Why the Manhattan Declaration Matters

manhattan_declaration-logoIt’s been six days now since the Supreme Court struck down (.pdf) the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Unlike every other major religious body, our Assembly of Bishops has yet to issue a statement –pro or con– on what will likely go down in history as the next Roe vs Wade.

One can only wonder why.

In retrospect, we can see the urgency behind the signing of The Manhattan Declaration. Its prophetic witness has now been completely vindicated. The majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, lumps Traditionalists in the same moral slag heap as bigots, Nazis, and Klansmen. Such emotionalism (one can hardly call it rational discourse) must lead to the infiltration of churches by the federal government and eventual extinction of same. There simply is no other outcome given his dismissive words.

To be sure, there is talk already among some Traditionalist religious leaders that the only way that they can prevent Caesar from deforming their respective confessions is “get out of the marriage business.” When this was first brought to my attention, I was dumbfounded. Isn’t marriage one of our so-called seven sacraments? What next? regulation of the frequency of Communion? In this scenario I was told, priests, ministers, and rabbis will simply perform marital rites and refuse to sign any marriage license issued by the state. The happy couple will then go to the local justice of the peace and have a civil ceremony as well.

This type of strategic retreat may work. At the very least, it might buy us some time. Unfortunately others think that the homosexual jihadists will not be satisfied until sodomist nuptials are celebrated to the same extent and with the same enthusiasm that weddings engender. If the civil jackboot has to come crashing through the church door and rest on the neck of the rector, so be it–they’re nothing but bigots anyway.

Ultimately, this is water under the bridge. Like Roe, DOMA will not be overturned. The minority which wants to destroy tradition is as avidly rabid on this issue as the one which wants abortion preserved at all costs. If a State Senatrix in Texas has to wear a catheter to complete her filibuster against the outlawing of partial-birth abortions, so be it. Demonic actions such as these may mobilize the Conservative base but outside of fund-raising and some vote-getting, the reality is it’s all over for us. Society will continue its slouch to Gomorrah.

The question for Orthodox Christians is why the silence? We can see now why the modernist/ecumenists who live in the Syosset/SVS bubble had to get rid of Jonah. If nothing else, Metropolitan Jonah would have set out a forthright condemnation of this egregious and contemptible ruling. The present primate, an admirable man by all accounts, is simply not up to the task. And even if he was, given the constraints placed upon him by the Kishkovsky/Jillions/Stokoe axis, he cannot.

assembly-of-bishops-logoInstead of meat, we get musings from The Chancellor that are completely directionless. Metropolitan Savas Zembillas, who chairs the moribund Committee on Culture and Society for the Assembly of Bishops, has directed people on his Facebook page to a soporific essay that could have just as easily been titled “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” (For those who may not know, Zembillas’ committee has never met in its three years of existence.) This is thin gruel indeed.

So where are we? What can we expect?

The issuance of a statement by the Assembly of Bishops should have been a no-brainer. The purpose of pooling the Best and the Brightest into a massive Episcopal Assembly was so that work could be divided equitably among the many bishops. The need for duplication of efforts would be eradicated. And with able priests and laymen assisting them on their various committees, the necessary groundwork would have been laid for an official statement. Instead, these duties has been farmed out to Fr Mark Arey of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, do doubt because of the disinterest of the other jurisdictions. Unfortunately the lethargy that we have come to expect from the GOA has not dissipated since the creation of the Assembly. If the Assembly hadn’t ceded its authority it would not be too hard to act with the alacrity shown by the other faith traditions. If nothing else, the re-issuance of the 1992 OCA directive or the 2003 SCOBA encyclical could have been accomplished with the mere push of a button. Instead we get nothing but silence. The question is, does silence equal complicity with the Ruling?

I’m afraid it may.

We have always suspected that the Assembly of Bishops was nothing but a front, one which gave the appearance of progress but was instead a ruse for the continuance of inactivity as well as the aggrandizement of power in the hands of the GOA. That is becoming increasingly clear as the days go by. Unfortunately, there is another more ominous possibility. As has already been published on this and other fora, two Orthodox bishops have expressed extreme unconcern about the reality of so-called gay marriage. Your humble correspondent will not take the initiative and publish their names at present in order to not inflame the situation unnecessarily but most know who we are talking about.

lavendar-pries-forbiddentThat two Orthodox bishops have declared their apathy regarding the secular acceptance of legalized homosexual coupling is cause for alarm in and of itself. What is even more troubling is that it has come to our attention that there is yet another bishop who is not only comfortable with civil acceptance but is open to the possibility of the Orthodox Church revising its own definition of marriage. This alarming doctrine was stated in a semi-private conversation therefore decorum prevents Monomakhos from disclosing the identity of this bishop. In time I believe his identity and those of his collaborators will come out. Anyway, he will have to give an account someday to another Judge.

In any case, the existence of two or three dissident bishops should not preclude the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops from issuing a statement. If memory serves, as long as the Assembly has a two-thirds super-majority agreeing on any one issue, it can speak with one voice. Of course the flip side is that a decided minority of one-third plus one, can derail any majority vote. This is not a bad thing by the way. Unfortunately when it comes to an issue that is unarguable and has been settled doctrine for all time, the possibility that there are perhaps eighteen bishops who are not willing to inflame the sensibilities of a vocal minority who are not in agreement with the Orthodox moral tradition is disturbing, to say the least. (As seen in the OCA, the wrath of just a few bishops can set the tone for a dysfunctional synod.)

The typical weasel-wording that prevents bishops from “aligning” themselves with one side of the socio-political spectrum is invalid in this case. For one thing, the normal political divide does not obtain here as there are Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, on both sides of this issue. Even if for the sake of argument, it did sort itself out along partisan or ideological lines, it still does not obviate against issuing a statement clarifying what the Orthodox Church’s position is. Like abortion on demand, the overturning of natural law based on the interest of a vocal minority of libertines is not tolerated by the settled teaching authority of the Church. It can’t be stated any simpler than that.

Of course we could be wrong. We could be premature, the Assembly could be on the verge of writing a directive which will state its opinion regarding this ruling. In the meantime, we have nothing.

The question is “why”?

Meanwhile, listen to the interviews below of two priests not afraid to defend Church teaching in the public square.

Bill Hinkle Interviews Frs. Hans Jacobse and Josiah Trenham [AUDIO]


Our Life in Christ and in America” is a bi-monthly program hosted by Bill Hinkle (Antiochian Archdiocese), former Minority Whip of the Washington State House of Representatives. The program seeks to examine our modern-day social and political problems through the lens of our Holy Orthodox Faith. What is our calling as Orthodox believers 21st century America? Join Bill as he brings on different guests to talk about both timely issues and fundamental problems. The program is available as a podcast and also on our Internet radio stations.

Source: AOI

Listen here:

Host Bill Hinkle speaks with Fr. Hans Jacobse


Host Bill Hinkle speaks with Fr. Josiah Trenham



  1. Carl Kraeff says

    The concluding paragraphs of the Manhattan Declaration are:

    “Going back to the earliest days of the church, Christians have refused to compromise their proclamation of the gospel. In Acts 4, Peter and John were ordered to stop preaching. Their answer was, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Through the centuries, Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required. There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself. Unjust laws degrade human beings. Inasmuch as they can claim no authority beyond sheer human will, they lack any power to bind in conscience. King’s willingness to go to jail, rather than comply with legal injustice, was
    exemplary and inspiring.

    Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.”

    Please sign the Declaration at http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/#2

  2. Alexander says

    Thanks for this post, but I take issue with this:

    As has already been published on this and other fora, two Orthodox bishops have expressed extreme unconcern about the reality of so-called gay marriage. Your humble correspondent will not take the initiative and publish their names at present in order to not inflame the situation unnecessarily but most know who we are talking about.

    Why not? I say call ’em out — everywhere and always.

    Inflame the situation? Come on. Sodom is already burning.

    • OCA "moves glacially" slow... says

      Here is just one example: https://www.monomakhos.com/the-outcast-or-the-shape-of-things-to-come/:

      I was chrismated into the Orthodox Church of America in San Francisco on Lazarus Saturday this spring, in Holy Trinity Cathedral, the oldest orthodox parish in the west. I and my legal wife. We had both been catechumens for a full year before chrismation, and at the very beginning had discussed with our priest the fact that we are in a loving, yet celebate, relationship, a secular marriage still legal in California (we were married before Proposition 13 passed, so we remain fully legal in marital status).

      I am 66 years old and my wife, [female name], and I, together, have three children and four grandchildren. Until I was 51 I lived as a male, but since the age of three I have felt myself to be fully female, except for the wrong physicality. In 1998 I transitioned from male to female, a long, expensive (in many many ways), and difficult journey. I met [present wife] in 1999 and we have shared a house ever since, fully accepted by our extended families as loving and caring people.

      We were so happy to be accepted fully into the orthodox church, and had met so many loving people in Holy Trinity, that we felt truly blessed…. Then one Sunday, arriving for liturgy, {at St. John’s Monastery} we were met by a monk named and denied access to eucharist. Apparently he had been suspicious of our relationship and done a great deal of searching on the internet and discovered my birth name. We were devastated and still are.

