Why We Fight

The title for this essay comes from a series of propaganda films that were directed by the late, great Frank Capra. These were created through a joint effort of the United States Armed Forces and Hollywood and were designed to boost the morale of those on the home front during World War II. They were well done and highly educational. At base, they were to remind the civilian population that “we were all in this together”. The rationing of food, gasoline and other materials was necessary for the war effort.

And more importantly, that we were a superior civilization to the Third Reich and the Empire of Japan.

Thanks to one of my correspondents, I started to think along these lines. Why in fact, do we fight at present? Clearly, the United States is not the same country that it was seventy years ago. Our demography, our ethos, our very character has changed. You see, the correspondent in question has recently sent me some articles which paint a very dire picture of our military. A veteran (and Orthodox Christian) who has worked in the Pentagon himself, he is more than a little worried. I like and respect him and on most things we agree (although we don’t see eye-to-eye as far as Putin, Russia and her Orthodox Church is concerned). In any event, his criticisms of our armed services are alarming.

His anti-Russian bias does not speak against his criticisms, in fact, it amplifies them in my estimation. The picture he paints of the American armed forces is a dismal one. As you know, although I am a civilian, I have long been critical of the feminization of our military for reasons too numerous to mention here. I have also been critical of the homosexualization that has proceeded apace there as well.

My correspondent provides ample proof that the inclusion of women in combat roles has seriously degraded military preparedness. You can read this for yourself at https://www.dailywire.com/news/leaked-slides-show-84-of-women-failing-army-fitness-test-official-responds.

Now there are a whole host of reasons as to why women being billeted with men on ships and in barracks is a horrible idea. I don’t believe I have to draw you a picture as to why this is so. For those who have never served and/or have derived their ideas of sexuality from Sociology 101 in between drunken bacchanals at Enormous State University and are now working as a barista at Starbucks, well, too bad. You may deride these ideas as retrograde and beyond the pale of modern discourse, so be it. Nevertheless, like Galileo, I will stand before you mute but at the first opportunity, I will stamp my foot on the ground of reality and say “Still, it moves”. Reality always wins in the end.

Rather than try to convince the liberals out there, I would ask your indulgence to take the time to read this story from The Daily Wire. It has nothing to do with the rampant promiscuity and sexual assaults which are occurring in the United States Army (which is alarming enough) and everything to do with the decreased physical ability of female recruits. Left unsaid is the degraded esprit d’corps which is sadly missing in the armed forces thanks to rampant social engineering.

As for why open homosexuality is to be avoided at all costs on the field of battle, I ask you to turn your direction to the following (laudatory!) article in The Navy Times. https://www.navytimes.com/off-duty/military-culture/2018/08/30/sailor-by-day-performer-by-night-the-navys-drag-queen-harpy-daniels.

Behold, the American Achilles of whom we speak (when otherwise dressed in battle gear):

Somehow, I don’t think that the Russians are quaking in their boots.

The “sailor” in question is one Joshua Kelly, whose alter-ego is “Harpy Daniels”. Besides appearing en travestie for the amusement of his comrades-in-arms aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, Kelly serves other vital military functions as well. You see, he is the “Public Affairs Officer for the Reagan‘s Gay, Lesbian and Supporting Sailors Association” as well as director of “Strike Force Squadron 115’s Coalition of Sailors against Destructive Decisions”. He even won second place in a lip-synching contest and received a $1,000 bonus for doing so.

I for one can’t imagine how the United States Navy has functioned all these centuries without openly homosexual “public affairs officers” participating in lip-synching contests. (Wasn’t it Churchill who said that the Royal Navy operated on “rum, buggery and the lash”?) I imagine that John Paul Jones is spinning in his grave right about now.

What is especially pathetic is that the United States spends more on our military than the next twenty-five countries combined. That includes China and Russia. I imagine that neither the Chinese nor the Russians have lip-synching contests or “support groups” on their naval vessels so perhaps that allows them to be more parsimonious with their resources. I dunno. It’s possible.

Interestingly, the war-mongering elites in our think tanks like to tell us how poorly equipped the Russians are. That may very well be the case. What they don’t tell you is that thanks to the social engineering that liberalism has foisted upon our armed services, all four of them –Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines–are rated as “weak” in “Capacity” and are too small or wrongly configured to tackle two “significant” wars at the same time. All four services are rated “marginal” in “Capability” and as far as “Readiness” is concerned, only the Army is rated as “very strong”. The Navy, Air Force and Marines are rated only “marginal”. That means that only “the Army is ready to go to war but the other services aren’t”.* And even here, not on two fronts.

To give you an idea about how bad it is, the USS Harry S Truman‘s battle group deployed a couple of weeks ago without one ship. The Truman itself. Why? Because the ship and its battle group is in drydock for an extended period of time. For all the money we are spending on our military (and we are), it cannot make up for the loss in morale and elan. And when you throw in transgenderism, then you can pretty much stick a fork in it. Fortunately, President Trump’s Executive Order forbidding the entry of transsexuals is still in place. The damage however is done; all it takes is for one Federal judge or Supreme Court ruling (or election) to overturn Trump’s ban.

A few days ago, I had the chance to watch Saving Private Ryan for the umpteenth time. I lament the meat-grinder that was Omaha Beach, which inflicted a casualty rate of 95 percent on the 19-year-olds that stormed the beaches in its first wave and 90 percent on the second wave. Given what has happened to the military (to say nothing of our nation), I wonder if they would do it all again.

I can’t speak for them; as for myself, I wonder.

*Babbin, Jed; “It’s Unthinkable One of the Dems Could be President”, (The American Spectator, November 4, 2019.)


  1. Solitary Priest says

    God help us. That’s all I can say. 

  2. Brian D Finch says

    ‘Wasn’t it Churchill who said that the Royal Navy operated on “rum, [sodomy] and the lash”?’

    No. It wasn’t. Though when asked, he admitted to wishing he had.

    • George Michalopulos says

      That too, sounds like Churchill.

      Regardless, whoever said it wasn’t suggesting it to being a blueprint for the future. I think we can agree on that?

      • Brian D Finch says

        Indeed, I do agree.
        However, for more on Churchill and the ‘quote’, see:

      • George the buggery that went on in British  Royal Navy was of a all too higher  masculine standard then the above  and won them Trafalgar !! 
        Seriously as in so much when u have a ruling class losing touch with the the essentials. And add bishops to that,  then disaster as in roman empire cannot be far behind.  
        I am a psychologist and I recently read a LBQEYC ETC ETC ETC Activist sermon and I was professionally outraged,  spiritually SICKENED and as a  human being totally  saddened. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          Niko, Napoleon’s navy (and it’s Spanish allied navy) likewise had buggery as well!

          The point is that the military of all civilized nations has inculcated a spirit of heterosexual manliness based on millennia of history. It can’t all be put down on pen & paper. In the final analysis, there are just somethings that “you just don’t do”.

          For example married men going on hunting trips with single females and sharing the same tent. There is no physical necessity which mandates that sexual intercourse will take place but the appearance cannot be eradicated, either. Try this at home:

          “Honey, me and the crew from work are going hunting this weekend, the deer are in rut and all.”

          “Sounds good, Babe; who’s going?”

          “Bob, Tom, and Allison”.


          You get the picture. Even in this scenario, three men and one woman should preclude any possibility of coupling but it’ll raise more questions than necessary. That’s what I mean by “You just don’t do certain things”. The insertion of active, flamboyant homosexuals into the military likewise raises significant questions that all things being equal, don’t need to be included.

          This is even applicable to heterosexuality. Think also of the story of King David and Bathsheba. David, as commander-in-chief, sent one of his officers on a suicide mission in order to take possession of his wife. This is a complete, 100%, absolute destroyer of morale. No soldier is going to risk his life if he suspects even for a minute that his commander has designs on his wife. Etc.

          • George agree.  I was just trying to say that what is happening today is beyond the old definitions  of honest buggery!!! but a whole new degenerate ballot game in which being just ‘ gay ‘ or hetero’ is ‘ so last century’.  ‘  Has any body noticed  how females are beginning to be the losers in this?. Even Germaine Greer is horrified .  I think I posted the story about the famous London Theatre building new unisex LOOS, but abolishing LOOS for females as demanded by the donor of the money given towards this..

  3. GOU Limiting Factor says

    The problems with US force readiness and capability are a direct consequence of the past eighteen years of sustained military operations including two major wars. Even the vast amount of money the US spends on the military isn’t enough to avoid decay given the long sustained global operations. Homosexuality doesn’t wear out airframes, flight time does.

    Women in combat roles, gays, and transgender servicemembers have nothing to do with it.

    Likewise, “social engineering” has nothing to do with CVN-75 having a deployment delay due to a major electrical subsystem breaking at an inconvenient time.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Though you are largely correct about our military being overstretched, you overlook the fact that there was significant attrition of military funding under the previous Administration. Worse, our overseas “kinetic military actions” more than doubled under Obama (as I have mentioned several times before). Absolutely a case can be made that the degradation of material was because of this.

      Having said that, it is impossible to overstate how said degradation of materiel, the constant redeployment of servicemen, tying their hands (as in Afghanistan, our longest war by the way) as well as the infernal social engineering that degrades normal masculine camaraderie, results in a military that cannot fight. To say nothing about not being given stated goals only nebulous “war on terror” nostrums.

      I’m sorry sir, but as far as the “boots on the ground” are concerned, the sexual assault of women (and men), does contribute to attrition of morale which leads to degradation of materiel.

      And that’s as far as the violent sexual assaults are concerned. I am acquainted with an Iraq War veteran who was a veterinarian (he treated the types of canines who save the lives of soldiers and/or are used to take down the likes of Osama bin Laden and al-Bagdadi). He was billeted in a “triplex”, occupying the middle one. On each side of him were two women soldiers, one of whom was married. Not a night went by in which a rotating roster male soldiers was not “entertained” by the women in question (some of whom were married themselves). Needless to say, those soldiers who were not so comforted were not happy.

      I knew of another soldier who was a sergeant-major in Afghanistan. Because he was in contact with social media, he was regularly tortured by Facebook postings from his “high-spirited” wife (and mother of his three children) who was constantly posting news of her various sexual adventures. To suppose that sexual adventurism (whether gay or straight, or voluntary of involuntary) does not have an effect on unit cohesion, is ridiculous to the extreme.

  4. Apologies for tending to swoop in on this subject in particular, for not having enough time to properly complete a thought or draft a paragraph, and for my propensity to judge in my search for understanding.
    There seems to be a relationship between the Armed Forces and transvestism.  A source that explores cross-dressing among Nazis:
    In the US, more than 20% of trans people are former Veterans.  See this great article about what this is really all about:
    There is a pipeline in the VA to turn emotionally-damaged veterans into women.  Highly profitable business and Tricare’s reimbursement model sets the precedent for private medical insurers, so IMO the VA is largely responsible for this type of medical malpractice.
    I don’t know if transvestism (without artificial hormones) makes men weak.  Women in the military do make our military weak.

    • *The first article I posted above pertains to WWI German soldiers, not Nazis.  I can dig up the sources I’ve read re: cross-dressing Nazis as well if anyone is interested.  Similar to others’, my point is that transvestism does not equal weak men, though I believe there is a correlation between military enrollment and transvestism.

      • I think truth is simple. GAYS. Etc have served in mitary with distinction  across history and continents. That is not the problem.
        As in so much it is the current ‘ Sexual ideology and loss of manliness, it’s derission    no less,  and loss of grounding  in boys with loss of  families and father figure, that is the big change and leading to disaster. 

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          RE: “GAYS. Etc have served in mitary with distinction across history and continents. That is not the problem.”

          Nikos, if you ever had to shower in open stalls–as happens routinely in the U.S. military–with homosexual men or those whom you suspected of such an unnatural and ungodly inclination, you would not dismiss the problem of homosexuals in military service so cavalierly.

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            Cheryl, I’m disappointed that you, a military wife and Orthodox Christian, would stoop to a gratuitous, disrespectful ad hominem to punctuate your advocacy of moral and pragmatic indifference to “sexual identity” in the U.S. armed forces.

            Your brief post is essentially anecdotal. You and I (or your husband and I) can exchange personal experiences all day long, but they do not constitute a reasoned, fact-based, compelling argument.

            The key questions are whether the elimination of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (which was, itself, a compromise during the first year of the Clinton presidency in 1993) during the Obama administration effective 20 September 2011 has (1) undermined military unit cohesion and combat effectiveness (a pragmatic question), and (2) launched the U.S. armed forces down a path of unprecedented moral confusion that has begun to erode the heroic warrior ethos and, for most Christians and observant Jews in particular, biblical and traditional American masculinity (an ethical and spiritual question). 

            The best online resource for readers of this blog to consult for themselves is the Center for Military Readiness, “an independent, nonpartisan public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues,” whose founder and president since its inception in 1993 is Elaine Donnelly. (Full disclosure: I’ve known her for many years and occasionally collaborated with her and others on such issues.)
            Here’s the website home page: https://www.cmrlink.org/.  The page on “Gays in the Military / LGBT Law” is chock full of news reports, op-eds, and documents that show how far we have slid down a slippery slope since 2011:  https://www.cmrlink.org/issues/gays-in-the-military. The “T” in “LGBT” is now the primary battleground for opposing political forces in the federal government and, alas, in the armed forces themselves.

          • Another perspective: as a serving solider, I – and many others – found them to have a negative effect on morale and unit cohesion, and a cause for scandal, as well as generally having very negative personal qualities.

    • https://www.target.com/p/soldier-studies-by-martin-damman-hardcover/-/A-54339363?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&fndsrc=tgtao&CPNG=PLA_Entertainment%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Entertainment&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9005202&ds_rl=1246978&ds_rl=1248099&ds_rl=1246978&gclid=Cj0KCQiAtrnuBRDXARIsABiN-7CE0v_mmxOgppn89AL1iUQ1k3B4OD2h-xmzl_5I9nG0V6AlOs9Kc78aAmAEEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
      Above, Target sells a coffee table book of cross-dressing Nazis.
      Above, the likely origin of the common statistic “20%+ are veterans.”  Thinking of it, this is probably junk science, as most “studies” pertaining to this subject are.
      The stories you shared, George, about cheating military members and their wives are both familiar and heartbreaking.

    • George Michalopulos says

      If so, we’re totally screwed.

  5. Monk James Silver says

    As long as there are sinners in the world who can’t be brought to peace by other means, conflicts between nations will be as inevitable as conflicts between individuals. War = death, and death, we are taught, is the recompense of sin. As a civilization, as Christians, we must strive to do better.

    While I agree that women should not serve in combat, I wouldn’t exclude the female half of the human race from military service. I would draft them along with the men, but assign them to non-combatant duty in support services, and not train them for battle but for all the other tasks which make for an efficient soldiery. With that in mind, we have to remember that homosexual activity is statistically likely in any context from which one or the other sex is long excluded. In ancient times, the almost undefeatable army of Sparta was notorious for its male sexual bonding, which they thought made them a more cohesive fighting force, We would (probably) never institutionalize homosexuality to that extent.

    Now, this army drag queen nonsense is a little over the top, but that’s not an index of homosexual acceptance. The fact remains that most transvestites are heterosexual men, and that most homosexual men are not transvestites. No, this is rather an expression of cultural rot, the sort of decadence which made Germany ripe for falling to the Nazis, well illustrated in ‘Cabaret’. I hope we can stop this decay before it’s too late to salvage western civilization.

    I wonder what Joe McCarthy thought of those Capra films.

    • Brian D Finch says

      ‘In ancient times, the almost undefeatable army of Sparta was notorious for its male sexual bonding, which they thought made them a more cohesive fighting force’.
      Err… No. The Spartans thought it was their training that made them so good.
      It was (I think) the Theban Sacred Band – three hundred lovers – who thought their sexual cohesion made them invincible. Then Alexander (who had his own issues in these matters) disproved the thesis by tramping them into the dust at Chaeronea.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Agreed.  The Spartan training was horribly effective. 

        As for the Theban’s Sacred Band (Theion Lokhon), they were great fighters as well but this leaves out several crucial facts:

        1.  homosexuality as practiced in ancient Greece was orders of magnitude different from what is found in the modern West,
        2.  the men involved were incredibly masculine.  In the American military, they are called “bears”, hyper-masculine men who don’t go in for drag shows.
        3.  the partnerships which was practiced by the Sacred Band was between a dominant warrior and his squire (for want of a better word).  Think of Batman and Robin.
        4.  And anyway, Alexander, while yet a teen, did defeat them in battle.

        As for the Nazi party, there was a pervasive homosexual subculture within the Sturmabteilung (the Brownshirts which put Hitler into power).  When their leader, Ernst Rohm, wished for them to replace the Wehrmacht, the Prussian aristocracy which controlled said Wehrmacht gave Hitler an ultimatum:  either you disband them (by whatever means) or we won’t let you take power.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Brian D Finch (November 15, 2019 at 8:50 pm) says:

        ‘In ancient times, the almost undefeatable army of Sparta was notorious for its male sexual bonding, which they thought made them a more cohesive fighting force’.

