Friday, December 27, 2019

More on the fallout in Africa and its effect on the world

It is one thing to break communion with an autocephalous body. It is another thing to found or break off existing parishes in the territory of the Church for yourself in response. This both further destabilizes the Church and extends the schism. Breaks in the body of the Church create more breaks, so expect to see further shattering at these events continue. It is a small step to move from this current stavropegial setup to overlapping bishops in Africa itself.


(orthochristian.com) - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church met in Moscow today under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

The hierarchs considered and responded to the decision of Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics, expressing their deep sorrow at his decision that makes it impossible to maintain Eucharistic communion with him.

The Synod also came to decisions regarding the Alexandria representation church in Moscow and the Russian representation and parishes in Africa.

According to Vladimir Legoida, the Patriarchal Press Secretary, the Synod resolved:

1. To express deep sorrow in connection with the anti-canonical actions of Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, who entered into communion with the schismatics.

2. To emphasize that Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria’s decision to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics contradicts His Beatitude’s repeated statements in support of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its primate Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, including the statement made during his last visit to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from September 27 to October 1, 2018, three weeks after the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s invasion of Ukraine by appointing “exarchs” to Kiev.

3. To note that the decision to recognize the schismatic structure in Ukraine was not made at the session of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria held on October 7-9, that it was not put to a vote of its hierarchs, and, accordingly, it does not have a conciliar character, but was made by the primate of this Church unilaterally.

4. To confirm the impossibility of commemorating the name of Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria in the diptychs, as well as prayerful and Eucharistic communion with him.

5. To maintain Church communion with the hierarchs of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church, except for those who have supported or will support the legalization of the Ukrainian schism in the future.

6. To suspend the activity of the representation (podvoriye) of the Alexandrian Patriarchate to the Moscow Patriarchal See.

7. To convert the representation of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Alexandria into a parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in Cairo.

8. To withdraw the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church located on the African continent from the jurisdiction of the Alexandrian Patriarchate, giving them a stavropegial status.

The decision to move the given parishes to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate is sure to draw serious criticism from the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and to increase inter-Church tensions in world Orthodoxy.

Earlier, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Chairman of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, stated: “I don’t want to predict how events will develop, but if the Patriarchate of Alexandria is on the side of the schism, then, of course, we will probably have to create parishes for our believers, because they will not be able to take communion in the churches of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.”

Met. Hilarion also noted that it was only in the 20th century that the Patriarchate of Alexandria expanded its jurisdiction beyond northern Africa, which it did with Russian support. In particular, when the Russian Church built parishes in Africa, it did so with the agreement of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, and the churches were placed under the jurisdiction of Alexandria and the priests, who came from Russia, became clerics of the Patriarchate of Alexandria on a temporary basis.

69 comments:

  1. It's almost like intruding into Ukraine and entering into communion with graveless schismatics has brought about further unpleasantries.

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    1. "...entering into communion with graveless schismatics..."

      I thought I had been "around the block" so to speak with Orthodox idioms but this "graveless" is new to me and I am intrigued. Would not one want to be in-communion with the graveless, as they would be either immortal rational beings (angles) or those 'assumed' directly into Heaven such as Elijah? I suppose what would be "unpleasant" about such a heavenly communion is our natural bodily weight and fear of such heavenly glory...

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    2. Fr. John obviously meant graceless...but you already knew that, eh? But I am wondering about these immortal rational beings to which you refer to as "angles". Is this part of that new theological geometry of which I am hearing about?

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    3. Your the geometric rationalist here, why don't you tell us about it?

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    4. Good retort, Jake! LOL! I have never been accused of being an angle!

      PS...The proper usage is "You're."

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    5. You are! You and Fr. John Whiteford and all your cohorts ARE messengers of the (canonical) Law and can tell us who has Grace, and who does not, who is of Christ, who is not...your like a telephone to Heaven itself.

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    6. The proper usage is: "You're like a telephone to Heaven itself."

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    7. Even the EP agreed that these schismatics were anathematized and outside of the Church prior to getting new orders from the US State Department. They have entered into communion with them with them having shown any repentance, and they have established a parasynagogue, contrary to the canons. That makes them graceless unordained schismatics.

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    8. "...That makes them graceless unordained schismatics."

      Categorically so.

      Your a long bearded ideologue who piously dresses up as a Byzantine princess every Sunday and is Russian...orthodox, though Russian is enough (orthodox being a qualifier on Russian), to a small group of followers in the heart of Texas...Texas categorically ignores you.

      I'd stick with graveless reasoning as you (and the Church) might find a bit of fruit worth eating...

