Wake Up and Smell the Coffee — Monomakhos

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

To say that Yours Truly has been disappointed by the response of America’s Christian leaders (including our own Orthodox bishops) to the COVID hysteria is not newsworthy. As a rule, Orthodox bishops and luminaries have long looked for instances in which they could truckle before some political eminence or align themselves with the latest cultural whim-of-the-moment. But the flaccid response of our bishops to the whole “lock-down thing” has been a bridge too far, in my humble opinion.Don’t tell me “this, too, shall pass.”  Fifteen days to flatten the curve has turned into seven months. Churches in many states (as opposed to liquor stores, abortuaries and marijuana dispensaries) remain closed. And though it is within our First Amendment right to at least petition Caesar to reconsider, by explaining that Christian services are every bit as essential as the ones provided by grocery stores, our leaders have decided to take a pass and remain compliant.

The question is why?

Many would say that it’s in the DNA of Orthodox bishops to be subservient to the state; an affliction that goes all the way back to Constantinian times.

Others would say that they are afraid of lawsuits.

Still others would say that some of our bishops are compromised; that if they don’t comply, then future embarrassments await.

At the end of the day, the reason doesn’t matter. The job of a bishop is to be a pastor; a shepherd to his flock. It’s his job to protect the Christians in his care and our services are an indispensable part of Christian worship.

While I realize that it is Christ-like for those of us who are stronger in the Faith to accommodate those who are weaker, this doesn’t mean we all have to become mask-holes. Unlike the Catholic Church, we have no mandatory “days of obligation.”  Our canons allow those who are weak and/or infirmed from having to attend the Divine Liturgy. There is no shame in that.

It is my contention that in the first stages of this “plandemic,” which had a 0.26% mortality rate, they locked our churches down too soon. Yes, we listened to our political elites (as we should) to make an informed decision. However, it soon became obvious that the people we were looking to for direction were listening only to some in the scientific community.  For every Anthony Fauci, there was a John Ioannides. Both could not be right.

Why didn’t our bishops put up a fight and say, “Wait a minute, there’s this other fellow here who thinks otherwise . . .” Even if they had lost the debate, they could have at least corrected the misunderstanding that divine services are not “essential”.  They are essential, especially when it comes to living a sacramental life in the Church.  Since when did salvation become dispensable? 

The message of who we are as the Body of Christ is being lost.  Those who are holy and set apart do not pretend they are St. Mary in the desert, watching services on a flat screen TV while others go about their business shopping at Walmart.  

Live-streaming has become a means of spying on unsuspecting priests who have the audacity to allow one too many of us enter the structures that we paid for.  One wonders if our bishops see the number of views declining at the bottom of the screen, as it represents that many fewer people who are going to be willing to support their archdiocese.  We don’t need bishops who tell us to stay home and watch TV.

Apparently, our bishops have tired of being leaders, electing instead to embrace their new-found power as bean counters and bureaucrats, writing complicated rules and regulations to which people are forced to acced.

The contempt is real and we’re not the only ones feeling it.  Our bishops need to wake up and smell the coffee. 

Lord have mercy.

I would like to direct your attention to this wonderful essay by an anonymous poster on a blog called Orthodox Reflections. (https://orthodoxreflections.com/are-orthodox-christian-bishops-afraid-of-covid-the-government-or-both/)

Please, I beg you to take the time to read it. I cannot do it justice –it’s that good.

After you’re done, I ask that you watch this short video; it’s an interview with another religious leader, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, who unlike our own timorous bishops, is more than willing to call a spade a spade:

https://youtu.be/FxkTpC7NVWI

I applaud the good rabbi, he doesn’t pull any punches. He calls Gov Andrew Cuomo a “mass-murderer” and May Bill deBlasio a “communist”. He’s not wrong. And he’s appealing to President Trump to come to his people’s defense.

Question: why can’t our bishops be as forceful and bold?

***
2 Chronicles 7:14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Comments

  1. I think the problem is that it is expected that our Bishops make a loud and bold proclamation, like all the others because that is the society we live in. However, our Bishops approach with quiet faith and patience, as they should. They should not approach the political arena because that is not what they are supposed to do. Now do some of them do? Yes, but it shows that they are not following Christ. Making a loud noise and proclaiming what you are doing invites attention where it is not needed. You can get away with a lot more if you are quiet about it. Which sounds bad, but if you are following Christ, he said to pray in a closet, give without letting anyone know, if you are fasting don’t look like you are fasting and make a show of it. If the government says, you have to do x, y, and z, give them their coin, and continue doing God’s work. Your church might say only so much or social distancing publicly, but quietly worshiping like normal. If you want to be in church have you talked to your priest? Have you been in touch with others in your church? What is being done to make sure we are living a sacramental life as Christ directed? Are you praying and seeking a way to do it? In my opinion, those Bishops that are being quite are praying and seeking guidance from God. In the volatile landscape leading according to Christ takes some serious patience. Those that have taken a bold stand, are revealing their fruit and it is not healthy. For those that can attend church, we have to take a stand with our faith. Do we fear this illness more than Christ? Are we realizing that when we walk into church we are walking into God’s house where heaven reigns? What is the beam hanging out in our eye? Have we repented? Christ never said life would be easy, but he did say ask and it shall be given and he said fear not for I have over some the world.  If your church is closed pray to God to lead you to where you can go, or that he open it again, and then work on it. Praying to God to strengthen and enlighten our Bishops and our priests, should be the focus rather demand that they be another voice in the cacophony of voices all ready being heard. May Christ give us all the strength to bear this and increase our faith. May He have mercy on all of us.

    • Your defense of our “dear” bishops, while perhaps well-intentioned, hardly has anything to do with the reality on the ground in most Orthodox churches in the United States in 2020! Our bishops are praying? Then why are they continuing to push one of the most anti-Christian efforts to happen in this country since its founding?

      You like the defense of meekness. Yes, we are told to be meek, when the situation calls for it. However, this is a situation which requires boldness – boldness that we are exhorted to over and over and over again in the New Testament… Boldness to proclaim Christ, boldness to follow him, boldness to do what is right in the face of tribulation and death! When the government decrees that the churches close, the bishops have no obligation to do so!

      Among the most harsh of Jesus’ warnings is that about what happens to those who prevent children from approaching Christ. As Orthodox Christians, the Church plays an integral role in this; as parents, we do what we can – prayer, discussion, examples, etc, – but it is through the Church that there is, or at least should be, a connection to something greater. This is what we, as parents, teach. But for bishops to discourage & restrict children – who have the least risk overall with Covid-19 – from attending, I call that nothing more than evil. Extra coloring pages at the diocese website doesn’t cut it. This cannot stand.

      You also talk about the “politics” of the situation. You say you don’t want to see bishops become political. What a farce! This type of reasoning has been used for at least 50 years to get traditional churches to stop talking about important issues – such as abortion – under the premise of being “political”. Furthermore, if a bishop is willing to offer a prayer at the convention of the party who pushes ‘abortion is a benefit’ and ‘abortion is healthcare’ down the throats of every single person in America (and many outside the country as well) forgive me then for not buying into the weak-sauce excuse of “bishops shouldn’t be political” when they don’t feel like standing up for their flocks.

      The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is one that almost gets overused. However, if you remember the rest of the story, Jesus is the Good Shepherd because he lays His Life down for the sheep, whereas the hired hands, when threatened, abandon those sheep to the wolves. Those hired hands have reaped their reward (money) and may God have mercy on their souls when it comes to their day before the Almighty God.

      • Continuing on that note, I see that the OCA’s Metropolitan Theodosius has taken his last earthly breath.  I’d say reposed in the Lord, but considering how much corruption he was party to in the name of the Church, I wouldn’t be so sure. 

        • Rdr. James of Olympia says

          Shame on you Rkhipsime! Just pray for Metr. Theodosius’ repose. OK?
          Any one of us has corruption all around us, biting at our feet, unless we repent and become holy.

          • (I’m having technical glitches with comments, so hopefully this isn’t repeating myself.) 
             
            Why should you pretend to be so offended?  I made no judgement on what has happened to the late Metropolitan’s soul.  I simply made a comment as to what we know is a danger to those who use Jesus, the Church, and religion in general in a manner contrary to God’s teaching.  Corruption and theft fall under that category.  
             
            Malachi 2:7-9
            For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
            But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
            Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.

          • Reader James,
             
            Many prayers for the repose of Metropolitan Theodosius. Because of where I spent my formative years in the OCA nearly 30 years ago, the words of the Great Entrance for me will (in a way) always warmly be “His Beatitude Theodosius, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All-America and Canada, and His Eminence Peter, Archbishop of New York….”

            May God protect him.  He was, very much, a bridge in the OCA between its old-country Rusyn heritage (which he came from in western Pa.) and its growth as an “American” church.  Indeed, Vladyka Theodosius led the OCA as primate for half of its 50 years since autocephaly.
             
            Fully trained in the “Schmemann-Meyendorff school,” his impact on the OCA cannot be understated, regardless of what one thinks of him.  
             
            Yet we cannot try to shame into silence those who bring up issues surrounding Met. Theodosius that we don’t want to hear. Hoo boy — how I wish I could “unhear” some of the stories I heard about Met. Theodosius.  

            Regardless, may God grant him rest with His servants who have fallen asleep!

      • Rhipsime,
        I would like to know the reality on the ground. I have read about situations, but it doesn’t add up to all the churches out there. I do know that some jurisdictions under different Bishops are suffering the most, and they are under an authority that is behaving unorthodox. I do know that bishops are supposed to be patient and not come to decisions quickly, to pray first. Our two thousand year tradition says to pray and bear the trials. Yes there is a time to stand and fight back, but a direct assault is not always the best approach, and in the situation we are facing it is not advised. Instead of calling our Bishop to account, are we being a witness of the faith? Are we asking our priest to hold services? Are we seeking out places we can rightly worship? I do not know your situation, although I surmise that you are in one of those deplorable situations, I will pray for you. There are jurisdictions that have been open this entire time, and I know that some have been given the blessing to worship outdoors so the people can attend services. Seek them out.
        The “bishop” that offered a prayer at that convention is not and has not been walking the path of Christ for a long time. I pray for him. Bishops are not supposed to express political affiliation because their only affiliation is to be to Christ and his church. Their exhortation should be to their flocks on the commandments of God. We as Orthodox Christians should be a witness to our faith and not going along with political parties as well. For the last fifty years the Orthodox has quietly been converting and preaching God. It is the heteordox mostly that have pushing that godless dictates within the government, there have been some under the guise of being Orthodox that have helped as well. Here in America we have received the mature fruit of the apostasy from Christ which you can see manifested in our society at all levels. If you want your bishop to be bold, then you need to be bold in your faith. If you want to worship rightly then find a place, take your children and seek out a monastery at least. If it is a long drive than make it a monthly trip, make the effort to find a place, and God seeing your efforts will meet you on the road.
        We cannot stop the rot of this fruit of apostasy. We can pray for God’s mercy for everyone. We can look to ourselves and find out where we are falling short of walking the path with Christ, Lord knows I do it every day, but I don’t quit. I have to work through my sins, and I have to seek out God every minute. It breaks my heart to see what has happened to all of us, but Christ never said it was going to be easy and He said to love God above all else and to love they neighbor. We have enough anger and frustration in the world, we need more honest love for our neighbors. We need to be more honest about our faith. Let our boldness to live our faith, to teach by example of our lives, be a witness to our Bishops and perhaps it will be enough of a conviction to draw them back. If you live the faith, you will know from Christ when it is time to be bold and public.
        I feel your pain and frustration. I will pray for you.

        • My church has been one of the “good” ones.  Basically operating normally since May, but we’re constantly under the reality that if the state comes in, it’s probably curtains for the church, because a little parish such as ours hardly has the means to fight back.  Our priest, at least, is willing to stand on his feet rather than bow to the state.  But every Sunday, we have larger families from other parishes and jurisdictions coming because they’re basically not welcome at their parishes.  Since the end of summer, we’ve had people coming from as far away as two states over on a regular basis because of the draconian regulations issued not just by the states, but by certain bishops themselves.  
          I am the mother to five small children.  It was a struggle to get them to go to church before COVID, the example the bishops have given – that church via video is okay, that kids are just germy disease vectors – has really affected the oldest two, and where it was hard enough to foster good feelings toward church before, since we had always done it, they still believed that they had to.  Now, that’s gone.  
          On the other hand, we have friends with four where the church makes them sign up in order to go…  If they sign up too early, and something comes up where they can’t go, then that’s 6 “wasted” spaces.  If they wait until they are more certain that they can go, the registration at times has been filled.  If we wanted to be more equitable about this, considering what we know from the SCIENCE of this and what we know from the Gospel, families really ought to be considered one unit and/or minor children shouldn’t count toward capacity numbers at all.  
           
          Furthermore, with all the fuss about Covid-19, where is the word from the bishops about the spiritual suffering many are enduring?  What about the members of their flocks who had to forgo medical treatment for other issues?  How about those who died from that?  Where are the bishops statements stating the obvious with those considerations?  The great John Sutko died earlier this year – a lifelong servant to the Church, a friend, a national treasure.  Not only could none of the thousands of people that John touched throughout his life in friendship attend his funeral, from what I understand, by bishop’s order, not even his entire family were permitted to attend.  Where is the love or the mercy there?  

          • Rhipsime,
            I totally understand. I am afraid to mention more about mine to protect my priest. This is why I say it is better to be quite and not draw attention because there are small parishes like yours that could not handle the monetary fines that are being given. We are supposed to have freedom of religion, but we know from Christ that we will be persecuted. You are blessed in many ways.  I wouldn’t say that it is curtains for your church, because of the faith of those attending, and I would like to believe that your priest would take it underground. It really upsets me with the kids, to deem such blessings as disease ridden. Lord have mercy. We do not give colds and viruses our own personal signature so there is no way to say you gave someone a cold or flu (unless it does make the rounds in the household as that does happen been through it several times).  I agree that families should be one.  A few of us have decide to expand our family to our spiritual family to include our brother and sisters in Christ. One of the biggest tragedies has been those that have died alone and no funeral. That is not what Christ wants. This I don’t know how to remedy other than just showing up any way.
            I know some of the Bishops are very torn about this because everywhere is split. There are people clamoring for more measures and not to open, and there are others that are please let us worship as God has commanded. They are trying to not lose their flock. We need more patience with them, more patience with each other. The Lord asks us to bear tribulation with patience and He walks with us through it. 
            Church through the video will never be ok. We are meant to be together in church where heaven reigns. I wish a knew a way to help your kids. Do you have access to the lives of Saints? Have they read the book “The Purple Mantle”? I am sure that there are other books that might help as well with teaching them about the faith. How do you explain that it is a precious gift that must be cultivated through out their lives? Is there a monastery that you can make a pilgrimage to with them? 
            We all need love and mercy. We have it, and we need to share it. We need to find away to do it, quietly at first. We need lots of prayers as well. What has kept me sane is knowing that Christ has the final say and if I focus on Him and pray I will make it through each day he gives me.
            May God give you the strength to bear this trial, and lead you and your children through. May He keep your church safe as well.

