More Turbulence During the Great Fast

The Ministers and Choir directors assembled for the 14th annual gathering of Spiritual Sounds, the brainchild of Anthony Donovan, seen here on the left of Rev. Amanda. A beautiful evening of music and solidarity – Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection

As a wise GOA priest told me not too long ago, “be careful during Lent, as that’s when the Devil works overtime.”

Well, this Lent is proving to be no different.  We’re in the middle of the Great Fast and the scandal du jour is the Great Internet Kerfuffle with an added helping of more gay stuff.  

Seriously, I don’t know where to begin.  From what I gather, the OCA (or some segment, thereof) has tasked a newly ordained priest by the name of Fr David Galloway with barnstorming across America to tell people to stay away from specific Internet venues, which include Jay’s Analysis and Monomakhos.

The two of us have been dismissed as too rigorous (read traditional) and three other websites as too progressive (read:  “woke”).  Galloway describes us all as “radical online echo chambers.” 

His goal is to eliminate the “extremes,” preferring instead a lukewarm approach (would that be the kind God wants to vomit out of His mouth,” as in Revelation 3:15-16)? 

He is particularly concerned with the internet displacing priests by taking over the teaching arena, which is baffling.  I’m sure he speaks for certain bishops as well.  That said, neither we nor Dyer make a practice of taking down priests, nor do we attempt to subvert them by promoting ourselves as teachers of the Faith.  At Monomakhos, we view ourselves as investigative journalists who talk about the geopolitical landscape around the globe and within the Church.  So does Dyer.  That said, Jay does write about theology and philosophy, and I might add, rather eloquently.  Neither of us view ourselves as being in a teaching position, as such.   

Here’s Jay’s take on this scandal:

In our case, we even shy away from posting comments from people who, for whatever reason, feel they should be at the pulpit, even though they are not priests and often struggle with the same things they preach against.  The only comments we make are in the “comment section,” along with our readers.

Like us, Jay doesn’t throw priests under the bus, nor does he bill himself as a “lay priest.”  In all the years I’ve listened to him, I recall only one or two priests with whom he took issue.  One was Fr Andrew Stephen Damick and it was only because he was forced to defend himself against some rather scabrous attacks.  (For the record, Damick later issued a public apology.) 

We’re not trying to be cheerleaders for Jay’s Analysis here, though we are certainly fans.  We’re talking about him because he, like Monomakhos, ended up in the “to be avoided at all costs” category of Orthodox websites.   

Neither of us are “conspiracy theorists,” as claimed by Galloway.  Our observations and stated beliefs are based on facts on the ground.  Sometimes, we connect the dots in order to present a more coherent picture but in fairness to us we are far more right than wrong. 

At the end of the day, these criticisms and assertions are a product of Galloway’s inability to buttress his arguments with the truth.  The fact that he lumps Dyer, Monomakhos, and Fr Peter Heers into the same category as Public Orthodoxy, The Wheel, and Orthodoxy in Dialog is proof of this.  Those who are more conservative and traditional (“rigorists”) may be many things but one thing we are not are people advocating for the Church to change its anthropology.

Jay points out something that bears repeating in this rebuttal; specifically our very real fears concerning the future course of the OCA.  He feels that the OCA is still clinging to the dream of the late Alexander Kishkovsky, who endlessly pined for recognition from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  (You can catch that at minute 19.)

As we grow closer to 2025, it is a distinct possibility the OCA is going to start marching toward the union with the RC in spite of Metropolitan Tikhon’s many protests to the contrary.  It’s no secret some in the OCA want to be recognized by the EP.  This was Kishkovsky’s dream.  Given the Ecumenical Patriarch’s proclivities, the last thing we’d want is unification under Constantinople.  I’m sure there are thousands of others in the OCA who feel the same way. 

Monomakhos first broke the story in August of 2019 that the OCA was going to be brought under Bartholomew’s jurisdiction several years ago  The shockwaves sent throughout the OCA were immediate and severe.  Even though we had confirmation from two sources for this story, we were quickly told we were misinformed, and that there was no such thing on the agenda as far as the Holy Synod was concerned.  As you may remember, I had to issue a mea culpa a few days later:  (Two years later, I published a satirical piece on April Fool’s Day which was ill-received in some quarters.

What “proclivities” are we talking about?  Well, here’s a short list:  

  1.  The unilateral and uncanonical invasion of the Patriarchate of Russia by Patriarch Bartholomew; a disastrous course of action that was used by the State Department to provoke Russia,
  2.  The insertion of a foreign-born primate in the GOA who constantly brags about his devotion to America but whose first course of action was to single-handedly and illegally abrogate the GOA’s legal charter,   
  3.  The maladroit political actions of this same primate which alienated a great segment of his flock and millions of other Americans (including his equivocal statements at the March for Life regarding abortion which horrified the tens of thousands of participants),
  4.  Not-so-subtle endorsement of homosexuality, among them a celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City, festooned as it was with homosexual banners.  (And who can forget the Big Fat Gay Baptism fiasco in Greece?  The Church of Greece is still roiling from that debacle.),
  5.  The proposed ordination to the episcopate of a defrocked Ukrainian priest for a spurious “Slavic vicariate.”

Items 2 through 5, of course, were propagated by Archbishop Elpidophoros for which the other jurisdictions rightly took him to task.  But the other jurisdictions didn’t cover themselves in glory, especially during the Great “Pandemic” when they ordered their churches to be locked down.   

For the OCA, however, alarm bells are going off.  As can be seen in the graphic that appends this essay, ecumenism and the homosexual agenda appear to go hand-in-hand.  The OCA’s cathedral in New York City is a community that is notorious for its celebration of all things Alphabet People.  Jay views this subtle accession to the worldly spirit as part of the OCA’s drive to comport itself with Constantinople’s vision in its headlong rush to meet the 2025 deadline.  We, too, are of this opinion. 

We all hope this assessment is wrong.  I (perhaps naively) choose to view this particular ecumenist ceremony as a result of the cultural divide, which itself is a reflection of the political divide, that exists between the Red and the Blue states.  Even if I am right, it is still alarming and I would be remiss if Monomakhos didn’t bring this to our readers’ attention.  In fact, I would be a hypocrite.

So in the interest of being consistent, we are pointing out this possible “ecumenical event” and once again, asking the Holy Synod of the OCA to condemn it in no uncertain terms.  Otherwise, it’s going to be hard –much harder–for them to throw stones.  If anything, it will only drive more Internet traffic to more traditional websites.  Ours included.  




  1. Which bishop resides at this scandalous New York cathedral? Is it not Archbishop Michael? Last I checked, he’s rector and professor at St. Tikhon’s. Now, what does this say about St. Tikhon’s seminary? Certainly he/they can be reached for comment.

