Monday, August 31, 2009

Isa is a "his" not her. My mistake.

In response to your previous post: "His" I stand corrected. The tides are changing and the See of Constantinople will live and breath and move with The Spirit of the Almighty because it is true and just and sincere. It sounds like you are rooting for the wrong team. It is a disasterous issue when ever a church or district or village or whatever is trashed; destroyed. You are blinded by something in your history. Who would have guessed that following the sacking of the city over one thousand years ago and 400 years of Ottoman Occupation that the Patriarchate would abide and still be a thorn in the side of the Turk. Who would have guessed 75 years ago that Israel would be under Jewish control?

True Intentions Revealed to exstinguish the Phanar!!!!!!

Isa Posted:
Don't weep for me, or the OCA, Elgreca.
Neither of us show signs of extinction. Which, unfortunately cannot be said about the Phanar.

I find her comments manicle, deviant, manevolent and cruel. The gates of hell shall never prevail against the church. I rebuke your comments and intentions inthe name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit.

Ecumenical Patriarch's Message for the Day of the Protection of the Environment

Ecumenical Patriarch's Message for the Day of the Protection of the Environment

Prot. No. 862

+ B A R T H O L O M E W









As we come again to the changing of the Church year, we reflect once more on the state of God’s creation. We think about the past and repent for all that we have done or failed to do for the earth’s care; we look to the future and pray for wisdom to guide us in all that we think or do.

These last twelve months have been a time of great uncertainty for the whole world. The financial systems that so many people trusted to bring them the good things of life, have brought instead fear, uncertainty and poverty. Our globalised economy has meant that everyone - even the poorest who are far removed from the dealings of big business - has been affected.

The present crisis offers an opportunity for us to deal with the problems in a different way, because the methods that created these problems cannot provide their best solution. We need to bring love into all our dealings, the love that inspires courage and compassion. Human progress is not just the accumulation of wealth and the thoughtless consumption of the earth’s resources. The way that the present crisis has been dealt with has revealed the values of the few who are shaping the destiny of our society; of those who can find vast sums of money to support the financial system that has betrayed them, but are not willing to allot even the least portion of that money to remedy the piteous state the creation has been reduced to because of these very values, or for feeding the hungry of the world, or for securing safe drinking water for the thirsty, who are also victims of those values. On the face of every hungry child is written a question for us, and we must not turn away to avoid the answer. Why has this happened? Is it a problem of human inability or of human will?
We have rendered the Market the centre of our interest, our activities and, finally, of our life, forgetting that this choice of ours will affect the lives of future generations, limiting the number of their choices that would probably be more oriented towards the well-being of man as well as the creation. Our human economy, which has made us consumers, is failing. The divine economy, which has made us in the image of the loving Creator, calls us to love and care for all creation. The image we have of ourselves is reflected in the way we treat the creation. If we believe that we are no more than consumers, then we shall seek fulfilment in consuming the whole earth; but if we believe we are made in the image of God, we shall act with care and compassion, striving to become what we are created to be.

Let us pray for God’s blessing on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, so that the industrially developed countries may co-operate with developing countries in reducing harmful polluting emissions, that there may exist the will to raise and manage wisely the funds required for the necessary measures, and that all may work together to ensure that our children enjoy the goods of the earth that we leave behind for them. There must be justice and love in all aspects of economic activity; profit – and especially short-term profit – cannot and should not be the sole motive of our actions.

Let us all renew our commitment to work together and bring about the changes we pray for, to reject everything that is harming the creation, to alter the way we think and thus drastically to alter the way we live.

September 1st, 2009 A.D.
Your beloved brother in Christ and
fervent supplicant before God,

+ BARTHOLOMEW of Constantinople

The Orthodox Church said... In response to Isa

The Orthodox Church said...

In response to Isa:

1)Your log on the website doesn’t disprove that you are wrong factually about Orthodoxy in America.

2)The point was your were wrong about the first church in Istanbul and the growth of Russian population there

3)Your plurality of the Autocephalous Churches which recognize the OCA's autocephaly is at best a laughable position. LOL! Irrespective of Moscow acknowledging her illegitimate daughter (the OCA): Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Lands don't constitute an Orthodox plurality. LOL

4)Actually, just returned from Jerusalem with meeting with Patriarch… The church is struggling because of the Jewish state not because of the Greeks

You’d know that if your obvious myopic vitriol and latent envy for Greeks wasn’t clouding your statements

As far as documentation every statement you make anybody can do that: the Turks document the Genocide wasn’t.

And Yes I can prove for centuries the Moscow Patriarchate has acted un-canonically all the way up to Saint Tikhon creating a diocese for an entire continent for the first time in all Christian History.

Furthermore, if your Passions didn’t cloud your judgment you would see that it is not ‘Elgreca’ weeping for your extinction but ‘theorthodoxchurch’ post which is pointing out the OCA’s un-canonical status and inevitable assimilation into one 'Canonical' Orthodox Church of America acknowledged by ALL Canonical Churches not just the Slavic Lands!

31 August, 2009

Turkish Government Strikes Again GROSS

August 25, 2009 Istanbul, Turkey

Restoration work that would result in an historic Greek Orthodox Church being recognized as a mosque has caused uproar in Turkey, reported the daily Milliyet newspaper on Tuesday. At issue is the 178-year-old St Dimitrios Church in the northern Turkish village of Silivri.

The village was once a Greek settlement but, after the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, ethnic Greek residents had to leave in a forced resettlement that swapped 1.5 million ethnic Greeks from Turkey for 600,000 ethnic Turks living in northern Greece. After the resettlement, the church was briefly used for prayers while work was underway to build a mosque for the new Muslim residents. A minaret was attached to the building, but its cross was never removed.Later, the church was used for storage and as a stall.
However, current work on the church is being billed as "restoration of the Ortakoy Mosque," causing an uproar."There is no doubt that this structure is a church. It's a church even if it was briefly used as a mosque," said Turkish architect and college instructor Oktay Ekinci.

Adding to the grievances is the fact that the renovation work was approved by local leaders of the AKP Justice and Development Party, which runs the government at the national level. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said in the past that protecting minority rights is a priority in Turkey.Representatives of the Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey have not commented on the issue.

Isa passion good facts wrong bad combination

post from
Isa your passion is commendable but almost all your facts are wrong: not a good combination.

1). About Orthodox History in America visit and get the facts.

2). “first church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Turkey” is in fact is an embassy chapel of Sts Constantine & Helen, in summer residence of Russian consulate, which BTW, HAH Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew consecrated.

3). Nobody recognizes the OCA’s autocephaly because it was founded un-canonically by a church (MP) who was clearly out of its canonical jurisdiction… MP was on the coattails of Russian Czarist expansion and now wants to force everybody to buy their lies (good ‘ol Russian tactic).

4). “Jerusalem (where they are killing the Church)” - all I can say here is: you’re out to lunch…

There are so many outrageous and false statements you put forward that is almost as laughable as the theorists lacking judgment over at the AOI website and the foolish individuals bunched together over there, the scary thing is, you sound like you believe it.

The reality of the OCA is hard to recognize: the fact that their status is un-canonical is clear. The fact that you can’t accept it is sad.

