Thursday, September 1, 2011

growing “in the likeness” of God

"God’s grace renders us worthy today to commence yet another ecclesiastical year, one more festive cycle, within whose blessed opportunities we are called to struggle spiritually in order better to evaluate the potential that we have been granted for growing “in the likeness” of God so that we also might become His saints". --Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarchate

So today I found it appropriate to commence my marathon training. My summer sabbatical was much needed. As providence would have it this evening was a cool 87 degrees with a slight breeze. I will overlook the humidity in the spirit of optimism. Xena came with me my true running partner. During 3+mile outing i thought about the dependability of the road to always be there to recall carefree times when my legs where like well greased wheels of a locomotive. Xena was barking encouraging me with her enthusiasm for the open road. I am blessed to have this outlet for myself. Time to think less, to pay attention more, to be challenged and to enjoy the marvelousness of God. Tonight I was joined by a few bats those nocturnal wonders.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Clinton on Opening Halki

"We also hope that a process will include civil society and parties from across the political spectrum. And of course, I hope that sometime soon we can see the reopening of the Halki Seminary that highlights Turkey’s strength of democracy and its leadership in a changing region."  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's address to Turkish Foreign Minister

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Archbishop Chrysostom: The Turks want to destroy all trace of Christianity from Cyprus

Nicosia, July 4, 2011
In a recent meeting, Štefan Füle, Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, and Archbishop Chrysostom of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus talked about Turkey's plan to destroy every trace of Christian present on the island of Cyprus. This was reported by the Greek information agency, Romfea.

"We told him," related the Archbishop upon his return from Brussels, "that the Turks want to wipe every trace of Christian presence on our motherland, which is occupied by Turkish forces, from the face of the earth, and that the majority of all monuments all already under threat of total eradication.

Archbishop Chrysostom assured Mr. Füle that Cyprus has never experienced any problems with Turkish Cypriots, and is not experiencing them now. The problem is basically with Ankara, noted the Primate of the Cypriot Church. In his opinion, the presence on Cyprus of colonists from Turkey and the Turkish military contingency is an abuse of human rights and religious freedom.

Fule on his part assured the Archbishop that he would relate these concerns to the Turkish side.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Metropolitan Jonah: Asceticism and the Consumer Society (Source AOI

His Beatitude’s remarks were delivered at the Acton University plenary session on Thursday, June 16, in Grand Rapids, Mich. AU is a “four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society” with the aim of deepening students’ knowledge of philosophy, Christian theology and “sound economics.” This year’s event attracted more than 600 people from 70 countries across a broadly ecumenical spectrum that included Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim lecturers, students, clergy and business people.

For more on the Acton Institute see its Core Principles, its scholarly Journal of Markets & Morality, the quarterly Religion & Liberty, and the PowerBlog.
Download Aceticism and the Consumer Society (.pdf).

Among other things, living our life in Christ requires that we grasp the spiritual significance of two opposing forces with us:

1.The flesh vs. the body

2.The world vs. creation

In the current social context, and so for this evening’s conversation, let me please add another set of opposing movements in the human heart:
1.Consumerism vs. worship

Following traditional Orthodox (and orthodox) theology, the first of these terms—the flesh, the world and consumerism—refer to humanity in rebellion against God. Even when we refer to “the world” we are referring to how creation has become disordered by human sinfulness. Because of Adam’s sin and mine, my body, the creation and the works of my hands have all become estranged from God. Not only that, they have also become sources for my estrangement. As we have become estranged from God, oblivious to God, the body, created matter and the works of our hands, have become idols. They become the means of endless distraction from the reality of God, of communion with one another, and from both life and death.
Thus the tragic paradox of the fall, the great tragedy of human sinfulness is this: the gifts of God have become distorted. Rather than drawing us closer to Him and to each other, we misuse the good things of God to our own harm, spiritually, morally, psychologically, socially and physically. In the words of the Prophet David:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them (Ps 135:15-18).

The second of these terms—the body, creation and worship—are likewise richly anthropological. But here they refer to a way of life built on obedience to God. If idolatry strikes man dumb and breathless, obedience animates him and makes him sing out in the praise of God. Again from the Prophet David:

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples (96:1-3).

Just as our sin obscures our ability to perceive the beauty of creation and our own humanity, our obedience to God renews both and reveals their true beauty (see Romans 8:18-25).

In the theology of the Orthodox Church obedience is our response to God. Broadly speaking this response has two foundations: holy baptism (and really, all the sacraments) and metanoia, that change of heart by which we turn personally from our sin and toward the Living God in “faith, hope and love” (see 1 Corinthians 13:13). But repentance is more than turning away from sin. It is turning to God, and allowing Him to renew and transform our very consciousness. It is turning from self-will to obedience, from egocentric “dancing alone” to synergy. It is only through a life of obedience to God that we can rightly exercise the gifts God has given us.

Repentance renews our vision of creation, through our bringing our mind and heart into synergy with God. Fundamental to this obedience is the stewardship of the material world, and its proper use to glorify God. Through repentance God enlightens our hearts to see and know that the eucharistic Bread and wine become Christ’s body and blood; baptismal water is filled with the Presence of the Spirit and sanctifies us; oil of Chrism is sanctified and becomes the means of imparting the Gift of the Holy Spirit. These things, these material elements, are revealed not as ends in themselves, bread simply to be eaten and wine to be drunk, but become the means of communion with God. This sacramental vision ultimately extends to the entire creation, where everything is a means of communion, everything and everyone is filled with grace. It is not the creation that is found,wanting, but rather our hearts, our ability to perceive.

This evening I want to speak with you about the second of the two foundations of the obedient life: repentance. How is it that, in response to divine grace, we can come to live in obedience to God? A second question, and one which I think speaks broadly to the lectures and conversations that have occupied you this week, is this: What does this obedient life mean for us who live in society that has become increasingly materialistic and driven more and more by a desire to consume rather than to sanctify creation eucharistically?

The Orthodox liturgical theologian Fr Alexander Schmemann was an astute social commentator. In one of his most well respected works, For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy, he points out that we live a “secular age.” By this he means not that we no longer believe in God or that we reject “some kind of transcendence and therefore of some kind of religion.” No, what contemporary society rejects and negates is the worship of the God Who is the source, means and goal of human life. Secularism, for Schmemann, is “in theological terms … a heresy … about man.” At its core this heresy
is the negation of man as a worshiping being, as homo adorans: the one for whom worship is the essential act which both “posits” his humanity and fulfills it. It is the rejection as ontologically and epistemologically “decisive,” of the words which “always, everywhere and for all” were the true “epiphany” of man’s relation to God, to the world and to himself: “It is meet and right to sing of Thee, to bless Thee, to praise Thee, to give thanks to Thee, and worship Thee in every place of Thy dominion…”1

While as religious believers we may disagree among ourselves as the to the exact nature, context and form of worship, if we are faithful to our respective traditions as Jews, Christians, and Muslims, we know that our disagreements do not obscure, and more importantly must not be allowed to obscure, our fundamental agreement with the anthropological fact that to be human in the fullest sense is impossible apart from the worship of God.

As an Orthodox Christian, I believe (and I suspect many of you here this evening would agree with me on this) that both “worship in general and the Christian leitourgia in particular” presuppose “the sacramental character of the world and of man’s place in the world.” Again, the particulars of that are a source of some debate and even disagreement among Christians much less across religious traditions. We ought not to deny this. Nevertheless when we look at “the world, … it in its totality as cosmos, or in its life and becoming as time and history” the created order is “a means of [God’s] revelation, presence, and power.” To put the matter somewhat differently, the physical creation (and so humanity) “not only ‘posits’ the idea of God as a rationally acceptable cause of its existence” it also “truly ‘speaks’ of Him and is in itself an essential means of knowledge of God and communion with Him, and to be so is its true nature and its ultimate destiny.”2

As St Paul says, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image… Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts…” Rom 1:20-24.

Man was created with an intuitive awareness of God and thankfulness to Him for the creation. In return, the creation itself was made to be a means of communion and revelation of God to man. Man was thus created as a Eucharistic being, the priest of creation, to offer it in thanksgiving to God, and to use it as a means of living in communion, the knowledge and love of God. Man was created to worship. In our fallenness, turning from God to created things as ends in themselves, we lost the intuitive knowledge of God and our essential attitude of thankfulness to Him. Secularism is rooted in this loss of divine awareness, the darkening of our intuitive perception of the creation as the sacrament of God’s Presence. It is a denial of our essential reality as human beings, and our reduction to purely material animals. Thus the refusal to worship and give thanks, to offer the creation in thanksgiving back to God, is a denial of our very nature as humans.

