valid, in the sense of conveying true grace, outside of the Church. Which suggests the question of why the Church has so carefully preserved the Mysteries exclusively within the care and administration of her ordained ministers under the blessing of her consecrated bishops.

                      The disagreements about why things are done can therefore reveal just as many profound and important theological and ecclesiastical differences, as do disagreements about how things should be done. It is just as important that the bishops gathering in Crete hammer out the whys of the reception of converts as the hows. But it is possible that they will punt on one or both — and possibly that might sadly be the safest outcome.

                    • Carl,

                      Let me back up a minute. I’m not sure what the Archimandrite actually meant by what he said. I’m simply saying what an Orthodox rather than a heterodox reading of the above would be. Continuing in that vein:

                      “Those whose hierarchy has apostolic succession and whose baptism and chrismation (or confirmation) was performed in their church, . . . ”

                      That is to say, those who received some baptismal rite according to a traditional Christian criterion and understanding. This is to guarantee that, regardless of the fact that no grace was conveyed, that the manner and mindset was the same or very similar as to that of the Church.

                      “. . . by means of repentance and repudiation of heresy, following instruction in Orthodoxy. This group includes persons of the Roman Catholic and Armenian confessions.”

                      The mystery cited is penitence/confession. On the question of whether it need be followed by a formal absolution I will not opine, but if I were a bishop, I would do so. Yet, following this, one receives yet another mystery, the eucharistic Gifts, also for the “remission of sins”.

                      To summarize: Neither the purported “baptism” nor “chrismation” of the heterodox avail anything or convey any grace. Other than the manner in which they were done and the mindset with which they were done, they are utterly irrelevant. However, that manner and mindset are important to the Church inasmuch as the Church shares to a greater or lesser degree that manner and mindset. So the Church looks to these – manner and mindset – in order to assess what is necessary and what is lacking.

                      Grace is always lacking since the grace of the mysteries is not conveyed beyond the Church except by the Church to those received. Yet the manner and mindset, the form and intent, were there. They constitute little more than a bath and a stab at the truth offered in the darkness inasmuch as the Church was not involved, certainly not enough for the person to die and be reborn with Christ into His Body, the Church Herself. Yet those who say that something happened are right to the extent that a more or less outwardly correct mechanism was (mis)used.

                      The grace of Orthodox baptism (and of Orthodox chrismation) can be conveyed on the occasion of other mysteries. God is not restrained in the means by which He conveys His Grace. It is simply that He intends only to convey the grace of the mysteries through the Church. One can discern this from the fact that the first indispensable mystery necessary for all others is baptism, which buries and raises one with Christ and thereby unites one with the Holy Orthodox Church.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      What are heterodox Christians, anyway? Are they like pagans, or Moslems?

                      Are they Christians? And if they are, what does that mean? Perhaps that they have the “mindset” of Christianity, but not Christianity? (Whatever that might mean….)

                      There must be some long explanation of that somewhere…..

                    • Timothy,

                      Some are like Moslems, some like pagans. If they’ve managed to remain seriously monotheistic then they are more like Moslems who have historically sometimes been considered a type of Arianists. On the other hand, many do not believe in a literally real Supreme Being at all. For them, gods and goddesses are nothing more projections of powerful qualities or aspirations which are deified in some more or less concrete sense. Those are the pagans. And also you have atheists, those who simply reject the hypothesis of God’s existence. Liberal Christians, pagans and atheists overlap to some extent because they and you are never too sure about how seriously they take “the whole metaphysical thing”; i.e., at heart, they’re materialists.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    1). The Russian Orthodox understanding of the practice of reception of heterodox without Baptism is predicated upon Augustinian mysteriology which treats the baptisms of heretics like Orthodox lay baptisms, arguing that retroactive grace visits the heretical baptism and makes it Orthodox, if the form is correct (at least “mostly”).
                    2). There are principally two modes of reception, oikonomia and akriveia, tempered by concilar decisions. In instances where confusion, scandal or fundamental Orthodox teaching or the Canon can be denatured or lost, akriveia is mandated. In this instance, authority tests with spiritual sound practices like those of Mt. Athos which speak over the errant and disobedient practices of others. The primary consideration being the method of spiritual doctors leading Christians to theosis versus the quack therapies of others often uninformed and even oblivious to theosis. That is why the Athonite and Carthinginian models are most sound and that oikonomia should only be employed by episcopal or synodal discretion.

                    • There may have been times when the Church of Russia relied on Augustine, never to its edification. The Orthodox understanding of reception of converts does not rely on Augustine but upon St. Basil the Great, as was quoted in the ROCOR decision regarding reception of converts. St. Basil allowed the practice of reception by chrismation for certain heterodox who received some baptism-like ritual as an act of “mercy” or oikonomia. Augustine just complicates matters and we do not rely on him except at our peril.



                      Notice St. Basil’s sweeping rejection of heterodox baptisms in general and the canonical provision deposing those who recognize heterodox baptisms. This is what the Phanar is advocating.

                    • Edward, do you believe the average Orthodox has a better understanding of Trinitarian theology and Christologhy than the average Catholic, Lurheran or Anglican? There is no difference. Many baptized Orthodox deny the divinity of Christ and have absolutely no understanding of Trinitarian theology. People who live in glass houses should not cast stones.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Actually, Blessed Augustine is cited throughout Russian Orthodox writings on this topic. St. Basil the Great’s mode of reception by economy called for 1). Threefold Immersion. 2). Performed by a person who had an Orthodox Baptism 3). In a body which had not long been separated from the Church. I believe Fr.
                      George Metallinos goes over this quite well, being a doctor in Canon law.

                    • Johnkal, of course individual members of our faith will hold incorrect beliefs. But it will not be because of anything in our official services or statements of faith, nor will it likely be because even our most “liberal” bishops and priests are teaching such things in their sermons.

                      The same cannot be said of the modern heterodox world. St. Tikhon’s formularies are based on the official teachings of the ecclesiastical bodies from which converts were then coming. And in those days, said bodies did actually have clear official confessional teachings, whether or not the individual members understood and held to them.

                      Those days are gone. That is all I am saying.

          • Michael Warren says

            St. Cyprian of Carthage On The Baptism Of Heretics

            The Seventh Council of Carthage Under St. Cyprian.
            Concerning the Baptism of Heretics. The Judgment of Eighty-Seven Bishops on the Baptism of Heretics.

            Prooemium.— When Stephen, Bishop of Rome, Had by His Letters Condemned the Decrees of the African Council on the Baptism of Heretics, Cyprian Lost No Time in Holding Another Council at Carthage with a Greater Number of Bishops. Having Therefore Summoned Eighty-Seven Bishops from Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania, Who Assembled at Carthage in the Kalends of September, a.d. 258, This Third Council on the Same Matter of Baptism Was Then Celebrated; At the Beginning of Which, After, the Letters on Either Side Had Been Read, Cyprian, by Implication, Condemns the Assumption of Stephen.
            When, in the kalends of September, a great many bishops from the provinces of Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania, had met together at Carthage, together with the presbyters and deacons, and a considerable part of the congregation who were also present; and when the letter of Jubaianus written to Cyprian had been read, as also the reply of Cyprian to Jubaianus, about baptizing heretics, and what the same Jubaianus had subsequently rejoined to Cyprian,— Cyprian said: You have heard, my dearly beloved colleagues, what Jubaianus our co-bishop has written to me, taking counsel of my poor intelligence concerning the unlawful and profane baptism of heretics, as well as what I wrote in answer to him, decreeing, to wit, what we have once and again and frequently determined, that heretics who come to the Church must be baptized and sanctified by the baptism of the Church. Moreover, another letter of Jubaianus has also been read to you, wherein, replying, in accordance with his sincere and religious devotion, to my letter, he not only acquiesced in what I had said, but, confessing that he had been instructed thereby, he returned thanks for it. It remains, that upon this same matter each of us should bring forward what we think, judging no man, nor rejecting any one from the right of communion, if he should think differently from us. For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. But let us all wait for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only one that has the power both of preferring us in the government of His Church, and of judging us in our conduct there.
            Caecilius of Bilta said: I know only one baptism in the Church, and none out of the Church. This one will be here, where there is the true hope and the certain faith. For thus it is written: One faith, one hope, one baptism; Ephesians 4:5 not among heretics, where there is no hope, and the faith is false, where all things are carried on by lying; where a demoniac exorcises; where one whose mouth and words send forth a cancer puts the sacramental interrogation; the faithless gives faith; the wicked bestows pardon of sins; and Antichrist baptizes in the name of Christ; he who is cursed of God blesses; he who is dead promises life; he who is unpeaceful gives peace; the blasphemer calls upon God; the profane person administers the office of the priesthood; the sacrilegious person establishes an altar. In addition to all these things, there is also this evil, that the priests of the devil dare to celebrate the Eucharist; or else let those who stand by them say that all these things concerning heretics are false. Behold to what kind of things the Church is compelled to consent, and is constrained without baptism, without pardon of sins, to hold communion. And this thing, brethren, we ought to flee from and avoid, and to separate ourselves from so great a wickedness, and to hold one baptism, which is granted by the Lord to the Church alone.
            Primus of Misgirpa said: I decide, that every man who comes to us from heresy must be baptized. For in vain does he think that he has been baptized there, seeing that there is no baptism save the one and true baptism in the Church; because not only is God one, but the faith is one, and the Church is one, wherein stands the one baptism, and holiness, and the rest. For whatever is done without, has no effect of salvation.
            Polycarp from Adrumetum said: They who approve the baptism of heretics make void our baptism.
            Novatus of Thamugada said: Although we know that all the Scriptures give witness concerning the saving baptism, still we ought to declare our faith, that heretics and schismatics who come to the Church, and appear to have been falsely baptized, ought to be baptized in the everlasting fountain; and therefore, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, and according to the decree of our colleagues, men of most holy memory, that all schismatics and heretics who are converted to the Church must be baptized; and moreover, that those who appeared to have been ordained must be received among lay people.
            Nemesianus of Thubunae said: That the baptism which heretics and schismatics bestow is not the true one, is everywhere declared in the Holy Scriptures, since their very leading men are false Christs and false prophets, as the Lord says by Solomon: He who trusts in that which is false, he feeds the winds; and the very same, moreover, follows the flight of birds. For he forsakes the ways of his own vineyard, he has wandered from the paths of his own little field. But he walks through pathless places, and dry, and a land destined for thirst; moreover, he gathers together fruitless things in his hands. And again: Abstain from strange water, and from the fountain of another do not drink, that you may live a long time; also that the years of life may be added to you. Proverbs 9:19 And in the Gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with His divine voice, saying, Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5 This is the Spirit which from the beginning was borne over the waters; for neither can the Spirit operate without the water, nor the water without the Spirit. Certain people therefore interpret for themselves ill, when they say that by imposition of the hand they receive the Holy Ghost, and are thus received, when it is manifest that they ought to be born again in the Catholic Church by both sacraments. Then indeed they will be able to be sons of God, as says the apostle: Taking care to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, as you have been called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God. Ephesians 4:3-6 All these things speaks the Catholic Church. And again, in the Gospel the Lord says: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit; because God is a Spirit, and he is born of God. John 3:6 Therefore, whatsoever things all heretics and schismatics do are carnal, as the apostle says: For the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornications, uncleannesses, incest, idolatries, witchcrafts, hatreds, contentions, jealousy, anger, divisions, heresies, and the like to these; concerning which have told you before, as I also foretell you now, that whoever do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 And thus the apostle condemns, with all the wicked, those also who cause division, that is, schismatics and heretics. Unless therefore they receive saving baptism in the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ.
            Januarius of Lambesis said: According to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, I decree that all heretics must be baptized, and so admitted into the holy Church.
            Lucius of Castra Galbae said: Since the Lord in His Gospel said, You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt should have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out of doors, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:13 And again, after His resurrection, sending His apostles, He gave them charge, saying, All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth. Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:18-19 Since, therefore, it is manifest that heretics— that is, the enemies of Christ— have not the sound confession of the sacrament; moreover, that schismatics cannot season others with spiritual wisdom, since they themselves, by departing from the Church, which is one, having lost the savour, have become contrary to it—let it be done as it is written, The house of those that are contrary to the law owes a cleansing. And it is a consequence that those who, having been baptized by people who are contrary to the Church, are polluted, must first be cleansed, and then at length be baptized.
            Crescens of Cirta said: In such an assembly of most holy fellow priests, as the letters of our most beloved Cyprian to Jubaianus and also to Stephen have been read, containing in them so much of the holy testimonies which descend from the divinely made Scriptures, that with reason we ought, all being made one by the grace of God, to consent to them; I judge that all heretics and schismatics who wish to come to the Catholic Church, shall not be allowed to enter without they have first been exorcised and baptized; with the exception of those indeed who may previously have been baptized in the Catholic Church, and these in such a way that they may be reconciled to the penitence of the Church by the imposition of hands.
            Nicomedes of Segermae said: My opinion is this, that heretics coming to the Church should be baptized, for the reason that among sinners without they can obtain no remission of sins.
            Munnulus of Girba said: The truth of our Mother the Catholic Church, brethren, has always remained and still remains with us, and even especially in the Trinity of baptism, as our Lord says, Go and baptize the nations, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19 Since, then, we manifestly know that heretics have not either Father, or Son, or Holy Spirit, they ought, when they come to the Church our Mother, truly to be born again and to be baptized; that the cancer which they had, and the anger of damnation, and the witchery of error, may be sanctified by the holy and heavenly layer.
            Secundinus of Cedias said: Since our Lord Christ says, He who is not with me is against me; Matthew 12:30 and John the apostle calls those who depart from the Church Antichrists— undoubtedly enemies of Christ— any such as are called Antichrists cannot minister the grace of saving baptism. And therefore I think that those who flee from the snares of the heretics to the Church must be baptized by us, who are called friends of God, of His condescension.
            Felix of Bagai said: As, when the blind leads the blind, they fall together into the ditch; so, when the heretic baptizes a heretic, they fall together into death. And therefore a heretic must be baptized and made alive, lest we who are alive should hold communion with the dead.
            Polianus of Mileum said: It is right that a heretic be baptized in the holy Church.
            Theogenes of Hippo Regius said: According to the sacrament of God’s heavenly grace which we have received, we believe one baptism which is in the holy Church.
            Dativus of Badis said: We, as far as in us lies, do not hold communion with heretics, unless they have been baptized in the Church, and have received remission of their sins.
            Successus of Abbir Germaniciana said: Heretics can either do nothing, or they can do all. If they can baptize, they can also bestow the Holy Spirit. But if they cannot give the Holy Spirit, because they have not the Holy Spirit, neither can they spiritually baptize. Therefore we judge that heretics must be baptized.
            Fortunatus of Tuccaboris said: Jesus Christ our Lord and God, Son of God the Father and Creator, built His Church upon a rock, not upon heresy; and gave the power of baptizing to bishops, not to heretics. Wherefore they who are without the Church, and, standing in opposition to Christ, disperse His sheep and flock, cannot baptize, being without.
            Sedatus of Tuburbo said: In the degree in which water sanctified in the Church by the prayer of the priest, washes away sins; in that degree, if infected with heretical discourse as with a cancer, it heaps up sins. Wherefore we must endeavour with all peaceful powers, that no one infected and stained with heretical error refuse to receive the single and true baptism of the Church, by which whosoever is not baptized, shall become an alien from the kingdom of heaven. Privatianus of Sufetula said: Let him who says that heretics have the power of baptizing, say first who rounded heresy. For if heresy is of God, it also may have the divine indulgence. But if it is not from God, how can it either have the grace of God, or confer it upon any one?
            Privatus of Sufes said: He who approves the baptism of heretics, what else does he do than communicate with heretics?
            Hortensianus of Lares said: Let either these presumptuous ones, or those who favour heretics, consider how many baptisms there are. We claim for the Church one baptism, which we know not except in the Church. Or how can they baptize any one in the name of Christ, whom Christ Himself declares to be His adversaries?
            Cassius of Macomadae said: Since there cannot be two baptisms, he who yields baptism to the heretics takes it away from himself. I judge therefore that heretics, lamentable and corrupt, must be baptized when they begin to come to the Church; and that when washed by the sacred and divine washing, and illuminated by the light of life, they may be received into the Church, not as enemies, but as made peaceful; not as foreigners, but as of the household of the faith of the Lord; not as children of adultery, but as sons of God; not of error, but of salvation; except those who once faithful have been supplanted, and have passed over from the Church to the darkness of heresy, but that these must be restored by the imposition of hands.
            Another Januarius of Vicus Caesaris said: If error does not obey truth, much more truth does not consent to error; and therefore we stand by the Church in which we preside, that, claiming her baptism for herself alone, we should baptize those whom the Church has not baptized.
            Another Secundinus of Carpi said: Are heretics Christians or not? If they are Christians, why are they not in the Church of God? If they are not Christians, how come they to make Christians? Or whither will tend the Lord’s discourse, when He says, He that is not with me is against me, and he who gathers not with me scatters? Matthew 12:30 Whence it appears plain that upon strange children, and on the offspring of Antichrist, the Holy Ghost cannot descend only by imposition of hands, since it is manifest that heretics have not baptism.
            Victoricus of Thabraca said: If heretics are allowed to baptize and to give remission of sins, wherefore do we brand them with infamy and call them heretics?
            Another Felix of Uthina said: Nobody doubts, most holy fellow priests, that human presumption is not able to do so much as the adorable and venerable majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, remembering the danger, we ought not only to observe this also, but moreover to confirm it by the voice of all of us, that all heretics who come to the bosom of Mother Church should be baptized, that thus the heretical mind that has been polluted by a long decay, purged by the sanctification of the layer, may be reformed for the better.
            Quietus of Baruch said: We who live by faith ought to obey with careful observance those things which before have been foretold for our instruction. For it is written in Solomon: He that is baptized from the dead, (and again touches the dead, ) what avails his washing? Sirach 34:25 which certainly speaks of those who are washed by heretics, and of those that wash them. For if those who are baptized among them obtain by remission of their sins life eternal, why do they come to the Church? But if from a dead person no salvation is received, and therefore, acknowledging their previous error, they return to the truth with penitence, they ought to be sanctified with the one vital baptism which is in the Catholic Church.
            Castus of Sicca said: He who with contempt of the truth presumes to follow custom, is either envious and malignant in respect of his brethren to whom the truth is revealed, or is ungrateful in respect of God, by whose inspiration His Church is instructed.
            Euchratius of Thenae said: God and our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching the apostles with His own mouth, has entirely completed our faith, and the grace of baptism, and the rule of the ecclesiastical law, saying: Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:18 Thus the false and wicked baptism of heretics must be rejected by us, and refuted with all detestation, from whose month is expressed poison, not life, not celestial grace, but blasphemy of the Trinity. And therefore it is manifest that heretics who come to the Church ought to be baptized with the sound and Catholic baptism, in order that, being purified from the blasphemy of their presumption, they may be reformed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
            Libosus of Vaga said: In the Gospel the Lord says, I am the truth. John 14:6 He said not, I am the custom. Therefore the truth being manifest, let custom yield to truth; so that, although for the past any one was not in the habit of baptizing heretics in the Church, let him now begin to baptize them.
            Lucius of Thebeste said: I determine that blasphemous and unrighteous heretics, who with various words tear asunder the holy and adorable words of the Scriptures, are to be accursed, and therefore that they must be exorcised and baptized.
            Eugenius of Ammedera said: And I determine the same— that heretics must be baptized.
            Also another Felix of Amaccora said: And I myself, following the authority of the divine Scriptures, judge that heretics must be baptized; and, moreover, those also who contend that they have been baptized among the schismatics. For if, according to Christ’s warning, our font is private to us, let all the adversaries of our Church understand that it cannot be for another. Nor can He who is the Shepherd of the one flock give the saving water to two peoples. And therefore it is plain that neither heretics nor schismatics can receive anything heavenly, seeing that they dare to receive from men who are sinners, and from those who are external to the Church. When there is no place for the giver, assuredly there is no profit for the receiver.
            Also another Januarius of Muzzuli said: I am surprised, since all confess that there is one baptism, that all do not perceive the unity of the same baptism. For the Church and heresy are two things, and different things. If heretics have baptism, we have it not; but if we have it, heretics cannot have it. But there is no doubt that the Church alone possesses the baptism of Christ, since she alone possesses both the grace and the truth of Christ.
            Adelphius of Thasvalte said: Certain persons without reason impugn the truth by false and envious words, in saying that we rebaptize, when the Church does not rebaptize heretics, but baptizes them.
            Demetrius of Leptiminus said: We maintain one baptism, because we demand for the Church Catholic alone her own property. But they who say that heretics truly and legitimately baptize, are themselves the people who make not one, but many baptisms. For since heresies are many, according to their number will be reckoned baptisms.
            Vincentius of Thibaris said: We know that heretics are worse than Gentiles. If, therefore, being converted, they should wish to come to the Lord, we have assuredly the rule of truth which the Lord by His divine precept commanded to His apostles, saying, Go, lay on hands in my name, expel demons. And in another place: Go and teach the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:19 Therefore first of all by imposition of hands in exorcism, secondly by the regeneration of baptism, they may then come to the promise of Christ. Otherwise I think it ought not to be done.
            Marcus of Mactaris said: It is not to be wondered at if heretics, enemies, and impugners of the truth claim to themselves a matter in the power and condescension of others. But it is to be wondered at, that some of us, prevaricators of the truth, support heretics and oppose themselves to Christians. Therefore we decree that heretics must be baptized.
            Sattius of Sicilibba said: If to heretics in baptism their sins are remitted, they come to the Church without reason. For since, in the day of judgment, they are sins which are punished, there is nothing which the heretics can fear from Christ’s judgment, if they have already obtained remission of their sins.
            Victor of Gor said: Since sins are not remitted save in the baptism of the Church, he who admits a heretic to communion without baptism does two things against reason: he does not cleanse the heretics, and he befouls the Christians.
            Aurelius of Utica said: Since the apostle says that we are not to communicate with other people’s sins, what else does he do but communicate with other people’s sins, who holds communion with heretics without the Church’s baptism? And therefore I judge that heretics must be baptized, that they may receive forgiveness of their sins; and thus communion may be had with them.
            Iambus of Germaniciana said: They who approve of the baptism of heretics, disapprove of ours, in denying that they who are, I will not say washed, but befouled, outside the Church, ought to be baptized in the Church.
            Lucianus of Rucuma said: It is written, And God saw the light, that it was good, and divided between the light and the darkness. Genesis 1:4 If there can be agreement between light and darkness, there may be something in common between us and heretics. Therefore I determine that heretics must be baptized.
            Pelagianus of Luperciana said: It is written, Either the Lord is God, or Baal is God. 1 Kings 18:21 Therefore in the present case also, either the Church is the Church, or heresy is the Church. On the other hand, if heresy is not the Church, how can the Church’s baptism be among heretics?
            Jader of Midila said: We know that there is but one baptism in the Catholic Church, and therefore we ought not to receive a heretic unless he has been baptized among us; lest he should think that he has been baptized out of the Catholic Church.
            Also another Felix of Marazana said: There is one faith, one baptism, but of the Catholic Church, which alone has the right to baptize.
            Paulus of Obba said: It does not disturb me if any man does not assert the faith and truth of the Church, since the apostle says, For what if some of them have fallen away from the faith? Has their unbelief made the faith of God of no effect? By no means. For God is true, but every man a liar. Romans 3:3-4 But if God is true, how can the truth of baptism be among the heretics, among whom God is not?
            Pomponius of Dionysiana said: It is evident that heretics cannot baptize and give remission of sins, seeing that they have not power to be able to loose or to bind anything on earth.
            Venantius of Timisa said: If a husband, going into foreign parts, had commended his wife to the guardianship of his friend, that friend would take care of her who was commended to him with all possible diligence, that her chastity and holiness should not be corrupted by any one. Christ the Lord and our God, going to His Father, has commended to us His bride. Shall we guard her incorrupt and inviolate, or shall we betray her integrity and chastity to adulterers and corrupters? For he who makes the Church’s baptism common to heretics, betrays the spouse of Christ to adulterers.
            Ahymnus of Ausvaga said: We have received one baptism, and that same we maintain and practise. But he who says that heretics also may lawfully baptize, makes two baptisms.
            Saturninus of Victoriana said: If heretics may baptize, they who do unlawful things are excused and defended; nor do I see why either Christ should have called them adversaries, or the apostle should have called them Antichrists.
            Saturninus of Thucca said: The Gentiles, although they worship idols, do yet know and confess a supreme God as Father and Creator. Against Him Marcion blasphemes, and some persons do not blush to approve the baptism of Marcion. How do such priests either observe or vindicate God’s priesthood, who do not baptize God’s enemies, and hold communion with them as they are!
            Marcellus of Zama said: Since sins are not remitted save in the baptism of the Church, he who does not baptize a heretic holds communion with a sinner.
            Irenaeus of Ululi said: If the Church does not baptize a heretic, for the reason that he is said to be already baptized, it is the greater heresy.
            Donatus of Cibaliana said: I know one Church and her one baptism. If there is any who says that the grace of baptism is with heretics, he must first show and prove that the Church is among them.
            Zosimus of Tharassa said: When a revelation of the truth is made, let error give place to truth; because Peter also, who previously circumcised, yielded to Paul when he preached the truth.
            Julianus of Telepte said: It is written, No man can receive anything unless it have been given him from heaven. If heresy is from heaven, it can also give baptism.
            Faustus of Timida Regia said: Let not them who are in favour of heretics flatter themselves. He who interferes with the baptism of the Church on behalf of heretics, makes them Christians, and us heretics.
            Geminius of Furni said: Some of our colleagues may prefer heretics to themselves, they cannot to us: and therefore what we have once determined we maintain— that we baptize those who come to us from the heretics.
            Rogatianus of Nova said: Christ instituted the Church; the devil, heresy. How can the synagogue of Satan have the baptism of Christ?
            Therapius of Bulla said: He who concedes and betrays the Church’s baptism to heretics, what else has he been to the spouse of Christ than a Judas?
            Also another Lucius of Membresa said: It is written, God hears not a sinner. How can a heretic who is a sinner be heard in baptism?
            Also another Felix of Bussacene said: In the matter of receiving heretics without the baptism of the Church, let no one prefer custom to reason and truth, because reason and truth always exclude custom.
            Another Saturninus of Avitini said: If Antichrist can give to any one the grace of Christ, heretics also are able to baptize, for they are called antichrists.
            Quintus of Aggya: He can give something who has something. But what can heretics give, who, it is plain, have nothing?
            Another Julianus of Marcelliana said: If a man can serve two masters, God and mammon, baptism also can serve two masters, the Christian and the heretic.
            Tenax of Horrea Caeliae said: Baptism is one, but it is the Church’s. Where the Church is not there, there can be no baptism.
            Another Victor of Assuri said: It is written, that God is one, and Christ is one, and the Church is one, and baptism is one. How, therefore, can any one be baptized there, where God, and Christ, and the one Church is not?
            Donatulus of Capse said: And I also have always thought this, that heretics, who can obtain nothing without the Church, when they are converted to the Church, must be baptized.
            Verulus of Rusiccada said: A man who is a heretic cannot give what he has not; much more a schismatic, who has lost what he once had.
            Pudentianus of Cuiculis said: The novelty of my episcopal office, beloved brethren, has caused me to await what my elders should judge. For it is manifest that heresies have nothing, nor can have any thing. And thus, if any one comes from them, it is most justly decreed that they must be baptized.
            Peter of Hippo Diarrhytus said: Since there is one baptism in the Catholic Church, it is manifest that one cannot be baptized outside the Church. And therefore I judge that those who have been dipped in heresy or in schism, when they come to the Church, should be baptized.
            Also another Lucius of Ausafa said: According to the direction of my mind, and of the Holy Spirit, as there is one God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one Christ, and one hope, and one Spirit, and one Church, there ought also to be one baptism. And therefore I say, that if any thing had been set on foot or accomplished by heretics, it ought to be rescinded, and that those who come thence must be baptized in the Church.
            Also another Felix of Gurgites said: I judge that, according to the precepts of the holy Scriptures, he who is unlawfully baptized by heretics outside the Church, when he wishes to take refuge in the Church, should obtain the grace of baptism where it is lawfully given.
            Pusillus of Lamasba said: I believe that there is no saving baptism except in the Catholic Church. Whatsoever is apart from the Catholic Church is a pretence.
            Salvianus of Gazaufala said: It is certain that heretics have nothing, and therefore they come to us that they may receive what they have not.
            Honoratus of Thucca said: Since Christ is the Truth, we ought rather to follow truth than custom; so that we should sanctify heretics with the Church’s baptism, seeing that they come to us for the reason that they could receive nothing without.
            Victor of Octavum said: As yourselves also know, I have not long been appointed a bishop, and I therefore waited for the decision of my predecessors. I therefore think this, that as many as come from heresy should undoubtedly be baptized.
            Clarus of Mascula said: The sentence of our Lord Jesus Christ is plain, when He sent His apostles, and accorded to them alone the power given to Him by His Father; and to them we have succeeded, governing the Lord’s Church with the same power, and baptizing the faith of believers. And therefore heretics, who neither have power without, nor have the Church of Christ, are able to baptize no one with His baptism.
            Secundianus of Thambei said: We ought not to deceive heretics by our presumption; so that they who have not been baptized in the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and have not obtained by this means remissions of their sins, when the day of judgment shall come, should impute to us that through us they were not baptized, and did not obtain the indulgence of divine grace. On which account, since there is one Church and one baptism, when they are converted to us they should obtain, together with the Church, the Church’s baptism also.
            Also another Aurelius of Chullabi said: John the apostle laid it down in his epistle, saying: If any one come unto you, and have not the doctrine of Christ, receive him not into your house, and say not to him, Hail. For he that says to him, Hail, partakes with his evil deeds. How can such be rashly admitted into God’s house, who are prohibited from being admitted into our private dwelling? Or how can we hold communion with them without the Church’s baptism, to whom, if we should only say Hail, we are partakers of their evil deeds?
            Litteus of Gemelli said: If the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch, Since, then, it is manifest that heretics cannot give light to any, as being themselves blind, their baptism does not avail.
            Natalis of Oëa said: As well I who am present, as Pompey of Sabrata, as also Dioga of Leptis Magna — who, absent indeed in body, but present in spirit, have given me charge— judge the same as our colleagues, that heretics cannot hold communion with us, unless they shall be baptized with ecclesiastical baptism.
            Junius of Neapolis said: From the judgment which we once determined on I do not recede, that we should baptize heretics who come to the Church.
            Cyprian of Carthage said: The letter which was written to our colleague Jubaianus very fully expresses my opinion, that, according to evangelical and apostolic testimony, heretics, who are called adversaries of Christ and Antichrists, when they come to the Church, must be baptized with the one baptism of the Church, that they may be made of adversaries, friends, and of Antichrists, Christians.