        Err…No. The Spartans thought it was their training that made them so good. SNIP


        Please note that when I wrote the words quoted here by Brian D Finch, it was clear that I was reminding people that the Spartans though that their homosexual pairing ‘made them a MORE cohesive fighting force’. After all, we were discussing the decadence associated with homosexuality in the military.

        In other words, this was one among many factors to which they attributed their legendary (if not everlasting) prowess in battle. I wrote nothing to suggest that this was the only factor.

        • Brian D Finch says

          OK! I accept I read more into your words than you intended. I apologise. Nevertheless, homosexuality was a by-product of the Spartan system. It was not integral to its structure – as was the case with the Theban Sacred Band.

    • “While I agree that women should not serve in combat, I wouldn’t exclude the female half of the human race from military service.”
      We got by fine for thousands of years having only men fight wars and serve in the military. Let’s leave our women at home. The military life is not for them, and I say that as one having served.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Monk James, you make my point.  My condemnation was not homosexuals per se serving in the military but open homosexuals.  The degradation of flamboyant inevitably spreads to the heterosexual majority.

      Look at our entertainment industry, for example.  It’s all gay all the time and standards of beauty and narrative have fallen precipitously.

      I realize that what I’m advocating is hypocritical but as Churchill said, “hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue”. The overturning of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, has greatly eroded American military readiness, as well as women serving in combat or being anywhere near combat.

      Having said that, I have also never been against women serving in the military. The Israelis have made their IDF one of the finest in the world because they use women “in the rear, with the gear”, in other words, not in combat but in bureaucracy. They tried early on with women in combat but it so horribly degraded men’s fighting ability which allowed the various Arab armies to win many firefights.

      I realize of course that that would mean that the American service academies would have to be closed to women so that won’t happen.
      Hollywood during its golden age gave us great films even though they had to abide by strict moral codes.

      • Monk James Silver says

        I think that George Michalopulos and I are talking past each other here.

        The example in his essay was of a ‘drag queen’ soldier who performs for his fellow soldiers. I have no idea whether or not this man is homosexual, and homosexuality was not the point of the example.

        As I wrote earlier, statistics indicate that most transvestites are heterosexual men, and that most homosexual men are not transvestites.

        The ‘drag queen’ phenomenon is an issue only tangentially connected to homosexuality, or so all available relevant professional psychological experience suggests.

        Even so, I agree with George that this sort of ‘entertainment’ is decadent and not conducive to the sort of disciplined formation we have a right to expect from our soldiers.

      • George, I would suggest that Hollywood during its golden age gave us great films because they had to abide by strict moral codes.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      RE: “While I agree that women should not serve in combat, I wouldn’t exclude the female half of the human race from military service. I would draft them along with the men, but assign them to non-combatant duty in support services, and not train them for battle but for all the other tasks which make for an efficient soldiery.”

      Father James, for an “ecumenical” case against drafting women into the U.S. military, see

      Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, CH (COL), USA, Ret., and Robert A. Miller, CAPT, USN, Ret., “Churches Must Oppose Female Conscription,” Crisis Magazine, May 30, 2016: https://www.crisismagazine.com/2016/churches-must-oppose-female-conscription

      Captain Miller is an evangelical Protestant, and the journal is a traditional Roman Catholic publication. We make, I hope, a compelling argument for all Christians to resist conscription of our wives, daughters, mothers, nieces, and any American woman of draft age.

  6. George,

    I saw the movie “Midway” the other night. As I watched those young brave men sacrifice their lives for this country, I thought about the very subject you have written about.

    I wept.

  7. I’m a veteran and I find the moral and material state of our Armed Forces to be absolutely disgraceful.
    And, yes, I do believe there is a homosexual factor in the decline of the military, as well as the nation as a whole.

  8. In a country that makes deceit only, to prosper. The moral foundation of a truly disciplined
    the military is not required by our military leaders. They prefer the lazy, easy, sh** roles downhill method. Fear works very well in our present military. This is done because it is the most effective way to get the troops to render unto Caesar things that are God’s. This tact is deliberate, as GHWBush. in 1991, We finally got rid of that Vietnam syndrome, when servicemen, like myself refused to help them kill all those Vietnamese poor people. I went to Portsmith Federal Naval Prison, but i ended up with no innocent blood on my hands. I won that round.

  9. Gail Sheppard says

    I imagine the typical woman, i.e. a woman born as a woman, would object to the “lip-synching contests and “support groups,” as well.  I don’t know that it’s fair to put trannys in the same camp.  If the concern is women in combat, we should probably leave men, who think they’re women or who would like to be, out of it.  Frankly, men who want to be women are probably more of a headache to women because women have to share their living quarters with them.  

    Some women, albeit a minuscule amount, can do what a man can do.  Each year, 1,500 female combat soldiers are drafted into the IDF and unlike the U.S., Israel is very well prepared to launch a defense.  

    In Russia, approximately 30,000 women (26.1 percent) are army or navy warrant officers, whereas 81,300 (71 percent) of the servicewomen are noncommissioned officers, master sergeants, petty officers, soldiers, and sailors.

    So the problem is not with women being in the military for those women who can perform as well as a man.  The problem is with the rules being bent for women.  That is not only grossly unfair to men, it’s potentially dangerous; however, for the few who can, the onus is on the men to control themselves around them.   They need to be trained NOT to put an operation at risk to save a woman’s life and women need to be trained not to have that expectation.  I think this is possible.  

    Frankly, in a combat situation where everything is on the line, I’d rather have someone like me, even at my age, than some 20 something male who has testosterone pumping through his veins.  But that’s just me. Ideally, men and women should be able to work together in tandem.  If this weren’t the case, God would not have created Eve.    

    • Michael Bauman says

      Gail, you say: “They need to be trained NOT to put an operation at risk to save a woman’s life and women need to be trained not to have that expectation.” While it may be possible, it is a gross deformation of what it means to be a man. Our nature is designed in such a way that we are supposed to protect women even unto death. The failure of Adam to respond that way in the Garden is one of his great violations.

      It would take a lot more training that you might think although given the shifting and decreasing standards men tend to live by these days, probably not as much as I think.

      “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Walter Scott

    • In Greece females serve including members of  my own family.  That is because there are 10m Greeks ( well people living in Greece) and getting on for 80m turks..

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I’ll take it!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Saunca, she sounds like Wonder Woman. Please understand, I’m not trying to be snarky or chauvinist; I just look at the different body morphs of the two sexes and the average man has greater upper body strength than a woman. I also realize that in the age of push-button/drone warfare, not all battles will be won by “boots on the ground”. (There will however always be the need for boots on the ground.)

      I’m sure the woman you write about exists, clearly she’s in far better shape than I am. She’s also very much an outlier, i.e. she’s the exception which proves the rule. I however spend much time with my 85-year-old father who has Parkinson’s. Even though I am 60 and at least twenty pounds overweight, I can still help him get out of the car and if need be pick him up. (He’s 185lbs.) Unlike the woman you mention, I cannot run a marathon (10 miles is the most I’ve ever done and that was almost 40 years ago, since then only several 5Ks) but I could have carried a man of roughly my size should he have fallen in battle. Can the woman you write about do that?

      Please understand, I have no intention on depriving women of serving in uniform. The woman you mention has facility with many difficult languages and that’s a good thing (whether we should be in those God-forsaken countries is quite another question). And truth be told, I think women would do good by undergoing military training, which is suited for their physiques as there is nothing wrong with exercise qua exercise. But military preparedness has been has been greatly eroded because physical standards have been reduced to accommodate the average woman.

      As for sexual assaults, they are through the stratosphere. Last year, the Naval Academy reported a great increase in assaults and the midshipmen who make the cut are the elite of our youth. Not only physically but mentally and psychologically as well. There simply is no comparison between the cadets of the service academies and the soy-boys of academe.

      • women who are strong enough to meet requirements are not super rare
        i see them all the time but my habit is to go to a lifting gym not krispy kreme
        audie murphy was under five six and weighed less than hundred twenty pounds colorize an old photo of him and put it on this site and he would get called a soy boy

        • George Michalopulos says

          DS, I would bet you dollars-to-donuts that Audie Murphy’s T-levels were three times the mg/dl than those of your modern American male. Regardless, you are comparing apples to oranges. In Audie Murphy’s day, the average American male was 5″7 and his weight was around 140lbs. Today’s males are taller on average by two inches but thanks to obesity, regularly weigh in at 197.9lbs. And obesity contributes to increase estrogen in males. This often presents itself with lethargy, loss of libido and gynaecomastia.

          “It’s not the size of the man fighting but the size of the fight in the man.”

          • George Michalopulos says

            This decline has been observed within the past 30 years and was based on comparisons of 60 yr-old men. Paradoxically, smoking among this cohort has decreased significantly as well while obesity and increased (legal) drug use have sored. I personally believe that there are other societal factors as well, specifically an increased inter-sexual “commons” in the workplace which has feminized the workforce and severely depresses male-to-male bonding.

            I realize the last sentence is highly controversial and to my knowledge, there has been no reputable scientific studies on that but it’s something that seems to be in the air. Compare the House of Commons on C-Span compared to the House of Representatives. In Britain, the masculine ethos appears to be functioning rather well and women MP’s have to “get along with it”. Maggie Thatcher certainly did, no shrinking violet she. But in America, the feminization of the political sphere has made it next-to-impossible to call out a woman politician (even if she richly deserves it) for fear that she’ll clutch her pearls. (Trump does every now and then via Twitter and he’s roundly criticized for it. He supposedly is losing the suburban woman’s vote because of it.)

            Case in point: Hillary recently called Tulsi Gabbard a Russian spy and “asset”. No man rose to Tulsi’s defense but by God, did the Lady from Hawaii punch back twice as hard. Had a man, say Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden fought back to defend Gabbard, they would have been knee-capped by the press. Men in America have internalized this “don’t go there” attitude when it comes to women, even if the criticism is just.

  10. Meanwhile, Pope Franny “compares politicians who rage against gays to Hitler.”
    See: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-lgbt-hitler-idUSKBN1XP1MM

    • He’s saying that as if it’s a bad thing!

      • No, no, Basil.  Re: Sodomy — There will always be men and women who are too immature to become parents, yet cannot practice chastity, and therefore engage in one type or another of sterile sex. Violence cannot solve this problem.
        We are engaged in a spiritual war. We first look within ourselves, within our homes and our communities… but [especially if we have children] we also live in the world.  We wonder where the enemy appears in our governing structures, our culture, and how we might engage with him there.
        I don’t know how this will turn out; only wild guesses! My vision is that this LGBT stuff will lead to the normalization of more extreme forms of body modification, specifically CRISPR / genetic modification and the farming of children outside of a mother’s womb (the definition of mother has been destroyed, we’ve seen lambs or pigs gestated this way this year, and trans is trying to achieve womb implants). The LGBT stuff, Nazi stuff, and commie stuff is a distraction from the historically well-oiled murder machine of Islam 🙁 Who knows if and when America will have her Notre Dame fire. Will our government genetically engineer an army to fight this, as the whispers say China is developing CRISPR to do [build an army]? What is 666 all about? We are at a level beyond Hitler.Most importantly — if we are in the world with children, to what extent do we engage with these manifold threats / retreat into our two-person sketes?  And might retreat allow the threat to grow? Or shall we be so bold to dare imagine that we can achieve a volume of prayer that radiates out beyond the woods? 

        • Michelle, Islam is NOT the problem, it’s just a symptom. I’ll quote Michael Hoffman:
          “As far as soul killing is concerned, can it be said that Muslims are behind Hollywood’s numerous film depictions of Jesus as a demented sex freak and coward?
          Are Muslims operating America’s pornography industry, the largest in the world?
          Do Muslims control the media and encourage gun violence, nudity and promiscuity?
          Do Muslims permit the exhibition of art works such as “Piss Christ” and encourage the popularity of the ‘queer Jesus’ play “Corpus Christi? On the contrary, Muslims protest these works whenever possible as well as the defamation of Jesus and Mary.
          Was it Muslims who were at the Second Vatican Council directing the Church to drop its charge of deicide against the Pharisees?
          Prior to that Council, was it Muslims who were mentioned by name as “perfidious” in the traditional Good Friday liturgy?
          Is it Muslims who direct the scourge of usury and the Federal Reserve Bank?”
          Islam comes in and conquers when a society is rotted out from the inside, usually because another particular group has had a hand in that. Guess who? Not to put all the blame on that group, because mosquitoes only come to dwell in the swamps that we create.
          Islam is God’s way of chastising unfaithful Christians. If we get it, we deserved it, because we allowed them to hollow us out from the inside.
          Michelle, don’t get hooked by normie-conservative talking points. Look at the bigger picture.

          • Basil, I appreciate your reply. & Thank You for your military service.
            Re: Jews — They will be with us until the end. The best strategy is to deny that there is any type of genetic spiritual superiority and to keep closely in mind that whenever you victimize Jews, more of our money goes to Israel. The game is rigged; don’t play it.
            There is something sick about trying to compare which evil is greater — Nazism, communism, Islam, abortion, etc. 
            On this point we agree:
            “[Insert any bad thing] is God’s way of chastising unfaithful Christians. If we get it, we deserved it, because we allowed [ourselves] to hollow us out from the inside.” 
            Let’s not make ourselves perpetual victims waiting for our Messiah. Christ is Risen! I become scared and sad too (thinking, for instance, that the US is basically sold to China, that we might soon be subject to a similar type of social credit system, that the “enemy” is partly the phone that is in my hand — that very same phone that allows me to connect to you, that hopefully allows us to educate, strengthen, and temper each other — that it is more difficult to abstain from a corrupt system and more difficult to know when / how / where to engage). But we have Christ, the Church, each other. Lord have mercy.

          • Antiochene Son says

            Basil: all true. Let’s just say “The Lion King” could be viewed as a thinly veiled documentary of the West 1950-present. Although the third act has yet to be played out. 

            • Antiochene Son & Basil, while we’re on the subject of conspiracies, what do you think of this?

              • Oh hell nah.
                It’s cranks like this who give people who are genuinely seeking the truth a bad reputation.

              • Antiochene Son says

                I have no comment regarding the article you posted, as I didn’t read it. But it really is clever that actual conspiracies are dismissed while actual conspiracy theories are treated seriously.
                If only verifiable facts could be treated with the same gravity as the “P*ss Dossier”.

                • The article was admittedly written like a cheap Dan Brown short, but it is mighty strange that Patriarch Kirill met with Pope Francis (first such meeting in 1,000 years) and then flew straight to Antarctica. Strange detour before returning to South America again.
                  I do think this is more interesting than the “Jewish question,” which I’ve read all about, but to each his own 🙂

                  • The Havana meeting was just church politics, baby!
                    I’m not sure how long you’ve been Orthodox for (if you’re a convert), but nowhere in our tradition is such a thing as the Ark of Gabriel mentioned. Muhammad is a false prophet and the holy Archangel Gabriel didn’t give him anything.
                    You need to apply some filters when you get into this kind of stuff, and the primary filter should be: has this EVER been mentioned in our Church’s writings or experience? If no, then end of story.

                    • I certainly do not believe in the Ark of Gabriel, that Gabriel spoke to Muhammad, etc.
                      My points were threefold:
                      1. To respond to you while changing the subject
                      2. How to gauge the extent of weird internet content a person might consider? (For the record, I still think meeting with Francis and then flying to Antarctica is weird! On a scale of conspiracy theories, I lay somewhere between not believing Q Anon / unable to listen to Alex Jones / yet I do not think Epstein killed himself.)
                      3. If we are to disengage with 666 as defined by Pageau, we need to release ourselves from the desire to create complete ideological systems. We cannot understand or control everything. There is something life-giving about being open to that which cannot be accounted for, expected, or understood. It’s not all the Trinitarian 7 so we must be careful, but to close our hearts and minds  — isn’t that death?
                      4. That’s probably why I am undisturbed by explorations of antisemitism, though I do think that path is as fruitless as a search for the nonexistent demon Ark

                    • Answer to question 2: use your Orthodox phronema. Immerse yourself in the writings of the Fathers and seasoned elders and you’ll be able to gauge these things. Read articles and treatises on historical subjects by trustworthy Orthodox writers and you’ll get a feel for what goes on in the shadows.
                      Response to statement 4: it’s not ‘muh antisemitism’ to point out what is going on in those aforementioned shadows, unless you’re an oversensitive boomer, which is why I wouldn’t call you an Islamophobe for pointing the finger at the Saracens. There’s a hierarchy of threats: our own sins, those who seek to use our sins to destroy our souls by subversive means, and then those who seek to physically destroy us, which is why I – and notable others – try to draw attention to that moral subversion taking place, a subversion in which a certain group traditionally hostile to Christ and His Church is grossly over-represented. To quote Rage Against the Machine, “know your enemy.” If we know where the poison is coming from, then we can help people to stop drinking it.