      Back in San Francisco, we spent an entire afternoon with Archbishop Benjamin, at his request, to discuss our past and the problems of being transgender in the orthodox church. He was very kind, intelligent, and asked great questions, and told us that though the orthodox church seemed to ‘move glacially’ at times, that it still is growing in wisdom, love, and understanding. All I can say is that I pray daily for the church and all those people who mean well but have not yet been able to see past their own ignorance of the condition and hearts of LGBT people.

  3. Gay Marriage is a Lie: Destruction of Marriage, Masha Gessen

    1963 United States Senate Report on Communist Goals for America, Congressional Record – Appendix, pp. A34-A35

    25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

    26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”

    40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

    41. Emphasise the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

    The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Frederich Engels

    “Engels looks into the origin and essence of the state, and concludes it is bound to wither away leaving a classless society.”

  4. Chris Banescu says

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:15-23)

    America is gripped by increasing spiritual corruption and a falling away from God, truth, and morality, and bishops like Metropolitan Savas Zembillas are busy fiddling with many superficial functions and lavish dinners while remaining publicly silent about the serious issues of our day: abortion, moral corruption, sexualization of children, spiritual destruction in public schools, gov’t attack on religious institutions, the redefinition of marriage, etc. . The militant Left via the Democrat party and thousands of liberal, progressive, and secular groups feverishly fight to undermine and destroy the very moral foundation of our laws, institutions, and society with very little opposition from the Orthodox bishops in America. In the face of this enormous tsunami of delusion and corruption, Met. Savas sees fit to attend a COMIC Book Convention? Talk about “Met. Savas fiddling while America burns!”

    Too many Orthodox bishops remain silent in the face of the dangers and evil in our society that corrupt the innocent, confuse young minds, pervert the Christian faith, and enable the moral destruction of the faithful. They shamefully allow the sheep — whom they have sworn to defend and protect — to be scattered and be lead astray by wolves in sheep’s clothing and all sorts of ideas and ideologies that contradict the Moral Tradition and Teachings of the Christian Faith. Such impostors are cowards, not Christian men. They embrace the wisdom of the “world” and fail to support and preach the wisdom of God. While worshiping God with their mouths, their silence in the face of so much falsehood and corruption betrays their true allegiance.

    “MEN fight wars. If you refuse to do your duty and act like MEN, then the war is already lost. And make no mistake, cowardice is a grave sin, and you will answer for it.

    Every bishop is given a crosier upon his ordination to the episcopacy. A crosier is a shepherd’s staff. It is a six to seven foot long staff that a shepherd uses to beat the crap out of wolves. That’s your job. Beating the crap out of the wolves – not killing all of the sheep yourself so that there is nothing left for the wolves to eat.



    • Chris Banescu says

      The OCA Holy Synod of Bishops released a statement today re-affirming the Church position on marriage and indirectly challenging the US Supreme Court decision.

      In light of the decisions rendered on June 26, 2013 by the Supreme Court of the United States of America with regard to same-sex marriage, we, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, reaffirm that which had been stated in June 1992, namely that marriage involves the union of one man and one woman, as divinely revealed and experienced in the sacramental life of the Church. As such, the Church does not, and can not, condone or accept marriages apart from those involving one man and one woman who seal their relationship in the all-embracing love of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

      We exhort the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America not to have fear or anxiety in the face of the decisions of the civil authorities of our lands, but to bear witness to the timeless teachings of Christ by striving for purity and holiness in their own lives, by instructing their families and communities in the precepts of the Holy Gospel, and by placing their trust in our Lord Who “has overcome the world.”

      Unfortunately the OCA statement is a far cry from the much stronger, more powerful, and very clear public rebuke issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

      “Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California’s Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.

      “Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.

      “Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.

      “When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage – the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife – he pointed back to “the beginning” of God’s creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.

      “Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified.”

  5. Trudge at SmartVote says


    I would like to weigh in on this with something from Chrysostom below.

    But first, the frustration you feel about the silence of the bishops points to a problem we have as modern Orthodox.

    And it is a theological problem.

    Since we are Orthodox we think that we do not have theological problems, which prevents us from seeing the problem.

    The heart of our theological problem is that we are floating on the same tide of thought forms and attitudes and definitions of the good that is carrying those outside the Church along.

    This tide is a revival of the gnosticism that was one of the first threats to Christianity, and we are not able to discriminate its work in us and how it is affecting our Orthodoxy, and how this gnosticism has eroded the prophetic role of Orthodox Christianity.

    Gnosticism denies the importance of the body and how we use it. Then extreme pietism takes this gnosticism and says that what someone does with their body in private is of concern only between the person and God. This thought echos Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In contrast Orthodoxy recovers the proper use of the body in its varieties and in worship, and in the body of Christians as brothers working out the salvation of their souls. Shall a member of Christ unite himself with a prostitute? Far be it! Or worse? As Chrysostom points out, in bodily actions that brought hell on earth before its time? (I will pick this back up below.)

    Combine this gnosticism, which in our day goes by the name of modernism, with pietism pushed to its logical conclusion, and you get the mess that we are in – a dysfunctional Orthodoxy.

    Wanting our Orthodox leadership to produce a dynamic response to our moral crisis is to want to pick a fig from a thorn tree. It hasn’t been happening for decades for the same reason it is not happening now, and it won’t until the light is shown on the theological problem and it is rectified.

    Chrysostom shows us a Christian’s responsibility for the moral state of his neighbor:

    “Thou seest a man behaving himself unseemly, and dost thou not account the unseemliness thine own? Dost thou not interpose, and scatter the devil’s troop, and put an end to men’s miseries?”

    “But what if I receive blows myself,” saith one; “is this also thy bidding?” Thou wilt not have to suffer even this; but if thou shouldest, the thing would be to thee a sort of martyrdom; for thou didst suffer on God’s behalf. And if thou art slow to receive blows, consider that thy Lord was not slow to endure the cross for thee.

    (Sermon on Matthew 5, “Salt and Light”)

    And here is Chrysostom on how the evil one has divided humankind through the sexes (Sermons on Romans):

    “The devil…sundered the sexes from one another, and made the one to become two parts in opposition to the law of God. For it says, “the two shall be one flesh;” but he divided the one flesh into two: here then is one war. Again, these same two parts he provoked to war both against themselves and against one another. For even women again abused women, and not men only. And the men stood against one another, and against the female sex, as happens in a battle by night. You see a second and third war, and a fourth and fifth; there is also another, for beside what have been mentioned they also behaved lawlessly against nature itself. For when the Devil saw that this (sexual) desire draws the sexes together, he was bent on cutting through the tie, so as to destroy the race, not only by their not copulating lawfully, but also by their being stirred up to war, and in sedition against one another.

    How many hells shall be enough for such? But if thou scoffest at hearing of hell and believest not that fire, remember Sodom. For we have seen, surely we have seen, even in this present life, a semblance of hell. For such is the burning of Sodom and conflagration! And they know it well that have been at the place, and have seen with their eyes that scourge divinely sent, and the effect of the lightnings from above. Consider how great is that sin, to have forced hell to appear even before its time!”

    Adultery, and in the extreme of this sin homosexual nakedness, is the archetypal sin, and this archetype is encountered throughout the Old and New Testament. The Church as the bride of Christ is the picture of the restoration of mankind to a holy communion with God.

    As moderns we no longer see the badness of these or other sins nor perceive the nature of evil in the same way nor are we repulsed by them as are the Christ, Apostles and Fathers of the Church. I say this because of the many instances of spiritual instruction in the Orthodox tradition concerning these sins that are not being made part of the contemporary dialogue nor or being heard in sermons nor from the mouths of the bishops.

    We are not as Orthodox as we think we are. In saying that people can do with their bodies whatever they want in privacy, or to not assert with confidence and with pleading that there is a universal rock of principle involved larger than our personal moral feeling, we deny God his divine right to have a Church holy, spotless and blameless, and we instead assert that Christ died for nothing, for nothing serious.

    For us, the first step to wisdom in these things is exerting ourselves in not being fools.

    • nit picker says

      Dear Trudge,

      I don’t have a problem with your post. The spirit of the message is well received. I would like to address the issue of the silence of our bishops.

      Your post is humbling because it reminds us (and rightfully so) of our own sinfulness and God’s great mercy. It reminds us that we are received through adoption. That we are chosen even though we are unworthy and there is nothing that we have done to be make ourselves worthy of that adoption. It reminds us also that through this adoption we are called to be just as True Sons of our Father.

      Our Father, in His Righteousness and Holiness has designated that their should be some among His children that should be set apart, to be leaders among His children. They (those who are set apart) have received through the sacrament of ordination and elevation to the episcopacy, an extra measure of His Grace and Power, making it possible for them to do things which are not possible for the ordinary lay person. The burden on them is tremendous, but so is His Grace. He strengthens them and they are capable of raising and knocking down mountains, never mind what they can do to the dead.

      It is their responsibility to lead by example. It is their responsibility to be that Moses channeling the power of God and parting the Red Sea so that we, His adopted children, fleeing Egypt (the land of sin) can pass into the land prepared for us by our Father and into safety.

      Currently, all I see are dead beat bishops collecting a salary they haven’t earned. May God have mercy on them and enlighten them and all of us.

