Thursday, July 30, 2009

burn out

Another difficult run. I pushed the speed on this one to get it over with. I didn't run yesterday which turned out to be a mistake. Tomorrow i have to run almost five to meet my mileage goal. I may just run twice. I just want to get it done and over with. I think I have over trained with the current of malaise.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

training blues

This is a partial post as I have a huge laundry list of things I'd like to finish. The only one on the list not feasible is probably painting. It's ok. "I've never really had 100% performance on any task and I think I'm awesome. Any way here's a quote from John Bingham "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." This was the inspiration for the post. Hopefully I will get some time to run today even just three. Off to complete the yard work.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shout-out to Port Orchard, Washington

Tonight was another difficult run. I felt as if I was exerting myself throughout. There was not warm up or easing into this run. I was disorganized and uncomfortable. My chest was tired and sore. My left arm felt stiff and awkward. This seems to be an ongoing saga and I can't wait for it to be over! I have only eight miles more for this month and my company is coming from out of town tomorrow. I feel some pressure with the household. I want them to enjoy their time and to feel super comfortable. Tomorrow I want to weedwack the yard, vacuum the pool, clean the bathrooms to a fine sparkle, change all the linens, mop and fix up the kitchen. They are arrive in the evening so I will have time to get it done. If things move along nicely I would like to pain the hallway to spruce it up. Anyway off to catch some zzz. If anyone can tell me why my runs are dragging I would appreciate the insight.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Running on Heavy

I completed my running for the day and I dreaded most of it. I felt like a thousand pounds not fat of course but heavy laden. I don't understand why training has become such a drag. I know part of it is because there is no outside running at all which has many distractions good and bad. It keeps it interesting sometimes. I miss running places like meeting the family at walmart or running to a destination and calling home and having them meet me. Even running to the studio seems adventurous now. I guess I am fatigued with the activity (running) even though my over all energy levels are great. The past few weeks running has had to fit into a sharp increase in household chores and obligations as I am not a suzie home maker, we have company coming and we just remodeled the kitchen. I am happy to say that I am 11 miles off beating last months mileage and that is what keeps me running this week. I don't want to give up on it because it is so doable. I may need to think about running in the early morning. That has changed I am sleeping in about an hour later and perhaps that is throwing off my rhythm. I feel disjointed when I run. I think I need to plan a long run soon to boost momentum. The only problem its way too hot outside. For example I would love to run to church but the heat is a deal breaker. I'm driven not obsessed. I run to be free not bound. I'll try to remember that.

who has time for questions?

Questions are important to ask and to seek the logical and moral answers to. As citizens of the U.S we need to rightly ask what kind of country are we becoming where divorce is the norm and abortion has become a right? In the past election is it obvious that voters wanted Washington business as usual to change and that is understandable but to what? People wanted be a part of the history to heal the wounds of slavery and segregation and discrimination and to put an end to our nation's history in this area. What are we becoming however? What is potentially happening to health care, to state rights, to freedom of speech to our ability to practice our religious beliefs in public without having to completely sanitize them into some spiritual universality appealing junk? Likewise when we see our church being criticized and a call for change in the business as usual what are we looking to change exactly? it would be nice without trashing what has worked for millennia to encourage those who identify themselves in ethnic terms to explore opening Orthodoxy to non-(fill in the blank) as a belief system an ideology. This uniformity will not strip us of our ethnic heritage but will allow us to share it with others and also more importantly will reinforce what it means to be Americans. After all to be American is not a race or group of one peoples but to adopt and subscribe to a set of ideological principles. Likewise to be an Orthodox Christan is to also adopt and uphold another set of principles. It is not about being an ethnic Greek but it is the Greek Orthodox Church no matter what state flag is flown. I want to clarify at the outset that I am not comparing slavery and oppression and the need to fight against it and the changes being made within the church. I am drawing more the comparison between the need to ask questions about the direction change will take us in as a free nation and as Orthodox Christians. I want all to come to know Christ the Savior who is found in the fullness of His revelation in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church but I am not willing to make it more user friendly somehow to get more people in the door. It is not about trying to remove certain languages or make it easier for people to assimilate. Let's remember that it is Greek and even Arabic that we find the most ancient Biblical texts. Let's also be fair in mentioning that Sts. Cyril and Methodious where sent out by the Greek Orthodox Church to bring Orthodoxy to the Slavs and yes in there own language so that they can share it with the people. So if your experience has been with some bigoted ethnic people move on deal with it just as I and many others have had to deal with the ignorance of the proliferation of statements made about the true keepers of the Orthodox Faith the Greek Orthodox Church and all of her Holy Martyr and Theologians and Church Fathers. Keep in mind that the church in American is in it's adolescence not adulthood. We can embrace the enthusiasm and energy without yielding to the misguided over simplified steps of youth.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

free associating no offense intended

Today's blog was going to speak about the need for commitment, endurance and stamina. As those of you who follow this blog will know I have been exploring the waxing and waning of my training. This is where I ended up. I spoke about the need to remain good church stewards.
Statements like “We don’t get involved in the politics” are made as if they absolve one of personal responsibility or accountability. Such comments are stated in an elitist tone as if said persons are above the ‘petty’ jurisdictional or episcopal issues. Orthodox Christians behaving like Protestants imagine that Sadly this is what threatens when leadership both clerical and lay become top heavy with the newly converted. They have not been adequately purged from their former heresy. We cannot rightly distance ourselves from our Bishop or from the immediacy of the leadership crisis we find ourselves in. We will emerge different if we remain aloof or indifferent to the ransacking of our faith. Boundaries are established then revised then redrawn all for the interest of whom exactly and at what ecclesiastical expense. The dynamics of the leadership of the church and the turmoil it finds itself in is now not simply a power grab but drives home to the greater issue of obedience and order. Lucifer brings chaos, disorder and deception. He uses egotism to inflame matters. As faithful Orthodox Christians we need to ask the tough questions and defend the tradition of our holy Fathers. We cannot remain idle and believe that hierarchal scandal does not affect the spiritual economy of the church or that it is somehow far off. It is mind boggling to propose as is being touted on other blogs that converts are somehow more worthy, devout and traditional then ‘cradle’ Orthodox. For such an obscured idea to be valid then it would follow that the longer one remains an Orthodox Christian the further from the Orthopraxy they become. The zeal of converts is refreshing and encouraging but they are unable to truly appreciate the depth and complexity of the Sacred Tradition. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. (1Cor. 3:10). This maturity and understanding comes with time it is an aging process. A baby is able to get nourishment but not in the same way as an adult. Likewise converts require time to grow and develop. This is why I believe that it is detrimental to have converts be responsible to tend to the care of a parish or to lecture the church about the Mysteria or Traditions is a bit impetuous, childish even. It is improper for parents and guardians to turn over the responsibility of a household to children. They are not equipped to manage the demands of adulthood. They are not stupid but lack the judgment, education and acquired skill of even the most intellectually dull adult. Conversion and then time at a college or seminary is about being inundated with information it is not the same and cannot be equated with assimilation or understanding. Holy Wisdom is not something we magically acquire in a second it is something which is incorporated into our being over time in experience and by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Today in church an interested visitor brought her boy friend with her to church. His body language definitely indicated that he didn’t want to be in attendance. Although he was not disruptive it was distracting and disrespectful. We have become accustomed to 'casting pearls before swine' as it were. It has become too common to hear about Orthodox Christians to explain in detail the Mysteries of the Church. We have allowed the curious and disinterested to enter the inner sanctum of our Church. This should not be so. This should not be confused this the lack of composure of a child.