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    9. Thank you Fr. John. Your summary of the situation is quite accurate. It might be best if we all ignore Mr. Jake. He always shows the weakness of his argument by resorting to crude insults and ad hominem attacks.

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    10. Jake, do you care what the Ecumenical Canons have to say on this, or no?

      And could you put the rest of your comments into the form of a coherent statement?

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    11. I don't mean to speak for him Father and he can correct me if I'm wrong but it would appear that your complaints about canonical transgression will elicit yawns from him because you are selective about which canons deserve consideration.

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    12. Fr. It is best to just ignore the trolls.

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    13. "Jake, do you care what the Ecumenical Canons have to say on this, or no?"

      Fr. John, both you and I have taken a semester or two of cannon law, which makes us both 2nd rate amateur canon lawyers I suppose (unless your a real canonist for your deanery). At least we know what we know (and what we don't), as opposed to the 3rd rate amateur canon lawyers who regularly post here.

      Not that our opinion matters, because we have two Patriarch's (the 2nd vs. 3rd Rome) who have differing finding/judgement on the letter and application of the same (canon) law. Now what? To whom do they appeal? Who/what is the "Supreme Court" when two Patriarchs have differing rulings?

      So now we are back to the much talked about "conciliar process" which for all that is laid at it's doorstep, has not actually appeared in person for a very long time.

      Beyond these facts however, there is the Christian truth that the canon's were made for man, and not man for the canons. Given the de facto ethno-national ontology of this Church of the East (at least since the fall of the Empire and really before that), and given that the Ukraine is now it's own nation state with its own culture, language, and people, is it not incumbent upon ALL orthodox to recognize these realities? Is not some technical "canonical finding" on the part of Moscow (or anyone else) that has the outcome of subsuming the Ukrainin people under the yoke of Moscow a dead end on a humanistic and Christian level?

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  2. This is ridiculous. All over a stupid turf war. Shameful.
    I still dont get it...Russian state wants Patriarchate, gets approval from Constantinople for it, gets Patriarchate, all is fine...fast forward in time...Ukrainian state wants autocephalous church, gets approval from Constantinople for it, gets autocephalous church, absolutely unacceptable(???)...
    I dont understand the logic, or is Moscow now claiming the infallibility the Pope of Rome claims in its decisions? It seems like it as anyone who disagrees with Moscow is anathema to them.

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    1. Wish this was all it was but it is not. Constantinople has entered into communion with people who at worst were "ordained" by people posing as bishops and at best bishops who had been excommunicated and defrocked. What is worse is the EP was in full agreement that these people were without grace and were schismatics until recently when the US put pressure on the EP in a blatant attack on the Orthodox Church. That is the heart of the issue. Everything else is just noise and propaganda.

      The real question is whether Bartholemew is in his right mind or if he is calling the shots. I suspect he is not but that does not excuse him.

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  3. The Patriarch of Alexandria decided to act like Judas and to go into communion with a group of laymen who are pretending to be clergy. Russia must care for those Orthodox Christians who wish to remain canonical...and they must protect the holy Eucharist. They had no choice.

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  4. There is much going on in the world of Orthodoxy now, that was always going to inevitably be part of the divisive and uncanoncial way of the continued playing out of the situation that is the so called Ukrainian issue.

    It was well known that Moscow would always seek to protect their communities globally. They have taken those steps with the explicit blessing and cooperation of those Hierarchs where these situations occurred. But, everyone has their own narrative now and these partial truths are getting solidified, as rock in our minds. No wonder our hearts are turning to stone also.

    Constantinople too, has spent centuries doing nothing short of this, but in a much more imposing manner. That manner has only now come to be some what of a massive theological hurdle. The same goes with the endeavors of Moscow.

    The heart of the massive problem ailing our Church at this moment is really just one of the Hierarchs sitting down and saying outlaid what is already the theological reality of the Church: A Church can only ever be Autocephalous if all the other Canonical Churches recognize it as such.

    In terms of what it entails to be Autocephalous, isn't it time to stop playing games? Don't we all get the problems with threatening to revoke Autocephaly? Don't we see the abusiveness of mandating that One Church can hold over the head of another the very idea that "you get your Chrism from us".

    Autocephaly means exactly what the word says...or it means nothing at all.

    Time to put on the big boys pants and sit down like real men face to face. Time to treat each other like real men and for God's Sake, ACT like real men of God.

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    1. Where is the inner "theology" of Autocephaly for you Fr. Alexis?

      On the one hand, if a church (any church - for purposes of discussion choose OCA or the new Ukrainian church) is truly only autocephalous only until the committee of "all" other autocephalous churches declares it to be so, is this similar to a singular act of grace through those empowered - a kind of ecclesiastical Transubstantiation?