31 August, 2009

Jn 1034 Comments

This has been passed on to us by Holy Tradition, by the ancient Canons of the Church, and by the most recent pan-Orthodox conciliar decisions of the heads of all Orthodox churches worldwide:
Constantinople holds primacy over all jurisdictions throughout the worldwide pan-Orthodox diaspora. Thus, the members of all Orthodox Churches throughout the global diaspora count as communicants of the Phanar.
The June 2009 Pan-Orthodox Conference in Chambesy, of all heads of Orthodox churches, is clear and decisive: The Ecumenical Patriarchate has, had, and will have universal jurisdiction over each Orthodox diaspora region (
For the States this reaffirms the seniority of the Greek Archdiocese, as the Exarchate of the Ecumenical Throne, over all jurisdictions in America. All Orthodox jurisdictions in the USA have not only accepted this pan-Orthodox ecclesiastic reality via SCOBA, but also they affirm its necessity. Even Metrop. Jonah, as the newest member of SCOBA, recognizes and acquiesces to the primacy of the Greek Archdiocese-Constantinople over the OCA.
Recently (20 June 2009), OCA Metrop. Jonah forecast the fate of his own jurisdiction: "Thus, the OCA’s charter and vocation is for it to disappear: it is kenotic" (
Many will beat their breasts. More will stamp their feet. Some may even hold their breaths. But the facts are valid and given as an universal Pan-Orthodox decree. Every Orthodox Church on Earth has spoken: The primus inter pares, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Mother Church, holds the diaspora in its ancient hands with the most modern of touches.
Those denying this ecclesiastic reality are either subversive forces against universal pan-Orthodox unity, or they're simply delusional.
So, Constantinos, as you emphasize: "To continue in a system of ethnically divided jurisdictions is clearly a heresy, and was branded as such by Constantinople itself, in 1872." Your fears now seem to be your own. These problems have been resolved.
The heads of all Orthodox Churches throughout the oikoumene have spoken, and are in agreement.

Ecumenical Patriarch emulates Nestorious or Serguis

"34220 Fener is not sovereign. I am not bound by any EP who emulates Nestorius or Sergius in twisting the Orthodox Faith. We have the original Pope in Alexandria, we don't need an imitation supreme pontiff." Isa Almisry

You seem to stand alone because everyone including the Pope of Alexandria were in Constantinople last Nov. and all are in agreement about the Ecumenical Status. Even Met. Jonah states: "The Orthodox Church in America fully affirms the primacy of the Patriarch of Constatinople".
I am more concerned with the vitriol and venom that is thrust against the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Your assertion that the Ecumenical Patriarch is emulating Nestorius or Sergius is unfounded and slanderous. Defaming His All Holiness and putting heretics in the same company with him is inexcusable. He has lived his entire like under the yolk of oppression willing to sacrifice his life for his flock in a very real and ultimate way and you without shame or regret desecrate his reputation your motivation cannot be pure. My best friend is an Arab we worship side by side in the same church. Pascha I had more Arabs, than Greeks, representing several countries in my home and I have never heard such foul talk or dishonor come from any of them.
Belching up facts or historical impressions don't make you knowledgeable or correct. There are many people who belch the Bible with the same fervor and they know little about the True Church.

True Knowledge: Saint Maximos, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Peter Damaskos

St. Maximos has said, "To think that one knows prevents one from advancing in knowledge." St. John Chrysostom points out that there is an ignorance which is praiseworthy: it consists in knowing consciously that one knows nothing. In addition, there is a form of ignorance that is worse than any other: not to know that one does not know. [St. Peter of Damaskos]
These quotes were featured on a blog I visited today. I would like to ask that they guide us in our exchanges. There has been a lot of posting and activity on my blog and I am grateful for it. A newcomer is Isa, self described Arab and Orthodox Christian. I welcome her comments and would like some time to respond in detail. There is a lot of information but I believe that her telling of the history is viewed through a certain world view.
For example: The comment is not off task: if this Russian diaspora grows at its present rate, what if they electe a Russian EP? (such may happen soon in Jerusalem, where Russians and converted Hebrews now constitute the majority). Ankara dare not stop them: look at the Russian delegation waltzing into Hagia Sophia and serving a memorial service as the helpless guards looking on (even the pope of Rome hid his Cross when he went). What will the Greeks do, and why should they do it?
First of all I was in Turkey for the Papal Visitation. I was in attendance at the Church services at the Phanar. I saw the news regarding the Pope's visit to Holy Wisdom where he stopped and briefly venerated before the Icon of the Theotokis. I am not here to defend or judge his behavior. Too bad you describe the Russian delagation as waltzing into Holy Wisdom with the guards being helpless. I don't think you mean your statement. The Russians are arrogant and the Ankara weak? If it is accurate I beleive they allowed it simply to humiliate the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Character Assasination Well and Good at AOI

Thank you Father for showing me clearly now what back- biting slander is. George quote Marx nice touch. Am I and others to believe that you are more informed than Arch. Bishop Demetrios? Anyone who has spent 5 seconds listening or being in the presence of the man knows his heart. He is a true genius working for the salvation of the newly lit church in America during his tenur. Am I now to consult with you on doctrin, dogma and all matters regarding the Church. Father, you discuss the OCN being the mouthpiece for the EP, not that I agree at all with you, however you yourself are jaded by your own experience and remiss in not openly acknowledging your bias. I'm easy to explain I am a true believer and I am all in without hesistation and with boldness.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

AOI v i t u p e r a t i v e

John Couretas thought it appropriate to mudsling and threaten to silence an unwanted perspective. So sad.

Main Entry: vi·tu·per·a·tive
Pronunciation: \vī-ˈtü-p(ə-)rə-tiv, -pə-ˌrā-\
Function: adjective
Date: 1727
: uttering or given to censure : containing or characterized by verbal abuse
— vi·tu·per·a·tive·ly adverb

Let's Review Just for George and AOI

Lets do some math:
Do not recognize OCA autocephaly
Ecumenical Patriarchate
Patriarchate of Alexandria
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Patriarchate of Antioch
Patriarchate of Romania
Patriarchate of Serbia
Patriarchate of Georgia
Patriarchate of Albania
Church of GreeceChurch of Cyprus
Church of Ukraine
Church of Finland
Church of Japan
OCA's autocephaly is fully recognized by
Moscow PatriarchateBulgarian (parts)
Polish (parts aligned w/Moscow)

AOI & George C. Michalopulos

"A Good Man Must Do Everything With An Eye To The Public Benefit" - St. John Chrysostom

This above mentioned quote from St. John Chrysostom is posted on the AOI website as some statement, guideline or proclamation of the suggested content of posts. The reality is that seldom do we find any posts which do not seek to tear down the Mother Churches. They continue to plant weeds to choke out sound theological understanding on the most basic level. They are lost themselves and are actively seeking whom they may drag down with them.

"Old World" who are they aliens or something? They are the champions of the faith, the true beacons of the church who live the faith under the shadow of religious persecution and oppression. Their belief and positions are not chosen for convenience but from devotion. You continue to spew hatred and project your own agenda and malcontent on to those you know virtually nothing of. Teh Apostle John in the Book of Acts in his address states, 'For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning him." This reading can easily explain your disrespect. You study (perhaps) and you learn but you lack wisdom and understanding. You will also help to fulfill the your destiny by the suspicion and condemnation you quickly proclaim on the Holy Fathers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lecture Series Plenary Session

This morning I brought my oldest daughter for her cross country team training and I headed to the gym to get a treadmill run in. I realized that I am capable of enduring far more then I usually subject myself to. Sometimes it's the tax on the endurance that can lead to mental fatigue and burn out. It can also lead to the next break thru. I am glad to be running with the Strider Club it has really helped my motivation giving me a run to look forward to the camaraderie and running chatter. Today I was notified that I would be accepted on the Orthodox Speakers Bureau. I am getting back to my public speaking roots. I used to serve a panelist for my University several times and also spoke as one of the speakers at the Orton Dyslexia Society. There have been other such events but I know it is boring to read. I am glad that I pursued this. I can't wait to begin my lecture series.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Greece is Burning

Let's all pray for the victims and survivors of the flames which are scorching Greece. Lord have mercy.

Fortitude, Endurance, Stamina and Salvation: Orthodoxy

Orthodox living requires a basic understanding of how we work out our salvation. It is about our journey closer to God.