  2. Centurion says

    It’s only “political” or “problematic” if a conservative Orthodox priest dares to uphold and defend traditional Orthodox Christian principles. Fr. Christopher Calin is immune from anything he does, regardless of how homosexualized, secularized or radicalized it is.

    Where’s the clerical consistency? – part 1

    Fr. Christopher Calin Endorses Pro-Abortion, Pro-LGBTQ, Anti-Christian Biden-Harris Candidacy

    • Centurion says

      Fr. Calin has a long history of superficial celebrations with all sorts of individuals to feel good about himself while doing nothing to preach Christ crucified or the Gospel or try to bring TRUTH to those who would benefit from it. That’s too “radical” to do. He’d rather just “love” himself and feel good about how “inclusive” and “non-judgmental” he is (except, of course, in judging any non-progressive Orthodox).

      Countering ugly rhetoric with spiritual sounds

      Donovan had an idea years ago that he shared with Reverend Christopher Calin of the Orthodox Cathedral of Holy Virgin Protection, at 59 E. Second St.: namely, an event where the neighborhood’s diverse faith communities could gather and “get past their comfort zones” through a shared medium.

      “I would walk around the neighborhood and walk by this church,” Calin said. “I would walk by Middle Collegiate Church, the Sixth St. Synagogue or the mosque on 11th St. and have no means of identifying or having a connection with them. Now I know them. I love them.”

      There was plenty of traditional liturgical music, chants and Koranic recitations.

      “We sing songs that celebrate the creation of life and how we celebrate our lives,” said local resident Kim Kalesti, whose composition “For the Universe” was performed by the St. Marks choir.

      The night’s youngest performer was Ishaak, 11, of Madina Masjid, who recited a portion of the Koran that is merely a fragment of the 400 pages he’s read and memorized over the past two years.

      • Christine says

        The Quran was chanted in an Orthodox (OCA) cathedral? Is that what I just read?

        • No, go to the link and read the article. “Members of Madina Masjid, the mosque at 401 E. 11th St., heard it as they joined seven other local congregations at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, at 131 E. 10th St., for the seventh annual Spiritual Sounds.” The Koran was not recited in the Orthodox cathedral.

          • Christine says

            This year’s Jan 2023 Spiritual Sounds was held at the 2nd Street OCA Cathedral of the Protection of the Holy Virgin. Here is some footage of Muslims from the Madina Masjid chanting the Quran on OCA Cathedral property Jan 2023:


            The article posted above that you cite is from 2016, as I read it that’s 7 years ago.

            • Thank you for the correction… I had not noticed the date on the article. Well, now I am horrified beyond words. Yes, you are right, the Quran was chanted at the OCA Cathedral, what looks like some kind of hall or stage they have on the property.

              • Herman, honestly I don’t know where to go from here. I’m just utterly exhausted. I converted to the One True Faith, Orthodox Christianity, over two decades ago. And ever since, it’s been nothing but a struggle. I am not complaining, but mercy me, the ecumenism and politics of the church just takes its toll. But this tops it all. The Quran chanted on Orthodox Church grounds is something I can’t recover from.

                • Christine,

                  When I’ve started giving in to discouragement, this homily by St. John Maximovitch has been a Godsend. Saint John emphasizes that “The Church is a spiritual union of all those who keep the true faith, headed by Christ Himself, and its goal is the spiritual perfection of its members.”

                  BUT, meanwhile, the institutions/organizations that make up the Orthodox Church are what St. John calls “the earthly part of the Church.” And this is what he has to say about the ordained pastors of this “earthly part”:

                  Great is the mercy of God to be called to be among them, but not all who achieve it are worthy, and many who are called are not chosen. It was not only Judas who fell from the ranks of the apostles. From among the first seven deacons appointed by the apostles, one—Nicholas of Antioch—fell from the Church and became a pagan priest who established his own sect. From the ranks of the seventy apostles, four lapsed from Christianity, but the Church did not suffer this loss and remained whole. The vacated places were taken by those more worthy.

                  Saint John (Maximovitch), “The Church of Christ Shall Not Be Impoverished”: Sermon on the feast day of Apostle Matthias

                  May God be merciful to His Church and to every one of us.

                  • I’ll be remembering this. Thank you.

                  • Christine says

                    Thank you, Jeff. Truly. It’s time for me to make a pilgrimage to his holy relics in San Francisco at the Geary Street Cathedral and earnestly ask him to pray for my weak and despondent soul. Thank you.

      • Zoy Calambas says

        The pious, earnest Abbot Grisha Calin does his very best in the parish he was given, in the middle of a Fatimist and Trotskyite Ukrainian neighborhood also known for rampant homosexuality. That parish was well know for homosexuals like Greg Dudak and Benedict deSocio. Further he is personally conflicted by having grown up in Ohio surrounded by downright nazi Romanians. Further that parish was also inflitrated by the racist (anti-Jewish and anti-Greek) Fr Michael Dudash who saw the rejection of original sin as “Judaic”.

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        Koranic recitations

        What. Doesn’t that violate the OCA’s clergy guidelines? The guidelines forbid non-Orthodox services from taking place in Orthodox temples, and Koran recitations are a core component of Muslim corporate worship. How can clergy be expected to follow the clergy guidelines if the archbishop at his diocesan cathedral sets the opposite example?

        The rainbow stole was shocking. This news that a Koran recitation also took place is a huge aftershock.

        • Christine says

          I am FAR more concerned that the Quran was chanted in an Orthodox church than I am over some woman wearing a rainbow flag around her shoulders. How can the OCA allow the Quran to be chanted in their Cathedral? I am in complete SHOCK!!! Honestly, this is the most horrifying thing ever reported on this blog.

        • Christine says

          I will say it again. The fact that the OCA has allowed the chanting of the heretical Quran in one of its cathedrals is the most shocking thing I have ever read on this blog.

          We’ve been through scandals galore together on this site, ranging from sexcapades to financial debauchery to spiritual malfeasance. It has run the gamut over the years, each shocking and saddening in their own right.

          But honestly, this little post has made me cry more than all combined. I cannot stop crying. To know that the OCA is allowing the chanting of the Quran in one of their cathedrals on a regular basis… I am in shock.

          The depth of the meaning of this… So many of our beloved Saints endured martyrdom over the centuries by standing bravely and courageously against Islam. And here the OCA WELCOMES the heretics into their Cathedral to chant from the book that opens with, “Allah only is God. He has begotten no one and is begotten of no one.” How absolutely ironic this very book that brought about such heresy and perversion was chanted in front of an icon of the Begotten One.

          Such madness. Such evil. I never, ever imagined the OCA could stoop so low.

          • Christine, please send a polite, but stern email to Archbishop Michael ( I know that he’s gotten quite a few already. The more, the merrier!

