Filaret (Denisenko) picks up deplorables

Seems like Georgia is one of a few countries that haven’t been “infected” with the virus of Ukrainian schism. Thanks God, self-proclaimed Kyivan “patriarch” Filaret (Denisenko) haven’t entered canonical territory of the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC), although at one time he obviously might be welcomed there by some political actors. May be it was the firm stance taken by our Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II that stopped him or our people’s deep faith… I don’t know.

However, in Ukraine, UOC-KP received at least two former clerics of the Georgian Orthodox Church: Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Basil (Kobakhidze)

– Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) who left his diocese without permission and was repeatedly condemned by the Church trials since 1995 to 2009 (suspended in 1995 and defrocked in 2003). However, in spite of repentance, he preferred to make political accusations against the Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

– Archpriest Basil (Kobakhidze) who was suspended in December, 2004 for insulting and mocking at the Church and the priests. For example, he criticized His Holiness Ilia II on repeated occasions (mainly for GOC’s departure from ecumenical movement and putting Georgia “outside the united family of European Christianity”). In February 2005, Basil (Kobakhidze) was defrocked (according to him, of his own free will).  Then he gave a lot of anti-Church interviews, expressed his support for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, took part in protests against the president of Belarus A.Lukashenko etc. He also was an expert for the Center of Religious Studies, the website of which is now unavailable.

On 21 January 2006, Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Basil (Kobakhidze) participated in celebrations of the national Ukrainian holiday – the Day of Unity and concelebrated with “patriarch” Filaret. In the same time, one Nikolai (Inasaridze) was uncanonically ordained to priesthood and appointed rector to the newly established “Georgian” parish of the Nativity. And Ukrainian media immediately started to spread false UOC-KP leader’s statements about the recognition of the “Kyivan Patriarchate” by the Georgian Orthodox Church and His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.

In its turn, The Patriarchate of Georgia denied incongruous rumors with an official letter on 23 January 2006:
“The Georgian mass media reported that Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Basil Kobakhidze also arrived in Kiev to participate in celebrations and act on behalf of the Georgian Orthodox Church. In this connection, the Patriarchate of Georgia states that in compliance with the decision of the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Basil Kobakhidze are unfrocked for gross and repeated violations. Their actions are unauthorized and non-canonical.

The Patriarchate of Georgia informs the Georgian community that the Georgian parish, opened in Kiev, belongs to the jurisdiction of the ‘Kievan Patriarchate’ that no one of the Autonomous Orthodox Church recognizes. It bears no relation to the Georgian Orthodox Church .As far as newly ordained ‘priest’ of this church Nikolai Inasaridze is concerned, the services conducted by him are also non-canonical.”

May be Filaret is even useful for the Church in some sense since he gathers all those who isn´t firm it faith and ready to betray it?

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Seems like UOC-KP has “exarchates” around the world…

Yesterday I came across an article from which I’ve learned of existence of the “Orthodox Diocese of Paris and All France” in the so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kievan Patri…

Source: Seems like UOC-KP has “exarchates” around the world…

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ძალიან სასიამოვნო გალობა!

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“America’s Recent Achievements in the Middle East” — Eyes on Europe & Middle East News

Originally posted on An Outsider’s Sojourn II: Image: Welcome to planet U.S. Corporation: America’s Recent Achievements in the Middle East Eric Zuesse Here are before-and-after pictures, at, of what the U.S. government has achieved, in the Middle East: What’s especially interesting there, is that in all of these missions, except for Iraq,…

via “America’s Recent Achievements in the Middle East” — Eyes on Europe & Middle East News

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My review of the OCP’s new book “The Orthodox Dilemma”

How many people have at least general knowledge about the Orthodox Faith? How many Christians are familiar with the current situation within the Orthodox World or at least with its theology, tradition, and structure? How many of them are concerned about the plight of abducted Syrian clergy, detained Eritrean hierarch and thousands of Orthodox faithful, who are persecuted all over the world? How many Orthodox believers are informed on the recent developments in the dialog between Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches? Do we have a clear vision of Western Churches’ policy toward us and how we should interact with them? All these issues are thoroughly covered in the George Alexander’s new book called “The Orthodox Dilemma” that was offered me for review. Moreover, the publication has very interesting and valuable personal observations that show author’s deep and sincere concerns on the fate of the Orthodox Church.