Stagnation, boredom hum drum

Today's run was difficult for now good reason. I took two days off to give myself a rest and because timing was an issue. The rest time didn't pay off though. My chest was kind of tight and i seemed to just shuffle along. I kind of wish I could run outside but it is way too hot outside for me to even think about running there. I feel like training is a little stagnant right now I suppose because I don't have a race to train for or any partners. Yesterday the kids had a karate inner school tournament and for the first time in a long long time I missed training and the dojo. I missed karate. I should start training at home again. These are the moments when discipline is essential to success. I suppose I sort of feel as if I'm doing the least I can do and still consider myself in training.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ark of the Covenant

MUCH ABOUT HISTORY'Ark of the Covenant' about to be unveiled?Ethiopian patriarch tells pope he will show artifact to world
Posted: June 24, 20099:35 pm Eastern© 2009 WorldNetDaily
Ark of the Covenant as depicted in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' (Paramount Pictures)
The patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia says he will announce to the world Friday the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant, perhaps the world's most prized archaeological and spiritual artifact, which he says has been hidden away in a church in his country for millennia, according to the Italian news agency Adnkronos.Abuna Pauolos, in Italy for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI this week, told the news agency, "Soon the world will be able to admire the Ark of the Covenant described in the Bible as the container of the tablets of the law that God delivered to Moses and the center of searches and studies for centuries."The announcement is expected to be made at 2 p.m. Italian time from the Hotel Aldrovandi in Rome. Pauolos will reportedly be accompanied by Prince Aklile Berhan Makonnen Haile Sellassie and Duke Amedeo D'Acosta.
Abuna Pauolos, patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia
"The Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia for many centuries," said Pauolos. "As a patriarch I have seen it with my own eyes and only few highly qualified persons could do the same, until now."
According to Pauolos, the actual Ark has been kept in one church, but to defend the treasure, a copy was placed in every single church in Ethiopia.
He said a museum is being built in Axum, Ethiopia, where the Ark will be displayed. A foundation of D'Acosta will fund the project.The Ark of the Covenant is the sacred container of the Ten Commandments as well as Aaron's rod and a sample of manna, the mysterious food that kept the Israelites alive while wandering in the wilderness during their journey to the promised land.The Bible says the Ark was built to the specifications of God as He spoke to Moses. It was carried in advance of the people and their army by priests. It was also carried in a seven-day procession around the walled city of Jericho.
Sketch of Ark of the Covenant based on a description by the late explorer Ron Wyatt (
The idea that the Ark is presently in Ethiopia is a well-documented, albeit disputed, tradition dating back to at least 642 B.C. The tradition says it was moved to Elephantine Island in Egypt, then to Tana Kirkos Island in Ethiopia and finally to its present site at St. Mary's of Zion Church in Axum.Ethiopians believe it is destined to be delivered to the Messiah when He reigns on Mount Zion – the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.Jeremiah 3:16 points to a time when the Ark will vanish not only physically, but from the minds of the people: "And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more."The Book of Revelation says the Ark is in the temple of God in heaven (Rev.. 11:19). Muslim scholars say it will be found near the end of times by the Mahdi – a messianic figure in Islam.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Patience is Key

Today was another successful run. I ran at home on the treadmill watching the Tour De France. It is always interesting watching people run or ride when training. Anyway this was a nice and slow run. Just putting in the time. It became clear that following fortitude, patience is key to endurance. Growing impatient with running or the time it takes to add steps together into mileage can be an issue. Adding speed drills keeps it interesting but running for mortals like me dictates that hard running all the time leads to breakdown in motivation and in body mechanics namely injury. Pace is central to success in all aspects of living.

New PR for yesterday's run

I went to the YMCA with the kids and ran a quick three. I didn't have time for more as Theophani Has to watch the baby because Mia doesn't like the day care and the weather wasn't permitting us to go into the pool. I decided to run and try and beat my 3 mile PR and crushed it. MY new PR is 22.44 which is fast for me. I know I could have done more if I had put my mind to working harder. My times at the Y are better then at home I think the treadmills are simply industrial that and there is an unspoken competition in a gym environment.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Orignial Poetry: Designer Opium

Poet: Angela Damianakis M.S.W

The Dungeon of Oblivion
This blessed life of ease
A stupor it has left us
A toxin of sweet liquor
Dosed we lay unaware
Willingly mesmerized
Unacquainted with the warfare waged
Slipping into nothingness
Morality diminished
Dogma marginalized
Distractions pacify
Forsaken by our own hand
In the wake of easy living
An opium of convenience
Now tainted and polluted
Soft, dull and lethargic.
Racing raging in high dudgeon
Stupefied and bewildered
Seek worldly cures for a spiritual lacking.
Such an approach ill-fated.
When in not in a pique
We are the walking waking dead.
As zombies mummified in our designer labels.
Rather visit frequently the True Miracle Mile.
Walk the runway to His Throne.
Discard your Gucci rags
Adorn yourself in His Holy Garment.
Break free from your vice
The Prison of Oblivion.

Monday, July 20, 2009

brain tumors, named days and lemmonade

Happy named day to Elias my husband of almost 18 years!

Today I had a follow up MRI to watch and make sure I stay brain tumor free.