    • M. Stankovich says

      You would do well to pursue Fr. Florovsky’s interpretation of the current “problem” – and he certainly is not alone – before again contriving another essay of “theologicalizing.” You have taken up considerable space to conclude we – the Orthodox – are drifting on a chaise (Pére, pardonnez-moi!) of gnosticism? And you’re serious? Well, try this: Fr. Florovsky seemed to think we have slowly but surely lost they way of the Scriptural and Patristic mind. Holy Cow!

      Following the Holy Fathers. .. It is not a reference to abstract tradition, to formulas and propositions. It is primarily an appeal to persons, to holy witnesses. The witness of the Fathers belongs, integrally and intrinsically, to the very structure of the Orthodox faith. The Church is equally committed to the kerygma of the Apostles and to the dogmata of the Fathers. Both belong together inseparably. The Church is indeed “Apostolic.” But the Church is also “Patristic.” And only by being “Patristic” is the Church continuously “Apostolic”,The Fathers testify to the Apostolicity of the tradition.

      But pay attention! Florovsky notes that the Fathers were quick to point out that “customs do not guarantee the truth, “”tradition” is the continuity of divine assistance, the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. The Church is not bound by “the letter.” She is constantly moved forth by “the spirit.”

      Therefore, “Patristic” theology was “existential” in character – Gregory Palamas: “in the manner of the Apostles, not of Aristotle – and always related to faith & the spiritual life:

      Apart from the life in Christ theology carries no conviction, and, if separated from the life of faith, theology may easily degenerate into empty dialectics, a vain polylogia (“Words, words, words”), without any spiritual consequence. Patristic theology was rooted in the decisive commitment of faith. It was not just a self-explanatory “discipline,” which could be presented argumentatively, i.e., αριστοτελικός, without a prior spiritual engagement. This theology could only be “preached,” or “proclaimed,” and not be simply “taught” in a school-manner; “preached” from the pulpit, proclaimed also in the word of prayer and in sacred rites, and indeed manifested in the total structure of Christian life. Theology of this kind can never be separated from the life of prayer and from the practice of virtue.

      What is the point already? What Fr. Florovsky is saying is that the further we move away from the astonishing words that began the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon and forever set the “identity and permanence, from Apostolic times, [as] the most conspicuous token and sign of the right faith”: following the Divinely inspired teaching of our Holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church, or simply Following the Holy Fathers…, the more likely we are to engage in contriving vacuous nonsense to describe the obvious.

      Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars:
      Whoever is simple, let him turn in here: as for him that wants understanding, she said to him,
      Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.”
      (Prov. 9:1, 4, 6)

      Quotations are from “Patristic Theology and the Ethos of the Orthodox Church” in Aspects of Church History, The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky

      • Chris Banescu says

        I think the point is this:

        The Good News is not a philosophical construct, a manual for religious rituals, or a history lesson. The Gospel is living water, divine revelation of everything man needs to know, follow, and do in order to have life, and “have it abundantly”, to become the real creature in full communion with God that he was meant to be from the beginning. The Good News is the ultimate medicine, physical and spiritual that can cure mankind. But it MUST be preached and taught, continuously and fearlessly, to everyone, everywhere. It cannot be a light hidden under a bushel, or in our case hidden in our liturgical practices, mystical languages, conferences, or inside our churches, seminaries, and cathedrals.

        Our duty as followers of Jesus Christ and preachers of the Good News, is to “present that which is timeless (the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow) in the particular language of our own age,” wrote C.S. Lewis many years ago. “The bad preacher does exactly the opposite: he takes the ideas of our own age and tricks them out in the traditional language of Christianity,” warned Lewis. The mission of the Orthodox Church is to attract, educate, and support teachers and preachers whose teaching must be “timeless at its heart and wear a modern dress;” real shepherds who can bring Truth and Christ to the people, help them apply the Gospel message to all aspects of theirs lives, and bring them into closer communion with God and each other.

        The Orthodox Bishops, as direct descendants and representatives of Christ in the world, are the guardians, preachers, and teachers of the Gospel, the fullness of the faith, and the moral teaching of God. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” Christ commanded. They have a duty to speak to all these moral failures of the people and their leaders (secular or religious) and bring light and truth into their lives, all aspects of their lives, not just their “religious” lives or their behavior while in church on Sunday or a council meeting. The Bishops must condemn the constant rejection of Christ in all aspects of human relations and society. They must refute the lies and immorality that is tolerated, enabled, and even celebrated across the companies, organizations, public institutions, and governmental bodies where the people work, learn, and live. They cannot be silent, complacent, politically correct, or worse, busy seeking favor from the very corrupt, unethical, greedy, power hungry, and abusive politicians and other secular leaders who are leading the people astray and endangering the peace, security, and stability of their own societies.

        What were are witnessing in Europe, other countries around the world, and more and more here in America, is a failure of too many Christian leaders to read, heed, and apply the Gospel, practice what they teach, fully embrace the moral tradition, forsake worldly acclamation and acceptance, pick up their crosses and follow Christ, and preach the Truth to the faithful. The suffering, crises, and turmoil we continue to endure can be traced to the lack of courage, conviction, and ability of too many Christian bishops, priests, and lay leaders to speak, preach, and teach the Gospel and warn, guide, and lead the people, all of the people.


  6. Stan Poulos says

    People don’t seem to understand regarding “gay marriage.” Yes, it is wrong, but understand this.

    There has always been “Civil Marriages” and “Church Marriages.” Gay marriages are nothing more than the “State” recognizing couples living together who can be taxed as such and children attributed to them. Within “The Church,” these marriages can’t be recognized, endorsed nor is there a service to bring them into the fold of the Church. Like men & women living together in sin, so are homosexual unions. The priest must deal with this pastorally and it ain’t an easy task! The Church can’t marry these people, so now what????????

    • lexcaritas says


      What do you mean by saying we have civil marriage so that couples living together can be taxed as such? If there was ever a tax reduction for filing jointly, wasn’t it (like exemption for children and other dependents) to recognize the added expense that comes from having a family and the benefit that comes to the community from doing so?

      As for accoutning for the children “attributable” to them, the last I heard homosexual couples can;t produce offspring naturally; they must resort to sperm donation and surrogacy and articial technological means. The deception is that they want to refer these persons as their the children they have together. They are into lies; the whol e lifestyle is one of unreality and it cannot but lead to disappointment.

      Thank you for the remainder of your statement.


  7. jamesthethickheaded says

    I don’t buy a lick of it. If you’re upset with the Supreme Court, fine; I agree. A bigotted decision. Interesting that the list of who originally voted for DOMA included just about every liberal rep and senator who will all now duck and cover “as if”. “Are these folks all bigots now?” asked one writer. Fair enough. The opinion on the decision expressed animus.

    We should not express animus towards persons. Period. We should embrace our condemnation. Fine.

    How Orthodox is it to protest against condemnation? Not much. Early Orthodox Christians seemed to protest that those who would prevent their deaths were preventing them from living. What is this fear? Is this ORthodox? I don’t say this rhettorically any more than your OCA condemnation is reflexive.

    But let’s direct our animus correctly: OCA didn’t issue this ruling. The puzzle is why you continue to want the Church to express your political opinions. I think it’s fine and I don’t in the least disagree with your opinion, but I don’t think the Church has earned the condemnation you seem to wish upon it. Not for this. Maybe for other matters of which I’m not privvy… and fairly, I’m not privvy to much. But no, I don’t see it here.

    Does the Church disappoint for remaining silent? Did you want Christ to stand up and rail against Pilate? Personally, sure I did. But He knew better. I don’t suggest the Church does here… but I think that sometimes silence does speak in its own way. When other churches cheer… silence offers words. Condemnation of an opposite opinion than we would like may not offer as much as wordless acknowledgement of another’s heart may signal. Do we need to condemn? or shouldn’t we rather wonder whether the popularity of decisons of this nature doesn’t condemn our witness to Christ as inadequate, unacknowledged and unrecognizable? How can you always spin this as someone else’s problem and lay it at the feet of our bishops rather than acknowledging that… oops… maybe we’re not really the Christians we think we are? Nice slam if you can get it… and you can get it if you try… but I’m not convinced it’s earned by any jurisdiction much less even our own beloved but humbled OCA.

    • A sin is a sin is a sin... says

      The New Testament is chock full, on nearly every page, of Christ RAILING in a very dramatic way against the political and social issues of His day! Have you read the New Testament, my friend? How could you miss this? Christ was always speaking out against the religious leaders and their views, the politicians and their injustice, social issues and sin.

      And forgive me, but what are you even talking about in your post? “Sometimes silence does speak in its own way. When other churches cheer, silence offers words.” What? “Should we rather wonder whether the popularity of decisions of this nature doesn’t condemn our witness to Christ as inadequate, unacknowledged and unrecognizable?” Again, say what?

      You talk of George’s opinion about gay marriage as a political opinion. It isn’t a political opinion. And that, my friend, is exactly WHY we are in this predicament. This is an issue of sin, and making excuse with excuses in sin doesn’t make it any less of a sin. It’s not just an opinion about a Supreme Court ruling, to be agreed with or disagreed with. We are experiencing a guttural, visceral abhorrence of evil.

