Why We Shouldn’t Have Unnecessary Councils

You see, it’s stuff like this that tees me off:


His Eminence, Hierotheos Vlachos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos was basically brutalized by his brother bishops while attending the Council of Crete. As he told the story, the pressure on him was so intense that he had to barricade the door to his hotel room with chairs so they wouldn’t break in and continue to harass him.

This is not an example of a sterling Christian witness in any way, shape, manner or form. That much is obvious.

If on the other hand he may have been wrong about the Council in some respect, his obstinacy reflects poorly on him. Nobody’s perfect. However in retrospect, the fruits that have sprung from that Council have not been sweet. If anything, the Orthodox Churches are perilously close to schism.

Now mind you, there’s no reason why bishops cannot meet regularly or every now and then to just get together and discuss things. I just returned from a monastery and feel invigorated by the fellowship and worship that those of us partook of. It was good. Bishops need such fellowship as well.

However, Crete was not such a venue. It was a pre-ordained symposium that was highly orchestrated and very select. As Fr Peter Heers wrote in another essay, there was no “demonology” that was pressing upon the Orthodox churches that mandated a putative “ecumenical” or “great and holy” council. That is to say that there were no pressing doctrinal disputes presently plaguing the Faith.

That’s a good thing if you ask me.

Oh sure, our ecclesiology in the so-called diaspora is caterwampus. No doubt about that. But the hidden agenda, the intent behind this gathering was not to rectify that situation but to shore up the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s powers over said diaspora. There was no intention at all of creating a path for the various jurisdictions to form national churches with territorial dioceses.

That was a big problem in my opinion. Actually, from where I sit a bigger problem than the other controversies that erupted and were unresolved. I also didn’t like the fact that Crete was called by a patriarch. In my opinion, Councils are to be called by the laity. Usually the laity are represented in the person of the emperor but I can’t see how in a post-monarchical world the elected representatives of the people (say a Senate or Parliament) can’t call one as well. To invest the convocation of a highly-selective Council in one primate, especially if that primate has made alarming neo-papalist noises in the past is a non-starter.

Compare what happened in Crete with what happened in Moscow last month, where 380 Orthodox bishops from all over the world gathered together. As near as we can tell nothing untoward happened and no controversial statements were issued. From all indications things were pretty irenic. That’s as it should be.

Clearly, from what we hear about from Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, the same cannot be said of Crete. Let’s hope that this was “one and done” and put it behind us.

About GShep


  1. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Speaking of bishops, why was the Diocese of the South’s ever-memorable Bishop Mark (Forsberg) never disciplined? Is that diocese a refuge of some kind?

    • Constaninos says

      Dear Your Grace,
      Would you mind sharing your thoughts on why this did not occur because it is an excellent point? Thank you in advance.

  2. Gail Sheppard says

    Apparently, the “Holy and Great Council (is) to become a regular Institution to be convened every seven or ten years,” according to the EP’s website. Unfortunately, a “Great and Holy Council” becomes part of our collective history. How is it possible that only 1.1% of our 850 bishops can burden the Church with their decisions?

    I think they need a “Great and Holy Council” to clean up the books and put safeguards in place so a handful of bishops can’t clutter up history with the inconsequential.

    Great and Holy Council Crete:
    * Participating Churches: 10 of the 14 Local Churches (71%)
    * Representation of Orthodox Christians: Close to 30%.
    * Participating Orthodox Bishops: 162 participated of the 350 invited (46%)
    * Representation of Orthodox Bishops: 162 of a total of 850 (19%)
    * Voting Bishops: 10 of the 162 bishops present (6%), or 10 of the 850 bishops in the Orthodox Church (1.1%).

    • George Michalopulos says

      Excellent points as usual, Gail. However the bee that’s stuck in my bonnet is the fact that every bishop who was there did not have a vote. Granted, at the previous Ecumenical Councils not all bishops attended (but all were invited). Regardless, all who were there had a vote.

      It’s a bad, bad idea to strip the vote away from any bishop. That road inexorably leads to papalism.

      • George

        A side note about the numbers

        One bishop, one church/city – right?


        850 bishops for a planet with approximately 7,400,000,000 souls on board

      • Alitheia1875 says

        Russia has something like 300+ bishops. The one vote per church was instituted in case Russia attended. If there wasn’t that rule the Russians would have controlled everything, and probably brought along the Slavic churches with them. Definitely not what the Phanar wanted.

        • George Michalopulos says

          True, but according to our ecclesiology all bishops are equal. They each deserve a vote.

          Three observations:

          1. Just because an invitation is sent to ever diocesan bishop doesn’t mean that every diocesan bishop will attend.

          2. It’s not a done deal that the Russian bishops (or Greek or Serb or anybody else would vote en bloc.

          3. If (say) Ruritania wanted more diocesan bishops they could make it happen. The US has fifty states and presently over fifty bishops residing here. Why can’t each state have one bishop? It’s not a rhetorical question. Or better yet, every major metropolitan area? Missouri could have one for St Louis and one for Kansas City for example.

          Now the reason we won’t consider such a scenario is that many of our jurisdictions believe that bishops should have imperial-lite entourages, salaries and whatnot. They’re only monks in the technical sense of the word; i.e. tonsured to the monastic rule five minutes before the mitre is placed on their heads.

          If a bishop is also the rector of a cathedral (with secondary priests attached thereto) then his sustenance could be taken care of.

          Just thinking aloud.

          • Alitheia1875 says

            My point precisely about equals. What would have happened if each had a vote and all the bishops came? Who would be calling the shots? And, guaranteed, it would certainly have been anti-ecumenical, at least to an obvious degree.