          • Rhipsime,
            Here is a link about Elder Aimilianos who reposed in May of last year. I think this would be good to share with your kids. https://orthochristian.com/134727.html 
            Perhaps doing some typikas or akthists with your children at home might help as well. Just some thoughts and what has been shared with me.
            God bless

  2. I said it from the very beginning (and many attacked me for it) and I will keep saying it. The bishops are cowards. I thank God that my parish is one of the few that ignores all the oppressive COVID mandates. But I grieve for all the people that are still suffering with the “new normal”.  It is very difficult to see our parishes and monasteries walking around with masks like trained monkeys.  They are still acting as if they will catch the dreaded COVID if they kiss an Icon or a Cross or a priest’s hand. Thank God there are some good priests out there. Like so many of the people, I think they are waiting for a courageous bishop to emerge so that we can follow him out of this quagmire of deceit and oppression.

    • Mikhail, immersing myself in Fr Peter’s courses has helped me realize how ignorant many Orthodox are in all countries (but especially ours) of the true Orthodox Tradition and Faith. If only they would read his materials to “come and see” what you and I and others have been blessed to have learned, in my case despite my western rationalization/intellectual brainwashing and huge false pride. What a relief to find the Truth and the bearers of it. But many of these ignorant really don’t know what they don’t know and are very well-intentioned in a misguided way. And therefore with what feels like righteous indignation revile those who do know (the Holy Fathers by consensus as the only trustworthy teachers of Paul’s calibre, who are the only true guides to Holy Scripture and to comment on one another! Academia and intellectual pride seduced Thomas Aquinas like Eve and me too, so I truly get why that is the most difficult for them to give up. It’s our American version of wealth and power in a Church. Many truly don’t realize they are saying by their actions “We know better than the Holy Fathers.” If the Corinthians needed Paul to straighten them out and protect them from false teaching, how much do we need the pure teaching of the Holy Fathers? At any rate, I pray some who are being seduced presently by the mocking or dismissal of Fr Peter’s teachings (and others like his) will be reminded of how the Pharisees and pagans mocked Christ and his disciples and wonder about that stance and what’s behind it. So I keep praying they will be illumined by Christ through the Holy Fathers. One good easy place to find all they need is on Patreon in his multiple courses. Please Lord lead us all to the Holy Fathers.

      By the way, Mikhail, am I watching some wonderful Orthodox videos on your YT channel? Want to thank whichever Mikhail it is. Really good to know you are “out there” in Orthodoxy defending the Faith.

      🕊in ☦️
      Nicole

      • Hi Nicole,
         
        That’s not my YT channel. I do not subscribe to YT, FB, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, or any other social media. But if they are good Orthodox videos, I’ll watch them. Do you have a link? 🙂

    • Jane Tzilvelis says

      I say, AMEN! Never allow government between God and HIS Church! The Founding Fathers never wanted this! The bishops have turned their backs on God and the Constitution for “perks,” mammon, and shady dealings!

    • Thank you, Mikhail, good post. Recently I was kicked out of a True Value store because I wasn’t wearing a mask and refused to put one on. As I headed home I got to thinking about the mark of the beast and a thought popped up in my mind, “the mask of the beast.” I perused the thought and then thought about the eyes being the mirror of the soul which caused me to realize that the face is the mirror of the flesh. When someone is wearing a mask, you cannot pick up on the facial expression which tells us about the flesh and its condition, i.e. anger, pain, suffering, happiness, the list goes on. When a mask-wering person speaks, many times it is impossible for me (being quite hard of hearing at age 82) to ascertain what is being said which brings up the realization that a person can make a remark, in for instance, a joking manner and we cannot determine that they are jesting and may take them seriously because of lack of facial expression; in many cases it is many times impossible to realize that the remark is in jest, etc. And where I live, here in the central mountains of California, very few people wear a mask, only the flat landers do.

  3. Jane Tzilvelis says

    Tell the bishops and their leader to give JP their 5913c status, perks.  Their is one leader of the church. Christ!  The pastor of each church speaks word of Our Lord – not the government.  Read Hitler’s Cross!

  4. Jane Tzilvelis says

    Resending!  Did not have my glasses on!
     
    Tell the bishops to give up their 5013c perks.  Only then will they be free from government interference to speak the Word of God!  Read Hitler’s Cross!

  5. “Spiritualized folly” will be burned into my brain for as long as I retain my mental faculties.
    Do they mean putting all your faith in God and risking death to ‘come lets us worship and fall down before Christ’ as spiritualized folly?
    Do they mean being obedient to the commandment of God to keep the Sabbath Holy and come to Liturgy spiritualized folly?
    Or do they mean that venerating our holy icons by tenderly kissing the image of Christ, His Most Holy Mother and His Glorious Saints as spiritualized folly?
    Perhaps it is kissing the right hand of our beloved Pastors, you know, the ones who bless us, hear our confessions, absolve our sins, prepare and administer the Holy Mysteries through God’s Grace, kissing those hands is spiritualized folly?
    So what exactly do they consider spiritualized folly?
    How about our Holy- Fools- for-Christ? Are they on a pendulum swung too far? Are they now too extreme to be lights on our path? Are they no longer worthy of veneration?
    How about our beloved Holy Martyrs?
    Was St Sophia guilty of spiritualized folly when she encouraged her daughters Sts Faith, Hope and Love to bravely endure their tortures and not deny Christ?
    So what exactly do they mean by “spiritualized folly” ?
     
     
     
     
     

    • Amen, Tanya.  Thank you.  Are you taking Fr Peter Heers’ online courses on Patreon?  If not, you might want to check them out.  Most encouraging and heartening activities of my week!  See http://www.orthodoxethos.com.  A beautiful way out of ignorance for the uninitiated of “good disposition” and a deepening of our Patristic faith for those of us catechized and chrismated.  Replete with the beauties and truths of our Tradition! Getting me through COVID and a stark contrast to what you describe above.  

    • George Michalopulos says

      I agree that we should give up the 501(c)3 status.

      Veronica, if I may? Your words are soothing indeed and quite correct. However, I don’t think they addressed the point of this essay. Did you see that video I put up by Rabbi Handler? He had no fear –at all. He called Gov Cuomo a “mass-murderer”. He is correct. Instead, several months ago Fr Alex Karloutsos kissed the hand of this servant of Moloch with the new GOA primate looking on. Where is the Christian witness in such brown-nosing.

      That was the point of my blog post (as well as the excellent essay by Orthodox Reflecions). Our bishops should be at least as bold as this rabbi.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I meant to say “…quite correct up to a point”.  Sobriety is called for not meekness.

      • George,
        I realized your aim was to point out that our Bishops should be bold, and not brown-nosers. I was trying to point out, in my opinion, that this stems from our culture of late where everyone is expected to make some bold statement in regards to what is going on. This is exactly what Mr. Elip did when he marched with the BLM. This type of behavior is not becoming or right for a Bishop. Instead of making bold proclamations, they should be quietly supporting their flock. I say quietly because this whole situation is complicated. If they say something publicly and it can get into a very ugly fight even within the church. Look at the situation in Canada with the laity calling the government on their own clergy. There are people that feel it is their moral duty to persecute, slander, and out right demand that church services be halted because they are afraid of this virus. (I know we are supposed to accept this, but when it comes from with in your own church it is a little rough.) This situation with the lock-downs has split every aspect of our lives down the middle. I believe that some of the Bishops are trying to hold things together and ride this until they have a clear direction from Christ. Kind of like waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think the more this goes on we will see some of the Bishops taking more of a stand, but it won’t help now. I’m not sure if it is a good example, but his Eminence Metropolitan Nektarios of Corfu, is up on charges currently for serving Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday. He didn’t stop services, and tried to make sure that they followed the directives for social distancing. Here is the link https://orthochristian.com/134680.html which you can access the original from April. He quietly went about what he is called by God to do. To me, this is what a bishop should do. Here we feel that some public statement should be made, like what Rabbi Handler did. His video attacked Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill deBlasio, but as Orthodox Christians we are not supposed to attack a person. We can address the sins, but not the person. In addition, there is a plea to the President to protect his people, what about everyone else? And why are you expecting rescue and salvation from a government? Rescue and salvation comes from Christ. Most of these measures are mandates, not laws. We as individuals should not comply with them when it directly interferes with God’s commandments. It is our choice to follow God or not. If you are more afraid of a virus than God, you will follow after the world and not God. Now back to the Orthodox Reflections, he is spot on with the political entity of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, only in regards that it is probably not lead by Christ and the Holy Spirit. The head of that group has done some very worldly and unorthodox things. You can not expect it to be bold against the world when it is worldly. The article also mentions a Bishop who is being bold, but it is for his flock even though it is a bit public as well. In conclusion, the boldness required of an Orthodox Bishop is different than the boldness that the world expects. Some of our Bishops are not acting in an Orthodox manner, and it is evident by their fruits. Others are acting as they should. To say that our Bishops should act act more boldly in a worldly way, is not good, and I am glad that they are quietly going about their ministering within the church. There will come a time when more direct address to the public will be required, but it has to be done with Christ in an Orthodox way.
        Forgive me if that was not clear.

        • Veronica, your measured articulate responses smells like the troll Hellenic Spirit.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I’m not sure Veronica meant it that way. For some, what we’re seeing is a bit much to take in all at once. Only a few years ago, I might have been making the same observations.

          • Matthew,
             You can rest assured that I am not. My response is measured because I am trying to follow Christ. In the current situation it is best to error on the side of caution. I have people I am trying to protect, I am trying to be non-judgemental. I am calling it as I see it.  The tool of the secular world is to make bold statements. Orthodox Bishops are to take Christ like actions. The stance Mr. Elipi has taken is a worldy stance and any bold comments he makes are going to sound pleasing to the world, and placating and weak to the Orthodox.   Do I know what the right thing to do is? No I don’t. I do know that bold declarations at the wrong time and from the wrong people backfire. Our Faith has clear guidelines on how we are supposed to act, from the bottom to the top and it is not different for anyone of us.  We are supposed to be loving, gentle in our corrections in the errors of others, non-political, peaceful, compassionate, and faithful to Christ. A bishop who becomes political, supports anti-christian entities, and attempts to bamboozle others, is not behaving like a an Orthodox Christian Bishop. A better example of a bishop is Metropolitan Onuphry, he behaves like a Bishop should. There are bishops on both sides of this issue, and to call all of them to account for the misbehavior of the some of them is not right.  Trust me I would really like for Mr Eli and Bart to wake up and stop what they are doing, I would love for this lockdown travesty to go away, but I know God brings things for our correction and salvation. I know that I need to pray for those that have gone astray. I know I need to repent. I know I need to follow the commandments of God, just like the Bishops. God is giving us time to correct ourselves, all of us, Bishops and everyone. I know that expecting the Bishops to do worldly things is a disservice to them, they need our prayers more than anything right now. Bashing all of them is not right, it’s not what God would want. I’m sorry I can’t articulate it better. I just know what is in my heart. What is happening in the world is not right, but I can only continue to try to be more loving and compassionate, and to pray everyday for the Lord to have mercy on all of us. (I was trying not to be overly passionate either, but that didn’t work. Lord have mercy.)

        • Dear Veronica:  

          Thank you for your good intent in seeking to be measured in a speaking the truth in love kind of way.

          Re your conclusion, however, I would ask you please to consider what the Saints and Holy Fathers counsel.  They are have reached theosis while none of us here including the Bishops have, hence our need for them.  Here is St. Paisios: https://orthodoxethos.com/post/as-an-orthodox-christian-how-should-i-vote-st-paisios-the-athonite-guides-us
          Of course this principle applies not just to elections but to speaking up and for Christ and His Royal Path for us to bishops and legislators and the public.  We seem to be about to suffer for doing so, which I’m sure God will use for our good.

          I am praying that the Bishops will become similar humble guides turning to God and to the Fathers in repentance, tears, love and faithfulness for the answers on how to proceed and comparing their answers to assure alignment with Holy Scripture as interpreted by the Holy Fathers, the Holy Tradition, and the stated counsel of the Holy Fathers. Any other course of action is not, of course, Orthodox. And we are called to discern whether an action or statement by anyone is or is not Orthodox.

  6. I did not appreciate the rabbi’s video. I live in New York City. We’re now seeing clusters of infection, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the spring, popping up in areas of Brooklyn and Queens that are heavily populated by Hasidic Jews. Today, the government had to stop an Orthodox Jewish wedding of a rabbi’s grandson, that was supposed to be attended by 10,000 people. There’s now a risk of the earlier economy-destroying lockdown measures returning, in large part because of this community’s obstinance, which you so admire. It’s ludicrous to compare the measures being applied as a “soft pogrom”, and drawing parallels between the Mayor and Hermann Goering. As someone from the former Soviet Union, it tickles me more than a little to hear these words being applied to mask mandates and house of worship occupancy limitations. In the ex-USSR, we know what a pogrom is, and we know what it means to fight Nazis. This rabbi needs a reality check.

    In general, words are being thrown around by certain people these days, of which they have no idea what they actually mean. “Communist” is the buzzword of the day it seems. As someone who has an intimate, first hand experience of communism, let me tell you that the people throwing this term around in the United States have no idea what they are saying. Perhaps I’m nitpicking, but just like using terms such as the “Holocaust” willy-nilly, or branding someone a Hitler, is seen as offensive by survivors of the War – because they more than anyone else understand that nothing can compare to the Holocaust, or no one can compare to Hitler, in this same way it irritates me to no end when folks like this rabbi call Bill de Blasio a communist, or a perpetrator of a “soft pogrom”. This rabbi is decrying the spreading sense of fear, when it is he who is the number one purveyor of it.  If we all do the little things requested of us, there will be no fear. Sad to see a grown man, claiming that a piece of cloth is an instrument of tyranny. Perhaps he needs a refresher on tyranny. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      Dan, I can’t compare my experiences to yours but the good rabbi is not wrong:  what is all this lock-down and forced abandonment of livelihoods if not tyranny?  As you yourself know, totalitarianism did not take over Russia after Nicholas II’s abdication, liberalism did.  Then when the democrats could not govern (and in fact were quite inept), Lenin came into power.  And he did not institute the anti-God pogroms at first
      I believe because of your own experience you see America as far freer than what you remember.  You are likely right.  However for those of us over 40 years or so, we remember a truly freer America, one in which citizens didn’t lose their jobs because they wore a MAGA hat or questioned how many genders there are.
      It’s the frog in the boiling pot my friend.