          • Mark E. Fisus says

            When Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, one of his first acts was to bring an Islamic scholar into the Hagia Sophia to recite the shahada from the ambo.

          • So, let me get this straight: Some of you still do not believe that modernism leads to apostasy?

          • Jeff Moss says

            “Today is the beginning of our salvation,
            and the manifestation of the mystery from the ages;
            for the Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin,
            and Gabriel proclaimeth grace.
            Wherefore, do we shout with him to the Theotokos:
            Hail, O full of grace! The Lord is with thee.”
            —Apolytikion of the Annunciation

            Yes, God has begotten and Mary has begotten,
            and the One begotten of them both is the same One,
            Jesus Christ our Lord,
            and in this One alone are the children of men saved:
            Glory to God!

    • I love Dissident Mama’s quote from Karl Popper:
      “We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance,
      the right not to tolerate the intolerant” …

      who are, of course, to be defined by intolerant Poppers…

  3. Deacon John says

    Looks like ROCOR may have a huge uptick in membership! Sounds good to me.😇

    Always looking for that silver lining😁

  4. Antiochene Son says

    For an Orthodox Church to promote—not to mention host!—and post the symbols of false religions on their Facebook page is absolutely incredible.

    Do these people not fear God? Is it for nothing that he allowed old Israel to be overrun and exiled to Babylon? Do they think he won’t do it again?

    • Zoy Calambas says

      The OCA of Queens, NYC is heavily influenced by descendants of Nicolas Notovitch and his theory of Jesus in the Himalayas.

      • Zoe, thanks for that information! Having said that, I think the time is long past for the rector of that cathedral to correct the historical errors of the whole “Jesus in the Himalayas” nonsense. And just because it’s located in metrosexual area of Manhattan, that doesn’t mean that the rector has to go along with the other nonsense for which said cathedral is known for.

        I’m curious, this was Metropolitan (and soon-to-be-canonized?) Leonty Turkevich’s cathedral. Do you have any information as to whether it was this corrupt under his leadership? Does anybody?

        The only vignette I’ve heard from his days is that there was a motorcycle gang nearby and he was on friendly terms with them.

      • Antiochene Son says

        Why hasn’t the bishop and priest corrected these gross errors? This is to the point of cutting off a gangrenous member if this is true.

  5. I dunno, George. I’ve heard about this before. In order for the OCA to come under the umbrella of the bishop of Istanbul, the clergy and laity would need to vote at an All-American Church Council. I just don’t see it happening. It would fragment the OCA as we know it now, and pull things in all directions. Most of the regular OCA parishes wouldn’t do it, both the Romanian Episcopate and Bulgarian Diocese would go back to their mother churches. Not sure about the Albanian Archdiocese though, that’s a wild card.

    There are some in the OCA that wouldn’t care one way or another, but the majority would not want to hook up with the GOA in this country because of the missing $$$$ that the Greeks can’t seem to track down, plus their massive clergy pension fiasco. I’ve also spoken with two OCA bishops about this over the last year, and they say the same thing. No way…Jose! 🙂

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      There are some in the OCA that wouldn’t care one way or another,

      Actually, most people wouldn’t care, other than the mild nuisance of stressing the right syllable of “Elpidophoros” during commemoration of the hierarchs. The king is dead, long live the king.

      the majority would not want to hook up with the GOA in this country because of the missing $$$$ that the Greeks can’t seem to track down,

      But they will care about this, yes.

      plus their massive clergy pension fiasco.

      Not that the OCA’s is much better since interest rates started rising.

      They needed to have moved to a defined contribution plan ages ago, whatever the non-profit equivalent of a 401(k) is. I feel sorry for the younger priests who will be holding the bag when this legal Ponzi scheme (which all pension plans are, including SS) implodes.

      • The GOA priestly pension plan is still a very sore point among GOA clergy, of this I can assure you.

        • Mark E. Fisus says

          I believe it.

          Earlier I said the younger priests might be stuck with the final bill, but there’s a possibility the rest of us would have to pony up some cash too, either as congregants, or taxpayers, or both.

      • Sorry, Mark. But I do not agree. Like I said, the majority of the OCA laity and clergy will not go along. ROCOR and the AOCA will surely be the ones benefiting from such a bonehead move. And, if you compare the OCA pension plan vs. the GOA, it’s like comparing the Titanic sailing along the surface of the ocean vs. with the Titanic sitting on the ocean bottom.

        • Alex, here I must agree with you completely. From what I hear from well-connected people in the OCA, at least 85% of the priests and parishes would bolt. You’re right, ROCOR and Antioch would explode overnight. Other possibilities no doubt would present themselves.

          • MatushkaP says

            I can’t say I’ve heard *anybody* in the OCA (clergy or laity) express a strong desire to go under the EP. I don’t honestly understand where these rumors keep coming from.

      • They now have to commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch, which even seemed to flummox Epli when he announced it.

  6. Joseph Lipper says

    According to the captioned picture used for this blog post, the highlighted event took place on January 29, on Zachaeus Sunday, so not exactly during Great Lent. Why bring it up during Great Lent then? Is it because “during Lent, that’s when the Devil works overtime?”

    From what I know about the OCA, there is often a great breadth of difference between parishes. You can’t point to one parish, and say, “oh, that’s what the OCA is all about.” The Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection in Manhattan is indeed Archbishop Michael’s Cathedral. It uses mostly English and is on the New Calendar. However, if you travel only three miles directly East into Brooklyn, there’s another historic OCA Cathedral that’s even older (and as pictured in the Seinfield episode). It’s called the Transfiguration of Our Lord Russian Orthodox Cathedral. This older Cathedral still uses the Old Calendar and Slavonic primarily.

    Both of these are OCA and in Archbishop Michael’s diocese. Both of these are in the middle of trendy and very politically left-wing neighborhoods. Yet the one in Manhattan that Archbishop Michael uses as his Cathedral has more outreach. The one in Brooklyn is more insular. Guess which one is more thriving as a parish community? Naturally, it’s the one that emphasizes outreach and gets the attention of this blog post and Jay Dyer. Isn’t there a saying, there’s no such thing as bad publicity?

    • Antiochene Son says

      Outreach doesn’t mean jack if their most visible teaching is syncretism.

      The Church is the New Israel. Like the Old Israel we are commanded to have no dealings with the world except to bring them into the fold. Tell me how tacitly blessing their falsehood accomplishes this.

      Did the Apostles ever “create spaces” in churches to worship the Greek gods?

    • This is a limited hangout of mostly old folk and many of them are not reproducing.
      Jay Dyer has 109,000 subscribers on youtube and 41,000 on Twitter.
      The most conservative Orthodox churches are expanding rapidly and many have outgrown their current space.
      My husband and I travel the country throughout the year and were delighted to witness the families and youth seeking the true faith and blowing off the “Woke” agenda.

