EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): For years we have been warning about the dire consequences of the involvement of the – worst Patriarch of modern times – Bartholomew in the geopolitics of Ukraine (AB Elpidoktonos is equally liable as he chose to write a geopolitical essay on Ukraine months before he was elected to the throne). The Russians, known for their patience but also for their unique ability to not ever forgive their adversaries, who, history shows, they always paid back in kind, have now decided to act: Exarchate in Africa, Exarchate in Turkey, Exarchate in Greece, and (probably) soon in Cyprus. The U.S. with a small but significant Old Calendarist Greek Church will not be far behind. Let me note here that the two Old Calendar Churches in Astoria, New York (St.Markella and St.Irene Chrysovalantou) are packed to the brim every Sunday, while St.Demetrios and St.Ekaterini, plagued by scandals and corruption and, above all, the flawed leadership of AB Elpidoktonos) are empty… In fact, in the US, the Russians, already connected to ROCOR and OCA, have an ample variety of choices…
Nevertheless, I have to underline my doubts on why the anti-vax Orthodox would want to come under Moscow: The Russian Patriarchate, and particularly Met. Hilarion, follow equally demanding policies on vaccination…
BELOW IS THE NEWS FROM TWO DIFFERENT SOURCES
Church of Greece fears “expansion” of Russian Church in Greece and Turkey
The Greek bishop believes that the creation of structures of the Russian Church in Africa, Greece and Turkey was planned for 30 years.
Metropolitan Gregory of Peristeria of the Greek Orthodox Church said that the Russian Orthodox Church is preparing to create its structures in Greece and Turkey, Orthodoxia.info reports.
According to him, “the problem with the Russian Church goes far beyond the invasion of the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, since, as everything indicates, this step (the creation of the Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Africa – Ed.) is only the beginning.”
He believes that “the actions of the Russian Church repeat what happened in the previous millennium on the part of Rome, which caused a deep split in the ranks of the Christian world.”
“What they are doing in Africa, they will do in the territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece. We can expect this from day to day,” assures Metropolitan Gregory.
The hierarch also thinks that the “Ukrainian issue” is an excuse, rather than the reason, and “all these actions were planned in Moscow for three decades.”
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that, according to Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev), by creating the Exarchate in Africa, the Russian Church did not invade the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, but responded to the requests of the African clergy.
Russian “exarchate” in Greece with anti-vaxxers and old calendarists
Si vis pacem, para bellum or as we say in Greek “if you want peace, prepare for war”. The Latin saying has been in practice in recent months on the Ukrainian-Russian border.
War drums do not just sound there. Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, in charge of foreign relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, was clear: After the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Moscow Patriarchate intends to establish an exarchate in Constantinople to meet the needs of the Russian-speaking faithful in Turkey.
“The Russians will not stop in Constantinople,” point out Greek Metropolitans who have studied in depth the movements of the Russian Church.
The plan of the Moscow Patriarchate is to “press” in all areas of the SE Mediterranean and the Middle East, according to informations analyzed by the competent departments and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is friendly to Moscow as it does not want to lose the support of the Russians. “For reasons of survival,” as the Patriarch of Jerusalem has stated to his own people.
In Turkey, in the heart of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Russians want to enter for reasons – mainly – of semiotics. The Russian plan envisages also the “invasion” in Cyprus through Metropolitans who are close to the Russian Church.
Many of the Bishops and parishes never agreed with the choice of the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostom to support Phanari and to recognize the Autochephaly of the Church of Ukraine. A move that angered the Moscow Patriarchate and the Kremlin.
The continuation of the Russian plan envisages the establishment of a Russian “exarchate” in Greece. An “exarchate” that can count, according to rough estimates, even 400,000 members!
Christian communities that can recognize the Moscow Patriarchate as the highest ecclesiastical authority, are many of parishes and Metropolitans that follow the old calendar. Support from the financially strong Moscow Patriarchate will not leave them indifferent.
The Metropolitans of the Church of Greece (Mesogaia, Corfu) and specific Monasteries of Mount Athos have also shown that they are attracted to Russia’s positions. They obviously support the official Church, but in private discussions, they adopt the positions of the Russian Church.
In addition, Metropolitans of Thrace have sounded the alarm bell informing the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. In their areas, thousands of anti-vaxxers may be cut off from the body of the official church and “adopted” by the Russians, they claim, recognizing the Moscow Patriarchate as the highest ecclesiastical authority
It is not accidental, they note that many Christians of Pontic origin who adopt anti-vaccinal rhetoric, identify themselves more with the position of Moscow. Groups that can easily get close to the Russian Patriarchate, say Metropolitans.
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs is carefully observing the movements that are evolving on the church chessboard in the SE Mediterranean.