            Source. Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .

          • Michael Warren says


            “I CONFESS ONE BAPTISM…”



            3. Explanation of the Orthodox Church’s action in dealing with the Latins

            In confronting the arguments of the Latins and Latinizers of their time, our theologians also found it necessary to explain the Orthodox Church’s past action in dealing with the West. As we know, this action ‘’was not single and uniform, but fluctuated between acrivia and economia,’’ since ‘’this or that policy and action of the Church was usually determined by more general reasons and aims of greater benefit to her, or to avert any harm and danger threatening her.’’[227]

            According to the prevailing view, after the schism the Orthodox Church recognized ‘’the validity of the Latin sacraments,’’[228] and indeed that of baptism. Upon their conversion, the Church applied Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council or XCV of Penthekte to them, or occasionally received them by a mere recantation of their foreign doctrines.[229] Even after the Crusades and the Council of Ferrara/Florence (1438-1439), when the relations between Orthodox and Latins became strained, and the stance of the Orthodox East in dealing with the Latins became more austere,[230] the East considered the application of Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council to be an adequate measure of defense, that is she received them by chrismation and a written statement. This action was officially ratified by the Local Council of Constantinople in 1484, with the participation, moreover, of all the Patriarchs of the East. This Council also wrote an appropriate service.[231] Thus, according to I. Karmiris (and also according to the arguments of the Latinizers and pro-westerners during the Turkish rule), the cases of ‘’rebaptism’’ were exceptions, owing ‘’to individual initiative,’’ and ‘’not to an authoritative decision of the Church.’’[232]

            This custom, however, was overturned in 1755 under Cyril V, Patriarch of Constantinople, by the imposing of the (re)baptism of Latins and all Western converts in general,[233] again through the application of Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council and the other relevant Canons of the Church. This action, to this day the last ‘’official’’ decision of the Orthodox Church,[234] was opposed by those who disagreed. It was considered to have subverted the decision of the Council of 1484. because of its circumstantial character,[235] not having gained universal acceptance and application, it was often not adhered to. In addition, the practice of the Russian Church from 1667 differed from that of the other Orthodox Patriarchates, and indeed that of Constantinople.[236] This, then, is what is commonly accepted to this day concerning the issue in question.

            Among our writers, Neophytos and C. Oikonomos deal with the history of the problem more extensively than the others. They begin by calling upon the testimony of those who reject the Latin ‘’baptism.’’[237] Then they note the cases in which Latins were received by baptism, and likewise justify the cases (propounded by those who disagreed with them) wherein either the Latin ‘’baptism’’ was overlooked as unimportant, or wherein the economia of the Second Ecumenical Council was exercised towards the Latins.[238] Their teaching specifically can be summarized as follows.

            a) Until the Council of Florence

            1) The Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Cerularius, in his epistle to Peter of Antioch, includes, together with the other Latin innovations, also their baptism ‘’by one immersion.’’[239] According to Oikonomos, if this was not ‘’declared to be a common crime of the entire Western Church,’’ and thus specific measures were not taken, it is due to the fact that this type of baptism was not yet universally prevalent in the West, but ‘’usually the Apostolic baptism’’ was administered.[240] It is significant, however, that the papal legate Humbert criticized the East for baptizing Latins.[241]

            2) Likewise, the Lateran Council of 1215 ‘’accused the Greeks…that they baptize the Latins who join their Church.’’ Since, however, according to Oikonomos, ‘’the baptism by single immersion, or by affusion or aspersion, was sometimes performed by the West in some areas and only sporadically,…the Greeks baptized only those who had been baptized in this manner.’’ And that is what the testimony of this Council is referring to.[242]

            3) Even the ‘’highly renowned exegete of the sacred Canons, Theodore Valsamon,’’ affirms that ‘’those baptized with one immersion are all to be baptized again,’’ having in mind the practice of his time (12th-13th cen.).[243] True, a problem arises from his fifteenth reply, in which, explicitly referring to the Latins, he says: ‘’Those of Latin descent should not be sanctified by the divine and immaculate mysteries [i.e. the Eucharist] at the hands of the priests,[244] unless they first declare their decision to desist from the Latin dogmas and customs, and are, in accordance with the Canons, catechized and made equal to the Orthodox.’’ The problem, according to Oikonomos, lies in the fact that he did not expressly add, ‘’and baptized.’’ The answer, according to him, is that the Latins had not yet universally accepted the ‘’baptism by one immersion.’’ Therefore, so that the one group not be confused with the other, ‘’he used more general terms, saying, in accordance with the Canons,’ and the ‘equality’ of the converts with the Orthodox.’’ ‘’In saying Canons,’’ he means XCV of the Sixth Council and VII of the Second.[245] And if Valsamon’s contemporaries, the pro-union Nikitas Mytilineos Archbishop of Thessaloniki, John of Kitros, and Demetrios Chromatinos Archbishop of Bulgaria, ‘’say nothing about the baptism,’’ this was so because the Franks, already masters of Constantinople, ‘’were raging against the Orthodox’’; but also they had in mind the three immersions which the Latins as yet still officially preserved.[246]

            4) During the reign of the pro-union emperor John Dukas (1206), according to an ‘’unverifiable’’ opinion, ‘’it was synodically voted only to anoint with chrism those who join the Church.’’ This, according to Oikonomos, is not curious, for ‘’it was because of the current circumstances that such a decision was taken by a Local Council,’’ given that the ‘’genuine baptism’’ still survived in the West.[247] The uncertainty that prevailed in the East regarding the form of the Western baptism made the Orthodox hesitant to make a definite decision, this uncertainty, among other things, is apparent in the following words of Matthew Vlastares (in 1335): ‘’If in fact, as some say, they baptize by one immersion…’’ The distance, therefore, but also the rupture in ecclesiastical communion, did not allow the Orthodox to have direct knowledge and to determine a specific position for dealing with the West.[248]

            5) Someone anonymous,[249] writing against the Latins during the reign of Manuel Paleologos (1391-1396), and basing himself on Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council, remarks: ‘’[The Canon] does not deem necessary the rebaptism of those who, equally as with us, were administered divine baptism by three immersions.’’ Oikonomos points out here: ‘’The prevailing order in the Orthodox Church, in accordance to be sure with the canonical definition, considered that the Latins were at that time still being administered the salvific baptism equally as with us.’’ Besides, this work, he says, was written during a period of preparation for union talks,[250] and thus it avoided all acuteness in expression.

            6) One of the strongest arguments of those of the opposite mind, however, was that nothing was said about the Latin baptism at the Council of Florence (1439). If the Latin innovation constituted such a significant difference, why was it not included in the list of topics for discussion? Oikonomos responds that the Council limited itself to the ‘’five’’ most fundamental dogmatic differences; that is, ‘’the already legislated papal illegalities,’’[251] inasmuch as the innovation regarding baptism still had not yet become general practice in the West, nor been officially and synodally ratified, but continued to be an occasional, local custom.[252] Neophytos adds that other differences too were not discussed at Florence, such as fasting on Saturdays, kneeling on Sundays, divorce of the clergy, eating of blood and strangled animals, etc., for other reasons, but also ‘’because of the hurry to return.’’[253] But, again according to Neophytos, even if this Council had decided something regarding this problem, its decision would not be of any special significance, for ‘’correct sacramental practice, like Orthodoxy itself, has its origin and institution and proof not from what was said or done in Florence, but from the Evangelists and the Apostolic and synodal Canons.’’ What is significant in this regard is primarily the practice of the early Church, rather than the current tradition, and indeed of those who participated in the Council of Florence. ‘’For is it because we lack proofs dating back any earlier than Florence that we must pay attention to – I am loathe to say traitors of the faith – men of but yesterday’’[254]

            Of those who participated in this Council, St. Mark of Ephesus of course is of especial importance. He is usually presented as an unshakable argument in favor of receiving Latins by economia. For, while absolutely Orthodox as regards the faith, yet in testifying ‘’about the Orthodox Church’s universal practice,’’ he admits that we chrismate those who come over to us from them (i.e. the Latins)…as being heretics’’,[255] that is, he affirms the way if economia. To this our writers respond as follows:

            St. Mark and those around him, according to Neophytos, gave priority ‘’to the faith issues.’’ They did not deal with the problem of baptism, for ‘’the baptism issue was secondary.’’ It is, however, significant that St. Mark does bluntly call the Latins ‘’heretics,’’ and he does reject and ‘’dauntlessly expose’’ the aspersion that was spreading among them, writing that ‘’twofold are the baptisms’’ of the Greco-Latin Uniates.[256] St. Mark explicitly includes the Latins, as heretics, in the group of early heretics mentioned in Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council. If he seems to affirm their reception by chrismation, i.e. in the manner prescribed for the Arians and Macedonians, this, according to Oikonomos, is due to the fact that up until the Council of Trent (16th cen.) – and even up until the eighteenth century – ‘’the Apostolic form’’ of baptism also survived in the West. Thus, St. Mark went along with the reception of Latins by economia, 1) to avoid repetition of the one baptism due to indiscriminate zeal or ignorance; and 2) as a concession, in order to expedite the union. Thus, St. Mark applies Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council to the Latins in part, receiving them ‘’as having kept the form of the Apostolic baptism.’’[257]

            b) After Florence

            1) Concerning the Council of Constantinople in 1450, called ‘’the last in Hagia Sophia,’’[258] the argument was propounded that ‘’this one also did not mention baptism,’’[259] in spite of the fact that it dealt with the Latin innovations which led to the schism. Indeed, here we have a very strong argument, and even Oikonomos is forced to admit that this is ‘’most extraordinary.’’ His attempted critical analysis of the text leads to the conclusion that there is a ‘’deletion of words’’ in the copying of the Acts of the Council.[260] Neophytos, however, in his own peculiar manner, responds to the problem with the following counterargument: ‘’Well, then, I suppose we should not even chrismate Latins, since the aforesaid Council did not mention chrism, i.e. chrismation. And not only that, but I suppose we should also ordain for money, since it somehow attempts to applaud this as well!’’ he continues, though, with the observation that, before this Council, St. Mark had already expressed his view concerning the Latin innovation in baptism and had disapproved of it, and that this constituted the ‘’opinion on the Latin baptism’’ of those synodal Fathers as well.[261]

            2) Nevertheless, the Council of Constantinople in 1484 creates the greatest difficulties for an acceptance of our theologian’s position on Latin baptism. This Council decided ‘’only to anoint with chrism the Latins who come over to Orthodoxy,…after they submit a written statement of faith.’’ In other words, it ranks them in the class of the Arians and Macedonians of the Second Ecumenical Council (Canon VII).[262] Both the Kollyvades and Oikonomos, of course, are well aware of this, but they offer the following response.

            According to Oikonomos, ‘’since among the Orthodox there existed no formula concerning the reception of these (i.e. the Latins) by concession (inasmuch as from the beginning most preserved…the acrivia of the Ecumenical Councils), this Council ruled to imitate the followers of St. Mark,’’[263] and thus it took the above decision, again, inasmuch as in the West neither affusion nor aspersion had yet been synodally canonized.[264] Yet how can we explain the fact that this synodal decision was not universally accepted in the East, if it was an official decision of the Orthodox Church? For, even after this Council, ‘’neither did the Latin baptism seem acceptable…nor did [the Orthodox] think of the Latins as having priesthood, referring to the innovation regarding the rite which again had spread in many places.’’[265] Hence, despite the synodally given solution and the composition of a special service, ‘’the East, aiming with conviction at the acrivia of the holy Ecumenical Councils,’’ in practice received Western converts by baptism, for they saw no benefit arising from the concession made by economia, but rather ‘’harm…to the simpler and afflicted Orthodox.’’[266]

            Moreover, it was observed that the cunning of the Latins had increased. For in their proselytization, they took advantage of the willingness on the part of the Orthodox to make this concession, and interpreted it as proving that there really was no difference between Orthodox and Latin baptism. From that time, continues Oikonomos, this custom [of baptizing converts] prevailed in the Great Church [i.e. the Ecumenical Patriarchate] and also in all the Patriarchates of the East to this day,’’ the synodal decision notwithstanding.[267]

            Neophytos and the rest offer a more realistic interpretation on this issue. The reason for the lack of daring on the part of our people to call the Latins heretics after the fall of Constantinople and to condemn their ‘’baptism’’ was, according to them, the fear arising from the situation that had developed in the East. They avoided this ‘’from cowardice alone,’’ says Neophytos. And he cites the following testimony of George Scholarios: ‘’For it is not ours, being in such a state of poverty and weakness, to use such epithets on a Church of such power…’’ This was the first reason. However, Neophytos does not exclude the ‘’hope of rectification’’ of the Latins, i.e. their conversion.[268]

            St. Nikodemos responds in much the same way. In receiving the Latins by chrismation in accordance with the decision of 1484, the Church expressly declares that she considers them heretics.[269] The early Canons were, therefore, not annulled, but ‘’the Church wanted to use some big economia on the Latins, having that great and holy Second Ecumenical Council as an example to this end.’’[270] That is to say that the saint discerns in the fourth and fifteenth centuries a similarity of conditions and decisions. Thus, he continues, whereas in earlier times the East baptized the Latins, ‘’later they used the chrism method,’’ i.e. the way of economia, ‘’for it was not good, given the utter weakness of our nation, to further excite the fury of the Papacy.’’ Besides, ‘’much agitation’’ had been created among the Latins because of the pan-Orthodox rejection of the Council of Florence.[271] And while the Orthodox East groaned under the yoke of slavery, ‘’the Papacy was at its height, and had all the power of the kings of Europe in its hands, whereas our kingdom was breathing its last. Hence, if this economia had not been exercised, it was imminent that the Pope would have roused the Latin nations against the East.’’[272] In other words, both before the fall of the Ruling City (i.e. Constantinople), but more so after, the political situation demanded avoiding by all means the irritation of the West which was hostile towards Orthodoxy. So, it was political and not ecclesiastical criteria that took precedence. Therefore he concludes: ‘’With economia passed, the Apostolic Canons should resume their place.’’[273] This means that in his time (18th cen.) the West was incapable of politically threatening the nation under Turkish rule, and thus there was no reason to fear the West.

            Athanasios Parios also offers a similar response: ‘’Those who propound the so-called synodal decree of 1484, which received Latin converts by chrismation, do not understand that the churchmen of that time were using economia, and that they thus formulated their decree because of the Papacy’s agitation and tyranny.’’ He, too, observes: ‘’Now the season of economia has passed…and the papal fury no longer has any power over us.’’[274]

            3) As it spread more and more, the innovation of the Latin baptism provoked reactions on the part of the Orthodox. This is apparent from the decision of a twenty-four bishop Council in the year 1600 in Constantinople, which decreed the reception of Latins by chrismation. This synodal formulation permits us, according to Oikonomos, to conclude that the East was in fact baptizing Latins. The decision of this Council can be explained ‘’in two ways: for either it had in view the previously published earlier Definition (1484), without meddling with it any further,’’ for as long as trine immersion survived in the West, the fear existed of repeating the correct baptism a second time; or, for the sake of economia, ‘’to mollify the West’s…brutal impulses and attacks,’’ and to attract them to Orthodoxy.[275]

            4) The Council of Moscow in 1620-21 decided to baptize Western converts.[276] However, the ‘’great’’ Council of Moscow in 1666-67, in which the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch also participated, approved the decision of the 1484 Council of Constantinople, and thus rejected the (re)baptism of Western converts.

            The decision of this Council is explained by Oikonomos as follows: a) the Council of Moscow wished to remain loyal to the Council of Constantinople; b) Czar Alexios ‘’was forced by local circumstances’’ to side in favor of such a decision, because of the inroads of the ‘’neighboring pro-Latin Poles and Lithuanians, and especially those among them who had become Uniates’’; c) this Council in no way conflicted with that of 1621, for the first ‘’voted in accordance with acrivia,’’ while this one ‘’in accordance with concession.’’ But ‘’concession’’ was possible for the following reason. Among Russia’s ‘’enemies’’ were Uniates who had received ‘’the genuine baptism of the Church.’’ Hence, the Council ‘’correctly combined acrivia with concession,’’ so that the baptism of the Uniates who became Orthodox not be repeated a second time, and so as to attract the Latins more easily, after the example of Mark of Ephesus; d) this concession was confined within Russia and was not practiced in the other Patriarchates, just as the decision of 1484 had also not taken a universal character.[277]

            5) The Patriarch of Jerusalem Dositheos, although he accepts the ‘’concessive discernment’’ of Mark of Ephesus, is nevertheless in favor of baptizing the Latins, in accordance with acrivia.[278]

            6) The reply in 1718 of Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias III to Czar Peter the Great, i.e. to receive Latins ‘’by mere chrismation,’’ had in view only the situation in Russia, and the ‘’internal peace of…that multi-ethnic realm of Orthodoxy.’’[279]

            7) Finally, the Council of Constantinople at which Cyril V presided in 1755 decided and imposed the baptism of Latins,[280] the decision of 1484 notwithstanding. The Council’s Definition (known as the Oros), which was also signed by the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem, continues to be the Orthodox Church’s last official decision on the issue.[281] Regarding its application during the eighteenth century, Neophytos notes: ‘’Let me also point out, for the sake of the coming generation,’’ that, as regards the Latins, while Mark of Ephesus baptized ‘’with reserve,’’ and ‘’the bishop of Smyrna baptized openly,’’ Cyril V, on the other hand, ordered ‘’all to be baptized.’’ And after Cyril, the Ecumenical Patriarch Sophronios II (1774-1780), ‘’in the Great Church publicly also baptizes the Armenians, the Arians, and the Nestorians together with the Latins who join the Church, and by own example has predisposed his people everywhere to do the same.’’[282] It is also known that the Ecumenical Patriarch Procopios (1785-1789) enforced the Oros even on the Uniates who converted in 1786.[283]

            [227] See Karmiris, vol. II, pp. 972-973. Cf. Ware, p. 66ff.

            [228] Karmiris, p. 979.

            [229] Ibid.

            [230] Ibid., p. 980.

            [231] Ibid., pp. 981-982, 987-989.

            [232] Ibid., p. 979.

            [233] Ibid., p. 984.

            [234] Androutsos, (Symbology…), p. 321. Papadopoulos, p. 447. Christophilopoulos, article in Θεολογία, pp. 203-204; cf. pp. 120-121. Gritsopoulos, Θ.Η.Ε. 7 (1965), col. 1196.

            [235] See, in this regard, Skouvaras, p. 52ff. Cf. Metropolitan Germanos, p. 309ff.

            [236] According to Kotsonis (Problems…, pp. 189-190), ‘’as far as the Patriarchate of Constantinople is concerned…until 1756 [write 1755], it recognized ‘by acrivia’ the validity of the baptism of those coming over from the Western Church, whereas through the Oros of 1756 [write 1755], it rejected it.’’ On the other hand, in the Russian Church, ‘’until 1441, what prevailed as acrivia was that those coming over from the Western Church were to be baptized anew. But from 1666/7 and to this day, the Russian Church ‘by acrivia’ recognizes the validity of their baptism.’’

            [237] In this list Oikonomos includes, among others, Photios the Great (pp. 421f, 450f – he condemned the ‘’single-immersion’’ baptism), Michael Cerularius (p. 460), Th. Valsamon (p. 463), Germanos II Patr. Of Const. (p. 465), St. Meletios the Confessor (p. 466), Matthew Vlastaris (p. 467), St. Mark of Ephesus (p. 470), Manuel the Rhetor (p. 474), Patriarch Jeremias II (475), Dositheos Patriarch of Jerusalem (p. 476), and Patriarch Jeremias III (p. 476).

            [238] On this point, Sergios Makraios is presented as a witness by Cyril’s opponents. In his History, he declares that ‘’…from the time of the schism until the year of our Lord 1750, that is both before and after the fall of Constantinople, they used to anoint converts with chrism according to the Definition enacted under Patriarch Symeon. Before [1750], the Eastern Church did not accuse the Western Church of rejecting the baptism instituted by the Lord and His Apostles, neither at that Council in Florence, nor afterwards.’’ In, ‘’Υπομνήματα εκκλησιαστικής ιστορίας’’ (‘’Records of Church History’’) by C. Sathas, Μεσαιωνική Βιβλιοθήκη, vol. III (Venice, 1872), p. 403. We shall return below, however; for Makraios’ text here was abridged! (See n. 312 below.)

            [239] Karmiris, vol. I, p. 342.

            [240] O, pp. 460-461.

            [241] O, p. 498. Cf. E, p. 147 ix.

            [242] O, pp. 462-463. P, p. 56. E, p. 147 vii.

            [243] O, pp. 463, 498-499.

            [244] ‘’Orthodox, that is,’’ clarifies Oikonomos (p. 464).

            [245] O, pp. 463-464.

            [246] O, p. 464.

            [247] O, p. 466.

            [248] O, p. 467.

            [249] This would be Makarios of Ancyra. See O, p. 468 n. 1 (the note is by the editor Soph. Oikonomos).

            [250] O, pp. 467-468, 502f.

            [251] O, pp. 469, 499.

            [252] ‘’The evil was occasional and local. The Western Church had not yet adopted this or made it law by proclamation.’’ O, p. 469.

            [253] E, p. 147 viii.

            [254] E, p. 147 vii.

            [255] Karmiris, vol. II, p. 981.

            [256] E, pp. 146, 147 viii. O, pp. 468, 499f. Cf. Karmiris, vol. I, p. 422: ‘’two baptisms, one performed by trine immersion, and the other by pouring water over the head…’’

            [257] O, pp. 503, 504.

            [258] For the Acts of this questionable Council, see Dositheos, Τόμος Καταλλαγής (Jassy, 1692), p. 457ff. Cf. Archim. V. C. Stephanidis, Εκκλησιαστική Ιστορία, 2nd ed. (Athens, 1959), pp. 395-396.

            [259] E, p. 147 viii.

            [260] In the Acts we find the phrase: ‘’Nor is the chrism immediately applied to the head of the baptized,’’ without, however, there being any previous mention of baptism. ‘’How could the innovation on baptism have been passed over in silence, it being such and so?’’ asks Oikonomos (p. 471).

            [261] E, p. 147 viii.

            [262] Karmiris, vol. II, pp. 981f, 987f. O, p. 473f. The decision of this Council, with some exceptions to be sure, was in force until 1755. Ware, p. 67.

            [263] O, p. 505.

            [264] Oikonomos sagaciously observes (pp. 473-4, n. 2), that in the Service published by the Council, baptism is not even listed among the differences, because the innovation had not yet become official.

            [265] O, p. 474. Oikonomos relies on an anti-Latin work by Manuel the Rhetor of the Great Church (1550).

            [266] O, pp. 505-506.

            [267] O, p. 506. And he adds: ‘’Also all our most ancient monasteries, such as those of Athos, etc., uphold this same conviction.’’

            [268] E, p. 146. Cf. also what was said by Sylvester Syropoulos: ‘’We are people enslaved to the Latins, and what we say will find no acceptance.’’ Vera Historia, ch. 6:11. In V. Laurent, Les ‘’Memoires’’ de Sylvestre Syropoulos sur le Concile de Florence (Paris, 1971), pp. 534-536.

            [269] P, p. 56.

            [270] Ibid.

            [271] P, p. 57.

            [272] P, p. 56.

            [273] P, p. 57.

            [274] M, pp. 267-268. Of course, the opposite opinion has also been stated. E.g. Ware writes in this connection: ‘’Neither of these Councils [i.e. Constantinople, 1484, and Moscow, 1667] was exposed to foreign pressure or acted from fear of Papist reprisals; why then did they reach conclusions so different from those of Argenti?’’ (p. 95). Is this certain? And even if there were no immediate dangers, was the prevailing situation, at least in the Balkans, of no consequence? See below Oikonomos’ explanation of this case also.

            [275] O, pp. 474-475.

            [276] O, pp. 476, 507.

            [277] O, pp. 507-509.

            [278] O, p. 509. ‘’For they who (without necessary cause) are not baptized with three emersions and immersions are in danger of being unbaptized. Wherefore the Latins, who perform baptism by aspersion, commit mortal sin.’’ Dodekavivlos, p. 525; in O, p. 509.

            [279] O, pp. 509-510.

            [280] O, pp. 477ff, 510ff. The ‘’Oros’’ of this Council (July 1755) was generally dated 1756, for that is when it was first published in print in the work, Ραντισμού Στηλίτευσις (A Denunciation of Sprinkling) (pp. clxxiii – clxxvi). (Reprinted in Mansi 38:617-622. See also Appendix II below.) The work, A Denunciation of Sprinkling, was formerly considered to have been written by E. Argentis (e.g. see O, pp. 477, 511), but it is rather the work of Christophoros Aitolos. See Ware, p. 99.

            [281] S. Runciman, The Great Church in Captivity (Oxford, 1968), p. 359. Runciman calls the Oros ‘’a result of a sincere conviction.’’

            [282] E, p. 147 xxv.

            [283] Karmiris, vol. II, p. 984 n. 4.


          • I’m not sure of all the points of baptismal theology at issue here, but having just recently (Lazarus Saturday, March 23/April 10) been baptized into Orthodoxy, some of these questions arose during my catechumenate–if that’s the proper formation of the word.

            The Nicene Creed states that “I confess one baptism for the remission of sins.” I had previously been baptized in a Trinitarian, liturgical church at the age of 6; therefore, I was old enough at the time to remember the ceremony. The Missouri Synod Lutherans of the 1950/1960 period were very much what they had been since the Germans first immigrated to the U.S., and quite strict: no dancing, no cards, no drinking to excess. Memorize Martin Luther’s writings, etc.