  3. My GOA priest fully endorsed all the decisions of the council (however stating that he did not closely follow/study it) and challenged my faith when I explained my serious concerns

    He said we should trust all the decisions of the council

    IMO – the only thing binding at that council was the feta cheese

    He has since been promoted

    • George Michalopulos says

      Pray for him, BJS. He’s either a company man or deluded.

      I’m sorry, that’s harsh but nothing that has come out of Crete has produced anything but division. The Holy Spirit is not –can not–be the author of division.

      • Martyr’s Guilt says

        My priest just plays dumb whenever I bring up the subject of the council in CreteHe also tells me to be patient with all the money problems in New York City at the archdiocese

      • Michael Bauman says

        George, all councils at very least codify divisions because councils draw lines that say: you can be Orthodox only if you believe this. That is one of the great weakness of Crete. The lines of previous councils were moved or eradicated.

        The Holy Spirit does not author division, division is the result of sin. If people who are outside the lines drawn do not repent, then division occurs.

        Again, Crete produced no call for repentance, but just the opposite saying effectively that no repentance is required. That is its great downfall.

        An actual Council could be called to do pretty much the opposite of what Crete did by reaffirming the call to repentance and right belief.

        Unfortunately, such repentance in the modern world requires the complete rejection of all the tenants of modernity primarily the myth of progress and “changing the world” nonsense.

        Trying to institutionalize “councils” is an indication that the heretical mind has quite a hold. The centralization of power is an indication of not just a drift toward, but a full sprint toward papalism.

        The Encyclical of 1848 is still the best statement of the true mind of the Church on the Papacy. But its uncompromising stand is so “out of touch” with the modern mind that most folks are extremely uncomfortable with it language and conclusions.

        • Hence, the reason I refer to Crete as a robber council.

        • Mr. Bauman, In the most simplest of American English, and as short as possible, can you give the three worse examples of what was achieved at The Cretan Council, and how it will change Orthodoxy, if anyway at all?

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Bob, I find it difficult to believe you are Orthodox because you have so little knowledge about the Church. Perhaps you are just a catechumen, but anyone who is Orthodox knows the objections and fears that came out of Crete. Heck, even the secular press can articulate them. That you would have to ask demonstrates just how ignorant and seemingly disinterested you are because you didn’t even bother to Google it. Asking Michael Bauman, the guy who clearly spends the time, choosing every word for the maximum impact, to answer your inane questions is positively insulting. You have NO IDEA how well respected this man is (probably because you are not Orthodox). When he addresses me, I pour over each and every post, reading it again and again, just so I don’t miss anything. That man has responded to you multiple times in the most loving, Christian way possible, and aside from a few platitudes, you have completely ignored him. At least have the courtesy to READ what he writes and respond intelligently before you launch into another adolescent tirade. Talk about throwing pearls to swine! I don’t know what I find more offensive: your arrogance or your ignorance. Get over yourself, Bob. Among these heavy hitters, you’re not even a water boy. Unless you make an effort to step up your game, you’re just taking up space.

            Oh, and lay off people for minor errors that result from spell check. You sound like a schoolmarm. That you would have the audacity to correct Brian is beyond laughable, as he brings so much more to the table!

            Yeah, when it comes to you. . . I’m over it.

            • The Advocate says

              Gail, Your response to me, is a prime example why only men are allowed the priesthood. Notice Mr. Bauman, Brian, and even George for the most part do not avoid my questions, and do not go on the attack, as you do. This is the difference between men and women. We can have a discussion, ruffle feathers, make our points, and still go on with each other as friends and brothers, without excommunication.

              For the record, I did not spellcheck Brian, nor Mr. Bauman, in fact I asked you all to forgive ME, for my poor writing skills. If I remember correctly, even George did not quite get The robber council, as you all call it. He waited until a proper response from Greek bishops in opposition made their comments in protest. Before that he “knew” it was bad, but didn’t know why. Another problem with Orthodoxy, we need lawyers, and as you say Google to explain it to us.

              What you and your learned friends here do not understand is that most likely the majority of Orthodox laity don’t have a clue what was done in Crete, and our leaders are in no hurry to explain it to us in Layman terms. Next time at coffee hour, ask your parish members what they thought of the Cretan Council, and watch the blank stare, at least with the Greeks,in my experience. Of course other American Orthodox are much more pious, informed, and I’m sure you might get a third who know a little about it, but not the full picture, only what you might tell them. I don’t, and was sincere and honest with Mr. Bauman when asking to explain it to me. My failure to respond to half of his, and Brians comments, is, out of respect, I am still digesting them, and as you say a waterboy. As such, I knows when to come on to the field and when not to. You are just plain rude, unwelcoming to your learned little club here, and quick to accuse, without knowing anything about someone. You must believe yourself to be clairvoyant, perhaps, but you would make a horrible priest.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Bob, you are no longer amusing. When Gail speaks, you need to sit down, shut up and listen. You might learn something but at least learn to be silent in the company of your betters.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Michael, if I may add to your analysis (and Bob, I’m mostly agreeing with you about man-to-man interactions), when it comes to women, there really is something called “women’s intuition”. I don’t get it, can’t ever really “get it” (mainly because I’m a man), but I’ve learned that it’s a very real thing. And Gail has it in spades.

                  Bob, please don’t be critical of Gail because she challenges you in different ways that Michael or any other man would do. Speaking as a man, I very much enjoy sparring and being challenged by the many men on this blog (such as yourself). “Iron sharpens iron” as they say. We should not shy from being manly in any event. But Gail’s challenges to me have taught me that I don’t see the whole picture. And that I can’t see the whole picture. I have no problem humbling myself to Godly, intelligent women. From getting to know her over the years from her postings, I fervently believe that she is a Godly woman.

