Friday, November 20, 2020

Moscow and Cyprus not on the best of terms

Moscow, November 20 (Interfax) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is ceasing the liturgical commemoration of Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus for recognizing the new uncanonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church officially resolved during an online meeting on Friday that the liturgical commemoration of the name of Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus in diptychs, as well as prayer and Eucharistic communion with him, is no longer possible. The same concerns joint prayer services with those hierarchs of the Church of Cyprus who maintain communion with the Ukrainian schismatics. 

St. Vlad's updates their logo. Thoughts?


(SVOTS) - Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) has begun rolling out a new logo to accompany new branding for the Seminary.

“We are excited,” said SVOTS President Fr. Chad Hatfield. “There have been so many positive developments at St. Vladimir’s in recent years, and this new logo and branding reflect the encouraging direction our Seminary is moving in.”

The new logo features an artistic recreation of the cross and cupola of the Seminary’s Three Hierarchs Chapel and a new wordmark.  The cross and the image of the Chapel point not only to the Seminary’s Orthodox Christian confession and devotion to Christ, but also the centrality of chapel and prayer life in SVOTS’ training and formation of seminarians. The buildings/houses surrounding Three Hierarchs Chapel in the logo reflect the Seminary’s emphasis on residential life. Together, the Chapel and buildings also symbolize the Church at large, placed in the world within our neighborhoods and communities; the houses look toward the Church for guidance and leadership. The blue sky represents the protecting veil of the Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.

The logo is the centerpiece of SVOTS’ new branding—the first complete branding process the Seminary has undertaken in its history.

“It’s important St. Vladimir’s has a well-designed and intentional brand that guides how we communicate and present ourselves,” said SVOTS Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Werner. “Even the best professors and academic programs or the most interesting events can be missed if the look and voice surrounding everything isn’t making an impact on people.

“Little by little over the next few months, you’ll start to see and feel the Seminary’s new branding on everything we do. And there’s still more to be revealed.”

Along with the new logo, the Seminary’s branding introduces the use of new colors, primarily violet and “panagia” blue, and includes an updated “Values, Purpose, & Mission” statement.

The familiar St. Vladimir’s Seminary academic seal, which has featured prominently in Seminary communications since 1960 and was updated in 2013, will continue to be used together with the new logo.

Romanian Metropolia launches online educational program

(Mitropolia) - With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae, from NOVEMBER 2020, the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas will carry out an EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM for at least 12 months, aimed at religious education of believers and in-depth understanding of the truths of the faith.

This project is addressed to the faithful of the Metropolia and will take place exclusively in the virtual environment on EVERY THURSDAY of the MONTH, starting with 7.00 PM EDT (US East Coast time).

I. On the FIRST THURSDAY of each month, starting with December 3, 2020, Fr. Dr. John Downie from St. Michael's Parish in Southbridge MA will hold a BIBLE STUDY program in ENGLISH, starting with the book of Revelation. Father John Downie obtained his doctorate in theology at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology "Justinian Patriarch" in Bucharest, Department of Biblical Studies, doctoral thesis entitled "The relationship between Father and Son in the Gospel according to St. John" under the coordination of Fr. Prof. Dr. Constantin Coman. The general structure will be: a series of 12 months, with about 2 chapters per study, also ranging from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours as time. Is the book of Revelation relevant today? Is it possible to understand it? Can we know for whom it was written and why? What is the meaning of its mysterious symbols? These are some of the questions that will be answered if you participate. The Bible study lesson will take place on the ZOOM portal https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3570604649.

II. On the SECOND THURSDAY of each MONTH, between November 2020 and October 2021, several priests of our Metropolia will present CATECHESIS belonging to the catechetical program implemented by the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas called ”THE WAY”.

With the motto: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to My Father except through Me” (John 14:6), the catechetical project “The Way” is a Christian catechetical unit, an introductory course for parishes meant to initiate the audience with notions and aspects of life specific to the Orthodox faith. The Way is one of the names that designated the Christian faith in the New Testament.