I decided to wanted to run a bit so I ran a quick three knowing that is a smaller effort would bring me closer to my mileage goal. I was little nervous about the MRI experience but it went great. I decided during the last 15 of my run to try and beat my PR but I came up short. 3 miles in 24.22 it was still a nice change from the LSD (long slow distance) runs.
Make lemonade God took a brain tumor and gave me a baby girl.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos on Christian European Unity

Author:Stephen Brown
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I, a spiritual leader who represents Eastern Orthodox Christianity, has called for the creation of a churches' umbrella body in Europe to include Roman Catholics alongside Anglicans, Orthodox and Protestants. "It is only by engaging in dialogue and by closely cooperating that the churches will prove capable of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the world in a convincing and effective way," the Orthodox leader said in a 19 July address in Lyon, France to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Conference of European Churches. CEC now has about 120 member churches, principally Anglican, Orthodox and Protestant, but Bartholomeos said that Europe needs a grouping that includes the Catholic Church. This would help to promote unity between churches and enable them to act jointly on issues in Europe such as secularisation, human rights violations, racism, the economic crisis, and threats to the environment. "I am convinced that a conference of all the European churches, and I underline, all the European churches, working in harmony will be able to respond better to the sacred command to re-establish communion between the churches and to serve our contemporaries confronted as they are with so many complex problems," said Bartholomeos to applause. "It will then be possible to promote more effectively the dialogue of the churches of Europe with the European institutions and the European Union," said the Patriarch, who is based in Istanbul, formerly Constantinople and one-time capital of the Byzantine Empire. The Orthodox leader asked Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, who was present in the audience, to transmit the proposal to "where it needs to go", in an apparent reference to the Vatican. Bartholomeos warned that the failure of churches in Europe to match their statements about unity with specific actions calls into question their credibility. "Procrastination cannot be justified," he said. "The future of the new Europe that is under construction is sombre and, indeed, uncertain, being built as it is without Christian spiritual values which touch on everything concerning the support and protection of human beings and their dignity." The 50th anniversary celebrations for CEC came during the church grouping's once-every-six-years assembly being held from 15-21 July in Lyon. This has gathered 300 delegates from CEC member churches and 500 other participants. Bartholomeos said there is an obligation to, "re-establish full communion between the Christian churches in Europe". Orthodox Christians and Catholics separated from one another several centuries before the 16th-century Reformation and the rise of Protestantism. The Patriarch noted efforts made in recent decades to overcome divisions. These include the Charta Oecumenica, a document signed in Strasbourg in 2001 by CEC and the Council of European (Catholic) Bishops' Conferences, and intended to boost inter-church cooperation. However, many of its proposals have not been implemented by churches, and many Christian faithful are unaware of its recommendations, said Bartholomeos. "The result is that what we have said is not matched by our actions, which damages the credibility of our churches, and gives the impression à that we are incapable of finding solutions to current problems," the Patriarch stated. In February 2008, the president of CEC, the Rev. Jean-Arnold de Clermont, proposed the creation of a Council of European Churches that would also include the Catholic Church. Speaking to journalists at the start of the Lyon assembly, de Clermont, a French Protestant pastor, urged steps to increase collaboration with the Catholic Church as well as with Evangelical groups. "There is already a structure for cooperation between CEC and the Roman Catholic Church but this is not enough," said de Clermont. "The world of today couldn't care less about our [Christian] disputes. We need to have a common voice of the Christian churches in Europe." The history of CEC goes back to January 1959, when representatives from 45 Protestant and Orthodox churches in 20 countries in Eastern and Western Europe gathered in Nyborg, Denmark. During the Cold War, CEC helped bridge the divide between East and West. In recent years, the church grouping has played an active role in representing churches to institutions such as the European Union, the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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Ecumenical News International, PO Box 2100

Sunday, July 19, 2009

lording over laziness

Let's remain focused on what is important let's explore fortitude. There is the type which pushes one into action to take action to do. The there is the latter which keeps one steady on the course in action. It is sometimes perceived as endurance which is one's ability gained from one's fortitude. Getting into action consistently is what keeps one steady and which in turn develops endurance. One's effort never diminishes as the expectations and goals move forward and become more demanding. One can become accustomed to putting forth such effort demonstrating great determination by not getting side tracked by some discomfort or inconvenience. One's habits can push one through laziness or a lag in motivation.
Today was a simple enough run. There were times when the miles moves swiftly enough and then other times when they lagged. As it turns out sweat is both the grease that keeps the wheels moving and the steam which overheats the engine.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Small Rule is Better Than No Rule

So yesterday I ran just under 8.25 miles. I have been increasing the length of my runs by 30-50% since I had the cable hooked up. I enjoy treadmill running because it takes away all the guesswork and gives me that solitude I enjoy. I realized yesterday that my legs never not tired because I failed to run long enough. It felt familiar to have some tiredness join me on my run. I also came to the knowledge that mental fortitude is the real obstacle in training. It is not the pushing through the painful or uncomfortable parts in fact those parts of running are often what pushes us harder. Rather it's the boredom. I guess that means I'm boring even to myself.

I had almost given up on my monthly mileage goal because I was missing some regular runs because of all the remodeling going on at home. Then yesterday I realized I was half way to my goal and I still have two weeks of running. I then started crunching numbers and realized with a few strong runs like 3 a week I can meet my mileage goal. Never underestimate the impact of small amounts of effort or occasional bursts in performance. They all add up. Too often we tend to write off small tasks as insignificant not appreciating they are the foundation of greater effort and are the training arena where the work really gets done. They serve to motivate as something even the smallest thing is getting done. Too often we abstain from doing anything hiding behind some egotism and false sense of perfection and attention to detail. Just get it done.

God is trying to get our attention

A couple of days ago a runner Mike just showed up at my house to raise money for Team In Training. I didn't make a donation as I support other runners in their efforts. He and I did get to talking a while. We both had brain surgery (he had five) and both began running about five years ago. He was a very pleasant person with a will and a drive which I'm sure has helped to keep him alive all these years. He was given only three months to live in 1992. His memory of was impaired and he was at a loss when I asked him pointed matter of fact questions. I felt quite grateful that aside from normal absent mindedness I don't think I am much effected by the surgery. Actually I was thinking how great God is that he turned a brain tumor into a baby. He used the tumor to get my attention and bring Euphemia into the world something I don't think I would have sought to do so otherwise. "This is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it."

