When Is an Autocephalous Church not an Autocephalous Church?

Answer: when it’s the so-called Kyiv Patriarchate.

Sorry for the snark, but I should have seen this one coming from a mile away. I actually believed that the Ecumenical Patriarch was going to grant a clean bill of autocephaly to the schismatic sect known as the Kyiv Patriarchate.

I mean really: is Michael Denysenko the “patriarch” or not? Looks like the answer is “not”. He is however the “former Metropolitan of Kiev”. Sooooo, apropos of nothing at all, just who is the patriarch of this brand, spanking new “autocephalous” church? Just speculating here.

Admittedly, this was irregular on so many levels. First of all, because there’s already a canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine. One recognized by all canonical Orthodox Churches throughout the world, the Patriarchate of Constantinople included.

Second, there’s the fact that no hierarch can enter the territory of a canonical Church unless he’s invited –even the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Third, there’s the geopolitical situation which even a blind man can see is a disaster in the making. Why any sane man would want to intrude into the middle of a civil war or poke the Russian bear in the eye is a bewilderment. That one stands on its own.

Fourth, that the involvement of the State Department and the European Union is neck-deep in this debacle is transparent. In his dealings with the schismatics, Patriarch Bartholomew looks like a defeated man, or at least one who is forced to do something disastrous.

Lastly, there’s the sticky situation of the defrocked man who leads it. The less said on this front, the better.

And to top it off with a bright red cherry on top, there’s the glaring fact that not one Orthodox Church is on board with this suicidal action.

So why did Bartholomew embark on this disastrous course?

Well, as we remarked before: follow the money. However, we were wrong as to the flow of the money. The simony paid by Poroshenko (to the tune of $25 million) was not to ease the chronic financial distress of the Phanar, but to bail out the GOA.

The GOA is in a world of hurt. Unfortunately, it’s the jewel-in-the-crown of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Think of it as a long term investment; a bridge loan to get a corporate division solvent once again.

That’s the subtext. And if the Ukrainians have to have the rug pulled out from them, who cares? As long as the fiction of the New Rome is maintained, that’s all that matters.

There is an irony here though: Bartholomew has done the one thing that the Cretan Robber Council couldn’t do and that is unite all the Orthodox Churches into a solid bloc. One unfortunately arrayed against Istanbul.

Ironic. And tragic. And not a little comedic, all at the same time.


  1. Is it $10 million or $25 million or nothing? The recent report from GOA says no money is missing: “… … after extensive investigation, there is no evidence that SNCNS (St. Nicholas Church and Nat’l Shrine) funds were improperly paid to any individuals employed by or associated with the Archdiocese. The Phase II investigation also revealed no evidence or allegation that fraud was committed in connection with the SNCNS construction project.” That is confusing because early reports indicated that the diocese had shifted money from restricted accounts to shore up shortfalls in other accounts. New procedures are now in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again. It seems that so many people are involved, that transparency, reluctant though it may be, is inevitable. Of course, I may be a victim of “black” propaganda. Anyone have a better handle on this? I don’t like the idea of any leverage being used against the EP.

    • timmy_the_lemur says

      “any individuals employed by or associated with the Archdiocese”

      I think it’s worth asking how much work this clause is doing.

      • My thoughts exactly. Not saying anything is being hidden, as I have no way of knowing; but the phrase smells of a Clintonesque qualifier. A sort of, “Just in case someone finds out we can truly say that we spoke the truth. Meanwhile, we hope this puts all suspicions to rest so we can move on and no have to deal with it.”

        Why not simply say “anyone’?

    • Alitheia1875 says

      No one individual or several persons has ever been accused of taking the money. But it has been apparent from the beginning that the St. Nicholas fund, and the clergy pension fund, were raided to pay Archdiocese expenses. The question remains, regardless of why and where the money went, is who authorized the transfer of the funds, who pushed the button on the computer to transfer the funds, and how many people know but are not saying, including the auditors who have produced two reports to date that really don’t say much of anything.

  2. John Sakelaris says

    So does this mean that the US had been arranging for money (from who-knows-where) to be routed through Ukraine and then to the Greek Archdiocese in New York? That sounds very strange. And this buys the cooperation of Bartholomew? It is a fantastic story. Please link documentation for this if you can.

    Among the loose ends of the story:

    1. Is this a violation of any US law that could be tied to Donald Trump and seized upon by the impeachment-happy left wing of the country?

    2. Does this in any way insure the continuation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople by purchasing safety from the Turks?

    3. With this deal, what is the future of Archbishop Demetrios in New York?

    4. Does this mean we will see the completion of the St Nicholas shrine and/or a secure retirement fund for the US Greek Orthodox priests?

    I must add that, as in any church, there are political activists who communicate with one another, observing the general trends and commenting upon them. This blog represents such a grouping. However, the vast majority of lay members of the various Orthodox church jurisdictions in the US are different from us.

    Most lay Orthodox in the US care very little about the dealings concerning the Ukrainians, the Russians, and the Patriarchate as long as their local parish services can continue and the retired priests will be okay. Most would be hard-pressed to define “autocephalous” or to explain what happened on Crete. And, by the way, just what did happen on Crete?

  3. In reflecting on Bartholomew’s remarks about the leadership of the Greek race, the remarkable thing is not the racism itself but the dismissive condescension toward “the Slavs”. I know Pat. Irenei of Serbia has been giving him hell and there’s the matter of the Bulgarians and Macedonia. So Darth Varth sees only enemies now in the Slavosphere.

    What he will retain leadership of is a very small percentage of what used to be the Orthodox Church. What Moscow has done is to position itself as the de facto leader of what is still the largest part (90%+), by far, of the Orthodox Church. Of course, the Patriarch of Alexandria will be the “first among equals”, assuming he accepts the honor over time.

    Bear in mind that the “Great Schism” actually dates back to the inclusion of the filioque in a letter from Rome to Constantinople from about the year 1009. 1054 was an attempt at reconciliation. It was not, however, until 1098 that Antioch, for instance, severed communion with Rome – almost 90 years after the initial break. These things do not necessarily progress quickly. What drives them is not current events but protracted mentalities. When a patriarchate formally adopts a mindset at odds with the faith, eventually, over generations, the Church regurgitates it as incompatible with Truth.

    The Russians don’t have to accept anything Bartholomew has done. They don’t ever have to recognize the pseudo-church he is founding in Ukraine. They don’t ever have to enter communion with the Phanar again. And they don’t ever have to recognize Bartholomew as “first among equals” again. They have lost nothing. The Ukrainian schismatics were already schismatics. The only change has been that Constantinople went from being canonical itself to being “outside the canonical space”.

    If you don’t believe me, wait for it. The MP plows on regardless of minor annoyances like this.


    • Billy Jack Sunday says


      “Our Slavic brothers cannot tolerate the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our nation in Orthodoxy,”

      The primacy of our nation?

      Nation as in ethos or ethnic culture and race?

      Did he say the Greek word for ethnicity?

      If I’m understanding correctly, he is saying, “The primacy of . . . our [Greek] nation [ethnicity] in Orthodoxy?

      Furthermore, did the EP just say that outloud?


      Is there any other plausible explanation for such a statement?

      • No, he used the word for “race”, not just nation. It basically means common birth, not the Western notion of “nation” as a political unit:


        He was clearly referring to the omogenia, as has been pointed out by Fr. Peter Heers, a noted scholar, a fluent speaker of Greek and a former parish priest in Greece.

        Yes, there is a perfectly plausible explanation. He is a racist.

        However, I don’t want to hit that too hard as I remarked above. It is a manifestation of that fantastical Greek pride that people make movies about. He really believes it but it is not something to take seriously. He will have to give it up in the toll houses eventually if he wishes to “move up” so to speak.

        What is awful, though, is the dismissive and condescending way he addresses the Slavs, not his love of his “Master Race”. After all, he’s not planning genocide. He’s relatively harmless when it comes to military matters. Poroshenko is the one to be concerned about when it comes to ethnic cleansing. Of course, he is acting at the behest of and enabling Poroshenko . . . a friend of Ukrainian fascists . . .

        Regardless, though he has not officially cleared the exit from the Church, he is definitely in the final hall approaching the door. Technically, one normally doesn’t say that grace has left a local church or part thereof until at least a local council has condemned it as heretical. If a council of primates did so, that would probably qualify.

        However, it is not just any local church that excommunicated Constantinople but the Church of Russia. Historically, a local council comprised of half or more of the Church would certainly suffice. But, of course, the synod of the Church of Russia is just such a council . . .

        Given that, one must presume that the status of Constantinople as Orthodox is in doubt, as is the presence of grace in its mysteries.

        • M. Stankovich says

          No, he used the word for “race”, not just nation. It basically means common birth, not the Western notion of “nation” as a political unit:
          He was clearly referring to the omogenia, as has been pointed out by Fr. Peter Heers, a noted scholar, a fluent speaker of Greek and a former parish priest in Greece. Yes, there is a perfectly plausible explanation. He is a racist.

          Allow me to offer you some insight into your obviously compromised understanding of the word γένος. You – or Fr. Heers, who loves nothing more than to create the illusion of scandal and division, as he attempted to do in his fabrication of the “liturgical experimentation of Fr. Alexander Schmemman.” I put this together to address just such issues:

          Gender derives from the ancient Greek γένος. It is used in the writings of Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Herodotus, Homer, Plato, Sophocles, blah, blah, blah to indicate species, a race of (people), a kind of…, a class of… (referring to animals), a house (referring to nobility), an age or generation (referring to time). it is used eleven times in the New Testament, generally in this manner: The apostles ask why they were unable to cast out the demon themselves and Jesus responds, “But this kind/type [γένος] does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Mat. 17:21). The Evangelist specifically notes that, “The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by race-type [Συροφοινίκισσα τῷ γένει] (Mk. 7:26). St. Paul, in detailing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, “To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of tongues [ἑτέρῳ γένη γλωσσῶν].” (1 Cor. 12:10). And he later notes among the trials he has suffered, “In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen-kind-race [κινδύνοις ἐκ γένους].” (2 Cor. 11:26) Finally, the OED, notes the colloquial development of “gender” as a “a euphemism for the sex of a human being, often intended to emphasize the social and cultural, as opposed to the biological, distinctions between the sexes,” notably the modern Feminist Movement.

          For the sake of this argument, we would be obligated to mention 1 Pet. 2:9, “”For you are a chosen people [γένος ἐκλεκτόν], a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” and he adds the curious phrase λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, meaning “a people who are saved (acquired/purchased/kept safe/preserved) and/or, as translated in the KJV, “a peculiar people” (i.e. distinct/special/”chosen”) (cf. Eph. 1:12-14. “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession [περιποιήσεως], to the praise of his glory.”)

          Further, to call out, acknowledge, and to recognize His people as “unique,” specific, and chosen/acquired/purchased seems to be both and joy and glory of our God:

          Deuteronomy 4:20 But God took you, and led you forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be to him a people of inheritance [λαὸν ἔγκληρον], as at this day.

          Deuteronomy 7:6 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; and the Lord your God chose you to be to him a peculiar people [λαὸν περιούσιον] beyond all nations that are upon the face of the earth, beyond all nations that [are] upon the face of the earth.

          Deuteronomy 14:2 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord your God has chosen you to be a peculiar people [λαὸν αὐτῷ περιούσιον] to himself of all the nations on the face of the earth

          Deuteronomy 26:18,19 And the Lord has chosen you this day that you should be to Him a peculiar people [λαὸν περιούσιον], as He said, to keep His commands; and that you should be above all nations, as He has made you renowned, and a boast, and glorious, that you should be a holy people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken.

          Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased [περιεποιήσατο] with his own blood.

          Titus 2:14 [Jesus Christ] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people [λαὸν περιούσιον], zealous of good works.

          And finally, a Persus count and attribution of the use of the word γένος would clearly indicate that its use as a pejorative (at least in our time) – i.e. racism, racist, and so on – is non-existent; and frequency of a particular definition/interpretation in its historical context over time makes it extremely unlikely that one would employ the use of the word γένος to express pejorative concepts of exclusion in general, and exclusionary racism in specific. By this logic, we would have to conclude that the Church, fundamentally, is an exclusionary, racist institution whose God delights in rubbing the noses of the nations in the fact that, in the end, He will trample them underfoot.

          You will pardon me, Scott, but you are making dramatic, emphatic statements based upon the flimsiest, most cursory bits of evidence. To conclude the Ecumenical Patriarch is a “racist” in our modern pejorative understanding of the term, employing the criteria you have proffered (notably based upon an interpretation of the Greek you do not understand) is, as I believe I have demonstrated, ridiculous at face, and purely contrived to fit your ongoing narrative at worst. This is another example of the shortsightedness of the google-scholar’s “research” technique of stopping when you’ve found the “quote that meets your need.”

          • Stankovich,

            You are all form, absent substance. You prove my point with your quotes and then baldly assert the opposite. You have no conscience, that is why I almost never reply to you, a practice I shall now resume. The testimony of Dr. Peter, the spectrum of meaning the word can have ,and the patriarch’s use of it in contrast to the Slavic race can leave no doubt in any uncorrupted mind he meant race, and to the detriment of the Slavs.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Let me be absolutely clear with you, Scott, that this would have been the perfect and appropriate occasion for you not to respond, rather than to post this rude, inane trash that says absolutely nothing. I have no conscience, Scott? What an ignorant, baseless, and crude commentary from someone who has no knowledge and no expertise as to the Ancient or New Testament Greek etymology, who wouldn’t have know the difference had I been quoting Hansel & Gretle, let alone the ancient philosophers and the Sacred and Holy Scriptures. Yet, you would offer the testimony of your falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus “Dr. Peter” – he seriously offers a broader spectrum of the usage of the word γένος than I have offered, Scott? – has convinced your “uncorrupted” mind to draw the emphatic conclusions by which you declare the Ecumenical Patriarch a “racist?” You are grandiose even among even the google-scholars, Scott, if only because of the hubris that drives your ignorance.