    • I’ve been Orthodox for 3 years, Orthodox-aware for 20+, and still haven’t quite figured this out: Does “cathedral” in the Orthodox Church mean something different from “cathedral” in Roman Catholicism or Anglicanism (i.e., the central church of a city which is the primary seat of a diocesan bishop)?

      I’m thinking an Orthodox “cathedral” in English-speaking countries might actually be something more like a Russian sobor, i.e. “gathering church” or “catholicon,” of which there can be several in the same diocese? (In Russia I noticed that the actual cathedrals were called kafedral’nyy sobor, i.e. “cathedral sobor.”)

      • As I understand it, the word “cathedral” in the Orthodox Church means the same thing as it does in the other Christian traditions; the “seat” of the bishop. (From cathedra, Latin for “seat”.)

        The Greek word for seat is kathisma. I’m not sure if the Romans borrowed this as a loan word from Greek or if there is an Indo-European root word from which both languages borrowed.

        • cathedral (n.)

          1580s, “church of a bishop,” from phrase cathedral church (c. 1300) “principal church of a diocese,” a phrase partially translating Late Latin ecclesia cathedralis “church of a bishop’s seat,” from a specific early Christian use of classical Latin cathedra “a teacher or professor’s chair,” commonly “an easy chair (principally used by ladies),” also metonymically, as in cathedrae molles “luxurious women,” from Greek kathedra “chair, seat, bench,” also “exalted seat occupied by men of eminent rank or influence,” from kata “down” (see cata-) + hedra “seat, base, chair, face of a geometric solid” (from PIE root *sed- (1) “to sit”). The Greek word was used in Old Testament and New Testament translations.

          The English word was born an adjective, and attempts to force further adjectivization onto it in 17c. yielded cathedraical (1670s), cathedratic (1660s), cathedratical (1660s), after which the effort seems to have been given up.

          It is related to:

          sanhedrim (n.)

          supreme council and highest ecclesiastical and judicial tribunal of the ancient Jews, 1580s, from Late Hebrew sanhedrin (gedola) “(great) council,” from Greek synedrion “assembly, council,” literally “sitting together,” from syn- “together” (see syn-) + hedra “seat” (from PIE root *sed- (1) “to sit”). Compare cathedral.

          Abolished at the destruction of Jerusalem, C.E. 70. The proper form is sanhedrin; the error began as a false correction when the Greek word was taken into Mishanic Hebrew, where -in is a form of the plural suffix of which -im is the more exact form.

        • I’m wondering because it seems commonplace for an Orthodox diocese to have two or more “cathedrals” (e.g. the OCA Diocese of NY/NJ has them in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey City). Roman Catholic and Anglican dioceses don’t typically do this unless there’s a special reason—for example, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Baltimore outgrew its (now 200-year-old) original cathedral and built a new one in the 1950’s.

          This from Wikipedia seems to get at what I’m asking: “A katholikon or catholicon (Greek: καθολικόν) or sobor (Slavonic: съборъ) refers to one of three things in the Eastern Orthodox Church:
          The cathedral of a diocese.
          The major church building (temple) of a monastery corresponding to a conventual church in Western Christianity.
          A large church in a city at which all the faithful of the city gather to celebrate certain important feasts rather than go to their local parish church….

          “The word katholikon is often translated into English as cathedral rather than assembly and that can cause confusion. In Saint Isaac’s Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia, for example, there is a placard in Russian and in English describing the building as having been ‘кафедральный собор’ [kafedral’nyy sobor], rendered in English as the “cathedraly cathedral”. However an Eastern Orthodox diocese may have several katholikons, only one of which is the bishop’s cathedral, other important churches being known as katholicons. The rector of such churches is usually an archpriest.”

          I didn’t mean to hijack the thread with arcana! But hearing that the OCA has “cathedrals” in both Manhattan and Brooklyn made me curious…

      • No, I don’t think so. Aren’t they just bigger gathering places?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        It is an interesting question. The Brooklyn Cathedral’s website states that it was raised to the “rank” of Cathedral in 1932 by the Holy Synod. Indeed, the Russian Church developed a whole system of awards and ranks after Tsar Peter the Great’s reforms. This “rank” appears to be an example. There is also another “Cathedral” in Archbishop Michael’s diocese in Jersey City, NJ, St. Peter and Paul’s.

        The Metropolia lost its main St. Nicholas Cathedral in 1925 to the Soviets in a court battle. That Cathedral relocated to Manhattan’s Lower East Side temporarily using space in an Episcopal chapel. It wasn’t until 1943 that the present location of the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral was purchased.

  7. Mark E. Fisus says

    Rev. Amanda in the rainbow stole is a mockery. What a sacrilegious image like the one taken of Archbishop L.P. Dope-oros at the “gay baptism” in Greece. What message does this send to homosexuals? That the Orthodox Church stands in “solidarity” with the homosexual lifestyle?

    My eyebrow is now raised. If this were just some other northeastern church, I would have just dismissed this as some provocative stunt by some wayward priest craving validation from clerical colleagues of neighboring faith communities. But the diocesan cathedral!

  8. Mark E. Fisus says

    barnstorming across America telling people to stay away from internet venues, especially Jay Dyer’

    Didn’t have a reason to look at Jay Dyer, until now. Rainbow stole at an Orthodox cathedral. What a travesty.

    • These rainbow stoles, etc. seem to suck the air out of the room. Never subtle. Always in your face. Screaming, “This is my sin and I’m proud of it.”

      When did it become popular to announce your sin? What guy comes into Church with an “I love porn” t-shirt? I would think if someone were to do that the priest would insist he change.

      A priest should be able to go up to a person wearing a long rainbow stole and say, “This is not something we wear in the Orthodox Church because it represents something that is against our teaching. I’m going to have to ask you to take it off or to leave.”

      The priest could at least say to the cute Muslim boy, “It’s wonderful you’re here and it’s impressive that you’ve been able to memorize all this. Good job!
      But reciting the Koran is against our teaching so you will not be able to recite it today.”

      Allowing this nonsense in the Church is not loving, nor is it sustainable if these people were to want to come into the Church.

      If the neighborhood wants to meet for coffee. That’s fine. But not in the Church.

      • A priest should be able to go up to a person wearing a long rainbow stole and say, “This is not something we wear in the Orthodox Church because it represents

        something that is against our teaching. I’m going to have to ask you to take it off or to leave.”

        The priest could at least say to the cute Muslim boy, “It’s wonderful you’re here and it’s impressive that you’ve been able to memorize all this. Good job!
        But reciting the Koran is against our teaching so you will not be able to recite it today.”
        Maybe the soft approach is the problem. My second cousin, George, came to America with St. John Maximovich, and was a server for him. If St. John did not approve of behaviour or appearance of any one in Church (such as women in pants) he would literally drive them out. They all returned with contrition and were welcomed as beloved children.

