What It Means to Remain Steadfast in the Faith

As the readers of Monomakhos know, there has been a lot of turmoil in American Orthodoxy as of late. I’d like instead today direct your attention to the truth of our Faith and the words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who told us that “the gates of hell would not prevail against [the Church].”

Please take the time to look at the accompanying video. It is a testament to the constancy of faith even in the face of the most horrendous persecution.


  1. Thank you, George. That was…well…beautiful in the truest sense of the word.

    O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance.
    Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries
    And by the virtue of Thy cross preserve Thy habitation!

  2. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Many thanks, George!

  3. Chris Banescu says

    Thanks George! Shared it on the OrthodoxNet Blog.

    “And on this rock I shall build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

    Sadly, the evil one is still working to undermine the truth, persecute the faithful, distort Christ’s word, and fight against the Church: http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/category/christian-persecution/

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Chris, I very much appreciate you disseminating this even more. It saddens me the spiritual torpor that exists here in this country as opposed to the former Soviet Union.

  4. Francis Frost says

    Dear Mr Michalopulos:

    I enjoyed the video you posted; but it is hardly representative of the reality of church life in Russia.

    The Moscow Patriarchate is fatally compromised by its fawning service to the Putin dictatorship and the Russian State. Our Lord said that “a man cannot serve two masters”. Patriarch Kirill and his Synod have chosen to serve a master, who is not Christ. By serving the interests of the Russian State, The Moscow Patriarchate has violated the most ancient Apostolic Canons and Christ’s saving commandments. Bishops of theMoscow Patriarchate have concelebrated with a defrocked renegade monk. The Moscow Patriarchate has created a schismatic “diocese” on the territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. It’s bishops have publicly blessed the weapons used to carry out acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide, weapons used to desecrate and destroy one of the most ancient Orthodox cathedrals.

    The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:
    Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over under the title “Orthodox Occupancy” I & II at the following urls:
    This television documentary carefully documents the complicity of the Moscow Patriarchate in the 20 year campaign of genocide against the Georgian Orthodox people and the Georgian Orthodox Church.
    After the 1992-93 invasion of Abkhazia, when Russian military forces with allied Muslim militias massacred 47,000 Orthodox Christians and drove 247,000 into exile; the Russian Orthodox Church created a schismatic “Abkhaz Orthodox Eparchy” on the ruins of the legitimate Orthodox Diocese of Tskhumi and all Abkhazia. The “leader” of this schismatic church is the de-frocked Archimandrite Vissarion Aplia. This same renegade “monk” personally led the military forces that expelled the last legitimate Orthodox clergy from occupied Abkhazia just before Pascha of 2009. Details of this religious persecution may be read at the Forum 18 religious new site:


     Despite the obvious schismatic, un-canonical nature of this so-called “Abkhaz Eparchy”; the Moscow Patriarchate has ordained and assigned clergy to this diocese, and has funded its work. The Moscow Patriarchate freely admits to its support for schismatic churches in occupied Georgia, as can be seen from the article “Unrecognized Eparchies” published by the Moscow Patriarchate. It is also clear that the Moscow Patriarchate has used false accusations and heretical phyletist arguments to justify its ecclesiastical attack on the unity of the Orthodox Church. By its own admission, the Moscow Patriarchate stands self-condemned of both schism and heresy.   

    See the article from the Russian Patriarchate Monitor at:
     and the article from the ROCOR web-site:

    Two additional articles about Abkhazia, translated from the Russian press are attached at the end of my post.
    (You may be interested in the specific reference to the OCA’s autocephaly in Mr. Vorsobin’s article.)
    In the “Orthodox Occupation” documentary, the Russian Bishop Panteleimon of Karabadino-Adyghe is shown con-celebrating with the schismatic Aplia, and officially awarding him the Order of St Seraphim of Sarov on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate. This demonstrates the direct involvement of the Moscow Patriarchate in the creation of the schismatic “Eparchy”
    What is more, this same Bishop Panteleimon of Karabadino-Adyghe and Bishop Feofan of Saratov are both shown publicly “blessing” the very weapons used by the Russian military to attack and murder innocent Orthodox Christians in their own homes.  On August 8-9, 2008, the very missiles “blessed” by Bishop Theophan were used to attack the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden in Nikazi, which lie outside occupied South Ossetia. Using the weapons blessed by Bishop Theophan, the Russians and Ossetians rocketed, then looted and burned this ancient House of God. They did not spare the holy icons, nor the Gospel, nor the Holy Table; not even the sacred vessels; but attacked and destroyed everything.
    By their own actions, the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have violated the most ancient Apostolic Canons, and they have spurned the Lord’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. They have specifically violated Apostolic Canons 11-16, and 30 -35. (see the attached references below) The prescribed penalty for any one of these crimes against the church is deposition and or excommunication, both for the offender and any who continue to commune with him!
    Through their infernal “blessing” of military weapons of mass destruction the Russian bishops have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, since through their actions they have invoked the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life in the cause of murder, mayhem and destruction. Without profound repentance, this sin will not be forgiven; not in this world nor in the next.  
     During the August 2008 war, the retired Russian Archimandrite Raphael of the Nevskaya Lavra begged his spiritual children: “pray for repentance, for without repentance, Russia faces a cataclysm”. Today, three years later, that call to repentance goes unheeded.

    What is more, the claim of the Moscow Patriarchate to the support of 160 million adherents is demonstrably false. In reality, support for the church peaked a decade ago, and is now receding.

    Window on Eurasia: Church Attendance at Christmas Undercuts Moscow Patriarchate’s Claims on Orthodox Nature of Russian People

    Paul Goble

Staunton, January 8, 2011 – Fewer than two percent of Russian citizens attended Orthodox Christmas church celebrations this year, a number that calls into question not only the claims of the Moscow Patriarchate that Russian population is overwhelmingly Orthodox but also the special relationship it has with the state and the state’s spending to promote Orthodoxy.
As Svetlana Solodovnik noted in yesterday’s “Yezhednevny zhurnal,” perhaps no other public organization has benefited as much from the tandem as the Russian Orthodox Church which has positioned itself as the moral arbiter of the majority and extracted both the return of property and enormous state subsidies (ej.ru/?a=note&id=10721). 
Most of that state deference reflects the personal convictions of the leaders, especially Dmitry Medvedev and his wife, and their views about the role of Orthodoxy in the life of Russia past, present and future. But at least some of it reflects the acceptance by the secular authorities of the Patriarchate’s claims concerning the number of its followers.
(That second factor seems to be particularly important now given the growing evidence of religious fervor of the country’s Muslims as reflected in the massive celebration of Islamic holidays not only in traditional Muslim areas but particularly in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other “traditionally” Russian cities.)
Because of the impact both of Soviet anti-religious policies in the past and of the forces of secularization then and now, far fewer people are believers and active practitioners of any religion than most religious leaders regularly claim. But no denomination in Russia has more consistently overstated both the number and share of its followers.
Orthodox hierarchs routinely say that 65 to 85 percent of Russian Federation residents are Orthodox Christians, a figure that reflects their counting as believers almost all those who are members of historically Orthodox nationalities such as the Russians. In brief, they count as believers all “ethnic Orthodox” even as they dismiss equivalent claims about “ethnic Muslims.”
Obviously, precision in this question is difficult to achieve. On the one hand, declarations of faith are very different than actual belief and practice in Russia as everywhere else. And on the other, the sources of information about such matters vary widely, with religious leaders claiming more and others reporting fewer faithful.
But despite that, many in Russia attend to the numbers of people who take part in religious services especially on holidays as an important indicator. And this Christmas, which took place yesterday according to the Eastern calendar, the numbers of Russian Orthodox were both low and if anything smaller than in earlier years.
According to interior ministry sources, approximately 2.5 million people took part in the celebration of Orthodox Christmas this year, attending services in approximately 8500 churches. The attendees constitute fewer than two percent of the country’s population, and the number of Orthodox churches conducting Christmas services about two-thirds of all Orthodox churches.
In reporting these numbers, the Siberian news agency Babr.ru said that they once again “demonstrate the falsehoods of the demagogy of the Russian Orthodox church about the traditional Orthodox essence of the Russian people” and raise questions about state support for the Orthodox Church (news.babr.ru/?IDE=90878).
“It is curious,” the news service said, “that despite the strongest propaganda of Orthodoxy, including in the schools, the number of convinced believers over the last five years has not changed” and that the Patriarchate continues to “exaggerate the real figure by a factor of four to five.”
But it is not just in church attendance on a high holy day that the Russian Orthodox Church appears to be less widely supported than its leaders claim. This week, Archbishop Ioann of Belgorod, one of the most Orthodox places, released figures showing sharp declines in the number of practicing Orthodox there (www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=news&id=81743).
Not only have the number of divorces now risen to equal the number of marriages, but the share of people marrying in the church has fallen by two-thirds over the last several years, from 30 percent to only nine percent, the archbishop said, statistics that he acknowledged showed that the standing of Orthodoxy as a “fashion” among the population has changed.
But however that may be, the Russian state is pushing ahead with programs to push the cause of Russian Orthodoxy both at home and abroad. In the waning days of 2010, the country’s ministry of culture announced without much notice that it is spending “almost six million US dollars” on the popularization of Orthodoxy (http://www.marker.ru/news/3191).



    The following articles give details of the recent events in occupied Abkhazia

    “It’s the Weak Link that Breaks. Abkhazia, the Next Weak Link in the Russian Church’s Diplomacy” by Alexander Soldatov;  Portal-Credo.Ru web-site article

    Original article (in Russian):   http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=comment&id=1875

    The Moscow Patriarchate has perhaps the world’s most powerful ecclesiastical-political structure. The quasi-state Russian Church does not suffer from lack of funding. Well, perhaps, there is a lack of personnel; there are not enough creative people in the numerous structures of the Patriarchate, who are enthused by the high ideal of service to the Church for the sake of God’s truth on earth. Also this is a pragmatic time, and the political-economic situation of the ROC-MP does not evoke a romantic mood. If you do not accept as a “National Idea” the nostalgic celebration of May 9th (Victory over Fascism Day- translator); you’ll have to admit the “Monetocratia” the power of money and the faith in its huge, wonderworking might has become the genuine national idea in most of the post-Soviet space.

