EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): This is truly a bombshell!! A film presented in the website www.goorthodox.com features a number of “scholars,” many of who we already know, like the Fordhamites Chryssavgis, Papanikolaou, Demacopouls, and others… It is truly an eye-opening experience to see all these supposedly respected academicians and priests try to ram down our throats all the “wokism” that we see practiced in our educational system and all the LGBTQ agenda. The problem is that they are doing it within the Orthodox Church, and they aim to force us to accept tenets that are OUTSIDE OUR FAITH.
I am speechless as I am trying to figure out the extent to which these people have been trying to undermine Orthodoxy… The best way will be to open it to all of you for commentary, and I am sure we will have to come back and write again…
Below you can see the video, WHICH IS ONLY PART 1 of this article – and after the video, you can see it transcribed… Then you can link here to see Part 2. I SUGGEST THAT YOU FOLLOW THE LINKS FOR PART 1 AND PART 2 SO THAT YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE THE PHOTOS THAT ARE PART OF THE VIDEO…
- Nick Jovcic-Sas– Living in the UK, Nick claims to be an Orthodox Christian while openly practicing homosexuality and advocating strongly for the worldwide acceptance of this sin. His YouTube channel reaches tens of thousands of young impressionable Orthodox Christians.
He has appeared on mainstream British television a number of times and he lectured in some of the top Orthodox universities, conventions, and various other forums; teaching thousands how to twist Orthodox dogma to include perversion. He has also marched in the Belgrade Pride Parade with a desecrated image of the Mother of God with the “Pride Flag” as the halo.
Jovcic-Sas [00:00:55] I am an Orthodox Christian and I wouldn’t go walking in the street with an icon that I thought was blaspheming God. This image belongs to LGBT Christians as much as it belongs to anyone else. And I think we need to investigate this idea that icons or the church are against the LGBT community.
Jovcic-Sas [00:01:22] Hello, everyone. I’m just here at home in the UK and I wanted to take a second to talk to you about this. It’s a petition by someone called Elizabeth Dunbar, and it’s addressed to all Orthodox bishops in America to take action against false teachings.
I have a theology degree from King’s College London, published academic work and have been an Orthodox Christian my entire life. None of my haters can land any substantial criticism about what I’ve said, so they’ve had to resort to a childish campaign of ad hominem attacks.
Jovcic-Sas [00:01:54] So God created man in his own image. In the image of God. He created him, male and female He created them. It seems his interpretation is that this verse is proof that God created a strict gender binary and that there’s something wrong with anyone who falls outside or in between. Now, that is an absolutely terrible reading of that verse.
Sky News Interviewer [00:02:13] First, I speak to Nick Jovcic-Sas on an Orthodox Christian and LGBTQ activist in Bath and Mark Hill QC, who specializes in ecclesiastical law and religious liberty.
Jovcic-Sas [00:02:26] Well, I’m very shocked and disappointed by it. I think fundamentally the UK law shouldn’t protect racism, shouldn’t protection sexism and it shouldn’t protect homophobia. And I think I find it particularly alarming.
As someone who is a devout Christian themselves, I don’t understand what this has to do with the protection of my faith. At the end of the day, if you aren’t in favor of gay marriage, if you don’t want a gay marriage, don’t have one. And if you don’t like writing nice messages on cakes, then maybe you shouldn’t be a baker.
Sky News Interviewer [00:03:01] Contrary to what you’re saying, Mark Hill QC is saying this is supporting freedom of speech, this judgement.
Jovcic-Sas [00:03:07] Well, I think it’s kind of a little bit of double talk going on right here because I think sometimes fundamentalists will sort of say one thing, and mean another. So, for example, on the issue of abortion, people say they’re pro-life, but what they really mean is they’re anti-choice. I think in this instance, what’s being said is people are saying they’re freedom of speech.
We’re talking about is the freedom of people to hate and discriminate against certain groups. And I think the implications of this ruling shows that, you know, people still think that homophobia is an acceptable belief in this country, that minorities, gay people like myself, shouldn’t have equal rights to other people, and that should be protected by UK law.
2. Gregory Tucker – A close colleague of Jovcic-Sas and a practicing homosexual, Tucker is the editor of two major American “Orthodox” publications; The Wheel and Public Orthodoxy. He has lectured along with many on this list in numerous “Orthodox” conventions including internationally. He is currently living in the USA, is a graduate of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, is working towards earning a PhD at the Jesuit Fordham University, is legally married to a former monk, and is still allowed to be an active member of an Orthodox Church.
Tucker [00:06:29] The Orthodox Church is not a secret society. It does not possess special information or data which is unavailable to other people. It’s a discursive society in which truth is arrived at together. And so, it’s essential that the world and the wider church can see this conversation taking place on what are the most controversial and pressing pastoral issues of the contemporary age.
