Why You Can’t Serve Two Masters

So it’s now come to this.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros Lambrianides, the primate of “the Holy Archdiocese of America”, paid homage to His Excellency Tayyip Recep Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey.

Actually, that’s not exactly true: you could say it was more like he groveled before the Turkish president.

I wish I had a picture but it was so obsequious no one took one.  In other words, it was embarrassing and it’s blown up in his face. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s caused an international incident, threatening to disrupt Patriarch Bartholomew’s upcoming visit to America next month.

It’s unclear as to how servile his genuflection to President Erdogan was. Some witnesses say he was merely bent over; others say he “only” kissed Erdogan’s hand. Frankly, I don’t know which is worse.

The event in question was the opening of a new Turkish Cultural Center in Manhattan and it was attended by American political, cultural, and religious eminences. As it should have been. Even though I am of Hellenic heritage, I have no problem with Turkish-American citizens erecting cultural centers or other institutions in the United States. None at all.

Nor am I particularly upset by American Orthodox bishops attending such galas. In fact, I think they should attend.

Archbishop Elpidophoros, however, is not an American. He is a Turkish citizen. Which of course raises questions about dual loyalties.

We shouldn’t be surprised, however; the unctuous subservience towards political –and often anti-Christian authority–has long been a hallmark of Phanariote DNA.

We shouldn’t be too hard on Archbishop Elpidophoros either.  This type of servility comes easy for effete academics who have vainglorious titles. Unfortunately, even masculine men in the GOA (and I’m looking at all you Archons out there) have learned to affect that posture –spiritually if not physically.

What is hard to understand is why we Greek-Americans have to put up with this nonsense from our ecclesiastical leaders. We are Americans and have been for several generations now.  It’s not in our DNA.

On the other hand, perhaps it should be given that we constantly put up with these incessant Phanariote games.

Why do we feel the need to kowtow to Istanbul, the so-called “New Rome”? Is it because we are afraid of losing our pride of place to Moscow? Or are we so afraid of the OCA that no matter how corrupt, how inept, how tin-eared our bishops are, we’d rather pay homage to “Constantinople” than have anything to do with those dreaded Slavs and pushy converts?

And let’s be honest, you have got to be pretty darn tone-deaf to march with BLM rioters and Antifa terrorists in the midst of the worst civil violence in American history. To add insult to injury, one of the Turkish imams present at the inauguration of this Center was associated with the recent conversion of Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. A Charlie Foxtrot all the way around, I’d say.

Perhaps it’s that we are just plain ignorant of the games that the Phanariotes play.  Maybe the great majority of us are unaware of the intrigues that foreign-born “archimandrites” engage in when they arrive in New York, waiting their turn to be bishops in the GOA.

I suppose it could be a combination of any and all of the above.

After decades of putting up with such shenanigans, we should know by now that a leopard cannot change its spots. The Phanar is what it is. It’s never going to change. Why? Because double-minded men will always play double games.

It’s bad enough that many Greek-American laymen have dual loyalties; one to Greece, the other to America. But it’s even worse when our Churchmen have dual loyalties as well. In their case one set of loyalties to Greece, another to Turkey.

This should be obvious by now.

Whether the “American” Archbishop actually groveled before Erdogan or merely kissed his hand, he showed an astonishing ignorance of American folkways. In other words, being a foreign-born Turkish citizen, he reverted to form.

In a way, I suppose you could say he did us a favor by letting the mask slip. Now we all know where his loyalties, and those of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, lie. And they don’t lie with America.

This is an untenable situation all the way around.  The question, however, is this:  As Greek-Americans, why do we continue to put up with such lunacy?  It boggles the mind.


  1. Elpidohphoros is only backtracking on this because he’s gotten so much pushback politically. Yet he has offered zero apologies for the things he have said and done that go against Orthodoxy. It’s obvious he, or Bartholomew care nothing about Orthodoxy and are only concerned with politics. I mean, when was the last time you heard Jesus, Repentance, etc., mentioned in anything coming out of Constantinople? And that very reason is why they are doomed to extinction.

    I the mean time, it looks like we are getting a glimpse of what Russia is possibly planning to do come November when they have their four year synodal meeting:

    In addition, the Synod expressed deep sorrow over the fact that on August 13, 2021, Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria, who had previously recognized the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”, participated in concelebration with the leader of this structure, Metropolitan Epiphany. In this regard, the Synod instructed to study the possibility of accepting under the omophorion of the Moscow Patriarchate those clergy of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria who sent appropriate petitions to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, since they do not agree with the decision of Patriarch Theodore II to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics.

    From what I understand they have already done something similar in Turkey

  2. Even though I am of Hellenic heritage, I have no problem with Turkish-American citizens erecting cultural centers or other institutions in the United States. None at all.

    I do! These Mohammedans need to get off my land. We can’t co-exist.

    Exactly zero of the patriots fighting in the American Revolution thought that it would one day be flooded with 80-IQ Mayans and Haitians who would be given voting rights and live on welfare. None of them was saying, “I’m fighting this war so that my distant granddaughter can go to college and blow the entire football team while majoring in Misandry Studies.”

    But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Greece should open its doors to the Turks and let them erect cultural monuments and Subway franchises all over its major cities. They do the jobs Greeks don’t want to do.

    Archbishop Elpidophoros, however, is not an American. He is a Turkish citizen. Which of course raises questions about dual loyalties.

    You could say something similar of about half of Biden’s cabinet and maybe 20 congressmen.

    We shouldn’t be too hard on Archbishop Elpidophoros either. This type of servility comes easy for effete academics who have vainglorious titles. Unfortunately, even masculine men in the GOA (and I’m looking at all you Archons out there) have learned to affect that posture –spiritually if not physically.

    Just call him gay already and be done with it. No psychosexually healthy man has that much plastic surgery.

    What is hard to understand is why we Greek-Americans have to put up with this nonsense from our ecclesiastical leaders. We are Americans and have been for several generations now. It’s not in our DNA.

    Remember that Day of Mourning last year for a medieval church that isn’t a church? That was arguably worse than any of the COVID protocols. It’s one of those things that’s inherently repulsive even if you don’t know why.

    Whether the “American” Archbishop actually groveled before Erdogan or merely kissed his hand, he showed an astonishing ignorance of American folkways. In other words, being a foreign-born Turkish citizen, he reverted to form.

    The American tradition is to drive off foreign monarchs and refuse to pay your taxes. Elpidohumpalumpagus did some weird medieval court gesture none of us have ever heard of. Plus, he uses the metric system.

    Now we all know where his loyalties, and those of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, lie. And they don’t lie with America.

    We’ve known this for a long time. Anyone who hasn’t been convinced already is beyond hope. The liberal, cosmopolitan Greek is looking at this and saying, “Isn’t it wonderful how multicultural the GOA has become? We’re citizens of the world!”

    This is an untenable situation all the way around. The question, however, is this: As Greek-Americans, why do we continue to put up with such lunacy? It boggles the mind.

    Well I can’t speak for the Greeks, but I think a lot of them are asking themselves the same question.

    Greeks should consider the Romanian Church. Language aside, it’s basically the same thing. It’s a thought.

  3. Jeff Baggaley says

    Please forgive me my question. I am ignorant. I am not too bright. And I am a recent convert, baptized only a few months ago. There is no Greek in me at all. No Turkish in me either for that matter. My ancestors came over on the Mayflower on my father’s side, and on my mother’s were some of the earliest French settlers in Quebec (New France). I was adopted into the family of the chief ceremonial spiritual leader of the Lakota nation, and trained as a traditional pipe keeper before the Lord made me a Christian 10 years ago. It took me that long to find the Church, even after having gone to seminary at graduate school for four years.

    In other words, I am American, and I am Christian.

    Here is my question: what the hell is this foreign national apostate charlatan doing in America pretending he is a leader in the Church of the Living God?

    Someone please help me here. Like, I said, I am not too bright.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Good question! (And you’re quite bright!)

    • Jeff,

      I think you would need to visit a Greek church to truly understand and this is not something I can recommend. Originally, I attended an OCA parish for about a year, but saw the writing on the wall with their modernism. When I went back to Orthodoxy, I had a choice of driving two hours to a ROCOR parish or just going to the nearest “canonical” parish (which was Greek).

      Lazy me.

      So I spent some serious quality time with Greeks, about 7-8 years. It was a strange trip, believe me. Now, the first thing I will say is that, generally speaking, they are wonderful people (by modern measurements) – energetic, vibrant, intelligent, colorful, etc. But for the most part, to them being Orthodox is being Greek and vice versa. Now, they know there are other ethnic varieties of Orthodox – Romanians, Syrians, etc. But the center of gravity in a Greek (GOA) church, unless it is unusually unparochial, is the Greek community.

      You see, for the Greeks, the ethnic community came first historically in America. AHEPA (google it) was their NAACP/Cosa Nostra. Greeks would immigrate and tend to settle together. When they had the numbers and money, they’d rent or buy a meeting hall. When they had more money, they would send off to the old country for a priest to perform weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc. Up to that point, many went to the local Episcopal Church.

      If you were Anglo or some other hyphenation of American and showed up at a Greek church during the earlier period, and in some places even now, you would not be engaged. “They have their own churches, what do they want with ours?”

      Now, you may observe that this all has very little to do with the Christian faith. And thus what you must understand is that the first generation naturally had a mentality of tribal cohesion at the same time as wanting to be appear more “American”. The second and subsequent generations being quite intelligent and often occupying the professional classes in medicine, pharmacy, law, academia, etc., tend to have absorbed the default secular materialistic worldview of the liberal West while at the same time placing considerable value on ethnicity (being a minority, this is seen as not only acceptable but praiseworthy).

      So, the religion is ethno-cultural rites; God Himself is on life support and no one takes His Holy Tradition seriously; and religion is simply the spiritual expression of ethnicity. Now in the last generation, though this is still largely the subconscious reality, many Greeks have become conscious of how ugly their own ethnic discrimination can be and so there is a curious dance that has ensued that a) the Greek church is for everybody, but b) it’s still going to retain its Greek character (by God).

      Thus we have the language wars. The more forward thinking elements will press for English and the more ethnocentric elements will press to retain as much Greek as possible (as “nostalgia”, for example), hiding behind “tradition” sometimes, yet never questioning pews, calendar, etc.

