Will There Be No Repentance?

Graphic and Title of Post by Monomakhos

After all the mistakes our bishops made, isn’t repentance in order?  Those who told the truth were slandered to the point of being accused of murder.  Why is it so difficult for them, now that the truth is known, to say, “I’m sorry,” when we are ready to forgive?

Sent to us by one of our contributors  . . .

Will There be Repentance?

In many places across the world, many places in the USA and Canada, masks and vaccine mandates are quickly receding. We are now entering our third year of restrictions due to the Covid-19 scare with many who have been very sick, died, mildly sick, or are not sick at all from this virus. Many have lost business—generational to new; many have lost family and friends to suicides, drug or alcohol addiction, despair, fear; many have turned to our earthly rulers seeking political or societal reforms. Many have turned to God and many have turned away.  These are only a few of the results from the past two years.

The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple marks the fortieth day after our God was born as a Man. His Incarnation has been the greatest event in the history of the world-changing it forever. The God-Man Jesus Christ. This Feast, as we know it, was celebrated from the beginning but its celebration as a Great Feast began in 544 under the Emperor and Saint, Justinian. At his time was an epidemic in Constantinople where five thousand or more died each day. Concurrently, there was a terrible earthquake in Antioch. Seeing man’s powerlessness against such dramatic events, the Emperor and  Patriarch together called for there to be a time of prayer and fasting throughout the whole empire. On the day of The Meeting of the Lord, across the empire processions of the Cross and Icons were made in cities, towns, and villages beseeching the Lord’s Mercy. God heard the voices of His faithful and immediately both the epidemic and earthquakes ceased.

1478 years have now passed since this occurred. This great miracle, as well as a multitude of others similar throughout history, have shown us that “there is nothing new under the sun.” How were we supposed to address this as a Church? There exist many opinions yet none of the ways in which we approached this pandemic were the ways in which the Church has chosen over Her two millennia history. Rather than invite all to the Hospital, Her doors were shut. For all but a tiny minority, all of the Mysteries of the Church were denied—The Divine Services, Baptisms, Chrismations, Holy Communion, Confessions, Weddings, Ordinations, Unction, Funerals, Processions with the Cross, Icons, and Relics. “The waters saw Thee and were afraid.” The Church became water and hid from Its fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom) and hid from a disease. “Jordan turned back.” We turned back, not in repentance, but we turned back to our fallen nature of fear and self-preservation. We put our trust in princes (science) and sons of men (medicine) rather than in the Living God.

When many of the churches were opened to the faithful, other restrictions were instituted: limited numbers of the faithful able to attend (no visitors), masks, distancing, disinfecting the Communion spoon, etc. In some places, these restrictions still exist. As an extreme example, many churches in Canada had required any who enter to first have a vaccine passport. No vaccine, no Holy Communion. This was with the express blessing of Bishops and Metropolitans. No matter where one stands on the ethics or morality of the current vaccines, this requiring of a medical passport certifying that one has received multiple injections to enter God’s Church is inexcusable. Yet this is but one of hundreds of examples showing that we as a Church have forgotten God.

Now, after these past two years, as the many restrictions are being lifted, things are starting to shift back to the normalcy that we experienced prior to 2020. Many are rejoicing this change while many are still fearful of the consequences of such. Regardless of whether the mandates are lifted swiftly or remain to some extent, what we have not seen is any change of heart from any of the Church’s hierarchy. Many clergy who have spoken out have been censured or disciplined. If you are not aware of such, please know that it has happened across every diocese the world over, North America included.

The parable of the Prodigal Son paints a picture of our leaving our Father’s house, living a life of prodigality, coming to our senses, and finding our way back through a change of heart and repentance. What is found at the end is a Father, Who when He sees His child, runs out to meet him with open arms and celebrates the return of one who was dead but is now alive. To put this into today’s situation, let us replace the son with the bishops and priests who have for the life of their ministry, labored in a labor of love, mercy, compassion, and peace. When faced with the temptation of a pandemic, they left their Father’s house. They (the clergy) then spent their inheritance (the Gifts of God—His Mysteries and Grace) on directives and hiding away on their own, forgetting that they are called to higher things. They continued to engage in things of this world and followed those things that no longer have a relation to God or his people (the pigs) and rolled around in their slop, and fed on the same slop as the pigs (scientists, governmental edicts, medicines of mortality). In this parable of the Prodigal Son, the end is not his “coming to himself”. This is a most important step. First, one must stop sinning. This is the beginning of repentance. It is not the repentance itself. We are called to stop, turn away from our sins, ask forgiveness, and make our vow to God to never return to our former delusion.