      Do you remember reading about when Christ met the Samaritan woman at the well, and called her out–in public–for living with a man who was not her husband? She ran back to tell her friends that this man, Jesus Christ, had told her all her sins, and that was how she knew He was the Messiah. Why are our representatives of Christ silent in the face of sin? How can sinners know the way to repentance if we are silent in the face of sin? What if Christ had simply stood silent in the face of her sin, and allowed her to go on her way? Would she have repented? Would she have changed her lifestyle? Would she have testified to the presence of the Messiah in their midst? We will never know–because Christ was not silent in the face of sin.

    • Michael Bauman says

      James there is no act either of protest or silence that is not political. There is no way to avoid politics and never has been. We either serve God or Mammon. Humans are political by nature. Only Gnostics think politics can be avoided.

    • jamesthethickheaded says

      Didn’t expect my comments to be “liked”. Touche’. Thanks for the slams… 😉 but you might want to look up Gnosticism. Think you either meant to slam me as a Nominalist or call me a no-nothing… which may be more what you meant. Sweet, but no I won’t accept that.

      To recap, I agree with you on the court’s decision, but I think our disagreement over response/non-response from the church is a different matter having more to do with the role of the church in the world. I see it as more pastoral while perhaps you see it in another way. I’d say that if the church’s moral stand were a deal-breaker, then the Roman Pontiff’s pronouncements over the past few decades would matter… but stats show the so-called faithful routinely disregard these by a wide and ever widening margin. This doesn’t bode well for the church as moral arbiter …drawing lines in the sand in terms of its utility just isn’t working… and maybe it’s not working because the shepherds have strayed… but so have the sheep. So I am left puzzled as to whether it really helps trying to turn us back to sanctification and renewal by drawing lines? Isn’t what we want for folks who are on the other side of the line to see the light… and come across? Lines but not walls? This is a puzzle.

      And as much as I’d like to think it’d be a better approach to try something ontological on the character of the human person, on sanctification or whatever…? I just don’t know…. I don’t see these things getting even a fair hearing among the faithful. Most folks don’t have the theological bent or the time to warm up or wait for the slow, long term game. But that seems to me to be the Christian way. Christ differed from Mohammed in turning the other cheek, in putting away the sword… while Mohammed did not. Fairly, I think if we knew what works… we’d have tried it. We don’t, and it’s for this reason I think we’re stuck playing the long game… ’cause in the great American way as Churchill put it, we’ll try every wrong short-cut solution first. So the multigenerations someone else spoke of here is sadly likely.

      As to trading parables, I’ll call your “Woman at the Well” and raise you two with “The Woman Caught in Adultery”. Christ has (for some) a maddening way of steering wide of political positions by focusing strictly on salvation. He steers both the crowd and the woman away from sin without condemnation, or stopping anyone from acting… but with a gentle reminder on one hand, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone…” and on the other, “If they do not condemn you, neither do I. Now go and sin no more.” Time and again, the “scribes, heretics and pharisees” push him to try to force him to conform to their way of thinking, but he adamantly resists… and specifically resists the political position to focus on his Father’s task of the salvation of mankind. Nothing short of brilliant. And he condemns neither the woman, nor those who would have stoned her… but perhaps moves both toward their salvation.

      So I’m not buying the politics bit as much as you may wish to make it, or even that man is political by nature… social yes, political… no. By nature, don’t we as Orthodox Christians hold man is good, loving and meant to live in the glorification of God? This is the image, but our likeness varies… widely. Where’s the politics in that? Besides, political is partisan… and that’s a temptation rather than a refuge as I see it. There is politics everywhere… I’ll agree with that. But that is focused on the acquisition and exercise of power, not the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. Some might manage to exercise power like the Philosopher King in Plato, but not many. Whenever politics clothes itself in virtue… I check twice ’cause usually it’s nothing of the sort. Christianity has had power as a dominant religion, but I’m not sure it is ever an easy or comfortable coupling, nor do I think it is necessarily a good thing. All the same, I don’t relish becoming a minority religion… but isn’t that where we are in fact if we allow for the whole of that atheistic, moralistic / therapeutic deism bit?

      Finally, all of this happening proximate to our Fourth of July is ironically leaving me with the feeling common to many of the remaining “Greatest Generation” types… that this isn’t the country we thought we were in. “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” But there is always good news, and the good news of immigration may be that these new folks may well help us recover our past…. yeah for now it looks like the past George wrote of. the other day… where immigration feeds the Gone With the Wind complex. But not forever. There is a long game ahead… and it’s time we began strategizing what that looks like. I don’t know what it is… but I do know it’s not a quick fix.

      • George Michalopulos says

        James there is much wisdom in what you write. I must quibble however with next-to-last sentence in the third paragraph “…I think we’re stuck playing the long game.” You may be right here as well but I doubt very much that the American jurisdictions are capable of playing “the long game” or that they even understand that that is a possibility. Moreover, unlike the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, I don’t think we have the resources and stamina to play the long game, let alone recognize such a strategy. We would have a fighting chance to play the long game if we really believed in the moral tradition as upheld for two millennia. Regretfully, I fear that there is a critical minority within the Assembly (primarily concentrated in the GOA) that do no. That is my real fear.

        I hope I’m wrong. I hope that by our witness as Christ-followers, instead of the much better turf-warriors we are, more Americans can see Christ reflected in our faces and actions and join us. Perhaps our ghettos can turn into something resembling the monasteries established by St Benedict in the West when Rome fell and the Dark Ages ensued. Oases of civilization and sanctity where the light of Christ flickered in an otherwise horrible time. Unfortunately, I fear that the leadership foisted on the Episcopal Assembly by the lethargic GOA makes this a very dim possibility indeed. I would go out on a limb at this point and state that unless the GOA and the ACOB come out with a statement similar to –or even stronger–than the one put out by the OCA, then we can reasonably surmise that the socio-intellectual elite of the GOA has succumbed to the spirit of the times. (Even within the precincts of the OCA I can hear Frs Jillion and Kishkovsky furtively apologizing to their overlords in the NCC for the boorishness of the OCA.)

        • jamesthethickheaded says

          George – thank you. I’ve felt we were moving towards something akin to your 3rd sentence 2nd paragraph since I was a teenager back in the 1970’s. And yet in all the rush of raising a family… I forget all that. As they transitioned into adults, I’ve had time to “rediscover” that… whew! it didn’t get better while I was away. As a convert some years back, I missed much of the good glory days as well as the bad old days too, and what concerns me more than some perhaps is the tone with which we appeal to those to whom all of this is less clear who think, “What’s the fuss?” We’re a nation lulled like the boys in Pinocchio on the Island of Capri? Perhaps. I’ve been blessed by geography and a good nose to land, plant and grow in some pretty sound parishes. And compared to the wobbles from whence I came… even the wildest here is tame by comparison. At the end of the day, the Little Church will save the Church perhaps as once the monasteries did long ago? Who knows.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Michalopulos,

          As the champion of the unrelenting war of “everything related to Jonah” and as the keeper and forensic examiner of each bit of “evidence” and minutia ad nauseaum for the entire period that Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v Windsor proceeded through the legal system – as near as I could see without comment or interest – to their inevitable day before the Supreme Court, your thread reeks of hypocrisy. Six days after the decision, you and others stomp your feet and walk in circles like van Gogh’s “Prison Yard,” chastizing that “our Assembly of Bishops has yet to issue a statement –pro or con– on what will likely go down in history as the next Roe vs Wade.” For as many times as I have detailed the history of the process, let me say again that the proponents of the demise of the DOMA and Prop 8 were surprisingly open as to their strategy and intention: when & where to file the appeal; which couple would best personify and “represent” the issues before the court; and who would best “educate & guide” the court by testimony and amicus presentations. It was calculated disciplined, and practiced. And it was open to be challenged.

          This “outrage” at the lack of response by the bishops is about as disingenuous an outrage as possible. Certainly the bishops are responsible, but to again quote Fr. Alexey Karlgut:

          Are not all members of the church, clergy and laity alike, accountable to one another? Certainly, if the hierarchs and those who assist them in the administration of the church are to be held accountable for their stewardship, the same must be said of everyone in the church for all aspects of their lives within the church.

          So the question becomes, for those who are so disappointed with the hierarchy of the church, where have you been since 2008? I have neither heard of you nor from you, and this makes equally irresponsible. Sleep now in the fire. You knew or should have known it was coming.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Dr Stankovich, I am completely at a loss to understand how the election of Jonah in 2008 somehow resulted in us suffering now because we were “not accountable” back then in some way. This is an extremely convoluted chain of arguments that makes no sense. Unless you mean that the Synod was irresponsible for backing down to the mob that demanded their heads on silver platters (and doesn’t THAT open up a whole other can of worms) and electing an unqualified candidate, then your reasoning is multi-flawed. After all, if Jonah was good enough for Dmitri to nominate as his auxiliary, and if the Synod thought enough of him to consecrate him to the episcopate, then where’s the problem?

            • M. Stankovich says

              Mr. Michalopulos,

              It seems to me you have answered your own question with your later comment:

              Indeed, it’s always good to see people who recognize the stakes.

