What is Happening in Finland?

Church of FInlandMaybe the reason some of the Syosset and Boston “sexual minorities” crew are confused is because they’ve been drinking too much Finnish vodka.

Metropolitan Ambrosius of Helsinki Sparks Controversy by Inviting Female Lutheran bishop Irja Askola to Altar during Clergy Ordination

Metropolitan Ambrosius of Helsinki (L) Archbishop Leo of Karelia & All Finland (R)

Metropolitan Ambrosius of Helsinki (L) Archbishop Leo of Karelia & All Finland (R)

Lutheran Bishop Irja Askola

Lutheran Bishop Irja Askola

OCP News Service
Courtesy- Pepa Nova – 4/3/15

Read Statement from Archbishop Leo here in Finnish

Helsinki News Report here: 

Helsinki: Orthodox Metropolitan Ambrosius of Helsinki of the Finnish Orthodox Church invited Female Evangelical Lutheran bishop Irja Askola to Altar with him during Clergy ordination at the Sunday Divine Liturgy. This has sparked much controversy.

He also ordered the Deacons to pray for the Lutheran woman bishop during litany. This has angered several Orthodox faithful.

Archbishop Leo- Primate of the Finnish Orthodox Church has condemned the incident and has asked Metropolitan to clarify the issue before considering any measures against him.

Major Finnish newspapers have reported the incident. Archbishop Leo have released an official statement on the controversial incident which is available at the official website of the Finnish Church.

OCP News Service

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  1. Tim R. Mortiss says

    One would like to hear more about his incident and the Finnish Orthodox church. I had the privilege of attending services at Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki in 1987.

  2. L.H. Puttgrass says

    This is a joke…right? Please say this is a joke.

  3. Mike Myers says

    Isaiah 65:1-5

    “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
    I was found by those who did not seek me.
    To a nation that did not call on my name,
    I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
    All day long I have held out my hands
    to an obstinate people,
    who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own imaginations—
    a people who continually provoke me
    to my very face,
    offering sacrifices in gardens
    and burning incense on altars of brick;
    who sit among the graves
    and spend their nights keeping secret vigil;
    who eat the flesh of pigs,
    and whose pots hold broth of impure meat;
    who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me,
    for I am too sacred for you!’
    Such people are smoke in my nostrils,
    a fire that keeps burning all day

    • “All things are to be done decently and in order.”

      Having fake clergy pretend to quasi-participate in an ordination is not decent or in order. The law of the Church trumps your private (mis)interpretation of the bible.

      • Mike Myers says

        Well, OK. You stick with your “Law of the Church” and its trump suits, then. I bid 7NT, but I’ll declare my hand according to the Royal Law of Love and its Dealer. I much prefer Him to your own private interpretation and its dealer, however indecent that makes me and my contract. If you don’t mind.

        • Oh please. “Love.” You sound like a gay rights activist. How many grievous sins are committed in the name of love?

          “Love” is not a license to be permissive. You abuse the very concept of love if you pretend it does.

        • When in the Lutheran Church, Lutheran rules and interpretations of scripture apply. When in the Orthodox Church, Orthodox rules and interpretations of Scripture apply. There is nothing loving about intentionally violating a church’s order — whether someone else’s or one’s own.

          I was once talking with an Anglo-Catholic whose interpretation of Vatican II was that he, as an Episcopalian, could receive communion and go to confession in any Catholic church he wanted, any time he wanted, alternating as he chose between Episcopal churches and Catholic churches. He claimed to have confessed and communed in both Uniate and Roman parishes. I pointed out to him that Vatican II absolutely said no such thing — that it only made for provision for those in extremis who were going to die without the ministrations of their own clergy being available to them. I pointed out that just because Uniate or Catholic priests weren’t asking questions or were just accepting his “I’m Catholic” (which from his perspective, he was), didn’t mean that he wasn’t violating the good order of those parishes and taking advantage of their good will. Spiritual concerns aside, it simply isn’t good manners. There is nothing loving about intentionally violating a church’s rules based on nothing more than your personal ideas of how things should be.

          Even if the Lutheran bishop in question was completely ignorant of Orthodox discipline (something that I highly doubt, given the high educational standards that most Protestant denominations have for their top leaders, and given that Orthdoxy has a long historical presence in Finland and is next-door neighbor to Russia), at the very least, the Orthodox bishop in question violated both the spirit and the letter of the law — including, and perhaps especially, the law of love — in a multiplicity of ways.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            She no doubt knows. Among other things, Uspensky Cathedral looms as prominently over the beautiful Helsinki harbor as does the great Lutheran cathedral…..

  4. Mike Myers says

    Matthew 9:9-13

    “As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
    And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    • Mercy is letting Protestants, yea even their female clergy, attend the Divine Liturgy—among the faithful, as if equal to them—beyond the dismissal of the catechumens.

      Admitting their “bishops” to the altar for an ordination is something else entirely.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        “….as if equal to them….” That is an interesting way of putting it.

        • The practice is interesting. The liturgy itself assumes secrecy: as I understand it, even those faithful who were not going to receive the gifts left after the homily. The liturgy was held to be so sacred that there was no reason to simply attend it.

          But today, we are very democratic and let everyone in to witness it. And this near universal practice is fine, but let’s not allow this democratization go to the point of pretending there is no ontological difference between the Orthodox faithful and guests. Or our clergy and theirs.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I doubt this practice can rightly be called “democratization”, with what that term usually implies nowadays; I think it is very old. But then, maybe I’m wrong.

        • Perhaps a better phrasing would have been “As if one of them”. Irja Askola’s life is of equal worth to anyone else’s, but she is not united to the Orthodox Church. It would have been properly hospitable to permit her to stand among the laity.

          • That is a better way of putting it.

            My point was only that today we allow just anyone to witness things that only those prepared to receive communion would have witnessed in ancient times. And even this is not good enough for some, apparently.

    • You didn’t finish that passage, Mike. It actually ends, “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

      Enough of the false equivalences. We’re not buying it.

      • Mike Myers says

        πορευθέντες δὲ μάθετε τί ἐστιν, Ἔλεος θέλω καὶ οὐ θυσίαν: οὐ γὰρ ἦλθον καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλούς. — κατὰ Ματθαῖον 9:13 (TR)

        The verse as it appears in the “Received Text” is cited above; it was the source for nearly all of the translations that have been read by, or read to, billions of souls since the 16th century in the West. Including the one I cited in English.

        The Byzantine textform does in fact read,

        Πορευθέντες δὲ μάθετε τί ἐστιν, Ἔλεον θέλω, καὶ οὐ θυσίαν· οὐ γὰρ ἦλθον καλέσαι δικαίους, ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλοὺς εἰς μετάνοιαν.

        as you helpfully, if somewhat pedantically, note.

        But what are you suggesting? That y’all Monomakhiac (& Finnish) Orthodox (for whom you would speak? {cf. below}) are righteous, or even without sin, unlike . . . Or what? Maybe you could clarify your drive-by gotcha, since I confess that it eludes me. Color me all ears.

        We’re not buying it.

        And remind me to revisit the other little darts that your laconic pithiness may be smuggling in unawares. Perhaps we could unpack any such embedded ambiguities, if present, at some point. Meet me halfway here in my disability: a deficient skill set in the art of gnomic utterance exegesis.

        First things first, though. What’s your primary point?

        • I stand corrected by your obviously superior scholarship (having merely resorted to looking up the text in the NKJV because I remembered that ending). “To repentance” does seem to be implied even where it is not explicitly stated. (I am reminded of Jesus’ response in the story in John’s Gospel of the woman caught in adultery: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”)

          My point is the Scriptures you quote here are not speaking to the point of this post. In no way is expressing concern about the meaning of this canonical impropriety of an Orthodox Bishop and acknowledging its compromise and confusing of the message of the Church in her self-understandng equivalent to claiming to be more righteous than anyone else, nor is it to suggest mercy ought not to be extended to other sinners. (However, intelligent as you clearly are, I suspect you know that.)

          The “we” was based on looking at the up and down votes related to your comments as well as replies from other commenters. Others can correct me if I was mistaken in that assumption.

          • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

            Karen, Mike Myers has actually admitted that you were right: The words “to repentance” do appear in most Greek manuscripts in existence and were therefore included in the published version known as the Byzantine Textform. They just happen not to appear in the few texts used to create the KJV.

          • Heracleides says

            Not to worry, Karen. Mikey is a troll who resurfaces here every year or so; thankfully he soon tires of his antics once his bait is no longer fresh and takes his roadshow elsewhere.

            • Mike Myers says

              I tire of disgusting creeps like you, “Heracleides.” You’re projecting again.

              The efficiency with which ROCOR collects into a self-righteous bundle so many of America’s comically ambitious lumpenproletarians of the unclean spirit is really interesting. I look forward to the spectacle of how that’s gonna play out. I have certain intimations.

              • Heracleides says

                ROCOR? Silly troll – I’ve no connection with ROCOR. Try Antioch and you’ll be on target. As for ‘self-righteous’ flatulence, I suggest you inhale deeply from within your own spiritual hovel.

          • Mike Myers says

            Well then, evidently the (controversial) NKJV translation of Matthew 9:13 is based on the BTF, which is fine, of course. All I meant to make clear was that I did not truncate the text cited from the English translation, which was based, as are most (nearly all?) Western translations, on the TR –contrary to your false assertion. The Textus Receptus and the Byzantine text form differ here, as elsewhere, in form. The substance, however, should be perfectly obvious to anyone taught by the Holy Spirit.

            Of course, Christ’s call to all faithful believers is to continuous, lifelong repentance. What else? Of course, I’d add, it’s not a call to the absolutely condemned worship of the lawless Wild Beast, as per what’s happening as we speak in the RF — and elsewhere. Of course, it’s not a call to give heed to the blasphemies of the False Prophet (e.g., A.G. Dugin, et al.). This is my point, for Orthodox Christians. If I’m wrong, then let someone persuade me otherwise.

            I’ll have more to say about this petty tempest in a teapot in Finland.

            • Mike Myers says

              Meant that the NKJV version itself is controversial, not their translation of this particular verse.

          • Mike Myers says

            The “we” was based on looking at the up and down votes related to your comments as well as replies from other commenters. Others can correct me if I was mistaken in that assumption.

            Lead me not into temptation.

          • Mike Myers says

            Karen, once again, just what canonical impropriety do you refer to? I pointed out at least three times, and OOM at least once, that the Finnish sources themselves say not a word about her presence “at the altar.” OCP is all alone in this allegation.

            That site names no other sources besides the two Finnish-language ones. There’s no byline, nor any indication anywhere that I could see that one of their own reporters or (even anonymous) sources was there. If they even have any. OC PAGE Media appears to be little more than another sloppy media aggregator. One thing is clear, however: at least in this case to which y’all have so predictably and thoughtlessly piled on, journalism basics were simply ignored. That’s either inexcusable incompetence, or something worse.

            Again, if there’s any evidence this even happened, post it. Until you can, I suggest you stop chattering about it as if you knew the facts. You don’t. At this point the altar invitation imbroglio is mere unconfirmed rumor.

            If your problem is with her being addressed during one of the litanies as bishop — recall that she is one, in her church. That is “uncanonical” — but then so is murder. Last I checked, Lutherans weren’t murdering one another in God’s name with the hearty approval of some of their clergy. Unlike “canonical” “Orthodox.”

            • Obviously, my comment was based on assuming a non-Orthodox bishop had, indeed, been invited into the Altar during an ordination as has been alleged, but my comment was also based on this happening in principle, not on whether or not this particular allegation is factual (though, I am allowing others sincerely believe it). That is for others to argue–I have no interest in proving yay or nay even if it was in my capacity to know enough about those involved to say so (and it is not). It is also for others (namely, the Bishops) to figure out. My original concern with your comments here was limited to the untethered, unexplained and (in my view) off-topic Scriptures you introduced. I dislike that m.o. and reject it. I’m satisfied I made that point, so I don’t have anything further to say in this thread.

              • Mike Myers says

                You dislike and reject my m.o., do you? That’s tough.

                Here’s some more of it, a little plainer for the reality-challenged among the Orthodox, who strain at gnats and swallow camels like world champs. Far from off-topic, as far as I’m concerned.

                And God spoke all these words:

                I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

                You shall have no other gods before me.

                You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

                You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

                Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

                Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

                You shall not murder.

                You shall not commit adultery.

                You shall not steal.

                You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

                You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

                Tell you what. When your “canonical” hierarchs themselves cease breaking these commandments, all the while enabling and honoring vicious wild animals who break them all, then and only then might sentient adults regard without nausea and disgust this black comedy of “holy” Orthodox indignation over a woman near an altar in Finland.

                “What is happening in Finland?”

                This just *fascinates* me. Finland, a country that’s a fine example to the nations in just about every conceivable way.

                Better questions for certain big-league hypocrites: What the hell is happening in “Orthodox” Russia? And what is happening in the hearts and minds of too many Orthodox? Questions arguably more pressing for some of you.

  5. Mike Myers says

    Luke 7:31-50

    Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

    “‘We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
    we sang a dirge,
    and you did not cry.’

    For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

    When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

    When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

    Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

    “Tell me, teacher,” he said.

    “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

    Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

    “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

    Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

    Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

    The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

    Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

    • Was this female “bishop” (sic) attempting to repent or become Orthodox? No, thus your analogy is false.

      • Mike Myers says

        Ages, first of all, I didn’t mean to draw any rigorous analogy between the Evangelical Lutheran bishop and the sinful woman who honored the Lord in the Pharisee’s house. If these three pericopes don’t speak to you of a larger issue hovering here, then that’s instructive.

        I used Google translate to approach the sense of the two linked articles that came from Finnish sources. Although the translation’s less than ideal, evidently all that either claims is that she was prayed for at the Sunday Divine Liturgy “during litany” — admittedly, as a Bishop. Now, although such no doubt deplorable hospitality and respect has clearly provoked many holy ones, who, we see, envisage themselves as far, far too sacred to endure without garment rending her proximity to “their” own canonically ordained and “their” altar, I found nothing in either Finnish article to support the assertion in the OCP’s English-language gloss that she was invited to the altar at all, much less as a peer, a fact that OOM noted. Where’s the evidence for that? Not saying it didn’t happen, only that the Finnish sources don’t support OCP’s charge. So what does? Post it.

        Another question: on what basis would you presume to divine the intentions in her heart? You speak with such authority. I’m wondering how you could possibly do that. Have you been vouchsafed a revelation?

        Finally, may I ask how long you’ve been Orthodox? And were you received in ROCOR?

        • Ah, “hospitality and respect.” The universal defense of nonsense. We mustn’t hurt anyone’s feelings (as if a guest clergyman, or whatever, would be hurt by not receiving special call-outs). That is a bottom of the barrel defense, and laughable.

          I’ve been to Orthodox services where Latin bishops and clergy were present, and no one commemorated them in a litany or the like. I guess we Antiochians are fundamentalists like that.

          The burden of proof is not on me to defend the reportage of OCP.

          I can’t judge her intentions, but I can judge her actions. She was not there to be chrismated, as evidenced by the fact that she wasn’t chrismated. But even the newly-illumined are not led into the altar to participate in an ordination.

          I can count on one hand the number of ROCOR parishes I’ve been to, and none of them are anywhere near where I live. But nice sneer, that. Throw the Church out the window and a canonical jurisdiction under the bus while defending the Lutherans, that’s your way?

          I hope that these “compassionate” acts don’t somehow harden the bishopess’ heart or lead her to believe that she has no need to join the Church.

          • Mike Myers says

            Are you actually hoping for a reply to this sub-rational noise? Can do, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t be too irenic. Quite humiliating as well.

            Think I’ll give you a mulligan on this one. I feel merciful tonight.

          • anonymus per Scorilo says

            I’ve been to Orthodox services where Latin bishops and clergy were present, and no one commemorated them in a litany or the like. I guess we Antiochians are fundamentalists like that.

            Most of the old-country churches do not have such reservations. When the Pope was in Romania he was commemorated during the litany, with the deacons turning and bowing towards him, etc. I remember he was fully vested also. And almost nobody said anything at that point. I am pretty sure the same happens in Constantinople when the Pope comes, and I think the Russians when they celebrate vespers in Notre Dame do the same. Another practice is to omit the litany for the Orthodox bishop altogether, in order not to create a fuss by not mentioning the Catholic one.