    • Sorry to burst your bubble, but De Blasio is a communist.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Ummm, DeBlasio IS a Communist. Careful research will show that he has associated with Communists and participated in Communist endeavors in the past. He’s a registered Democrat only because that’s the only way one can get into office here in the US, the way our 2 party system works. And, if you’re endorsed by the Communist party, well, need I say more?

      • cynthia curran says

        Probably true. The dude is typical of the left these days. Pride that New York City has wealth even though he supports high taxes on rich people.

        • cynthia curran says

          I think George is right. New York City along with San Francisco is an area of the US that is not religious since its heavy favors abortion and gay marriage, and rarely attends church or other religious services. This is why antifa is less popular in Oklahoma where George lives. The right was wrong about why George is useful. Trump didn’t bring back many factory jobs to Michigan since the labor unions block foreign car companies like Toyota or BMW that usually go to South Carolina or Alabama to avoid the unions,. It has more to do with social conservative thinking than economics.

    • “If we all do the little things requested of us,
      there will be no fear.”

      The death camps can only function if everyone does:
      ‘the little things requested of [them].’

    • “t’s ludicrous to compare the measures being applied as a “soft pogrom”, and drawing parallels between the Mayor and Hermann Goering. As someone from the former Soviet Union, it tickles me more than a little to hear these words being applied to mask mandates and house of worship occupancy limitations.”

      When people call the governor a mass murderer, they’re referring to him and about four other Democrat governors forcing retirement/nursing homes to accept infected patients, and producing a super majority of the Covid deaths.  Since you should be aware of targeted starvation under various Communist regimes, one wonders why you’d be amused by what looks like intentional human sacrifice via disease (thus “soft pogrom”) for revolutionary political change.
       

  7. Encouraging judicial decision for religious freedom in Washington state by Obama appointee:

  8. Federal judge supports religious freedom in Washington state: https://breakpoint.org/religious-freedom-isnt-hypothetical-federal-judge-tells-washington-state/?_hsmi=97710555&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-82TRtMW3glvLAUhBHe6U573s5dnP6_KJZ5fuh0n0DgE2jtVGOR7n_Gch1jg8MWR8wLeQtWFnZH2wAnKhyr2kuRODfsLg

    An Obama appointee, no less. The state however is expected to appeal.
    Just had to add some good news for the day.

  9. Veronica asks: If you want to be in church have you talked to your priest? Well, our parish closed before the local authorities imposed the lockdown. And even now we have just a little bit of hard-to-access services, nowhere near a normal schedule. And yes, many parishioners have talked to the priest. A polite but perfunctory answer at first, an angry rebuke for the second question, and much worse if you dare to continue questioning his actions (or, rather, failure to act by serving properly, even within the secular restrictions). The bishop is incommunicado.

    • That deeply sucks. Are there any other parishes nearby? Are there fellow parishioners who could get together to do a Typika or other readers services with the blessing/giving notice to the priest or bishop? Maybe they can’t “officially” okay it but as a spiritual guide they could be given notice of it as a spiritual practice happening in the community. I am so sorry. 

    • That is terrible. There is hope though, I just learned that you can do vespers, orthos, and a typika service at home in the icon corner, if you can not get to church. You should be able to get the services online.  In addition, maintain contact with your spiritual father. If it is your priest and he is not supporting you, you might need to make contact with a monastery to speak with a monk.

  10. A few thoughts:

    1. The Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR/MP) are not part of the “Assembly of Bishops in America,” since the AoB in America is a department of the Patr of C’ple, which has not been in communion with the Russian Church since C’ple joined itself to a deposed/anathematized pseudo-bishop/pseudo-Church in Ukraine a year or two ago. The AoB is certainly not representative of Orthodox bishops as a whole, since more than 70% of the world’s Orthodox Christians are part of the Patriarchate of Moscow.

    The AoB – and anything that it says or does – should be ignored.

    2. The only American bishop I am aware of who has publicly stood up to the secular authorities has been the venerable Abp Kyrill of San Francisco (ROCOR), who publicly protested the insane directives coming from the equally insane secular government in California. As the author writes, Abbot Tryphon of the Vashon Island monastery in Washington state (ROCOR) has also publicly spoken out.

    3. It’s quite well known that most of the OCA bishops are leftist Democrats. Recall Abp Alexander’s disastrous homily at St Seraphim’s in Dallas after Trump was elected in 2016. And it’s public knowledge that C’ple/the GOAA is in the back pocket of the Biden campaign. Plus, we all remember Abp Elpi’s famous BLM march earlier this year…. Just as the media needs continued COVID hysteria to try to make Trump look bad, the GOAA and OCA bishops (who together comprise the core of the AoB) are certainly happy with anything that tries to make Trump look bad.

    4. Many American bishops are affected by the overwhelmingly secular nature of our culture (just as faithful are) — which is why we need to always draw on the roots of deep Orthodox faith in Christ from the traditional Orthodox lands (and which is a strong reason why we are far, far too immature in America for ecclesiastical autocephaly). Obviously we are not meant to become Russians or Byzantine Greeks, but the American convert in South Dakota must also look to St John of San Francisco as a spiritual guide, for example, just as any Russian would. Our American bishops are at risk of being overly secularized just like the rest of us who live in western secular society.

    I’m not saying that COVID is not a risk – of course it is, and clergy and faithful from all jurisdictions have succumbed to it (may God save them!) – but without being deeply rooted in the traditional Orthodox faith in Christ, it is easy for anyone to lose the balance between personal safety and responsibility for our brothers and sisters (which we all must practice) and not falling prey to fear — for as we know, Christ does not want us to live in fear! If we live in fear, we are not living in Christ.

    • Very well said, FTS.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      RE: “It’s quite well known that most of the OCA bishops are leftist Democrats. Recall Abp Alexander’s disastrous homily at St Seraphim’s in Dallas after Trump was elected in 2016.”

      FTS, I would appreciate your providing here a weblink or other reference for Archbishop Alexander’s homily at St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas after the 2016 national election. 

      I do recall, however, with chagrin and outrage Metropolitan Savas’ (GOA Pittsburgh) online post the day after Barrack Hussein Obama was elected to the presidency in November 2008. That was a veritable paean to a political messiah.

      • Father,
         
        I do not know of any link or recording to Abp Alexander’s homily at St Seraphim after Trump was elected in 2016. No idea if it was recorded.  All I know that exists is the memory of those who were there.  

        I think that Abp Alexander may have thought that he was giving a homily to registered Democrat OCA-ers in the northeastern U.S., not to Texans….

        • Can you give a synopsis?

        • Dear Father, FTS and all:

          The St. Seraphim’s website was updated since and many audio and video recordings are no longer available.  Videos now seem to be handled and carried on the iconographer’s YouTube channel, FB page or website and are more recent with no independent audios that I can see.  

          If memory serves,   I stayed away from that service having previously read the years of the Assembly’s Orthodox-Catholic committee’s ecumenist declarations signed by Abp Alexander previously (no abstentions that I recall) and realizing my “transparent” face (as Milos Konjevich used to tease) would likely register distress, which seemed inhospitable!  I hope someone can find and will post an audio version so I can listen at home unobserved.  Again Abp seems to be a lovely, caring and well-intentioned person ~ just not the Patristic approach I was taught and value as the pearl of great price.  As Orthodox we are free to agree to disagree with positions, right?

      • Yes, Father. I remember this too. I’m surprised he didn’t add the photo of himself posing in front of Karl Marx’s grave.

  11. I think the harsh criticism is not entirely fair. The church moves slowly. Is anyone really ready for public open defiance of the secular authorities at this time? Are all of the church members ready for this? Would that have ever been realistic to do today? It is my position that people who advocate such action have never been in an actual leadership position. They never had to make tough decisions that would offend someone no matter what they did. Today the Church has to be extra careful to avoid scandal. Plus the chances of spreading Covid in a church are high – people come from many different places and backgrounds, and there is a high percentage of elderly. I live in NJ. I know 6 people that died from Covid. It might not be as bad as feared, but it is not nothing.
    There will come a time when the Church will need to go underground, like it had to in the Soviet Union, but that time is not now. It is too early. That time will come…we all know it. 

    • Slowly? We’ve had about seven months to respond to this, and a whole lot of new facts coming to light. What else do they need to wait for?
       
      “Plus the chances of spreading Covid in a church are high”
       
      Please. What about Walmart? Liquor stores? Head shops? BLM protests? They all got the go-ahead.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “It is my position that people who advocate such action have never been in an actual leadership position. They never had to make tough decisions that would offend someone no matter what they did.”

      I remember when I headed an install at a large, 500 bed, Catholic hospital in Texas that was part of a chain of hospitals, owned and operated by nuns who, at the time, were the 3rd largest landowners in CA.

      I was only around 35 at the time.

      My team met our live date, for which the CEO and and VP received substantial bonuses.  We generally hang around for a month after an install to make sure things are operating efficiently.  A week post live, one of analysts told me the lab was reporting that the numbers were “off.”  Upon further investigation, we discovered an intermittent error (the hardest kind to resolve) where the decimal point was being moved in the result. For those of you who don’t know, a doctor could kill a patient basing treatment on a lab result where the decimal is in the wrong place.

      As the head of the project, I had no compunction against telling a CEO of a hospital that I was going to pull the system until we figured out the problem.  He and the VP objected and told me under no circumstances were they going to allow me to pull the system, presumably to hang onto their bonuses.  Instead, they instructed their lab personnel go to the floors and “spot check” the charts for errors.

      The following day, I went to the Mother General, their employer, and convinced her to pull the plug on the install.  Needless to say, the CEO and VP were not pleased.  As I recall, the sisters did not keep them employed too much longer.

      So, Gene, you are flat out wrong in your assumption that few of us know what it’s like to make difficult decisions.  I just gave you one example.  I could give you many, many more.  Leaders are hired to lead.

      So yes, it is reasonable to expect exemplary behavior from our bishops. 

      And no, the Church does not need to be concerned with scandal.

      No one is saying people are not dying from COVID. 

      People are still dying, even though our bishops have effectively shut down the Church for the better part of a year. 

      We know a lot more about the virus now.  It is currently 98% survivable.  We also know who is at greatest risk.  We know that 94% of those at risk have comorbidities, any of which could lead to death for a variety of reasons. Close to 50% of those who die are over the average age of life expectancy in this country.

      Further, we know the Church has a 2000 year history of not closing the Church.

      I expect our bishops to follow the Church.  I do not want or need them to worry about my health and would be willing to sign a waiver of releasing them of all responsibility.

      I have every right to expect them to lead as that’s their job.  Fortunately, there are a few bishop who have the ability to do just that.  Home Churches are very much a possibility.      

        
        

      • Gail, Axios to you and the Mother General!  You have touched upon my experience at Georgetown Med School in the late 1980’s (before Big Pharma started influencing it) and my good experiences with any Catholic hospitals and physicians as an intern, resident and fellow in Texas, all of whom valued the patient over the bottom line because of their adherence to beneficence and the sanctity of life for each icon of Christ in the suffering patient.  One huge reason to vote for religious freedom, the sanctity of life from womb to tomb and against Big Medicine, Big Medicare, Big Pharma, Big Euthanasia Hospice, and Big Government.  The Catholic run hospitals and hospices (and those nonCatholic hospitals run according to Catholic tradition)  tragically became untenable when financial incentives changed due to Medicare and so-called “managed care” in the 1990’s.

         Even now when Trump appoints a devout (ie actual adherent of the teachings of the Church) Catholic as head of the Office of Civil Rights only then are the “right” actions for patients and physicians are taken. (Contrast this with Obama’s OCR which ignored both purposely.  No Government without spiritual meaning and purpose as its foundation will ever prioritize beneficence in patient care and physician freedom to practice according to one’s spiritual beliefs.  I long for the days of the courageous and devout Catholic religious and devout laity who offered beautiful care in hospitals and hospices as well as their Protestant counterparts.  Thanks for the beautiful reminder Gail that it once was as it should be.  Hurts a bit to notice the change.  May God help us.  

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I hope every single person on this blog reads what you just wrote, Nicole, because in two paragraphs you have beautifully explained the problem with healthcare today.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well said, Gail.

        I will concede one point that those who state that we shouldn’t advocate courage on the part of our bishops because we ourselves have never had to step through the flames. I plead guilty. Truthfully, I don’t know if I would have the courage to suffer martyrdom myself if and when the time comes. (I can only pray that the Lord would give me the strength.)

        Ultimately that’s not the point, which you have laid out brilliantly: the purpose of a leader is to lead. And our bishops have not led. Instead, they’ve published complicated diktats. Peter Hitchens, writing in The Spectator in the UK, came up with this observation regarding the British Catholic and Anglican bishops: this was the first time in their lives in which they wrote complicated instructions which their clergy and people would not ignore. It gave them a heady feeling of importance.

        Rabbi Handler on the other hand, has led his people. God bless him.

    • Below is an excerpt of an email we received from a Greek Archdiocese priest about criticizing bishops

      It has been a while since I have seen an Orthodox author/article commit the sin of ierokatagoria (judging the clergy) and take such cheap pot shots at our Orthodox hierarchs without you yourself ever walking a mile in their shoes.

      None of us have walked in the shoes of a bishop. But are the bishops walking in our shoes? Are the bishops walking in the shoes of millions of unemployed who desperately seek hope? These people just want to go to church in a normal fashion and feel that God, and their hierarchs, love them. The number of couples looking to divorce is up 34%. Are the bishops walking in the shoes of the desperate husbands, wives, and children whose lives are disintegrating? Drug abuse, thoughts of suicide, mental illness, and alcoholism are sky rocketing. Those are some tough shoes to walk in. Millions have had their lives turned upside down by riots that tore through American cities, leaving whole commercial areas in ruins. We have yet to see a major “official” Orthodox publication from the bishops talk about trying to walk in their shoes.
      And what about the parents struggling to raise children in this time, when it seems that the Church in its embrace of the Covid-19 hysteria is no different than the world?
      https://orthodoxreflections.com/public-criticism-of-orthodox-bishops-by-the-faithful-responding-to-letters-from-priests/

      • Gail Sheppard says

        This Greek priest is probably unfamiliar with the Prophets in the old testament.

        Truth tellers are often ridiculed (2 Kings 2:23, Luke 22:64, Jer 20:7); told to be quiet (Amos 2:12, 7:13); looked at with disdain (Jer 1:8,17, 5:3); reported to authorities (Jer 18:19, 37:13, Amos 7:10, Jer 20:10); chased away (Jer 36:5); and rejected for their words (Isa 30:10, Micah 2:6, Amos 7:12,16, Jer 36:23).