            I originally declined my priest’s statement that I *must* be immersed three times in water and only then be chrismated. I said this would be two baptisms and thus violate the Nicene Creed. We struggled with this concept for a few weeks, wanting to hold both to Orthodox practice and to the Creed.

            My priest then had the insight to ask me very specifically about the Lutheran ceremony I had experienced: Had there been an exorcism? Had I renounced Satan? etc. And he said that, in The Acts of the Apostles, there were many who had been baptized by the Forerunner who later sought baptism from the Apostles (“water” vs. “water and the spirit”). He left it to me to read (most of) Acts; the baptisms in question appear in Chapter 19.

            After both of us concluding that the Lutheran ceremony was indeed defective (no exorcism, blowing away of evil thoughts and such), I felt in good conscience that a full-immersion baptism into Orthodoxy would not violate the Creed, and we proceeded to schedule the date.

            But now to Abp. Bergoglio, currently styled Pope Francis.

            My hesitation, even as a very new Orthodox, in matters dealing with Pope Francis, has everything to do with his kow-towing to Islam. HOW CAN HE DO THIS??? Rather than being a righteous representative of (what he believes to be) salvation through Christ, he assumes a dhimmi stance before Muslims on Maundy Thursday and then *criticizes* European countries for not happily, voluntarily swamping their own cultures with even more mass immigration of Muslims–those who will be happy to kill each and every Christian, since it’s a commandment of their ideology.

            I think we know now, quite clearly, why Pope Benedict XVI was “encouraged” to resign. (See his Regensburg Lecture of 12 September 2006 where he quoted Emperor Michael Paleologus on Islam’s prophet.) Yes, Rome has fallen (again, and farther).

            • Vesta,

              Welcome to the Church! Many years!

              It sounds like you have a good priest there. Anyway, yes, the current pope is a handful. My pet theory is that many in the West have lost faith in literal Christianity and see it as kind of a Plotinist philisophical construction, rather than God enfleshed and resurrected. That would explain a lot. Plotinus, to me, seems like he must have encountered some form of Christianity in Alexandria or Rome and attempted to transmute it into a Greek philosophy to make it go down easier. Look at his biography. He got around. The Kumbaya, let’s split the difference, attitude of the ecumenicists betrays their loss of faith. Orthodox Christianity is too good for some people to believe. Trust me, it is utterly true. It just takes faith. We form a conviction that this is the truth and sometimes it seems like we spend a long time after that still convincing ourselves that our commitment was correct. I’ve been through that valley to the other side. I’m sure.

              God bless you in your journey with Christ!

          • Michael Warren says

            The Reception of Heretic Laity and Clergy Into the Orthodox Church
            A Reply to Bishop Tikhon’s Letter of Instruction #10
            by a priest who wishes to remain anonymous
            The reception of heretics into the Orthodox Church is certainly a controversial matter not only today, but also in the past. History shows changing attitudes in respect to this question in various geographical areas.

            Nevertheless there is a choice to be made: either to practice akrivia (i.e., fulfilling a Canon in exactness) or economia (i.e., dispensing or relaxing a Canon). In my comments I propose to give a fuller picture of the matter at hand.

            First I want to make a few brief, general comments about more recent Russian practices. His Grace quotes service books which he states were in active use for centuries in Russia. We know that historians agree the Russian Church experienced a process of Westernization through figures such as Metropolitan Peter Moghila of Kiev, Peter the Great, and Catherine II. Perhaps we could also add Patriarch Nikon since Fr. Paul Meyendorff in his book Russia, Ritual, and Reform comments,

            Historians have generally accepted the ‘official’ interpretation of the reform of liturgical books conducted in Muscovite Russia in the mid-17th century as a ‘correction’ made on the basis of ancient Greek and Slavic sources. In fact, the reform was based exclusively on contemporary sources chiefly the 1602 Venice Euchologion (Greek) and 17th century South-Slavic editions from Kiev and Striatin.

            We can trace current practices of reception of converts in service books to Metropolitan Peter Moghila, [1] who is responsible for the Kievan edition mentioned above which was published in 1646. The Striatin (published in 1606) along with a few other early 17th century editions had no services for receiving various heretics and non-Christians into the Church. However in the service book by Metropolitan Peter Moghila a three-strata approach was developed:

            1. For non-Christians, as well as Socinian Anabaptists: a five day catechumens rite, a profession of faith; this was different for Jews, Saracens, and Socinians, whom he calls “Arians”: baptism, chrismation, communion.

            2. For Protestants: a profession of faith, as well as an exorcism and insufflation, absolution, confirmation, and communion.

            3. For Roman Catholics, Uniates and apostates: a confession of faith, confession, communion.

            This new system was a pastoral response to the contemporary situation where for the first time, Orthodox and non-Orthodox lived side-by-side in large numbers. [We should also keep in mind that often whole cities would fall into the domain of Catholic rulers and the Orthodox were forced to go under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Thus a problem which was faced by the Russian Church was how to unite such to the Orthodox Church when these territories once again came under Russian rule.]

            Peter’s lenient approach was intended to encourage conversion and contrasted sharply with the Muscovite practice at this time of rebaptizing Roman Catholics and even those Orthodox who had been baptized by aspersion rather than immersion” (ibid. p. 112). However, a council called by Patriarch Nikon and held during the fifth week of Lent (March 25-31, 1655) which was attended by Patriarch Makarios of Antioch and the Serbian Metropolitan Gabriel produced a list of “errors” in Russian practice among which was the Baptism of Catholics. This practice which was formerly affirmed by a council in 1620 by Patriarch Philaret was then abolished. And although, as Fr. Paul Meyendorff states, in “1759 the entire Russian Church adopted Moghila’s threefold approach” (ibid. footnote 32 pg. 113), in the next century monasteries such as Optina and Valaamo were known to baptize converts.

            Now I want to comment separately on the reception of heretic clergy and laity. First “The Office of Receiving a Priest of the Roman Church into Communion with the Orthodox Catholic Church”. On page 4 of the above footnote 1 reads: “This office was formulated by Metropolitan Philaret because of the case of the reputed incorrect bringing into Orthodox Communion of the Abbot Maundreli.” As Bishop Tikhon states, this was from the 6th edition of “An Aid to the Study of the Typikon of Services of the Orthodox Church” by Konstatin Nikol’sky. However, I wonder what Fr. Konstantin meant by, “because of the case of the reputed incorrect bringing into Orthodox Communion”. I do not have the 6th edition printed in 1900 at my resources but in the 7th edition of “Handbook to Learning the Rubrics of Church Services—(lit. Services of God)” [Posoebie k Izucheniyu Ustava Bogosluzheniya], by the same author printed in 1907 footnote 2 on page 684 concerning the same service reads: “This service was put together by Metropolitan Philaret upon an incorrect basis in order to receive into Orthodoxy the Abbot Maundrel.”

            In footnote 2 on page 4 as a justification for this service the 8th canon of the First Ecumenical Council is referred to in regard to the Iconoclastic bishops and other clergy being received in priestly rank.

            Canon 8 of the First Ecumenical Council reads:

            As concerning those who call themselves Puritans and who are claiming to be adherents of the catholic and apostolic Church, it has seemed right to the holy and great Council, when they have had hands laid upon them [2], to let them remain in the clergy. Above all, that it is fitting for them to confess to this in writing, to wit, that they will agree to and will adhere to the dogmas of the catholic and apostolic Church. That is, that they will hold communion with persons married a second time, and with those who in time of persecution have lapsed from the faith; regarding whom a length of time has been fixed, and a due season has been set, for their penance. So that they may adhere to the dogmas of the catholic Church in everything. Wherever they are the only ones found to have been ordained, whether in villages or in cities, they shall remain in the same habit (or order). But wherever there is a Bishop of the catholic Church, and some of them are joining it, it is obvious that, as the Bishop of the Church will keep the dignity of bishop, the one called a bishop among the so-called Puritans shall have the honor of a Presbyter, unless it should seem better to the Bishop that he should share in the honor of the name. But if this does not please him, he shall devise a position either of a chorepiscopus or of a presbyter, with the object of having him seem to be wholly in the clergy, lest there should be two bishops in the same city.

            The aforementioned practice of the 7th Ecumenical Council is explained in the Concord of Canon 68 of the Canons of the Holy Apostles, This canon states:

            If any bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon accepts a second ordination from anyone, let him and the one who ordained him be deposed. Unless it be established that his ordination has been performed by heretics. For those who have been baptized or ordained by such persons cannot possibly be either faithful Christians or clergymen.

            In the Interpretation it states:

            For all those who have been baptized or ordained by heretics are subject to the feature that this fact prevents any of them from being qualified in anyway whatsoever as Christians by virtue of their heretical baptism, or rather to say, pollution nor as priests and clergymen by virtue of their heretical ordination. On this account there is no danger whatever in baptizing such persons by Orthodox priests, and in ordaining them by Orthodox bishops [3]. Hence in agreement herewith St. Basil the Great in writing to the Christians of Nicopolis says: ‘I will never count one a true priest of Christ that has been ordained and has received patronage of laity from the profane hands of heretics to subversion of the Orthodox faith.’

            Concord Notwithstanding that the First Ecumencial Council in its c. VIII accepted the ordinations performed by the Novatians, and the Council held at Carthage those performed by the Donatists, the fact remains that the Novatians on the one hand, were not really heretics, but schismatics, according to c. I of Basil, while, on the other hand, the ordinations of the Donatists were accepted only by the Council held at Carthage on account of the great need and want which Africa had of clergymen, according to its c. LXVI. This is the same as saying that they accepted them “economically” (i.e., by way of a concession) and as a matter of necessity. That is why the Council held in Italy refused to accept them, since it was in no such straits, according to c. LXXVII of the same Council. Moreover, even the Council held in Carthage, according to the terms of its c. CI, required that all who ordained heretics, or who were ordained by heretics or who admitted to the privilege of holding services should be entitled to receive ten pounds of gold as compensation for their loss of prestige and for their condescension in lending consent to such unorthodox proceedings. Actually, too, the Seventh Ecumenical Council, thought it did accept the ordinations performed by the heretics called Iconomachs (or Iconoclasts)—not, however, those performed by the chief leaders of the heresy nor those performed by such of these heretics as cherished any rancor and who were not genuinely and truly repentant, as divine Tarasius said; but only ordination performed by the followers of the chief leaders of the heresy and of those who were truly and genuinely repentant: concerning which see the interpretation of the letter of Athanasius the Great to Roufianus—and those who had been ordained by them and who held the Orthodox faith they did not reordain, as appears from its first act, but it did this “economically” because of the great multitudes of Iconomachs that was then in evidence; just as the Second Ecumenical Council accepted the baptism performed by some heretics, as a matter of “economy,” i.e., by way of “accommodation,” as we have already said.

            Hence in view of the fact that it did not make this temporal and circumstantial “economy” a “definition,” i.e., a definitive rule, it cannot be said to conflict with the present Apostolical Canon. Why, even the patriarch Anatolious was ordained by the heretic Dioscorus and his heretical synod; and even St. Meletius of Antioch was ordained by Arians, according to Sozomenus (Book 4, ch. 28); and many others were ordained by heretics and were thereafter accepted by the Orthodox leaders. But such examples are relatively rare and occasional and due to the circumstances of the case, and they lack canonicity. Anything, however, that is due to circumstances and that is a rarity is not a law of the Church, both according to c. XVII of the 1st-&-2nd and according to Gregory the Theologian, and also according to the second act of the Council held in St. Sophia and according to that legal dictum which says: “Whatever is contrary to the spirit of the Canons cannot be drawn upon as a model.” Second ordinations of the Orthodox are also prohibited by c. LVII of Carthage. Read also the interpretations and footnotes to Ap. cc. CLVI and CLVII.

            In the canons concerning reception of heretics we also see variation in practice. Canon 95 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council states:

            [As for heretics who are joining Orthodoxy and the portion of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom. Arians and Macedonians and Novatians, who called themselves Cathari and Aristeri, and the Tessarakaidekatitae, or, at any rate, those called Tetradites and Apolinarists, we accept, when they give us certificates (called libelli); and when they anathematize every heresy that does not believe as the holy catholic and Apostolic Church of God believes, and are sealed, i.e., are anointed first with holy myron on the forehead and the eyes, and the nose and mouth, and the ears, while we are anointing them and sealing them we say, “A seal of a gift of Holy Spirit.” As concerning Paulianists who have afterwards taken refuge in the Catholic Church, a definition has been promulgated that they have to be rebaptized without fail. As for Eunomians, however, who baptize with a single immersion, and Montanists who are hereabouts called Phrygians and Sabellians; who hold the tenet of Hyiopatoria (or modalistic monarchianism) and do other embarrassing things; and all other heresies—for there are many hereabouts, especially those hailing from the country of the Galatians—as for all of them who wish to join Orthodoxy, we accept them as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day, we make them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; after this, on the third day we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and into their ears. And thus we catechize them, and make them stay for a long time in church and listen to the Scriptures, and then we baptize them.] As for Manicheans, and Valentinians, and Marcionists, and those from similar heresies, they have to give us certificates (called libelli) and anathematize their heresy, the Nestorians, and Nestorius, and Eutyches and Dioscorus, and Severus, and the other exarchs of such heresies, and those who entertain their beliefs, and all the aforementioned heresies, and thus they are allowed to partake of Holy Communion.

            The words in brackets are repeated from canon 7 of the 2nd and canon 19 of the 1st Ecumenical Councils. But if we go back to the Canons of the Holy Apostles in canon 46 it states:

            We order that any Bishop, or Presbyter, that has accepted any heretics’ Baptism, or sacrifice, to be deposed; for “what consonancy hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath the believer with an infidel?”


            It behooves Orthodox Christians to shun heretics and the ceremonies and rites of the heretics. They, i.e., heretics ought rather to be criticized and admonished by Bishops and Presbyters, in the hope of their apprehending and returning from their error. For this reason the present Canon prescribes if any Bishop or Presbyter shall accept a heretics’ Baptism as correct and true,[4] or any sacrifice offered by them, it is ordered that he be dropped. For what agreement hath Christ with the Devil? or what portion hath the believer with an unbeliever? Those who accept the doings of heretics either themselves entertain similar views to theirs or at any rate they lack an eagerness to free them from their misbelief. For how can those who acquiesce in their religious ceremonies and rites criticize then with the view of persuading them to give up their cacodoxical and erroneous heresy?

            In agreement with St. Cyprian and his Synod, Firmillian, who served as exarch of the Synod in Iconium and whom St. Basil the Great in his first Canon calls one of his own, as being bishop of Cesarea, also invalidates and rejects the baptism of heretics. For in writing to St. Cyprian he says the following:

            But who though he has attained to the acme of perfection and of wisdom can maintain or believe that merely the invocation of the three names of the Holy Trinity is sufficient for the remission of offenses and for the sanctification of the baptism, even when, that is to say, the one baptizing is not an Orthodox?

            Read all his letter which is contained in the chronicle of those who held the office of Patriarch in Jerusalem (Book I, ch. 16, p. 4) and which is needed in connection with this subject. St. Basil the Great favors this idea, too, whose Canon have also been confirmed and ratified by the Sixth Ecumenical Council (Canon II). For in his first Canon with the intention of saying which baptisms are acceptable, and which are unacceptable, he divides them into two classes, by saying:

            For it appeared to the ancients to be a reasonable rule that any baptism should be utterly disregarded that has been performed by heretics, or, in other words, by those who have been utterly separated from the Church and who differ from the Orthodox in respect of faith itself, and whose difference is directly dependent of faith in God. As for the baptism of schismatics, on the other hand, it appeared to the Synod of Cyprian and of my own Firmilian that it too ought to be disregarded and rejected, seeing that the schismatics—the Novatians, I mean, the Encratites, the Sarcophores, the Aquarians, and others—have separated in principle form the Church, and after separating have not had the grace of the Holy Spirit in them any longer, as the impartation of it has ceased; hence as having become laymen they have had neither the spiritual gift nor the authority to baptize or to ordain, and consequently those who are baptized by them, as being baptized by laymen, have been ordered to be baptized with the true Baptism of the Catholic Church. Yet inasmuch as it appeared reasonable to some Fathers of Asia for the Baptism of schismatics to be deemed acceptable for the sake of some economy in behalf of the multitude, let it be accepted.

            But note that the baptism of schismatics which he accepts in his first Canon he rejects in his forty-seventh Canon, by saying:

            In a word, we baptize all Novatians, and Encratites, and Sarcophores. Even if rebaptism is prohibited with you for the sake of some economy, as it is with the Romans, nevertheless let our word have the power of rejecting, to put it plainly, the baptism of such.

            Hence if Basil the Great rejects the baptism of schismatics because of their having lost perfective grace, then it is needless to ask whether we ought to baptize heretics. In his twentieth Canon he says decisively that the Church does not accept heretics unless she baptizes them.

            The same opinion is held by Athanasius the Great, too, whose words were also confirmed and ratified by the Sixth Ecumenical Council. For he says in his third discourse against the Arians:

            The Arians are in danger even in the very plenitude of the mystery-baptism, I mean. For while perfection through baptism is given in the name of the Father and of the Son, the Arians do not refer to a true Father owing to their denial of the likeness of the essence emanating from Him: thus they deny even the true Son, and conjuring up another in their imagination built out of nothing real, they call this one the Son. So how can it be said that the baptism given by them is not perfectly useless and vain?

            Though it does appear to be a baptism in pretense, yet in reality it is of no help to faith and piety. For it is not he that says merely ‘O Lord’ that gives a correct baptism, but he that utters the invocation of the name and at the same time possesses a correct faith. On the account too, the Savior did not command the Apostles to baptize merely and in a simple fashion, but, on the contrary, told them first to make disciples of those about to be baptized, and then to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in order that the faith might become correct from their having been instructed disciples, and, thanks to their correct faith the perfection of the baptism might be added. It is for this reason, indeed, that many other heresies, true enough, do say only the names of the Holy Trinity, but inasmuch as they do not believe these correctly and they have not a sound faith either, the baptism given by them is of no benefit to them, owing to its lacking piety. So that as a matter of fact the consequence is that anyone sprinkled by them is rather polluted with impiety than redeemed from it. So the Arians, who share beliefs of Arius, though they may read the words written and may pronounce the names of the Holy Trinity in their baptism, yet they are deluding and misleading those who receive their baptism at their hands, since they are more impious than the other heretics. . .

            Variation of practice is more clearly explained elsewhere in the same footnote:

            In order to have an easily understandable solution of this perplexity there is need that one should know beforehand that two kinds of government and correction are in vogue in the Church of Christ. One kind is called Rigorism; the other kind is called Economy and Moderatism; with which the economists of the Spirit promote the salvation of souls, at times with the one, and at times with the other kind. So the fact is that the holy Apostles in their aforesaid Canons, and all the saints who have been mentioned, employed Rigorism, and for this reason they reject the baptism of heretics completely, while, on the other hand, the two Ecumenical Councils employed Economy and accepted the baptism of Arians and of Macedoniacs and of others, but refused to recognize that of Eunomians and of still others. Because in the times especially of the Second Council the Arians and the Macedoniacs were at the height of their influence, and were not only very numerous but also very powerful, and were close to the kings, and close to the nobles and to the senate. Hence, for one thing, in order to attract them to Orthodoxy and correct them the easier, and, for another thing, in order to avoid the risk of infuriating them still more against the Church and the Christians and aggravating the evil, those divine Fathers thus managed the matter economically—”managing their words economically with judgment” (Ps. quoted)—and condescended to accept their baptism.

            Again later in the same footnote a “Baptism ” without the Orthodox form of immersion is considered unacceptable:

            …those heretics whose baptism they accepted also rigorously observed the kind and the matter of the baptism of the Orthodox, and were willing to be baptized in accordance with the form of the Catholic Church. Those heretics, on the other hand, whose baptism they had refused to recognize, had counterfeited the ceremony of baptism and had corrupted the rite, or the mode of the kind, or (in the terminology of the Latins) species, and the same may be said of the invocations, or that of the matter, and the same may be said of the immersions and emersions, with reference to Roman Catholics and Protestants.

            Also in this same footnote even those done by laymen in case of danger of death are not deemed acceptable:

            …any such those who may have been baptized by a layman in a time of grave danger if they do not die, but outlive it, since according to this Apostolical Canon XLVII only Bishops and Presbyters are authorized to baptize anyone, and not laymen, in accordance with the first Canon of St. Basil, which says, “We baptize those who have been baptized by laymen.” For what is done in time of grave danger and under extraordinary circumstances is not a law to the Church, according to the seventeenth Canon of the First-and-Second Synod. Balsamon and Blastaris say the same thing…This is in accordance with the fact that Dionysius of Alexandria baptized anew and all over from the beginning a certain Jew who had been baptized by a layman in time of illness when death was threatening, after he survived.

            In the first part of this extensive footnote the first canon or rule of St. Basil the Great is quoted which Bishop Nikodim refers to in his footnote to the passage quoted by Bishop Tikhon. In this footnote he says “We don’t know how it is that the Greek Church applies the first rule of St. Basil to Roman Catholics.” In his first rule St. Basil speaks of the need to Baptize heretics and schismatics. How then, could it be wrong to classify Catholics as heretics and apply this rule to them? However even Bishop Nikodim has expressed contrary opinions on this matter in his book, “Rules of the Orthodox Church with Explanations”. In an article entitled, “Strictness and Economy” by Protopresbyter George Grabbe [5] he examines the explanations of Bishop Nikodim in reference to the Church canons on Baptism. He writes:

            Bishop Nikodim begins his commentary on the forty-sixth Apostolic canon with a clear statement of principle: “According to the teaching of the Church”, he writes, “every heretic is outside the Church, and outside the Church there can be neither true Christian baptism nor true Christian sacrifice, and, in general, no true holy mysteries. The present Apostolic canon expresses this teaching of the Church with reference to the Holy Scripture and permits no communion between one who confesses the Orthodox faith and one who teaches against it. We also read this in the Apostolic Constitutions (IV, 15), and the fathers and teachers of the Church have taught this from the very beginning” [above mentioned book page 116]….I will now quote from his commentary on the forty-seventh Apostolic canon: “Baptism” he writes, “is an essential condition for the entry into the Church and for becoming a true member thereof. It must be celebrated according to the Church’s teaching (Apost. canons 49-50) and only such baptism is called true according to this canon…From true baptism the canon distinguishes false baptism which has not been performed by an Orthodox priest according to the Church’s teaching, and which only does not cleanse a man from sin but on the contrary, defiles him” (op. cit., Vol. I, p. 117). On page 283 of the same book, in his commentary on the seventh canon of the Second Ecumenical Council Bishop Nikodim reaffirms this position, but, passing to the practice of concession ascribes to it not practical but dogmatic significance in relation to baptism among the heretics and thus introduces confusion into his confession and understanding of Orthodox ecclesiology. He writes: “But if there are other Christian groups who are outside of the Orthodox Church and who have conscious intention to bring a newly-baptized person into the Church of Christ (that is, they intend to impart divine grace to him through baptism, that by the power of the Holy Spirit he will become a true member of the body of Christ and a reborn child of God), then the baptism received in such a group will be considered valid insofar as it has been performed on the basis of a faith in the Holy Trinity…” …Obviously, his train of thought was such: if the Church accepts a heretic without “re”-baptism, this means that she accepts his heretical baptism as true and valid. Having accepted such a premise he tries to adjust his subsequent opinion to it and falls into a contradiction of that teaching of the Church which he himself had set forth correctly a few pages earlier. [Perhaps it should be noted that geographically Bishop Nikodim fell under the domain of Catholic rule]. There are many today who in conformity to the latter thought of Bishop Nikodim claim that the Church accepts any baptism done in the name of the Trinity. However in the aforementioned footnote on the Interpretation of the 46th Apostolic canon in quoting St. Athanasius the Great states: “Many other heresies, true enough do say the names of the Holy Trinity, but inasmuch as they do not believe these correctly and they do not have a sound faith either, the baptism given by them is of no benefit to them.”

            And again as was quoted above only triple immersion was accepted by economia. As Protopresbyter George Grabbe later states concerning the teaching that the Church accepts as valid heretical schismatic baptisms: “There is no such teaching in any of the holy fathers or in any canon.” The Church did not declare these baptisms as valid rather in particular circumstances accepted them as an act of economia. Perhaps in considering this issue there is one more thing we should bring to our attention: What does God want? Do we simply use our logic to examine the canons, various interpretations, and practices form an opinion and fail to consider: What is God’s will? What does God want? I believe by manifestations of the Grace of the Holy Spirit, God has borne witness to what He wants.

            + + +
            The following are stories I’ve heard about people who have come into the Church through Chrismation and were later Baptized. Experiences of Grace occurred in their Baptism. For instance, one spoke of the passion which afflicted him the most being broken, another said his most difficult passion became external, another person experienced a change within and felt more complete, someone else who used to be so weak and frail, after the Baptism became like a roaring lion, another felt as if he had been anointed with peace and had become somehow noble, and spoke of a peace and inner strength that he had never had before, another said after the Baptism it seemed that her whole house was full of grace. There was another who was so weak in fighting against sin, and her spiritual father told her she needed the Grace of Baptism. She was Baptized and afterwards spoke of a peace and inner strength which she had never experienced before. One man said to the priest who baptized him “Thank you father, you were peaceful in the water but I was vibrating. Something was killed within Me, something was put to death within me.” The wife of one couple baptized wrote the following testimony to her spiritual father: “I felt very clean and new inside. It was a feeling I have experienced after confession but it was much greater after the Baptism. My husband said he felt very peaceful. He told me last night that he also feels like a different person in many ways. He feels more loving toward people at work with whom he used to have a hard time.” She also related that when she woke up the morning after the Baptism, as she was lying in bed she smelled incense. She later discovered that the fragrance was coming from their pillows. And after she said her morning prayers and went to change her nightgown, she noticed that it also had a strong fragrance of incense. She had the thought that this was a sign that she had been purified and cleansed. The elder of her spiritual father confirmed this. I have heard of several cases of barren woman conceiving children after Baptism. In one of these cases a couple went to see an elder to ask his opinion concerning the wife’s desire to have Orthodox Baptism. But as soon as they entered the room with the elder before they spoke,he looked at her and said, “She is not baptized, she needs to be baptized.” All of these were, as I mentioned, people who came into the Orthodox Church through chrismation and later baptized – some Catholics and some Protestants. In another one of these cases of pregnancy, word got back to the bishop, and the priest who did this secretly was disciplined. This priest asked many people to pray for him, who in turn asked others. Among them was the Elder Paisios-the late, well known hermit and gifted elder near Karyes on the Holy Mountain. This elder was only told that a Fr. X was in trouble with his bishop and could not serve nothing else. A month later a monk acquainted with this priest went to see Fr. Paisios ( who had no way of knowing this monk knew this priest) and before this monk spoke to him, Fr. Paisios the elder said, “I know Father X is in trouble with his Bishop Y. Tell Father X to continue to do what he is doing, but to be very discreet.” This elder knew everything: he knew the monk in front of him was acquainted with the priest in question, he knew the Bishop’s name, and he knew the reason this priest was in trouble: none of which was told him.

            I have one last story to relate: Once someone came to receive Communion from Archimandrite Sophrony. He was about to give him Communion, but then drew the spoon back and he kept going back and forth with the spoon. Finally he asked this person: “Were you Baptized Orthodox or Protestant?” This man was suffering from a very serious loss of faith and Archimandrite Sophrony saw a light coming upon him and diminishing. But the point behind this story is that by the light he saw on those who came to Communion, Archimandrite Sophrony would know if they were baptized Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant. What does God want?

            1. It should be noted that “he was born in 1596, the son of a Moldavian prince. In 1612, he fled with his family to Poland following a revolt. He studied in Polish schools, possibly at the Jesuit Academy in Zamoisk and may even have undertaken a trip to Holland. He thus received a classical, Western education.” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 2 1985, “The Liturgical Reforms of Peter Moghila: A New Look by Fr. Paul Meyendorff”, 105.