              I have invited correction as to substance from the day I arrived at this site. Read this again, Scott: as to substance. I have no need to be correct for the sake of being correct, and quite obviously, I document and scrupulously cite the source(s) of my position. The fact that you resort to personal insult and never address substance speaks for itself: you are otherwise incompetent. And you also know as well as I do, that when you are correct, I am the first one to agree and support you – and these are not infrequent occasions. To debate, to argue, and to challenge is essential to our understanding and furtherance of the Orthodox Faith. To immediately drop to the level of the street is self-defeating for everyone.

            • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

              Misha, I cry “foul” on this one. Michael Stankovich made perfect sense in his post. You WANT Patriarch Bartholomew to be a racist so you can pound nails into an empty coffin.

          • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

            Thank you!

          • Michael,

            Far be it from me to argue Greek, but just what did he say (in Greek)?

            Frankly, as I considered the words (translated into English) I was thinking that Pat. Bartholomew could well have meant what you indicate above. But…

            Did he, in fact, say (again in Greek) “…primacy of our nation in Orthodoxy”? Or did he say “…primacy of our nation of Orthodoxy”? Or was it “…primacy of our nation, Orthodoxy.” Or was it something else altogether?

            I’d be curious to know.

            • If he was not referring to Greeks in the ethnic sense of the word, then he must have been talking about his right to declare autocephaly based on his status as a Turkish citizen (pause for laughter).

              You can see the dilemma. If nation means race or ethnicity, it makes perfect sense. If it refers to the Greek or Turkish state/nation, it makes none.

              Nation in the West, particularly in America, can mean “state” in the sense of nation-state. Part of this is that because we already use “state” to refer to what other countries would call provinces. But that is emphatically not what Bartholomew was referencing. He was referencing the prerogatives of the Greek people (ethnicity, race).

              However, fair minded people can see that as obvious. And persuading those already supporting Bartholomew is futile since they have lost most of their Orthodoxy already.

            • «Δεν ανέχονται οι αδερφοί μας οι Σλάβοι το προβάδισμα που έχει το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο και το Γένος μας, μέσα στην Ορθοδοξία» (as quoted in https://orthodoxia.info/news/%ce%b2%ce%b1%cf%81%ce%b8%ce%bf%ce%bb%ce%bf%ce%bc%ce%b1%ce%b9%ce%bf%cf%83-%ce%ba%ce%b1%ce%bb%ce%bf%cf%80%ce%bb%ce%b7%cf%81%cf%89%ce%bc%ce%ad%ce%bd%ce%b1-%ce%ac%cf%81%ce%b8%cf%81%ce%b1-%ce%ba%ce%b1/).

            • «Δεν ανέχονται οι αδερφοί μας οι Σλάβοι το προβάδισμα που έχει το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο και το Γένος μας, μέσα στην Ορθοδοξία». – https://orthodoxia.info/news/%CE%B2%CE%B1%CF%81%CE%B8%CE%BF%CE%BB%CE%BF%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%B9%CE%BF%CF%83-%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%BB%CE%BF%CF%80%CE%BB%CE%B7%CF%81%CF%89%CE%BC%CE%AD%CE%BD%CE%B1-%CE%AC%CF%81%CE%B8%CF%81%CE%B1-%CE%BA%CE%B1/?fbclid=IwAR0N5eDcBHkpSlpBzXi70_3ieFbvTBKTrfAygsLrGNLVgpP7BNtA8J5sA

              As I posted on another thread.

              • As a greek speaker I would say that is a racist statements. You can use γένος, as in. Maria of the γένος Σταύρου Αnd of course in wider sense it means race and to me what he is saying is that the Slavs do not accept the patriarchate or the dominance of the greek race.

                • Billy Jack Sunday says


                  Thank you

                  The perspective of a modern day Greek speaker (native tongue) carries the most weight on this issue

                  The rest of us English speaking persons do our best to parse things out with speculations and conjecture

                  Personally, given everything I’ve seen and heard, I was already pretty sure that it was indeed a racially charged statement of dominance

                  It’s too bad there is such a misunderstanding of the Roman Empire of the East

                  The Byzantine Empire was much more than merely Greek

                  • Yes and thank you. The byzantine empire gets a bad press and the word is used negatively by people who know no better.
                    It saved classical civilization, science,art and philosophy to name a few and kept a large part of Europe from permanent islamic domination. AND we all know what happened in 1204!
                    There are some very good books about byzantium but two I recommend are. Byzantium by professor Judith Herren and Lost to the west, by Lars Brownworth. This last one is a riveting read and highly recommended. The Herren book is more academic but I do not mean boring, because Herren writes well and interestingly and is very enjoyable but has much more academic background detail.

                    Finally yes γένος today means race. Έθνος can be interchangeable but generally refers to nationality. In my greek passport it has ιθαγένεια, translating as nationality for which the common words is έθνος as in Εθνικός Ύμνος or National Hymn.
                    I guess the confusion is that for until present century, nationality and race were almost always the same outside of multiple national empires, but that will not be true today. When renewing my passport in London uk in 2009, most queuing up were black and greek speaking.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      My own opinion is that the best book on the Eastern Roman Empire is Warren Treadgold’s “History of the Byzantine State and Society”. It is large and authoritative; very detailed but well-written. Up to date, as written just a few years back. I’ve read a lot of them and think this is the best.
                      As Treadgold points out, there was a recognizable Roman state for a thousand years, from the early Republic to 1453. He emphasizes what I’m sure most here know, that “Byzantines” (all know that this is a purely academic term, but it survives because useful) did not consider themselves “Greeks”, though of course they were Greek speaking. In fact, if an Eastern Roman of say, about AD 950 (just to pick a date) used the term “Greek”, he would likely have been referring to paganism and the pagans.

                • A point to make that γένος is race is has same roots as the name γέννηση or Birth and rhe very to give Birth. So it is meaning something more connected to blood line than έθνος as i explain elswhere and via my Greek passport entry.
                  I do not think Bartholomaios is a racist in the full meaning of the word but he is definitely a greek ‘firster ‘ in the Church. I personally thought there is no how or greek etc. But I could be wrong?
                  Away and above all this is what this is doing to the Church that is floating out to Sea on a bed of irrelevence.

                • In the statement in question, Bartholomew is contrasting the Slavs on the one hand with the EP and “our γένος” on the other. In other words, the word “γένος” is being used in a way to exclude from its meaning the Slavs. The structure of the sentence, which is apparent not only in the original Greek but also in the English translation, thus leads me to the same conclusion as reached by Nikos, at least insofar as he interprets “γένος” to refer to “Greeks.” This is also consistent with Babiniotes’ Dictionary of Modern Greek.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Perhaps you are not appreciating the manner in which this phrase “Γένος μας” is currently being utilized and why I responded.

                    I have no disagreement that the Ecumenical Patriarch fully intended to make a clear distinction between Greeks and Slavs – and, seriously, will anyone argue that the “contention,” rivalry, and animosity between the two groups is longstanding, for centuries? Nevertheless, the interpretation of “Γένος μας ” to be our colloquial “hate speech” use of the word racist is idiotic. This was my point in providing a lengthy etymological examination of the word ““γένος” to demonstrate that it fundamentally lacks a history of application as a gross pejorative: not found in the writings of the Ancient Greek poets, lyricists, or philosophers; not in the writings of the Holy Scripture or the Patristic Fathers; and pardon me, but no one has yet to provide a compelling argument for a contemporaneous use of the word “γένος” as a pejorative in the same league as “racist,” and it certainly does not constitute the melodrama of “heresy.”

                    Finally, let me say that I am not a “native speaker” of modern Greek, and from what I have seen, being a “native speaker” of modern Greek provides little advantage in learning & understanding the Greek of the New Testament (the same is true of of native speakers of Slavic languages and Church Slavonic). Secondly, I have received more than my share of “complaints” about providing the Greek texts along with a translation, suggesting it is “showing off.” My response to this is that, while it may seem trite to repeat that “words have power,” the inspired writers of the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Fathers chose specific words and phrase for a reason (and those who are not Orthodox Christians neither understand nor appreciate how Bishops, gathered at what would later be deemed an “Ecumenical Council,” would spend days formulating the definition of the phrase, “one essence with the Father,” but how profound the reality!)

                    In my estimation, this Greek was created to convey the subtlety, the nuance, the distinction, the beauty, and frequently the poetic cadence (from the joy brought about by viewing the creation (Ps. 103:31 LXX) to the man who cries out from a place of helplessness (Ps. 141:7 LXX). It is neither extraneous nor an “academic exercise” to examine the original texts, but very frequently a revelation.

            • M. Stankovich says


              The link provided is a news report of statements made by the EP, and the comment in discussion: “Our Slav brothers cannot accept the primacy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our nation within Orthodoxy.” The Greek phrase in question is “Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο και το Γένος μας, μέσα στην Ορθοδοξία.” Scott’s argument is entirely dependent upon a translation (presumably from Fr. Peter Heers) of Γένος μας as “our nation” (and it is interesting that the Russian translation of this article translates the phrase Γένος μας as нашей нации, “our nation.”

              As I have mentioned many times, Greek terms frequently depend upon the context in which they are being used in order for one to properly determine their correct intended meaning. This is exactly how “translation engines” are able to produce a perfect word-for-word translation that is completely unintelligible and foolishness, simply because it has no “sense” of the nuance and contextual adaptation of language.

              I believe that I have more than adequately addressed both the range and context of the use of the word γένος. To, again, correct Scott, what I would have expected to hear from the EP should he have been speaking of unique “prerogatives of the Greek people (ethnicity, race)” was the word ἔθνος, which appears 163 times in the New Testament and coutless in the Old Testament as the word for “nation(s), race, country, ethnicity, etc.”. Not γένος. It is a mistranslation and misapplication of an intended pejorative where one does not exist. Exactly what the EP intended, I cannot tell you, but it seems to me that there is more than enough to manage without contriving more. The issue here is truth, not “supporting” the EP, and this is a truly ignorant accusation.

              • Thank you.

                • What I have yet to hear from one single soul, Brian, is to exactly which group of people Bartholomew was referring if it is not the Greek “ethnic nation” – race. There is no answer to that. It must be the Greek people as a race or distinct ethnic group. There is no other likely suspect and given the contrast with the Slavs it is the only answer that makes any modicum of sense.

                  Was he referring to the Turkish nation, of which he is a citizen? Not possible. The Turks are Muslims and have no “prerogatives” within Orthodoxy.

                  Was he referring to the Greek state (“the Hellenic Republic”) Certainly not They do not have the prerogative to “lead the Church” but are simply one autocephalous local church, not even mentioned near the top of the diptychs.

                  So to what “nation” is the man referring? It must be to the Greek people as such. And that is race or ethnicity. And that is the point of every honest observer of the situation.

                  Now, whatever baseless alternatives dishonest peacocks choose to assert by way of amateur sophistry is beside the point.

                  • Misha,

                    I asked Michael for an accurate translation, and he gave it – for which I am grateful. He added (as you have) his own thoughts, as is his right and yours.

                    I was interested in what Pat Bartholomew actually said. I can draw my own conclusions, thank you.

              • English being without gramatical cases is a much more contextual language than Greek, actually.
                In modern every day greek γένος is correlated with a racial connection, a blood line. Where as έθνος can be too and before 20the. Race and nation meant same, but today has more the meaning of National.

          • Mr Stakowitch “For you are a chosen people [γένος ἐκλεκτόν], a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” and he adds the curious phrase λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, meaning “a people who are saved (acquired/purchased/kept safe/preserved) and/or, as translated in the KJV, “a peculiar people” (i.e. distinct/special/”chosen”)”

            Are you saying that Greeks are chosen people?

            • Billy Jack Sunday says


              The Greeks are indeed the Frozen Chosen

              That’s why their hair is blue

            • M. Stankovich says

              I would have answered sooner, but it took longer than expected to control the bleeding after the mangling of my name… In that the Greeks are Orthodox Christians, they are, indeed, of a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy naion.” In fact, when I first read the statement of the EP, “και το Γένος μας, μέσα στην Ορθοδοξία,” given that γένος so frequently identifies a “type” (or what is referred to now as “branding”), my immediate interpretation was that the EP was chiding the Slavs for their disrespect of “our Byzantine Orthodoxy,” within Orthodoxy (γένος), “but now you have no choice.”

              • Mr Stankovitch

                The only nation that could lay such claim, as Saint Paul points, are Jews, not Greeks.

                “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

                And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

                Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

                Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

                Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

                For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

                Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

                And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

                For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?”

                • Martin,

                  Read 1 Peter 2:9-10

                  • It does not contradict what Saint Paul wrote.

                    Greeks are not the chosen people, only those who remain true are part of it. Sorry.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Let’s try this one more time, and then, as they say, faite accompli, you are the theologian. I personally do not appreciate being asked a question when your intention is not to seek information, but rather to entrap.

                      There is no question as to who were the “chosen people,” and as the Lord Himself tells the Samaritan woman directly, “You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” (Jn. 4:22) The obvious complication, as noted by this same Gospel writer, is that He who was the “life [and] the light of men” explicitly came to His chosen people as “the Light [that] shines in darkness,” but was unrecognized; “the darkness comprehended it not,” says the Evangelist. Now stop for a moment to consider the point: the Gospel says, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men,” (Jn. 1:4) yet He who was the very Fashioner & Creator, “Who truly was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” (1 Pet. 1:20) entered the world unrecognized & unacknowledged. And it is only the creation itself – the sun and the moon and the foundations of the earth – that realized that the One on the cross was the King of Kings and literally “hides it rays and quakes in amazement, seeing the Master crucified.” The Church, then, liturgically sets this scene in the starkest of reality, in the words of the Antiphon I have posted below: “What have I done to you, my chosen people, that you would crucify me?” In other translations, the Lord cries out, “I can bear no more. You shall no longer be my chosen people – I shall call the Gentiles my Chosen…”

                      You asked me, “Are you saying that Greeks are chosen people?” and you apparently did not pay close attention to my response, as you further responded “The only nation that could lay such claim, as Saint Paul points, are Jews, not Greeks.” This would be an appropriate response if I had said that Greeks are chosen people. But I did not. I said,

                      In that the Greeks are Orthodox Christians, they are, indeed, of a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation.” I am presuming that you can figure out whom St. Peter was referring to when he stated, “For you are are a chosen people [γένος ἐκλεκτόν], a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (I would also refer you to the Anaphora of the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great where, in the context of the salvation history of our God with His chosen people, St. Basil emphasized the organic relationship, “as it was in the beginning,” by employing these identical words of St. Peter).