        A bishop is called to:

        1. Teach the Tradition and beliefs of the Church and make sure that nothing is omitted or added. – Through the closure of the Churches, the Eucharist has been withheld. If withholding the Eucharist is not “omitting the Tradition and beliefs of the Church”, I don’t know what is.

        2. Lead his diocese of the Church in the way of Christ, with love and compassion. – The bishops have given the leadership of the Church over to the state, causing the flock to scatter. We’re out here on our own surrounded by wolves. Love and compassion are totally absent.

        3. Administer the Sacraments of the Church. – They are administering the Sacraments at the same rate water drips through rusty, old pipes.

        4. Ordain men to be priests, deacons, subdeacons and readers to minister to his diocese. – No one is ordaining anyone. The Church is a shadow of its former self. Were like these fallen flowers that lie at the bottom of a bush that has no life in it anymore.

        ***

        These are legitimate criticisms. The bishops are making lists and marching in parades. They speak as if what happened back in March and April is the same as it is today. They are woefully uninformed which is a mystery in this day and age. If they cared, they would be looking things up and staying current. When my children were ill, I wouldn’t sleep. I would keep watch over them day and night. I would fluff their pillows, bring them whatever they felt they could eat, take their temperature and crawl into bed with them if it made them feel loved and cared for. I would not fault them. I would not keep my distance. When you truly love, all your thoughts are for the well being of your loved one.

        I don’t have to walk in their shoes to know our bishops have failed.

        We have to cling to the Faith while God continues His pruning. He will send us new leaders and we’ll look back on these days as not worth remembering.

      • I’m sorry, but this old and tired trope that saying *anything* critical of clergy/bishop behavior is “judging” the bishops is ridiculous, not to mention patently dangerous. 

        It has one purpose: to silence the faithful, to stop important questions and discussion, and to get the faithful to know their place – to “pay and obey.”  It’s clericalism, plain and simple.

        They do it because it works: many faithful do “shut up” because their self-doubt grows that “oh no, maybe I’m judging the clergy.”  It’s decidedly manipulative – but that’s the point of it.
         
        I wish for the salvation of all – including for the salvation of bishops who may behave badly.  Discernment DOES NOT EQUAL judging.  God DOES NOT CALL US to be blind sheep – we are not to follow just any shepherd at all, but only those shepherds who lead to life in Christ.  If we are called to just be blind sheep, then I should just go to the Lutheran Church that’s far closer to my home than to my Orthodox parish. 

        It wasn’t “judging the clergy” that many passionate Catholics did when they rose up in arms – rightfully so – within the past 10-20 years about the despicable practice of some Catholic bishops reassigning but not disciplining/deposing Catholic clergy who were sexually abusing children.  Without the discernment of these bold yet faithful Catholics, many of their bishops would never have been held to account. 

        It’s not “judging the clergy” to point out that marching with the anti-Christian organization BLM is insane for an Orthodox hierarch. It’s not “judging the clergy” to point out that there’s no such thing as “magically undoing” the universally-recognized anathematization of “Filaret” in order to create a fake church that purportedly serves some political purpose.  

        It wasn’t “judging the clergy” to point out that all bishops except St Mark of Ephesus were wrong hundreds of years ago, when they erroneously accepted the Council of Ferrara-Florence. 

        If we hate secularism – which all Orthodox Christians should – then we should also hate this clericalist manipulative behavior that some power-hungry clergy engage in when they threaten the faithful with “don’t judge the clergy.”  Manipulative clericalism is the natural daughter of militant secularism.
         
        We’re not judging, but we are discerning – as God calls us all to do. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          Well said, FTS. 
          BTW, I highly recommend the movie Spotlight for insights into the Archdiocese of Boston clero-pedophile revolving door that was the hub of the pedophile scandal.  

      • LOL….what a total joke (the part of the email you received). Your comments Nicholas are spot on. Thank you. 

  12. Great article on Orthodox Reflections. Sorry it is anonymous. Your blog carries more weight because of your real names behind it George and Gail.

    Re the the “Focused Protection” petition within the article: I signed as an MD some weeks ago. The signatures by nonMDs probably more effective with MSM. Please consider signing.

    WHO finally getting real: Glad someone from WHO has caught up to reality.

    Trump’s treatment: Because Trump got “special” treatment, that does lessen the impact of the implication that anyone in as sad physical shape at his age will do well.

    Orthodox understanding of the Temple: Abbot Tryphon wonderful! Am still waiting for the widespread Orthodox understanding and therefore assertion that the Temple is all-healing and that we are in heaven while within, as the Holy Fathers assert. Praying COVID will lead Orthodox laity and clergy/hierarchs to study them.

    Successors to the Apostles: One point of disagreement: seems more accurate to say that the Holy Fathers are the real spiritual successors of the Apostles, whose teaching and guidance are from God in a special way and therefore to be heeded and followed, not the individual Bishops or collective IF there is any conflict with the Holy Fathers. Tradition, the history of the Church (Prologue, Ecumenical Councils) and the Holy Fathers bear that out.

  13. Jane Tzilvelis says

    “Pastors are silent. TV preachers are silent. Evangelists are silent. Christian educators are silent. Christian authors are silent. Christian radio broadcasters are silent. Christian doctors are silent. Christian attorneys are silent. Christian businessmen are silent. Christians in the pews are silent. Save for a precious few, the entire Church is utterly, shamefully SILENT.”
    Author: Pastor Chuck Baldwin 
    Question:  Do you thirst for Liberty?  Is it more comfortable for you to remain silent rather than save  your progeny from the current lies, striving, manipulations, and aggressions of current church leaders? The children are listening and watching.  
    A priest once told me, “Bring everything into the Light,” yet the priests cannot.  They cover for the sins of their current leaders out of fear.
     
     
     

    • True.

    • Fr Peter Heers and Fr Demetrios Carellas have been publicly and faithfully vocal and clear.  Apparently so faithful that they receive pushback, a good sign in our mixed up culture.  

      • These two good and faithful servants of Christ are bright lights shining in widening abyss. May God continue to give them strength and courage. If only one of them could be elevated to a bishop!

        • Just the thought makes me very happy Mikhail!

        • Michael Bauman says

          Mikhail, unless their spouses are reposed that is not possible.  Unless you wish to overturn the Tradition of married men with living spouses not being consecrated Bishops.  Even if that were done you’d be cursing their wives….and make them far less able to teach as they teach now.
          So, be careful what you wish for. 
           

          • Well, Papa Dimitrios is an Archimandrite, but I doubt the GOARCH would lays hands on him. He’s not… of their ‘ilk.’

    • Michael Bauman says

      SIGH!  Christ brings Liberty no matter the outward circumstances.  If you doubt that read Richard Wurmbrand https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wurmbrand
      Or Solzhenitsyn or even Rod Dreher.  
      Our life in Christ is not dependent on anyone else in the Church.  It simply is not.
      One thing you can be sure of that with human beings involved there will be betrayal, corruption and apostasy.  That is to be expected especially in my own heart.
      We will be called to answer only for what is in our own hearts.  Judging others based on what you perceive as failures is dicey don’t you think.
      My favorite Wurmbrand story is of the Orthodox priest lying in prison dying from Communist torture. 1. He gave the medicine for tuberculosis he had to Wurmbrand; then the man who had tortured him to death was put in the prison, himself dying from torture. The priest had two others help him over to his murder’s bed. Sat down and looked the man in the eye and told the man “Fear not. If I, a man, can forgive you, and I do, think how much God will forgive you”  They both died that night. It was Christmas Eve.
      Master bless and forgive me a sinner and restore my soul Oh gracious and merciful Lord.
       
       

  14. Some churches may have the front doors locked but if you enter quietly by a side door you might see a church full of worshippers. Everything may not be as it first appears.

  15. George, is there some way for you to set up a survey or poll on this site asking people 1) what the current restrictions are from civil authorities where they live, 2) what the current restrictions are from their church’s jurisdiction and 3) to what degree it is actually being followed? Of course, anonymously. I would be VERY interested to see the actual compliance level. I think we might all be surprised. I will say that i only know of a couple of parishes that are 98-100% following all rules. Even the people who defend the rules and act like they all make sense dont really follow them unless “others” like parishioners they don’t know very well are around, or they only enforce stuff during liturgy and not weekday services, for instance. This fact is actually somewhat uplifting to me because it shows people will somewhat follow their own common sense (even if they adamantly deny they are doing so….). 

    • MomofToddler says

      I think this could be an interesting survey, but it would have a somewhat large bias because many people that read this blog would not tolerate attending a church with many coronavirus restrictions, have already found another Orthodox church, etc.  In fact, the priest at my former parish explicitly recommended to me not to read this blog (and this was pre-covid.) Personally, I would be concerned about the results of the survey indicating that we have less of a problem than we actually have, but just my opinion.

      • Good points. I was mostly interested in the stats we could see even with significant biases of the reader base, based on the broad range of locations and jurisdictions we do see on this blog. I don’t feel like it would be a good cross section of the whole of Orthodox churches in America, but I do think sharing info could be interesting. For instance, I personally visited 2 parishes I do not frequent recently, and 1 monastery. One parish was Antiochian and they have restrictions but are selectively enforcing them, which surprised me as I thought they would be very strict. The 2nd parish is GOA and follows/enforces restrictions very strictly….but only during Sunday liturgies. During the week, masks are required but social distancing isn’t enforced, and people who know each other well at the church take off their masks to talk until someone who doesn’t come to the church often walks in. If asked, they probably wouldn’t even realize that they aren’t really “following the rules.”
        The monastery I visited is associated with the GOA and they had signs around saying the restrictions required, but they were 100% not followed or enforced, which again surprised me. 

  16. I have just been sent an email regarding the re-opening of the Holy Virgin Cathedral Joy of All Who Sorrow in San Francisco. This is where the holy relics of St. John Maximovitch reside. They are now allowing 100 people in the temple with full COVID mandates. Here it is:

    Doors will CLOSE at the reading of the Gospel and will REMAIN closed to end of Liturgy
    Liturgy will be Live Streamed
    Please buy candles online in advance. Candle stands will be full at start of Liturgy with online pre-orders. Candles will not be sold during the service. Attendees may contribute toward candles which will be placed by designated volunteers (“на общую свечу”).
    There will not be collection plates. There is a donation box as we enter and we can bring offerings in an envelope. There will also be a donation plate as we exit after the service.
    Holy Water is not available. 
    Temps will be taken at door
    Please wear face masks – mandatory
    Maintain social distancing.– 6 feet  using marked areas
    No kissing of icons
    Restrooms sanitized pre- service, but not during
    Soap and sanitizers available in Restrooms and Narthex (Pritvor)
    As we depart, we will be blessed with the Cross-We will not venerate it. 
    Paschal Artos will be offered at departure
    Fast to Prepare to receive Communion, there will be Common Confession. Everyone will be offered Communion at departure, if prepared.

    But it gets worse. Check this out:
    Holy Communion will be distributed by priest into the palm of hand (as was done in the early church).
    This is an abomination! I cannot tell you how disappointed I am. I truly though that ROCOR would not compromise in this manner, but these are the most deranged restrictions I have seen to date. St John is not pleased. Lord have mercy on us all!

    • This is very interesting—if it can be verified. (I’m not saying that it’s not true, but my OCA parish never had anything like this, ever during this pandemic.) I should consider myself very fortunate, I guess.

      • It is not on their website…but it was sent to those who subscribe to their email correspondence.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Lord have mercy!

        • MomofToddler says

          I received the same email from the cathedral as Mikhail.  I have been confused by a few things on the email list…a few months ago they were offering a free container of St. John’s oil to anyone who bought a book from the bookstore (or something like that).  I thought that was a disturbing way to trivialize the miracle working oil.  They also encouraged people to put their iPhones on the home icon corners to stream liturgy during the lockdown etc.  An iPhone next to an icon of Christ and the Holy Bible?  Profaning holy things…sounds like we are closer to the end times.

          • Lord have mercy, Mom of Toddler and Mikhail!  May St John pray for ROCOR, this Bishop, this Temple, and for us!  Papa Demetri shared this very relevant prayer to St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco which helps me:

             “O holy Hierarch, John — our father, good shepherd and beholder of the secrets of men’s souls!  You pray for us now at the Throne of God, as you yourself did say after your death: ‘Even though I have died, yet am I alive.’  Beseech the most compassionate God that He grant us forgiveness of sins, so that we may come wakefully to our senses — asking that we be given the spirit of humility, the fear of God and piety in all the ways of our life.  As you were a merciful nurturer of orphans and a skilled instructor on earth, be now for us a guide and [source of] Christian understanding amid the turmoil of the Church.  Harken to the groaning of the  troubled youth of our corrupt times, who are tempest-tossed by most wicked demonic possession; and mercifully regard the despondency of our weak pastors, who – caused by the inroads of the corrupting spirit of this world – languish in idle indifference.  O fervent advocate, we cry to you with tears, hasten to make supplication.  Visit us, who are orphaned, scattered over the face of all the world and in our homeland, astray in the darkness of the passions, yet who – by our feeble love – are drawn to the light of Christ and await your fatherly instruction; that having acquired piety, we may be shown to be heirs of the Kingdom of heaven — where you now abide with all the Saints, glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be honor and dominion, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.” 
                                                                            

    • How exactly is Holy Communion served into the palm of one’s hand?  I mean, logistically – how does it work?  Is one supposed to lick his hand?  
       
      Not being facetious, but I cannot visualize how this would be executed in reality.  Our Holy Communion is not a dry wafer like the Roman Catholics’ is. 

      • I am guessing that there will be none of the Precious Blood. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that ROCOR’s holy cathedral which houses the holy relics of St. John has decided to drink more Kool-aid than any Church I have seen thus far. Where is Metropolitan Hilarion? Why is he permitting this travesty?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I just keep shaking my head and the words won’t come. Indeed, where is Metropolitan Hilarion?

        • I would imagine that he has no jurisdiction over the diocese out West, since he is in NYC. He’s a Metropolitan, not a Patriarch, and that’s how the synodal system works.

        • Horrible news Mikhail,
           
          ROCOR was my first choice in my area, after a life long GOA Church member, now I guess I will just visit the Monastery a few times a year.

          The cynical side of me tells me all this going down, is because of the advanced age of most Bishops, and many priests. I have had Covid(mild case), and I have lost a love one to it as well(advanced age), but my position has not change against lock downs, extra spoons and masks in Sacred Spaces.

          Hearing that ROCOR is handing out Holy Communion in ones palm is the worse of all. 

          Hopefully many are NOT like me, but Church will never be the same. I walked into the most beautiful Orthodox Church, last week, in my town, and the feeling was no different than walking into a grocery store.
           