      So, God bless them, it’s a circus. Probably even more so in metropolitan city parishes than in the Midwest parish I frequented. In a university town, these parishes are not bad at attracting other ethnic Orthodox so long as their numbers are manageable. But most of the kids marry non-Greeks, non-Orthodox outside the Church. So it’s a dying proposition. Regardless, it will remain Hellenocentric because they can’t think sincerely beyond these terms. The level of faith and observance is liberal cafeteria Catholic. The religious/spiritual side is a game. Ethnicity is serious. It is tangible and involves power. That is the mentality.

      All that being said, I love the Greeks. Read their history and it all makes perfect sense. They will rise above it eventually, as has our gracious host, George. I don’t blame them in the slightest though it seems probably from my tone that I do. It was a Greek priest who chrismated me and a Greek parish where I learned Byzantine chant and normally I felt quite welcome. To the extent that they are being counterproductive, it will mostly only impact their own community.

      And so that is what this “foreign national apostate charlatan” is “doing in America pretending he is a leader in the Church of the Living God”. He comes from the old lands and thus is very Greek. He makes no secret of his devotion to the Greek people, the Greek patriarchate and Hellenism. This gives him holy gravitas. He feeds their secular materialism by challenging the old taboos about intermarriage and communion. He’s even Green. He marched with BLM.

      What’s not to love?

      Again, I am not recommending that you visit a Greek parish to verify all of the above. Just take it from someone who has been there and done that.

      And God bless us all.

      • Jeff Baggaley says

        ummm… thanks Misha. I think. You have wonderfully described a heresy that I believe is called ethnophyletism. I just left a heresy called Baptists- where I was a pastor- and frankly do not want to get enmeshed in another one.

        Call me old fashioned but if you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is God in the flesh (I do) then the very last commandment his gave his disciples before His Ascension may be important.

        You may have heard of it before, but perhaps not in the Greek Church. It’s in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, the last chapter, the final verses:

        18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

        19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

        20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

        Last I checked that was not an optional, if you’re feeling it kind of thing 😉

        • Phyletism is not a heresy and the local council of 1872 did not reflect the teaching of the Church but was actually just an attempt by the Greeks to keep down the Bulgarians. It has been used, mostly in the OCA of all places, to bash ethnocentrism in other jurisdictions. This is notwithstanding the non-geographic ethnic dioceses within the OCA.

          However, as I said, I would not advise attending a GOA parish for the reasons I explained.

          • If phyletism is a heresy,
            how could the EP raise up the OCU?

            • Brendan,

              Matthew 15:26:
              But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

              It is utter folly and short sighted opportunism to label phyletism as a heresy. It may be a sin (debatable). It may not be the canonical way of defining a local church (highly debatable). But a heresy is a false doctrinal assertion, at odds with tradition or absent therefrom, which the heretic defines as essential to faith.

              The entire Orthodox world at present is divided up along phyletist (ethno-racial) lines. All Orthodox are tainted by it if not by the practice of their respective local churches then by intercommunion with local churches that do practice it. Thus, if phyletism is a heresy, the gates of hell have already long prevailed against the Church of God.

              Moreover, how does one explain God’s Chosen People? How does one explain Christ’s remark above? Both are clear instances of phyletism.

              Regarding the OCU, the creation of a pseudo-church may be many things, but I’m not sure that phyletist fits the bill. The Ukrainians and Russians are the same tribe – Eastern Slavs. There’s no racial component to the animosity of Ukrainian nationalists to Russia, at least not among those who are aware of their own genetic history.

              Phyletism is not nationalism. That is a misnomer as well. Phyletism is racism or tribalism. Ukrainian nationalists do not despise the Slavic race, of whom they form a part. They despise Russians from whom they wish to differentiate themselves for political reasons by subculture and home rule.

              The Robber Council of 1872 was a farce:


              If phyletism is a heresy then God is a heretic for His commitment to His Chosen People and Christ is a heretic for initially refusing the Canaanite woman. Moreover, as Orthodoxy is everywhere divided along ethnic lines we are all quite heretical, but most particularly those who have within their local churches non-geographical ethnic dioceses which is precisely what was condemned by the pseudo-council of the Greeks in 1872, namely the OCA:


              There you will find Bulgarian, Albanian and Romanian non-geographic dioceses.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Heresy only applies if a bishop is found teaching it. Although I concede is practiced everywhere, bishops refrain from speaking about it.

                Heresy is adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma. In our case, the beliefs, doctrine, and dogma of the Orthodox Church are in complete alignment with the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures and the uninterrupted tradition of the Church.

                Everything in the Holy Scriptures screams against phyletism, beginning with St. John the Baptist.” Pentecost is another example. Why was St. Peter, surrounded by the Apostles, heard in multiple languages, converting thousands of people from every surrounding nation? The birth of the Early Church is rooted in a premise that is in direct opposition to the very idea of phyletism. If God wanted phyletism, Peter would have spoken to just one nation in one language, e.g. Aramaic.

                Christ did not refuse the Canaanite woman. He was speaking to His disciples.

                In response to the annoyed disciples, pleading with Him to send her away, He repeats their concern that He was only there for the lost sheep of Israel, giving the woman the opening (and the grace) to launch a powerful argument against phyletism. In healing the daughter of a Cannonite woman, He demonstrated to the Apostles there is but one thing that unites us with God and that is our Faith; not our race. If he had wanted a single race to define the Church, His apostles would have stayed where they were and not gone to places far and wide.

                Matthew 15: 21-58
                21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

                23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

                24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

                25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

                26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

                27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

                28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

                • If God does not engage in phyletism, why did He choose the Jews? Comparing a non-Israelite to a dog . . . well, you’re not discussing this in good faith. It is what it is. He admired her spunk but He said what He said and it was clearly 110% “phyletist”.

                  But that is hierarchy. And that is the problem with Enlightenment based reasoning and “all men are created equal”. It is simply a demonstrable lie.

                  Here’s the thing. “Racism” itself is an idea of very recent vintage. You will notice that the Greeks in 1872 had to invent a new name for this notion allegedly condemned by the apostles.

                  SIDE NOTE: At the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem, it was decided that Gentile converts needed only to keep the commands of Noah, not the entire law. However, this was not the case for Jews who converted. Peter seems to have relieved his brothers of the necessity for observing kashruth as a consequence of the dream he had from the Lord. But you will notice that St. James the Just, the brother of the Lord and first bishop of Jerusalem, wore the urim and thummim breastplate of a Jewish high priest. They were quite conscious of their separate identity as Jews.

                  Bottom line, during the events precipitating the 1872 council, the Greeks’ ox was gored (as a result of their goring the oxes of others) and they had to invent some religious objection to what was going on. They could have said one bishop per territory and left it at that. That was the real canonical anomaly. “Racism” as a word did not come into common usage until the 1930’s when it was used to describe the ideology of the Nazi party in Germany.

                  It is too precious for words for anyone in communion with the OCA with its ethnic dioceses to chirp the first word about “the heresy of phyletism”. Physician, heal thyself.

                  In truth, the fact is that the local churches of Orthodoxy are largely demarcated along phyletistic lines: Greek Orthodox (of the Phanar, Greece, and a few other local churches), Serbian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc. The Antiochians used to be called the Syrian Orthodox, like the Oriental Orthodox confession denotes itself.

                  And it makes perfect sense because it is convenient to divide people by language and culture. That is how they are divided, normally, on territory. This tribe inhabits this particular piece of land. One might think of the Israelites and the Promised Land. Hmmm . . . so wasn’t the conquest of Canaan phyletist, accomplished according to the Lord’s order?

                  Why would you, for example, split off part of Romania and the Ukraine and make one local church and join the rest of Romania to, for example, Serbia while joining the rest of the Ukraine to Belarus and separating them from Russia? If ethnicity is not a factor you can draw it any way you like where there are Orthodox.

                  Of course that is all silly. Your first consideration should probably be language, which is normally a proxy for tribe, ethnicity. It all gets confusing in the age of empires. Asia Minor and the Balkans was one such confusing anomaly under the Ottomans. The problem was the Greeks and Bulgarians lived together, side by side. So much for multi-kulti. America is another one since there are any number of overlapping ethnic based jurisdictions in America.

                  It’s no use to assert OCA autocephaly as a solution here. No other local church respects it as evidenced by the presence of many jurisdictions, including their mother church, on American soil. Moreover, other than lip service, the OCA itself doesn’t take the concept the least bit seriously or it would excommunicate all these poachers.

                  Really it’s best just to ignore the issue and let it sort itself out. Given time and absence of confusion, people will sort themselves out into groups of those they find familiar. The notion that this is somehow bad is probably the greatest political lie of the modern era – feminism excepted.

                  But hey, if marching with BLM feels better . . .

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    It was his disciples who were making the comparisons. Do you think for one moment Christ didn’t know He was going to heal that woman and used her circumstances as an example to His disciples for their edification?

                    The Son of God does not waffle. That woman phrased her final response perfectly to suit His purposes.

                    I see the word “you” (meaning me) throughout your response, most of which has nothing to do with anything I said so I will refrain from answering.

                    • Gail, as I read Misha’s response,
                      I understood the use of ‘you’ to be largely rhetorical
                      and not aimed at any specific person in particular;
                      but that’s my reading.

                    • Most of my “you”‘s were rhetorical, like “one”, except for the first one in “you’re not discussing this in good faith”.

                      Christ clearly, openly and emphatically makes an ethnic distinction between Jews and Canaanites. To effectively deny it, one would have to excise it. Now, did He have contempt for Canaanites? No, no more than a man would have contempt for the family dog. But there is an issue of hierarchy and superiority and it is ethnic or racial (“tribal” is probably most accurate); i.e., phyletist.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Speaking of the 1872 Council, you are correct, it was just a handy cudgel to pick up to beat the Bulgars over the head with. As in so much else Cpole does, sheer sophistry.

                    I’ve been thinking much about ethnicity lately. I am particularly intrigued by the 70 nations found in Genesis 10 and in Deuteronomy, each of which is governed by its own angel. More to come.

                    All I will say at this point is family, clan, tribe, nation and even race are divinely inspired by God Himself. The ultimate proof-text for this is the Fifth Commandment: “honor the father and thy mother”. Regardless of who they were, how they were complected, or how ingenious (or not) they were, it was through those two humans that God used to bring you into being.