      On the other hand, what exactly is the nature of Unam Sanctum of a federation of ethno-national churches - where is the real unity in their 'Chrism'? Beyond naming (or is it blaming?) the Holy Spirit, how do they act *practically* (e.g. to make declaration/finding of autocephaly) in the world? There has not been a meeting of the committee since the 7th, 1300 years ago, and even when there was somewhat regular committee gatherings some churches rejected their findings (e.g. the Copts rejected the 4th). So when you speak of facing reality like real men (of God) can we not admit the problematic of our committee Ideal and narrative?

      Also, should we not also admit "the on the other hand" when it comes to Moscow's reaction the "abusiveness" of the EP's current ecclesiology / Uman Sanctam? You write that "...Moscow would always seek to protect there communities..."as if this is a innocuous thing, as if it has no consequence and an inner theology of Unity itself - as if it is in no way "abusive" to the Unam Sanctam! At the very least it solidifies a deeply irrevocable ontology of the Church as ethno-natinalist - ethnicity (whether genetic or chosen) IS what a person and people are first in the Church and determines *which* Church they are in communion with. Even beyond this, your words tacitly approve the "popish" ecclesiology of Moscow in that it recognizes Moscow's implicit universalist/world/"ecumenical" jurisdiction over its own ethno-national entity and essence. There is a deep deep hypocrisy here, criticizing the EP for what the MP turns around and does itself.

      I agree with you, it's time for the big boys with big pants to step up, but frankly your theology is the usual parochial and school boy partisan concerns - it does not really even begin to get at the root of the problem, let alone a solution...no offense intended but just pointing out the big boy reality.

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    2. I get the sense you're arguing for a supra-patriarch like the Roman Pope. Maybe I'm misreading your comments.

      A Hellenistic Pope will not end this debate. Global Orthodoxy is not going to be run by a Greek supremacist in Turkey, surrounded by Muslims.

      Move the See to Athens, along with the Summer Olympics, and maybe he'll have a better shot at it. Or, as +Philip of blessed memory archly suggested, he can move to New York City.

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    3. "I get the sense you're arguing for a supra-patriarch like the Roman Pope..."

      That is the usual dialectic is it not Anti-Gnostic: You (or me - anybody) has to be arguing *either* for a federation of de facto ethno-national "churches" *or* for a 'pope' of one sort or another with de facto "universal" jurisdiction even if couched in obscurantist conceptual language. This either/or, this dialectical trap has been with us since almost the beginning, and the history of both east and west is the history of various modes acceptance, grudging tolerance, or rejection of one sideor the other of this either/or.

      Yet, there it is, the creedal assertion and belief of "One Holy" Church, laid as it is on top of this history of either/or. I believe it, you believe it - everyone commenting here believes it. Yet take it out of the abstract and CRASSSSHHHH, reality sets in.

      Most everyone involved in the conversation has one or more unexamined commitments to one side or the other of this either/or. They then make their prouncements about this or that and then wonder why EVERYBODY does not see the obvious rational truth as they do. Some of them don't even bothering wondering, and simply pronounce millions of Orthodox believers as "graceless"...as if they don' have a heart of wonder.

      It's all almost comical, and a testimony to the introvertedness and ignorance of (so many) "orthodox" man...

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    4. We're a hierarchical Church so I think those are the choices you're stuck with: global Orthodoxy is either a council of sovereigns or one sovereign. The notion that the Roman Pope is Pope of the whole planet always seemed bizarre and unworkable to me, and the idea that this role has devolved to the Bishop of "Constantinople" now that Rome is out of communion is even more problematic. The heads of several august Sees seem to agree. The marginal problems arise in places like Macedonia, Montenegro, Ukraine, which may not even be independent countries in 50 years or God forbid, Antioch in the event that Syria and Lebanon just decide to blow themselves up entirely.

      The Church is inhabited by humans and exists as a historical entity so things are always going to be messy. But I think we'd agree it's a complex problem that the hierarchs have allowed to fester for far too long.

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    5. "..I think we'd agree it's a complex problem that the hierarchs have allowed to fester for far too long."

      We do agree. I suppose I would emphasize the other side of the problematic. If a hierarchal council, then what is the nature of that council and how does it work in the modern world? Perhaps where we disagree is that I think the conciliar model that everyone professes is now just an abstract and an anachronism. It's one thing to talk about a conciliar model, and it's another thing to actually have one even if you grant it's always going to be "messy".