The word fortitude is tossed about so casually that I wonder if it really means what people think it means. The epistles teach us that we need to approach our discipleship with fortitude. They are not referring to a mere stubbornness or a spoken intent to consistently associate oneself with Christ or an ideal. Fortitude requires courage, loyalty, determination, dedication, and endurance to remain steadfast in the difficult and painful circumstance we find ourselves in. It is the willingness to participate fully in the vocation of Christian discipleship as a slave or bond servant. Like our Savior who was equip fully by the duality of His very essence and existence He set the standard for Christian fortitude; as way in which we submit and yield our own desire and ease for the way of the Cross.

Now endurance is another term that has been so secularized that it has lost its intent also. Endurance speaks to the very core, constitution or construct of a person, not “willingness” necessarily, to push through and to bear hardship. It refers in many ways to the tolerance for prolonged exertion pain and hardship. It refers to the ability of the individual to survive despite the personal cost or liability. It is the manner in which one accepts and manages the ravages of commitment and circumstance. This acceptance to endure what must occur is also demonstrated by our Lord on His way to Golgotha. The Via Dolorosa is a perfect and whole example of how we must endure every humiliation every trial every pain and get up even when we fall. I would also humbly point out that it must have pained our Lord perhaps even more so, to endure when He accepted the confines of flesh during the Incarnation.

Stamina describes a type of strength, energy or resistance to discomfort. By increasing one’s tolerance and stamina you raise the threshold before you become fatigued exerted or experience discomfort. Unlike endurance, stamina refers to an abiding aptitude and energy an enduring persistence or talent. WE can increase our talents by increasing stamina. This innate tolerance and regeneration is what creates the ease and grace in which some can do extraordinary feats. There is a perpetual and simultaneous rejuvenation for those who are endowed with a healthy generous dose of stamina. We can improve and capitalize on our stamina with effort and consistency which is character building. The building of our character improves endurance and fortitude. Refer yet again to our Lord and Savior who was arguably endowed by the duality and perfect synergy of His two natures to have the greatest ‘amount’ of innate ability and stamina but He still sweat blood on the eve of His arrest and prayed for His disciples and all who believe. Our Lord demonstrated perfectly the synergy of stamina, fortitude and endurance to tolerate prolonged hardship, pain, disappointment, temptation and torture whether in the desert or on the cross for us all.

On the road to salvation there is an inseparable integration of these three phenomena. They are inseparable because of the interplay and interdependence of one with the other. They should not be conflated or confused and I pray I haven't done so here because of my own lacking and ignorance. We are each given a talent an amount and it varies that can be equated with stamina but we are all called to increase our talent and not to bury or squander it. While studying Karate one of my sensei’s would say “Hard work beats talent when talent quits working hard”. I think it speaks well to this point. When building one’s increase it is uncomfortable and takes ‘sweat equity’ or labor. When we stretch beyond our former limits we establish new thresholds new horizons and create a more complete reality for ourselves. Our ability to mitigate strife and difficulty improves and therefore our endurance is elongated and extended. These positive outcomes often are the very stepping stones which were once stumbling blocks. They influence our thinking, feeling and belief. Our fortitude is thereby exponentially increased.

Orthodoxy, correct living, in this context is a pragmatic extension of the lessons of Saint Paul that we are essentially and in reality forging our salvation despite our iniquity but in the furnace of purification. It is a furnace the climate and environment is not hospitable. We may lament our turmoil the injustice the shame but we move forward amputating or pruning what is not useful or hurtful and making room in our lives for the blessings and holiness of God. Our Lord in Chapter 17 of the Gospel According to John states that he does not wish us to be taken out of the world but that we should be kept from evil. We are here to work out our salvation move through our journey in this life time. Remember also that we are already in eternity.

The Icon, The Iconographer, The Faith

Patriarchal Icons Rendered for His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch's Private Chapel during his visitation to Tarpon Springs. Prototype from Hailki Seminary.

"In truth there is nothing in Western Christian experience quite the same as the Eastern Orthodox Icon. It is as fundamental and essential to our theology and dogma as scripture. St. Theodore the Studite wrote: "Just as everyone, no matter how perfect, is in need of the Gospel tablet, so (does one need) the painting expressed according to it"

St. Theophan the Recluse St. John Chrysostom

Icon of Saint Anthony
Master Iconographer: Elias Damianakis

The sin of a Christian offends God incomparably more, since the Christian has received a clearer and fuller knowledge of the commandments, and has received grace to strengthen him in the fulfillment of these commandments. And a Christian, who has received in himself Christ the Lord—which is the highest degree of Christian perfection—in sinning offends God immeasurably. " St. Theophan the Recluse

"Reading the Holy Scriptures is like a treasure. With a treasure, you see, anyone able to find a tiny nugget gains for himself great wealth; likewise in the case of Sacred Scripture, you can get from a small phrase a great wealth of thought and immense riches. The Word of God is not only like a treasure, but is also like a spring gushing with ever flowing waters in a mighty flood."St. John Chrysostom

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rules of Operation (3)