                    That is not to say that if one marries outside one’s ethnicity or race that God condemns it. After all, Moses married a black woman. The four named ancestresses of Christ were foreign women (except for Bathsheba and she was an adulteress married to a foreign man).

                    The Pentecost was a repudiation of the Babel event. God used Babel to confuse and divide the nations and He used Pentecost to reconcile all the nations in Christ.

                    Anyway, I digress. I will say that as a Greek, I’m particularly upset by the self-serving shenanigans that Cpole constantly plays. Cpole 1872 is a case in point.

                    • Well, I’m from the South. I know what real racism is. That’s part of it. Neither Christ’s remark to the Canaanite woman, nor the action of the Bulgarians is racist, at least not to me. Racism isn’t about superiority or hierarchy, but rather contempt. Mostly violent contempt.

                      Greeks have done a tremendous amount for humanity and should be commended for it. And everyone is entitled to their own self respect and traditions.

                      I assume more rational minds will eventually prevail at the Phanar or at least within GOARCH. I assume most Greek Americans will not follow the Phanar to Rome if the non Greeks do not come along. The math should give them pause. They’d be moving from being big fish in a little pond to small fish in an ocean.

                      Whites in the US are going to have to decide if they want to hate themselves into becoming like the Afrikaners in South Afrika. If we were Germans, I could understand the guilt. But it’s mostly Yankees, not even Southern whites, who get all sanctimonious.

                    • Agreed in full, George.

                      see this for a rundown: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nations-seventy

                      One thing to note is that the passage regarding “neither Jew nor Greek” traditionally was understood as a principle of unity rather than equality, whether regarding ethnicity or gender:


                      Though the author is protestant, he draws on the church fathers to support his complementarian argument. The perils of mixing diverse and/or disparate ethnic groups forms the substance of much of human history.

                      If you want some real fun, drop 500 rural Afghans fresh off the boat in Smallville, USA. The prosecutions for child marriage have already begun and honor killings most likely are on the near horizon.

                      Multi-kulti is a far more concerning problem to me than empty accusations of racism. One benefit of the current follies is that for more than half the population of America, the epithet “racist” has been robbed of its pejorative force.

                  • Misha “If God does not engage in phyletism, why did He choose the Jews?”

                    You project modern nationalism into Old Testament times. Being Jewish was (and is) primarily a religion, not a race.

                    God chose one ethnic group to become religious one. After coming of Christ this religion was perfected and open to all nations.

                    Sowing nationalist passions among Christians is a heresy, a very toxic one. See what happens on Ukraine, where fascist nationalists persecute the true Orthodox in the name of phyletism.

                    • “Sowing nationalist passions among Christians is a heresy, a very toxic one.”

                      Said the council assembled by bishops wanting to perserve an uncanonical authority given to Constantinople by Muslim oppressors. Oh, the Bulgarian Church, Serbia, etc, universally recognized as legit these days? Well then shows that council was rejected over the last 150 years. Either bring everyone back (including the Heterodox) under the Muslim yoke through the Patriarch of Constantinople, under threat of excommunication from communion, or we could stop trying to save that 1872 council.

                      “See what happens on Ukraine, where fascist nationalists persecute the true Orthodox in the name of phyletism.”

                      Where the fascist nationalists persecute the true Orthodox nationalists (because no “true Orthodox” is an internationalist, world government of the Antichrist supporter) in the name of phyletism. So you can drop the nationalist from fascist, and everyone can drop the phyletism stuff, because it is pointless, everyone always claims the other guy is doing the phyletism. The Orthodox don’t need an alleged heresy of phyletism to see the heresy of the First Without Equals.

                    • Myst

                      Unfortunately fascist nationalism over there is a real thing, . . .

                      Also the Constantinople Patriarchate was a different institution before enthronement of infamous Meletios Metaxakis.

                    • Martin,

                      To be particular, it is neo-Nazi Russophobia. “Nationalism” is just the ideological vehicle for its expression. Instead of being proud of being part of Rus’, they choose to resent Russia because of the Bolshevik period and have adopted a relatively new identity as “Ukrainians” with a distinct culture, civilization, etc.

                      Early on, the Ukies somewhat admired the Bolshies because, ostensibly, the Bolshies gave them their own socialist republic and for a time encouraged the Ukrainian language. This was the period when the Metropolia broke from the ROCOR initially (1927-1934) and probably fuels the stereotype of the Metropolia being red and the ROCOR white.

                      Then Stalin created an artificial famine (1932-33) that murdered millions of Ukrainians and stepped up the Russification (despite the fact that he was actually a Georgian). Match made in hell.

                      People don’t realize that Russian was the lingua franca throughout the Ukraine. Before the breakup of the Soviet Union, all Ukrainians spoke Russian, many as a first language and the rest as a fluent second language. Ukrainian was spoken mostly in the Western party of the country. Since then, there’s been this artificial resuscitation of Ukrainian by the government and initially there was an attempt to ban Russian in the eastern part of the country, which led to the separatist provinces there.

                      It’s all contrived and sponsored by the State Department which has poured billions into the effort and by NGO’s – a yellow and blue “color revolution”, so to speak. And they did stage a coup d’etat and overthrow the pro-Moscow government in power back in 2014.

                      Now, the coup leader Poroshenko has been voted out of office in favor of a more moderate president and they are left hanging out to dry due to the weak, fecklessness of the Biden regime.

                      They’re not very bright, frankly. A deficit of respect has cost them a lot and may cost them more in the long run. With Nordstream II and the American betrayal of the Afghans, the Ukies are between a rock and a hard place. Biden won’t even cross Putin by retaining bases in the region of the “stans”. The Russians have simply shooed Biden away.

                    • “Unfortunately fascist nationalism over there is a real thing”

                      I’m almost eight years ahead of you:


                      And how Syria tied in:


                      I believe the person currently calling himself Barack Obama never really left power, that the majority of the US government remained loyal to him, and now he’s ruling through Biden. In Ukraine, you have fascists who are funded by billionaire Jews who’ve answered to the non-white Obama, ever since Obama put them in power with the 2014 coup.

                    • Myst, very informative video.
                      [The first one. Can’t get the second to play.]

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    If God looks at our best works as “dirty rags,” I can’t imagine God would “admire someone’s spunk.”

                    He used this woman and everyone before her and everyone after her for His glory. There were no accidental encounters with people who had “spunk.” Unless by “spunk” you mean FAITH.

                    • Gail,

                      As a Jew, he probably considered it chutspah, which in this case, as you say, is a form of strong confidence or faith. He admired this in others on a number of occasions: the Roman centurion who sought Him out to cure his servant, for example.

                      BTW: The word He actually used refers specifically to domestic dogs, it’s a Greek diminutive. So it’s not like He’s comparing her to some cur. It was simply the divine hierarchy as it stood. He was sent first to the Israelites. The Hebrews were the Chosen People; that is why God became a Jew.

                      My point is not that Jesus was a sinner or a heretic for engaging in some offhand phyletism. My point is that phyletism is neither a sin nor heresy. No need to get hissy, Gail.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I know a lot of people with chutspah. I doubt it’s what’s going to get them to heaven.

                      Misha, the Scriptures are clear: It doesn’t matter if you’re a “tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, richman, poorman, beggarman, thief, black, brown, or white, OR someone with “chutzpah.” The only way to move mountains, heal the sick, and raise the dead is through FAITH. The woman had FAITH.

                    • Solidarity Priest says

                      To answer Misha above, Ukrainian nationalism was not a factor in the Metropolia breaking with ROCOR in the 1920’s. The vast majority of the faithful in the Metropolia was Rusophile. I don’t feel like arousing anyone’s passions, so I won’t discuss why the break occurred.

                    • Solitary Priest,

                      I know about the personality clash involving Met. Platon that was a significant factor and, when Platon passed away, led to a temporary reunification. However, I am curious why you do not think that Ukrainian nationalism played a significant role as the Metropolia had been increasingly influenced by Carpatho-Russian ex-Uniates for decades and the Soviets had just given the Ukrainians their own republic (1922). That is certainly the background against which all of this took place.

                • “Why was St. Peter, surrounded by the Apostles, heard in multiple languages, converting thousands of people from every surrounding nation?”

                  That St Peter was heard in multiple languages suggests that the Holy Spirit is ok with multiple languages. Otherwise he could have had the people hearing and understanding Peter’s Aramaic – which could then have become the lingua franca of the Church – instead of Greek, Latin etc.

                  But he didn’t and it didn’t…

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Good point!

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Clearly God is not upset with multiple languages (or tribes, ethnicities or races). However, I think we all can agree that Pentecost was a reversal of Babel. Whereas the Babel event resulted in confusion, discord and worse, the Pentecost event reversed that as far as the ekklesia is concerned.

                    • Err… not exactly a reversal,
                      more a healing of the wound of Babel;
                      for those that are willing to accept the cure, that is…

              • Misha, I largely agree with you here.
                However my initial post, which sparked this sub-thread,
                was of the form: if this, then how could that…?

                It was a genuine question, concerning how to square the EP’s
                behaviour in 2018 with that of the Council of 1872;
                to which question Hal gave a direct, if brief, reply.

                • Brendan,

                  I probably have a blind spot on the subject inasmuch as I think of the Rus’ as one people or ethnic group. This includes Great Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians. So, to me, Bartholomew’s action of 2018 is dividing a tribe rather than an incidence if phyletism. But I can see your point: If ethnonationalism is bad, then why an autocephalous OCU?

          • Gail Sheppard says
            • Brendan:
              Through Hypocrisy.

            • Let’s just say that “phyletism” is the only “heresy” that is highly questionable that it is even an actual heresy, rather than the normal development of Local Churches.

              “Yet the idea of nation appears only during the second half of the 18th century – beginning of the 19th century. Till the Modern Age, the Christian Europe was divided between some administrative representatives of the society that were carrying intrinsically the obligations of military leader, land owner and political leader. All these attributions were handed over to the future leader through inheritance, but the confirmation was obtained only through the hierarch’s permission.”

              This is a really, really, weak arguement, which itself draws upon Roman Catholicism and Western European history to defend the Roman church’s claim to be temporal ruler above kings and nations. As if heretical, pagan, and Muslim rulers over Orthodox populations needed an Orthodox bishop’s permission to rule anything, during the same time period, when Rome’s power over secular rulers was at its height.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                If you can come up with a better argument, by all means, please share it.