Also, senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are deeply worried with the information about the monasteries of Mount Athos that maintain excellent relations with the Russian Church and through “institutions” they finance -with vast financial resources- ecclesiastical websites that strengthen the position of the Russian Church against the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Sources from the Phanar, say that they have even created a church web channel with hourly news and expensive TV productions. The Greek Prime Minister K. Mitsotakis and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Dendias have already been informed by Archbishop Ieronymos and Metropolitans about the “Russian” invasion in Greece and the repercussions this could have for the country.
The strongest in faith always survive ……
It was expected from the Russia church because
the Fanar …. and the church of Greece step by
step became faithful not to God and the believes
of Orthodoxia but to money and to the people of
the New World Order.
Well stated! Truth!
Jockeying for political position or lover of Christ? Will the real hierarchs step forward? Time will tell.
All you folks who romanticize the Russians as Champions of Orthodoxy are very poor historians. The ever cunning Putin (an assassin of his opponents and the world’s richest man due to 22 years of kleptocracy) is using his puppet church and hierarchy, as did the Czars before him, in furtherance of Russian military, intelligence, economic, and foreign policy aims. And do you not think that in Putin’s Russia, church outposts in foreign lands will work hand-in-glove with Russian intelligence in furtherance of those aims? If you don’t think that, you are too naive to operate in today’s complex world.
This is not a Russian vs Bartholomew choice, it’s a true understanding of the deceit and aims of the official Russian state and the great degree to which their church has always been compromised.
Russian Church=Russian Nationalism, no matter the era. Don’t confuse massive military cathedrals and 200 person choirs with holiness. Wake up and quit ignoring Russian history !
Regarding “romanticizing”: I think a common demand of all Orthodox people to maintain a united, as possible, world Orthodoxy is much different than romanticizing the Russians. There is ample evidence that the blame for current Russian “intransigent” security demands falls on the US side and the countless, (albeit verbal) broken promises to the Russians for “non-expansion” of NATO eastward. Similarly, it was the American establishment through its agents like Jeffrey Pyatt who started the effort to divide world Orthodoxy by applying the – now outdated and flawed – theory of “Clash of Civilizations” and the scarecrow of the “Orthodox Bow”, i.e. a Pan-Orthodox alliance under Russia… Not only they did not do much to fight the “Islamic Bow”, but they financed and trained the ISIS be-headers in Syria who – But Putin’s intervention in Syria – would have exterminated the most ancient Orthodox Church… It took President Trump’s wise changes in foreign policy approach to defeat ISIS.
Before Pyatt’s and Nuland’s coup d’etat in 2014 in Ukraine, the Moscow Patriarchate, true to old Russian traditions of respecting international agreements and customs, respected the “primacy among equals” role of the Constantinople Patriarchate. It was the engineering of the Ukrainian Autocephaly/Cacocephaly of 2017 that created the problems. Because it took the, known for centuries, political role of the Church to a new unprecedented level.
As for Putin’s brutality, I have said it again and most reasonable analysts agree: Putin is an “authoritarian”, not a dictator. I again remind this audience of a classic social science classic study of Karl August Wittfogel (“Oriental Despotism”, 1957) where it is shown that, historically, Russia and China for a number of reasons had to have a form of “authoritarian”/”despotic” government. If you expected Putin, a KGB guy, to allow Soros to operate NGOs in Moscow, then you are not realistic…
I have said it ad nauseam: the West allied with the monstrous Stalin, whose level of brutality Putin will never reach, to defeat Germany and Japan in WWII. But the “deep state” would not allow President Trump to create the foundations of an alliance with Putin in order to defeat China. Why? because the “deep state” in DC is allied with Wall Street and the financial interests that are completely sold out to the Chinese communists.
Please read the very well-argued article by Pat Buchanan – posted here today… Now we are facing a total global catastrophe – as we will never be able to defeat the Russia-China axis already enhanced by Iran, Turkey and possibly India. Did you see what kind of weapons India bought from Russia recently? And what kinds of natural gas pipelines do they plan?
Let me close here with a final note of romanticism: It’s a shame that only a very small, tiny, part of the DC establishment has read any works by Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky – so to get a glimpse of the true heart of the Russian people and the central place Orthodox faith has in it… They would avoid making disastrous decisions…
You need only to read Solzhenitsyn to understand what the soul of “Holy Russia” is capable of doing. And ask the ghosts of the millions of Kulaks murdered by Old Joe Stalin, ah-um, ah, let me recall, A FORMER ORTHODOX SEMINARIAN !
Look, Russia, Greece, Old Calendar, Zombie Orthodox, Turkish,Alexandria, Martian Orthodox….WHO CARES ? WE NEED AN INDEPENDENT AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH.
