Friday, November 8, 2019

Africa turns towards OCU

(Orthodox Times) - Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria notified by letter the members of the Hierarchy of the Alexandrian Throne that he recognised the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The letter was sent today from Alexandria to all the Metropolitans and Bishops.

Patriarch Theodore noted that “after having discussed the issue at length and in private with all of you, on the basis of careful consideration and much prayer […] we decided to recognise the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

And also...

(Orthodox Times) - After the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, who first commemorated with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the name of the new Metropolitan of Kyiv, follows Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria who commemorated Metropolitan Epifaniy, thus recognizing the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The commemoration took place during the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in Cairo at the Temple of the Archangels in Dahir, where Egypt’s largest Arabic-speaking Orthodox community lives.

“From here in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, I would like to refer to a great event for our Church. The Patriarchate of Alexandria, the second in rank, after much prayer and consideration, in the presence of the Holy Hierarchs, in the presence of His Excellency Ambassador of Greece, I would like to officially announce that our Patriarchate included today the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine and His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifaniy.”

“I have served for so many years in the Church, and I know that from today, with the mercy of God, the solution to this great issue for our Church will be in sight. Unity, love, hope, will come,” the Patriarch of Alexandria pointed out, concluding that “through our struggles, our efforts, we will see Christ be in our midst.”

Afterwards, the Exarch of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Athens, Metropolitan Georgios of Guinea, read the official announcement signed by the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Theodore II.

The Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa had recently been in the spotlight, with stifling pressure being exerted on the part of the Russian Church.

Patriarch Theodore had a wait-and-see attitude avoiding taking a public position on the issue. However, both he and the people close to him had made it clear from the first moment that at the appropriate time the Patriarchate of Alexandria would make a move corresponding to its position and history, making clear, implicitly but necessarily, that the Patriarchate of Alexandria did not intend to succumb to the pressures.

Finally, as it turned out today, the Patriarch of Alexandria proceeded with this bold move which, based on what the Russian Church has done so far at the expense of Constantinople and Athens, will place him in the firing line of Russian retaliation.

Official announcement of Patriarchate of Alexandria

“In the past month, we took note of the willingness of the Holy brethren Hierarchs to recognise the Autocephaly Tomos granted by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch to the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine.

As is well known, our Holy Catholic Orthodox Church is governed under the synodical system, as inherited by the tradition and the Holy Ecumenical Councils. To this end, the presidents of the local church councils are the synthesis of its members.

Consequently, we, as a constituent and effective principle of the willingness of the Holy brethren Hierarchs, commemorated and included in the diptychs of the Catholic Orthodox Church, the Primate of Autocephalous Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, while wholeheartedly praying for peace and stability of our Orthodox Churches”.


  1. First Rome fell
    Then Constantinople
    Then Alexandria

    Will any of the Pentarchy remain?

    1. And, exactly who cares? Isolate them all on an island. Halki, perhaps? Nothing else of any use happens there. Confine them there for a year. Every patriarch. See how the Church runs without them. If there is no noticeable difference, keep them there indefinitely. I think The Turks can be trusted to be good custodians.

  2. Of course Alexandria went with the EP. It's the (age old) Greeks vs. Slavs. Heck, I would not at all be surprised if Antioch goes with the EP in the end. MP will have Serbs and all the other usual suspects. There is the division will sit until a *real* ecumenical council or the Second Coming, of which the latter is more likely.

    Those who have been bamboozled by MP english language propaganda (such as Wallace above) actually thought this was a "canonical" and theological struggle first millennium know, something important.

    Wallace, I would like to have a discussion with you about a wonderful opportunity around some beach front property in the Phoenix area...

    1. Jake,

      Since apparently you & the EP are among the only people who really "get" this issue, why don't you provide all of us amateur canon lawyers & MP-duped-lackeys with a rebuttal to Archbishop Anastasios' historical, canonical and, most importantly, theological criticisms of Patriarch Bartholomew's recent decisions regarding Ukraine.

      On a different note, I sadly agree that the age-old Greek vs. Non-Greek distinction is where we are seeing the fracture lines of the growing schism develop. According to Patriarch Bartholomew all ethnicities are equal, but Greeks are more equal. Ethnophyletism is undoubetedly real.

    2. Also Jake, here's a link the Orthodox Synaxis' article from today related to Alexandria & it's asking two fundamental questions:

      Perhaps you could enlighten us "simple linear thinkers" with the answers to these two simple questions?

    3. Why would I do that? It would be a vanity on the order of a human rights and common law rebuttal of Dred versus Scott. Slavery was (is) not a legal problem. Slavery was not "solved" in a courtroom, or on the level of logic and legal reasoning.

      Seriously Timmy really try to get this:

      The canons are downstream from ecclesia, and ecclesia is downstream from culture.

    4. Well Jake, of Bart runs into Rome's arms then enjoy your Pachamamas

    5. Jake, nice evasive maneuver.

      I agree that the canons are downstream, as you put it, of theology. The late Fr. George Florovsky wrote a great article describing this very eloquently, but his fundamental point is that the mutable canons of any given era are practical applications of immutable theology. In other words, the canons aren't mere rules, but applied theology.

      I'm aware that there are complicated real-life situations that can be exceptional & require thinking outside the box, which is where "economia" comes into play. However, in these cases granting an "exception" from a canon is a way of staying true to the theology the canon reflects.

      This brings us full circle to the theological underpinnings, so please enlighten us with the answers to these two question Orthodox Synaxis asked today as well as a theological rebuttal to Archbishop Anastasios.

    6. What part of no do you not understand? 😉

      I'm not going to waste your or my time arguing from the wrong premises which is exactly where this article starts. It starts with an unexamined cultural view of the MP (mostly), then proceeds to make logical and "canonical" courtroom arguments as if they are even relevant.

      This is children playing a child's game, the assauging their emotions/passions and pretending that they are accomplishing something (those kids over there are sciissmaticececessss) in God's reality and too/ for their fellow man. It's a very image of vanity. It does end on a truthful note though, the cultural divide between the Greeks and the slavss will continue for the foreseeable future as there is nothing in the culture of the ethno-national Church of the East that would suggest that it's ontology is in any in any way even questioning itself, let alone moving in some other direction.