                • “If you can come up with a better argument, by all means, please share it.”

                  I’m not going to do that anymore than I will provide talking points for why other Pan-Orthodox councils were “correct” in banning Fools for Christ, or icons of the God the Father as seen on the Kurst Root, etc.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    If you’re not prepared to offer a better argument, it might be best to refrain from calling someone else’s “weak.” I wasn’t framing what I posted as an argument. I was showing you that even the Athonite monks believe it is a heresy.

                    • Misha wrote: “If God does not engage in phyletism, why did He choose the Jews? Comparing a non-Israelite to a dog . . . well, you’re not discussing this in good faith. It is what it is. He admired her spunk but He said what He said and it was clearly 110% “phyletist”.”

                      God does not practice “phyletism.” He chose the Abraham of Ur the Chaldees because of his faith. His descendants, the Israelites, named after his grandson Jacob whose name was changed to Israel. They were also known as Hebrews. The Jews did not exist until the kingdom of Judah was formed after the death of king Solomon. Other nations were also part of “Israel.” I suggest you read Fr. Stephen De Young, ‘Religion of the Apostles, Orthodox Christianity in the First Century’, to start.

                      Also, Jesus called the Syro-Phoenician woman a “dog” in Mark 7:24-30 to make a point to the Jews. He elevated her faith above that of the Jews to demonstrate why the gentiles are not “dogs.” Your use of this passage in this manner is what non-believers and skeptics use to denigrate Jesus Christ and our Faith. We read in Scripture, Act 10:34, ” Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:” So the idea that God is a “phyletist” is preposterous to say the least.

                      And you obviously do not understand what “all men are created equal means.” The ‘philosophes’ of The Enlightenment believed this in the sense of equal standing before the law, human rights, etc. And privilege is not a birthright. The passage in Acts 10:34 applies here.

              • “Yet the idea of nation appears only
                during the second half of the 18th century –
                beginning of the 19th century.”

                Whoever wrote that has never read The Declaration of Arbroath.

          • Jeff Baggaley says

            Thanks Misha. Like I said I am not too bright, and I am a recent convert.

            I have no idea what you have communicated in your note. I know that it’s my fault and my lack of knowledge. So please forgive me. If you care to unpack it, I’d be interested in reading what you have to say. Please also reflect on the link Gail posted.
            It’s patently obvious to me that the ethnocentrism I have experienced in some parishes in my short life as Orthodox is a heresy. I’d like to hear your reasoning about the matter.

            I previously sent a comment in response to George that I do not see posted here. In it I mentioned that my priest excommunicated me a few months after my baptism- I have no idea why. Maybe you can help me, George?

            • Jeff,

              You initially were perplexed regarding why Abp. Elpidophoros, well, . . . is the prima donna he is. Hopefully I illuminated that issue for you. As to the phyletism, it’s really not important. You will find an astounding amount of hypocrisy in the Church on certain matters. None of it is that which has always been believed by everyone everywhere; i.e., the Orthodox Catholic Faith.

              People have their sacred cows.

            • Life can be very confusing to a convert to Orthodoxy. I say that as a convert.
              Many of the Orthodox churches in the USA were founded by immigrants and are still very much immigrants adjusting to this culture.

              I currently attend a Greek parish. Mainly because I felt called to be there. The liturgy is part Greek, part English. I enter and thank Jesus for inviting me to His house. I know the basic form of the liturgy so it doesn’t matter to me which language they use. I follow along in the liturgy book very carefully. I have come to worship God and I concentrate on that. Worshiping means both listening and responding. I participate in responses as much as I can.

              I leave the rest to God.

              He takes care of me.

              • Lina, this is a perfect answer. Thank you.
                I am in a Greek Orthodox parish (of Thyateira and Great Britain).
                When I converted (20 years ago) liturgy was exclusively in Greek.
                Over time this has evolved and is now mostly in English.

                I know Scots who left because they felt ‘their’ culture was not valued.
                This was never an issue for me. I was made welcome as I am.
                I did not feel ‘devalued’ or unwelcome as some kind of interloper.
                I joined the ‘Orthodox Church’, not the ‘Greek Church’.
                That the local parish was ‘Greek’ was not relevant to the ‘Orthodoxy’.
                Had the local parish been ‘Russian’ etc… I would have joined that.
                But it was the ‘Orthodox’ bit that mattered. The rest is local colour;
                which will sort itself out, with the help of Holy Spirit, over time.

                Finally, it seems to me that those who are discontented with this
                may (perhaps) bring their discontent with them…

              • Jeff Baggaley says

                That is a very helpful comment Lina!

                In some ways.

                As a former Baptist pastor who was adopted into an Indigenous family (Lakota) I can say that the inward focused inbred myopic ethno-centric mentality (don’t call it a heresy if you don’t want to) of some Orthodox in America completely negates the entire thrust of the message of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring the Good News to the nations.

                You know- the Gospel!

                Ironically, the attitude that comes across in your note (I of course can’t say for sure!) is typically Protestant- just me and God, and that is good enough. 😉

                • Jeff, I have had cross culture training in preparation to live and work in another country/culture/language. When I left town my boss said to observe and keep your mouth shut for 6 months. Good advice. I did ask questions concerning how to cope with everyday life, but not about the cultural differences that I encountered.
                  attitude has come in handy when I have returned to my own city and felt lost.

                  And it has helped in acclimating to the Orthodox Church. I am am not saying that the change has been easy. But little by little I am acclimating into the community.

                  We have to remember, as the saying goes, ” Different strokes for different folks.”
                  or as in an old Quaker saying, “Everyone is crazy but thee and me and thee is a little.”

                  And read, read, read to find your answers. And ask God.

                  • Jeff Baggaley says

                    Thanks Lina. I too am accustomed to living cross culturally, and have done so a good part of my life.

  4. America has always been a country of hyphenated nationality, especially on the coasts where the immigrant population is newer and never fully assimilated. Personally I see nothing wrong with Greek Americans having a connection to their ancestral homeland.

    The problem in my view lies in the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarchate claims to be fighting for Hellenism when it is in fact in collusion with Hellenism’s sworn enemy: neo-Ottoman Turkism. And when it comes to interfacing with the euroatlantic globalist agenda which the Patriarchate does on a regular basis (cough Ukraine…cough covid virtue signalling), it is just as incompatible with traditional Hellenic Orthodox culture. Many of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s advocates in the states openly admit the subservient position of their hierarch to the Turkish state’s agenda, but plead for understanding and seeing ‘the great picture’. With the same breath they accuse their adversaries of being the minions and useful idiots of that terrible KGB man in Orthodox clothing Putin. They’ve really managed to convince some of their flock that the president of an Orthodox country which refuses to be folded into the globalist game is a greater threat to world Orthodoxy than the neo-Ottoman Erdogan and the secular globalist rainbow agenda nomenklatura.

    Alas, this is where one very American weakness enters the picture: unlike Europeans, Americans are clueless about foreign policy (that includes many Greek Americans, with the exception that they know Turkey is a bit of a problem). Americans are more eager than anyone else to uncritically trust the warmongering mandarins from Georgetown to use their tax dollars and start (then very poorly end) foreign wars and play regime change games. Over in Europe people think very differently, because each foreign policy mistake is felt much more acutely when your country is not surrounded by two oceans nor has a blue ocean navy that enable military engagement via remote control.

    To me, the best thing that could happen to counter this is Bartholomew needs some serious competition in his own back yard. I’m not talking about supporting the old calendar groups (which are a MESS, and who hate each other more than the heterodox) but there may be voices within the Hellenic Orthodox world that can give Greeks an alternative identity to Bartholomew’s globalist Orthodoxy. It won’t be easy, because most Orthodox countries are located in countries with strong ties to Brussels and Washington, but it’s an idea that needs some serious thought.

    • George Michalopulos says

      George S, what you’re describing is an untenable situation. Could be explosive, otherwise it could plod along in insipid fashion.

      Ending not with a bang, but a whimper.

    • The concept of the “Turkish Orthodox Church” sounds nice because in Christian thinking, Christianity should be preached to Turkish people, and in Orthodox tradition, this includes translating Christianity into other languages like at the Pentecost event.

      Currently, the Turkish Orthodox Church is noncanonical.

    • When you say the Old Calendarists are a mess, are you speaking of the Greek ones? I get a little lost in the sauce with all the different groups. Isn’t ROCOR on the old calendar?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        And so is Georga. I don’t think they’re a mess. What turned out to be a mess is changing to the new calendar in the first place. It has caused a lot of dissension and as a result, we’re not in common with other Orthodox people. How does that make sense?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        No, I’m not saying “old calendarists are a mess.” I think they’re fine!

        New calendarists are equally fine.

        The “mess” is new calendarists on one side and old calendarists on the other. The calendar business divided the Church.

        • The Holy Spirit does not divide the Church.

          This is one metric that you can use to affirm that when a few Orthodox churches switch to a different Church calendar *unilaterally* without the consent of all of the independent Churches at a universal Church council, then such a calendar switch event was not inspired by the Holy Spirit.

          Not saying that new or old calendar churches are “bad.” Neither is “bad,” and both have sacramental grace, I think.

          But the Holy Spirit does not divide the church. This is true regardless of how astronomically accurate one calendar may be over the other, or regardless of how much easier it makes the lives of some to celebrate Christmas in the West, or of how much we think a different calendar may be a “missionary tool.”

          All of these reasons have been used to justify why this unilateral imposition of the “new calendar” was an overall good, but these reasons do not at all justify trying to divide the Church. The West as a whole doesn’t even celebrate Christmas anymore (except as a cultural consumerist spend-fest), and the “new calendar’s” effect on aiding Orthodox missionary work in the West has been about as close to zero as you can get.

          The new calendar does seem to be fizzling out, gradually. Its biggest proponent has always been the Patr of C’ple/GOAA, and with that jurisdiction doing a fantastic job of crashing and burning itself, I wonder if the “new calendar” will go the way of Italianate-style “realistic” iconography that was popular in Russia in the late 1800s — an interesting Orthodox Christian “phenomenoid” but something that never took hold and ends up as fodder for the history books.

          Parts of the OCA have also been strong proponents of the “new calendar,” but as the OCA accounts for probably less than 0.1% of the worldwide Orthodox faith, its worldwide impact on the Church is minimal.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I’m with you re the Italianate iconography. I question az well the baroque architecture. (Although I must say that I love baroque music.)