Where does the Course come from? From the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, affiliated with the ancient University of Cambridge.

Who is the course for and what was it designed for? The course called The Way is addressed to all people aged between 18 and 80 who have completed high school, but also to all those interested in seeking the Truth that for us is Jesus Christ. The Way was written by 18 presenters of the catechetical course who, after a careful critical evaluation by all team members, was sent for approval to the episcopal supervisor, His Eminence Metropolitan Kalistos of Diokleia.

What does the course look like and how is it structured? The module consists of 12 sessions, being implemented with a 2-hour session.

The first catechism lesson, The Search for Faith will be on November 12, 2020. The complete program of all catechesis can be found here. The catechesis will take place on the ZOOM portal https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83232676956.

III. On the THIRD THURSDAY of the MONTH starting with November 19, 2020, at 7.00 pm EDT, Protosynghellos Ieremia Berbec, abbot of St. Demetrios the New Monastery of Middletown, NY, will hold a SPIRITUAL EVENING. Father Ieremia was installed on Saturday, October 24, 2020, abbot of St. Demetrios the New Monastery in Middletown, New York, by His Eminence Nicolae, the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of the Americas. The abbot holds a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Berkeley, California, where he studied from 2002 to 2007. The mathematics department of the institution is among the top 10 in the world. Father Ieremia was part of the community of Putna Monastery for 13 years. The arrival in Middletown, NY was made with the blessing of Father Archimandrite Melchisedek, the abbot of Putna Monastery, Archbishop Pimen of blessed memory, and HE Archbishop Calinic of Suceava and Radauti. The father was also a disciple of Father Arsenie Papacioc and has a degree in theology and recently a master degree from the "Dumitru Stăniloae" Faculty of Theology in Iași. The spiritual meeting will take place on the YOUTUBE portal below and will have two parts: a short introduction / presentation of a topic followed by a dialogue with questions and answers.

The title of the first series of themes is: "The fulfillment of the Law and the prophets - About Christ, from the prophets", with the following themes:

  • "If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me" (John 5:46).
  • "That all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me" (Luke 24:44).
  • Isaiah - The Evangelist of the Old Testament. "There shall come forth a rod from the root of Jesse" (Isaiah 11:1).
  • Isaiah - The Old Testament Evangelist. The Servant of the Lord - Ebed Yahweh;
  • "That the light may not be extinguished in Israel" (II Kings 21:17) - The messianism of the ancient rabbis;
  • The Messiah was to come until the fall of the Second Temple in 70 AD (Daniel 9: 24-27).
NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED! Access directly the YOUTUBE portal here

IV. On the FOURTH THURSDAY of each MONTH, starting with November 26, 2020, Fr. Ștefan Drăgoi from St. Mary's Parish in Norfolk, Virginia will present a BIBLE STUDY program in ROMANIAN LANGUAGE, starting from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. Depending on the importance and complexity of the topics of each chapter, the study will consider 3-6 chapters and will last 1h-1h½. There will be a question and answer session at the end of each meeting. The first lesson will be introductory, but the first three chapters will also be covered. Several sources will be used such as: New Orthodox Bible Study, Collection of Church Fathers and Writers, vol 23, Homilies on Matthew, Saint Theophilact of Bulgaria, Interpretation of the Holy Gospel of Matthew, BibleWorks, and other online sources. Father Ștefan Drăgoi obtained his bachelor's and master's degree in theology at the "Justinian Patriarch" Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest and, since September 2019, he has been a priest at St. Mary's Parish in Hamptons Roads / Norfolk, Virginia. Bible Study will be conducted on the ZOOM portal https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83232676956.

For any additional information please contact Father Daniel Ene, the coordinator of this project, by email at frdanielene@gmail.com.