            2. In a footnote (footnotes are by Sts. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain and Agapius, Interpretations and Concords are from seven different sources mainly Monk John Zonaras and Deacons Theodore Balsamon and Alexius Aristenus of the “Great Church” who are all from the 12th century) it reads:

            The laying on of hands here is not ordination, as one might perhaps suppose, but it consists in the action of those in holy orders laying their hand on the heads of such heretics, and thus accepting them as penitents. For c. XLIX of Carthage also insists that penitents be accepted thus with laying on of hands, and not, of course, with any ordination. That my words are true is attested by the Seventh Ecum. C. For when this same Canon was read in the first act of the same Council, and it was asked how the expression “laying on of hands” was to be understood, most saintly Tarasius said that the phrase “laying on of hands” was employed here in the sense of blessing, and not with reference to any ordination.

            3. That is why Balsamon (Reply 30, p. 378 of “Juris”) says that if any heretical priest or deacon is baptized (or anointed with chrism), his former priesthood is to be regarded as a depravity and never existed as unreal. But if thereafter he be found worthy, he may become both a priest and a prelate. Hence it follows as a matter of logical inference that since, according to the present Apostolical Canon, heretics have no holy orders, whatever ministrations they may perform are banalities and devoid of grace and sanctity.

            4. For this reason too, the ecclesiastic martyr St. Cyprian, who served as bishop of Carthage, and all his Synod of eighty-four bishops, which had been convoked in Carthage, following the present Apostolical Canon, which simply rejects any baptism of heretics, but also Apostolical Canon LXVIII, which says that those who have been baptized or ordained by heretics cannot be—which is the same as saying that it is impossible for them to be—either Christians or clerics, following, I say, these Canons, they laid down a Canon whereby they reject the baptism of heretics and of schismatics as well. They prove this by many Scriptural assertions and especially by that of St. Paul the Apostle saying, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). For, they say, if the Catholic Church is one and the true Baptism is one, how can the baptism of heretics and schismatics be a true Baptism at a time when they are not included in the Catholic Church, but have been cut off from it as a result of heresy? But if the baptism of heretics and schismatics is a true Baptism, and that of the Orthodox, Catholic Church is also a true Baptism, then there is not one Baptism, as St. Paul shouts, but two, which is quite absurd.

            5. Translated from Orthodox Russia, No. 22 (1144), Nov. 15/28, 1978, pp. 1-3; this appears in Orthodox Life in English.

            • M. Stankovich says

              This, indeed was an excellent choice of this priest to remain anonymous, as his opinion contains significant error.

              Clearly you and this priest err in framing oikonomia as a “loosening” or “laxity” in the strict application of the Canons. This would first presume that the Church understands the Canon “Law” as one would understand the “jurisprudence” of the world; as if to imply that our Lord, who was the fulfillment of the Law, Who sacrificed Himself to “set us free,” would then, in His Resurrection, enslave us to the Pedalion. This is ridiculous. It is, in fact, St. Paul who provides the definition in three places: i) “Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself: That in the management [οἰκονομίαν] of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth.” (Eph. 1:9-10); ii) speaking of those who would conduct this management, “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the management [οἰκονομίαν] of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,” (Col.1:25); and finally, iii) “For a bishop must be blameless, as the manager [οἰκονόμον] of God.”(Titus 1:7). In this context, Fr. John Meyendorff sets this role of Canon “Law” in perspective in his Byzantine Theology:

              Viewed from a juridical point of view, the entire body of Byzantine canonical sources hardly constitutes a coherent whole. The attempts at codification which we shall mention later are far from exhaustive and do not eliminate important contradictions. They were never intended to provide the Byzantine Church with a complete corpus juris. Many Western polemicists have pointed to this state of affairs as an essential weakness of Eastern Christianity, which has failed to provide itself with an independent and consistent canon law and thus has surrendered to the power of the state. These judgments however have generally taken for granted that the Church is a divine “institution” whose internal existence could be adequately defined in juridical terms, a presupposition, which Byzantine Christians did not consider. For them the Church was first of all a sacramental communion with God in Christ and the Spirit, whose membership — the entire Body of Christ — is not limited to the earthly oikoumene (“inhabited earth”) where law governs society but includes the host of angels and saints as well as the divine head. The management of the earthly Church was certainly recognized as a necessary task; and there, the use of juridical terms and concepts was unavoidable. But theseconcepts never exhausted the ultimate reality of the Church of God and could be determined occasionally by the councils or even left to the benevolent and, in principle, Christian care of the emperors.

              This attitude did not mean however that the Byzantines were either indifferent toward the canons or juridically incompetent quite the contrary. They were generally aware that at least certain canons reflected the eternal and divine nature of the Church, and it was a Christian and absolute duty to obey them. Yet Roman traditions were always strong enough in Byzantium to maintain almost permanently a series of highly competent ecclesiastical lawyers who advised the emperors on decrees concerning the Church and also introduced principles of Roman Law into ecclesiastical legislation and jurisprudence. But again, they always understood their role as subordinate to the more fundamental and divine nature of the Church expressed in a sacramental and doctrinal communion uniting heaven and earth. And they recognized that there was no canonical legislation in heaven (for if “justification comes by law, then Christ died in vain,” Ga 2:21), and that their task was a limited one.

              Further, to dump a massive quotation from St. Cyprian of Carthage completely out of context – as if no one is familiar with these text but you – is equally egregious. St. Basil the Great was already witnessing the dangers of the indiscriminate application of “akriveia,” in writing about the Encratites:

              My opinion, therefore, is that nothing being distinctly laid down concerning them, it is our duty to reject their baptism, and that in the case of any one who has received baptism from them, we should, on his coming to the church, baptize him. If, however, there is any likelihood of this being detrimental to general discipline, we must fall back upon custom, and follow the fathers who have ordered what course we are to pursue. For I am under some apprehension lest, in our wish to discourage them from baptizing, we may, through the severity of our decision, be a hindrance to those who are being saved. If they accept our baptism, do not allow this to distress us. We are by no means bound to return them the same favour, but only strictly to obey canons. On every ground let it be enjoined that those who come to us from their baptism be anointed in the presence of the faithful, and only on these terms approach the mysteries. I am aware that I have received into episcopal rank Izois and Saturninus from the Encratite following. I am precluded therefore from separating from the Church those who have been united to their company, inasmuch as, through my acceptance of the bishops, I have promulgated a kind of canon of communion with them.

              St. Basil of Caesarea, To Amphilochius, concerning the Canons [Letter 188]

              And I would bring to your attention that the original Greek text from PG 32 concludes with ἀλλὰ δουλεύειν ἀκριβείᾳ κανόνων “a kind of slavery to a canon of akriveia,” a minute precision. I would suggest you take a break from the Canons of Basil the Great and read his pastoral writings concerning the Canons, this Letter 188 in particular. Fr. Meyendorff continues:

              Among the Greek Fathers, oikonomia has the standard meaning of “incarnation history,” especially during the Christological controversies of the fifth century. In a subsidiary way, it is also used in canonical texts and then obviously places the pastoral “management” entrusted to the Church in the context of God’s plan for the salvation of humankind [Fr. John is referring directly to the Letter of St. Basil To Amphilochius, Concerning the Canons, Letter 188 above]. What is at stake is not only an exception to the law but an obligation to decide individual issues in the general context of God’s plan for the salvation of the world. Canonical strictures may sometimes be inadequate to the full reality and universality of the Gospel and do not provide themselves the assurance that in applying them one is obedient to the will of God. For the Byzantines — to use an expression of Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos (901-907, 912-925) — oikonomia is “an imitation of God’s love for man” and not simply an “exception to the rule.”

              Of its nature, oikonomia cannot be defined as a legal norm, and piratical misuses and abuses of it have frequently occurred. Throughout its entire history, the Byzantine Church has known a polarization between a party of “rigorists” recruited mainly in monastic circles and the generally more lenient group of Church officials supporting a wider use of oikonomia, especially in relation to the state. In fact, oikonomia since it permits various possible ways of implementing the Christian Gospel practically implies conciliation, discussion, and often unavoidably tension. By admitting representatives of the two groups in the catalogue of its saints — Theodore the Studite as well as the patriarchs Tarasius, Nicephorus, and Methodius and Ignatius as well as Photius, — the Church has given credit to them all as long as it recognized that the preservation of the orthodox faith was their common concern. In fact, no one in Byzantium ever denied the principle of oikonomia rather everyone agreed with Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria (581-607) when he wrote, “One rightly can practice oikonomia whenever pious doctrine remains unharmed.” In other words, oikonomia concerns the practical implications of Christian belief, but it never compromises with the truth itself.

              What seems to escape you entirely is that, while our God is, indeed a “Just Judge” and a jealous God Who will not suffer the harm of the righteous, He did not provide the wisdom of the Canons and the authority to “bind & loose” in this world in order to wield them like the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Our God is merciful, longsuffering, and a God of forgiveness. Oikonomia is a mechanism and instrument of salvation, not a “consolation prize,” a favor, or a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. If we were to apply the Canons with the slightest bit of rigor, there would be no one in church; everyone would be outside as “gatekeepers,” doing years of penance and forbidden from the Eucharist. Yet, it obviously is easier to demand rigor from others than to extend mercy.

              • Michael Warren says

                If anyone serious buys into this ridiculous, Eastern Rite Protestant heretical nonsense and wants any of this seriously addressed, I would be more than happy to go into it. I just have no time for the ridiculous and unread heretical nonsense of Syosset-Crestwood’s disgraces. But if any Orthodox Christians, uncontaminated by this sectarian propaganda seek clarification of what here is intentionally confusing and deceptive, I will be happy to knock it out of the park. At the outset, anyone denouncing canonical akriveia and mentioning oikonomia is advocating schism and overthrow of the good order of the Orthodox Church. The exercise of oikonomia is used to bring akriveia to validation patristically. So this entire peace of meta-educated Protestant gibberish falls on its sword at the outset.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  And here, Mr. Warren, in a truly epic flourish of foolishness, you disparage three direct quotations from the Apostle Paul that are the singular Scriptural definitions of economia, and Letter 188 of St. Basil the Great, the primary Patristic source for “following the Fathers before us” and for the direct application of the words of St. Paul:

                  But if any have caused grief, he has not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise you ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Why I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether you be obedient in all things. To whom you forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Cor. 2:5-11)

                  as “meta-educated Protestant gibberish.” I will not even ask you to sustain this statement, “The exercise of oikonomia is used to bring akriveia to validation patristically,” because it is ridiculous.

                  Every fall, students gathered to hear Dean Alexander Schmemann say exactly the same thing he had been taught, and had been taught to those all before him: the knowledge gained at an Orthodox seminary fundamentally began an ended in the chapel, not the classroom or the library, and certainly not Google. Bishops, priests, and theologians are systematically educated through the life of the seminary, not Google. I have made my point, clear as crystal, and you are a charlatan and a thief. Now you have taken to massive postings of whom? Authorities? Who knows who in the world these Google-frenzied individuals might be, with paragraphs of endnotes in Greek and references to Patrologia Graeca that are total gibberish to you! If I gifted every single volume to you, what would you do with them? Seriously?

                  There are simply no more points to be made, and your accusations against Bishops Alexander are without merit and unsustainable. There have been some interesting and necessary points made about the reception of converts, and so on, in spite of your every effort to thwart theses discussions. I am done, and for your fragile ego, I raise your arm in victory because you need that. Hail, victor. Whatever… I conclude with a relevant and, I believe compelling observation of the situation we face:

                  When the different groups of Christians are separated by their loyalties to the Truth, i.e. when they interpret divergently the ultimate loyalty to Christ, it would be both unfair and unwise to ask each other to make concessions and to disregard disagreement for the sake of an immediate unity. It would be, moreover, a sign of unhealthy impatience. Charity should never be set against the Truth. Obviously, it would be unreal to ask the “Catholics” not to regard the Apostolic Succession and the Ministerial Priesthood as being of the esse of the Church, or to suggest that they should not regard any doctrinal interpretation of Sacraments, including that of the Holy Eucharist, as binding. It would be equally unfair to ask the “Protestants” to abandon their distinctive teachings, such as, the doctrine of the Justification by Faith, or, the exclusive practice of the “Believer’s baptism,” or to expect that they would accept doctrines or institutions, which they conscientiously regard as erroneous. To do this, and to try, in the name of an abstract “unity” or “oneness,” to make on the common behalf any statement which, in fact, can be but a “party-statement,” to whichever “party” the preference may be given, would mean either to indulge in dreams, as glorious as they may seem to be, or to attempt a disguised conversion. It may be painful to acknowledge the cruciality of our deepest difference. But this pain is rather the pangs of growth. It must be plainly acknowledged that the present “schism” or “disunity as churches” is not only a stigma of sin, but also a witness to a deep disagreement about the Truth.

                  It can be objected at this point that all that had been just said amounts to a recognition that the Ecumenical Movement had reached a dead-end, and that no further discussion can be profitable and cannot lead anywhere. In fact, it only means that some new ways should be dis- covered, if only we earnestly believe that Unity is God’s will and not just a human project. The tension, which had been described as “our deepest difference,” belongs to the very heart of the Ecumenical problem. It is this tension that gives the true ecumenicity to the Ecumenical quest. The main presupposition of any true Ecumenical encounter is the mutual confidence and respect. The “divided Christians” must trust and respect each other’s sincerity, each other’s convictions. It may make the task much easier if certain communions drop from the scene, but then the ecumenicity of the purpose will be seriously threatened. By its very nature, the Ecumenical endeavor is a paradoxical venture. It is, as it were, an attempt to redirect the course of Christian history, to redirect it towards unity, after the centuries of schisms and splits. This cannot be an easy task.


                  • Michael Warren says

                    …Scripture belonged to the church, and it was only in the church, within the community of right faith, that Scripture could be adequately understood and correctly interpreted. Heretics, namely, those outside of the church, had no key to the mind of the Scripture. It was not enough simply to quote scriptural words and texts (the “letter”). Rather, the true meaning of Scripture, taken as an integrated whole, had to be grasped and elicited. In the admirable phrase of St. Hilary of Poitiers, “scripturae enim non in legendo sunt, sed in intelligendo.” The phrase was also repeated by St. Jerome. One had to grasp in advance, as it were, the true pattern of scriptural revelation, the great and comprehensive design of God’s redemptive providence (the oeconomia), and this could be done only by an insight of faith. It was by faith that the witness to Christ could be discerned in the Old Testament. It was by faith that the unity of the tetramorphic gospel could be properly ascertained.

                    Now, this faith was not an arbitrary and subjective insight of individuals; it was the faith of the church, rooted in the apostolic message or kerygma and authenticated by it. Those outside of the church, that is, outside of her living and apostolic tradition, failed to have precisely this basic and overarching message, the very heart of the gospel. With them Scripture was an array of disconnected passages and stories or of proof-texts which they endeavored to arrange and re-arrange according to their own pattern, derived from alien sources. They had “another faith.” …

                    …This was the main method and the main argument of Tertullian in his passionate treatise De praescriptione. He could not discuss Scriptures with heretics, with those outside the communion of apostolic faith. For they had no right to use the Scriptures: the Scriptures did not belong to them. They were the possession of the church. Tertullian emphatically insisted on the priority of the “rule of faith.” It was the only key to the Scriptures, the indispensable prerequisite of authentic biblical interpretation. And this rule was apostolic; it was rooted in and derived from the original apostolic preaching. The New Testament itself had to be taken in the comprehensive context of the total apostolic preaching, which was still vividly remembered in the church.

                    The basic intention of this appeal to the apostolic “rule of faith” in the early church is obvious. When Christians spoke of the “rule of faith” as apostolic, they did not mean that the apostles had formulated it. What they meant was that the profession of belief which every catechumen recited before his baptism did embody in summary form the faith which the apostles had taught and had committed to their disciples after them. This profession of faith was the same everywhere, although the actual phrasing could vary from place to place. It was always intimately related to the baptismal formula itself (Cf. C. H. Turner). Apart from this “rule” the Scriptures could only be misinterpreted, contended Tertullian and St. Irenaeus a bit earlier.

                    The apostolic tradition of faith was the indispensable guide in the understanding of Scripture and the ultimate warrant of right interpretation. The church was not an external authority which could be the judge over Scripture, but was rather the keeper and guardian of that divine truth which has been stored and deposited in Holy Writ. …

                    …The Arians and their supporters had produced an impressive array of scriptural texts in defense of their doctrinal position. They wanted to restrict theological discussion to the biblical ground alone. Their claim had to be met precisely on this ground. Their exegetical method was much the same as that of the earlier dissenters. They were operating with selected proof-texts, without much concern for the total context of revelation. It was imperative for the orthodox to appeal to the mind of the church, to that “faith” which had been once delivered and then faithfully kept. This was the chief concern and the usual method of the great Athanasius. In his arguments he persistently invoked the “rule of faith,” much in the same manner as it had been done by the fathers of the second century.

                    Only the “rule of faith” allows the theologian to grasp the true intention of Holy Scripture, the scopos, the genuine design and intent of the revelation. The “scope” of the faith or the Scriptures was precisely their credal core, which was condensed in the “rule of faith,” as this had been handed down and transmitted “from fathers to fathers.” In contrast, the Arians had “no fathers” to support their doctrinal claims. Their blasphemy was a sheer innovation totally alien to apostolic tradition and to the overarching message of the Bible. …

                    …Scripture was variously interpreted and twisted by individual writers for their subjective purposes. And to this confusing variety of discordant interpretations and private opinions, St. Vincent opposes the mind of the church catholic (ut propheticae et apostolicae interpretationis linea secundum ecclesiastici et catholici sensus normam derigatur). Thus tradition for St. Vincent is not an independent instance nor a complementary source of doctrine. It is no more than Scripture being interpreted according to the catholic mind of the church, which is the guardian of the apostolic “rule of faith.” St. Vincent repeats and summarizes the continuous attitude of the ancient church on this matter. Scripture is an adequate source of doctrine: ad omnia satis superque sufficiat. Tradition is the authentic guide in interpretation, providing the context and perspective in which Scripture discloses its genuine message.

                    The Orthodox Church is faithfully committed to this ancient and traditional view on the sources of Christian doctrine. Scripture is an adequate source. But only in so far as it is read and interpreted in the church which is the guardian both of the Holy Writ and of the total apostolicparadosis of faith, order and life. Tradition alone allows the church to go beyond the “letter” to the very Word of Life.

                    Fr. Georges Florovsky. “Scripture and Tradition: An Orthodox Point of View”

              • Michael Warren says

                Fr. George Dragas

                The Manner of Reception of Roman Catholic Converts into the Orthodox Church

                with Special Reference to the Decisions of the Synods of 1484 (Constantinople),1755 (Constantinople) and 1667 (Moscow) *

                1. Introduction

                The manner of reception of heterodox into the Orthodox Church as specified by various ancient Canons,(2) which have been incorporated into the Canon Law of the Orthodox Church. These include Apostolic Canons 46, 47, and 50, Canons 8 and 19 of the 1st Ecum. Synod, Canon 7 of the 2nd Ecum. Synod, Canon 95 of the 6th Ecum. Synod, Canon 66 of the Local Synod of Carthage, and Canons 1, 5, and 47 of St. Basil. Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council (381)(3) and Canon 95 of the Fifth-Sixth Ecumenical Council (691) are particularly important.(4)

                According to these canons there are three ways of receiving heterodοx into the Church: a) by re-baptism (actually, baptism), when the celebration of heterodox baptism is considered deficient or invalid either on account of deficient faith and/or practice, b) by Chrismation and signing of an appropriate Libellus of recantation of the particular heresy that the converts previously held, and c) by simply signing an appropriate Libellus or Confession of faith, whereby the errors of heterodoxy of the person received are properly denounced and the Orthodox faith is fully embraced.

                The reception of Roman Catholics into the Eastern Churches, which occurred after the great Schism of 1054, was done in any one of the three above-mentioned ways. Practice varied according to times and circumstances. The key issue in determining the manner of reception was the Orthodox perception of the Roman Catholic baptism. This perception changed for various reasons, including Roman Catholic practice, and it seems that such a change became an important factor in determining the manner of reception of Roman Catholics into Orthodoxy. Acceptance of some validity of Roman Catholic baptism meant that Roman Catholic converts would be received by the economy of Chrismation, whereby what was lacking in Roman Catholic baptism would be supplied by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Νοn-acceptance of such validity, on the other hand, meant that the akribeia of the canons had to be applied, on which occasion Roman Catholic converts were (re-)baptized. What, however, made Roman Catholic Baptism partially valid or invalid was not always clearly spelled out, although it was implicitly suggested.

                Already at the time of the great Schism (1054) the baptism of the Latins came under severe criticism. The Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Kerularios wrote on that occasion to Patriarch Peter of Antioch, about the deviations of the Western Church from the ancient tradition and included in them “the unlawful administration of Baptism.”(5) The problem was the Roman Catholic practice of single immersion, which had been condemned by the ancient canons, and the use of strange new customs like the use of salt.(6) It is interesting to note here Cardinal Humbert’s anathematization of the Eastern Church because of Patriarch Kerularios’ practice of re-baptizing Latins who entered the Greek Church, which is reminiscent of Arian practice.(7)

                The renowned canonist Theodore Balsamon, who in 1193 argued on the basis of Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council that Latin baptisms, based on one immersion, ought to be considered as invalid because their case was similar with that of the Eunomians, shared the view of Kerularios.(8)

                That the Orthodox re-baptized Roman Catholics after the Schism of 1054 is also confirmed by the 4th canon of the Western Council of Lateran IV, which was summoned in 1215 by Pope Innocent ΙΙΙ.(9) Ιn the 13th century, especially after the sacking of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1204, the practice of re-baptizing Western converts to Orthodoxy was intensified. Metropolitan Germanos of Ainos pointed out that the reason for this strict practice was the violent aggression, which the Western Church showed towards the Eastern Church at that time. Part of that aggression was the attempt to proselytize the Orthodox by using various devious means, including the declaration of the union of the two Churches through a pseudo-synod.(10) In 1222 the (lawful) Patriarch of Constantinople, Germanos ΙΙ, who was based at Nicaea because of the sacking of the Royal City by the crusaders, wrote a treatise(11) which identifies three types of Western Baptism: the authentic and Apostolic one, which is acceptable to the Orthodox, the Baptism of single immersion, and the Baptism by affusion (pouring) or aspersion (sprinkling), which are highly questionable. At the time of Michael Palaiologos (1261), Meletios the Confessor exposed the invalidity of the Latin Baptism that was based on single immersion and suggested by implication the re-baptism of the Latin converts.(12)

                During the 13th century re-baptizing Latin converts was a universal practice in Russia and it must have been transferred there from the Greek Church. Thus, Pope Honorius ΙΙΙ (1216-1227) and Pope Gregory ΙΧ (1241) accuse the Russians for re-baptism practices.(13)

                In the first half of the 14th century (around 1335) Matthaios Vlastaris underlines the same problem.(14) Ιn 1355 Patriarch Kallistos of Constantinople (1350-4, 1355-63) writes to the clergy of Tyrnovo that those Latins who have been baptized by single immersion should be re-baptized.(15) At the end of the 14th century, however, Makarios of Ancyra states that the Latin converts to Orthodoxy should be received only by Chrismation in accordance with Canon 7 of Constantinople I (381).(16)

                Ιn the 15th century Metropolitan Mark of Ephesus informed the Orthodox that the Latins have two types of Baptism, one with triple immersion and another with affusion.(17) Gregory Mammas (1469) showed that St. Mark favored Chrismation.(18) Constantine Oikonomos, however, believes that St. Mark was using “economy.” This explains why Orthodox practice of receiving Latin converts varied: those who have had apostolic Baptism (triple immersion) were chrismated, while those who had been baptized by affusion were rebaptized. This differentiation explains the comment of Vryennios which is cited by Syropoulos that the Latins are “unbaptized.”(19)


                * This paper was prepared for and read at the Orthodox/Roman Catholic Dialogue (USA) in 1998.

                2. Αll of these can be found in Τhe Rudder (Pedalion), ed. by Agapios the Hieromonk and Nikodemos the Monk, transl. from the 1908 Greek Edition by D. Cummings and published by The Orthodox Christian Education Society in Chicago Illinois in 1957, which also contains elaborate and illuminating comments (cf. especially pp. 68-76, 217-220 and 400-402).

                3. Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council reads as follows: Those who embrace Orthodoxy and join the number of those who are being saved from the heretics, we receive in the following regular αnd customary manner: Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, Novatians, those who call themselves Cathars and Aristeri, Quartodecimans or Tetradiιes, Apollinarians -these we receive when they hand in statements and anathematize every heresy which is not of the same mind as the holy catholic and apostolic Church of God. They are fιrst sealed or anointed with holy Chrism οn the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears. As we seal them we say: The Seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. But Eunomians, who are bαptized in a single immersion, Montanists (called Phrygians here), Sabellians, whο teach the identity of Father and Sοn and make certain other diffιculties, and αll other sects – since there are many here, not least those who originate in the country of the Galatians – we receive αll who wish to leave them and embrace orthodoxy as we do [pagan] Greeks. Οn the first day we make Christians of them; οn the second catechumens; οn the third we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and their ears; αnd thus we catechize them and make them spend time in the church and listen tο the scriptures;and then we baptize them.

                4. THOSE who from the heretics come over to Orthodoxy and tο the number of those who should be saved, we receive according to the following οrder and custom. Arians, Macedonians, Novatians, who call themselves Cathari, Aristeri, and Tesareskaidecatitae, orTetraditae, and Apollinarists, we receive οn their presentation of certificates [libelli]αnd οn their anathematizing every heresy which does not hold as does the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of God: we first anoint them with the holy Chrism οn their foreheads, eyes, nostrils, mouth αnd ears; and as we seal them we say -The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. But concerning the Paulianists who afterrwards turned to the Catholic Church α rule was set up thαt they should by all means be rebaptized. The Eunomeans also, who baptized with οne immersion, and the Montanists, who here are called Phrygians; and the Sabellians, who hold the Son to be the identical with the Father, αnd are guilty in doing certain other grave things, αnd αll the other heresies, for there are many heretics here, especially those who come from the region of the Galatians, all of their number who are desirous of coming to Orthodoxy, we receive as [pagan] Greeks. Αnd on the first day we make them Christians, οn the second Catechumens, then οn the third day we exorcise them, after breathing thrice upon their faces αnd ears; and thus we catechize them, and we make them spend time in church and hear the Scriptures; and then we baptize them. And those who come from the Manichaeans, and the Valentinians αnd that Marcionites and from all similar heresies we rebaptize receiving them as [pagan] Greeks. As for Nestorians, Eutychians and Severians, and those from other such heresies, they need to give certificates αnd to anathematize their heresy αnd Nestorius and Eutyches and Dioscorus αnd Severus and the rest of the Exarchs of such heresies and those who think with them, αnd all the aforesaid heresies, and so they become partakers of the Holy Communion. For the original Greek see, Vlasios Phidas, Ιεροί Κανόνες, Αθήναι 1997, σ. 176.

                5. PG 104:744.

                6. See Will’s Acta et Scripta quae de controversiis’ Ecclesiae graecae et latinae, Lipsiae 1861, p. 182: το θείον βάπτισμα επιτελούντες, τους βαπτιζομένους βαπτίζοντες εις μίαν κατάδυσιν, το όνομα του Πατρός και του Υιού και του αγίου Πνεύματος επιλέγοντες, αλλά και άλατος προς τούτω τα των βαπτιζομένων πληρούσι στόματα, See also, Οικονόμου Κ., Τα σωζόμενα … τομ. 1, (1862) σ. 490.

                7. See Migne PG 104: 744: ως οι αρειανοί αναβαπτίζουσι τους εν ονόματι της αγίας Τριάδος βεβαπτιζομένους και μάλιστα τους Λατίνους. Cf. also PG 120:793 (Kerularios’ Letter to Peter of Antioch) and PL 143:1003 (the Ρapal Βull of Excommunication).