                  That doesn’t mean that Gail (or any other woman for that matter) can’t challenge us as they are wont to do based on their womanly perspective. And you and I know that Gail has taken more than one 2X4 across my brow when it was needed (and boy, did I not see it coming!) Women are different than men and rightfully so. And they bring a lot to the table. That’s why I’ve always kept this blog open to women as well as men because I’ve learned a lot from them over the years (although I’ll admit that men seem to predominate in the blogosphere).

                  And yes, you’re right: women should never be ordained but Gail already agrees with that. They don’t need to be ordained. It’s from women that we derive our life and it was from one woman that salvation entered into the world.

                  If you all will allow me to go off on tangent: I’ve been thinking a lot lately, perhaps because I just returned from a pilgrimage, that the problem with those who seek to conform to the world, especially when it comes to deaconesses, do so from a wrong perspective. The Church is not the ordained clergy, it’s everyone. I’ve come to believe that many of the posters on this site have as much moral authority as your typical garden-variety bishop. And I don’t mean that as a slam at bishops in general or in particular. We’re all called to be saints and defenders of the Faith. We don’t need a priestly office to do that.

                  Maybe where we’ve gone wrong in America is that we never enabled our priests to conduct the full cycle of services. Or have deacons to assist them and sub-deacons as well. I fervently believe that for too long we’ve expected our priests to be jacks-of-all-trades and heaped too many different worldly offices on them. Mega-church envy if you will. Perhaps if we opened up our pocket books and demanded that our priests should concern themselves primarily with liturgical rites and our churches were open as much as they are in Orthodox countries we’d not only have more priests to provide spiritual counsel in the midweek but the laity would become more Godly and take up the proper leadership positions that are appointed to them.

                  This line of thought crystallized for me today as I was reading this whole back-and-forth: Gail no more wants a female priesthood than I want to become a priest. It’s not my calling but I don’t look down on those who do have that calling.

                  As for your assessment of Crete and the knowledge that the vast majority of the GOA laity have, you are correct. That might be a blessing for their own salvation. Or a mercy for the Phanar as people begin to blessedly forget about it and it withers in the mists of time.

                  • George, not that I expect you to really care, but you and I are cool. You take it as much as you give it. Greeks are loud and proud, and I’am not ashamed in anyway to be Greek, or Greek Orthodox, warts an all, and will criticize my own as well as others, if they are thin skinned, what can I do? If you want me to leave or not address Gail anymore, I will respect that. otherwise I will say it as I see it. I am also beginning to understand, that we must allow Gail to be critical of us, but never be critical of Gail. Is there a reason you delay my posts to Gail as well?

                    Just curious, why would you ever have to say, that you always kept this blog open to women? Why wouldn’t you, or anyone not keep it open to women, am I missing something there?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Bob, thank you for understanding. BTW, I delay all posts in which there is an interchange between correspondents. As a Greek, I try to be a levendi when it comes to women and give them the upper hand. I have no problem with a dialogue between you and Gail or you and anybody else but I’ve learned a long time ago to accept criticism from Godly women (even if it seems harsh) without returning fire.

                      Let’s just say that they see things from a different perspective which we as men, cannot. So here’s the deal: we men can go at it tooth and nail but with women, let’s turn the other cheek. I know that as far as I’m concerned, some of my own previously held beliefs have been “fine-tuned” for the better because of feminine correction.

                      If I may, if it weren’t for my mother who did the majority of the raising (my father always worked two jobs), I wouldn’t be where I am today (not that I’m some titan of industry or anything but you get the point). I find the older I get to find myself more drawn to the Theotokos than when I was younger for that matter (perhaps because I lost my mother at a young age). Anyway, the Church is the Bride of Christ, it’s wisdom –and all of its strengths for that matter–derives from a sagacity that can only come from a feminine perspective.

                  • Estonian Szlovak says

                    At least most Greek parishes serve Orthros before the liturgy. Among the Serbs, it’s rare to see that service outside of the Paschal Matins and the 12 Gospel Matins on Holy Thursday evening.

                • Mr. Bauman? Sit down, and shut up? My betters? Sorry you feel that.

              • Bob the Advocate

                Your posts here and there are now under attack for your saying about Antiochians being hippie little house on the prarie people.

                However extremely rude and insulting, your comment was also spot on and someone needs to tell these people the truth – and it needs to be blunt so people can wake up out of that cultish fashion fog

                Going to Antiochian Church feels a lot like going to an M. Knight Shyamalan movie and all the villagers give me the willies

                I’d never pick on someones personal fashion sense or taste. If, for example, I saw a goth kid in an OCA church, I would think nothing of it. Totally great – who cares?

                If, however, it seemed that all converts to the OCA mysteriously turned Goth at some point, this would be alarming and troublesome

                These people should check their motives for calling you a non-Orthodox ignorant person. I can see you are actually quite well familiar with the issues and culture, conversely.