What Schmemann is testifying to is that “worship is truly an essential act, and man an essentially worshipping being.” It is “only in worship” that I can find “knowledge of God and therefore knowledge of the world.” As the etymology of the word orthodoxy suggests, the true worship of God and the true knowledge of God converge and are together become the foundation of obedience to Him.

Asceticism, the Cross and the Healing of the Person

Knowledge in the context of the Orthodox Church’s tradition is not a matter of abstract facts about the world, much less God. Rather knowledge is synonymous with love and intimacy—knowledge in this context means “communion with God and therefore [in God] communion with all that exists.”3

All this is negated by secularism and as a result, the human person is left with a spiritual void that manifests itself concretely as shame and self-loathing. Reflecting on the widespread problem of alcohol and drug addiction in post-Communist Russian society, the bishops of the Orthodox Church in Russia have this to say:

The principal reason for the desire of many of our contemporaries to escape into a realm of alcoholic or narcotic illusions is spiritual emptiness, loss of the meaning of life and blurred moral guiding lines. Drug-addiction and alcoholism point to the spiritual disease that has affected not only the individual, but also society as a whole. This is a retribution for the ideology of consumerism, for the cult of material prosperity, for the lack of spirituality and the loss of authentic ideals. In her pastoral compassion for the victims of alcoholism and drug-addiction, the Church offers them spiritual support in overcoming the vice. Without denying the need of medical aid to be given at the critical stages of drug-addiction, the Church pays special attention to the prevention and rehabilitation which are the most effective when those suffering participate consciously in the eucharistic and communal life.4

Alcoholism, drug addiction, the normalization of sexual immorality, as well as consumerism, and the pursuit of material prosperity as an end in itself, all of these are symptoms of the deep spiritual void created by secularism.

The fruit of secularism is despair.

I will leave to others better qualified than I to discuss and debate the social history of secularism and how we have come to be held so tightly in its grip. This evening I come to you as a pastor. While as the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America will often and necessarily require of me that I address social issues and matters of public morality, my primary concern always is as bishop and as Christian who God has entrusted with the great work of healing the wounds sin inflicts on the human heart. How does Christ liberate us from the “spiritual emptiness, loss of the meaning of life and blurred” morality that enslave each and every one of us both personally and as a society?

The solution we are looking for is the Cross of Jesus Christ. It is His Cross that heals a fallen creation, a fallen humanity, and me as a sinner. Reflecting on the appropriateness of Christ’s death on the Cross as a public proclamation of God’s love for humanity, St Athanasius the Great writes:

[I]f the Lord’s death is the ransom of all, and by his death “the middle wall of partition” is broken down, and the calling of the nations is brought about, how would he have called us to him, had he not been crucified? for it is only on a cross that a man dies with his hands spread out. Whence it was fitting for the Lord to bear this also and to spread out his hands, that with the one he might draw the ancient people, and with the other those from the Gentiles, and unite both in himself. For this is what he himself has said to all: “I, when I am lifted up,” he says, “shall draw all men to me.”5

The Christian ascetical life, that is the life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, the works of mercy and obedience, is the application and the appropriation of the Cross to my life. It is the means by which I both enter into a life of communion with God and become myself a sacrament of that communion for others. This is possible because at its most basic level, asceticism “is the struggle of the person against rebellious nature, against the nature which seeks to achieve on its own what it could bring about only in personal unity and communion with God.” Our “restoration” to a life of personal communion with God and so our personal “resistance” to the powers of sin and death, “presuppose a struggle” within each human heart that is often lacking in contemporary society and even our churches.6

This struggle IS the ascetical life and as an Orthodox Christian I believe that I cannot effectively preach the Gospel if I neglect my own person podvig, my own personal ascetical struggle to live a life in conformity to Christ. So clearly I am not referring here to “just any kind of asceticism.”7 Fasting, for example, simply to make ourselves more attractive to others is also a type of asceticism; it is the false asceticism of consumerism that encourages rather than mortifies our egoism. Likewise we can work longer hours so that we can simply own more things. This too is a false form of asceticism because it too is grounded in egoism.

The asceticism that is need to preach the Gospel, and so offer hope and healing to those gripped by the materialism and despair of secularism and the false idol of consumerism, is the kind of asceticism by which we “resist death in our own bodies.” This happens I believe only by our “conformity to the example of Christ, who willingly accepted death so as to destroy death.” As with worship, we may disagree among ourselves as Jews, Christians and Muslim as to the source, content and form of the ascetical life. But is it so daring to say that, on anthropological grounds at least, we agree among ourselves that “Every voluntary mortification of the egocentricity which is ‘contrary to nature’ is a dynamic destruction of death and a triumph for the life of the person” and so society?
Can we not as religious believers and as men and women of good will, in our own lives, in the lives of our respective communities and in our society at the very least foster a renewed appreciation and practice of asceticism?

+Jonah is Archbishop of Washington and New York and the Metropolitan of all America and Canada of the Orthodox Church in America.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Twelve (12) Episcopal Assemblies Global











11. Scandinavian countries (except Finland).?


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Halki 40 Years After Forces Closure 112th Congress 1st Session

United States of America PROCEEDINGS and ; DEBATES OF THE 112th CONGRESS, 1st SESSION
Vol. 156 Washington, Tues., May 24, 2011 No. 7 Senate


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I am pleased to be joined today by Senators Snowe, Reid, Shaheen, Whitehouse, and Menendez in introducing a resolution calling upon the government of Turkey to facilitate the reopening of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Theological School of Halki without condition or further delay.

I was privileged to again meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, during his 2009 visit to the United States. His impassioned request to those of us gathered was for our support for the reopening of the Theological School of Halki, forcibly closed by the Turkish authorities in 1971. In this year marking the 40th anniversary of that tragic action, I urge the Turkish leadership to reverse this injustice and allow this unique religious institution to reopen

Founded in 1844, the Theological School of Halki, located outside modern-day Istanbul, served as the principal seminary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until its forced closure. Counted among alumni of this preeminent educational institution are numerous prominent Orthodox scholars, theologians, priests, and bishops as well as patriarchs, including Bartholomew I. Many of these scholars and theologians have served as faculty at other institutions serving Orthodox communities around the world.

Past indications by the Turkish authorities of pending action to reopen the seminary have, regrettably, failed to materialize. Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, met with the Ecumenical Patriarch in August 2009. In an address to a wider gathering of minority religious leaders that day, Erdogan concluded by stating, ``We should not be of those who gather, talk and disperse. A result should come out of this.'' I could not agree more with the sentiment. But resolution of this longstanding matter requires resolve, not rhetoric.

In a positive development last August, the authorities in Ankara, for the first time since 1922, permitted a liturgical celebration to take place at the historic Sumela Monastery. The Ecumenical Patriarch presided at that service, attended by pilgrims and religious leaders from several countries, including Greece and Russia. Last November, a Turkish court ordered the Buyukada orphanage to be returned to Ecumenical Patriarchate and the transfer of the property has been completed.

As one who has followed issues surrounding the Ecumenical Patriarchate with interest for many years, I welcome these positive developments. My hope is that they will lead to the return of scores of other church properties seized by the government. In 2005, the Helsinki Commission, which I co-chair, convened a briefing, ``The Greek Orthodox Church in Turkey: A Victim of Systematic Expropriation.'' The Commission has consistently raised the issue of the Theological School for well over a decade and will continue to closely monitor related developments.

The State Department's 2010 Report on International Religious Freedom is a reminder of the challenges faced by Orthodox and other minority religious communities in Turkey. I urge the Turkish Prime Minister to ensure respect for the rights of individuals from these groups to freely profess and practice their religion or beliefs, in keeping with Turkey's obligations as an OSCE participating State.

The 1989 OSCE Vienna Concluding Document affirmed the right of religious communities to provide ``training of religious personnel in appropriate institutions.'' The Theological School of Halki served that function for over a century until its forced closure four decades ago. The time has come to allow the reopening of this unique institution without further delay.

I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.