                8. Ralli-Potle, Syntagma … Canonon, vοl. 2, p. 10.

                9. See Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum … Collectio, tom. 22, p. 1082 Ιn cl. 990 we read: “Baptizatos etiam a Latinis et ipsi Graeci rebaptizare ausu temerario praesumebant: et adhuc, sicut acceptimus, quidam opere hoc non verentur”

                10. Cf. Germanos of Ainos, Περί του κύρους… bibliography above (1952), p. 303.

                11. This is mentioned by Leo Allatius in his De Concessione…p.712: “De azymis, purgatorio, et de tribus modis administrandi baptisma.” Constantine Oikonomos cites this reference and adds that the Latin baptism by affusion (κατ’ επίχυσιν) should be repeated (p. 465). See also Miklosich-Mueller, Αcta et Diplomatica Patriarchatus Constantinopolitani, tom. ii (1862) p. 81.

                12. PG 144: 22. Germanos of Ainos, Περί του κύρους… bibliography above (1952) p. 304.

                13. Cf. Μ. Jugie, Theologia Dogmatica … bibliography above (1930), p. 92.

                14. Patriarch Dositheos, Τόμος Καταλλαγής…, p. 144. Cited by Germanos οf Ainos, οp. cit.

                15. “He calls the baptism by one immersion most improper and full of impiety (πράγμα ατοπώτατον και δυσσεβείας ανάμεσον). His view is based οn the Apostolic canons which clearly state that those baptized by one immersion (εις μίαν κατάδυσιν) are not baptized (ως μη βαπτισθέντας) and should be rebaptized (αναβαπτίζεσθαι παρακελεύονται). See Miklosich-Mueller, Αctα et Diplomatica pαtriarcharum …, I (1860) p. 439. Cf. Kattenbusch, Lehrbuch der vergleichenden Confessionskunde, Freiburg 1892, p.404.

                16. in Constantine Oikonomos, Τα Σωζόμενα…,tom. Ι (1862) p. 468. Also Dositheos, Τόμος Καταλλαγής σσ. 203-204.

                17. Dositheos, Τόμος Αγάπης, Ιassi 1698, p. 582, 584.

                18. Gregory Mammas (1469) showed that St. Mark favored Chrismation (PG 160: 137). Constantine Oikonomos believed that “St. Mark was using economy.

                19. Section 9, ch. 9. Joseph Vryennios, a Studite monk and master of Mark Eugenicos, condemns baptism by one immersion in his treatise, Διάλεξις περί της του αγίου Πνεύματος εκπορεύσεως μετά του λατινόφρονος Μαξίμου της τάξεως των κηρύκων. He relies for this οn the Canons of the Apostles and οn the authority of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom. He also notes that the Latins wrongly do this (εις μίαν κατάδυσιν βαπτίζουσι, ως μη όφελον): Ιωσήφ Βρυεννίου τα Ευρεθέντα, edited by Eugenios Voulgaris, Leipzig 1768, vοl. 1, pp. 418-9. Vryennios also referred to an untitled work Κεφάλαια Επτάκις Επτά, which exposes Latin confusion on Baptism. “Some use triple immersion, repeating the names in each immersion and immersing successively first the feet, then the body, and last the head. They also look to the West:” lbid. vοl. ΙΙΙ (1781) p.106.

              • Michael Warren says

                Response to Professor George Demacopoulos (of Fordham) concerning his article: “Innovation Cloaked in the Guise of Tradition: Anti-Ecumenist Efforts to Derail the Holy and Great Synod”

                BY Protopresbyter Anastasios Gkotsopoulos,
                Rector of the Holy Church of St. Nicholas, Patra, Greece

                [Translator’s Note: This response includes an analysis of the *presuppositions* for the exercise of economy based on the 7th Canon of the 2nd E.C. and the 95th Canon of the Penthekte Council, which touches the heart of the question of whether or not oikonomia can be applied today in the reception of the heterodox.]

                ~ An article has been publicised by Professor George Demacopoulos (New York, USA) in which he reproaches those who criticize the pre-synodal text “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World,” (from the fifth Pre-synodal Conference, Chambessy 2015) for “reductionist appropriation of our rich canonical tradition to justify simplistic ideological conceits.” As examples, he presents the critiques of Metropolitans Seraphim of Piraeus and Heirotheos of Nafpaktos.

                A) He censures His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus for his critique of the adoption, on the part of the pre-synodal text, of the word “Church,” for heretical Christian communities.

                But he notes with greater emphasis “It is noteworthy that the Metropolitan did not produce any Patristic witness for his objection to this term. But, then, he couldn’t—the fathers routinely applied the term “church” to communities that they considered heretical.

                For proof of his assertion he refers to… a video broadcast with the characteristic title “Coffeee with Sister Vassa”![1]

                1. A Professor of Fordham proceeds to provide theological proofs of his views by referring, not to a bibliography, but to “Coffee with…”! Lord have mercy! The semantic meaning of the case is tragic for the article’s author. In Greece, the phrase “coffee talk” is anything but flattering for someone knowledgeable, and especially a theologian.

                2. However, let us leave the semantics and come to the substance of the reference of Professor Demacopoulos: Neither does Sister Vassa in her broadcast refer to Patristic texts which had been compared to offer proof for her views. That the library behind her contains the classical work of G.W.H. Lame “A Patristic Lexicon,” which Sister Vassa at some point (at 0:51) points with her hand, does not offer a shred of support or proof of her assertion…Surely, the presenter can be excused for her relaxed manner of approaching the question, for, after all, it is to “Coffee with Sister Vassa” to which she is inviting the viewers of her broadcast. The same does not hold, however, for a writer who undersigns as a Professor of Fordham.

                3. However, it is necessary to observe, in order to avoid deliberate misinterpretations: the term “Church” possesses great significance and is used in many ways in daily communication (indicating the simple gathering of a people, or even extreme communities, such as the Mormon Church, Scientology, etc). However, in synodical, ecclesiological texts, of such a high order, as that of the Holy and Great Pan- Orthodox Synod, with the term “Church” it is self-evident that it is defined exclusively and only as the same Body of the incarnate Word of God, the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church of Christ. Nothing more and nothing less! If the Synod wanted to give some other meaning, from the many which the term “Church” could indicate, it is incumbent upon the drafters to clarify with obligatory clarity. Such clarity, however, does not exist in the pre-synodal text of the fifth pre-synodal Pan-Orthodox Conference.

                4. I am at a loss how it escapes the attention of the Professor that there exists not only Patristic, but also Synodical decisions, and especially Ecumenical Synods, which deny categorically to heresies the appellation of “Church,” (with the theological and ecclesiological meaning). The three Ecumenical Synods (4th, 6th, 7th) which ratified the canon of the Local Synod of Carthage (255 A.D.) by Saint Cyprian accepted that in heresy there does not exist a Church (in the strict theological meaning): “But from the heretics, there is not a church…the heretic is not able to sanctify oil, neither can possess an altar, nor Church,” because, “the Catholic Church,…is One,” because of which the heretic “being outside, does not have the Holy Spirit,… there being one Holy Spirit and one Church of Christ of our Lord, upon Peter the Apostle, who from the beginning spoke, when the unity had been established”!

                5. The article of Mr. Demacopoulos presents those who criticize the use of the term “Church” for the Christian Communities as more or less living in the margins of the ecclesiastical and theological life of the Orthodox Church (he writes: they place obstructions in the progress of the ecumenical movement, “self-proclaimed traditionalists,”“reductionist appropriation of our rich canonical tradition to justify simplistic ideological conceits,” “imaginary dilution of Orthodox purity”). His disdain notwithstanding, only the canon of Carthage (of Saint Cyprian) which had been ratified by three Ecumenical Synods is enough to exclude the use of the term “Church” to describe heresies in such a notable synodical text!

                In the body of the text it is “convenient” for him to mention only two Greek Bishops and avoids referring to the fact that there exist not only many other bishops from many Orthodox Churches which disagree with the use of the term “Church” for heresies in the pre-synodal text, but also the Synods of Patriarchates and Churches have expressed the most serious reservations and have not adopted the innovative terminology of the text.[2]

                As is known, the Patriarchate of Georgia has already rejected the text (see the letter of Metropolitan Andrew of Gori and Ateni,[3] which was especially informative as to what transpired “behind the scenes” of the fifth PSC, Chambessy 2015), while the Synods of the Hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria and of the Church of Greece, on account of the strong reaction of many of the Hierarchs, deferred the matter to the upcoming Synod after Pascha, which will take appropriate action regarding the revision of the text. The Synod of the Church of Cyprus already adopted a proposal to amend the pre-synodal texts. [4] It is also important to note the letter dated from July 24, 2015 of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Serbia regarding the ecclesiastical self-understanding of the Pan-Orthodox Synod itself. [5]

                Here is a sampling of the names of bishops which have publicly written articles which are highly critical of the pre-synodal text in question: Athanasios of Lemessol (Cyprus),[6] Germanos of Eleia (in an official report before the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece), [7] Symeon of New Smyrna (Greece),[8] Jeremiah of Gortunos and Megalopoleos,[9] Paul of Glyfades (Greece),[10] Seraphim of Kythira (Greece),[11] Gabriel of Lovets (Bulgaria),[12] Longinos of Bansen, Vicarios of the Eparchy of Tsernovits (Ukraine),[13] Andrew of Gori and Ateni (representative of the Patriarchate of Georgia).[14]

                Furthermore, as the Church does not consist only of hierarchs, in addition to the critical stance taken by many bishops we need to add the responses made public by the Holy Mountain of Athos, the esteemed professors of theology, the Archpriests George Metallinos (Emeritus),[15] and Theodore Zisis (Emeritus),[16] and the current Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, Dr. Demetrios Tsellengidis,[17] and a great part of the Orthodox faithful which are uneasy about the renovation of Orthodox ecclesiology (See the recent Conference on the Pan-Orthodox Synod held in Piraeus, March 23, 2016).[18]

                Even one of the drafters and editors of the pre-synodal texts, His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messenia (a university professor and representative of the Church of Greece at the fifth Pre-synodal Conference in Chambessy, 2015), in his recent memorandum to the Holy Synod recognizes that, “truly, the present expression (“with different Christian Churches and Confessions”, paragraph 6) creates on this account the possibility of developing a legitimate objection.” He suggests, on account of a plethora of reactions, that instead of the term “Church,” the word “Communities,” should be used to describe the various heresies: “it can be adopted as a corrective amendment of the above-mentioned expression of the text, namely, “the others or the rest of the Christian Confessions and Communities.”[19]!

                B) Mr. Demacopoulos chides His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, because in his memorandum to the Holy Synod he requests that the text be altered to make clear that converts to Orthodoxy who were not baptized” “by three immersions and emersions according to the Apostolic and Patristic tradition,” “must be baptized anew.” As the Metropolitan of Nafpaktos supports his view by citing the sacred canons themselves, which the pre-synodal text of the fifth pre-synodal meeting (2nd Council, canon 7; 6th council, canon 95[20]) also cites, Mr. Demacopoulos engages in arbitrary and unsubstantiated reasoning completely distorting as much the text of the sacred canons as also the practice of the Church which flows from them.

                [The present text had already been completed when the very interesting article of Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos was publicized with the title “The Synod of the Three Patriarchs from the year 1756,”[21] which indirectly but clearly answers Mr. Demacopoulos.]

                Let us see, however, what the sacred canons say:

                Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council and canon 95 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (Penthekte Council) are absolutely clear. For heretics which desire to join Orthodoxy, the Church applies exactitude (Baptism) or economy (libelli and Chrismation) The economic action is applied under presuppositions in the cases of former Arians, Macedonians, Nestorians, Monophysites, etc, while the exactitude of baptism is employed for Eunomians, Sabellians, Montanists, Manicheans, Marcionites, etc.

                It is important to note that both canons (2:7, and 6:95) refer to the Eunomians, for which the kat’oikonimia practice is not allowed, but rather they are to be baptized. The Eunomians were of like-mind with the Arians. Nevertheless, while the Church employs economy to the Arians, it is denied to the like-minded Eunomians! Why? The canons are categorical and clear-cut in terms of the reasons given for the refusal: because the Eunomians were “baptized in a single immersion [«οι εις μίαν κατάδυσιν βαπτιζόμενοι»]” in contradistinction to the other Arians, which were baptized in accord with the Orthodox form (τύπος) of triple immersion and emersion, for which economy may be employed.

                Likewise, in accord with the canons, the Church does not allow for economy to be employed for the Sabellians, who, while they baptized in the Name of Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, nevertheless confused the Divine Persons, or, as the canons note, “Sabellians, which glorify the Son-Father[22] [«Σαβελλιανούς, τοὺς υἱοπατορίαν δοξάζοντας»].

                It is clear from the foregoing that the Church of the Ecumenical Councils, with the Sacred Canons, laid down two basic presuppositions for the employment of kat’oikonomian reception for those “being joined to Orthodoxy”: a) the baptismal ceremony which took place in heresy must have been carried out with the epiclesis of the Name of the Holy Trinity, and b) it must have observed the orthodox baptismal form (τύπος) of three immersions and emersions. It is precisely this practice of the Church which His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos supports and extends to the Latins. Consistent with the above-mentioned Sacred Canons, he explains that it is not possible to employ the kat’oikonomian reception in the case of those Latins who desire to be received into the Orthodox Church, for in the “baptism” by which they were received into heresy the canonical apostolic and patristic form (τύπος) of three immersions and emersions has not been observed. Thus, as with the Eunomians, who did not observe the orthodox baptismal form (τύπος), the Latins must be baptized.

                Professor Demacopoulos does not agree with this understanding. In his article he accuses Metropolitan Hierotheos of adopting “a decidedly ‘innovative’ reading of the canons and history to build his case against heterodox baptism.”

                A. He claims that the refusal to employ economy in the case of the Eunomians is not due to their lack of observing the correct baptismal form (τύπος) but to their different teaching on the Holy Trinity which was reflected in the way in which they baptized with one immersion. In order to support his views he refers to “byzantine canonists,” writing: “no Byzantine canonist ever interpreted the error of the Eunomians to be primarily an error of ritual itself; their error was the rejection of the Trinity.”

                Unfortunately, however, for Professor Demacopoulos his claims are entirely unfounded:

                i. The canons referring to the Eunomians are entirely clear. The canon refers only to the erroneous method of baptizing and not to their teaching, as Professor Demacopoulos would like it: “The Eunomians also, who baptize with one immersion” («Εὐνομιανοὺς μέντοι, τοὺς εἰς μίαν κατάδυσιν βαπτιζομένους»). On the contrary, the canons which have to do with the Sabellians refer to their heretical teaching on the Holy Trinity: “Sabellians, which glorify the Son-Father” [«Σαβελλιανούς, τοὺς υἱοπατορίαν δοξάζοντας»].

                ii. The claim of the article’s author that “no Byzantine canonist ever interpreted the error of the Eunomians to be primarily an error of ritual itself; their error was the rejection of the Trinity,” demonstrates, if nothing else, that he does not have at his disposal, and therefore has not read, their texts. The famous three “byzantine canonists,” Zonaras, Balsamon, and Aristinos are absolutely clear and strongly affirm the interpretive approach of Metropolitan Nafpaktos, while they dismantle the assertions of Professor Demacopoulos.

                All three interpreters, in opposition to the desire of the article’s author, do not make any reference whatsoever to the theological teachings of the Eunomians, but exclusively and singularly address their non observance of the Baptismal form of three immersion or emersions “according to the form [τύπος] of the Orthodox Church.”

                A) Zonaras (12th c.): “Apollinarians. These are not rebaptized, therefore, because regarding holy baptism they do not differ from us at all, but they likewise baptize as the Orthodox…[but the Eunomians] these, then, the Holy Fathers ordained that they be grouped with all the other heretics which should be baptized. For both they who have not had divine baptism, and they who have it, though not rightly, neither according to the form of the Orthodox Church, are in need of the same. Wherefore, they also are reckoned as never having been baptized.”[23]

                B) Balsamon (12th c.): “But he said they ought to be baptized, the Eunomians, which have been baptized in one immersion…It should, therefore, be noted from the present canon, that all who have been baptized in one immersion, are again baptized.”[24]

                C) Aristinos (12th Ce.): “The Eunomians have been baptized with one immersion… as the Hellenes (Pagans) let them be received. These are both baptized and Chrismated, for as (Pagans) Hellenes they are to be received.”[25]

                As it pertains to the contemporary practice with regard to the Latins, Balsamon is clear and unqualifying:

                “It should, therefore, be noted from the present canon, that all who have been baptized in one immersion, are again baptized.”

                The very same interpretive approach is followed by the great canonist St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite (18th Ce.) in the Rudder:

                “We will accept thus all these converts without rebaptizing them, since, according to Zonaras, in respect of holy baptism they nowise differ from us, and baptize themselves like-wise as do the Orthodox. But as for Arians and followers of Macedonius, who are manifestly heretics, the Canon accepted them without rebaptism “economically,” the primary reason being the vast multitude of such heretics then prevalent; and a second reason being that they used to baptize themselves in the same way as we do. As regards Eunomians, on the other hand; who practiced baptism with a single immersion . . . we accept them as Greeks, or, in other words, as persons totally unbaptized; for these persons either have not been baptized at all or, though baptized, have not been baptized aright and in a strictly Orthodox manner, wherefore they are regarded as not having been baptized at all.[26]

                St. Nikodemos also writes the following in his interpretation of Canon 46 of the Apostles:

                This is the fact that those heretics whose baptism they accepted also rigorously observed the kind and the matter of the baptism of the Orthodox, and were willing to be baptized in accordance with the form of the Catholic Church. Those heretics, on the other hand, whose baptism they had refused to recognize, had counterfeited the ceremony of baptism and had corrupted the rite; or the mode of the kind, and the same may be said of the invocations, or that of the matter, and the same may be said of the immersions and emersions. . . Why is it, then, that those who were of quite equal power with respect to the heresies were not accorded equal rights by the Council? The evidence is plain that the Arians and the followers of Macedonius, on the one hand, were wont to be baptized in precisely the same fashion as were the Orthodox, with three immersions and emersions, and with three invocations of the Holy Trinity, without counterfeiting either the kind of the invocations or the matter of the water . . . The Eunomians, on the other hand, having counterfeited the mode and the matter of baptism, were wont to be baptized with only one immersion, as is stated in these same words in the Canon.”

                Comparatively, we have a similar approach with Saint Nikodemos and the Byzantine canonists from the other Holy “Kollyvades” Fathers and also notable Post-Byzantine ecclesiastical authors (Saint Athanasios of Paros, Konstantine Oikonomos, Neophytos Kausokalybite, Evstratios Argenti, Christophoro Aitolos, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Dositheos, the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Cyril the Fifth, Sophronios the second, Kallinkos the fifth and Germanos, but also from the 1620 Synod of Moscow, the 1722 Synod of Constantinople, with the participation of the Partriarchs Athanasios the fourth of Antioch and Chrysanthos of Jerusalem, as well as the Synodal Epistle of 1878.[27]

                In the same spirit, the 1755-6 Synod of the Three Patriarchs of the East (with Cyril the fifth of Constantinople, Mathaios of Alexandria and Parthenios of Jerusalem), declares in its famous definition: “the Holy Ecumenical Councils, the Second and the Penthekte (or “5th-6th Council”), enjoined that, those which have not been baptized in three immersions and emersions, and had not one invocation of the divine Persons pronounced with each of the immersions, but were baptized in some other way, upon being joined to Orthodoxy are to be received as unbaptized.”

                B. Likewise, also Mr. Demacopoulos’ other assertion is also bereft of theological-canonical grounding, namely, that “no Byzantine canonist or apologist ever thought that Latin theological errors, such as the filioque, were so great that they required rebaptism. Neither Balsamon nor Chomatenos…nor even St. Mark of Ephesus ever suggested that the Latins should be baptized.”

                Of course the canons refer to it and take into account the faith of the heretics (they speak of “those who have faith in the ‘son-father’” [«τοὺς υἱοπατορίαν δοξάζοντας»]).

                However, the beliefs of those in heresy or their proximity to the faith of the Church, was not of primary importance in the application of “oikonomia.”

                The Church applies economy in cases of grave anti-Trinitarian heresies such as that of the Arians (which are characterized as idolaters at the Seventh Ecumenical Council), and the Pnevmatimachoi (lit. “Spirit-fighters”), which received strict condemnations and anathematizing from all the Ecumenical Councils. The same economy is applied to the Novatians (Cathari), Aristeri, Testareskaidecatitae (or Tetraditae) with whom theological differences did not exist with regard to the basic dogmas of the faith, but only in matters of ecclesiastical order and worship (the Testareskaidecatitae celebrated Pascha on 14 Nissan, the Cathari did not receive a second marriage and the repentance of those who had fallen). On the contrary, while economy was applied to the Arians, to those who were of the same faith as them, the Eunomians, akriveia (exactitude) was observed (baptism), because these were baptized with only one immersion!

                As was stated above, the Cathari, who, according to Zonaras “were not in error regarding the faith, but on account of hatred of brotherhood and denial of repentance to those who had fallen and returned,” were received with libelle and chrismation, while those condemned by Ecumenical Synods – Nestorians, Eutychites, and Severians and “those from similar heresies” [«τοὺς ἐκ τῶν ὁμοίων αἱρέσεων»] – with libelle alone, without chrismation.

                The Church, therefore, demanded only [for the application of economy]: that the baptism in a heretical community had occurred in the Name of the Holy Trinity and that the correct from (τύπος) of baptism had been preserved.

                Since, at the outset these two presuppositions were fulfilled in Rome (pouring or sprinkling had not yet been generalized), independent from the heretical teachings, which had then been accepted (which were much fewer than those heresies officially taught today), for this reason “Neither Balsamon nor Chomatenos …nor even St. Mark of Ephesus ever suggested that the Latins should be baptized ,” but they were accepted by economy (kat’ oikonomia), since it was believed that they fulfilled – at that time – the canonical presuppositions.[28]

                Matters, however, changed with the Council of Trent (1545-1563), at which time baptism by sprinkling or pouring was officially sanctioned as a canon for the entire Papal West. From that point forward a serious question arose as to whether or not economy could be employed for the Latins, for they now failed to fulfill the canonical presuppositions of the correct form (τύπος) of baptism. Indeed, they were not even observing the single immersion of the Eunomians.

                The question was finally and decisively addressed with the common Patriarchal decision, the famous definition of the Synod of 1755-6 of the three Patriarchs of the East, Cyril the 5th of Constntinople, Mathew of the Alexandria and Parthenios of Jerusalem. The decision holds that those who were coming to Orthodoxy from the Latins should be received by exactitude, i.e. baptism, since they did not fulfill the presuppositions of the 7th canon of the Second Ecumenical Council, nor the 95th canon of the 5th-6th (or Penthekte) Council. This decision is still in effect today, never having been lifted officially [synodically].[29]

                The decision of the Synod of 1755-6 was not at all well received by those Latins well-established at the High Gate (Jesuits and ambassadors of the Western powers, particularly from France). According to Metropolitan Germanos of Ainos, these Latins “issued many and diverse threats and even put pressure on the hierarchs, nobility and chosen from among the Greek people, so that they may drive out Cyril from the throne.” This is how, according to late Stephen Runciman, certain Metropolitans, “were found to have been cohorts with those who had been sent from the Catholic powers,” and to collaborate in the removal of Cyril from the throne, to he great distress of the faithful of Constantinople. Concerning these methods of the Latins and Latin-minded with regard to the removal of Cyril the 5th, the professor is silent.

                In conclusion: a careful, attentive and reverent study of the canonical tradition establishes with absolute clarity that the Church of the Ecumenical Councils laid great stress and import on the exact preservation of the baptismal form of three immersion and emersions. When the Church, in its own canons, which lay down the requirements for reception of heretics by economy, defines clearly that this economy cannot be applied to those “who have been baptized in one immersion,” is it possible for us to take it lightly and to legislate the opposite, and to apply it to the Latins who do not preserve even one immersion?

                The Great and Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church is presented by some as the most significant happening in the recent history of our Church. To be sure, if we want to be honest, both the issues on the agenda of the Synod and way it is being prepared do not correspond to its grand name.[30]

                It is exceedingly regrettable that the sagacious, ancient proverb – “it was in labor for a mount and brought forth a mouse” – has been proven true with regard to the now 90 year old “under preparation” Pan-Orthodox Synod, for this “pain” will, unfortunately, turn into shame for our Orthodox Church.

                The main issue at stake is if the Council will be shown to be “following the Holy and Ecumenical Synods,” and whether it will proclaim the “faith which was once delivered.”

                Unfortunately, the events to date have, justifiably, caused a great deal of commotion and concern among many faithful, even those on the level of institutional authority.

                The main organizers of the Pan-Orthodox Synod wanted – and it largely succeeded – to keep the People of God (clerics and laity) far from the preparations of the Synod.

                In the short time remaining before the Synod, every faithful person, according to his position, service and charisms, is called upon, with a sense of responsibility, to offer the Orthodox witness according to the precepts of his conscience.

                Above all, however, it is incumbent upon us all to pray and beseech the Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen our Bishops, that they might stand worthy of their episcopal duties in Synod, so that in a holy boast they may declare, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us.”

                May they, moreover, “following the Holy Fathers,” rightly divide the word of Christ’s Truth. Then, and only then, will the Pan-Orthodox Synod be accepted as worthy of its name. In the event of the opposite, the wounds which the Synod will be bring to the Body of Christ will be very painful. May it not be!



                [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5x3IEi1C7w

                [2] Translator’s Note: We can add to the foregoing Local Churches the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which appeared after the publication of this present response.

                [3] http://www.amen.gr/article/o-mitropolitis-gori-kai-ateni-andreas-apada-ston-mprotopresvytero-georgio-tsetsi

                [4] http://www.romfea.gr/ekklisia-kyprou/7462-apofaseis-ektaktis-sunodou-tis-ekklisias-tis-kuprou

                [5] http://www.impantokratoros.gr/C909497D.el.aspx

                [6] http://www.imlemesou.org/images/20016/keimeno-g-sinodo.pdf, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/90619.htm

                [7] http://thriskeftika.blogspot.gr/2016/03/blog-post_23.html, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/91681.htm

                [8] http://www.imns.gr/2010-02-26-13-20-46/721-2016-03-02-10-57-15.html

                [9] http://aktines.blogspot.gr/2016/03/blog-post_442.html

                [10] http://www.romfea.gr/diafora/7296-glufadas-paulos-erotimata-peri-tin-agia-kai-megali-sunodo

                [11] http://www.romfea.gr/ieres-mitropoleis/7270-i-eisigisi-mitropoliti-kuthiron-stin-imerida-gia-tin-agia-sunodo

                [12] http://aktines.blogspot.gr/2016/03/blog-post_766.html, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/92285.htm

                [13] http://aktines.blogspot.gr/2016/04/blog-post_58.html

                [14] http://www.amen.gr/article/o-mitropolitis-gori-kai-ateni-andreas-apada-ston-mprotopresvytero-georgio-tsetsi, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/92232.htm

                [15] http://thriskeftika.blogspot.gr/2016/03/blog-post_90.html

                [16] http://www.impantokratoros.gr/241FA488.el.aspx

                [17] http://thriskeftika.blogspot.gr/2016/02/blog-post_84.html, http://aktines.blogspot.gr/2016/03/23-03-2016.html

                [18] http://www.romfea.gr/diafora/7269-porismata-psifisma-imeridas-gia-tin-agia-kai-megali-sunodo

                [19] http://www.romfea.gr/images/article-images/2016/04/romfea2/ipomnhm.pdf

                [20] Β-7: 7ος κανόνας της Β΄ Οικουμενικής, Στ-95: 95ος κανόνας της Στ΄εν Τρούλω (Πενθέκτης) Οικουμενικής.

                [21] http://www.romfea.gr/katigories/10-apopseis/7499-i-sunodos-ton-trion-patriarxon-tou-etous-1756

                [22] Translators note: This ancient heresy supposed that the Father and Son were one Person, sometimes appearing as the Father, other times as the Son. Pope Dionysius, Bishop of Rome from A.D. 259–269 wrote concerning them, “Sabellius…blasphemes in saying that the Son Himself is the Father and vice versa.” (See: Dionysius of Rome, “Against the Sabellians,” in Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 7, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), p.365.)