                      I conclude by saying that I strongly suspect you have misinterpreted St. Paul’s intention in the section of his Epistle to the Romans you quoted, believing he means the Jews to be the “root” and the Gentiles the “branches.” I would refer you to St. John Chrysostom’s Homily 19 on Romans for his exegesis of the matter.

                    • It does not contradict what Saint Paul wrote.

                      Correct. Not at all.

                      Greeks are not the chosen people, only those who remain true are part of it.

                      Again, correct. But that is precisely what Michael has been saying.

                      The Church is the nation, and that Church includes all the believing Gentiles (or Jews for that matter). The chosen race, the holy nation has nothing to do with ancestry.

                      The debate over what Pat. Bartholomew may have meant by his use of the word is another matter altogether.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  The First Antiphon after the Fourth Gospel Reading at the Matins of Great and Holy Friday:

                  “O my people, what have I done to you?” says the Lord;
                  “In what way have I grieved you?
                  “I have given light to those who were blind
                  “I have cleansed the people with leoprsy
                  “And I made the paralyzed man rise from his pallet.
                  “O my people, what have I done to you?
                  “And what do you give me in return?
                  “For the manna, you give me gall, and vinegar for water from the rock;
                  “For my love you nail me to the cross.
                  “You shall no longer be my chosen —
                  “I shall call the Gentiles to glorify me,
                  “together with the Father and the Spirit,
                  “And I shall give them life eternal.

          • OK, Mr Stankovich, I will help you.

            While “genos” obviously means race, blood, or more literally genes, the patriarch did not say “primacy”. The word “provadisma” can mean something else than “primacy”, it rather means “precedence”, or being before. What is true, Greeks (and even Latins) had true faith before Slavs, same way as Jews before Greeks.

            Yet if Jews (and Latins) fell away so can the Greeks, as EP did when it submitted to the Latins in XV century.

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says


    Go Trump! The GOP will stay in control of the Congress.
    Once the Mid-Terms are over and the GOP stays in power the Muller Investigation goes down, the Demoncrats will be purged of its young socialist base and regular average American will get back to wok to restoring the Republic. DONE!!!.



    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Peter A. Papoutsis! Am I mistaken or did you bring up American party politics as somehow a comment on the topic: “When is an Autocephalous Church not an Autocephalous Church?”
      What is a “redtsunami,” and what is a “Demoncrat?” You did, so I’ll comment: I feel that, just as Hitler’s folk blamed the Reichstag fire on a “Commie,” although it was set by one of their own, many people like you are blaming the recent gaggle of pipe bombs on the very people that got them! This is a parallel between Trump followers and followers of Adolf Hitler, no?. But Gail, Fr Webster, et al assure me that this kind of sentiment is far from part of their understanding of Trump followers.

      • Bishop Tikhon your continuing to post here just embarrasses yourself and your former office. Many of us here are Trump supporters because he, while personally imperfect, stands up for traditional values.

        None of us are Hitler lovers. The man who sent pseudo-bombs was a tragically disturbed individual. He has no similarity to any rational person from either side of the aisle. Same for the anti-Trump man who shot up the synagogue.

        I don’t know why you have this fascination with tying good conservative traditional Orthodox people to Hiltler but enough! You just embarrass yourself. Whatever respect you earned for your military service and time as a bishop you have squandered by your disgusting obsession with Hitler and tying those of us who support the Ptesident to him. I am embarrassed for you. I wish you had family to take your computer away and to tell you to stop embarrassing yourself. Please, just shut up already with your venom.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Michael we’re approaching what I call the Godwin-Warhol Singularity: that point where Godwin’s law merges with Warhol’s observation.

          Towit, in the future everybody will be Hitler for 15 minutes.

          • Billy Jack Sunday says

            George Michalopulos

            I know this one

            It’s when you decide to shave off your beard and mustache – but decide to leave a little briefly to shock your family and next door neighbor

            Any longer than 15 minutes is inappropriate

            Overnight – then you got some issues

          • Monk James Silver says

            I thought that Andy Warhol said that ‘everybody will be FAMOUS for fifteen minutes’.

            ‘Godwin’Law’ (such as it is) says that whoever first mentions the NAZIs in a debate loses the argument.

            Or did I miss something?

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Michalopulos,

          Did I miss something, or did you actually deputize an anonymous cafone to imply a correlation between supporters of Mr. Trump and “good conservative traditional Orthodox people?” This, then, apparently comes with the privilege of seizing the means of communication with the internet (vis-á-vis one’s computer when possible) and the explicit instruction to “shut up.” As near as I can tell, while this is framed as “benevolent,” (sparing you and the church “embarrassment”), as near as I can tell, it is nothing short of crude, offensive censorship of an unwanted/disliked opinion. I would note that such behaviour is generally attributed to dictators, tyrants, terrorists, and quite frankly (you had to see this coming), of the γένος [genus] of a “hitler.” It’s that whole, “If the shoe fits, bro’…” deal.

          I will not even pursue the fact that these “chastizements” source from anonymous playground bullies who are like the young Arabs who gather every Friday afternoon close to the Israeli border to throw rocks at the Israeli soldiers. The throwers are masked to protect their identity; they are not close enough to do any real harm; but the “balls out” demonstration of masculinity looks good for the press and the ladies. Come time for Shabbat, the Israelis fire a few shots overhead signaling, “We gotta go before sunset, see you next week.” Some officer squats as things disperse, and says to no one in particular, “I love the smell of testosterone at the end of the day. It smells like victory…”

          And what exactly is the point, Mr. Michalopulos? Does anyone actually feel better, stronger, healthier, more satisfied, or edified for witnessing such a “smackdown?” “None of us are Hitlers lovers, Bishop Tikhon. And to prove it, I’m going to confiscate your shit and yell at you to shut up.” Very nice and instructive touch in teaching me as to the nature of the “good conservative traditional Orthodox values” traditionalist Orthodox hold so dearly. How about you reign in your “champions of virtue,” Mr. M.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Michael, no one said: “None of us are Hitlers lovers, Bishop Tikhon. And to prove it, I’m going to confiscate your shit and yell at you to shut up.”

            What was said is this: “Please, just shut up already with your venom.” That’s pretty tame in comparison to your characterization. I suspect Bishop Tikhon isn’t off somewhere crying his eyes out over it.

            Michael, I love you, but you’re either criticizing George for over moderating (you) or you’re criticizing him for under moderating (everyone else). What do you want him to do? Swat someone’s behind? This isn’t a playground. You’re grown men!

            When was the last time you THANKED Geroge? It’s not all that hard . . .

            THANK YOU, George, for allowing us to exercise our freedom of speech. THANK YOU, George, for treating us with respect when you address us. THANK YOU, George, for not overreacting to every little thing we say. THANK YOU, George, for devoting the time that you do to this site, when you have a life, too, and this isn’t something you get paid for. THANK YOU, George, for keeping us informed. THANK YOU, George, for being an all-around good guy. Most importantly, THANK YOU, George, for loving the Church.

            I think I speak for most of us (99.9% of us, anyway) when I say we love you and appreciate you. You’re a giant among men.

            • M. Stankovich says

              You seem to have a strong ambition to impose yourself into my comments. I believe I possess the integrity to be absolutely crystal with Mr. M. if it were my intention to criticize him over what he does or does not do on his own blog (in my own defense, however, I feel compelled to refer you to Lk. 18:1-8). My respect for him – as a grown man – allows me to trust that he alone will inform me when he deems my comment(s) inappropriate. He has alternately asked me to “tone it down” and to cool out, and in both cases I complied with his request immediately. I will simply say that I have been consistent, judicious, & prudent with my gratitude to Mr. M.

              Second Request: From the world of objects-relations theory, I kindly request you discover a new object.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                You’re consistent, I’ll give you that.

                Request denied. – If I see you malign another poster by twisting his words, throwing in profanity for emphasis, and then BLAMING GEORGE for allowing it, I’m going to call BS. You can either own it like a man or you can whine, e.g. “You’re mean. Stop bothering me. Go away.”

                P.S. A man looks pathetic when he whines.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  I am a fool for ever responding to you because 1) this is not even your site, and 2) while you frequently “act as if…” you are not a “lieutenant” here and I owe you no explanation for anything. Trust I will not repeat this mistake. Ve’, la tragedia mutò in commedia.

                  As I have said previously, you have not assumed a “moral high ground.” Instead, you are “head-hunting” minutiae and looking to fight. Godspeed, but not with me you won”t. I am amused to observe your swooning Apostate, trample through this site, as St.Ignatius of Antioch notes, “[corrupting] by wicked doctrine the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified… [and is] anointed with the bad odor of the doctrine of the prince of this world,” as he boldly & shamelessly issues explicit, critical instructions to the breathtakingly stupid Vladyka Tikhon about how to be an Orthodox Bishop! I mean seriously, “We Orthodox Christians” don’t need any lectures from this Bishop” – who otherwise is the very anointed of our God Himself… Wait a minute! He is an apostate of the Orthodox Faith stomping through this site! And not a single peep of indignation from you, Gail? Not ready to call BS, I guess? Or are you recalling the Scripture: “Put forth your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” (Job 1:11) wow, Gail.

                  How about you call BS when you have actually assumed the moral high ground.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    There are a lot of “you” messages in your post, Michael, and it genuinely pains me that you’ve turned that sword you call a pen on me. . . again. Do you remember when you were convinced that I had the power to censor all your posts? You mentioned it several times. Now, I’m not even a “lieutenant.” Your hammer is like a pendulum that swings from side to side depending upon the need.

                    You’re right. I do NOT assume “the high ground.” I’m not so arrogant to think that’s even possible. But I don’t malign, insult, lie about or target individuals in every single post, either. As far as Job 1:1 is concerned, I’ve already had my world torn apart. The passing of my first born in my arms, followed by the passing of my mother on his birthday two months later, followed by the passing of my spiritual mother the same week, followed by the passing of my father a few months later. I’m an only child of an only child, Michael, so I lost a lot of family in a very short time. I lost my husband of 30+ years who started shacking up with some woman and then my home of 35 years. Then came the loss of a job I loved and an appendicitis attack where I came close to dying. Next was the unrelenting torment from a member of our own clergy that cost me over $100,000 who now serves a handful of military people at Fort Huachuca …. all within 3 years. So I know a little about the devastation of Job, but thank you for wishing it on me. I’ve got to disappoint you, Micahel, just this once: I still love God intensely. I don’t how people get through these things without Him. But if I HAD fallen away from our Faith, I would have been one of those apostates you speak so highly of and deserving of even more torment.

                    How would I know if someone were an apostate of the Orthodox faith and if said person chose to “stomp through this site,” why would it warrant indignation on my part? If anything, it would motivate me to be more compassionate because I’d know he was hurting. If it’s who I’m thinking of, he returned to the Church several weeks ago, praise God. More than a few of us were praying for him. He’s not an apostate. His delivery can be off-putting, but that’s true of yours. What makes him a little different is that he doesn’t target people indiscriminately and he is man enough to admit when he is wrong. He is also man enough to keep his word. When he lets you in, he REALLY lets you in. There are few things I’ve said recently that might have set him off in the past, but when he says he’s your friend, he truly means it. If I cut him some slack, Michael, it’s because he earned it. I consider it a great victory for Christ.

                    We (as in you and me) used to be friends, too. Or at least I thought we were. Now you go for my throat, calling me a “head-hunting minutiae looking to fight.” Intensely personal and meanspirited. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. It does.

                    No one said we didn’t need lectures from a bishop, least of all Bishop Tikhon. We look forward to them. What he said about Bulgaria will be viewed with great interest. The comparison to Hitler wasn’t a lecture; it was a quip.

                    I wish I could suggest we hit the reset button. I liked it much better when you were kind to me. But I suspect you don’t do reset buttons.

                  • Constantinos says

                    Dr. Stankovich,
                    Please stop frothing at the mouth; it’s unseemly. More self righteous, high and mighty, tendentious, spittle from you as usual. There have been many corrupt hierarchs that are owed no allegiance whatsoever. What do I call the former Metropolitan of the Antiochian Archdiocese? I call him Saliba because he was a corrupt, thuggish punk and gangster.
                    When the former bishop calls Trump supporters Nazis, am I supposed to take him seriously? I take him as seriously as I take you. Which is not at all..

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Constantinos! You recently wrote this: “It is considered deeply antisemitic to suggest that Israel is a breeding ground for Nazi imitators.” Considered by whom? By Netanyahu? I feel that most of my Jewish friends would not agree with you on that. I certainly am not anti-Semitic. I like Arabs and Jews equally: they’re both Semites. My best friend in the U.S. Army, Irving Borowsky, was a Jew who was liberated from Buchenwald by Allied forces at the end of World War II when he was 16 years old and weighed 60 pounds. After immigrating into the United States of America he got a college education and became electronics engineer. That’s how he happened to end up drafted and at the U.S. Army Signal School at Fort Monmouth studying UHF radio repair alongside me for six months 1954 to 1955. I learned the long Hebrew prayer for the dead from him by heart. Now more than 60 years later I can only recall the beginning and the end words. I Do still remember the “Shmah.” At Wayne State University I exclusively dated Jewish girls except for one Greek Orthodox girl. As a German major I also studied Yiddish on the side. (Yiddish as you may or may not know is a middle high German dialect that did not evolve after the gates of the ghettos closed in Germany. It did not evolve with middle high German OUTSIDEthe ghettos, so when the ghetto gates were finally thrown open, that older form of middle high German was called Yiddish or Jewish by the free populace. One of the Jewish girls that I dated at Wayne State University was that rarity after World War II a girl of Greek Jewish extraction—Greece gave up most of its Jews during World War II unlike Bulgaria. You should refer to the deceased Antiochian primate as “Ever memorable Metropolitan Philip Saliba.” He’s not like the President of the United States whom you may call whatever you want to call him. No he was elevated by the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands to be an Orthodox hierarch. I’m sure you don’t have the blessing of your own hierarch or spiritual father to call him just “Saliba”no matter how conscious you are of the man’s sins. Finally, please tell me what value there could possibly be in being taken seriously by you? Thank you!