        • There is definitely something to be said for a more direct approach. Somehow, I don’t think these people have it in them.

          • George Michalopulos says

            As I learned from my parents whenever they butted up against someone obstinate, they’d say afterwards: “khaneis ta logia sou” (literally: “You’re losing your words”). Idiomatically “You might as well be talking to a brick wall.”

        • As a new inquirer, I was in a Greek parish with my family, and one of my little boys was wearing a hat. A subdeacon came up to us and said, “I realize you’re new here and may not know about these things, but males don’t wear hats in Orthodox churches.” I thanked him and had my son take off his hat. Problem solved.

          You’d think a rainbow stole or a recitation of the Qur’an would provoke a stronger reaction than that…

          The Qur’an recitation especially makes me shiver as it reminds me of the incident in 2017 at the Anglican cathedral in Glasgow, where a Muslim woman was invited to read a selection from the Qur’an during the Eucharistic service for the Feast of the Epiphany. She “kept on going” and got to the part that denounces any belief that Jesus is the son of God!

  9. Lay people need to be educated in the Christian faith. We need to know what exactly we believe. And the Church needs to train lay people to teach. There are far more lay people than clergy.

    Jesus made disciples. He gave them hands on training before He sent them out into the world. He made them think about His teachings. The Church is in trouble today because not enough people know what they should believe.

    As far as I have noticed most secular organizations require constant training/retraining. Most churches do not. The assumption is that one ten minute sermon suffices for education.

    • Agree. Most “church” people, generally speaking (including “conservative” ones), tend to abhor organization, intentionality, and having purpose/mission in any “church” endeavours. They leave that all behind when they step through the doors of a parish, and aside from being slightly more organized on parish councils, they do not like having a consistent, repeated, purposeful training or education of lay members. I am at a lost for why. One theory I have is that it makes them uncomfortable in a parish setting because they feel that any faith related endeavour must be done in this laid back, loose, unorganized manner. Anything organized, intentional, consistent, and purposeful must mean you don’t trust the Lord enough or something along those lines.

  10. Alexander II says

    Just ignore this moron, his minions and masters, and keep on publishing.

    Arhondonis strikes again with state sponsored ecclesiastical terrorism in Lithuania. He is pure evil. Pure unadulterated evil.

    Joseph Lipper, take the bait and defend His Intergalacticness’ most recent heresies.

    We all need a good laugh.

  11. Question for George and Gail and the group:

    Is it possible for Orthodox Christianity to “Christianize” a feminized/leftist culture that glorifies homosexuality? I don’t think so.

    This is sad/tragic to read, particularly since this Cathedral is the former Cathedral of Metropolitan Leonty (“the Saint of the Bowery”) who is probably crying tears from Heaven seeing what is happening in his former Cathedral in Lower Manhattan.

    But in his day, there were hardscrabble, working-class and professional-class Orthodox men raising families in Lower Manhattan who went to this Cathedral for their spiritual life. That is all gone now. The urban culture has completely changed. The culture there is now primarily single urbanites who accept an overwhelmingly feminized and homosexualized culture as normative. I just don’t think the Church can do anything with this satanic approach to life.

    The contrast with St Nicholas Patriarchal Orthodox Cathedral a few miles up the road on E 97th St, or with the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign (ROCOR Cathedral) on E 93rd St couldn’t be more stark. These cathedrals are centers of the Russian Orthodox community in Manhattan and for Americans who eschew Western/secular American feminized/homosexualized culture. Having a feminine faux-“priestess” in a rainbow stole and glorifying homosexuality is unthinkable at either of these cathedrals. The cultural difference is that Russian culture is not feminized and does not glorify homosexuality. Western/secular American culture is overwhelmingly feminized and does glorify homosexuality.

    The OCA Cathedral in the Bowery unfortunately seems to think its job is to “missionize” to this sick culture, but how much mission work can you do when you’re unwilling to be blunt with them and say that their entire approach to life is disordered and must change in order to even begin to live a Christian life? That’s the problem, in my opinion, with Fr Christopher Calin (whom I don’t know) and those like him — they are unwilling to call out a sick culture for what it is.

    Archbishop Michael (OCA-New York) is not a pushover. I’m surprised that he allows this. I don’t know why Fr Christopher Calin is allowed to do these sort of stunts, but it’s been going on for a long time. Maybe they’re trying to do the best they can with the sick secular/feminized culture that surrounds them. I don’t know.

    But for young men (and older men) who want to live with Christ and to live a Christian Orthodox life, this stuff is a massive turn off and they will (and do) go and take their families elsewhere. I’d sooner regularly attend Liturgy in 100% Church Slavonic and either of the two mentioned Russian Orthodox Cathedrals a few miles up the road than waste my time in rainbow feminized garbage at the Saintly Metropolitan Leonty’s former Cathedral in the Bowery.

    Through the prayers of Met. Leonty of blessed memory — may he help to bring some sanity to his former Cathedral community !!!

    • FTS, once a church goes “woke” it’s beyond repair on a collective level. Individuals can repent but not the community. (Well, it could conceivably repent in the aggregate like the city of Nineveh in the time of the Prophet Jonah, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.)

      We saw this happen in the 70s when feminists took over/made significant inroads into the mainline denominations. (“Priestitutes” as a Lutheran pastor friend of mine called them.) Once a church is feminized, it can’t withstand the subsequent gayification. The final result is what we see at this cathedral.

      You can extrapolate further: to the US Armed Forces. The military has been almost completely degraded (with attendant sexual assaults) by the intrusion of women into combat formations, open homosexuals preying on heterosexual men, and now transsexuals who are in it only for the free surgery.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      This “Spiritual Sounds” event is listed as being organized by a layperson, not the priest. They are evidently using the parish hall, not the sanctuary. There’s no “ecumenical statement”. It looks like just a neighborhood gathering of differing faith groups coming to respectfully listen to each other’s music and simply to meet as members of the same neighborhood. I don’t see any real agenda, other than to acknowledge one’s neighbors and show them some respect as people created in the image of God. I suppose in that sense, it could be called a Pro-Life event. However, I’m sure that if Archbishop Michael were to object to this, the priest there would stop the Cathedral’s involvement.

      But is it really so objectionable? Apparently Jay Dyer wants to think so.

      So what then does Jay Dyer think of Patriarch Kirill’s “great sympathy and trust for Iranian Muslims”?

      …and also covered by the MP DECR website:

      FTS… is Patriarch Kirill also “unwilling to call out a sick culture for what it is?”