      How is the conciliar model for example, really going to solve real problems such as the disillusion of the church in his ancient Syrian Lebanon and Asia minor lands? Even more problematic, how is a conciliar model actually going to normalize the situation in Western Europe in North America? How is a conciliar model going to be updated to reflect that the Roman empire does not exist in thus patriarchs and metropolitans don't really fit into the modern world?

      I think what moscow's willingness to go nuclear so to speak reveals is that for whatever reasons we are now in fact beyond the old concilior model as it is solidified in the current cannons and history of the church. Into this vacuum a strong cultural and ethnic nationalism is rushing. Without a cultural center which the Roman emperor provided in the past, the conciliar model is abstract and just talk.

      None of this means that a pope of either the western or eastern variety can "fix" this situation. But what it does mean is that we are stuck in this dialectic in reality and history is leaving the dialectic behind...

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    6. The conciliar model doesn't need updating. The Church is run by the Apostles and their successors, the bishops. The bishops promote senior bishops for the good ordering of the Church as society increases in number and complexity. We're not a congregationalist Faith and never will be.

      The bishops call synods where issues are resolved by consensus; the Church is not a democracy. If there is no consensus on a matter, then it remains unapproved and should not be practiced. If there is no consensus on the threshold issue of a synod, then it is not held. A jurisprudential analogy is the "full bench rule" which you can look up.

      It's an anarchic system, because the relations between sovereigns are anarchic, not civic. The sovereign Patriarch of Constantinople can call a council, rent a hall and hire the caterers but if his fellow sovereigns don't attend, then that's that. All anybody can do is break communion or live with it.

      The salutary effect of this anarchic system is it protects the integrity of the Faith and Tradition. Also, the more bishops have to worry about defending their sovereignty, the less time they have to lecture us about immigrants and global warming.

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    8. I will only reply one more time Anti-Gnostic with a "but":

      I agree, the 'anarchic' model which you describe so succinctly is the model, "but" there are other realities which the model does not account for and which I believe are just as important:

      1) The model is an ideal and has ALWAYS required input from the outside, rather it be an Emperor in the first millennium or cultural isolation/oppression in the 2nd.

      2) Even when there was an emperor, the cultural influence was just as important as the refusal of part of the empire to accept the 4th council (namely Egypt and the less Greek part of the East), the east-west split (down the middle of the empire), and today's Slavic/Greek divides reveals to us.

      Now that the 2nd millinium isolation (oppresion is another mattter in many places) is over, the cultural side of the coin is pushing itself to the forefront. The speed and ease that a new ontology of "jurisdictionalism" is taking over reveals that the incompleteness of the model and it's dependence on "outside" cultural realities.

      You speak of this as "a problem" which the model can solve, but I think it is more than that - it is a dependancy of the model that is if not larger, then "other". You or others might say that I am leaning too heavily on a non-Christian anthropology and social theory, but I don't think so. I believe history and reality speaks for itself in terms "true" to a Christian anthropology.

      In any case, thanks for the discussion!

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    9. Again, I think we might agree more than we disagree: the Church's ecclesiology needs major updating. The ecclesiology was developed under the Byzantine Empire, which is now vanished. The empire was replaced by nation-states, which are themselves breaking down with international commerce and migration.

      What replaces the nation-state, national Church model is above my paygrade but I hope our bishops are thinking hard about it so they can shape events and not be shaped. But I know of one sociological constant: ecclesia is downstream of culture. So if the hierarchs ever get around to reforming the ecclesiology, they will have to keep this constant in mind. Otherwise whatever structure they put in place will not work, like the Old Calendar increasingly at odds with astronomical reality.

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  5. Fr. Alexis,

    I appreciate much of what you have written. However, when we look back over the past 100 years of Constantinople...from the Free Mason Metaxakis and his multiple Church dividing actions (including the calendar)...to Constantinople's abandonment of St. Tikhon and the recognition of the communist installed "Living Church"...to the Church destroying ecumenism and the Ukrainiam tragedy of Bartholomew...and everything in between...it is quite evident that Constantinople is in serious trouble. It has been ignored far too long and as you say, "the real men of God" need to right the ship.

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    1. tred cautiously,,,in my studies regarding our church and its development in the usa, much of our lay leadership and some of our clergy were masons, and not to our detriment but to our betterment -- many had a positive leadership, and visionary impact upon us. in defference to your bias, once we, for example, establish hospitals as the shriners have, or young people leadership programs as successful as the rainbow girls and demolay -- we should not be so hasty as to banter about the noun/njective in such a dispicable manner. that which we donot understand, nor appreciate the fullness of we are quick to criticize --- i would love to give substantial donations to the orthodox hospitals in the usa, alas but however due to our infighting and lack of vision i give generously to st judes and the shriners hospitals because of the good CHRISTIAN work they do. we can learn alot from others - my question is - why dont we? so metaxis was a mason, many more of our bretheren have been also. get over it

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    2. I am not understanding most of your post, rj klancko. But I will say this much: the Free Masons are of Antichrist. So no...I don't think I'll "get over it" anytime soon. But you have free will to believe as you wish.