Rules of Operation
Text of the decision of the pre-conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference convened in Chambesy from June 6-13, 2009 that outlines the rules of operation of episcopal assemblies in the Orthodox diaspora
All Orthodox Bishops of each region, from those regions defined by the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, who are in canonical communion with all the local Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, form each Episcopal Assembly.
Those Orthodox Bishops who do not reside in the region, but who have pastoral ministry in parishes in the Region, are also members of the Episcopal Assembly.
Retired Bishops and Bishops visiting the Region, inasmuch as they meet the requirements of paragraph (1), may be invited to participate in the Assembly, but without voting rights.
Article 2.
The purpose of the Episcopal Assembly is to manifest the unity of the Orthodox Church, to promote collaboration between the churches in all areas of pastoral ministry, and to maintain, preserve and develop the interests of the communities that belong to the canonical Orthodox Bishops of the Region.
Article 3.
The Episcopal Assembly will have an Executive Committee composed of the Primatial Bishops of each of the canonical Churches in the Region.
Article 4.
The Episcopal Assembly and its Executive Committee will have a Chairman, one or two Vice-Chairmen, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and any other positions of responsibility that the Assembly may designate.
The Chairman is ex officio the first among the Bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and, in the absence thereof, in the order of Diptychs. The Chairman of the Episcopal Assembly convenes the meetings thereof, directs its work and presides over its colleagues. Regarding issues that were discussed during the meeting of the Episcopal Assembly, and on which a unanimous decision was reached, the President (or another member of the Episcopal Assembly charged by him), presents the common position of the Orthodox Church in the Region to government, society and to other religious organizations.
The Vice-Chairmen are appointed ex officio from the Member Bishops of the Assemblies, from the next ranking Churches, in accordance with the order of the Diptychs of the Orthodox Churches. The Secretary, Treasurer and other positions of responsibility are chosen by the Assembly, and have the possibility not to originate from the ranks of the bishops.
Article 5.
The competencies of the Episcopal Assembly are:
to safeguard and contribute to the unity of the Orthodox Church of the Region in its theological, ecclesiological, canonical, spiritual, philanthropic, educational and missionary obligations.
The coordination and leadership of activities of common interest in areas of pastoral care, catechesis, liturgical life, religious publishing, mass media, religious education, etc.
Relations with other Christian Churches and other religions.
Anything that entails obligations of the Orthodox Church in Her relations with society and government.
The preparation of a plan to organize the Orthodox of the Region on a canonical basis.
The definition of the scope of these competencies should in no way interfere with the responsibility of each Bishop for his eparchial jurisdiction, or restrict the rights of his Church, including its relations with international agencies, governments, civil society, mass media, other legal undertakings, national and treaty organizations, as well as other religions.
For specific linguistic, educational and pastoral issues of a particular Church, the Episcopal Assembly may also collaborate with the ecclesiastical authority of the Church in question, so that the diversity of national traditions may secure the unity of Orthodoxy in the communion of faith and in the bond of love.
Article 6.
The Episcopal Assembly receives and records the election of Bishops of the Region, and their reference to the most holy autocephalous Orthodox Churches.
It examines and determines the canonical status of local communities in the Region that have no reference to the most holy autocephalous Orthodox Churches.
It must record every decision relating to clerics promulgated by their bishops, in order that this decision is applied among all the Orthodox Churches in the Region.
Article 7.
The Episcopal Assembly meets once a year, at the invitation of the Chairman. It may meet as often as it is deemed necessary by the Executive Committee, or at the written request that shows cause of one third of the members of the Assembly.
The Executive Committee meets once every three months and whenever necessary at the invitation of the Chairman or at the written request that shows cause of one third of its members.
The invitations to the Assembly, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, are to be sent two months in advance; and for the Executive Committee, one week in advance. They are to be accompanied by the agenda items and related documents.
The agenda must be approved at the first session of the Assembly, and should only be amended by a decision of the members present, be means of an absolute majority of the votes.
Article 8.
The quorum for the Executive Committee is two thirds of its members and for the Assembly, an absolute majority of members, including the Chairman.
Article 9.
The work of the Episcopal Assembly is conducted in accordance with the principles of the Orthodox conciliar tradition and is directed by its Chairman, who has the responsibility for supervising the implementation of its decisions.
Article 10.
The decisions of the Episcopal Assembly are taken by consensus.
In matters of more general concern which require, by the decision of the Assembly of Bishops, a Pan-Orthodox approach, the Assembly’s chairman refers it to the Ecumenical Patriarch for further Pan-Orthodox actions.
Article 11.
Upon the decision of the Episcopal Assembly, it is possible to form from its members Committees for Liturgical, Pastoral, Financial, Educational, Ecumenical and other issues, chaired by one of the Bishop-Members of the Assembly.
The members of these Committees, clergy or laity, are appointed by the Executive Committee. In addition, advisers and experts may be invited to participate in the Assembly or in the Executive Committee, without voting rights.
Article 12.
The Episcopal Assembly may establish its own Internal Regulations in order to supplement and adjust the above provisions, in accordance with the needs of the Region and in respect to the canon law of the Orthodox Church.
All legal and financial issues relating to the functioning of the Assembly are to be decided in the light of the civil laws of the countries of the Region, in which members of the Assembly exercise their jurisdiction.
Article 13.
The formation of a new Episcopal Assembly, the partition or abolition of an existing Episcopal Assembly, or the merger of two or more of these Assemblies, occurs following the decision of the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, at the request of a particular Church, or the request of the Chairman of a particular Episcopal Assembly to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
† John of Pergamon, Chairman† Sergios of Good Hope† John in Western and Central Europe† Hesychios of Capitolia† Hilarion of Volokolamsk† Irenaeus of Batschka† Irenaeus of Oltenia† Neophytos of Roussis† Gerasimos of Zoukdidi and Tsaisi† George of Paphos† Chrysostom of Peristerion† George of Siemiatise† John of Korytsa† Tikhon of Komarno† Jeremias of Switzerland, Secretary



The Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference was convened by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the consensus of Their Beatitudes the Primates of the Most Holy Orthodox Churches expressed during their Sacred Synaxis at the Phanar in October 2008. The Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference met at the Orthodox Center of Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, from 6 to 13 June 2009 under the chairmanship of His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamon, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This Conference, to which all of the most holy Orthodox Autocephalous Churches were invited and were represented, studied the issue of the canonical organization of the Orthodox Diaspora. Pursuant to article 16 of the Rules of Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conferences, this Conference discussed the relevant documents submitted in 1990 and 1993 by the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission, amending and approving them as follows:1. a) It is affirmed that is the common will of all of the most holy Orthodox Churches that the problem of the Orthodox Diaspora be resolved as quickly as possible, and that it be organized in accordance with Orthodox ecclesiology, and the canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church. b) Likewise, it is affirmed that during the present phase it is not possible, for historical and pastoral reasons, for an immediate transition to the strictly canonical order of the Church on this issue, that is, the existence of only one bishop in the same place. For this reason, the Conference came to the decision to propose the creation of a temporary situation that will prepare the ground for a strictly canonical solution of the problem, based on the principles and guidelines set out below. Of necessity, this preparation will not extend beyond the convening of the future Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church, so that it (the Council) can proceed with a canonical solution of the problem. 2. a) This Conference proposes that, for the transitional period where the canonical solution of the issue will be prepared, “Episcopal Assemblies” of all canonically recognized bishops in each region should be created (or founded) in each of the regions defined below. The bishops will continue to be subject to the same canonical jurisdictions to which they are subject today. b) These Assemblies will consist of all the bishops in each region who are in canonical communion with all of the most holy Orthodox Churches, and will be chaired by the first among the prelates of the Church of Constantinople and, in the absence of thereof, in accordance with the order of the Diptychs. These Assemblies will have an Executive Committee composed of the first hierarchs of the different jurisdictions that exist in the region. c) The work and the responsibility of these Episcopal Assemblies will be the concern for manifesting the unity of Orthodoxy, the development of common action of all the Orthodox of each region to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox living in the region, a common representation of all Orthodox vis-à-vis other faiths and the wider society in the region, the cultivation of theological scholarship and ecclesiastical education, etc. Decisions on these subjects will be taken by consensus of the Churches who are represented in the particular Assembly.3. The regions in which Episcopal Assemblies will be created in a first stage are defined as follows: i. North America and Central America. ii. South America. iii. Australia, New Zealand and Oceania. iv. Great Britain and Ireland. v. France. vi. Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. vii. Austria. viii. Italy and Malta. ix. Switzerland and Lichtenstein. x. Germany. xi. Scandinavian countries (except Finland). xii. Spain and Portugal.The Bishops of the Diaspora, living in the Diaspora and possessing parishes in multiple regions, will be members of the Episcopal Assemblies of those regions. 4. These Assemblies, which are formed by the decision of this present Conference, have the responsibility to complete the regulation of their operation in the specifications approved by this Conference, and to apply this regulation as soon as possible, and certainly before the convening of the Great and Holy Council. 5. The Episcopal Assemblies do not deprive the Member Bishops of their administrative competencies and canonical character, nor do they restrict their rights in the Diaspora. The Episcopal Assemblies aim to form a common position of the Orthodox Church on various issues. In no way does this prevent Members Bishops from remaining responsible to their own Churches, and to express the views of their own Churches to the outside world.
6. The chairmen of the Episcopal Assemblies convene and preside at all joint meetings of the Bishops of their region (liturgical, pastoral, administrative, etc.). As for matters of a more general concern that require, by the decision of the Assembly of Bishops, a Pan-Orthodox approach, the Assembly’s chairman refers it to the Ecumenical Patriarch for further Pan-Orthodox actions. 7. The Orthodox churches are bound not to advance actions that could hinder the above process for a canonical resolution of the issue of the Diaspora, and to do their utmost to facilitate the work of the Episcopal Assemblies and the restoration of normal canonical order in the Diaspora.