        • Gail, Fr. Peter Heers was just a guest on Brother Augustine’s YouTube channel and briefly touched on the very topic of Old Calendarists, specifically the Greek ones (btw the whole video is well worth a listen):


          Essentially what he is saying is that the Greek Old Calendarists have made themselves irrelevant since they left the canonical structure of Orthodoxy, rather than staying in the fight.

          I would be very curious/I hope, the Church of Russia brings the Greek Old Calendarists back into the fold of canonical Orthodoxy.

      • ROCOR, Georgia, Serbia, etc. are on the Church (“old”) calendar, but are not Old Calendarist.

        Old Calendarist denotes those groups that went into schism over the calendar change and, yes, they are an absolute mess, sadly.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          The simple solution would have been to remove the issue so no one would feel the need to go into schism.

        • So, ROCOR is on the old calendar but are not “Old Calendarists?”
          Are they in communion with the EP?
          Wouldn’t that mean they celebrate the feasts and fasts at different times?
          Do the Greeks say “Chistos Anesti” but the Russians say “not yet?”
          (just a wee joke)

          • Using the “old calendar”, that is – the Julian Calendar, and being an Old Calendarist are completely different things, and, confusingly, they actually may refer to two different “old calendars”. The “old calendar” that many Eastern Orthodox churches use is actually a new one adopted in the 20th century (revised Julian calendar), while the “old calendar” that Old Calendarists and certain other, mainly Slavic churches use is truly old – having been created by Julius Caesar. The really big issue dividing the two – is that Old Calendarists are in schism with the canonical orthodox churches that are on the revised Julian calendar. Beyond that there are many other differences, but since the discussion was on calendars this is brief version.

          • Katherine,

            We all use the Julian calendar for moveable feasts; i.e., those that depend on Pascha. So our Easters all coincide (except for the Church of Finland, which is way out there). What has happened is that, uncanonically, a number of churches have adopted the papist Gregorian calendar for immoveable feasts (like Christmas).

            This screws everything up. It shortens or eliminates the Apostles Fast. It abolishes Kiriopascha. Eventually, it will not be possible to plan services according to the typikon if the Revised Julian Calendar is not adjusted further.

            The typikon is calibrated to the Julian calendar and thus everything works as designed when that calendar is used. Now, there are those who say that the Gregorian calendar is more scientifically accurate. However, the Fathers knew that the Julian calendar was not exact when they adopted it since dates of equinoxes had drifted over time. They adopted it nonetheless. Also, the drift in the Julian calendar is quite slow (11 days when the country was founded, 13 days today). It will take 6000 years for Pascha to wander into summer and another 3000 years for Christmas to wander into spring.

            That is to say, there is no earthly reason to change it other than heterodox-envy.

            Only an ecumenical council, if that, could change the calendar and it would have to be done in a way that preserves all the cycles in the typikon, not simply ironing on a patch to make Christmas fall in line with the heretics.

            But that was the sole motivating factor, imitating the heretics who were admired as more modern and thus more trendy and fashionable. That’s how gutlessly shallow it was.

            There’s no excuse at all for the New Calendar and it is becoming a proxy for infidelity to tradition. Thus you have those who use the “Old Calendar” (better referred to as the “Church Calendar”) who remain in communion with those who have uncanonically adopted the New Calendar, not seeing it as sufficient cause to break communion. And you also have the “Old Calendarists” who have broken communion with the New Calendarists, as well as those on the Old Calendar who are in communion with New Calendarists, and who have changed nothing whatsoever regarding the faith but find the calendar question to justify a break in communion.

            And it’s an indefensible mess which “tolerance” will not resolve.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Katherine, although I am sympathetic to the OC (or put more precisely, with that the whole issue had been resolved in a canonical fashion [which it was not thanks to Metaxakis who really bolixed things us]), from what I understand about the Greek OC’s they are a mess of internecine squabbles and petty disputes —with each other.

        I truly wish, for the sake of Orthodoxy, that they would get a grip and unite.

        Now that I think about it, because the ROC never went NC, it looked easy in retrospect for ROCOR to reunite with it in 2007. What do y’all think? I mean seriously, can anyone see any of the Greek OCs going EP?

        • I truly wish, for the sake of Orthodoxy, that they would get a grip and unite.

          That would be a serious issue, because in order to avoid the folly of Pat. Bartholomew in Ukraine they would all pretty much have to be re-ordained (something the EP did when Agios Irini in Astoria made a deal with them). That is extremely unlikely to happen.

          It appeared for a short while that the natural response of Pat. Kirill to Pat. Bartholomew’s actions in Ukraine was to potentially recognize the Greek old calendar synod of Archbishop Kallinikos in Athens, but that would have simply created more problems – including in the space of the old calendarist jurisdictions who would immediately be upset if they were left out (let’s also not forget that the ROCOR based schisms whom some of these groups are in communion with would become the dog in the manger).

          Someone else here said it best: the problem with the old calendarist jurisdictions that left their new calendar bodies is that they didn’t stay along for the fight. This is the same problem ROCOR ran into when the Russian Church entered the post-Soviet era and the field was arable for reconciliation. Forces within ROCOR such as Bp. Gregory Grabbe were halting the process and then came the big fiasco of ordinations on Russian territory which only fostered more hostility. Fortunately that stopped with Met. Laurus, but the reconciliation process happened 17 years later than it should have, and the Grabbe inspired schisms continue to stick spokes in wheels to this day.

          What is personally most disconcerting to me about the Ecumenical Patriarchate is that all bishops signed on to what Bartholomew did (compare that to the Church of Greece and Church of Cyprus, as well as the bold stance of the Jerusalem Patriarchate). That means there are no alternative voices within, or if they do exist, they have no problem pretending they don’t and not acting in any way. That in my view is where the biggest problem lies, as well as the roots of the potential solution to it.

        • George,

          Never. ROCOR was in communion with some of the Greek OC’s prior to the reunion with Moscow. In fact, some of them owe the ordinations of their bishops to the ROCOR.

          My take on the Greek (and other) OC’s is the following. You have, potentially at least, three situations: 1) they break communion with NC churches and those OC churches in communion with NC churches (i.e., the “canonical Church”) but do not deny that NC churches have grace, just that the whole thing is so uncanonical that it justifies excommunication; 2) those who have broken communion with the “canonical” Church and who deny that the NC churches have grace, but not the OC churches in communion with them; and 3) those who have broken with the “canonical Church” and deny grace in either the NC or OC “canonical” bodies.

          My guess is that the first two categories remain part of the Church, though in a state of broken communion, much like the ROC considers the Phanar. The third group probably has severed itself from the Church and lacks grace (unless they’re correct, in which case they’re the only canonical Orthodox remaining, which I doubt).

          • I’d say that ROCOR pre Metropolitan Filaret had a reasonable approach: they were not in communion, but they didn’t claim the Soviet era Moscow Patriarchate lacked grace. Even during Met. Vitaly’s time many clergy privately gave their laity blessings to commune at Moscow Patriarchate parishes when they would visit Russia. ROCOR only once blessed its own chrism and this was done with tremendous reluctance during the post-war era, when relations with the Serbian patriarchate were challenged because of the Titoist government. ROCOR always stipulated its goal was to reunite with the free Russian church (which happened in 2007), not create an entirely alternative project like the ill fated “OCU” of Bartholomew.

            Unfortunately during Met. Filaret’s time things got too extreme (he even stopped cocelebrating with the OCA), and Met. Vitaly just maintained the same harsh line. Even worse, he started alternative parishes inside of Russia itself – grave mistake as most of them ended up in schism from ROCOR post 2007.

            It’s ROCOR’s fortune that Met. Laurus came along at just the right time, and there was a reversal in direction that ended up in a win-win situation: ROCOR maintained its autonomy and communion was restored.

            Just as with the old believer schism in Russia, the solution to the calendar issue should have been a tolerance of differences as opposed to a mandatory switchover.

            Regrettably, the biggest problem with the alternative “genuine” old calendar churches has been the ordination issue. Nobody there wants to be re-ordained, for it forces an admission of ecclesiastic error. That and the very deep rooted factionalism is a very serious problem that is challenging (although hopefully not impossible, at least for some) to overcome. I say this without any pleasure: a lot of those people I ideologically sympathize with on a number of levels.

            On that note, it’s interesting to notice how Bartholomew didn’t go down the road of re-ordinations with the OCU, but did take this track with the St. Irene group. I speculate the main reason for this is that there’s no way “Patriarch” Filaret Denisenko would have agreed to such an arrangement: he himself was, after all, once a legitimate bishop of the Russian church. Still, Bartholomew could have insisted on reordaining all those many “Kiev Patriarchate” bishops that lacked proper ordination – but Denisenko for sure would have pulled out of the deal had that been a precondition.

            Now that Denisenko is out of the picture entirely, I’m sure Dumenko, Zorya, et all would have tolerated reordination on their own accord. Yet it’s too late, Bartholomew already pulled the trigger. So he ended up in a pretty foolish position, all because the key to the deal – Denisenko – needed to be appeased at the time.

            • Solidarity Priest says

              Metropolitan Filaret stopped concelebrating with the OCA ONLY after Autocephaly. There was at least one instance when he and Metropolitan Irenej concelebrated liturgy after the latter became Metropolitan of what was to become the OCA
              ROCOR stopped concelebrating with the Greek OC’S when it became clear that their situation was a mess. But Misha is correct; ROCOR was in communion with the moderate i.e., Ciprianos Greek Old Calendar church up until 2007.
              I personally consider Metropolitan Filaret a Saint, he was the choice of St. John of San Francisco to be Metropolitan. What is sad during his tenure is that certain troublesome elements found their way into ROCOR. The Boston Monastery which later became the HOCNA cult is a glaring example. Many of us were unaware of their nefarious activities back in the day. I was unaware for a long time that Bishop Gregory Grabbe was an enemy of St. John of San Francisco.
              Metropolitan Filaret was a confessor in Manchuria, first during the Japanese occupation, and later under the Chinese communists. I have it from reliable sources that he never espoused the extremist position that the New Calendar churches lacked Grace. He certainly didn’t believe that about the MP, since he belonged to it out of necessity while still in China.