    Since the Russian Orthodox Church acquired “an effective manager” as its head, it has articulated just such a mindset and set of values in its church policy. Patriarch Kirill realized that the time had passed when unpaid church workers would labor ‘for the glory of God’ and that in order to implement its ‘missionary imperative’, the church would require a solid financial policy and sound economic base. Hence the transfer of vast properties to the Church’s estate, the public financing of religious education in the schools and chaplaincies for the military; the creation of state sponsored ‘endowment funds” for the most significant monasteries and parishes. In addressing issues of foreign policy, the Patriarch also routinely relies on the Russian government.

    It is no secret to Russians that the wars in Chechnya and the Caucasus region were only concluded by the permanent infusion into the “secessionist regions” of multi-billion ruble subsidies from Moscow. Nor is it a secret that huge sums of money were invested in the restoration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose independence the Russian Federation recognized after the end of its victorious war against a fearsome opponent – Georgia. The Russian government even expended its financial resources in order to acquire recognition of the “newly independent states” by the governments of Nauru and Nicaragua. The authorities of the microscopic island of Nauru did not even hide the kind of sums they were paid for their recognition of the independence of the two Georgian regions.

    For its part, the Moscow Patriarchate also invested its substance in the creation of an independent Abkhaz diocese. Despite the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church recognizes the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church over Abkhazia, Sukhumi and Novy Afon (New Athos), the ROC is constantly sending priests of the neighboring Maikop diocese into Abkahzia to serve there. Moreover, the Russian Church has dispatched to Abkhazia its chief public relations asset, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev, who in recent months has carried out successful interventions in the various “hot spots” of the post-Soviet Oikumene. His trip to Moldova of last autumn was memorable for his accomplishment of extinguishing the “fire of a new schism” in the face of the conservative Society of the Blessed Matrona of Moscow. That crew consisted of three priests of the Udmurt diocese, who had ceased the commemoration of Patriarch Kirill; a fact of which, alas, Moscow had not been forewarned. And so we have an example of Fr. Andrei’s successful efforts to prevent schisms on the territories of one of Russia’s central regions.
    Officially in Abkhazia since last fall, Fr Andrei has been lecturing at the university, rides around on aMoped, and lives with a pious family, who had moved to the ‘land of the soul’ from stifling Moscow. Unofficially, Fr Andrei is steering the process of forming an autocephalous Abkhaz Church, whose autocephaly will be just as real as the Abkhaz’s government’s supposed sovereignty.

    If we accept Fr Andrei as the “overseer” over the Abkhaz Church, the main lever of control over the Abkhaz Church is the priest Vissarion (Besarion in both Georgian and Apsynni languages – translator) Apliaa, who has served in Pitsunda since the Soviet era, when he went by the surname, “Plia” which sounds better in the Russian language. Having tested the waters in several jurisdictions during the Georgian- Abkhaz war, Fr Vissarion came to the conclusion that only the Moscow Patriarchate could successfully support and defend the Abkhaz Church. Fr. Vissarion often travels to Moscow, where he serves with the local clergy including the Patriarch, despite the questionable canonical status of the Abkhaz clergy. Fr Vissaraion elevates the name of the Patriarch of Moscow during the services, although he never was granted a canonical release by the Georgian Patriarchate. This course of action, however, is consistent with the stated policy of the Abkhaz authorities, who carry out Moscow’s orders and are more loyal to the Kremlin than any other region subject to the Russian Federation.

    Such a “narrow and puppet-like” position as shown by Fr Vissarion – a representative of the old Soviet generation of the clergy – has not found favor with the younger generation of Abkhaz clergy, formed under conditions of independence, who seek to incorporate the Abkhaz church into the system of “World Orthodoxy” rather than relegate it to the status of a provincial diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church –Moscow Patriarchate. This younger generation rejects the destruction of the special delights of catholicity (sobornost’), the strict centralized “vertical” merger with the plutocratic powers, the commercialization, and the other systemic flaws inherent in the Russian State Church. In general, they are guided by the desire to introduce their Abkhaz Church on the world wide stage, rather than “beg on the doorstep of the Russian embassy”.

    Who could have predicted that the Clergy-Laity meeting at Novy Afon on May 15th would be the premier national event in Abkhazia?  It was attended by about 2,000 people, a huge number for such a small country. Here it was: real conciliarity (sobornost’), the kind that Russians can only dream about! The meeting welcomed numerous political leaders, including Abkhaz government officials. The chairman of the meeting, Hieromonk Dorofei (Dbar), who completed his MDiv and theological studies in Greece, was named candidate for bishop. The organizers of this event let it be known that they have the definite support of the authorities, so that they will soon be registering the new name for their creation – The Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia. As the name of this structure implies, as well as the personal contacts its founders have with Patriarch Bartholomew, indicates the priority they give to Constantinople, not Moscow, in negotiating their autocephaly. Especially, since the Ecumenical Patriarch is of the opinion that only he has the right to grant autocephaly, a right recognized since antiquity. This is why “World Orthodoxy” does not recognize the autocephaly granted by Moscow to the Orthodox Church in America. Yet even with such “daring” as to proclaim the establishment of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia, these clergy stressed that they remained within the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate.

    At one time, the Orthodox in Abkhazia had a choice, similar to the one faced by their brothers in South Ossetia. Have found themselves caught between “two beacons of official Orthodoxy” – Moscow and Tbilisi – and unable to be located in either jurisdiction, they opted for one of the unofficial “True Orthodox” jurisdictions albeit one with the softest stance vis-a vis “official Orthodoxy”, that is the “Synod in Resistance” of Metropolitan Kipirian (Kutsumba). Currently, the True Orthodox Church in South Ossetia is headed by Fr Georgiy ((Pukhate) who would like to enter into the Moscow Patriarchate, only Moscow cannot come up with a plan to accomplish the deed.

    The Moscow Patriarchate and its de-facto representative in Abkhazia, Fr Vissarion, responded most irritably to the news of the meeting at Novy Afon. Since the monks Andrei (Amparo) and Dorofei (Dbar) are listed as minor (parish) clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Maikop Diocese, they could be subject to canonical sanctions. It is true that Fr Andrei was transferred to the Church of Greece, where he served in parishes; but Moscow will not acknowledge that this temporary transfer was a canonical release.

    The newly proclaimed Metropolis will prove to be a “great trial” for the Abkhaz authorities. On the one hand, this organization is deeply nationalistic in nature, and the principle of “Independent State – Independent Church ” which was key to the future of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, is dear to the heart of any sovereign power, even a puppet regime. On the other hand the bulk of the Abkhaz clergy, gathered around Vissarion, will never recognize the autocephalous Metropolis without direct and specific instructions to do so from Moscow. Given the fact that the pro-Moscow faction has been present in Abkhazia for twenty years, and the fact that the Abkhaz authorities are so dependent on Moscow; it is unlikely that the authorities could take an independent stance on the church issue. It is therefore unlikely that the “Holy Metropolis” was authorized by the authorities.

    The situation may be resolved as it was in Estonia- a division of the parishes between Constantinople and Moscow. If this model works in so many countries around the world; well then, why not in Abkhazia?
    In any case even with the story still unfolding, we are dealing with another loss of Moscow’s position in the post Soviet region, and with the expansion of Constantinople, which represents the West in the Orthodox world – that is the U.S and the “aggressive NATO bloc”

    Alexander Soldatov
    Excerpt from the Article: “Abkhazia Again Struggles for Independence; but this Time from Russia?”  
    by Vladimir Vorsobin    Moskovskaya Komsomolskaya Pravda, 5/17/2011

    Original article (in Russia):  http://msk.kp.ru/daily/25687/891281/

    The Church

    Further on the way to the border, in the Sochi airport, I meet the well known Russian missionary, Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev. He frowns, furtively and diplomatically. If he speaks, “it is not for publication”. For the past several months, Deacon Andrei has been shuttling back and forth between Moscow and Sukhumi; trying to maintain peace in the confidential religious sector of Russian-Abkhaz relations. Alas, there is a trench warfare going on. The conflict flared up in the New Athos monastery when the Russian Orthodox Church installed a retired priest, Igumen Efrem, as the new abbot of that monastery. Oddly, the head of the Abkhaz Church, Vissarion Apliaa, calls Fr Efrem by the respectable Abkhaz surname “Lakerbaia”, while their opponents call Fr Efrem by his Russian surname, Vinogradov.

    To the amazement of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Abkhazians actually cared. The nationalist scruples of the local Sukhumi Orthodox newspaper “Necessary” described it thus: “If Fr. Efrem had come alone and had Abkhaz roots; well then let him come; but no – he came with three (read Russian) hieromonks, five or six monks, and a novice… This requires a negotiation.”
    “The monastic brethren do not like the fact the Bessarion, behind their backs, took This Fr. Efrem to Moscow and presented him to Patriarch Kirill, and then in their words, Fr Efrem began to give orders what should be and what must not be in the monastery. There was to be nothing of the Byzantine or Greek style; emphasis must be on the Slavonic. It did not please the brothers nor the lay people, who came to worship in Novy Afon, that Fr. Efrem would conduct the services in Chruch Slavonic rather than in the Abkhazian (Apsynni) language.

    The uproar led the former rector of the monastery, Fr. Andrei (Anpar), with the help of public meetings, to obtain the recommendation of the Public Chamber of Abkhazian ‘to suspend the appointment’. Moreover, Fr Andrei clearly formulated the main and clearly understood idea of an established nation, which has finally become independent.
    ‘We believe that the future of the Abkhaz church must be built not only on our relationship with the Russian church; but also with the other Orthodox churches: with the Greeks, with the Serbs. The foreign policy of the Abkhaz church should be multipolar.’ As a result, the (Abkhaz) Orthodox community erupted in conflict. The next Sunday, the Abkhaz church split – those under the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by Fr. Vissarion, and the independents headed by Fr. Andrei.

    Since I promised the Orthodox diplomat (Archdeacon Adrei Kuroev) that I would not cite him in my article, I will only say that the deacon expressed his astonishment at these events in the most colorful and emotional Russian language.