            Now, it is clear that commemorating bishopesses is one step lower below on the ladder, but none of the people brandishing canonical arguments against that does not protest when bigger and fatter Orthodox Churches do the same thing with the Catholics, to which the same exactly the same canonical arguments apply.

            So we have to be a bit self-consistent here. Either we attack this kind of things all the time, or we accept them all the time as something that a local bishop can decide in his own diocese. But attacking the smaller churches while being silent one the big ones smells a bit hypocritical.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              But if we couldn’t be a “bit hypocritical”, nothing would ever get done…..

            • That’s bizarre. Only the canonical bishop whose parish it is should be commemorated, and the most senior canonical bishop present, if there are others. If this is being practiced elsewhere in the Orthodox world, it should stop there too.

              Now, Mike Myers questions whether this story about the bishopess is accurate; if the practice of commemorating uncanonical bishops is common overseas, surely it would not have caused an uproar if that’s all that had happened.

            • Michael Woerl says

              Fortunately, “old country” Churches are not quite as taken with all this ecumenical jazz as you may think. Highly respected Elders and clergy in Romania have spoken out against such abuses, even Father George Calciu, well known here. And, be that as it may, no women Bishops of Protestant sects have entered the altar of an Orthodox church in Romania … the Finnish Church was a miscarriage from the start, with its “Bishop” German Aav, never tonsured as a monk. And yes, love, love, love … sounds like a Beatles song … but, this “love” touted here is the “progressive” version … for all except the semi-humans that dare to disagree with “enlightened humanity.” Almost cute …

              • anonymus per Scorilo says

                Highly respected Elders and clergy in Romania have spoken out against such abuses, even Father George Calciu

                Sure, and the patriarch likes this so much that when he was Metropolitan of Moldova and Fr. Calciu died he refused to allow him to be buried in his Metropolis, and only relented after huge pressure.
                He also tried mightily to push a bishop who concelebrated a great blessing of the waters with the Greek-Catholics for the Metropolitan of Banat position.

                I do not know what is wrong with Bishops who are not tonsured as monks. Some of the best ones I know were never monks, or became monks long after ordination (like Bp. Basil of Wichita).
                It is impossible to live a “normal” monastic life once one becomes bishop anyway . . .

            • lexcaritas says

              “Exactly the same canonical arguments” do not correctly apply to Protestant “bishopesses” as to Roman Catholic bishops, including the Bishop of Rome.

              lex caritas

        • Fr. John Whiteford says

          Are you Orthodox, Mike? What jurisdiction is responsible for your unfamiliarity with Orthodox thought?

          • Mike Myers says

            . . . your unfamiliarity with Orthodox thought?

            Fr., I missed this, sorry. Please tell me more about the clues that led you to assert this unfamiliarity. Then I’ll answer your questions.

      • Sean Richardson says

        Ages, I know this is neither here nor there, but I have seen icons of an Orthodox saint, who was a female bishop, in Orthodox Churches (ROCOR & OCA), and most likely a Lutheran bishop retains some shred of physical lineage through the laying on of hands to the Apostles. So while I disagree with the notion of inviting an Lutheran (male or female) into the sanctuary, I also attempt to see some perspective in this as well. I am not a member of the Finnish Orthodox Church, and I am very reluctant to judge any of their bishops. All I can say is that if it happened in one of my local Orthodox parishes, I would be VERY uncomfortable.

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          You are no doubt mistaken about both the icons and the “physical lineage.” The former is unbelievable, and the latter is irrelevant without Orthodox faith.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Sean,There is not nor has their ever been a female bishop, saint or not in the history of the Orthodox Church, Any icon purporting to represent such is a fake. If you think you saw such in any Orthodox Church “(ROCOR& OCA)”, that would have been an hallucination

        • I would not deny that some Lutheran “bishops” may be able to trace a physical lineage to the Apostles, but I would say that is insufficient to transmit apostolic succession.

          In a sacrament, the form does matter, and a Lutheran ordination is not sacramental (I’m not sure if Lutherans would even claim it is) as it does not follow the proper form. Certainly a woman cannot be a bishop. I’m curious about this saint you mention.

        • Sean Richardson, I don’t know what icon you say you saw in OCA and ROCOR churches. An icon of an abbess can show her in bishop-like accoutrement.

          There is no such thing as a female bishop. There never has been, and never will be. An effort to “consecrate” one would be nothing but an empty sacrilege. There is no “shred” of apostolic succession retained in heterodox hierarchies. You’re either in the Church or you’re out, and there is no apostolic succession of any kind outside of the Church.

        • Michael Woerl says

          “some shred” of Apostolic Succession? mechanical Latin view … where the Truth departs … so does Apostolic Succession … “shreds” being meaningless … and which “female saint who was a Bishop” might that be?

        • Sean, the only woman Saint I know of whom some have claimed was ordained as a Bishop is Ireland’s Saint Brigid, and my understanding is this is disputed. The only thing we know for sure is that she is a Saint and was the abbess of a monastery, and this is how she is normally depicted in her Icon. Might you have confused the garb and accessories of an abbess with that of a Bishop? In any event, a disputed exception underscores the rule I would guess. I suspect you might find Icons depicting God, the Father, as an old man in some Orthodox parishes, too. It doesn’t mean God, the Father, was ever incarnate as an old man, nor does it mean it is proper canonically to depict Him thus. I’m not sure what “some shred of physical lineage” means for Orthodoxy’s view of the nature of the sacrament of ordination, but I suspect not much.

          That said, I can appreciate the desire to be magnanimous and give the benefit of the doubt. I don’t believe any here really believe it is our place as individual members of the Church to “judge” (as in “condemn”) any Bishop as a person nor any other member of the Church, nor anyone outside the Church for that matter (at least I know I don’t). The question here as I understand it is rather an Orthodox Bishop’s liturgical actions in this particular instance and whether they are/were in keeping with the solemn charge given him in his ordination and given through the conciliar direction of the Holy Spirit to the Church, and, if not, what this means for the Church in Finland and for the rest of the Church. I tend to regard my personal comfort level with a Bishop’s actions (whether my own or someone else’s) to be “neither here nor there.” What cannot be “neither here nor there” is whether those actions do or don’t represent the truth of Christ’s Church. This is most definitely a matter for the Church (as a whole represented in her Bishops) to discern and adjudicate according to the norms given her and in the interest of the salvation of all her members. When the Bishops of the Church do not exercise godly discernment and good judgment in their leadership, the whole Church suffers.

          • Sean Richardson says

            Karen, thank you for a well-reasoned response. It is very much appreciated. And yes, you win the gold star for identifying the icons that I have seen. There are many who suggest the early spiritual leaders of Ireland should be recognized as a saints, and yes, this includes St. Brigid (as well as St. Patrick and others). What I have read concerning the dispute over whether St. Brigid was a bishop or not, is not if she had the prayers of consecration for a bishop read over her, she did, by St. Mel, but what were his intentions. There are several theories including, he was too elderly to know what he was doing, he was drunk, his deacon handed him the wrong prayers and he read them, and St. Mel knew what he was doing, intentionally to tweak Rome, who was beginning to clamp down on the traditions of Ireland, where women were on occasion the spiritual heads of not only convents, but mixed houses (and some have suggested there were a number of female priests). The fact that there are those who call such icons representing early Irish tradition “hallucinations”, or just denying that they exist need to get out more, and read more. There is a whole world of early Christian tradition and practice in areas beyond the Middle East, Greece and Holy Mother Russia. As a convert with a good bit of Celtic heritage, I believe I don’t have to reject uncomfortable history and tradition in order to accept Orthodoxy today.

            • Sean, St. Brigid and St. Patrick are unquestionably Saints in the Orthodox tradition, as are many others in the British isles (from whence also my ancestors hail). You might enjoy this:


              I highly doubt, when the whole truth is made manifest, we will find any women properly made Priests or Bishops in the Celtic Orthodox tradition, though abbesses, even today, have a great deal of authority within their own monasteries (even, for example, to bless visiting Priests). I love my Anglo (and Celtic?) roots. I’m at least an honorary Irish, since I lived there during part of my childhood and received my first spiritual and Christian awakening in that context, but I’m ultimately Christ’s before I belong to any particular cultural context.

            • Michael Woerl says

              “many who suggest early spiritual leaders of Ireland should be accepted as saints …” many of them have been, along with “early spiritual leaders” of what is now France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Belgium, Spain … the list goes on … in the 1950s Arcbishop John (Maximovich, +1965, later glorified as St John of Shanghai and San Francisco) of Western Europe (ROCOR) did much research into Western Orthodox Saints (“pre-schism”), urged that they be added to the Church calendar; Fr Seraphim Rose continued that work, and many of these Saints are on calendars … the English language calendar on pravoslavie.ru being but one of those …

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          I have seen icons of an Orthodox saint, who was a female bishop, in Orthodox Churches (ROCOR & OCA)

          No, Sean, I don’t think so. You are certainly—and, I think, honestly—mistaken on this point.

          • Sean Richardson says

            Thank you Patrick for your response, but please, don’t tell me what I’ve seen and haven’t seen. As our theology teaches us, just because someone hasn’t seen something with their own eyes doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Thank God for that.
            I’ve seen icons of a lot of people who have never been formally recognized as saints (Fr. Alexander Schmemann in an Antiochian church, for example).

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              Sean says, “Thank you Patrick for your response, but please, don’t tell me what I’ve seen and haven’t seen.”

              Sean, I gave you the credit of being mistaken.

              If this is your answer, then I must ask for evidence, please:

              Name the churches where you have seen icons of women bishops. Name the figures in the icons.

              • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                He should do more than that. He should show us the icons.

                Show us the icons, Sean. Then, and only then, will we believe you.

              • lexcaritas says

                Sean, under questioning from Fr. Patrick you seem to have changed your original assertion from that of having seen icons of a woman “bishop” to that of having seen icons of persons who have not yet been formally glorified or canonized. The latter may be the case, the former likely not–except as others have previously noted, in the case of abbesses.

                Christ is in our midst,

                lex caritas

            • It is common practice, I believe, for Icons to be drawn in anticipation of the canonization of a beloved Orthodox figure with a reputation for sanctity. The Icon will lack the gold nimbus around the head of the person depicted in the Icon until he or she has been formally canonized.

              Here are a couple others from North America. The first is not yet canonized. The second is a contemporary Saint from Alaska, who has recently been canonized:


              • St. Saba’s monastery north of Chicago has a depiction of the founding bishop, who is not a canonized saint, presenting the church to the Theotokos (IIRC).

                It’s not unusual for non-saints to be depicted in this manner. I saw photos from monasteries on Athos with icons of Elder Paisios before he was canonized. They simply add the nimbus, as Karen said.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Who is this saint you speak of? I read a lot, and I’ve read books and such about saints, and know a local iconographer.

          But I’ve never heard of such an Orthodox female saint who was a bishop. I’m sure this would have REALLY stood out like a sore thumb in my mind.

  6. “Bishop” (sic)

    The statement from the Archbishop was thankfully clear: this was “contrary to the Orthodox Church liturgical order.” (Google Translate)

    If only the OCA and other jurisdictions were as quick to call aberrations what they are.

  7. 1. The news accounts do NOT say that the good bishop was invited through the doors. (AND IF SHE WAS, GOD WILL SURVIVE THE SHOCK AND DESECRATION). 2. ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE are prayed for in the Litany, and improvisation is common. It wasn’t the Great Entrance.

    • For what possible purpose would a female Protestant “bishop” (sic) be present in the altar for an ordination? Please, name just one. She has no holy orders, and she is not orthodox. The only people admitted into the altar are those who have business being there.

      Was she also pretending to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy? Was she in the altar during any other part of the service? Did she stand by the holy table itself as if she were equal to the orthodox clergy present? Did she have a service book and say any of the priestly prayers, silently or aloud in unison with the others? If so, the metropolitan is due severe punishment.

      And yes, we can pray for anyone (though not necessarily in the divine services—we don’t say trisagion memorials/panikhidas for non-Christians, for instance). But this lady is not a real bishop, yet she was called one.

      It doesn’t matter if it can be justified, the problem is that it confuses the issue.

      The separation of the sacred is not to protect God, it is to protect unworthy people from the power of God’s holiness. I only hope those involved in this terrible decision are not hardened in it, having done this.

      • Another question is “Was she ritually clean?” If it was her time of the month; there was flowing blood in the altar which is forbidden.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Good question but having seen a picture of her(**shudder**), I don’t think that was a problem.

          • Mike Myers says

            Lovely. Some of y’all are just way too “on the nose,” as we say in the biz. Suspiciously so — provoking not a few rather deep questions about agency and authorship of personality. Kinda spooky, to tell ya the truth.

            OOM and your Grace, what do you think: is this not straight out of Central Casting, for a script entitled, “The Church of Antichrist of Latter Day Pharisees?” I’ll get my agent right on that pitch meeting pronto. No time to lose!

            • Michael Woerl says

              such “progressivism!” no matter how one may feel about it, “pro,” “con,” “undecided,” it is, most certainly, always extremely boring …

              • Mike Myers says

                “The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not.”

                Kurt Vonnegut

        • She had no business being in the altar, so it’s a moot point. Good try though.

          • gail sheppard says

            I get so very tired of those who think they decide who has “business” at the alter.

            • It’s a person who is blessed to serve some function by the priest or bishop.

              I can imagine plenty of examples of women having business in the altar, convents aside. Perhaps a priest asks his wife to bring him something because no one else is in the church. Perhaps no one shows up for a weekday liturgy and the female chanter is the only one around to bring out the blessed bread. Perhaps a woman is the only one available to hold the communion cloth for the priest. This is the proper use of economy. Ideally we’d have a squad of acolytes to do these things, but sometimes we simply don’t.

              But inviting a bishopess into the altar to, I don’t know, feel like she’s part of an ordination? There is no rational reason for this.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Ages. a small table placed just outside the north door near the soleas is where a Priest serving alone may bring out blessed bread.A Priest with normal coordination may hold one end of the communion cloth with his left hand together with the chalice, while the communicants (where did THEY come from again?) grasp the other end and hold it under their chin. To say any action is the “PROPER use of economy” is to indicate ignorance of God’s Economy, by Which we are all saved. Economy is NOT an Orthodox version of Roman Catholic “dispensation.”. Economy, Ages, may on the contrary mean increased strictness in order not to tempt anyone with a weak conscience.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                My point was I cannot imagine saying something like, “has no business being at the alter” in any context, in any conversation. Not because I defend the appropriateness of what this woman did, but because of what Michael said: ” . . . no one has ‘business’ at the altar. The only reason he can go up into the altar is because he is blessed by God and his bishop to do so.”

                We talk about these things as if we can bend the rules to accommodate trivial inconveniences. Why don’t we just follow the rules? Couldn’t a priest go to his wife to get whatever he needed without her having to come to him? – Speaking of rules, I thought it wasn’t possible to have a liturgy with fewer than 3 people present. Would you ever have a liturgy with just a priest and a chanter? Asking a question.

            • Church tradition allows only Orthodox males to be in the altar. The one exception is at female monasteries, out of necessity, but in that case the females in the altar are still Orthodox.

            • Michael Bauman says

              My priest has long said that no one has “business” at the altar. The only reason he can go up into the altar is because he is blessed by God and his bishop to do so.

              Anyone has to seek a blessing to enter.

              However, there are clearly those who should not be there: non-Orthodox in the case of an Orthodox altar.

            • Mike Myers says

              Love that (L.) Freudian slip(?), Gail. Speaks volumes, especially in the RF.

              • Mike Myers says

                I’m gradually getting used to the quite fascinating fact that lots of my posts to Monomakhos pan out as little more to some of you than the verbal equivalent of Rohrschach inkblots. They provoke you to reveal your projections and confusions, etc. Mostly this has made me angry and frustrated and still does occasionally, but I can clearly see the potential for a more productive path now, in applied semiotics. Fr. Washburn in particular has tried in a few replies to nudge me in this direction. I hear you clearly now, Father.