      • This probably strikes many secular Boomer leftists as heresy, but I know many Christians who’d prefer to live in an Islamic society than to live in a secular, nihilistic totalitarian wasteland.

        In an Islamic culture, you know that your son won’t be taught at age 6 by some bozo that he may really be a girl, that there won’t be drag queen festivals in the town square, that masculinity won’t by default be considered toxic. The list goes on.

        In total seriousness…. Islam stems from Orthodox Christian heresy. Orthodox Christianity therefore has far more in common with Islam than with secular totalitarian nihilism.

        I’m not saying that Islam is all peaches and cream. It’s not. But I’ve lived in the Middle East and, of the Muslims I knew, none were suicide bombers and all were caring and kind. Islam is theologically in severe error, yes. But living under secular nihilist leftist totalitarian rule – where Christian faith is outlawed overtly or is softly persecuted, where transgenderism and homosexuality are glorified, where the goal is to glorify the rulers and the state (not God) — that’s no paradise.

        It’s also not Patriarch Kyrill’s job to be a “crusader against the world” and to piss off other countries like Iran that he has theological differences with. His job is to preserve, protect, and minister the Orthodox faith for his country, his flock, and for anyone else who’s interested.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Patriarch Kirill: ‘Our common task is to counter demonization of Islam’

          “Our president Vladimir Putin, who is an Orthodox Christian, while answering the question from a journalist about relation of Orthodox Christianity to Catholicism and Islam, said ‘We are closer to Islam’. I think so, too. In terms of traditions and morality, we are closer to Islam than to some of the Western Christian communities,” he [The Patriarch] said.

          “Christianity is being destroyed in the West. Not in some dogmatic sense, but literally, in terms of morality. You know that under the influence of external factors, political, ideological, some protestant communities legalise same-sex marriages and even develop rituals to bless the marriages. Religious morality is being changed dramatically,” he commented on his point of view.

          “Both Islam and Christianity belong to the same Oriental group. It so happened that the East is less susceptible to novelties in religious life,” the Patriarch continued. “As Islam, Orthodox Christianity stands firmly on its feet and looks with caution at the religious life of the West. It is degenerating. I think this is what largely contributes to tensions between the Muslims and so-called Christians. When pious Muslims see what happens, they cannot understand that. This causes new misunderstandings, when even basic morals are absent.”

          “In Tatarstan, I note with satisfaction that practical cooperation is well developed. People of various nationalities and religions grow up together. Their views of life are being formed collectively,” Primate of the Orthodox Church of Russia pointed out.

          “There may be deviations. There are Muslims who behave themselves inappropriately. There are Orthodox Christians, who forget about their faith. Terrorism is a deviation from Islamic and Christian principles. The Muslim world is a strong world, and other centers of power, fearing it, seek to demonize Islam. It is worth remembering that a man, who choses murder, betray his religion and discredit it. Together we have to defeat the propaganda machine directed against our moral values, and to counter the demonization of Islam in the name of its future,” the Patriarch admitted.”

          • Jeff Moss says


            St. Alexander Nevsky preferred to be under the Mongols (Muslims), who would protect the Orthodox Church, than under the Teutonic Knights (Roman Catholic), who would actively work to undermine it.

          • Pat Kirill: “Terrorism is a deviation from Islamic…principles.”

            I expect he is reading from a New Revised Koran.

          • Mark E. Fisus says

            The narrow gate would be to trust in God, not in princes (sultans, or ayatollahs) or sons of men.

            • Thanks, Mark E. Fisus, and therein lies the problem.

              The Old Testament covers just about everything included in the LGBTQ movement. Leviticus is often sited but this is by no means the only place. There are also stories that illustrate the prohibitions like the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

              – Homosexuality (L & G in LGBTQ)
              – Bi-sexuality which is homosexuality (B in LGBTQ)
              – Transgenderism which is talked about in the case of eunuchs (T in LGBTQ). Outside of eunuchs, transgenderism didn’t exist.
              – Detestable customs (Leviticus) which includes questioning (Q in LGBTQ) anything outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

              In the NT or Gospels, Romans 1:26–27, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, 1 Timothy 1:9–10 and Jude 1:7 are often sited.

              The bottom line is this: In the Orthodox Church trusting in God means trusting the teachings and the Holy Scriptures. Trusting in the sons of men means trusting in human beings, or the culture where people confuse what’s being done with what should be done.

      • Antiochene Son says

        I presume the parish hall is part of the consecrated church building or grounds. No excuse.

        Priests who are unable to say “no” to parishioners aren’t worthy of their office.

    • No, FTS, it’s not possible, nor is it what they want. They don’t want to change. They want us to change and think like frogs in a pot, we won’t notice if they gradually turn up the heat.

      So they show up in their rainbow clothes with their Korans. What do you think would happen if we showed up in their neck of the woods in a “Homosexuality is a sin,” t-shirt or asked an Imam to let one of our kids recite the Creed in their mosque?

      At my father’s funeral this woman who knew my father pulled me aside and said, “You probably are going to be doing the eulogy, but I’m going to bump you. I have something prepared.” This was a woman around 5′ tall who was a retired colonel in the army. (Why do colonels always think they can boss you around?) When I first met her she said to me: “Did you see the movie “Black Hawk Down?” Well, I ran that operation.” A very intimidating woman were I the type to be intimidated. – Anyway, I didn’t answer her one way or the other as it was an Orthodox funeral and was a non-issue. I just ignored the request (or order, in her case).

      The point is certain things are non-negotiable. We don’t have to be rude, but we don’t have to acquiesce. If a priest doesn’t want to confront someone, don’t invite them to a kumbaya session at the parish. Meet them for coffee. Put a sign on the door about what is and is not appropriate dress. There is nothing wrong with a sign saying that anything that might be construed as political, including rainbow dress, will not permitted.

      Certainly don’t take pictures with them surrounded by religious art. – The sad thing is, the people who orchestrated this event are probably proud of being inclusive. What if being inclusive means excluding yourself from being Orthodox?

      Why are we always trying to mitigate what we believe?

      We’ve already taken this ecumenicism thing too far. The bishops need to put a stop to it. At the end of the day, they’re the ones who are going to be accountable.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Every once in a while, I confront people in church about their dress or lack thereof. If a man or woman comes to church dressed immodestly, like wearing shorts, I will tell them, “hey, cover up or leave, this is church.” I usually only do it though when it’s quite obvious.

        Looking at this picture of the “Rev. Amanda”, I don’t see anything particularly immodest about her dress. What’s wrong with a woman wearing what essentially amounts to a long rainbow-colored scarf?

        Sure, it would be nice and respectful if she wore a head covering, but I wouldn’t personally pick on any woman for not wearing one. I’m actually impressed that she even stepped foot into an Orthodox church. Has anyone here even had a “female priest” visit their parish?