By the way, America and Britain reluctantly (and at their peril) cooperated with Stalin in order to free the entire world (and by the way, Greece). The Russians then turned around and exported this Communism to China under Mao, together they became the greatest oppressors ever known to history.
I know many Christians who became communists and I have written a couple of times of my personal experience of young socialists in Greece in the 1970s and 1980s who ended up monks in Mount Athos… It is a revolving door in some ways.
The point to keep in mind has to do with cultural/ethnic identity – and please remember this for future use: You cannot understand Russian identity without its inextricable connection to Orthodoxy in the same way that you cannot do the same for Greek identity… for both cultures Orthodoxy is right at the center of their “soul”…
A good historian like yourself will also understand that a alarming percentage of the current hierarchy that appears “loyal” to Constantinople is also a group of “marionettes” whose strings are being controlled by those who have “financial, legal, and/or ethical leverage” against them… These wolves in sheepskin are actually easy to detect…Compare any of them to REAL bishops like St. Nektarios, and you will quickly determine that the New Testament quote about “not being worthy to tie the saint’s shoelaces” will easily apply.
You are correct that it’s not a Russian vs. Bartholomew choice…for many decades, Greek Old Calendarists had the option of aligning with any of several choices…Russian / Serbian / Georgian / Jerusalem, in order for them to return to a CANONICAL state, and still retain their much beloved Calendar. The Ukrainian fiasco might be a catalyst to reignite this decades-old debate, given that the largest of the 14 legitimate Autocephalous Churches stopped commemorating Constantinople, and not just a fraction of the Greeks (Old Calendarists) who have stopped commemoration for many decades. The good news is, that parishes in the New World also have the option of aligning to a “more Orthodox” jurisdiction of their choice. If you feel that the Russian Church is too czarist for your ethnophyletic circuit breakers, there are other fine examples of Orthodox lineage that you can join.
However, since you seem to be knowledgable about history, you will also realize that the Greek Old Calendarist movement has splintered into several groups, it has several clergy who may not be deemed as “Canonical”, and that is a hurdle that any “Adopting Canonical Church” would have to overcome in order to restore Canonical norms. Furthermore, there is a large faction of the Greek Old Calendarist movement that has professed for decades that even Moscow is “not Orthodox”, and has fallen out of grace as well, and that the Old Calendarists’ faction are the “last remaining Orthodox” in the world.
You are correct in saying “Wake up”, but it’s not just Russian history that we need to study…we have to understand which of these hierarchs exactly is aligned with 2000 years of Patristic Tradition, and who is a “marionnette” / (false hierarch) of the likes of those who signed the dotted line of betrayal during the Pseudo-council of Ferrara in 1439….
Take the pledge, man up !
RESOLVED: WE DEMAND AN INDEPENDENT AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH.
We all agree.. The tool and the first step to get there is filing lawsuits against the GOA.. we need one parish each from NY, FL, MA, IL and CA… A d any other state possible… The issue will be related to violations of state and federal law regarding non-profit internal organization.
That’s not how ecclesiastical governance has worked for 2000 years, so it’s not a matter of “manning up” or signing any secular “declaration of independence”. What is the point of an “independent church” (per your definition) if the clergy that will comprise it is fundamentally corrupt? What will you have achieved then, besides a transfer of the “syndicate of corruption” into a different jurisdiction? In Greek, there is a saying “αλλαξε ο Μανωλιος και εβαλε τα ρουχα αλλιως”…that methodology won’t produce a useful result, because it doesn’t address the core problem.
Here’s a better idea…Gather funds, hire Private Detectives, expose any corrupt hierarchs and clergy that are found to be in violation of Church Canons and fundamental codes of ethics, one at a time, to give the others a chance to resign on their own before it’s their turn, and defrock them accordingly. We can rebuild from there….for decades, good people have been left out of both the episcopacy and the clergy for not being “favorites” of the corrupt elite, and others have merely chosen NOT to become “slaves” of a corrupt bishop by becoming clergy. There is sufficient pious human capital with which to rebuild, don’t worry.
A little bit of competition keeps everyone honest, right?…
Nevertheless, schism and heresy are exactly what occurs when decisions are made unilaterally and not synodically…
I don’t know much about politics, but I do know the words of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who said …”You shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-20)
I also know how much I have personally benefited from having the freedom to choose, within my geographical area, which Orthodox Church to attend. I have the choice of three different jurisdictions, not including the Greek Orthodox Church.
I also agree with Markos, that “a little bit of competition keeps everyone honest.” In other words, free enterprise provides better quality products & services, lower prices, more variety, more choices, and more fairness, if we are going to draw on simple, secular examples and experiences.
It’s about time ecclesial jurisdictional monopoly and hierarchical high-handed strangulation came to an end. Let the Russians, the Georgians, the Serbians, and every other jurisdiction, even the Greeks if they dare or if they care, create as many exarchates as possible; and let the people choose their church based on their faith and where they are best fed spiritually.