                The grimly amusing thing to me is that I honestly don’t have a single problem with the substance of the phronema of the Holy Orthodox Church, on so much as one of the major controversies in the air these days. But unlike some of you, evidently, I know the difference between genuine holiness — and its power — and the wretched condition that results from dogged persistence in the typical unregenerate self-regarding, unregenerate self-protecting delusions so dear to pseudo-saints, who hypocritically separate themselves from other sincere seekers of Christ. (I’m tempted to omit that inclusive qualifier, other.) They don’t appear to walk much in the Light of the Holy Spirit.

                There is a false light, created, emanating from you know who. I hope more of you begin to really get this. And then wonder whether you know the difference. And start trembling, in some cases.

                Anyway, these backward-staring types huddle together with the like-minded in this or that ethnic, or “traditionalist” castle, or whatever, all of them more like museums than the Church. What they have in common is that moat, thoroughly polluted by sinister, truly diabolical abuses of akribeia. This is not a new problem.

                Anyway, good luck with your doomed walk to a pitch black nowhere. If you fail to transcend this. Every single tough-loving thing I write here is intended to help some of you flee from the cul-de-sac where all too many contemporary “traditionalist,” “Right” Christians are piling up. You do not want to end up there. The company’s really stinky. Trust me on this.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  What does that mean in plain English? I myself haven’t responded to any of your posts, though I have read them and I read most posts here.

                  The use of irony, sarcasm, symbolic allusions, and rhetorical turns of phrase may have obvious meaning to the user, while they are lost on anybody else.

                  I haven’t got any particular axe to grind, but would find a clearer statement useful to follow this.

                  • Careful, Tim. If you dare to point out that Mike frequently waxes eloquent into prose that is obscure… even opaque, he will get huffy and challenge you to the Internet equivalent of a duel with pistols at dawn. And who finds that sort of thing interesting?

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Oh, I don’t know, Ed. A duel’s so “Southrun.” Might be a bigger hit than you think. I’d reschedule to high noon, though. Too many shadows here as it is.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      It’s “Southron.”

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      That’s right George! It goes with Babdist.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      “And who finds that sort of thing interesting?” You nean, besides yourself? I’ll bite.

                  • Mike Myers says

                    Tim, because you’re one of the reasons I’m still here, I’ll engage you in a dialogue. But on one condition: join me in insisting that our illustrious impostor answer the core question in this post. What I’m asking him ought to be clear enough to anyone who can read English and think at a median level.



                    Czech republic. Hungary to name two.

                    is not an answer to my question. It’s just typing.

                    Lots of what I regard as really good if extremely dangerous questions are piling up on George’s Dodge Desk. Either he gets the hell out of Dodge mode, at least on this one, or I’m off to orthodoxchristianity.net. If you want to talk to me you can do it there, if you do what I ask. I don’t think it’s asking much.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Of course, Mike Myers is right and George Michalopoulos is wrong. Neither the Czech Republic nor Hungary is a country NEIGHBORING on Russia, and George moved the goal posts himself, IMMEDIATELY!

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Your Grace, they are truly European neighbors, which is what I asked for (thinking mainly of Greece, I confess. I even gave them a hint . . .). But it’s not surprising that you would have lost track of that, given all of George’s willful and it appears calculated obfuscation, a faux-talent in which I gladly concede he’s rather accomplished. Trading with it to mb a thousand-fold “profit.”

                      As I repeatedly tried to make clear, what I want to know is just how these two members of Nato for almost 16 years want anything to do with Russia, which was his assertion. George doesn’t seem to get that just to assert something is nothing but typing. I want to know what he was getting at in naming them. So far, crickets from VP.

                      I’ve also asked him what he thinks of A.G. Dugin. Nada on that front either.

                      Another thing I wonder about is how fond he is of Greece’s Golden Dawn. Something tells me he’d be a big fan, but I do doubt he’d be stupid enough to admit that publicly. Then again, . . .

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dugin first: I don’t know that much about him. Academic, New Age hippie in his youth, flirted with Buddhism (I guess). Now touting a “Fourth Political Theory” and a Eurasian Bloc. Interesting. I’d rather do a little more studying up on him before commenting. (I’ve heard he’s on the outs with Putin but that’s a rumor.)

                      As for European and NATO countries that are neighbors or even nearby Russia that want to do more with Russia, I’ve named them. Why can’t you accept the fact that these countries like Putin and his stand against our Hollow Empire? Think of it: two of these countries (Czeck Republic and Hungary) were brutally suppressed by the Soviet back in 56 & 68. And now they want to make nice with Russia. Germany too.

                      Is it so hurtful to your feelings that you see these things happening? Or are you so wedded to the Neoliberal position, as well as our crusading for degeneracy the world over, that you fear it all slipping away.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Neighbors share a neighborhood, so Wales and Portugal and Russia are neighbors in the neighborhood called Europe.. “Neighboring,” though, is not the same. Wales and Portugal and Russia are NOT neighboring countries. Countries that share a border are neighboring.
                      By the way, I do not think of myself as pedantic or a “grammar Nazi. I do, however, appreciate careful and clear English, even if it rubs SOME Americans the wrong way.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Neither the Czech Republic nor Hungary is a country NEIGHBORING on Russia, and George moved the goal posts himself, IMMEDIATELY!

                      Your Grace, now I see what you were getting at. Yup, he did misquote me immediately and move that goalpost. So used to that with him I didn’t notice.

                • Priest Raphael says

                  Condescend much?

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Condescend can be good as our Saviour condescended to the Incarnation and the Cross.

                • Sounds like the kind of tripe that would spill from the mouth of Pope Francis.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Mike Meyers, I am thankful that you defined RF, although it hardly defines me. Unlike George, I do not see Putin as a shining example of an Orthodox leader. Quite frankly, I fail to see a “shinning example” anywhere, which includes myself.

                I continue to be perplexed by your response. I do not know what you meant by “L.” & “Freudian slip.” Anything you could do to enlighten me would be appreciated.

                Frankly, Mike, I am a salmon swimming upstream, as I’m sure most would agree. In other words, I am not worthy of your attention. My point was made more eloquently by Michael Bauman. It is God who decides who has business at the alter; not Ages or anyone else on this list. Of that, I am certain.

                • Mike Myers says

                  Sorry, Gail.

                  You: “I get so very tired of those who think they decide who has “business” at the alter.”

                  Me: “Love that (L.) Freudian slip(?), Gail. Speaks volumes, especially in the RF.”

                  L. = Latin. Freudian slip (technically, parapraxis) = typo, in this case. A term from psychoanalysis referring to errors in speech, memory, etc. that are caused by unconscious conflict or dynamic repression — or in some cases just pure genius. Inspired.

                  Alter is a Latin adjective, meaning other, that can also denote ‘the other one’ when used substantively. ‘Alter’ is masculine singular nominative in form. Altero, neuter singular ablative, would work better: at the altero (ad altero). But you were really close.

                  The proper English spelling is altar, but viewed together with the rest, your rendering could be construed as a neat play on words; an ironic concept combo resonates in it: anti-altar, profiteering, and otherness (illegitimacy, even alienness). RF = Russian Federation. I have a very sick mind, so this is how I interpreted you. Some here will have gotten the gag. I’ve said probably more than enough about the particular hierarch insidiously referenced, so I should pass on a more detailed explication.

                  Sometimes, a typo’s just a typo.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Thank you for the explanation, Mike. Unfortunately, I’m not that clever. I’m just careless. I spelled parish, perish, for so long others would literally crucify me. There is irony in that, as well. – I’m glad my post triggered that spectacular brain of yours to go to places I’ve never been and am not likely to go. I do enjoy it when you spell it out for me. Truly.

                  • Mike Myers says
                    • M. Stankovich says

                      I am reminded of a Lenten parish visitation to Philadelphia we made when I was student at SVS (we sang the Liturgy, etc.), where the local reader concluded Psalm 50 by saying, “and bulls will be altered on your altar” instead of “offered.” This would suggest the 19th century adoption of alter to mean geld or spay. I can’t remember where I left my car keys, but I remember that…

                      The so called “Freudian Slip” is drawn from Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, and is nearly exclusively the result of unconscious conflict (dynamic repression is a circular conscious process of “forgetting,” only to be “re-awakened” by external stimuli). Freud uses the wonderful example of the patient who hasn’t paid her bill, yet hasn’t addressed the matter with Freud. As she leaves she says, “See you next week, Dr. Money.”

                      All of this would suggest, Mr. Meyers, that your analysis of “slips” would keep you away from the couch and comfortably ensconced in your day job. Oh, and perhaps with a quick listen to the Ramones.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Oh, and perhaps with a quick listen to the Ramones.

                      Could never endure the Ramones’ “music.” But I did check out Psychotherapy’s “lyrics.” Must be missing something. I can live with it.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Dr. Stankovich, more than a few Orthodox Christians have taught me a whole lot of what I know about suppression, dynamic repression, and fantasy (the bane of logismoi that grow like some destructive fungus on solid perception and intuition). Also from others, to be fair (very much including myself). School of hard knocks. FYI. FWIW.

                      Not that I’m a big Freudian ideologue or anything, just saying.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Madonna Mia, Michael Meyers! It was a joke! A provocative Freudian “dream” of the invitation of the “altered bishop to the altar,” to the outrage of the “perish.” Someone asked if she was “ritually impure,” while another noted the prohibition of “wounds” (gelding, perhaps?). You’re not thinking like Freud, man! Associations. Motivation by a sea of unconscious conflict.

                      And when I finally told my first 5-star Borderline Personaality Disoder patient – who my psychoanalyticallly-oriented supervisor forced me to see twice a week for a year – what I believed the exact problem to be, she became enraged; she was screaming at me, literally pulling out her hair: “You are a ?!#*?!#* IDIOT! You don’t know what you’re doing, do you?” She was screaming all the way down the hall, out the door, and in middle of the street, declaring what an idiot I was. I fell to my knees, I was laughing so hard. I demanded the clinical director transfer me to another superviser, Everything in moderation, Mr. Meyers, especially Dr. Freud. You’ll never regret it.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      M. Stankovich, ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri used to recollect with great merriment how one novice Reader in Connecticut once chanted: “..Then shall they lay young buttocks upon thine altar.”

                    • Mike Myers says

                      And when I finally told my first 5-star Borderline Personaality Disoder patient – who my psychoanalyticallly-oriented supervisor forced me to see twice a week for a year – what I believed the exact problem to be, she became enraged; she was screaming at me, literally pulling out her hair:what I believed the exact problem to be, she became enraged; she was screaming at me, literally pulling out her hair . . .

                      If answering wouldn’t transgress professional ethics, may I ask what you believed and told her the exact problem was? If it would, or if it would be borderline, then never mind.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Your Grace, I wish you all did love me, but I suspect that’s not the case. Saying literally instead of figuratively was yet another blunder on my part. I put very little thought into how I express myself these days. I should pay more attention.

                    • Dear Gail.

                      You are indeed loved.

      • “The only people admitted into the altar are those who have business being there.”

        This is an important point. Sometimes the idea floats around that just any Orthodox male can go wandering into the altar to chat or hang out any time he likes. While this may happen some places, it is irreverent and an abuse of good order. If we are not serving or do not have some other sort of church business that requires us to go into the altar, the rules against entering apply to us Orthodox males just as much as to any woman or any non-Orthodox Christian. Likewise, there are situations (especially in women’s monasteries) when there are no men to perform necessary tasks in the altar and when Orthodox women (usually older nuns) not only can be, but must be, in the altar assisting the priest.

        There being no service that a non-Orthodox Christian can perform in the altar, the good Lutheran bishopess of course had no business being there.

        • Johann Sebastian says

          Edward says:

          “Sometimes the idea floats around that just any Orthodox male can go wandering into the altar to chat or hang out any time he likes. While this may happen some places, it is irreverent and an abuse of good order.”

          I’ve never even been behind an iconostasis. Never.

        • Mike Myers says

          Many of you continue to assume what has definitely not been demonstrated: that she was “at the altar.” I repeat: besides one English-language summary, at OC PAGE Media Network, of two Finnish sources, neither of which, if you translate them, said a thing about her being at the altar, nor so much as implied that she was, where’s the evidence? Again, it may have happened but in this instance at least I’m seeing what looks like really sub-standard practice of journalism, to put it charitably.

          • If she were not in the altar, why did his superior condemn the incident? And were she not in the altar, would there not have been an immediate clarification promulgated immediately and widely?

            All of this also has to be seen through the prism of what has become common practice in the “higher church” parts of the Protestant world: having as many bishops from different jurisdictions present at episcopal consecrations in order to bleed all of the “lines of succession” together to increase claims that there will be something “valid” somewhere in the mix. In America, Episcopalian and Lutheran bishops in particular regularly participate in consecrations together, and Anglicans often try to get Old Catholic episcopal involvement, etc.

            The next logical step from an action like this is to contrive to have an Orthodox bishop at a Finnish Lutheran consecration, thereby lending weight to claims of “validity” from the Orthodox world being introduced into Lutheran “lines of succession.” One suspects that Ambrosius might be happy to oblige, based on his handling of this. Even if he doesn’t lay hands on the Lutheran, the subsequent reports will all record Orthodox “involvement.” That’s just how this part of the ecumenical game is played, and it is a devious one.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Very well said.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Edward and others might like to review the eye witness accounts of the consecration to the Episcopate of Archimandrite Vitaly (Ustinov) in Brussels, Belgium. The Archbishop of Canterbury prayed IN the Altar throughout the Divine Liturgy, clothed in red robes, white surplice and pointy miter. That Vitaly ended up as First Hierarch of ROCOR and, finally of a splinter group called ROCOR-V. I believe there are photographs.
              Does any of the Putinophiles here know if Putin’s divorce was blessed by the Patriarch? And has his latest issue from that actress in Switzerland been baptized? He DOES have a private life when he’s not busy officially condemning Western destruction of marriage!

              • Mike Myers says

                Your Grace, I think that last post of yours covers a multitude of sins! FWIW.


              • Mike Myers says

                Was he not opposed though to the reunion between ROCOR and the MP? Surely that’s something interesting and significant about him, and worth mention. If true, I mean. I ask.

              • There remains the old saying about the exception proving the rule. Did you, Vladyka, ever issue such an invitation to non-Orthodox individuals, other than Roman clergy who were converting and who were being vested as Orthodox clergy in that service? I am merely curious.

                As to Putin or any other ruler, I am always far more interested in their public policies than their private foibles.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  You’re not being “merely” curious, Edward. You are being snide and refuse to pay attention. A former Roman Catholic was received into the Orthodox Church through Confession of Faith and the Holy Mystery of Penance. As an ORTHODOX Christian, Edward, his ordination as a Presbyter was recognized as valid by his vesting, appropriately, as such IN the Altar.
                  Lamentably, even some ostensibly educated Orthodox people thoughtlessly refer to this as “received as a priest THROUGH VESTING. Vesting, as any child should be able to comprehend, accomplishes nothing, but is required of clergy when they serve. Bishop Daniel, then Father David Brum, AS AN ORTHODOX PRIEST was required to vest in order to serve as such.
                  I have a sinful and unbecoming urge to slap in the face anyone who refers to RECEPTION BY VESTING; however, I have no hope of correcting so many thoughtless and careless Orthodox speakers of English.
                  An UNrepentant Anglican divine prayed ostentatiously together with Orthodox prelates in the Altar throughout the Divine Liturgy at Metropolitan Vitaly’s cosecration to the Episcopate, Of course, I don’t think that’s necessarily what caused him to go utterly cuckoo in his final years

                  Do you consider President Putin’s frequent “photo-ops” in Church, often holding a lighted taper, to be “public policy” or “private foible?” If his wife of the moment stands next to him, is that a “foible?” I admit that annexing the Crimea through brazen “Anschluss” is far more likely to hold our interest . Is fathering children out of wedlock appropriate for someone who has ostentatiously made morality a PUBLIC POLICY?

                  Hitler saw to it that Austria had a plebiscite before marching into Austria amid the cheers of his followers..