As this is being written, mandates are being rolled back and things are returning to normal. At the same time, the world itself is facing new challenges. Wars and rumors of war fill the sleepless news-cycle. Other emerging catastrophes capture our attention and we lie rapt in what the next day‘s events are to be. The pandemic and its global, life-changing events are quickly replaced by the next new object of fear and distraction. With the latest object of our attention, the world is moving on from the disastrous effects the mandated life changes wrought on our society in general, and our Church in particular.

Stopping the mandates was not the doing of the hierarchy or any clergy. The world is “coming to itself” but the return and repentance is still a long way off. As is the case with un-repented sins—they simply remain un-repented sins. Perhaps they are forgotten in the minds of those who have moved on but the sin remains.

Returning to the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Church—the Body of Christ—stand as the person of the Father in the parable. We hope, we have been praying, and we desire nothing greater than for the leaders of our Church to fall down on their knees and seek true repentance and forgiveness. This is not a demand that the Father demanded of His son but a hope and prayer. When He saw his son’s brokenness, his willingness to labor as one of His hired servants, the Father rejoiced, ran out to meet him with open arms, put a ring on his finger, a fine coat, and a feast. We are praying for this miracle in our Church. We, like God Himself, desire not the death of a sinner, but that he may turn from his wickedness and live! We are all ready to forgive—we desire nothing more than the deep and profound repentance of our clergy and hierarchs who have forgotten their true calling as shepherds and protectors of their flocks. Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!


  1. Repentance implies faith rather than the “loyalty” of company men. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    • This might take a generation. The current one might not see it, or be able to believe it. How the world situation has evolved, and how God has allowed it, is a mystery. So much is revealed now that was not before and yet there is so much disinformation, you need to understand to see at all. And when so many don’t what you read is untethered to reality.

      • Yes, one must bear in mind that though the Church is the “pillar and ground of truth”, as a practical matter it is also a human institution. As such, the leadership in any given generation might be rotten to the core, and not just in one place. Consider the episcopate at the time of St. Athanasios. Again, we see a similar sight during this age of apostasy. It will take a generation or more to work out, if we have that long. Personally, I am looking forward to the Second Coming, sooner rather than later, to set things aright.

        Until then, we have the written witness of Holy Tradition as it has been transmitted through the ages. And we have clergy who retain grace from which to receive the mysteries, regardless of their moral condition.

  2. Thank you Gail I have been wondering this ! The problem when we don’t repent either individually or as a church is that we give “rights” to the devil and it’s harder to do the right thing when we’re tempted again. Unfortunately, unless we repent as a church we have established a blasphemous precedent that will be repeated

  3. More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. Even today, we are walking in, standing on, and surrounded by answers to prayers prayed in the past by us and others.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    Maybe the Church needs more prayers from us.
    Meanwhile, shaming people rarely leads to a change of heart.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Lina, I’ve struggled with how to answer you so you will understand that calling someone to repentance is not “shaming.” Perhaps the simplest explanation is the best: repentance is a necessary part of healing. It is part of the Church’s teaching. Many, many people were hurt by their words and their deeds.

      • Gail,
        Matthew 18:15-17 ESV
        “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

        Sorry, but to me that letter was meant to shame the guilty into repenting.
        I am not saying that they didn’t make some wrong decisions. Many people did because we were not accustomed to living in a totalitarian state. Fear reigned from many angles.

        However, Jesus taught us to have mercy on others, and that our sins would not be forgiven if we do not forgive others. Every time in the liturgy that we ask God to grant us forgiveness, we must realize that we too must have mercy on those who do us wrong. Very simple, if we want mercy for ourselves, we must be merciful to others.

        Easier said than done sometimes, but that is the way He works. Jesus asked his father to forgive those who crucified him as he hung on a cross. Jesus said to bless your enemies.

        Jesus said to “follow me.” Do it my way.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          You don’t sound “sorry.” You sound indignant and very sure of yourself even though you missed some important facts along the way like the second sentence of the post.

          • Aren’t we all called to bear the shame of repentance? Shame is necessary. The leaders who did these things should be ashamed. And preaching and exhortation are meant to cultivate a productive shame in the hearers. St. Peter shamed the Jews by telling them they had crucified the Lord of glory. But that shame led them to ask “what then should we do?”

            • Gail Sheppard says

              My problem is with the word “shame.” Repentance shouldn’t be looked at that way. It is a type of healing both for one’s self and for the party that was hurt. – I also don’t like the word “shame” because it puts all the emphasis on the breach and not the healing and forgiveness.

              In the case of our bishops, I agree with you. They may have moved on even to the extent of removing their more offensive remarks, but many are not over it. They let a group of theologians recommend the deadly “vaccines” that are only getting started.

              Recommending people talk with the doctors was not the solution because doctors were told to recommend them. There were penalties if they didn’t. Other doctors had no idea what was going on. They weren’t in a position to recommend anything.