          History always repeats. Don’t need to go too far back. (Russian revolution, Soviet Union, Ottoman holocaust and expulsions, China) When it all hits the fan, do not express all your thoughts to clergy, except maybe Monastics, if you have complete trust in them. Better yet? Go to the Icon and Prayer Corner of your home and tell it to God.

          Unless of course you are down with you Church/Spiritual Leaders program. Or I guess you can fake it, but then what is the point. Hard to look a priest or bishop in the eye when all you can do is chew what they have to say, but not swallow.

          In Greece there are many Churches with the bones of people who fled there for safety and to spend their last hour in Church. Those days are gone. Now we live separated, and die alone. Once on a ventilator, one can not even speak on a phone to tell a loved one they are loved. No priest, nor surrounded by loved ones. Trust me from personal experience this no way die, let alone now live.

          Pray like never before, and Lord Have Mercy on us!

           
           

          • Dear Dino,
            My ROCOR Church is still behaving beautifully, thank God.  For sheer spiritual encouragement, I strongly recommend Fr Peter Heers’ three weekly online classes via Patreon.  I try to be online in person for each but can easily listen/watch another time.  First class Tuesday eve on the Truth of the Faith just makes me smile throughout at the depth and breadth of our Holy Tradition, second class Wed eve on Fr Seraphim Rose’s insightful series “Orthodox Survival Course” is enlightening in analyzing the anti-Orthodox ideas everywhere including inside the Orthodox Church, and third class Thursday eve on the Divine Liturgy.  Makes the sad state of our Churches understandable while offering the remedy of real Orthodoxy, a great spiritual transfusion which helps me dramatically.  The Q & A periods are enlightening and full of pastoral wisdom and counsel as well, from a Patristic viewpoint entirely.  Glory to and thanks to God I say every time…

          • I share your pain, Dino.
             
            When did we become so afraid to die…that we have become afraid to live.

          • Michael Bauman says

            If I may, where do you live?

            • Michael I live in Salt Lake. BTW. How I feel about Church is not right or wrong. It is just were I am at.  I am expressing myself, because I, for the first time in my life, do not want to step foot into a Church. Covid did not kill me, but it has killed my spirit. 
               
               The political policies were the final straw. Archbishop marching with Marxists, and Anarchists, Patriarch alined with green new deals as if canonical, screwing up our Communion with Moscow, via Ukraine power grab etc, etc. Yet more steps towards Rome. At some point one snaps and asks,”Is this the Church I want to be a part of.”
              I am at that point.

              • Solitary Priest says

                Dino, it is not the virus killing your spirit, but the devil. I know, because all too often I have fallen for his tricks. My spiritual father is a Greek American like yourself. He found refuge in the OCA, later in ROCOR. He assured me that we won’t find perfection in this world. He is right. Keep an eye on your soul, that is what is important. Forgive me.

                • Actually, I would say that the devil is using the virus to destroy people’s faith. His goal is to put a halt to the holy Liturgy. If he can’t do that, he wants to limit the number of people who attend. If he can’t do that, he wants to deform the Liturgy and manipulate the traditions. At this point, he’s probably quite pleased that people are not kissing Icons, Crosses, and priest’s hands. I’m also sure that he is thrilled that people are walking around like zombies in masks as they stay away from each other. As a bonus, he has put doubts in people’s minds regarding sharing the same Chalice and spoon.
                   
                  Lord have mercy.

                • Thank you Father(Solitary Priest),

                  I do not seek perfection. I understand your point, I think.
                   
                  My mother’s uncle was very close to Saint Anthimus of Chios. Once while my great-uncle was  together with friends, and Saint Anthimus, one man brought up what “so and so” Bishop was doing in Athens, and what shame has come upon “so and so” priest on the island.  Another man in the group, said, “Brother! What this priest, or that Bishop does, in this life will not be asked of you in the next life while sitting on the the Judgment Seat of Christ. Christ will only ask what you have done before your earthly death.” Saint Anthimus simply nodded his head.
                   
                  My question and dilemma? Am I  selfish? Should I just accept all the wrong doings of GOA under the Archbishop and EP.  Or go to the ROCOR Church, or the Antiochian Church, even if their Covid rules are not different than GOA Church,  yet do not have the GOA skeletons, nor on the road to ruin.IMHO. OR?! Accept any Orthodox Church, since one way or other, I am just as sinful as those I criticize in Orthodox leadership. 
                   
                  The easy thing to do, is just stick with GOA Church in town, with old friends and relatives, and just forget about it. “Its just a mask after all, don’t worry things will change. Who cares, just wear it. Don’t forget the little ones, mask them up! You don’t want to kill anybody in Church, DO YOU!”
                   
                  Problem is now as walking into Church, I don’t feel Christ, only anger.  Is this the new enlightened reality, we must accept after over 1500 years? Am I expecting too much, should I swallow my anger, maybe pride, trust the Spiritual leaders, and stop being so selfish?
                   
                   
                   

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    There is a plan B (or C or D), Dino, that involves you staying in the Church in a legitimate way, as God intended it. Not sure what it is, exactly, but I know it exists. We’ll find it. God can be trusted.

                  • Solitary Priest says

                    Dino; 
                         I’m not your spiritual father, so I can”t really instruct you. It’s just that the EP since Meletios Metaxakis has been selling out the faith. I’m not anti-Greek, my current spiritual father is Greek. But I’m against the papal pretensions of the EP. I won’t serve with their clergy, but being in an OCA parish, I have to commune laity from EP churches.
                       ROCOR has had it’s share of scandals as well, but she has also produced Saints. Besides St. John of San Francisco, Metropolitan Philaret was a confessor in China, first he was beaten and tortured by the Japanese, because he wouldn’t bow to an idol. Then the Chinese communists tried to burn him out of his home, and when he escaped, they tried to accuse him of starting the fire. I believe he is a Saint.
                        Then Archbishop Averky(Taushev), whom I believe to be a Saint. His writings have been quoted here. I never met St, John, but I was privelaged to get blessings from both Metropolitan Philaret and Archbishop Averky. They, along with St. John, consecrated the Archbishop Kiril of the OCA, so Vladyka Kiril may have had three Saints consecrate him.
                       People have lamented that we have no bishops of the caliber of St. Mark of Ephesus. Yet, we had these three and there may have been more. We didn’t fully appreciate them when they walked among us.
                        As for distibuting Holy Communion, I follow the conventional way. Everyone recieves from the spoon. I go to a ROCOR parish 40 miles away for feast days on the old calendar; they commune people in the same way.
                      Finally, in a neighboring state, I concelebrated with the rector and past rector for a new calendar feast. I won’t reveal the church and location, because some tattle-tale might make trouble. I will just say that this was a SCOBA church, but neither an EP dependency nor connected with the Russian church. I will say that the church was crowded for a non-Sunday, and the people included faithful from other new calendar churches, including some Greeks, who were fed up with the plastic spoons and other foolishness in their own church. If anything, this church was even more traditional than most ROCOR parishes. It goes without saying the Holy Communion was distributed properly.
                        Gail is right, Dino. God CAN be trusted.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dino, pallikari, Gail and SP are correct.  God has not, nor will abandon you and the thousands of other Greek-American faithful.  (As for the Baklavarians who worship the annual festival, I’m not in a position to judge.)

                    • George, I spent several seconds trying to  work
                      out where Baklavaria was – then I figured it out.
                      It’s everywhere…   🙂

                    • Baklavarians… A term worthy of a few Jeff Foxworthy ‘you might just be’s

              • Dino, I really wasn’t doing well for awhile and I so understand your discouragement! I asked my Orthodox SF and priests and all my friends to pray for me. Slowly, thank God, that horrible feeling and miasma began to lift. I was reminded by my reading of the Prologue and Lives of the Saints and the Holy Fathers as well as Fr Peter’s classes that there have continually been challenges from without and from within the Church since Christ Himself and the Saints discuss that as part of our podvig and arm us for the battle.  So now I’m just so grateful for anything and anyone who is truly Orthodox and for the chance to repent more about my sins and my personal contribution to the chaos within and without in our world.  Somehow seeing the icon of Joseph at the Nativity when he was tempted by the evil one and looking dejected (temporarily, thank God) woke me up and I realized that just as he was being tempted to discouragement and suspicion by the evil figure, so have I let myself be discouraged by the temporal appearance of things as opposed to the spiritual truth and reality of them which is that Christ has risen and prevailed and His Church (His Body) cannot be ovecome although certain self-proclaimed members  are tragically not of or in it.  

                Having come from Divine Liturgy where the Temple is flooded by the multitude of Saints and Angels praising God and taking us out of time and space into that experience — well I am realizing again how much I need prayers to focus my mind aright on the Truths of our Tradition and not be distracted by the understandable if distressing challenges.  And there are many around the globe now tuning in to Fr Peter which is most encouraging too. Please forgive me if what I say distresses you and just ignore it if it does!! Just know I am praying for you Dino and I ask your prayers please!
                Peace and Hope in Christ,
                Nicole

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Nicole, icons are so wonderful. My favorite is Jesus rescuing Peter as he sinks.  It was a gift from my Roman Catholic boss.  Several years ago he just brought it to me out of the blue because he thought I would like it.  
                  So much revealed in it.  

                • Thank you Nicole for your concern  and prayers. I will pray for you 

              • Dino,
                 
                Never forget that there were long periods of time when the vast majority of the ‘Church’ was Arian or Monophysite.   In fact, just today we commemorated the lives of two Martyrs, Marcian and Martyrius who suffered under another heretical bishop of Constantinople.
                 
                It is a time of great sadness and extreme disappointment, to be sure.  But blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
                 
                https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2020/10/25/103053-martyr-marcian-and-martyrius-the-notaries-of-constantinople

                • “…another heretical bishop of Constantinople.”
                  No shortage of them, it seems…

                • Thank you Brian, please forgive me, I have nothing to contribute. Other than thanks for your concern to post.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Dino, stick it out.  This too shall pass.

                    I could get into the nitty-gritty of the politics and war-gaming but it’s not worth it.  God will raise up good bishops to uphold Orthodoxy (just as He recently did in Cyprus).  I was corrected recently:  they are not rebels but are “upholding the Orthodox tradition”.    

                    The humanistic plans of the globalists are not long for the world –one way or the other.  Remember, Nimrod was powerful and he had a globalist agenda and it came crashing down.  How long was he in power?  I dunno but God had the last laugh.  
                     

              • Michael Bauman says

                Dino, just remember Jesus is with you in mercy and peace.  

            • Michael,
               
              Dino lives in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.  I only know this because had I known it before he mentioned it one time here, I would have made a point to visit him last Autumn when vacationing in that area.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I wonder if they even read what people are saying about all this. I was chagrined when I heard a “Trad” (Traditional Catholic) say that the one good thing about COVID is that through live streaming, they were able to bring a lot of new people into their churches. Apparently, disenfranchised Protestants are finding beauty in the way they do their services.

            This obviously means their churches have opened while ours remain closed.

            How long are our bishops going to keep this up? They are killing the Church.

            • I’m certainly not in favor of distributing Holy Communion into the faithful’s palms.

              However, what if the bishops in the Western American Diocese are trying to make the best of a terrible situation, so that their faithful might commune?

              We all liken California to the Soviet Union. Indeed, there are rightfully many similarities. Likewise, there were Moscow Patriarchate bishops in the former Soviet Union (those few left who were not shot or sent to Siberia) who are on record as saying that when they dealt with the Soviet authorities, it was akin to looking the devil in the face. It was that evil.

              However, they knew that they must do what they can for the Russian Orthodox faithful suffering in the Soviet Union. They even suffered for the salvation of the Soviet authorities — if their suffering could help save those on the Politburo, then so be it. These same bishops were often vilified by the expatriate community as being “KGB agents” or totally compromised. Some were, but many were not. It is not an easy line to draw. Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad is a great example — a totally compromised KGB agent to some, and to others a church leader who suffered for the sake of his flock and whose suffering may have brought Christ to some in the former Soviet Union.

              Could not the same be said for the Western American bishops in California? Dealing with the California government each month is more and more akin to dealing with satan himself. What if they are simply doing what they can for the sake of their flock? It’s not pretty at all — yes, these days so many things are messy — but life itself is often more messy than not.

              From what I know about Abp Kyrill and Bishop James (Corazza) of Sonora — the two ROCOR bishops in the Western American Diocese — these are not impotent men when it comes to the faith. Nor would St John of S.F. allow weak-kneed men to lead his diocese.

              I could be totally wrong, but this is my 2 cents for today.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                As of Oct 1, a federal appeals court decided 2 to 1 to uphold Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus restrictions on indoor worship during the pandemic.

              • California is not the Soviet Union…yet. Churches are not being demolished and clergy are not being murdered. There are avenues that can be taken…such as judicial actions. The protestants are doing it. But the Orthodox nod their heads to the civil authorities and say, “yes master.” It sickens me. This is how it starts. Let them deform and restrict your Liturgy now…and they will blow up your Churches and murder you later.

          • Bishops have the authority to “bind and loose” which is really only circumscribed by a synod.  So when they err in judgment with things like communion in the hand, it’s not the end of the world.  We should avoid legalism.  Even Fr. Seraphim Rose wrote that the fast is not meant to be a straightjacket.
            It will all be rectified in time.  The Church has a strong immune system but you have to look at it from 30,000 feet.  People are scared, apprehensive and uncertain about how to best placate the authorities while keeping the faith.  
            Stuff happens.

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            RE: “Hearing that ROCOR is handing out Holy Communion in ones palm is the worse of all.”

            Dino, please do not generalize about ROCOR or extrapolate from what one ROCOR cathedral may be doing in the COVID-19 crisis to all of ROCOR. I can assure you and the other devotees of this blog that numerous–perhaps a sizable majority–of ROCOR churches, including St. Herman of Alaska Russian Orthodox Church in Stafford, VA (where I was the rector before heading to Holy Trinity Seminary in 2019 and Metropolitan Jonah has been the rector since then), are not betraying Holy Orthodox Tradition.

            • Father Alexander,
              If you say so, then I believe you. Does that include masks?
               
              The San Francisco Cathedral I know well, growing up there many years ago. I always visit when in town. Growing up Greek Orthodox, I always viewed the Russian Orthodox to be a more serious(lack of a better word)  Church than Greek. My view only. My father spoke Russian, and all the Russians we knew were very serious people.
               
              To hear that the Cathedral in San Francisco, that has  Saint John right inside the Church, is handing Communion in the palms of hands was hard to imagine, by such pious and serious people. How do they look their flock in the eye without shame?
               
              If their reaction to Covid is this, how far removed could the other Russian churches be than that of Greek Orthodox? This is my thought process with my next step, if any. California laws or not, Churches have rights. If Saint John were alive I imagine he would ignore California laws. This man after all took  spilt Communion off the dirty floor of a mental hospital. He would not recoil in fear to Gov. Newsom, or any politician.
               