the smiling of the resposed elder joseph


Honorable Mr. Papanicolaou,
A few hours after the burial of Elder Joseph, you published in your website an article with the title "the funeral of blessed Elder Joseph of Vatopedi" - "Smile from Eternity" describing with few words the event with the help of a few photographs. The photograph of the reposed, smiling not only with his lips but with the full expression of his face, has greatly impressed the world as we see it from the articles and comments in many websites. In fact one could meet people who just reposed with a bright face, or peaceful expression, or with deep restful repose but where is the smile? On one side the spiritual fathers say that the hour of death is frightful for man, on the other side we read in "Gerontika" (Elder Literature) that even the most advanced in the spiritual life through humility they would not lose their courage before they passed on to the other life where there is no more danger. Moreover the elder Joseph suffered from his heart and was greatly tormented by the sickness, so how then did he pose smiling?
The answer is: NO, he did not repose smiling, but SMILED AFTER HIS REPOSE.
From discussions with some fathers of the monastery we bring you the facts of the event.
The two monks who were with him till the last moment, ran to inform Elder Ephraim and the rest of the fathers and did not pay attention to the reposed, who was indeed with his mouth partly open.
They therefore came to prepare him according to the monastic formality. Elder Ephraim ordered not to cover his face. The fathers tried to close his mouth, but it was too late, the mouth would stay open, in fact they tied gauze around to hold his mouth closed, but after they would remove it the mouth would reopen. Some forty five minutes had passed since his repose.
Elder, it will look ugly this way with his mouth open, what should we do?
As he is, do not cover his face!
They stitched the monastic mandya (cloak) as is the custom.
The whole process to put the mandya and stitch it, took some forty five minutes more. They then cut the material around his face, by order, and they found the elder like at last all see him, smiling. Did he hear them and granted them this small favour, so that he may not sadden them? Or did he want to give us an idea of what he saw and the condition in which he is after his departure from the present life?The smile of elder Joseph is the first supernatural event after his repose, and has become a great consolation to all of us.
Panagiotis Koutsou

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"emptied of their Orthodox people..."

I found this comment on a blog which was speaking about the current issue of the OCA and the Mother Churches. Without commenting on the issue itself one line struck a cord with me "emptied of their Orthodox people...". I wish rather to draw your attention to this point: this is the exact position of Arab nations about their Christian populations.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Running the Long Haul

Yesterday I began my run and stopped after just over a half a mile. I think I have only done that twice before. I had a killer cramp from the very beginning and without a race to prepare for I decided that running through the pain would only take something small and make it an issue. Not everything has to prove something. Today I ran 7.25 miles and stopped because I was done. I was a bit apprehensive during the beginning of the run I even thought about warming up first but I quickly moved through the apprehension and just ran. The nagging cramp never returned and I simply noted that my sneakers are worn as the discomfort under my metatarsal was returning. I have a bad habit of grabbing whatever sneakers are around to run sometimes. This pair I wore today is kept for weed wacking not running. I'll have to pitch them to be sure I don't wear them running again. It's sounds ridiculous and perhaps it is but I think it is like not keeping junk food in the house. If the junk is in the house it is only a matter of time, albeit a long time perhaps, before its consumed or in this case worn.

Monday, July 13, 2009

First their were Byzantines then there just was...

the following was copied from cradle orthodox blog
Byzantines beat the Vikings to America by 500 YEARS!
Connecticut’s 5th Century Church by John GallagerExcerpts (Full story here)In the stillness of Cockaponset State Forest, southern Connecticut, near the town of Guilford, masterfully carved from solid rock, stands North America’s oldest Christian church. Recent epigraphic evidence found here suggests that it is 1500 years old, and linked to a voyage of Christian Byzantine monks who fled from North Africa during the 5th Century, in the wake of the Vandal invasions.Greek and North African inscriptions, Greek cupule patterns in the form of Chrismons (monograms of Christ), baptismal fonts, a cathedra or throne, candelabras and an altar have been found at the site.To understand the origins and reasons behind this 1600 year-old undertaking, something about the history of the Early Christian Church during this period is needed. By 430 AD, more than 600 bishops operated across North Africa, mostly in Tunisia, where Christianity sank its roots in the Dark Continent at the ancient Phoenician port-city of Carthage. From the beginning, the new faith was a tale of violence and heresy. Under Emperors Decius (249 to 250), Valerian (257 to 259) and Diocletian (245 to 313), many Christians everywhere were arrested, tried and executed on charges of theological or political subver-sion, because they characterized the deities of all other faiths as “devils” and called for the downfall of the Roman state.The author wrote of destruction by fire, looting, and the eventual escape of the monastic community “toward the setting sun,” to Asq-Shamal, or the Northern Land, in several ships. “Across the void of waves,” guided by a “cross-staff by which to sight positions of the sun and presumably the stars, and using calculations known only to their “helmsman,” they crossed the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.After months at sea, they made landfall in an unknown country, then “ventured into the wilderness.”Incised into the flame-shaped baptismal font are nine holes for candles. Eight holes, when containing lighted candles at Easter, could have represented the eighth day after the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the beginning of the New Era, also signifying a second (spiritual) birth for baptized Christians.The flame shape represents the Holy Spirit received at Baptism. The ninth hole in the middle of the font stands for the Paschal candle, symbolic of Christ. Here the elderly were baptized by effusion, or the pouring of water over their heads.

Casting Pearls Before Swine

I had a dialogue with my closest confidant and friend this past weekend about the nature of my blog entries. It would appear that I have been reactive instead of responsible. I am responsible to remain steadfast in my complete belief and defense of my faith in the One True Church and in my support of the Ecumenical See. I should not however yield my decision making control to the antagonists. I have expended so much effort to dismiss the naive thoughts and claims made by others that I have failed to speak the truth responsibly rather then defensively. So to all those who would like to obsess within the framework of their small networks and in some cases minds I refer you to the AOI website and from there you will surely be referred to like minded sites.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dr. Steven Brem Neuro Suregeon Extraordinare--Meningioma GONE

I would like to thank Dr. Steven Brem Chief of Neuro-oncology at Moffit Cancer Hospital. He removed a brain tumor from my frontal lobe three years ago today. This morning I woke up had my coffee and waited to hear "MA, MA!!!" from Euphemia the baby. I was in surgery at that time three years ago while my kids waited and my husband worried. Today has been a day of reflection. Of course there are those moments when I would hear myself yelling for more cooperation from my teens and then I remember the road this family has walked together. Today I ran just under 8.25 miles on the treadmill and watched some cable show. I just had the cable brought into that room which gave my brain a break and all I had to do was zone out and watch my show.

Brain Surgery July 11, 2006

Running Inward from angela damianakis on Vimeo.

Euphemia the Great Martyr

In 451, during the reign of the Sovereigns Marcian and Pulcheria, the Fourth Ecumenical Council was convoked in Chalcedon against Eutyches and those of like mind with him. After much debate, the Fathers who were the defenders of Orthodoxy, being 630 in number, agreed among themselves and with those who were of contrary mind, to write their respective definitions of faith in separate books, and to ask God to confirm the truth in this matter. When they had prepared these texts, they placed the two tomes in the case that held Saint Euphemia's relics, sealed it, and departed. After three days of night-long supplications, they opened the reliquary in the presence of the Emperor, and found the tome of the heretics under the feet of the Martyr, and that of the Orthodox in her right hand.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone

O Euphemia, Christ's comely virgin, thou didst fill the Orthodox with gladness and didst cover with shame all the heretics; for at the holy Fourth Council in Chalcedon, thou didst confirm what the Fathers decreed aright. O all-glorious Great Martyr, do thou entreat Christ God that His great mercy may be granted unto us.