                  • The Havana document is another ecumenistic joke. All forms of ecumenism needs to stop by everyone.  As far as meeting with the Pope who is a native of South America in Cuba isnt unique as Cuba has historical ties with Russia dating to the Soviet era. Also there is  the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Antarctica where 2 monks reside year round and is the tallest structure in Antarctica.It serves the Volstok station. 

                  • Antiochene Son says

                    I would fly to Antarctica if I had even the slightest opportunity.

          • Monk James Silver says

            Basil (November 16, 2019 at 1:59 pm)says:

            Michelle, Islam is NOT the problem, it’s just a symptom. I’ll quote Michael Hoffman:  SNIP

            Here’ ‘Basil’ quotes Michael Hoffman (whoever that is) at great length telling us what Muslims are not, but in ways which might all too easily be taken as an antisemitic screed.
            That some Jews are involved in some offensive activities is undeniable, but so are some Christians.  And even those such people might not be very good Christians and Jews, they pretty much don’t go around blowing up airplanes, claiming to be martyrs when they blow themselves up and kill as many noncombatants as possible, or burning down skyscrapers full of civilians.  Well, you say, not all Muslims do those things, either.
            Let me tell you, though, that while all Muslims are not terrorists, almost all terrorists are fanatical Muslims, and if Muslims don’t want to be profiled as terrorists, they’ll have to be more aggressive about neutralizing the evil being taught and perpetrated by their co-religionists.
            BTW:  This war between Islam and everyone else in the world has been going on since Mohammad himself started killing people who disagreed with his ideas about religion. 
            Classical Muslim theory divides the world into two parts:  dar al harb and dar al islam (‘house of war’ and ‘house of submission’).  This is just as true now as it ever was.  These are not spiritual concepts, but physical areas.  And, yes, islam does not mean ‘peace’, but ‘submission’. theoretically to Allah (‘God’), but in practice, to the Muslim umma, or ‘nation’ and its shari’a law.

            • I’m not going to deny the violent nature of Islam; we are in agreement there. BUT we need to fear those that destroy the soul more than those that can destroy the body.
              Let me add some of my own:
              No Muslim ever told me to let my son chop off his you-know-what and become a girl.
              No Muslim ever told my kids at school that LGBTQXYZ was normal and that traditional Christian morality was backwards.
              No Muslim ever encouraged my daughters to dress provocatively in public and to act like harlots.
              It’s easier to recognize the enemy swinging punches at you than the one whispering deceptive lies into your ear. It’s easier to salve your conscience by accusing people of ‘muh antisemitism’ than it is to realize that we have an ethnocentric fifth column in our midst, with a religious ideology based on a misanthropic distortion of Holy Scripture.
              Oh, and Mossad fingerprints are all over 9/11. Remember the dancing Israelis?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Basil, after much consideration, I decided to publish your comment which I largely agreed with up until the penultimate paragraph.

                While it is true that Talmudism is not a good thing and has indeed distorted Yahwism, there is more than enough blame to go around without having to single out Jews as the only “ethnocentric fifth column”. I place more blame at the feet of the Puritans of New England who continue to drive our foreign policy as well as their dedication to anti-traditionalism on the home front. All you have to do is look at the names of these miscreants to know that their Whiggery/liberalism/Enlightenment philosophy has hollowed out our Constitution and normative Amero-Protestant folkways more than any other immigrant group.

                I’m thinking of names like Emerson, Thoreau, Oliver Wendel Holmes, Hugo Black, Earl Warren, FDR, John Lewis, the Bush family and a myriad list of other Yankee eminences who have populated the Federal judiciary, the Congress and the Executive for the last two centuries. (None of the Founding Fathers would have been on board with anything that happened after 1850 as far as I’m concerned. At that time, there were only 5,000 Jews in all of the US.)

                Regardless, I no longer view Islam as the necessary enemy of Christendom. For that we have to look at the rationalism-cum-atheism that was set in motion by Luther when he posted his 95 Theses on the cathedral door. And of course now it has subsumed Catholicism and is getting ready to rend Orthodoxy thanks to the many useful idiots within the more modern precincts of our faith.

                • Point well made, George, and point accepted on my part. I would only propose that Yankee post-Puritanism’s problems are a consequence of their distorted theology, whereas Talmudism’s attack is deliberate.
                  I thank you for your openness to controversial opinions and for facilitating these discussions.

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    The Talmud is a Jewish commentary on the scriptures, usually positing different interpretations in dialog. But what the heck is ‘Talmudism’? How is it different from Judaism?

                    I’d like to see examples of some of Talmudism’s deliberate attacks.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Monk James, the Talmud post-dates the Judaism that was in operation when Jesus preached by at least two centuries. You are right, it is a compendium of dialogues and arguments which often end in impasses (aporeia in Greek). In any event, it is a legal regime as opposed to a spiritual one.

                      As such, it angered many Jews who reacted to its legalisms (which almost always resulted in situational ethics). Among them were the Karaites, who reverted to the Tanakh (i.e. Old Testament) as their spiritual foundation-text. That’s as opposed to the Talmud which in practicality superceeds the Tanakh. The other major religious group to dispense with the formalisms of the Talmud are the Kabbalists.

                      Unlike the teachings of the Prophets in the OT and Jesus and Paul in the New, the Talmud has precious few universalist nostrums. The two that spring to mind are “Breed not a vicious dog” and “The poor man in your city takes precedence over the poor man in a far country” (paraphrases).

                      As for the “deliberate attacks” on non-Jews, the Talmud is replete with them, beginning with its characterizations of Jesus and the Theotokos.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      The earliest talmudic comments about our Lord Jesus Christ and His holy Mother were written about eight centuries after they lived on Earth, and those comments were perhaps conditioned by the mistreatment the Jews were receiving at the hands of Christians.  It’s of some value to note that this negative reaction n the Talmud began about four centuries after St John Chrysostom preached Against Judaizing Christians.
                      Judaism evolved from animal sacrifice to study.  This did not make it a different religion —  it was merely a shift in emphasis.  Still, the practical adjustments between second-temple Judaism and rabbinic Judaism made those two ways of being Jewish as different from each other as rabbinic Judaism is from Christianity, which was at first regarded as an internally Jewish movement.
                      After the Roman destruction of the second temple at Jerusalem  in A.D. 70, the Jews were left without a paradigm for public religious practice other than the synagogue services, which were not yet standardized.
                      At the ‘Council of Yavneh’ in A.D. 97 or so, norms for Jewish public worship began to emerge, including psalms and hymns and scheduled readings from the scriptures. Without the temple, animal sacrifices were no longer possible and he priesthood was reduced to a few non-sacrificial roles.
                      In this early post-temple period, rabbi Yehudah ha Nasi compiled the mishnah, the first layer of written Jewish commentary on the scriptures, and the beginning of the Talmud.
                      The gemara and pirkey avoth, two additional layers of interpretation, were added later, and all talmudic scholars are expected to consider all of these possible interpretations, and even arrive at new ones.  Teachers who do this successfully are respected as great rabbis.
                      In any event, dear George, there’s not much new in your explanation of the Talmud that a few conceptual tweaks couldn’t fix, but that still leaves me wondering what ‘Basil’ meant by ‘Talmudism’ —  a term which I have never before encountered.
                      Given his generally antisemitic attitudes, I suspect that it’s not a good thing, but I await his clarification and his adducing examples of the ‘attack’ he mentioned.
                      In the meantime, though, Id recommend a handy resource:  Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schaefer, Princeton University Press 2007, ISBN .13978-0-691.12926.6

          • Monk James Silver says

            Basil (November 16, 2019 at 1:59 pm)says:

            Michelle, Islam is NOT the problem, it’s just a symptom. I’ll quote Michael Hoffman:  SNIP

            Here’ ‘Basil’ quotes Michael Hoffman (whoever that is) at great length telling us what Muslims are not, but in ways which might all too easily be taken as an antisemitic screed.
            That some Jews are involved in some offensive activities is undeniable, but so are some Christians.  And even those such people might not be very good Christians and Jews, they pretty much don’t go around blowing up airplanes, claiming to be martyrs when they blow themselves up and kill as many noncombatants as possible, or burning down skyscrapers full of civilians.  Well, you say, not all Muslims do those things, either.
            Let me tell you, though, that while all Muslims are not terrorists, almost all terrorists are fanatical Muslims, and if Muslims don’t want to be profiled as terrorists, they’ll have to be more aggressive about neutralizing the evil being taught and perpetrated by their co-religionists.
            BTW:  This war between Islam and everyone else in the world has been going on since Mohammad himself started killing people who disagreed with his ideas about religion. 
            Classical Muslim theory divides the world into two parts:  dar al harb and dar al islam (‘house of war’ and ‘house of submission’).  This is just as true now as it ever was.  These are not spiritual concepts, but physical areas.  And, yes, islam does not mean ‘peace’, but ‘submission’, theoretically to Allah (‘God’), but in practice, to the Muslim umma, or ‘nation’ and its shari’a law.

      • Another dimension of the battle — I wrote a response to you via iPhone, switched to YouTube to listen to a podcast while cleaning, and my iPhone suggested this video at the very top:
        Could Google possibly have the technology to match my phrases on this blog to what It streams to me?

        • Michael Bauman says

          M, Yes

          • George Michalopulos says

            Yes.  BTW, the video is fascinating.  What Pageau posits (in my opinion) is that in the concept of 666, we are approaching the Singularity. 

            Having said that, all totalitarian regimes ultimately fail because they do not take into account the number 7, which is the third prime number (trinitarianism?) and the only number among the first 10 that cannot be divided evenly into 360.

            Seven, as I understand Pageau, is that which is “left over”, that which confounds all material and humanistic perfection.

            Anyway, M, I thank you for bringing this video forward.

            • George,
              all this talk about the number/value 666 seems to be a waste of time and possibly a fallacy:
              I have heard a much deeper, more theo-logical explanation why the value 666 was used:
              When St.John wrote the book of Revelation on the Island of Patmos sometime around the year 96 AD, the so-called Arabic numerals  1,2…9 were not used, Greek letters were used as numerals as well. So St.John actually wrote  χξς (instead of 666). Now look at it carefully: 
              The outer letters are  χ ς  just as the two letters on the icons of Christ, ie the outer letters of the (Greek) word for Christ.
              Then, inside the outer letters we get the winding ξ letter which looks like a kind of snake.
              The resulting theological meaning (which is actually emerging in the Church) is this:
              There is somebody who externally looks like the Christ but internally contains the Snake, the Satan. So that is indeed the Anti-Christ.

      • Solitary Priest says

        Wait, wait, wait! Are you saying that being compared to Hitler is a GOOD thing? If you really are, and if George concurs with you, then I’m out of here. I appreciate George’s commitment to free speech, but come on! Fr. Seraphim Rose warned us against extremism from both the “left” and the “right”. One sees examples of both in some of the posts on this blog!

        • George Michalopulos says

          Yeah, this is a Hitler/Stalin-free zone. I will only accept critiques of them based on a neutral understanding of history. Period.

        • I guess my quip wasn’t boomer humor. Welcome to edgy humor 101, feel free to stick around and smile sometime.

          • Antiochene Son says

            What’s ironic is that the Baby Boomer generation produced plenty of Hitler-themed comedy in their day, from Monty Python sketches to The Producers. But as with many things, they will not allow us to enjoy the things they have enjoyed.
            The best way to dissolve the power of a thing is to ridicule it, but certain groups of people have found keeping the threatening specter of Hitler alive has a lot of power to help them get what they want.

            • George Michalopulos says

              AS, you overstate the case. Hitler has been quietly rehabilitated over the years. First, there were rumors that he was a closeted homosexual, then heralded by Islamic groups such as the Nation of Islam (as well as Islam in general). And we know thanks to our SJW culture, that homosexuals, Moslems and minority groups are untouchable paragons of virtue. (As of yet, we don’t know exactly where transsexuals exist on this pantheon but they’re pretty high up.) The Neocons used Hitler’s imagery and militias to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine in 2014 and continue to use them to try and govern that unfortunate country which is spiraling out of control.

              Then there is the Phanar, which has canonized the priesthood of schismatics in Ukraine, several of which are unabashed neo-Nazis. Why, it even bestowed a “human rights award” on the ecclesial leader of these neo-Nazis.

              • Solitary Priest says

                I agree with everything you’ve written above, George. All the more reason why joking about Hitler shouldn’t be tolerated. Besides Jews, Hitler killed a great many Slavs, including Orthodox. Of course, Stalin killed many more Orthodox, but he operated over a longer period of time and had more people in his gulag nation. 
                    Even San Fillipo; with his outspokeness for gay rights and autocephaly for Ukraine, has backed away a bit from the newly-minted “Autocephalous” church. He knows that if real Nazi types ever get control, he as well as traditionalist Orthodox like us, will be toast.
                     You mention Nation of Islam; this reminds me that like them, many Ukrainian extremists act as if they were the ONLY people who ever suffered persecution. I believe that up to eight million Ukrainians did die in Stalin’s man-made famine of 1933. But it isn’t as if only Ukrainians suffered. Millions of ethnic Russians and many other Soviet citizens suffered likewise. So when you describe Hitler and Stalin as being equally evil, you are absolutely correct.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  SP, your points are very well taken.

                  I am however curious about the information regarding San Fillipo and his newly-found reticence regarding the horrible sect in Ukraine. As I do not peruse his (or the Fordhamites) blog, can you provide a link?

                  • Solitary Priest says

                    I’m sorry to report, George, that I’m an old timer, and therefore, a computer illiterate. Mr. SF did say that he heard from a number of Ukrainians who suffered from Banderite attrocities. He therefore thought it inappropriate of Epiphanius to proclaim himself a Banderite, even if only a joke. 
                        I have no personal experiences, but the man who became my nephew through marriage, comes from the Lemko region of Poland. His father told the story of Banderites bursting into an Orthodox church, when the priest was fully vested, ready to begin the Paschal services. “Are you Ukrainian or Moskal?”, they asked him. “Ja Pravoslavny,” (I’m Orthodox), he answered. Because he did not affirm being Ukrainian, they beat him to a bloody pulp, right in the holy sanctuary. So, if SF opposes that sort of thing, I’m with him on that.

                  • Who is San Philipo???????? 

                    • Estonian Slovak says

                      Giacomo Sanfillipo is a deposed priest of the OCA. His blog is entitled, “Orthodoxy in Dialogue.” He stands for LGBTG rights and Ukrainian autocephaly, among other things.

                    • thank u re Philipo.  Did not know.  

            • Agreed. I find it galling among boomers that, despite calling everyone else ‘snowflakes’ if they disagree with something, they themselves are the first to get a ticket for the outrage bus and threaten to leave a conversation/forum/blog if someone makes a Hitler joke or something similar.

              SP – don’t this personally; it’s a general observation. I think your contributions to the blog are first-class and am glad to be able to read them.

  11. GoArmyBeatNavy says

    George remembers a Frank Capra time when the nation was more homogenous and the military was a conscripted military where all males served. Do you know how many new cars the auto industry delivered in WW2 to the public? Less than 200. The entire nation and it’s resources were dedicated to a single purpose–unconditional surrender of the Axis powers. 
    Today, while fires rage, the nation prepares for Black Friday sales and contemplates $100k Teslas for their garage. Let others fight our enemies.
    These post-modern times have brought a different paradigm for the armed forces. We are an all volunteer military. Less than 3/10ths of one percent of the US population serve in the military at this moment, as opposed to WW2 when there were 15 million men in uniform (about. 25% of the US population). Many were farm boys who couldn’t read or write until the GI bill after the war.
    Meanwhile, the military today reflects all the good and bad of of a society that most of us agree is in decline.
    *Wicans and atheists as chaplains. (Affects readiness)
    *The decline of the family, the growth of drug addiction, the growth of suicide and depression. (Affects readiness)
    *The acceptance of homosexuality, trans and all variations in the ranks (Can affect readiness) 
    *The difficulty in recruiting those to serve in a full and prosperous economy and the acceptance of lower standards.(Affects readiness)
    *Women in the ranks and the adjustments of fitness standards for the combat arms to keep them there. Political race, gender, and “choice” correctness movements by the vast DOD bureaucracy when greater priorities loom during 18 years of war. Sons and daughters of those who went to war are now deploying in the same war.  (Does and can affect readiness). 
    The above and more, so much more, affect our ability to project power and remain a superpower. Especially due to the war of theft, espionage, subversion, and non-stop propaganda and psychological operations that China, Russia, Iran, and the Narco-States-Cartels and terror alliances conduct against us. 
    The world is a much worse place without a strong America. Right now, despite many good people, we are losing the ability to win—societal rot, leadership (at ALL levels), lack of masculinity and warrior focus, fewer citizens involved, the struggle to stay technologically ahead, and so much more, affect readiness, capabilities and ultimately the ability to WIN.