              Let the chips fall were they do, and watch the reaction, of stewards, to the persecution of our Orthodox Churches. Problem is our Bishops fear “persecution” from our American Government. Makes one wonder their reaction to real persecution; Soviet, Ottoman, or Communist Chinese style.

              • Christine Fevronia says

                Holy Virgin Cathedral livestreams all services. I would encourage you to perhaps watch Divine Liturgy tomorrow and report back what you see.

                • I watched yesterday’s liturgy. I did not see Communion given out. I suppose it was given off camera , after liturgy 

                  • Yes. The priest stopped three quarters of the way through the Liturgy to see a show of hands of who would be receiving so that he could get a head count. Disgraceful.

                    • Mikhail, please read my last paragraph.  What if bishops and priest ONLY feared God, instead of lost income, or lawsuits. What if they only trusted God, instead of politicians, and  corrupt medical experts, or non medical experts such Mr. Gates.
                       
                      If our Churches were shuttered, closed and  really persecuted by our American government, and NOT closed by our Bishops, the reaction by Church stewards would have been much different, in fact thunderous. Protests all over our nation, by Orthodox Christians. But only if led by our Orthodox clergy! Our protests would have garnered attention by all Christians. Imagine the sight of millions of Christians of all strips together protesting the closure of Churches. A great American spiritual awakening was lost. A great American Orthodox Christian awakening was lost!
                       
                      Then again, maybe we never had a chance.
                       
                      Why? What was not lost? Not lost, were the paychecks to our Priests and Bishops. Small potatoes for priests, but their lively hoods depend on their silence and compliance. BUT! Coming down the pike is a windfall of money. A windfall from the Covid pandemic. A  virus money train has/will be  created by the world powers that be. Men like Mr. Gates and global political figures are going to rake in on the invisible fear.  The money and power to be gained by world leaders is too intoxicating. I pray the pockets of our Orthodox world spiritual leaders are not being tempted as well.

    • Common confession and communion in the hand are out of line.  I’m very surprised and I hope the bishop or synod corrects this.  There is ample testimony that the norm has always been communion in the mouth except for a passage from St. Cyril of Jerusalem and some descriptions of communion at the altar by clergy.  At least, that is my understanding and I’m willing to be corrected if I’m wrong.  But I don’t want to hear a word from neo-Patristic sources, only quotes from the Church Fathers.

      As to general confession, I’ve heard of it in the OCA (Schmemannism) and some Greeks have taken to it.  However, real open confession is just that, open confession.  It was practiced to some extent in the early Church and perhaps this or that more recent father, in a close community, has admitted it.  But it is done by vocally confessing one’s sins to those in attendance in a loud clear voice.  It was discontinued for obvious reasons by the hierarchs.  If I banged your wife and wish to repent, need I drag it before everybody and break up a family in the process?

      Imitating someone’s usually erroneous conceptions of how things were supposedly done in the early Church is a terrible way to run things.  It is the font of a thousand schisms and sects as can be attested to by the protestants.

      • “Imitating someone’s usually erroneous conceptions of how things were supposedly done in the early Church is a terrible way to run things.  It is the font of a thousand schisms and sects as can be attested to by the protestants.”
        Excellent point. 

        Reply

  17. Microsoft’s globalist international patent filed in June 2020 personifies the globalist anti-Christian agenda and is literally horrifying.  Pharoah Bill Gates to manage his new world order “Egyptian”slaves worldwide.  Article also a great summary of documented meetings and plans not publicized or analyzed by MSM.  Brave New World unless we act.  The total depersonalization and desacralization of human beings a real possibility unless we awaken and act.
    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/10/23/world-economic-forum-prediction-global-takeover.aspx.

    • cynthia curran says

      Well, since I’m not on the left. I just got nasty remarks from someone on the right that called me a whore. I didn’t do anything sexual or write anything sexual. This person was replying on Twitter to someone else on Twitter. All I talk about his why I disliked New York City. I’m a small town or medium size city and thinks that New York and other cities that are large are too impersonal and overblown how popular they are. Yet, this third party person wrote he is not replying to you and your a whore. I guess I met one of the nuts on the right as well here.

      • Cynthia that happened to me too on a conservative website in which folks were being encouraged to “hate the left” and I replied from our Orthodox perspective and was roundly reviled and my Christianity questioned because I was so “measured”  I clearly was “a troll”.  I don’t know why I smiled but it was so funny…I am used to that from the left, so guess it was balancing!  

        • Michael Bauman says

          Nicole, what you experienced is simply ideology at work.  Ideology by its very nature is 1. A lie; 2. Non-negotiable. 
          The website is not Conservative at all. They have no principles to conserve just “right belief”.  
          Reminds me of Tom Lehrer’s ” National Brotherhood Week”  https://g.co/kgs/kxX6LT
          A small sample:  “To hate all but the right folks is an old established rule”   
          This song was done in 1965.  But you have a purity of mind that does not expect such hardness of heart.  God Bless you.
           
          And to Gail ♥️♥️♥️♥️
           

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Ugly people come in all shapes and sizes.  Interestingly, the Internet gives them the anonymity they need to show themselves for who they really are.So sorry that this happened to you.  

  18. A Republican President freed the slaves. If Trump loses,
    Democratic Presidents will watch as everyone is enslaved.

    • Brendan,

      I was watching Dr. Steve Turley last night and he made a point which is highly significant and, up til now, little considered by many lifelong Conservatives due to a kind of psychological entrapment to recent history:

      If the Democrats lost only a fraction of the black vote – 15% to 20% – to the Republicans, they would cease to be a nationally competitive party.  I believe that is a key part of Trump’s strategy which I, for one, admit I missed.  I thought it was noble for him to reach out, but unrealistic.  He, however, had faith.
      And it is working.  In the week leading up to the debate, the president’s approval among black likely voters went up from 25% to 46%.:

      https://dnyuz.com/2020/10/23/rasmussen-poll-says-46-of-black-voters-approve-of-president-trump/

      If that is anywhere close to accurate, it is literally the death knell of the Democratic Party.  We shall see in the election results. “Why this week?”, you may ask.

      Here’s my theory.  The laptop story broke this week and quickly went viral to every Obamaphone in the nation.  The black community can understand the implications of having a crackhead son deeply involved in family finances.  It all sounds absolutely plausible to blacks.  They’ve lived it.  

      The idea that Hunter, drunk and high probably trying to come down far enough to make sense, walked into a computer store and left laptops with incriminating evidence on them and then forgot about it seems completely normal to many, many blacks who have addicts in their families and know of its devastating effects on their community.   

      It could have been their son, or brother.

      And they know the destructive effects crackheads have on whole families, dragging down everyone within reach.  
      And they know you can’t enable them and they damn sure know that you can’t trust them with finances and business deals.  That’s certifiably insane.
      And so blacks are fleeing what they see as an obviously sinking ship.  Win or lose, nothing good lies down Biden Ave. 

      Because crack is a curse.

      And if Biden is too stupid, senile or weak to not only understand that but implement it in his own personal life, then there is no way that he can handle the country. 

      Blacks understand that perfectly.

  19. https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2020/10/23/kremlin-expresses-regret-russophobia-in-presidential-debate/

    A word about Russophobia:  

    Russia, like any great power, has intelligence operations.  They try to some extent to influence foreign elections.  All great powers do.  Normally, it is low level stuff when it is against us and doesn’t amount to much.  Never to my knowledge have they attempted to interfere with the mechanisms of our elections, which is true election interference.

    In the last presidential election, they may have gotten lucky when a staged communication between two RF officials on a line known by them to be tapped by our intelligence services, planted a story that the US Justice Department had an agreement with the Hillary camp not to act on the email case before the election (or afterward, for that matter).  This may have caused James Comey to reopen the FBI’s investigation into Hillary and set off a firestorm of retribution.  The most that can be said of that, however, was that it was a lucky shot.  They cannot have known the reaction other than to expect some level of insecurity or chaos, which was their intention.

    That being said, about everything else amounts to some FB adds and the hijinks of Russian hackers, government or private; i.e., normal stuff.

    Yet the American Right, for the most part, has redirected leftover Cold War Russophobia to its  purposes as well.  It is now attributing nefarious Democratic shenanigans to Russian influence, like the Steele Dossier, money to Biden from the Moscow mayor’s wife, stuff in Ukraine, etc.  This is a sort of “retasking” of the boogeyman to Republican purposes.  Smart and understandable.

    But the truth is that Russia is not really our enemy in the sense that China or Iran is.  Old habits die hard.  People are still using the word “Soviet” and taking Putin references to Soviet communists and the Soviet Union out of their Russian context and exploiting them for Western political purposes.

    Russia is a Christian, capitalistic country.  It is not going to return to communism.  Nostalgia for the Soviet days is common for natural human reasons, emotional attachment to aspects of a period which we cannot appreciate, not having lived there, not to an ideology.  Russophobia (and I hate the term) makes everyone’s life more difficult because it is irrational to project Russia and Putin as a boogeyman.  They are trying to act in their national interest and preserve their sovereignty in the face of an onslaught of Western soft, and sometimes not so soft, aggression.  Georgia, Ukraine, NGO’s, color revolutions, eastward expansion of NATO and the EU, etc., have all served to “contain” Russia, box her in and harm her interests, economic, cultural and strategic, in the name of progressive ideology and globalism.

    Eventually, we are going to have to roll back our Russophobia.  Russia is a great and convenient whipping boy for the Left and a knee jerk antagonist of the Right.  But its current role is to simply serve as a caricature, a scarecrow, devoid of reality and substance and a source of confusion and “muddying” the waters.  It also is a great disservice to Russian Americans who are quite loyal and normally about as anti-socialist as Florida Cubans.

    Russians are American conservatives’ and traditioinalists’ natural allies in the fight against globalism, the culture wars and the fight to preserve and revitalize Christianity.  Some on the right get this – Franklin Graham, for example.  Hopefully many more will in a second Trump term.

    I ran into a pale thin, older middle aged woman, the woke/progressive university type, walking around at a Russian church festival in Cincinnati years ago.  There were a number of flags for sale and she was looking to buy an old Soviet flag.  I’m sure her little leftist heart was lamenting the demise of socialism.  I laughed and replied, “Well, you ain’ gone find one here, dear.” 

    It’s time for Americans to stop being clueless about these things.
     

  20. And perhaps a source of wisdom about COVID too?  See the Russian ex-intelligence officer in this article on the psychological tools being employed world-wide:
    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/10/24/securing-obedience-through-fear.aspx?cid_medium=etaf&cid=share
     

  21. Here’s the article with a better link (where they don’t make you sign up for the newsletter!) https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/10/24/securing-obedience-through-fear.aspx
    Always great when Russia, an English Lord and German scientists agree on something about COVID manipulators!!!  
     

  22. https://redstate.com/nick-arama/2020/10/25/nuns-attend-trump-rally-leftists-never-trumpers-lose-their-minds-dox-and-go-after-the-nuns-n268905

    Nuns are like little sheep dogs.  They know things.  Instinct.  We had a puli, which is a kind of little Hungarian sheep dog, when I was little.  Her name was Samantha (Sammie, for short).  Wonderful animal.  She was a wedding gift to my parents in 1959.  She lived til 1979 when she had to be put down, suffering from cancer.

    In her years of vigor, she was amazing.  This was before my time, but in younger years, if they were out at our country cousins’ farm, if a child fell down and hurt itself, Sammie would run over and put a paw on the child’s back and bark until somebody came.  “We got one down over here!”, as if to say.  Good dog.

    Back in the seventies, here in the Midwest/Upper South, one year we had a spate of tornadoes – like 144 of them across the region – in a very short period.  It may have been 1977.  In any case, during tornado warnings, we would go to my grandparents’ basement (we lived with them at that time).  It was underground on three sides and there was a huge metal furnace in one of the rear corners behind which was the safest place in the house.

    Several tornadoes came through in our area that night and we had to go down to the basement repeatedly.  One of them took the roof off the cotton mill two blocks away and left it in an intersection.

    Sammie, of course, was alert during all of this and was right down there with us.  We came up and went down a couple of times and finally the radio said “all clear”.  However, Sammie would not budge from underneath a table down in the basement.  I remember my grandmother trying to reason with her and talk her up the steps.  Uh, uh.  Not moving.

    Shortly thereafter another tornado came through and we were right back down there with Sammie.  Good dog.

    Those nuns are like Sammie.  They know something.
     

  23. wwcaterson says

    Hey George, this isn’t meant to be a post (I don’t have your email so this was the only way I could figure to send it along). But here is an interesting article from ‘across the pond’. I thought you and the missus might enjoy it!
     
    https://thecritic.co.uk/why-welsh-churches-are-fighting-the-circuit-breaker/?fbclid=IwAR0ipYjFF_LCqRljHCTBSzQPPyfPTj0oXZhaVJkXjPQq09QcZjFLkXAGhmM

    [Editor Note: I think everyone would be interested in this as it talks about the reaction to shutting down the Churches ‘across the pond.’ We forget that this isn’t just happening to us. There is a concerted effort around the globe to keep us from going to Church. Because other places do not face these same restrictions, it’s hard not to construe this as anything but deliberate.]

  24. Michael Bauman says

    Dino you might consider this: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2020/10/27/what-a-caveman-said-to-perceive-that-which-is-eternal/
    None of us live outside the Sacramental reality whether we can physically partake of them or not.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Michael, thank you for posting this. Profound. We all need to heed these words.

    • Thank you Michael B,
      All you have said and linked is wise and appreciated. My faith in Christ is not shaken, but the “visible” that we have known as the Church is, at least for myself.
       
      Ironic the theme now with many of our Church leaders during  pandemic is just like you state,”None of us live outside the Sacramental reality whether we can physically partake of them or not.”
       
      What is ironic is that during “normal/good times” this type of thinking would be strongly discouraged. In fact I am sure clergy, during normal times, would tell us not attending Church, and not receiving Sacraments would be dangerous to our souls.
       
      That is one problem I have with Church leaders/priests, it seems so easy for them to talk out of both sides of one mouth, to make their point with laity. Hard to argue with God, when they use God to make their point for us to obey.
       
      After of lifetime of spiritually trusting our priests, I have discovered, when the world goes” haywire”, questioning them is not only difficult, as they are like family in our hearts, as is the parish, it is most distressing, and makes one question everything you have believed, so far as parish life is concerned.
       
      Of  course God is always true and to be trusted, even when we don’t understand why the “visible” is happening to us in a perceived negative fashion.

      Honestly lately I am short for words and thoughts, forgive me.
       