          • Michael Woerl says

            Finland has a population of some 5.4 million; of those 5.4 million, some 58,000 are Orthodox. I doubt that Finnish news agencies would report on “Orthodox arcana” in relation to this event -or even if they know what “in the altar” means, or rules about who enters. Have you ever seen news items about Orthodox churches in the US in news reports here? 99.9% of the time, not at all “knowledgable” on the subject. Main “news” here was an ecumenical event, some Orthodox didn’t “like it,” possibly to the dismay of the majority Lutherans … why would the Finnish press cover it any other way? Actually explain the situation?

            • Mike Myers says

              One of the two sources for the OCP thing was Archbishop Leo of Karelia & All Finland’s statement. No claim by him that she was “at the altar,” apparently. Though there is one ambiguous sentence. I’m still waiting for my Finnish bridge partner Veikko’s translation. Dunno what the holdup is. I’ll remind him.

  8. We are entering a time of apostasy of our Orthodox leadership. Such acts as this are not isolated but becoming far too prevalent in the Orthodox Christian sphere of influence to be isolated and disconnected incidents. Reader beware.

    “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.” Saint Anthony the Great

    We are here…

  9. “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.” Saint Anthony the Great

  10. Monk James says

    And then there’s this:


    (Report on the Homosexuality Debate in the Orthodox Church of Finland)

    • Antonio Arganda says

      It appears from this document that the Finnish Orthodox Church is well down the road to apostasy.

  11. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    On the presumption that this is true, let me be the first to call for this gentleman’s unfrocking.

  12. Mike Myers says

    George, why can’t I respond to your confused retort in thread?

    So now you’re moving the goalposts? You asked for neighboring countries, I gave you two.

    European neighbors. Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany and France, Greece — all members of NATO, not Dugin’s “Eurasian Union.” Serbia’s a more complicated case.

    Then of course there’s the whole eastern half of the Ukraine that’s going gangbusters for Mother Russia.

    No comment.

    Question for you, though: What do you think of A.G. Dugin? Been meaning to ask you that, and this seems like a good point to do it.

  13. Mike Myers says

    To be clearer, by “Russia” I don’t refer to Holy Russia. I mean Putin’s RF, 1999 on. Their present state, the thing becoming more lawless and totalitarian with each passing day.

  14. Mike Myers says

    To be clearer, by “Russia” I don’t refer to Holy Russia. I mean Putin’s RF, 1999 on. Their present state, the thing growing increasingly lawless and totalitarian. The thing captive to Putin’s propaganda, and Dugin’s dark imaginations.

    St. Seraphim, pray to the Lord that he would separate V.V. Putin from the blasphemous lies of that evil charlatan. Tame this bear. Amen.


  15. Metropolitan Ambrosius has been a crank Orthodox bishop for years. This is totally in keeping with his understanding that when it comes to Christianity “we all tie for first” approach. In most Orthodox Churches his actions would be seriously dealt with, however in the Finnish Church, which has more skeletons in its closet than an medical school, this is just another sad embarrassment. It would be good if the EP stepped in and took care of business and retired him. That would send a clear message.

    As for homosexual clergy in the Finnish Church, it is pernicious.

  16. gail sheppard says

    Seriously, George, lay off the vodka!

  17. Mike Myers says


    You know, I think I’ve figgered out the MO of Putin’s critics: the more success he has in foiling the war-mongering EU/NATO Military Complex, the more unhinged they become.


    Right on target, George.

    Fools’ Errand Boy:

    Which of Russia’s European neighbors wants anything to do with Russia? Name just one. The glib crap above borders on the insane. (A neat analogy.)

    1st error: I should have made a higher-resolution query than “Which of Russia’s European neighbors wants anything to do with Russia.” All that accomplished was to give GM wiggle room for his trademark dishonesty, which of course he took reflexive advantage of. I should have have anticipated that. My bad.


    Czech republic. Hungary to name two.

    2nd error: right at this point, I should have challenged Michalopulos to unpack this non sequitur. Instead, I pointed out the obvious, that Czech Republic and Hungary have been members of Nato for close to 16 years now. Geopolitics 101: seeking (and in some cases begging) for Nato membership = protect us from the RF (read: Putin, since late 1999). Silly me, imagining that GM either 1) knew that, or 2) would admit he knew it, if in fact he did, under these circumstances. My bad, again.

    I and others here are continually hamstrung by Michalopulos’ darkly amusing riff on the Gish Gallop in every single attempt we make to have a rational & evidence-based chat with him, inspired by our bemusement with his ridiculous soliloquies. It’s breathtaking.


    Czech republic. Hungary to name two.


    Members of NATO for 15+ years. What’s your glitch?


    So now you’re moving the goalposts? You asked for neighboring countries, I gave you two. I’ll give you some more: China’s a biggie. . . blahblahblah

    I’ll ask him now, point blank: what the hell did you even mean, bringing up Czech Republic and Hungary as an answer to that admittedly vague question? Please explain yourself.

    As to what “wanting anything to do with them” covers, let us agree to exclude from consideration the gas, caviar or vodka trade.

    • Mike Myers says

      I ask GM the question a bit in the Socratic mode, since one EU/Nato state is clearly moving closer to Russia. That would be Greece, since Syriza’s rise. interesting that he didn’t name it. I’m still collating that.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mike, you keep on moving the goalposts. I name European countries that are both (a) neighbors and (b) members of NATO and you still take me to task for factually answering your questions. I’m not sure what your game is here but you’re hurting your Russophobic, anti-Putinist stance.

      We can disagree with Putin’s policies all you want but things are clearly going his way on both the European front and the Pacific one. As far as Russia’s concerned, that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

      • Mike Myers says

        Hey, Bozo: answer my friggin’ question.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Which question is that? I keep on answering and you keep on moving the goal posts. Ask again, directly and unambiguously.

  18. Mike Myers says

    Imagine how it must feel for people like Edward and the rest of the ROCOR crowd to hear that shyster-Patriarch Kyrill commemorated week after week! Mike, THEY GET IT, but wish to DIVERT ATTENTION. In post after tedious condescending post, they KILL THE MESSENGER, even, – or especially – when the MESSENGER is (in their estimation) that MOST CONTEMPTIBLE CREATURE the ANONYMOUS TROLL.

    OOM, I agree that’s what’s going down. I feel their pain. The intellectual immorality is nauseating, regardless. Opening them up to this generation’s strong delusion that’s taking more and more palpable form.

    I’m persuaded you must have a very good excuse for being anonymous here. Grateful for another sane voice, even in deep cover.

  19. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    I am not sue what this discussion has to do with the event that provoked it.

    The gentleman responsible for this lamentable incident should already have been unfrocked.

    • Mike Myers says

      It’s here because George closed off to further correspondence the similarly incongruous thread where it began (after only 109 posts). The topic evolved there, driven by various splenetic mutations of “discourse.” (My tentative theory of causation: solar flares.)

      After the echt-“Orthodox” “Ages” & “Abbouna Michel” tag-teamed Pope Francis, Gregory Manning joined in the fun, citing some “fellow blogger” at Ad Orientem to the following effect on HH, ” . . a good-hearted moron . . . in well over his head as Patriarch of an autocephalous [sic] church.” But this was meant in a “completely non-malicious way,” we were assured . . .

      OOM and I registered our displeasure at such stupid libels. As far as I’m concerned, the Ur-provocation was brought to you by the comically arrogant and presumptuous recent convert, “Ages.” But he was on a real roll there in a number of posts.

      Enter the MP, bilocating from stage left-right/red-brown. Our Vanity Pundit weighed in at this point. I had a few things to say, too. But then, astutely perceiving the imminence of a head-handing, perhaps, VP shut off further comments. I guess. Who knows why he does what does. This is a great mystery.

      As I was not about to let him dehoist so lamely from his own petard, however, I lateraled the ball here faut de mieux. It just seemed wrong to abandon such an illustrative specimen of charming, learned and edifying discourse, for which Monomakhos is so renowned.

      The common denominator between threads, I suppose, is hierarchs behaving badly — whether objectively, or subjectively, as perceived by their own flocks. Or others’.

      Does that answer your question?

      *”AM” — “Ages is right: Pope Francis certainly is a bad hat, no doubt about it! Sheesh!”

      • Mike Myers says

        faute {Ed.}

      • And how recent do you suppose my conversion is?

        I have nothing against Roman Catholics. Benedict was a good pope all around. Francis is a liberal nut job, that’s all. Plenty of Catholics share that view.

        • Mike Myers says

          I think your conversion is best regarded as ongoing, and mostly future tense. Just like mine and everyone else’s. You seem not to understand the depth and breadth and height of the Orthodox (and Roman Catholic) understanding of our salvation in Christ. It’s a lifelong process — an eternal one. You’re way, way too smug about this, something reflected constantly in your arrogant and ignorant comments about other believing Christians and non-Orthodox churches. God decides who’s being saved by His gift of faith, not you, and not the Orthodox Church (or the Roman Catholic one). If you don’t mind.

  20. Monk James says

    A dear friend visited the Uusi Valamon Luostari (‘New Valaam Monastery’) in Finland in the early 1970s.. She kindly put me in touch with Met. Ambrosius and another monk when we were all young monks. MetA and I corresponded only briefly, but the other monk found his way back to Texas where he was eventually killed by a rentboy. It was very sad. If I knew how to do it, I’d include here a photo of me explaining all this to Abp Leo about a dozen years ago. AbpL was unhappy but not terribly surprised by the news. Homosexuality among the Orthodox seems to be an old problem in Finland.

    Necist (March 10, 2015 at 6:24 pm) says:

    ‘Another question is “Was she ritually clean?” If it was her time of the month; there was flowing blood in the altar which is forbidden.’
    Some judaizing folk customs here and there, now and then, expect that orthodox christian women won’t enter the temple at all while menstruating or within forty days of giving birth, let alone enter the altar.

    But the clergy (including acolytes) are not supposed to vest or serve if they have an open, still bleeding wound. There’s also a canon which directs that people with open sores in their mouths should not receive Holy Communion until they are healed.

    Once, while I was setting up music books on the kleros of our Holy Trinity cathedral in Chicago, two inspectors from the Chicago Fire Department arrived to give the building a once-over and certify that it met city standards. The female half of the team asked if she could inspect the altar and all of us just sort of looked at each other, completely out of words. Then the senior priest, a european man, asked her if she were a virgin. Now, she was of a certain age, so it was hard for anyone to take him seriously. Now, if she had called the old priest’s bluff and insisted that she was indeed a virgin, I suppose he’d have had to admit her to the altar. This time, though, it was the inspectors’ turn to be left speechless, and only the male half of the team got to inspect the altar; we got our certification. This, I suppose, was legitimate ‘business’ in the altar.

    But then,

    George Michalopulos (March 10, 2015 at 9:33 pm) says:

    ‘Good question but having seen a picture of her(**shudder**), I don’t think that was a problem.’
    That was probably not the kindest thing to say.

    We do better to limit our criticism to people’s words and actions, and to refrain from commenting unkindly on physical and other personal characteristics beyond their control.

    We are — all of us — created in the image and likeness of God, although our sins have sullied that resemblance in many ways. Still, let’s respond to whatever little reflection of the divine we see in each other, and blame our own sinfulness for our occasionally poor vision.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Monk James said:

      “Once, while I was setting up music books on the kleros of our Holy Trinity cathedral in Chicago, two inspectors from the Chicago Fire Department arrived to give the building a once-over and certify that it met city standards. The female half of the team asked if she could inspect the altar and all of us just sort of looked at each other, completely out of words. Then the senior priest, a european man, asked her if she were a virgin. Now, she was of a certain age, so it was hard for anyone to take him seriously. Now, if she had called the old priest’s bluff and insisted that she was indeed a virgin, I suppose he’d have had to admit her to the altar. This time, though, it was the inspectors’ turn to be left speechless, and only the male half of the team got to inspect the altar; we got our certification. This, I suppose, was legitimate ‘business’ in the altar.”

      Best laugh I’ve had here for quite awhile!

    • “That was probably not the kindest thing to say.”

      Thank you, Monk James, for that gentle admonition.

  21. Antonio Arganda says

    The Ad Hoc Inter-Orthodox Commission In Preparation for the Great Council in Chambesy seems to have hit a rock on the issues of Gay rights and women priests. John Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamum, has come out forcefully for gay rights . “World Orthodoxy” seems to be headed in the same direction as the faltering European Union.

  22. “John Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamum, has come out forcefully for gay rights.”

    Please provide a reference for this assertion.

    • Antonio Arganda says
      • I have read it, and I have yet to be convinced. His purported comments (while, as Christopher notes, may be somewhat naive about how such a statement would likely be interpreted in the West’s insane “all gay all the time” culture) come from an entirely different context than we are accustomed to. If Nazis in this country were free to do violence to homosexuals with tacit government support we might be tempted to propose something similar for the sake of Christian love and common human decency. So-called ‘gay rights’ in our context has an altogether different connotation in our culture than it does in his.

        But I am more than willing to be proven wrong.

        • Mike Myers says

          So-called ‘gay rights’ in our context has an altogether different connotation in our culture than it does in his.

          His Eminence’s culture is Greek, as you know. What you appear not to know is that substantial protections for self-defned LGBT persons are codified in Greek law. Please explain what you had in mind above. I’m confused by your assertion.

          • Mike,

            “The contribution of the Orthodox Church in promoting peace, justice, freedom, brotherhood and love between people for the elimination of racial or other forms of discrimination.”

            Allow me to say up-front that I strongly believe statements of this nature (whether they relate to gay rights or not) are just plain stupid and irrelevant. They have the ‘this-worldly’ ring of statements such as those that the United Nations would put forth to justify its existence. They are hollow words framed in purely utilitarian terms, having nothing to do with the Gospel. The Church has no need to justify its existence to the world on the ground of its utility. “Look at us! We are important because we make the world a better place. We promote peace and justice.” True enough on a certain level, but hardly the mission of the Church. “Think not that I came to bring peace…”

            You are correct that I was unaware of the substantial protections for self-defined LGBT persons codified in Greek law. If they are anything like those that have come to pass in the United States (as well as those that it seems likely will come to be when the SCOTUS rules on “equal protection” as it relates to gay ‘marriage’) then Met. John’s arguments from within such a context are simply out of place.

            However, the report frames (and perhaps twists) his words, placing them within the context of ‘gay rights’ arguments rather than that of human dignity, making what may well have been a simple argument for the essential dignity of personhood (which is classical Zizioulas and Patristic anthropology) appear to be an argument for gay rights, so-called. It seems likely to me that the Russians and the Syrians better understood the ‘political’ ramifications of how making such a statement would be perceived and quashed it. God bless them; they exercised good judgment.

            Poor judgment? Yes. But this does not…yet…based on the evidence provided change my opinion of or respect for Met. John, nor is it cause to believe that he is prepared “to amend not only the works of past century theologians, but the very Scripture, the Holy Canons of the Church and the writings of the Holy Fathers.” My confidence may well be proven to be misplaced. Time will tell. But until such time as more concrete evidence proves otherwise, I will not participate in calumny based solely upon what is likely a misunderstanding of his intentions. The affirmation of human dignity is a far cry from the sort of wholesale re-evaluation of the Tradition advocated by the likes of Fr. Arida whose own works provide sufficient testimony to condemn his views.

            • Mike Myers says

              It seems likely to me that the Russians and the Syrians better understood the ‘political’ ramifications of how making such a statement would be perceived and quashed it. God bless them; they exercised good judgment.

              Russia and Syria, two blindingly exemplary lights unto the nations, distinguished by the many persons therein who exercise good judgment. God bless them, indeed. And God help us all.

            • Mike Myers says

              Think not that I came to bring peace…”

              Among other reasons, He came to bring the peace that passes all understanding to those whom He chose who remain faithful to Him. He also foretold their persecution and tribulations in this age. Not the end of the story though.

              These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

            • I agree with what you wrote, Brian. But I do think that even the “human dignity” argument can be twisted to mean it’s more dignified to be undignified if you choose it.

              Enabling (for example) sodomy—or enabling those who choose to build their personal identity upon their desire to commit sodomy—does nothing but degrade their human dignity. This “dignity” argument is precisely the mad people calling the sane people mad.

              Christians too often try to adopt the nice-sounding rhetoric of the world without understanding when the meaning is loaded.

              • Ages,

                Agreed whole-heartedly. It depends upon who is making the dignity argument and in what (or in Whom) they believe human dignity to be grounded.