Fr. Daniel Ene, 
Diocesan Secretary and Dean of New York, New England, and the Eastern USA    
Chaiman of the Education Commission of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas        

Serbian Patriarch reposes in the Lord

(SOC) - The Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch (Gavrilovic) reposed in the Lord in the Military Covid Hospital "Karaburma" in Belgrade, on Friday, November 20, 2020, at 7:07 AM.

All other details regarding the funeral of His Holiness the Patriarch will be announced soon. Eternal memory and the Kingdom of Heaven!

On the occasion of the repose of the Serbian Patriarch Irinej of blessed memory, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church held a meeting at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade on November 20, 2020 and made some decisions provided by the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church in such situations.

A decision was made that the Holy Synod of Bishops should take over the patriarchal responsibilities in accordance with Article 62 of the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and that the Holy Synod should be chaired by the Metropolitan of Dabar-Bosnia Hrisostom until the election of a new Serbian Patriarch.

The Holy Synod of Bishops appointed His Grace Jovan, Bishop of Sumadija, as administrator of the vacant Archdiocese of Belgrade-Karlovci,  in accordance with Article 70 of the Constitution of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The body of the Serbian Patriarch Irinej of blessed memory will be exhibited in the Cathedral of the Holy Archangel Michael in Belgrade during the Holy Liturgy on the feast day of the Cathedral, November 21, 2020, and then transferred to the Church of Saint Sava in Vracar district, Belgrade, where the faithful may have opportunity to make a homage to the blessed Patriarch.

The Holy Liturgy will be celebrated on Sunday, November 22, 2020, in the church of Saint Sava in Vracar, starting at 9 am. Immediately after the Holy Liturgy, the Funeral Rite will be served and the body of the Patriarch will be buried in the crypt of the church of Saint Sava.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Serbian Patriarch Irinej health update

(SOC) - In the morning of 19 November 2020 the general health condition of His  Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, has deteriorated as the consequence of COVID 19

The standing team of medical experts along with the physicians from the Russian Federation has examined His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and analysed the results of laboratory testing executed this morning and concluded that the morning health deterioration is the consequence of COVID 19 infection and that the general health condition of His Holiness is complex, but stable. The public shall be further informed of the health condition of His Holiness.

On behalf of the team of medical experts

Colonel Ivo Udovičić, Assistant Professor

Hospital Commander in Chief 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Funerals ok. Baptism not so much.

To get this straight: We can mark your death, but we'll deny you the promise of everlasting life. That seems fair. 


Nov 16, 2020 / 10:30 am MT (CNA) - Police halted a baptism in a Baptist church in London on Sunday, citing the country’s coronavirus restrictions that include bans on weddings and baptisms. The restrictions have been criticized by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales.

A pastor at The Angel Church in London’s Islington borough held a baptism with approximately 30 people in attendance, in violation of the country’s public health restrictions. Metropolitan police halted the baptism and stood guard outside the church to prevent anyone from entering, BBC News reported on Sunday.

After the baptism was stopped, Pastor Regan King reportedly agreed to hold an outdoor gathering. According to the Evening Standard, 15 people remained inside the church while another 15 people gathered outside to pray. The original planned event was a baptism and an in-person service, the Evening Standard reported.

The U.K. government implemented its second set of major, nationwide restrictions during the pandemic, closing pubs, restaurants, and “non-essential” businesses for four weeks due to a surge in virus cases.

Churches can be open only for funerals and for “individual prayer” but not “communal worship.”

The country’s first lockdown occurred in the spring, when churches were closed from March 23 until June 15.

Catholic bishops have sharply criticized the second set of restrictions, with Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool issuing an Oct. 31 statement that the closure of churches would cause “deep anguish.”

“Whilst we understand the many difficult decisions facing the government, we have not yet seen any evidence whatsoever that would make the banning of communal worship, with all its human costs, a productive part of combating the virus,” the bishops wrote.

Lay Catholics have also opposed the new restrictions as well, with the president of The Catholic Union, Sir Edward Leigh, calling the restrictions “a huge blow to Catholics across the country.”

More than 32,000 people have signed a petition to Parliament asking for “corporate worship and congregational singing” to be allowed in houses of worship.