                    • Constantinos says

                      Your Grace,
                      In reflecting on your post, when I said that it is considered deeply anti- semitic to equate Israel with Nazis, I was wrong to suggest that. This was according to the ADL. Personally, I am very much opposed to the state of Israel as a matter of principle. I believe they engaged in ethnic cleansing when they founded their state. I also object to their barbarous treatment of the Palestinians. I actually strongly support the BDS movement,and opposed Trump’s move to relocate our embassy to Jerusalem.
                      So, no, there is no anti-semitism on your part. I apologize to you for suggesting that you were in engaging in anti- semitism. Just because you think differently than me on some issues, so what?
                      As far as being taken seriously by me, is there value in it? Certainly, there is great value to be gained. As far as the late Antiochian primate goes, I strongly object to the way he and his minions treated our Gail. Instead of acting like a shepherd, he acted like a mafia boss. There is no place in Orthodoxy for that kind of reprehensible, thuggish behavior. I hope that you would agree with me on that, and that you would publicly condemn such abuse.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Mr C. What ever else Met Philip of blessed memory was he was a Bishop. As a Bishop he is due respect. I certainly had my issues with him but he was much more than your string of pejorative adjectives suggests.

                    • Constantinos says

                      Mr. Bauman,
                      As much as I like and respect you, I have to disagree. I don’t have to show respect to any bishop or priest. As the saying goes, ” the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops and priests.”
                      Judas Iscariot was an esteemed apostle of our Lord and Savior, did many good works, and participated in the first Eucharist, but our Lord condemned , and consigned him to hell.
                      All of us betray the gospel when we are unloving, unkind, steal, and commit all other sins of commission and omission.In my opinion, Saliba and his thugs have betrayed the gospel, and, therefore, forfeit any respect that may have been due… Saliba was a gangster and a thug; I don’t have an ounce of respect for him. There are many Orthodox saints who were rabid anti-semites, they uttered false prophecies against the Jews, therefore, I don’t recognize them as saints although they are canonized. Only the Lord knows those who belong to Him. Don’t forget the monks on the Holy Mountain thought Hitler was their savior because of a false prophecy, and his hatred of the Jews. The Didache, specifically states that if a prophet utters one false prophecy, we are not to believe him. I worship the Lord, not fallible human beings including bishops and priests. The Orthodox Church is the one true church, but is by no means infallible. If it was, we’d all be Roman Catholics.

          • Constantinos says

            Dr. Stankovich,
            As the resident dork of Monomakhos, please stop thinking you have the right to tell George to censor those with whom you disagree. I already asked you once to stop using profanity on this forum. You’ve been acting like a geek for quite a while. We don’t need your censorship or your pious platitudes.
            George, thank you for all you do in providing us a forum in which we can express our thoughts without unsolicited advice from the dork. You provide a great service to Orthodoxy with your labor of love. Thank you for everything you do for all of us. Yes, George, you are a giant among men, unlike the dork who hates the smell of testosterone. One minute he’s the dork, the next minute he thinks he’s Mr. Mafioso with his “cafones” and his ” Madonna Mias.” He must have really been picked on when he was in school. The dork reminds me of the Charles Atlas commercial of the guy who has never forgotten the fact he always got sand kicked in his face. Yes, George, you are a true giant among men. You certainly don’t need any advice from the dork or anyone else. You are a blessing to all of us.

        • Constantinos says

          Your Grace,
          We Orthodox Christians of Greek descent need no lectures from anyone about Hitler. It is in our DNA to oppose Hitler and the Nazis, or have you never heard of Archbishop Damaskinos,and the Greek police chief of Athens who were both awarded The Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem; you have no competence in claiming that we have any allegiance to Hitler. It demonstrates your incredible stupidity, Cultural Marxism, and its enforcement arm political correctness. If you don’t like Donald Trump then you favor the destruction of America. This is the grave danger of being a liberal snowflake. In truth, you liberal snowflakes are out to destroy our country.

          • Constantinos says

            Your Grace,
            I don’t really think of the internet as real life. For example, I would never talk to you in real life the way I do on the internet. Believe me, I would be nothing but deferential, however, because of the nature of the internet, and this forum, you don”t seem like a real person- just another poster.
            May I ask you a question please? How can the Ecumenical Patriarch canonize a blatant anti-semite like Elder Paisios? He was supposed to have the gift of prophecy, and, yet the “prophecy” I read sounds like it could have come out of the Protocol of the Elders of Zion. It was obviously a false prophecy because it talked of “Jewish world control, and the rest of that anti- semitic nonsense. The content was deemed so offensive that it was removed from Youtube. Thank you kindly, your Grace.

        • As an outsider it takes a bit of courage to comment. I understand fully trump and Brexit for that matter.
          Re Clintons, Blair et al in Uk and the neo liberal elite, their arrogant superiority, etc is well known and seen.
          The rabid sociological agenda of the new fascist liberals is also known and seen in gender lunacy, and much else.

          Their cosy little business and diplomatic money making merry go round is also well known as their citizens of no where life style and condescension to ordinary people with their anadyne meaningless language.# our community of facebook. Zuckerberg, what fatuous nonsense.

          But forgive me if i pass on our good Mr T.
          He believes in only himself and USES validation of traditional values to carry him and his business forward, much like his obnoxious son – in – law, ‘ cos they are too stupid to understand, as ‘ he said back in 2015.
          More to the point for me is to ask how the USA political system is so screwed and broken that all it had to offer the American people, were Clinton and Trump. Of course the evil is Plutocracy and endless obscene amounts of money.
          I leave it to u guys as i am not American, although I know USA quite well. But for me i denounce them all as a corrupt disgrace. You need a revolution.

    • There will never be a red tsunami, nor another Trump Presidential victory, maybe never another Republican Presidential victory if voter ID is not enforced federal law, and illegal immigration not controlled. Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida will go the way of California soon, forever blue.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Somehow “forever blue” had absolutely nothing to do with overwhelmingly re-electing a man to the United States Congress who is under indictment for corruption (e.g. using campaign donations to buy his underware, cigarettes, a $20,000 vacation to Italy, 36 shots of tequila at a bachelor party, milk, and eggs), and spends his work day afternoons in the bars of DC, where his colleagues drag him back to vote, and rescues him from drunken fights (the last apparently because he doesn’t like to listen to Celine Dion when he’s drinking). And in my mind, the worst of his behaviour: the first words out his mouth to the press as he left the courtroom after his indictment was to blame his wife. “She is in charge of campaign finances. I didn’t do anything wrong.” Several hours later, the federal prosecutor laid out a display of evidence, tons of credit card receipts for all the things he personally purchased (telling is the fact that his wife doesn’t “chaw” tobacco, so “dip” purchases were all signed by him). He ended the last month of the campaign – joined by his father – declaring that his opponent was a “threat” to US security because he had an Arab last name, to which his father always added, “This is not a racist argument; this about the threat to our troops and the security of the United States.”

        It was suggested that because he is a decorated “war hero,” he deserves a “second chance,” and I am the first to agree that he certainly deserves the opportunity to receive whatever help is available to him, to restore him to full health and functioning. In fact, providing a “second chance” and more, is pretty much what I have done for more than 20-years, in prisons, jails, lock-ups, courts, parole, and probation: instill hope; develop reasonable goals for recovery; teach the process of following the steps of recovery; developing strategies for relapse prevention; and achieving & sustaining goals. It is an astonishing process that, for many is a process of “habilitatation,” because it is learning skills they have never developed.

        Nevertheless, there are “real world” consequences for felony behaviour, and in this and similar cases, betrayal of the public trust in an official capacity should be exclusionary. Secondly, an environment where his colleagues cover for his otherwise intolerable, unacceptable, unprofessional, and ultimately disastrous behaviour – minimizing and denying the extent and impact of intolerable behaviour in the name of “protect his career” – portends disaster.

        I would predict his colleagues will give him a good “talking to,” and if he isn’t convicted of corruption, he’ll hang on. But these pathological processes have a natural history that is measurable and predictable, and the likelihood of its return is difficult to ignore. And when it does, as happens so many times in so many families and so many institutions that faced such a situation, the question will always arise: How did we help this man?

        • Michael Stankovich,
          Love is expressed in strange ways indeed. Older Greek men are not good at expressing love, and forgiveness. Greek men usually do it by deeds, actions, and indirect ways. My “blue forever” post, was a brother expressing love to another brother. We may offend one another at times, but, I hope we all remember, without forgiveness, we are nothing.

  5. America is the model whole bunch of metro’s all owing power to Istanbul. Hostel take over of foreign lands is easier than preaching the gospel and converting Turks.

    • Jacob,

      You have an interesting point. One that parallels other liberal “Christianities”. Having no gospel, they have to strong arm churches away from others rather than plant them.

      Regardless, here is some encouraging news. A long serving Greek Orthodox priest in West Virginia jumped ship for ROCOR:


      • Estonian Slovak says

        What about the Greek Archdiocese priest who decided to move to Russia a year or so ago before this Ukrainian thing went down? I think George mentioned him.
        It struck me that he would choose to move with his family to Russia and not Greece. I recently talked with a GOA deacon who admitted that Greece has become quite secular lately.

      • “Fr. Mark [the one who jumped ship for ROCOR]….served parishes in Schererville, Indiana…”

        True that. The parish was/is Decent of the Holy Spirit (American Carpatho-Russian) which was known during his tenure there for the large sign on the front lawn:


        The sign is still there. Whether the parishioners themselves partake I cannot say.


        Sometimes these sad (and they are very sad) events are almost comical.

        • I would like to say a few things about Father Mark Tyson. I have known Fr. Mark for a couple decades, going back to my college days at Virginia Tech when I would attend his parish in Bluefield, WV. He is a very serious Orthodox Christian, a wonderful priest, an excellent orator, he has an outstanding singing voice, and his flock loved and still loves him.

          Thank you Misha for bringing this story to light here, and thank you to some of the posters that cleared the confusion about him being a “Greek priest”. He is certainly not Greek at all, but a faithful priest of ACROD. (Though I’ve been OCA most of my life, I’m of Carpatho-Russian heritage, and it’s frustrating to see how that diocese has been de-Slavicized and Greekified). Despite Pat. Bartholomew’s progressive and globalist tendencies and coziness with Papa Francis, in obedience to his bishop and the Church Fr. Mark has faithfully commemorated and prayed for him since the day of his ordination. But this latest move by the EP was too much.

          It is unfortunate that he will not be with his people and I know for a fact that this pains him greatly. He sought legal council and did everything possible to take his parish with him to ROCOR but it was not possible. This is definitely ROCOR’s gain, and the EP’s loss. He is a simple priest and does not want the spotlight. Please keep Father Mark, his Pani Lisa and six children in your prayers.

          As for the fish fry, I know for a fact that Fr. Mark does not condone that. He probably let it slide, as he was a newly ordained and young priest at the time. It’s simple seminary instruction not to make changes when you are assigned to an established parish. I’ve heard stories that are much more scandalous than Friday fish fries. And it’s not a big secret that there is still a lot of Uniate baggage with many of these parishes.

          I wish ACROD would have gone under the OCA as an ethnic diocese a long time ago. They’d be far better off today.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Indeed. Fr, do you know if Fr Mark has a crowdfunfing site so that we can help him?

            • (I’m not a “father”, just a reader!)

              No. He’s not looking to “cash in” on this in any way. For him it’s a moral decision that he felt compelled to act on – he will work for remuneration. He sincerely appreciates the question however.

              But if anyone would like to donate to the parish he’s now attached to, it’s Saint Tikhon ROC in Bristol, VA.

          • Good comment and as a greek agree with you about hellenization, wrong in slavic context unless stopping obvious Latin rite customs that cannot be accepted as local custom.
            But Pity GOA can’t understand that rigid pews and organ not Orthodox, greek or authentic in any way and not prayer. So they could start there.
            Seems a dedicated good priest. God bless him.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Just back from the Holy Land and Cyprus on a parish pilgrimage with our priest. I saw two Greek Orthodox churches with pews, but innumerable with those “standers” with the fold-down seats, many not just on the sides or here and there, but rank upon rank looking just like pews, but classier you might say….

              • Who cares. With all the problems the Church is facing pews are the least of our worries.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  We got a lot of problems to be sure, but removing pews would be a good start to resolving some of them.

                  • You are kidding, right?

                  • George, I would be much more concerned as to whether there are people in the pews. During my trips to Greece, I found the churches empty except for a few older women. Most of my relatives are atheists or at best agnostic.

                    • jk “During my trips to Greece, I found the churches empty except for a few older women.”

                      What about Old Calendarist churches, are they empty too?

                      Pews were introduced to dilute traditions and to make churches empty.

                      Analogical process took place in the Latin Church after Vatican II.

                      And another was depopulating liberal Protestant jurisdictions while fundamentalists grew. Curious thing, the later like to stand more 😉

                    • This is what I find so amusing about the claim that Greece is 95% Orthodox. Folks attend churches three times a year, and then only to get some pagan object. Most churches in Greece didn’t have pews. And the yiayias move around and gossip. There are some leftists who argue that Greeks decided to pretend to be Christian just to get Western support in 1821 and so renamed their pagan deitis as Christian. See Mircea Elaide.

                  • George good on you. That we have the odd problem does not mean we add to them and its not minor. Worship with and without, ditto organ and understand. I know u do.

                  • With an aging population………let’s take away seating!!!
                    So we can worship and prostrate enthusiastically with our stiff toes , arthritic knees, and shoulder impingements

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      To be fair, Mary, I bet you can do a prostration just fine. If you’re like me, it’s getting back up that’s the problem!