  5. Nothing with change. The EP will visit as scheduled. Archbishop Elpidophoros will continue with his political follies and blasphemies. The Archons will continue to grovel over these imposters. Most of the laity will remain ignorant and uninformed. Business as usual. Nothing to see here…move along.

    • Mikhail,

      You have a strong point. There is a sense in which no news is good news. The faith remains. Believers remain practicing at whatever level of faith they hold. The churches are open or gradually reopening. And Bartholomew has not yet proclaimed a Unia. There are a couple of schisms within the Church currently, but they do not affect much of anything important.

      Seen from 30,000 feet as a historian would, times are quiet and nothing much is going on. Just the same old same old. We are the ones who dramatize the situation.

  6. There is a video where a monk goes to kiss Putin’s hand and Putin draws his fist back as if he’s mad. As I recall, the monk was personal friends with Putin and was joking.

    I guess if you were living in 1920’s Turkey and if the Turkish President had hypothetically saved people from the Armenian genocide, kissing that particular President’s hand could be understandable.

    I really am not aware of what the traditions have been in Europe as to clergy kissing the hands of royalty. The 16th century Anglican innovators claimed that the king was the head of the Church, but they were reversing the Roman Catholic position on the topic. The implication therefore is that it in the older Western European tradition, it is the king who could kiss the hand (or even foot?) of the Pope instead.

    But in the Orthodox tradition, the secular authorities do not head the Church ecclesiastically. Is kissing the president’s hand a Turkish practice or a post-Byzantine Ottoman tradition of the Ottomans’ Christian clergy?

    I guess if you are living in a repressive state where anti-Christian persecution is a potential danger, you could kiss the leader’s hand as a sign of fealty and good will. Otherwise, if you are in a non-repressive state with Freedom of Religion, it’s hard to understand this gesture.

    • I watched the video a few times on Helleniscope and it looks like the Abp. is not kissing the hand but rather bending down to better hear the President because it’s noisy and they are wearing facemasks. I can’t see their hands, so the video is ambiguous as to whether he actually kissed the president’s hand. I don’t know if there is testimony from anyone present about whether he did.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Jeff, neither you nor Misha are wrong.

      What he describes is an anthropological phenomenon. One which can be used by the Holy Spirit to add to His Church.

      Case in point: the Athonite monasteries here in America. Services are all in ecclesiastical Greek. Yet they’re flooded with pilgrims of all ethnicities. While I would prefer these services to be in Elizabethan English, the broader point is that you can tell that there are not ethno-cultural. In fact, the exact opposite.

      That’s why the majority of Greek-Americans who go there have made them their spiritual home. Why put up with a parish such as what Misha describes where the annual festival is the climax of the social year and you may be looked down upon because your kids don’t attend the Greek school, or –let’s be honest–have to put up with the Constantinopolitan supremacy nonsense, when you can get your spirituality straight?

      When all is said and done, the very fact that tens of thousands of immigrants from Albania to Greece to Russia and all points in between, came to America and despite huge odds planted parishes in this land is nothing less than a miracle in my estimation. Even cheesy, ill thought-out parishes with kitschy icons served their purpose. After all, you, me and everybody reading blog is an Orthodox Christian today. As are the thousands of pilgrims who attend the various monasteries. To say nothing about the thoughtful convert intellectuals who are promulgating the faith.

      Even apostates serve their purpose. Think of Frank Schaeffer for example. He’s clearly gone off the rails. Yet thousands of Evangelicals were brought into the Faith because of his efforts. That may stand him some good on Judgment Day.

      • Jeff Baggaley says


        I have sent a couple of notes in response to comments and see that they have not been posted. Not sure why.

        Part of not knowing how the Church functions- probably because I was not catechized- was that I set out on my own seeking answers, and attempted to correspond with the Assembly of Bishops.

        That I discovered was probably not a good thing to do, as I was excommunicated for these efforts- only a few months after having been baptized. So some of the questions raised in this post have had some impact on me personally as a new Orthodox Christian. In other words, I have not entered into the discussion merely to while away the hours, or to entertain my coterie of followers.

        In attempting to gain some understanding of what excommunication is, and what recourse I may have, I came across this sentence in a post on your blog titled The Broken Covenant, from Feb 1st, 2021: “Canon law also puts both bishops and priests out of their offices for excommunicating their faithful for anything but a limited set of behaviors relating to the healing of the soul.”

        I don’t think your blog is especially helpful to me as a recent convert. So, if you or someone would do me the courtesy of responding to my comment by providing an elaboration on that sentence or point me in a direction where I can gain greater understanding and clarity, I probably won’t engage any further. Thanks.

        In Christ,

        • How were you baptized but not catechized? You’re supposed to be a catechumen for at least a year before being baptized.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            No, you don’t have to be a catechumen to be baptized.

            Some are baptized at 40 days.

            In the case of converts, they could have been baptized by anyone, anywhere (not that I agree with this; everyone should be baptized coming into the Church, IMO).

            But you must be baptized before (or at the same time) you’re Chrismated.

          • Jeff Baggaley says

            I was a catechumen for a year, and moved 2 1/2 hours to be close to my parish for the last 4 months before I was baptized as per my priest’s request. We (meaning my 27 year old son and myself) did not have any instruction during that time, apart from question/answer after liturgy.

            I am recovering from a really bad truck crash, and continue to suffer from post concussion syndrome, which makes focusing for long stretches difficult. Question and answer after liturgy simply was not doable for me. I asked my priest if we could have dedicated weekly instruction of some sort. He said no.

            So, what to do?

            I turned to the internet!

            And tried to stay away from Jay Dyer’s channel as much as possible 😉

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Jeff, if you can, it might be a good idea to make the effort to see this priest, even if it’s for the last time. (If you can’t see him one-on-one, then just call him.)

              It may be the last thing you want to do, I get it, but I think it might be helpful.

              Tell him you’re sorry for offending him. (Everyone gets offended, even when they shouldn’t. We should say this more often.)

              Explain that your interest in the Church hasn’t waned but acknowledge you’re struggling, given where you are at this point and the logistics.

              If he tells you you’re wrong, etc., let him talk until he is done and then say, “Again, I am sorry if I offended you. That was not my intent. I am grateful for what you have tried to do for me. Please forgive me.” And then leave.

              Did he hurt you? Yes

              Does it matter? No, because you just shut the door the right way and you are free from it.

              What you have been through has been very, very challenging, Jeff.

              Ask God to help you. If there is hesitancy on your part (about becoming Orthodox, going to Church, etc.) tell God you don’t want to feel this way and ask Him to change your heart. Tell Him you just don’t know where to go or what to do about the Church but some cheeky, flippant Orthodox girl who is also right once in a while (He’ll know it’s me) told you to bring all the confusion and anxiety to Him because He will fix it.

              And then, this is important, let it go, Jeff. You’re covered. At this point, you are waiting for God to open a door AND HE WILL. Be still. Don’t give in to the anxiety or try to fix it yourself by ping-ponging back and forth between parishes just because you think you should.

              St. Mary found herself in a desert and took the Eucharist once a year with God’s help. Let God help you. God will plant you somewhere, too, and it will be somewhere where you’ll feel a breath of fresh air coming through the door God is opening for you.

              Expect God will change this situation and be patient as you’re waiting. Patience, with peace in your heart, is often the greatest indicator of FAITH. If you get anxious about what you should or shouldn’t do, remind yourself “God can be trusted.”

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          RE: “That I discovered was probably not a good thing to do, as I was excommunicated for these efforts- only a few months after having been baptized.”

          Jeff, that is a dramatic statement. Will you explain precisely on what grounds you were “excommunicated,” as you state?

          (I’m wondering whether your priest imposed a temporary ban on receiving the Holy Mysteries. Permanent “excommunication” is generally rare and reserved for serious public heresy, blasphemy, or apostasy.)

          • Jeff Baggaley says

            Thank you for your note Fr Alexander.

            Yes, it was a temporary ban on receiving Communion, and has since been lifted. I am still in the dark as to what the grounds were.

            Frankly, I have not been back to my parish since that time. In the intervening period, I needed to be out of town for a while, checking in with my mom who was recently assessed with dementia.

            My priests have repeatedly suggested that I consider going to another parish- in another jurisdiction. (To the best of my knowledge there are only three Orthodox parishes in my province.) That is what I am thinking of doing.

            In fairness, some of the transition from being a Baptist pastor to becoming Orthodox has to do with my having to unlearn quite a bit. The pandemic and its impact on the Church has not been helpful.

            I am learning as I go. Thank God for the Internet!

            I felt the excommunication- that is the tern that was used- like a punch in the gut. My 27 year old son- we were baptized the same day on May 1st of this year- has since left the Church. That is another story.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              In some jurisdictions, if you miss the classes and/or fail to attend 3 liturgies in a row, there is a penance to come back into the Church. It’s not like you’re “kicked out”. The concern is the interest on your part may have waned. I can imagine this is difficult for people who live far away, have a parent to take care of, or some reason why they can’t be in Church.

              The Church is always there, but the expectation is that you attend Chrismation classes and go to Liturgy.

        • Jeff,

          What exactly did the priest tell you was your offense? Put another way, imagine you were the priest for a moment, hypothetically. What do you imagine he would say as being the reason he excommunicated you?

          I do not doubt your sincerity. I’ve heard of clergy doing all sorts of unseemly things, often for shallow political purposes. But just to get a handle on what we are talking about it would be good to appreciate what the “formal charges” might be, so to speak.

          One can be excommunicated for all manner of things. It simply means being cut off from the chalice – i.e., you may not receive communion. Also, you may not participate in the mysteries of the Church until reconciled. Simple confession, sometimes with a penance, usually suffices.

          Also, a person may be “excommunicated”, banned from the chalice, as a penance of sorts. This is unusual but it happened in antiquity and I assume still does today.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Hal, thank you for posting this comment. Especially what you said about Putin refusing to have his hand kissed.

      I guess that blows out of the water all the nonsense put out by the GOA/EP intellectuals and their lay minions about how “weevil those wascally Wussians are”. You know, how Putin is building up the ROC to merely “placate” the Russian people.

      I’ve really got to write something about that.

  7. Relevant:
    “PM Mitsotakis Canceled Even The Ground Zero Meeting with the Archbishop!”


    “SHOCK TURNAROUND: Greek Prime Minister cancels meeting with Archbishop Elpidophoros”

    However, it is obvious that Mr. Mitsotakis does not want to meet with the Archbishop due to his presence at the inauguration of the Turkish centre.

