What the Middle East Really Needs

egypt-3Things are going from bad to worse in Egypt. Events simply overwhelm. But the reality is that Christians are suffering persecution on a massive scale.

There is so much that needs to be done but only so much that can be done. I fear the problems are intractable and some of the blame rests with the West with its inability to understand that Christian and Islamic civilizations are inherently incompatible. This inability has caused us to wear blinders, thinking that if only we heard the magic words “Democracy!” or “Elections!” or “Reproductive Rights!” or some-such, rainbows would break out all over and unicorns would prance.

We here at Monomakhos are unable to come to grips with the chaos unleashed by the Muslim Brotherhood. (And for the record, we are skeptical of the MSM narrative blaming the Assad government for using chemical weapons in Syria but that’s a story for another day.) Instead, we intend to offer several commentaries from people more knowledgeable, from a variety of sources, both secular and religious.

What follows is one of them.

Taki Theodoracopulos is not to everyone’s tastes, yet he rarely minces words. A man of the world, bon vivant, and raconteur non-pareil, he knows of what he speaks. In regards to the Middle East he cuts right to the chase: what the Arab world needs is the rule of law, not useless ballots. What America needs is to get rid of the Trotskyite neocons who never met a war they didn’t like. And what Israel needs to do is stop building illegal settlements. That would be a start. And what we Orthodox Christians in America need to do is get off the stick and tell the world what is happening to the Church in the lands of its birth.

Source: Taki Magazine | Taki

What the 380 million Arabs need are property rights, not the right to cast a useless ballot every four or so years. If America and Europe insisted on only this, it would make millions of Arabs who hate us today love us overnight. Instead we have two medieval autocracies directing the agenda and competing with each other over who will pay terrorists more to overthrow Assad as long as they stay away from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the greatest humanitarian, social, and cultural disasters to befall this Earth.

These so-called monarchies are poison. They behead 14-year-olds for stealing—ditto for Filipino female servants who get raped—and are enabling hardcore Islamists to cause havoc all over the Middle East as long as they stay away from their sandy hellholes. In the meantime, Western leaders continue chanting democracy’s mantra with breathtaking naiveté. They are aided and abetted by the media, especially the grotesque New York Times, whose reporters at times seem to be on the terrorists’ side, openly rooting against the only man to safeguard Christians’ rights in the region, President Assad.

Islamists have awakened to the fact that the West is weak and easy to buy off. Islamists do not accept the existence of objective facts, only their version of them. Their only goal is worldwide Sharia law. (Morsi appointed the mass murderer of innocent tourists in Luxor as governor of the province.)

Every Muslim country we get involved with militarily only makes more recruits for the extremists. The weapons we send to the so-called Syrian Free Army end up with those nice fellows who eat hearts out of dead Assad soldiers for the cameras. Assad is the only leader to protect minorities, yet the Western media has turned him into a Hitler-like figure that has to be extinguished.

In the meantime, Israel is building more settlements in Palestine. Go figure.

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  1. Archpriest John W. Morris says

    As usual our foreign policy establishment shows no understanding of the history or culture of other countries. For people so well educated, they are ignorant. Ever since Wilson, we have made the mistake of assuming that our American forms of government are best for the world. It did not work then, in fact Wilson’s policies at the end of the First World War, made Hitler and the Second World War inevitable. It will not work now, especially when we have a weak vacillation foreign policy under Obama. When the President of the U.S. makes a threat, he better be ready to carry it out. When Obama makes a threat and then does not follow up on that threat, he makes us look weak and invites more attacks. We need to give up Political Correctness and recognize the true aggressive nature of radical Islam. We helped liberate Libya from a dictator and got Benghazi as a reward. We supported the overthrow of Mubarek without even thinking that what follows could be worse. We got Egypt dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and when the military moved to end radical Islamic domination of their country criticized them. Now we are going after Assad and sending money and arms to people who are killing Orthodox Christians and will probably get a radical Muslim dominated Syria as a result. Meanwhile, we continue to give unconditional support to Zionist expansion at the expense of the native Palestinian people of the Holy Land which only causes the growth of more Islamic radicalism. It is time for us to consider our national interests above the Zionist movement.

    • Will Harrington says

      I’m no fan of Wilson, but it was the refusal of Britain and France, especially France, that resulted in Hitler and World War Iv Wilson’s suggestions were entirely to merciful for their tastes and they decided to punish Germany. The inability of Germany to economically bear these punishments and the German peoples understandable sense of being treated unfairly gave Hitler his opening. If Wilson had had his way, WWII in Europe way not have happened.