                      I suspect George was not talking about stassidhia or chairs. It’s one thing to have to sit down at the side. It’s another to have a wooden barrier between you and what’s going on. I remember George talking about this several years ago. He brought up 3 excellent points:

                      1. Liturgically, they make congregational participation extremely difficult, hence

                      2. Spiritually, they reduce the congregation to a passive audience, thereby deforming the liturgical services into theatrical performances and increasing the likelihood of deforming our anthropology into a clerical/elite vs. laymen/lumpenproletariat, and

                      3. Practically, they make the formation of new missions difficult. To build a traditional/Old World-style church without pews that can accommodate 80-100 people standing is less expensive than it is to built a church with pews to accommodate as many people. In short, the architectural footprint is about half the size.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I visited many Orthodox churches in Israel/Palestine and Cyprus last month. The older ones have the stander/chairs around the sides (stassidhia?).

                      But several newer ones, very beautiful (and some very large) in Cypress had rank upon rank of those “traditional” pieces of furniture, filling the nave. Just like pews but rather classier.

                      My GOA parish has pews (no organ for over 30 years), but most of the service is standing. We sit during the litanies, the epistle, and the sermon; most of the rest is standing.

                    • Pews make the church into a yiayia cocktail party: Massie, Firebird, Touchstone, p5 (300 yrs ago in Russia) “Englishmen found the custom of moving about in and out of church very disturbing; people, said one, “gaggle and cackle like geese””

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      It seems to me that no one has considered the fact that, like the small OCA parish in NY of which I was a member for many years – the group of founders of this parish did not themselves install pews into a building that became their permanent church structure, but rather they purchased a small protestant church. This structure (which happened to have a small hall with a kitchen attached, and above the hall an apartment which served as the residence of the priest) was for sale because the protestants outgrew it and built a larger church for themselves. Why didn’t they immediately tear the pews out? The pews were literally built into the floorboards of a very old structure, meaning that removing them was a major project that demanded a major financial commitment, for which there were too few parishioners. As I recall, it was nearly 20-years before a priest was assigned who was a builder, woodworker, and artist by trade and could do much of the work himself. The transformation was astonishing, as you could imagine, and benches were made to sit against the walls for anyone who needed to sit (as well as some folding chairs in the very back), and no one complained.

                      I would note that this is not an unusual circumstance on the east coast, that Orthodox missions simply assumed a protestant or similar church structure, and then set about making it an “Orthodox” church. As in the case of my parish, the cost of renovation can be outrageous, but weighing the idea of having your own “sanctified space,” rather than going to a funeral home, or the YMCA, or another church and setting up a “church” before every service, working around someone else’s schedule, and so on – “How should we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? (Ps. 136:4) – versus having pews is no question at all.

                      To say there was a lack of piety, or the “emotion” or character of the liturgical life was a “yiayia cocktail party” where it was more comfortable to order Starbucks or popcorn is self-righteously ignorant and patently offensive. My parish was the “home-away-from-home” of Bishop Basil (Rodzianko), of blessed memory, who led the Christmas retreat and served the Services of the Nativity of Our Lord for any number of years. I did not see anyone impeded by pews, “gaggling or cackling like geese,” or sitting passively by as spectators.

                      It seems to me that the reality is that pews do not make it “impossible” to pray or worship, and no one will ever be saved by their presence or absence. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:21) Focusing on peripheral, extraneous “issues” draws a lot of heat, such as it is, but misses the point: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33) Pews notwithstanding.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I agree entirely with M. Stankovich on this (and, as an aside, always I am grateful for any mention of Bp. Basil, who, more than any other person, brought me to Orthodoxy, albeit about 35 years after I heard him preach).

                      I do wonder about the historical reasons for pews in the Greek churches here (and in the Antiochian ones, apart from the “Evangelical Orthodox” converts). Our parish church was built as an Orthodox church from scratch in the 1920s, and indeed its overall architecture is very Orthodox, unlike some of the Greek churches from the ’60s, etc.) Yet it has pews and I think always has. What were the factors that went into that?
                      I have heard it said that it was an attempt to blend in with Protestant and Catholic neighbors. Maybe so, but nothing else about the church does….

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    If you’ve reached older adulthood in Catholic or Protestant churches, prolonged standing in services is not always so easy. To some degree it is an acquired ability. Certainly, there is standing in those services, and not just for hymns, but not so much. (I know; somebody will say it’s not supposed to be easy….)
                    I’m 70, but long before that have had recurrent back problems, leg numbness, etc.; far from disabling but part of the “background noise”. Comes and goes. I can stand for pretty long periods. The good thing about Greek pews from my point of view is twofold: I can shift some weight while standing by holding onto the pew back ahead, and I can readily sit if I need to. Usually, the first helps me avoid the second.
                    In an OCA or Russian church, I have to stay near the seats at the edge, because I can’t lean on anything, and if I’m out in the middle, now and then I’ll need to sit but find it hard to rely on the affected leg to get to the seats; it’s caused a problem a couple of times.
                    Just a practical issue. Myself, I think attaching much import to the presence of pews is often overstated.

                    • Yes and No. They stop orthodox piety. Prostration etc and as one now worshiping in Bulgaria ‘ sans pews’ massive difference.!!!!
                      Yes of course for elderly, sick, pregnant mum’s etc we need seating and for plain tired, U can have those stasidia around the walls or benches no problem to accommodate all.
                      Before safety worries UK football stadiums, up to 1990s, had no seating for 90 min games. No one ever complained.
                      I guess organs and harmonium and kitsch music no problem either with congregation as silent theatre goers. Slowly it allows.. As long G as in Greek.. And I am Greek!

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      Tim R. Mortiss and Nikos

                      This debate about whether or not pews should be used, or if people should stand continuously during the liturgy has gone on long enough

                      I’ve figured out the answer to put a rest to this issue

                      Everyone stand on the pews

                      Not only is this a compromise

                      But everyone will be that much closer to God

                    • Nikos: “I guess organs and harmonium and kitsch music no problem either with congregation as silent theatre goers.”

                      Next will be popcorn. BTW, my Catholic friend visited an Orthodox church on Crete (EP?). They had a big Mickey Mouse for the kids during the Liturgy, she said. I was not able to explain it to her.

                    • My parish has a nice mix of large open space with a few rows of pews toward the rear. I always prefer to stand at the very front (with no pew in front of me). I have never liked standing behind a pew, but that’s just me. I have to agree with Tim and Mary at least in part. The older I get, the more I choose to sit for short periods at suitable times. Perhaps it’s weakness, but I do not find that occasional sitting hinders my participation. I’m not a fan of pews in general, but those stander/chairs don’t exist in any parish I’ve ever been in the United States. If they did, I’d gladly make use of them instead.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says


                      You said:

                      “I always prefer to stand at the very front (with no pew in front of me).”

                      Me too

                      For me, it’s one less row of people I gotta shake hands with during the giving of the peace

                      Plus, that way you can beat the old people and the kids to the fire exit

                      I read that to my wife. She agrees

                      She also added that she prefers to keep all “pews” behind her

                      Does anyone else keep hand sanitizer on them at all times in Church?

                    • Really, it’s a no brainer:

                      Why would you put something in an Orthodox church that makes Orthodox worship impossible? It is simply not possible to do prostrations or even great reverences if there are pews in front of you.

                      It would like putting tarps on all the icons.

                      The concerns of the aged and infirm are covered by the benches along the sides of the nave. How lazy can we get and still claim to be worshipping? We’re supposed to be standing, crossing and bowing quite regularly during the services, not just standing or sitting there like guests at an amphitheater. That was the poison introduced by Protestants for whom the sermon, rather than the Eucharist, was the center of the service. If the Liturgy is just a lecture on how to be a good person, then pews make a bit of sense. If there is no real God out there to worship, pews make a bit of sense.

                      Otherwise, they really don’t.

                    • Next will be popcorn.

                      Near my home is a large Pentecostal-leaning Evangelical Church called the Family Christian Center. In what we would call the narthex is – I kid you not – a Starbucks!

                      In another direction for the busy Christian on the go, is a Lutheran Church that advertises “30 Minute Church.” As Lutherans are presumably still a liturgical and purportedly sacramental denomination, I wonder how they do that?

                      We could start our own thread. Maybe George could call it Adventures with Mickey.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Tim R. Mortiss,

                      It’s an interesting point, most OCA parishes on the West Coast don’t have pews, while most OCA parishes in the East Coast and Midwest have pews.

          • It’s simple seminary instruction not to make changes when you are assigned to an established parish…And it’s not a big secret that there is still a lot of Uniate baggage with many of these parishes.

            Good points. My sincerest apology, and all my best to Fr. Mark. He followed his conscience.

            • The discussion on pews, which are better than rows of solid chairs, is deeper than just about sitting or not. It is not the seating BUT HOW ARRANGED, any one who has worshipped in a slav, orthodox church that in general are without seats in that rigid rows way, will understand the freedom and informality this brings to worship as well as the physical use of the body in worship.
              Anybody who does not understand that and yes standing on the pew good for theatre goers wanting a view, has no understanding of orthodox worship. It’s not the seat, of course seats are needed and those stasidia in traditional orthodox churches are perfect, but the destruction of this liturgical space and ditto musical instruments.
              Yes I fully understand there are those who do not see that any more, nor much else.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                And yet, I was very interested to see churches in Cyprus last month that had rank upon rank of the traditional “standers/leaners” with the folding seats, filling the nave as much as do pews.

                Cyprus was the first totally Orthodox country I had been to. (Leaving aside the north, which we also visited). We were in Russia in 1987, still under the Soviet regime, and were able to attend two Orthodox services, and see many churches still standing, but it was much different.

                In Cyprus, all of the churches were Orthodox. These included many relatively new churches, in very traditional Orthodox style. Everywhere we went, our priest was greeted as a priest, with respect and kissing of hand. We had a great many happy meetings with nuns, priests, and bishops.

                I haven’t been to Greece, so Cyprus was my first introduction to the Greek world. Greek culture but not Greece!– very interesting. Also interesting was that several of our parishioners, who are Greek in background and often go to Greece, but never before to Cyprus, were very impressed and moved also by the experience.

                • Cotsos Nelikatas says

                  Well, there are plenty of Greeks in NYC who bring their starbucks coffee and drink it in church

            • Billy Jack Sunday says


              “Near my home is a large Pentecostal-leaning Evangelical Church called the Family Christian Center. In what we would call the narthex is – I kid you not – a Starbucks!”

              Uhh, what time is service??

              To be fair, we sell stuff immediately when you come through the door

              Makes the Orthodox Church look like a night club charging cover

              At least the Starbucks is optional

              They have a Starbucks and also have no pews. Brian, you will never be happy

              I’m just kidding. It’s nothing to go apostate about


              Is there a 5 second rule to that so a brotha can get a triple shot extra foamy hazelnut latte?

              • They have a Starbucks and also have no pews. Brian, you will never be happy…nothing to go apostate about

                Like I said earlier, I’m not a fan of pews – too hard and stiff. Combine a Latte with a Lay-Z-Boy, and you might just tempt me to go all Evangelical on you. The flesh is oh so weak.

                Paraize the Load!

                • Billy Jack Sunday says


                  How about Church E Jesus?

                  With an animatronic band of the Apostles for praise and worship?

                  Put that down as scary religious thought of the week

        • Billy Jack Sunday says


          It’s hard to get rid of because it’s too fun to say:


          It’s stuck in my head now. I’m going to be saying it all day

          At least they don’t have Taco Tuesday

      • Leadership is needed! says


        Though it is indeed wonderful for this priest and his family that he is no longer under the omophor of a racist/schismatic patriarch, not sure how “Greek Orthodox” this priest is who left the EP’s omophorion. He’s a priest of a Carpatho-Russian jurisdiction (ACROD) parish. Probably many more in ACROD care about the Ukrainian issue than those of the GOA, since the roots of that jurisdiction come from Carpathian Rus’, much of which is in present-day Ukraine. The Rusyns who developed ACROD are the same Rusyns who made up the core of the OCA back in the day, only the former didn’t want to be under Russian influence (old habits die hard).

        I admire this priest who left ACROD. Apparently he has 6 children and now no parish income. May God and we, the faithful, help him. This WV parish website calendar now notes that for the upcoming Sundays, there will only be Typica services served. One also laments the predicament that the parish is now in, but this is what happens when your bishop’s flagrant racism, schism, and probably heresy are out in the open for everyone to see. Nothing stays hidden in our internet age. Well-respected Fr Peter Heers on his FB page has openly questioned whether the Patr of Constantinople is now heretical.

        Some have questioned whether this WV priest can leave his jurisdiction without a canonical release. This is an interesting question. If a bishop becomes schismatic/racist/heretical, does a priest still need to seek his blessing in order to leave that jurisdiction? He is looking to keep his soul and the souls of his family healthy. Can a priest get a “canonical release” from a schismatic/racist/heretical bishop?

        The OCA synod met this week. Did they issue any statement on the Ukrainian crisis? I have not seen anything at all, not least on the OCA website. I find this a dereliction of duty of sorts. This Ukrainian crisis affects all of us, not just those in Ukraine. If a friend is looking to get acquainted with Christian Orthodoxy at the local GOA parish and they ask me for my opinion, what do I tell them?

        Not addressing the issue is an abdication of leadership. Yes, this situation is exquisitely painful for all of us, but our bishops are supposed to lead. The Russian Patriarchate bishops have clearly drawn a line, as have some other national churches. Don’t understand why other bishops cannot equally call a spade a spade.

        Would senior priests or bishops want their sons, daughters, godsons, or goddaughters to become a priest or matushka/presvytera under the omophor of “Patriarch Filaret” or of the Patriarch of Constantinople? Would they want their sons, daughters, godsons, or goddaughters to become faithful or monastics under those jurisdictions? If these answers are “heck no!”, then you have to wonder why are they so afraid of publicly calling a spade a spade. The faithful need to have guidance. Sitting on the fence without taking a stand is zero leadership and zero guidance.