Mr. CARDIN (for himself, Ms. SNOWE, Mr. REID of Nevada, Mrs. SHAHEEN, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, and Mr. MENENDEZ) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:

S. Res. 196
Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarchate is an institution with a history spanning 17 centuries, serving as the center of the Orthodox Christian Church throughout the world;
Whereas the Ecumenical Patriarchate sits at the crossroads of East and West, offering a unique perspective on the religions and cultures of the world;

Whereas the title of Ecumenical Patriarch was formally accorded to the Archbishop of Constantinople by a synod convened in Constantinople during the sixth century;

Whereas, since November 1991, His All Holiness, Bartholomew I, has served as Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch;

Whereas Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997, in recognition of his outstanding and enduring contributions toward religious understanding and peace;

Whereas, during the 110th Congress, 75 Senators and the overwhelming majority of members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives wrote to President George W. Bush and the Prime Minister of Turkey to express congressional concern, which continues today, regarding the absence of religious freedom for Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in the areas of church-controlled Patriarchal succession, the confiscation of the vast majority of Patriarchal properties, recognition of the international Ecumenicity of the Patriarchate, and the reopening of the Theological School of Halki;

Whereas the Theological School of Halki, founded in 1844 and located outside Istanbul, Turkey, served as the principal seminary for the Ecumenical Patriarchate until its forcible closure by the Turkish authorities in 1971;

Whereas the alumni of this preeminent educational institution include numerous prominent Orthodox scholars, theologians, priests, bishops, and patriarchs, including Bartholomew I;

Whereas the Republic of Turkey has been a participating state of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) since signing the Helsinki Final Act in 1975;

Whereas in 1989, the OSCE participating states adopted the Vienna Concluding Document, committing to respect the right of religious communities to provide ``training of religious personnel in appropriate institutions'';

Whereas the continued closure of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Theological School of Halki has been an ongoing issue of concern for the American people and the United States Congress and has been repeatedly raised by members of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and by United States delegations to the OSCE's annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting;

Whereas, in his address to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on April 6, 2009, President Barack Obama said, ``Freedom of religion and expression lead to a strong and vibrant civil society that only strengthens the state, which is why steps like reopening Halki Seminary will send such an important signal inside Turkey and beyond.'';

Whereas, in a welcomed development, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, met with the Ecumenical Patriarch on August 15, 2009, and, in an address to a wider gathering of minority religious leaders that day, concluded by stating, ``We should not be of those who gather, talk, and disperse. A result should come out of this.'';

Whereas, during his visit to the United States in November 2009, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I raised the issue of the continued closure of the Theological School of Halki with President Obama, congressional leaders, and others;

Whereas, in a welcome development, for the first time since 1922, the Government of Turkey in August 2010 allowed the liturgical celebration by the Ecumenical Patriarch at the historic Sumela Monastery; and

Whereas, following a unanimous decision by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in 2010, ruling that Turkey return the former Greek Orphanage on Buyukada Island to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on the eve of the feast day of St. Andrew observed on November 30, the Government of Turkey provided lawyers representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the formal property title for the confiscated building: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) welcomes the historic meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I;

(2) welcomes the positive gestures by the Government of Turkey, including allowing allowed the liturgical celebration by the Ecumenical Patriarch at the historic Sumela Monastery and the return of the former Greek Orphanage on Buyukada Island to the Ecumenical Patriarchate;
(3) urges the Government of Turkey to facilitate the reopening of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Theological School of Halki without condition or further delay; and

(4) urges the Government of Turkey to address other longstanding concerns relating to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion or Belief

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron: Dangerous of Spiritual Life

I had the blessed fortune of meeting and dining at the same table with Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron during the Patriarchal Visitation to Tarpon Springs. He is a man of true humility and affection whose source must be holy and sublime. Archimandrite Vasileios demonstrated a genuine interest in the care of our children. He was most pleasantly surprised to learn that our daughter Theophani was named for the iconographer of the monastery and seemed almost astonished to learn our son Stavronikitas was named for the monastery itself. In all his years he never met anyone with that name and upon his return to the Holy Mountain he sent the most beautiful books for Stavronikitas' edification.

By Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron

The spiritual life is interesting because it is dangerous. At any moment the last can become first and the first last.

Great are not the noise-makers who raise themselves as spiritual leaders or prophets, to amaze and to asphyxiate the world. Great is the humble and "nonexistent", who have received the supplication of the Spirit and are the consolation of the world. Grace is enough for them. And this they emit perpetually with the radiance that endlessly feeds from the contrition of the heart and the feeling that they have polluted the land with their presence. For they themselves are a blessing for all creation while they live and though they may pass, because the Holy Spirit gives meaning and reason to their presence and absence.

On the other hand, once you believe that you are something in virtue or knowledge, then you lose everything and you become polluted, regardless of whether you - or others - think that you are a model of virtue and the renewal of spiritual life.

That which is possessed by the Saints are not human talents or qualities: wisdom, poetry or rhetoric. But all these they sanctified by offering them to God. And through them is manifested the Grace that comforts and deifies humanity.

From the book Apolytikion. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

PTL Club Slain in the Spirit Satan Among You

Turkish Policy is Notably Regretable Talk About Piggish

While Turks protest phantom discriminations in the west requesting the extreme in allowances for their mineretts they continue to descetrate Christian sites. Now monesteries are converted to hotels. Google translates from Greek for your convience. The Greek Article also shown just below.

When the Turks turn to the Byzantine monasteries hotels we build the mosque.
The monastery flourished for five centuries now became «Gamirasu». The cloisters of monks carved into volcanic rock, were suites with jacuzzi and underfloor lighting. The cost of accommodation is € 1.200 per day. The owner, a former mule drivers, has every reason to be proud as the most famous tourist guides recommend it to "stay with spiritual search.
"Live like hermits - monks a thousand years ago, if I had at their disposal room service and jacuzzi.
The devastating description of an American tourist guide causes instinctive reaction, even one not possessed of strong religious feelings. A quick search leads to the site luxury hotel which, according to advertising, working in place of a Byzantine monastery with cloisters sometimes be configured in suites!
The «Gamirasu Cave Hotel» is located in the depths of Anatolia, the region of Cappadocia, very close to Procopius (or Urgup in Turkish), the city where the martyred St. John the Russian and so far saved the church by name. From there, a few kilometers, the visitor encounters the village of Ayvalik Koghias - is synonymous with the history or Ayvalik Kydonies the coast of Asia Minor in recent years has been put on the map of tourist destinations in Turkey due to the existence of this quirky hotel.
Apparently one of the dozens of hotels with facilities cave developed in the volcanic region of Cappadocia. But this stands out precisely because it is the location for about five centuries of Byzantine monastery functioned around a church with frescoes from the 8th century AD
Area is characterized by the Turks cradle of civilizations, Cappadocia has, among other things, important religious monuments, underground and ground churches, monastic cities and popular hagiography cultivated in the cloisters iconoclastic period. A multicultural heritage that the neighbors rush in recent years to canonization, attracting millions of tourists, including many thousands of Greeks.
The case of course of the undertaking is the emergence of hundreds of monuments which invests in Cappadocia, Turkey travel. A Byzantine monastery converted into a hotel and the monks' cells have been transformed into suites with whirlpool and underbody led lights in shades of red and blue. The image of the "Byzantine royal suite" of «Gamirasu» refers to a hotel room, Day use. Only here the night priced at 1,200 euros. The salt of the data rates in the region starting from 150 euros for a simple double coupled with the uniqueness of the sites hosted hermits for centuries - the monks are, apparently, the credentials of this tourist facility in the pages of prestigious and widely read guidebooks.
Publications such as «Traveller» of Conde Nast, the «Forbes», the «Financial Times», the German «Bild» and many other forms of general and special interest have included in recent years in the tributes to proposing it for spiritual uplift offered by the labyrinthine spaces, dug for ten centuries into the volcanic rock. According to one of the offerings, this hotel on German interests by investing some locals. Indeed, another article states that the owner, sometimes very poor mule drivers, has every reason to be proud for the company that now employs several villagers on the map and put little Ayvalik.
The «Gamirasu Cave Hotel» ran for the first time about ten years and was recently renovated, offering now more rooms and suites to cut jobs once used as hermitages. Byzantine Icons centuries - some substandard conserved - adorn many of the existing rooms with rugs, the gossamer lids and heavy wooden furniture.
The Church of the 8th century, around which had emerged since the monastery is in a state of collapse, virtually stripped of its paintings, a unique component 'decorating' a backpack ... Furthermore, modern building additions and ancillary facilities, such as blinds, solar panels and satellite dishes, have altered the character of the landscape, which probably goes unnoticed for the Turks, but not for specific forms of travel, the who put in many of the publications that the whole of the hotel is not known for its special taste of the premises. This observation, however, does not act as a deterrent to many young couples who present the mayor with a backdrop of sometimes cloisters of monks choose to where the wedding ceremony.
In the monastery - a hotel can be booked through Greek portal which works with large international website bookings. Only in his presentation is not any reference to historicity, but described as "luxuriously renovated Hotel - cave, which has rooms built with traditional volcanic stone, vaulted ceilings and decorated in traditional Turkish style."
Episkeptes 2.2 million in 2010!
Featuring recent years the number of historical sites in Cappadocia and investing in reverence in religious tourism, the Turks have managed to develop the region, with tourist arrivals to record year on year growth rates significantly. Thus, while the Greek tourism counts his wounds and large resorts famous islands in the southern Aegean have come under the hammer in the interior of Turkey's brand new luxury hotels with SPA services and the famous oriental steam bath await guests.
In 2010 more than 2 million tourists visited Cappadocia, in accordance with data from local authorities. Arrivals totaled 2.18 million, of which approximately 1.5 million were tourists from abroad, increased by 30%.
Indicative of attempts to exploit the hinterland made the Turks is the systematic promotion of balloon flights made in volcanic valleys. Even before dawn, when the weather is usually favorable in terms of volume of air, dozens of oversized balloons skyrocket in baskets with their would-be conquerors of the skies on flights within the valleys and around natural domes that millions of years ago created the hot lava from volcanoes.
In early Christian times the area of Cappadocia was one of the main focus of spreading the new religion. There appeared notable religious leaders at the time of St. Gregory and St. Basil's. Christianity spread rapidly throughout central Anatolia. The first places of worship were generally small monasteries and places of isolation, which showed no particular building shape. These sites were located near ravines and inaccessible places, and that because Christians were still being persecuted.
When Constantine the Great in the early fourth century adopted the religion and moved the capital of the Roman Empire in Constantinople, Christianity spread rapidly in Cappadocia. This intensified the construction of churches, monasteries and other Christian sites. The period of iconoclasm (the 8th century AD) reduced the influence of churches and monasteries, but after 843 AD, when the Empress Theodora restored and restored images, founded new churches, inside of which was decorated with frescoes and icons. The beautiful paintings and pictures of the Byzantine era created the centuries that followed.