       
       
       

      • Michael Bauman says

        Dino,  I am sure you are correct.  When the Sacraments are readily available we should partake of them but there have been many times in the Church when frequent communion was either not possible or not advised.
         

  25. Michael Bauman says

    Even in the midst of the ugliness of the COVID crap there is God made beauty everywhere.  “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
    The Eucharist is above all a celebration of the Risen Lord.  We are all called to live in the sure and certain hope of the Ressurection 

  26. Matthew 13 contains  the parable of the tares and the wheat.  My reading of this is that Jesus is warning us that this will often be our situation. Evil creeps in.  He also teaches us to focus on Him.  One of my favorite examples of this is Noah and the Ark.  The ark had windows only in the uppermost part.  Noah and family could only look up to heaven and not at the destruction going on around them. We too must learn to focus on God in the midst of chaos.  When we focus on the chaos we are lost. 
    Also, there is an old adage of sailors.   Calm seas do not a sailor make.  We are tested in how we handle rough waters. 
    Maybe God has allowed Covid to test our trust in Him in rough seas.

  27. WAKE UP ABOUT MEDICINE: I ENTREAT YOU TO WATCH THE AAPS WEBINAR FROM LAST NIGHT TO EQUIP YOURSELF TO DEAL WITH COVID (FOR PROPHYLAXIS, EARLY TREATMENT AT HOME TO AVOID HOSPITALIZATION AND DEATH IF POSSIBLE).

    1. AT HOME CARE: YouTube Video of AAPS webinar of a person with COVID (treat as early as possible)
    https://youtu.be/C5u5GuErjcA.

    2. Link to the powerpoint slide presentation:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1w0rN0AmwmCr1NUrKGr-fNs9yjIb1SaFh/view?usp=drivesdk

    3. *PREVENTION*, AT HOME CARE, and IN HOSPITAL PROTOCOL
    The latest Eastern Virginia Medical School/Marik protocol which includes prophylaxis or prevention as well as at-home treatment and hospital treatment (mentioned by Dr McCullough): https://www.evms.edu/media/evms_public/departments/internal_medicine/EVMS_Critical_Care_COVID-19_Protocol.pdf

    The death rate from COVID in the US is the highest in the world. Presently there is no plan for early or at home treatment of COVID to prevent hospitalization offered or endorsed by the CDC, NIH, Big organized medicine, employed physicians who are silenced. (IFM docs offer some but are careful not to foul their nests by crossing the powers that be. Clearly lifestyle issues in the US affect many increasing our risk.) The other countries in the consortium created by Dr. McCullough have successfully used these COVID-specific at-home methods and dramatically lowered the death rate. Please forward to your family, friends, and physicians.

    PLEASE AT LEAST WATCH HIS VIDEO AND LOOK AT THE COLORED CHARTS on THE POWERPOINT SLIDES AND THE MARIK/EVA PROTOCOL PDF.

    As a physician, I cannot live with myself if I don’t give you access to information being censored by various Big forces now, sadly including the AMA & state medical societies. May that end soon by the Grace of God and by patients/persons encouraging their physicians to look, learn and act like physicians rather than employees of uncaring systems with incentives to deprive us of care and information.

    🕊 and 🌱 in Christ
    Nicole

    • Thank you, Nicole.
       
      Note to self:  If infected avoid physicians employed by Hospital-owned IDN’s.

    • Here is a video from Dr John Campbell on low dose HCQ
      and a large study in Belgium showing that it is effective.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uzXHnUViro&feature=emb_logo

    • Michael Bauman says

      Nicole, my son has been doing what you suggest in encouraging medical people who are treating him to be more forth coming and honest.  He has met with routine resistance, anger and the request to seek care with another doctor. The nurses seem to be the most intransigent. 
      Even such questions as “What do you mean by that?”   He does not operate well on other people’s assumptions or non-answer answers, even less the expression of ignorance because many of the health issues he experiences are idiopathic or atypical. 
      Any ideas on better ways to go about it
      Any ideas on ways of handling.

      • Hi Michael,

        So sorry he had a bad experience with a doc and nurse! That’s unpleasant.

        I wrote you by protonmail so please check.  I am a bit perplexed so need your help.  Thanks so much for  answering me there so I can hopefully reply fittingly!

        🕊🌱 🛐 to thee and thine,
        Nicole

    • PS in case my reply is part of what confused you below Michael (not sure), please know that my hope is that by sharing the information with our personal physicians as something we are interested in pursuing ourselves, asking them to read it, it will open their minds to the number of physicians who are seeking to improve care of this novel and not well understood virus and are operating from the beneficence model toward patients, not driven by financial incentives (and in fact suffering for their efforts to do so).  Really a parallel to those ignorant of both sides of the news because they only read the NYT or ignorant of Paristic Orthodoxy because they are ignorant of the Holy Fathers, Holy Tradition and the History of The Church since Christ.  Doesn’t help to scream at these folks because they listen less and our style interferes with their learning.  Most physicians I know are very well intentioned!  Most who object to these protocols out of hand seem not to have studied alternative medicine, integrative medicine, or functional medicine and therefore only know what they were taught in whatever medical school or hospital system.  But I have seen many wake up after seeing how the latter “prove to be right” after studies finally done a decade later. Why aren’t the studies done sooner?  Because who funds the studies primarily?  Big Pharma and who benefits from vaccines for which no RCT studies have ever been done?  Big Tech/NIH/Big Pharma.  So who is going to fund the study for preventive measures and lifestyle changes including supplementation by nonpharmaceuticals?
      At any rate just as we are taught to be kind to the ignorant about Orthodoxy and hope to persuade those with good dispositions, probably best to approach those docs with a good disposition by sharing info and just back off if they flare.  I’ve had both experiences recently.  A lovely Christian doc who agreed to my suggested compromise that she oversee the alternative medicine solution I found online before going to steroids and surgery  which she was sure was needed.  And if I was not better after a month, I said I’d try her way.  Well go figure!  Yea alternative medicine.  And she was delighted not threatened.  Then there is a colleague who is blistering in his criticism of any suggested means to help with COVID until there is a RCT (randomized controlled trial) for Dr. McCullough and Dr. Marik’s clinical judgments based on their experience in real time with patients.  That will be 10 years.   So I just backed out and am praying.  
      So apologies if my fervor prompted anyone to “go at” their doc.  As a doc, I am appalled at organized medicine right now.  But with individuals?  Just try to ask for them to read and consider and learn from their response to that whether you want to find another doc.  AAPSonline.org is putting together a list of docs who will “treat COVID” in case you want to research that.  I don’t agree with all their policies or liberterian views.  IFM.org is about to hold a $450 CME Conference which may address same.  November 9.  I have trouble with charging people to learn what is patently needed in a troubled time.  That one should be free in my view.  
      Apologies for anyone I have inflamed!  
      🌅🕊🌱
      Nicole

    • Dear Michael:

      in case my reply is part of what confused you below (not sure), please know that my hope is that by sharing the information with our personal physicians as something we are interested in pursuing ourselves, asking them to read and seriously consider it, it will open their minds to the number of physicians who are seeking to improve care of this novel and not well understood virus and are operating from the beneficence model toward patients, not driven by financial incentives (and in fact suffering for their efforts to do so).  

      Really a parallel to those ignorant of both sides of the news because they only read the NYT or are ignorant of Patristic Orthodoxy because they are ignorant of the Holy Fathers, Holy Tradition and the History of The Church since Christ.  Doesn’t help to scream at these folks because they listen less and our style interferes with their learning.

       Most physicians I know are very well intentioned!  Most who object to these protocols out of hand seem not to have studied alternative medicine, integrative medicine, or functional medicine and therefore only know what they were taught in whatever medical school or hospital system.  But I have seen many wake up after seeing how the latter “prove to be right” after studies are finally done a decade later. Why aren’t the studies done sooner?  Because who funds the studies primarily?  Big Pharma and who benefits from vaccines for which no RCT studies have ever been done since the 1980’s relieved them from all accountability?  Big Pharma, the NIH and Big Techers who produce vaccines!  So who is going to fund the study for preventive measures and lifestyle changes including supplementation by nonpharmaceuticals or cheap generic meds such as Drs Marik and McCullough and his consortium suggest now for prophylaxis and early at home care?

      At any rate just as we are counseled to be kind to the ignorant about Orthodoxy and hope to persuade those with good dispositions, it is probably best to approach those ignorant docs with a good disposition by sharing info and just back off if they flare.  I’ve had both experiences recently.  A lovely Christian doc who agreed to my suggested compromise that she oversee the alternative medicine solution I found online (in an alternative med site AND a recently published journal article she had yet to read) before going to steroids and surgery  which she was sure were needed.  And if I was not better after a month, I said I’d try her way gradually.  Well go figure!  Yea alternative medicine. It worked.  And she was delighted not threatened.  Alternatively there is a colleague who is blistering in his criticism of any suggested means to help with COVID until there is a RCT (randomized controlled trial) first. So he refused to consider Dr. McCullough and Dr. Marik’s clinical discoveries and judgments based on their experience in real time treating COVID patients and ever-changing as they learn more and share freely.  He will have to wait 10 years.   So I just backed out and am praying.  

      So apologies if my fervor and concern prompted anyone to “go at” their doc.  As a doc, I am appalled at organized medicine right now.  But with individuals?  My suggestion is  to ask them to read and consider and then learn from their response to that whether you want to find another doc.  My internal medicine doc fortunately has a best friend studying functional medicine so is very open!  And AAPSonline.org is putting together a list of docs who will “treat COVID” in case you want to research that.  ( I don’t agree with all their policies or liberterian views by the way but they are truly for patients.)  IFM.org is about to hold a $450 CME Conference which may address same.  November 9.  However, I have trouble with charging people to learn what is patently needed in a troubled times.  That one should be free in my view.  

      Apologies to anyone I have inflamed!  Please forgive me. Thanks to Fr Peter Heers for his counsel about discerning dispositions too…

      🌅🕊🌱
      Nicole

      • Michael Bauman says

        Nicole, I will simplify it (I hope).  It is a matter of trust. How can one trust those in authority (medical, political, spiritual) who refuse to engage in a discussion?  
        Alternatively how does one, if stubborn, get people to at least try to think in somewhat human ways? 
        I find going to my doctor’s office verging on dehumanizing.  Especially the practice of the history taker coming into the exam room and putting a lap top between you and them and then asking all kinds of personal questions about you.  
        I strongly voiced my concern to my primary care doc and I seldom get that there any more. Unless he has a trainee.  
        I have on occasion refused to answer even routine questions because of it.  Unfortunately, even though they generally abide by my preference it is as an acommadation, not really understood.
        It is even worse in the ER and hospitals.  
        We  were wearing masks long before COVID.
        Worse yet the clergy that wear their garb as a badge of rank rather than the sign of servitude to God it is supposed to be.
        I see the masks in church and it makes me sad.
        People dying alone when I know my late wife’s very salvation was deeply impacted by our priest and members of our community filling up her ICU room as she died.  Singing and praying. Bringing heaven into that room and lifting her into it.
        She was aware.  
        If that were attempted today, police would be called.

        What are we allowing the evil one to do to us when we react out of fear or anger or a Quisling attitude. 
        (If any do not know Quisling, it is a good lesson to look him up)
        Reading the Steinbeck novel, The Moon is Down, good too

        Maybe we should have small choirs outside nursing homes and hospitals singing the hymns and praying

        • Michael, I hear you on every level.  I agree.  

          Sadly we are 25 years into the great Medicine reset from managed care, in the mid 1990’s and big pharma invincibility which has profoundly changed the ethos of medical training and practice and grinds a body down!  In 1996 at the end of my fellowship and 9 years of training, I seriously thought about resurrecting my teaching certificate instead.  Fortunately I learned of a way I could practice the way I was trained at Georgetown and the way only a few psychiatrists I had met practiced.  

          However, the accumulating pressures put on physicians and med schools over the years have resulted in a numbness and sense of helplessness  in many physicians who are “bowling alone” as their own sense of community and ability to do good has broken down and as managed care has distanced docs from one another and from patients through administrative burdens which are staggering and which serve to disempower and disrespect both doc and patient, so that a new adversarial relationship is created in which docs can’t be effective advocates for patients and patients are angry with them for this fact. In addition outpatient physicians are now often totally ignored by hospitalists who work for the hospital not the patient, so physicians are disrespected and have no say about the treatment their patient gets in the hospital and integration of care is lost. Sadly the problem is not understood by doc or patient who wind up being angry with one another instead of seeing the actual agenda at work via managed care, insurers, hospital system administrators, pharma which CREATED and SUSTAINS the terrible state of the relationship without being called out for what it is. Kind of like COVID hm?

          As a solution, I’d personally first look long and hard for a Roman Catholic physicians who belongs to Christ Medicus and is an integrative physician, but many of the integratives are putting big money into their IFM certification and then need to charge big fees to use them.  Or simply ask Orthodox friends if they have found the mensch who loves people, understands medicine and alternative medicine, and isn’t trying to advance or be popular, just help patients. Some have a certain number of sliding scale patients and some will do only sliding scale or take insurance, so you have to get the skinny ahead.  The newly trained ones who are used to such “distancing” and interference between doc and patient have automatically detached a bit just to adjust.  And that is painful. The ones I have had who have not detached are usually Christian or devout something, but hey they are human and can become overwhelmed too. Because I am a psychiatrist, I’ve had the problem of docs I go to see share their heartbreak and upset at the state of medicine so I could hardly share my own concerns and had to switch!

          The industrialization which dehumanized the worker has its parallel in medicine now.  Both the product of the assembly line and of secular medicine service is qualitatively different from the handmade with care approach I often received from my docs growing up.  

          So I’d just keep looking and asking hopefully for recommendations of folks like this in your area before you go in, to save time and heartbreak dealing with someone on autopilot for self-protection or because its a good fit to be detached. And usually a devout person as well so the human care is apparent as well as the professional competence.
          I personally don’t think we can change anyone’s mind quickly or in a new relationship with a doctor (or an old one where the doc is set in his/her ways).  Just as we are stunned by what some Bishops and priests are doing and saying who are simply not open to correction (do not have a good disposition), best to get the news of their good disposition before we go in!
          Just my personal two cents. Am sure through prayer you may find better ways Michael.  Fr Peter Heers is wonderful in his classes about good and bad dispositions and I hope sometime you can partake for your encouragement and enlightenment about our beautiful Tradition and understand what has happened to Orthodoxy which is little different from what has happened to medicine…

          The nursing home and end of life travesty is so painful to me I can hardly speak of it. So I’ll simply say Love your choir ideas!   And of course if our Bishops insisted on priests being with the elderly and dying as part of our medical care, psychological well-being and beneficence (which it is), that door to an exception might open.  Til then however, why would a hospital or nursing home change and threaten their funding? Yes I think it matters if a physician, priest, or Bishop TRIES to advocate even if he/she is apparently defeated. The doc and the priest then have peace and the patient or the parishioner knows they are loved and cared so that is healing. Passive indifference is pretty demoralizing and isn’t love in my book.
           
