PHOTO: One of the many visits of Mike Pompeo, (former CIA Director and head of t)he State Dept. with Met. Epiphanius, soon likely to be titled “Epiphanius of No Ukraine”.  Pompeo had countless visits with Bartholomew, Karloutsos, and AB Elpidophoros.

EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis) This is a must-read article by Mathew Namee of  It is a concise history of global Orthodoxy over the last 100 years, that can be summarized in a few words: “Geopolitics determine the course of an ancient faith”.


How Did Orthodoxy Get Into This Mess?

By Mathew Namee – orthodox

It almost goes without saying that the Orthodox world is a mess right now. The situation in Ukraine alone is a disaster: a Russian invasion of the country backed by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) by the state, and a recognized-by-only-some Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) that was created by the Ecumenical Patriarchate by joining together and legitimizing two schismatic church bodies. Moscow has broken communion with Constantinople and the other churches that have recognized the OCU: Alexandria, Cyprus, and Greece. In Africa, Moscow has established dioceses on the territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria. Antioch has been out of communion with Jerusalem for close to a decade due to Jerusalem’s claim of jurisdiction in Qatar. Far from being a unifying event, it seems that the long-hoped-for Holy and Great Council of 2016 was, at best, a mixed bag, and after it, everything went downhill.

How did we get into this mess? In a word: geopolitics. This is nothing new; it’s a pattern we’ve seen play out since the Old Testament. But in our modern age of rapid travel and communications, geopolitical change occurs more quickly, and is communicated more widely, than ever before. And so the changes wrought upon the Orthodox Church by the powers of this world toss us to and fro, fast enough to give an observer whiplash. We witness more history over a given time interval now than humans did at any other point in the past. Sometimes, the Orthodox Church responds effectively to that change; more often, we’re caught on our heels and are carried along by the waves.

In this article, I will try, as briefly as I can, to give some small beginning of an explanation of what led us to this dark place. Understanding the origins of our troubles is important if we’re ever going to find our way out – although the only true way out of our crisis is undoubtedly repentance.

I should say, this is not at all meant to be some kind of definitive history of world Orthodoxy in the past 100 years. I’m trying to show how we got into our current mess, not tell the entire story of the Church. So I’ll be ignoring all kinds of important and interesting and edifying stories (and even saints), because my aim here is simply to give some small insight into our current, and very difficult, state of affairs.

The Nine Years that Almost Destroyed the Orthodox Church

World War I and the years that followed (specifically, 1917 to 1925) completely reshaped the landscape of Orthodoxy. Prior to the Great War, most Orthodox Christians lived in one of three great empires: Russian, Ottoman, and Hapsburg. By the mid-1920s, all of those empires were gone.

In Russia, Orthodoxy fell from its status as the favored state religion to become a persecuted Church, with the atheist Bolshevik regime hell-bent on stamping it out in the most brutal and grotesque ways possible, and, when that failed, creating a pro-Communist false church (the “Living Church”) to subvert the Orthodox faith.

In the Ottoman Empire, the catastrophic Greco-Turkish War led to the massacre of thousands upon thousands of Orthodox Christians and the deportation of millions of Greek Orthodox from Asia Minor.

In the former Hapsburg lands, the various successor states organized themselves around national identities, leading to the creation of Greater Romania (and a unified Romanian Patriarchate) and Yugoslavia for the Serbs (and a unified Serbian Patriarchate).

The entire Orthodox order was upended. Something new was emerging, and for many years it was unclear what that new thing would be.

In 1917, the Moscow Patriarchate was revived under the leadership of St Tikhon, but for all intents and purposes, the new Patriarchate and its institutions were themselves suppressed by Lenin and Stalin, leaving Russian Orthodoxy in a state of disorder. Those Russians who made it out of the country organized themselves into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), initially with the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and, later, Serbia.

Meletios Metaxakis during his tenure as Ecumenical Patriarch

In Constantinople, an Allied force occupied the city for several years during the Greco-Turkish War, paving the way for the election of Meletios Metaxakis as Ecumenical Patriarch in 1921, but within a couple of years, the Allies left and the new Turkish state had its way with the EP, leading to questions about whether the EP would have to leave Turkey or even disappear altogether. Looking for a new raison d’etre, Metaxakis began to assert the EP’s jurisdiction over the so-called “barbarian lands.”

In the middle of all this turmoil, Metaxakis convened a Pan-Orthodox Congress in Constantinople in 1923. The congress led to the adoption of the New Calendar by the EP, and, in time, by numerous other churches. This, in turn, spawned schismatic movements, with rigorists rejecting the New Calendar and all that it stood for.

By the end of the 1920s, Metaxakis had become Patriarch of Alexandria, and it was under him that the Alexandrian Church, long dominated by ethnic Greeks in Egypt, took in converts from sub-Saharan Africa, beginning the expansion of Alexandria to encompass all of Africa.



  1. Long-term animosity of secular “archimandrites” towards spiritual / ascetic priest-monks also evolved into a “good ol’ boy’s” globalist club that still to this day discriminates against traditionalists who do not ascribe to anything other than Christ. Even 120 years ago, the memories are fresh about what they did to St. Nektarios, both in Alexandria, as well as after he established the convent in Aegina… When examined under a historical lens, Metaxakis was certainly one of the individuals who was not aligned with St. Nektarios’ mindset and Orthopraxia.

    Today, after the seizure of various Synods by luke-warm betrayers & haters of tradition, there continues to be a legalistic / procedural “filter” that rarely allows pious men from attaining the rank of bishop, but rather favors anyone that shares the same corrupt mindset of the ones currently in authority.

    And of course, once you are corrupt, someone (and some government agencies) knows about it, so you are a very easy target to negotiate with in order to bring about “compromise” and “change” to tradition, and even to “sell” your own mother (the Church), for whatever they offer you in exchange for the “favors”.

    And, as a new “flavor” of modern propaganda, various anti-Orthodox “academic cells” such as the “Fordhamite” wolf-in-sheepskin neo-cult are now labeling all those who would align themselves with St. Nektarios and other Church Fathers as “extremists” (validating in part St. Kosmas Aitolos’ words απο τους διαβασμενους θα ερθει το κακο [evil will originate from the ‘educated ones’])….Metaxakis was simply their spiritual “grand-daddy”…

  2. “The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?”
    ~ George Orwell, 1984

  3. I like reading history, but this author forgot completely to mention that Meletios Metaxakis who created all this mess was a free mason! There are pictures of him with his Masonic insignia, it is not difficult to find them…


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