              This site has been consumed with “all things Jonah,” as if the very foundations of the earth itself were contingent upon his “exoneration” and restoration, as he morphed from glory to glory… And the fact that the Church, in the most declarative voice it possesses, in council, overwhelmingly voted to move on, the fight continued(-es). And all the while, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v Windsor slowly made their way through the courts – measured, calculated, transparent.

              We had at our disposal the author of a seminal publication regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage from an uniquely Orthodox perspective – evolved and solidified since its initial publication – which would have constituted an excellent amicus submission. I refer, of course, to Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of SVS, renowned author, lecturer, and experienced pastor. No one of qualification challenges his theology, but monkeys would attempt to “spoil the show” over his comments regarding Jonah… And as the time grew shorter, the stakes increased.

              You miss my point, Mr. Michalopulos, in that the issue is not about Jonah, but about priorities, about choices, and the stakes involved. As I said to you at least a year ago, you needed to move on. The OCA had chosen to move on and there were many other matters to address. You outright dismissed me and my “handlers”; others had a need to “connect” me to Syosett & my “good friends,” as if I was serving “propaganda” and re-writing history, blah, blah, blah. Shame on you, you knew this was coming! If you were not aware of these cases, shame on you for your ignorance of what will now be taught to your children and generations to come as a “landmark in human rights!” And shame on you for your disappointment with the hierarchy of the church when you did nothing yourself! You have not earned the right to judge and chastize when you are equally guilty. See you at wine and cheese after the annual March for the Sanctity of Marriage.

              • nit picker says

                Dr. S,

                What stopped the Bishops of the OCA and Fr. Thomas Hopko at least one year before, despite the individuals on this forum from making an amicus submission? Did they need to have MY approval? Did they need yours? Did they need the approval of Mr. Michalopulos? Are they THAT impaired? I never realized that I had that much power and influence. You surely put me in my place and I thank you. I am going to go out and get me a set of patriarchal vestments made since I have the same if not more authority than the synod (according to you and your interpretation of Fr. Florovsky, never mind that you threw St. Paul out the window “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?…” 1Cor.12:28-30, remember St. Paul? You can come kiss my hand at your convenience.)

                I am in AWE!!!

                I can just hear the conversation at the palace on Long Island:

                “Brothers, Christians, my fellow Bishops!! Wait!!! The Holy Spirit has spoken to us, but, check Monomakhos first! What does nit picker write? Shall we proceed or no? He has not written? Drats! Then surely we deceive ourselves…we must wait until the wise and prudent nit picker tells us to move forward and act in defense of our faith! How about Michael Bauman? Nothing from him either? Double drat!! Then surely the Lord does not bless! How about Dr. Stankovich, surely he? Nothing? ALL IS LOST!!! All right guys, let’s pack it in and go for beer and nachos…but first, somebody walk Max.”

                • M. Stankovich says

                  nit picker,

                  Your “concreteness” is refreshing. My intention was to speak to the state of mind, not to the factual reality. Get it? I was recalling that Fr. Hans had sponsored an “essay” by Deacon Mitchell, the sine qua non poster boy for disobedience, disorder, and self-will run riot, who, without the benefit of ever being a pastor himself, determined himself “qualified” to critique Fr. Hopko and his seminal work. Really? Excuse me, nit picker, I see the raised hand of Fr. Schmemann. Yes, Fr. Alexander? “Pardon me, but who cares?” My sentiment exactly. Yet here, Deacon Mitchell was “championed” by the riff-raff. Go figure. My comment goes to state of mind, not to the factual reality. Get it?

                  Mr. Michalopulos notes that “Jonah was good enough for Dmitri to nominate as his auxiliary,” and you mark my word, nit picker: at the end of the decade, we will continue to lovingly remember and honor Vladyka Dmitri without any desire, need, or necessity to “embellish” who he was; the Supreme Court decisions striking down the DOMA and, in effect, upholding the CA Supreme Court regarding Prop 8 as unconstitutional, will be taught to our children as “landmarks in human rights”; and Met. Jonah will be a footnote. And all of your sarcasm is pointless.

                  • nit picker says

                    My comment goes to state of mind, not to the factual reality. Get it?

                    uh…no. Seriously, I don’t.

                    What state of mind are you referring to? What factual reality are you referring to?

                    I get the issue with Dn. Mitchell. Your essay “Seated at the Right Hand of Power” was a good’un and I said so before.

                    I don’t get the entire point of your previous posts here in this particular thread. Here is a short paraphrase of the message I am receiving from your posts in this topic:

                    If ya’ll weren’t so dang busy going on and on about your boy Jonah who ain’t worth the space he takes up anyway especially since he’s gone, you all could have got your sorry butts together pushed them lazy bishops into shape and done somethin’ worth while with yourselves instead of moanin’ and groanin’ about how nobody is doin’ anythin’. So now that everythin’ has gone pear shaped it’s your own dang fault, not theirs, so shut up.

                    Does that about sum it up? Ain’t nothin’ sarcastic’ in that bro’, it’s just the readin’ I’m gettin’ from what you be writin’. If that’s not what you want to relay, then you need to find a better editor.

                  • Mr. Michael Stankovich proclaims,

                    [A]t the end of the decade, we will continue to lovingly remember and honor Vladyka Dmitri without any desire, need, or necessity to “embellish” who he was; the Supreme Court decisions striking down the DOMA and, in effect, upholding the CA Supreme Court regarding Prop 8 as unconstitutional, will be taught to our children as “landmarks in human rights”; and Met. Jonah will be a footnote. And all of your sarcasm is pointless.

                    Your first two predictions are well-taken as they are. But salvation belongs to the Lord, Michael, and even those totally forgotten here are remembered by God. That is the only memory anyone should worry about being kept in.

                    Yet, if God wants His people on Earth to remember and honor the memory of Metropolitan Jonah from generation to generation, there is not a thing you or the dwindling OCA could muster that would stop it.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      You will pardon my flippant remark. I did not mean to imply anything pejorative in regard to Metropolitan Jonah the individual, but rather the energy invested in creating a battle he was unwilling or uninterested to wage on his own, nor courageous enough to stop. There is no excuse for what transpired after the last All-American Council, as the church spoke directly & definitively. And when the new pope was elected and enthroned, sniffed at like dogs by the American hierarchs, the consternation here was over the expense, the “pettiness” of the insignificant OCA, poseurs one and all, and not one comment that while the Orthodox were “sucking the breast of kings,” at the very same time Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v Windsor were being argued. Nice touch. And WAT! Not a clarion voice in DC to be heard. And so it goes…

                      Seriously, this whole “crickets” business has become trite, no, “Helga?” Theeze beez iz contagious already…

                    • MS, for all your talk about moving on past +Jonah, you mention him more often than anyone else. You can’t leave him alone.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Yup. The discords that brought this upon us are not new. We have winked at them too long and the bishops we have reflect our unconcern for the holy. That is true especially in the OCA because there is no other influence in the choosing of bishops but the American mindset. Both a blessing and a curse.

            Now we need to awake not to condemnation and vituperation but to equipping ourselves like the wise virgins for whatever is to come.

      • A sin... says

        Jesus identified each sin by name. Then he said, “Go and sin no more.” Not, “Go legalize your sin.”

  8. I think it is probably time, for those who have not faced it, that we all realize that the writing is on the wall (“mene, mene, tekel u farsin”) for America and Western Europe. Moreover, the rot has filtered into much of the Church in the West to produce Orthodoxy-lite or Byzantine-rite Protestantism.

    There’s not a lot that can be done through the clergy at this point. It’s really time to either emigrate or hunker down with traditionalist Orthodox (“the Church within ‘the Church'”) and ride out the storm which could last a few generations, unfortunately.

    Gospodi pomiluy.

    But, on the bright side, we can look inward and create our own subculture, divorced from the dominant culture which we can finally forsake entirely. There is a peace in that, a precious peace.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      And what, Misha, will be the criteria for deciding who gets to get into your “inner group”?

      And should the Orthodox stop evangelizing in North America, because what it gets is “Byzantine-rite Protestantism”?

      Or should there be a sort of lesser waystation for the Byzantine Rite Protestants until their properly-raised offspring become “true” Orthodox? And perhaps the Orthodox should be cautious against more than one Protestant convert or so at a time. On the other hand, maybe someone like Metropolitan Philip could take advantage of such a position!

      I suppose that it’s more complicated when you convert Christians than when you convert pagans– maybe. Isn’t that to be expected?

      But your group could set up a “True Orthodox” website! You should consult the Protestants, though– they have a centuries-long history of these “hunkered down” remnant “subcultures”.

      • Tim,

        The subculture already exists actually. I would simply prefer it be expanded and strengthened. And the Orthodox-lite subculture also exists, and in the bosom of the dominant culture. It’s not something I argue about anymore. I couldn’t care less how modernists view it. They have their rewards and consequences as do we all. I see hope in ROCOR’s efforts at evangelism, as well as that of the Serbs. Also in the Athonite monasteries. At the same time as there is outreach, there is an insularity whereby practices get shared with seekers or exported, but the dominant culture or the corrupted culture of “Byzantine Protestantism” is not allowed to gain ground within. The culture is viewed squarely in terms of traditional Orthodoxy, never vice versa.