    Vladimir Vorsobin

    The Relevant Apostolic Canons

    Canon X. (XI.)
If any one shall pray, even in a private house, with an excommunicated person, let him also be excommunicated.

Canon XI. (XII.)
If any clergyman shall join in prayer with a deposed clergyman, as if he were a clergyman, let him also be deposed.

Canon XII. And XIII (XIII.)
If any one of the clergy or laity who is excommunicated, or not to be received, shall go away, and be received in another city without commendatory letters, let both the receiver and the received be excommunicated. But if he be excommunicated already, let the time of his excommunication be lengthened.

Canon XIV.
A bishop is not to be allowed to leave his own parish, and pass over into another, although he may be pressed by many to do so, unless there be some proper cause constraining him. as if he can confer some greater benefit upon the persons of that place in the word of godliness. And this must be done not of his own accord, but by the judgment of many bishops, and at their earnest exhortation.

Canon XV.
If any presbyter, or deacon, or any other of the list of the clergy, shall leave his own parish, and go into another, and having entirely forsaken his own, shall make his abode in the other parish without the permission of his own bishop, we ordain that he shall no longer perform divine service; more especially if his own bishop having exhorted him to return he has refused to do so, and persists in his disorderly conduct. But let him communicate there as a layman.

Canon XVI.
If, however, the bishop, with whom any such persons are staying, shall disregard the command that they are to cease from performing divine offices, and shall receive them as clergymen, let him be excommunicated, as a teacher of disorder.
    Canon XXX. (XXXI.)
If any bishop obtain possession of a church by the aid of the temporal powers, let him be deposed and excommunicated, and all who communicate with him.

Canon XXXI. (XXXII.)
If any presbyter, despising his own bishop, shall collect a separate congregation, and erect another altar, not having any grounds for condemning the bishop with regard to religion or justice, let him be deposed for his ambition; for he is a tyrant; in like manner also the rest of the clergy, and as many as join him; and let laymen be excommunicated. Let this, however, be done after a first, second, and third admonition from the bishop.

If any presbyter or deacon has been excommunicated by a bishop, he may not be received into communion again by any other than by him who excommunicated him, unless it happen that the bishop who excommunicated him be dead.

No foreign bishop, presbyter, or deacon, may be received without commendatory letters; and when they are produced let the persons be examined; and if they be preachers of godliness, let them be received. Otherwise, although you supply them with what they need, you must not receive them into communion, for many things are done surreptitiously.

    Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)
    Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.

    Francis Frost

    • George Michalopulos says

      Francis, you paint with too broad a brush. Are there problems in Russia? You bet. Yet the fruits of the Holy Spirit are plainly seen in Russia today, which (let us not forget) suffered a Holocaust that lasted 70 years, not seven. In every time and place there is good and bad going on all the time. In our own beloved country, slavery was perpetrated against Africans and ethnic cleansing against Indians. Was America still a force for good? Ask the millions of immigrants who came here looking to find a better life. Or the blacks who were emancipated from slavery. Or the Western Europeans who were liberated from Hitler’s legions. It’s always a mixed bag.

      What we are seeing in Russia today is the revival of a definate Christian consciousness, one that is harvesting fruits that we can only dream about here in America, which is trying to destroy its Christian consciousness.

  5. Rev Fr Vasile Susan says

    Hi George!

    I am very sorry for the fact that the content of my previous materials sent to your attention three days ago … or so … was not suitable for your site.

    Pokrov will take care of it.

    The same material was sent to ocanews.org. and the result was the same.

    Are you and M S on the same page vis a vis the most sensitive issues within the OCA?

    Then who’s who between two of you …?

    Shame on those who do not like the truth.

    This is just the beginning!

    Just do your best.

    I will do the rest.

    From now on I better go to a flee market than to posting something on your site!

    Thank you for being biased!

    Always on duty without taking sides.

    Fr Vasile Susan

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr Vasile, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I received nothing from you three days ago. Please inform me otherwise if I am mistaken. I certainly meant no offense. You can get ahold of me by going to https://www.monomakhos.com. I will of course publish anything that is not libelous. In Christ, geo.

      • George Michalopulos says

        P.S., I can assure you that OCANews and I are most definately not “on the same page.”

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Did you try checking your spam folder, just to make sure? sometimes email subjects contain words that trigger the spam filters.

      • Rev Fr Vasile Susan says

        Dear Mr George,

        The way I sent this e-mail (posted above) to your attention and you posted it, the same way I did approx. three days ago and nothing happened. It is OK to me. No problem.

        I am not going to dispute anything.

        I just made an observation.

        I am honest in telling you the truth.

        In case my message hurt your feeling one way or the other … I am sorry about that.

        May God bless you, your site posters and readers.


        In Christ the Lord,

        Fr Vasile Susan

    • Jane Rachel says

      Fr. Vasile, if George says it is okay, go ahead and post whatever you like. 🙂

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Fr. Vasile, If George Michalopoulos says he didn’t get what you sent, then he didn’t get it. If he had got it and decided not to post it, he would tell you so. He’s no Popp!

  6. cynthia curran says

    George, I agree with you on the Russians and other Eastern Europeans, I think they have been through a lot during the past 70 years or so, and I think that has open them up to Christianity. Russians particularly during the past 20 years or so have went back to the Orthodox church in high numbers. And I agree Russia isn’t the same, if Germany and Japan could have changed after WWII, them Russia can too. Most nations like you say have their grey areas if you look at the whole history of a nation or civilization..

  7. Rev Fr Vasile Susan says

    Dear Mr George,

    Good Monday morning to you!

    In order for me to eliminate any confusion, I would like to once again point out that you (Mr George) posted “just” the message that is shown on your site this way … “November 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm” … and not the one I sent to your attention on “November 2nd, 2011.”

    That matwerial I am talking about was related to the 16 AAC, and special action that could be taken at that time.

    Now it is too late. The event is over.

    I hope this explains everything.

    Best regards to everyone as master, posters and readers of this site.

    May God bless us all.


    In Christ the Lord,

    Fr Vasile Susan

    • Fr. Vasile,

      Knock off the Mr. George stuff. Makes you sound like Pee Wee Herman.

      Then do us a favor. If George missed something you sent, just resend it. If it was a comment, repost it. George doesn’t moderate the comments unless a person is a troll, and even then most of think he waits too long to do that. 🙂

    • Jane Rachel says

      Father Vasile, it may be that it’s been a long time since you’ve had an audience who will listen, respond, and respect what you have to say. Here, you have it. I for one am interested in what you have to say. You can post comments after one of George’s posts and it will be posted right away, except for the built-in filter the web site has for some specific words or links (I think). You may get some people who disagree with you, but you will find your comments will be posted in full, read, and there will be responses. Just post something in the comments box under one of George’s articles. He works full-time as a pharmacist and is a dad and all.

  8. I can’t wait for Stokoe’s Seattle Spin on OCAN. It will be hard for him to spin that Jonah looked like a leader in Seattle and the rest of the Synod, especially Benjamin looked rather, well let’s just say, less like leaders.

    It will be hard to spin Fr Michael Tassios, former OCA Treasurer calling for a reduction in the OCA Assessment and a complete overhaul of Syosset as written here on Monomahkos.

    It will be hard to spin the election of two very pro Jonah 6 year term MC members elected At Large from the delegates in Seattle.

    It will be hard to spin the enthusiatic response to Jonah’s Banquet speech at the OCA, a truly visionary presentation.

    It will be hard to spin the underwhelming response to the External Affairs Report of Fr Kishkovsky and who then was forced, reading the OCA/NCC tea leaves to run out the clock on the AAC so that the NCC vote could not take place. Same old Kishkovsky move, but remember, the Holy Synod can remove the OCA from the NCC at its next meeting and we should let them know that we are tired of our relationship with that ultra liberal christian body.

    And, of course, Stokoe will do his best to spin the OCA Assessment vote into a win for Syosset, but we know that it will be a stretch, even for Stokoe. The vote, even the amended vote, was a clear statement $105 and no more.

    It would be best for the MC to start right now to cut the 2012 budget while they have the $105. Save as much money as possible to carry over for use in 2013/14 and further cuts in those years bringing the budget in line with a $50 level.

    So, let’s get our popcorn popped and our red pencils sharped to go line by line when Stokoe Seattle Spin is posted on OCAN. Should be fun reading.

    • Our boy has already started. He “reported” only on the first half of +Jonah’s speech. +Jonah To Enter “Evaluation” Program November 14th

      Jonah’s full speech:


      • Well we all know that Stokoe suffers from selective hearing. Let’s give him the benefit of the our full auditory spectral range so that others will know the full impact of Seattle, even if he is the last to get it, and send the clear message that Jonah is still and will remain the Metropolitan of the OCA now and into the future.

      • Not only that, but Stokoe is crowing as if this was a total capitulation from the Metropolitan and that he “admitted” that he was the entire problem. I wonder what Metropolitan Jonah meant by taking responsibility for “my (his own) part in it”.

        There’s more courage and moral fortitude in Metropolitan Jonah’s left pinky fingernail than in Stokoe’s whole body.

        • His line of reasoning seems to be “+Jonah claimed he was the problem when he took full responsibility. When he said that he was either telling the truth or lying. If someone claims +Jonah is not the entire problem then they are claiming he was dishonest.”

          Problem #1
          Taking full responsibility is not the same as claiming you are the entire problem.

          Problem #2
          I wonder what Stokoe thinks when people say they are each the “first of sinners” before communion. Are they all being dishonest?

          Problem #3
          It is both unbelievable and patently false that +Jonah is the entire problem.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Miracles never cease! I actually agree with almost all of what you said.

            Point 1: Agreed, but it does mean that one is part of the problem (see point 3).

            Point 2: Agreed, but I do not know if it is complete germane here. The problem many folks have had with +Jonah that he did not acknowledge that he was responsible for his part of the problem and he did not act accordingly. Now that he has acknowledged the obvious, we can move on to the next phase: see if his actions match his words.

            Point 3: Agreed. And, I agree without necessarily agreeing with your article that you referred to. I agree with you on the basis of the general principle that one party to a dispute normally is not the entire problem.