      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

        Let’s not forget that Germany escaped having to pay its full bill for reparations by deliberately inflating its currency, and a big reason Britain and France insisted on reparations was that the United States insisted just as selfishly that all of its war-time loans to the Allies be paid in full. In fact, making sure the Allies paid their bills was the deciding factor on our entering the war. We sent men to fight and die to keep Britain and France from going bankrupt. Had we not done so, the Allies would have been forced to make peace and the killing would have stopped a year or two earlier. But even then, the royal houses of central and eastern Europe might still have fallen from their own bankruptcy and loss of credibility, and the Nazis, Fascists, and Bolsheviks might still have seized power. God knows, and God will judge.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        The point is that Wilson made promises without the approval of the French and British. The Germans signed the armistice that ended World War I on the basis of Wilson’s promises and at Versailles found that they meant nothing. Wilson was arrogant and his arrogance in speaking for the Allies when he had no authorization to do so led the Germans to believe that they had been betrayed. This and the reparations destroyed any chance that the Weimar Republic had for success and led to the chaos that Hitler took advantage of to come to power. The victors also denied the Middle Eastern people of the defeated Ottoman Empire national self-determination. Instead, the French and British divided the Middle East among themselves setting the stage for the problems that now plague the Middle East. Had the victor treated the Arabs the same way that they treated the former peoples of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, we might not have the problems that have plagued the Middle East ever since.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          And the Greeks should have stopped at Constantinople. But no, they had mighty warriors, and so they pressed on into central Anatolia (sorry, Asia Minor)!

          Just think– if not for [Abraham Lincoln][Teddy Roosevelt][Woodrow Wilson][insert other American here], Hagia Sophia would have been a Christian cathedral again lo these 90 years!

  2. I understand that prayer is the work of the Church. Maybe if we spent more time praying to our God, He can change things, because we certainly can’t. Maybe some of us could adopt a Coptic parish, for instance and pray for God’s protection over the members. We could also pray for the conversion of non Christians that they might know the love of God. I am open to all suggestions for any of these war ravaged people. But maybe if we prayed specifically God could/would act. Anybody have any ideas how we could organize this but also keep it simple?

    • Already being done - U can help says

      At two local parishes I attend, one an OCA and one a Greek Archdiocese, prayers at the supplications for Coptic Christians are said. Both parishes have Coptic members. Beyond that, in the Washington, DC area, for example, there are six huge Coptic parishes. But it is not only Copts but Maronites who are persecuted. We could find out if there are any initiatives at their own churches to collect for refugees. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been actively interested in combined efforts among the nearly Orthodox and Orthodox for over a decade, so we could support his efforts among the communities in Turkey which are some of them taking refugees, see ex.


      Consider giving to IOCC for specific efforts/ The Antiochian Archdiocese is suggesting we do.


      and consider that partial solutions may help a long term solution


      It makes sense that we mainstream Orthodox should coordinate through the Antiochian Archdiocese

      • Coptic members of OCA and GOA parishes?
        Do they accept Chalcedon?

        • According to one of the priests, if a Copt can renounce their former belief heresy in a confession, then say our Orthodox Nicene Creed and mean it, then they can be accepted in the Church without either baptism or chrismation but what some clergy are noticing is that the individuals have a hard time understanding their heresies even when painfully taught what they are. They think like Orthodox, in other words.

          What I have seen in reality is most Ethiopians and Eritreans simply attending without taking communion, some from shyness. Some Egyptians convert, some not. I don’t know what is going on at local Antiochian parishes. Here there are four, one in Arabic, one mostly English and some Arabic and two all in English, one of which is a western rite parish. There are no Syriac Aramaic parishes in this area that I know of, any religion. Perhaps we will have an influx of refugees?

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Canon 95 of the Council in Trullo in 692, which was ratified by the 7th Ecumenical Council, Nicea II in 787, declared that followers of Dioscoros and Severus which would be the Oriental Orthodox should be received by Profession of Faith and Confession, neither by Baptism nor Chrismation. Therefore, if an Oriental Orthodox professes faith in Christ as one person with two natures, human and divine, they are accepted.