        • LIN,

          Certainly, leadership is needed. That is our great deficit in the Church these decades!

          I did not know the priest in question was ACROD, however, I have met ACROD priests before. One served for a while at my old Greek parish. They are “Greek Orthodox” by my lights. In fact, a sizable section of the OCA is “Greek Orthodox” in the sense of being virulent modernists.

          Yes, the situation in ACROD and much of the OCA is similar. They were founded by Carpatho-Rus who had a love-hate relationship with Great Russians and with orthopraxis due to their former Uniatism, and were very receptive to Westernization at the same time as anxious to distinguish themselves at times from the Russians.

          Who really cares at this point? Most of the OCA would probably feel more comfortable going Uniate with Constantinople. ACROD certainly would. The abbot of one of its two monasteries closed it down by converting to Greek Catholicism in the late 1990’s. No mystery there.


          ” If a bishop becomes schismatic/racist/heretical, does a priest still need to seek his blessing in order to leave that jurisdiction?” No, he needed no release from the date of the MP’s excommunication of Constantinople. The MP severance of communion even mentions an alien theology/ecclesiology as the fount of the CP’s actions, making it, arguably, excommunication for heresy rather than for just uncanonical territorial encroachment. Either way, no priest needs a release from an entity “outside the canonical space”.

          The seriousness of what has happened still has not hit many in the Orthosphere. If it were possible to be automatically severed by ones own actions from the Church under canon law, Constantinople would have already done so through its actions in the Ukraine. But canon law needs enforcement to be effective. Only the MP and ROCOR have enforced it so far.

          God is watching the other local churches to see which wish to remain with Him.

          • Most of the OCA would probably feel more comfortable going Uniate…

            Ahh… no.

            • Billy Jack Sunday says


              That line of Misha’s needs to include

              “With Constantinople”

              Because if they go along with Constantinople, simply because they may not really associate it (being fully aware perhaps) with Constantinople going Uniate, but that’s where it looks like it is going

              Either way, I hope it is untrue. I’m sure if people do know, many many will be against it. This is why the discussion needs to happen, despite what seems the discouragement of such by some

              However, Misha’s line of:

              “The seriousness of what has happened still has not hit many in the Orthosphere.”

              I believe that is very true

              • Yes, I did not mean to imply that the majority of the OCA would consciously, presently go Uniate. However, I think many in the pro-Phanar camp and even some in the devoutly autocephalous camp might very well follow His All Holiness, the Pied Piper, onto a path that leads to Uniatism.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Roger to that…

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Misha, did you drink the koolaid?

  6. Antiochene Son says

    It is clear that Bartholomew had no plan for actually accomplishing this union he ostensibly desired. The two schismatic groups are at each other’s throats as much as they ever were. It’s even more of a mess than before.

    He is taking a page from Pope Francis’ book: just sow chaos and watch it burn.

    You know, if Bartholomew had some kind of brilliant plan that could unite the Ukrainians in a miraculous way, and peace was breaking out, I bet even Moscow might have come around. But that’s not happening.

  7. Fr. George Washburn says

    Apologies if the news is out already around Mono and I missed it, but the Serbian and Antiochian churches have just conferred and issued a joint statement addressing the Ukraine doings with great, albeit brotherly, concern. It can be found on the Antiochian site. No, I don’t want to discuss it here.

  8. http://orthochristian.com/116786.html?fbclid=IwAR1dTcNusqTVWeqOdwSiDV4hjk_cGimtuzwl3jiZ32-Wc6-Ab61gHfFEHCs

    Fr. John Whiteford has a different take on this than I do. He laments the whole thing and wishes repentance would wash it all away.

    Though I wish the CP would repent, I have to observe that they have been on this trajectory for almost a century – the latest outrage just being the latest outrage. If one pays attention to the letters of the Athonites to the Phanar, for example, one realizes that their discomfort with the Phanar goes back to at least the time of Pat. Athenagoras. Yet they remain in communion with him and consider the Greek Church in Resistance to be schismatic, yet composed of the “most pious” class of believers:


    I choose to see the whole thing as a long, long overdue housecleaning that could save the Church from further corruption. It is already corrupted insofar as the Church Calendar has become an issue and to the extent that orthopraxis has been abandoned in the New Calendar local churches.

    One need look at the big picture. Better not to just sweep the latest travesty under the rug but use it as a means to set the Church back on a more universally sound course. That entails making an example of the worst offender and ringleader of ecumenism and heterodoxy within the Church – Constantinople.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      There was a time when most of Athos refused to commemorate Patriarch Athenagoras because of his ecumenist teachings and practice.

    • Axios Father John for content and manner. Speaking the truth in love. Ecclesiology, not politics. Canons not passions.

    • “I choose to see the whole thing as a long, long overdue housecleaning…”

      I prefer to use the term, “purification.” The EP has been in a constant state of decline since Metaxakis, (of thrice wretched memory), mandated the papal calendar and tore the Church to pieces. The fruit of his actions has been very clear…..and now we have more tragic actions emanating from the current EP. This will also produce rotten fruit.

    • I am greek and have actually stayed in the monastery of ‘synod in Resistance’ in Fyli, nr Athens many yrs ago as student and in 2009 and was impressed by services, atmosphere, and general life. Of course many local new calander people attend worship simply because it is near but above all because they recognise authentic Orthodoxy when they smell it!!
      I for one hold no particular obscession with any calander but old calander was calander of whole church and illegally changed as we know.
      Actually as our western world becomes totally pagan by the day perhaps the EMPEROR JULIAN calander might be better for them!! I say in gest. But seriously as the relevance of linning up church and secular dates fades, especially relating to Christmas, might it make a point for the Church to revert back to the julian calander as we not an astrological society.

  9. Answer: when its initials are “OCA”

    • Linda Albert says

      Explain, please.

    • Monk James Silver says

      That’s a really cheap shot fired from your cover as ‘Anon’, and as easily and fairly well dismissed as any anonymous letter.

      If you want to make a point worthy of consideration among these correspondents, please write back and lay it out here and identify yourself.

      Otherwise, just keep whistling in the wind and see what that gets you.

      • No cheaper than much else on this site. And indeed the OCA may bear the marks of an autonomous institution, but it bears none of an autocephalous one, except cooking its own chrism. Other than that, it represents only a small percentage of the Orthodox who live in North America, it’s supposed territory. And what about all those Moscow Patriarchal and ROCOR communities?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Anon, that’s a cheap shot. I’ve never been shy to criticize Syosset when it needed, but to say that the OCA isn’t autocephalous because there are other canonical churches in its territory is a critique you don’t want to press too hard.

          Why? Because according to the EP there are now two canonical churches in Ukraine. At least here in North America the various churches aren’t going to be confiscating each other’s parishes at gunpoint.

          • How is it a “cheap shot” when the MP maintains two separate jurisdictions (MP and ROCOR) within a jurisdiction that the MP claimed to have made autocephalous?

        • Monk James Silver says

          Anon (October 28, 2018 at 7:18 am ) says:

          No cheaper than much else on this site. And indeed the OCA may bear the marks of an autonomous institution, but it bears none of an autocephalous one, except cooking its own chrism. Other than that, it represents only a small percentage of the Orthodox who live in North America, it’s supposed territory. And what about all those Moscow Patriarchal and ROCOR communities?

          So now you add an amazing ignorance of Orthodox Christian ecclesiology to your cowardly and, yes, CHEAP anonymity.

          What does it cost you to spill your bilge here, at least in terms of personal accountability? Nothing. And there’s no charge for posting here, either. That’s as cheap as it gets, ‘Anon’.

          • Why don’t you just answer the question and quit worrying about bilge and accountability? George provides a site that allows for privacy, something for which I respect him. So… how does MP and ROCOR work on the territory of the “autocephalous” OCA from an OCA perspective? And what do you think is the percentage of Orthodoxy represented by the OCA? If you have no answer, that is answer enough….

            • M. Stankovich says

              No one will answer you, dude, because you are absolutely correct. The Tomos of Autocephaly was rigged from the outset with the clause that excepted the few existing parishes that constituted the ROC in America, with the presumption that, when the time came (e.g. attrition in the form of retirement, death, etc.), an OCA priest would assume the role as “rector.” The ROC , however, had no intention of following this requirement. How do I know this? I was the only seminarian of the ROC in the US at the time, and when they attempted to offer me a scholarship for SVS (even send me to Russia to study at no expense to myself) because they needed priests to fill numerous vacancies pronto (and they were relying on unschooled jamokes), I refused and went to Fr. John Meyendorff. He offered me the OCA scholarship of $150 per semester. Oorah. Imagine, the sponsor of your autocephaly does nothing to promote or defend it; in fact, is behind the scenes denigrating the viability of the OCA as an “American” church; is openly admiring ROCOR; and is secretly courting & negotiating the “revocation” of autocephaly behind the back of the Synod of Bishops of the OCA until they discover that Met. Jonah had his own agenda as well. Purportedly, there is a video of Pat. Kyrill teaching the other members of the Synod of Bishops to say (in English), “I didn’t choose the thug life, it chose me,” while Biggie Smalls’ “Who Shot ‘ya?” plays in the background (OK, that was a lie, but it could have happened). No, suh, not an answer you’ll get…

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                M. Stankovich, you got part of it right. However, the “problem” of the “patriarchal parishes” at the time of the negotiations of autocephaly proved not to be as thorny as some had thought it would be. The very parishes under the Moscow jurisdiction that were dead set against belonging to the new OCA were the same ones that the Metropolia negotiators BEGGED Moscow to keep! The Metropolia and Moscow negotiators agreed to use the formula: “psychological” factors resulted in an agreement that some MP parishes will not be obliged to join the new entity, now will the new entity be required to receive them!

  10. Alitheia1875A says

    Can we please get rid of this notion of a “leader” of the Orthodox Church, regardless of who claims the dubious title, be he Greek, Russian, etc? There is no “leader” of the Church, there are only heads of autocephalous churches.

  11. George — what are the practical implications for the laity in the US? If Moscow has determined that Constantinople is in schism and ROCOR has followed suit, does that mean that other Orthodox churches in America must break communion with Constantinople or risk breaking communion with Moscow and ROCOR? More to the point, how can the OCA, for instance, remain in communion with the Greeks and still remain in communion with ROCOR? This is not a rhetorical question — I can’t seem to get a straight answer from my priest.

    • George Michalopulos says

      My sources tell me that Moscow is not striving for a sudden decision by the other patriarchates. They are willing to let the situation play itself out for awhile. They feel it will go downhill in short order, not only politically but ecclesiastically. When that happens Bartholomew would have lost all moral authority.

      Remember, the Russians always play the long game. The only caveat would be if the Ukrainian govt initiated violence. Then all options would be open.

      Of course if Poroshenko started violent takeovers, Bartholomew’s authority would be nullified in no time flat.

      Would NATO step in? Not a chance. My sources told me that Russia has already told Germany and France that Ukraine will NEVER be allowed to join NATO. They WILL go to war over that. Ergo, the various EU nations are already dragging their heels on this matter.

      Likewise Trump is playing a long game, waiting for the neocons to wear out their welcome. (Interestingly enough, John Bolton was just in Moscow having a very peaceable meeting with Putin.)

      • Interesting how my friend George cannot separate stephen’s question about Orthodox jurisdictions remaining in communion with one another, without bringing up military strategy.

        Are our jurisdictions now military wings of nations?

        If so, why do we allow it? Why do we allow ourselves to be part of what seems militant religious organizations, that act in ungodly manners, living outside from Christ? Soldiers of Christ? Hardly.

        This is a sincere question I have never been so perplexed as to what type of religious organization I belong to, regardless of whichever Orthodox jurisdiction, we belong to.

        In one way the question has been answered. At least the “why do we allow ourselves to be part of militant religious organizations.” Answer; Many don’t, walking away, gone, never to return, other than maybe cultural “events”.

        Yes I know Orthodoxy is growing in Russia, especially Churches. That’s great but Russian society has just emerged from the 1980’s and is so mentally beaten down over the past decades that they know no better. Orthodoxy and Patriotism one in the same for Russins. Putins knows it, and they all they “love” Putin right? His margins of electoral victories prove the “love”.

        Like the “love” of a beaten dog. Remains loyal for scraps that fall from table.

        • Solitary Priest says

          Shut your crybaby mouth!

        • “Russian society has just emerged from the 1980’s and is so mentally beaten down over the past decades that they know no better.”

          Dino, you sound very patronizing and “mentally” superior to those “dumb” Ruskies who preserved Faith despite great persecutions.

          • Martin,
            It is a fact that former Soviet Eastern European countries were and have been far behind Western European countries, as have current, and ex-Communist countries. I pity them for all they have endured, yet that is why they expect so little of their governments.

            Food on the table, and 600 square foot cells/apartments, and the fear of Putin, keeps the mobs at bay, in Russia. But! Don’t look far, many ask, why do black Americans continue to vote in Democrats? Fat Americans don’t riot, my friend.

            The other fact that Putin has been absolute ruler of Russia for about 20 years speaks volumes. Understandable for Muslim, Communist, Totalitarian , or joke kingdoms, but 20 or more years in a modern European nation? Regardless, I never said Russians were dumb nor gauged their faith.

            Now the Russians are enjoying a revival of Orthodoxy that they haven’t seen for 100 years. I truly hope they embrace it for what it is. The Bride of Christ, and not Russian symbolism, patriotism, or nationalistic window dressing. This is exactly what has happened in Greece and America with Greek Orthodoxy. I used the 1980’s, in by previous post, because that is when I personally saw Greek Orthodoxy’s beginning of the end, of a Church overcome by culture.

            I end with this fact. My father lived thru and grandfather was persecuted while living thru, as you say, the “preservation” of their faith, in the Soviet Union. Except they would never tell you they preserved the faith, but rather the faith preserved them.

            • “It is a fact that former Soviet Eastern European countries were and have been far behind Western European countries”

              In what are you so ahead of us?

              • Martin, You live in Russia? Is that what us means? Anyway, since you are short and vague. My answer is short as well. In just about every way.