                [23] Ερμηνεία στον Β-7, Ράλλη Ποτλή, Σύνταγμα…, τ. Β΄ σ. 188-189:

                Ζωναράς (12ος αι.): «Απολλιναρισταί. Ουκ αναβαπτίζονται ουν ούτοι, ότι περί το άγιον βάπτισμα κατ’ ουδέν ημίν διαφέρονται, αλλ’ επίσης τοις ορθοδόξοις βαπτίζονται … [τους δε Ευνομιανούς…] τούτους τοίνυν, και τους άλλους πάντας αιρετικούς βαπτίζεσθαι οι ιεροί Πατέρες εθέσπισαν . ή γαρ ουκ έτυχον του θείου βαπτίσματος, ή τυχόντες ουκ ορθώς, ουδέ κατά τον τύπον της ορθοδόξου εκκλησίας αυτού έτυχον. διό και ως μηδέ την αρχήν βαπτισθέντας αυτούς λογίζονται».

                [24] Ερμηνεία στον Β-7, Ράλλη Ποτλή, Σύνταγμα…, τ. Β΄ σ. 190-191:

                Βαλσαμών (12ος αι.): «Τους δε αναβαπτίζεσθαι οφείλοντας είπεν είναι, Ευνομιανούς, τους εις μίαν κατάδυσιν βαπτιζομένους …Σημείωσαι δε από του παρόντος κανόνος, ότι πάντες οι βαπτιζόμενοι εις μίαν κατάδυσιν, πάλιν βαπτίζονται».

                [25] Ερμηνεία στον Β-7, Ράλλη Ποτλή, Σύνταγμα…, τ. Β΄ σ. 191:

                Αριστινός (12ος αι.): «Οι καταδύσει μιά βαπτιζόμενοι Ευνομιανοί … ως Έλληνες δεχέσθωσαν. Ούτοι και βαπτίζονται, και χρίονται, ότι ως Έλληνες δεχέσθωσαν».

                [26] From The Rudder (Πεδάλιον), the interpretation of the seventh canon of the Second Ecumenical Council.

                [27] For a more detailed examination, see: Protopresbyter George Metallinos, I Confess One Baptism: An Interpretation and Application Of Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council by the Kollyvades and Constantine Oikonomos (A contribution to the historico-canonical evaluation of the problem of the validity of Western baptism), St. Paul’s Monastery, Mt. Athos, 1994. The English edition is available online: http://oodegr.co/english/biblia/baptisma1/perieh.htm, See also, in Greek: Ελ. Γιαννακοπούλου, Ο αναβαπτισμός των αιρετικών 1453-1756), Σταθμοί έρευνας και πράξης (ιστορικοκανονική θεώρηση), Αθήνα 2009.

                [28] Again, for a more detailed examination, see: Protopresbyter George Metallinos, I Confess One Baptism, pages 64-94 (in the print edition).

                [29] See the recent article by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktou entitled «Η Σύνοδος των Τριών Πατριαρχών του έτους 1756» [The Synod of the Three Hierarchs, 1756] online: http://www.romfea.gr/katigories/10-apopseis/7499-i-sunodos-ton-trion-patriarxon-tou-etous-1756. (Translators Note: His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) has also confirmed that the decision of 1756 is still in effect (even if often ignored), although rather than supporting the decision he has called for its repeal.)

                [30] It is amazing to hear from the lips of a Primate of one of the Local Churches that “the Pan-Orthodox Synod, as it has developed, is devoid of any depth and being carried out for the prestige of . . . (he refers to the name of a particular First Hierarch)”! This only goes to illustrate, unfortunately, the absolute cheapening of the conciliar system in the life of our Church today. The responsibility of those in control for this sad state of affairs is immense!

                Original Source [in Greek]: http://aktines.blogspot.com.cy/2016/04/blog-post_92.html

                Translated by Fr. Chris Moody and Fr. Peter Heers

              • Michael Warren says

                Ecumenism and “Baptismal Theology”
                The Protestant “Branch Theory” of the Church in a New Form
                IN A PREVIOUS ISSUE of the periodical Orthodoxos Enstasis kai Martyria (Nos. 22-23 [January-June 1991], pp. 266-267), in exposing what occurred at the Seventh General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Canberra, we made reference to the presentation by Metropolitan John of Pergamon [who belongs to the Holy Synod of the Œcumenical Patriarchate—Translators] (see photograph); characterizing it as “mediocre, poor, timorous, and in many ways unclear,” we concluded our observations as follows: “Having some years ago branded the Immaculate Bride of Christ, the Holy Orthodox Church, as narcissistic, referring to the Church of Christ in her totality and no longer [to] Orthodoxy alone, 1 Metropolitan John thereby sinned very gravely and grieved the Holy Spirit. Naturally, as a result of this, he is incapable of giving an Orthodox witness.”

                But the views of Metropolitan John concerning an “inclusive” ecclesiology and a “Church” broader than the boundaries of the Orthodox Church are certainly nothing new to him.

                On February 13, 1985, while he was still a layman, he addressed a joint audience of Orthodox and Anglicans at St. Basils House, in London, on the subject of Orthodox ecclesiology and the ecumenical movement.2

                We will neither analyze this speech nor recount it in detail. A brief citation therefrom is sufficient, for now, to demonstrate that His Eminence is truly a “veteran ecumenist,” a stranger to Patristic Orthodoxy.

                The speaker examines the extent to which participation by the Orthodox Church in the ecumenical movement is consistent with Her ecclesiology, and concludes: “And yet, in spite of what some very conservative Orthodox would say, I think that the Orthodox Church cannot drop out of the ecumenical movement without betraying its own fundamental ecclesiological principles”!

                The speaker makes reference to the “boundaries” of the Church and confronts the “dilemma” of choosing between the rigid ecclesiology of St. Cyprian of Carthage (the Holy Spirit is present only within the bounds of a canonical community—the Orthodox Catholic Church) and the different—and more novel—ecclesiology of St. Augustine (the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Mysteries exist also outside the Church).

                Indeed, Metropolitan John appears to accept the [subsequently disavowed] opinion of Protopresbyter Georges Florovsky, that “there are saints outside the Orthodox Church” and that the canonical boundaries of the Church “are important, but at the same time, are not absolute.”3

                And in finding a “balance” in understanding these “boundaries” as not constituting impediments or divisions between the Church and the rest of the world—and, in particular, the heterodox—, Metropolitan John proposes a theology of “baptismal unity.”

                What does “baptismal theology” confess?

                “Baptism does create a limit to the Church.” Baptism, Orthodox or otherwise, delimits the “Church,” which includes Orthodox and heterodox. There exist “baptismal limits in the Church,” and “outside baptism there is no Church.” On the contrary, “within baptism, even if there is a break, a division, a schism, you can still speak of the Church.”

                On this point, Metropolitan John, desiring heretics to be within the Church, shows himself to be more daring than Father Florovsky, who wrote: “Perhaps we should not say that schismatics are still within the Church; in any case, such an expression would not be precise and would sound ambiguous.”4 [The Greek translation, here, does not precisely render, in secondary translation, the original English text (see note 3), which reads: “It may not follow, perhaps, that we should say that schismatics are still in the Church. In any case, this would not be precise and sounds equivocal”—Translators.]

                According to “baptismal theology,” heresy, as a falling-away from the catholicity of the Faith handed down by the Apostles, is simply and solely “a break in communion,” which “does not mean that one falls outside the realm of the Church.”

                In the past, this “state of division” between Orthodox and heretics or schismatics, between “baptized Christians,” occurred “because of a lack of love which is now, thank God, disappearing”!

                + + +
                The “baptismal theology” of the Metropolitan of Pergamon—how far, we wonder, is this from the “branch theory” of the Church?—literally overturns Orthodox Patristic ecclesiology: it greatly pleases the heterodox, because it recognizes their non-existent baptism and, at the same time, confirms them in their heresies, since it regards these as a matter of simple division arising from a lack of love.

                However, the reception of heretics by oeconomy and without Baptism never betokened acceptance by the Orthodox of heterodox baptism. As long as the correct form is maintained in a baptism performed outside the Orthodox Catholic Church, and as long as heretics come in repentance to the One, True Church, She “perfects and vivifies” the “ineffectual and invalid” mysteries that were “not inculpably performed” outside Her, and “frees them from every deficiency and culpability through the bestowal of Chrismation and the gifts of the Spirit that are imparted thereby.”5

                There is, therefore, a “correction” when heretics return to the Church, and it is presupposed that those who return have “preserved the form and substance of Baptism indistinguishably from that of the Orthodox and were Baptized according to the formula of the Catholic Church,”6 if, we emphasize again, oeconomy is to be applied.

                Metropolitan John obviously does not speak in the manner of the Fathers. The Saints of the Church instruct us in a different way. The question is: Do heretics have Baptism, the Eucharist, and Priesthood? For these three Mysteries cannot be thought of separately, and certainly not outside a correct ecclesiological context.

                Since, in the case of schismatics and heretics, we have a break in love, unity, and catholicity, and consequently a “departure” from the “observable limits of the Church,” outside which Divine Grace cannot generate “living flames,” how is it possible for us to talk about Mysteries and Saints outside the Church?

                If it is the Great High Priest Who celebrates the Mysteries in the Church, is it possible for the Same to celebrate the mysteries of those who have fallen away from love, unity, and Catholicity?

                It is, assuredly, impossible for us to speak about salvation through the mysteries of heretics, thereby violating a basic ecclesiological principle: that salvation is accomplished within the context of communion in Christ, that is, within the Body of the Church as a charismatic and therapeutic organism, in which the Head—Christ—finds fullness in the entire Body and the entire Body finds fullness in the Head: “The fullness of Christ is the Church. And rightly, for the complement of the head is the body, and the complement of the body is the head.”7

                If the isolation of some member of any organism whatever spells doom for that member, how can we speak about the Church if, in the end, one does not experience, either as an individual or as a community, this unique life of the Theanthropic Body, with its complementary relationship of Head and Body?8

                Let it be clearly established that “Grace in truth acts, but is not salvific outside catholicity”;9 though it acts, it does so not by effecting Mysteries and producing Saints, but by mystically prompting those outside the Church to repent and return to the Truth and catholicity of the One Church.

                In conclusion, there really is an indisputable “boundary” whereby the “definitive contour” of the Body of the Church is delineated and which reveals the “ultimate limits” of the Church: the correctness of Faith, of which the Mysteries are an expression.

                The Holy Hieromartyr Hippolytos of Rome is quite clear in stating that “the Apostles, having received the Holy Spirit bequeathed to the Church, have transmitted Him to those who rightly believe.”10 The Holy Spirit “was bequeathed” to the Apostolic Church at Pentecost, and since then “has been transmitted to those who rightly believe.”

                + + +
                Let us see in brief what the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox has to say:

                Heretics are “alien to God.”11

                “Those who have been baptized or ordained by such (heretics) can be neither members of the Faithful nor of the clergy.”12

                “Heretics do not have Priesthood, and so the rites performed by them are profane and devoid of sanctifying Grace.”13

                “Quite simply, the baptisms of all heretics are impious and blasphemous and have nothing in common with the Baptisms of the Orthodox.”14

                If, in general, “those supremely Divine Names (Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit [St. Matthew 28:19]—Authors note) are idle and inefficacious when uttered by the mouths of heretics,”15 how much more are they “idle and inefficacious” for the polyonymous heretics of the West, who have “distorted, or rather, totally corrupted the Tradition” and theology “regarding Baptism”?16

                The Saints of our Church reject the baptism of heretics, since “consecrating Grace has left them”; they characterize it as “completely useless and vain”; they consider it, rather, a “drowning,” because heretics “have baptism, but not illumination.”17

                In the Constitutions of the Apostles the following strict commandment is given:

                Be ye likewise contented with one Baptism alone, that which is into the death of the Lord; not that which is conferred by wicked heretics, but that which is conferred by blameless priests, “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”; and let not that which comes from the ungodly be received by you, for those that receive polluted baptism from the ungodly will become partners in their opinions. Indeed, they are not Priests; nor are those that are baptized by them initiated, but are polluted, not receiving the remission of sins, but the bond of impiety. 18

                At the Seventh Œcumenical Synod, “John, the Right Reverend Legate of the Apostolic Throne of the East, said: Heresy separates every man from the Church. The Holy Synod declared: This is abundantly clear.”19

                St. Theodore the Studite, writing about a heretical bishop, says that “it is impossible for those whom he ordains to be truly ministers of God.”20

                Metropolitan John of Pergamon stands condemned and guilty of accepting the baptism of heretics, for “not making a distinction between true and false Priests,”21 and for failing to apply the Patristic injunction that: “Heretics should be reproved and admonished by Bishops and Presbyters, in the hope that they might understand and return from their error.”22

                This “veteran ecumenist,” Metropolitan John, is a classic example of an Orthodox Christian whose ecclesiology has been corrupted by his participation in the so-called ecumenical movement and who has, for this reason, forgotten that heresy means “a cessation of communion with the Church and is alien to the Heavens,”23 that “heresy is hateful to God,”24 and that it entails “the ultimate fall of the soul.”25

                When, then, does one betray the “fundamental ecclesiological principles” of the Orthodox Church? The case of Metropolitan John of Pergamon demonstrates incontrovertibly that this comes about by way of active participation in the ecumenical movement, despite what the fallen Metropolitan says to the contrary.

                Metropolitan John of Pergamon far exceeds the heretical Anglicans in dogmatic syncretism and minimalism, since they, on the basis of the “Lambeth Quadrilateral” (1888), restrict the “essential signs of the Church” to four (Vestigia Ecclesi: Holy Scripture, the Symbol of Faith, Baptism and the Eucharist, and the Episcopacy)25a , while he reduces them to one, and only one: Baptism!

                * * *

                In the meantime, the doctrines of so-called “baptismal unity” and “baptismal theology” are gaining ground and have become officially accepted by the World Council of Churches (WCC).

                I. The “Final Assembly Report” at Canberra asserts that “as members of the body of Christ, we are already united by our common baptism, and the Holy Spirit is leading us to a communion founded on the life of the Holy Trinity.”26

                II. In addition, the Anglican Primate, Archbishop George Carey of Canterbury, during…[an]…official visit to the headquarters of the WCC in Geneva (June 2-3, 1992), said in his address, there, that “the theology of baptism is what unites us” and that “in our search for visible unity we have taken too little from that common baptism in which we all share.” The Anglican Primate then continued: “It is my strong conviction that, as churches, we still have to face up to the implications of baptismal theology. If we believe that baptism in the name of the Trinity unites us with God himself and makes us members of his family, what does this mean for the churches separated eucharistically?”27

                III. It is also well known that Roman Catholics have fully accepted the doctrines of St. Augustine concerning the validity of mysteries performed outside the Church, doctrines which were subsequently developed by Scholastic theology.

                The Papists teach that those in heresy who have been baptized by heretics according to the correct formula have received the Baptism of the true Church, in line with the decision of the Council of Trent, which decrees: “Baptismum ab hreticis datum cum intentione faciendi quod facit Ecclesia, esse verum Baptismum” (“A Baptism which is administered by heretics, with the intention of doing what the Church does, is a true Baptism”) (First Period of the Council, Session VII, Canon 13).28

                However, these doctrines of St. Augustine, and subsequently those of the Papists, “place excessive emphasis on the external form of the mystery at the expense of the right Faith that endows it with life, of which this form must always be the practical expression, and run the risk of lending a kind of magical efficacy to the formal celebration of the mystery,”29 and for this reason, “the sacramental theology of St. Augustine was not adopted either by the Eastern Church in antiquity or by Byzantine theology.”30

                Indeed, St. Athanasios the Great is very clear on this subject, for he regards right Faith as a sine qua non for the performance of a genuine and salvific Mystery:

                On this account, therefore, the Savior also did not simply command to Baptize, but first says, Teach; then thus: Baptize in the Name of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit; that the right faith might follow upon learning, and together with faith might come the consecration of Baptism. There are many other heresies too, which use the names only, but not in a right sense, as I have said, nor with sound faith, and in consequence the water which they administer is unprofitable, as deficient in piety, so that he who is sprinkled by them is rather polluted by irreligion than redeemed.31

                + + +
                The indirect exhortation by the General Secretary of the WCC, that the Orthodox “take the risk of being more deeply influenced by the ecumenical encounter,”32 finds a full response in Metropolitan John of Pergamon, even though the basic preconditions for the participation of the Orthodox Church in ecumenical dialogue are always violated by the ecumenists.

                What are these preconditions?33 On the one hand, that the content of the Orthodox Faith be made known to the heterodox, that they might be aided in the discovery of their own identity; and, on the other hand, that the self-identity of Orthodoxy should be preserved. Rather, the opposite occurs: our Church comes to as much harm as the heterodox, who are supposedly searching for the genuine Apostolic Faith.

                It is all too obvious that the self-identity of Orthodoxy is corrupted by so-called “baptismal theology,” which is generally accepted by Orthodox ecumenists as a natural consequence of their “being more deeply influenced” by “the ecumenical encounter.”

                Indeed, the depth of this “influence” is so great that another “veteran ecumenist,” who also departs from Patristic theology, declares:

                The Church is one and unique and united before the Triune God, in Whose name all her members are baptized, thus attaining their justification, independently of which Confession they belong to, united with Christ and with each other in one body, which cannot be divided into a plurality of bodies!34

                The fall goes on:

                The division that now exists between churches derives from external and earthly factors and not from internal and heavenly ones; it derives from human beings, from their imperfections and sins. It diminishes as we ascend higher and practically disappears in the sight of God, from Whom, conversely, derives the internal mystical unity of the Church!34

                And to cap it all:

                All of us Christians are sacramentally and ineffably united with Christ and with each other through the sacramental Grace of Holy Baptism, and subsequently through the communion of the Divine Eucharist!34A

                Such is the significance of “baptismal theology” for ecumenists, that the anti-Orthodox Patriarchal Encyclical of 1920 takes it as one of its presuppositions:

                For this reason the Œcumenical Patriarchate did not hesitate to address its famous proclamation of 1920 to the Churches of Christ everywhere, characterizing the Christian confessions as Churches, and emphasizing that it is above all imperative that love between the Churches be rekindled and strengthened, and that they not regard each other as foreign or distant, but as kith and kin in Christ, as fellow-heirs and of the same body, [and partakers of] the promise of God in Christ (cf. Ephesians 3:6).35

                Unfortunately this Encyclical, which the ecumenists never cease to praise as a bedrock and the “Founding Charter” of the so-called ecumenical movement, is reckoned a “Dogmatic and Credal Monument of the Orthodox Catholic Church”! What a downfall!

                1. Ekklesia [in Greek], No. 7 (May 1, 1988), p. 267a. Metropolitan John spoke thusly as the speaker of the day appointed by the Holy Synod (of the Œcumenical Patriarchate) at Vespers in the Stavrodromion Church of the Entry of the Theotokos (in Constantinople), on the occasion of the celebration of the millennium of the Christianization of Russia, February 27, 1988, in the presence of Œcumenical Patriarch Demetrios, the Synod of Metropolitans of the Œcumenical Throne, pan-Orthodox representatives, a delegation from the Holy Mountain, and official representatives from the entire spectrum of the heterodox. How could the Athonites have tolerated this blasphemy? “Silence is, indeed, in part assent” (St. Theodore the Studite, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XCIX, col. 1121A). See, in this regard, Professor Andreas Theodorou, “Narcissism or Love of Orthodoxy?” [in Greek], Orthodoxos Enstasis kai Martyria, Nos. 24-25 (July-December 1991), pp. 319ff.

                2. “Orthodox Ecclesiology and the Ecumenical Movement,” Sourozh, No. 21 (August 1985), pp. 16-27. For a fuller grasp of this talk by the Metropolitan of Pergamon, we should add by way of clarification that St. Basils House is the center of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, which was founded in 1928 by Russian Orthodox and Anglicans; it has proved to be “an important unofficial forum for relations between Orthodox and Western Christians” and has had wide influence on ecumenical activities. By means of this inter-confessional fellowship, a climate of “mutual trust” has been fostered, while “a spirit of true friendship and respect has been the fruit of the Eucharistic union which the members of the Fellowship discovered”! (See N. Zernov, The Russians and Their Church [in Greek] [Athens: Astir Publications, 1972], pp. 193-194. Also see The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, No. 2 [1984], p. 65: “The Ecumenical Movement and the Russian Orthodox Church Before She Joined the WCC.”)

                3. These paradoxical ideas of Father Georges Florovsky are developed in his article, “The Limits of the Church,” in [Protopresbyter] Georges Florovsky, The Body of the Living Christ: An Orthodox Interpretation of the Church [in Greek], trans. J.K. Papadopoulos, 2nd ed., in Theological Essays, Vol. III (Thessaloniki: Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies, 1981), pp. 129-148. The article was…[originally written in English and]…published in Russian…and French, and the [Greek] translation was made from the French version, entitled “Les limites de lglise,” which appeared in the Messenger of the Exarchate of the Russian Patriarchate in Western Europe, Vol. X, No. 37 (1961), pp. 28-40.

                4. Florovsky, The Body of the Living Christ, op. cit., p. 144.

                5. P.N. Trembelas, Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church [in Greek], Vol. III [Athens: 1961), p. 56.

                6. St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite, The Rudder [in Greek], p. 54.

                7. St. John Chrysostomos, Patrologia Græca, Vol. LXII, col. 26 (Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, Homily 3, 6).

                8. Cf. N.A. Matsoukas, Dogmatic and Credal Theology [in Greek], Vol. II (Thessaloniki: P. Pournaras Publications, 1985), p. 428. Worthy of study with regard to the subject under discussion are pp. 425-428.

                9. Florovsky, The Body of the Living Christ, op. cit., p. 145.

                10. St. Hippolytos, Bibliotheke ton Ellenon Pateron kai Ekklesiastikon Syngrapheon, Vol. V, p. 199, ll. 15-17 (Refutation of All Heresies, Book I, Prologue).

                11. Canon XXXIV of the Council of Laodica.

                12. Canon LXVIII of the Holy Apostles.

                13. St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite, The Rudder, p. 91.

                14. Ibid., p. 305.

                15. Ibid., p. 56.

                16. Ibid., p. 589.

                17. Ibid., p. 52, note on Canon XLVI of the Holy Apostles, with references to St. Basil the Great, St. Athanasios the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. John Chrysostomos, St. Leo, and St. Ambrose.

                18. Patrologia Græca, Vol. I, col. 948AB (Book VI, ch. 15: “That we ought not to re-Baptize or to receive that baptism which is given by the ungodly, which is not Baptism but a pollution”).

                19. SMPS, Vol. II, p. 733a (First Session).

                20. St. Theodore the Studite, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XCIX, col. 1057A (Epistle I.40: “To Navkratios, His Spiritual Child”).

                21. Canon XLVII of the Holy Apostles.

                22. St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite, The Rudder, p. 51.

                23. St. Athanasios the Great, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XXV, col. 689A (Epistle to Serapion); Bibliotheke ton Ellenon Pateron kai Ekklesiastikon Syngrapheon, Vol. XXXIII, p. 178, ll. 38-39.

                24. St. Athanasios the Great, Bibliotheke ton Ellenon Pateron kai Ekklesiastikon Syngrapheon, Vol. XXXI, p. 241, l. 22 (Epistle to Monks). Concerning the “heresiology” of St. Athanasios, see the marvellous article by Barbara Kalogeropoulou-Metallinos, “Heresy and How to Deal with It on the Basis of the Discourses Against the Arians by St. Athanasios the Great” [in Greek], Koinonia, Vol. XXX, No. 2 (April-June 1987), pp. 183-208. Also very illuminating with regard to the Baptism of heretics is the work by Protopresbyter George D. Metallinos, “I Confess One Baptism…”: An Interpretation and Application of the Seventh Canon of the Second Œcumenical Synod by the Kollyvades and Constantine Oikonomos (Contribution to the Historico-Canonical Evaluation of the Problem of the Validity of Western Baptism) [in Greek] (Athens: 1983). The Kollyvades to whom the work refers are Neophytos Kavsokalyvites, St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite, and Athanasios Parios.

                25. St. Gregory of Nyssa, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XLIV, col. 504A (On the Titles of the Psalms, Book II, ch. 5).

                25a. See P.N. Trembelas, Semi-Official Documents on the Ecumenical Movement and Theological Dialogues (Athens: Ho Soter Publications, 1972), p. 30.

                26. “Final Report,” in The Seventh General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Canberra, February 1991: Chronicle, Texts, Remarks [in Greek], ed. George N. Laimopoulos (Katerine: Tertios Publications, 1992), p. 136.

                27. Ecumenical Press Service, No. 16 (92.06.04): “Anglican Leader Visits WCC, Meets Leaders of Ecumenical Bodies” [emphasis ours]. See also Enemerosis, 8-1992/6, pp. 3-4. Archbishop George Carey of Canterbury was accompanied, apart from others, by his wife, Lady Carey.

                28. Trembelas, Dogmatic Theology, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 333, n. 54. The Papist Council of Trent (Tyrol, Northern Italy, 1545-1563) is regarded by the Latins as the Nineteenth Œcumenical Synod and was anti-Protestant in nature.

                29. Trembelas, Dogmatic Theology, op. cit., Vol. III, p. 48, n. 42 [emphasis ours].

                30. Florovsky, The Body of the Living Christ, op. cit., p. 145.

                31. St. Athanasios the Great, Patrologia Græca, Vol. XXVI, col. 237B (Second Discourse Against the Arians, 42-43).

                32. Episkepsis, No. 332 (March 15, 1985) p. 9 [in Greek] [emphasis ours]. Cf. Ho Soter, No. 1140 (April 24, 1985), p. 249 [in Greek]: “Where is the WCC Going to Lead Us?” This concerns statements by the then new General Secretary of the WCC, Dr. Emilio Castro, in the newspaper The Orthodox Church, in the USA. The General Secretary, among other things, said the following: “In the framework of the WCC, the Orthodox Churches must be recognized as one of the main branches of the Christian Church as a whole. It is true that they represent a family, a spiritual outlook, and a separate set of teachings.” He put forward similar views during his visit to the Church of Greece (February 1, 1985). Are the views of Pastor Castro indeed very far removed from those of Metropolitan John?

                33. See Apostolos B. Nicolaides, Interpretations and Misinterpretations in the Realm of Theology: Credal Theology and its Apologetic Aspects [in Greek] (Athens: 1990), pp. 234-238.

                34. John N. Karmiris, Dogmatic Theology, Part V, “Orthodox Ecclesiology” [in Greek] (Athens: 1973), pp. 241, 242, 243 [emphasis ours].

                35. Ibid., p. 243 (note) [emphasis ours]. In a detailed study, Professor Basil N. Giannopoulos endeavors to provide a foundation for these erroneous views of John Karmiris by appealing to the Seventh Œcumenical Synod, in an attempt, indeed, to refute what Father George Metallinos correctly put forth in his aforementioned work, “I Confess One Baptism….” (See B.N. Giannopoulos, “The Reception of Heretics According to the Seventh Œcumenical Synod: How Those Coming from Heresies Are To Be Received,” Theologia, No. 3 [July-September 1988], pp. 530-579). Basil Giannopoulos conclusions, especially regarding the Ordination of heretics (see especially pp. 574ff. and footnotes 85 and 76), demonstrate confusion and an inability to understand the prism through which the Holy Synod examined the whole issue. It is truly a very distressing phenomenon that academic theology should attempt, in a variety of ways, to present the Seventh Holy Œcumenical Synod as concurring with its errors, to say nothing of “baptismal theology.”

              • Michael Warren says

                BAPTISM – The Baptism of Heretics and the Orthodox Church

                One of the most serious accusations leveled against Traditional Orthodox Christians is that we ‘re-baptize’ non-Orthodox believers who have already been baptized using the Trinitarian formula in their former churches. The allegation is serious because if it is true then every Traditional Orthodox Bishop and priest who has administered the sacrament of baptism to non-Orthodox believers is liable to be deposed. The canons of the Church are absolutely clear on this point. Canon 47 of the Canons of the Holy Apostles of the Pedalion says:

                If a Bishop or Presbyter baptize anew anyone that has had true baptism, or fail to baptize anyone that has been polluted by the impious, let him be deposed, on the ground that he is mocking the Cross and death of the Lord and failing to distinguish priests from pseudo-priests.