Kontakion in the Second Tone

You made fervent effort in your struggles of trial, in your struggles of faith for Christ your bridegroom. But even now, intercede with the Theotokos that the heresies and insolence of enemies be trod beneath the feet of our rulers, O All Praised, who received and kept the Decree of the 630 God-bearing Fathers.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Metaphor: Mother Church and OCA

What is that? (Τι είναι αυτό;) 2007 from MovieTeller on Vimeo.

Courtesy of

A Pantocratora Icon from Elias Damianakis on Vimeo.

The Creed for Progressives

Turkish Artificial Phobias Hurriyet Daily News

Halki Seminary
It can be perfectly argued by "nationalist" opponents of the reopening of the Greek Orthodox Halki (Heybeliada) Seminary on the island of Heybeliada that, since headed by the right to elect their own religious leader or mufti, Greece has been denying the religious rights of the Muslim and ethnic Turkish minority living in that country in violation of the Lausanne Treaty, there can be no obligation for Turkey to reopen the seminary within the framework of the rights provided to the Greek Orthodox minority of Istanbul.But, can there be the practice of tit for tat, or reciprocity in human rights? Has Greece "obtained" the right to forcefully evict the Muslim and Turkish minority living in western Thrace to Turkey because an idiotic nationalistic and radical mob staged shameful events on September 6-7, 1955 and forced most of the Greek Orthodox residents of Istanbul flee to Greece? Or, can Turkey "obtain" the right to withdraw the Turkish nationality of its Greek Orthodox population traveling to Greece or outside the country and staying for more than just few months because until recently Greece was applying the same inhumane treatment to its Muslim and ethnic Turkish population traveling to Turkey?The violation of human rights of a minority by one country cannot be the pretext of the violation of the human rights of another minority in a neighboring country. There can be no such reciprocity even if the rights of the two minorities might have been regulated in a corresponding manner with the same, in our case Lausanne, international treaty. After all, under the principle of constitutional citizenship, all citizens of a country must have equal rights. Furthermore, under international minority norms, rather than being considered a "potential threat" and having their rights restricted on the understanding obsessed by certain phobias, the minorities of this country must be accorded with some "additional" rights to preserve and promote their ethnic, religious, cultural, or whatever differences.One of the key phobias in some segments of this country, regarding the dwindling Greek Orthodox minority, is the "ecumenical status" of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. With the claim that the patriarchate is a "national institution," Turkey has been categorically objecting to the patriarchate being considered or even referred to with the ecumenical title that dates back to pre-republic times. What is the loss for Turkey if the country acknowledges the fact that all around the world the patriarchate is considered as ecumenical, that it is universal? On the contrary, Turkey should be proud that as a national institution of our country, the patriarchate enjoys such recognition. Still, a phobia that the patriarchate could turn into a second Vatican is crippling the ability of many Turks from seeing where the interests of the country indeed lie.Second Vatican phobiaThe Halki Seminary quandary is a by-product of that obsession, of course, in addition to the phobia that should the Greek Orthodox be allowed an educational institution independent from the Education Ministry or the Higher Education Council, or YÖK, the country may have to battle similar demands from Islamist groups. There is, of course a difference between the two religions. In one there is no clergy. Besides, more than enough people every year graduate from theological high schools, or the Imam Hatips, and theology departments of universities. However, in the Greek Orthodoxy, there is a clergy class and only those graduating from a theology school can be ordained into the church as a clergy-man. The first difficulty of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Turkey is the dwindling Greek Orthodox population. The second problem is that Halki has been closed since 1971 and the patriarchate is having difficulty in finding sufficient new additions to its staff. Even a new patriarch could only be elected after being made a Turkish citizen by the Council of Ministers, because under our laws, only a Turkish national can be elected as patriarch to our "national institution" - the patriarchate.While the country is once again debating the reopening of the Halki Seminary as a "Heybeliada Minority Vocational High School," that is as a vocational secondary school affiliated to the Education Ministry, Turkey should manage to rid itself from artificial phobias, act with reason and take some practical steps in comforting our Greek Orthodox minority with an awareness of the problems it faces because of their dwindling numbers. After all, there can be no reciprocity in human rights.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Archon News

Archon News
Cultural Minister says Turkey aims to reopen Halki Seminary
Istanbul, Turkey7/6/2009The Orthodox Theological Seminary of Halki is to be reopened, according to Turkish Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay, adding that they are searching for a formula to integrate the school into Turkey's university system. "Although we have not finalized a decision in the Cabinet, my personal impression is that we are going to open the seminary," said Gunay, speaking on Kanal 24 television.Ankara has been long pressed by the Archons of the Order of Saint Andrew, The European Union, and the United States to re-open the seminary to prove their respect for religious freedom rights for the dwindling Christian minority. U.S. President Barack Obama openly expressed the issue during his address to the Turkish Parliament in April, saying, "Freedom of religion and expression lead to a strong and vibrant civil society that only strengthens the state, which is why steps like reopening the Halki Seminary will send such an important signal inside Turkey and beyond."The Turkish government would have to change existing laws to reopen the seminary. According to news reports, the education ministry recently came up with a report listing different options to reach that aim. One would be to have the school function as an institution or a foundation, while another way could be to tie the seminary directly to the education ministry and the board of higher education."With the opening of the school, we strengthen ourselves and at the same time render a service to our own citizens on the way towards the EU," Minister Gunay told NTV, another news channel.The century-old seminary was forcibly closed in 1971, depriving the Ecumenical Patriarchate its only facility to train clergy in Turkey for nearly four decades now.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Arab Hopsitality and Hope

I had to fit yesterday's run it a tight time frame. So it was short. I have been emptying my kitchen for two days in preparation for a complete overhaul and renovation. That part of the project had to be done by Sat. because there would be no time to complete the clean out yesterday (Sun. because of church and a fantastic afternoon evening and night out with friends) and the destruction of the old kitchen begins today. Many of our friends are Arab, all Christians from different countries and let me tell you, they can cook and they understand hospitality. But I digress...the run had to be short fast because I had to fit it in between church and going out. I ran just under 3 1/4 miles at about 8.24 min. I'm no Speedy Gonzales and I haven't been working on speed drills or been in that mindset lately so pushing to work under 8 or even 8 min miles were not going to happen. I'm glad I ran though. I hope to run later this evening when the workers leave. I also wanted to note that aside from great food and warm company there was something else which left an impression on me yesterday. There were several of the families in attendance (and I speak of only those that I know about) who are currently going through some major trials in their private lives. Health scares, loss, and terminal family and yet they all celebrate the blessings God gave them. They don't disregard their pain or sorrow or fear but they walk through it with faith. They remember why life is so precious family, children, and good friends. They don't preach their faith they live it quietly and with dignity. It's a bit ironic but I think my run was the digression in this post.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Address by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to His Beatitidue Patriarch Kirill