    In fact, yesterday at noon, during a press briefing government spokesman, Giannis Oikonomou, expressed Athens ‘annoyance with Archbishop’s decision”.

    “We were disturbed by the actions of the Archbishop. The Greek government expresses its dissatisfaction ” said Mr Economou.

    The Greek PM is upset over Abp. Elpidophoros’ support for the Turkish administration in connection with the Manhatten Turkish Center.

    I am fine with the Turkish Center by itself in the way that George “Monomakhos” here is.

    I am inclined to the idea that Abp. Elpidophoros was bending down to better hear the President speak because it was laud and they were wearing masks over their mouths, and wasn’t kissing him.

    Abp. Elpidophoros’ main fault for me is his doctrinal announcement a few years ago that the EP is First Without Equals. I think that his announcement might have come even before Pat. Bartholomew endorsed this position on the issue.

    I am guessing that he does not really care much what Orthodoxy ACTUALLY teaches on this important topic.

  8. Helleniscope writes in the Comments section:

    Here is your link
    Reposted by many websites including ocl.org

  9. I keep trying to post the following message and it keeps getting marked as spam:



    The website of the 2020 Clergy Laity Congress of GOARCH has a “summary of the motions that were passed at the 2018 Clergy Laity Congress in Boston, all of which have been implemented.” This summary helps us get an idea of what GOARCH actually lets its membership vote on.

    It looks rather narrow. The three sections are budget, youth protection manual, and changes to the “Archdiocesan Regulations”. The last one is the most relevant to my question about the powers of the national GOARCH assemblies. This section concerns the scope of the powers of the Archdiocesan Councils and leadership and also does a nice thing by demanding that the Metropolises have audit committees.

    I guess that theoretically if GOARCH members mistrusted their leadership enough, they could vote to severely restrict the powers of the leading organizations. The summary’s section on GOARCH regulations includes votes on:

    (i) the composition, powers and duties of the Archdiocesan Council Executive Committee; (ii) the composition, powers and duties of the Archdiocesan Council; (iii) the composition, powers and duties of the standing committees of Archdiocesan Council;

    Back in 2018, Abp. Demetrios was still in charge of GOARCH, and people might not have had the same amount of concerns regarding his decisionmaking powers.

    After Abp. Elpidophoros was appointed the head of GOARCH by Pat. Bartholomew, he made some unexpected, significant decisions affecting GOARCH’s functions, such as retiring some leading GOARCH bishops like Met. Evangelos of NJ who had notably supported Pat. Bartholomew’s actions in Ukraine.

    I am skeptical that the GOARCH membership is dissatisfied with Abp. Elpidophoros enough to vote to drastically restrict his powers at a national assembly. But it seems that the structure of GOARCH’s decisionmaking process allow its membership at least this democratic option.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      It was posted. I noticed you submitted 4 or 5 others. Every comment is reviewed before it posts and it can take up to 24 hours.

      • Thanks. Good job with your quick replies. It keeps the discussion going.

      • Oops, my phone burped,,,,,, perhaps the elephant in the room that needs to be fully addressed is what is the role of the governed of the USA in all of this? Is black Bart and the goa being paid to cause dissention in the ranks. Many a Greek priest has intemated this to me . Since the reposed of billy graham, the former religious conscience of our country, we have ceased to be a bastion of Christianity and embraced secularism, and even satinism. Now on the other hand our supposed enemy is Russia which has restored it’s christian identity. The Russian patriarch is at government events as was billy graham. However we seek relationships with non christian countries such as china , India Saudi Arabia, Israel but not christian Russia,,,,this leads to the question does their Christianity embarrass our political leaders? If our politicians pay off black Bart and the goa is the internet to have a negative impact on the. Third Rome? I have seen many speculating this. If so, it is a tragic situation. If so,should we all keel an arms length away,,,,an join together to combat this evil?

  10. “Nor am I particularly upset by American Orthodox bishops attending such galas. In fact, I think they should attend.”

    George, your entire premise for opposing the meeting with Turks bothers me. You say in the beginning that if Elpi were an American bishop, you would encourage meeting with the Turks. It seems to me you only take issue with the fact that Elpi is a foreigner brining foreign issues to American soil. The issue I take with him meeting with Turks is that they are oppressing Orthodox Christians. At that meeting, besides the Imam you referenced, was a Turkish military official (I believe a general) involved in the occupation of Greek lands in Cyprus. I could go one about the horrors of the Turkish regime, which has yet to make amends for anything, but we can all agree on that. My point is, the crime here is the groveling of an Orthodox bishop to an Islamic, anti Christian power. If he were a hierarch of the OCA would it be less disgusting?
    I will keep shouting from the rooftops that the problems of Orthodoxy today will not be resolved by becoming an American church, instead of a Greek, Russian, Romanian, etc. church. Our issues are ideological, not national. The OCA has expressed the same cowardice in respect to the Eucharist that the GOA has. Elpi marched with BLM, but it was an OCA bishop (I believe Paul) that axed a priest for attending 1/6 rallies. Our church is not caving because it is Greek, or American, or anything else, it is caving because of liberalism, modernism and using “political correctness” and “diplomacy” as an excuse to have no backbone.
    At the end of the day, George, I am on your side. Your blog is one of the few resources I turn to in the sphere of Orthodox publications that I think is one the right side of history. However, I feel your are doing a disservice by making this an issue about nationality. American born, American educated, convert hierarchs have demonstrated the same compromising spirit as the Phanar spawn, and I would be equally as disgusted if an American bishop meeting with neo Ottoman, ISIS sponsoring tyrants. There is neither Greek nor Jew, etc. as the Gospel says, and all Orthodox should shun anti-church world powers. If your contention is that it would be alright for an American church to do what Elpi did, then we truly are far too spiritually immature to have autocephaly here, because it would scandalize the faithful just as much as the GOA does now.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Anon, I thank you for your kind words.

      My initial assessment regarding an American bishop meeting with the Turkish dignitaries stands on its own, IMHO. That doesn’t mean that in doing so, he approves of the Turkish policies.

      Let us be honest, a Turkish national who is “Archbishop of America” and who doesn’t even have a green card is preemptively cut off at the knees. Now we also know (thanks to the stellar reportage of Nick Stamatakis at Helleniscope) that the rot is more advanced than Elpidophoros’ connections; it’s positively gangrenous.

      It goes all the way to Bartholomew himself, who (much to everyone’s surprise) stayed at the Turkish ambassador’s house for several days when he was last here in America. That is positively scandalous on so many levels.

  11. Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters. He implied that one of those masters is God. Seems to me the question is who was the archbishop serving? Who are we all serving?
    If at baptism we give up our right to ourselves, as Jesus did, does that mean we are neither Jew, nor Greek, nor Turk, nor American and etc. but followers of Jesus?

    God does send us into enemy territory upon occasion. He likes to get us out of our comfort zone. Witness the many martyrs we honor. Do we go as a Christian on a mission or do we go to play along? Actually, come to think of it, we are often sent into enemy territory. It might be a store, the office, a neighbor’s house, doctor’s office.

    What makes a Christian different from a nonChristian? When he or she enters into a given situation.?

  12. perhaps as rumored in many circles it is 3 masters,,, phanar, turks, and americn politicians? a perfect unholy trinity ,,,,, for example, i had a friend whose job at the cia was to monitor russian churches in the usa

  13. In sleeping on it, I will say this re phyletism: while it was valid in the Old Covenant (to separate Israel from the idolatry of the nations.

  14. Solidarity Priest says

    George, I used to be anti Putin, but I’ve modified my views. Sure, he was KGB, but can we hold everyone’s past against them? By the same token, St. Paul was Saul. Before I joined the Church, I used to think the Communists were good guys, because they were against the bad guys, i.e.; the Nazis. Now I realize both were equally evil.
    Even if we assume Putin isn’t sincere in his embracing the church, he certainly has done more for Christianity and Orthodoxy than some Western presidents I could name. You have witnessed in person the rebirth of the Church in Russia. If Putin is angering certain elements in the Western world, he must be doing something right!

  15. Speaking of Mammon,

    Evergrande Freefall

    Evergrande riot

    A story we shouldn’t let sneak by us is the apparent implosion of Evergrande. And it should probably be appreciated in light of the Japanese experience in the 1990’s:

    Compare and contrast

    Evergrande is the second largest property developer in China. It is on the verge of defaulting on over $300B in debt (yes, with a “b”). This is why the stock market burped on the 20th.

    Here’s the one that should give you pause. Don’t pay much attention to the Forbes’ author editorializing, just the facts conveyed:

    China problem:

    “When the Chinese authorities began their clampdown on property developers a year ago, Goldman Sachs estimated the total value of Chinese homes and developers’ inventories had reached $52 trillion, far surpassing that of the United States. Moreover, roughly 20% of the apartments outstanding are estimated to have been unoccupied, which indicates the degree of speculation in real estate.

    One of the big unknowns today is how many property developers and lenders in China will need to be rescued. As the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board contends, Evergrande may become the biggest casualty of China’s property bubble but won’t be the last. Also, some areas are poorly regulated such as wealth management products that are guaranteed by Evergrande and other developers.”

    I wonder if ChiCom Joe is being read to on this . . . ?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Misha, what’s your take on this? Is this similar to our housing bubble 2008?

      Gail pointed out to me last week that Soros spoke out against the CCP and it’s anti-neoliberal economic policies.

      Will Creepy Joe be forced to bail out his overlords? (Not that we have any bucks.)

      • George,

        Hard to say at this point. I’m starting to hear from several quarters that this is going to retard their hegemonic aspirations in that it will affect so much of their economy. Others think that they will mitigate the damage inside China through government support and let the negative effects only affect foreign investment, which is quite considerable.

        Xi has been blowing the Maoist horn for some time now. Before it was “communism with Chinese characteristics”. That was the rationale for allowing so much capitalism, albeit with tight state control. Xi may be planning to play this off as the bitter fruits of Westernized, capitalist inspired thinking and sacrifice the company in favor of control. One fear of autocratic regimes is the power of private oligarchy.

        I doubt we’ll bail out anyone. The CCP may bail out the company insofar as necessary to secure Chinese held assets leaving other investors out to dry. This was Jack Posobiec’s take. Or the CCP may watch it burn while wagging its finger. The point is that it has potentially dire implications for the great Chinese economic tiger.