Όταν οι Τούρκοι μετατρέπουν τα βυζαντινά μοναστήρια σε ξενοδοχεία εμείς τους χτίζουμε τζαμί.
Το Μοναστήρι που ήκμασε για πέντε αιώνες έγινε τώρα «Gamirasu». Οι σκήτες των μοναχών, λαξευμένες σε ηφαιστειογενή βράχο, έγιναν σουίτες με υδρομασάζ και υποδαπέδιους φωτισμούς. Το κόστος διαμονής είναι € 1.200 την ημέρα. Ο ιδιοκτήτης του, πρώην αγωγιάτης, έχει κάθε λόγο να περηφανεύεται καθώς οι πλέον γνωστοί τουριστικοί οδηγοί το προτείνουν για «διαμονή με πνευματική αναζήτηση».

«Ζήστε όπως οι ερημίτες - μοναχοί πριν από χίλια χρόνια, αν θα είχαν στη διάθεση τους υπηρεσίες δωματίου και τζακούζι».

Η ισοπεδωτική περιγραφή σε αμερικανικό τουριστικό οδηγό προκαλεί την ενστικτώδη αντίδραση, ακόμα και κάποιου που δεν διακατέχεται από έντονα θρησκευτικό συναισθήματα. Η γρήγορη αναζήτηση οδηγεί στην ιστοσελίδα πολυτελούς Ξενοδοχείου το οποίο, σύμφωνα με τη διαφήμιση, λειτουργεί στη θέση ενός βυζαντινού μοναστηριού, με τις άλλοτε σκήτες να έχουν διαμορφωθεί σε σουίτες!

Το «Gamirasu Cave Hotel» βρίσκεται στα βάθη της Ανατολίας, στην ευρύτερη περιοχή της Καππαδοκίας, πολύ κοντά στο Προκόπιο (ή Urgup στα τουρκικά), την πόλη όπου μαρτύρησε ο Άγιος Ιωάννης ο Ρώσος και μέχρι σήμερα σώζεται η εκκλησία με το όνομά του. Από εκεί και σε απόσταση λίγων χιλιομέτρων ο επισκέπτης συναντά το χωριό Αϊβαλί Κογιού - πρόκειται για συνωνυμία με το ιστορικό Αϊβαλί ή Κυδωνίες στα παράλια της Μικράς Ασίας που τα τελευταία χρόνια έχει μπει στον χάρτη των τουριστικών προορισμών της Τουρκίας λόγω της ύπαρξης του ιδιόμορφου αυτού Ξενοδοχείου.

Φαινομενικά είναι μία από τις δεκάδες Ξενοδοχειακές μονάδες με υπόσκαφες εγκαταστάσεις που έχουν αναπτυχθεί στην ηφαιστειογενή περιοχή της Καππαδοκίας. Μόνο που αυτή ξεχωρίζει ακριβώς επειδή βρίσκεται στη θέση όπου για περίπου πέντε αιώνες λειτουργούσε βυζαντινό μοναστήρι, γύρω από μια εκκλησία με αγιογραφίες του 8ου αιώνα μ.Χ.

Περιοχή που χαρακτηρίζεται από τους Τούρκους κοιτίδα των πολιτισμών, η Καππαδοκία έχει να επιδείξει, εκτός των άλλων, σημαντικά θρησκευτικά μνημεία, με τις υπόγειες και επίγειες εκκλησίες, τις μοναστικές πολιτείες και τη λαϊκή αγιογραφία που καλλιεργήθηκε στις σκήτες από την εικονοκλαστική περίοδο. Μια πολυπολιτισμική κληρονομιά την οποία οι γείτονες σπεύδουν τα τελευταία χρόνια να αγιοποιήσουν, προσελκύοντας εκατομμύρια τουριστών, μεταξύ των οποίων και πολλές χιλιάδες Έλληνες.

Η περίπτωση βέβαια της συγκεκριμένης επιχείρησης απέχει από την ανάδειξη των εκατοντάδων μνημείων της Καππαδοκίας στην οποία επενδύει τουριστικά η Τουρκία. Ένα βυζαντινό μοναστήρι έχει μετατραπεί σε Ξενοδοχείο και τα κελιά των μοναχών έχουν διαμορφωθεί σε σουίτες με υδρομασάζ και υποδαπέδιους led φωτισμούς σε αποχρώσεις του κόκκινου και του μπλε. Η εικόνα από τη «βυζαντινή βασιλική σουίτα» του «Gamirasu» παραπέμπει σε δωμάτιο Ξενοδοχείου ημιδιαμονής. Μόνο που εδώ η διανυκτέρευση τιμάται στα 1.200 ευρώ. Οι αλμυρές για τα δεδομένα της περιοχής χρεώσεις που ξεκινούν από τα 150 ευρώ για ένα απλό δίκλινο σε συνδυασμό με τη μοναδικότητα των χώρων που για αιώνες φιλοξενούσαν ασκητές - μοναχούς είναι, καθώς φαίνεται, τα διαπιστευτήρια της εν λόγω τουριστικής μονάδας προς τις σελίδες των εγκυρότερων και πολυδιαβασμένων τουριστικών οδηγών.

Εκδόσεις όπως το «Traveller» του Conde Nast, το «Forbes», οι «Financial Times», η γερμανική «Bild» και πολλά άλλα έντυπα ειδικού και γενικότερου ενδιαφέροντος το έχουν συμπεριλάβει τα τελευταία χρόνια στα αφιερώματά τους, προτείνοντας το για την πνευματική ανάταση που προσφέρουν οι δαιδαλώδεις χώροι του, σκαμμένοι εδώ και δέκα αιώνες μέσα στον ηφαιστειογενή βράχο. Σύμφωνα με ένα από τα αφιερώματα, το συγκεκριμένο Ξενοδοχείο αφορά γερμανικών συμφερόντων επένδυση μέσω κάποιων ντόπιων. Μάλιστα, σε άλλο άρθρο, αναφέρεται ότι ο ιδιοκτήτης του, άλλοτε πάμφτωχος αγωγιάτης, έχει κάθε λόγο να περηφανεύεται για την επιχείρηση που σήμερα απασχολεί αρκετούς συγχωριανούς του και έβαλε στον χάρτη το μικρό Αϊβαλί.