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    3. you have not made that case,,,,mind you i am not a member, however i have seen the good they do, good that we do not do, and the good we could do, yet we condem them, and the condemnation appears to be born out of jealousy and fear of the leadership skills they build. in fact, one of the major greek orthodox fraternal organizations, from the outside looking in, appears masonic in origin. so i would caution the terminology used because what is accussed many times is not born out by wht one sees is accomplished by those being condemned,,,yet we enjoy condemming, and we condemn too much that we do not fully understand,,,in fact there are prelates that some of us blindly follow that, to others, exhibit the charactewristics of an anti christ ---- was we persue our ptty differences we exhibit such non christian behavior that it is embarrassing for many of us,,,to wit - what is happening at the phanar and the ukrainian/estonian/ etc situations are an embarrassment and a blemish so great that it begs the question as whether we are truly christian,,,,,we need to look at ourselves before we condemn other.
      we are all sinners, trying to improve our lives, we cannot condemn others without condemning ourselves,,,as one wise man once told me, when you point your finger, remember three are point back at you....caution, research, education, and faith are all needed to guide our lives.

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    4. Sorry klancko. If you do the proper research, you will see that Free Masons are diametrically opposed to the Orthodox faith. The fact that you perceive that they do good in some social endeavors does not mean that they should be praised. I will always condemn the fact that they are destroyers of the Holy Orthodox phronema. Metaxakis and Athenagoras were Free Masons...and this is unconscionable.

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    5. I am so sorry for your myopic stance,,, hopefully with greater knowledge and wisdom you will not be so hasty to condemn,,,,the eastern orthodox Mason's o have known, and there have been many, have been some of the finest people I have met,,great role models for their non Masonic orthodox colleagues,,,,do not destroy that which you do not understand fully

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    6. And I am saddened by YOUR myopic stance. I understand completely. Their Masonic practice is Antichrist. I do not condemn them. I condemn the satanic practice of which they attempt to mix with Holy Orthodoxy.
      Sadly, the "Orthodox" Free masons that you know...are not really Orthodox at all.

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    7. i can see the challenge here, there is no such thing as orthodox orthodox, those who are, are in severe trouble, one must first be christian, and then orthodox. orthodox is an adjetive and christia is the noun. i first consider whether one is christian in their basic beliefs, then how are they defined. i have met many people who espouse to be orthdox yet have no idea of what jesus christ taught, yet i have met many who do know, yet have no knowlege of what the orthodox church is. the lack of that knowledge is not their afult but ours.yet they espouse much of what we claim we do. yet we fail them because many of us also fail in our christian faith because for example, many of us do not follow the parable of the talents. we hide our wealth under a rock and donot share it. and isnt this a sin? ergo, our myopic perspectives keep us from living a full life in christ. in defferene to your stance all i can say is that jesus preached a message of love and not condemnation -- being so myopoic contradicts his message,,,,there is good in everything and everyone, our charge is to indentify it and to nurture it. it is also our responsibility to know when we are erring and voice it. regarding this mess between the phanar and the rest of our church, wht the real world sees is our bishops behaving badly, and this brings in question the validity of our church and brings ridicule on us and hurts our message - therefore we must be deligent and work to become a christian family -- which it seems that we are forgotten is the goal of our eqrthly life --- may your heart be softened

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    8. Sorry Klancko, your post has nothing to do with Free Masonry. Whether or not someone calls themselves a Christian, and walks the walk, is a completely different subject. Free Masonry is a different animal. You will not be able to find one righteous Orthodox hierarch who agrees with your position. The following would be good for you to read:

      http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/masonry.aspx

      May you have eyes to see and ears to hear.

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    9. Who determines who is righteous, we have no agreement because we get orgasmic in criticizing and condemning ,,,, we become so self-righteous that we put the Pharisees to shame,,,,tis such a pity, such a scandal, I she'd a year for you

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    10. I trust in my bishops...those who hold to the holy Orthodox faith and the Sacred Tradition. I believe they are righteous. Orgasmic? I think not. As far as putting the pharisees to shame...let God be the judge. I have judged the demonic practice of Free Masonry...not the Free Masons themselves. Your tears are better shed for those who practice satanic Free Mason and feel that there is nothing wrong with it.