    • George Michalopulos says

      GoArmy, I couldn’t have said it better myself.  

      At the end of the day, the army which has a sharper, masculine focus is the one that will win.  That’s because they’re are physical, psychological and anatomical differences between men and women. 

      As for the differences between a normal heterosexual and the average homosexual, they are profound.  The normal heterosexual does not act in a mincing manner nor desire to appear in a drag show.   As for the male-to-female transsexual, I can’t imagine him/her being in fighting trim while they’re being pumped full of female hormones. 



      • Monk James Silver says

        While I have no idea how George Michalopulos formed his impressions of ‘average homosexual’ men, I somehow suspect that he hasn’t encountered as many of them as have I, mostly as friends of my homosexual brother and in social contexts. The idea that homosexual men are generally effeminate is mistaken. They are mostly just as masculine in their behavior as the rest of us.

        There were almost no effeminate men among the homosexuals I’ve met, and only one transvestite. No ‘drag queens’ at all.

        Considering my sixty or so years of awareness of the situation, including managing a psychotherapy clinic before I went to the monastery, I think that my experience should count for something.

        I’m not defending ‘gay rights’ here — not even close to that. I’m merely suggesting that we should get off inaccurate and unhelpful stereotypes, and deal with reality.

        Some few homosexual men are effeminate, and so are some few heterosexual men, and the prejudice against homosexuals as indexed by feminine behavior — however defined — must fail. It’s an inaccurate marker.

        The fact is that we are generally not so put off by homosexuality itself as we are by male effeminacy, and that needs to be sorted out as a problem for us Christians, both psychologically and spiritually, both for the afflicted among us and for the bigots among us..

        Perhaps we can now return to the ideal qualities of soldiers?

      • GoArmyBeatNavy says
      • GoArmyBeatNavy says


        Women need not apply. Caskets can weigh over 900 lbs and have to be carried in all kinds of weather and ground conditions. Yes, men and women are different. 



  12. As a woman with both military and law enforcement family members, I’ve always been opposed to women in the military, except in distant administrative and hospital roles far from combat and NOT in the same units as men. It’s just common sense. The weakness, demoralization, lack of preparedness – please. That was a no-brainer from the start. Same goes for gays. We need mentally fit, healthy straight men to fight for and protect our country.
    And I don’t like female cops, either, except in certain roles not on the front lines of law enforcement. I appreciate their desire to serve and protect. But I also think they’re brainwashed by culture as to their actual ability in a crisis, as one pretty young cop has already told me, after trying to chase and capture a guy much bigger and faster than her while wearing her mandatory forty pounds of police clothing and gear. She’s just not as strong and fast as her male counterparts, and that does NOT make us safer or more secure. If I’m in a serious crisis, I want a couple big, strong guys to show up and help me, not a couple of women!
    God help our country. And make sure you have a strong faith and keep your eyes on Jesus, because we’re gonna need it if things keep going like they are.

    • really most men make bad cops sure there are a few men who are good cops but they are rare enough that it probably is not worth letting men be cops at all
      i mean men are too emotional and irrational and prone to aggression and inappropriate outbursts of violence
      look at all those male cops dressing up in camo and carrying long guns like they are playing toy soldiers except their guns are real and they are less accountable than real soldiers
      if you really think about it men should not be allowed to possess or use firearms at all imagine how much safer america would be if a man carrying a gun was a capital crime and armed women could put one down on the spot like an animal

  13. George:
    Can you – or anyone here – confirm what is stated here?

    • George Michalopulos says

      I cannot confirm what is written here. I would not be surprised however.

      Having said that, by all accounts the recent visit by Arb Elpi to Met Tikhon at Syosset was irenic. The former venerated the relics of the American saints; that is all to the good. What was reported was that he stressed the need for “Eucharistic fellowship” which to my mind is several steps down from “Submit to the EP”. Of course I wasn’t there and can’t vouch for the official press release but had we read otherwise, that is to say that there was contention, then I would give more credence to what Orthodox England wrote.

      Still, I do believe that the EP and his minions are pulling out all the stops to corral all other Orthodox churches from following Moscow’s lead. In any event, it’s not looking pretty for Bart, even if he does succeed it will be mostly pyrrhic. The CoG thing is far from settled and so is the Alexandria thing. Both Churches have given themselves a canonical out based on the caterwampus way that Dumenko was recognized. Worse, Greece has been exposed as a clumsy agent of the EU/US, etc. It’s long sins against evangelism will not be forgotten.

      Basically, the mask is off: We know that the EP is on the road to unia, we know that Greece is using its dwindling resources to be the bad cop, we know that Dumenko is a fraud and his sect is a joke, we know that the CoG is basically dying on the vine because the people see it as a racket, we know that the other Churches are fully aware of what is going on and we know that NATO/EU will do whatever it takes to destroy the Orthodox Church. We also know that the reason that Arb Demetrios was removed was because he was an obstacle in the way of Bartholomew’s supremacist plans. And the Archons will continue to play their silly little games. Etc.

      The question we don’t know the answer to is: will Moscow start canonizing the various OC churches and start creating rival dioceses in Turkey and Africa? How will the Orthodox people in America accept all this? I’m not so sure about the Athonites anymore (forgive me). Something tells me that despite all the cheeziness that exists in the GOA, some people might rise up and say “Enough!”

      • George Michalopulos says

        I do, however, thank you for bringing this to our attention.

        • George I have a feeling Mount Athos may not be the bastion of Orthodoxy it’s thought to be.  Money has corrupted there big time.  
          The Church of Greece  is in big trouble as it’s congregations are Ageing and dwindling and entire unchurched generation now.  Pascha is reduced to a ten minute show  up to light the candle and go home to eat and fasting less and less.  The monasteries are decrepid.  I could go on.    The Greece, even of 1980s and 90s is no more.  It has a major clergy shortage. And it now has just traded in it’s integrety.  
          The greek diaspora churches in same state if not worse. Outside the Bubble the world of 1960s – 1990s is no more. They are dying.  And totally unable to communicate with the new IT generation. 
          It need not have been this way but for decades now their  energy has been in self interest and politics and corruption and abuse. 

          • You are spot on Nikos! Check out the recent actions of the brotherhood of the Athonite Monasteries of Xenophontos and Pantocrator (including the hegumen of Xenophontos). This would be unheard of even just a few years ago. Lord have mercy!

            • Athos has been gutted. Any vocal critic of Bart is evicted. The days of non-commemoration are gone. I’ve been warning people about Bart for over 20 years now after I learned he was a persecutor of monks. Find out how he got rid of the ROCOR skete soon after he became EP. The rule he put in place that only 10% of the monks can be non-Greeks means Athos will decay and enter a dark age. The pool of candidates of Greek men looking to be monks are shrinking due to population declines and secularization. I dont see how the population of monks on Athos can exceed 600 in a few decades from now. Ironically this has been prophecied but the monks tried to censure it as fake writings.

            • Michael. Yes,I read the attached.  Not surprised re usual suspects but as you say re Athonite monks.  Mount Athos is not what it was!!!!!!!. 
              We will be back in Greece in few weeks in Thessaloniki so will be useful for me to put down my impressions when we are back. 
              Of course the Orthodox church which in 60s – 80s was seen as exotic and Mystical and through prism of communist persecution, the era of Kallistos Ware and his book if you like , is now seen as an obstacle to the new gender and sexual identity stuff and to a totally relatavist outlook on life that permeates all.  . Today opposition to abortion is not seen as a deeply held moral view but as a reactionary attack on the female, and etc etc.   But we are equally to blame. How can one for instance look to RC for a lesson on morality and ethics?  Suffer the little children……   Quite!! 
              Anything with a Christian content is  seen as apriori WRONG and to be excluded  from public view.  
              Anti Christ is the default mechanism. But we need to ask ourselves might WE be responsible?  

      • Moscow has already stated that it plans to do that in Turkey due to the Russian population that resides there. 
        Setting aside how canonical it is, in speaking of mission work/evangelization, I think the Russians setting up a parallel diocese would be a good thing. The Russians are generally really good at mission work and the EP (whatever it’s faults) is clearly not capable of evangelizing within Turkey. In that sense, I think the Russians would be very successful in setting up Turkish speaking parishes, something the EP has not done 

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if Fr Andrew Phillips knows things that we don’t. He’s been amazingly prescient with respect to other happenings in the Orthodox world. He called the impending collapse of the rue Daru group way before it ever actually happened. He’s been calling the growing apostasy of Constantinople/Istanbul and the GOA for years. 
      I cannot understand, though, what “Army” the GOA would have to enforce any “threats” against the OCA.  I only hope the OCA is able to tell Abp Elpi to “get lost” and mean it, should this ever happen. 
      But yes, wouldn’t be surprised at all if Fr Andrew Phillips of OrthoEngland knows things that we don’t. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        Fr Andrew is indeed prescient. I just hope that in this case he’s wrong.

        Please understand: on the face of it, I simply don’t see anything that the EP can offer the OCA other than recognition of its autocephaly. And that’s a catch-22 isn’t it? Because if the OCA is autocephalous, then all other jurisdiction (GOA included) must subsume themselves to it.

        For the life of me, desirous as that would be, I just can’t see that happening.

        • It’s times like these that you realize how important that grant of autocephaly to the OCA really was at the time. How important it will be to remain  independent of political and secular pressures as long as we can…the challenge will be to keep the ship afloat with declining membership, donations down everywhere (along with rising costs), and only a few who understand the significance of our existence….it’s truly a miracle of God. Lord have Mercy on Us!

          • Yep there are some who believe that, suffering as it was under the USSR at the time, a few forward-thinking holy men in the Moscow Patriarchate in the 1960s wanted to give the Russian Metropolia in America autocephaly in order to keep it out of the hands of Constantinople/Istanbul.

            At the time, the Russian Metropolia was quite eager to correct its “irregular” status of being a lone Metropolia not under anyone’s omophorion. In fact, it can be said that the Russian Metropolia was in schism at the time from the rest of canonical Orthodoxy, having voluntarily separated itself from both the ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate. (Until the magical “creation” of the schismatic “OCU,” the only prior ecclesiastical body that went straight from schism to autocephaly was the OCA, but at least the OCA did it by correcting its status with its mother patriarchate from which it was in schism, not by bribing a completely separate jurisdiction which it had never known to grant it autocephaly, which is what the “OCU” did.)

            Many think that if the MP did not grant the OCA autocephaly, it would ultimately have gone under Constantinople in order to correct its irregular canonical status. (I don’t know why the MP did not consider autonomy for the OCA as opposed to autocephaly, which I think would have been a much better solution.)

            As is well known, the Russian Metropolia leaders first went to Constantinople/Istanbul for guidance as to what to do to correct their irregular status. Istanbul directed them to their mother church, the MP — many believe that Istanbul was sending them on a wild goose chase, never believing that the MP under Soviet captivity would ever work with them or grant them autocephaly.

            And then, when the Metropolia does what Istanbul recommends and gets canonical restoration and even autocephaly from the MP, Istanbul throws a hissy fit and says “What!? You can’t do that … yada yada yada.”

            But yes, in these terrible times, right now it is crucial to keep the hands of the schismatics in Istanbul/GOA off of the OCA.

            • Solitary Priest says

              You are correct that the future OCA went into schism from ROCOR. I realize this is not what OCA historians would have us believe. Nevertheless, outside of the MP, virtually the whole Orthodox world recognized ROCOR as a legitimate, temporary administration. Some ROCOR zealots would have us believe that ROCOR never concelebrated with New Calendar Orthodox in the good old days. In fact, that is not so. There is abundant material to prove that they did.
                   The MP did offer the then-Metropolia autonomy in 1946. The conditions at the time were unacceptable; that is that clergy of the Metropolia would have to refrain from making any public comments against the Soviet Union. WWII had just ended, and the Cold War was setting in. This condition could not be met.
                  By the late 60’s, the Metropolia had no legs to stand on. She was losing court cases, and therefore, parishes to the MP. By the way, when the Metropolia delegates met with Metropolitan Nikodim of the MP, the Metropolitan asked,” What are we discussing, autocephaly or autonomy?” This can be found in the OCA book published in 1976, to commemorate the USA Bicentennial. At least OCA, ROCOR, AND MP agree on one thing, the Russian church was here first. My late spiritual father was an MP priest at the time of the OCA receiving autocephaly in 1970. He told me that the sixty or so MP parishes were disappointed; they felt that THEY should be the ones receiving autocephaly, having been loyal to the Mother Church.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                “the Russian church was here first”

                The first Orthodox Church in official U.S. territory was Holy Trinity Church in Louisiana, established in 1866, and served by a priest sent by the Church of Greece, Archimandrite Stefanos Andreadis.  It was the following year, in 1867, when the U.S. purchased the Russian colony in Alaska, and it was only then that the established Russian mission was added to U.S. territory.  The Greek Archdiocese and the Moscow Patriarchate both have equally legitimate claim.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  The trouble with that is profoundly theologiclly as well as historical. The church in question which you describe in no way morphed or set in motion the founding of the GOA in 1922. That foundation –as well as all ethnic foundations–was an afterthought.

                  Theologically, this assertion ignores providential history. We consider Ss Cyril and Methodius to be “equal to the Apostles” not because they established a continuous, administrative body of believers amongst the Slavic nations but because they were the first to preach the Gospel among the Slavic nations. Hence the apostolate of Ss Peter and Paul, they never established the Church in that city but did preach there and their blood watered that Church.

                  The Russian mission was the first Orthodox mission that was continuous as well and it comported with the foundational mission of the United States, which was Manifest Destiny. That is to say that the US was to be the political hegemon of the American continents and the guarantors of their liberty. While this sounds arrogant, it does comport with reality, doesn’t it? Furthermore, I fully believe the Monroe Doctrine to be providential.

                  At any rate, the Russian Mission did not fail and unlike the subsequent immigrant jurisdictions, it was an evangelistic success. On a practical level, EP Benjamin III recognized the Americas as belonging to the Russian jurisdiction back in the 1890s and thanked them for their pastoral work among the Greek immigrants.

                  Another mistake you make is that Louisiana in 1866 was a conquered territory of the US. The various states of the Confederacy which had been conquered were reduced to “military districts” and were under martial law. The citizens of these districts were reduced to the status of subjects. It was an open question at the time as to whether they would ever be allowed to be readmitted to the Union.

                  • Solitary Priest says

                    Wow, so Joseph considers the Confederate States of America to be legitimate, then? What do you know about that!
                          But his post reminds me; even back then there was a rogue Ukrainian priest calling himself Fr. Agapius Honcharenko; running loose in the US. 
                        Said cleric was tonsured a monk and made a Hierodeacon in Kiev. He was later assigned to the Russian Embassy church in Athens. There, he engaged in anti-Tsarist activities and was recalled to Russia. Somehow, he escaped, made his way back to Greece and was allegedly made a priest on Mt. Athos, though he had been deposed by the Russian Synod(shades of Lazar Puhalo).Who knows, perhaps the Patriarch back then used his “reset” button, as did Bartholomew in this century. ?
                        But the story gets even more weird. At some point, Honcharenko marries an Italian woman; whether in Europe or here I can’t recall, let the interested reader do his own research. In any event, the marriage did not stop him from serving as a priest, here in North America( shades of Filaret Denisenko!). So, he allegedly was “first” to serve the liturgy in the lower 48. He may have claimed that he had a blessing from either the EP or Russian Synod. After all, there were no smartphones or internet hookups in the 1860’s. Alexander Graham Bell’s invention was still in the future. 
                        The moral of the story? Embrace Ukrainian chauvinism and all else is forgiven. You can be an ex-KGB man who never before considered himself Ukrainian. You can violate your monastic vows; take a wife, raise a family. Just jump on the hate-Russia-Ukraine-always right no matter what bandwagon and that is sufficient.
                         The Cossacks of Ukraine back in the 1600’s were a wild bunch. The wildest were the Zaporozhians, who were unregistered in the ranks of the occupying Polish military. They often changed sides; sometimes even fighting with the Turks against both the Russians and Poles. Eventually, though, their Orthodox faith prompted them to join with Russia. Empress Catherine the Great had the last of the Zaporozhians exiled to the Kuban region. Sort of like the Scottish Highlanders, they became faithful servants of the empire they had once warred against.
                        I have had Kuban Cossacks among my parishioners in the past. Tough, salt of the earth people. They still spoke Ukrainian, though mixing in Russian(Kubanskaja Balachka!). They would sometimes visit Ukrainian Orthodox churches, but no Uniate ever got to first base with them. Often, they supported the idea of a separate Cossack nationality, neither Russian nor Ukrainian. To this day, though they are aware of their Ukrainian origins and heritage, they remain for the most part, loyal to Russia.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    George you are correct on all points. I also think that the care of both indigenous people and citizens of the territory have to be considered. The Greek Church has very little history of caring for anyone who is not Greek. While all of the other jurisdictions were often times focused on one ethnic group, reaching out to others did occur/does occur. Two notable examples: The Russians bringing over Raphael Hawaweeny consecrating him a bishop and then sending him out to be both a minister and evangelist. One of his saintly titles is “Shepard of the Lost Souls of America”. His Saint Raphael of Brooklyn for Pete’s sake. Beyond that, he ministered extensively to the heartland of this country especially Nebraska and Kansas. He eastablished St. George Orthodox Church in 1903 with Blessed Nicola Yanney as the first pastor who was also our first priest here at St. George in Wichita. He also traveled into the states/territories north of Nebraska.