ADDRESS By His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew During the Formal Reception Of His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill of Moscow In the Hall of the Throne
Your Beatitude and All-Holy Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All-Russia, dearly beloved Brother and Concelebrant in the Holy Spirit, welcome to Constantinople, New Rome, whence came the light of the Gospel to Your great homeland! We welcome – both you and your honorable Patriarchal entourage – to the See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.This visit, Your Beatitude, being your first journey as Patriarch to the court of the Mother Church, which you have of course visited repeatedly in the past, in another capacity, comprises for us as well as for the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Throne cause for great joy and profound sentiment. After your joyful and hopeful, while at the same time entirely deserved, election and enthronement only a few months ago for the holy Patriarchal Throne of Moscow and All-Russia, succeeding your much blessed and deeply mourned predecessor, our beloved Brother Alexy II, behold today we have you with us in person as a dear brother, filled with grace, bearing peace, conveying love and piety from the most holy Church of Russia, its venerable Hierarchy and faithful Russian people. “How wonderful are your steps,” holy and beloved Brother, “as they walk in the gospel of love, announcing the good news!” May your arrival andsojourn here be blessed. “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!”
Our acquaintance, Your Beatitude, is old. We encountered you, still in your youth as a hopeful Archimandrite, representing the Russian Church at the World Council of Churches as well as at other inter-church bodies and conferences; and later as Bishop, even as Archbishop, of Vyborg but especially as Metropolitan of Smolensk, responsible for the Office of External Ecclesiastical Relations of your Patriarchate, in which capacity we were pleased to cooperate with you closely on repeated occasions. In your person we discerned the much-talented ecclesiastical man, the skilled manager of sensitive matters of the Church, the distinguished theologian and honorable laborer of the Gospel. In this way, when the electoral body looked upon you to assume the responsibility and honor as the successor of the Patriarchal and most holy Church of Russia, we were not surprised. For we observed the natural progression of matters, sincerely rejoicingand glorifying the all-holy name of God, who deemed worthy to place you as the bright lamp over the great and holy Church of Russia.
Thus, we welcome you, Your Beatitude – precisely 420 years after the elevation of your blessed predecessor Metropolitan Job to Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia by our blessed predecessor Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II the Great – with a profound sense of fervent love and wholehearted honor. For we welcome the successor of that Job, of the martyr Philip, the theologian Philaret, the wise Plato, the great and equal to the Apostles Innocent, the holy and patient Tichon, as well as numerous Patriarchs who glorified your Throne with their virtue, wisdom, holiness, martyrdom and confession of Christ. We are certain that their souls rejoice at your promotion and their holy prayers are with us all at this hour.
Your Beatitude, you have been called to the helm of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All-Russia not of course under the harsh conditions of your venerable predecessors, from St. Tichon to your immediate predecessor Alexy II, but also not in bright or cloudless days for our world. A spiritual crisis, a moral crisis, a financial crisis and indeed a crisis with many names characterizes our world from one end to another. It is true that militant atheism has retreated almost everywhere; yet the practical atheism of self-sufficiency, insensitivity and material pleasure are alive and strong. Supposedly in the name of God, the sounds of war are still heard, the blood of people is still shed, and numerous populations are uprooted and rendered refugees. Religious and nationalistic fanaticism is increasing, nations exchange hands, human beings are humiliated and ridiculed in dark “trafficking,” women and children are abused, drugs are pushed. At the same time, Christians – instead of remaining unified and working together in one spirit and one heart so that the hope that is within us may prove a convincing word – are troubled by divisions, disagreements and trivialities both on a pan-Christian level as well as (which is worse) on the inter-Orthodox level. Yet, this renders us greatly responsible before the Arch-Shepherd Christ, who demands us to have love, peace and unity among us in order that our light may shine before the world and that all people may be directed to the Father of Lights by means of our good deeds and example.
Nevertheless, Your Beatitude and dear Brother, we have before us the common decisions of the blessed Synaxis of the Primates of the most holy Orthodox Churches held last October at the Phanar, with the participation and unanimous agreement also of your predecessor, the late Patriarch Alexy. These decisions were taken in light of the Holy and Great Synod of Orthodoxy, giving us a fitting witness as one family, so to speak, before the Christian world as well as to those outside of Christianity, who are in great uncertainty, confusion and anxiety. The common Pre-Conciliar Conference held only a few days ago in Geneva, together with the prevailing spirit of unity and love as well as its pious and unanimous decisions, not only grant us much hope but at the same time also comprise a model for the future.Your Beatitude! You were born into a priestly family, you were nurtured by the piety of your priestly father, so that the Pauline words also hold true for you: “You have known the sacred letters from childhood, and these are able to enlighten you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3.15) When you were born, there was still “deep night”; and while you were a child, you experienced the horrible persecution that broke out exactly fifty years ago against the Church. You matured in difficult days, being molded as iron in the fire. All this was divine dispensation in order that you may be well prepared and qualified in ecclesiastical matters, gaining training and invaluable experience for the struggle that you have assumed upon your shoulders with the great burden of Patriarchal responsibility for the difficult and critical times that lie ahead. Your qualifications, together with your broad education, your spiritual cultivation, the open horizons of your thought, your manifold virtue, your numerous acquaintances throughout the world, as well as the confidence and love of your Hierarchy, clergy and laity, bode brightly for a fruitful Patriarchal tenure. We assure you that we are beside you. We extend to you a hand of sincere love and unfeigned cooperation. We are ready to work with you, in the context of canonical order and the ages-old and sacred ecclesiastical traditions, in directness of heart before God, for the benefit not only of our two Churches, but of the entire Orthodox and Christian world.
Welcome, then, Your Beatitude and beloved Brother. We pray that your visit here will be the first in a series of many blessed such occasions. Our fraternal embrace will always be open to you and your honorable coworkers in the Lord. May your years be many and healthy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Get Ready to Run and Fly

Today's run was pretty good. It took some concentration during the middle to end part. There was a time when I could have sworn I was sleeping. It is amazing how I can lose blocks of time it's so hypnotic. For non-runners try and think of those times you may not recall all of the actual drive to a destination. Then all of a sudden it was over. It doesn't matter too much how quickly I move; basically I'll be running a while. Today was a little over seven miles so combined with my last run I only have about 78 miles to meet this months goal. For non runners it may seem steep but for runners its mild. If I was training for an event then I'd add a long run once a week and that would bump up the mileage but I use my 'off season' (summer time) to just stay in shape and not lose fitness. It is a good way to prevent injury. During today's run I did a lot of thinking and one small point I don't mind sharing is the time spent in the air. I hear a lot about the negative to running with all the pounding and pressure put on the joints but not too many people focus on the time spent flying through the air. The next time you go for a run think about the time you spend off the ground something walkers don't get. When I was a kid I used to simply love to swim when I wasn't pretending to be a dolphin (I know corny but I was a kid) I used to pretend I could fly as I would glide through the water.