        One of the more devout Orthodox that I know is a convert who joined the church at a ROCOR parish that was mostly converts. I have nothing against converts whatsoever, just against Orthodoxy-lite. I have been to vespers services in some churches that resemble low church Protestant prayer meetings as much as Orthodox services. When the teens in Sunday school don’t know that abortion is wrong but do know who will be on American Idol that week, there’s a problem.

        Orthodox also have a history of “hunkered down subcultures”. The Church of the catacombs, the Church in Soviet times, the Old Believers in Russia, the Old Calendarists in Greece (who suffered arson, physical assault and sometimes murder for doing nothing more than obeying canonical norms regarding the calendar).

        I could go on.

        However, my experience tells me that when people finally can see, there’s not much persuasion necessary, but until then, it’s useless.


        • George Michalopulos says

          Indeed. Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas, pray for us, on this, the anniversary of your martyrdom in 1918!

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Well, you make an important point, Misha: the world goes on, as it has these two thousand years now, and it will continue to go on.

          So even your posts can yield a word of encouragement!

          • Tim,

            “So even your posts can yield a word of encouragement!”

            Mighty gracious of you. And yours even more than a particle of truth. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!”


  9. Gail Sheppard says

    RE: “. . . we deny God his divine right to have a Church holy, spotless and blameless, and we instead assert that Christ died for nothing, for nothing serious.”

    Holy means to “set apart” or be different from the world. Without the backdrop of sin, how could we be holy? – No one can “deny God His divine rights.” It’s just not possible. – If we were “spotless” & “blameless,” why did Christ have to die?. – Are we our brother’s keeper? God respects our right to choose, even if we choose not to follow Him. Shouldn’t we do the same? – I’m just asking questions. I don’t know the answers. My heart tells me that you can’t legislate morality, but what do I know? I’m tainted with all that residue from the 60s! – I admire your zeal, though. Truly. That, alone, sets YOU apart in a very good way in my book.

  10. Now that it's Summer says


    caption: Празднование Крещения Господня в Раифском Богородицком мужском монастыре

    The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord at the Mother of God’s Kingdom Men’s Monastery in Tataristan, the northernmost primarily Muslim country in the world

    • nit picker says

      Brrrr…..those people that immersed themselves in the water must have nerves of stttttttteeeeeelllllllll…….*chatter*

      My toes turned blue just watching it. 🙂

      The ice sculptures were great. Thank you.

  11. Michael Bauman says

    We need to live as Christians and if we can’t do that at least we can die like Christians.

    “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”

  12. Walk Like an Egyptian says

    This is what really needs to happen in the United States for Christians to make the Left realize we are serious about retaining our religious freedom and keeping the state out of our children’s minds. Until we get off our duffs and show others we are serious, Christians will continue to suffer worse and worse oppression as the Left forces us to disband or go underground. We are being turned into pariahs and criminals in our own country.

    Link is to page with an embed of live protest in Tahir Square. Crowd estimates vary between 10 and 20 million demonstrators, and they’re all peaceful–people chanting and waving flags—although I’m starting to hear shots. We have to be prepared for that, too. Ultimately, it always comes down to that. Think of the saints.

  13. macedoniandeacon says

    OCA: Holy Synod issues Affirmation of the Mystery of Marriage


  14. Apparently they did “reaffirm” it back in May, 2012:


    • George Michalopulos says

      I know they did. My question is why didn’t they put it out again, this time with some extra language acknowledging the sheer awfulness of last week’s decision? I realize it might be too much to ask that every bishop to sign a new statement but they could have finessed this easily.

  15. Carl Kraeff says

    Here is the proclamation of the OCA Holy Synod:

    “In light of the decisions rendered on June 26, 2013 by the Supreme Court of the United States of America with regard to same-sex marriage, we, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, reaffirm that which had been stated in June 1992, namely that marriage involves the union of one man and one woman, as divinely revealed and experienced in the sacramental life of the Church. As such, the Church does not, and can not, condone or accept marriages apart from those involving one man and one woman who seal their relationship in the all-embracing love of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

    We exhort the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America not to have fear or anxiety in the face of the decisions of the civil authorities of our lands, but to bear witness to the timeless teachings of Christ by striving for purity and holiness in their own lives, by instructing their families and communities in the precepts of the Holy Gospel, and by placing their trust in our Lord Who “has overcome the world.”

    • lexcaritas says

      Bravo and axios to our bishops. Be encouraged.


    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      It is good to see a response to the SCOTUS decision by the OCA Synod of Bishops but it is too bad it did not reference natural law as well. The logic of the response does not differ from Orthodox advocates of same-sex marriage like David Dunn who argue that because marriage is only a sacramental reality, the Church has no business speaking to the larger culture about natural marriage.

      Marriage is within the order of creation. One male and one female create a child thus constituting a family. This is biological reality, ie: natural law. The sacramental dimension elevates the natural order without denying the natural dimension. That is where Dunn is mistaken (a serious theological error on his part) but the Synod’s statement allows that common misconception to stand.

      Furthermore, in the dominant culture many people assume rights emanate from the State (heterosexual marriage is a creation of the State) and thus the State has the right to sanction same-sex marriage as morally licit. Pronouncements by ecclesiastical authorities are perceived as speaking to religious believers alone with no relevance to the larger culture. This statement (inadvertently perhaps) also reinforces that misconception.

      Referencing the 1992 statement is fine but the culture has changed in the intervening 23 years. Statements were understood differently then than they are today. Unfortunately the Synod missed an opportunity to provide the moral direction the larger culture desperately needs.

      + + + + + + +

      Addendum: I just noticed Chris Banescu made the same point in his comment where he contrasted the Synod statement with one released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Mr. Banescu is correct. The Catholic statement speaks more directly to the dominant culture. It is clear that the Catholic bishops have a deeper understanding of how the culture perceives the issue.

      • The Catholic statement speaks more directly to the dominant culture. It is clear that the Catholic bishops have a clearer understanding of how the culture perceives the issue.

        Not only a clearer understanding, but they are smarter too! What an embarrassment when you compare the Catholic statement and the OCA statement.

        I don’t think the Synod missed an opportunity, I sadly think that they really thought that their Statement was spot-on! How could they be so out of touch?

    • nit picker says


      Thanks for posting Mr. Kraeff.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Indeed, it’s always good to see people who recognize the stakes.

  16. Tom Jeffrey says

    After reading this, I went and looks at the Assembly of Bishops web site and the only news article posted there since 611/2013 was about George N. Boulukos, the head of the Eastern Orthodox Commission on Scouting and a who appears to be a Long Island insurance agent, receiving the Silver Buffalo award from the Boy Scouts of America just days after the BSA’s landmark decision to allow openly gay young men in the scouting program.

    I find myself having the ask…

    Why did Mr. Boulukos not refuse to accept this award as message to the BSA expressing disapproval about their decitions?

    Why has the AoB not come out with any statement expressing disapproval over the BSA decision or the recent Supreme Court ruling on the DoMA?

    Have our leaders (presumably our bishops) become so deaf and mute to what is going around us in the world that the Orthodox Church, the oldest and second largest Christian confession in the world, has now become so marginalized, disorganized and irrelevant that we can longer speak with one voice and therefore we just don’t matter any more?

    If the Church exists to change the world and not be changed by it, then when is the Church going to stand up and and start doing that work again?

  17. Fr. Hans Jacobse says

    It is good to see a response to the SCOTUS decision by the OCA Synod of Bishops but it is too bad it did not reference natural law as well. The logic of this statement does not differ from Orthodox advocates of same-sex marriage like David Dunn who argue that because marriage is only a sacramental reality, the Church has no business speaking to the larger culture about natural marriage.

    The fact is that marriage is within the order of creation. One male and one female create a child thus constituting a family. This is biological reality, ie: natural law. The sacramental dimension elevates the natural order without denying the natural dimension. That is where Dunn is mistaken (a serious theological error on his part) but the Synod’s statement allows that common misconception to stand.

    In the dominant culture many people assume rights emanate from the State (heterosexual marriage is a creation of the State) and thus the State has the right to sanction same-sex marriage as morally licit. Pronouncements by ecclesiastical authorities are perceived as speaking to religious believers alone with no authority beyond private belief. This statement (inadvertently perhaps) reinforces that misconception.

    Referencing the 1992 statement is fine but the culture has changed in the intervening 23 years. Unfortunately the Synod missed an opportunity to provide the moral direction the larger culture desperately needs.

  18. jacksson says

    Has anyone seen the following? What does the future hold; according to Massachusetts a boy who thinks that he is a girl can use the girl’s locker room at school in the midst of real girls and girl/boys can use the boy’s locker room? Whew!

    Sky Fall: Gender Ideology Comes to the Schoolhouse
    by Adam J. MacLeod and Andrew Beckwith
    within Education, Marriage

    March 1st, 2013

    Since redefining marriage requires us to deny sexual differences, even school children now have to conform to that principle at the risk of punishment.

    In our discussions with advocates of redefining marriage, we often hear that defenders of marriage and sexual difference are overreacting to cultural and legal changes. “You run around yelling that the sky is falling,” we’re told. “We’ve had same-sex marriage for a decade now in Massachusetts, and guess what: The sky is not falling.”