                    St. Raphael was jointly canonized by the OCA and we Antiochians. There is a grass roots effort to canonize Fr Nicola as well.

                    Of course more recently, Patriarch Ignatius and Met. Philip brought in the EOC. Which has continued in outreach to other Protestants as well and (miniscule as it is so far, the OCA, Antiochian and Bulgarian outreach to Afro-Americans. In addition to the EOC there were many other mongrel converts such as me–many of whom were influenced by Blessed Seraphim Rose to explore the Church. Of course there is also the work of Bp Dimtri of blessed memory in the south.

                    It really does not depend on “who’s here first”. It matters who is fulfilling the mandate to “Go to all nations…” Shoot, even such late comers as the Serbs and Patriarchal Bulgarians have better credentials in that area than the Greeks.

                    We all need to do better, but it does not appear to me that the Greeks are even trying. The just want “Orthodox Unity” which means to them everybody being subservient to the Greeks. That approach has never worked in North American history in any way: politically, economically, socially, religiously. Complete hegemony has always been rejected and likely always will be. That is a critical ethos we have of genuine freedom and self-government that the Greeks simply do not seem to understand at all. That, I think relates to the almost 600 years under the Turkish Yoke in many ways.

                    George, I think you hit on something I had not thought of on a marco level: The Monroe Doctrine. Good point for sure. I will have to think on that more.

                    Mr. Lipper, you just have no ground to stand on as far at the Greeks claim to hegemony or even leadership in the United States. The Greeks have simply not but in the blood, sweat and tears that either the OCA, ROCOR or the Antiochians have and still are. The core of the Orthodox Church here in the United States and Canada will likely come from those three entities. The Greeks barely have a toe hold.

                    The shinning star that the Greeks have is Fr. John Peck, who I think is still in the GOA but is not really accepted there I don’t think.

                    The Greek monasteries may be nothing more than an external anomaly. That remains to be seen, but they are not really approved by the GOA leadership it seems.

                    The Serbian Monastery in Weatherby, MO the Holy Archangel Michael and All the Angels Skete is much more organic having been drawn out of the inner-city parish of St. Mary of Egypt in KC, Mo.

                    I hope that the OCA will remain true to what she has been given and seek more opportunities to work with ROCOR, the Serbs, the Bulgarians and the Antiochians in establishing a deeper foundation for the Orthodox Church here in the new world.

                    • Michael,
                      “Of course more recently, Patriarch Ignatius and Met. Philip brought in the EOC. “
                      Actually Bartholomew worked against the EOC when they first went to Phanar to meet with Patriarch Demetrios. Thank God, they later met Metr.Philip Saliba.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Michael Bauman,
                      It’s true the Greek Archdiocese is going through a tough spot right now, but this is nothing new in Orthodoxy.  Likewise, it wasn’t that long ago when people were calling for the dissolution of both the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese.  Thanks to God (and yes the blood, sweat, and tears of their adherents), this didn’t happen.
                      We all want an Orthodox presence in America.  Do you believe in Providence?  Providentially, the Greek Archdiocese is by far the largest jurisdiction.  Even if the OCA, ROCOR and the Antiochian Archdiocese were combined (as you mention), it would still probably not match the size of the Greek Archdiocese.  Thus, it’s of no use or help to be dismissive of this.  We have to make the best of the situation.
                      The OCA Synod of Bishops should be commended for doing just that.  The OCA has exemplified itself as the servant and witness of autocephaly by fulfilling the mandate of the tomos from 1970 and maintaining:
                      “brotherly relations with all the Orthodox Churches and their Primates as well as with their bishops, clergy and pious flock, who are in America and who for the time being preserve their de facto existing canonical and jurisdictional dependence on their national Churches and their Primates.” 
                      Given the current divisions in Orthodoxy we currently face, the service and witness of autocephaly in America is now more vital than ever.  

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Joseph, calling a man or even a synod into question is not the same as calling for the dissolution of the Antiochian Archdioces or the OCA.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      True that!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Joseph, I completely agree with you on your last sentence. The question is, does Bartholomew agree? And by extension, the average GOA layman in the pews?

                    • Joseph,
                      “It’s true the Greek Archdiocese is going through a tough spot right now”
                      “tough” is almost  euphemistic implying a “good struggle”. A clearer word could be “low”, i.e. a spiritually low spot for the GOA and mainly for her leaders indeed with very little zeal for the “good struggle”.  
                       “the Greek Archdiocese is by far the largest jurisdiction.”
                      So what? The Papist and Protestant jurisdictions are even much larger than the GOA. It is quality that matters, not size. Where is the evangelization done by the GOA when the EP certainly for the last 150 years has non-proselytizing agreements. 
                      Read the life of a real orthodox priest, Fr Stephen  Hatherly, e.g. :http://www.ecclesia.gr/greek/press/theologia/material/1989_4_7_Tillyrides.pdf 

                • Antiochene Son says

                  North America is generally taken as a single region as far as this goes. All Orthodox jurisdictions in North America treat at least Canada and the US as a single territory. By the same token, Sts. Cyril and Methodius didn’t baptize anybody in eastern Siberia, but it’s part of Russia now and it’s grafted into the baptism of Russia. It is acknowledged that political borders can change around the people who live there.
                  Who made a concerted effort to evangelize Americans—the Russian Church or the Greek Church? The Russian Metropolia explicitly sent missionaries all over the continent, not only to the Alaskan natives, but into the hearts of big cities. Metropolitan Leonty was a major figure in evangelism efforts.
                  Contrast that with the Greek Archdiocese, which to this day looks askance at evangelism, in violation of the Great Commission. The GOAA handbook says flat-out that proselytism is to be avoided, citing some WCC agreement, of all things.

                  The first priest to set foot on a particular patch of virgin soil is not the standard here.

              • George Michalopulos says

                SP, thank you for this brief history. I am particularly proud of the Metropolia for standing on principle (as related in your second paragraph). Would that the CoG or Alexandria had as much fortitude. Instead, the CoG sold their birthright as did Esau for a mess of pottage whereas Alexandria pulled a Judas and gave the kiss of peace in order to betray Onuprhriy.

                • George, what are your thoughts about the Church of Russia saying that it plans to set up parallel dioceses/parishes within Turkey, Greece and potentially Africa? 

    • A question regarding the Orthodox England article: Archbishop Elpidophoros is described as “Trump-backed”.  Does anyone know the basis of this statement?  I’d thought he was in line to be made the new Archbishop of the GOA well before Trump was elected, or even a major player on the political scene. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        MarkAC, very true. Elpi was groomed for the primacy going on for at least six years now. When it became obvious that Demetrios wasn’t going to take the hint and “retire” (for reasons we can only assume and thank His Eminence for), then he was “reassigned” by the Phanar earlier this year to a non-existent diocese in Anatolia.

        • Not quite – in the end Demetrios offered his resignation when it was clear that the Phanar would do exactly that (what was done to Spyridon). As it stands, Demetrios has the same status in retirement as Archbishop Iakovos did – “former Archbishop.” As such, he pulls a full retirement package and get to live in his multi-million dollar apartment on Fifth Avenue supplies by a wealthy Greek family. The apartment does not belong to the Church.

          • Dimitrios seemed a good man and no one  expects him to live in a cave. Even an american air conditioning, C/H  , etc supplied cave.!!?  But a multi million dollar NY apartment?   He is a monk..  
            Do u really have to ask why the punters left the shop?? 

  14. If the OCA, for some inexplicable reason goes under the GOA, the modernists who are cut out of the same cloth as the Fordhamites, will gladly acquiesce. Those with a patristic phronema will go under ROCOR. I would like to see this occur. It is time to weed out the viral protestant influence that is decimating the Church.

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Milhail, you would do well to avoid fantasizing about the life of a Local Church about which you apparently have no idea. Pay attention to your own salvation and don’t waste energy pondering the lies implanted by the one who wants to take over all our churches and all our souls. 

      • Pere,
        I’m alwaying trying to pay attention to my own salvation. But occasionally I engage in wishful think about seeing some of the grey areas eliminated. My bad.

  15. GoArmyBeatNavy says
    • Fr Chris Moody says

      We just did a dry run of it. Let’s  just say I am doing strength training twice a week in addition to my 3 run days. Its doable , though.  Since we are supposed to be gender neutral mow, at least everyone is on the same sheet.

      • Our unit has been a test site for it for the new ACFT for the past 2 years, so we’ve done a bunch of them (not for record, just to see how many of us get injured doing it….).

        Many women (and some men) can’t do one pull up, which is required for the ACFT pull up-knee tuck event.

        I’ve heard that the idea of the ACFT is to get people out of the military who shouldn’t be in it anyway. Apparently there will be no more “permanent profiles.” But with obesity rates in this country the way they are — particularly among the young — in a short period of time, there will be hardly anyone left who’s fit to serve….

  16. Michael Bauman says

    My son asked me a prescient question the other day:  with the world so messed up and corrupt, how is it possible to be in the world, but not of it?  To him being in the world means too many compromises.   
    Any ideas?

    • To paraphrase Saint Paul, “lead a quiet life and mind your own business.”
      It’s not easy, but it’s working for me and mine.

    • Michael, I think you have the best answer your self. You can expand it to your son:

      ” Michael Bauman says
      November 18, 2019 at 7:48 am

      Steven, I assume God as the foundation for logical thought because I have encountered Him as a real person.  That is a step beyond simple experience.  I encountered Him in a moment of existential crises wanting to know if He was real or not.  He graciously let me know He is real.  My encounter was similar to the one had Met. Anthony Bloom.  “
      If he believes in Christ, he will want to choose the way of Christ and not the way of the World. Period.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Ioannis, thank you.  My son is quite different than me. He does believe but he sees the overwhelming corruption of the world and struggles with how to interact in any way with it without denying Christ.  He tends to think in either/or mode.

        • To survive we need to narrow down, to not react to every nuance of news. To limited info. Now. And to see things through the prism of Christ and eternity.  Then all becomes minor. And yes as bishop Antony,  to feel the presence of Christ.  Once you have that, all is possible. No will not mean we will not suffer. Indeed we may suffer more. But illuminated in Christ. 

  17. STOP LGBT indoctrination at Disneyland





    399,933 people have signed. Help us reach 500,000 signatures.

    By CitizenGO · 05/28/2019

    If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably watched Disney movies, either by yourself or with your children. Many families also enjoy going to Disney’s famous amusement parks. These parks are fun places that families and children can enjoy together.
    But unfortunately, Disney’s parks are no longer family-friendly. This Saturday, thousands of children at Disneyland Paris will be indoctrinated with the LGBT agenda. On Saturday, June 1st, Disney will host its first Gay Pride Parade… in an amusement park created for families and children!
    Can you believe that they would stoop as low as indoctrinating children in a place like Disney?
    Please sign this petition to ask Disney to protect children and cancel the Gay Pride Parade on Saturday.
    I’m sure the LGTB lobby is already counting this as a victory for their dangerous agenda.
    We cannot sit by and allow a gay pride parade to be held in this purportedly family-friendly venue. We cannot allow Disney to indoctrinate our children in an entertainment area that is intended for all audiences.
    According to the information available online, the “Magical Pride Parade” promises a festive and unforgettable LGBT celebration featuring a unique parade celebrating diversity in all its splendor.
    During the Magical Pride Party, there will be a parade, a karaoke, a DJ, and other activities that are clearly not intended for a young audience.
    Sign this petition to ask Disney to protect children from gender ideology and cancel the gay pride parade in their park.


    • Michael Bauman says

      Given how much Disney is engaged in social engineering of children, not surprised at all.   They have even begun putting trigger warnings on some of the classic features like Lady and the Tramp for the regressive and anacronistic attitudes depicted.

    • Steven J. M. says

      Just now in Australia there’s said to be an ad on TV by an underwear brand that has gay men playing suggestively with each other and even kissing. I haven’t seen it myself yet but I did see enough in a newspaper report to give me an idea. What this amounts to is the destruction of the family and society in order to sell a pair of pants. 

  18. Solitary Priest says

    Wow, so Joseph considers the Confederate States of America to be legitimate, then? What do you know about that!
          But his post reminds me; even back then there was a rogue Ukrainian priest calling himself Fr. Agapius Honcharenko; running loose in the US. 
        Said cleric was tonsured a monk and made a Hierodeacon in Kiev. He was later assigned to the Russian Embassy church in Athens. There, he engaged in anti-Tsarist activities and was recalled to Russia. Somehow, he escaped, made his way back to Greece and was allegedly made a priest on Mt. Athos, though he had been deposed by the Russian Synod(shades of Lazar Puhalo).Who knows, perhaps the Patriarch back then used his “reset” button, as did Bartholomew in this century. ?
        But the story gets even more weird. At some point, Honcharenko marries an Italian woman; whether in Europe or here I can’t recall, let the interested reader do his own research. In any event, the marriage did not stop him from serving as a priest, here in North America( shades of Filaret Denisenko!). So, he allegedly was “first” to serve the liturgy in the lower 48. He may have claimed that he had a blessing from either the EP or Russian Synod. After all, there were no smartphones or internet hookups in the 1860’s. Alexander Graham Bell’s invention was still in the future. 
        The moral of the story? Embrace Ukrainian chauvinism and all else is forgiven. You can be an ex-KGB man who never before considered himself Ukrainian. You can violate your monastic vows; take a wife, raise a family. Just jump on the hate-Russia-Ukraine-always right no matter what bandwagon and that is sufficient.
         The Cossacks of Ukraine back in the 1600’s were a wild bunch. The wildest were the Zaporozhians, who were unregistered in the ranks of the occupying Polish military. They often changed sides; sometimes even fighting with the Turks against both the Russians and Poles. Eventually, though, their Orthodox faith prompted them to join with Russia. Empress Catherine the Great had the last of the Zaporozhians exiled to the Kuban region. Sort of like the Scottish Highlanders, they became faithful servants of the empire they had once warred against.
        I have had Kuban Cossacks among my parishioners in the past. Tough, salt of the earth people. They still spoke Ukrainian, though mixing in Russian(Kubanskaja Balachka!). They would sometimes visit Ukrainian Orthodox churches, but no Uniate ever got to first base with them. Often, they supported the idea of a separate Cossack nationality, neither Russian nor Ukrainian. To this day, though they are aware of their Ukrainian origins and heritage, they remain for the most part, loyal to Russia.

    by Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis | November 18, 2019
    The Bishop of Istanbul (the city, or rather, the area that once upon a time used to be the capital of the “ecumene,” which means the inhabited earth) is curiously persistent in calling himself “ecumenical,” as if Istanbul were still the capital of the Byzantine or, even, the Ottoman Empire. Since it is not, his status should return to that of a suffragan Bishop, as it was before St. Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD to where the town of Byzantium used to be. Curiously, world Orthodoxy continues to give the occupant of the once upon a time capital of the world the same honorary title of “Ecumenical Patriarch.” He is no longer the Ecumenical Patriarch (referred to as EP hereafter), and everybody knows it, except for the occupant, who continues to live in the glories of the past.

    Patriarch Bartholomew speaks and acts as if he were the absolute monarch of world Orthodoxy – and beyond. His brethren Bishops have tolerated him, and accepted him to be, honoris causa, the head of one of the 14 autocephalous Churches, and “first among equals” – always understood as first in honor. But he is not satisfied with this honorific title. Even though only a few thousand faithful live in the historical territory of the Patriarchate, he claims the entire universe as his jurisdiction. He has convinced the Church of Greece to cede all its churches abroad to him, and demands the same from all jurisdictions, as if belonging canonically to him.

    Let’s see what basis the Bishop of Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, justifies his inherited privileges. The Second Ecumenical Council (381) in its 3rd Canon elevated the status of the Bishop of the capital of the Roman Empire:

    “Let the Bishop of Constantinople have the privileges of honor (τὰ πρεσβεῖα τῆς τιμῆς) after the Bishop of Rome, because of its being the New Rome”+.

    The Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451) confirmed in its Canon 28 that,

    “as the throne of the Old Rome was granted privileges on account of being the imperial capital, so also the most holy Church of Constantinople has the same privileges (τὰ ἶσα πρεσβεῖα) on account of being the seat of the Empire, and following second after her.”+
    These privileges were restated once more in 692 by the 36th Canon of the Quinisext Council+. One thing is crystal clear: the See of Constantinople was elevated to its exalted position on account of being the capital of the Empire. Crystal clear? Not to the EP!