        • Joseph, the issue is not “Rev Amanda’s” immodesty (as I understand it), in fact, she doesn’t appear immodest at all. It’s the fact that she’s a priestess and no such interreligious colloquium should have taken place in an OCA cathedral.

          That’s my take anyway.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            George, what strikes me about this “Spiritual Sounds” event is how exquisitely boring it looks. Apparently it’s been a once-a-year yawnfest in that neighborhood for the last several years, but I don’t get the impression that Cathedral has any substantial investment in the project. From the looks of it, I wouldn’t even seriously call it a colloquium. It looks totally fringe. I bet you that almost nobody comes, and those that do are probably a bit odd.

            Jay Dyer just seems to be fishing to make an argument and sling some mud against the OCA, because apparently a couple of OCA bishops said some “bad things” about him. Well, I don’t think it was Archbishop Michael that said anything bad about him. So why does he bring this up?

            If bringing up this “Spiritual Sounds” event is the best that Jay Dyer can do, then I think his argument against the OCA is pretty weak.

            • Mark E. Fisus says

              Just because an outrage had been ongoing for a long time doesn’t make it OK after it has become noticed.

              The cathedral could have politely declined and sent a lay functionary, such as the choir director, as an “artistic representative” to wherever they would have ended up hosting it.

              Is Jay Dyer just b*tthurt because the OCA is after him? Who knows. But it doesn’t matter how or why our attention was directed to the sacrilege in the northeast. What matters is that we’re aware of it now.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Apparently, this last “Spiritual Sounds” was the 14th annual. That would pretty much coincide with how long Archbishop Michael has been bishop of this Cathedral. Perhaps we will have to “wait” though until next year to find out if it continues with a 15th. Don’t hold your breath.

                • Well, last year’s event was held at the Town and Village Synagogue(they rotate), so even though the 14th annual show “pretty much coincides with how long Archbishop Michael has been the bishop of the Cathedral,” you can hardly hold him accountable for what happened for the past 14 years at different venues.

                  Plus, this might be the first year someone decided to show up in politically motivated attire. Hard to tell. (You know what they say about assumptions . . .)

          • Mark E. Fisus says


            With the priest shortage, expect pressure for this to grow in our own Church.

        • I don’t think I said she was immodest. I intimated she was neon sign for a political statement that undermines the teaching of the Church: A statement that shouldn’t be made in an Orthodox parish, where a picture is taken that makes it’s way onto a Facebook page.

          I’m actually suggesting she remove her clothes (with respect to that stole)!

  12. Jeff Moss says

    This Cathedral’s website currently has on their front page (cross-posted from their Facebook account) a photo and quote from Patriarch Bartholomew, from his speech at the Lithuania conference on religion and war:

    “After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bankruptcy of communist ideology, pseudo-religion was born. The old imperial strategies were combined with cynical techniques and mechanisms developed and inherited from the Soviet Union. The Church and the state leadership of Russia are complicit in the crime – aggression [against Ukraine – prim. CH] and share responsibility for the crimes that followed, including the shocking abductions of Ukrainian children.”

    Identifying the position of the Russian Orthodox Church vis-a-vis the Ukraine conflict with “pseudo-religion”?! And this from what presents itself as New York’s “Russian Orthodox Cathedral”?

    • “…including the shocking abductions of Ukrainian children.”

      Because he would prefer that unaccompanied, lost children be left in a war zone and not taken to safety until their parents can be found? But hey. Let’s not allow any useful propaganda go to waste.

      • I actually saw an orphanage load children onto a bus to take them to another orphanage that was in a safer part of the country. That bus never arrived.

        Children are being trafficked in Ukraine and Russia knows it. Of course, they’re going to take them into their custody. They’re very careful about children. I don’t even think they will adopt them out to Americans.

  13. On the subject of podcasts, Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville has just launched a podcast, “The Light of the World.” So far it looks like great content. Another breath of fresh air for traditional Orthodox Christians.




  14. Constantine W says

    Yuri, if they name your site and Jay’s Analysis as “too extreme”, I shudder to think their response if someone like yours truly put their hat in the ring as you two gentlemen do. Keep up the Good work and continue to hold the line. We need more Good men like you and Jay walking the walls.


    Bart is always suspicious but this is a new level of suspicious. He sounds like the Gestapo.

    Why does he want info on the OCA and ROCOR.

    • Ever get the feeling that you just stepped into a bad parody of George Orwells’s 1984?

    • Petros, perhaps the bishop of Istanbul wants to see how Orthodox parishes are supposed to function, and how to actually EVANGELIZE America?! That’s why he wants intel on the Russian (ROCOR and MP) and OCA parishes in New Jersey. He should also add the Antiochians, for good measure—me thinks!

      • Might as well!

      • One can always hope, I suppose. But these are Russian parishes, not Antiochian, not Serbian – as in those who must surely be working for the “enemies’ of America, those who haven’t condemned the war in unequivocal enough terms, those who have expressed support for Met. Onuphry, etc.


      • I’d have an easier time thinking they were studying them like an animal at zoo then I would thinking they’re trying to emulate the mission work of OCA/ROCOR

  16. Priest Nikolai says

    “…As we grow closer to 2025, it is a distinct possibility the OCA is going to start marching toward the union with the RC in spite of Metropolitan Tikhon’s many protests to the contrary. It’s no secret some in the OCA want to be recognized by the EP…”

    This is just nonsense. In a most recent survey of US clergy, a whopping 3% of OCA clergy wanted to see a united American Church under the EP. Such a prospect is wildly unpopular.

  17. OrthodoxNetwork Editors says

    Seeing Rev. Amanda Hambrick (woman minister) proudly wearing her rainbow LGBTQ+ stole is shocking enough. Even more disturbing is noticing that Fr. Calin is hiding his pectoral cross in his pocket. Apparently it’s offensive for an Orthodox priest to display his cross when taking photos with non-Christian believers at his own church.