      As Christians we are of course called to deal with reality and God as men, men. You can read articles like this for the rest of your life Timmy, and convince yourself that you are dealing with reality or even doing "theology" if you choose. I won't be joining you 😉

    7. Jake, you're starting to sound like a broken record:
      You make a bold assertion.
      Then you refuse to defend it & refuse to offer a refutation when someone challenges your position claiming that the truth of your transcendent (i.e. beyond logic & fact) conclusion is self-evident to anyone who isn't a "child".
      This tactic is a combination of stonewalling & circular-reasoning (& maybe magical-thinking too), and, ironically, it's rather juvenile.

      I suppose that in your view Archbishop Anastasios of Albania is also a fundamentalist who drinks the MP's Kool-Aid despite the fact that he's an ethnic Greek who has chastised the MP for breaking communion with the EP, but is nonetheless staunchly opposed to the EP's "regularization" of a group of excommunicated, defrocked, anathematized schismatics who have not shown any signs of repentance (some of whom continue to violently seize church buildings & beat clergy/parishioners of the canonical UOC & don't ever get called out or corrected by their OCU "bishops" or "primate").

      This issue is unarguably ultimately theological (which is Abp. Anastasios' point!) in that it has everything to do with ecclesiology, i.e., What is the Church?

      According to ancient Fathers like Sts. Ignatius of Antioch & Cyprian of Carthage the Church is the bishop (valid apostolic succession & valid apostolic faith) surrounded by his people celebrating the Eucharist & other Holy Mysteries with this shepherd+flock=church in communion with neighboring shepherds+flocks=churches. As you may know, it's commonly referred to as "eucharistic ecclesiology", and it is the patristic self-understanding of the ancient Church that was revitalized by the Greek Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon.

      If you disagree with this you're arguing with St. Ignatius, St. Cyprian & Archbishop Anastasios not me, and if so it is obvious that you're voting for the "new & improved Orthodoxy 2.0" that the Phanar is pushing.

      If Moscow or Belgrade or Jerusalem were redefining the nature of the Church in a similar manner I would be just as ardently opposed to it. The fact act the EP & the MP are involved is irrelevant; it is ecclesiological in nature & all this chatter about autocephaly is a red herring.

    8. Ask yourself this Timmy, why is it important for you to understand this 1000 year + cultural conflict/difference in simple terms such as Saints (I see St. Ignatius and St. Cyprian is on your side) vs. the "excommunicated, defrocked, anathematized sssschissmatticccessss"? why is it important to you, sitting behind your computer in NA? Is the real paradoxes and ambiguity of The Church with-a-captial-T troublesome to you, perhaps from your realization that you are a part of a tiny minority (in a sea of secularism, Protestantism, Rcism - all very non Church/culture of the East)? What is it about the ad hoc application of an anachronistic "canonical" order from a dead empire to a post-Empire world/culture/state/Church that has you so worried? Do you really believe in your heart that the MP's ad hoc anachronistic solution is somehow superior or "true" over the EP's ad hoc anachronistic solution? If so, is it really *this* hill that you will die on to save yourself, your family, and all that you love from the godless and "excommunicated, defrocked, anathematized sssschissmatticccessss"?!?! All this is what you see in the Gospel!!!???

      Do you *really* believe your own drama Timmy?

      Your right about one thing, the MP's canonical/cultural dominating solution of an "autonomous" Russian Church in the Ukraine is a "red herring"...

      I would discuss theology, Unam Sanctam, and the rest with you but for now your "theology", such as it is, is a mere handmaid (a whore really) to the false culture/ecclisiology which the MP propaganda machine has sold you as "theology". This is backwards - theology properly done does not rest on false reality (of man, God, church).

    9. Jake, one more question, a genuine one too:

      If, as you say, culture trumps ecclesiology then why do you care, and why should any Orthodox care because it's really just a culturally-relativistic phenomenon of inclusiveness that supersedes the Church, no?

    10. Jake,

      Also, you realized that Sts. Ignatius & Cyprian (and many other early fathers such as St. Irenaeus of Lyon) expressed this view of The Church in their writings with the stated goal of clearly defining what / where the Church is & what / where it isn't because there were schisms & heresies they were protecting their flocks from. They did this because they were preserving an uncorrupt Gospel.

      They were also writing long before Christianity was legal, when the Church was an underground & persecuted minority subculture, long before the pentarchy or any synthesis of Church with State (not unlike today here in NA), and they died as martyrs for Christ & His Church?

      I suppose you consider them as being off in the weeds too, that we should throw their ecclesiology out the window (which is, in fact, Orthodox ecclesiology) & we should just admit that they died as witnesses for nothing...or worse yet "theology" as you put it?

      If anything goes theologically / ecclesiologically (not *merely* canonically / "legally") then nothing matters because it's all relative & I can find more interesting things do with my time than pray & go to liturgical services and more "meaningful" ways to "connect" with God like hiking in nature.

      It matters to me & my family because if we embrace ecclesiological heresy then there's no end to errors that follow, one begets then next like your former affiliation, the RC church, has demonstrated it, indeed, the case by 1st embracing Trinitarian & ecclesiological heresy, then inherited guilt of original sin & then the "immaculate conception" of the Mother of God, purgatory & the sale of indulgences, a state of grace with distinction between martial & venial sins, created grace, etc...

    11. Ah, now we are getting somewhere. Notice the dialectic you bring to the table. I said "ecclesiology is downstream from culture". You read this as "ecclesiology is *trumped* by culture" which means the ecclisia is "superseded and relativized". The dialectic forces (it has no other mode of operation) into an either/or (one term "trumps" the other) or a synthesis (both terms are "trumped" by another ontology completely).

      What if reality is not really like that at all? What if Creation, Man, and God are not mere terms in a dialectic?

      What if reality is such that ecclisia is downstream from culture AND culture is safely (if mysteriously) given good direction from a good Providence? What if the Church is BOTH a relative, culturally determined "institution"/human reality AND the very Body of Christ?

      The dialectic, if allowed, can take over a person and his mind. This is a good example:

      "It matters to me & my family because if we embrace ecclesiological heresy then there's no end to errors that follow...."

      First, even as a matter of dialectical reasoning, your conclusion does not follow from the premise.

      Second, theological/dogmatic/ecclesastical/moral perfection (assuming such a thing is possible this side of the Eschaton) does not beget perfection and wall us off from the imperfect - who taught you that? Where in the narrative of Scripture and man is it said that perfection guarantees or begets perfection, lack of sin, freedom from error, and perfect safety? Is THAT what you think the Church is - a walled garden (or Garden) of Perfection? I thought Christ promised us a Cross...