    It would help us to understand his thinking if we consider the following: Pope Leo, who was Bishop of Rome at the time of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, did not accept its 28th Canon. Why? Because, following his predecessors, he did not base the primacy of the Bishop of Rome on being Bishop of the capital of the Empire, but because he was the successor of Peter, the founder of the Church of Rome, who was the first among the Apostles. The Popes have never seen themselves as first in honor, but as absolute first. We all know that. But what of the occupant of the “throne” of the New Rome? How can he justify the special privileges of the once upon a time capital of the Byzantine Empire? Leave it to his pride, the new Archbishop of America Elpidophoros. In a study he wrote in 2014 entitled, “First Without Equals: A Response to the Text on Primacy of the Moscow Patriarchate” he stated:

    In the long history of the Church, the presiding hierarch of the universal Church was the bishop of Rome. After Eucharistic communion with Rome was broken, canonically the presiding hierarch of the Orthodox Church is the archbishop of Constantinople.+
    The EP, according to the Canons, was equal to the Bishop of Old Rome. But since the Great Schism (1054) he took the Pope’s place, inheriting all his privileges, and left him sine paribus, without equals! So simple. Not a word about the erroneous teaching of the Roman Church about the primacy of the Pope, which was the main cause of the Great Schism!

    But this was not enough. The EP had to justify his absolute primacy not only historically, but theologically. And he did, again with Elpidophoros’ help. In 2014 he wrote a study entitled, “First Without Equals: A Response to the Text on Primacy of the Moscow Patriarchate.”+ In it he counters a statement of the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate entitled, “Position of the Moscow Patriarchate on the problem of primacy in the Universal Church.”+ His study itself is without equal! In it he argues that as God the Father is first among the three persons of the Holy Trinity, so one Bishop needs to be first among the Bishops. Therefore his primacy is not honorific but absolute.

    This position was not entirely new. He had addressed it on March 16, 2009 in a lecture he had given at the Chapel of Holy Cross Theological School in Boston when he was Archimandrite and Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, It was titled, “Challenges of Orthodoxy in America and the Role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.” In it he had stated:

    [T]he refusal to recognize primacy within the Orthodox Church, a primacy that necessarily cannot but be embodied by a primus (that is by a bishop who has the prerogative of being the first among his fellow bishops) constitutes nothing less than heresy. It cannot be accepted, as often it is said, that the unity among the Orthodox Churches is safeguarded by either a common norm of faith and worship or by the Ecumenical Council as an institution. Both of these factors are impersonal while in our Orthodox theology the principle of unity is always a person. Indeed, in the level of the Holy Trinity the principle of unity is not the divine essence but the Person of the Father (“Monarchy” of the Father), at the ecclesiological level of the local Church the principle of unity is not the presbyterium or the common worship of the Christians but the person of the Bishop, so too in the Pan-Orthodox level the principle of unity cannot be an idea nor an institution but it needs to be, if we are to be consistent with our theology, a person.+
    As we see, the special privileges the EP has are no longer based on the Canons of the Church, but on this new theory. In his zeal to elevate the EP’s universal primacy he advanced it to new heights. He attempts to support it on a theological basis, by recurring to a Roman Catholic argument called analogia entis (analogy of being). There is an analogy, or correspondence, he claims, between the EP and God the Father! As God the Father is the origin of the other two divine persons (“monarchy” of the Father) so the source of unity among the primates of the Church is a person, not a synod. That person is the Ecumenical Patriarch!

    However, according to the Fathers of the Church, we are not allowed to draw conclusions from what we know about God to the order of created things and from the relations of the divine Persons to the relations of humans. The divine personal relations cannot and should not be reflected in the administrative structure of the Church. Apostolic Canon 34 presents the harmony that should exist between the first in honor and the many, always acting consensually and cooperatively, something most Bishops tend to ignore.+
    In what may be the last Orthodox statement by an Ecumenical Patriarch, the Declaration issued by Patriarch Anthimos VII and his Synod in August 1895, criticizes Pope Leo’s XIII encyclical Praeclara gratulationis publicae (On the Reunion of Christendom):

    …such a was the ancient church polity; and the Bishops were independent from each other and free entirely, each within his own borders, obeying only the synodal orders, and sat as equal to each other in the synods; and none of them claimed monarchical rights over the entire Church; but if a few Bishops of Rome ever raised arrogant demands of an absolutism unknown to the Church, they were checked and disciplined appropriately.”+
    The “Pope of the East” must be checked and disciplined appropriately, who, as we have pointed out acts and behaves as absolute monarch without equals. We see that, on his own personal volition (motu proprio), acting as the Pope of the East, Patriarch Bartholomew has brushed aside the heads of the other autocephalous Churches, entering into communion with schismatic and anathematized bishops, even granting them autocephaly, and forming a Church recognized by only two other autocephalous Churches. If this state persists, and he does not change course, the Pope of the New Rome may find himself cut off from the communion of the Orthodox Church, as was the Pope of the Old Rome.

    • Brian D Finch says

      “…for us the Pope is one Patriarch among others – if he be Orthodox”. Thus said St Mark of Ephesus. How can a Patriarch of Constantinople be more than this – if he be Orthodox?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Brian, if anything, St Mark’s riposte should put an end once and for all to all the supremacist nonsense that the EP and his minion have peddled lo, these last few years.

        Thank you for posting it.

        • Brian D Finch says

          It just seemed appropriate that we might again lean on one of the Pillars of Orthodoxy in time of need. The quote is taken from ‘The Encyclical Letter of Saint Mark of Ephesus’ which a simple Google search can easily find. If this quote (and my question) were to be appended to every letter  and electronic communication among the laity and clergy, perhaps the EP’s papalist pretensions might melt ‘like snaw aff a dyke’ as we say in Scotland.

          • Brian D Finch/Brendan the Reader says

            PS: Since I am posting here on Church matters and I am a Reader, I should feel better using my baptismal name of Brendan (one of the great pre-schism Orthodox saints of Ireland) in future I shall post as ‘Brendan the Reader’

  20. Michael Bauman says

    Joseph, I care not one whit for numbers. Numbers are absolutely immaterial. There was a time when the overwhelming number of people of the Church were Arians including many bishops and an Emperor. Eventually the Arians including Arius were called to repentance. If they did not repent they were outside the Church. Hard as it may be for you to hear the Church will go on whether their are Greeks or not. One one remains in remains in the Church without repentance. Unfortunately during the last 120 years the Greeks have been largely disruptive to the proper order and Traditional teaching during a time when the Slavs and Arabs were enduring direct persecution. The founders of the Holy Temple in which I am blessed to worship came here fleeing Islamic persecutuon. Their Christian roots are older than any current Greek. They have been responsible for accepting and evangelizing many more than the GOA here. So, I do not have to accept anything or any one who is not of the Truth as long as they are unrepentant. That is how the Greek hierarchy appear to me, especially when I review the history of the actual care given to the people here. In my home.

    You want to be Orthodox and help all of us in this country to be Orthodox—fantastic. If you want to be Greek and consider the rest of us barbarians then I dust of my feet of you.

    I am a mongrel to be sure, very late to the fields to labor but Jesus Himself led me to His Church with out the help or assistance of one single Greek, in fact in few instances just the contrary.

    So, do not lecture on how patient I must be. We have been patient for over 200 years and still the Greek hierarchy and the GOA has done nothing for the Church in this country except to make it more difficult. My patience is exhausted until there is some modicum of humility and repentance.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Unfortunately Michael, your words sting because they are true. As a proud Hellene myself, I hang my head in shame because of the mediocrities who populate the upper reaches of the Greek-speaking churches. They are as the wicked servant who, given one talent, has buried it in the ground –and poured cement over it for good measure.

  21. Antiochene Son says

    Sorry for the OT, but:
    This is a move of cuckery which neither God nor Chick-fil-a’s customers will bless.
    Not to mention it’s horrible optics. Pulling support of the Salvation Army at Christmastime? I can just see the cartoon now: the CFA cow pulling a chicken out of the hungry Salvation Army Santa’s red pot.

    • The Chic Fila news is a bit off. The company sent a memo saying that they have the option to donate to both faith based and non faith based charities. And they will donate to smaller charities. They never said they will not donate to the two groups in the future nor that LGBT had anything to do with their decision. 

    • I’m not going to walk paste one of those Salvation Army bell ringers without dropping something into the kettle.

      • I thought I remembered reading that Salvation Army was a supporter of Planned Parenthood.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Yes, but the implications of their support of Planned Parenthood have been made clear to The Salvation Army, and they’ve backed off that a bit. Not entirely, but a bit.

          While the laggards among them continue to figure this out, The SA deserves whatever help we can give them in all their good work. We would do well to imitate some of their examples of practical Christianity.

          It’s also helpful to remember that they are not a ‘denomination’, but a generic sort of Christian community movement, largely actuating an ecumenical understanding of MT 25. They have no specific doctrines and no structure for worship, and often go to various (usually Protestant) churches as they wish. So it’s entirely possible that they might attend an Orthodox Christian church if someone kindly invited them.

          • My conscience will not allow me to support this organization until they completely renounce all affiliation with the demonic PP.

            • Monk James Silver says

              The Salvation Army is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood.

              In the past, they referred some women to them for ‘counseling’, which — as I wrote earlier — is a practice now fading away.

              Let’s not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

              • George Michalopulos says


              • Jerry Gertan says

                The Salvation Army is a RELGION that, lik eMormonism and Pentacostalism, spawned forth from Methodism, which in turn came from EPiscopaleanism

                • I agree. While I enjoy seeing SA bell ringers, they believe sacraments are fake and were the original social justice warriors. They also view themselves superior Christian’s for raising money for their social justice agenda even though the money comes from non-SA adherents.

              • After a bit of research, I see it’s a bit more than that Monk James.
                You certainly have free will to support them if you wish.
                I will not.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Let’s be honest: the reason CFA caved was not because the Salvation Army is not absolutist as the Catholic Church (officially) is regards to abortion. The reason they caved is because they didn’t want to offend all the “right people”.

                  On a continuum of goodness and all-around Christian philanthropy (where it really counts) the SA is at 90%. GLAAD and all the other alphabet soup gay organizations are probably at a 0.256%. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan. The Priest and the Levite were observing the letter of the law. The Samaritan was a piece of white trash in comparison who didn’t even know how to worship God correctly.

                  Think about it.

                  • I get it George. But I am unable to compromise when it comes to abortion. Just the fact that SA supports abortifacient birth control disqualifies them in my book. But that’s just me.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mikhail, I respect your position, I really do. My whole philosophy in life has been one of “not making the perfect be the enemy of the good”. I’m not judging others in this regard.

                      In any event, the caving of CfA was not because the SA isn’t sacramental or 100% Simon-pure on abortion.

                    • George,
                      “not making the perfect be the enemy of the good”. 
                      An old confessor told me once,
                      “The good painter is never totally satisfied with his beautiful painting. He can can watch it for ages, and still make some improvements that the majority of the spectators would not understand.” 

                      The implied advice of the elder was that the Christian can always improve himself in his struggle for theosis.
                      Now, then why not change the above motto slightly:
                      yes, making the perfect be the friend of the good”. 

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    I suspect that Chik-Fil-A decided to rearrange its charitable giving patterns to avoid supporting ant-homosexual organizations because their lawyers warned them that costly and destructive legal actions might ensue if they didn’t.

                    These days, the courts often rule in favor of LGBTQ complainants, no matter the intrinsic natural truth of the positions they oppose.

                • Monk James Silver says


                  Mikhail (November 21, 2019 at 12:44 pm) says”

                  After a bit of research, I see it’s a bit more than that Monk James.SNIP
                  I regre5t to say that the links provided here by ‘Mikhail’ don’t offer any serious reasons to think that the Salvation Army promotes abortion.

                  Others might read these sites differently, but I don’t get that from them.

                  • I am staunchly pro-life. It is one of the few things that the Orthodox Church could learn better from the Catholics. The SA support of abortifacient birth control is enough for me to never support them again. They also promote abortion when the mother’s life is at risk and when there are fetal abnormalities.  I could point to heart warming stories where women ignored the doctor’s advice on these issues and gave birth to healthy babies…and the mother lived. 
                    Again, I don’t care if you support the SA, Monk James. You have free will to do so.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      You seem to be unaware, ‘Mikhail’, that Orthodox Christian moral teaching allows a mother to abort her unborn child if  continuing the pregnancy is threatening her life. 
                      This is an almost unbearable crisis of conscience, but such mothers —  and only they — are allowed to make the decision to abort or to carry their unborn children to term at the risk of their own lives.
                      Naturally, such decisions should be made with the best spiritual advice and medical assistance.

  22. Well, at least they’re fully open about it now:
    Pat. Bartholomew in a joint service with Roman Catholic monks in Belgium, sits on bishop’s throne during service:

    Indeed, “Pat. Bartholomew was warmly welcomed by the entire monastic brotherhood and sat upon the bishop’s throne during the service. The entire brotherhood of Chevetogne Abbey also attended the service. Chevetogne Abbey was established in 1925 with the aim of proselytizing the Orthodox, and especially the Russian Orthodox Church.”
    Sort of says it all about the ultimate game plan, huh, and about what’s driving the Ukraine stuff. The Istanbul/Rome formal unity may happen well before 2025. 

    • More importantly Bart was accompanied by abbots of Athos. This shows these monks and Athos as a whole is no longer the Athos of 1970. The zealots have been driven off and modernists have replaced them. This is why they have not condemned anyone in decades now. 

  23. Michael Bauman says

    Monk James, while I have no doubt what you say is true, the actuality that a specific pregnancy carried to term will kill the mother–in and of itself–is vanishingly rare. Complications after birth are more common. Of course the modern equivalent is that having a child might damage the mental health, and opportunities to “better herself” and have her own life.

    • Dear Michael and Monk James:

      Sadly the culture of pro-death has now invaded my beloved field of medicine and psychiatry with “do no harm” removed from the oath, double-speak clouding biological realities and devastating harm to the souls and psyches of patients and physicians now encouraged by both financial and secular incentives. What you now hear from a physician or hospital administrator at both ends of life as advise MAY be an absolute delusion or deceptive agenda on their parts, depends on the philosophy of the person or institution unbeknownst to a layperson. Now each patient and family must evaluate the physician, hospital, hospice to ascertain if they are pro-life or even allowed to be, ie, whether they are or can be pro you! (To evaluate hospices see http://www.hospicepatients.org).

      Dear Michael: I agree with you that it is vanishingly rare to have that choice to make between mother and child. Not what you may hear from the falsely incentivized.

      Dear Monk James, If you have time, I would appreciate learning the specific sources/authorities for the Orthodox moral teaching you describe. As it happens, every Father I have happened to read is unquivocal about the sin of abortion and the severe damage it does to the soul of the persons involved in abortion. Not surpisingly, im medicine/psychiatry I have seen the damage to the their psyches and mental health as well, whether acknowledged or denied. Patristic Orthodoxy and the conservative wing of Roman Catholicism both offer such beautiful healing via repentance and entreating the mercy of God for the grave sin once committed of course. Roman Catholic Project Rachel http://www.hopeafterabortion.com offers retreats for women and for men for post-abortion healing. The St. Paisius Orthodox monastery offers a prayer booklet Akathist of Repentance for One Who has aborted a child with a wonderfully compassionate pastoral introduction as well: https://stpaisiusgiftshop.com/books/st-paisius-monastery-publications/akathists/akathist-of-repentance-for-one-who-has-aborted-a-child/ . Wonderful for Orthodox to use along with the Jesus Prayer for any Planned Parenthood sidewalk prayer time.

      Thank you in Christ for any specific sources and authorities you can share with us Monk James,

      • Monk James Silver says

        Yes, ‘Nicole’, this is a very delicate issue whose spiritual and psychological implications seem often to be sacrificed to The Bottom Line.

        I’ll write again shortly with some resources.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Christ is risen, truly risen!

          I hope that this material will be of some help to you and others, ‘Nicole’.

          There are a great many Orthodox Christian resources on abortion here: https://www.oca.org/search/results/d06eec977b49b4707983c440857feb3b/

          And there’s this:
          ‘The tenth All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America produced the following affirmation, distributed throughout the parishes on ‘Sanctity of Life Sunday’, 18 January 1998.

          Synodal Affirmation on Abortion
          Abortion is an act of murder for which those involved, voluntarily and involuntarily, will answer to God.

          Those finding themselves confronted with tragic circumstances where the lives of mothers and their unborn children are threatened, and where painful decisions of life and death have to be made — such as those involving rape, incest, and sickness — are to be counseled to take responsible action before God, Who is both merciful and just, to Whom they will give account for their actions.

          Women and men, including family members and friends of pregnant women considering abortions, are to be encouraged to resist this evil act and be assisted in bearing and raising their children in healthy physical and spiritual conditions.