    This is not an argument, of course, but an attempt to end any discussion of what it would mean to remove sexual distinctions from the law. As it did to James Bond’s psychiatric evaluation in the recent hit movie, the mention of the phrase “sky fall” is supposed to terminate the proceedings.

    No serious participants in the current marriage discussion are running around like Chicken Little. Defenders of marriage are concerned primarily about the long-term implications of redefining the institution. We might not expect the redefinition of marriage to alter cultural practices dramatically right away. After all, it took nearly two generations to realize the full effects of the divorce revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. But strange things are nevertheless happening in Massachusetts, where sexual difference was eliminated from marriage laws in 2003.

    Two years ago, the Massachusetts legislature enacted a statute prohibiting, among other things, discrimination in public schools on the basis of “gender identity.” The law defines gender identity as “a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior,” which is not determined by “the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.”

    On the basis of that statute, the Massachusetts Department of Education (MDOE) has now eradicated sexual distinctions from public schools. MDOE’s new directive requires schools to let children use bathrooms and play on sports teams according to the gender they personally identify as theirs, not their anatomical sex. The directive also admonishes schools to eliminate sex and gender distinctions in graduation garb, physical education, and other practices.

    Under Massachusetts law, the connection between gender identity and sexual distinction is now considered a historical accident, the result of arbitrary (at best) or mistaken documentation at birth. MDOE’s directive explains:

    One’s gender identity is an innate, largely inflexible characteristic of each individual’s personality that is generally established by age four, although the age at which individuals come to understand and express their gender identity may vary based on each person’s social and familial social development. As a result, the person best situated to determine a student’s gender identity is that student himself or herself.

    Because the child is solely responsible for identifying his or her own gender, the regulations require school officials to seek the student’s permission before disclosing the student’s gender identity to his or her parents.

    That’s not all. The regulations suggest that students who don’t endorse a fellow student’s gender identity may be subject to punishment. After condemning bullying, the directive endorses a memorandum that a Massachusetts school principal sent to teachers instructing them to discipline students who intentionally refer to a transgender student by his or her given name, or the pronoun corresponding to his or her anatomical sex. Such behavior “should not be tolerated.”

    MDOE justifies these regulations on pedagogical grounds: “All students need a safe and supportive school environment to progress academically and developmentally.” By “all students” MDOE must mean all students who share MDOE’s conception of sex and gender as an individual choice.

    It is not difficult to imagine who will embrace MDOE’s conception. The regulations state, “A student who says she is a girl and wishes to be regarded that way throughout the school day and throughout every, or almost every, other area of her life, should be respected and treated like a girl” (emphasis ours). The caveat that the student might want to be treated like a boy for some purposes seems an implicit admission that gender identity is not, in fact, an inflexible characteristic, as MDOE insists, but rather can adjust over time. And the directive states that the law “does not require consistent and uniform assertion of gender identity” (emphasis original).

    While we doubt that teenage boys will take much interest in the provenance of gender personality, it’s not a stretch to suppose that they will welcome its implications for co-ed activity.

    Perhaps this is why many parents in Massachusetts find these regulations shocking. We must confess that we are not so surprised. Massachusetts lawmakers have for many years been eradicating sexual distinctions from the law. This result seems to us the logical consequence of those efforts.

    Redefining marriage to eliminate sexual complementarity as an essential characteristic doesn’t automatically commit a state to forcing girls to share locker rooms with boys. But there is a logical connection. One of the premises justifying the redefinition of marriage also grounds these new regulations, that is, the view that sexual difference is irrelevant to the practice of marriage.

    But if sexual difference is irrelevant to marriage, then how can it be relevant to any practices? Once the state has determined that sexual difference is no longer a legitimate reason to extend special recognition to man-woman monogamy, there is no reason in principle to maintain sexual distinctions in less intimate practices. If one’s anatomical reality isn’t relevant to one’s marriage, it’s even less obvious why it should be relevant to one’s bathroom choice.

    To be sure, there are prudential implications of eradicating sexual distinction from education laws. But if letting people identify their own gender is a matter of justice, then it’s the job of law to solve the practical problems of implementation. (That is a key lesson of civil rights legislation.)

    Though future practical problems might seem obvious, the law makes it far from clear that there are any. If a boy who identifies as a girl really is a girl, as the law declaims, then any perceived harms resulting from his presence in a girls’ locker room are illusory. No wonder the Commonwealth exhorts school officials to discipline students who object to the arrangement.

    There are other indications that those who perceive inherent differences between men and women will increasingly be marginalized from public life in Massachusetts. A few months ago, a federal court in Massachusetts ruled that the United States Constitution requires the Commonwealth’s Department of Corrections to pay for a sex-change surgery requested by an inmate who is serving time for murder. It is cruel and unusual punishment, the court reasoned, to force the prisoner to keep his anatomy intact while he is incarcerated.

    This ruling might seem unrelated to removing sexual distinctions from law, but for the court’s reasoning. The court discredited the Commonwealth’s expert witnesses, who expressed doubt that a sex-change surgery is medically necessary, and who recommended treating the prisoner’s psychological and emotional disorders instead.

    The court ruled that these recommendations are “not within the range that would be acceptable by prudent professionals.” In other words, the court decided that no prudent professional would deny sex-change surgery to a male prisoner who identifies himself as a woman.

    The lesson is clear. If you think male and female are two distinct sexes determined by your anatomy at birth, then don’t bother serving as an expert witness in the United States District Court in Massachusetts. Nor can you in good conscience send your children to public school in the Commonwealth. A view of human nature that until very recently was understood to be obvious is becoming a source of disqualification from participating in public life.

    As lawyers, we perceive the logic of this latest regulatory innovation. But as fathers, we think that those who are dismayed by MDOE’s regulations are the only Massachusetts residents who can plausibly claim to be in their right minds. If the sky is not falling then it is at least showing ominous fissures.

    Adam MacLeod is an associate professor at Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law and a 2012-2013 Visiting Fellow of the James Madison Program at Princeton University. Andrew Beckwith is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Massachusetts Family Institute.


    • This stupidity is mind bending.

      However the logical extension of this court’s illogic would be to chuck Title IX althogether and just have one set of athletic teams in schools – since there are no differences. I’m sure the feminists will be all about that.


      • Michael Bauman says

        Women will soon be paying higher prices for life insurance too.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Right now women pay far less than men of the same age and health. If ones sex doesn’t matter where are the protests at this obvious discrimination. They protested when the same actuarial facts produced lower annuity payments due to longer life expectancy. Where are the demands for “gender equality”. If it is against the law its against the law isn’t it.

          No they don’t want equality. They only want what they want. You can be sure that the first high school boy who wants into the girls locker room there will be squeals of protest.

          This is total insanity.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            “Total insanity”. There’s hardly any other way to put it. I fully concur. And yet I continue to hope that in the fullness of time, this casuistry, madness, and addiction to whole-cloth fallacy will somehow burn itself out.

  19. jacksson says

    They got rid of the man who could and would have addressed the situation, Metropolitan Jonah.

    Fellow travelers have difficulty speaking against a lifestyle that they are part of.

    • M. Stankovich says


      What a ridiculous, pointless comment to make. He is a native Californian, elected as Metropolitan in the same month that California Prop 8 – California’s version of the Defense of Marriage Act – passed with largest turnout in CA history (80% of all registered voters). He was Metropolitan when Prop 8 was overturned by the CA Supreme Court as unconstitutional, and that decision was overturned by the Federal Appellate Court of the 9th Circuit, and set the stage for the appeal to the Supreme Court. Could he have addressed it – as someone else has said “with a stellar voice?” Yeah, buddy. Did he address it? Not a word. Holy Cow, if we believe Rod Dreher, the only reason he addressed a deacon who “married” another man, went to CA, returned after separating, and returned to service at the altar was because Rod’s wife humiliated the Metropolitan into action! Imagine! And hopefully in a clarion voice. And jacksson, perhaps you’ve heard that the Metropolitan’s own cathedral was the site of homosexual scandal? How sure are you with whom he travels?

      • +Jonah was the first and only person to make a statement to the faithful about homosexuality in his former troubled parish which was a central point for decades. What you write here is misleading and unfair. He always spoke plainly (and still does) about homosexuality and other such sins-especially right after he was elected which made him enemies, as we all know. He was the OCA’s best spokes person. He had peoples attention. Big mistake OCA to rid themselves of him . . .

        • George Michalopulos says

          Thank you for setting the record straight, Colette.

        • M. Stankovich says

          I will not even waste my time asking you to demonstrate how what I wrote was “misleading & unfair,” colette. If Jonah was the OCA’s “best spokesperson” and upholder of Christian marriage, I would only need to bring forward your past rants regarding the situation at his cathedral – where at one point I told you confront him or leave – as evidence of his inability to comfort and inspire even you with his “plain speech.”

          My point was not to again dredge up history we cannot undo, and continue to allow peripheral issues to draw energy and attention from issues of far greater longitudinal consequence. Following the All-American Council that elected the new Metropolitan, what point has been served in continuously pursuing the same issues? And while these same issues were monotonously pursued, we allowed lawyers and judges to decide an issue of morality “in the public square,” essentially without comment. We were neither robbed nor was it stolen; we gave it away in silent concession.