The main issue raised in the book is why relations between Eastern Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches (as well as other non-canonical denominations) gain far less attention than ecumenical ones. Although the publication seems to be of polemical nature; it raises a lot of important questions that definitely worth being discussed by the broad community of Orthodox faithful. In my opinion, this proves the high value of “The Orthodox Dilemma” and surely another advantage of the book is its live and sincere way of narration.

At the same time, I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity and offer several comments on the message of the book. I’d also like to stress that this review is merely my opinion and in no way reflects the position of the Georgian Catholicosate which I belong to.

Firstly, I doubt the reasoning like “if we are so actively engaged in ecumenism, why don’t we seek Pan-orthodox unity at first”. Maybe we should ask: ”If we don’t strengthen relations with the Oriental Churches and don’t seek unity with them, why not to give up ecumenical dialog with the Western Churches?” As for me, such unity is not a goal in itself.

Often it is secular authorities who seek mere unity instead of the Truth, and Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann gave us a bright historical example of how it can affect the Church: “Constantinus might think he had completed his father’s work and achieved the longed-for peace in the Church, but since it was based on a meaningless compromise, the peace was bound sooner or later to end. A year and a half after the triumph of the Homoian party (as the new Church-state coalition was known), Constantinus died. A reaction took place, not against any particular theology this time, but against Christianity itself: for two and a half years (361-63) the mysterious and tragic shadow of the Emperor Julian the Apostate lay across the empire. His first act was to set up complete religious freedom. He is reported to have hoped that the Christians would dispute so bitterly among themselves that they would discredit their faith in all eyes. Actually, the brief reign of Julian demonstrated that the Church, when left to itself might solve its difficulties independently”. On the contrary, in Matthew 10:45 we even can read: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”. Heretics who leave the Holy Tradition representing the action of Holy Spirit in the Church’s life are self-condemned by their own secession from the true faith (Titus 3:11) , and it was alright in Apostolic times to admit they aren’t members of Church. Indeed, they were granted with the Gospel, so why they gave it up? Thus, for members of canonical Orthodox Churches and from the spiritual point of view it seems not a matter of unity but rather a matter of how many people in the world would save their souls and praise the true Lord.

For example, how can Orthodox World embrace such an oath-breaker, a corrupt, immoral and politically biased person as anathematized Kievan “Patriarch” Filaret? Remember that he supported schisms in Bulgarian (1992) and Serbian (2006) Orthodox Churches instead of heal them! How can his dignity be recognized after these uncanonical and anti-Orthodox actions? Does his vision of the Church comply with the Holy Scripture and the Holy Tradition? In my opinion, Ukrainian situation is rather different from the EO-OO division, because the so-called UAOC and UOC-KP didn’t inherit misunderstanding and schism historically, their believers and hierarchy behave deliberately and know exactly what they do.

Of course, putting aside theology, there is a need for a common platform for Orthodox World to discuss social, moral, educational and security issues, to defend the rights of Orthodox believers and help them in need. It also would be good to join our efforts to tell people about Orthodoxy more actively through the media. There are many worthy ideas on this matter in the book!

Secondly, George Alexander refers to the Oriental Orthodox Churches, Old-Calendarists, Old-Believers, various “True Orthodox” and other non-canonical denominations as true Orthodox. At least in the case of Oriental Orthodox Churches he says that their faith is the same as of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. I have no theological background and can’t examine Christological issues on my own. On the other hand, a reference to the 2014 declaration of the Joint Commission for the Dialogue between Eastern Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches can’t fully change my mind about this matter. And the mere feelings of believers can’t be referred to as a sufficient basis for such an assessment of faith as well. It is only Church as a whole can decide whether the schism happened in the course of Council of Chalcedon due to merely political and linguistic difficulties or there were more profound reasons. And in the former case (I wish it was like that), it is only Ecumenical Council that can correct the mistake.

Thirdly, there is no room for Revolutions in the Church. Decisions shouldn’t be made exceptionally by the hierarchy nor should they be blindly pushed by the laity. There should be mutual trust and consent between them. A common problem (as I see it) is that a lot of people are more or less distanced from the true life of the Church due to the past Communist repressions or the pressure of modern secular society. Their belonging to the Church is fused in the age of aggressive mass culture and social media. How can we define who represents the Church now? That’s why it’s so difficult to keep up true and responsible reception of a Synod’s decision. Thus, to get sure that any future agreement is inspired by the Holy Spirit but not politics, culture or something else, we should bring people back to the spiritual life of the Church. This work should be done simultaneously with the theological dialog. It is Christ who should be the focus of our life. Doing so, we’ll ease the implementation of rightful decisions as well.