      Third, even a relatively shallow look at Holy Scripture and the Tradition will undermine any dialectical perception of *any* reality, to say nothing of Man and the Church. Paradox, inconsistency, complexity, and even outright contradiction is found everywhere - and everywhere suffering and sacrifice, and the insufficiency of perfection (in the Law, in community, in Church, in ALL of human reality) is found an even affirmed as the very way of Salvation and Love. St. Paul is always telling us about how we are saved "in weakness" and NOT in the perfection of the (dogmatic, canonical, fill_in_he_blank) Law.

      Our little dialectical lawyers who sit on our shoulders and whisper to us to find (and argue for) the perfect church free of error, sin, and death should be ignored as the little devils they are...

      Gots to put the kids to bed and head there myself, so signing off for the evening. God bless!

    12. Jake,

      Wait! Stop the press: Unum Sanctum!?

      For Pete's sake (pun intended), brother! Are you referring to Boniface VIII's 1302 papal encyclical? That medieval pile of verbal trash that he buttons up with the words:
      "Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

      I haven't read that document for at least 15 years, and the arrogance of that heretic still gives me chills. Is this your reference point for "theology"?

    13. Ha! no. In English language theological (Orthodox or not) circles, unam sanctum (latin) is shorthand, taken from the creeds ", holy, catholic, and apostolic...", signifying the theological "problem" of the unity/catholicity of the Church. The document to which you refer is part of RCism's "answer" to this problem.

      An interesting discussion from two Orthodox priests (one of which comments here occasionally) that at its core is all about what unam sanctum means is here:

      However listening to this podcast can be dangerous to your safety, because in it Fr. John (who tows the Russian line here on the Ukraine) explains one way (referencing St. Augustine and St. Basil no less!) how the Church in her Grace (in the past,present, and future) folds the "...excommunicated, defrocked, anathematized sssschissmatticccessss.." into her Sacrificial ontology...

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    16. Jake, ah, now we've moved into discussing the heart of the matter: ecclesiology. The fact that all this is playing out in Ukraine & involves autocephaly is beside the point.

      The late (& great, I might add) Fr. Matthew Baker (who's in the podcast you linked) was a Fr. George Florovsky scholar & someone I have deep respect for...I'm eager to give it a listen as time permits in the next few days. Thanks for posting the link!

      I realize that the boundaries of the Church are, at certain times & places, not particularly tidy, and recognizing this fact St. Augustin famously said:
      "How many sheep are without, how many wolves within!"

      Nevertheless, this isn't a no-holds-bared cage fight that forces people into & out of the Church at the will of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and given the iffy nature of this problem this is exactly why virtually all the other Orthodox Churches have repeatedly stated that this ecclesiological matter must be taken up in a conciliar manner precisely because it is not a mere canonical matter but ultimately a theological (i.e. ecclesiological) matter that really has no precedent in Church history.

      I happen to agree with both points, and would submit to a conciliar decision provided the fullness of the Church receives & affirms the post-conciliar decision of the bishops, which as always been the case with Ecumenical Councils (something that is undoubtedly a messy & lengthy process).

    17. No worries. Just so you know, I'm Ammmeriiiccannnn Orthodox. born into a nominally RC family, and read my way into Orthodoxy 25 years ago, though when I read the EP's 1920 encyclical in an Anglican theological journal (this was in the days before the internet) it delayed my entry into the Church by about a year. Been a member of OCA and Antiochian parishes along the way (my wife and I moved around a lot in our Higher Ed quests), and now a member of a Ukrainian of USA parish (EP) as it is the only local Orthodox parish for a 100 miles. I am sympathetic to the Slavic take/stance toward secularism, which I take to be THE issue for the Church in our age. The EP's stance toward modernity (a twist on the western 'liberal' co-existance and 'inner' cultural existence) has been tried and failed. My confessor is not my local priest, but rather a ROCOR hieromonk at a monastery not to far from here, though what this relationship will be in the future given the current schism-in-making is unknown. I'm Ammmerrricaaann Orthodox, and am interested Ortho-doxia and how it will come out the other side of the train wreck of the Imperial Church of the East in the modern world ;)

    18. Timmy,

      The ontology of this Imperial Church of the East is such that it's much talked about "conciliatory" is a bit of a myth...sort of like Big Foot. Since the collapse of the Empire, which provided the cultural ground (and all that comes with it - logistics, $, travel network, $, communication network, $, etc.) there has not been a council.

      Since the collapse of the Empire our conciliatory nature or essence (i.e. ecclesiology) has mostly been on paper only - an abstraction. It has all been an ad hoc (or perhaps more accurately, a "cage fight") since then.

      This reality around our ecclesiology is what it is, and if you are looking for a RC vault like safety (though that is itself just of course just an abstraction) you should know that it is in vain. You and your loved ones will not be saved in an abstract and unreal Church (however consistent it is in its self story of dogma, ecclesiology, etc.). You can only be saved in and through the world and the Church as it actually is.

      Yes, Fr. Matthew Baker was an exceptionally clear thinker, as well as possessing a true Christian heart. I still occasionally indulge in asking Providence why he was taken from us when he was. What did the fool have against seat belts?!?

      St. Vlad's press will at some point be coming out with a book of his unpublished essays in the future, be on the look out for it.

    19. Jake,

      My point is that Orthodox ecclesiology is absolutely NOT an Imperial concept; that is a quintessential anachronism.

      This is due to the simple fact that it existed as a living reality reflected in the Holy Tradition of the first three centuries of Christianity. Sts. Ignatius, Polycarp, Cyprian, Irenaeus Augustine, Jerome etc. were living in a persecuted Church that the Empire was violently trying to elliminate.

      Despite this open hostility & persecution there were clear regions of autocephalous synods as well as local & regional primacies. This is way pre-pentarchy; in fact, every Imperial province was autocephalous with the bishop in the metropolis (i.e., capital of the province) being first among them (see Apostolic canon 34 & canon 9 of the Synod of Antioch), and they scrapped with one another in this process of speaking the truth in love. Nobody was allowed to lord it over the other bishops like the EP is doing.

      Heck, even when the 2nd century bishop of Rome Victory "excommunicate" the churches of Asia Minor because they celebrated Pascha on a different date than him they simply ignored Victor when he refused to dialogue & St. Irenaeus rebuked Victor for being an insolent bonehead.

      When the 3rd century bishop Stephen of Rome reinstated two African priest that the council of N. Africa headed by St. Cyprian had condemned they gave Stephen a body-check by writing him a letter reminding him that he wasn't the "bishop of bishops", that they rejected this decision & reminded folks that if anyone pulled that monkey-business again they would be excommunicated in N. Africa.