            • Carl Kraeff says:
              November 8, 2011 at 7:48 am

              Point 1: Agreed, but ….
              Point 2: Agreed, but….
              Point 3: I agree without necessarily agreeing


            • Jim of Olym says

              Guys and gals:
              If a battle or a war is lost, the general in charge takes the blame for losing it, even if the troops were ill-prepared, or if the weapons weren’t fired properly. Same with our leaders, eh? Jonah is taking the flak for many things that went wrong. so he isn’t the best ‘administrator’ around? so what? Was he elected by the synod to be a great administrator? No, he was elected to be a chief shepherd, under the Chief Shepherd of us all. And so were all the other bishops, including my own bishop, Benjamin, who a number of you seem to dislike. Well, sheeps don’t get to choose which shepherds they follow, and we have to hope and pray that they will all lead us to the great Pasture, no?

              Rdr. James
              PS And departed shepherds like +Job and +Dmitri aren’t leading now…Just looking on and praying and hoping.

              • Jane Rachel says

                “seem to dislike.” I like Bishop Benjamin heaps if he is innocent. I hope he is innocent! If not innocent, Bishop Benjamin should not be a bishop. It’s simple. Same with Archbishop Job, except he has gone to the other side. If he was innocent, all is well. If he was not innocent, it needs to be made known to those of us who trusted him like a child trusts a father. If Archbishop Job was involved in leading the people down the wide, wide road to Stokoe Purgatory, he did a heap of damage and left a lot of bodies in his wake, more bodies than he knew at the time. Maybe he knows now how much damage was done and how many people were hurt. If so, I would not want to be in his shoes. OTOH, if Bishop Benjamin was involved in leading us down that same wide road, there is still hope for him because he’s still breathing. I hope the SMPAC does something soon. Top Priority, said Metropolitan Jonah. I’m trying to keep my chin up.

              • Geo Michalpulos says

                Jim of Olym: if there is one thing and one thing only we can be thankful for this imbroglio, is the canard that the parish priest, diocesan bishop, and Metropolitan must be “able administrators.” They need to be priests, shepherds, mentors, spiritual athletes, liturgicians, and overall men of God.

                The administration of the church can be done by laymen and monks who have been educated in the ways of the world. Let us revive the office of oikonomos (steward/treasurer) one for each diocese. Let the books of a diocese and parish be kept off-site, with a professionial firm that specializes in these things.

                random thougths.

          • lexcaritas says

            Our brother, Carl says, in his Point #2: <>

            If this is the problem “many folks have had with [Jonah], it is clearly their problem NOT his. He has ALWAYS admitted being part of the problem. So there is no “now that he has acknowledged the obvious.” I can hardly believe anyone who has followed this for a year (unless too embroiled in it to have retained objectivity) could make the quoted statements.

            Bravo, however, and many years to +Michael and +Matthias–and any other of the servi servorum dei who are willing to join them in having the mind of Christ, Who emptied Himself, and gave Himself for us.

            charis & shalom,

    • Jane Rachel says

      Stokoe who? A deflated bag of hot air.

  9. Heracleides says

    Decided to produce an image depicting my impression of +Benjamin’s performance during the Q&A session following the opening addresses on day-one of the AAC. It is titled “Swan Song” and may be viewed here: http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff436/Heracleides/

  10. Ashley Nevins says

    So, George, do you too honestly believe the gates of hell will not prevail against or have not prevailed against the EOC? (Be careful how you answer it is a highly loaded question)

    One would have to understand what a church under the control of hell would look like to say that.

    What are the signs of a church being prevailed against?

    What are the signs of a church that victoriously prevails over?

    To be prevailed against means control is lost and something or someone other than God is in authority or in control. It means to be defeated, taken over, stopped, marginalized, conquered, placed on the shelf and the like. It means you have no solution to what places you in a prevailed against state. You are powerless to change your outcome if your are prevailed against and you really have no real way of escape. Who wouldn’t want to belong to a church like that?

    Can the Orthodox show a comparison between a victorious prevailing over church and a prevailed against and defeated church? Can they diagram outline the differences between them side by side on a page?

    I can do that and the comparison is most revealing. It takes something ambiguous and deniable and makes it real world and undeniable. If you are prevailed against the comparison does not spiritualize it to give comfort to those defeated by the sin of their church nor does it somehow gives them a false hope.

    What does it really mean for a church to be prevailed against and what does it really mean for a church to be victorious over? That is the comparison. That is how you find the reality of the real world regarding the state of a church either prevailed against or victorious over.

    So, the honest and objective question is, is the EOC prevailed against or is it victorious over and how can you know either way?

    It’s obvious where the OCA is found in the comparison. The bigger question is, is this failure reflective of a greater systemic failure of the EOC or is it just isolated to the OCA? If it is reflective of a larger systemic cause what does that really mean for the greater church over time? This is a serious issue that the EO are unable to address with solution. The problems is systemic from a central common denominator cause denied by the EO. Oh, yes it is too or your church would be living in solution and not dying by lack of solution.

    In my mind the OCA was world wide Orthodoxy’s greatest single chance to find relevancy in this generation. Yes, the little OCA was it greatest opportunity not just to survive, but thrive. It was free of foreign rule corruptions and it planted itself right in the middle of freedom of religion that gave it the free choice to succeed or fail without any foreign rule church or state prop up. BUT it was not free of the structure that causes systemic corruption. The structural and systemic problems undermining all of Orthodoxy undermined the OCA. Thus, the OCA is no less corrupt than any other jurisdiction. You can plant all the EO free of foreign rule jurisdictions here that you want and they all will fail by the structure that causes nothing but systemic corruptions that have no solution. If you do not change your structure of rule you will not change the systemic corruptions that derive themselves out of that rule structure.

    Look at the ROC. Back in bed with the corrupt Russian state. It did not learn its lesson after 70 years. Proof that the Orthodox do not listen and they do not learn their lesson. It is the same story with the OCA in America. The OCA duplicated foreign rule corruptions without foreign rule over it. It all goes to the structure and system that believes it is Gods only true and right structure and system and therefore it has no need to change.

    Considering what the GOC and ROC rulers by their structure and system of rule have done to their respective jurisdictions is it any wonder why the same has happened on a smaller scale with the OCA? You may well argue that the OCA got to this position differently than did those other two jurisdictions, but the outcome is the same. Jonah partied with those rulers when he visited Russia. Yes, he is the different Orthodox convert ruler and a true American Orthodox ruler, right??? No wonder to me why he is mired in deep doo-doo.

    I will say this about Jonah. He admitted the exact nature of his wrongs and he agreed to enter into recovery. That took transparency, integrity and rigorous honesty. He was in total denial of this a year ago. When he goes into treatment other issues will come out of denial too. It is naive to believe he does not have serious issues yet brought forward. He may loose his Met position, but he will get a real life if he goes through the recovery process. His life and health is most important of all and not his leading the OCA.

    Frankly, he should have never have been put into that position. He is not gifted in administration and he is not experienced in large organization administration. I believe he was placed in that position by a act of desperation of the OCA and not because God the Holy Spirit placed him there. It took the OCA and Jonah 3 years to figure that out and when due diligence and high leadership standards would have stopped his election cold before the fact. Incompetency placed incompetent Jonah in that position and God the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with it. It was the same incompetency that placed the whole group of corrupt bishops in rule over the OCA and who caused the debacle. Desperation is not trusting God for a key leadership position, but it is trusting in what has failed the OCA. Yes, I know, I got this wrong and the outcome of Jonah and the OCA proves those who disagree right.

    By the way, I told Mark 3 years ago it would not take more than 3 years before Jonah imploded. I told him day one of his rule that he had serious unresolved emotional and spiritual issues and that he was not qualified for the position. When all were overwhelmed with praise for their new Met I remained rationally minded. You would have not seen me standing up and praising God for Jonah at his inception as Met. In the face of what had just happened that was not the reaction that the church was to have. Had the church known what it knows now about Jonah would it had stood up and cheered and praised God??? You don’t embrace what is not proved competent until it is proved competent and especially in the midst of a major church debacle caused by its top leadership. Bishops who Jonah told the inception audience he had the MOST PROFOUND RESPECT FOR. How many of you caught that statement the moment it came out of his mouth??? He has the most profound respect for bishops who nearly destroyed the OCA? That is a competent Met? How many of the OCA faithful questioned that statement in public? Which one of you called him out on that statement the moment he made it? Yes, Orthodox keep listening to what YOU WANT TO HEAR and don’t listen to what is ACTUALLY BEING SAID. Then tell the world that God the Holy Spirit is leading your Met and bishop selections. I see right through all of this and what I see is carnal spiritual immaturity on a massive all church scale.

    Don’t believe me that Jonah said that? Go back and listen to his inception speech and watch the audience reaction to their new Met. It all started on DAY ONE OF HIS RULE and ALL OF YOU LET IT START ALL OVER AGAIN. Oh, but its that terrible Mark and those bishops who oppose Jonah that are the real problem, right? No, it is not their fault. It is the fault of the laity that was not listening to what was really being said by their new Met on day one of his rule. In the face of what was going on wouldn’t it have been better if all of you had remained sober and rational in your seats. What message would that have sent the new Met and the bishops of his most profound respect? You would have sent the message of prove your competency and we are not buying into you until you do. You are on probation and we are watching you and we are going to make sure you and the other bishops get the clear message that we the laity are going to hold you transparent and accountable with serious consequences that have teeth. You would have sent the message the past is not going to be our future and anyone who by incompetency keeps us in our past will be FIRED. That praises God and it does not praise an incompetent leadership that has profound respect for those who destroy Gods people and His church. Period.

    If the EOC does not start operating like that in the face of complete systemic Orthodox failure your EOC will continue to be found corrupt, irrelevant, dying and without solution. It will be rendered irrelevant dead. You know, prevailed against.

    ( I have not noticed Mark getting honest or transparent about his lifestyle or mistakes. Telling of Marks character in comparison to Jonah. The best things that could have happened is Mark off the council and Jonah going into treatment. However, I seriously doubt if either is going to change the outcome of the OCA)

    If it was my church I would want to know the objective and comparative difference between a prevailed against church to that of a victorious over church. I would want to know where my church stands objectively. I don’t want to live in denial. Gods truth does not live in denial. It exposes the comparative differences between a church prevailed against to that of a church victorious over. That truth is not always consoling or kind, but it is real.