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    11. yes of course let us trust herman ( joe swaitko), theodosius (lazor), mark (forsberg), drakonis of the greeks, Seraphim of canada, demetri of the antiochians,,,,yes let us place our faith in them and a host of others --- we have bishops who behave badly and bring shame upon us ,,, therefore it is difficult to seriously endorse your perspective,,,we must always be careful, and objective in our evauations

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    12. It looks like you did not read what I wrote. Listen Klancko, you are never going to convince me that satanic Free Masonry, is a wonderful "religion" that is beautifully compatible with Holy Orthodoxy. So you can give it a rest now.

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  6. Respectfully Jake, Pass.
    спаси и сохрани
    χρόνια πολλά

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    1. I understand. The dilemma is well beyond moral castigation.

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  7. It's simple. Istanbul and the Greeks that follow them have once again betrayed Orthodoxy and will be severely punished by God. Moscow's decision is pastoral in nature. Should Alexandra return from schism and heresy then these parishes will once again be integrated.

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    1. Completely inappropriate comments from you two calling others betrayers of Orthodoxy as if you are confessors of the faith via keyboard. Mikail, I asked you twice if the non-orthodox have apostolic succession and you refused to answer each time. What kind of an "anti-ecumenist" cannot give a straightforward to such a question?

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    3. MikailDecember 28, 2019 at 10:54 PM

      Give it a break. No one cares whether or not you think that the Roman Catholics have valid Apostolic Succession. Istanbul betrayed the entire Orthodox Church by recognizing a group of laymen who are pretending to be clergy. God will be their judge.

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    4. "Give it a break....Istanbul betrayed the entire Orthodox Church ...pretending to be clergy....God will be their judge..."

      And the MP propaganda fart can goes

      BBBBPPLLLUUGGHGGLLBBBBBPPPPPPPPPPPP...BBBLUPPPPPPPHH...BBPPPPP...

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    5. And the man with only ad hominems to offer, continues to make a fool of himself.

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    6. See what I mean Mikail? You sit in judgement of patriarchs, calling them apostates and traitors, meanwhile you're not even Orthodox.

      Nothing personal against you. I am taking the time to write so at least you are aware of these things. Time is short. May none of us hear these words from our Lord: wicked servant, should you not had compassion on your fellowservant as I had on thee?

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  9. The main takeaway from the absurdity of what Moscow is threatening for parishes in Africa is that the MP simply can't be allowed anymore to have jurisdiction outside of Russia. That's where this is all leading. When a successful Ecumenical Council finally happens, there is no doubt that the Moscow Patriarchate will conclusively be banned outside of the normal ecclesial boundaries of Russia. Say your goodbyes while you still can to ROCOR.

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    1. You are aware that at any "ecumenical" council the MP will make up the majority.

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    2. LOL. Moscow is hardly the only See with an extra-territorial problem. +Phillip of blessed memory had the right idea when he publicly ridiculed the concept of "diaspora" Churches, as if everybody's going back to their villages once the baggage from two World Wars dies down.

      Moscow is probably in the best position just to cede the Americas; how much money do they even get from ROCOR? I don't think anybody else can though.

      It would be nice if OCA and AOCA (US) could merge and tell the rest of the world how this problem is going to be solved but I doubt that happens.

      Antioch (Central/South America) is becoming Hispanic (as she should) but then you have a looming problem with the EP's "Mayan Orthodox" carve-out.

      Like I say, ecclesia is downstream from culture. The longer everybody pretends this isn't true the worse this problem will get.

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    3. "Say your goodbyes while you still can to ROCOR."

      On the contrary Joseph. I believe it is C'pole that increasingly finds itself backed into a corner.

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  10. LOL! Good one Joseph. And Istanbul will be banned outside of Turkey.

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  12. If the Moscow Patriarchate was wanting a dialogue to solve the Ukrainian conflict, they sure have a funny way of showing it. This act will all but guarantee Alexandria will not participate in the upcoming meeting in Jordan.

    The MP is not interested in dialogue. A true open dialogue would entail openness to the possibility of recognizing the OCU in some negotiated form.

    The EP will not compromise on their claim to be the arbiter of Autocephaly, and the MP will not accept the OCU in any way shape or form, so there is nothing to talk about right now, because the two parties are not interested in a dialogue. Hopefully that will change, but for now it hasn't.