3. Dean Brandon Gallaher – A graduate of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Gallaher is a strong proponent of the Orthodox Church becoming “more inclusive to members of the LGBTQ+ community”. He has very negative views of the Russian Orthodox Church because of its upholding of traditional morality and for this reason, has compared it to the Nazi collaborators.
Gallaher [00:08:51] So what our project means to do is to bring together Western policy makers from government as well as think tanks, as well as specialists in Eastern Orthodoxy, theologians and scholars and churchmen, so that they can talk about positive and constructive ways that Western governments can deal with cultures and governments that are formed by the Orthodox ethos.
Gallaher [00:09:21] However, very many different things have led in towards anti modernism, anti-secularism and anti-Westernism, which is one of the great themes of Dr. Kelly’s series. So, in what we are suggesting, therefore, is that Orthodoxy, like other non-Western religions and cultures, can construct an alternate modernity and secularism, a new post-modern Orthodox identity that respects its Eastern pre-modern heritage but is non-reactionary and in productive dialogue with Western modernity.
This would be a vision that does not capitulate to the privatization and individualization of so much Western religion and maintains Orthodoxy distinctives, including a refusal to separate into distinct spheres the secular and the sacred, a cosmic vision of creation in which Christ and the Church elevate and transfigure all of society, as well as an aesthetical and sacramental ethos, but at the same time being in dialogue with many things that we can learn from the West, including, for example, the tradition of human rights, the inviability of the will of the individual and self-determination with equal opportunity for all, regardless of gender, respect for nontraditional sexual diversity, and allowing for religious and non-Orthodox visions that challenge and are in contradiction to Orthodoxy.
Gallaher [00:10:59] Orthodoxy is encountering modernity. It is in its liturgical consciousness. It hasn’t really changed its basic liturgical texts, and its spirituality and its theology have, by and large, remain the same. And they were, in a way, put down into print and published in the beginning of the early modern period. And so, they reflect, as it were, a lost universe. And this still goes on.
But we are now, as it were, thrown or thrust into a late, modern, a late form of capitalism, which has all these different challenges. A hyper individualism, hyper rationalism; and Orthodoxy is no exception. It has to deal with these difficulties. And there are major, major controversies, because how do you remain true to the tradition of the Orthodox Church but still deal with the fact of these major issues and the existence of LGBTQ+ people who are Orthodox and who wish to be full members of that communion.
Gallaher [00:12:46] I have many close colleagues amongst which was Father Cyril Hovorun and as well as Father Nicholas Denysenko and others; you can see this systemically in the speeches of President Putin and in the homilies, as well as a long-time writings, of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and in a much, much softer version in Metropolitan of Hilarion.
And I explained this and I said in some of these webinars that I where I was speaking that really what was needed for the Orthodox Church was something akin to the Barmen declaration, which was initially drafted by Carl Barat, as well as the Confessing Christians against the German sort of well, Nazi church, to be frank.
5. George Demacopoulos – As a professor of theology, Demacopoulos has co-founded and is co-director the successful publication Public Orthodoxy, the International Orthodox Theological Association (IOTA), and the Orthodox Christian Studies Center (OCSC) at the Jesuit Fordham University. He is strongly against any traditional family values, has spoken out against the core nuclear family as being the foundation for healthy Christian living, and has publicly condemned any who believe that the Eucharist does not transmit disease; a teaching that has been a part of the Orthodox Faith since its beginning.
Joseph McShane [00:13:59] The Orthodox Studies Center at Fordham is, as you may know, it’s unique in all the world. It’s the only center for the study of Eastern Orthodox Christian Studies that is located in a Jesuit and Catholic University.
George Demacopoulos [00:14:12] I would say what makes the Orthodox Christian Study Center at Fordham University so unique is it’s the first research university to develop a center dedicated to the history and culture of the Orthodox Christian world.
Aristotle Papanikolaou [00:14:25] Because we’re in a university, we have a mission to the students to provide ways in which they can faithfully, but yet in a critical way, engage their Orthodox tradition together with worship, of course.
Sarah Riccardi-Swartz [00:14:36] Scholars are passionate about the center because they see in it a place where we can have dialogue about what Orthodox Christianity means in the world, what it means socially, politically, theologically, and how it’s impacted by and impacts different social structures in the United States and the world more broadly.
Kassandra Ibrahim [00:14:55] I think it’s really interesting to study Orthodox Christianity with art history and specifically with Byzantine artifacts. You understand art more and you understand culture more if you understand the faith backgrounds that support it.
Aristotle Papanikolaou [00:15:06] There’s no question that we are well known internationally, especially within ecclesial circles. I think we’re known as a place that is trying to promote Orthodox Catholic unity, but even Christian unity more broadly, I think within the Orthodox world, we’re definitely known as and I think provide encouragement to those who want to raise and discuss certain kinds of questions within the church.
