Monday, January 24, 2022

Orthochristian joins me in asking... what did Abp. Elpidophoros mean?

( - As usual, there was a strong Orthodox presence at the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., held on Friday, January 21, this year.

The Orthodox presence was led by twelve hierarchs, including His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of Washington and All America and Canada and several other hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America, and hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The day began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the OCA’s St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, reports the OCA.

The hierarchs and other clergy then joined many other Orthodox Christians, including delegations from St. Tikhon’s Seminary and St. Vladimir’s Seminary, at the rally.

While the Orthodox participation in the March for Life has been headed for decades by the OCA, the Orthodox remarks and prayer from the rally stage were offered by Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.  

The Archbishop’s speech has proved to be ambiguous and controversial...

Complete article here.


  1. For such a high-ranking hierarch, the Archbishop has a long history of making divisive and/or inflammatory comments. Does anyone remember the stir he caused in the US with his attacks on Mets. Philip & Johah when he was still a hieromonk?

    1. Who found the Archbishop's speech to be "inflammatory'? I think only those with the political aim of making abortion illegal.

    2. //I think only those with the political aim of making abortion illegal.//

      So, people who are actually Orthodox?

    3. I've heard of the "true" Orthodox and the "genuine" Orthodox, so I suppose there exists the "actually" Orthodox also.

      I count 12 countries in the world that have majority-Orthodox populations: Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro.

      All twelve of these countries have legal abortion and function as representative democracies. Does this mean these countries are not "actually" Orthodox?

      Honestly, I find it surprising that not even one Orthodox country has outlawed abortion. Countries that have outlawed abortion are usually majority Muslim or majority Roman Catholic. Of course, both Islam and Charlamagne's "Holy Roman Empire" have a long legacy of Coercive Religion.

    4. I do not know that any country could be described as "truly/actually/genuinely" Orthodox.

      As far as coercion goes, trying to look at the issue in a logical manner, I only see three reasons for not wanting abortion to be illegal as an Orthodox Christian:

      1. Murder, in general, should not be legislated against. I do not agree with that, but it is at least logically consistent.

      2. Abortion is not murder. In this case we have to jettison the whole God knowing us from our mothers' wombs as nothing but window dressing.

      3. Abortion is murder, but certain classes of people should not be protected from murder. Unfortunately, if we apply this logic to, say, the slaves (most of them were not murdered either, so by this logic, they did not need to be protected), this argument falls apart.

      If there is an argument I missed that is not merely an appeal to feelings, please let me know.

    5. None of those //states// are Orthodox as states, except possibly Greece.

      But the Orthodox faithful of these nations, those who know and practice their faith, of course want murder to be illegal.

    6. To add to the disentanglement of Joseph Lipper's simplistic "Christ vs. Culture" reading, the majority of those 12 countries are only very recently (by historical standards) out from under real oppression/repression - all of them if you throw in the Ottoman subjugation. To crudely (and in the case of Islam very wrongly) compare them to triumph cultures who according to him are simplistic examples of "coercive religion" is not helpful.

    7. Apparently all 12 of these countries with majority-Orthodox populations ( and also governed by representative democracies) are not "actually" Orthodox. Is it because a country can't "actually" be Orthodox? Is it rather because the people are not "actually" Orthodox? Or maybe it's just an inherent weakness of representative democracies? I don't know. It's been 30 years since the Soviet Union collapsed, and 100 years since the Ottoman Empire collapsed. I mean, how many years are needed to bring healing from this past, and is that a real excuse anyways in the context of abortion law... for all 12 of these countries?

      Logically, it would make sense that abortion be considered as the most severe murder imaginable. The unborn child is completely helpless and trapped. With this in mind, penalties for abortion could be more severe than for other types of murder. It would follow that women who have miscarriages should be questioned by the police, possibly a forensic examiner would need to determine that the cause of death was, in fact, natural and not murder. An accidental miscarriage could certainly be charged as negligent homicide. That probably wouldn't happen, but it seems logical enough.

      Governments, by nature, are coercive, and this is not a bad thing. Whatever laws we have, we can accept as meant for our own good and protection. St. Paul writes "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained by God." So my argument is that as Christians, we really don't need to re-invent the wheel with government. Whatever laws and and government we have, this is ordained by God, for our present time, and for our salvation.

      Pro-Life activists have spent the last 50 years fighting Roe vs Wade and marching for coercion, and to what end... civil war? Not only that, the Pro-Life movement has mostly made Christians acutely myopic to the political damage our country does abroad. Was the U.S. invasion of Iraq a Pro-Life event? No, but the argument could certainly be made that the political myopia of the Pro-Life movement allowed it to happen.

    8. A couple of thoughts.

      My arguments were about legislation. Discussing enforcement moves the goal posts. That being said, I have heard before the idea that miscarriages being investigated. Since it seems to be based on the idea of people being guilty unless proven innocent, I think it is a non-starter.

      As for why countries (I would say modern states) cannot be Orthodox in their legislation, there are at least three factors I can think of:

      1. The reported percentage of Orthodox people includes those who rarely go to church (and, when they do it is perhaps more out of habit or tradition than any conviction) and who either don't know or don't care what the Church teaches about things.

      2. The political and intellectual class is often not representative of the population as a whole

      3. If my memory serves me right, relief packages from the IMF after the fall of communism came with strings attached about certain laws being passed.

      There may be other factors, but some combination of the three above is enough for me to think no state can be Orthodox.

    9. Legislation against murder and sometimes even against the murder of abortion is common even in the most tyrannical governments. Abortion was made illegal for a time under the communist government in Russia, and I also believe it was made illegal for a time under the communist government in Romania. Many of the Muslim countries in the Middle East have very strict laws against abortion. I wouldn't doubt that there have been cases of women arrested for miscarriages under those governments. Indeed, I believe a woman in Oklahoma was recently arrested and imprisoned for just that:

      To your question about whether or not murder should be legislated against, I would respond simply that it is legislated against, except when it is not. Do you really want more legislation? As a Christian, we know that willful abortion is murder, and that it requires repentance. That is the position of the Church. Whether the government decides to legislate against murder of any kind is their prerogative.

    10. JL: You might be interested in the good Iranian movie "A Separation." An important plot point involves a man who may have violently pushed a woman, which may have caused a miscarriage. If this is found to be true, he'll be charged with murder. Interesting to try to project this into our own society...

  2. Each will either stand or fall before his MASTER.

  3. He means to be heretical, and justify GOARCH's continuing blind fealty to the Democratic Party. He's taken the Biden position that abortion is morally wrong for a celibate male Bishop like himself, but should be legal for women who don't agree with him. It is bewildering. One can understand a position that moral sins generally do not have to be made illegal by the government, but abortion is murder. It is, IMO, impossible for a Christian to condone the legality of any form of murder. Saying homosexuality is bad, but leaving it for God to judge what consenting adults do is one thing. Saying murder is bad, but leaving God to judge that is quite another. There's a corpse.

  4. You will know them by their fruits. More division from the side that has caused the greatest divisions in our lifetime, if not since the Great Schism.