          • M. Stankovich says

            There have been numerous agreements on both sides, simply in the last century, that there is no substantial dogmatic differences between the Copts, Armenians, etc. and the Orthodox who accept Chalcedon and the formula of St. Cyril of Alexandria: μία φύσις τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη (one nature in the Word of God incarnate). Accepted “without baptism & chrismation?” Having a hard time “understanding their heresies?” I suppose they would, given they were and are in no heresy. Let them confess their sins and recite the Creed “and mean it” like everyone else, but they “think like Orthodox” because they are. So take a survey in your own parish: how many who were baptized in the Orthodox faith “accept” Chalcedon? Send me a dollar for everyone who even knows to what you refer. I’ll send it to charity. They undoubtedly will thank me for my generosity.

            • Dear Mr. Stankovich

              Thank you for expressing a thought I was having as I started to read this important thread. I do believe that canons notwithstanding, persecuted Christians expressing a faith in Christ should have their needs immediately attended to without question.

              It was the magnanimity of Orthodoxy that convinced me, its generosity and forbearance towards our many failings. In these turbulent times there is much for us to bear with, and compassion is the order of the day. Our own falling short of perfection is more important than that of others.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              I’ve never “understood their heresies”, although there have been times of study over the years that I have tried.

              They have, of course, always flatly rejected the “monophysite” label that Chalcedon gave them.

              The persecutions and Imperial policies that grew out of the Chalcedonian anathemas were ruinous to the Empire, and played no small part in the Muslim takeover of Egypt.

              • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

                “They have, of course, always flatly rejected the “monophysite” label that Chalcedon gave them.

                “The persecutions and Imperial policies that grew out of the Chalcedonian anathemas were ruinous to the Empire, and played no small part in the Muslim takeover of Egypt”

                They rejected a label? Just like every other heresy and sect always has? Amazing.

                The Nestorians also rejected their labels, and their leaving the Church also “played no small part in the Muslim takeover of” Syria and beyond.

                What’s your point?

                I’d say if there was any error it would have been more likely been with the Nestorians (many who seemed to have been correctly worried about the Monophysitism developing in Egypt). They weren’t Nestorians but Chalcedonian Orthodox, but thus who remained separated from the Church after Chalcedon and after further Ecumenical Councils rejected all attempted compormises with Monophysitism such as one will or one energy had and have no excuse.


                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  Oh, my only point is that the Nestorian threat to the Church is very much attenuated after these fourteen centuries of persecution, and the Coptic threat is exaggerated, too.

                  But perhaps you are right, and we should encourage a greater vigilance against our false brethren, and harden our hearts to their plight!

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Tim, the threat of heresy is to my heart, to your heart to each of us. The Church herself, as the Church, is not threatened at all. That is why it is good to study the heresies, so that we can guard our own hearts, not to condemn anyone else. Once we are able to guard our own hearts then we may offer appropriate medicine to those who have fallen prey to the wolf of souls.

                    Heresy is spiritual cancer. It takes strong medicine and behavior changes to eradicate from one’s soul. It takes constant work to be sure it does not come back. As you note Tim, we all suffer from it to some degree. By the Church’s classic understanding of a heretic, almost no one alive can really be considered a heretic because they have not been faced with their heresy, had it explained to them and refused to repent. The lines have blurred. We all suffer and many persist in heresies that were propagated long ago which have not been challenged at all. I doubt you will see a reality TV series titled: “Heresy Hunters”

                    IMO, there are several heresies actively at work in our culture and have been for some time:
                    materialism; dualism; iconoclasm. Each of them, in their own way, denies the Incarnation and everything that flows from it. It is not Protestants alone who suffer from these maladies. We exist in a milieu that is filled with heretical thought. The only place we are free of it is when we submit ourselves in worship to the love of Christ in the Divine Liturgy. Even there, it still lingers in our hearts and minds.

                    The great saints are, by the grace of God, able to rise above this and see things as they really are. That is why they can read souls and can lead people to real healing.

                    Nestorianism and Arianism are different types of subtle dualism–beliefs that separate God and man; the seen and the unseen and deny the created place of man as the mediator between the two.

                    The Monophysite heresy is even more subtle but because of that much more difficult to address appropriately and well above my competence. However, having read some of the transcripts of one of the last big reunion conferences, we are further apart that most folks think. The key point, as has been mentioned, is the veneration of certain men as saints that we Orthodox have anathematized and the consequent lack of acceptance on the part of those who reject Chalcedon of the subsequent ECs as well. After 1600 years, it would be a miracle indeed for genuine reunion to occur.

                    As my bishop put it: “We are friendly, but not in communion.” I am quite content to leave it that way.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Thanks for your characteristically thoughtful reply, Mr. Bauman.