          Back to the psalms to recover! God be with us and forgive us.

          Apologize for long posts. Don’t have time to edit and all these issues are my deeply felt and lived triggers.

          • “The nursing home and end of life travesty…”
            This sounds very like the Liverpool Care Pathway,
            for which, see: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2161869/Top-doctors-chilling-claim-The-NHS-kills-130-000-elderly-patients-year.html

            • Yes absolutely Brendan!  And in this country ever since managed care esp Medicare gave financial incentives to hospice to euthanize in the 1990’s and changed the protocols to save money, many hospices have become killing fields for the elderly and infirm using drugs which render them psychotic as if in a desert without food or water but quiet so families can presume they are peaceful if totally obtunded.  And no priest can speak with such a person and the persons cannot make peace with God or others right up to the end, which was the original intent of hospice.
              Ron Panzer RN had a wonderful website for years at http://www.hospicepatients.org.   What a solitary labor of love which our contemporary society including “Christian” tended to deny or ignore.  He has archived it just now.
              As a former hospice volunteer before med school, trained in the 1980’s I grieved to see what Medicare and financial incentives did to hospices in the 1990’s.  Another example of how easy it is to be in denial.  Our culture is not that different from Nazi Germany in our ability to sweep killing for convenience under the rug in the hearts of many (abortion over 60 million and so-called “euthanasia” murder rampant but uncounted due to complicity of many in medicine, Churches, politics).  
              The unconscious pleasure-seeking and sometimes financial greed of heirs may manifest and be complete rationalized and streamlined into action by folks who if aware would not allow themselves to participate (both docs, nurses and family members).  Why Orthodox Saints counsel us to know ourselves first.  The one thing Freud got right was our unconscious mind acting out the passions.  And the one remedy is Patristic Orthodox Christianity and Christ and the Saints present in Her Church).
              Grateful to God for His compassionate patience with the US.  Time for prayers for the repentance and tears for our country and our own.   Most of them are ignorant.  Orthodox Christians are not.  

  28. Ronda Wintheiser says

    I have already described here how our priest has responded to the lockdown, and while I disagree with it, I understand his rationale.  So this is a bit of an update as a preface to what I want to tell you about our bishop.
     
    Father’s thought from the gitgo was that the way to defer to our weaker members is to make sure they can attend services; that .  Apparently some of them told him to go ahead without them, but he said no, we won’t do that.  We will put our physically vulnerable parishioners above ourselves.  And so mandatory masking and social distancing within circles where only people from the same household can park themselves is enforced at services.  Everyone “enjoys” their own spoon.  (Our bishop recommended swapping them out and dipping them in Ever Clear in between, but our priest chose this route instead.)  I have not experienced this myself as I have not been to services since the first week of March.  I haven’t gone because of the mask mandate and the spoon thing.  I shouldn’t make it sound like I’m so noble because I might have gone if it weren’t for the fact that I have an adult daughter with autism who simply will not wear a mask, and I refuse to wear one when I’m with her. 
     
    Anyway, our priest and parish council have been trying to figure out how to improve our HVAC system so that they could feel comfortable with a larger number of people attending.  (At this point, less than 25 people attend any given service out of a parish of several hundred people.) 
     
    Recently our priest announced two things: Firstly that services would be held in the nave as well as in the fellowship hall, which is a freestanding building across the street, with ventilation that is as deficient, apparently, as what is in the church building.  The second thing was that the windows would be opened throughout the services.  People will have to wear coats. 
     
    Again, I find this approach incredible, but I think he is approaching this, in a sense, as our family does when it comes to my disabled daughter.  We accommodate her.  That’s all there is to it.  But we have no choice. 
     
    Now to the bishop.  Our bishop (I’m in the OCA) was once the ONLY bishop in the Synod whom I had respect for.  I had a number of very warm conversations with him at coffee hour when he visited our parish here in St. Paul. 
     
    He friended me on Facebook a long time ago.  Back in June, I sent him a private message that I had a question to ask him.  He didn’t respond.  So then in September, I just asked it.  I asked him why spoon and Ever Clear directive.  He ignored that as well. 
     
    Then he published a video of himself explaining — justifying — his and the Synod’s rationale for the continued restrictions in the OCA and the Midwest Diocese.  At the end of it, he invited anyone who disagrees with him to go ahead and contact him; ask him any question, offer any challenge.  He said he would be happy to talk about it.
     
    So on October 21st, I sent him another private message.  I pointed out that he had not answered me yet, but that I was encouraged by his invitation for people to ask him questions or challenge him, and I shared with him the very blog post from the anonymous poster George has recommended that we read.
     
    He ignored that as well. 
     
    Then I saw a post on his timeline a week ago that was an article about why it is not important who we vote for when it comes to the question of abortion because there seem to be fewer abortions under a Democrat president and therefore that it really doesn’t matter.  He also addressed the fact that we should never vote based on any single issue. 
     
    Yes.  He actually dragged that tired old argument out.  Sigh.  So.  I commented.  I said that in the first place, if a candidate for office held a position that armed robbery should be legalized, for that one issue we would never cast our vote their way. If another believed that children should be taken from their parents once they reach the age of 5 to be “cared for” by the state, for that single reason, a no vote would be called for. Or should a candidate promote that at the age of 60 all possessions be relinquished to the state and the individual present themselves to die in order to make room for the young, for that single issue we would never vote for that candidate. We would not vote for any of these candidates even if their stand on the environment, immigration, education, economic stimulus and so much more were perfect, and that if any of those were the case, we would all instantly become single issue voters.
     
    Furthermore, I said, no, a person should NEVER vote for a presidential candidate who promises to maintain legal abortion simply because if a candidate can’t get it right on something so basic there simply is no reason a reasonable, thinking person would trust him or her with anything else. 
     
    Then I said I presumed that he certainly wishes to prevent or stop abortions from occurring, and I invited him to join me on the sidewalk in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic right here in St. Paul to speak to women going inside and offer them the love, support and help that might persuade them to change their minds about going inside and hiring someone to kill their own child. 
     
    And you know what my bishop did? 
     
    He unfriended me. 
     
     

    • MomofToddler says

      Thank you for sharing this story.  I am sorry for what you have gone through.  We left our OCA jurisdiction at the beginning of “COVID” for similar reasons, though without direct interaction with leadership as you have had.  I also feel terrible wearing a mask in front of my children, so I almost never do.  (Maybe for one minute to get to a restaurant table or get inside an indoor play gym before I drink a beverage the entire time.)  I run all my errands alone now  on the weekends.  My former priest had also indicated to me that “abortion” was not “the only issue.”  

      • Oh Mom of Toddler, how wretched to hear what your Orthodox priest said about abortion.  He does not seem to know that he violates Orthodoxy and the All Holy Trinity when he says it.  The Royal Path is clear and beautiful.   No Holy Father has ever thought or said what he said or  used evil means to accomplish a misnamed humanistic/atheistic pragmatic “good” end.  Because by definition it cannot be good spiritually for any involved! And on a strictly humanistic level the impersonal state never substitutes for the love and care of one person for another directly. We are called to LOVE our neighbor personally, not to harm them from a distance by throwing tax money at them to allow grievous harm to soul and psyche while depersonalizing them further and encouraging our own sloth and selfishness when we distance ourselves from their suffering and personal contact with them!

        Praying to Panagia that all Orthodox priests who think (and God forbid teach) otherwise will be enlightened, repent, and teach differently.  Praying for their souls.  
         

    • Ronda, I am so sorry for you but even more for him.  He sounds so lost and deluded and at sea. And now even unloving, hateful which all goes together with being lost and deluded.   How lovely of you to try and in the way he asked you to do. May God have mercy on him and heal his mind and spirit.  And bring faithful priests and teachers into your life…And by the way the opposite is true about abortions under Democratic regimes…lies abound when the evil one is ascendant…

    • Well, I hope that some future bishops will read this and learn how NOT to exercize their ministry.
       
      This is shameful.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Ronda, God bless you and you family.  It is so much different here. My Bishop is with us every Sunday and even serving Communion.  It is served in the Traditional way.  We are told to open wide, tilt our head back as far as we can and allow the priest to drop it into our mouth. 
      Yesterday we had the one year Trisagon for Mat. Anastassios. The wheat, usually in a large common mound was in individual plastic containers. Our Holy Bread is in small loaves in plastic bags.  
      There is a great lady in our Church who does it every Sunday.
      We gather outside (not cold yet) — some masked, some not.  
      We still have a Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning since our capacity is restricted.  
      Masks are worn but not really required and there are many who do not.  I have noticed that many of the masks have become more sophisticated and stylish.  Some even quite pretty and color coordinated.  
      If it goes on long enough most will become accustomed.   Where that leaves you and your daughter, I do not know.  Will there be special Liturgies for the unmasked since they are the least now?   
      God save us.
      BTW, you remain in the prayers of my wife and I– each of you.

      • Masks are like a man’s necktie (halter and lead).
        They are badges of uniformity and servitude.
        That the fashion industry now prettifies the designs thereof,
        merely signifies how quickly some come to love their chains.

        • George Michalopulos says

          And paraphrasing Sam Adams: “may those chains rest lightly upon their shoulders”.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Brendan, I am beginning to like the masks. They give me a competitive advantage. I have a penetrating voice and I know how to project.  Shoot maybe we should all learn American Sign Language.  It is a beautiful and graceful language but it can also be quite powerful.  
           
           

      • Michael Bauman says

        An update:  we have had a couple of parishoners die of COVID and the infection rate appears to be up.  So we are back to registering for Sunday Liturgy with a max of 100.   Saturday morning Liturgy is still open.  But, the way of celebrating communion and serving it has not changed except for no altar boys.  

    • Christine Fevronia says

      Ah the OCA… Ronda, you’re my new heroine.

  29. Ronda Wintheiser says

    Hm.  The comment I submitted, when I tried to edit it for typos, was marked as spam.  And therefore cannot be edited.  🙁

    It has completely disappeared. 🙁

  30. Delingpole interviews Dr Mike Yeadon:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbMJoJ6i39k
    Yeadon: “Viruses don’t do waves.”

  31. John Ioannides shows how Imperial College suppressed the best-fit
    model for the data (no lockdown) in favour of the full lockdown.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXuljpIY-nk&feature=youtu.be
    Why are they doing this? Might their source of funding have something to do with it?

  32. From AAPS:  The Zelenko Protocols for COVID prophylaxis and pre-hospital treatment (aiming to keep folks out of the hospital) for your consideration and your physician’s

    1. Zelenko Prophylaxis Protocol:
     
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i7C_6H1Yq0u8lrzmnzt5N1JHg-b5Hb0E3nLixedgwpQ/edit
     
    2. Dr. Zelenko’s Pre-hospital treatment (as opposed to prevention) protocol at:
     
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TaRDwXMhQHSMsgrs9TFBclHjPHerXMuB87DUXmcAvwg/edit

  33. Native Texan and Greek priest Peter Heers encourages Orthodox Christians in the US to vote guided by St. Paisios: https://youtu.be/o7WuMsouBb8 (15 min video)

  34. Sickeningly, the CDC on November 1 urges those with the virus or in quarantine to vote in person!  “Essential to vote.”  Orthodox Christian Bishops — when will you stand up and say it is essential to be in Church and in the usual way?  And of course no considerate Orthodox person would go to Church if he or she were ill or in quarantine anyway.  Diabolically anti-Christian and disrespectful of vulnerable people. .  
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/going-out/voting-tips.html (Updated November 1).  Doesn’t even suggest they do curbside to protect other people!!!
    Disgusting.  
     
     

  35. “Australian Government Department of Health has no record
    of a “COVID-19 virus” isolated from any human on the planet”
    https://www.fluoridefreepeel.ca/australian-dept-of-health-has-no-record-of-covid-19-virus-isolation/

  36. Confirmation bias?
    “Covid-19 Vaccine Protocols Reveal That Trials Are Designed To Succeed”
    https://principia-scientific.com/covid-19-vaccine-protocols-reveal-that-trials-are-designed-to-succeed/

  37. “It is time for everyone to come out of this negative trance, this collective hysteria, because famine, poverty, massive unemployment will kill, mow down many more people than SARS-CoV-2!
    Does all this make sense in the face of a disease that is declining, over-diagnosed and misinterpreted by this misuse of overly sensitively calibrated PCR tests?
    For many, the continuous wearing of the mask seems to have become a new norm.
    Even if it is constantly downplayed by some health professionals and fact-checking journalists, other doctors warn of the harmful consequences, both medical and psychological, of this hygienic obsession which, maintained permanently, is in fact an abnormality!
    What a hindrance to social relations, which are the true foundation of a physically and psychologically healthy humanity!
    Some dare to find all this normal, or a lesser price to pay in the face of the pandemic of positive PCR tests.
    Isolation, distancing, masking of the face, impoverishment of emotional communication, fear of touching and kissing even within families, communities, between relatives…
    Spontaneous gestures of daily life hindered and replaced by mechanical and controlled gestures …
    Terrified children, kept in permanent fear and guilt…
    All this will have a deep, lasting and negative impact on human organisms, in their physical, mental, emotional and representation of the world and society.
    This is not normal!
    We cannot let our rulers, for whatever reason, organize our collective suicide any longer.”
    Translated from French by Global Research. Original source: Mondialisation.ca
    Dr Pascal Sacré is a physician specialized in critical care, author and renowned public health analyst, Charleroi, Belgium. He is a Research Associate of the  entre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
    https://principia-scientific.com/using-pcr-tests-to-diagnose-covid19-is-bad-science-fraudulent/

  38. “…there is currently no evidence available in support of the current claims and measures regarding the virus SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 narrative.”
    https://principia-scientific.com/discredited-cdc-sars-cov-2-covid-19-testing-isolation-claims/

  39. Does this female doc from Cameroon  remind you of Gail Sheppard Michalopulos or what???  Dr. Stella Immanuel on getting HCQ prophylaxis and early treatment to save American lives:
    https://www.prageru.com/video/the-candace-owens-show-dr-stella-immanuel/?utm_source=Main+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=35dd04f666-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_10_18_2020_5_24_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f90832343d-35dd04f666-159330649
    Two pills a month for prophylaxis.  Started http://www.frontlinemds.com for telemedicine network of physicians who will treat COVID early and a pharmacy which will ship to you.  Dr. Immanuel faced down the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and is still going strong.  Also a praying Christian.  Great 36 minute video to lift your spirits and hope.