                In short, you said something out loud you aren’t supposed to say – the emporer has no clothes kind of thing

                • Billy,

                  Thanks for the heads up, I missed that one, in that I might have offended more than a few here. I still stand by my comments, not because I wanna be right or piss anyone off, but to offer ideas to improve Orthodoxy. After all I am Orthodox…

                  We need to look outside the box. There never seems to be outrage, on this site, in blaming the Greeks, for everything under the sun, wrong with Orthodoxy in America, yet criticize the Antiochian Church in their cultish dress code, and, yet again, POW! Yes the Greeks push the culture upon, and look down upon non Greeks, but how long would it take for a Antiochian convert to NOT be pressured, in the kindest way possible ways, after a couple of months, in said church. We all now the honest truth. Yes, of course, the sweet and kind ladies would explain the what and why, with the silly clothes. Again this is America not Afghanistan. I understand modesty, but hippy clothes and modern dresses can both be modest. Just ask our friends the mormons, and old school Greek ladies. BUT, and Excuse ME, this has been my point all along, WHAT HAS IT TO DO WITH OUR SALVATION! I thought bringing in, as many souls as possible into the fold, is what it’s all about. Just ask the Catholics, come as you are, we are not here to judge, but treat. SO, yes, in some small ways, that have nothing to do with salvation, we must modernize, not a lot, just on the silly stuff, and we all know what the silly stuff are, BUT like you say no one wants to tell the emperor he has no clothes, or literally, silly Little Home on the Prairie clothes.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Bob, I see your point. That is we have no compunction to criticize the GOA for this, that or the other so the Antiochians should be able to accept some criticism as well. (BTW, I have often criticized the late Met Philip Saliba. Often.)

                    And again, as far as your initial critique is concerned I didn’t see it as being particularly inflammatory. Let’s put it this way: it’s OK to criticize every jurisdiction for its excesses but the modest attire (even if it is “hippy-dippy” –my words) is not an excess.

                    Anyway, as I responded to Billy Jack, please see my posting for today. Let’s hope that this settles the matter once and for all. I’ve come to know some of these younger people and they are struggling to “be Orthodox” but since –like you and me they are not Cradle Orthodox–they are trying to go about it the best that they can.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  BJS, I gotta disagree with you about your characterization re how some women in Antiochian parishes dress. I missed it earlier (perhaps I misunderstood your description) but I feel that women should dress modestly.

                  It’s better for all people in the Church all things being equal. Of course men should dress modestly as well.

                  • George

                    Its not a modesty thing. Its a modern quasi – Slavic serf nerd fashion looking thing. It’s poser and totally convert Antiochian flower power.

                    Of course everyone should dress modestly and appropriately. However, modesty doesn’t dictate you dress like a granola that drives a buggy

                    Its just for some reason it translates weird in that juristiction – of which Bob the Advocate made comment concerning dress

                    I hear what Bob is saying and also I include both genders. Something’s just not right there.

                    I’ve had dialog with 2 Antiochian priests and I have a lot of respect for them. I wonder, though, because their congregations seem really weird. Like as if a lot of them came out of a pod

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      BJS, it’s possible that we’re talking past each other. I will say that when we started our mission, we had no idea that the younger families would do the home-school thing. Some (a very few) of the older people were put off by that perhaps for some of the reasons that you articulate. I myself was not home-schooled but government-schooled.

                      Anyway, we’ve gotten over it (not that it was ever a deal-breaker) but it was alien to the aging Boomer experience.

                      Anyway, please see my blog posting for today. I hope that I caused you or Bob no offense but please read it and then watch Faith Goldy’s take on this issue. And then, unless snake-handling is being practiced somewhere, let this be the last word on it.

                      I ask forgiveness from one and all.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Yeah, BJS, we had some of these “posers” come into our parish several years ago. They were punk rockers. I think the first to come in was a tattoo artist. They’d attend all the services and you’d see them cleaning up afterward, even though they had small children who were hungry and tired and wanted to go home. They went to festivals and distributed a zine called, “Death to the World,” that appealed to other “posers” who were looking for something more meaningful in their lives. They began running the Sunday school classes and offered to homeschool. When my son died, the women saw to it that each little kid in our parish wrote a note to me. Some of them were pictures of dinosaurs, some were scribbles with crayons and some were drawings of Christ in the tomb. Before long, our parish was bursting at the seams with “posers” and more than a few of them became deacons and then priests. The tattoo artist just this week. They still write notes to me and keep in touch, even though it’s been years since I attended that parish. – Yeah, it’s all been downhill since they arrived, with their goth look, tattoos and funny clothes . . .

                      Seriously, you should be so lucky to have people like this in your parish, BJS! They are more Godly than you or I could ever hope to be. Maybe, just maybe, you should pay less attention to what people wear and more attention to who they are and what they bring to the Church.

      • Sadly most of our GOA priests are company men. They have been beaten down and mistreated so much by abusive and lacking bishops that it is understandable, but still quite sad. God help us.

        • Constaninos says

          Dear Michael,
          “Fredo, you’re my brother and I love you, but don’t ever take sides against the family again. Ever!” Whoever knew there was a Greek Mafia- oops, sorry. I meant the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

          • George Michalopulos says

            “Fredo”! I love it! In the right-wing movement, there’s a group of people we call “Fredocons”. They’re basically nevertrumpers who talk a good game when it comes to conservative principles but when push comes to shove and they have the chance to actually do something, they blanch.

            It’s less cutting than “cuckservative” but you get the point. Two sides of the same coin.

      • Also Greatly Saddened says

        “The Holy Spirit is not – can not – be the author of division.”

        George, in my mind, this is also one of the prime arguments against the adoption of the Revised Julian Calendar (“New Calendar”) almost 100 years ago by some of the Orthodox churches worldwide. Despite its apparent greater astronomical accuracy, the New Calendar divided the Orthodox world. As we all know, the Church of Russia was not present at the EP discussions when the NC was adopted in the early 1920s (she was busy being martyred by the Communists).

        Yet some of the rest of the Orthodox world went ahead and adopted the NC anyway, despite the Church of Russia’s (and thereby about 70-75% of the world’s Orthodox population’s) absence, thereby “dividing” the church along calendar lines.