                Since this reported discussion took place in what hopefully can be described as a thoroughly Orthodox Christian context with the argument having been made by one who has amply demonstrated his understanding that the ground of being of human persons is their creation in the image of God, he ought to be given the benefit of the doubt unless there is concrete proof otherwise.

              • Mike Myers says

                Do you actually “know” anyone “who chooses to build their personal identity upon their desire to commit sodomy”?

                You wrote:

                Enabling (for example) sodomy—or enabling those who choose to build their personal identity upon their desire to commit sodomy—does nothing but degrade their human dignity.

                Be honest: isn’t it more that you were, more or less, such a person, before your baptism, and now you suffer from a compelling urge to drag others down to your level, by defaming them in this shallow, reductive and defamatory way? You’re very free with poorly informed libels of personages high and low, so I’m thinking this might be your basic glitch. I notice a very strong family resemblance between these two bad habits — the difference being that the “sodomy” hurts only two people. Presuming you mean . . . But on second thought, what do you mean by “sodomy”? A wide range of meanings float around here.

                Maybe you’re a disciple of Fr. Deacon Brian Patrick Mitchell’s teachings in this matter? Do you pledge allegiance to his personal lexicon of terminology and meaning? (Maybe this is official ROCOR party line. Maybe their Fr. Deacon could fill us in.)

                I ask, because according to the good deacon’s (or ROCOR’s?) definition of “sodomy,” roughly 90% of postpubertal Americans are qualified to be card-carrying “sodomites.” I get the strong impression that, like the good Deacon himself (and Benedict XVI), you’re zealous to purify the worshipping community by pruning out egregious sinners, sparing holy and righteous and properly “conservative” persons such as yourself, the Fr. Deacon, et (fewer and fewer) al. This would be just the ticket! Don’t you think?

                • Mike Myers says

                  btw, Ages — in case you hadn’t noticed, your mulligan has expired. I’m just getting started with you.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Mike, life is easier to navigate when you recognize that there is a universal moral code. Your sanctimonious defense of the sactity of sodomy uber alles leads you to contortions that are simply tiring to behold and to make arguments that are sheer sophistry.

                  I was especially amused by your castigation of the Russia and Syrian Orthodox churches simply because they’re respective governments are not as progressive as you would like.

                  • Mike Myers says

                    Michalopulos, I’m over and out again with you and your stupid slurs. Rational thought’s just not your forte.

                    But do give some thought to allying your vanity punditry act with the freshly launched Cruz campaign. You and he would be a superb match in many ways — in shamelessness, especially. And being such a clever fellow, he complements you nicely wrt your marked affliction there. Reach out, George. Think big.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      What’s with the hostility Mike? I answer every one of your questions succinctly and dispute your assertions in a rhetorical manner. If anything, I try not to divine a man’s intent but sometimes –and belatedly in your case–it’s so glaringly obvious.

                      Why not just be a Christian? Accept the fact that all men (including sodomites) are sinners and try to live your life accordingly, without having to contort civilization to the dictates of the Oppressed MinorityTM du jour?

                    • Mike Myers says

                      “What’s with the hostility Mike? I answer every one of your questions succinctly and dispute your assertions in a rhetorical manner . . .”

                      Poor thing.

                      Get some help, George.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Well, MIke, I’m not the one that’s hostile.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Meyers,

                      Was it not but a year ago I delivered the same words I am about to re-deliver? You remember the “hanging-meat-before-hungry-dogs” speech, no? The, “if you’re feeling yanked by thoroughly empty inanities, look for the hook in your lip” message? You must remember the reference to the drunken smirk of Jack Nicholson as he speaks to Shirley McClain in Terms of Endearment when he realizes he has been totally played: “I don’t know what it is about you, Aurora, but you bring out the devil in me.” Holy Cow, Mr. Meyers! You are not one of those live-and-learn kind of guys who’ll never need anti-hypertensives or major laxatives. Sodomy? Who uses that word except the cops or people who are devoted to disturbing your serenity? You went & got out that cheap cologne I hate, Mr. Meyers: Calvin Kline’s You’ve Got a Live One Here.

                      Let’s not go the whole “differentials” route, Mr. Meyers, and just take my suggestions: leave the door open with your derrière on the inside, and go with the decaf. He who slams the door within recent memory may return to find the sheep & goats playing poker (yeah, it’s a Freudian thing related to indignation). Sodomy. Good lord, man, you even went and used the clergyman’s name who has a copyright on the word in three countries & two foreign dependencies, and is dedicated to inserting it into the list of “Anathemas” of the Seventh Ecumenical Council… Chill out already.

                    • George, this guy is a troll. He’s here to destroy your readership and comment base by bogging down discussion until everything is centered around him and his hostile attitude. I wouldn’t engage with him at all.

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      George, I concur with Helga. “Mike Myers” is either a phony screen name (after the Canadian-born comedian and actor), an attorney in Los Angeles who is manifestly not an Orthodox Christian, or a meaningless mystery. In any case he is a provocateur and misanthrope “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Perhaps, if his posts here are ignored, he will pick up his toys and go away again.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      HELGA! Shake it off! Shake it OFF! mmmmm hmmmmm
                      It sounds like you are upset that Mike doesn’t seem interested in Your Holy Pseudonymity….
                      I’m not sure if Mike or George or anyone else cares if YOU “wouldn’t engage with him at all.” What vanity!

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Dr. Stankovich, too much of the worst imaginable company or close to it seems to have rubbed off on you, tho just a bit.
                      You totally fail to comprehend either me or my goals in trying to reason with these good people, so back off. You’re just being silly now. Mind your own business. Let me mind mine.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Meyers,

                      I am, perhaps, your own only supporter; the only one to sense your genuine frustration; and the only one to substantiate that you are who you say you are, and that your intentions, ultimately, are honourable. It seems to me, however, you are doing your level best to make a liar of me. And pardon me, my friend, but when you are yelling at the top of your voice in the room in which I am standing, it most certainly is my business; unless, of course, you have been duly deputized by Mr. Michalopoulos to maintain his order. Now, as near as I can tell, this is a highly unlikely appointment. I am, Mr. Meyers, a keen observer, and judging by your reaction, I believe Dr. Freud would conclude I also am one “sharp cookie” as well.

                      Now, today’s message derives from an old French saying:

                      La capacité de parler avec éloquence ne doit pas être confondue avec d’avoir quelque chose à dire.

                      Roughly, this means “Don’t confuse eloquent speech with someone actually having something to say.” This is widely applicable – presently company included – and the source of much consternation. In this sense, your goals in “reasoning” with these fine people is moot. The “differentials” would suggest that either you are inept & ineffectual; they are not listening and/or not comprehending; or they are, in fact, listening & comprehending, but disagree. In any case, it is my observation that you have not converted anyone by rearticulating your argument, increasing the level of tension, hostility, insult, and threatening to leave. And I ain’t even mad, bro’. But it’s a cloudy, cloudy day when you confuse your friends for your enemies…

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Father Alexander Webster’s “either or” is totally wrong. I’ve met Mr. Myers—once, at coffee, after Liturgy, in Los Angeles where he was visiting. Sherlock would not even give Fr Alexander an “Elementary.” In fact, Father Alexamder’s hypotheses remind one of conservative Senator Cotton’s imbecilic utterance, “Iran ALREADY controls Tehran!”
                      And as far as his picking up his toys, don’t worry. no one has his toys in your sandbox but yourself.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I wish that I was, like Mr. Stankovich, a “keen observer”. In such case, I might have the faintest idea what Mr. Myers has been talking about; what the specific points are that he is so splenetic about.

                      Perhaps at some time in the past they were cogently set forth, and, if time were unlimited, one could search them out somehow. But it’s not.

                      I think that it would be helpful if those who are in what seem to be long-running controversies, would now and again restate the points at issue. This might help the hapless onlookers.

                    • Mike Myers says


                      I am, perhaps, your own only supporter; the only one to sense your genuine frustration; and the only one to substantiate that you are who you say you are, and that your intentions, ultimately, are honourable. It seems to me, however, you are doing your level best to make a liar of me.

                      Look, even if it were true that you were my “only supporter” — and it’s obviously not true — I wouldn’t care. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I do not suffer fools gladly and I simply couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of me or of my ultra- well-considered and well-founded opinions. I care about God’s take on me, and quite honestly that’s about it. Not a politician or a priest, and not in the running for Miss Congeniality.

                      More and more, savage honesty becomes charitable public service overall in this f******-up country, and if few appreciate it, well, this ain’t my problem. Given the madhouse aroma from contemporary American chattering about the world’s most important stuff — sex, politics and religion — anxiety about style points is a very, very low priority for me. I did once highly value civility and politesse — in my twenties. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” For some of us, these days, too much concern about politeness is just another lame excuse for court-martialable dereliction of duty.

                      Nearly thirty years of enduring social existence in the hick megalopolis of Orange County builds a tough hide. The unique Southron miasma one whiffs in Monomakhiac “discourse” is different in some ways from what I’m used to in OC, but the specious content of the substandard rhetoric is typical of both. The biggest difference is I’m accustomed to more lipstick and mascara on the pig here in OC. It’s gettin’ gamey and really raw in Dixie. Even so I have to say that life in OC looks better and better to me and many of my friends than large swathes of this country, as it devolves. Mainly due to people like many of those present here, who really should know better. People who desperately require more sane humility.

                      I can easily believe that you sense my frustration, because I’ve often observed how incompetently and shamelessly many of these good people twist your words and read into them what you obviously never intended and didn’t come close to saying. This instructive clinic in reading comprehension deficit has included at least SEVEN ordained, allegedly educated,* participants! It fascinates me. So we walk together in this matter, my brother.

                      I respectfully disagree that I’m trying to make a liar of you. Let me do my thing, is all I ask. I let you do yours, and 99% of the time I’ve been nothing but supportive here in that honorable endeavor of yours over the years. Please reciprocate. And please stop imagining that you’ve got me all figured out. You don’t.

                      *To be fair, however, more than a few of the most bottomlessly stupid people I know do have PhDs — one of an increasing number of points on which HPD Nietzsche and I are in full agreement.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, for someone who “doesn’t suffer fools gladly,” you sure seem to hold a lot of foolish opinions. The inability to see the Scriptural antipathy towards sodomy being one of them.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Mike, for someone who “doesn’t suffer fools gladly,” you sure seem to hold a lot of foolish opinions. The inability to see the Scriptural antipathy towards sodomy being one of them.


                      Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

                      Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

                      The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.
                      — Proverbs 26: 4, 5, 16 (KJV)


                      Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
                      — Exodus 20:16

                      The man who does not receive rebuke and hardens his neck will quickly be ruined, and there will be no healing for him.
                      — Proverbs 29: 1 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

                      וישלחו האנשים את־ידם ויביאו את־לוט אליהם הביתה ואת־הדלת סגרו׃
                      ואת־האנשים אשר־פתח הבית הכו בסנורים מקטן ועד־גדול וילאו למצא הפתח׃

                      πῶς ἔπεσαν δυνατοὶ ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ πολέμου· Ιωναθαν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕψη σου τραυματίας.ἀλγῶ ἐπὶ σοί, ἄδελφέ μου Ιωναθαν· ὡραιώθης μοι σφόδρα, ἐθαυμαστώθη ἡ ἀγάπησίς σου ἐμοὶ ὑπὲρ ἀγάπησιν γυναικῶν. πῶς ἔπεσαν δυνατοὶ καὶ ἀπώλοντο σκεύη πολεμικά.

                • Do you actually “know” anyone “who chooses to build their personal identity upon their desire to commit sodomy”?

                  Yes. I personally know at least four individuals who have stated, either verbatim in their words, or in their actions, that their homosexual orientation is fundamental to their identity and the rest of their life experience is seen through the lens of their desire to commit sodomy. One of them was my best friend for many years who utterly turned away from Christianity after he decided homosexuality was more important than Christ.

                  Be honest: isn’t it more that you were, more or less, such a person, before your baptism and now you suffer from a compelling urge to drag others down to your level, by defaming them in this shallow, reductive and defamatory way?

                  No, it was that I was such a person before my baptism and I now have a compelling urge to drag others from the fire and find healing in Christ as I have.

                  How cynical of you, that you view charity as defamation. I once knew an atheist who was similarly disgusted by Mother Theresa’s work. I guess I simply can’t relate to such a twisted outlook.

                  the “sodomy” hurts only two people

                  That is not Orthodox at all. All sin rends apart mankind. To different degrees, yes, but there is no such thing as a purely private sin. Especially for those who are united to Christ and his Church.

                  But on second thought, what do you mean by “sodomy”?

                  Bickering over the definitions of words is a bit too postmodern for my taste.

                  you’re zealous to purify the worshipping community by pruning out egregious sinners, sparing holy and righteous and properly “conservative” persons such as yourself

                  I’m not in favor of pruning them out; they present themselves for Christ’s pruning by their own actions. I don’t want them to do that; I want them to repent and be healed. Nor do I spare myself. I am not sure where you are getting this, but your growing defensiveness is charming.

                  your mulligan has expired. I’m just getting started with you.

                  Whatever you say. :^)

                  • After hearing the life of St. Mary of Egypt again at church tonight, I am utterly disgusted by people who would rather have seen St Mary assured and coddled in her sin than come to repentance. “It’s OK Mary, you’re only acting on your God-given desires. God loves you just as you are. Come kiss the precious cross and hurry back before the next boatload of young men leaves.”

                    Absolutely repulsive. Only someone who hates their fellow man could sign them over to hell under the guise of some twisted “love.”

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Y’all are droll. Y’all can’t read too well, but y’all are droll.

                      Seriously — check out possibilities for group discounts on remedial reading comprehension classes, Michael and “Ages.” Maybe you could find something online. I’ve been recommending adult ed. to George for years but he declines my good counsel, evidently.

                      Now I’m thinking the problem might be contagious.


                      Michael Bauman, I’m all ears here re: what you find disgusting in my post. I’m a big boy, so don’t pull any punches.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      . . . The “differentials” would suggest that either you are inept & ineffectual; they are not listening and/or not comprehending; or they are, in fact, listening & comprehending, but disagree. In any case, it is my observation that you have not converted anyone . . .

                      Michael, no doubt all of the above apply, but I’m guessing my biggest problem on Monomakhos is the same one yours has proved to be: “not listening and/or not comprehending.”

                      I suppose I could make more effort than I do these days to communicate more lucidly. I once worked hard in this joint at attaining clarity and transparency. As it turned out, these were mostly wasted efforts, fool’s errands. Maybe you remember. I constantly confronted the same obstacles you’ve been so frustrated by. Too many replying correspondents just lack adequate reading comprehension skills, and/or require a ludicrous degree of hand-holding, of painstaking, detailed explanations of what should be blindingly obvious to any sentient and moderately informed adult, and/or demonstrate starkly limited talent for serious rational thought and analysis. Forget about clairvoyance, synthesis and the higher intuitive capabilities.

                      When you cannot reason, cajole, shame or coerce your would-be interlocutors into making it to first base of rational discourse, which is a mutual agreement on the **facticity of facts,** what’s left but to enjoy exploiting some of the rich opportunities for satire presented? I probably get too much unholy pleasure from that. But one can hope that in such opportunities redemptive teaching moments may lie concealed. I like to think I am alert to these and take advantage of them, from time to time. So I hang out here off and on. And of course there’s always the attraction of the deathless remnant of Bishop Tikhon’s correspondence, even when I’m in read-only mode (a mode due mostly to deep disgust with George and his obtuse shamelessness).

                      Michael, finally, a secret just between you and me: I long ago transcended worrying too much about “friends and enemies.” Focus on getting to and remaining in God’s good pleasure simplifies life enormously. Every day, you get to count the cost. And the benefit.

                      I hope you know this trade from personal experience. I wish everyone did. I try to help people get to a place where they can experience it, too, in spite of appearances. Certainly, I could try harder. For the rest of Great Lent I’ll be at orthodoxchristianity.net.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Unfortunately, Mr. Myers, as Freud observed, we are the “mirrored needs of what people think of us.” You have transcended nothing. Projective defenses are extraordinarily effective at a single task: eliminating psychic conflict; eliminating, not resolving. “Cajoling, shaming or coercing” are born of manipulation and your own need, not “help[ing] people get to a place where they can experience it, too, in spite of appearances.” There will always be the uncomprehending, the incompetent, and those incapable of rising to a higher level of “rational thought & analysis” (at which point I always recommend Tolstoi), or, Mr. Meyers, we will create them.