Bishop Irinej Dobrijevic [00:15:26] One of the things that I like about this center and the way it approaches theology, specifically Orthodox Christian theology and studies in general, is that they do so with a certain boldness. And I like that boldness because it speaks to the fact that Orthodoxy is not something which is isolated. It is not something which is frozen in time, but it’s indeed a very living, viable study of Orthodox Christianity.
Bryan Massingale [00:16:00] Happy pride. I’m Bryan Massingale. I’m a professor at Fordham University in New York City. I’m obviously a Catholic priest. I’m obviously a black man. And not so obvious is that I’m also openly gay. You know black people come in every shade of the rainbow, literally a rainbow from albino white to jet coal black. And if nothing in that spectrum can turn you on. That’s not preference. That’s prejudice.
Sister Vassa Larin [00:16:37] Both of you are Orthodox Christians.
George Demacopoulos [00:16:40] Yes. We’re both Orthodox Christians. We were both raised in the church. Talley’s father was a was a rather famous priest in Chicago. My father in law was a priest for 50 years in New Jersey. So, we’re both graduates of the Orthodox Seminary.
We are about as Orthodox as it gets. I recite the creed. I believe in the creed. I, I, I’m so invested in this. I’ve spent my entire life studying the church fathers and the tradition of the church and so forth. I mean, both are personal commitments to the faith, and our teaching reflects the Orthodox tradition.
6. Aristotle Papanikolaou – A close colleague of Demacopoulos, Papanikolaou is the other co-founder and co-director of Public Orthodoxy, IOTA, and the OCSC at Fordham University. He has advocated for the injection of Liberation Theology, moral relativism, and cultural Marxism into the Orthodox Theology. He is strongly in favor of the feminist movement to install women deaconesses into the Orthodox Church and eventually women priests. And he believes that the LGBTQ+ community has a place in Orthodox Theology.
Papanikolaou [00:17:19] Both personally and the center itself is absolutely committed to the dogmatic tradition, and we consider the dogmatic tradition non-negotiable. We have a form called public Orthodoxy. And if someone wanted to write something for us that basically tried to argue against the divinity of Christ, we wouldn’t publish it.
Kind of an interesting thing because there are some people with an interest that call me a traditionalist in that sense because I do affirm Byzantine music and some other aspects of the church.
Papanikolaou [00:18:15] In light of this, the real target for Orthodox political rhetoric should not be certain moral issues, such as abortion or gay marriage, but hyper individualism. It may be the case that the kind of hyper individualism that one witnesses in the West is a product of unregulated capitalism, more than liberal democracy.
The Times Square experience, I think, indicates that hyper individualism and the buffer itself is fueled not so much by the anthropological presuppositions of liberal democracy per se, but by capitalism that is not motivated by the common good and its critique of the hyper individualism enabled by the illusory sense of the self as buffer. The Orthodox would find common cause with many other religious traditions as well, as well as some specialists within the social sciences and the humanities toward an understanding of the self as always and forever porous, even in the imminent frame that is the political space.
In doing so, you could open up the possibility of a relational cell and to a vision of the flourishing of the self in forms of relationships that are realized through the virtues. Rather than emphasizing the vague notion of values or morality. It could point to the value of virtue enabled forms of relationships. We can imagine the secularized space for realizing forms of virtue enabled relationality among peoples with diverse, ultimate commitments, even as it works toward an overlapping consensus on those values.
Could imagine that supporting the political legalization of gay unions as a way of affirming that committed long term relationships that even involve sex, no matter who the persons are, manifest the very virtues that St Maximus identifies with the presence of God and thus stop the very cruel and un-theosis-like and in that sense, heretical, identification of being gay with prostitution, perversity, and pedophilia, which is which is fueled by a Nestorian logic.
Papanikolaou [00:20:02] Issues of gender, sex, and sexuality are so controversial in the Orthodox Church, primarily because there’s been such an openness in Western countries, and the churches feel somewhat threatened that any kind of openness to discussing those issues would be a kind of watering down of their tradition and a kind of surrendering to perhaps atheist secularism.
There are also the political issues, the way the churches are using this, especially within the Eastern European countries, as this kind of red line, this kind of dividing line over and against a kind of an imagined sort of liberal secularism, in my opinion. We’re only beginning this discussion.
Papanikolaou [00:27:40] Now for 2012, the Russian Orthodox Church, together with Putin, seem to be projecting themselves in a particular way geopolitically as defenders of traditional values. And in fact, there even perhaps one could even say that a new geopolitical East-West divide has been carved out based on the traditional values agenda.
And even evangelical Christians in the West are looking to Russia, Russian government, the Russian Orthodox Church, as global leaders on these particular issues.
End of Part 1 of this article and transcript, for Part 2, click here.