Before the second lockdown, Cardinal Nichols told CNA that one of the worst consequences of the first lockdown was that people were “cruelly separated” from their loved ones who were sick.

He also predicted “changes” to the Church, one of them being Catholics having to adjust to watching Mass offered remotely.

“This sacramental life of the Church is corporal. It’s tangible. It’s in the substance of the sacrament and of the gathered body … I hope that this time, for many people, of Eucharistic fast gives us an additional, sharpened taste for the real Body and Blood of the Lord.”

Friday, November 6, 2020

Serbian patriarch has coronavirus

(SOC) - Within regular test procedures and after epidemiological assessment, His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej was tested for SARS CoV2 with PCR test. His Holiness tested positive, yet asymptomatic and generally feeling well. His Holiness has been admitted to COVID hospital in Belgrade. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Diocese of Alaska has episcopal administrator

(OCA) - On Tuesday, November 3, 2020, the Standing Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, met via teleconference under the presidency of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon.  In their meeting, the members of the Standing Synod considered the request that His Eminence Archbishop David of Sitka and Alaska made to His Beatitude to appoint an episcopal administrator for the Diocese of Alaska. His Eminence has made this request due to his serious health condition. With the concurrence of the Standing Synod, His Beatitude reiterated that His Eminence Archbishop David remains the ruling bishop of the Diocese of Alaska. Additionally, His Beatitude accepted the request of His Eminence Archbishop David and appointed His Grace Bishop Alexis of Bethesda as episcopal administrator of the Diocese of Alaska.

His Eminence Archbishop David’s condition remains critical. He is residing at his daughter’s home in Hanover, Pennsylvania, while he receives treatment for cancer. Faithful are invited to mail cards, care of his daughter:

Archbishop David
42 Arlene Drive
Hanover, PA 17331

His Beatitude and the members of the Standing Synod call upon the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America to remember His Eminence in their prayers. His Beatitude said, “Once again, I ask each of us to fervently pray that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician and Healer of our souls and bodies, grant His Eminence Archbishop David courage and consolation to endure his treatment with hope, and that the Mother of God inspire him to maintain his strong faith while bearing this cross.”


US episcopal assembly website gets facelift

(EA) - Metropolitan Gregory, Secretary of the Assembly of Bishops, commented, “the new website reflects the revitalized energy of the Bishops, who meet regularly to address the concerns and needs of the Orthodox faithful in the U.S. We look forward to engaging the clergy and laity through the internet, and most especially – when it is again safe to do so – in person.”

The launch signifies the culmination of a consultative process that included marketing, communications, IT and web experts, as well as theologians, lawyers, and graphic designers. The Assembly of Bishops extends its deep gratitude to all the volunteers who worked on the project, as well as the Department of Internet Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America for its continued support.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Met. Gregory of Nyssa on voting

St. Paisios of Mt. Athos informs voting

Mull Monastery on voting

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Orthodox priest shot in Lyon

Paris (Sydney Morning Herald) - An Orthodox priest was shot and injured on Saturday at a church in the French city of Lyon by an assailant who then fled, a police source said.

The priest was fired on twice (shot in the stomach and in intensive care right now) at around 4pm (2pm GMT) as he was closing the church, and was being treated on site for life-threatening injuries, the source said.

The incident came two days after a man shouting "Allahu Akbar!" (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in Nice, and two weeks after a schoolteacher in a Paris suburb was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen, apparently incensed by the teacher showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in class.

Ministers had warned that other Islamist militant attacks could take place. President Emmanuel Macron has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect sites such as places of worship and schools.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Cyprus fades from the living memory of the Russian Church

(ROC) - As the mass media have reported, Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus has mentioned Epifaniy Dumenko for the first time as ‘primate’ of the Ukrainian church, thus de facto recognising the schismatic structure ‘Orthodox Church of Ukriane’ that he heads. Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, speaks about a possible reaction of the Russian Orthodox Church to the recognition of the ‘OCU’ by the Church of Cyprus in his talk to RIA Novosti news agency.