    I want to know what the facts, proofs and evidences that can tell me if my church is victorious over or prevailed against. I want to know if it moving in a direction of being prevailed against or if has it arrived at that destination. I want to know this so I can inform others in my church if it is heading south and so my church can get in front of the potential disaster rather than live in the disaster. I want to take personal responsibility for my church and not leave it all up to the leadership. I want to be in a priesthood of a laity believers who have real authority in their church and not just lip service lies from leadership about the importance of laity authority in the church.

    I want church leadership to know that there are lay people who cannot be fooled, conned or duped and that they will be confronted if the church is not Christ victorious over. I want a safe, healthy, growing and alive church over a unsafe, sick, retracting and dead church. I want my church to think for itself to successful outcomes and not allow any corruption or failure to think for it. I want my church to have zero tolerance for what could cause it to fall into a prevailed against state. If my church leadership does not want this I don’t want this church. The last thing I want is some corrupt Pied Piper taking me right over the cliff by blindly following him to the self destruction of my church.

    A church that does not want this is the set up to be spiritually abused and/or spiritually abandoned. A church that does not want this is CORRUPT. I want to know what the red flags are to a corrupt church and I don’t want to deny what they tell me. I want to verify and then trust by thinking for myself. If I can’t verify or trust I either don’t get involved or I WALK. This is my mind on this, anyone who stays in a knowingly corrupt church that cannot change its course is as corrupt as that church is by staying and thus is enabling that corruption that refuses to change. It does not take years to determine if a church can and will change its course. It does not take years to figure out the systemic cause source of the corruption. How many more failed OCA leaderships does it take for the OCA to figure out nothing is going to change? How long is it going to take the EO in America to figure out that American Orthodoxy is corrupt, failed and without solution? How many more proofs, signs and evidences do the EO in America need?

    I want to avoid being knowingly involved in a known corrupt church. Who does not want that if they are a Christian who tries to live up to Gods moral and ethical standards? No church is perfect and all churches have problems, but not all churches are thoroughly systemically corrupt without solution. Unless the EO trace the source of their systemic corruption back to its central cause they will continue to fail by failing to understand what the source of their systemic corruption is. An unethical and immoral church will continue to be its outcome unless it deals with the systemic cause of this corrupt failure that has no Orthodox solution and that the Orthodox believe is not their church prevailed against.

    Yes, Orthodox explain to me how a church that is thoroughly systemically corrupt without solution is not a church prevailed against. Of course, Gods true church will not be prevailed against. It is made of Christians and Christianity that is not corrupt, failed, irrelevant, dying and circular without solution. God simply bypasses the EO by paradigm shift to relevancy and He leaves the EO in their left behind dying paradigm that is prevailed against. The church not in that state is the true church God uses to move mission and evangelism forward. So, yes, the church is not prevailed against when it is God future forward church that has the vision and competency to take the Gospel forward. That is Gods true church that cannot be prevailed against. Yes, Orthodox tell me how a church left behind in a dying paradigm is not a church prevailed against. Tell me how the Sanhedrin was not left behind in its dying paradigm and how that left behind paradigm did not represent it being prevailed against. Tell me how that could never ever be the outcome of the EOC. And, please use your state of church to prove it.

    A spiritually mature church leadership WANTS to be held transparent and accountable. Any church leadership that operates with any less than that as its attitude I do not want any part of that church. That is an immature and compromised church leadership that is only going to wreak havoc in the church by its attitude and behavior not held transparent and accountable to the LORD. Period.

    I believe I want what God wants for HIS church. Anything less will be compromise that leads to the corruption and the eventual failure of my church. I wouldn’t live with, be in business with or be married to someone who is corrupt and so why would I want to be a member of a known corrupt church??? How hard is that one? It is really hard if you have no way of escape and can’t leave the corruption. It’s really hard if you leave to only be forced to go to another corrupt jurisdiction. God provides a way of escape and that is a victorious overcoming church. The church that does not provide a way of escape is prevailed against and it is using its carnal corrupt power over you to keep you prevailed against inside of that church. You are under the mind control of corruption if this be the case. Yes, I know, the mind controlled disagree and so it is no wonder why their church is thoroughly systemically corrupt without solution.

    I do not expect church to be a smooth ride and I also don’t expect it to be a head on with a semi either. Is that unreasonable of me or is it wisdom? Orthodox, you determine the state of your church. No one other than all of you do. It is your free will choice to be the kind and type of church you want to be. No one other than the EO decide that. You determine your outcome. Most all of you know better than to have allowed the state of your church to become what it is and you are without excuse before the Lord. Yes, I know corruption did not mind control the entire church into this state. Something other than mind control by corruption caused this, right?

    Hummm, was it the Holiness of God’s mind that mind controlled your church into this state or was it something else? How a church THINKS determines its OUTCOME. Are we to take our thoughts captive to Christ or are we to allow our thinking to be taken captive by corruption? The answer is in the NT. I promise you that your solution is right there in front of you all.

    Orthodox, do you have the free will choice to determine the future of your EOC or does something or someone else control your will and choice and thus determine your outcome? Is someone or something else other than God determining your outcome? Are you powerless to change that outcome by someone or something else determining your church outcome? Does your church exist to serve those who are determining its outcome or does it exist to serve God and His outcome for you?

    I personally believe that a corrupt, failed, irrelevant, dying and circular without solution church is a prevailed against church.

    I personally believe that a transparent/accountable, dynamic, relevant, living and solution centered church is a victorious over church.

    What kind of a church do you want, Orthodox? What kind of a church do you really have?

    If any OCA left the OCA to go to another jurisdiction would that new found jurisdiction really be any less corrupt and failed than the OCA? Is that what the Orthodox call, the gates of hell not prevailing against their church??? If you leave one corrupt and failed jurisdiction to only land in another one you are being prevailed against no matter what the EOC tells you. If you cannot escape systemic jurisdictional corruption by changing jurisdictions your church is prevailed against.

    God is not a closed box that does not provide a way of escape from a prevailed against church that has no solution. He is not the Sanhedrin who provided no way of escaping their prevailed against state.

    God is not corruption, failure, irrelevancy, death or circular without solution. He is the victorious over church and not the prevailed against church. It is like really easy to tell the difference between them if you really want to be objective and honest enough to see the difference. That is, if you do not want to live in denial of the differences.

    God is all about truth seen in comparison made. You see it in the Gospels by the comparison of Jesus to those He confronted. Hint, Jesus was the victorious overcoming and those He confronted were the prevailed against. Any Orthodox can make the same comparison today in modernity and with rational thinking comparison that does not compromise or use subjective bias.

    The objective comparison between the victorious overcoming and the prevailed against does not lie. It tells the truth. However, you must be willing to recognize the truth and what it is really telling you to make a honest conclusion based upon the facts. That is thinking for yourself without letting what is corrupt and failed to think for you.

    If the Orthodox allow what is corrupt and failed think for them will that lead to a victorious overcoming church or will it lead to a prevailed against church? The outcome of the EOC answers that question.

    So, George, if and when the OCA finally implodes what jurisdiction will you be going to? All others who are OCA and on this forum might consider asking themselves that question to. You might want to start your due diligence now rather than later or you potentially might find yourself in another OCA debacle.

    I would suggest you all consider the GOA. They have excellent bishops, a great archbishop and a fantastic Patriarch. Plus, you get the extra bonus of their living saint elder. Of course, there is also that other Orthodox church role model and example to the rest of Christianity the ROC. A difficult decision among many outstanding EO jurisdictions, right?

    You can just look at GOA and know that is not a church prevailed against.

    They are the flagship #1 Orthodox jurisdiction in America under Greek foreign rule. Foreign ruled EOC in American prevails over the OCA that is not foreign ruled?

    I mean, who wouldn’t want to be under the rule authority of the foreign ruled ROC and GOA? They are the Orthodox future for Orthodox America ruled over by people not American. Since the not foreign ruled OCA is not working out those foreign ruled jurisdictions are going to result in Orthodox relevancy for America, right? They do not represent a prevailed against Orthodoxy in America, right?

    I ask a lot of questions, don’t I? I think for myself and so I ask a lot of questions. Those who do not think for themselves do not ask many, if any, questions. The church that does not question itself is the church that goes corrupt and prevailed against. You don’t ask questions when someone else is thinking for you and most likely any question you did ask would be the wrong question. You simply think like you are told to think and that ends any questions. Ending questions in a church ends a church.

    The #1 competitor church to the EO in freedom of religion America is centered in the continual questioning of itself. You can see this by conducting Google searches on dysfunctional churches, toxic churches, signs of a dying church, etc. They just love to expose themselves to themselves. That is, they think for themselves and that has lead them to a thinking for themselves outcome whose relevancy in this world today by mission and evangelism make the EO look like they are reeling backwards, and they are.

    Yes, Orthodox explain to me how a church in a state of survival existence is not sure sign that it is either prevailed against or quickly moving in that direction. The more the EOC hemorrhages its membership and the more irrelevant it become the more self centered, defensive and self protective it will become. That is survival a existence state. Since your church is a closed, isolated and subjective structure and system that will only accelerate this state of your church and cause it to more rapidly demise. Those of you who will live another 20 to 25 years will see this happen. I promise and all of my promised to the Orthodox come true. All of them.

    I don’t have to live to see it to prove it true. I see it right now taking place and for the reasons given to you here.

    Here is just one example of why I say that…

    Where is the dynamic, alive and growing EO mission and evangelism in largest mission field of this century called China? You know, that country right next to the ROC. Candidly, if God left world mission and evangelism up to the EOC it would end up about as relevant as the EOC. Instead, God has paradigm shifted right past you with His true church that can take His mission and evangelism forward. His true church is not found dying in a left behind paradigm. Its mission and evangelism is not prevailed against by a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church that has no solution. That is the church not prevailed against.

    A fool is someone who keeps using the same failure over and over again and again thinking it will have a different outcome.