Το «Gamirasu Cave Hotel» λειτούργησε για πρώτη φορά πριν από περίπου δέκα χρόνια και ανακαινίστηκε πρόσφατα, διαθέτοντας πλέον περισσότερα δωμάτια και σουίτες στις λαξευμένες θέσεις που κάποτε χρησιμοποιούνταν ως σκήτες. Βυζαντινές Αγιογραφίες αιώνων - κάποιες κακότεχνα συντηρημένες - κοσμούν αρκετά από τα σημερινά δωμάτια με τα κιλίμια, τα αραχνοΰφαντα σκεπάσματα και τα βαριά ξύλινα έπιπλα.

Η εκκλησία του 8ου αιώνα, γύρω από την οποία είχε διαμορφωθεί τότε το μοναστήρι, βρίσκεται σε κατάσταση κατάρρευσης, σχεδόν απογυμνωμένη από τις αγιογραφίες, με μοναδικό στοιχείο «διακόσμησης» ένα σαμάρι... Παράλληλα, οι σύγχρονες κτιριακές προσθήκες και οι βοηθητικές εγκαταστάσεις, όπως τα σκιάδια, τα ηλιακά πάνελ και τα δορυφορικά πιάτα, έχουν αλλοιώσει τη φυσιογνωμία του τοπίου, κάτι που μάλλον περνά απαρατήρητο για τους Τούρκους, όχι όμως και για τους ειδικούς των ταξιδιωτικών εντύπων, οι οποίοι επισημαίνουν σε πολλά από τα δημοσιεύματά τους ότι στο σύνολο του το Ξενοδοχείο δεν διακρίνεται για την ιδιαίτερη καλαισθησία των χώρων του. Η παρατήρηση αυτή πάντως δεν δρα ανασταλτικά για πολλά νεαρά ζευγάρια τα οποία παρουσία του δημάρχου και με φόντο τις άλλοτε σκήτες των μοναχών επιλέγουν να πραγματοποιήσουν εκεί τη γαμήλια τελετή τους.

Στο μοναστήρι - ξενοδοχείο μπορεί κάποιος να κάνει κράτηση και μέσω ελληνικής δικτυακής πύλης η οποία συνεργάζεται με μεγάλο διεθνή ιστότοπο κρατήσεων. Μόνο που στην παρουσίασή του δεν γίνεται η οποιαδήποτε αναφορά στην ιστορικότητά του, αλλά περιγράφεται ως «πολυτελώς ανακαινισμένο Ξενοδοχείο - σπήλαιο, που διαθέτει δωμάτια χτισμένα με παραδοσιακές, ηφαιστειακές πέτρες, θολωτές οροφές και διακόσμηση σε παραδοσιακό τουρκικό στυλ».


2,2 εκατομμύρια επισκέπτεs μέσα στο 2010!

Αναδεικνύοντας τα τελευταία χρόνια το πλήθος των ιστορικών μνημείων της Καππαδοκίας και επενδύοντας με ευλάβεια στον θρησκευτικό τουρισμό, οι Τούρκοι έχουν καταφέρει την ανάπτυξη της ευρύτερης περιοχής, με τις αφίξεις τουριστών να σημειώνουν χρόνο με τον χρόνο σημαντικά ποσοστά αύξησης. Έτσι, την ώρα που ο ελληνικός τουρισμός μετρά τις πληγές του και μεγάλα ξενοδοχειακά συγκροτήματα σε φημισμένα νησιά του νοτίου Αιγαίου έχουν βγει στο σφυρί, στα ενδότερα της Τουρκίας ολοκαίνουρια πολυτελή ξενοδοχεία με υπηρεσίες SPA και τα φημισμένα ανατολίτικα χαμάμ περιμένουν τους επισκέπτες.

Το 2010 περισσότεροι από 2 εκατομμύρια τουρίστες επισκέφτηκαν την Καππαδοκία, σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία των τοπικών αρχών. Οι αφίξεις έφτασαν τις 2,18 εκατομμύρια, εκ των οποίων περίπου 1,5 εκατομμύριο ήταν τουρίστες από το εξωτερικό, σημειώνοντας αύξηση κατά 30%.

Ενδεικτική της προσπάθειας αξιοποίησης της ενδοχώρας τους που καταβάλλουν οι Τούρκοι είναι η συστηματική προώθηση των πτήσεων με αερόστατο που γίνονται στις ηφαιστειογενείς κοιλάδες. Πριν ακόμη ξημερώσει, οπότε οι καιρικές συνθήκες είναι συνήθως ευνοϊκότερες όσον αφορά στην ένταση του αέρα, δεκάδες υπερμεγέθη μπαλόνια ανεβάζουν στα ύψη το καλάθια με τους επίδοξους κατακτητές των αιθέρων σε πτήσεις μέσα στις χαράδρες και γύρω από τους φυσικούς τρούλους που πριν από εκατομμύρια χρόνια δημιούργησε η καυτή λάβα από τα ηφαίστεια.


Στα πρώτα χριστιανικά χρόνια η περιοχή της Καππαδοκίας αποτέλεσε ένα από τα βασικά επίκεντρα εξάπλωσης της νέας θρησκείας. Εκεί εμφανίστηκαν αξιόλογοι θρησκευτικοί ηγέτες κατά την εποχή του Αγίου Γρηγορίου και του Αγίου Βασιλείου. Ο χριστιανισμός διαδόθηκε γρήγορα σε ολόκληρη την κεντρική Ανατολία. Οι πρώτοι τόποι προσευχής ήταν εν γένει μικρά μοναστήρια και τόποι απομόνωσης, που δεν παρουσίαζαν ιδιαίτερο οικοδομικό σχήμα. Οι τόποι αυτοί βρίσκονταν κοντά σε χαράδρες και σε δυσπρόσιτους τόπους και αυτό διότι οι χριστιανοί ήταν ακόμα υπό διωγμό.

Όταν ο Μέγας Κωνσταντίνος στις αρχές του 4ου αιώνα θέσπισε την ανεξιθρησκία και μετέφερε την πρωτεύουσα της ρωμαϊκής αυτοκρατορίας στην Κωνσταντινούπολη, ο χριστιανισμός διαδόθηκε πολύ γρήγορα στην Καππαδοκία. Έτσι εντάθηκε η ανέγερση εκκλησιών, μοναστηριών και άλλων χριστιανικών μνημείων. Η περίοδος της εικονομαχίας (τον 8ο αιώνα μ.Χ.) περιόρισε την επιρροή των εκκλησιών και των μοναστηριών, όμως μετά το 843 μ.Χ., οπότε η αυτοκράτειρα Θεοδώρα αποκατέστησε και αναστήλωσε τις εικόνες, ιδρύθηκαν νέες εκκλησίες, το εσωτερικό των οποίων διακοσμήθηκε με τοιχογραφίες και εικόνες. Οι ωραιότερες αγιογραφίες και εικόνες της βυζαντινής εποχής δημιουργήθηκαν τους αιώνες που ακολούθησαν.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pope John Paul II Assassination Attempt 1981

On May 13, 1981 Turkish national Mehmet All Agca shot and seriously wounded  His Holiness Pope John Paul II  in St. Peter's Square.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Islam Peace Progress Update Cairo

Religion of Peace Update:

By: Father Mark Hodges

A group of armed Muslims marched May 7 on Saint Mena Co...ptic Orthodox Church, one of the oldest churches in Egypt, and the resulting violence caused at least three deaths, news media reported.

In Cairo, at least 12 people were killed and 232 others were wounded in clashes outside a Christian Church.

A small group of Coptic Christians gathered near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo May 9 to condemn the government for not doing more to protect them and called for international protection of the country's Christian community, CNN said. Soldiers blocked access to the U.S. embassy.

In one Cairo neighborhood, bricks were thrown from rooftops on Christian protesters. Chants of "with our souls and blood we will sacrifice ourselves for the Cross" were heard, according to CNN.

Gunfire was heard in Alexandria, sending people running for cover, according to a May 8 report from CNN.

Tensions between Muslims and Christians have increased after a recent U.S. government report highlighted hostility directed against the minority Coptic Orthodox Christians in the predominantly Muslim society, CNN said.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Di Tzeitung. (AP) Omits Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

President Obama & his staff watching the operation that killed
Osama bin Laden digitally altered to remove
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton &;
 Counterterrorism Director Audrey Tomason
Brooklyn weekly Di Tzeitung. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

This Ultra-Orthodox Jewish paper has a traditon of omitting all images of women from its paper as a way of advancing the cause of women by protecting their modest sensibilities. This is essentially their position because it removes all possibility of men to objectify their female counterparts; again their position. Quite frankly, it only serves to erase completely from current events and history the contributions of women. The article is posted for your review. (How do they acknowledge women leaders like Golda Mier on the anniversary of her birth which just past May 3rd?)