        We all know there was more to the story. The British offered the Greeks help against the Turks if the latter adopted the NC to make the Greeks more in line with the Anglicans (that British “help” never came, by the way). The early 1920s was around the time of the Asia Minor Catastrophe (“Μικρασιατική Καταστροφή”) when millions of Greeks died and were made refugees when they were kicked out of Asia Minor — so I understand if the Greeks were desperate for offers of help at the time.

        Regardless, the adoption of the NC cannot be considered “progress” or a “fruit of the Holy Spirit,” since it instituted such division in the church which persists to this day.

        Over most of the communist 20th century, much of the “free” Orthodox world did not pay attention to the old calendar churches, since virtually all of them were suffering under the communist yoke. However, now that the OC churches are free and resurgent, it is the NC churches in the secular West that seem to be in precipitous decline. It will be interesting to observe, but I predict that the OC will again become the accepted “standard” among Orthodox churches worldwide, until the Church comes together as a body to resolve the calendar issue once and for all. The NC churches will increasingly become associated with secularism and modernism.

        But no, the NC was definitely not a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Agreed. Totally agreed.

          • Agreed.

            • Agreed.

              Besides the many good reasons for all of Orthodoxy to be under the old calander

              I think the test would be this

              If a poll could be taken

              I believe that it would show a significant number of people under the new calendar that would totally support going back to the old calendar


              I bet there would be virtually no persons under the old calendar that would want to embrace the new calendar

              The right choice is obvious IMO

        • Constaninos says

          Dear Also Greatly Saddened,
          I think it would be cool to celebrate Christmas on January 7th. We’d have this holy day all to ourselves. No more commercialism of the Lord’s birth, no more “happy holidays,” just a holy celebration of our Lord’s nativity. It needs to get done.

        • Bob Wiley aka The Advocate says

          Not to be a smarty pants(notice no profanity), but how does old calendar or new calendar work in advancing our salvation, in anyway. How and why does any fruit come from either calendar. I understand the tradition of Pascha following the Jewish Passover, which observes the Julian calendar, but we should all know that Christmas is not the true date of Christ’s birth, in December or January, so again why would The Holy Spirit care which calendar to follow, and most importantly, what fruit comes from such silly debates.

          One other note, no one suffered more than The Russian Orthodox, during the Communist rule of Russia, for aprox. 70 years. Then again it was no cake walk for the Greek Orthodox under the Muslim sword either. That lasted aprox. 400 years! The Greeks new found freedom, was ripe for exploitation, as it was in desperate need, for new allies, and as such many mistakes were made. Regardless the change was made, when The Russian Orthodox Church was on life support, under Communist rule, and had no one to truly represent them freely. So because they were not there, they do not respect, or accept, the decision made without them. Regardless there or not, the change was made, should they not respect their brother bishops decisions,are we one Orthodox Church, or not. Should all of Orthodoxy been on hold, waiting until The Russian Church might reemerged, luckily they did, after the Soviet collapse, but see my point? Today is a new day, time to get with the times on these silly matters, and I don’t really care which calendar. We also need to get rid of the bishops crowns. I mean really, who are we trying to impress. We are no longer living in the middle ages. The world will not take us serious if we display our church, like a Royal Flush, Kings, Queens, and all the while we looking, and acting like jokers, fighting among ourselves. Meanwhile more souls go to the devil, and Islam spreads faster than any other religion.

          • Constaninos says

            Dear Bob,
            Many good points as usual. There are many compelling reasons to believe that our Lord was truly born on December 25th. Also, Bob, I would appreciate it if you would discount my comment on profanity. Who am I to judge the servant of the Lord? You are obviously a sincere, devout, highly intelligent, Orthodox Christian. And no- you don’t act like a smarty pants. You are a good man.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Constantino, I am also coming down on the side of late December as the actual birthday of our Lord and Saviour. The whole “pagan” association was crafted by Protestants such as Jacob Bronowski (sp?) in order to justify the rupture with the “pagan” Catholic Church.

              It’s a meme which entered the Christian culture and was repeated enough times to become “accepted”.

              • Honestly If I have to witness another glazed eyed stare from my non Orthodox friends, why I am not celebrating Easter on the same day as the majority of Christians, my potty mouth with go into high gear. So if I HAD TO, pick I prefer Christmas in December. I will admit I do enjoy saving all that money on discounted chocolate Easter bunnies, broken or not.

          • Alitheia1875 says

            But, but, but, the Nativity (the proper Orthodox name for the holiday) is celebrated in December by the Old Calendarists. It’s December 25th according to the patristic calendar. It is NOT celebrated on January 7th. The relationship of Eleftherios Venizelos and Meletios Metaxakis needs to be considered. Both Cretans. Good buddies. The secularist and one of the most divisive ecclesiastical personalities of modern times. Let’s not forget that Greece and the EP changed to the new calendar at the same time, and at the same time the GOA was organized and responsibility for America changed from Greece to the EP. And, yes, new calendarists do become old calendarists but not the other way around. The old calendarists in Greece are slowly uniting. And what the government of Greece, with the assistance of the new calendarist state church, did in the early 1920s was downright shameful.

          • Bob

            “We also need to get rid of the bishops crowns. I mean, who are we trying to impress. We are no longer living in the middle ages.”

            If I was a bishop, I would wear my crown without any reluctance

            My sermon preparation time each week would be a dream.

            Everybody would love attending divine liturgy me. I’d get everyone out of church quicker so we could all beat the Mormons to the waffle house

            For every homily, I would open up with, and at the same time conclude with:

            “The princess is in another castle”

            And then immediatly move on to the Eucharist

            • The Advocate says

              Billy, Did you break into your Parish Council President’s Ouzo cabinet?