† John of Pergamon, Chairman† Sergios of Good Hope† John in Western and Central Europe† Hesychios of Capitolia† Hilarion of Volokolamsk† Irenaeus of Batschka† Irenaeus of Oltenia† Neophytos of Roussis† Gerasimos of Zoukdidi and Tsaisi† George of Paphos† Chrysostom of Peristerion† George of Siemiatise† John of Korytsa† Tikhon of Komarno† Jeremias of Switzerland, Secretary

Chambesy Communique (1)

Chambesy Communique

CommuniquéOf the 4th Pre-Conciliar Panorthodox Conference(Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Chambésy-Geneva, June 6-12, 2009)

The 4th Pre-Conciliar Panorthodox Conference, convened by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the mutual consent of Their Beatitudes, the Primates of the local Orthodox Churches, as expressed during the Holy Synaxis held at the Phanar from October 10th to 12th, 2008, gathered at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy-Geneva from June 6th to 12th, 2009. The proceedings of the Conference, which began with a Panorthodox Divine Liturgy on the Feast of Pentecost, were chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamon, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, with the assistance of the Secretary for the preparation of the Holy and Great Council, His Eminence Metropolitan Jeremiah of Switzerland. The proceedings were attended by representatives of all Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, at the invitation of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The Primates of the local Orthodox Churches conveyed greetings to the participants of the Conference through messages or else through their representatives. The members of the Conference sent telegrams to all the Primates of the local Churches, requesting their prayers and blessings for their impending task. The theme of the 4th Pre-Conciliar Panorthodox Conference was, in accordance with the will of the Primates and the representatives of the local Orthodox Churches, as expressed in the Message of their Holy Synaxis at the Phanar (October, 2008), the discussion of the subject of the canonical organization of the Orthodox Diaspora. The relevant decision regarding the agenda was agreed upon by the Conference at the opening of its proceedings. The Conference examined the texts prepared by the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Committee in its conferences at Chambésy, namely: a) from November 10-17, 1990; and b) from November 7-13, 1993; as well as the document of the Conference of Canon Lawyers held in Chambésy from April 9th to 14th, 1995. These texts, together with the relevant clarifications, supplements, corrections and additions, were unanimously agreed upon. The Conference expressed the common desire of all Orthodox Churches for a solution to the problem of the canonical organization of the Orthodox Diaspora, in accordance with the ecclesiology, canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church. The Conference decided to establish new Bishops Assemblies in certain regions throughout the world in order to resolve the problem of the Diaspora, namely for the Orthodox faithful that have settled outside the traditional boundaries of the local Orthodox Churches. The Presidents of these Assemblies are the primate hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in that region or, in their absence, the next in order of the Church Diptychs. The members of these Assemblies include all those recognized by all Orthodox Churches as canonical bishops, who shepherd the existing communities in each region. The mission of the Bishops Assemblies is the proclamation and promotion of the unity of the Orthodox Church, the common pastoral ministry to the Orthodox faithful of the region, as well as their common witness to the world. The decisions of the Bishops Assemblies are made on the basis of the principle of unanimity of the Churches, which are represented therein by bishops. The Conference also approved – by means of clarifications, corrections and additions – the draft Regulation of how the Bishops Assemblies would function, whereby the fundamental principles of organization and operation. The remaining issues of the Holy and Great Council, namely the manner of proclamation of Autocephaly and Autonomy, as well as the order of the Diptychs, will be examined in the following Conferences of Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Committees and will be submitted to the next Pre-Conciliar Panorthodox Conference for approval.In Chambésy-Geneva, June 12, 2009The President of the ConferenceMetropolitan John of Pergamon

Chambesy Documents (intro)

Chambesy Documents

Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference Approves New Episcopal Assemblies throughout the World

Historic decisions on canonical order of world Orthodoxy are enacted under the leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and with the agreement of all the Autocephalous Churches.
Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference Approves New Episcopal Assemblies throughout the World At the invitation of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, delegates from the fourteen Autocephalous Churches participated in the historic Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, meeting at the Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy-Geneva, Switzerland on June 6-12, 2009. The Conference was a direct result of the Synaxis of the Heads of all the Orthodox Churches, convened by His All Holiness at the Ecumenical Patriarchate October 10-12, 2008. At that time, all the Heads, They expressed their “desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements, such as in the so-called Orthodox Diaspora, with a view to overcoming every possible influence that is foreign to Orthodox ecclesiology.”At the October meeting of the Heads of the Autocephalous Churches, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called upon them to “activate the 1993 agreement of the Inter-Orthodox Consultation of the Holy and Great Council in order to resolve the pending matter of the Orthodox Diaspora.” This agreement provided a plan to establish an ‘Episcopal Assembly’ with appropriate authority for the bishops to guide the entire Church in each of the regions of the so-called Orthodox Diaspora. Acting as formal representatives of the Autocephalous Churches, the members of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Conference in Chambésy affirmed “that is the common will of all of the most holy Orthodox Churches that the problem of the Orthodox Diaspora be resolved as quickly as possible, and that it be organized in accordance with Orthodox ecclesiology, and the canonical tradition and practice of the Orthodox Church.” The Conference decided to establish an “Episcopal Assembly” in specific regions which are beyond the boundaries of the Autocephalous Churches. The Conference initially identified twelve regions throughout the world. The Episcopal Assembly will include all the canonical Orthodox bishops in a given region such as North America. The representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch (in this case, Archbishop Demetrios of America) will chair the Episcopal Assembly in each region. The Assembly will meet yearly and will have an Executive Committee which will meet every three months. Other committees, composed of clergy and laity, will be established to address particular concerns.

80% humity and 93 degrees at high noon

I decided to commute to the iconography studio old school style. I ran. It was blistering hot. There was no shade, no breeze and only heat rising from the asphalt. It was just under 2.75 miles and now I am left with a low mileage which took more then its toll. I kept thinking about how my system is acclimating to the heat and how it will take a few weeks to work through it. I will work through it and hopefully theophani will want to head out for a quick run with me. Maybe I'll head to the track and run a bit while stavro has football practice.

Patriarch Kirill: No nuclear shield is able to protect any country lacking spiritual values

Severodvinsk, August 24, Interfax -

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes that Russia's defense capacity should be supported with fostering Orthodox values."You should not be ashamed of going to church and teaching Orthodox faith to your children. Then we shall have something to defend with our missiles," Patriarch said at a meeting with the workers of the Northern Shipyard (Sevmash) in Severodvinsk.Patriarch noted that "Today, Sevmash is playing a critical role in maintaining peace and ensuring Russia's defense capacity." Despite all challenges started in 1990s, the enterprise "has managed to preserve the basis of the Northern Fleet." According to Patriarch, such successful performance, however, "has nothing to do with the ideals imposed upon our people, that is, the pursuit of profit and material gain.""I am sure that free economic relations can efficiently facilitate production development, but in this context, it is crucial not to lose the basis of our spiritual and cultural tradition and overcome the temptation of market pragmatism which values everything for money," Patriarch Kirill said.According to him, today's Russia has become a market state "but it is so important that its people do not turn into "market persons" by spirit.""The philosophy guided by instincts and valuing everything for money may destroy the country even provided with the most secure nuclear shield," Patriarch said and noted that the Soviet Union "was destroyed without a single gunshot.""Not a single rocket left your carriers for that purpose," Patriarch added addressing marine officers.He said that "At this age of Russia's integration into the global economy, we should focus on strengthening our national integrity and values.""We have been protecting not our sovereignty on paper, but the sovereignty of our value system," Patriarch Kirill highlighted.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos Named Day

Let's celebrate the Named- Day of His All-holiness by embracing the good fight. Never give up never surrender!
Happy named-day to His All-holiness
from the entire Damianakis Family: Elias, Angela, Theophani, Stavronikitas (the cowbow) and Euphemia!!
God grant Him many years.
God grant Him many years.
God grant Him many, many, many, many years.
Hronia Pola. Axios Axios Axios.