By Verena Dobnik The Associated Press

NEW YORK — An Orthodox Jewish newspaper apologized Monday for digitally deleting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from a photo of President Barack Obama and his staff watching Navy SEALs move in on Osama bin Laden.

The Brooklyn weekly Di Tzeitung, which says it doesn't publish images of women, printed the doctored photo Friday. It issued a statement saying its photo editor hadn't read the “fine print” accompanying the White House photo that forbade any changes. The newspaper said it has sent its “regrets and apologies” to the White House and the Department of State.

A second woman, Counterterrorism Director Audrey Tomason, also was deleted from the photo, which captured a historic moment in the decade-long U.S. effort to apprehend the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Di Tzeitung said it has a “long standing editorial policy” of not publishing women's images. It explained that its readers “believe that women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like, and the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite.”

The weekly said Clinton, a Democrat who represented New York as a U.S. senator, had won overwhelming majorities in the Orthodox Jewish communities because they “appreciated her unique capabilities, talents and compassion for all.”

Di Tzeitung, published in Yiddish, is sold at city newsstands, especially in Brooklyn's Williamsburg and Borough Hall neighborhoods, which have many Orthodox Jewish residents. It acknowledged it “should not have published the altered picture.”

An editor at a Manhattan weekly that has covered Jewish issues since the 1890s addressed why the Brooklyn newspaper might have altered the image. The Forward's managing editor, Lil Swanson, said that removing women from photos is “in keeping with” the belief of some ultra-Orthodox Jews that showing images of the female form is “immodest.”

In the original photo of the White House Situation Room, Obama and his national security team are gathered around a table, following in real time the operation that culminated in the killing of bin Laden at his Pakistani compound on May 1.

The White House, which issued the photo, had no comment Monday on the removal of the women from it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Psychological Testing for Ordination Candidates OCA Solution

Melanie Ringa presented her extensive Treasurer’s report, after which it was resolved to make some minor adjustments to the 2011 budget. Among the adjustments are ... funding for psychological evaluation of all ordination candidates..."

What a mouth full for sure. It speaks volumes about what the Synod considers of its clerics and hierarchs. Just three months ago there were rumors circulating that Met. Jonah is unhinged. Now they are recommending a battery of secular psychological tests for clerics. Generally mental illness and psychological pathologies become pretty  evident rather quickly. You would think that an astute seminary would take note of such issues in their seminarians. I can't imagine subjecting churchmen to secular and most often times heretical and pagan ideals of human wellness and reasoning. Perhaps we could take Yoga and chant t-r-a-n-q-u-i-l-i-t-y after a biofeedback session.

 Let's just look at Maslow who seems harmless enough not controversial like Sigmund. For example and his hierarchy the pinnacle of man's authenticity and bliss is derived from self actualization. This is actually demonic; as man cannot self actualize no matter how much the ego tells us we can. We actualize if we must use the term at all when through illumination we experience theosis.  We can only become actualized through Christ. Then there is Bettelheim who blamed mothers of autistic children for being cold; with his 'good enough' mother theory only matched in cruel malpractice by his ideas on enchantment. We can always go with Jung and his archetypes to explain our fascination with religion and obsession with death. Then there is Anna Freud and her defense mechanisms where the ultimately we have no chance for healing purity or an honest thought. If we could all just sublimate then  we'd have astronomers (a voyeur's' just reward) not peeping toms. Of course we can look into Erickson,  Piaget,  Pavlov, Skinner...

You don't need a Rorschach Test to know someone is psychotic. You don't need Mezmer and hypnotism to quit smoking. It is about choosing Christ each and every moment. It is not about Faith alone but about commitment, loyalty and service to His Kingdom. The church doesn't require validation from an MMPI psychological test. We don't need psychodrama in council meetings. We need to lock up the perpetrators and encourage the victims to put blame and shame where it belongs on those responsible.

 The are chasing their tails over at the Synod and Synod Lesser. They have become so perplexed as to why the laity are all walking out. Perhaps they are looking for a lithmus test to keep out lavender clerics and not neurotic ones. One small detail they missed. The the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), previously known as DSM-V [until the APA decided to abandon the Roman Numerals] maintains a consistent concensus about homosexuality. The American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and similar institutions around the world, is that the research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality. Oops.
 It is pretty obvious now why the OCA attaches the Mystery of Confession with the Mystery of Communion. They have taken the secular model of psychotherapy and tried to force it on the church. Confession and pastoral guidance are not synonymous. My confession is between God, my confessor and me. I think the OCA is on very shaky ground sadly.

Perhaps I should be more optimistic because award winning and self aggrandizing Josephus Flavius aka Byzatnine Texas has this to say: "Quite a comprehensive update. I'm quite surprised by a number of items discussed. This outline of events, if not of great detail, still show a transparency in Church affairs not often matched by other jurisdictions. For as interesting as this is, the minutes from the synodal meeting are also well worth reading (the new processes and restrictions on determining a locum tenens bishop, the role of chancery staff, the make-up of the Lesser Synod, clarification of the office of chancellor, interviewing episcopal candidates, and the vital importance of proper handling of sexual abuse cases)".

HOMERUN no really a very practical approach to spiritual

Saturday, May 7, 2011

There is NO autocephalous Church in America

Here on my blog there is no censorship. This has been yanked from other sites which claim to encourage dialogue but only support personal retreat. I'm an all in sort and I will stand beside those who speak truth to power. This author although an authority in his own field and having received international acclaim for his devotion and tireless effort for the Church has been banned from 'open' forums. In the spirit of religious freedom and speech which I believe is still legal in America I am reposting it in it's entirety without any further comment  for your edification. I only ask that we repost  this in the spirit of everything that is good about Americans. Let's make this go viral.

Author Iconographer Elias Damianakis, Archon Maestor
My initial thoughts on a stupid blog post I recently read called “Who is the Guarantor of American Autocephaly?” What a sad question. The question is itself obviously written by someone with serious neurotic proclivities and delusions of grandiosity.

The author seems to miss several points or does he? Perhaps he simply can’t deal with reality, uh oh fertile ground for another complex disorder.

The first and most important fact; there is no American Autocephalous Church. There is only one jurisdiction, the OCA, which accepted unilateral and anomalous granting of autocephaly from Moscow. A tomos which is not recognized by the Church at large or at least a large majority of Canonical Orthodox Churches irrespective of linguistics. This linguistics issue is another fable created by the “internet pentarchy” and has taken root in some futile minds… The idea “only the Greek churches” don’t recognize the autocephaly is simply another bigoted attempt at separating Orthodoxy according to ethnic lines. I’d find it humorous if it weren’t so sad that those who decry inclusiveness are the first to denounce the use of Greek (Hellenic), the language and peoples: God used as to fulfill the revelation the Word, of the Gospels, of the Ecumenical Councils, of the original Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, of the language of the Holy Fathers… Greek language and Hellenic identity is the source for the revelation of our faith, the only language which fully articulated the concepts of Christianity and yet according to them it can’t understand the necessity for autocephaly in America.

Additionally the OCA “is a servant to Orthodox unity” according to the respected Archbishop Dmitri, NOT autocephaly as those cohorts of the AOI would assert. The spin machine is hard at work to confuse the public. They are crafting the message “Autocephaly or subjugation” They are perverting a Traditional Orthodox praxis and order. They should be saying be ready for schism, for that’s the route they are promoting autocephaly at any cost. Autocephaly not simply UNITY for Orthodoxy in America.

The Ortho Hero Syndrome individuals like Jorge Mikhalopoulos, Michael Bowmen, Scott Peningstown, Dean Kalvertsi and other repeat offenders under the spiritual tutelage of such nonentities as Rev John Jakobsee a disgruntled priest with hidden agendas and a Rasputin like syndrome of self grandiosity and the gift of non-clear discernment. In their compulsion to help make the Orthodox world right again, they clearly utilize Hellenophobia, patriarchophobia, and OrthoEcclesiophobia while attempting to conceal their serious case of nonautocephaliophobia and realitiphobia… They are unique in the sense they suffer from both Napoleonic and Superiority complexes simultaneously. They fear subjugation which doesn’t exist in Orthodoxy and they know exactly how everything can be ordered and/or corrected. They have in essence hijacked Rum Orthodoxy and replaced their brand of Eastern Orthodox and label it as traditional, normative and promote it as authentic. They move as far West as you can get and brand it Orthodox, isn’t that nice.

They continually stroke each others sensitive egos on websites and blogs with very respectable names including authoritative terms such as institute, ancient faith, beacon and lone defender with backing of several respectable clergy and distinguished individuals which no way changes there deceitfulness.