                Critics often use this Canon to claim (wrongly) that Traditional Orthodox priests and Bishops have all been ‘deposed’ for daring to ‘re-baptize’ those with ‘valid Trinitarian baptisms’. Well, there are two things we need to consider before we can even talk about depositions, excommunications and reductions to the lay-state – all catchphrases tossed about carelessly in today’s extremely chaotic ecclesiastical atmosphere.

                Firstly, despite their fondest wishes, our critics may need to note one troublesome point: they claim that Traditional Bishops and priests are ‘automatically’ deposed by the very act of ‘re-baptism’. This is a very convenient thing, this ‘automatic’ defrocking – but unfortunately, it is not an Orthodox thing. It is a Roman thing. Only the canon law of the Roman Church knows excommunications and depositions incurred latae sententiae – in other words, automatically. Orthodox ecclesiology knows no such thing as automatic sentences. The juridical body in the Orthodox Church is the Holy Synod of Bishops canonically in charge of a particular geographical area – the province. Only the Synod may apply the rules (canons) of the Church in a particular case. In the Orthodox understanding, rules – no matter how perfectly framed – do not have immediate juridical power. They have to be applied by the living successors of the Apostles, the Bishops. Of course, these successors have to be successors in fact, not successors merely in name. For example, if you have a so-called ‘Orthodox’ bishop who has communion in prayer with heretics, schismatics and pagans, overturns the Church calendar so as to celebrate feasts in common with other so-called ‘sister-Churches of world(ly) Christianity’, allows the cremation of the dead – you get the idea…

                So, you have a rule, given in wisdom by the Fathers. It has to be applied to a particular case by the living successors of the Apostles who carry on the mantle of apostolic authority given by our Lord. These successors have to be true successors in faith and not merely in name. Then, you have a valid deposition. (This is why, although we all know that Nestorius was an out and out heretic and heresiarch even before the Third Ecumenical Council was convened, he validly occupied the post of Patriarch of Constantinople until the Council met and deposed him. Church history is full of such examples.)

                My question is this, then: when was this process completed against any Traditional Bishop or presbyter?

                Now we come to the more interesting (and important) issue: critics attack the Church for ‘re-baptising’ heterodox who in their opinion already have a ‘valid Trinitarian baptism’ (that is baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’). Let us read Canon 47 again. The Canon does not make any reference to ‘a valid Trinitarian baptism’ – it only alludes to a ‘true baptism’. So, in the mind of the Orthodox Church, there isn’t any issue of a ‘valid Trinitarian baptism’. Either a baptism is a true baptism, or it isn’t. If it is a true baptism, then, well – you are baptized and fully in communion. If it is not a true baptism, oops – you have a false baptism and you are not in communion.

                Therefore, when a Traditional Orthodox Bishop or presbyter baptizes an heterodox believer, he is not ‘re-baptizing’ the person, but baptizing him or her for the very first time with the true Orthodox baptism which alone guarantees salvation.

                Thus, in the first instance, there is no such thing as ‘re-baptism’ when the issue concerns people joining the Church from a schism or heresy. There is only baptism. In the second instance, Orthodox priests and Bishops are specifically commanded by this Canon to administer this baptism – for if they do not administer true baptism to those who do not have it, then they would be guilty of mocking ‘the Cross and death of Our Lord and failing to distinguish between true priests and pseudo-priests.’

                So, in effect, we have only one question we need to ask ourselves: what is true baptism? If we could define what true baptism administered by true priests is, then it would follow quite simply that everything else would be false baptism, thus requiring a true baptism to be administered at the point of admission to the Orthodox Church.

                The problem is that today many Orthodox are caught up in the ecumenist propaganda and believe that what constitutes ‘true’ baptism is the mechanical repetition of the Trinitarian formula. In other words, as long as a person has had water poured, sprinkled, splashed on him or her with the words ‘I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit’ – then, the person is magically and automatically baptized, no matter who the person saying the words (and doing) the action is.

                Is this what we are to understand of the dogma of salvation – that it is merely mechanical thing, requiring nothing more than a magic act?

                This bizarre theology is the product of the Western mindset, that as long as a man has had hands laid on him by a valid Bishop, then he too becomes a valid bishop. So, whatever this ‘valid’ Bishop does, whether baptizing, chrismating or ordaining also became automatically valid ad infinitum. This error was further perfected by Thomas Aquinas, the Latin doctor, who declared that as long as the baptism had the right ‘matter’ (water – poured, sprinkled or thrown, whatever) and the right ‘form’ (the ‘right’ words – the Trinitarian formula), then the baptism was valid.

                [Thomas incidentally got his theology not from the Bible, but from Aristotle, and that, by the way of commentaries of Islamic scholars such as Avicenna. The idea of form and matter is an entirely Aristotelian concept. Thomas applied it to all sacraments (mysteries) until each one of them, in the Roman conception, has an appropriate ‘matter’ and ‘form’, that makes them automatically and magically valid. Well, if you said Hey Presto and you waved the wand…]

                What is the Orthodox teaching, then? The mysteries (or sacraments), including baptism, are the continuation of Christ’s presence and work in the world, and the visible means of Christ’s invisible grace. They are, in short, the means to participation in the life of the Risen Lord. It is this life that transforms man by grace into god (theosis). This is the aim of the Christian life – to be transformed so that our very being closely resembles by grace what God is by nature.

                This life is ever present in the Church, which is the True Vine into whom the life of Christ is forever flowing. It is for this reason that the Apostle St Paul makes the connection between faith and baptism in his famous line to the Ephesians ‘One Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Ephesians 4:5). Only by knowing the One Lord may one come to the one, true Faith. If one’s knowledge of the one Lord, the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, existing in three hypostases (persons) of Father, Son and Holy Spirit – but sharing the one indivisible ousia (essence) is deficient, then one’s understanding of the Faith will also be deficient. If one’s Faith is deficient, then one’s baptism by which one enters in communion with the Risen Christ will also be deficient and non-existent. [St Maximos the Confessor teaches that the aim of Faith is the salvation of man. To him, perfect faith, or union with God is achieved by means of growing from simple faith based on hearing and keeping the dogmas of Revelation to a perfect faith, based on directly attaining union with God. St Maximos points out that the heretic who fails to keep the Revelation as received by the Apostles intact, loses any possibility of growing to perfect faith, and consequently, attaining union with God, and thus, salvation).

                The Orthodox Church, by ever proclaiming the True Faith (orthos ‘right’; doxia ‘praise, belief) in the Holy Trinity, never deviating even for a moment into the errors of the Arians, Monophysites and Nestorians preserves the true knowledge of God. This allows it to worship rightly the ineffable Godhead in Three Persons. This preserves its baptism from error and invalidity.

                Also, because the Faith is one, as the understanding of the one true God can only be one, then the Church is also one – because only a community that preserves and proclaims this true and one Faith can be the visible sign of the life in Christ. Anyone, who believes as this Church believes, is in communion with it. Anyone, who does not, is not. The true Church by its adherence to the truth of the Faith administers true baptism. Anyone, who believes differently from how this Church believes, administers false baptism.

                This is why the Roman Church and the Anglican Church and the myriad Western Churches do not possess true baptism: because they do not possess the true faith and the true understanding of the Trinity. All of them, without exception, subscribe to a erroneous view of the Trinity, ascribing the procession of the All-Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son. This degrades and destroys the monarchical principle of the Father who sends; the Son who is sent by the Father and the Spirit who proceeds from the Father.

                Of course, one is forced to admit that they baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit – but we ask with fear and trembling– which Father, which Son and which Holy Spirit are they referring to? Their error is as serious as the error of the Arians who by the word ‘Son’ believed in something altogether different from the Orthodox who believed that the Son of God was God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who is sent. To the Arians, the Son was merely a pre-eminent creature. This is why St Athanasius, whose words were confirmed by the Sixth Ecumenical Council says in his third discourse against the Arians [quoted in the commentary on the Pedalion by:D.Cummings, P 68, W.H. Houldershaw Ltd, 1908]:

                “The Arians are in danger even in the very plenitude of the mystery – baptism, I mean. For while perfection through baptism is given in the name of the Father and of the Son, the Arians do not refer to the true Father owing to their denial of the likeness of the essence emanating from Him, thus they deny even the true Son, and conjuring up another in their imagination built out of nothing real, they call this one the Son…” (emphasis mine)

                St Basil in his First Canon makes this point even clearer.

                “But who, though he has attained the acme of wisdom, can maintain or believe that merely the invocation of the names of the Holy Trinity is sufficient for the remission of offenses and for the sanctification of the baptism, even when, the one baptizing is not Orthodox?” (Ibid., emphasis again mine)

                These two examples, among others, show very clearly, how the baptism of heterodox Romans and Protestants, who like the Arians do not preserve the true knowledge of the work of, and relations between, the Persons of the Holy Trinity, is always invalid, and therefore, a false baptism. They have not known the One Lord, because they have not received the One Faith – therefore, their baptism is not the one baptism administered by the one Church, and is thus, void.

                Lastly, our critics like to point to occasions in Church history when Romans and others were, indeed, received by chrism (even before the heresy of ecumenism). This was hardly an innovation! At various times in Church history, the baptism of heretics and schismatics has been accepted as valid as a measure of economy (see 7th rule of the Second Ecumenical Council and the 95th rule of the 6th Ecumenical Council). St Basil, who was nobody’s idea of an ecclesiastical compromiser, states in his First Canon that while schismatical baptisms are in fact, invalid, the decision of the Fathers of Asia to declare them as valid ‘for the sake of economy of the multitude’ may be accepted. As Cummings notes in page 70 of his commentary, economy was used to facilitate the returning of the heretics and schismatics to the salvific Faith of the Church so that they may not become even more confirmed and depraved in their error. It never meant that heretical and schismatical baptisms were valid. They just meant that the Church was exercising compassion to draw as many men to the true knowledge of Christ as possible by making up for the deficiencies in their baptisms by the authority it had received from the Lord to ‘loose and bind’. Receiving converts by chrismation was an exception to the normative rule of the Church that considered all baptisms outside the Church to be false and devoid of grace. It was always an extraordinary act of charity exercised by the deliberations of Synods of God-bearing Fathers. It was never a normative dogmatic decision.

                It was in this spirit that the Church of Constantinople and Russia had accepted some heterodox throughout history by chrismation. The ecumenists attempt to subvert this exceptional act into a permanent ruling just shows a remarkable failure in their reasoning.

                The Orthodox Church has never, God forbid, rejected the constant teaching of the Fathers that baptisms outside the Church are truly invalid, and all seeking admission to the One Fold of Christ must be baptized with the true baptism of the Church.

                This is what the traditional Christians have done and continue to do. Those who reject and criticize us, only confirm more strongly their departure from the Patristic mindset and praxis.

                And this need not surprise us: their teachers, sadly, are no longer the Fathers of the Undivided Church, but the scholars and theologians of ecumenism and the lowest common denominator Christianity of present day Istanbul, Rome, Canterbury and Geneva.

              • Jeff Cahill says

                Mr. Stankovich,

                Why are you troubling people with your nonsense? It is clear you don’t know what you are talking about, and this has nothing to do with anything. Instead of being desperate, go read a book and actually think before engaging in this over the top stupidity – no one wants to witness your envy of Mr. Warren. It is creepy. I speak for many people in saying I am tired of your antics.

            • I have said it before and will say it again, and no more: the guidelines of the Russian Church to which Vladyka Tikhon admirably appealed when he was a diocesan bishop were created in a sweet, orderly world of confessional Christianity — East and West, that hasn’t existed since at least the mid 20th century. They were also created at a time when the Russian Church was dealing from a position of absolute strength and security within its borders. Anyone who thinks we are still living in anything remotely resembling that world simply isn’t paying attention.

              I must also say that in my three decades in the Church, I have watched as the underlying theology of reception by Chrismation has migrated.

              First it was described to me as an act of economia. Then it became a standard that was unwise to deviate from lest anyone get to thinking they were better or worse than others or doubt the efficacy of reception by chrismation alone. Now it is being described as obligatory — i.e. that a bishop or priest who receives a heterodox convert by baptism is actually doing something sinful. I have before posed a Gedankenexperiment that I think should give pause to cradle Orthodox who advocate such a theology — but things got a little emotional on my part and I regret that.

              Regardless, that migration reflects a real change in theology on the part of some, precisely (and ironically) at a time when the heterodox world is at its most wild and wooly. I, for one, am glad that alert voices, particularly in the Greek world, are drawing attention to this serious theological question prior to the upcoming council. I hope I am not being overly optimistic when I predict that anything that reflects this revised baptismal theology will end up being excised from the council decisions, and we will continue to agree to disagree.

              • M. Stankovich says

                In this opinion, Edward, I heartily concur, and I highly recommend the short but compelling work of Patrick Barnes (who is the founder and webmaster of the Orthodox Christian Information Center website) , The Orthodox Teaching on Christians Outside of the Church. Along with the commentary of Fr. Meyendorff, as I have noted from Byzantine Theology, we must admit there has been historical abuse of oikonomia, and Mr. Barnes notes that in our time, regarding the reception of converts, the exception has become the rule and should be confronted. Such is always the case when sinners – clergy or not – undertake decisions that are open to “favors” in one form or another. However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that St. Paul clearly indicates in Col. 1:25 that he was chosen as “a minister according to the management [τὴν οἰκονομίαν] of God which is given to me for you [εἰς ὑμᾶς]”; in other other words, “for which I am called into account.” While anyone may, obviously, criticize an any given application of oikonomia in any given circumstance, only he who applies it is accountable. And like the application of epitimia following Confession (cf. 2 Cor. 2:6), it is not subject to the “scrutiny” of others.

                I would again make the point raised by Fr. Florovsky, that the road of “akriveia” in the mistaken belief that it is necessarily a more “traditional” and rigorous path – and attempting to establish a false dichotomy with oikonomia as a “lesser” or “lax” path – is an exceptionally dangerous road:

                The Church, which establishes herself in the world, is always exposed to the temptation of an excessive adjustment to the environment, to what is usually described as “world- liness.” The Church which separates herself from the world, in feeling her own radical “otherworldliness,” is exposed to an opposite danger, to the danger of excessive detach- ment. But there is also a third danger, which was probably the major danger of Christian history. It is the danger of double standards. This danger has been precipitated by the rise of Monasticism. Monasticism was not meant originally to be just a way for the few. It was conceived rather as a consequent application of common and general Christian vows. It served as a powerful challenge and reminder in the midst of all historical compromises. Yet a worse compromise has been invented, when Monasticism had been reinterpreted as an exceptional way. Not only was the Christian Society sorely rent asunder and split into the groups of “religious” and “secular,” but the Christian ideal itself was split in twain and, as it were, “polarized,” by a subtle distinction
                between “essential” and “secondary,” between “binding” and “optional,” between “precept” and “advice.” In fact, all Christian “precepts” are but calls and advices, to be embraced in free obedience, and all “advices” are binding. The spirit of compromise creeps into Christian action when the “second best” is formally permitted and even encouraged. This “compromise” may be practically unavoidable, but it should be frankly acknowledged as a compromise. A multiplicity of the manners of Christian living, of course, should be admitted. What should not be admitted is their grading in the scale of “perfection.” Indeed, “perfection” is not an advice, but a precept, which can never be dispensed with. One of the greatest merits of Byzantium was that it could never admit in principle the duality of standards in Christian life.

                To conclude, I must honestly say I was a bit surprised with your comments regarding Greeks, as my trust remains with ROCOR and elements of the OCA. And so it goes…

                • The Greeks to whom I refer are mostly in Greece itself, where there is a strong contingent of theologians who take these things quite seriously and aren’t shy about it. Note that when the ROCOR bishops recently put out their statement about the Council, they drew heavily from these Greek theologians.

                  Even here in the US, there is, in my experience, a much more visceral and organic understanding of the importance of baptism in the GOA than there is in the OCA. For instance, Greeks always speak specifically about baptism when referring to one becoming Orthodox. In the OCA and Antiochian worlds, people tend to refer to one’s “reception” or even will assume that one was chrismated. Part of this is that the latter two bodies have historically had more converts. I remember reading in an Antiochian publication a conversion story by a young Jewish woman. There was nothing in her story about any intermediate Christian step, and yet when referring to her rite of reception, she called it her “chrismation.” She was of course chrismated, and I have no doubt that she was baptized, but the point is that clearly she was in a milieu where converts only talked about their chrismation — baptism was not the rite by which one became an Orthodox Christian. Not true in the GOA, in my experience.

                  And for another data point, I have asked this question of at least 6 Greek priests over the years (ones I got to know well enough that I had the rapport to ask): “if someone wishing to convert to Orthodoxy says he wants to be baptized, what do you do?”

                  Every single one unhesitatingly gave the same answer: “I baptize them.” Some added that it is a relief to them when a convert wants baptism. The inflatable kiddy pool scene in “Big Fat Greek Wedding” doesn’t come from nowhere. I can tell you from experience that this is definitely not the answer you get in most parts of the OCA or Antiochian jurisdictions.

                  I completely agree that individual decisions by priests and bishops on means of reception are not to be questioned. I also agree that viewing the exercise of economia as somehow being lesser, or however one wants to put it, betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of economia.

                  That being said, while it might be a distinction too fine for some to grasp (including those bishops or priests who are being questioned), while it is out of bounds to question a bishop’s pastoral decisions, it is absolutely not out of bounds to question rigorously the theological underpinnings of a given bishop or priest’s policies and decision making process. When there is a policy that converts who received a heterodox trinitarian baptism must always be received by chrismation, and can never be received by baptism, it is fair to ask whether this is a policy fundamentally governed by a theological premise, rather than by an individual consideration of a given convert’s pastoral situation.

                  • Edward,

                    Yes, the response of Hellenic Greeks to the preparatory documents has been comforting. It has alerted me to that fact that there are many traditionally minded Greeks, both clergy and laity, in Greece. And it has renewed my faith in the contribution of the Greek people to the Church’s future.

                    • And what is important, Misha, is that I believe that these key voices are clergy in good standing in the the official Church of Greece, and aren’t Greek Old Calendarists. Not that schismatics aren’t able to produce clear insights that arent worth listenIng to, but rather that men like Metropolitan Hierotheos cannot be accused of having ecclesiologal/political axes to grind, with everything done within “official Orthodoxy” is somehow suspect simply by definition.

                    • Edward,

                      I’m skeptical of the alleged “uncanonical” status of the moderate Greek OC’s. I see it more as an administrative schism within the Church of Greece, much like the MP/ROCOR schism. Nonetheless, your point is well taken. In fact, the loud clear voice of those in the “canonical” Church of Greece which are alarmed by these documents has renewed my faith that the salt remains in at least parts of the Greek Church.

                  • Jeff Cahill says


                    I and my wife were received by Chrismation with an explanation of retroactive grace being visited on our Baptisms, mine in the Episcopal church, hers in the Lutheran church. That tells me we had potential baptisms but not real ones. OK, in the creed, we confess one Baptism. But that Baptism follows as an ecclesiological initiation into “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” CHRIST commanded the Apostles to “go forth and baptise,” not chrismate. So, it seems to me, reception into Orthodoxy by Baptism is most appropriate and can’t be called “rebaptism” if one actually believes the Nicene Creed. I understand that customs have crept in, but I honestly believe that retroactive grace visiting a heterodox baptism is a very weird way of receiving converts. Arguing there is one faith, baptism, ordination, ministry in all Trinitarian churches is ecumenist branch theory. In certain places that is all the rage – I mean look at Metropolitan Tikhon’s recent address to the NCC, imputing to it a branch theory recognition as “the Church.” All of this baptismal ecumenism has become an easy way to bend Orthodox ecclesiology. I mean you are taking this up with a person who seems committed to branch theory, Unia and slandering everyone who disagrees with him. That expresses the sorrowful reality of denigrating Orthodox Baptism. It also spiritually explains why the OCA is losing so many people? Why shouldn’t it when the Church and Baptism is a mutual reality of everyone in the NCC? Why should anyone become Orthodox? A Byzantine floor show on Sunday? Why should anyone stay Orthodox? To be graced with the buffoonery of slanderers like Mr. Stankovich? Why should anyone respect Metropolitan Tikhon as their primate? Because he takes money from our parishes so well to court the NCC as the Church, Uniates, Non Chalcedonians, the very weird Church of Finland, the EP? I guess because there isn’t a serious appreciation of Orthodox Baptism amongst missionary jurisdictions in the US is precisely why there is a nominal loyalty to Orthodoxy where conversion has become a bit of a revolving door. People like Stankovich push people out. I seriously don’t believe I and my wife were received appropriately into the Orthodox Church. If you consider heterodox baptisms the same as Orthodox, then the Orthodox are sheep stealing, proselytizing and fomenting schism by stealing sheep from other members of Metropolitan Tikhon’s NCC Church. To avoid that ecumenist erroneous take, we really should emphasize reception by Orthodox Baptism.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Well, Edward, there was a time when the word “ONE” as in One Baptism for the remission of sins, was deemed of extreme importance and the thought of inadevertently performing an additional Baptism was to hoorid to contemplate. NOW, no one bothers about that—“Well, a reBaptism won’t HURT, if that’s what this is….”

                    • Vladyka, at this point, I am much more concerned about the “one” in “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” The varying ways that the baptisms of heretics and schismatics have been treated historically within Orthodoxy seems to indicate that those baptisms can be treated as empty forms that are filled by the grace of the Church at the time of reception into the Church. Other times they were simply ignored and the schismatics and heretics were baptized.

                      Had the Church consistently held that any Trinitarian form, regardless of the faith held by the ones employing it, was grace filled and sacrosanct, there would be
                      zero cases of reception by baptism historically.

                      Those who are raising warning flags about “baptismal theology” as it has recently developed are following a venerable path. Just as the refusal to say “Theotokos” indicated a real Christological heresy, the dogmatizing of recent Russian practices of reception (which were a local practice, as the Constantinopolitan council of 1755 makes clear), saying that reception by baptism is not just unnecessary, but actually sinful, CAN reflect a branch theory or invisible church ecclesiology by which the “one holy, catholic and apostolic church” is not one and the same as the Orthodox Church.

                      Even the most ardent advocates of reception by baptism that I have known did not question whether reception by chrismation was a legitimate means of reception. The current controversy is not about the relative merits of various means of joining someone to the Church. It is fundamentally ecclesiological. And since the Church is the body of Christ, it is ultimately Christological, as most of the great heresies were. Can the Body of Christ be divided?

                    • Vladyka,

                      Your concern, if any, should be with the fact that many in the Church have never received any baptism at all but instead received the grace of baptism through another mystery, since baptism into the church by those outside the Church is impossible.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Clear, concise and to the point.

                • Jeff Cahill says

                  Mr. Stankovich,

                  Your trust remains with slanderers and people who fabricate things and stuff long quotes into answers which seldom support what you say.

          • Michael Warren says

            Unia as a Model of False Unity:
            The Limits of Diversity within Unity

            A Talk Given by Protopresbyter Theodoros Zisis ,Professor EmerituS of the Theological School of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, at the Metropolis of Piraeus’ Conference
            on the Theme “‘Primacy,’ Synodicality and the Unity of the Church”
            Peace and Friendship Stadium, 28 April 2010

            One of the chief marks of the previous century – the twentieth – was the Christian world’s attempt to restore unity. After Papism fell away from the Church at the beginning of the second millennium (1054) and then the Protestant’s subsequent breach with Papism in the 16th century, East and West were deeply divided and the West was much divided within itself. Yet the Church lost neither its unity nor its catholicity – its wholeness: heresy and schism may wound and scar the body of the Church but they do not divide it, just as a tree is not said to be divided if someone clips off one of its branches. From this viewpoint, the oft-used terms ‘the undivided Church’ of the first ten centuries and ‘the union of the churches’ are incorrect. The Church is ever undivided, be it after the schism of 1054 or any other schism whatsoever. Moreover, there are not many churches needing to be brought together: there is the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” alone, whose life continues undivided and uninterrupted in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Those heterodox Christians of the East and West who have broken away, falling into heresy and schism, cannot be called churches; they must instead seek union with the Church, denouncing heresy and delusion. Unity is not achieved by ‘uniting the churches’, but rather through ‘union with the Church’.

            Following the schism, throughout the whole of the second millennium, many attempts were made at achieving unity, in particular through the calling of great synods aimed at unity such as those of Lyon (1274) and Ferreira-Florence (1438-1439). Though union between the Orthodox and the Papists was officially accepted at the later of these and almost all of the Orthodox bishops in attendance signed the terms – with the exception of Saint Mark of Ephesus and a few others – it remained unapplied: nothing more than a simple piece of paper. These councils did not aim at true Christian peace and unity – unity in truth; they did not ground themselves on the true model of unity as is found in the teaching of Christ, the Apostles and the Saints. Rather, like Unia, they were based on newly invented, false models of unity which serve ulterior motives – other malevolent, egotistical, autocratic, divisive motives. These not only failed to help the cause of unity, but enlarged the chasm and provoked new divisions. The members of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between Orthodox and Roman Catholics concluded this unanimously at the sixth plenary session of the Commission’s General Assembly held at Freising, Germany in June 1990. The text they signed reads as follows: “Unia as a method – wherever it was applied – did not succeed in its aim of bringing about rapprochement between the churches. Conversely, it brought on new divisions. The situation that it created became the cause of conflicts and trials which have left their mark on the collective memory and consciousness of the two churches. Thus for ecclesiological reasons the conviction that other methods should be sought has been made firm.” (¶ 6c)

            Papal and Patriarchal texts, studies produced by theologians and even the Theological Dialogue itself create the chimerical impression that the supposed new model of unity being sought after is the ecclesiological model of ‘sister churches’. In connection to this the aforementioned Freising text writes: “Now that our Churches have come together on the ecclesiological foundation of communion between sister churches, it would be a grievous matter to destroy the excellent work toward the unity of the Churches achieved through the Dialogue by returning to the method of Unia.” (¶ 6d) This model indeed applies when speaking about relations between the local autocephalous churches of the Orthodox Church, where conciliarity on both the local and international levels prevents anyone from asserting universal jurisdiction not only over the other patriarchs, but also over the ecumenical councils. The Vatican, on the other hand, does not accept, nor is it going to accept, the equality of the primates, or even that of the bishops, nor the supreme authority of the ecumenical councils. Such is apparent from the decisions of the Second Vatican Council as well as from its contemporary declarations and actions, like the abolition of the Pope’s ancient title ‘Patriarch of the West’ which limits his jurisdiction topically. Thus, the Vatican is deceiving us with the ‘sister churches’ model. In reality it seeks a new Unia; a Unia that is broader and elastic, having boundless diversity on matters of faith and life so long as the primacy of the Pope is recognized.

            Fundamentally, this is the model espoused by the older version of Unia which allows those Christians in union with Rome to maintain their own liturgical rites, holy icons, vesture of clergy, and other customs and practices, in some cases not even demanding unity in faith. Seeing that the first model of unity that Papism used – that of Latinization – produced no long-standing results (whether applied violently, as it was during the Crusades, or through personal proselytism), the Jesuits invented the deceptive method of Unia as a more effective means of bringing about union with Rome. They did this despite the fact that Unia was neither a holy nor true means of union; but for the Jesuits ‘the end justifies the means’. According to Christian ethics, however both the means and the end must be holy. Unity of faith and worship cannot be sacrificed in order to secure unity under the Pope, whose office is itself false and contrary to the Gospel since it subverts the God-given and apostolic model of administration – the synodical – to implement the absolute monarchy of the Pope. True unity is achieved through unity of faith, worship and administration: this is the model of unity in the ancient Church, which the Orthodox Catholic Church has maintained unswervingly. The method of Unia introduces a false unity, a unity in name only, because, outside of the fact that it allows for unlimited diversity in faith and worship, it is based on heretical ecclesiology since it overturns the Church’s synodical system of administration – a divine institution – with the primacy of the Pope – a human institution. In the Church, diversity is only permitted in secondary matters of local tradition and practice, which do not touch on the fundamentals of faith and worship and administration.

            Those who in our day adhere to and promote the true unity – unity in faith, worship and administration – are troubled by what has been plotted and packaged for us from above within the Theological Dialogue, without the knowledge of the people. There at the Dialogue, as expressed in the Ravenna text (which was also discussed in October 2009 in Cyprus) the Papists lured the Orthodox into discussion of the imaginary universal ‘primacy’ of the Pope, without which no proposed union can be accepted by Luciferian Papism.