          Women who have had recourse to abortion, men who have fathered aborted children, and others involved in cases of abortion, are to be provided with pastoral care which includes recognition of the gravity of the act and assurance of the mercy of God upon those who repent of their sins.

          Orthodox Christians are to contribute to legislative processes according to their knowledge, competence, ability and influence, so that laws may be enacted and enforced which protect and defend the lives of unborn children while being sensitive to the complexities and tragedies of life in contemporary society.’

          This is a quote from page 264 of _The Sacred Gift of Life: Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics_, John Breck, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1998. ISBN 0-88141-183-3 (Father John Breck is the retired profess-pr of New Testament and Ethics at St Vladimir Orthodox Christian Seminary.)

          Here’s a clip from the book’s index just to show the areas it addresses. The numbers correspond to pages in the book:

          Abortion 11, 16, 55, 58, 90, 128, 129, 139, 142, 143, 146, 147, 162, 178, 179, 190,
          Fetal reduction 184-185, 188
          Genetic defects 170, 172
          ‘hard cases’ 160-161, 174, 247
          Methods 155-156
          Orthodox view 140, 148, 150-154, 161, 162, 163, 27-248, 248, 259, 260, 262, 263
          Synodal affirmation 264
          Partial-birth 155-159
          Pre-implantation 134
          Rape/incest 167-168, 168-169, 260, 261
          RU-486 147, 155

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            Monk James, where in any of the material that you cite do we find an explicit moral affirmation, much less a blessing, for a woman to “choose” to abort a preborn child who may pose a serious “risk” to her own life if the preborn child is carried to term?

            • Monk James Silver says

              Father Alexander, please read at least pages 161-162 of Fr John Breck’s book referenced above.

              While the author cites similarities to Orthodox Christian practice in Islamic law, he neglects to mention that the very same principles are enunciated in Jewish law.: a child in the womb may be aborted if it threatens its mother’s life.

              In effect, saving the mother’s life is the highest priority in an almost universal agreement about how to proceed in such cases, although FrJB mentions the fact (as I myself did earlier) that a mother may choose to carry her child to term in spite its posing imminent danger to her own life. If she dies in the process — whether or not her child lives — she is regarded as a holy martyr.

              Among other considerations, though, the author reminds us that fewer than 1% of the 1.4 million abortions performed annually in the United States (as of 1998) are actually procedures performed in this context.

              So it is a rare and devastating event, fraught with all sorts of physical, psychological, and spiritual implications. May the Lord watch over all the good mothers in the world, and send His angels to guide and protect them.

              • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                Thank you for that reply. Perhaps I worded my question inartfully. I had in mind the OCA’s “Synodal Affirmations,” from which you quoted.

                Yes, I am fully aware of Fr. John Breck’s views as one moral theologian. Full disclosure: I gently chided Fr. John for an article in St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Quarterly some years ago, when he was somewhat new to the field of Orthodox moral theology (in contrast to his international renown as a New Testament scholar). That particular article, and, alas, subsequent publications have, in my estimation, exaggerated the “nuances” of the “hard cases” involving rape, incest, or a grave threat to the life of the mother as unique circumstances when the moral abomination of choosing to subject a preborn child to death by abortion may be mitigated as a matter of personal conscience in extremis–or, at least, not subject to criticism by others who ought to be more “charitable” and especially by Orthodox priests who ought to be more “pastoral.” None of those nuances overrides the intrinsic evil of knowingly and willfully destroying the life of the preborn child.

                In this context I am reminded of the Ninth All-American Council of the OCA (your Orthodox jurisdiction and my former one) in St. Louis in 1989. (I think that was the one, although it may have been the next one Miami in 1992.) When one of the clergy or lay delegates proposed a lengthy resolution on abortion, after some discussion by other delegates, Archbishop Nathaniel of the OCA’s Romanian Episcopate (my own bishop at that time, by the way), speaking from the high table where the bishops were seated, objected to the resolution’s explicit allowance for elective abortions if the “life of the mother” were at risk. His argument was simple and eloquent. The medical destruction of a perfectly innocent preborn child is so heinous and evil that, even in that most tragic and agonizing of circumstances, it may never be morally justified in the eyes of the Church: one may never kill a preborn child to prevent a possible or even immediate risk to the life of the mother.  I vaguely recall a few of the other bishops nodding in agreement. As a result, the offending passage was stricken from the resolution, which then passed without additional comment by anyone in the room.

                If I may reword my question to you, I would ask the following: Can you cite any Orthodox hierarchy in America or anywhere in the world that concurs with your and Fr. John Breck’s moral permission for abortions in cases when the “life of the mother” is at risk if she were to attempt to carry the preborn child to term? 

                The collective Orthodox episcopate, not moral theologians such as Fr. John or yours truly, and certainly not “clergy-laity” assemblies or academic guilds or independent institutions, are the divinely-inspired apostolic teachers of Orthodox moral theology among us in any generation.

                • Fr. Alexander, thank you, as always. My family used to attend a parish at which two women were given blessings for IVF treatment, both of which included “selective termination” of all but two fetuses in the womb. These women were blessed to undergo IVF by our priest. This process included the creation of around 14 embryos for each attempt, then implanting four embryos into the womb, then terminating all but one or two once they reached a certain stage of development. Each IVF attempt created and then destroyed 12-14 embryos. How many Orthodox families have gone through IVF and aborted embryos for the sake of having children? I believe we would all be shocked if we knew the answer.

                • Monk James Silver says

                  Sure, Father Alexander. Please take a look at this:

                  The Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church

                  (from the Introduction:) Adopted at the Sacred Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, this document sets forth the basic provisions of her teaching on church-state relations and a number of problems socially significant today. It also reflects the official position of Moscow Patriarchate on relations with state and secular society. In addition, it gives a number of guidelines to be applied in this field by the episcopate, clergy and laity.

                  Section xii.2
                  Under no circumstances the Orthodox Church can bless abortion. Without rejecting the women who had an abortion, the Church calls upon them to repent and to overcome the destructive consequences of the sin through prayer and penance followed by participation in the salvific Sacraments.

                  In case of a direct threat to the life of a mother if her pregnancy continues, especially if she has other children, it is recommended to be lenient in the pastoral practice. The woman who interrupted pregnancy in this situation shall not be excluded from the Eucharistic communion with the Church provided that she has fulfilled the canon of Penance assigned by the priest who takes her confession.

                  The struggle with abortion, to which women sometimes have to resort because of abject poverty and helplessness, demands that the Church and society work out effective measures to protect motherhood and to create conditions for the adoption of the children whose mothers cannot raise them on their own for some reason.

                  • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster says

                    Monk James, the document you cite, which dates from the year AD 2000, is the most comprehensive, encyclopedic contemporary primary resource for Orthodox reflection on moral issues. I recommend it to all of the participants on this blog; I also included it as essential reading in the syllabus I devised for the third-year MDiv course on Orthodox Christian Social Ethics at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York.

                    The section you quoted does not, however, support what I take to be your primary argument in this discussion–namely, that a woman may “choose,” without violating our Orthodox moral tradition, to terminate a pregnancy if continuing that pregnancy to term might endanger her own life.Instead, the Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church carefully distinguishes between moral teaching and pastoral care.

                    The opening paragraph of the pertinent section (which you do not provide in your post here) appears in the official English translation as follows:

                    “XII. 2. Since the ancient time the Church has viewed deliberate abortion as a grave sin. The canons equate abortion with murder. This assessment is based on the conviction that the conception of a human being is a gift of God. Therefore, from the moment of conception any encroachment on the life of a future human being is criminal.”

                    The key moral language there is, of course, “grave sin,” “murder,” and “criminal.”

                    Later in that section the document adds, “Under no circumstances the Orthodox Church can bless abortion.” Only after offering a clear, unmistakable moral condemnation of abortion in all circumstances without exception does the document provide pastoral guidance for the specific case you have proposed. But even that “lenient,” compassionate approach precluding excommunication from the Holy Mysteries is framed as a recommendation predicated upon the condition that the mother in question “has fulfilled the canon of Penance assigned by the priest who takes her confession.”

                    Your framing of the issue here does not capture the main thrust of that document–namely, that no Orthodox Christian may have anything to do with the intrinsically evil and sinful act of abortion with impunity. Even in the hardest case of all, a pregnant woman who elects to abort her preborn child lest her own life be put at grave risk, the act remains objectively evil and sinful and requires an appropriate penance (to be determined pastorally through the Holy Mystery of Confession) before the mother may receive the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Savior, who offered Himself unto death for our salvation.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      Dear Father Alexander, it’s gratifying to know that you share my great respect for the Russian church’s Basis  document.  Its official English translation is a bit awkward in places, but, on balance, the Basis is one of the best modern efforts to explain Orthodox Christian morality.
                      Remaining with that document for a bit, I’d like to point out that Section xii.2 mentions that a mother (usually with other children) who aborts a baby whose carriage to full term would certainly endanger her life is not excommunicated at all, but is absolved after prayerfully expressing her repentance and making her confession.
                      Although the words of the Basis don’t explicitly say so, this means that a mother in such circumstances is not considered a murderer.  We know this because of the canons of St Basil the Great, in which he teaches that a repentant murderer is to be excommunicated for ten years, while a soldier who takes a human life in battle is still guilty of murder but excommunicated for only three years because of the exigencies of his military service.
                      This pastoral ‘leniency’, as the Basis calls it, is extraordinary and deserves our full attention and consideration so that we might understand its implications.
                      Here’s an exercise in hypothetical morality.  Suppose we have a teenager who was born with severe cognitive deficits.  He’s sixteen but with the mental faculties of a three-year-old.
                      One day, the boy somehow finds his father’s loaded pistol.  Thinking that it’s a toy, he shoots and kills his sister, supposing in his innocent way that she’ll get up when the game is over.  His mother can’t convince him to let her have the gun, so she phones 911 and two cops arrive almost immediately.
                      As the police enter the room, the boy shoots one of them dead, and the other one shoots the boy, killing him on the spot.  The boy is innocent because he hasn’t the mental wherewithal to form malicious intent, even if he knew that the gun was real —  which he didn’t  Still, he took two human lives.
                      The cop who shot and killed the boy saved himself and everyone else from the deadly consequences of allowing the boy to continue his ‘game’, but he also took a life.
                      Both the boy and the cop have killed people, and they must bring this to confession —  each in his own way —  if they are Orthodox Christians.  Please let’s not get bogged down in the boy’s mental condition here.
                      Analogizing from such a scenario, we can understand that an innocent baby being carried ectopically (outside the womb but within its mother’s body) has almost no chance of surviving to term, although this has happened and only as the greatest of rarities..
                      Were a mother not to terminate such a pregnancy, she would almost certainly die just like her baby, but suffer terribly in the process.
                      So, if she were to attempt to carry her child to term, two people would likely die, and most painfully.  Saving the mother’s life by terminating her pregnancy will obviously and necessarily result in the death of her baby, but only one person will die, and she will live to continue caring for her other children. She will regret this awful event for the rest of her life.
                      In its way, though, his is no different from the cop’s killing the mentally retarded boy, except that we are now dealing with a situation electrified by all the vocabulary and emotions associated with abortion.  We have to be clear-eyed and sober-minded here, and rely on the knowledge we have using the wisdom with which our good Lord endowed us.
                      Solomon isn’t here to help us.  What would you advise this mother to do, Father Alexander?

                    • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster says

                      [This is in response to Monk James Silver’s post on 29 November 2019 at 2:34 pm]

                      RE: “Although the words of the Basis don’t explicitly say so, this means that a mother in such circumstances [i.e., her own life is at risk if she does not terminate the pregnancy] is not considered a murderer. We know this because of the canons of St Basil the Great, in which he teaches that a repentant murderer is to be excommunicated for ten years, while a soldier who takes a human life in battle is still guilty of murder but excommunicated for only three years because of the exigencies of his military service.”

                      Father James, your attempt to compare the two situations fails, in my estimation, both logically and theologically for these reasons:

                      1. To avoid assigning the opprobrium “murder” to the knowing, willful destruction of a preborn child in the womb (and, therefore, “murderer” to the mother who consents to that act) in the case at hand is to choose to ignore the plain, explicit text of the Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church in AD 2000, which includes these clear, categorical condemnations of abortions: “abortion as a grave sin,” “equate abortion with murder,” “the conception of a human being is a gift of God,” “from the moment of conception any encroachment on the life of a future human being is criminal,” and “Under no circumstances the Orthodox Church can bless abortion.” That is strong language that does not allow for any exceptions. You may, personally, conclude that a mother whose life is ostensibly at risk if she were to carry to term a preborn child in an “ectopic” pregnancy (i.e., the conceptus is entrapped in the fallopian tube and cannot naturally enter the womb for gestation) may elect to abort that child, and that such a procedure would not be a “murder” nor the mother (and anyone also involved) a “murderer,” thereby redefining the universal moral meaning of “abortion,” but you cannot logically claim that the Basis shares that redefinition or provides cover for your personal perspective.

                      2. Your remarks about the soldier’s case in Canon 13 of St. Basil the Great also ignore the plain, explicit words of the text (Greek in the original, of course). St. Basil states, “Our fathers did not reckon as murders the murders in wars, it seems to me, giving a pardon to those who defend themselves on behalf of moderation and piety. But perhaps it is well to advise that they abstain from the [holy] communion for only three years since their hands are not clean” (my translation). Among the “fathers” was St. Athanasios the Great, whose Canon 1 includes this profound point: “It is not lawful to murder, but in war [it is] both lawful and worthy of approval to destroy the enemies.”

                      3. For a detailed moral analysis of those canons, see pp. 74-77 of my co-authored book, The Virtue of War: Reclaiming the Classic Traditions East and West (2004). Let it suffice to say here that St. Basil provides only an advisory penance of three years for confessors to recommend to soldiers who shed human blood even in a noble, virtuous cause—not an automatic “excommunication” of three years, but rather a voluntary refraining from the Holy Mysteries by such soldiers. Even so, the Byzantine canonists Zonaras and Balsamon deemed that minimal proposed penance as excessive and irrelevant. Zonaras specifically rejected that penance as unfairly burdensome and an unbearable punishment for Christians who perform so noble a service as defense of faith and empire. I would suggest that St. Basil intended to emphasize the tragedy entailed in any act of killing, even in combat where the soldier, having put himself in harm’s way at great risk to his own life, as well as the possibility of mixed motives on the part of the Christian soldier—a righteous desire to protect the otherwise defenseless from grave harm together with internal anger, a thirst for vengeance, and /or an uncharitable contempt for the “enemy.” In other words, a soldier may sin personally, while performing an essentially good deed.4. A pregnant mother at risk in your scenario would be more comparable to that same soldier who puts his life on the line for the others back home, if she chose not to have an abortion even at the risk of her own life.

                      5. I would also counter that the dire circumstances you suggest in your scenario—namely, an “ectopic” pregnancy—may be remedied in the not-so-distant future, when medical technology advances to the point where a human conceptus / embryo can be surgically removed intact with a portion of the mother’s fallopian tube and the conceptus placed in a temporary “artificial womb” until the mother is able to receive her own baby into her own womb.

                      6. Finally, to answer your major question, the indisputably moral, righteous, holy decision in the scenario would be for a mother to refrain from the knowing, willful destruction of her preborn child (i.e., “abortion”) at all costs, even the tragic loss of her own life as well as that of the conceptus. One may never, in good conscience, choose an intrinsically evil act by dressing it up as an acceptable “lesser evil,” even if the consequences of not choosing that course of action are tragic for both mother and preborn child. A tragedy is not intrinsically “evil”: that term is usually—and ought to be always—restricted to non-moral circumstances such as deaths due to devastating hurricanes or various diseases or accidents where human intentionality is not a factor. We ought to use “atrocity” to describe moral abominations such as abortion: atrocities are ipso facto always evil.

                      The path of martyrdom is never undertaken lightly, but those who take up that Cross when there is no moral alternative, we hope and pray, join the ranks of those who have chosen to suffer and die, if necessary, as our Lord suffered and died unjustly.

                      However, if a mother whose life is at grave risk chose to have her preborn child aborted despite the wisdom of the Church through the ages and spiritual counsel by her priest-confessor to do otherwise, I would, like the authors of the Basis of the Social Concept, take the pastoral route and endeavor to counsel her to a proper, meaningful, genuine repentance through Holy Confession for the immoral, sinful, objectively evil abomination of aborting her own preborn child. Perhaps voluntarily refraining from the Holy Mysteries for 40 days, as one of my esteemed Greek Orthodox priest-mentors suggested to me in such a situation decades ago, would assist her to acknowledge and own personally the gravity of her decision. One spiritually therapeutic course of action would be daily, contrite remembrance of her aborted preborn child in prayer. But the main penance would be, I suspect, the remorse and guilt, though forgiven by our loving Savior, that she would probably bear for the rest of her earthly life.