Frankly speaking, there are statements like “However, in the efforts to unify, the true faith of Orthodoxy should not be compromised nor should a common platform be used to make liberal theological agreements with non-Orthodox Churches” that inspired me to read the publication to the end. But there are no personal accusations. For me it’s obvious that George Alexander’s faith and goals are sincere and fair. I just wish above mentioned ideas to be expressed more explicitly. The Orthodox Dilemma” is definitely worth reading, and I will be glad to see it getting attention among Orthodox Christian believers.



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The Holy and Great Council: will it split the Orthodox world or unite it?

The so-called Pan-Orthodox Council is scheduled to start on the 19th of June on Crete. From the very beginning this initiative provoked stormy discussion among Orthodox clerics and laics on the necessity of this event. Today these contradictions threaten to disrupt the holding of the Pan-Orthodox Council.

Antiochian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches have serious concerns about some of the documents up for discussion. Some of these Churches are upset over the Council’s agenda and procedures as well. Besides, Patriarchate of Antioch expressed its discontent over the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s decision to postpone settlement of the Antioch-Jerusalem jurisdictional dispute involving Qatar.

Even among those Churches who officially support the idea to conduct the Holy and Great Council as planned there is a lot of clergy who oppose it. For example, Kinot of Holy Mount Athos demanded inclusion in the documents of the Council’s position that non-Orthodox denominations should not be addressed as Churches, and all forms of joint prayers and liturgical action with them should be discontinued. Moreover, at least three Greek Metropolitans refused to represent their Church at the (used to be referred as historical) event.

Firstly, the Council’s draft documents has been being prepared for decades. And it’s quite strange that Synods of Local Churches are supposed to vote for them only six months after they were published. And until there is no consolidated and unanimous attitude toward these documents inside the Local Churches, forcibly imposed Pan-Orthodox decision would only split them.

Secondly, as Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech explained to the site Dobrotolyubie (Philokalia), current disagreements couldn’t have been settled properly during pre-conciliar conferences because when someone had wanted to introduce changes, those who had led the meetings of the commission had been saying: “We don’t have regulations for introducing these changes, as we were told at the Synaxis of the Patriarchs, we are to make only small changes.”

Moreover, Bulgarian Metropolitan claims that according to the Conciliar regulations (which were voted upon by the Patriarchs but not the Council) no amendments would be accepted at the Council as well. “That’s what the members of the commission didn’t know. They thought: “Okay, we’ll sign for the sake of this or that, so that none of the meetings of the commission will fail, because after all there will be the Council”—but it turns out that what was accepted by the commission is, in essence, impossible to change at the Council,” – His Eminence Gabriel says.

That’s why he says: “they invited us to a Council where everything has already been predetermined”. And I suppose that’s why Greek Metropolitans echo him saying “We are not stooges”.

Thirdly, in order to maintain the principle of Conciliarity, the Moscow Patriarchate proposed to “hold a conference before the Council to tackle all the issues due to which Churches are now refusing to participate one after another.” The head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion said in an interview with Russia-24 channel that if these issues weren’t resolved, it’s probably would be better to postpone the Council. “Decisions at the Council should be made by a unanimous consensus. What does that mean for us? It means not simply the agreement of everyone present in the hall on one statement or another, one document or another. For us it means that all Churches should express agreement with it,” – the hierarch said.

Meanwhile, the Patriarchate of Constantinople which is responsible for coordinating preparations for the Council on June 6 declined the proposal for the discussion of problems obstructing the convocation of the Council. As a result of His All-Holiness Bartholomew’s unwillingness to hear concerns of other thirteen Authocephalous Churches, by now three of them – the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Patriarchate of Antioch and the Patriarchate of Serbia, – have officially refused to take part in the Council until the issues are solved.