Monday, August 24, 2009

run to the local walmart

I ran to the walmart to meet the family who were shopping for the last of their school supplies. I must have looked horrible because they stopped the car after I had been running only about 1 mile to ask if I was ok. Of course then I thought about potentially not being well for the next mile. Usually they just honk the horn super loud. It was hot, really hot. Then with less then 2/10th of a mile to finish I considered another four miler for the return home after the shopping. That idea was killed when I felt heat as we left the store. That and the fact that the family hadn't eaten dinner yet was enough for me to call it a day. I am glad about 'partnering' up with the strider goup for sat morning runs. Now I just have to think about distance.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Al Gore Slide Show or Irena Sendler Heroism

(posted from email I was forwarded)
Irena Sendler:
Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize
There recently was a death of a 98 year-old lady named Irena. During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an 'ulterior motive' ... She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews, (being German.) Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids..) She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.. During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.
Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize ... She was not selected.
Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.

63 years later

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Starkey Park and Strider Orientation

This was my first run with the Strider Group from the YMCA. My ave. pace was 9.20 which was considerably slower then I hoped for. It was a good run and everyone was very friendly. I ran only two miles with David another runner and host. My plan for next week is to arrive early and keep with a group of runners. It was a real wake up call though because my times were really slow but I felt like I was working. I think it was the combination of heat, the somewhat unknown with the group and of course the fact that my training has been all inside with low mileage. I was glad to get the eight in but I wish the times were faster or at least less effort.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Turkish Barbaritry On Cyprus Here Are Some Stats

500 churches have been pillaged by Turkish soldiers.

133 churches and monasteries have been desecrated.

[60,000 archeological items have been looted and exported.]

16,000 holy icons, [wall paintings, and mosaics] (3,500 ancient Byzantine icons) have been stolen.

77 churches have been converted to mosques.

28 churches are used by the Turkish Army as warehouses and arsenals.

17 churches have been converted into stables.

17 churches have been converted into bars, cafes, nightclubs, and casinos.

1 church — the church of “the Saviour” in the Chrisiliou village, has been converted into a morgue.

Finally, thousands of Holy Icons of the Orthodox Church, manuscripts, murals, and mosaics have been stolen by the Turkish Army from the churches, the monasteries, and the chapels, most of them ending up in international auctions.
(Post Copied from Jn1034 for full article please see their blog).

GREEK PRESS: Ecumenical Patriarch, No Camera, No Prayer, No Panagia

Turkish PM Visits Orphange with His All Holiness

Erdoğan open on minorities, makes first visit to disputed Patriarchate buildingsby NAT da Polis Prime minister makes surprise visit to Bartholomew I and Büyükada Island, home to buildings owned by the Patriarchate, seized by the Turkish government, but recognised as Orthodox Church property by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The Turkish prime minister continues on his path as a Janus-faced leader, in favour of democracy and minority rights on the one hand and playing the Turkish nationalist card on the other.Istanbul (AsiaNews) – An important event took place on 15 August, feast day of the Dormition (Assumption) of Mary. For the first time a Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, visited the orphanage and monastery of Ayia Yorgi (Saint George) of Kudunas on Büyükada (Prince or Foremost) Island in the Sea of Marmara.
Although each April Muslims come on pilgrimage to the reputedly ‘miraculous’ monastery, the importance of Erdoğan’s visit lies in a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which in June 2008 attributed ownership of the disputed property to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.On his arrival Erdoğan and four of his cabinet ministers was met by Patriarch Bartholomew I who welcomed them. The prime minister’s visit, the first one ever by a Turkish head of government to either building, is seen by many as an implicit recognition of the status of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Just before the meeting with Bartholomew, Erdoğan had lunch with representatives of Turkey’s religious minorities (Greek, Armenian, Jewish, Assyrian Orthodox and Catholic), invited by the administration that run the Princes’ Islands, a group of islands inhabited in the past by non-Muslims.
The prime minister told the minority leaders that he hoped that his presence “could help find a solution to the difficult issues that minorities face in the country since the principles of our party, the AKP, are against every form of discrimination, be it regional, religious or ethnic.”
“In our country there should be no differences between the various ethnic groups like the Kurds, Laz, Circassians, or Georgians,” he said, adding that “as a secular state Turkey does have some shortcomings but it also has the capacity to overcome these shortcomings. And we shall do all we can to fulfill the tasks we have undertaken.”
In an ecumenical spirit, Erdoğan cited what could be considered the essence of the Mevlevi Order1 namely that “my neighbour must be met with love because he too was created by God.”
In ending his address Erdoğan cited a Persian saying: “They gathered, talked and dispersed.’ We should not be of those who gather, talk and disperse. A result should come out of this.”
“He gave us a lot of hope and so we are optimistic,” Patriarch Bartholomew I told AsiaNews when asked to comment Erdoğan’s visit and words. “Let us hope that with the help of Our Lady everything works out in the end. His [Erdoğan’s] presence honoured us and gave us an opportunity to directly voice our concerns even if he already knows them.”
Lastly, “We invited the prime minister to come to the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and to Halki,” the patriarch said. “He thanked us for that.”
In covering the visit Turkish newspapers described the prime minister’s move as the second initiative taken by his party to further democratisation.
In Istanbul’s diplomatic circles the gesture is seen as important, as something of great significance, but it must be viewed in light of Erdoğan’s Janus-faced reputation2.
For instance, by December of this year, the prime minister must report on Turkey’s progress in meeting demands for European Union membership. He will have very little to show though, for little has been achieved since the 2007 parliamentary elections, which is a great disappointment since his party successfully used the EU membership in its campaign against Turkey’s Kemalist establishment, centred on the military, currently paralysed by the Ergenekon affair3.
This said, diplomatic sources have also noted Erdoğan’s other face, one, which “with ill-concealed nostalgia, hints at the rebirth of the Ottoman Empire thanks to the new trans-Caucasian pipelines backed by Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, with Turkey as hub, now even willing to acknowledge (on its own terms) the Armenian genocide.
The election of a nationalist AKP leader, Mehmet Ali Şahin, as speaker of the Turkish parliament in replacement of the more progressive Köksal Toptan is another sign of this two-faced policy.
Minority leaders have reacted to Ergogan’s visit to Büyükada Island with cautious optimism. “Time will tell,” said Father Dositheos, an Orthodox priest.
Devlet Bahçeli, head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), instead reacted angrily to the visit, telling the prime minister that the European Union really wants to destroy Turkish identity and undermine the integrity of the Turkish state.
The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) also said that by seeking international legitimacy Erdoğan is trying to shield himself from problems within his party.
(Photos by Nikos Manginas)
1 A Shia confraternity founded in the 13th century in ancient Iconium, where the Christian presence was strong, and influenced the Mevlevi Order and the Alevi.
2 The god Janus is known for his two faces, hence terms like two-faced, Janus, Janus-faced. Erdoğan has been dubbed Janus-faced because of contradictions in his politics.
3 Ergenekon is the name of an underground nationalist organisation accused of terrorism with close ties to the Turkish military. Last year some prominent individuals were charged with encouraging attacks and stirring up popular unrest in order to promote a coup.

Greek Press: His All Holiness, No Prayer, No Service, No CAMERAS

Turkish Clip (full length extended cut) No Cameras No Prayer or Panagia

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A little less talk a lot more action from Turkish Authorities

On August 15, the day of the feast commemorating the Assumption of Virgin Mary and celebrated by Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, Greek pilgrims from many countries made a pilgrimage to the Panagia Soumela Monastery, about 20 km away from Trabzon. They arrived to pay homage to the sacred places, but the Turkish authorities’ plans were different. At the airport they demanded that clergymen take off their crosses and cloaks. The passengers on the ships that arrived from Georgia, as well as on the eight ships from Greece, were not allowed to go ashore.For unknown reasons the Turkish authorities informed their Greek counterparts that some ceremonies at the Panagia Soumela monastery with pilgrims’ participation have been banned this year. Ivan Savvidis, a member of the Inter-Greek Council, called the Turkish authorities’ actions a violation of human rights.The religious ceremony was held in the presence of numerous pilgrims, but interrupted by Turkish officials, who began to pour water on candles and confiscated them thereby trying to stop the service. Since religious services have been held at the monastery from year to year, the Turkish authorities’ actions can be called barbarity that can be a precondition for similar manifestations of primitive savagery in the future.It is noteworthy that the aforementioned events occurred just a few days after Turkish Premier Recep Erdogan held a meeting with representatives of Turkey’s national minorities, including Patriarch Bartholomew of the Greek Orthodox Church. Premier Erdogan was speaking of lofty matters and of love for neighbors in the name of Allah – irrespective of nationality. However, Erdogan must have overestimated the “archetypal nature” of some parts of his own people. The Turkish authorities’ actions are evidence thereof.