      Orthodoxy's eucharistic ecclesiology and conciliar/primatial structure is without question pre-Imperial. The fact that it's administrative structures got spiffed up when the Empire became Christian doesn't negate this clear antecedent reality.

      There hasn't been an Ecumenical Council since the 8th century because there hasn't been a heresy ravaging the whole Church that would require such a Council. However, it appears that the contemporary heresy is ecclesiological (ethnophyletism, anachronistic conflation of Imperialism with the Church, the boundaries of the Church, the nature & functions of conciliarity & primacy as well as authority in the Church). It's as if we've moved through the Creed / Symbol of Faith, and now we're at the "One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church" part...

    20. Here are 2 links to maps of the Roman Empire that demonstrate visually how the provincial & regional synods existed in time & space. The maps are ~395 & ~400 A.D. nonetheless they reflect the divisions of the Empire that Diocletian implemented in the late 200's / early 300's, i.e., before Christendom, and not much changed in Imperial structures in the years immediately following.

    21. You have your facts right Timmy, but the *meaning* of those facts is part of what I am calling a "myth". Indeed, it could even be said that there are parallels in this mythos with the Protestant concept of a pre-Constatine-corrupted "primitive" Church, but I don't want to push that too far. Did you know it was Victor who changed the liturgy from Greek to Latin?

      Behind the primitive church's "conciliar/primatial" structure is the culture in which it was born, which is the Roman Empire - Jesus explicitly acknowledges this. Since then the Empire fell, much has changed. What exactly is "local" or "regional" or a capital "metropolis" in a world of nation states? Look at your facts again and see if you can't see the obvious Roman (cultural, even political) premises.

      Other questions are obvious. How does one take even your assumed meaning and apply it to the modern world? You are in fact arguing for the status quo, a loose collection of ethno-national churches who are ostensibly "conciliar" but who have not actually had a council in 1300 years. Also, it is obvious that the question of "primacy" around unam sanctum arose very early, before Constantine and certainly after, and that this question was never really "resolved", as evidence by how the Church split along cultural lines (i.e. the "oriental" Orthodox in the east and the Latin/Greek split in the west).

      On top of this, your declaring "heresy" before any council has found the "mind" of the Church around these modern ecclesiastical and ontological questions of how to "be" the Church in the modern world.

      This myth is thin Timmy, thin...

    22. Jake,

      We may actually be much closer in our positions than it seemed at first, but we certainly have different ways of viewing & articulating it. I appreciate your perspective; thanks for engaging.

      I'll readily admit that I'm not infallible (no Pope Timmy here), and I can't bet the ranch on the fact that there's a bonafide ecclesiological heresy ravaging the Church...but it sure seems that way to me. Time will tell.

      I think we can both agree, as Pat. Bartholomew has stated clearly, that overlapping Orthodox "jurisdictions" (once I heard the late Jaroslav Pelikan speak & he pointed out that there isn't even a word for "jurisdiction" in either Greek or Russian) in the same geographic areas is a "canonical anomaly" that must be resolved because it belies authentic Orthodox ecclesiology, which is why the canons prohibit it. I'm referring to the patristic eucharistic ecclesiology of the early Church that still applies to all ages --> in every place where the church (i.e. bishopric/diocese) exists it does so in fullness/catholicity, which is 1 bishop surrounded by 1 flock celebrating the Holy Mysteries, and that church is in communion with other contiguous selfsame churches via its bishops who meet in council to discuss matters of common concern (and for the election & ordination of bishops).

      The Church has always accommodated its boundaries & administrate structures according to the cultural/political reality that if finds itself in. This can be seen in history & is actually ratified canonically: canon 17 of Chalcedon (451 AD) & then again in canon 36 [38] of Trullo [Quinisext or Penthekte] (692 AD): “…let the order of things ecclesiastical follow the civil and public models.”

      I agree that applying this to a world without an Empire has proven to be a "challenge" for the Church (& that's putting it charitably, I think). Nevertheless, pride is the obstacle because none of the Autocephalous Churhes wants to give up their Diaspora & the EP want's all the Diaspora (you know the pathetic canon 28 of Chalcedon interpertation that was cooked up ~100 years ago).

      As a result our hierarchs resort to nationalistic, ethnic, irrelevant archaic & magical-thinking canonical justifications for the status quo, and I agree with you that the status quo has got to go!

      I guess guys like you & me need to pray more about this.

      What I am *deeply* troubled by is how the EP, regardless of what may very well have been the best of intentions, has unilaterally declared a group of people who left the Church (who's leaders are basically laymen) without any desire to reunite to Her to be the local Church while ignoring the actual local Church.

      This is not to say anything of the EP's alleged right to grant autocephaly, or, more importantly, the validity of the EP's argument for "reclaiming" the Metropolitanate of Kiev. All unilateral & highly controversial as the last years has shown to be the case, and all while refusing to engage in dialogue despite repeated requests from all corners. Questionable if not nefarious, no?

    23. "... I'm referring to the patristic eucharistic ecclesiology of the early Church that still applies to all ages --> in every place where the church (i.e. bishopric/diocese) exists it does so in fullness/catholicity, which is 1 bishop surrounded by 1 flock celebrating the Holy Mysteries, and that church is in communion with other contiguous selfsame churches via its bishops who meet in council..."

      This is in part of what I am saying Timmy, that the above ideal (which you put into words well) is the *ideal* (putting to one side questions around its status as dogma & thus ecclesiology) , and in practice the Church has only approached this ideal, and in fact the ideal has "failed" in a deep sense.

      Be that as it may, the MP's interpretation of canon 28 and the EP's role in the Church was "cooked up" in the modern era as well (though it relies more on precedent of the post_Empire church). Why do you privilege one over the other? Well, not because you (or the MP - though the EP DOES have a more coherent "letter of the law" judgement) have a "canonical" judgement, rather your a judgement about the modern world and the Church in it, and then interpret and judge the canons to "fit" with this situation. This is on one level proper, but then to turn around and declare the EP's judgement a "heresy" or an evil of one sort or other is to ignore his, the Greeks, and most importantly the Ukrainian Orthodox religious, cultural, and existential circumstances as being somehow *by nature* invalid or not worthy of your human (to say nothing of Christian) consideration.