        Worst case scenario is that China hits a dry spell like Japan did in the 1990’s and the ripple effects have a serious enough impact on American investors to cause an economy already weak from inflation and potential massive spending to retard growth here.

        It’s something to watch.

        • George Michalopulos says

          So in other words, we still take it on the chin?

          • George,

            Probably, either way. However, the silver lining is that if Xi lets it burn (or can’t take hold of it) then it could turn into the Chinese equivalent of Japan’s Lost Decade in the 1990’s. If that occurs, then it may be enough time for MAGA to run the table and change not only our domestic economic policy but our foreign policy vs. China.

            You may recall the trepidation that everyone had about Japan in the late 1980’s through the early nineties.


            That all fizzled when their economic engine collapsed. Nobody’s worried about Japan anymore. Best case scenario is that, notwithstanding any collateral damage to us, China suffers the same kind of setback and the game is either changed or at least paused for some considerable length of time.

            Joe my find his allegiance to China to yield diminishing returns.

            Cause for some hope, object of prayer.

            • Misha “Nobody’s worried about Japan anymore. Best case scenario is that, notwithstanding any collateral damage to us, China suffers the same kind of setback ”

              . . .

              BTW, China “suffering the same kind of setback” will still be more than ten times larger as Japan. It means her economy will dwarf the former colonial powers.

          • This from the WSJ is pretty good:


            This from Australia is also illuminating:


            It appears that the CCP cracked down on housing prices, which worked, but made many of Evergrande’s loans unprofitable. Xi also does not like speculative debt in the housing market, which is Evergrande’s middle name. Of course, neither does Xi like economic recessions. Nonetheless, the Chinese government is telling people to prepare for Evergrande’s default. It may be that he does not believe that the Chinese government can intervene effectively inasmuch as Evergrande’s stock has already lost 80% of its value over time.

            The Aussie’s may be the most honest observers since they are right there and their iron ore industry is tied to Chinese construction:


  16. There are some GOARCH clergy/laity/general assembly meetings coming up. What are the odds of getting a response out of them…? (I won’t hold my breath but I’ll remain hopeful).

    Good (relevant) video from Fr. Peter Heers:

    Patristic and Canonical Treatment Toward a Local Church Whose Hierarch Preaches Heresy

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very well said.

    • “There are some GOARCH clergy/laity/general assembly meetings coming up. What are the odds of getting a response out of them…?”

      Petros, There are 2 challenges that make it more unlikely to get a constructive reaction from such meetings regarding issues like the EP’s assertions of supremacy over the Orthodox world and his divisive actions in Ukraine.

      One challenge is the seemingly top-down nature of the assemblies. A lot of policies are seemingly decided by the leadership and then the conferences/assemblies with the laity seem to serve just as vehicles for informing the membership after the fact of the decisions. For example, the EP’s decision to recognize the OCU and KP in Ukraine were not made at any GOARCH assembly, nor were any GOARCH assemblies asked to ratify the decisions.

      Along with this, the actual scope of the decisionmaking authority that the assemblies have seems somewhat limited. Yet nonetheless, it looks like the assemblies have some power. In the 2018 national assembly, the assembly’s most authoritative voting decisions concerned how much authority and the range of power that the GOARCH executive council, etc. would hold.

      This brings us to the second challenge – the opinions of the GOARCH membership itself. The GOARCH membership by and large on average does not seem to care very much about the EP’s assertions of supremacy over the rest of the Orthodox world, nor about his divisive actions in Ukraine. Certainly there are GOARCH members who support the EP’s assertions of power and also other members who disagree. Collectively, they seem to be going along with it quietly. I am alittle cynical and my sense is also that they tend to support the EP’s actions more than oppose them. I would be glad to be wrong.

      Some factors suggesting that they don’t care much about these important issues, either Pro or Contra are:
      (A) Up until 2018, I rarely if ever heard assertions that the EP was the head of all Orthodoxy, and the position of the EP was that the KP/OCU were heretical. So it seems alittle hard for them to get super enthusiastic in support of a new position by the EP that is the reverse of what they had long held or at least not cared very much about before.
      (B) Ukraine is far away and not especially connected with Greece historically (minus Crimea and some Greeks who emigrated to east Ukraine centuries ago).
      (C) GOARCH seems at least alittle insular in its relations with other EO jurisdictions in the US, so although they would like relations and fellowship with ROCOR and the MP, the problems don’t seem to bother them enough to care much about this division.
      (D) GOARCH has long been under the EP for many decades. So when the EP goes and announces that he’s the head of all Orthodox and messes with EO relations in some other region, it doesn’t affect GOARCH members themselves very directly. The EP’s announcement that he is the head of the MP, the JP, and everyone else doesn’t change the fact that he is the head of GOARCH. It’s not the same as if the head of the MP or the JP or Erdogan or Donald Trump or anyone else announced that they were the head of GOARCH. It’s alittle bit like how a lot of Americans didn’t care very much about the US invasion of Iraq over non-existent WMDs, but those same Americans would care a TON if Iraq was a big country and invaded the US over the US having real WMDs.

      • “It’s alittle bit like how a lot of Americans didn’t care very much about the US invasion of Iraq over non-existent WMDs, but those same Americans would care a TON if Iraq was a big country and invaded the US over the US having real WMDs.”

        Oh, Iraq had real WMDs (chemical, biological), Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Bush the son of Bush, would know that better than anyone, because the USA provided those weapons in the 1980s under Reagan/Bush, looked the other way when Saddam used those weapons against Iran or his own people.

        • Yes, but by the time of Iraq War 2,
          Iraq no longer possessed such weapons; as amply testified to
          by UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter.

          ‘ Prior to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Ritter stated that Iraq possessed no significant weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities, becoming according to The New York Times “the loudest and most credible skeptic of the Bush administration’s contention that Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.” ‘

    • For “…the blind people that have eyes,
      and the deaf that have ears” [Is 43:8 KJV];
      Fr Peter shows how to see and how to hear…

    • I watch Father Peter regularly and generally agree with him but I think that he is wrong on two points: The Greek Old Calendarists don’t care if they are irrelevant to other Orthodox, they believe they have rebuked the erring Bishops and the separation is necessary to preserve the Faith.
      Father Peter maintains a Council is necessary to condemn heretical Bishops. Will Patriarch Bartholemew sit to be judged by Patriarch Alexy? Or vice versa? If the Bishops commit already condemned behaviours isnt that enough for the faithful to separate themselves? Are we not “rational sheep?”
      For the record, I do not belong to any Old Calendarist group, but I do understand why they were concerned about some of the actions of some Bishops.

  17. CIA goes totally psycho – as does Mike Pompeo!

    Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out:
    Inside the CIA’s secret war plans against WikiLeaks


    ‘ In 2017, as Julian Assange began his fifth year holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, spurring heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation. …

    President Trump’s newly installed CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was seeking revenge on WikiLeaks and Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape allegations he denied. Pompeo and other top agency leaders “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7,” said a former Trump national security official. “They were seeing blood.” …

    In response, the CIA and the White House began preparing for a number of scenarios to foil Assange’s Russian departure plans, according to three former officials. Those included potential gun battles with Kremlin operatives on the streets of London, crashing a car into a Russian diplomatic vehicle transporting Assange and then grabbing him, and shooting out the tires of a Russian plane carrying Assange before it could take off for Moscow. (U.S. officials asked their British counterparts to do the shooting if gunfire was required, and the British agreed, according to a former senior administration official.) … ‘

    Alex Christoforou and Alexander Mercouris put the story in context at the Duran:

    Yahoo News report details CIA war plans against Assange, Wikileaks and Assange associates

    Felix Leiter is alive and (extremely) unwell…

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Well if ” some senior officials inside the CIA” said it, it must be true, right? This probably isn’t true. One of those false flags they’ve warned us about.

      • Indeed. It’s a strange story; but (whether it is true or not)
        why has it come out now and who is it aimed at?
        Perhaps the Duran is correct and it is aimed at terminating Pompeo’s career.
        But it also comes up just as the US appeals the denial of extradition.
        Perhaps some in DC don’t want Assange extradited?

        Wheels within wheels, spinning relentlessly…

      • ‘I make no apologies’: Pompeo says…

        ‘ In his first public comments since a Yahoo News investigation revealed discussions within the Trump administration in 2017 about kidnapping or even killing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he makes “no apologies” for the Trump administration’s actions to protect “real national security secrets.”

        “I make no apologies for the fact that we and the administration were working diligently to make sure we were able to protect this important sensitive information from whether it was cyber actors in Russia, or the Chinese military, or anyone who was trying to take this information away from us.”

        Pompeo declined to deny the individual allegations in the story, saying only that Yahoo News’ “sources didn’t know what we were doing.” … ‘

        Looks like they were doing something…

        For a wider discussion, see:

        Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was reportedly
        obsessed with killing Julian Assange


        • Gail Sheppard says

          Honestly, I think these stories are false flags. Any story that was purportedly given to a journalist by our “intelligence” agency is suspect.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Brendan, I’ve come to the same conclusion that Gail has (albeit traveling down parallel paths). I’m sorry, but I’m so jaded at this point, after five years of a steady drumbeat of patent idiocy and falsehood coming from the MSM that anything at all that they say is immediately suspect.

          The credibility of the MSM is completely broken in my view. I’m tempted to go out on an incredible limb and state that if they say the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, I’d have to consult the Farmer’s Almanac just to be sure.

    • I wouldn’t put anything past the CIA, however, I doubt Pompeo or the White House had thing one to do with it. It sounds like a hit piece, like Trump preparing to attack China, for instance.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I agree. If anything, the Trump Administration was the most peaceful one in the last century (outside of Ike’s and Carter’s).

  18. Things seem to be beating up in preparation for the ROC synod in November:


  19. https://orthodoxtimes.com/reasons-behind-the-attack-on-archbishop-elpidophoros/

    Check out the above propaganda piece! Whew!

    You’d almost think that it was funded by the State Dept. or something…

  20. Misha
    “This was the period when the Metropolia broke from the ROCOR initially (1927-1934) and probably fuels the stereotype of the Metropolia being red and the ROCOR white. ”
    I was baptized in a Metropolia Church. When I was young we were told to avoid the ROCOR types because we were the “White” and they were the “Red”.
    I guess we all ended up kind of pink.