Andrew of Crete Author of the Great Canon

Andrew of Crete Author of the Great Canon

July 4

Saint Andrew was from Damascus; his parents' names were George and Gregoria. He became a cleric and secretary of Theodore and Patriarch of Jerusalem; from this, he is called "the Jerusalemite." He was present at the Sixth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople, which was convoked in 680 during the reign of Emperor Constantine IV (668-685). He became deacon of the Great church in Constantinople, that is, the Church of the Holy Wisdom of God, then Archbishop of Crete. He reposed in 720 or 723. Beside his other sacred writings, he also composed various hymns, among which is the famous Great Canon, which is chanted during Great Lent (see the Thursday of the Fifth Week of the Fast).

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Andrew, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
While trumpeting forth the songs of God with clarity, thou also didst prove a blazing light for all the world, O most righteous Andrew, who shonest with the light of the Trinity. Wherefore, we all cry out to thee: Cease not to entreat the Master for us all.

Reading courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Apolytikion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Kontakion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery

Met. Jonah's new official title OCA News

OCA Holy Synod reestablishes Diocese of Washington and Diocese of New York-New Jersey
Posted 07/02
SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- On July 1, 2009, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America met via teleconference, during which they reestablished, as separate dioceses, the Diocese of Washington and the Diocese of New York-New Jersey.
Declaring the Diocese of New York-New Jersey vacant, the hierarchs appointed His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, to serve as Locum Tenens.
The Holy Synod of Bishops also decided that His Beatitude's title, effective immediately, is "Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada."
An official notification of these changes will be issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops shortly.

Friday, July 3, 2009

CNN Turk referendum on re-opening of Halki

Dear Fellow Orthodox Christians,
CNN Turk is currently conducting an electronic referendum on the topic of the reopening the Theological School of Halki. This is a major milestone in the struggle to reopen our Theological School. It would be a victory for all Orthdox Christians regardless of afficliation. Vote “yes” today.

Instructions: Cast your vote in the right column down towards the middle of the page. For those who do not speak Turkish, the poll is found in large letters "ANKET" with the question "Sizce Heybeliada Ruhban Okulu acilimail mi?" Yes in Turkish is EVET, then click on the red button below to cast your vote.
Please fowad this to all on your mailing list. Each vote counts!!! Inaction is a vote against.
In His service I remain

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Contemporary Academic Theology (whatever that is)

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has withstood many trials, tribulations, heresy, war and oppression proclaiming with all vigor the One True Faith. It has continued throughout the millennium with an inner strength and resiliency. Orthodox Patristic Theology has never been lost or forsaken. The Ecumenical Throne has never forsaken the unchanging teachings and Theology of the Church. There is no innovation and therefore no room for error. Despite resent claims by splinter groups in the United States the Ecumenical Throne has maintained the Orthodox ethos completely and has embraced the variety of wonderful ethnic expressions of it. Some Orthodox groups in the U.S have failed to assimilate their own thinking into the Orthodox Traditions.

This most recent attempt by the OCA to begin anew without proper authority may find itself completely confounded and hopelessly lost. This attempt to start over by its own judgement is riddled with danger. Too many OCA church leaders and lay people from several jurisdictions discuss Orthodoxy and the course of the Orthodoxy with a nearsightedness. Their premise is convoluted due to their narrow and limited understanding of Orthodoxy. There are several Orthodox jurisdictions who are in fact experiencing an identity crisis and wish to drag the established Orthodox community into the mud. Their belief speaks more to their own uncertainty and far less to the state of the Mother Church. The recent comments and direction of the OCA is restricted to their own attempts to stop corruption within their own ranks and is indicative of their own division.

I am most concerned that they wish to take corrective action against the Ecumenical Throne. The OCA couldn't be trusted to manage it's own coffers! They couldn't be trusted with something as common, as futile, as money how could I being of sound mind and body, trust them with the direction of the Orthodox Church in the United States. They have yet decided who they are and who they want to be when they are all grown up. The Ecumenical Throne is continuing as it always has as the beacon and Light of the World. I hope Met. Jonah discontinues his quest for some misguided Patristic revival which risks to effectively cut itself off from its Orthodox roots. So while the OCA continues to spiral out of control it will no doubt continue to with its rhetoric which puts it at odds with the Ecumenical Throne effectively deepen the OCA's foundation in contemporary academic theology whatever that is.

Turkey to reopen Orthodox school shut 38 years ago: report

28 June 2009, 13:54 CET
— filed under: , ,

(ANKARA) - Turkey is planning to re-open a Greek Orthodox seminary that was shut down nearly four decades ago, Turkey's culture minister was quoted as saying Sunday.
The European Union, which Turkey is seeking to join, and the United States have long pressed Ankara to re-open the theology school on the island of Halki, off Istanbul, to prove respect for the rights of its tiny Christian minority.
Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay said the government was inclined to re-open the school, even though a final decision was not yet made, the mass-selling Milliyet daily reported.
"Both my personal conviction and the general inclination I see is that the school will be opened," Gunay was quoted as saying.
"The school does not currently fit into our university system, but another formula will be worked out... There is no political problem," he said.
The minister explained the authorities were grappling with "the technical problem" on whether the seminary should have the status of a university or a vocational high school.
The century-old seminary was closed down in 1971, depriving the Eastern Orthodox Church, seated in Istanbul since Byzantine times, of its only facility to train clergy in Turkey.
The closure was the result of legislation bringing institutions of higher education under state control, an arrangement into which the seminary did not fit.
Gunay conceded that Turkish-Greek tensions over the island of Cyprus at the time were also a prominent factor behind the move.
"What happened in the past is left behind... We need to say new things now," he said.
Keen to boost its struggling EU membership bid, Ankara has in recent years moved to improve the rights of its tiny non-Muslim minorities, mainly Greeks, Armenians and Jews.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Role of bishop of Rome key to Catholic-Orthodox progress, pope says