      To be honest, you are putting your anxiety about the important large questions of ontology and Unam Sanctam of the Church (like how you correctly tie all this to NA "jurisdictions") in the modern world first. These are all very important and legitimate questions - let's call them "meta-ecclesiastical" questions. However, they are only questions, and as Christ taught us they and thereanswers (canonical Law) are made for man - they serve man, man does not exist to serve the Law. Whatever their answer, and whatever the consequences of not knowing them or being "wrong", they are in the end *economic* questions - they exist to serve a higher purpose.

      In this controversy around the Ukraine, we always have to put the salvation of the Ukrainian Orthodox, BOTH those in direct communion with MP and those who (due to very real oppression by the sword and by starvation - just to name two obvious realities) are never (ever ever) going to accept Russian cultural domination, we have to put BOTH these peoples first, second, and third. Man always (always always) comes before any "canonical" formula and law....(to be continued)

    24. (continued....)

      Yes, I am troubled by the explicit and inner implications of the EP's actions, but I am MORE TROUBLED by the pharisaical legalism of the MP whose purpose is to DOMINATE by the letter of the law. Where is the basic human (let alone Christian) Love in this?

      Love is risky, so much so that its true expression leads to Cross. I don't really care that the Ukraine has led to controversy and anxiety. The peace that the MP would *impose* over the Ukrainian Orthodox is the peace of opression - not submission in Love - but submission to a Russian cultural myth of "Kievan-Rus" and its modern appropriation of that history.

      I won't go so far as to say that what the EP has done is right, but by gosh neither is what the MP has and planned on doing before the EP acted.

      Beyond all this, the 6-10 million Orthodox (choose your source number) are not mere pawns in a logical game of "let's figure out the status quo and *fix* it". These are trying times for this Church of the East. In the last hundred years it has woken up from its long slumber in isolation (Slavic isolation and Ottoman oppression) in a modern post-Empire world of secularism, nation states, and "jurisdictions". We should be patient, and focus on the important things (i.e. our basic ascetical Love of ourselves and our neighbor). Our faith is in vain if we our so anxious about the wider ontology of the Church, the "meta-ecclesiastical", that we forget to love our neighbor and put the Law ahead of them...

      In any case thoughts stimulated by your post, and yes thank you for this engagement!

  3. Very Sad. The Constantinople Patriarchate is a declining relic, but IMO the Alexandrian Patriarchate has (had?) the potential to be a driving force in world Orthodoxy. In the next century, African Orthodox may outnumber European and Russian Orthodox.

    1. The Alexandrian patriarchate suffers the same anachronistic ontology as the EP. Short of a cultural revolution inside the African church this situation will remain the same...

    2. Egypt has a number of crumbling monuments. Shpinx, pyramids, valley of the kings, patriarchate of Alexandria. None of them have mattered to the local population for millenia. It's a country whose economy depends on unearthing dead bodies and tourists to see them. The patriarch has a body temperature so he doesn't qualify a money maker. The corpses matter more than he does there and everywhere else.

    3. Yes, bob, because insulting and denigrating the Alexandria Patriarchate will get them to change their mind, just like it worked so well with the Church of Greece.

      I honestly don't understand the MP partisan's logic. If they were trying to prevent the OCU's recognition, their tactics and actions have produced the OPPOSITE effect.

    4. If little Europe can have eleven (?) autocephalous churches, then perhaps someday Africa can have more than four...

  4. Perhaps the Moscow Patriarchate might want to reflect on how their "campaign" in the Greek Churches has blown up in their face. I don't know what Metropolitan Hilarion was trying to do, but it had the opposite effect.

    His actions, and the actions of the MP have greatly angered the Greek Bishops and ensured this outcome. The MP partisans can talk all they want about pressure from the US/Greek government and conspiracy theories all they like (of course the involvement of the Russian government is always ignored)....the fact is, the MP miscalculated the effects of their war against the EP. It's sad.

  5. The only thing that has "blown up in the face", is the fact that three hierarchs have now abandoned the Holy Orthodox faith and decided to commemorate a layman pretending to be the head of a Ukrainian make-believe church.

    1. You can keep asserting that all you like, Mikail. I'm not going to argue the OCU itself anymore, as I said, but the MP will have to choose whether they want to continue this path of destruction or not.

      The MP's refusal to recognize the OCU in any form is a dead letter. The status quo will never return. The MP's war against the EP has had the opposite effect they intended. They overestimated their influence outside of Eastern Europe, and thought they could use their size and financial power to pressure the other Churches.

      Did the MP not realize how negatively received their actions would be in the other Churches? Alexandria's wholesale recognition of the OCU has smashed the MP's hopes of a divide and conquer strategy in the Church of Greece.

      More Churches will follow, Mikail. The Patriarch of Alexandria changed his mind, so it is not a foregone conclusion that Antioch and the other Churches will remain in opposition, especially as the recognitions and commemorations pile up.

      It is the MP that is starting to find itself isolated.

    2. I'm going to keep asserting it David, because it is the truth. It does not matter if more Churches follow Cpole into schism. They will cut themselves off from the truth. The Church will be smaller...but it will remain Orthodox. A day will come when everyone will need to make a choice.

    3. Mikail, the only ones talking about schism are the MP. None of the other Churches have broken communion with the MP, and they won't do so. They are following HAH's lead on that. The establishing of "parishes" and other provocations that the MP has used to try and scare the other Churches into not recognizing the OCU have failed.

      This could all end tomorrow. The recognition of the Ukrainians in North America in the 1990s, Greek Catholic receptions in the early 20th Century forward and the Bulgarian Schism all provide the blue print and precedent for "fixing this." The Moscow Patriarchate refuses, because it really is just about Ukraine. That becomes more apparent as time passes. Russian laity may not like being cut off from the rest of the Church, which is where the MP is headed with their actions.

  6. PS...the Church of Greece is still divided internally over this tragedy. The holy mountain is divided. And I have to believe that every hierarch within the Alexandrian Patriarchate is not on board. Bartholomew has succeeded not only in Dividing Churches from eachother... but also dividing Churches from within. We can already see the fruits of his egoistic politically driven fiasco. Schism breeds schism.