They promulgate and insist autocephaly is the standard for Orthodoxy. They promote autocephaly exists and demand it without ambiguity or disagreement. Anyone who suggests otherwise is attempting to subjugate the “American” church, very Samuel Adams of them. Next they will be pouring incense into the sea to symbolize their Orthodox tea party. They either willingly or ignorantly promote the Russian expansionist ideology of the Moscow Patriarchate begun long before the establishment of the Alaska mission.

They spread subtle ambiguous lies like “the See of Constantinople, which claims universal jurisdiction over the Greek-speaking peoples of the world” which not only is completely inaccurate but creates a self-dictating propaganda. Anyone with a slightly influenced religious constitution would seem this to be an honest statement.

The false concept that an apostolically founded See only serves their respected ethnic community is preposterous. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, for historical accuracy, lead dozens of ethnicities without prejudice through the millennia. It still reserves the canonical authority to do so, as has been proven by all other legitimate Churches in recent years by Synaxis and Councils called and held by Constantinople. Further misinformation by these minions of deceit is “Since Byzantium has fallen there is no reason for that See to exist”. How truly ignorant. The Church founded by the Apostle Andrew was never a church for any political empire rather it was a church located in the City of Constantinople (originally Byzan/modern day Istanbul) for all Orthodox Christians not only in that particular Metropolis but according to Canon 28 for those lands not under any other Patriarchal jurisdiction’s clearly defined Tomos’ geographical boundaries or the ‘barbarian lands’. Of course Moscow and its dependencies challenge this because they have for centuries broken this law without consequence.

As everyone is aware the See of Constantinople has survived living under various political rulers; Pre-Roman until 330 AD, Roman [known as Byzantine] until 1453, Ottoman until 1922 and today the Republic of Turkey. These varied political rulers have not kept the Patriarchate from spiritually leading its flocks by any criteria though the modern political situation particularly as the Ottoman Empire began to dissolve offers many opportunities for lively discussion about the opportunistic frenzy for autocephaly spurred on by natotionalism which took place in the 19th and 20th centuries or the difficulties placed on it by modern Turkey’s “secular” government. However this is fodder for another blog.

Another pearl of deception by Jeorge Mikhalopoulos is “Granting Turkish citizenship to the Greek bishops by Constantinople” suggesting that the See of Constantinople has the ability to grant citizenship or desires create an “Hellenic subjugation to the Turkish state … over the entire American Orthodox Church”. First they say the See of Constantinople is dwindling because of Turkish oppression then they say the Holy See is a diplomatic tool of the Turkish state. I find it hard to believe any body could buy into this ridiculous idea. Turkey would control the American church (I am laughing out loud) but there are imbeciles in the world who make this stuff up... another sad ignorant position.

They believe unless all bishops in America have American citizenship “it makes trans-jurisdictional unity all but impossible”. To them American ethnocentricism is the only acceptable form of ethno-phyletism. The same individuals who decry nationalism and phlyetism run rampant in the GOA and it must be stopped say “bishops of Anglo-American descent to view foreign citizenship as anything less than scandalous”. The scandal is the idea that citizenship has anything to do with the church governance. The only criterion is baptism and chrismation in the canonical church, not what kind of passport you hold (did I say imbeciles already?). The emphasis on citizenship requirements by these troublemakers rings hypocritically with the call for no ethnicities… another sad ignorant position.

Their insistence that Traditional Orthodox Praxis would be “Subjugation to the Phanar” is an offense to all Orthodox Christians. The term subjugation is a simple fear mongering term on their part. They suggest we would be subjugated to an old world patriarchal synod but ‘free willed’ under the OCA or some sort of autocephaly synod here in the USA. Hierarchal Synods are Hierarchal Synods they are run by certain canons and are not there to subjugate its communicants; perhaps they feel the anomalous actions of the OCA are par for the course. They are not… another sad ignorant position.

They have begun to reframe the conversation even within the OCA and suggest that the OCA is a “servant of American autocephaly” which perverts the comments of Archbishop +Dmitri when he said The OCA is “a servant to [Orthodox] unity.” NOT autocephaly. There is a distinct and profound difference not only in historical concept but more importantly perhaps to Orthopraxis.

There is one thing for sure they do not suffer from zelophobia! They thrive on jealousy, deceit and schism. Anyhow those are my initial thoughts; rest assured I’ll be back with more…

heinous crimes: Zero Tolerance and Complete Transparency (NOT)

Try a Refreshing Approach: Zero Tolerance and Complete Transparency STOP DRAGGING THE CHURCH THROUGH MUD.

Why is it that the church seems content to conceal within its ranks the most heinous crimes? How is it that they could possibly find it ethically, morally or legally appropriate to deal with crimes under some sacred seal of the church?

Wouldn't a zero tolerance be the best shield against deformation law suits? Isn't the protection of  children and the flock a moral imperative? What creates actual liability to the Church? Relocation; ongoing at infinitum investigations; the standard protocol of allowing abusive and destructive clerics to simply retire as if that is corrective action, therapeutic or justice; dismissing misconduct as mutual and consensual; demonizing the abused as 'troubled'; failing to immediately suspend cleric with compensation if necessary until allegations are address in doing so the priest no longer has a platform or bully-pulpit to sway public opinion or intimidate; suspension would openly acknowledge that the hierarch is concerned and seriously attending to the allegation otherwise an endorsement or a vouching for the cleric is perceived. Laity generally would perceive inaction as exoneration as surely the bishop would never allow such things to continue. What about the church harboring a perpetrator as opening a real legal can of worms. That would seem better reason to call State Authorities and the FBI then a few email leaks. THE CHURCH IS CALLED TO HEAL NOT TO SIMPLY DO NO HARM (which also seems to be beyond its ability).

The deranged actions of an individual who is removed, suspended, sanctioned, exposed and simultaneously turned over to the states attorneys office or child protective services for its independent investigation would amputate the cancer and exonerate and over time reduce the liability of the broader church. I wish the church at the OCA would stop functioning as a corperation and start behaving like churchmen. It should seem obvious even to the oblivious, that  due diligence, not a cavalier anemic systemic "deny, deny, deny" approach  "protecting at all cost  clerics' defending their eccentric proclivities  and serving portfolios investments.

The OCA should begin to listen more to its conscience then to their lawyer. The OCA has been bent on concealing rather then corrective action. Where are all the moral men said to have committed themselves to leading children and adults to the Church to Christ. It would seem that more credence is given to the boys club then to any victim. I would say that we should start speaking in terms of alleged perpetrator and not alleged victim.



Diocese of the Midwest Chancery
Chicago, Illinois
2-4 May, 2011

Present were:
His Beatitude, JONAH, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America, and Canada,
His Eminence, NATHANIEL Archbishop of Detroit, and the Romanian Episcopate
His Grace, NIKON, Bishop of Boston, of New England, and the Albanian Archdiocese
His Grace, TIKHON, Bishop of Philadelphia, and Eastern Pennsylvania, (Secretary)
His Grace, BENJAMIN, Bishop of San Francisco, and the West
His Grace, ALEJO, Bishop of Mexico City, and the Exarchate of the United States of Mexico
His Grace, MELCHISEDEK, Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania (Interim Chancellor)
His Grace, MICHAEL, Bishop of New York and New York and New Jersey.
His Grace, MATTHIAS, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest.
His Grace, MARK, Bishop of Baltimore, Administrator of the Diocese of the South
His Grace, IRENEE, Bishop of Quebec City, Administrator of the Archdiocese of Canada

Absent was:
His Grace, IRINEU, Bishop of Dearborn, Auxiliary Bishop of the Romanian Episcopate

Monday, May 2, 2011
His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH opened the Spring Session of the Holy Synod on Monday, May
2, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. with the singing of the Paschal Troparion and “The Grace of the Holy Spirit…”
Address of the Metropolitan
Metropolitan JONAH presented his written report and offered further oral comments concerning his recent leave of absence and offered some proposals for moving forward.

The members of the Holy Synod each offered responses to the address of the Metropolitan. They
discussed the relationship of the Holy Synod with the Metropolitan in the past and for the future.

The Holy Synod began the process for establishing clear policies and procedures for the Holy Synod
to allow for better communication and accountability within the Holy Synod.