 –  Your Eminence, how will the Russian Church react to the recognition of the Ukrainian schismatics by the Archbishop of Cyprus?

 –   We deeply regret to hear about this deplorable event. The decision will be made by the Holy Synod. However, I believe the Archbishop of Cyprus will be crossed out from the diptychs of the Russian Orthodox Church, that is to say. the liturgical mention of his name will be suspended until all the circumstances of this development are clear. It means the discontinuance of the Eucharistic communion with a particular person, not the Church of Cyprus as such. It will be important to understand whether he did it on his own or with the consent of the Synod. The Greek mass media write that he did it without the consent of the Synod.

–   Under what circumstances was this liturgical mention made?

 –   They write that the Archbishop, together with the Metropolitan of Pathos, were consecrating Bishop Pancratios of Arcinoe, who was elected by the Synod as Vicar Bishop of the Metropolis of Pathos. In attendance (but not serving) were some other hierarchs of the Church of Cyprus. Some of them left the church when they heard the name of the leader of the Ukrainian schismatics coming from the lips of the Archbishop.

–   How do you explain this decision made by the Archbishop?

–   It is no secret for anybody that pressure was exerted on him by the Patriarch of Constantinople who is very interested in seeing at least one more Church recognizing his lawless action. There was also pressure from the USA where there is an interest in weakening the Russian Church and setting off the Greek world against the Slavic world.

–   Could the recent visit of the Patriarch of Alexandria to Cyprus make an influence on the Archbishop of Cyprus? Indeed, he, too, has decided to make the liturgical mention of Epifaniy on his own, without any authorization by his Synod.

 –   It cannot be excluded.

–   The Archbishop of Cyprus made unfriendly statements about the Russian Church and the Patriarch of Moscow earlier as well. For instance, in one of the interviews he related this about his talk with Patriarch Kirill: ‘He wants to be the first. I said to him that he would never become the first. For the last seventeen centuries the Patriarch of Constantinople has been recognized as the first among all the Orthodox Primates. You should understand this’. How can you comment this?

 –   Can you imagine that such a talk did really take place? I was present at all the meetings of Patriarch Kirill and Archbishop Chrisostomos and he never said anything like this. Such a talk could take place only in the Archbishop’s imagination because, first, he would never say anything like this in the Patriarch of Moscow’s face, even if he thought so to himself; secondly, the Russian Church has never claimed primacy in the Orthodox world. We have an official document ‘Position of the Moscow Patriarchate on Primacy in the Universal Church’ adopted by the Holy Synod in 2013. It is written in it in black and white: that from the 11th century ‘up to the present time, the primacy of honour in the Orthodox Church on the universal level belongs to the Patriarch of Constantinople as the first among equal Primates of Local Orthodox Churches’.

–   What will be the consequences of this decision for the relationships between the Orthodox Churches of Russia and Cyprus?

 –   We will continue communion with all the hierarchs who do not recognize the personal decision of the Archbishop. The Russian people have always been close to the people of Cyprus; our pilgrims will continue coming to the holy places of those metropolises of the Church of Cyprus whose heads will remain in communion with the Russian Church.

But standing above all for us is the unity of our Church and the resolute preservation of the dogmatic teaching and canonical tradition of Holy Orthodoxy. The fact that particular hierarchs and even Primates of Churches violate canons is regrettable. However, we cannot and will not waive Orthodoxy and the canons. And we will steadfastly safeguard the unity of our Church.

Surprise! People not happy Cyprus recognized OCU

(ROC) - On October 24, 2020, Metropolitan Athanasius of Limassol, Metropolitan Nikephoros of Kykkos and Bishop Nicholas of Amathounta made a joint statement on the recognition of the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, calling him as Primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus to cancel immediately the anti-canonical decision to include the name of the ‘PCU’ head Epifaniy Dumenko in the diptych of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches. Below is the full text of the statement.