    Ashley Nevins

    • verbose
      wordy, loquacious, garrulous, talkative, voluble; long-winded, flatulent, lengthy, prolix, tautological, pleonastic, periphrastic, circumlocutory, circuitous, wandering, discursive, digressive, rambling; informal mouthy, gabby, chatty, motormouthed.

  11. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    How about putting all that in logical order and then making a precis of it; otherwise, I’m afraid it’ll just lie there in all its logrorrheatic excess, mostly unread.Why, you lost me the first time your resuscitated the initials, “EOC.”

    • Jim of Olym says

      Ashley as usual is speaking from ‘outside the box’. but he makes some points, I think. Either we do, or we don’t.
      And then there is this: “I see right through all of this and what I see is carnal spiritual immaturity on a massive all church scale. ” Ashley has thus nailed us all!

      thanks, Ashley for your critique from far outside the Church. You have got some of it right.

      Jim of olym

  12. Francis Frost says

    Dear Mr Michalopulos:

    My “broad brush” is a careful recitation of a 20 year history of overt genocide and ethnic cleansing. Nearly 50,000 Orthodox Christians have been brutally massacred. Over 300,000 have been drive from their ancestral homes into permanent exile. Two entire Orthodox dioceses have been laid waste and Orthodox churches have been desecrated pillaged and destroyed. Not only has the Moscow Patriarchate acted in complicity with these crimes against humanity – crimes against Christ, but Russian bishops publicly “blessed” these actions!

    As long as these acts remain uncontested, the Orthodox faith is sullied. How can we possibly decry the sin of abortion, while our bishops publicly (on television!) bless murder, ethnic cleansing and the desecration of ancient churches?

    How can we proclaim the traditional Orthodox faith when our bishops flagrantly violate the most ancient Apostolic Canons with impunity?

    Do not be deceived. God is not mocked! The scriptures tell us twice in both the Old and the New Testaments: “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay, says the Lord your God”

    The apostle Paul tells us: ” in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God who will render to each one according to his deeds.. Romans2:5 Read the 25th chapter of Matthew! We will not be judged on our faithful recitation of the Nicene Creed – we will be judged on what we have done or what we have failed to do on behalf of those Our Lord called “these the least of my brethren” By the Lord’s own words, we and our church are condemned because our our leaders, our theologians, our moralists and our bloggers have said and done nothing on behalf of the victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing!

    The real tragedy of our Orthodox church is that we have become like those rainless clouds, those hypocrites who “keep the form of religion while denying its reality and its power”. This is the real tragedy of our times. It is the root cause of all our scandals, all our failures; yet literally no-one sees, and no one cares!

    May God have mercy while there is still time!

    Francis Frost

  13. Francis Frost says

    Why is the crisis in occupied Georgia important?
    First, because the victims of this outrage are our own blood, fellow members of the Body of Christ, who said: “As you did it for the least of these my brethren, so you did it to Me”, and who also said: “as you did it not for the least of  these my brethren, so you did it not to Me”  If we, the Orthodox Christians here in America, do not stand up for the victims of genocide, then we are no longer part of that Body of Christ!
    But God has so composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it; that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it… Now you are the Body of Christ…            I Corinthians 12:25-27
    Examples of the suffering of innocents can be read at:


      article attached below:

    Related photo album is at:

    Descriptions of the 1992 genocide may be read here:
    Second, we must speak out to reprove those who have ordered and committed these heinous crimes, because, many of them, too, are Orthodox Christians!  If we fail to reprove them, then as brothers and sisters, we must share their guilt, and we must bear responsibility before Almighty God for their failure to repent. Our theologians make much of the idea that all the chrismated faithful are “princes, priests and prophets”; but what of our duties as such?
    “As for you, son of man, I made you a watchman for the house of Israel, and you shall hear a word from My mouth. When I say to the sinner, ‘You will surely die’, and you do not speak to warn the ungodly man to change his way, that lawless man will die in his lawlessness; but his blood I shall require at your hand. But if you warn the ungodly man to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his ungodliness; but you will have delivered your own soul.” 
     Ezekiel 33:7-9
    Tell me, dear friends, of what value is a man’s soul? 
    Did Our Lord not say: “What will a man give in ransom for his life?” What value do we place on our church, on the purity of our Orthodox faith and the ancient traditions received from our holy ancestors in the faith?
    Are we able to look askance when the most ancient of the Sacred Canons, and even the saving commandment “You must love your neighbor as yourself” are trampled down, and desecrated with impunity; just as the holy icons, the sacred vessels and the Holy Altar of God were desecrated and burned in the Ghvtaeba Cathedral? If so, then why do we bother to call ourselves “Orthodox” ?  We might as well be Unitarians or Jehovah’s Witnesses!   Indeed, they will be better off than us on the Day of Judgment, because none of them ever “blessed” the murder of innocents! 
     Do our clergy not know that the Lord, Himself said: “Not everyone who says, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven; but those who do the will of My Father in Heaven….Depart from me you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you!”  May the merciful God save us from that damnation!

    South Ossetia one year on: Georgians wait in fear for Russians to return

    A year ago, the Kremlin shocked the world when it sent troops into Georgia. Today, the war clouds over South Ossetia are gathering once more.

    Zaza Razmadze holds the body of his brother Zura after a bombardment in Gori, 80 km from Tbilisi, August 9, 2008. A Russian warplane dropped a bomb on an apartment block in the Georgian town of Gori, killing at least 5 people Photo: REUTERS

    By Adrian Blomfield in Gori
    6:19PM BST 01 Aug 2009

    When the dull throb of homesickness becomes too overpowering to resist, the former inhabitants of Eredvi perform a bittersweet ritual.

    The last Georgian Police check-point on the way to Tskhinvali. Check-point is located in Ergneti on the administrative border of South Ossetia. The Russian and Ossetian checkpoint is about 100 m further down that road.
    Clambering up a steep hill outside the Georgian city of Gori, they fix a borrowed pair of binoculars on the gutted cottages that, until a year ago, they called home.
    Closer inspection is impossible. Though Eredvi is just a few miles away, it lies in the breakaway province of South Ossetia and their way is blocked by Russian troops and the local militiamen who burned their village down.
    Though his eyes are weak and his body wracked by illness, Tengiz Razmadze occasionally makes the trip to the top of the hill, listening as his younger son Zaza describes the ruins of the little house at the end of the village.
    Mr Razmadze has no need to see for himself. He lived through the destruction of his home, refusing to leave even as the roar of Russian bombers filled the skies during five days of war last August, killing his neighbours and striking his house.