    1. I wouldn't consider the "Union of Orthodox Journalists" to be a very reliable news source, Mikail. They were certainly blindsided by what happened in Alexandria and they can talk up the dissent of a handful of bishops and Athonite monasteries all they like. Yes, there is still some disagreement. The dust hasn't settled yet, because Moscow keeps kicking it up. That's ok, though. The EP was just as angry with Bulgaria and raged against them too for a time (Russia recognized Bulgaria despite EP opposition). There really is nothing new under the sun. This is how autocephaly works in the Church, is taken with political backing, the Mother Church rages and anathemizes, the other Churches pick a side one way or the other, and after some time passes, reconciliation occurs and a new status quo is formed. This time is no different. The MP knows that, which is why they tried so hard to destroy the OCU in its infancy. Now things are starting to settle down, the OCU is stabilized and an uneasy co-existence is settling in in Ukraine. Church seizures have all but stopped---the MP propaganda plays up the occasional incident to discredit the entire OCU, but that isn't sticking anymore, so now they are changing tactics and going for Canonical Akrevia and anti-Greek polemics. It's all tragic.

    2. I have found the UOJ to be a very reliable source, David. This is NOT how autocephaly works. A group of unrepentant schismatics have been declared to be autocephalous after Cpole did a 180 degree hypocrisy stunt. Alexandria followed suit after Theodore stabbed onuphriy in the back. This will not end. The dust will not settle. This time is very different whether you like it or not. But of course, if you wish to be a part of a Church who commemorates a group of laymen who pretend to be hierarchs and clergy in their make-believe "church"...that is your choice. You have free will.

    3. Correction: I meant to say Metropolitan Onufriy. He is a true and canonical hierarch.

    4. You're right, Mikail. Is it different. The OCU's Tomos didn't come from the Ottoman Sultan, but the Ecumenical Patriarch himself. The Bulgarians were "unrepentant schismatics" for awhile too, but that didn't stop the Russian Church and a few others from communing with them, despite the EP's position. The EP eventually had to acknowledge the reality of the situation, and Moscow will do the same.

      There is only one Church, Mikail. The MP is the only one who has taken a sharpie to the Diptychs. Nobody else has. I choose to remain with the Church, which includes the Moscow Patriarchate. The MP is angry, ok...but so was the EP in the 19th Century. This too will pass, Mikail. We are all brothers and sisters...this is just the latest drama that flares up once a century or so (as it has since the days of the Empire)

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    6. I believe Fr. Whiteford already explained to you why the Bulgarian example you continue to repeat ad nauseam is apples and oranges. You can go back and read his responses. 

      I will say this. This too will NOT pass. If you choose to remain in the Church, you will have to choose to remain with the Orthodox Church which includes the Russian church and those who remain with her....or you will choose to be schismatic and be with Cpole and those who remain with her (in which case you will ultimately be in union with the Roman Catholics). You will see, David. That is the choice you will face. I know where I will be.

    7. "...This too will NOT pass..."

      The MP propaganda machine is aping Gandalf now?? More like colonel Gaddafi who was always drawing lines in the sand which in short order were blown away by the desert wind.

      Sorry to hear about your fart can "blowing up" Mikail. May it rest in peace. 😎

    8. I cite the Bulgarian schism because it is an example of how the rage of the Mother Church and political considerations are irrelevant in the long run, because historically, autocephaly is taken, not given. HAH just tried to get ahead of the curve this time.

      I stand with my spiritual father and the Church of my Baptism, which is the Orthodox Church, and this includes the Russian Church. One Church, Mikail. The protestations of Moscow will end up like the protests of Constantinople when Greece and Bulgaria broke away---a sad footnote in a long drama that will play out until the Second Coming.

  7. As we face these incredibly soul wrenching times I wish to offer the comfort of the Holy Theotokos and ever Virgin Mary. She is our Protection if we we call upon her maternal care. Let us hymn the Virgin Mary, / The glory of the whole world, / Who sprang forth from men and gavest birth unto the Master, / The portal of heaven, / And the subject of the hymnody of the incorporeal hosts, / And the adornment of the faithful; / For she hath been shown be heaven and the temple of the Godhead. / Having destroying the middle-wall of enmity, / She hath brought forth peace and opened wide the kingdom. / Therefore, having her as the confirmation of our faith, / We have as champion the Lord born of her./ Be of good courage! / Be of good courage, O people of God! / For He vanquisheth the foe, in that He is almighty! / For He vanquisheth the foe, in that He is almighty!

  8. "Africa" - very, very charitable. The Greek Patriarch in Alexandria isn't even "of" Egypt much less "all Africa," an enormous, diverse continent. The actual Egyptians, the Copts, seceded from Byzantium long ago because they don't like being told what to do by Greeks. The languages on the Patriarchate's website are English, Greek and French. No Arabic, much less the numerous other vernaculars. Alexandria, like Jerusalem, is a Greek colony.

    1. So we are in attack mode now, are we? The Alexandrian Patriarchate was lauded and talked up by MP partisans as the one who would call a council and "save the Church," but now that the "Judge of the Ecumene" has spoken, he is now a Greek chauvinist and imperialist. I suppose all of those laudatory articles on orthochristian are bunk, right? Blowing smoke? A campaign?

    2. Did I say "chauvinist and imperialist?" I meant "anachronism."

    3. Anti-Gnostic,

      David was referring to the MP's propagandists' flip flop, not your characterization..

    4. Speaking of flip-flops:

    5. Not sure what to make of that Anti-Gnostic. I find his condemnation of ethno-nationalism ironic, given that the MP's position is as much a declaration of the status quo as the EP's. the piece appears to be more acting out of the fantasy of the MP being a bulwark of "canonicity".

      I wonder what the author will do when Antioch splits the difference (in some incoherent middle ground position statement), or even explicitly sides with the EP and "recognizes" the OCU!

    6. LOL. Antioch is not going to recognize that mess. They've already stopped talking to Constantinople over Qatar.

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    8. Not only that, given the political/humanitarian situation in Lebanon/Syria & implications of the EP's reading of his role in the modern world for NA, it would appear that Antioch would be a shoe in for MP.

      Still, I wonder. What if the situation on the ground is more complex? What if Moscow's involvement in Syria has proven to be heavy handed? What if Antioch is in fact hesitant to the MP's reading as well as sincerely looking for a real way out of the status quo ethno-nationalism ecclesiologythat the MP supports?

      All speculations of course, but I would not surprised if Antioch ends up in the end hedging at the very least, if not a kind of qualified support for the EP/OCU...

  9. Replies
    1. Had Bart ordained the OCU he might have a leg to stand on. Self ordination is what it is.

    2. Actually...David makes zero sense. Oh, and by the way, for anyone who is interested, the OCU Church raiders have not ceased their crimes. And they will not cease anytime soon.