                      It has been my practice to get people to the place they strive to be. Not where I believe they should be. Their “dysfunction” is that they fail to see their options, fail to adequately assess the consequences of their actions (be they positive or negative), and begin to make cognitive “distortions.” In other words, Mr. Meyers, I sell hope. Imagine! Hope for change, hope for relief. Freud referred to this as psychodynamically “loaning ones ego.” What you are doing is attempting to heal yourself. Unfortunately, even if you managed to get everyone to agree with you, you would not feel satisfied.

                      Do check in when you return.

                    • Paul Stasi says

                      Ages, I don’t entirely disagree with your post. If memory serves St. Mary was kept from venerating by a force which could not be seen by her or anybody. I suppose that God still acts in this way. An “aha!” moment. This same type of moment when the prodigal son “came to himself” and one realises how far one truly is from God. Where I have difficulty (speaking about my own experiences) is discerning when I should and should not speak. I have observed that the realization that one needs to repent can not be taught but must be desired. I observed two monastics in a conversation. It seemed to be a spirited discussion. One of them was clearly agitated. The calm one responded to the other’s unreasonable request “I do not have blessing to do as you desire.” That ended the discussion quickly. The calm one did not try to command the other but only told him the simple truth.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Mr. Myers you post is disgusting.

                  • Mike Myers says

                    Thank you, Michael.

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Your unsupported opinion, though, Michael Baumann, is beyond disgusting. You contributed nothing to that relationship.that was helpful to anybody. Is it just laziness or is it hardness of heart?

                    • Christopher says

                      Is it just laziness or is it hardness of heart?

                      Of the choices you present, “hardness of heart” would be the most correct, but not on Mr. Baumann’s part – rather on Mr. Myers part. To the extant that their is a “relationship” here (as opposed to a simple conflict) it is again on possible because of Mr. Baumann. Your pointing fingers at the wrong person…

            • Christopher says

              My confidence may well be proven to be misplaced. Time will tell. But until such time as more concrete evidence proves otherwise, I will not participate in calumny based solely upon what is likely a misunderstanding of his intentions. The affirmation of human dignity is a far cry from the sort of wholesale re-evaluation of the Tradition advocated by the likes of Fr. Arida whose own works provide sufficient testimony to condemn his views.

              I hear what you are saying Brian. I suppose that I think perhaps that we are now past the point of toleration of the simple intentions of such statements. Giving Met. John the benefit of the doubt and assuming plain naivety, one then has to ask what is he doing talking about such matters at all, let alone in the context of the “Great Council”? Do we not expect some basic competency, some basic “wise as serpents” understanding by those who are making such recommendations and working in such a context?

              I suppose I expect a bit more wisdom and precision and less naivety from hiearchs working on such language because such language will be used and abused by the likes of Fr. Arida, to say nothing of the secular culture…

              • 1.) Remember that we are not reading his words in this report, but rather someone’s interpretation of his words. Unlike men such as Fr. Arida, we have no idea what he actually said.

                2.) Even Patriarchs, Metropolitans, and bishops are subject to imbalance and error (and God knows we are, too!).

                3.) Whatever else can be said of their preparations, they are at least acting together in a conciliar fashion. Each sharpens the iron of the other. (Thank God we don’t have a Pope.)

                4.) They are fallible humans very much in need of our prayers, and I am quite certain they would be the first to say so.

                But having said the above, in general I agree with you. I pray for them. The weight on their shoulders must seem unbearable given the ramifications of getting it wrong.

  23. Estonian Slovak says

    Well, if “World Orthodoxy” is indeed headed in this direction, this old Hunky will raise his voice with the slogan of Hungarian patriots after the divsion of their country following WW I,”Nem, nem, soha!” (NO, no, never in English)

  24. It’s time an Orthodox Bishop had his theology cleansed in Finnish seawater.

  25. Engaged Observer says

    An issue I have been wondering about a lot lately is the futility of engaging non-Orthodox on the question of homosexuality, and even the more prominent political issue of “gay marriage.”

    With the advent of no-fault divorce in the 1960s and the incipient destruction of the family, the classic triad of fidelity/faithfulness, permanence, and openness to children that made families strong and foundational to society was thrown out the window. Thrown out so much that, it is safe to say, with the millennial generation (those born after 1980), many children (and most, of you go by 2010s demographic trends), have absolutely no concept of marriage as being permanent, between a faithful man and a woman, and being open to children. Indeed, marriage these days is typically an afterthought — a carefully thought out prospect or endeavor, *after* one has a secure career, and *after* all the pros and cons have been carefully thought through, to minimize the risk. Marriage is also now typically a phenomenon of the economically well-off; the economic lower classes largely don’t even bother with it anymore.

    And as such, using this reclassing of marriage to be a union between two people who are usually sexually involved and to which the state gives benefits — if this is the new definition of marriage, and fidelity/permanence/openness to children is not even thought about anymore — using this “logic,” there is absolutely no basis to deny this kind of “marriage” to same-sex couples.

    I write this not because I agree with it, but because this is how the vast majority of secular society approaches the marriage issue. Marriage is (to most people) a legal contract between two people who are usually sexually involved and to which the state gives some benefits.

    From the Orthodox and traditional Christian perspective, how can we argue with this? We may speak English with our fellow Westerners, but when we discuss same-sex marriage with our secularized friends and neighbors, the framework from which we approach the issue is entirely different. It seems futile, and yes, it seems that the Orthodox/traditional Christian perspective will lose the same-sex marriage issue in the coming weeks.

    If the Supreme Court acts as the final arbiter — and in quasi-protestant America, the Supreme Court is perceived as a “holy body” vis-à-vis “what is legal is also moral” — then Orthodox and traditional Christians who hold fast to the fidelity/permanence/openness to children triad of marriage will in short order be bigots who out of some bizarre “unsubstsantiated hatred” want to deny two men or two women the “right” to “marry.”

    But again, from the traditional Christian perspective, granting two men the “right to marry” is tantamount to granting them the “right to breastfeed.” One cannot grant a right to something that doesn’t exist in the first place. But such is the problem with the modern discourse — both sides may be talking about “marriage,” but what they mean by “marriage” are two entirely different things. The Christian teaching never counters God’s natural law — and “gay marriage” does not exist in nature.

    Indeed, the state will create its own behemoth called “gay marriage” but the real problems will come when the state will go to great lengths to protect that which is created. After all, since “gay marriage” does not exist in nature, without the state actively protecting it, promoting it, and persecuting those who oppose it, “gay marriage” will not exist. Josef Stalin anyone?

    As Fr Alexander Schmemann wrote, much of the evidence for traditional Christian teaching is rooted in “bright knowledge, in communion with the mind of Christ… [In contrast], proofs, in order to be proofs, must operate in a dark knowledge, in the logic of this world. According to logic, this world is always stronger, since this world fashioned logic to justify itself…” (Journals of Fr Alexander Schmemann, p. 112).

    So why do we spend time “aruging” or “dialoguing” with our non-Orthodox neighbors and even supposed Orthodox who want to integrate homosexuality into the traditional Christian mainstream? It’s an impossibility. We come from “bright knowledge” whereas they use the logic of this world. How to reconcile the two? Is that even possible? We should channel the late Met. Philip, who would not even discuss such “abominations.” If Met. Philip (or even Patriarch Kyrill) were Met. Ambrosius’s senior hierarch, Met. Ambrosius would have already been summarily severely disciplined or deposed two weeks ago.

    Granted, being Orthodox, if I walked into a church and saw the crazy-looking “Bishop” Irja before the royal doors or (even worse) inside the altar, I would have fled that church faster than one could sing “Lord have mercy.” But I have the benefit of years of Orthodoxy under my belt so I know better — but what about those who do not? All this bogus “dialogue” with non-Orthodox has to stop. It never gets anywhere, it confuses the Orthodox, and it also confuses the non-Orthodox. Acceptable dialogue can begin once the non-Orthodox accept Christ and His Church as He is — only then can we dialogue about accepting these new converts home into the Church of Christ.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Even more likely, the incident would never have occurred at all.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      That’ right, Father—why. Fr. Corey, his Chancellor, never even himself broached the topic and Father Allen’s”abomination” was of a completely different genre.
      How many hierarchs are involved in the disposition of a hierarch, as in the case to which
      Engaged Observer refers?

  26. Michael Woerl says

    what’s happening in Finland? what’s happening in the Phanar and Chambesy?

    https://orthodoxword.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/homosexuality-the-bone-of-contention-for-the-orthodox-hierarchs-present-at-chambery-geneva/” rel=”nofollow”>

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      Wait, what? Who cares what’s going on in Finland? This is more important. The time may come when we might have to pull a Mark of Ephesus and resist these bishops legitimizing homosexuals. Disgraceful.

  27. Mike Myers says

    G: It’s “Southron.”

    Yep. Mea maxima culpa.

  28. Greek Independence Day Trumps Homosexuality says

    8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY 10075-0106 * Tel: (212) 570-3530 Fax: (212) 774-0237
    http://www.goarch.org – Email: communications@goarch.org

    Contact: PRESS OFFICE
    Stavros Papagermanos

    Date: March 16, 2015


    Protocol 42/15

    March 29, 2015

    Greek Independence Day Parade

    To the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in the tri-state area

    Beloved Omogeneia,

    Our annual gathering for the Greek Independence Day Parade is a celebration of our cherished ideals, a commemoration of those who sacrificed for the sake of liberty, and a witness of the strength of our faith and heritage. This year, as you probably know, our Parade will be held on Sunday, March 29, and I invite you to join with us as we march down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York.

    In celebrating Greek Independence Day with our Parade, we are perpetuating the memory of the heroic struggle that began in 1821 and led to independence for the people of Greece. This struggle was inspired by a deep love of liberty and self-determination that had been suppressed for centuries under Ottoman oppression. Affirming the truth of life and liberty as inherent to human existence, these valiant people overcame a greater force. Through their love of God and freedom, of their Hellenic heritage and Orthodox faith, they were able to offer generations to come a free nation and society where liberty and faith would be cherished.

    As we march we remember these forbearers and the sacrifices they made so that we might be free. This commemoration of our ancestors’ courage and offering is our duty as heirs of their noble legacy. But it is also a unique opportunity as we offer this memorial in the United States of America. This is a nation that was born out of struggle for the sake of liberty. The ideals of a free society and principles of governance that are the foundation of this nation encourage our celebration and affirm its importance.

    Our Parade on Fifth Avenue and similar events throughout this nation and around the world are also a witness of the power and necessity of the inseparable relationship between our Hellenic heritage and our Orthodox faith. We celebrate Greek Independence Day in association with the Feast of the Annunciation. This Feast and the truth, power, and grace of God’s revelation celebrated in our worship on March 25 inspired our Greek forbearers to begin their noble struggle. We also affirm that our foundation of faith is essential to understanding the necessity of liberty for all people.

    As you plan the enthusiastic participation of all your communities and organizations in this year’s parade, please consider these aspects of this important event. In fellowship and joy we will march, but as we march may we be inspired by our heritage, thankful for our inheritance as Greek Americans, emboldened by the power of our faith, and hopeful through the tremendous witness we offer to all.

    With paternal love in Christ,

    † D E M E T R I O S

    Archbishop of America

    • I listened to one of Fr. Thomas Hopko’s last podcasts, wherein he discussed the state of Orthodoxy in America. Many of our hierarchs really would rather the Church die in an ethnic ghetto than stand up and evangelize this country, as Fr. Hopko said.

      This effort to keep ethnic Orthodox in the Church is doomed to fail. As immigrants integrate into the culture, they care less about their origins and Americanize. If the Church is built on a foundation of Greek-ness or Russian-ness or Arab-ness, it will die with the immigrant generation. We can and must serve immigrants of course, but not at the cost of speaking to people in this country—including the grandchildren of ethnic Orthodox who feel little connection to their “Hellenic heritage”.

      I was raised in a very strongly ethnic Protestant denomination, and we had our little ethnic “spice,” yet we never celebrated our ancestral homeland’s holidays or made an -ism out of our homeland, a la Hellenism. So why is an American archdiocese celebrating Greek independence day?

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        If the Greeks want to celebrate the independence of their ancestral land, let’s just be happy for them. Too bad it’s Lent or I would have had a drink, to honor Greek independence of course. St. Mark of Ephesus was Greek.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Well, it’s Lent, and our church will be having a Lenten potluck on Sunday for Independence Day. So I’ll be having a glass of wine on Sunday, too.

        • I’m happy for the Greeks being free of the Turks. Oh that Constantinople would be free. But the point is the emphasis is wrong. The GOAA is trying to keep people Greek enough to feel obliged to go to church on Pascha. That’s about it. It’s not working.

          Convert people to Christ and they’ll stay Orthodox.

  29. Fr. George Washburn says

    As to the last question, one reason could be the deep connection between the liberation of the Orthodox Church from centuries of Turkish oppression and the liberation of the state. And the leadership role in these efforts taken by religous leaders such as St. Cosmas Aitolos.

  30. ChristineFevronia says

    If deaconesses are to be ordained (as the push seems to be for from within a number of jurisdictions), then inviting another female to the altar may not be so hotly contested in the future. Although “The Ordination of Women to the Diaconate” isn’t officially on the Pan-Orthodox Great and Holy Synod of 2016’s agenda at this point, it is logical to anticipate movement towards the ordination of women as deacons in the future by various Orthodox jurisdictions–with or without the Pan-Orthodox Synod’s sanction.

    Here is one summation by the Scientific Committee of CEMES, formed by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 2013, after a recent Greek conference: Scientific Committee’s Report

    • The female diaconate was limited to executing the baptism of adult females. They did not serve the same liturgical function as male deacons.

      • Monk James says

        Ages (March 18, 2015 at 8:17 pm) says:

        The female diaconate was limited to executing the baptism of adult females. They did not serve the same liturgical function as male deacons.

        It’s wrong to think that the ministry of the deaconess was limited to only this.

        Although it’s true that they assisted women into and out of the baptismal water, protecting their modesty, they also brought Holy Communion to women who could not be present for the Divine Liturgy. They kept order among the women during the services, just as the deacons did among the men, and — as we can see especially from St John Chrysostom’s words — they were responsible for many of the charitable and social activities of local churches right alongside their male counterparts.

        It is generally true, though, that only mature unmarried women were ordained to the diaconate, a pattern largely followed in women’s monasteries even now for conferring the Little Skhema. It’s even thought that the deaconesses might be the conceptual basis for there being nuns at all.

        It’s probably significant that St Nektarios of Pentapolis ordained only nuns to the diaconate, and only so that they could bring Holy Communion to their sisters in the frequent absence of a priest.

      • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

        They had a few more duties in places, all occasioned by the concern for modesty and strict segregation of men and women in those days.

        There are many things today that women can do, many offices they could fill, but none of these duties or offices requires ordination.

        Ordination — placing someone within the governing hierarchy of the Church — is always based on a sacramental role. If you ask what a deacon is, the answer is, “Deacons do this and do not do that.” Same for priests and bishops (except that bishops can do anything).

        There are no sacramental roles that must be performed by a woman and not a man, so there is no reason to elevate women over lay men through ordination.

        The fundamental issue is whether we accept or reject the natural and economical order of creation, according to which the man is the head and the woman, the body.

      • Thank you both for clarifying further.

        I’ve heard it said that someone (I think it may have been Fr. Hopko of blessed memory, but I don’t remember for certain) spoke in favor of tonsuring women readers “because they’re doing it anyway”. But your points address why this is not sufficient reason.

    • Her most important “disqualifying” factor had nothing to do with her being a woman — it is that she isn’t Orthodox. So even if worldly forces prevail and someone decides to revive the order of the deaconess (who were not deacons who just happened to be women, but rather a completely separate order, as Ages points out), it wouldn’t have changed anything about the episode in Finland.

  31. Tim R. Mortiss says

    It’s a conundrum, for sure. I was received last Palm Sunday in the local GO church, as I’ve said before. I knew the church and many people here well for over 30 years, and had attended countless times over the decades, so the “Hellenism” I’m largely used to.