    It was only as Ossetian militiamen, bent on revenge, embarked on drunken looting sprees in Georgian villages like Eredvi that lay on Ossetian soil, that he finally decided to flee.
    He reached Gori, a supposedly safe sanctuary deep in undisputed Georgian territory, only to find that his older son Zviadi had just been buried, after being killed in a Russian air strike.
    Zaza Razmadze saw the explosions that killed his brother. Running through the choking dust and smoke that darkened the sky above Gori, he stumbled on his body in the forecourt of the block of flats where Zvio, as his family knew him, lived.
    It was here that The Sunday Telegraph came across Zaza Razmadze, cradling his brother’s head in his arms and imploring him to live as he ripped off his own shirt to try to staunch his wounds.
    Photographs of his grief were to become the defining images of the short but brutish war Georgia and Russia fought a year ago, images so compelling that the Kremlin sought to dismiss them as fabrication.
    In the garage where the two men worked together, Zaza Razmadze has built a shrine to the brother he loved, a small fountain above which he has carved the word’s “Zvio’s Stream”.
    Jerkily he recalled that hot August day, explaining that – unbeknown to him – as he tended Zvio’s body his brother’s wife, eight months pregnant, was also dying in the flat above.
    “They had left the previous day,” he said with quiet but forceful bitterness. “I still don’t know why they came back.”
    The only person who could answer that question is his nephew, eight-year-old Dito. Wounded in the blast that killed his parents, Dito is still to traumatised to speak of what happened.
    Two months ago, Zaza Razmadze got married. But any happiness that brought remains clouded by grief and anger, emotions that are caused to burn more deeply by a conflict that was frozen but never resolved – and by talk of a new war.
    “If war resumes, every citizen of Gori will fight,” he said. “Even the women will fight, even my new wife. We have nothing to lose.”
    In the 12 months since a war that stunned the world, Georgia has slipped from its consciousness.
    Yet tensions remain high. At least 28 Georgian policemen patrolling the administrative boundary have been killed by sniper fire or remotely detonated mines since the end of the war. At border crossings, now sealed, Georgian and Russian guns remain trained on each other.
    Less than 100 yards separate the Russian and Georgian flags that flutter above identical dugouts, protected by sandbags and concrete barriers at the crossing of Ergneti.
    Capt Zura, the officer commanding the Georgian side of the line, pointed out Russian sniper positions on the roof of an abandoned hotel. “The Russians make a lot of trouble, especially at night when they are drunk,” he said.
    Later that evening, Georgian officers at a nearby crossing said they had come under fire, claiming that a rocket-propelled grenade had exploded above their positions.
    Such is the instability that the International Crisis Group, a leading conflict prevention think tank, warned in June that “extensive fighting could again erupt.”
    A European Union investigation is still trying to establish who was responsible for last year’s war, which ended in a humiliating battlefield rout for the Georgian army. But western diplomats in Tblisi say it is fairly clear that Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s pro-western president, walked into a carefully laid Russian trap by launching a massive assault against the Ossetian rebels, who had long enjoyed Moscow’s support.
    Some military analysts in Moscow say that Russia is now contemplating a new war to oust Mr Saakashvili, whose determination to seek Nato membership for Georgia has consistently infuriated the Kremlin.
    Remarkably, the Georgian leader has defied widespread predictions that failure in the war would cost him his job – despite four months of protests called by Georgia’s fragmented opposition.
    But elsewhere, the omens do not look good. Since recognising the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another Kremlin-backed rebel enclave in Georgia, Russia has deployed thousands of troops in both provinces and has begun building new military bases.
    The Russian defence ministry angrily declined immediate comment on its troop levels in the two provinces and accused The Sunday Telegraph of failing to respect its dignity.
    The Kremlin has also forced the withdrawal of two international observer missions from the conflict zone and, in breach of its ceasefire commitments, has prevented the third, the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), from operating in either South Ossetia or Abkhazia.
    Even more worryingly, the EUMM came under attack for the first time when an ambulance driver was killed in an assault on a monitors’ convoy near Abkhazia in June.
    “It was a definite attack on the EUMM,” said Steve Bird, a Foreign Office official attached to the mission. “The mine used in the attack was remotely detonated.”
    The EUMM says that Georgia has abided by the ceasefire agreements, brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that ended last year’s war, but the Russians have not.
    In one of its most contentious moves, Russia used the days after the ceasefire to seize control of Akhalgori, a largely Georgian district of South Ossetia that had been under government control for over a decade.
    Russia now allows buses to carry displaced Georgians to their homes in Akhalgori, which – unlike those elsewhere in Ossetia – have largely escaped the arsonists. But most are still too afraid to stay for long.
    The Sunday Telegraph received a brusquer welcome at the Russian checkpoint when it sought permission to take photographs of buses crossing into Akhalgori. “Go and take your pictures in Georgia,” the Russian commanding officer said, before stalking off in a rage.
    Observers suspect that Russia’s tactics are partly aimed at laying the groundwork for a new war. A pretext could be created, they say, either by engineering a cross-border incident that results in Russian casualties – or by accusing Georgia of helping anti-Kremlin rebels in Russia’s nearby North Caucasus region.
    In a potentially disturbing omen, Russia on Saturday threatened to “use all available force and means” to defend its civilians after claiming that Georgia had launched several attacks on the separatist capital Tskhinvali in recent days. Georgia denied the allegations and the EUMM said it had been unable to verify Russia’s claims.
    Last week it also claimed that North Caucasus rebels were operating in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge.
    “There is definitely a pattern to what the Kremlin is doing,” said a senior Western diplomat in Tbilisi. He said that Moscow wanted control over Georgia, both to prevent the construction of a gas pipeline that would reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia and to find an easier way of supplying its own troops in Armenia.
    But with Russia unlikely to find a pliant successor to Mr Saakashvili, the diplomat said a major war was unlikely. Instead, he predicted that Russia would make creeping advances deeper into Georgian territory or launch occasional bombing raids, as part of a campaign to destabilise its neighbour.
    “Georgia would protest to the international community but without guaranteed success,” he said. “The law of the strongest will apply.”
    In the meantime, for tens of thousands of Georgians uprooted from their homes or scarred from those few days of war, daily life grows ever more desperate.
    Over three days last week, The Sunday Telegraph revisited villages in Georgia that bore the brunt of the Russian advance and the brutal reprisals by the accompanying Ossetian militias.
    The border village of Ergneti has been all but abandoned, save for the occasional family that ekes out an existence in the charred ruins of their homes.
    Ivane Dvalishvili showed us the rusted remains of his grandson’s first bicycle, almost all he had salvaged from the rubble. His 80-year-old neighbour, Gaioz, had neatly swept his destroyed possessions into large piles by the blackened walls of his house.
    A year ago, during an intense Russian arterial assault, the Sunday Telegraph took shelter with Makhvala Orshuashvili by the wall of her garden in the village of Tkviavi, where she fed us peaches from her orchard, shouting over the noise of the shells.
    We found her where we left her, sitting on a bench outside the garden – only this time she was wearing a black headscarf to denote mourning.
    When the Ossetians came through, raping and pillaging, they came across her husband returning home with bread. Telling him to run, they shot him in the back and he died later of starvation after rejecting food.
    Makhvala cowered in terror inside her house, listening as the drunken soldiers played a stolen guitar on the street outside.
    Back in Gori, stung by the financial crisis and the aftershocks of war, Zaza Razmadze is lucky if he takes home more than £5 a day, half what he earned before the conflict.
    With that he must support the families of eight relatives who were also forced out of Ossetia when the militias embarked on what the Council of Europe has described as a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Georgians.
    The Georgians of South Ossetia, about 25,000, are now housed in identikit camps that have mushroomed near the administrative boundary with the rebellious province.
    A small, whitewashed cottage in one of the camps now houses Zaza Razmadze’s father, Tengiz. Blind in one eye, his eyesight failing in the other, Mr Razmadze ekes out an existence in his half-painted rooms, furnished with only a narrow bed, a flimsy table and a small television, on the £17 a month provided by the state.
    Like other Georgians in South Ossetia, he was never rich. But the fecund soil allowed them to create fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. In their new accommodation, Ossetia’s displaced can no longer fend for themselves.
    Tengiz Razmadze seems a broken man, much older than his 60 years. He is trying to summon up the mental and physical strength to commemorate the first anniversary of his son’s death on Aug 9. But it will be a struggle. “I don’t know if I can survive the pain and sorrow again,” he said.

    SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2007
    Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia

    In spring 1992, especially in June-July, acts of armed aggression and attacks got systematic character on highways and railways of Georgia. These attacks caused serious economic damages to the country. Criminal bands robbed trains and seized Georgian and other countries’ goods. Georgian government had no choice but to defend the highways and railways by the national army in order to secure safe travel of goods. As Autonomous Republic of Abkhazeti was the main area of the criminal bands action, on August 1992 Georgian central leadership decided to bring additional troops into Abkhazeti. This decision had been preliminarily submitted to the region leaders’ approval. It was personally coordinated with Chairman of Supreme Council Vladislav Ardzinba. The movement of the Georgian Army within the Georgian territory became a reason for starting the conflict. Here is what was written on this subject by Chervonaya Svetlana – Ph.D., leading specialist of Institute of Technology and Anthropology of Academy of Sciences of Russia (see the bibliography):

    “Shevardnadze did not start this war. By noon of the 14th of August 1992, «the Georgian party» had not fired a shot, none Georgian soldier had been brought into Sokhumi yet, and nothing was threatening the peace in Abkhazian towns and villages. Vladislav Ardzinba declared this war on Georgia in his radio speech. He drew the Abkhazian people into the heinous crime. Vladislav Ardzinba announced total, forced «general mobilization» (every man from 18 to 45). He provided the soldiers with arms seized or stolen from Russian arsenal, and promoted unlawful actions of the Abkhazian armed troops in Abkhazian towns, villages, and roads (the “enemy” had not even reached this territory). The Abkhazian separatists searched for everything they considered worthy, terrorized and killed Georgian peaceful inhabitants. Abkhazian snipers opened fire to people being in Sokhumi sanatorium. They shot scores of Russian holidaymakers on the beach of the air defense forces’ and other sanatoriums. These were the crimes that had to be stopped. The criminals must answer for these deeds. The political purposes of the organizers of these crimes are known: division of Georgia, drawing Russia into a war, Soviet-communist revenge and restoring the Soviet Union.”
    That is how the war broke out.

    “…When they [Abkhaz] entered Gagra, I saw Shamyl Basaev’s battalion. I have never seen such a horror. They were raping and killing everyone who was captured and dragged from their homes. The Abkhaz commander Arshba raped a 14 year old girl and later gave an order to execute her. For the whole day I only could hear the screams and cries of the people who were brutally tortured. On the next day, I witnessed the mass execution of people on the stadium. They installed machine guns and mortars on the top and placed people right on the field. It took a couple of hours to kill everybody…”

    Georgian government repeatedly appealed to the UN, CSCE, and other international organizations to intervene, while at the same time refusing offers of Russian military assistance. Several UN Security Council resolutions and decisions failed to lead to a de-escalation of the conflict. On July 27, 1993, a Russian-brokered trilateral agreement on a cease-fire and principles for the solution of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict was signed. Complete demilitarization of the region, supervised by Russia, was to follow the separation of the military forces of the two sides. However, the UN failed to implement its long-sought decision to send a large group of military observers to Abkhazeti. Furthermore, the Russian military observers insisted that Georgians did not participate in the supervision of the withdrawal of heavy weaponry.

    “…When the Abkhaz entered my house, they took me and my seven year old son outside. After forcing us to kneel, they took my son and shot him right in front of me. After they grabbed me by hair and took me to the nearby well. An Abkhaz soldier forced me to look down that well; there I saw three younger men and couple of elderly women who were standing soaked in water. They were screaming and crying while the Abkhaz were dumping dead corpses on them. Afterwards, they threw a grenade there and placed more people inside. I was forced again to kneel in front of the dead corpses. One of the soldiers took his knife and took the eye out from one of the dead near me. Then he started to rub my lips and face with that decapitated eye. I could not take it any longer and fainted. They left me there in a pile of corpses…”

    At the end of August 1993, S. Shoigu, chairman of the Russian Emergency State Committee, declared on Russian television that demilitarization had reached a stage at which resumption of the war would be impossible. Large numbers of hopeful refugees returned to their ruined homes and began rebuilding. Then on September 17, a surprise attack by Abkhazian tanks and artillery, supported by their Russian North Caucasian and Cossack allies, forced the remaining disarmed Georgian troops, together with tens of thousands of civilians, to flee in panic. Many of these victims later starved or froze to death in the Svaneti mountains. Shevardnadze himself, who was besieged along with the defenders of Sokhumi, had a narrow escape. The sudden clandestine Abkhazian rearmament remains a mystery only for the extremely naive.