The church I currently attend holds Divine Liturgy in three different languages. Glory to God that three different generations of parishioners in three languages have come together and become one church family as a result of the tyrrany and scandals of Bartholomew, Elpidophoros of USA, Sotirios of Canada, Chrysostom of Cyprus and so on… “You shall know them by their fruits,” and we have seen and smelled their fruits.
Did we eat these fruits? Not a chance! We went to a different market and found other, better, tastier, fresher and more spiritually nutritious fruits, not the rotten, poisonous fruits of Bartholomew and his supporters.
So, let the Russians come. Let everyone come, and we will see what fruits they have to offer…and WE will choose where we will church ourselves…not Sotirios, not Elpidophoros, not Bartholomew or any other hierarch, who has used and abused the Church of Christ (His Body) which is us, the people of God, for their own personal ambitions and their pharisaic rise to secular power. These heretics and traitors of the Truth can eat and digest their own rotten fruits.
This all of a sudden Russia worship is ridiculous to me.
Despite what one might think about Bartholomew or Elpidophoros, the answer is not to run to the Russians as if they are some holy than thou people, I find that premise ridiculous.
The Russians have shown that they are empirical and think they can invade and intrude anywhere and in any Orthodox jurisdiction that they want at any time. They have violent countless canons.
This type of behaviour by the Russians should be called out and should not be encouraged especially by us Greeks.
You are ignoring that the Russians at the present situation did not start anything – Bartholomew and the American establishment did.
Even if it so, that Bartholomew started it and even if you disagree with him granting Autocephaly to Ukraine, where is the correlation to the Russians now invading the Territory of the Ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria? Why is that somehow justified?
All I’m saying, is I would be very careful in jumping all in with the Russians about this issue or anything in particular
Nobody is “jumping all in with the Russians”, but we refuse to see them as the “niggers of the steppe”as those who survived the Cold War still do. Where is the correlation? Ecclesiastically Ukraine was not only the birthplace of Russians but Kyiv was their Jerusalem… if you attempt to take away their Jerusalem what do you think they will do?
Again I ask and I hope you can give me an answer.
If you disagree with Constantinople issuing a tomos of Autocephaly to Ukraine, which Russia certainly does and the Russians are very angry and now show their hatred for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople more boldly recently, as opposed to pre 2018 when it was much more nuanced, why has Russia attacked, intruded and invaded the Patriarchate of Alexandria, if it is the Patriarchate of Constantinople that did them wrong?
Exactly, Sammy, why would you want to join ROCOR and report to Moscow’s Patriarch when you live in America?
Hellenescope obsesses about Bart, the State Department, and the CIA. WHO CARES.?
Stop the slave mentality that we all seem to have— that we have to be “owned” by some foreign patriarch to be saved. We need an American Orthodox Church and we all know it, even Yiayia.
It’s called Apostolic succession and it’s not that easy to get rid of. The whole Ukrainian autocephaly issue is about this… yes, presumably we could go back to having service in our houses but please look around you and name one of our children who would want to have a wedding or baptism service in a humble house.
Wow, I think that Met. Gregory must chew on marijuana gummies. It’s the only rational explanation.
The author left out an old calendar church in Astoria- Holy Trinity – Ayia Triatha.
Agreed….an American Orthodox Church would be best for us here. However, it is worth mentioning the differences and implications of Patriotism vs. Phyletism:
Here is the Synod’s official condemnation of ecclesiastical racism, or “ethno-phyletism”:
We renounce, censure and condemn phyletism, that is racial discrimination, ethnic feuds, hatreds and dissensions within the Church of Christ, as contrary to the teaching of the Gospel and the holy canons of our blessed fathers which “support the holy Church and the entire Christian world, embellish it and lead it to divine godliness.”
Konstantin Leontiev, a prominent writer on the subject, notes that both sides were equally responsible for the schism, but differentiates the two:
Both you [Greeks] and the Bulgarians can equally be accused of phyletism, that is, of introducing ethnic interests into Church questions, and in the use of religion as a political weapon; but the difference lies in the fact that Bulgarian phyletism is defensive, while yours is offensive. Their phyletism seeks only to mark out the boundaries of their tribe; yours seeks to cross the boundaries of Hellenism…
There are unvaxxed Greek Orthodox faithful romanticizing a Russian escape, bc the alternative stinks, as if the Russians are any better? No matter how you slice it, like my late, dearest mother use to say, the fish smells from the head! Boy, was she right! 🤗 The true Christian, Orthodox faithful leaders are our dead saints, holy elders, nuns, and monks who pray unceasingly. They live in humility and total repentance each day. They not only pray for themselves but for all humanity. Everyone else is questionable….