            We have a new Unia at our doors; on account of this the co-chair of the Dialogue’s Mixed Committee, Cardinal Casper, expressed his satisfaction at the fact that the Orthodox discussed the universal primacy of the Pope in some form for the first time in centuries. We have been deceived by the Vatican: there can be no union with the Papists without the primacy of the Pope. For it to be otherwise they would have to call an ‘ecumenical council’ to change their ecclesiology, to change the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church produced at Vatican II. Even if the Roman Catholic theologians involved in the Dialogue were convinced by the Orthodox and they signed a text rejecting any form of Papal primacy, accepting that the Pope – along with the other Patriarchs – are first in honour alone, and accepting that above all is the authority of the Ecumenical Councils, this text would be immediately rejected by Rome. It would be made to disappear, as if it had never been produced. This is precisely what occurred with the Freising text of 1990 which condemned Unia. Rome rejected it, it disappeared and Rome lured us into the composition of a new text on Unia at Balamand, Lebanon in 1993. There, a reduced Orthodox delegation (without representation from six autocephalous churches) exonerated Unia along with the Papist theologians so as to be in line with Vatican II, which praises Unia, and so that it might remain a model for unity with the Orthodox as per the Ravenna and Cyprus texts. Rome, therefore, accepts only what is in line with its own innovations and rejects the things of the Gospel and of the Church. Can this facade, this caricature of a dialogue be considered a dialogue? Is it acceptable for us to participate in an ostensible, false, disingenuious dialogue, a dialogue whose outcome is already known: that is to say, the rejection of all that does not agree with Papal dogma?

            Since the repose of Archbishop Seraphim, our ecclesiastical leadership’s stance on these matters has been disappointing. We have even arrived at the point that many of us are considering invoking the 15th canon of the First-Second Council (called by Saint Photios in 861), which permits cessation of the commemoration of those bishops who are not upholding Orthodoxy, just as was done in 1970 when Metropolitan Augustinos of Florina, the ever-memorable Metropolitans Paul of Paramythia and Ambrose of Elevtheropolous, and almost all of the Monasteries of Mount Athos ceased commemoration of Patriarch Athenagoras.

            Though the clouds of Ecumenism and Philo-Papism are yet thick, the horizon has again begun to open – there are streams of light; there is the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece’s decision from last October to provide guidelines for its representatives at the Theological Dialogue in discussions of the Pope’s ‘primacy’, returning it to the path of the Holy Fathers; there is also your strong voice, your tireless and unceasing action, Your Eminence [addressing Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus]. Your boldness and outspokenness on a host of matters of faith and life amazes us. Already you have been placed at the head of the anti-Papal and anti-ecumenical struggle as today’s conference, taking place under your patronage, proves; there are those amongst your fellow bishops who signed the Confession of Faith against Ecumenism together with you, and there are other bishops who did not sign but do agree; there are the six hagiorite and a host of other monasteries – male and female – who have signed; hundreds of abbots, hieromonks, married clergy, monks, and thousands of laity who have signed and continue to sign and who, surpassing every expectation, have flooded this great auditorium tonight.

            We hope and believe that we will not be led into a new Unia, into the recognition of the universal primacy of the Pope in any form. If, however, the powerful and influential, the new Beccuses, Basserions, and Isidores, impose this development, all of us, with God’s help and the prayers of the Most-Holy Theotokos and all the saints who have struggled and confessed the faith, will once again quash it and ensure it is not applied.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      “Anonymous!” Wordsmith? I think your failed wordsmith is just someone raised on TV dramas. LGBT used to refer to such guys as “drama queens, ‘ no?

      • Michael Warren says

        Syosset-Crestwood knows a lot about failure, slander, and the LGBT community, but not so much about wordsmithing, success, integrity as it again makes clear here.

        • Found on the OCA website:

          Pastoral Changes for February, March 2016 released

          WHEELER, Protodeacon Eric, who was attached at St. Sergius of Radonezh Chapel, Oyster Bay Cove, NY, is, at his request, returned to the ranks of the laity, by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, effective March 31, 2016.

          • Michael Warren says

            A step in the right direction. CHRIST is Risen!

            • Irenaeus says

              By his own request though.

              • M. Stankovich says

                All that I can say with certainty to you is this: Eric Wheeler, my friend and brother of more than forty years, loved marriage, and our God blessed him with with a wife and helpmate beyond his dreams. He truly loved her as himself, and she him, in the mystery St. Paul describes as analogous of “Christ and the Church.” In 2010 she was diagnosed with multiple adenomatous tumors, and then developed carcinomatous meningitis, which is a complication, a side-effect caused by the cancer, affecting the lining of the brain and central nervous system, is rarely survivable, and is an horrendous condition to witness. After nearly thirty years of marriage, Eric made the decision to care for her himself with assistance of home hospice. Having seen home hospice many times over the years, volunteered providing care, and last year placing my mother in hospice, I do not attempt to flatter him by saying this is a noble, heartbreaking act of charity consistent with the Gospel. He was devastated and his world was turned upside down. Whatever his reasoning is in seeking to be returned to the laity, may it bring him closer to the consolation of Christ, and may Alla’s memory be eternal!

                • Jeff Cahill says

                  Mr. Stankovich,

                  That’s so very kind, but Mr. Wheeler has had this coming a long time and had the spiritual court system in the OCA actually worked, he would have been gone long ago.

                • I’ve always felt bad for Matushka Alla’s tragic and painful death, and may her memory be eternal. Yet that has no bearing on Eric’s personal rejection of Orthodox teaching. Michael, you say that Eric “loved marriage,” yet Eric celebrated his own goddaughter’s shameful travesty of marriage. What excuse is there for that? For that reason, I can’t see Eric’s laicization as anything regrettable. Rather, I regret his personal infidelity to Orthodox teaching.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    I regret his personal infidelity to Orthodox teaching.

                    Out of respect for confidence, I will speak for no one. If you would make such a charge, however, I believe you are obligated by the Holy Scripture and Patristic Tradition to verify with him with this charge, and I would appreciate your sharing that exchange here. I am confident that both courage and integrity suggest such a conversation will never occur.

                    • Michael, perhaps you’ve forgotten, but I remember that you were upset about Eric praising his goddaughter’s gay “marriage.” Then, you told us that Eric had acknowledged to you that the Church will not bless such relationships. But how can you countenance Eric’s belief that his goddaughter’s fictitious marriage is of the same nature as a real marriage? His acknowledgement that the Church does not bless it is a statement of fact, not a confession of belief in the Church’s teaching, and his belief that gay “marriage” is possible is incompatible with Orthodox teaching.

                      You know that an Orthodox Christian who enters even an otherwise permissible marriage outside the Church has still excommunicated himself or herself until the marriage is blessed in the Church. Furthermore, Eric’s endorsement of his goddaughter’s grave sin is a complete betrayal of his responsibility as her godfather.

                      This is to say nothing of Eric’s hurtful remarks about Orthodox Christians whose only crime has been to adhere to the teachings of the Church that he rejects.

                      I appreciate your offer to verify the charge personally, but Eric has already shown his hand. Now he is just another errant member of the laity. I’m more concerned about other malefactors who remain in the OCA clergy. Since you’re friends with Eric, maybe you’re the one who can call him back to reality.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      I have made myself perfectly clear that when I perceive someone is in opposition to the teachings of the Church, based on indisputable evidence directly at their hand or from their mouth, if I am to confront them, I confront them directly, as prescribed by the Holy Scripture and by the Holy Fathers, not as some anonymous creep on the internet. The approach is out of love, not as some jackass desiring to “play hardball,” directing others to do what they are too frightened and lacking in love to undertake themselves. There are hundreds of Orthodox heroes and another thousand Defenders of the Orthodox Faith on the internet, bully theologians and interpreters of the Canons, fully prepared to demand the church apply akrevia, but so ego-fragile as to be too frightened to use their own name.

                      You can be confident that I would never ask you to undertake an admonition of the Scripture & the Holy Fathers that carries a significant amount of discomfort and unease that I would not do myself, and all I will say is I stand by my integrity. I strongly suggest that you would have been wiser to reply nothing to me than attempt to obscure the fact that you have no intention of pursuing the proper action, but are content with further painting yourself into a corner.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Whoever does not want to know the will of God is mentally walking a path next to a cliff, and easily falls with any wind. If he is praised, he is proud. If he is rebuked he is angry. If he eats pleasant food, he is drawn into bodily passions. When he suffers he weeps. When he knows something, he wants to show that he knows. When he doesn’t understand, he pretends to understand. When he is rich he puts on airs. When he is poor, he is a hypocrite. When he is full, he is bold. When he fasts he is vainglorious. When he is denounced he loves to argue, while he looks on those who forgive him as fools.
                      (St. Mark the Ascetic, Homilies, 2.193)

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      If strict perseverance in Tradition does not entail the deadening of the Church, but on the contrary is absolutely necessary for the preservation and fruitfulness of the life of the Church, as much again the disregard for and even partial abandonment of Tradition entails the slackening of her life and her gradual decomposition.”

                      —Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Orthodox Tradition and Modernism, p. 18.

                    • Michael S., Wheeler cannot claim to hold the Orthodox faith while he lauds his goddaughter’s sodomy. You already confronted Wheeler directly, so there’s no need for me to do the same. It’s good to pray for your friend to repent, but it’s not right to make excuses for him.

                    • Anonymous says

                      This reply is to Helga.

                      What exactly under the sun prompted you to nearly repeat yourself some 12 days later in this thread? Stankovich was calling you out for your anonymity and willingness to chest thump about Wheeler’s failures. And you continued to chest thump.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Mike Stankovich! Congratulations on inspiring a wonderful outburst of inanition from “Anonymous!” who gave us this:

                      ” Stankovich was calling you out for your anonymity” ANONYMOUS!!!!

                    • Anonymous, I thought I had replied to Michael Stankovich earlier, and later realized that I hadn’t.

                      Stankovich referred to Wheeler as someone who “loved marriage,” even though Wheeler’s praising his goddaughter’s gay ‘marriage’ is pretty far from an Orthodox understanding of marriage. It would be nice if Michael explained his remark instead of handing back recriminations.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Irenaeus: recently Bishop Basil Osborne of the Parisian EP Archdiocese in Paris also requested to be deposed and was so deposed. He did this in order to marry a wife. Perhaps the Protodeacon has something SIMILAR in mind. Mk. Stankovich is right that he esteemed marriage: he even reported his joy at at the marriage anniversary celebration of Mark and Steve. I hope no one mistakenly concluded that Wheeler stopped serving order to care for his wife!

                • Tanya Morenko says

                  Hey BT, maybe Eric rejoiced in what you find despicable, but what is your excuse for supporting and protecting a child molester in your own parish? Even when he molested children in your own parish you protected him? What was your relation with this devil?

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Tanya Morenko. What child molester in what parish have I ever supported or protected? Or are you lying and bearing False Witness ? I think we used to say, “Put up or shut up!”

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Bishop Tikhon,

                      Lying, stalking and bearing false witness has become your M O. It would be nice not to put up with it.

                    • Tanya Morenko says


                      A Tribute to Pokrov –
                      10 Years of Courage and Commitment

                      By Paul Cromidas

                      Nov.7, 2009

                      It was the early 90’s when Melanie Jula Sakoda and Cappy Larson thought they had found a home in Orthodoxy at San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, part of the OCA – The Orthodox Church in America.

                      Instead, they found a nightmare: a place where a layman went about the church wearing black clothes and a large cross, but was molesting children of the parish. This was taking place even though he had admitted to the pastor that he had a history of pedophilia. As many as 11 children were victimized, some were toddlers.

                      When parents sought redress and understanding from the church and its hierarchy their nightmare continued. The head of the OCA at the time, Metropolitan Theodosius Lazor, never replied directly to the parents. He did so through his chancellor, who would then direct the parents to deal with their bishop, Tikhon Fitzgerald. The bishop, now retired, at one point admonished parents to “get a life – get a life in Christ”.

                      Two families ultimately brought suit against the OCA and another family was approached by the OCA after the first law suit. Four of the 11 children received modest settlements as a result.

                      In 1999, Melanie and Cappy, along with the Larson’s daughter, Greta, decided to create a web-site as a resource for survivors and others affected by such abuse.

                      They named the web-site Pokrov, a Slavonic word meaning the Protection of the Theotokos, or Mother of God. The web address is http://pokrov.org. There developed, then, two sides to this ministry: the web-site and the telephone service. Pokrov welcomes viewers, and if they have been abused, tells them it is not their fault, and they are not alone, and they will be believed. It then provides a contact for the person to call either Cappy Larson or Melanie Sakoda. Cappy handles most of the calls and Melanie is the main web-site manager. After several years with the site, Greta Larson’s employment has limited her participation in this volunteer effort.

                      Pokrov’s home page provides links to “Take Action”, “Education and Prevention” and “Resources”. A wealth of information may be found in these links. Viewers may submit articles or commentaries for publication, and the site posts most major Orthodox news about the abuse issue. Writers submitting material for publication are expected to identify themselves to Pokrov, but abuse victims who contact Cappy and Melanie by phone or email are assured of confidentiality unless or until they decide for themselves to go public.

                      Cappy and Melanie estimate that there is at least one new caller a week, in addition to the ongoing calls they are handling. When someone calls to say they have been abused, Melanie said, “we first tell them that we are sorry to hear about it, and this alone often results in the person being overcome, because no one has said that to them before.” In the church abuse experience, it is common for there to be more sympathy for the perpetrator than for the victim, they added.

                      In the ten years of operation of the site, they have had calls from people in most of the canonical or official Orthodox jurisdictions, as well as from other churches that may use the word Orthodox in their name. The calls have ranged from people claiming they were molested as children by a priest to those who say they were victimized as adults. A few calls have expressed concerns about monasteries.

                      A surprise, Cappy says, has been calls that come from clergy families. These do not necessarily involve sexual abuse. They may, for example, be a complaint by a priest who feels he has been unjustly removed from his position. But, they have also included some abuse reports.

                      Some callers have reported that their church has taken on cult-like characteristics, such as a personality cult around a priest or an atmosphere of blind compliance to questionable practices. The web-site includes a section on cult abuse.

                      Whatever the aspect of abuse, Pokrov provides a listening ear, an acceptance many callers are experiencing for the first time.

                      What does Pokrov advise callers? It depends on the call, but they can advise:

                      # Contacting the police or other authorities, such as Child Protective Services. If Pokrov believes that a child is in danger, it will contact the local CPS itself, as is required by law in most states;
                      # Filing a law suit;
                      # Contacting church authorities.

                      They have found, however, as have others, that if church authorities are notified, the church may not take any action, and may cover-up the allegation. They say the best advice, these days, is that civil authorities should be contacted before the church.

                      It has not been unusual to find that the victim or other caller may not be able to proceed any further after making the call. They may not be ready emotionally. In such cases, they are encouraged to call again when they feel ready.

                      Melanie added that, “we’ve also learned over time to be a little harder on callers who are not victims. We tell them we can’t do much more than file the information and that reporting to Pokrov doesn’t remove their responsibility for appropriate action.”

                      Critics of Pokrov include people who cannot accept the idea that a clergyman would molest a child. Some still believe that most charges of molestation are false – whereas the opposite has been found to be true. Others insist that one should simply not question the behavior of clergy or the church, let alone create a web-site that raises such questions. One critic wrote that the “women of Pokrov” were “self-professed ‘watch-dogs’”, who should be obeying their bishop, instead.

                      In the year 2000, when Greta Larson was scheduled to speak at an Orthodox conference, Bishop Tikhon, working through the offices of a fellow bishop, tried to have her removed from the program, but he was rebuffed by the organizers.

                      “Blaming the victim” is a common response by parishioners, and in lawsuits, church attorneys have portrayed the victim and his or her family as people who are trying to “hurt the church”.

                      A story on the Pokrov site this year illustrated this phenomenon. It was reported that at the annual meeting of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, when a delegate rose to question the assignment of a convicted bishop who was also a registered sex offender, some in the audience attempted to shout her down.

                      Finally, many parishioners, along with clergy, hold the view that in any case the offender must be forgiven. How such forgiveness is reconciled with justice is one of the unresolved questions of the day.

                      Cappy and Greta Larson and Melanie Sakoda have provided a unique and valuable service to Orthodoxy. Theirs is truly a Christ-like ministry, with courage and commitment.

                      (Mr. Cromidas is a retired social agency executive director and has served as parish council president in an Orthodox church. Articles he has written about the abuse issue may be found on the Pokrov site.)

                    • Tanya Morenko says

                      On Thu, 31 Aug 2006 19:20:59 -0700, Bishop Tikhon

                      >I just can’t imagine anyone stating that 99 per cent of the children
                      >reporting sexual abuse are telling the truth.
                      >However, I can imagine a statistic that stated something like,
                      >”Actually, only one per cent of the children reporting sexual abuse
                      >have been caught lying about it.” Just as viable a result of
                      >”research and experience”, perhaps?
                      >Commending all to Christ’s love,
                      >The Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the West. The Orthodox
                      >Church in America

                      In case there are any newcomers to this List.

                      Bishop Tikhon’s handling of a case of child sexual abuse in his Cathedral
                      was the inspiration for the forming of the Pokrov website.
                      It’s not surprising to me that he is still bringing up the idea that
                      children lie about their abuse. He never believed the little ones who were
                      harmed at his Cathedral.
                      Even though there were multiple children hurt, Bishop Tikhon still to this
                      day will not believe that anything happened to these children. So therefore
                      it was unnecessary to pastor to them because nothing happened to them.
                      The molester in this case had three previous convictions, all with multiple
                      counts and multiple victims. He has since been deemed a “Sexually Violent
                      Predator” by a jury of his peers. He remains in a medical facility even
                      after serving his complete sentence because he is just too dangerous to
                      According to court documents, the abuser had plans, with the blessing of his
                      bishop, to go to a monastery. Interesting that both of the monasteries that
                      this “gentleman” was corresponding with had children either living there or
                      visiting there. One of these monasteries even had a conviction of one of
                      the priest-monks for child molestation at the monastery (Kenneth Lasky aka
                      Father Konon)
                      I do not understand why Bishop Tikhon continues to comment on this subject.
                      I guess he likes to be reminded of this very black history during his time
                      as Bishop of the DOW. Someday Bishop Tikhon will have to answer for the
                      way he treated the little ones in his Cathedral.
                      He needs our prayers.

                      Cappy Larson

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Ms. Morenko,

                      I have had the pleasure, the despair, and the outright disgust of providing treatment to both sides of this issue: as a psychiatry resident treating victims of sexual abuse and child predation when lawyers were permitted to interrogate victims of rape as to their sexual history and manner of dress at the time they were assaulted, and allowed to summate to juries, whether the victim was a child or an adult, that they were “provocative” or “precocious” at best, and at fault for their own victimization at worst; and many years latter for a decade working in CA state prisons, conducting clinical assessment and working with felony child sexual predators, and certified by the courts to testify as an expert witness regarding these offenders. I have been committed to supporting and defending the sponsors of Pokrov.org when they are right, and equally committed to challenging them when they are wrong. I have done both with equal resolve when I felt it was necessary for me to comment.

                      If you would charge Vladyka Tikhon with impropriety or failure to act in a manner consistent with how we manage a child’s accusation of sexual contact today, you may as well accuse all of us in healthcare, mental health, law enforcement, and the judicial system, if only because the protocol was the same: start with the life of the child – and understand me clearly, the victim – and work outward from there. Does the child tend to lie? Have they made such reports before, and how many? Is s/he a behavioural problem in school? Are they “precocious” (and please explore the Freudian history of that word)? Do they have a history of encopresis (look it up)? Then, the classic psychiatric “case formulation” question, “Why now?” as if it were not obvious; the ever-important medical examination, helpful only in the most assaultive of cases, could literally end a case for law enforcement as quickly as it started by “lack of evidence of molestation”; prosecutors, who without direct medical evidence and afraid a child could not stand up to the scrutiny of a “seasoned” trial attorney questions; and finally, the ethical question we continue to hear today: shall we risk the reputation and life of a man – perhaps with a wife and children of his own – with nothing more than the accusation of a child? This, Ms. Morenko, is the context in which we all responded to accusations of child sexual abuse, and we should all rightfully be ashamed by what the research – research of which I played an active part – has shown us.

                      To select Vladyka Tikhon out of the aggregate of persons who acted in this particular situation you describe is patently unfair and taken completely out of context, as is your unfounded accusation that he “harboured” a sexual predator.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Tanya Morenko. What child molester in what parish have I ever supported or protected?
                      I have never ever supported a child molester.
                      I have never ever protected a child molester.
                      PS It has always been my conviction that no children were molested at Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco and I have acted always in accordance with that conviction. Please, TANYA, NAME any person alive or dead who has been charged with molesting children at Holy Trinity Cathedral, let alone convicted!

                • Jeff Cahill says

                  Bishop Tikhon,

                  After leading people into schism, former Bishop Basil Osbourne took w wife.

                • Monk James says

                  Basil Osborne is one of the most recent men to have requested laicization in order to remarry. As I recall, this was also true of musician/musicologist/composer Johann von Gardner several decades ago. In their cases, it seems to me that both men were plucked unripe and became monks and bishops almost against their will. I accept and approve the application of oikonomia for both of them.

                  I understand that a non-monastic priest might relinquish his ordination to remarry or for some other good reason.

                  I do NOT understand why a man who has made monastic vows is allowed to repudiate them, to then marry or remarry, and remain in The Church, unless it could be demonstrated that he became a monk under duress.

                  It was made clear to me by my spiritual father more than forty years ago that abandoning my monastic commitment was tantamount to leaving The Church, and that — should I flee monastic life — I would never again be able to receive absolution (even if a priest witnessed my confession) or to receive Holy Communion even on my deathbed.

                  So I’ve remained faithful, God helping me.

                  There must be stability in our ranks. Or has something changed?

                  • Jeff Cahill says

                    Unfortunately, too many bishops, as we witness here, don’t take their monastic vows seriously. I mean most of our Bishops never even visit monasteries, much the less live as monastics. Then we wonder why things have gone so wrong for so long. Look at some of the hierarchs who have been unfaithful to their monastic vows and ask yourself why they don’t take them seriously. Then I think you will understand why they don’t take Orthodoxy seriously and how this is just a game of playing church.

                    • I was surprised to learn that not all Greek and Antiochian bishops are monastics. For that matter, a current Antiochian bishop had been raised to the rank of Archimandrite prior to his consecration even though he was not, in fact, a monastic. It seems Russian practice is different on this point. Perhaps the answer is to cease the charade of monastic tonsure in the OCA as a requirement for consecration to the episcopacy, if this isn’t actually a requirement.

                      Then again, simply being a local tradition doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid tradition and therefore a ‘requirement’. It’s probably worth noting that not all monastics have lived in real deserts or in our idealized versions of coenobia, sketes, and hermitages – and this has been so throughout the history of monasticism, to greater or lesser extents. So it’s a little disingenuous for people to always trot out the old chestnut about our monastic bishops not acting like ‘real monks’ because they don’t live in a monastery and follow a monastic cycle of prayer. Just as Elder Cleopa’s obedience kept him away from services in the hills watching after sheep for many years not living like a ‘real monk’, so too does a monastic bishop’s obedience as a bishop keep him from the life of a ‘real monk’. I’m pretty sure most of us aren’t all that good at keeping the obedience of ‘real’ Orthodox laity, either, unless we excuse ourselves by lowering the bar to about ground level, so I’m not sure most of us are in a position to advise on what a ‘real monastic bishop’ must look like – even if we think we know what we’d really like.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Actually, all Bishops are supposed to be monastics. And the Russians received this tradition from the Church. Today, secularization and manifold abuses have intruded because Bishops do not live as monastics. Monastic discipline amongst Orthodox hierarchs should be reinforced, reinvigorated. The last thing we need is the Renovationist nonsense occuring elsewhere because of unmonastic Bishops becoming institutionalized in the OCA. Canonically, Bishops are supposed to lead virtuous and theandric lives attaining illumination prior to consecration. Removing the monastic requirement from the episcopacy will only create and institutionalize an Eastern Rite Protestant hierarchy.

                  • Tanya Morenko says

                    That’s just ridiculous! “should I flee monastic life — I would never again be able to receive absolution (even if a priest witnessed my confession) or to receive Holy Communion even on my deathbed.”

                    People change and circumstances change. Many deacons, priests, bishops and monastics shouldn’t be. As Chrysostom said: “The roads in Hell are paved with the skulls of priests and the door posts are the skulls of bishops!”

                    • Monk James says

                      Yes, people change, but ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’

                      Most people (even bishops) have a distorted understanding of the meaning and significance of monasticism, not to mention its underlying assumptions and basic practices.

                      So please allow me to focus on just this one aspect of our life, at least in its ideal form, a rare and prudent oikonomia notwithstanding.

                      Monastic life and its commitments are almost exactly analogous to married life and its commitments, except that monks and nuns make explicit promises to God, while husbands and wives make no vows to God or to each other, but instead assume implied obligations, mutual and otherwise, as part of our general christian understanding of marriage.

                      Still, as Jesus Himself allows, if one spouse commits adultery, the innocent spouse may (not must) terminate the marriage and take another spouse. Monastics enter into a mystical relationship with God Himself, analogous to marriage, but it is not a marriage, which is a purely human institution predating even the scriptures, yet sanctified by divine revelation and by Jesus Christ Himself.

                      But building on the analogy, mutatis mutandis, we can see that if monastics fail to observe the promises made at tonsure and break those sacred vows, it can never be thought that God was the guilty partner in a failed relationship. Again relying on the analogy, those monastics would never be given a blessing to ‘remarry’. They’d be on their own, utterly and forever, and have to depend on the mercy of God without the help of The Church, the Body and Bride of Christ whom fugitive monastics have abandoned.

                      This is how my spiritual father explained it to me when I was a young novice, and this is the discipline I accepted. May the Lord help me to remain faithful.

                      Ridiculous? I don’t think so. Stern, hard, consistent, unselfish, faithful, true, graced by the love and mercy of God and Man? Yes, and so may the marriages of all the faithful be until they return their crowns to Christ in His Kingdom.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    I certainly agree with your point, yet it raises certain questions as what we do on a practical level. In this age when “self-determination” and defiance is seen as virtue, I believe the words of instruction to confessors by Met. Anthony (Khrapovitzky) are necessary and extremely wise: when determining ἐπιτιμία to those who have made their confession, “Always bear in mind that we are far removed from the time of Grace” (and the word, ἐπιτιμία, payment or the price of wrongdoing, occurs only once in the NT, – 2 Corinthians 2:6 – St. Paul indicating that “punishment” must always be measured against the probability of “despair”). As an interesting aside, St. Cyprian of Carthage was faced with deciding what to do with a class of women formally referred to as “Virgins,” some who claimed to be sharing residence with “certain Deacons,” living “parallel” to them, while others admitted living “as if married,” and considered among the “lapsed.” St, Cyprian chose to call in the specialists: “Let the Virgins, meantime, be carefully inspected by midwives; and if they should be found virgins, let them be received to communion, and admitted to the Church.” There you have it.

                    To emphasize your point, when those who are ordained are layicized, they are returned to the ranks of the laity; monastics have always been laity, unless they (males) are specifically ordained to the orders of the clergy. As you note, how do you renounce the promise until the day of your death the fact that

                    you have been crucified and put to death to the world through the most perfect renunciation. For you have renounced parents, brothers, wife, children, forefathers, relatives, associations, friends, habits, the tumults in the world, cares, possessions, goods, empty and vain pleasure and glory; and you are renouncing not only those things which have just been said, but even your own life, according to the voice of the Lord which says: ‘Whoever wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’

                    from Service of the Great and Angelic Monastic Schema

                    However, as you say, some have undoubtedly been coerced for any number of reasons historically. I recall two monastic deacons who came to NY from the Middle East, who had entered a monastery at age 14, and were ordained deacons at 18. Their bishop allowed one of them to set aside his monastic vows, and to marry before he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood. This predictably result