Pastoral Issues


The Holy Synod discussed several areas of concern in the Church, including a case of clergy
interference in another diocese, an unresolved clergy misconduct case and concerns about a monastic


The Holy Synod received the assurance of His Beatitude’s definitive action in the case of the
monastic community and will prepare official documents in reference to the clergy misconduct case.
The Holy Synod also acted decisively in the case of the clergy interference case.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Review of Minutes of Sessions I and II


Bishop TIKHON presented a draft of the private minutes of the previous day’s meetings. Members
of the Holy Synod submitted corrections.


The Holy Synod approved the minutes of the May 2, 2011 sessions of the Spring Session and
appended their signatures to the document.
Policies and Procedures


Bishop BENJAMIN presented four resolutions related to the Holy Synod.

Discussion followed.


The following four resolutions were approved by the Holy Synod with the understanding that they
would be further reviewed in the ongoing development of policies and procedures for the Holy


Resolution 1 – LOCUM TENENCY

Be it resolved this day, May 3, 2011, by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America,
meeting in the City of Chicago, IL, pertaining to Article VI, Section 8 of the Statute of the OrthodoxChurch in America which states “In the event of a vacancy in the office of diocesan bishop, a locum
tenens, appointed by the Metropolitan, shall convoke and preside over the Diocesan Assembly
whose sole purpose at this time shall be the election of a new diocesan bishop,” that the Metropolitan
shall appoint a locum tenens from among the other hierarchs of the Synod and not himself, so as not
to burden the Primate with supervision of multiple dioceses.

Resolution 2 – the Officers of the Church
The Holy Synod affirms Article II, Section 7, m, which places within the competence of the Holy
Synod the “appointment, upon the recommendation by the Metropolitan Council, of the Chancellor,
Secretary, Treasurer and other officials whose competence or service extend beyond the boundaries
of a single diocese.” The Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America is distinct and separate from
the chanceries of the various dioceses, including the Diocese of Washington DC. At this time, it is
understood that the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America is located at 6850 N. Hempstead
Turnpike, Syosset, NY 11791. It is resolved this day, May 3, 2011, by the Holy Synod of the
Orthodox Church in America, to understand “and other officials…” in the Statute cited above to
mean and encompass the chancery staff and membership of the various offices and departments of
the OCA which function under the authority of the Holy Synod, the Metropolitan being the presiding
officer of the Synod. The officers of the Orthodox Church in America are confirmed by the Synod
upon recommendation of the Metropolitan Council and are dismissed from service by the Synod
upon recommendation of the Primate, as their service is to all the dioceses of the Church. Thus the
chancery of the Orthodox Church in America is understood to be the Synodal Chancery, the other
hierarchs, including the Metropolitan, having their own diocesan chanceries.

Resolution 3 – the Permanent Lesser Synod
Be it resolved this day, May 3, 2011, by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America,
meeting in the City of Chicago, Il, in accordance with Article II, Section 6 of the Statute that the
Lesser Synod be considered the executive committee of the Holy Synod and empowered to meet
every second month to exercise oversight of all matters except those excluded by Article II, Section
7, c, of the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America on behalf of the entire Synod. The
membership of the Permanent Lesser Synod shall consist of the Metropolitan, the Secretary of the
Holy Synod and two other hierarchs elected by the entire Synod. The Lesser Synod is charged with
oversight of the execution of policies and decisions of the entire Synod and those of the Metropolitan
Council blessed by the Synod. As Primate, the Metropolitan shall be the chairman of the Permanent
Lesser Synod. The Metropolitan, as the Chairman of the Synod, shall seek and receive prior
agreement of the Lesser Synod for all programs and initiatives relating to the external and internal
affairs of the Church. The Lesser Synod also exercises oversight of the officers of the Church and
its various departments and offices on behalf of the whole Synod. The term of service on the Lesser
Synod shall be for a period of one year.

Resolution 4 – the Chancellor
Be it resolved this day, May 3, 2011, by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America,
meeting in the City of Chicago, IL, that the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America is the
chief of operations of the Synodal Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America and is accountable
to the entire Synod of the Orthodox Church in America. He manages the day to day operations of
the Synodal Chancery, the other officers, departments and offices of the Church.

Episcopal Matters

In closed session, the Holy Synod considered several episcopal matters.
Officer’s Reports
Report of Treasurer


Melanie Ringa, OCA Treasurer, presented her report (attached).


The Holy Synod heard the report of the Treasurer and thanked Melanie Ringa for her work.
Report of Secretary


Fr. Eric Tosi, OCA Secretary, presented his report (attached).


The Holy Synod heard the report of the Secretary and thanked Fr. Eric Tosi for his work. The Holy
Synod will review the agenda for the upcoming All American Council in Seattle.
External Affairs


Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky of the Department of External Affairs presented his report. He addressed
several issues within the internal life of the Orthodox Church in America and summarized recent
developments in world-wide Orthodoxy.


The Holy Synod heard the report of the Department of External Affairs and thanked Fr. Leonid for
his work.
Meeting with SMPAC


The Holy Synod heard a presentation from the Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee
(SMPAC). The SMPAC reviewed their expanded white paper and the requested documentation for
it, both of which had previously been presented to the Holy Synod. They offered their thoughts on
several specific cases now under review and expressed their deep concern for the proper and
unequivocal implementation of the current Policies, Standards and Procedures of the OCA on all
levels of the Church and in all cases.
They spoke of the critical need for the Holy Synod, the clergy and the faithful of the Church to be
educated in the proper response to allegations of sexual misconduct and noted their great concern
over a prevailing attitude which prefers the ignoring of these problems or hopes for theirdisappearance.
The SMPAC assured the Holy Synod that their documents and their concerns were soely a means to
document lessons learned, not to bring accusations against any individual person or organization.
They expressed their fervent desire to receive the Holy Synod’s assurance, not only that proper
policies are put in place, but most importantly that they be followed.


The Holy Synod thanked the members of the SMPAC for their presentation and for their dedication
and commitment to the critical matter of clergy sexual abuse. They also expressed their gratitude for
their professional advice and counsel in these matters and asked for their continued guidance to the
Holy Synod.

The Holy Synod acknowledged the errors and failures documented and pledged to both continue
their review of the SMPAC report and to address any of the failures and weaknesses so that they are
not repeated in the future.
The Holy Synod also made several requests of the SMPAC to provide concrete aids so that the
hierarchs might better educate their clergy and faithful in these matters and to help them better
evaluate and respond to cases of sexual misconduct.
Interview of Episcopal Candidates


The Holy Synod interviewed two potential Episcopal candidates.
Board of Theological Education


Bishop TIKHON presented the report of the Board of Theological Education (BTE) and presented
for approval the candidates for ordination to the diaconate. Other matters related to theological
education were discussed.


The Holy Synod approved the candidates as presented by the Board of Theological Education.
Clergy Matters


In closed session, the Holy Synod considered several clergy cases.


The Holy Synod acted on the clergy cases presented. The actions taken will be reflected in the
official clergy changes prepared by the Chancery office.
Clergy Awards


Fr. Eric Tosi presented the list of clergy awards from the Diocesan Hierarchs.


The Holy Synod reviewed the list and approved those clergy who had been presented for awards.
Lesser Synod


In accordance with the adopted resolution on the Lesser Synod, the Holy Synod discussed the filling
of those position.


The Holy Synod elected the following members of the Holy Synod as members of the Lesser Synod:
Metropolitan JONAH, Chair
Bishop NIKON
Bishop TIKHON, Holy Synod secretary
SMPAC Report

The Holy Synod heard the request of the governance committee of the Metropolitan Council that it
be provided a copy of the SMPAC report. The Holy Synod also heard a report concerning the
improper distribution of the report.

The Holy Synod blessed the OCA legal committee to receive a copy of the SMPAC report.
The Holy Synod instituted a spiritual court to investigate the alleged distribution of confidential and
sensitive documents to unauthorized recipients.

His Beatitude, JONAH, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America, and Canada,
His Eminence, NATHANIEL Archbishop of Detroit, and the Romanian Episcopate
His Grace, NIKON, Bishop of Boston, of New England, and the Albanian Archdiocese
His Grace, TIKHON, Bishop of Philadelphia, and Eastern Pennsylvania, (Secretary)
His Grace, BENJAMIN, Bishop of San Francisco, and the West
His Grace, ALEJO, Bishop of Mexico City, and the Exarchate of the United States of Mexico
His Grace, MELCHISEDEK, Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western PA, (Interim Chancellor)
His Grace, MICHAEL, Bishop of New York and New York and New Jersey.
His Grace, MATTHIAS, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest.
His Grace, MARK, Bishop of Baltimore, Administrator of the Diocese of the South
His Grace, IRENEE, Bishop of Quebec City, Administrator of the Archdiocese of Canada