    What I don't understand, is how people are so accepting of the MP acting as the Patriarch of All Russians Everywhere. This idea of the Russky Mir is not some "Phanariot" cheap shot, but a real thing. Go over to Father Andrew's blog at Orthodox England and read it. While it may not be as colorful as Father Andrew, there is this idea that Russia is the guardian and keeper of "True Orthodoxy" and that they are the real leaders of the Orthodox World. The MP may not "technically" teach the Third Rome idea, but that is a disingenuous dodge, akin to the legalistic contortions Catholics make when they bob and weave on their doctrines. It permeates the hagiography of Czar St. Nicholas II and the romanticism of Holy Rus.

    Many Non-Russian Orthodox accept the Russky Mir mythos because they have an axe to grind against the EP or they think the Russians are more "traditional" and that Orthodoxy will be preserved through them.

    How is this acceptable? This is a pure political calculation with a heavy dose of romantic fantasy. It is just as distorted as "Greek Chauvinism." And yet, "Traditionalist Orthodox" accept it because they like how Russians pray.

    I honestly don't understand it. It is madness, and violation of the ideals that the MP partisans claim to uphold.

    "Yes, the MP is violating the Canons in their actions, but it is Patriarch Bartholomew's fault!"

    Madness.

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    1. Of course it is Bartholomew's fault. He gave a Tomos to a group of laymen pretending to be clergy. Of course the CoG and Alexandria will not show up, because they are puppets of the Phanariotes. It is my prayer that Russia, Jerusalem, Antioch, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Cypress, etc...can all meet in council, reverse the tragic actions of Bartholomew, and perhaps depose him.

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    2. Mikail,

      You are not responding to what I wrote. How is the Russky Mir any better than Romiosini (which also is not tied to one ethnicity but centered in Hellenism and the Byzantine Empire as THE ideal society)?

      MP partisans want to replace one Imperial ideology with another one. The MP has long sowed the seeds of this idea that the Greek Churches are modernists with one foot in heresy and the other on a banana peel, and that it is the Moscow Patriarchate that is the "keeper of the flame." They don't have to declare themselves "Third Rome" with edicts or tomes, because their very actions declare it.

      There is this idea that the MP is more traditional and "Orthodox" and so the other Churches should join with the Russky Mir because they will "protect Orthodoxy." The more honest and open people like Father Andrew and others declare this blatantly.

      This isn't about "Russophobia." This is about the Moscow Patriarchate acting in the very fashion that they denounce the Ecumenical Patriarchate for. But the MP gets a pass because they are the "defenders of Orthodoxy" and the EP is condemned because he is a "modernist."

      Do you not see what is happening here? For all the talk of "getting over" Byzantium, so many are quick to embrace the idea of an Orthodox Church centered in Moscow.

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    3. I will not respond to anything you say because I agree with none of it. You are creating strawmen and knocking them down. The Alexandrian Church has just recognized a group of laymen who are pretending to be clergy. The Russian Church must care for Her flock who do not want to be part of this schism. No one is talking about the Church being centered in Moscow. Do you not see what is happening here? Just like I told you, David...C'pole has created this awful schism and there is a ripple effect that is tearing apart the Orthodox Church. Hopefully, a council can reverse this tragedy and depose Bartholomew for his Church destroying actions.

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  13. Additionally, how is it acceptable for the Moscow Patriarchate to claim ownership of every Russian community in the globe? "We have to take care of Our people." How is this canonical? The Russians in Africa and Asia Minor Do Not "belong" to the MP in any way, shape, or form. If the Church of Alexandria still has grace, than what the MP is doing is grossly uncanonical and the very crime that they condemn the EP for in Ukraine.

    Since when did "Two wrongs make a right" become part of the Canons?

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    1. The Alexandrian Church has decided to go full Phariote and recognize the laymen who are playing pretend. I believe Russia is acting accordingly.

      You know how I feel David. And I am aware of your stance. We will never agree. I'm fine with that, and I am not going to start our tit-for-tat once again. I hope you had a blessed Nativity.

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    2. Same way +Meletius did it in 1922.

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  14. "What I don't understand, is how people are so accepting of the MP acting as the Patriarch of All Russians Everywhere...Many Non-Russian Orthodox accept the Russky Mir mythos because they have an axe to grind against the EP or they think the Russians are more "traditional" and that Orthodoxy will be preserved through them...There is this idea that the MP is more traditional and "Orthodox" and so the other Churches should join with the Russky Mir because they will "protect Orthodoxy..."

    David,

    Just to focus on this part of your excellent posts, yes. I am the first to admit that the Slavic side of Orthodoxy is more wisely weary of modernity, where as the Greeks are too easily swayed by what they believe are the "positive" sides of moderninity. Since monderninity is secularism, and secularism is a Christian heresy, the Slav's reaction is thus more "traditional" and conservative.