    Fr. Christopher Calin Hides His Cross for Photo Op at Interfaith Celebration

  18. 078. 25 March/ 7 April Annunciation of the Most Holy Mother of God, 1971
    [ by Saint Seraphim Rose of Platina on the difference being under the Turks[better] and the Bolsheviks/Soviets-GOA-LGBTQ+]
    Dear Brother in Christ, Daniel,
    Rejoice in the Lord! I pray this finds you well and laboring successfully in the fast—or rather, prepared for the Great and Holy Week. With us these last weeks of long services (abbreviated, at that!) have been rather difficult, but at least we are left with few illusions about being “ascetics”! Our peace and quiet have been almost undisturbed.
    Your question on the difference between the Turkish and the Communist Yoke is a very important one, but the answer is not entirely simple, and those who think only in terms of “canonical-uncanonical” will probably find it much too complicated. I think it’s important, first of all, to realize that the question of the Moscow Patriarchate is not primarily one of “canonicity”—that question ultimately will be resolved only by a free Russian Church Council (after the Soviet Yoke is overthrown). At that Council doubtless much will be forgiven owing to the unprecedented difficulties of these times, and those who will be justified then are not necessarily those who regarded themselves as “canonically correct,” but rather those who kept alive the spirit of the Church, which is after all above the canons and inspires them. But in the meantime we have to live with the situation that exists, and choose whether to have contact and communion with Moscow or not; and therefore we have to somehow penetrate to the spirit of this question and make our decision on this basis. A very great help in this is the “Documents of the Catacomb Church” which we are now printing, because in them the bishops who were present at the very outbreak of “Sergianism” give their judgements on what was then the central question of the day, and most of those who opposed Sergius did so because they believed he had placed himself outside the Church, and they had to speak out in order to remain within the Church themselves. In our days the atmosphere is not so tense and most people probably regard the question now as academic—although the reaction to the Metropolia’s autocephaly has considerably sharpened the issue.
    To answer the question, one can say that first of all, in so far as the political situation is concerned, the situation of Moscow under the Soviets and Constantinople under the Turks is exactly the same. But those who are satisfied with this argument do not realize how Greeks outside of the Turkish boundaries reacted in the 19th century. (I’m paraphrasing now an article on the “Russian Church Abroad” by our Archbishop John, which we hope to print soon). When the Patriarchate of Constantinople obeyed the Turkish political demands and excommunicated the Greek rebels, the latter in their turn, while not doubting the Patriarch’s Orthodoxy and remaining with him in spirit, nonetheless declared his decrees invalid and governed themselves in complete independence from him—and when an independent Greek state was formed, this independence took the form of the autocephalous Church of Athens. A similar situation prevailed under the Serbian Patriarchs Arsenius III and IV, who went into exile with their flocks and refused to submit to the new Patriarchs elected inside the Turkish boundaries. Thus, from the political point of view, the existence of the Russian Church Abroad is fully justified by Orthodox history, while the Metropolia is chiefly to be criticized for being insensitive to the whole situation of the Russian Church and for helping, even if ever so little, the political schemes of the Soviet State.
    But there is a deeper dimension to the question. The Turks persecuted the Church and, when possible, used it for political purposes. But their worst intention did not go beyond making Christians slaves and, in some cases, forcibly converting them to Islam. The Christian thus might be a slave or martyr, but on the spiritual side he was free; the Turkish Yoke was external.
    But with the Soviets, the aim is much deeper: ultimately, to destroy the Church entirely, using the Church’s hierarchs themselves (when possible) as the agents of this scheme; and, on the way to this end, getting the Church to defend Communism abroad and to preach a “Communist Christianity” that prepares the way ideologically for the coming triumph of world Communism, not only as a universal political regime, but as an ideological and pseudo-religious tyranny as well. In order to appreciate this one has to realize what Communism is: not merely a power-mad political regime, but an ideological-religious system whose aim is to overthrow and supplant all other systems, most of all Christianity. Communism is actually a very powerful heresy whose central thesis, if I’m not mistaken is chiliasm or millennialism: history is to reach its culmination in an indefinite state of earthly blessedness, a perfected mankind living in perfect peace and harmony. Examine the printed sermons of the Moscow hierarchs: again and again one finds the same theme of the coming of the “Kingdom of God on earth” through the spread of Communism. This is outright heresy, or perhaps something even worse: the turning aside of the Church from its very purpose—the saving of souls for eternal life— and giving them over to the devil’s kingdom, promising a false blessedness on earth and condemning them to everlasting damnation.
    The whole of modern Western Christianity is permeated already with this worldly, basically chiliastic orientation, and the more “liberal,” more worldly Orthodox Churches (such as the Metropolia) have been infected from this source; and probably the reason why most people in the Metropolia so easily accepted the autocephaly is because inwardly they do not grasp what is happening, they are themselves already halfway on the same path that the Moscow Patriarchate has taken.
    Just the other day I read an astute comment on the iconoclastic crisis of the 7th-8th centuries. Before the Seventh Ecumenical Council the Orthodox Church did not have any explicit “doctrine on icons,” and so one could argue that the Iconoclasts were not heretics at all, and the dispute was one over the secondary issue of “rite” or “practice.” Nonetheless, the Church (in the person of Her champions, the leading icon-venerators) felt She was fighting a heresy, something destructive of the Church Herself; and after Her champions had suffered and died for this Orthodox sensitivity, and Her theologians had finally managed to put down explicitly the doctrine She already knew in Her heart—then the cause of Orthodoxy triumphed at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and the Iconoclasts were clearly singled out as heretics.
    I suspect that the very same thing, only much vaster and more complicated, is happening today: that those who feel Orthodoxy (through living its life of grace and being exposed to and raised on its basic treasures—lives of saints, patristic writings, etc.) are battling together against an enemy, a heresy, that has not yet been fully defined or manifested. Separate aspects or manifestations of it (chiliasm, social Gospel, renovationism, ecumenism) may be identified and fought, but the batde is largely instinctive as yet, and those who do not feel Orthodoxy in their heart and bones (e.g., those who are brought up on Concern and Young Life instead of lives of saints!) do not really know what you’re talking about and they can’t understand how you can become so excited over something which no council has ever identified as heresy. In the testimony of the Catacomb bishops of the late 1920’s one finds again and again that the GPU agents asked them first of all whether they were for or against Sergius, and if they were against, then these agents demonstrated that Sergius had “violated neither dogmas nor canons”! Thus, either the atheist torturers are “defending the Church”—or else there is something dreadfully wrong, and the Church is up against an extremely formidable enemy. As it turns out, however, there are several dogmatic and canonical grounds on which Sergius was wrong; but first of all the Orthodox soul sensed that he was on the wrong side.
    So the first part of the battle comes down to presenting basic Orthodoxy and raising people in the real spirit of Orthodoxy—above all the example of those who have lived Orthodoxy, God’s saints and confessors. That’s why, for our times, the most important thing is not general and abstract knowledge of Orthodox history, dogmas, canons, etc. (St. Sergius’ and St. Vladimir’s Seminaries turn out many who know these pretty well, but they do not become defenders of Orthodoxy, WHICH IS WHAT is needed), but rather the examples that have been given for our time—most especially Russia’s new martyrs and confessors.
    Pray for us, and drop us a line or two. With love in Christ our Savior, Seraphim, Monk

    • Thank you SO much for posting this. I seek out the counsel of Fr. Seraphim Rose often, and it is moments like this during which his advice is a clarion call.

    • Jeff Moss says

      I am grateful for this as well.