      • Thank you Nicole. I will reiterate that Salvation Army’s support for abortafacient birth control is tantamount to support for abortion and no matter how MJ Silver tries to spin it, I would never be able to support them.

        • I did not realize they supported abortifacients Mikhsil! Thank you for the good information. Similarly many Christians may not realize that the Susan Komen Race for the Cure annual run supports Planned Parenthood, so please support cancer research through alternative PROLIFE means.

        • Will look forward to your resources, Monk James.  Thank you!  

        • Monk James Silver says

          Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster (December 8, 2019 at 2:03 pm)says:

          [This is in response to Monk James Silver’s post on 29 November 2019 at 2:34 pm]  SNIP

          Thank you very much for your detailed —  if occasionally confusing —  response, Father Alexander.
          There are three points I’d like to raise in return.  First, in spite of the Basis document ‘s clear instruction that a woman who aborts a baby who is threatening her life (especially if she has other children who need her) is not to be excommunicated at all, you would have her excluded from Holy Communion for at least forty days, suggesting that she needs some sort of punishment in order to help her calm her conscience.  This seems to fly in the face of the ‘pastoral leniency’ which the document recommends.  She will regret her awful but necessary decision for the rest of her life, and a mere forty days away from Holy Communion  isn’t going to relieve her spiritual and psychological pain.    She probably needs to know that Christ hasn’t rejected her, and that His love for her will continue to be shown in Communion, as well as in other ways.
          Then there’s your consistently writing ectopic in quotation marks, as if it were a fictive or irrelevant matter, while it is actually at the heart of the discussion, since the Basis is explicitly concerned here with women who are likely to die if they attempt to carry their babies to term.  You should also know that an ectopic pregnancy is not necessarily one in which nidation/conception/implantation (all three words mean the same thing) occurs in the fallopian tubes.  It can be found elsewhere in the mother’s body, even on the liver.  Granted, these are rare circumstances, but they are real.  Whatever advances prenatal care may make in the future, we have to deal with such serious situations NOW.
          Finally, you completely ignored the analogy between the sixteen-year-old boy with the mental capacity of a three-year old, killed before he could take another life, and  the ectopic fetus whose continued presence would almost certainly kill its mother.  Both the boy and the fetus are innocent, yet they cannot be allowed to kill anyone, and that abnormally situated fetus can be removed from its mother —  causing its death — just as morally as the boy with the gun can be killed.
          No one can deny that both the boy and the fetus are  human beings deserving to live, but they cannot be allowed, even innocently, to kill other people.
          It’s because of this painful reality that the Basis advises lenience, not because of anything like an abortion on demand, which is fairly well condemned there for the murderous act it truly is.
          So I urge you to reconsider your position, and try not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

          • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster says

            Monk James, we seem to be on a theological merry-go-round here. However, two things you have argued in your last two posts make it abundantly clear to me what is driving your relentless attempts to justify morally the destruction of a preborn child in certain cases of “ectopic” pregnancies.

            I chose to ignore your bizarre comparison of what you term an “ectopic fetus” to a hypothetical scenario of a gun-wielding 16-year-old boy “born with severe cognitive deficits” who has already killed two innocent persons and whom a policeman shoots dead to prevent additional fatalities. Since you insist that I address it, here is my assessment. The comparison is, frankly, offensive and suggests that you regard the preborn child in the case of some “ectopic” pregnancies as a dangerous, unjust “aggressor” against his or her own mother. In your latest post you declare, “Both the boy and the fetus are innocent, yet they cannot be allowed to kill anyone . . .” That kind of argument I have seen only in radical feminist writings where the advocates, ironically, personalize the “product of conception” that they otherwise dehumanize (“it” is “my” body, after all) in order to “neutralize the threat” by destroying it—“it,” of course referring to the preborn child.

            More alarming, however, is this nugget in your latest post: “nidation/conception/implantation (all three words mean the same thing).” That claim is patently false and morally dangerous.

            “Conception,” biologically speaking (and, I would add, theologically as well), is the moment of fertilization, not “implantation” on the uterine wall. That definition was unchallenged until the mid-1960s, when the so-called medical community redefined the term “conception” as “implantation” of the human” zygote(s)” or “conceptus” (“concepti”) instead of the moment of “fertilization.” They did so ostensibly to allow for the possible phenomenon of “monozygotic twinning” (as late as two weeks after fertilization), when the specific number of preborn children—one or more—from the same fertilized human ovum is finally determined. The argument is that such multiple individuation (we Orthodox and other pro-life folks would say “persons”) is uncertain until then, so “conception” per se may not yet have occurred at fertilization. Since we cannot be certain as to the final number of specific “zygotes” or “concepti” until implantation on the uterine wall, the morally obtuse medical elites decided to reassign and push ahead human “conception” to the moment of implantation as the terminus ad quem (or latest possible date) of the process.

            That was the purported reason that advocates of redefinition advanced. However, the real reason was to allow for voluntary abortions within that window of 6 to 14 days (such as the “morning after pill”) as well as in-vitro fertilization. My esteemed mentor in moral theology, Fr. Stanley S. Harakas, I regret to say, fell for that sophistry long ago; as recently as 2018, he indicated via email that he still regarded “conception” as implantation, not fertilization.

            But that redefinition is sheer folly and an immoral deception. Although we may not know with certainty whether a pregnant mother is carrying one or more “zygotes” or “concepti” (that is, human persons) in her uterus, we do know that there is at least one! Any abortion between the moments of fertilization and implantation is, both biologically and theologically speaking, the knowing, willful termination of one or more innocent human persons.

            Father, if your understanding of “conception” is that cloudy, then we shall continue to talk past each other here with no end in sight. I think it is time to conclude this seminar in moral theology. It’s been a good run, and I trust that readers of this lively exchange may have benefited by following it. But I must disengage and attend to other matters.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Splendid discussion. If my wife had had an ectopic pregnancy that would have killed her and left our children motherless, I think I know what her decision, and mine, would have been. And we would probably have serious discussions in later years, both of us together, with such as Fr. Webster.
              But it would be good to have her here with the kids to talk about it. But then, it didn’t happen. If it did to Fr. W, then that’s another matter. If not, it’s…talk.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Tim R: Here are two real cases, not talk.

                I have a friend who got pregnant with twins. The twins developed a condition in utero that made it difficult to carry both children to term (or so she was told). She had to carry one or loose both. With her knowledge and consent she elected to save one child and abort the other (Sophie’s Choice).

                She found out later that the “Doctor” treating her was virulently pro-abortion and withheld from her the condition and treatment options that could have been initiated at an earlier date when it was possible to save both until it was too late.

                One child was born hale and healthy except she was constantly looking for her missing sister. She would even assemble outfits for her sister to wear, etc. The mother went into a state of depression that lasted for years until she, by the grace of God, visited an Orthodox elder in Romania. They had never met before but soon after they started talking he shared a word with her that did a great deal to bring her to a point of healing and to restore her soul.

                Several things I have taken from this:
                There is more in heaven and earth than we usually think;

                Our choices are always blind, even in the best of circumstances;

                Utility is a terrible basis on which to make any decision especially ones involving the well being of other people;

                If you and your spouse are thinking about pregnancy–talk about all possible outcomes and arrive at thoughtful decisions prior to the decision point if you can;

                Verify that you, your spouse and your doctor are on the same page morally and ethically;

                Pray and offer up your decision into God’s hands in humility and repentance.

                Another example: My dear wife (before I knew her) was being treated aggressively for kidney failure using a drug that does not mix well with unborn children. She did not find out she was pregnant until the treatment was well under way. This was about 40 years ago and even the Roman Catholic doctor here strongly recommended abortion on the grounds that the child would, at best, never fully develop(and therefore would be less human?).

                Well, my wife, who trusts God in an amazingly deep way, refused that recommendation and against her husband’s express wishes (too much money). She found a Mennonite doctor who was actually committed to a pro-life practice. He told her that, based on what was knowable, my wife had the best case for a therapeutic abortion he had ever seen but if she wanted to try, he would work with her. She traveled about an hour each way every week for the rest of her pregnancy when she had few resources to do so. The child was born full term and quite healthy. He has a genius level IQ and incredible talents in many areas. He and his wife now have two beautiful young daughters as well and they honor God as Mennonite Methodists.

                God is merciful especially if we are faithful to Him and even if circumstance creates difficult choices. That is not talk.

            • Monk James Silver says

              Father Alexander, thanks once again for trying to advance the discussion, although I’m still left wondering why you continue to write ectopic in quotation marks.  It’s a real word and a concept completely germane to the topic at hand, so your holding it at editorial arm’s length is rather odd.

              Let me be clear on your first point, no matter how ‘offensive’ or ‘bizarre’ you found my parable, which was adduced only to demonstrate that human lives are occasionally put at risk by people who have no real intention of killing others, but will do so anyway if not stopped, sometimes being killed themselves in the process.  You think that I regard a life-threatening fetus as an ‘aggressor’, and that’s true, although Jewish law on the matter calls such a fetus a ‘pursuer’ who must be stopped before doing harm.  I find this a helpful model.

              You are willing to make exceptions even to St Basil’s canons about moral responsibility for taking a human life in war, even to the point of accepting the suggestion of St Athanasios that such killing is actually virtuous.  If you can allow that a soldier who protects himself and other people by killing someone who would kill them if he had the chance, you should also be able to understand that a fetus threatening its mother’s life must also be stopped, especially if her death would cause great harm to her other children.  THAT is the point of the Basis document’s recommendation of pastoral leniency here, but you keep not dealing with that issue here.

              While no one denies the mutual obligation of all people, whether as individuals or groups, to protect people from those who would harm or kill them, we are not obligated to resist someone who would harm or kill us personally. 

               A perfect illustration of this principle can be seen in the ancient example of the holy princes of Russia,  Boris and Gleb, who willingly suffered death at the hands of their evilly ambitious brother Svyatopolk rather than fight against him and cause a civil war.

              In the same way, a mother experiencing a pregnancy which is likely to kill her may choose to risk her own life to carry her child to term, although it seems likely that both she and her child will die in the process.  Should she opt to end the pregnancy, an action which would result in the death of the child she is carrying, she has that freedom, but she must then bear responsibility for taking a human life.  As we have seen, the Basis recommends that Orthodox Christian pastors be lenient with a woman who found herself in such painful circumstances, especially if she has other children to care for.

              There are no feminist agenda at work here.  A bit of stylistic inquiry on your part will show you that ‘fetus’, ‘baby’, and even ‘child’ are often referenced in the grammatically neuter (neutral/neither) gender as ‘it’.  There are only two biological sexes:  male and female.  There are four grammatical genders in English:  masculine, feminine, neither, and both.  You can do the exercises in your own mind without my going through them here. 

              Stylistically, grammatical gender in speech and writing falls into four categories:  gender known, gender unknown, gender irrelevant, and gender concealed.   It’s only in this last category that we might encounter manipulative motives, often resulting in monstrosities such as ‘spokesperson’ because people swayed by political correctness can’t bring themselves to include the suffix ‘-man’ in any word at all.

              Fr Stanley Harakas is correct in his assertion that conception and implantation are two words describing the same event.  I wrote to say so here in my last note, but you disagree, and you are mistaken.

              I am not at all ‘cloudy’ in my terminology or in the vocabulary of human reproduction.  It’s important for you to know that the term ’fertilization’ is a rather recent addition to our ideas about the subject.  The phrase ‘conceived in the womb’, which we can often see in the scriptures and the services, betrays an ancient misapprehension of the process by which a human being comes into existence. 

              You yourself want to equate conception with fertilization, but we know now that fertilization normally takes place in one of a mother’s fallopian tubes, not in the womb.  Still, the idea that an embryo is ‘conceived in the womb’ is physically accurate, since it describes the embryo’s implantation there.

              The latinate word ‘conception’ is a calque of the Greek syllepsis, which means ‘a complete acceptance’ in both languages.  In an ancient but mistaken understanding of human reproduction, it was thought that the father’s seed deposited an anthropidion (Latin homunculus), a ‘tiny human being’ in the mother’s womb.  It was her responsibility to protect and nurture that little person as it matured and grew until the time came to give it birth.  It was not ever imagined in ancient times that the mother contributed anything to the incipient life she was carrying.  Her theoretical acceptance of this deposit into her womb was called ‘conception’, although that event didn’t actually occur physically until several days later.

              Now, in our own time, we have a much better understanding of this process, and we must insist that human life begins at fertilization, when the male gamete and the female gamete join to form a zygote (from the Greek word meaning ‘yoked together’), which is a complete yet microscopically small human being with (normally) a full set of chromosomes, half contributed by the mother and half by the father.  From the time of that union, any deliberate attempt to destroy that zygote is an act of abortion and a sin of murder.

              For us to say that ‘life begins at conception (implantation)’ is not only inaccurate, it (perhaps unintentionally) gives philosophical room for proponents of abortion to allow the destruction of the zygote before it is accepted (implanted, conceived) in its mother’s womb.  But, since we know that life actually begins at fertilization, we reject as immoral procedures such as dilation and curettage, as well as the use of drugs like RU-486, and the introduction of appliances such as intrauterine devices, all of them (at least possible) acts of abortion.

              So, Father Alexander, rather than rail at me, please reconsider your positions and modify them and your vocabulary, lest you mislead people by your inaccurate use of the words surrounding these most important matters.

              I ask forgiveness of you and of all our correspondents here for my ‘folly’ in hammering away at these points yet again, and taking so much time and space to do it.

              • Antiochene Son says

                Pardon my wading into this discussion for a critique, but the comparison to killing in war or in self-defense is not a very good argument. In a war or in a self-defense situation, a person is protecting himself from someone who has the intention to cause harm. 
                Meanwhile, in an ectopic pregnancy or some other exceedingly rare situation in which the mother’s actual life is in danger, the fetus does not have evil intent. To compare this abortion to self-defense comes across badly, like those who call fetuses “parasites.” From a purely functional perspective it may be true, but it also dehumanizes the fetus.
                The argument of a mother having other children to care for is much stronger and keeps the situation framed as the tragedy that it is. As staunchly anti-abortion as I am, I can see the point and could allow the state a “safe, legal, and rare” approach if “rare” is defined in terms of the mother’s actual, physical life being in danger.

                • Monk James Silver says

                  ‘Antiochene Son’, you seem to have missed the point of my parable about the mentally incompetent boy who was shooting people, thinking that he was playing a game.

                  The point there was that innocent people — including fetuses — who threaten other people’s lives must be stopped before a tragedy occurs.

                  Once you’ve made sense of that, you should be able to make some other appropriate philosophical and moral judgements, moving past the notion of soldiers taking lives in war. That was a point raised by Fr Alexander Webster after I mentioned St Basil’s canons. FrAW supported the position of St Athanasios over against the position of St Basil. St Basil would excommunicate such a soldier for three years, while St Athanasios held that killing people in war was virtuous and not subject to any sort of ecclesial censure.

                  The concern for saving the life of a mother who has other children who need her was raised by the ‘Social Construct’ (morality) document of the Russian Orthodox Church, not by me, although I included it in the thoughts which I expressed here.

    • Monk James Silver says

      That is talking past the sad reality I was describing, Michael Bauman, which is that there are indeed rare situations in which an Orthodox Christian mother, with intense spiritual counseling and the best medical advice, might choose to abort the child she is carrying if doing so will save her life.

      I brought this up only to illustrate that the traditional and faithful opposition of Orthodox Christianity to abortion is not monolithic, but needs a bit of pastoral nuancing. The most common situation is one where a mother has several other children who will be left motherless if she dies, but the choice is hers and hers alone.

      In Russia, at least, women who are faced with this painful choice and decide to carry their children to term anyway and die in the process are revered as holy martyrs. This is true at the same time as women who choose — for noble reasons — to abort a child under the same conditions, are not condemned by anyone at the same time as they take a life of repentance upon themselves.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Forgive me Monk James you are correct. Coming from the late-term abortion capital of the heartland until the Dr. Who did most of them was murdered right across the street from my home parish one Sunday morning, I have seen too many excuses.  But that is no reason to be cynical. 

  24. In 1996 in the UK a story appeared in the Press about a woman, pregnant with twins, who elected to have ONE of the babies aborted as she could not afford to keep both. Huge numbers of people offered to take the baby if only she would bring it to term. Then the story was amended to say that the ‘foetus’ had already been ‘terminated’ and it was not lack of funds that led her to this course of action but that two babies would cause too much inconvenience too her lifestyle.
    I often wonder if the surviving twin experiences a sense of loss without knowing why. As my response, I wrote the following poem (which I read in public at the Radical Book Fair in Edinburgh where it was not well received):
    A mother gives birth
    To a single living twin
    Two she could not do.
    A mother gave birth
    To a single living twin
    Two she would not do
    “Two from one won’t come”
    She cried, counting zero-sums
    One from two sums One
    Frost came late this year
    Crystal nipped a flowerbud
    Blighting little life