Force Times Distance Resulting in Motion --Work

Saint Paul relief icon with 22k gold leaf gesso board egg tempera.
Master Iconographer Elias Damianakis

So basically running is work. Running is force times distance which results in motion. Running is the one activity which will consistently get my attention and get my body moving. Running requires the mind, body, spirit connection. It gets my attention almost immediately and even if one of the three parts of running drift off the body is still moving the spirit is still souring or crashing depending on the moment and the mind is still noting these changes. The lead suit called fatigue must be ignored and you must continue. Telling yourself that it just doesn't matter and to suck it up and move ahead anyway is one of the most character building examination and behavior. It hardens not only your muscles but your mind. The key is in the not minding so much. We have become soft and supple in this day and age where comfort and ease are the determining factors for success. We need to throw off such notions work smarter not harder but work regardless. Blessing is not equatable with satiation or fullness or ease. Blessing require responsibility and follow through. Likewise healing is a process which is similar to training small measures over time transform. It is not hocus pocus. It is the often times gradual modification of behavior, interruption of sometimes obsessive or intrusive thoughts or cycles; coupled or paired with consistent effort to reconnect with what is holy and true. Prayer is work carrying one's cross is difficult and sometimes we carry it even during the most trying times not just when we perceive ourselves as able. This is were practice comes in. Practice and train for the difficult times and you will soon find that fatigue comes later in the processes or not at all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Run from Walmart

Andrew the First Called on gesso bard egg tempera, 22kt gold leaf and Palladium leaf nimbus. Rendered by Master Iconographer Elias Damianakis

After taking the kids to get school supplies I ran home from Walmart. It was a nice enough run with some really fluid moments, some out of time moments and then some instances when finishing the run there and then would have been just fine. Free association was the name of the game tonight. I just let my thoughts wonder to the Phanar, old marathons, getting older, even bullet proof vests. It was interesting to say the least. There seems to be a pull and push tug of war if you prefer between the athletic me and the person who benefits from such a life style and the more laid back lazy hazy day kind of person. But there is on such thing as quiting you never know what else you could quit if you begin quitting. There is no telling what you can accomplish if you just start.

The Wonder of Running

Icon on gesso board, egg tempra, 22k gold leaf. John the Baptist
Master Iconographer Elias Damianakis

The perfect blend of form and function that's the beauty the wonder of running. This evening I set out again for an quick evening run. This was my home loop it is just under three and designed to get me out running even in a pinch. It started raining the lightening during the last mile or so which was nice except I didn't want to break another ipod with water damage. Escaping the lightening was exciting but not scary. When I headed down my street I saw the most excellent view to finish up my adventure the kids. All three of them outside. At first I was upset because of the weather and then I thought how wonderful how great the blessing from my street it can't be beat. Life is perfect we just need to pay attention. The baby was in her car pushed by Stavro and she just lit-up when she saw me and Theophani ran the last twenty yards with me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

need icons?!!

John the Baptist on gesso board. Egg tempra.
Location:Pan Orthodox Chapel, CA

Elias Damianakis, Master Iconographer

Turks: Promise or Propaganda

Photo from Hurriyet

The AKP government has been long on rights-related rhetoric and short on follow-through. Does the AKP’s recent flurry of conciliatory meetings with Kurdish and minority religious leaders mean that long-promised reforms will finally occur? Or is this simply more inconsequential hand-shaking to appease the EU audience?

The Icon Fund, Orthodox Iconography

The Icon Fund, founded by Master Iconographer Elias Damianakis is most easily understood as a scholarship program, started in over ten years ago to meet the liturgical requirements and beautification needs of parishes. Elias is dedicated to building a bridge for the faithful to come together and celebrate the art of the written icon. With the key goal “to preserve our monumental ecclesiastical inheritance and enrich our future” Elias hopes to promote awareness and heighten appreciation for the need for excellence in the restoration and rendering of new iconography throughout the Orthodox community. To be effective and faithful stewards of our faith it is imperative to include the care and reverence for the individual icon. Its reverence and place in any beautification project is essential to Orthodox worship.
The Icon Fund was established to support this ministry ideal and to put forth a viable program. Applications for The Icon Fund are accepted upon interview with the iconographer. The program focuses specifically on the needs of each applicant and requires Elias Damianakis established as the iconographer in resident. Additionally the benefits are in-kind and are not redeemable in a monetary format. The primary goal of the icon fund is to make restorations and new iconography more affordable not to eliminate the shared responsibility the community has.

Elias is always innovating and developing important new platform styles enabling the church faithful to connect directly with their rich history, local area parishes, as well as local and national chapters of non-profit Orthodox church organizations. Through workshops, educational programs and other outreach activities Elias makes it possible to enable local parishes and chapters to collaborate on the beautification projects and to showcase the rich iconographic heritage in their local parishes and worldwide restoration drives. The Icon Fund has undertaken one of the most ambitions programs to date which will continue to provide grants for iconography to communities, parishes and non-profit church organizations.
For additional information on The Icon Fund please visit the website or visit For any other iconography needs or to ask about Elias’ lecture series including guidelines and a detailed outline of future programs please contact Elias Damianakis at

Mark Stokeo spokesperson? I think not

Mark Stokoe a “spokesperson”? Next we will be concerned with George C. Michalopulos or his posy: Scott Pennington, Al Green, Chrys, Dean Calvery, Eliot Ryan, Michael Baumanand and others who sit around day after day with nothing else to do but talk partisan jurisdictional politics and defame the Orthodox Church under the guise of truth. Who exactly is this watchdog helping or serving as he (they) trash the church and drag it through the mud? It would seem that without controversy he (they) would be out of steam. It would be a refreshing to hear nothing from watchdogs like them. Next we'll be getting ‘pastoral care’ and tutelage of Fr. Johannes Jacobse on the AOI website. NO thanks!!! Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The official guestbook of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Cathedral of St George with Erdoğan's script

The official guestbook of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Cathedral of St George with Erdoğan's script

Today 15 August 2009

We visited the Monastery of Saint George with my friends, ministers and deputies, the prefect, the director of safety, and my sub-prefects.A miraculous view and with a grateful/pleasant discussion.