    3. No he wouldn't, Wallace. Even if he did a mass "laying of hands" to placate the rigorists, the MP partisans would still viciously attack him and denigrate the OCU with another reason they are "illegitimate."

    4. David, leaving aside whether or not it was even legitimate for the EP to intervene in Ukraine in the first place (that's a separate issue), why do you believe that Patriarch Bartholomew is justified in accepting the two breakaway groups of the Kiev Patriarchate & Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (two groups that for decades even he recognized as being excommunicated, defrocked, anathamatized people who had willfully cut themselves off from the Church) while rejecting the universally acknowledged Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by a humble man of saintly character?

      This is not polemical bate for an argument. It's a genuine question. I'm really trying to understand how you are doing the math on this one.

    5. Timmy,

      The EP has not broken communion with the UOC-MP. I don't think anyone has said Metropolitan Onuphry is not a holy man (I certainly have never said it). The EP wanted to accomodate Metropolitan Onuphry, in fact the EP made it a point to bar Philaret and Makary from contention for the leadership of the OCU, but he made no such condition for Metropolitan Onuphry. The hope in Constantinople was that perhaps he or someone from the UOC-MP would be the head, in a true unity council. Of course, the MP and elements within the UOC-MP would not allow that to happen. Metropolitan Epiphany became the head, and surprised everyone with his independence and support for the Tomos (the MP propaganda portrayed him as a Philaret puppet, which of course was not true as we saw). So we are where we are.

      The EP itself even acknowledged that two churches will have to co-exist for awhile ala Estonia. When it became apparent that the UOC-MP would not cooperate, the Estonia solution became default, at least in the eyes of Constantinople. The EP didn't "reject" the UOC-MP, but rather sees it as a faction in an ongoing blood feud and canonical mess that the MP has been unwilling or unable to fix (a little bit of both I think). The UOC-MP is free to commune and concelebrate in any EP Church.

      The MP's ruling was accepted, because the EP recognized the MP's momentary jurisdiction over Ukraine (although the EP long claimed Ukraine as the canonical territory of the EP) and were not in a position to do otherwise. The EP wanted to look into the matter more, but the MP very coldly and gruffly told the EP to "mind its own business." HAH of course didn't want to push the matter further, to avoid where we are now. But the Ukrainians pushed and pleaded with the EP to reconsider and look into the matter more, and not take the MP's word for it. The reconciliation of the Ukrainians and acceptance in North America provided the means and vehicle for the EP to get a further window into what was happening in Ukraine, and attitudes were changing. Of course the politics of the matter and the MP's very clear position that they would declare ecclesial war should the EP attempt to go further stymied the process. So this limbo existed for awhile.

      I think the aftermath of Crete convinced the Patriarchate that the MP would never allow the Ukrainian situation to be resolved in a good way, and given the way that the MP had long worked to undermine the EP finally was what made the EP's patience end, and that the MP's reaction didn't matter anymore.

      So the EP did what it did, which even the MP partisans concede was something that the EP had long wanted to do, but held its hand due to the hope that things could be "worked out" with the MP.

      I believe what HAH did was the right thing to do, pastorally. Realistically, it was the only way it was going to happen. There was no other way, because Ukraine is a Russian buffer state (for the Russian nationalists, they are not even a separate people at all). Given the conspiracy theories about the EP being an arm of the CIA, they view it in geopolitical terms. This is why I believe and others also that this is geopolitics masquerading as canonical concern. The MP would be much more "compassionate" if it wasn't Ukraine. Even when the EP received the Ukrainians in the diaspora (despite them having the same canonical problems) it wasn't a Communion breaker, because it was "out there."

      If the MP was thinking pastorally, they would work with the EP to fix this. The reception of the Ukrainians in North America, the ROCOR reunion (where all the canonical zaniness that occurred was "grandfathered in" with a mere signature) and the Bulgarian Schism all provide a blueprint and precedent. It can be fixed, there just has to be a will. The MP has to let go of the OCU and their animus towards the EP for it to happen.

    6. Well stated David. I would only qualify part of what you say in that the Greeks animus towards the MP is as much of a 'problem' as the animus flowing the other way. Beyond this, the 'animus' is a deep culturally conditioned reality, and as such it will take a miracle by the Spirit to work beyond these realities to something approaching that myth, that legend: a truly "conciliar" Church of the East ;)

    7. Jake,

      Absolutely. I'm not giving anyone a pass. The EP has behaved in an abrasive way in the past. That is what I mean when I say that both have hurt each other. That is why I invoke St. Maxim and St. Tikhon (we could even put St. Nektarios in there, who was abused by both the Alexandrian Patriachate and the Church of Greece). Church politics have hurt the Gospel witness and scandalized people. But Christ works in and beyond our limitations. I'm not a "reconciliation at all costs" guy...the Canons should be respected, but the Spirit rather than the Letter should dominate. It reminds me of the story of St. Porphyrios who told an adulterous man to meet his mistress outside of the city so his son wouldn't see him. What kind of a thing is that for a Confessor and Spiritual Father to say? And yet, it brought the man to himself and he repented. "The Canons are not Cannons," as Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpatkos has said.

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    9. "...vast majority....political forces of Poroshenko...American money..."

      Puuuulleeeaasssseeee Archimandrite Gregory. Your better than this. Parroting the simplistic MP propaganda narrative? Talk about enmity - should I call you Archi Greg from now on?

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    12. Try not to be passive aggressive Achimandite Gregory. Why are not 6 to 10 million Ukrainian's unwilling to be simply dominated by Russia? Are you willing to ignore simple human decency (to say nothing of Christian Love and Sacrifice) for a legal perfection of your own mind?

      What is the size and limit of your love Archimandrite Gregory?

    13. Jake, if you continue to defend the indefensible actions of Bartholemew your can look forward to this in a few years. Enjoy!

    14. Fr. Gregory is not Russian, nor does he belong to the Russian church. He is, I believe, of Southern Italian descent, but a priest of the Bulgarian Orthodox church under Metropolitan Joseph.

    15. Knowing Fr. Gregory, I don't think he is "anti" any ethnicity.

  10. If the Moscow Patriarchate can receive roman catholic priests in their orders without baptism, chrismation or ordination, well, the Church can receive the Ukrainian schismatics back in any way it sees fit.

    And if ROCOR can violate the canonical territory of the Church of Greece to consecrate bishops for the Old Calendar groups then I offer that it is not in position to condemn the canonical violations of other local churches.