              But some of us did the work and brought hard, core facts to the fore. This took an astounding amount of research than what their theologians did if any. But they ignored it even though it was becoming clear that these “vaccines” KILL people and those who managed to skirt an immediate adverse event are not out of the woods yet because of the long-term consequences of ADE.

              So looking at the research they had available to them was just not worth the effort. PEOPLE DIED because of their recommendations and worse, people ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO DIE. Particularly those in the prime of life.

              How difficult would it have been for a bishop to ask a physician, “I’m concerned about what I’m reading? Could any of this be true? Please talk to the laity sounding the alarm to ascertain the validity of their statements before we make a recommendation.”

              How many lives would that have saved? Perhaps even their own.

              It would be nice to hear from them. None of us get paid for what we do. It wasn’t easy to get to the bottom of all this. If it were, the one or two doctors whose advice they solicited would have been better able to advise them. But again, doctors would be the last to know or suspect they would circulate stuff that is harmful to the general population ON PURPOSE.

              It would also be nice to hear why they felt they needed to weigh in at all in the sense that the laity is usually in charge of their own health. Why couldn’t the Church have remained neutral?

        • Great comment.

        • Jesus called out a heck of a lot of religious leaders for their behavior. Gail is doing it His way. Thanks, Gail.

        • Antiochene Son says

          For the laity, shaming the hierarchy is one of the only tools we have to wake them from their slumber. Shame works very well for those who are spiritually attuned. It only hardens those who are hard anyway.

  4. A deacon at my parish distributed this survey for the faithful in America to answer. I suggest you make your voice heard:


  5. PS the survey was written by Alexei Krindatch, who runs this site: https://www.orthodoxreality.org/

    I realized afterwards that that was not clear from the link I provided.
    About 400 clergy responded to the clergy COVID survey he created, so I trust that this survey for the faithful will also yield meaningful data.

    • I took this a couple of weeks ago, really interested to see the results when they come out. Curious what it will show among parish/jurisdictional lines. The previous results that Alexi (I believe it was him) had showed that the GOA was hemorrhaging members and had lost over 106K members in 10 years, with 20% before the pandemic had ramped all the way up.

      Covid has really been a game of “have and have not.” Parishes that have shrank have really shrunk & parishes that have grown have really grown. My old Antiochian parish currently has 30 catechumens, and there are other parishes that have almost twice that.

  6. Blessed Holy Week to everyone. We should be ramping up prayers this week for Patriarch Bartholomew that he does not cause even further scandal with his holding the Holy Chrism hostage. Hopefully the conflict in Ukraine will prevent the OCU from traveling to Istanbul.

  7. I think what we will see in the future there will be more ecumenical attempts to align Orthodoxy in US with moderna trends.
    I am looking at the Paschal Massage by Metropolitan Tikhon from OCA and the icon there is not common in Orthodoxy, this is more RC understanding and representation of the Easter.
    The angel(s) appearing to the myrrh-bearing women beside the empty tomb is what is common in the Church but not this one.
    Also, for some weird reason, the massage was given on RC Good Friday. As it was also aimed for sending greetings for RC and Protestant Easter celebration. I have no problem in greetings to other so called churches by Orthodox Bishops but that should have been done separately, as we don’t celebrate the same thing and we celebrate Pascha a week later.
    This probably follows the trend in Phanar to have a huge joint celebration in 2025 when is same day Pascha and use this for joint anniversary celebration of First Council of Nicaea (325). Also there are attempts from Istanbul to align Pascha calendars with the RC and Protestants.

  8. George Someone Else says

    In my opinion, this letter calling for them to repent is absolutely needed and justified. What has been promoted and allowed by certain bishops, priests and laity is absolutely tragic.

    I mean, how can you as a priest stand in front of the altar, and tell me that you believe in Jesus Christ, but then suggest that I not put my mouth on the spoon that is dipped in what you say you truly believe is His Body and Blood, because if I do, I might get sick from covid? Now, I’m no expert in our Holy Canons, but at the very least, isn’t this like grounds for being admonished as a heretic?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I get your point but only bishops can be accused of heresy and heresy has to do with doctrine, not hygiene.

      • Anyone can be accused of heresy, not just clergy.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Of course, Basil. You are again correct. There are many false teachers who either knowingly or unknowingly preach things that are not true. It is part of the job of the ruling bishop to address these things.

          But a heretic cause division. It is when bishops cause division with wrong teaching that it becomes a problem for the Church, which is why we have spiritual courts and councils.

          • George Michalopulos says

            In the final analysis, can we not say that heresy leads to schism? Hence why unnecessary speculation should be avoided at all costs?