    I’ve been asked by several people over the last year in discussing my becoming Orthodox whether or not I’m Greek (I’m as Anglo/Scot as they come); this is a very natural question to them, as the church is named St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, and is very well known in the community for its big Greek festival. A big sign on the front of the church tells public and passerby that this is not just the Orthodox Church, it is the Greek one.

    So a necessary, if distracting, discussion about that issue takes place. The latest was just last week after a Vespers service, when I saw a woman in the nave who I happened to know; she’d worked at my firm’s office several years ago. We had a good talk at the potluck Lenten supper afterwards; she is a searching Protestant, a figure many of us know well, having been the same ourselves. In the middle of our chat, she said, “I didn’t know you were Greek”! An amiable discussion ensued.

    I would say that it’s an obstacle, to put it mildly.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Timor that is why no Antiocian parish under Bishop Basil has any ethnic modifier in its name. My home parish was originally named St George Syrian Greek Orthodox Church. Somewhere along the line that was changed to St. George Antiochian and finally to St George Orthodox Christian Cathedral. The architecture is Byzantine with large mosaic icons on the front the originals of which are in the Hagia Sophia.

      We use English, Arabic, and Greek in our services with some Salvonic from time to time. The Paschal Greeting adds Romanian, Spanish, Ethiopian, Coptic and a few others ocassionally. My wife is part Delaware Indian. We have a smattering of Afro-Americans. I am a western European mongrel whose German branch was likely Jewish originally.

      My parish has native speakers of all of the languages I mentioned, but we have our annual Lebanese Dinner. The monastery of St. Silouan( consider his lineage: Russia to Athos to England) and a school that uses a classical curriculum. So, what are we?

      The ethnicity is the child of Chicago and the coasts. The GREEK parish here is moribund. Their last full-time priest retired and serves in our altar most Sundays.

      The most ethnic growing parish is the Western Rite one, St Michael’s.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        Quite so. On the first evening of Lent two years ago, I was in Yakima on business. I looked in the phone book and saw there was an Orthodox church, Holy Cross.

        I went; it was the Great Compline. It was a lovely new church building. “Holy Cross Orthodox Church” is what the sign outside said.

        No pews, and the service was all English. I assumed it was an OCA church (the whole history of the EOC migration to Antioch had somehow passed me by). But the women and girls all wore headscarves, so I thought it was a particularly conservative OCA church. After the service, talking to people and picking up some literature, I found it was Antiochian and began to learn something of that history. This group in Yakima had been one of the Protestant groups that joined Antioch en masse.

        The experience that night led directly to my coming into the Church, at long last, but that’s another story.

        So that parish had no “ethnicity”, at all. A few months later, I went to St. George Orthodox Church in Portland, Or., an Antiochian parish. They have a really beautiful new building; wonderful. Full baptistry; truly the finest new Orthodox church I’ve been in. It not only has pews, it has a sloped sanctuary! So there seems to be a “difference of opinion”….

        All most interesting. I would really love to talk to somebody about all of that sometime…..

  32. Fr. Peter Dubinin says

    Tim said, “I would say that it’s an obstacle, to put it mildly.” I concur and it is getting increasingly tiresome and bothersome if not down right a PITA. Someone said, “convert people to Christ and they will remain Orthodox.” I concur with this as well; otherwise I couldn’t care less if someone considers their national homeland the planet Mars, because Jesus won’t be asking us on the dreadful day of judgment from where we hail but rather what we have done to the least of these my brethren in the name of Jesus. Is this so hard to grasp? I recently heard from an Orthodox Christian serving in the military describe his return to the Orthodox Church having wandered like so many of us in the protestant church(es). From his perspective the Church seems to be identified more today by its ethnic affiliations than when he was a boy. I too would concur; as it was the overwhelming emphasis placed on ethnicity which contributed significantly to my leaving the Orthodox Church O so many years ago. God bless all the converts to the Holy Orthodox Church who like Tim came and stayed despite all the obstacles placed in their way by those who ought to know better and should rather be the ones to open the doors of the church, extending an invitation to come and see, to those who are “walking” around the edifice wondering what could possibly be going on in there that is for the salvation of my soul and is it really worth the effort to endure the dung in order to gain the pearl of great price?

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Those Western Christians who have taken an active interest in the Orthodox Church, whether or not they have gone on toward becoming Orthodox, of course quickly learn the issues related to ethnic jurisdictions in the US, the intercommunion of the “branches” and universality of the Orthodox Church, etc.

      But the average intelligent and educated Protestant layman doesn’t know anything about that, really. He or she may have read something somewhere or at some time about Orthodoxy, but no impression was made. So the almost universal impression is that the Church is purely ethnic. It takes serious interest and study to get past that, and few are going to do that, given the said impression.

      This is why the lady I described above, who had known me fairly well, though not closely, assumed I must be Greek when she saw me in the Church, even though I’d had a lot of conversations with her over the years, and worked with her, and there was no reason for her to think so otherwise!

      While for a lot of reasons the existing division of jurisdictions here may be a good thing in some ways, given the present state of this country, it shouldn’t be impossible to do better at overcoming the problem.

      • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

        Tim said, “While for a lot of reasons the existing division of jurisdictions here may be a good thing in some ways, given the present state of this country, it shouldn’t be impossible to do better at overcoming the problem.”

        This is an open invitation to all – please provide for me the “…reasons the existing division of jurisdictions here may be a good thing in some ways,…”

        And then, describe what “…it shouldn’t be impossible to do better at overcoming the problem” looks like.

  33. Thomas Barker says

    What a shock to drop in for a read and find this hideous photograph of Ms. Askola. Unnatural ! I’ll add it to the list of 100 things I wish I had never seen.

  34. Unrelated but have not seen this posted yet:

    Synod fails to elect Fr. Gerasim; DOS remains orphaned


    • I would also note this letter is extremely disingenuous. Neither the MW or Alaska bishops were nominated and THEN asked to serve as administrator. Each had served in that capacity for several months prior to nomination. This is a new approach and an utter rejection of the voice of the people in the DOS

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Quite right, Mark. They’ve done an UNPRECEDENTED number on Father Gerasim and the Diocese of the South,also unprecedented according to the Statute and a total and ugly slap at their OWN vaunted “conciliarity!
        In all charity, however, one might opine that they were simply scared out of their wits. They had done, they thought a good job to insure that Fr Gerasim could not get a big enough plurality due to the unprecedented number of other approved candidates they threw into the ring. NONE of them had to face such a tactic in their OWN progress toward consecration.
        I think, too, there’s an element of outright JEALOuSY of Father Gerasim at work, and it requires no imagination to see which of them were the most jealous
        If only he hadn’t got that SUMMA cum laude M.Div. from the cathedral of Orthodox theology and lore! If only he didn’t have that record of spotless monastic asceticism, if only he weren’t so POPULAR in spite of his ROCOR formation and smooth transition to the Serbian polity!!! TOO SMART–TOO COMPETENT.

      • Unbelievable! This Synod is amassing power in a manner that is non-canonical. According to the Gospel and the statues, the believers of a diocese elect their own bishop, without interference from other bishops. Now the OCA is pulling something brand new on their own whim. They want to make Fr. Gerasim an “administrator” when he was clearly recommended as “bishop”. And YES, this MATTERS. For bishops to impose a sort of trial period and administrative probation or training period on another Diocese’s recommended bishop is truly interfering in the process of another diocese!

        I am not going to drink the coolaid on this one. I am astounded that they didn’t even wait to seek the counsel of the AAC before dropping this bomb.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Bonnie, they always check with their puppeteers first—THAT’S what passes as true conciliarity. You’right. though. the diocese voted for and nominated a BISHOP not an “administrator. ‘ It’s just shameless of them.

          In today’s idiom. we may say. “Well, they’ve kicked Father Gerasim’s candidacy down the road again.”

          All those people thought they were following the Statute’s process for naming a Bishop!!!!

          Unfortunately, these machinatons are not included in the catechesis of converts—they kind of “lurk” there, waiting to be suddenly revealed when it;\’s almost too late!!! You can peruse ever-memorable Father Thomas Hopko’s Rainbow Books and you won’t find a word about these all-too-common shenanigans of
          those who lay down their “vision” of the Church as authoritative.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          I’m sorry to say that I’m not surprised. I know one OCA cleric who asked a transfer to the Diocese of the South, believing he’d end up with Fr. Gerasim as his bishop. I might have guessed that Syosett would pour queer oil(pun intended) on the nomination.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Estonian Slovak–Can your friend wait for seven more months?

            • Heracleides says

              “Can your friend wait for seven more months?”

              Why, Carl? What happens in seven months???

              Oh wait, I know – a conversation in Syosset along these lines:

              “Instruct Met. Tikhon to release a statement saying Fr. Gerasim screwed up as DOS administrator on matters X, Y, and Z.”

              “Excellent – that should more than suffice to bring this farce to an end. Thank God we had the foresight to tell those clowns on the Synod NOT to make him a bishop but rather keep him on a tight ‘administrative’ leash.”

              “Lol. Indeed. Makes disposing of him, the ultimate goal afterall, so much easier.”

              “If only it had worked out this smoothly with Jonah… oh well – live and learn – we nailed it this time around.”


            • Estonian Slovak says

              Mr. Kraeff;
              My friend can and will wait. He is more optimistic than I. I hope you and he ARE right.

      • ChristineFevronia says

        The OCA Statutes outline the election process for a diocesan bishop as clear as day:

        When there is a vacancy in a diocese, the Diocesan Assembly is convoked “whose sole purpose at this time shall be the election of a new diocesan bishop”. If the Assembly chooses someone acceptable to the Synod’s requirements, then the candidate is summoned and the date of his consecration is set within 30 days. If the Diocesan Assembly doesn’t choose someone who has met the statute requirements (for education, monastic development, etc.), and the Synod doesn’t accept the candidate, then the Synod holds their own election and elects a bishop for the diocese. The candidate is then summoned to the Synod for the Synod’s canonical election and that consecration is held immediately within 2 weeks. The installation of the bishop occurs within the Diocese by the Metropolitan. Back on February 16, the Diocese of the South’s Diocesan Assembly conducted their election for their bishop. Fr. Gerasim was elected virtually unanimously as their bishop. Going back to the statutes, we all know what should have followed.

        This title of “administrator” they are giving Fr. Gerasim clearly demonstrates where the condition is of the hearts of this group of men in the synod. They themselves have become empty suits, setting up all their acronymic committees, frittering away their resources on legalistic manuevers, and engaging in this sort of dodgeball Orthodoxy. Making Fr. Gerasim–an incredible human being who could dance circles around any of the lot of them in his Christ-like presence–jump through their circus hoops is to bring shame upon the OCA. I know that Fr. Gerasim, the beautiful and faithful soul that he is, will make his own statement about how he thinks the synod’s decision was a good one, and that’s because Fr. Gerasim is a pious man who will make a better, truer Bishop of the Church of Christ than most of the whitewashed bones who are currently sitting on their thrones. And this group will decide when Fr. Gerasim is “good enough” and has jumped through enough of their hoops to be bishop? I think not.

        For the synod to pull off this stunt and pass it off so blithely is because they know they won’t get any resistance. The OCA faithful will just nod their heads. “Oh yes, that makes sense that he should just be an administrator even though that is breaking the statute and we elected him to be bishop.” And THAT is the absolute saddest part.

    • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

      Wow! If I hadn’t read it I would not have believed it. Fr. Gerasim complied, obediently, to every directive given by the Holy Synod, served effectively as administrator of the DOS and still….? If anything, the Holy Synod unwittingly, may have laid the foundation for Fr. Gerasim to be the front runner for any primatial vacancy in the future; has anyone else endured so much, so graciously and steadfastly? What more would Fr. Gerasim have to prove in the next six months, in order for the Holy Synod to confirm his nomination as bishop for the DOS?

      • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

        Fr. Peter, you ask, “[H]as anyone else endured so much, so graciously and steadfastly?” (Italics added)

        Yes: His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, who continues to twist in the ill wind from Syosset.

  35. Michael Woerl says

    the “powers that be” in the OCA can never approve Fr. Gerasim … a Bishop for today’s OCA who has ROCOR connections? Who has Fr Seraphim Rose connections? Serbian connections? The Pangratios interlude is much more “forgivable” … whether a majority of the Bishops will find the wherewithal to go ahead with the “canonical election,” consecration and appointment remains to be seen … and yes, the AAC’s “conciliarity” is both much vaunted and much in question … or maybe an “approval,” with a subsequent disposal to do away once and for all with such “persons.” Who knows?

  36. Mike Myers says

    Unfortunately, Mr. Myers, as Freud observed, we are the “mirrored needs of what people think of us . . .”

    Let’s begin with your quotation. I’ll reply to your post in stages. This reply is stage 1.

    You launch an attempt to psychoanalyze me from afar with a rhetorical fallacy, intimidation via an argument from authority (Freud). But that’s just the beginning of the problem here. I confess to being unfamiliar with this alleged observation of Freud’s. I’m afraid, however, that when read closely it makes very little sense. The aphorism appears gravely defective on at least two fundamental levels, syntax and semantics. It doesn’t comply with basic rules of English syntax, and as a similitude representing coherent concepts, it simply fails. This leads me to suspect that you’ve inadequately paraphrased Freud’s words, because I can’t recall ever reading anything in his work so immediately questionable on its face.

    Maybe you’ve mangled it by omitting something essential, or maybe it’s just a bad translation from German. I can only speculate on the nature of the problem here without the actual text and its context, which you didn’t provide. So I’m forced to ask for your indulgence while I analyze this cite as it stands. I respect your intellect and integrity in discussion enough to credit you with the ability to humor me in dialogue. I hope you won’t go AWOL on me, as so many others here do.

    If Freud had actually written, “we are mirrors of what people think of us,” that would work fine at the quite rudimentary levels of adherence to the rules of English syntax and due attention to semantic soundness.
    At a higher hermeneutic level, it would be trivially true if read as a simple simile representing the subjective POV of the people in question. A mere truism, not especially profound but unobjectionable enough, I suppose. At this point in our analysis, let us bracket off the obvious fact that, considered from an objective POV, the truth value and reality correspondence of “what people think of us” is an issue untouched by this limited formulation. (We could look more deeply into that much vexed dimension later, if you wish. With the caveat that, in some cases, one doesn’t soon come to an end of such investigations.)

    But let’s return to your quote. What can it mean to claim that we “are” the “mirrored needs” of a reification? People have needs — I get that. But what sense could it make to divorce a subject, a soul who has needs, from “what people think of us,” and then to assert that this obvious reification, “what people think of us,” rather than the “people” — the subjects who think, the souls who live in the world amid other souls — is itself a subject with needs that other subjects, allegedly, somehow “mirror”? Forget for a moment the crass reductivism this reeks of. I’m mainly interested in your learned explication of the psychological mechanism at work here, Doctor, with a focus on the nature of this divorcée and on the “mirroring” process Freud asserted, according to you. Persuade me that your citation, as written, is anything more than incoherent psychobabble and an egregious instance of the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. If you can.

    Then I’ll consider the rest of your allegations, misreadings and cyber-psychotherapeutics. In fact I’ll do that even if you cannot persuade me, which I anticipate will prove to be the case. First things first, though.
    If I could make a suggestion, please revisit the source of your quote, and give us the context. If you can find the original in German, too, that would be most helpful. Then I could avoid boring exercise in the deconstruction of patent nonsense and we might actually have a substantive dialogue of wider interest than a mere pissing contest that you will lose. Our pas-de-deux of transference and countertransference has real potential for transfiguration into something fascinating and revealing, for you most of all, perhaps, but for some others, too. Possibly. But that’s up to you, doc. I’m game.

  37. Mike Myers says

    Dr. Michael,

    You commented, “. . . it’s a cloudy, cloudy day when you confuse your friends for your enemies…”, to which I replied, ” . . . I long ago transcended worrying too much about ‘friends and enemies.’ Focus on getting to and remaining in God’s good pleasure simplifies life enormously.” Incidentally, this represents more an aspiration than an accomplishment I’d wish to profess, to be clear.