                      While likely the Church itself is untouched by heresy, the assertion does seem sometimes rather pat. One is reminded of Sir John Harrington’s quote about treason, which might be paraphrased thusly: “Heresy doth never prosper, for if it prosper, none dare call it heresy.”

                      The methods of the Fathers of the Councils in promulgating their anathemas did create obstacles probably impossible to surmount, as you suggest. It is one thing to anathematise a dogma or teaching, as Chalcedon did with “monophysitism”. But even the Orthodox do not actually accuse the Oriental Orthodox of monophysitism today. There could easily remain room for agreement, on this and other matters.

                      But they, of course, also anathematized persons; i.e. teachers and bishops.Thus the continued regard for or veneration of such persons cannot be gotten around. Or so it would seem, at any rate.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      The point I was originally attempting to make was that these are wonderful excursions into the theological academics that line dusty bookshelves in seminary libraries and serve as fodder for esoteric “papers” delivered somewhere, by someone, for something. “Do they accept Chalcedon?” Is there anyone commenting here, clergy & non-clergy alike, who would imagine that, pursuant to Tradition & custom, having carefully scrutinized the majority of Orthodox Christians over age 50, in any jurisdiction, as to their understanding of all clauses of the Nicene Creed, we would, of necessity, not be forced to excommunicate 75% (Lord knows I’m being conservative!)? Play with the numbers, over age 40? Over age 30? Would we be found to be a Church of heretics? This is a cynical, monumentally foolish pursuit.

                      Certainly the Church guards and defends the Truth as the harbinger and ark, and its eschatological expression is the celebration of the common Eucharist with those who share the Truth. But are we back to this issue “protecting the Eucharist” from a random Copt or Armenian who cannot distinguish Chalcedon from Kankakee, has no “issue” with the Nicene Creed, and will happily make their confession. AH, but hang on, Avak, first I must educate you as to your heresy… Well, get in line, Avavk, because we’ve got a bus-load of baptized Orthodox “heretics” in line before. And as I’ve noted previously, what to make of the Three Hermits.

                      It’s time to let this topic to rest.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              The issue that divides us is that we condemn as heretics people like Severus and Dioscorus that we condemn as heretics. Read the texts for Vespers and Matins for the commemoration of the 7 Ecumenical Councils in October. St. Cyril thought that the phrase “One nature of the incarnate Logos,” came from St. Athanasius. However, if actually came from the heretic Apolinarius. Another issue is that they consider Chalcedon Nestorian. However at the 6 Council, Constantinople II 553 officially confirmed the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria when it condemned the Three Chapters. Unfortunately, that was not enough to heal the schism.
              Unfortunately without the 6th Council, it is possible to accept Chalcedon in a Nestorian manner. Calvin accepted Chalcedon and then taught a Nestorian Christology that has infected most Protestants who are really Nestorians who reject the communication of attributes and the deification of the human nature of Christ.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Well, that’s a first! “Most Protestants are actually Nestorians”. Last I heard, they were all Arians!

                With all respect, Fr. Morris (which I sincerely mean), as a 65-year-old Presbyterian, lately (to put it mildly) an Orthodox catechumen, if Protestants (and especially “Calvinists”) were all Nestorians, their services would be much, much more interesting than they are now! And much closer to true worship.

                As for me, I’ll be praying with heretics all the rest of my life, as I have a large progeny indeed, and a Christian one to boot! And, as a practical matter, I’m unlikely to ever be entirely free of the taint of heresy myself– it could hardly be otherwise at my age.

                In the meantime, I’m going on a search to see if I can find a Protestant who even knows what a Nestorian is….but it may be a long journey, as there aren’t all that many who know what an Orthodox is!

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  The Jehovah Witnesses are Arians. If you read Calvin’s Institutes and compare his description of the work of Christ to St. Cyril of Alexandria’s anathemas you will find a great similarity between what St. Cyril condemns an what Calvinism teaches. Calvinism denies the communication of attributes and the deification of the human nature of Christ, that makes Calvin and most Protestants Nestorians because they separate the human and divine natures of Christ. One sees this in Calvin’s doctrine of the Eucharist, which teaches that we do not actually partake of the Body of Christ, because the body is in heaven. By teaching that we only spiritually receive Christ, Calvin separated the human and divine natures of Christ and the denies the deification of the human nature of Christ. These Nestorian tendencies fully surfaced in liberal Protestantism, which is most definitely Nestorian because as St. Cyril and St. John Cassain rightly observed the logical conclusion of Nestorianism is that Christ was really only an inspired man, which is what most liberal Protestants believe. Paul Tillich was one of the most influential modern theologian in Protestant circles. His teaching on Christ is adoptionism and a form of Nestorianism.