              Second, always remember! Crowns are always free at Burger King, just in case your on a budget. Then again budgets do not exists in the GOA, so never mind!

              Finally, Mormons don’t shop, or eat out on Sundays. I also heard they don’t smoke or drink, unless you only bring one with you fishing. Then of course, your Ouzo is dust! Remember with Mormons, they are always in pairs for good reason!

              Sincerely, BOB, will change handle now, baby steps baby!

        • Gail Sheppard says


    • Gail Sheppard says

      TO BJS: Wow. Just wow.

  4. Rob Anders says

    Is it really that much different or controversial than some of the goings on in early councils that were later confirmed as ecumenical? I’m not sure that difficulties and harassment mean that good work isn’t getting done. I don’t think St. Nicholas punched Arius this time around did he?

    • Michael Bauman says

      No Arius punched St. Nicholas.

      • Michael Bauman says

        To be clear….At Crete Arius punched St. Nicholas, yet somehow no one was deposed. Hmmmm.

        • Estonian Szlovak says

          I understood that St. Nicholas slapped Arius in the face. The bishops did depose him for the time being until they could decide his case after the council. But several of them had a vision of Our Lord and the Theotokos restoring him to his office.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Yes, the punching at Crete was purely metaphorical yet real nonetheless.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Michael Baumann: “Yes, the punching at Crete was purely metaphorical yet real nonetheless.” Nothing metaphorical about it. St Nicholas sinned by slapping Arius in the face. He was deposed from being a bishop. Later, according to the Holy History, the Theotokos appeared in a dream and gave St Nicholas his omophorion back, restoring him to being a bishop. Nevertheless, those who resist the Gospel use St Nicholas’s SIN as a model for behavior against heretics and to confound pacifists.

              • Bishop Tikhon(Fitzgerald):”Later, according to HOLY HISTORY, the Theotokos appeared in a dream and gave St Nicholas his omophorion back, restoring him to being a bishop.”

                Two questions/points, Your Grace, Is Holy History different from history? A bishop has a dream, and all is reversed? I thought dreams are not to be believed, and usually come from demons, according to my priest, unless the same dream is dreamt three times, and then discussed with clergy, to properly evaluate said dream. HMMM. Sounds like some monkey business is going on here!

                “Nevertheless, those who resist the Gospel use St Nicholas’s SIN as model for behavior against heretics and to confound pacifists.”
                See what happens when one monkey, asks questions about the bananas up the stairs? POW! Or Gospel, WHAM! Or Holy Tradition, ZAP! Or lately, where did ALL the Money go, SHHHHHH! Then all we get are the three mystic and wise monkeys, eyes, mouth, and ears shut and covered!

                Note: To those without a funny bone, I am NOT calling bishops, monkeys, regardless if they, at times act like , The five monkeys, and banana up the stairs experiment, or even the three mystic and wise monkeys,

                • Primates [monkey pun] 🙂

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Your Grace, I was going to say something about this post, as it is beyond disrespectful. I haven’t because I was honestly looking forward to YOUR reply. Your posts are much more entertaining than mine.

                  No one should talk to a bishop this way. It’s not so much the content, which is forgettable, but the buddy-buddy, familiar way he approaches you that makes my skin crawl. If the guy were truly Orthodox, he would know better.

                  Bob imagines himself as some sort of modern-day Sadducee who can come up with questions that will flummox the Church. He also imagines himself as funny! He should at least author his own material. As you may recall, that “monkey business” with the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” was the brainchild of Heracleides, a cartoonist, whose link was displayed on George’s website years ago. It’s been done.

                • One thing to remember regarding monkeys and others of their ilk, a group of baboons is called a Congress. Another interesting group to consider would be crows who are called a murder.

              • I was slapped in the face once by a parish council president

                I hadn’t even talked any trash

                I merely affirmed in a brief yet matter of fact way that I was not going to volunteer for the Greek festival (I had received multiple calls and emails begging me. I simply did not respond to them).

                I was sitting in the fellowship hall, was approached, declined and whack!!

                True story

                They take them feta fests seriously

                • George Michalopulos says

                  “Feta fests”! I LOVE it! We do have to get together someday to talk.

                  BTW, was your PC president an Archon? Just curious.

                  • George

                    Not to my knowledge

                    It was a lady president. I’m under the assumption that archons are men only (?) but I’m just learning of their existence about the last 6 months or so

                    I just sat there and did nothing. I didn’t even yell at her because we all know loud noises give aspiring lady presidents seizures for some reason.

                    In fact, it may have been your web site that first made me aware of these people

                    I’ve always just figured that the church had a lot of wealthy contributers here and there – I never knew about all this

                    So I may have been totally surrounded by archons and never knew it. No one ever mentioned it since I started attending a GOA church quite a while ago

                    I’m certainly not one. I’m broke as a joke

              • Michael Bauman says

                Your Grace and others. Just to try once more to clarify my statement.
                1. St. Nicholas did slap/punch Arius at Nicea and was briefly deposed for that sin
                2. What I was trying to say was that Crete was a counter punch. Arius hitting back in a metaphorical sense.
                3. No one was deposed for that even deeper sin.

                I apologize for the confusion my remark created. I was not careful enough in my words. Forgive me.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Bishop Tikhon, thank you for pointing this out. What St. Nicholas did to Arius by slapping or punching him was a sin. St. Nicholas wasn’t justified to do this, but rather he was later forgiven.