With my greetings and love,Recep Tayyip ErdoğanPrime Minister

(please note that independent translation and verification is not confirmed)

Mood Much Improved I Am Awesome

Never give up never surrender. Just when I thought I'd hate running forever a bit of a breakthrough. Not in terms of personal best time because I didn't carry a watch. I wasn't even sure where the run would take me. I just moved and leisurely ran like play. It was as if I was running through my neighborhood as a child but instead of as a carefree 41 year old. It could have been cartwheels. OK I am overstating the experience but I was invigorating to finally not dread the run not try and convince myself and others about the benefits of running. The run was well what can I say GREAT. I took it to the road and ran outside the 4.7 miles just flew by. I had Theophani in tow and she was dragging but it is good for her to get a reality check with her own training. As for me it was wonderful. The music the rhythm everything was simpatico, flowing runners high that just never quit. I know it wasn't a marathon or anything but the same things that drove me in the house made this run smooth. The distractions the foliage, the plants the traffic and yes even the slight breeze which cut through the humidity. This really lifted my spirit and outlook on running. I remembered today why I love the sport/activity. I thought pretty extensively about the idea of never letting your opponent, opposition, comrades, colleagues, training partners, bystanders, etc see you work. They may see you sweat but they shouldn't ever get that it's challenging. Stop complaining and telegraphing your weakness. The harder it is the more they should see you smile. Suck it up. Get angry whatever works just stop draining yourself of your strength, stop convincing yourself of what you can't do and start doing. If you want to cry laugh your butt off. The mental boost is awesome.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Turkish Prime Minister Promises

Turkish PM promises reform to religious minorities

By Ayla Jean YackleyReuters Saturday, August 15, 2009; 3:13 PM

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan promised democratic reforms on Saturday in a rare meeting with Turkey's religious minority leaders highlighting the issue of minority rights, a key stumbling block in its EU membership bid.
Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and leaders of the small Armenian, Jewish, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic communities had lunch with Erdogan and senior ministers on Buyukada island near Istanbul, a patriarchate official told Reuters on condition his name not be used.
The lunch meeting coincided with government reform moves to address decades-old tensions with the country's 12 million Kurds. Erdogan, a devout Muslim whose government is viewed with suspicion by some for its Islamist roots, alluded in his speech to a broader reform process.
"It is now for us essential to embrace all 71.5 million of this nation's people in respect and love," he said, repeating his opposition to ethnic nationalism and saying his government kept an equal distance to all faiths.

"Are there shortcomings in implementation? There are. We will overcome these together in this struggle. I believe this democratic initiative will change many things in this country," he said in comments reported by broadcaster CNN Turk and confirmed by patriarchate official.
Erdogan and Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the world's 250 million Orthodox, later toured the Aya Yorgi Church, where they had a private conversation in which the patriarch voiced his community's concerns, the official said. The two men last met in 2006.
Erdogan and Bartholomew also visited a former orphanage on Buyukada that the Turkish state seized from a Greek Orthodox foundation a decade ago. The European Court of Human Rights ruled last year Turkey had wrongly confiscated the property, but the government has yet to implement that ruling.
Bartholomew also raised the issue of the closed Orthodox seminary on the nearby island of Heybeli, or Halki in Greek, but Erdogan made no statement on the issue, the official said.
"We believe the prime minister is looking for a way to open the school. There is movement on this," the official said. "It was a very positive, very friendly meeting."
Turkey signaled last month the seminary may open after pressure from the EU and U.S. President Barack Obama, who has called for its restoration during a visit to Turkey in April.
The EU has made re-opening the Halki seminary a litmus test of the government's commitment to religious freedom for non-Muslims in largely Muslim but officially secular Turkey.
Turkey closed the Halki seminary in 1971 during a period of tension with Greece over Cyprus and a crackdown on religious education that also included Islamist schools.
About 2,500 ethnic Greeks remain in Turkey, as well as approximately 60,000 Armenians, 20,000 Jews and 10,000 Syriacs.
The meeting with the minority leaders was organized by Turkey's chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagis, who was in attendance with the other ministers.
(Writing by Daren Butler; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Don't Let Training be the Distraction

I don't want my life to be preoccupied with running or training as I often loosely refer to it. The run is suppose to give a point during the day when the focus is on mind body and spirit cohesion. Too much of my life has been where there was disunity and disconnect. This time spent integrating the three establishes a koinia a space for conversion. I can't approach the body of the church if I am running away from my 'temple' (body). I can't intellectually respond to the spiritual discourse if I am not able to go inward and self-reflect living in a world of denial. I need to bring to a halt the weakness which the enemy exploits and use it for good. In the psychological circles this would be called sublimation. Running essentially brings my mind and soul into focus by pressuring the body into submission. Its change is slow but it is real and evident. This process of attempting some noetic experience while still in the world is not hocus pocus it required self discipline and a nurturing. I hope that running helps in this purpose or it is in vain that I have made such an effort to keep in motion. Ironically I have to move to remain still.

Prayer Banned Wake-up America

Moral Code and Legalism- Guilt and Self-condemnation

There are times when I am at a loss for the direction of this blog. Those entries which seem to be all over the place lacking one purpose or direction. Today will be about the run, tomorrow the Phanar, the following day the corruption of the unpracticed or un-churched. This blog's inception was one to document my running and to become a part of the running community online lending my voice to that experience. It became almost immediately clear that my voice cannot be voiced and therefore heard without including my religious beliefs. Ultimately then my running is simply an extension of my sum or whole outlook and praxi. It is impossible to separate my faith, my belief, my allegiances from everyday life.
Secularism and humanism which plagues our society is pushing the now popular mandate requiring that religious tendencies be left in the private sector. I find this to be a radical idea which speaks to the irrationality of relativism and some obscure 'progressive' notion which claims itself to be more respectful and sensitive to individual difference. To be a member of the faith is unity in Christ and therefore I am a slave to my belief. It is not a casual encounter with the Mysteries during my time off. It is a living experience of communing with God. How should I suppose to limit that to private time?
How do I then also divorce myself from the loyalty and love for the See of the Phanar who is the finest example of our line back to Andrew back to Christ? Truth emanates from God it is not intrinsic to humans. I find personal comfort that I am unable to separate thoughts, opinions and emotions from this reality. This is true religion, not dead rituals, which has gotten a bad reputation today. I am on the spiritual quest of healing and renewal. Through this lens and filter I seek repentance and turning away from falsehood. I chose to discuss and clarify this religion of Orthodoxy with those who maintain another opinion (heresy). I forgo political correctness and the niceties for truth. Polite cordiality must yield as there is a primacy of ideals which lead to truth. Give up the falsehood and cleave to the truth which the holy martyrs died for. Remember that Christ lead the way for the martyrdom of the Church.
My challenge is to denounced immorality and heresy without self-righteous pride or false piety. Without passing judgement on the infirmed of which I am also counted the need to address moral concerns is imperative. Loving we need to reach out and show that our determination to cleave to sin will condemn us will drag us away from God. Actions and beliefs and emotions should lead us to integration with God. Destruction of the soul is demoralizing the culture and society and the family and the will of God's people to unite with Him.
We have become soft and disinterested in God, on a frenzy of indulgence to the most immoral behavior and worldview. It destroys the determination, stamina and volition to do God's work. Without excusing or in some way validating immoral behavior and choices we can still extend love and in a non punitive way help to re-unite them to the church to the restorative nature of the faith and the Church. Too often I allow my emotion to overcome my intellect. This is indicative of my own inadequacy as I too often confuse passion for zeal. Let temperance and prudence light the way. Remember as we allow the sin to fall away from our renewed nature we will find peace and love.
Our reluctance to rid ourselves of the shame and sin is indicative of how fractured we have become how far form God we have grown. We cannot cleave to sin and believe that we also serve our Creator. We cannot blame God for the shortcomings and demoralization of man. Tolerance and acceptance of sin; in essence making room for the sin to set up house in our lives; is not an expression of compassion, empathy or brotherly love. It is an excuse not to save our brother to to extend a life line back to the church. Let's pray for reconciliation for ourselves and for one another. After all we are all on the road to reconciling our fallen state with God. I have never met or heard of a pious person who lived with regret.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Go ahead pat yourself on the back you deserve it!

My run today was better then they have been recently. I got a mental boost by when I reviewed an older running journal. I found my training log from this time last year and I have shaved minutes off my miles and added over 1,000 miles to credit. I want to emphasize the need to document your running activity. The progress is not always obvious in the present moment and it requires reflection and objective markers. Writing down your mileage pace and other pertinent details about your training proves essential in the long term. Unlike traditional diaries which seem artificial this log or documentation is fundamental and it's structure is driven by practicality. Form follows function.