                • Rdr. James Morgan says

                  Good one, Tim R.! Having been a protestant of some ilk in my distant past, I resonate with you since my ‘old kirk’ didn’t know heresy from skimmed milk!

            • To M Stankovich says

              I think you did not understand my posting because by mentioning that they think like Orthodox, they were and are like orthodox. The very notion that they must be taught their heresy in order to renounce it means they have no heresy, but perhaps teaching them what they must renounce is a way of putting them in a position to teach others. That can be after the fact of the reception by profession of faith via the Creed. Everyone should confess before being communed any time,including the first.

              I found Basil’s original statement a bit snarky

              • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

                “The very notion that they must be taught their heresy in order to renounce it means they have no heresy”

                No, that just means they are ignorant, and/or perhaps (at best) also their clergy are apostate from their own Heterodoxy and have quietly stopped teaching the distinctives of their sect. When I encounter and debate Roman Catholics, I often have to teach them their Trinitarian error about “and also the Son,” to me that means they are just ignorant, whereas you would assume that means Rome and the Roman Catholic isn’t heretical.

                • When I encounter and debate Roman Catholics, I often have to teach them their Trinitarian error about “and also the Son,” to me that means they are just ignorant, whereas you would assume that means Rome and the Roman Catholic isn’t heretical.

                  Please do not pretend to suggest what I assume as I assume just the opposite of what you patronizingly suggest above concerning the Roman Catholic.. And do not assume that if Christians think like us Orthodox, they are not Orthodox in thought. Their simple reception through confession and acclamation would then be correct. Teaching them what their historic heresies of their former religions (note that I do not use the word faith) is/was can come after their quick reception according to what they believe. What they believe makes them one of us. You would make torturous what is natural and honest.

                  I sometimes like your postings but notice you are sometimes too ready to condemn. Perhaps you might become more ready to embrace others in your obvious desire to preserve Orthodoxy.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  In what fora do you “encounter and debate Roman Catholics”? How do the encounters begin, and the debates start?

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Non Chalcedonians must do more than accept the Creed. They already accept the Creed. They must accept that Christ is one person in two natures, human and divine and the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon and the other 3 Ecumenical Councils.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  Christ was begotten not made, of one substance with the Father. He came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man.

                  After his crucifixion, death, and burial he was resurrected from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father.

                  I ask in all seriousness and earnestness: why is more required (“creed”-wise)? What was the issue (I emphasize was, not is)? Yes, I’ve read much about Chalcedon over the years. Yes, I accept Chalcedon, without knowing what it actually means.

                  Why do all Christians, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, recite the Nicean Creed (leaving aside the obvious filioque problem), but nobody’s liturgies or services recite the Chalcedon formulas (as far as I know)?

                  What is the terrible mistake, from which very bad things can be shown to flow?

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Tim R. Mortiss! You need to be more careful with your language. ‘Substance” and “Essence” are by no means identical. The Son of God was NOT MADE MAN, but became man. He was begotten NOT MADE.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      I note with some satisfaction that two thumbs-down people are apparently opposed to Orthodox teaching!

  3. Tim R. Mortiss says

    We should try to narrow it down somewhat, starting with the bit about Wilson being responsible for Hitler and the Second World War.

  4. Especially for George M says
  5. regarding old article "Stan the Tran Gets Called Out" says

    The Voices rom Russia website has been shut down all month. Perhaps Varvara got intimidated by George wrting about the blog and its biases.

    And just when we were expecting to see a writeup on transing of Manning

  6. nit picker says

    There are several things that are laughable/pitiable (make me shake my head in disbelief) concerning the whole Syria affair:

    – Jim Kerry talking about “morals”. Does Jim Kerry really expect any government, especially one whose moral compass is so different than the moral compass of the American government to take him seriously? They behead people who commit sodomy, we argue endlessly on forums about their rights and guarantee their “civil liberties”, like marriage.

    – there is wide ranging commentary that if President Obama goes forward with a missile strike that it might be a violation of “international law”. A moot point at best since there are several countries which have chosen not to sign a certain treaty which would force them to be ruled by international law. In other words they are outside the “rule of law.” These countries are the United States, China and Israel. This treaty governs the use of chemical weapons, the targeting and use of minors in warfare, the treatment of prisoners of war and other activities, in other words it allows these countries to act as they see fit and justify their actions in any way.

    Argue on friends!!