    Your summary dismissal of this followed: “. . . You have transcended nothing.”

    For some reason, you seem to want me to believe that you know me better than I know myself, doc, but I hope you can forgive me for wondering about the evidentiary basis supporting that desire. Does my confiding to you that I long ago transcended worrying too much about ‘friends and enemies’ genuinely strike you as such an incredible claim, as you clearly suggest?

    Indulge me in a further clarification of my shorthand. I’d like to note first of all that I put that binary in quotes, by which I intended to convey 1) a certain humility before the often unfathomable mystery of other human beings — even that of those with whom I have long, intimate interpersonal experience — the typical complexity of their hearts, their drives, their conscious and unconscious motivations, the flux of all this over time, etc., and 2) a consequent hesitancy about presuming to make hard and fast judgments about where they are on the Friend ← → Enemy spectrum vis-à-vis me at any given point in time. Now, I will concede that someone who I knew for certain to be obsessed with an uncontrollable urge to horribly torture and ultimately murder me, after having attempted to destroy the surviving remnants of my soul, was likely nearer the Enemy end of this spectrum, but short of that, I do honestly try to abide in an open-minded position about the people in my life.

    In your professional opinion, am I therefore self-deceived, doc? If that is not your professional opinion, then WTF are you babbling about when you assert with magisterial hauteur that I have “transcended nothing”? I’m all ears.

    • M. Stankovich says

      You said, “For the rest of Great Lent I’ll be at orthodoxchristianity.net.” I made a reasonable assumption you were incapable of keeping that commitment because – like all of us – your ego-needs mirror what others think of you, and you would return to read comments directed to you. You have proven me correct and, thus, answered your own question. If I smoked cigars, I would now light one.

      Secondly, I do not ever provide diagnosis for individuals I have not personally examined, nor for free. I have never met nor examined you, so it is impossible that I would know you “better than yourself.” I am, however, entitled to opinions based upon observations – and some are learned observations, but observations none the less. But in the end, you have simply become, undignified, arrogant, argumentative, unpleasant, and simply not worth reading. Votre attitude ça m’emmerde. I will now step back into the ranks of the imbeciles and assorted cretins unworthy of your elevated testimonies. You waste my time.

      • Mike Myers says

        Il est dur pour toi de regimber contre l’aiguillon.

        Read me better, Michael. Didn’t exclude hanging out in this sad joint when I told Edward (aka “Timothy”) I’d be in conversation for the rest of Great Lent with the far more thoughtful, disparate, sensitive and aware set of persons at orthodoxchristianity.net. I can be there and here, too, no?
        Don’t add pettiness to being silly. You can go on playing the tough-guy cynic and read me as motivated merely by ἐγώ (mostly your own projection): or, you could grow up, think better of me (and of yourself), and consider seeing ἀγάπη φιλία & στοργή at work, too. Maybe even some ἐγώ εἰμί.

        I’m somewhat touched by your awkward cop-out. I hear an inverted confession, a dawning awareness that a certain danger looms to your own arrogant self-regard and presumption, those prehuman-all-too-prehuman failings common to us all. Transference, to use your Freudian terms (note the symmetry of this change of place on the couch). I.e., you’re projecting, doc. And I’m confident this isn’t lost on the more insightful ones present here, a few I know of and probably many more silent ones of whom I don’t.

        (Donning the purple stole): Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis.

        Let us see how brave you can be. I know you’re very brave indeed but also that you have it in you to be even braver. Think of me as an experienced midwife. It will probably hurt a bit at first, but it’s worth it. Ask any mother.

        Voulez-vous développer encore plus courageux? Offrez-moi.

        p.s. My deconstruction of your mangled cite stands. It’s mere psychobabble, misplaced concreteness. Ressourcement.

        • George Michalopulos says

          You know, Mike, some wise man once said that “brevity is the soul of wit.”

          • Mike Myers says

            Brevity does have its place. For you I’d strongly advise profound brevity, even a vow of silence.

            I hope you have a blessed and fruitful Holy Week in this Great Lent. You and everyone here.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              I say “hypocrites, whited sepulchres” to all who gave Mike Myers’s hope a “Dislike.”

        • We learned in an earlier thread that “Edward” is really Vladyka Tikhon, masked. Now we learn that “Timothy” is “Edward,” masked. Next thing you know, we will discover that much of what we thought were conversations here at Monomakhos are actually Vladyka edifying and educating readers by engaging in Socratic dialogue with himself!

          • Mike Myers says

            TIm R. Mortis shared his Christian name with this blog, last year I think it was. (Writing “Timothy” was careless & unintentionally misleading. Couldn’t correct that in time. Another “Timothy” or two have posted here over the past few years.)

            Isn’t it clear enough that His Grace is about as far as you can get from the sort of man who’d want or need to hide out behind some mask, in order to speak his mind? From his vast experience of life in the Church and the fallen world. Certainly no impression I ever got. If he’s used a pseudonym here I’d bet he had some ironical, tough-love reason, mb as Kierkegaard did, for example. At its best his dry wit sometimes reminds me of that great man’s.

            Vladyka just tells it like it is, a lot of the time, and you should be grateful. I am, Vladyko. Even when I (seldom) disagree with the substance, and even then I try to remain open-minded. “Edward” ought to show more due respect.

            • Mr, Myers, for all of your vaunted superior intellect, you completely mistake my tongue in cheek meaning. My respect and gratitude to Vladyka is profound and unending, as everyone who reads this blog regularly knows. I was willing to make a professional move to a location within the confines of the OCA DOW solely based on my respect for him as a hierarch, and my wonderful experience in his diocese didn’t let me down. I don’t think I would have been willing to have the same confidence in any other hierarch in the OCA at that point in my life. (I don’t like hot and humid weather, so considering the DOS wasn’t even on the table.)

              Another poster recently, in a fit of pique, accused me of being Vladyka Tikhon. Numerous posters, including Vladyka, took him to task for the ridiculous nature of the accusation. I responded by thanking him for the compliment.

              The fairly obvious point of the above post was to poke fun at someone whose confidence in his profound intelligence, which is miles beyond the rest of us mere mortals here, makes him able to “identify” the true imulitiple identities of various posters — getting it dreadfully wrong in the process. For I, too, am someone who wouldn’t stoop to such a tactic — someone as bright as you should have been able to figure that out from context, nicht wahr?

              But you are prossibly playing chess while the rest of us play checkers, so perhaps I completely misunderstand the subtle and witty subtext of your post.

              • Mike Myers says

                Missed the “accusing” post you mention, so everything deriving from that was gonna be lost on me. Nor am I receiving transmissions from your third paragraph at all. Maybe you could try another frequency on those points.

                Good to hear that you appreciate His Grace. The reception he gets in general is one of the more disgusting things about Monomakhos. I remember having a symmetrical reaction to the positive reception lavished on Mr. “Misha.” That guy was a deeply disturbing piece of work to me, but much beloved, evidently, by the Monomakiacs. I think a belated tsunami of shame finally shut him up, or maybe he just relocated to Moscow. He’d fit right in.

                • Mike Myers says

                  I didn’t mean to suggest that George was disrespectful to His Grace. He isn’t. Others here on his blog. “Heracleides” is the principal offender imho.

                • I am likewise happy to have seen you rise to Vladyka’s defense. We have something in common.

                  As to the third paragraph, I was simply amused that someone of your profound intelligence entered into the fool’s errand of trying to discredit a poster by (wrongly) accusing him of having multiple screen names.

                  • Mike Myers says

                    No wonder I had no idea what you were talking about. You yourself have no idea what you’re talking about.

                    “. . . makes him able to “identify” the true multiple identities of various posters — getting it dreadfully wrong in the process.”

                    “Various posters” — What posters? And you say this based on what?

                    “. . . fool’s errand of trying to discredit a poster by (wrongly) accusing him of having multiple screen names.”

                    “a poster” — Now you backtrack. It’s down to just one. Who are you referring to now?

                    Your imagination’s in overdrive. Shift into reverse; reread what I actually wrote, but pay more attention this time. Forget what you imagine I said. You’re confused.

                    Eisegesis is pandemic on Monomakhos. Y’all really need to work on that. Seriously.

                    I did misread your comment about Bishop Tikhon, but I had good reason for that given all the vitiating confusion demonstrated here.

                    • What did “Edward (aka “Timothy”)” mean, if it wasn’t a claim to know for a fact that two posters here are actually one? You are being obtuse by pretending not to understand me.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      What did “Edward (aka “Timothy”)” mean, if it wasn’t a claim to know for a fact that two posters here are actually one?



                      Look, “Edward.” If you can’t be bothered to read a thread with a minimum of attention, fine. It’s a free country. The meta takeaway here remains basic: LEARN TO READ BETTER, Y’ALL!
                      It’s a useful skill. Comes in handy.

                      You are being obtuse by pretending not to understand me.

                      Surreal. You don’t undertstand you. Obviously. Over and out.

              • Mike Myers says

                Forgot to ask your forgiveness “Edward” for shooting from the hip, re: misreading you and presuming upon your now entirely clarified attitude toward His Grace. My bad. Too much vileness here wrt him led me into temptation.

                • Forgiven of course. Entirely understandable.

                  And since we are on the subject of His Grace, I would note that he has pointed out a couple of times, specifically with regard to my screen name, that there is no reason to assume it is not my Christian name. You are welcome to continue to put my name in scare quotes, as have others in the past, but doing so can give the impression that one is hoping to discredit a writer (and hence his opinions) on the cheap rather than sticking to more substantive critiques.

                  • Mike Myers says

                    It’s an objective, status thing. Persons who can, but do not, speak their minds as identifiable persons occupy a lesser position ontologically wrt integrity, honesty, courage and overall sophrosyne, to name just a few desirable character traits relevant to this mattter; it’s simple projection to assert that one “discredits,” or wishes to discredit, the cyber-incognito “on the cheap” by pointing to their pseudonymity. The latter is self-discrediting by nature. The fact that a correspondent cannot be identified as a real person residing in the real world in real time has lots of solid implications. We understand why some of you grow defensive when such facts are pointed out, but they remain facts. And it’s less than substantive to dance around these facts and their implications by coy maneuvers such as noting, for instance, that one’s Christian name might really be Edward. The heart of the matter is that you speak from behind a mask. Squirting more squid ink doesn’t change that.

                    Scare quotes are simple reminders of the value of truth in labeling, imho. Think of our goading as exhortation to consider the value to yourself and others of walking in more integrity and single-mindedness. It has that side to it.

                    We do get that it’s a complex issue. I’m just saying.

                    • I don’t find you to be particularly easily “identified as a real person residing in the real world in real time,” Mr Myers. You use a lot of flowery language about how using what you claim to be your real name gives you “status.” But you are, yourself, coy in your own way. Are you Protodeacon Michael Myers from Indiana? If so, you are being coy about your status as a clergyman, something that most priests on this forum are straight-forward about.

                      Or are you perhaps Pastor Michael Myers of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and are feigning to be Eastern Orthodox? Or you are one of the 19 Mike Myers in Indiana alone?

                      And are those who post with their own name being coy when they don’t list their parish name and location in their signature to each post? Or maybe home addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses? What exactly does it take to obtain true “integrity, honesty, courage and overall sophrosyne…?”

                      Are you unable to conceive of honorable reasons why someone would choose not to put their personal information on the internet when it is not required by the rules of the forum?

                      None of these are questions about which I care a whit — you will note that I didn’t join in with those who assumed your screen name was a reference to the comedian and were calling you a troll or worse. I couldn’t have cared less about identifying exactly who you were. What I care about is interacting with your ideas and opinions — just as I am interested in the ideas and opinions of everyone on this site, regardless of their screen name.

                      I try never to write anything that I wouldn’t say directly to someone’s face in a conversation — something that I suspect isn’t remotely true of many individuals who post on the internet in their “own name.”

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    How much of the above, largely personal and (in my opinion also largely void of substantive value) repartee could we have been spared if “Edward” just used his true name? It reminds me of the final minutes of a basketball game in which one team has an unassailable lead, and the subs are on the court trying out their moves on each other … knowing lt.’s pretty meaningless.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      I’m afraid that in this case, your proposed remedy, however laudable in principle, for other reasons, would not have preempted some other tedious wildfire of silliness blazing away elsewhere, because that is due mainly to the above-diagnosed affliction, pandemic at Monomakhos. The particular random spark that was in fact associated, in this case, with that principle’s not being in effect would merely have taken some other causal form, no doubt. The core problem here is bad reading and poor thinking and inadequate regard for the stubbornness of objective facts. If I may be forgiven for speaking unpleasant & unflattering truths.

                    • Father, I make no apologies for not putting my full information out on the internet. I do not think that my exchange with Mr. Myers has been devoid of substantive value, because I have been addressing a very straight-forward issue that affects the quality of discussion on a forum like this. When the rules of a forum allow anonymity, those are the rules, and no one who participates in such a forum should make an issue of it.

                      Mr. Myers has been engaging in a form of (rather selective) “shouting down,” stating that those on this forum (or at least those he finds annoying) who don’t affix a full name have a “lesser position, ontologically.” Those who do give both a first and last name presumably have ideas that come from an ontologically superior place — regardless of whether it a real name or whether it actually provides any meaningful context or background.

                      I believe that ideas, and the way that they are expressed, have the ability to stand on their own merits. I believe that many pseudonymous posters on Monomakhos behave with greater decorum and respect for their fellow human beings than do some who sign their (presumably) real name. If I have written anything that is rude, arrogant, cruel, condescending, dismissive, untruthful, etc., please do call me on the carpet for that, in spite of the fact that I am merely a “sub.” But I would respectfully ask that you consider the possibility that there is nothing wrong with following the rules of a forum, and that you do not know the individual reasons why someone would choose not engage in full disclosure on the world-wide web.

          • You all have it wrong, sorry to say. I am Timothy and I am not the “Edward” here. The mystery continues!

            • Mike Myers says

              Timothy, I know that you are you. (I think another one posts here, too, though I could be mistaken about that.) I also know that “Tim. R. Mortis,” who was christened Edward as a Presbyterian infant (he told us that, as I noted), and was permitted to keep that baptismal name when received into the GOAA, has given no just cause for anyone to imagine that he’s ever posted under any other name.

              Perhaps I did, though, inadvertently, and some of the tedious confusion is due in part to my entirely innocent carelessness herein, which I tried to atone for by a correction/explanation here.

              It seems I committed an unforced error in that first linked post by referring to Edward by his real name, Edward, then compounded it by writing “. . . (aka, Timothy). Should have written Tim, or better yet Tim R. Mortis. Mea culpa.

              The rest of “Edward’s” non sequiturs and surreal confusions are his deal, and I wash my hands of them.

              No doubt it would be naive to hope that “Edward” would feel obligated to issue an apology for the baseless false accusations against me summarized here. I forgive him, regardless. I’d like to suggest a relevant penance, however: try to read better, and try to follow a thread more carefully. I say that a lot here. This place would be so much less tiresome if only one didn’t to have to do that. But it is what it is. One must play the kenotic hand one is dealt.

              Seeing that VP has weighed in yet again, I now return you to your regularly scheduled Dixiedoxbot programming.

              Cheers, y’all.

              • Mike Myers says

                God only knows what tiresome cascade of misunderstanding and false accusations may ensue, but I have to confess another careless error above. The link attached to “herein”:

                “. . . Perhaps I did, though, inadvertently, and some of the tedious confusion is due in part to my entirely innocent carelessness herein blahblahblah …”

                is wrong. Here’s the correct one.

                If anyone cares at this point. I justify it as an exercise in interlocutory probity, or me just trying to set a good example wrt honoring accuracy and cyber-ethics.

              • I did not know of the history of Tim R. Mortiss, and understand the source of my confusion. I assumed wrongly that you were saying that I was using at least one other screen name. I can also see why it wouldn’t have crossed your mind to need to say that you hadn’t done so. Please accept my apology. All of this is just punishment for my spending time on the Internet at the start of Holy Week. Over and out for me as well.

                And George, if you are reading this, feel free to remove any and all of my posts on this thread from the last 48 hours.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              And I am not Timothy. My actual name is Edward (as I’ve posted here before), but I’m not the Edward who goes by “Edward” here….

  38. Rymlianin says