            • Metaphorically speaking

              I personally think if St. Nicholas had attended the council in Crete, he would have gone full on fist of fury

              Metaphorically speaking

  5. Speaking of which, for those who haven’t seen this latest vomit: https://publicorthodoxy.org/2018/01/09/women-for-the-church/

    • Ah yes….the ever popular “Public Heterodoxy.”

      Everybody…..please go here and sign this statement:


      • Estonian Szlovak says

        Clever touch, mixing in pictures of Archbishop Iakovos marching with Martin Luther King, for Black Civil Rights. So, if you don’t favor Women Clergy, you must be a Kluxer who wants to hurt little black children. Man, can somebody give Deacon Nicholas Denysenko the Josef Goebbels Award for distorting the truth?
        Can help but wonder, is he related to Filaret Denysenko, Ukraine’s “patriarch”? Denysenko, the Soviet bishop, who never spoke up for Ukraine, nor even spoke Ukrainian until he was passed up for Patriarch of Moscow.Then, he suddenly discovered he was Ukrainian.
        George, if the bishops were addressing these issues in a straight forward manner, your blog might not be needed.

        • Estonian Szlovak says

          Once again, I tried to delete, but my post went through anyways. I believe I falsely accused Deacon Denysenko and he didn’t write the post that was linked. The picture with Archbishop Iakovos was on someone else’s post.I admit I’m technologically challenged.
          However, I see the evidence that many of those who oppose the voice of us traditionalists do see us as fascists, racists, and bigots in general .

          • George Michalopulos says

            ES, sorry, I let it slip. Please forgive me. For what it’s worth, I thought it was a worthy response and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

            • Estonian Szlovak says

              Let the record show it was one Aristotle Papanicolau who posted the picture in a response to Deacon Denysenko’s article and that Archbishop Iakovos is shown with two priests and one or two small black children. MLK is not in the picture at all.

  6. Helitheus Vlacus, Bishop of Naupacus, has written an anti-science diatribe “Orthodox Psychotherapy” which follows and amplifies the long soviet tradition of manipulating psychiatry for political ends.

    • Wow! You have no idea what you’re talking about!

    • Michael Bauman says

      Lakis, I have read that book, “Orthodox Psychotherapy” and while I did not find it particularly enlightening, I would say that your description is off the mark. Rather, I found that he was trying to propagate a traditional approach to wholeness and healing that goes beyond what most western psychotherapy and anthropological models can offer. Nevertheless, he has long been somewhat controversial because of his manner and approach.

    • Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos is a genuine conveyor of Orthodox Patristic Theology! Please read his book about Elder Sophrony of Essex, I Know a Man in Christ….

      My own God-bearing Father, Isaac the Syrian, writes to not receive the teaching of a philosopher on the subject of hesychasm. —St Gregory Palamas

  7. Patriarchate Meletios Metaxakis (Freemason) 1923, “Pan-Orthodox” Congress rent the fabric of the body a long-time ago , yet these phony EP “councils” continue. Rob , you are either naive or worse.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      Metaxakis reposed when he was patriarch of Alexandria. (He got around alot!) He was lying in state in the cathedral when in the middle of the night a group of masons appeared, all decked out in their badges, aprons, necklaces, etrc., and did a Masonic service.

  8. Fr. David Hovik says

    The fact that the meeting in Crete did NOT address the Calendar issue was the first and biggest clue that this was phony from the beginning. The Calendar is the single biggest issue dividing the Church, in any practical sense. I am on the NC and virtually every NC priest I speak to about this would gladly return to the OC in a heartbeat. Why? Because we all recognize how much the failure of common celebration-dates divides the Church. On another note: I highly recommend Orthodox Psychotherapy and its sequel: Spiritual Medicine. Complicated topics in fairly simple terms.

  9. Crete was indeed a Robber Council. Recognizing non-Orthodox confessions as “churches” in an official doctrinal statement of the Church is a no-no. “One, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”

    And there were other problems as well, on other issues. And the way it was prepared and conducted was a disgrace as the witness of a number of coerced and emotionally brutalized participants demonstrates.

    I suppose we should be grateful that we are back to theological and ecclesiastical hard ball. And I would encourage the traditionalist Orthodox to take note of the turn of events so we can brace ourselves for what will not be an amicable divorce from the modernists.

    Which again brings us to lines being drawn. For me, those who maintain the Church (Julian) Calendar, reject pews, encourage women to cover their heads, and separate the genders in worship (the last point being the least consequential) usually also maintain a solidly Orthodox phronema (worldview) at odds with modernism, modern American culture and the Prince of this World.

    That was the pattern of Orthodoxy for 19 centuries and departing from it to mimic the heterodox was a serious mistake. A mistake of such proportions that it gradually militated toward the travesty of the Cretan Robber Council.

    Met. Phillaret of thrice blessed memory detailed the dangerous path some would undertake in his Sorrowful Epistles over a generation ago:


    It would be wise for those in the Church of Antioch and in the more conservative enclaves of the OCA to prepare for an inevitable separation from the goats, sooner rather than later.

    This is mostly psychological, recognizing all feminism, LGBT, ecumenical and inter-religious theological dialogue as beyond the pale of Orthodox Christianity.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Misha, my problem as a conservative and traditionalist is not what Crete said about the other Christian confessions. I’m beyond that. What bothers me about Crete is the papalist agenda behind it and the arrogant way in which the entire event was propagandized by Dn Chryssavgis. He veered into Baghdad Bob territory, proclaiming that all was well even though four Churches did not attend and some of those that did attend were doing so only under duress. I despise Happy Talk and it’s a disgrace for any cleric to engage in it, especially when it’s glaringly obvious that the Gospel is not being proclaimed.