          Fr. Alexey Karlgut’s comment on authority, accountability, & responsibility in the church was a gift to this site like gold, and Mr. Michalopulos apparently is unaware of the value he possesses. As I quoted previously:

          Are not all members of the church, clergy and laity alike, accountable to one another? Certainly, if the hierarchs and those who assist them in the administration of the church are to be held accountable for their stewardship, the same must be said of everyone in the church for all aspects of their lives within the church.

          No doubt those advocating the overturning of the DOMA & Prop 8 strategized as to what the Roman Catholic Church might submit to the court; and I’m sure the Orthodox never crossed their mind, the clarion voice of Jonah notwithstanding. We must change.

          • Good, don’t waste your time and mine -I’ve already answered your question.
            Not you or anyone else could have stopped what happened in that particular Church as has already been explained over and over again here.
            It is clear there is no spokes person in the OCA-so why can’t you just admit +Jonah was it?

            I agree with this however- “And while these same issues were monotonously pursued, we allowed lawyers and judges to decide an issue of morality “in the public square,” essentially without comment. We were neither robbed nor was it stolen; we gave it away in silent concession.”

            Yep-that was not to our advantage and now we are going to pay the price. So enough of it-let us now speak up. Our silence has done us in.

  20. Daniel E Fall says

    I see little reason for ‘statements, pronouncements, declarations’, etc. The church made a statement at one of the AACs years ago about healthcare, but that doesn’t change the political realities. Then Metropolitan Jonah did not reiterate it when it wasn’t politically agreeable to him, eventhough it was timely on the stage.

    James said it well. Christ usually disappointed strong political opinions with greater wisdom. I’ll skip the citations, but I’m sure M.S. would do well with it.

    Friends…if 10% of the 2% marry; we are making a lot of noise for a few.

    When is the last time the Synod made a statement about malnourished children? I think they are a larger group.


    • You obviously don’t think secular marriage has any benefit to society and don’t exercise the moral imagination necessary to engage with alternative perspectives.

      There are already gay men and lesbians who are married to opposite sex partners in this country in order to enjoy financial benefits of one sort or another. The law does not discriminate against them and even allows them to commit to one another and to raise their own biological children together. Contrary to what the gay activists whispering in your ear would have you believe, the law in this country does not discriminate based on sexual orientation. So you are correct that giving a little extra money to same-sex partners who legally marry will not in and of itself bankrupt the country. The problem with “gay marriage” as defined by the activists is that it abolishes the very notion of the biological family unit both in the law and ultimately in the cultural consciousness. Already eggs and sperm are being bought and sold to create human life, this will escalate now, with no legal or moral foundation to stop it. Already gay couples are married and having extra-marital sex specifically to create human life. Doctors are being called on and paid big money to “create babies” in little glass dishes. And though I am personally turned off by the people vs. the government rhetoric that is so popular here, there is no question the role of governments in determining who to “give” children to and what to teach them and how they should be raised must increase after the logical and spiritual bond between children and their biological parents is severed within the very law of the land. These legal realities have cultural implications. It is no secret or surprise that heterosexual marriage rates are decreasing everywhere that single-sex marriage has been “delivered to the people”.

      The result will be more and more children raised by only one of their parents, and less and less daily support for that “single parent” whether married or not.

      An African American friend from a poor inner city background recently confessed to me that when she started having babies, she never considered marriage as even a possibility because she and her friends viewed marriage as “something White people do”. Surprisingly, she had all her children with a single boyfriend and still lives with him in exchange for sex and housecleaning services during periods when her mental health challenges or financial realities require it. Although her situation is not nearly as complex, unmanageable, and degrading as many in our country today, it is not an ideal context for raising children, and it truly is degrading to her as a person, as she often realizes and expresses verbally — unfortunately at this stage in her life, she is trapped in this less than ideal situation. What is most surprising to me is that she still does not understand the point of marriage or how it might have benefitted her or anyone she knows. Sometimes for brief moments, she gets it, but then it slips away from her mind like the idealistic fantasy she believes it to be. Her views on secular marriage end up being much like yours, Mr. Fall. Soon this very low view of secular marriage will be not only the law of the land, but the predominant perspective within our culture. Women, men, and children will suffer because of this change, and no amount of sophistry will correct the damage done. As is usually the case, the poor and those with the least power and resources to start with will suffer disproportionately.

      What is and should be horrifying to us all is when Suze Orman declares on a live CNN town hall meeting that marriage has nothing to do with children, that it is primarily about financial benefits for adults who are in love and having heart warming stories to tell extended family members during holiday dinners, and the crowd applauds. It should be horrifying when Ivy League educated California Supreme Court justices express the same idea in legal rulings that become the new law of the land. You don’t have to be Orthodox to be horrified by these developments, but one would hope Orthodox people retain enough of their mental faculties to see what is happening and that their hearts are not so hardened that they cannot be bothered to care.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Um, part of what you see as a hardened heart is resignation that sees no hope in the world and posits a self preserving withdrawal just as in depression.

        It is not government against people. It is the demonic mind expressed in government which of course a reflection of the will of the people.

  21. Something shared by an Orthodox friend written by a conservative Protestant pastor that perhaps others might find worthwhile to reflect upon even though not Orthodox.

  22. Archpriest John W. Morris says

    At our last Archdiocesan Convention we passed a resolution condemning the approval of same-sex marriage by the New York state legislature. I have no doubt that in a few wees our Archdiocesan Convention will pass a similar resolution condemning the decision of the Supreme Court. SCOBA issued a statement on this issue years ago Our Antiochian Bishops have preached against homosexuality many times in very clear and unambiguous terms. .However, how many times do we have to restate the position of our Church on this issue? The reality is that no one outside of the Orthodox Church cares what we think on this or any other issue. We have little or no effect on American culture. Instead, we must concentrate on teaching our people, especially our youth, what we believe about sex and marriage, so that they will not be led astray by the anti-Christian culture in which we live. That does not mean that we should remain quiet, but it does mean that we cannot expect society to receive our call or society to repent and return to Christian morality with anything except ridicule and eventually persecution. Our Church has lived under persecution most of its existence and I have no doubt are entering into a new era of persecution in this country.

  23. cyntha curran says

    Well, one thing of the midde ages they were able to developed a better horse collar and a heavier plow. Also, three cropped rotation which was revoluntary for food production. The romans were struck with the oxen to plant food.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Well, one thing of the midde ages they were able to developed a better horse collar and a heavier plow. Also, three cropped rotation which was revoluntary for food production. The romans were struck with the oxen to plant food.

      Thank you, Cynthia. I rejoice to find someone who shares my enthusiasm for Lynn White’s, Medieval Technology and Social Change.

  24. The crucial issue, once again, is religious liberty.

    Thus, check out this major interfaith statement on the issue, with the clear leadership from the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptists, with many, many others.

    Many others — but not…..


  25. Good people, beginning tonight, July 5th, we are upon the days that mark a year from the betrayal, uncanonical removal, and defamation of our Metropolitan Jonah.

    Let all of us who love the Lord and His Church, and care for Metropolitan Jonah, redouble our efforts in prayer and ascesis during this period of time. Pray that our Lord will pour out His mercy on Metropolitan Jonah and all of us, and that He will deliver Vladyka from all distress and danger.

    Pray also that the other bishops will be healed from their sin through repentance, confession, and making amends for their actions.

  26. Michael Bauman says

    Fr. Chad Hatfield was visiting St. George in Wichita, his home parish. As usual, he was invited to give the homily. If any one believes him “tinged” with the Episcopal heresy, they should listen to him preach( it will be on the St. George website in a couple of weeks).

    He began with an excerpt from Fr. Alexander Schemmann intoduction to “The Euchrist” written 30 years ago. It could have Ben written this week. Echoing Fr. Schemmann, Fr. Chad called on us to shed any reliance we have on Caesar to do the work of the Church, relying on the sacramental life for our strength, our witness and our truth. Fr Chad also indicated such witness should be actively against Caesar when necessary.

    It was a bold, yet nuanced call to not despair and not give in.

    Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.

  27. 6. You mention nothing about a unified, autocephalous American church. Was this discussed at the most recent meeting of bishops? When will the Mother Churches allow clergy and lay people to talk about this?

  28. 6. You mention nothing about a unified, autocephalous American church. Was this discussed at the most recent meeting of bishops? When will the Mother Churches allow clergy and lay people to talk about this?

  29. The sponsors of the kidnapped bishops’ letter (“Sherman letter”) so far include Congressional Representatives Brad Sherman a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (Los Angeles), Carolyn Maloney (New York, Co-Chair Hellenic Caucus), Gus Bilirakis (Tampa, Co- Chair Hellenic Caucus) John Sarbanes (Baltimore), Trent Franks (Arizona and Chair of the International Religious Freedom Caucus) and Mike Pompeo (Kansas and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence). God willing, before the deadline for the Congressional Representatives of this Friday to sign, many other prominent members of Congress will be joining them (a number more signed on after the Dear Colleague letter below). I also understand Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and Congressman Justin Amash (Michigan) are going to be signing today.