    This brings us to the typical Orthodox believer, rather they are a "convert" or not, in traditional western society (i.e. western Euro and NA mostly). Because of their experience in secular cultural, they often (though mostly on an instinctive level) sense that there is something "wrong" with the Greek/EP way of relating to the modern secular culture.

    Yet, also because of their experience, they tend toward a reactionary stance. One thing our secular/protestant culture does to us is leave us without grounding - anxious about whether there is truth and *where* that truth is communally known and acknowledged. We are always weary and searching for where the Church is and where it is not. When this anxiety reaches a certain point, it becomes an overt spiritual sickness that leads to a hyper-vigilance about the "boundaries" of the Church and obsessiveness around legalistic "who's in and who's out" and which layperson/cleric/Patriarch is betraying the faith this week.

    In a very important sense, all of us - but especially these sorts of folks never leave their essentially Protestant egoism/religious individualism behind. So yes, they are always going to be attracted to the weariness of the Slav's, and unfortunately they are going to be too easily swayed when the (some) Slav's decide to leverage these folks anxiety in a propaganda war.

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    1. Jake,

      I think that the Greek/Slav labeling is an oversimplification, as there are "liberal" elements in both. The EP has many "conservative" members and hierarchs (even if they affirm the EP's authority, to the chagrin of their MP partisan co-belligerents). These conflicts are a normal feature of Church life, and as you say in America it can become more virulent and acute due to the culture. I was fortunate in that I had made the decision to learn how to be Orthodox from those "lazy Cradles" and put aside the books (which had spun my head in all directions when I flirted with Traditionalism). What I found was a revelation.

      I would recommend reading "Saint of Our Century" by Sōtos Chondropoulos (on St. Nektarios) and "Beauty for Ashes: The Spiritual Transformation of a Modern Greek Community" by Stephen Lloyd-Moffett. Reading about the life of St. Nektarios (who was abused and blown off by Alexandria, Greece and the EP) and the reform of the Metropolis of Preveza (as accounted in Moffett's book) is a great antidote for despairing about "politics" in our Church, because it has always been so. There will always be good Bishops and bad ones. God will judge both.

      For me it isn't about who is "right or wrong." Perhaps both are right AND wrong.

      For me it is very simple: Anyone who sows division in the Body of Christ will have to answer for it before the Judgement Seat. Anyone.

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  15. "You sit in judgement of patriarchs, calling them apostates and traitors, meanwhile you're not even Orthodox."

    Sit in judgement of Patriarchs? What are you talking about? Bartholomew has given a Tomos to a group of laymen who are pretending to be clergy. That action is uncanonical and Church destroying. We are seeing the ripple effects. Another Patriarch (out of loyalty to C'pole) does a 180 degree turn and stabs Metropolitan Onufriy square in the back. This is a traitorous and Judas-like behaviour. Their ACTIONS are not Christ-like....yet I pray for them....that they will amend the damage they have done. St Paul tells us: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    And what makes you think that I am not an Orthodox Christian, Mr. Unknown?

    Nothing personal against you, but nothing you have written seems to make much sense.

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  16. The Nativity Feast was a blessing, as it always is---the eternal blessing of The Word becoming Flesh. I pray it was so for everyone.

    "The Russian Church must care for Her flock who do not want to be part of this schism."

    Capitalized for emphasis: THEY ARE NOT THE MP'S FLOCK. Just because they are Russian, doesn't automatically mean they "belong" to the MP. This is the very thing I am trying to say to you, Mikail. They are Alexandria's flock, period. Saying otherwise is ethnophyletism.

    Anti-Gnostic: Who says that was right either? Not me. Perhaps we can agree that there was plenty of mess on BOTH sides that could use a little addressing. A Century of bitterness and grievance is what is at the heart of this conflict between the EP and MP. Ukraine was merely the spark that blew it all open. A century of bile is the fuel. The EP and MP are brothers who are at odds, and like any family conflict, other family members get drawn into it.

    It is my hope and prayer that both get together and acknowledge the hurts that they have inflicted on one another, and a true reconciliation can take place soon. Such a reconciliation will take place eventually, but I would like to see it in my lifetime. It will likely happen with the EP and MP's successors. But God is always in control.

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  17. They are Russia's flock! These people don't want to be a part of this tragic schism. The Alexandrian priests who signed the letter saying they want no parts of the OCU tragedy are being persecuted. Wake up David! I do not see a reconciliation in the future as you hope. I think the EP has been on its way out for the past 100 years. I think it is more likely that we will see them in communion with Rome in our lifetime.

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