    Instead of hurling insults and anathemas at the hierarchs that we disagree with, we should instead pray for them that they may be illumined to wisely restore peace and love to the Church.

    1. Well stated. These simple facts explode the myth of the MP's "canonical" consistency.

    2. Even such receptions require repentance, renunciation of errors, etc. Take a look at what SCOBA said about the dead hand Ukrainians back in 1962:

    3. As for the consecrations of Old Calendarist Bishops, this was done unilaterally by two ROCOR bishops, who were censured, and the act declared invalid.

    4. "Take a look at what SCOBA said about the dead hand Ukrainians back in 1962..."

      Thanks for posting that. "A" was done, just not along the lines of the recomendations of "SCOBA", which it must be noted is not a real or "canonical" synod and the Ukraine is not in any way its "canonical" territory. Why were they commenting on the situation at all? Don't they have their own existential and "canonical" crises (jurisdictionalism, de facto etho/national ontology, etc. etc.) to focus on? ;)

    5. Because in 1962, the main place where self-consecrated Ukrainian schismatics existed was North America. And determining who's a valid bishop is kind of an important cross-jurisdictional thing to agree about.

    6. Thanks Samn!, so the centuries long struggle in the Ukraine spilled into NA as well, with some opting to separate themselves from Russian cultural domination here in the "melting-pot". Even a very non-canonical "melting-pot" psuedo-synod like SCOBA in the 1960's recognized the EP's canonical authority in the matter, hum, very interesting....

    7. "As for the consecrations of Old Calendarist Bishops, this was done unilaterally by two ROCOR bishops, who were censured, and the act declared invalid."

      Thank you Fr. John. I will need to respectfully dispute your account on the basis of information that appears on the website of your own synod which states that:

      On 31 December 1969, the ROCOR Synod of Bishops recognized the legitimacy of episcopal elevations performed by ROCOR bishops for the old calendar Greek Church.*

      I note that none other than St. John Maximovitch was one of those who defended the uncanonical ordinations during the 1962 synodal debates over the issue.

      If ROCOR had indeed divested itself of interference in the affairs of other local churches after the uncanonical unilateral episcopal consecrations of the Old Calendarists in Greece, then it simply would not have returned to Greece a few years later to establish communion with the most extreme faction of them all, the Matthewites.

      * A. Psarev, The Development of Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia’s Attitude Toward Other Local Orthodox Churches and Non-Orthodox Christians

    8. Hello "Unknown," the Synod declared them invalid at the time they were done. I doubt very seriously St. John would have approved of two bishops doing this without the sanction of the Synod. You will have to provide documentation to convince me otherwise.

      The Synod did retroactively recognize them in 1969, in the wake of the lifting of the Anathemas against Papism. This was clearly an error, and the fact that it was an error is shown by the fact that it wasn't long before ROCOR broke ties with them again, because they were nuts and couldn't get along with each other. ROCOR made a similar mistake in 1994 when it went into communion with the Cyprianos Synod, and again, it was not long before that communion was only on paper, and then formally ended in 2007.

      These actions, I think are somewhat understandable, given the crazy ecumenical nonsense engaged in by the likes of the EP, but it was an over reaction, and the fruits of those actions speak for themselves.

    9. Father, my source concerning St. John of Shanghai was the article that I referenced above, written by a professor at Holy Trinity Seminary.

      I appreciate that you can admit that mistakes were made in the past. To err is human after all but what concerns me is that these mistakes represent a trend within ROCOR that continues right up to today. True, your synod is no longer in communion with the Greek Old Calendarists who after your reunion with the Patriarchate of Moscow do not wish to have contact anyway but ROCOR continues to impose itself into the affairs of other local churches by anticanonicaly receiving their defrocked clergy.

      This strips ROCOR of the moral authority shall we say to be in position to condemn the canonical violations of its political enemies within the Church.

    10. That article provides rather thin gruel to support the idea that St. John supported the unilateral consecration of Greek Old Calendar bishops. It merely says, without providing a quotation that he made a favorable comparison in defense of Archbishop Leonty's actions.

      The fact remains, the bishops condemned what was done and declared it invalid.

      ROCOR has made mistakes in the midst of great chaos and upheaval caused by outside forces, but the Russian Church is again unified, and ROCOR doesn't speak alone.

      The EP is the one causing the upheaval in this case, and for no good reason. And the violations of the canons are undeniable.

  11. shouldn't this church be led by egyptian nationals,,,are grteeks like ducks out of water in this area,,,,same observation for jerusalem --- isnt it against christian principles to be so sthno centric?

  12. You have to have African Monks before you can have African Bishops. There are African bishops in the Alexandrian Patriarchate, and more will come in the future. It will take time.

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  14. At any rate, I refer the matter to St. Maxim the Greek. This will be my last post on the Ukraine matter, period. "Talk to St. Maxim." will be my answer to anybody who chances to ask me about this topic.

    I pray everyone has a blessed Nativity Fast. Forgive me for any offense I may have caused

  15. @Mikail
    I wonder why pro-schismatics on this site and others never address the facts of violence on the part of their friends against the canonical church. They only repeat the same lines but never speak about the suffering Christians that are being forced out of their parishes and threatened with violence. It should be obvious that they are not of Christ who use the sword to gain the advantage over other christians.

  16. Very good point, Dmitri! I have noticed the same thing. I suppose they are mimicking the new pope of the East, Bartholomew. He has also never addressed the persecutions against the UOC. I used to wonder how he could sleep at night, but then it became evident to me that he does not have a conscience.

    1. "...he does not have a conscience..."


      The ironic thing about all this is that it is the MP that is closer in spirit and thus more likely be in communion with Rome sooner rather than later. The MP's legalism has many parallels with counter-reformation ecclesiology and thinking. Third Rome indeed!

  17. @Jake
    Any comment on the violence and threats the OCU and nationalist groups have made against the only church in the Ukraine under Metropolitan Onufry? Is this the love of Christ? Or is it love of Ukraine that motivates these so called christians. We have no home on this earth. We are sojourners and foreigners. For Christians to fight christians over territory is not Christ. It is man in his death clinging to the dust from which he was made and to which he will return.

    Canons and rules are extremely important. But even more so is love. And love doesn't make threats.

  18. Dmitri, it may be better not engage Jake. He enjoys mocking and profanities as part of his arguments. I think that he may be very young.

  19. Actually he is not young by his own admission.

  20. Thank you, Father. I assumed he was very young based on the fact that he consistently resorts to ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with him. I stand corrected.