    “…The Abkhaz separatists killed people of other nationalities as well, including those who tried to protect Georgians. After the city was seized, the streets were covered with bodies. Separatists destroyed the Baramidze, Chkhetia, Baramia, Gvazava, Dzidziguri, Absandze, Shonia, and Kutsia families, as well as many others…”

    The war ended in late September 1993 with Abkhazeti’s virtual secession from Georgia through a radical ethnic cleansing of its multi-ethnic population and the destruction of its cities, including Sokhumi.Just at the beginning of the war adherents of Vladislav Ardzinba started killing, tormenting, raping, and robbing the inhabitants of Georgian nationality. At first Georgians of the following towns and villages experienced the sadism of the separatists: Gagra and Gudauta, Akhaladze, Bzipi, Ipnari, Otkhara, Akhali Sopeli, Eshera, Kochara, Ketevani, Labra, Kvitouli, Kindgi, etc. Ugrekhelidze, an inhabitant of the village Eshera, was forced to dig a hole of his own height, then he was pulled out his teeth and nails, and buried alive. They left his hand above the ground (the symbol of the Abkhazian banner.) Another Georgian was captured, cut his veins. Then the Abkhazian separatists poured his blood into glasses and drank it. After this they let him go to Sokhumi to tell everybody how Abkhazians drank Georgian blood. The Abkhazian butchers captured sisters – Eka Jvania (17 years old) and Marina Jvania (14 years old), Leila Samushia and others in village Pshadi. They undressed them in front of their parents and neighbors, and raped them. After this the Abkhazian butchers executed all of them by shooting. The Abkhazian “liberators” did not spare workers of education system. They execute by shooting 78 teachers and lecturers. For instance, a teacher Bichiko Ekimiani, Armenian, was executed by shooting together with his family in his own house; a teacher of a secondary school at village Kochaki, Bajiko Vekua firstly raped, then tormented and killed; Bichiko Baramia – an assistant professor of Abkhazian University, diseased and disabled man was executed by shooting together with his wife; Shota Jgabadze – professor was executed by shooting when he was operating a wounded patient. It’s just a drop in the ocean of separatists violence. 30000 innocent people were killed in Abkhazian War in 1992-1993.

    “…They captured a young girl. She was hiding in the bushes near the house where they killed her parents. She was raped several times. One of the soldiers killed her and mutilated her. She was cut in half. Near her body they left a message: as this corpse will never be as one piece, Abkhazia and Georgia will never be united either…”

    The war was over in September 1993, by actual separation of Abkhazeti From Georgia, by genocide of Georgian population, by destroying towns. As a result of the war 200000 people were forced to leave their own places of residence. The refugees moved to various regions of Georgia.In spite of Russian repeated recognition of Georgian territorial integrity, since the beginning of militant actions representatives of Russian Federation officials, several ministries, and departments, various political parties and organizations have been supported the separatists with political, military, economical, financial and moral aid. Even before the conflict, on March 1992, Autonomous Republic of Abkhazeti without submission of Georgian government approval began making economic agreements with Russian Federation. In early March V. Ardzinba applied to B. Eltsin for economical aid. On March 19, 1992 B.Eltsin ordered Krasnodar and Stavropol Administration leaders to make direct trade-economic agreements with Abkhazeti. The orders were fulfilled during the next three months.


    “Turn O Lord, how long ?”

    Francis Frost

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Maybe you should start your own blog. Just saying.

      • Monk James says

        This is a very helpful suggestion.

        Francis Frost is in a very good position to keep people aware of the never-ending troubles of Sakartvelo (Georgia).

        His setting up an english-language blog where all this information can be collated and searchable and indexed and otherwise made available on one single website would be very helpful, especially for us orthodox Christians.

    • Francis, I don’t honestly know the complexities of the situation, however I do know that neo-cons such as Randy Schneuerman (an advisor of Sen John McCain) and of course the ever-present Bill Kristol were beating the war-drums against Russia for quite some time. The whole Georgia/Abkhazia/Ossetia imbroglio may have been set off by these neo-cons wanting to weaken Russia.

  14. ‘See how they love one another’.

  15. Jane Rachel says

    Just looking at my nephew’s Facebook page. He’s gay. I love him to pieces!

    • There is the love shown by fallen human nature, and then there is the love shown by God: “Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise(discipline).”

  16. This is the feast of St. Nektarios, the great wonderworker of Pentapolis and Aegina.

    Some relevant quotations from his life:

    “Later, when he was a priest, Fr Nectarius left Chios and went to Egypt. There he was elected Metropolitan of Pentapolis. Some of his colleagues became jealous of him because of his great virtues, because of his inspiring sermons, and because of everything else which distinguished St Nectarius from them.

    “Other Metropolitans and bishops of the Patriarchate of Alexandria became filled with malice toward the saint, so they told Patriarch Sophronius that Nectarius was plotting to become patriarch himself. They told the patriarch that the Metropolitan of Pentapolis merely made an outward show of piety in order to win favor with the people. So the patriarch and his synod removed St Nectarius from his See. Patriarch Sophronius wrote an ambiguous letter of suspension which provoked scandal and speculation about the true reasons for the saint’s removal from his position.

    St Nectarius bore his trials with great patience, but those who loved him began to demand to know why he had been removed. Seeing that this was causing a disturbance in the Church of Alexandria, he decided to go to Greece. He arrived in Athens to find that false rumors about him had already reached that city. His letter of suspension said only that he had been removed ‘for reasons known to the Patriarchate,’ and so all the slanders about him were believed.”

    “Yet even here, the rumors of scandal followed him. Sometimes, while he was preaching, people began to laugh and whisper. Therefore, the blameless one resigned his position and returned to Athens. By then some people had begun to realize that the rumors were untrue, because they saw nothing in his life or conversation to suggest that he was guilty of anything.

    • Jesse Cone says

      Helga, thanks for drawing this to our attention.

      • Indeed. Personally, I am indebted to this saint because when I was a young boy, on this day I suffered a grievous, life-threatening accident. My parents asked for his intercession and I was delivered.

        His Christian witness was non-pareil. It is also a warning to what can happen to a local church which engages in such egregious back-biting. Because of the malicious lies that his detractors said about him, the Church of Alexandria to this day has been nothing but a backwater. The OCA has a chance today to decide which road to take: one of love and repentance, or the one of legalism and “concern.”

    • Regarding St Nektarios of Pentapolis,’Helga’ quoted a piece about him saying ‘By then some people had begun to realize that the rumors were untrue, because they saw nothing in his life or conversation to suggest that he was guilty of anything.’

      This reminds me very much of Fr Robert Kondratick’s situation.

      May St Nektarios intercede for him and for our OCA.

  17. Francis Frost says

    Dear Mr Michalopulos:

    Thank you for the kind suggestion. Unfortunately, I lack the necessary computer skills and the free time to carry out that suggestion. I have a demanding career and a young family in addition to my duties in my parish, where I am the lone psalti.

    Over the past 3 years, I have tried to the best of my ability to inform the Orthodox community about the plight of the victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing in occupied Georgia. For the most part I have encountered total indifference and sometimes outright hostility and abuse. There are too many invested in their fantasies of “Holy Russia”, a place that never existed outside of the legendary Kitezh.

    Fortunately, there are those few who actually care about the victims of these crimes and the destruction of the unity of the church, even a very few who are in a position to actually make a difference.

    While it has largely gone un-noticed, the meeting of the ancient Patriarchates last summer addressed this issue in their published declaration , in which they called on the Russian Patriarchate to “remain within its designated boundaries”. It should be noted that in the past the leaders of those same ancient Patriarchates sat as judges at the trial which deposed the the Russian Patriarch Nikon.

    Ultimately, what is at stake is not just the lives of innocent Christians, it is the very nature of the church itself and the purity of the Orthodox faith.

    What I find most disturbing is the absolute silence of all our great preachers and moralists on this issue. Apparently, ‘the right to life’ and the ‘sanctity of marriage ‘are nothing more that political slogans and moral posturing. How can we possibly declare our support for “the right to life” when Orthodox bishops publicly “bless” the weapons used to destroy life? How can we declare our support for the sanctity of marriage, when the very weapons “blessed” by bishop Feofan of Saratov were used to destroy the Ramzadze family, leaving only one surviving traumatized child as a witness to the vicious barbarity – a barbarity publicly blessed by OUR ORTHODOX CHURCH ???

    Where are our preaches of morality? As long as they and we remain silent, we all remain under the condemnation of the Lord who said “as you did it not the the least of these my brethren, so you did it not for Me” – who also said “Depart from Me all you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you”

    Unless and until we learn to recognized our crucified Lord and Master in the faces of these sufferers, we will remain blinded outcasts, condemned to the outer darkness, “outside the bridal chamber of Christ”

    Francis Frost

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      If you know how to click on reply, fill in the form fields and post a comment, then you have the basis on which to grow your computer skills.

      And you don’t need to do all the work yourself – if you go over to http://wordpress.com/ you can have it set up a blog for free. Or you can use http://www.blogger.com/home – either one is good. Just make sure to pick a clean, newsy template that has a good amount of white background.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Francis, either you will have to learn the computer skills (Lola’s suggestions are very good), or find someone who does. Otherwise your posts are a lot like Ashley Nevin’s posts – a data dump where you expect and require the readers to sort out the ideas and facts for you.

      The thing is, no media works that way. Information is always organized. Books have chapters. Essays have section breaks. Magazines have pictures and headers.

      If you dump a lot of data, no one will read it. You won’t make any headway at all. Your readers seldom have more time than you do, and to expect them to organize your work on their time doesn’t work. You have to do this work for them if you want them to read what you have to offer.

      • Francis Frost says

        Dear Fr. Hans:

        Thank you or the kind advice, which I will take under consideration. For the sound bite generation heres the bottom line:

        1. The Russian military has invaded the sovereign territory of the Republic of Georgia three times. Along with allied Muslim militias, it has carried out ethnic cleansing and the mass murder of the Orthodox Christians in the now occupied territories. As a result nearly 50,000 Orthodox Christians have been murdered an 3000,000 have been driven into exile. Two entire Orthodox dioceses have been destroyed.
        2. The Moscow Patriarchate is complicit in these crimes. The MP has created a schismatic non-canonical “Abkhaz Eparchy” in occupied Abkhazia. Russian clergy, including Patriarch Kirill have con-celebrated with the “leader” of the schismatic Eparchy, the defrocked Archimandrite Visarion Aplia. During the 2008 war, the Russian bishops Fepfan of Saratov and Panteleimon of Karabadino-Adyghe publicly “blessed” the weapons used to murder innocent civilians, used to destroy entire villagers and used to destroy the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral in Nikazi.
        3. These crimes violate the ancient Apostolic Canons and the Savior’s commandments.

        The question dear Father, is whether the purity of the Orthodox faith and the teaching of the Gospel actually matter to you. Of course, its much easier and more entertaining to indulge in the usual and endless clerical gossip and backbiting.

        Best wishes

        Francis Frost