Thus, at present the Holy and Great Council can’t be referred as Pan-Orthodox at all. And what the Rev. John Chryssavgis, an archdeacon and theological adviser to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, states about unity as an objective has no ground in real Conciliar regulations. Moreover, there is only God above the Synods and it’s just broad consensus and true spirit of love among participants that can prove the rectitude of Council’s decisions.

I hope and pray for such unanimity to be reached in the whole Orthodox world before the Holy and Great Council – even if the meeting will have to be postponed for this sake. Otherwise, the words Holy and Great will simply lose their sense.

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How the OCA was humiliated in the Phanar

Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Metropolitan Tikhon visited Phanar on March 19-20 this year, where he concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew on the day of the Triumph of Orthodoxy Liturgy. A few days later, on March 23, His Beatitude’s statement on the results of this visit was published on the OCA website.

Despite the cautious tone of the document, some users of Orthodox websites began to express elation and optimism – no, not about the victory over iconoclasm wich commemorated that day by the Church, but about the fact of concelebration between Metropolitan Tikhon and Ecumenical Patriarch. However, what did the OCA actually look like at the event?

One could understand the joy of the faithful if their church hadn’t been recognized as canonical till the time and the Ecumenical Patriarch suddenly recognized her and decided to concelebrate with their Primate. But there are no doubts or controversies about the OCA’s canonicity itself, it has been enjoing mutual communion with all Local Churches for a long time already. As for the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America, nothing has changed in this issue. But judging from the rank among other clergy which was taken to Metropolitan Tikhon at the worship service, questions arose about what kind of future awaits the OCA.




As you can see in these photos, the head of the OCA Metropolitan Tikhon was the last but two among 12 bishops who concelebrated with Bartholomew – just after the Metropolitan of San Francisco Gerasimos and before Metropolitans Maximos of Selymbria and Amphilochios of Adrianopolis. For the oldest and the second largest Orthodox church in the USA such hierarchical position of its Primate is an overt affront. Is it possible that Metropolitan Tikhon no longer is the Primate of the OCA? May be he became a cleric of the Constantinople patriarhate? How did the advisers to the OCA’s Primate make such a shame for their Metropolitan and the whole church? Didn’t the head of Chancery John (Jillions) feel ashamed to look into the His Eminence’s eyes, did he? May be he just followed the orders of the Patriarch Bartholomew?

It is worth noting that the uncanonical interference in the internal affairs of other churches have become commonplace for Constantinople long ago. The previous Primate of the OCA Metropolitan Jonah was deposed for defending the OCA’s viewpoint in the face of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and for a good relationship with their Mother Church – the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). The circumstances of Metropolitan Herman’s resignation also raise suspicions about the possible involvement of Phanar and pro-sodomy pseudo-Orthodox journalists. Did Metropolitan Tikhon want a quiet old age without any shocks and therefore His Eminence simply arrived in the Phanar to surrender his Church?

Recent events speak volumes about just how deeply tentacles of the Constantinople Patriarchate penetrated into the body of the OCA. For example, on February 1, 2016 the Ecumenical Patriarch’s adviser on environmental issues Archdeacon John (Chryssavgis) delivered a lecture at the St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Despite the fact that the lecture was dedicated to the 33th anniversary of the repose of the OCA Archpriest Alexander Shmeman who contributed a lot to the restoration of communion with the ROC and to the autocephaly as well, in his speech, Archdeacon John has described the ROC and a number of other autocephalous churches as a vain paranoid nationalists and almost heretics sabotaging the Holy and Great Council. And representatives of the OCA Holy Synod quietly endure the defamation of their Mother Church which has been trying hard for almost 50 years so as to the OCA head became on a par with other Primates of autocephalous Churches!

Such behavior of Constantinople is understandable. After all, the EP has been being under the Turkish yoke for hundreds of years and has virtually no own lambs. Therefore, not a peace-loving but an aggressive foreign policy aimed at the subordination of churches from other jurisdiction is the hallmark of the recent Constantinople Patriarchs.

Nowadays, while Phanar are trying to take advantage of Tikhon’s weakness or its agents infiltrated to the His Eminence’s Chancery, you can see how all its intentions toward the OCA become evident. It is a pity that the successors of this ancient Christian See are fighting not for the purity of Orthodoxy (as did their predecessors) but for the new sources of funding. And this is despite the modest needs of the small quarter in Istanbul! Why they want OCA parishes to fill the Turkish coffers?


The translation is mine.

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