      • George,

        What they said about “churches” underlies everything else that they do.

        They have lost faith. The Faith.

        They no longer believe in the Orthodox Faith. It is called apostasy. Chryssavgis’ Baghdad Bob performance was the performance of someone who believes in nothing other than a material system of which he is a constituent part. Not interacting with the tradition, but rather pontificating against it, is the earmark of faithlessness.

        They are obviously by their statements Secular Humanists who use Orthodoxy as a vehicle for empowerment of the omogenia and progressive values. They have gutted Orthodox doctrine and ecclessiology to this end. They may use some Orthodox terminology, but they do not mean the same thing as traditional Orthodox do.

        The same thing happened to the Anglicans and some other Protestant sects. Now it has come to the Church to metastacize.

        We should decline the invitation. Doing so, however, means that we will not be able to simply turn a blind eye to such wickedness, or to be content to criticize it as an inter-familial dispute.

        This precise circumstance is what excommunication and anathema are designed to address. And those in the OCA and Antioch who do not wish to go down this road would do well to re-embrace the Church Calendar as a very sound, constructive gesture. It may be time for traditionally minded laity and clergy in the New Calendar jurisdictions to internally push for a return to the Church Calendar.

        Much like women’s head-covering, keeping the Church Calendar is a clear indication of acceptance, embrace and rejoicing in Sacred Tradition. This is so not because numbers are of such great importance. It is so because the Church’s typikon of feasts and fasts was premised on the Julian Calendar and there has never been a serious effort to reorganize the whole scheme on the Gregorian Calendar.

        At the end of the day, maintaining the “New Julian” calendar betrays a contempt for the system of worship prescribed by the Holy Fathers of the Church. This is of course compatible with the “Pan-heresy of ecumenism” since all such exclusivist matters are to be swept under the rug, there being truth in all the “churches”.

        “Let’s just decide what to do without respect to Sacred Tradition and upon our own personal authority as clerics and laity.”

        That is the message of Ecumenism, New Calendarism and pseudo-Orthodox Modernism.

        The bad news is that the Pope and the Liberal Protestants are Secular Humanists who have no faith in God but rather in the ideology of Progressive Liberalism. They are not Christians in any substantive meaning of the term other than paying lip service with the word “Christ”.

        There are some in the more traditional bastions of Catholicism who might be saved if they forego their papism and return to a conciliar mindset and Orthodoxy. Just as there are many in the conservative Protestant confessions who might be saved if they forego their personal, individualist papism (sola scriptura) and return to the conciliar mindset of the Fathers.

      • Alitheia1875 says

        Merely changing calendars will mean nothing. The issue is the abandonment of many of the traditions (small t) and the re-interpretation of Tradition to fit the ideas of “world Orthodoxy” (there is no such thing, it’s really a Latin frame of mind approach to “uniting” the Orthodox). An example of this was a photo recently shown on the internet of Metropolitan Elpidoforos Lambrianidis (?sp) with a Roman Catholic cardinal in the altar of the chapel at Halki seminary. The cardinal is kissing the altar table and the metropolitan is smiling. Ecumenism is totally foreign to Orthodox Tradition and ecclesiology because you cannot unite that which has never been divided, unless you believe that Grace does exist in other traditions. But, hey, what’s the problem of uniting with traditions that have homosexuals in relationships as priests and women as priests and bishops. Nothing stays and everything goes.

  10. The lack of transparency that spewed out from the Cretan Robber Council was astounding!
    Here are three of my favorites from Archdeacon Chryssavgis (advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarchate):

    “No one has precluded revisions” [to the documents].
    “No one has pre-determined decisions.”
    “It is a great council, a pan-Orthodox council whose decisions are binding for the Orthodox Church.”

    • Constaninos says

      Dear Mikail,
      It’s strange that the Council of Florence was not binding on everyone. If it were, we would all be Catholics now. Wouldn’t St. Mark of Ephesus be in opposition to the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Crete Council?

      • Indeed……we are in need of another St Mark of Ephesus! Perhaps it will be Metropolitan Hierotheos of Vlachos…….or Fr. Theodoros Zisis………or Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus?

        St Mark of Ephesus pray for us!

        • Yes !

        • Please note, as I have posted before, St Mark of Ephesus referred to the Catholic Church as the Western Church. Likewise, St Photios refered to the Catholic Church as the Western Church during the schism while he was patriarch. Were these Saints wrong or just out of line with some of the thinking of posters on this blog? Church history is messy.

          • Both were also clear that Rome had veered into heresy and separated itself from the Church. Neither is a putative Great and Holy Synod issuing statements about the faith.

            The differences between Rome and Orthodoxy during the life of St. Photios and St. Mark of Ephesus were not so stark as the present day, but they were certainly significant in that the Dual Procession of the Holy Spirit asserted in the filioque is flat out heresy, as are any number of other contemporary Roman doctrines. But arguing the actual issue is futile when it comes to Rome. They simply are not interested in the notion of objective Truth. With them, it’s all about power.

            The issue for Rome was not, and is not, whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone in Eternity. The issue for Rome is who gets to decide the question.

  11. George

    “He has called ALL to unity”

    This means you too

    So get on board, you fundie

    This unity is mandatory. So is your obedience to whatever the council proclaimed

    In order for this unity to be succesful, we need you to conform to these new proclamations

    Therefore, really

    “He has called all to conformity”

    Is what is being said

    So conform already

    After all, having a Roman pope around is kinda neat

  12. Joseph Lipper says

    There were a lot of good Roman popes. Here’s a link to a very long list of the ones who are recognized as saints in the Orthodox Church:


    Having a holy relic of any these popes would be a great blessing.