POPE-ORTHODOX Jun-29-2009 (460 words)
xxxiRole of bishop of Rome key to Catholic-Orthodox progress, pope says
By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A common understanding of the role the bishop of Rome played in the united Christianity of the first millennium is essential for resolving the question of the primacy of the pope in a united church, Pope Benedict XVI said.The pope met June 27 with Orthodox Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Bishop Athenagoras of Sinope, who serves as the assistant metropolitan of Belgium, and Deacon Ioakim Billis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.The three Greek Orthodox represented Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at the evening prayer service closing the year of St. Paul June 28 and at the pope's Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul June 29.Meeting the delegation privately before the festivities began, the pope said the year of St. Paul was a year "of prayer, of reflection and of exchanging gestures of communion between Rome and Constantinople."The pope said the joint activities were the best way to honor St. Paul, who urged Christians "'to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace,' teaching us that there is 'only one body and one spirit.'"The participation of the Orthodox delegation in the late-June liturgies "reminds us of our common commitment to the search for full communion," Pope Benedict said."You already know this, but I am pleased to confirm today that the Catholic Church intends to contribute in every way to making it possible to re-establish full communion in response to Christ's will for his disciples," he said.Pope Benedict said the international Catholic-Orthodox dialogue commission would meet in October in Cyprus "to face a theme crucial for relations between the East and West, that is the 'role of the bishop of Rome in the communion of the church in the first millennium.'"Ecumenical experts believe agreement on how the pope, the bishop of Rome, exercised his ministry before Christianity split into East and West is essential for discovering the way the papacy could be exercised in the church if Catholics and Orthodox successfully reunite."I want the participants in the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue to know that my prayers accompany them and that this dialogue has the complete support of the Catholic Church," Pope Benedict told the Orthodox delegation."With all my heart, I hope that the misunderstandings and tensions encountered by the Orthodox delegates during the last plenary session of the commission have been overcome in fraternal love so that this dialogue will be more broadly representative of Orthodoxy," the pope said.At the last plenary gathering, held in Italy in 2007, the Russian Orthodox delegation walked out to protest the presence of a delegation from the Estonian Orthodox Church, recognized as autonomous by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople but not by the Russian Orthodox Church.END

Interfax Patriach Kirill will visit Turkey

01 July 2009, 18:10
Patriarch Kirill hopes to improve relations with the Constantinople Patriarch during his visit to Turkey
Moscow, July 1, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church says the main objective of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia’s visit to Turkey is restoring relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate and discussing moot points.“His Holiness Patriarch Kirill wants this visit to open a new page in relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate. We need to give up confrontation and conflicts and create a system of mutual trust as the local Orthodox Churches make one family,” head of the Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk has told journalists on Wednesday commenting on Patriarch Kirill’s meeting with Turkish Ambassador in Russia Halil Akinci. According to Archbishop Hilarion, future relations of the two Churches should exclude a situation similar to the one developed in Estonia in 1996. The Archbishop noted, then “Constantinople unilaterally proclaimed its jurisdiction and it resulted in a conflict situation, which still remains unsettled.” “We hope that Patriarchs of the two great Churches in fraternal communication will find the way to agree over the format of relations, format that will exclude such misunderstanding and be based on total mutual trust and fraternal love,” Archbishop Hilarion said. He also reminded that Patriarch Kirill had more than once pointed out that “victory” in the inter-Orthodox dialogue is impossible for only one of its participants. According to the Archbishop, such a dialogue should be aimed at victory, at achieving the result acceptable for all. “Patriarch Kirill will go to Constantinople with the warmest feelings and kind intentions. We hope this visit will also help the Constantinople Patriarch settle his inner problems and we expect this visit to be a success,” the Russian Church official said. Patriarch Kirill plans to visit Turkey on July 4-6, 2009.

Questioning Ecumenical Patriachate Openly Contradicts Christ's Calling

The welfare of the Ecumenical Throne is the sign post of the unity of the Church. Without unity among the brotherhood of bishops and therefore a coalition from canonical jurisdictions of the faithful the credibility of the Faith is questioned. Any division within the Church or disregard for the Ecumenical Patriarch and his role as First Among Equals, openly contradicts Christ's calling and scandalizes the Church. Even within the Trinity there appears to be a First Among Equals: God the Father does not to diminish God the Son, or God the Spirit. The OCA and Metropolitan Jonah in his short time in 'command' has created an unhealthy rivalry with the Mother Church while in his attempt for ecumenicism with the Anglican Church he seems to speak with an conventional indifference to the theological differences.

This is indicative of the OCA's continued misunderstanding of what is evangelical. The tendency is to underplay and dismiss the pastoral care and missionary work within an Orthodox parish. It doesn't legitimise such care to the flock which the Greek Orthodox Church has done so effectively. Rather it slanders the GOA calling such evangelical or missionary work ethnocentric on the mild end and prejudice and discriminatory on the other end. (Let's not forget the Saints Cyril and Methodios were Greeks sent out by the Mother Church to preach the Good News to the Slavs). The position of the OCA is largely due I believe because envy of the great success the Greek Church has had in the United States. Could anyone honestly imagine the state of the Church in the Americas without the GOA? Hardly. The OCA begrudges the Greeks with their huge numbers, support of the Ecumenical Throne and financial success and political influence. All this while the OCA has spent the last 20 plus yeas misappropriating church donations to such a degree that its corruption could pale in comparision any ponsey scheme.

The OCA has tried to make its position about language and ethnic division but the OCA with all of its English services and ethnic cleansing is not flooded with the faithful. While the Greek Orthodox Church raises and cultivates clergy from among the faithful, the OCA seems bent on transplanting them from other faiths. Another reason why the OCA is off track is because it seems to misunderstand the holistic and complete understanding of evangelism. Failing to recognize that you cannot separate missionary work within the parish or among the faithful with evangelism outside of the community. They forsake the faithful in other jurisdictions of course for the promise yet to come in their own. They dismiss totally the ancient churches Constantinople, Anticoch, Alexandria, Jerusalem which have maintained the Faith until modern times no small task and not without great expense to the Martyrs. You cannot rationally put on par any of the more modern saints on any continent with the Church Fathers. Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil, Saint Gregory the Theologian, Saint Gregory of Nyssia, Saint John Climacus ...etc because it is from their teachings and legacy all others spring from.

Lastly, we are all called to live according to the Faith. We must to take up our cross daily and to witness and fully proclaim our faith among believers and non believers. What if the salt loses its saltiness? It may if we follow the path laid out by the OCA and other splinter groups. True evangelicalism is possible only when the faithful are living the Orthodox life not only in name. Only in knowledge which comes from cultivation and tending to the vineyard of the priest can we hope to being Orthodoxy as it was intended to the unbelievers. The current state of confusion and chaos demonstrated in the OCA is antithetical to the Orthodox Order. Remember Liturgy is a Taste of Heaven not an expression of ourselves. We cannot try and impose some affirmative action within the Church.