With great concern and profound sorrow we have learnt that today, Sunday, October 24, during the Divine Liturgy at the Monastery of Our Lady of Golden Pomegranate at which the episcopal consecration of the Very Rev. Bishop Pankratios of Arsinoe was celebrated, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus mentioned Epifaniy as ‘Primate of the Ukrainian Church’.

  1. This action of the Archbishop is a gross violation of the conciliar, collegial and democratic order of our Orthodox Church and of the way in which the Orthodox Church functions on the basis of this system.
  2. His Beatitude had posed this issue at the recent meeting of the Holy Synod (September 9, 2020) and it was agreed then to consider it at another meeting in order to listen to the opinions and stands of all the members of the Holy Synod and to adopt a conciliar decision on this matter.
  3. The recent promotion of Epifaniy by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople as ‘Primate of the Ukrainian Church’ has shaken the unity of the Orthodox Church and to this day, for reasons outside the scope of this document, he is recognized only by the Church of Greece and the Patriarchate of Alexandria. The rest of the Local Orthodox Churches have taken a negative position on this issue. (It is noteworthy that during the ‘consecration’ [apparently, this purports to be ‘enthronement’] of the above-mentioned Epifaniy, none of the representatives of Local Orthodox Church were present, however it may be understood).
  4. He who was proclaimed as ‘Primate’ of the Church of Ukraine by Patriarch Bartholomew has no canonical ordination whatsoever because he comes from schismatic groups of the Ukrainian Church. If His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch had really wished to observe the canonical order in granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine, he should have turned to canonical Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and, in addition, should have had the consent of the Moscow Patriarchate on this matter which concerns it, just as the consent of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches.
  5. The action of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to grant ‘autocephaly’ to the schismatic structures of the Ukrainian Church is an arbitrary, uncanonical and anti-church action since the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. As we have already stated above, it is an intervention in the jurisdiction of this Patriarchate. Because of this fact, the Russian Church in a counter action has justifiably suspended church communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as with the Churches of Greece and Alexandria. To which the EP will respond with its unique understanding of the lands of Ukraine and its connection to Russia.
  6. According to the holy canons and practice of our Church, the granting of autocephaly is thinkable and possible only subject to a preliminary approval by the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches. However, in this case, the Ecumenical Patriarch acted in this matter unilaterally and arbitrarily, contrary to what the holy canons and church Tradition say and in conflict with his own previous statements. Regrettably, this example has also been followed by the Primate of the Church of Cyprus ignoring his Holy Synod and disregarding it. I mean... no one follows this supposed rule.
  7. The decision of the Archbishop of Cyprus to mention Epifaniy as ‘Primate of the Ukrainian Church’ has made more complicated the already tense situation among Orthodox Church, augmenting the threat of schism facing the Universal Orthodoxy and recklessly bringing this atmosphere into the Church of Cyprus too.
  8. We call upon His Beatitude to cancel immediately his anti-canonical and invalid action and at the same time we ask all the fellow-bishops of the Church of Cyprus to demand together the convocation of an extraordinary session of our Holy Synod in order to consider this matter and to make an appropriate decision. Most hierarchs try to make as few waves as possible. So any rocking of the boat is rare for bishops. Even more rare is cancellation of an action after it has happened. The idea seems to be that he looks even more weak if he not only errs, but then has to make a U-turn as well. That's why most church websites simply delete uncomfortable histories instead of publicly retracting or apologizing for mistakes.
  9. Finally, we should underscore the ill-time nature of this decision of our Primate considering the crucial time in which we live with regard to our national problem as well as the threatening action undertaken by Turkey in her insatiable expansion threatening to diminish our people.

We state all the above confident in our rightfulness, aware of our hierarchal responsibility and the sacred duty to safeguard the canonical order of the Church in order to avoid the cardinal sin of schism since, according to St. John Chrysostom, ‘the sin of schism cannot be washed away even by the blood of a martyr’.