                When George or Misha packs their bags and migrates to Russia I will take this conversation seriously. Trust me even Russian’s with real money in their pockets, know better, and come here in droves to give birth, so that their children will have a second option, with American citizenship, and we all know about Russian internet brides.

                BTW, I am not looking to get into a pissing contest about how great or poor Russia is. My Original point is many are leaving Orthodoxy, because of our bishops un-Christian like politics and war mongering.

                • “I am not looking to get into a pissing contest about how great or poor Russia is.”

                  It is you who attempted ” to get into a pissing contest” by claiming superiority over us:

                  Dino: “former Soviet Eastern European countries were and have been far behind Western European countries, as have current, and ex-Communist countries. I pity them …”

                  I asked to specify in what are you so superior, and you try to chicken out, massah?

                  • Martin,
                    I also asked you if you live in Russia, but that does not matter since I wouldn’t really know if you lived in Russia, or on the North Pole. It was better you did not answer, now I know the truth.

                    Other than Russian Orthodoxy over America’s many Protestant flavors, yes, America is superior (not me) in every way over Russia.

                    See how silly this is?

                    BTW! Chicken does not apply to internet conversations.

                    Chicken is when old drunk Russians take swings and kicks at each dangerously close to metal pole railings.

                    How does one score a knock down from one’s own swing or kick?

                    Thanks for the laugh Gail!

              • I live in Bulgaria and life not always easy, but actually people ok and progressing and in Terms of public order, youth Civilized,LONG MAY IT REMAIN and people attending Church from belief not nationalism or social cudos.

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  The Bulgarian Church ALONE amongst the Orthodox Churches of Europe did not cooperate anywhere or any time with the Nazi program against Jews. NOT ONE Bulgarian Jew was turned over to the Nazis. It was the Bulgarian Hierarchy that absolutely and successfully resisted surrendering any Bulgarian Jews! The Bulgarian Government, though allied with Nazi Germany, piously supported the Bulgarian hierarchy in this matter! Neither the Greeks nor the Romanians, nor the Serbs nor the Albanians, etc., imitated Bulgaria in this—ON THE CONTRARY. It is true that ONE OR TWO Grecian hierarchs resisted the Germans in this, and this was so atypical that there is talk of canonizing such! ALL the Bulgarian Hierarchs actively opposed the rounding up, confinement, and deportation of Bulgaria’s Jews, but no one(so far) has suggested canonizing them. Nikos is indeed blessed to be living in that country! Remember: NOT ONE BULGARIAN JEW was tuned over to the Nazis or interned!

                  • “The Bulgarian Church ALONE amongst the Orthodox Churches of Europe did not cooperate anywhere or any time with the Nazi program against Jews. ”

                    Your Grace, are you saying that other Orthodox Churches were helping in extermination of Jews? Really?

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Only of the Romanian Orthodox hierarchy was officially and enthusiastically anti-Semitic and actively cooperating or competing with the Nazis in the extermination of Jews. The other churches pretended to be “nonpolitical,” and their cooperation was more passive than active. There were always exceptions I think there is an Archbishop Damaskinos in Greece that stood out so much from his brother hierarchs that they will probably canonize him now. There were of course no Jews on Mount Athos to be protected. And it would never have occurred to the monks on that holy mountain to protest against Hitler any more than it would’ve occurred to them to protest against the Sultan! I understand there’s a new book about the Romanian church’s perfidy. Ion Popa: THE ROMANIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND THE HOLOCAUST. Indiana University press. Bloomington, 2017. Apparently clergy like Archbishop VALERIAN of blessed memory were not exceptions to any rule!

                    • Constantinos says

                      There is historical truth, and then there is (I’m being very kind in saying this) Bishop Tikhon Fitgerald’s “historical revisionism.”
                      You can choose to believe the bishop or you can believe Yad Vashem. I believe Yad Vashem every day of the week.

                      “In March 1941, Bulgaria allied itself with Nazi Germany and was rewarded with parts of Greek Thrace and Yugolsavian Macedonia, which both had Jewish populations.
                      Following its patron’s lead, the Bulgarian government promulgated racial laws against its Jewish citizens. Although these laws were not strictly enforced, the Bulgarian authorities deported Jewish men to forced labor camps around the country, and in the middle of 1942 require3d Jews to wear the Jewish star.
                      In early 1943, the government acceded to Germany’s demands to deport the Jews of Thrace and Macedonia to the extermination camps in Poland and prepared for the first deportation from Bulgaria itself. A group of parlamentarians, church leaders, public figures and ordinary citizens came together and pressured the king and his government not to comply. On May 24, the plan for the deportation of 48,000 Bulgarian Jews was revoked and Bulgarian Jews survived the war. At the same time, 11,000 Jews of Thrace and Macedonia were deported by the Bulgarians to Poland. Only a few hundred of them survived.”
                      A vast difference from the nonsense the bishop spews!!! If the bishop;s lies were harmless that would be one thing, but these are very important facts. Am I really supposed to take him seriously???

                    • Yes I agree living in Bulgaria and am proud to say we may as Greeks and bulgars had our shall we say difficulties!!! But in war AND AS GERMAN ALLY, neither Church nor Tsar or People allowed the Jewish community to be taken. The Church led on this. The Bulgars as i see today are a decent good people i am honored as a greek to live amongst. and yes I of course know about the war and bulgarian occupation. But would we be any different and those I have spoken to who lived it said if u did not oppose on a day to day basis they were human and live and let live, as opposed to germans, the italians were too.

                    • anonimus per Scorilo says

                      The Romanians and the Bulgarians had exactly the same attitudes towards Jews in WW2: protection for those who were citizens, deportation for those who were not.

                      When Hitler wanted in 1942 to deport the Jews who were citizens of Romania (the trains were already booked), the Queen Mother Elena (who was recognized as righteous among nations by Yad Vashem), the Patriarch and the Metropolitan of Transylvania convinced Antonescu not to allow this. The memoirs of the Chief Rabbi of Romania at the time, Alexandru Safran, explain this in detail.

                      Also, the accusations against Archbishop Valerian of blessed memory were all fabrications of the Romanian secret police. The book Red Horizons by the General Ion Pacepa (chief of the secret police who defected) explains in detail how it was done. And Queen Elena’s sister in law, mother Alexandra, always stood by Archbishop Valerian.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Anonymous per Scorilo. I stand by the book about the Romanian Church in WWII. I have no confidence in the “revelations” of any secret police from Romania or Russia etc. They are always self-serving. You called some information favorable to some Romanians in a short period of time during World War II from various sources. Nevertheless I have for them that the Romanian authorities blessed by the Romanian church authorities actively cooperated with the Nazis in the persecution of Romanian Jews. At no time did the Romanian church take a public stance against the persecution of Romanian Jews and Romanian Jews by and large suffered the same fate as Polish Jews Ukrainian Jews Greek Jews Albanian Jews German Jews French Jews, etc. Bulgarian Jews did not: they were supported by the Bulgarian church and the government throughout World War II. You know that the Romanian Patriarch and the Metropolitan of Transylvania were never recognized as righteous among the nations by Yad Vashem or any Jews ever. By the way I want to assure my Greek friends that I am aware of the horrors that Greeks suffered under Italian and German occupation. They were treated almost as badly as Yemenis are being treated today by Saudi Arabs! Nevertheless with very few exceptions Greeks did not oppose the persecution of Greek Jews or their deportation. God bless those exceptions and may they be canonized!

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Master Bless,

                    How did Mount Athos deal with the Nazis? Were they ever threatened? Do you know the story and if so, would you be good enough to share it with us?

                    • Hi Gail. I am not sure if many people know this but while the monks wrote flowery letters to Hiltler seeking protection for their monasteries they at the same time put themselves at great risk by breaking their 1000 year old rule to welcome Jewish women and girls on the Holy Mountain to shelter them from Nazi atrocities and help them obtain safe passage to areas out of Nazi control.

                      The old fool formerly styled as Bishop Tikhon has now engaged in calumny against the half of the nation that voted for President Trump but almost every Greek’s honored grandparents as well. Doesn’t he have any friends to take away his computer so he will stop embarrassing himself and the Church he previously served in his old age?

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Gail, Michael has identified a wonderful exception to the general indifference of monasticism on Mount Athos towards Nazism during World War II. I wonder if he can tell us how many Jewish “WOMEN AND GIRLS” were welcomed and sheltered on Mount Athos and were helped to obtain safe passage to wet area out of Nazi control? Do we have these persons’ memoirs, perhaps? Their names perhaps? Which monastery or monasteries sheltered Jewish women’s and girls during World War II? Was it a Bulgarian institution? Do any Jews know about this or have any juice testified to this? I only learned of the Bulgarian churches heroic stand during World War II from Jewish sources printed Jewish sources. Perhaps these monks names are inscribed in a monument in the holy land? I note with pleasure that Michael has identified me as an old fool. I believe this will count towards my salvation but not his. I think I should take a rest from commenting here I get too much pleasure from it. Agreed?

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              I wrote this, and I stand by it: ” It was the Bulgarian Hierarchy that absolutely and successfully resisted surrendering any Bulgarian Jews! The Bulgarian Government, though allied with Nazi Germany, piously supported the Bulgarian hierarchy in this matter! Neither the Greeks nor the Romanians, nor the Serbs nor the Albanians, etc., imitated Bulgaria in this—ON THE CONTRARY. It is true that ONE OR TWO Grecian hierarchs resisted the Germans in this, and this was so atypical that there is talk of canonizing such! ALL the Bulgarian Hierarchs actively opposed the rounding up, confinement, and deportation of Bulgaria’s Jews, but no one(so far) has suggested canonizing them. Nikos is indeed blessed to be living in that country! Remember: NOT ONE BULGARIAN JEW was tuned over to the Nazis or interned!”
              I ask Constantinos to please review the above and tell me what is not true there.

              • Constantinos says

                I’m going to have to do more research on the topic. All I ask from you is that you continue to post on Monomakhos. Your perspective and insight is needed. I apologize to you for my caustic tone, and for causing you any undue stress. As I previously stated, you are only one year younger than my late father would have been. You deserve a lot more respect from me regardless of whether I agree or disagree with you. I’m sorry for offending you, and ask your forgiveness. Respect and courtesy are always appropriate when it comes to any exchange with you. Thank you.

              • anonimus per Scorilo says

                If by “Bulgaria’s Jews” one means Bulgarian citizens of Jewish faith, the statement is correct. It also applies to Romanian citizens of Jewish faith, which also were not deported by the Romanian state under Antonescu
                (some were murdered by German army elements and members of an anti-Antonescu fascist militia in the Iasi pogrom when the Soviet army was nearby, but this is a different story).

                On the other hand, the Jews in the territories occupied by Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, which were NOT citizens of the occupying countries were deported / put in camps / murdered with impunity. There is a Netflix documentary about the Einsatzgruppen, in the second episode there is an interview with Radu Ioanid, a Romanian Jewish historian who works in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, who explains the pattern.

              • Can i say yes u are right. It would have been difficult for Bulgaria to stop removal from occupied Greek zone as they German allied.
                But re Greece, you really do need to apoogise.
                Greece was OCCUPIED BY GERMANY AND ITALY. The Greek state quisling government could not little to oppose BUT IT DID NOT ACTIVELY HELP. The jews of Thessaloniki were a Stanislav speaking stand out group who could not be hid Sadly but the established greek speaking jews could be and where possible were and the greek clergy helped often at own risk as most bishops and of course Damaskinos, archbishop of Athens , who protected publically.
                The reality was in 1941/42/44 most Greeks were starving, struggling to survive and suffering Mass reprisals and rest. I know because my own family and mother lived it.
                I do not know re Romania except they had a home grown fascist Movement amd ACTIVELY carried out killing in Ukraine.

                • Bobby Carpazes says

                  Correct, the Bulgarian king protected the Jews of Bulgaria but could not control what his soldiers did under German command abroad. Ironically, the Jews of Vitola suffered much and the most active synagogue in Thessalonike is from Monastir/Vitola, and the Monastir Jews are amongst the fiercest supporters of the Greek position on Macedonia, leading some in the OCA to accuse northern greeks of being secret Jews. See: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/11944

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    Bobby Carpazes (November 10, 2018 at 12:33 pm) says:

                    Correct, the Bulgarian king protected the Jews of Bulgaria but could not control what his soldiers did under German command abroad. Ironically, the Jews of Vitola suffered much and the most active synagogue in Thessalonike is from Monastir/Vitola, and the Monastir Jews are amongst the fiercest supporters of the Greek position on Macedonia, leading some in the OCA to accuse northern greeks of being secret Jews. See: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/11944
                    There was nothing about the OCA (the Orthodox Church in America) in the linked article.

                    In fact, I doubt that most Americans — Orthodox Christians and everyone else — know enough about this history to have any kind of opinion about it, or to wonder about the possible secret Jewishness of the people of northern Greece.

                    Perhaps Bobby Carpazes could explain this very odd assertion?

      • John Sakelaris says

        George, in earlier threads you sounded more gloomy, seeing a horrible war ahead.

        Now are you more hopeful that such a catastrophe can be avoided? Or is it just that a horrible war will be delayed for a few years?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Possibly. Pres Trump just sent his national security advisor, John Bolton to Moscow. Apparently, he and Putin hit it off. It’s a twofer: Trump got a neocon to do what he’s (Trump) always wanted and also, he’s telegraphing that he US has no interest in fanning the flames in Ukraine.

          I realize of course that the Atlanticist establishment will still do what they can to instigate violence but their room of operation has diminished somewhat.

  12. A blessed Saint Dimitrios day to all. Original icons, the first icons of Saint Dimitrios were one of a man with children, and simply a martyr for Christ. Later we see him in armor and with weapon. It appears to me when Orthodoxy left martyrdom for armor and blades, it was the beginning of the end. We then, as now have fallen into the hands of corruption. Love of kings and queens and the vanity of such. So deep, we have left Christ for earthy kingdoms and tribes. Ready to martyr ourselves for whom is the question.

    • Yes exactly and as i attended beautiful St Dimitrios day here in Bulgaria these thoughts were for me too. Why for me do these early saints as Dimitrios, George, Minas, seen empty of meaning? Because they have become subsumed in official city almost greek pagan worship of place, miracles on demand,!!! with the Original simple message of witness to Christ totally lost.

      That is why yesterday’s feast here in bulgarian village near to where i live, was so meaningful. And the Acapella congregational singing and lack of rigid rows of greek american and Sadly Greek seating. We go on about Constantinople quite rightly, but debase and westernise our worship, not in the good sense( kiss of peace was exchange amongst congregation with hand shake) , but in a copy of 19c western rigid worship in bad theatrical taste.

  13. Beryl Wells Hamilton says

    10-28-2018 Ecumenical Patriarch’s Statement

    Ecumenical Patriarch: the church’s loving care unique motivation and criterion for autocephalous in Ukraine

    In the sacramental mission of the Church as a ministry of love and charity to every suffering and intimate man, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in his speech, after the Divine Liturgy, during which he danced, was mentioned in the Sanctuary of Agios Dimitrios Xyloporta. As pointed out, this loving care of the Church was the exclusive motivation and immovable criterion for the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant the Autocephalus to the faithful people of Ukraine. “What is said and written, inexpressibly, about other motives in the relevant decision of the Ecumenical Throne, is myths,” said Panayiotatos.
    Specifically, the Ecumenical Patriarch, in his speech, noted, inter alia, the following:

    “Faithful to her Lord, the Church, it is impossible to remain indifferent and idle when she listens to the cry of anguish of the sufferers, who endure the robbers, the weary and the devoted, the despised and the injured, the lacking of the head, refugees, exhausted and hungry children, innocent victims of war violence, persecution and discrimination. The whole historical course of the Church is a torrent of charity,microbial and macedonian history of struggle to protect the sacredness of the human person, ministry and sympathy, solidarity and sacrificial love. Everywhere there is admirable dynamism, a spirit of offering and help, attitudes that cause admiration even in the warriors of the Church. The purpose of the Christian’s life was and remains, as the great philanthropist prophet and our predecessor to the Apostolic Throne of the Constantinople Church of St. John Chrysostom, “the neighbors benefit everywhere” […].

    “We repeat it and emphasize it again and again: The Church of Christ is sacrificial and diaconal, all her life is caring and struggling for man, for the intimate ministry of his earthly and uranium destination. In this collaboration we want to make it quite clear that the loving concern for the people of God in Ukraine, which people suffered, because of the divisions and the various upheavals, and earnestly desired the society and unity in Christ, was the motive and the fixed criterion for the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision to grant it Autocephalous to him. For the Church of Christ, it is true, in a deep and steadfast manner: “No man is God’s holy, God-like nature” (Nicholas Kavasilas, op., P. 14). What is said and written, inexpressibly, about other motives in the relative judgment of the Ecumenical Throne, is myths.

    • Words, words, words, totally theoretical like so much that comes out of a living in a Bubble bishop.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Nikos, thanks for going on thinking about me! What post are you replying to on Nov 4? Did I miss something that escaped from my live-in bubble?
        (What’s wrong with theoretical, by the way?)

        • Despota Tikhon, I was actually refering to the words of Patriarch Bartholomaios. He is very good at words.I have a feeling of listening to a seminar. I feel so sorry for him as in reality history has passed him by. What is the future of Constantinople? And the canons about barbarians lands? Well some may well consider USA barbarians lands!!
          In seriousness there is a crisis of authority in the Church. The system is not fit for purpose and not dealing with the needs of the Church.

  14. Beryl Wells Hamilton says

    An article came out recently on orthochristian.com that included a letter from Patriarch Philaret’s daughter. I just wanted to say that we still don’t know whether the letter is completely true or not. If we start with the presupposition that a person is innocent until proven guilty, then we need to keep our judgment stabilized.

    The article states that Patriarch Bartholomew calls the letter “black propaganda”: “And that the equally elderly Patriarch Bartholomew would refrain from calling this letter from Philaret’s own daughter “black propaganda paid for by the Russians.” I am sure Patriarch Bartholomew looked into the situation. If he is telling the truth, then we should not be passing judgment so quickly.

    In addition, we do not know, nor can we begin to understand what it was like living in communist Russia, and what it must have been like to be under the scrutiny and pressure of the KGB. If the patriarch had a wife and family, we do not know what it was like for him to have lived under that kind of pressure. It is possible that he lived under the threat that his family would be harmed if he did not comply. We don’t know what his children went through, nor how difficult it must have been for them. Amongst the negative things she said about her father, his daughter wrote something positive: “I remember when I was very little, Vladyka Philaret (that is what they taught us to call him in front of other people) carried me and my brother Andrusha and sister Liuba in his arms. Whenever he returned from abroad he always brought us presents. We children never felt any want.”

    • Forget the veracity of his daughter’s(?) letter for a moment and ponder this sentence.

      “If the patriarch had a wife and family, we do not know what it was like for him to have lived under that kind of pressure.”

      No, I suspect most of us do not. But would you, perhaps, mean the pressure of possible exposure for having lied to the Church about the fact that he had a wife and family thereby disqualifying himself for the office? If any of this is true, he was (and remains) compromised in every possible way, from every possible angle, the greater part of which was of his own doing.

      One can be forgiven for weakness. One can even be forgiven for wanting the embrace of a woman, though it is forbidden for one in that office. One cannot, however, remain a bishop, to say nothing of Metropolitan or “Patriarch,” if one secretly harbors a wife (“legal” or not) and children.

      I can at least empathize with much of what you have written here on this overall topic, but this highlighted sentence is unreasonable by any measure. The Ukrainians themselves would not stand for it.

      • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

        Under normal circumstances. But those were not normal circumstances, and we have not heard all the sides of the story. Judges hear and weigh all available evidence, documents, testimonies, and then make their judgments. Around here, we judge based on what we think we know.

        • Evidence, yes. And this one is a no-brainer. All he has to do is call his alleged daughter’s bluff and submit to a DNA test. Only then will the world know beyond any doubt if this is “black propaganda.”

          Something tells me this will never happen, though I truly hope it does.

          • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

            Why would he do that? Thinking outside the narrative (what we have been told) and keeping in mind that the situation in Russia/USSR was nearly impossible for Orthodox clergy, think of a married priest with children named Father Michael Philaret. Is that a possibility? Was he consecrated as a bishop because there was a shortage of bishops? Was he promised safety for his family if he did what he was told? Was he the only bishop ever who was married? Is it better to be married than to “keep” a woman “on the side”? How many millions of Orthodox Ukrainians look to him as their bishop? There is no end of questions, and there are no reasonable solutions offered.

            • Beryl,

              In spite of what you may think, I’m not thinking from within any narrative. I am interested in what is true.

              What makes no sense about your “possibilities” is that (if true) he hid it.

              Why????? If he had/has nothing to hide. why did/does he hide it (again, if true)?

      • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

        One cannot, however, remain a bishop, to say nothing of Metropolitan or “Patriarch,” if one secretly harbors a wife (“legal” or not) and children.

        I’ll bet he’s not the only one. And, I cannot say I would not have done the same if I walked in his shoes.

        • It doesn’t matter much what you or I would have done – or even if there are others.

          If there is no measuring rod (read “canon”) everything is subject to ‘feelings’ and sympathy – which neither our Lord nor His Church ever confused with true love and compassion. Sadly, most have been taught by modernity to be ruled by feelings as that which constitutes truth and love. It is the scourge of our time, and we are reaping an overabundance of its bitter fruits.

          • Beryl this man was a MONK, HALLO and remains a monk. He abused his vows.
            I who live in post communist Bulgaria and know Russia well, have never heard of KGB forcing bishops ro mary. But even if this were so, with the fall of communism he had a moral and spiritual duty to confession before the Church . He was actually concencrated in 1962 with the future Patrarch Alexei, +1991. who actually was married as a priest but he amd his wife separate with no children. It is the duplicity of filaret added to his general arrogant attitude.
            If you want to see the lives of those who witnessed under communism, read the lives of Surgeon bishop Luke, himself Ukrainian, Patrarch Tikhon, Martyr priest PAVEL ( Ansimov,) martyr priest Alexander ( Men) and the host of martyrs. Filaret did nicely under the regime and was only miffed he lost the top job in 1991 that was lined up for him by former communist power.
            I personally am not keen on Kyril and am open to married bishops, but not in this AMORAL, abusive way that makes a mockery.

    • Monk James Silver says

      By marrying and raising children, Michael Denisenko violated his monastic vows and shoul never have been ordained to the episcopate.

      As it was, though, Denisenko’s wife and daughters were routinely pointed out to people, even in church. Certain rebellious elements approved of this; most people found it scandalous.

      In any event, once he broke faith with the Moscow patriarchate (the church which ordained him) Moscow reduced him to the status of an unordained monk. When he officiated in spite of that, he excommunicated himself.

      Only extreme nationalists in Kievan Malorus’ supported him after that, and some other people got confused because of their anti-Russian feelings.

      The long and short of it is that Constantinople has no canonical authority in the matter.

      • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

        Ten million Orthodox people, not “some other people got confused.” I suppose Jesus broke a “canon” or two. I suspect your reality is based on what you read and hear, and what you want to be true, and not on what you know absolutely.

        • Beryl,
          Save your breath. At the moment the militants are enjoying their moment. On their high horse, king of the hill, Holy than thou, ETC, ETC. Their history be damned. Yet again they attached themselves to a tyrant, and expect different results.

          Someday they will have an icon of Saint Putin. The MAN who resurrected Orthodoxy for Russia, and Ukraine! Or Martyr Putin, if the left takes over again. Wanna make your stomach turn, Google Stalin icons. Stalin, the MAN who saved Mother Russia from a lesser mass-murderer(Hitler), than himself.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Beryl Wells Hamilton (November 2, 2018 at 9:20 am) says:

          Ten million Orthodox people, not “some other people got confused.” I suppose Jesus broke a “canon” or two. I suspect your reality is based on what you read and hear, and what you want to be true, and not on what you know absolutely.


          It was said of the fourth Christian century: ‘One day, the world woke up and found itself Areian’. What ten million people do about nationalist politics in Russia now pales by comparison. In those days, it was Athanasios kata tou kosmou _ (‘Athanasios against the world), yet St Athanasios and the Orthodox minority prevailed against the heretical majority– including a couple of Roman emperors. Clearly, numbers are irrelevant.

          Our Lord Jesus Christ, criticized by Pharisees for violating Sabbath rules, pointed out to them and to all of us that He is Lord of the Sabbath, and everything else which He created. Michael Denisenko created nothing but dissension, and he is lord of nothing but division. Denisenko is no Jesus!

          Unless you are Mrs Denisenko, your information is just as far-fetched as anyone’s You don’t know what I know or how I know it, so please review all three of your allegations here and see how mistaken you are.

          • Thank you. As u know denisenko was cobnsecrated bishop with Alexei, the future Patriarch in 1962 at Heights of krushchev persecution of church (1958-63).
            In 1991. Cos he did not get the communist arranged for top job as they out of power, he decided to have his own church in Ukraine and asked lies, broken oaths and disent as the Constantinople Patriarch, one Bartholomaios, agreed at the time.
            In addition his preaching and actions have been hate filled and against his monk vows of celibacy he is married with children.
            U need to know much else?

  15. Timmy Lemur says
    • Timmy,

      That is an excellent article debunking Phanariot propaganda which is completely off the chain.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Good article. In addition, the Oriental Orthodox Churches seem to get along fine without an obvious head. As always, communion defines unity—not administrative capitulation.

      • Not necessarily. Although generally more peaceable, they are not without issues:

        Ethiopian-Coptic conflict over their monastery (Deir Sultan?) in Jerusalem
        Ethiopian-Coptic conflict over the autocephaly of the Eritrean Church (incredibly similar to the Ukraine situation – now resolved).
        Syriac-Indian conflict over the status of their church.
        Inter-Armenian disputes between their two Catholicoi.
        Ethiopian and Eritrean resistance synods in the diaspora (a la ROCOR, although the first has now been resolved).
        Numerous small schisms over various issues, mostly issuing forth from the Indian or Syriac churches.

  16. Joseph Lipper says

    Apparently, many Athonite monks were thrilled with Hitler because he was seen as the fulfillment of a prophecy about a great German king who would fight against the Jews and Bolsheviks. Yes, Hitler was their man, and the council of Mt. Athos pledged their support to him.

    Perhaps they even sent Hitler a red baseball cap emblazoned with Make Athos Great Again!

    • Very family comment. . Their role and ditto under turks, was to keep Mount Athos going. They see all secular authority in this way. They also had no idea and could not know of the death camps as this situation even those on the train going there did not believe.
      The RUSSIAN church outside of Russia wrote Hitler fulsome letters too, over the consecration of Berlin Cathedral. I do not agree with it, to put it mildly, but they were trying to keep afloat and any enemy of Stalin etc.
      Paisios’ s ‘ anti – semitism ( as of John of Kronstadt) was of the traditional Christian variety and not connected to that of nazis. Unless he called for the death of jews etc we have to face facts that saints were human beings of their time and place and not some sort of super hero floating above the flow of humanity.
      Nazis anti semitism was based on a pseudo scientific approach to a crude darwinism and not on religion. It was an abuse of science.

  17. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Constantinos! I am not a former Bishop I am a bishop, formerly Bishop of San Francisco Los Angeles and the West I am now a retired Bishop I am not a former Bishop. Only if I were to be deposed could you call me a former Bishop or the former Bishop. Next, it is false of you to say that I call Trump supporters Nazis. I have never ever done so. As for your taking me or Dr. Stankovich seriously, what good would that be for me or Dr. Stankovich? This recent post of yours to which I am replying is Nazi-like only in style. I don’t think you’re a Nazi at all. I don’t think there are any Nazis at all here on Monomakhos! What an idea! I do confess to an 86-year-old’s amusement when some persons here WRITE like ersatz Nazis. If that’s morally reprehensible, as some declare, or un-befitting an Orthodox hierarch, THEN I declare myself guilty. Okay?