Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Foreign to the Western Mind, is the GOOD and NON-Democratic Reality of Christ's Church

27 June 2016

Moscow Patriarchate tells Constantinople democracy is irrelevant in church life

Moscow, June 27, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church reminds the Constantinople Patriarchate about incomparability of democracy traditions with taking decisions at the Council.

The discussion started with the words of the Constantinople archbishop who made it clear that all decisions taken by the inter-Orthodox Council on Crete would be compulsory for all Orthodox Churches, including those who did not participate in it.

"You come from a democracy. Everyone can vote. Now some people choose not to vote. Does that mean you don't live in a democracy?" Archbishop Job of Telmessos said resuming the results of the session on Friday answering the question of a Russian journalist.

"I understand that atmosphere on Crete is tense and it is tiresome to talk to journalists. But I believe comparing a Church Council to the democratic procedure is not successful and hardly relevant when voiced by the Council speaker," deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Archpriest Nikolay Balashov told Interfax-Religion .

"There has not been democracy in the Church from the first centuries, and there won't be," he said, explaining that democracy is the rule of people, and power in the Church "belongs to God."  (Archpriest Symeon Note: This power of authority does not rest in any Patriarch alone, or any collection, synod or council of Patriarchs, but rather it is a power of the Holy Spirit, expressed in the "Catholic" [of the whole] acceptance of decisions and challenges to dogma. )

The priest says that "if church rules are examined for their correspondence to democratic norms, there will be great embarrassment." (Archpriest Symeon Note: Amen, amen and amen. Also if the church rules are examined for their correspondence to autocracy, or imperialism, or dictatorship, there will also be great embarrassment." )

"Any respected democrat will ask Archbishop Job for what term he is elected and when his term expires. From democratic point of view any unchangeable power is bad. And we do not employ women as bishop, it is not democratic at all," the Russian church official said.

He reminds Constantinople opponents that several percents of advantage is a convincing victory in democratic election, the way it was with Brexit also discussed at the Crete press conference.

"Church has quite different mechanisms of decision-making," the priest stressed reminding the words of the first Apostolic Council "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..."

"In order bishops can put it this way, unanimity, common accord is needed," the interviewee of the agency said.

The heads of ten of 14 Orthodox Churches took part in the assembly, which should have become the Pan-Orthodox Council and was held on Crete on June 20-25.

Bulgarian, Antiochian, Georgian, Serbian and Russian Churches called for postponing the Council in order to settle the disagreements and finalize its draft documents. However, the Constantinople Patriarchate has rejected the initiative and insisted on it be held within the set time frame. As a result, the Churches, who represent the minority of the episcopate, clergy and believers of the Orthodox world, participated in the forum.
(Archpriest Symeon Note: Odd, in fact strange that the author would make reference to plurality of numbers, when arguing against a democratic framework. - Personally, I am convinced this council is a pseudo-council, judging simply by the documents they have produced who base philosophy is Cultural Marxism and NOT the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His REALITY, in the Church.)


Photo by the press service of Crete Council

Where Are We? How Did We Get Here?


Monday, 05 July 1999

Gramsci's Grand Plan

Written by  Fr. James Thornton  [LINK]

One of the most interesting aspects of the study of history is that very often men born in the most humble of circumstances nevertheless rise up to affect the course of human history dramatically. They may be men of action or men of thought, yet in either case their activities can father tremendous changes across the years. Antonio Gramsci was both a man of action and thought and, whatever the outcome of the events of the next several decades, he will almost certainly be reckoned by future historians to have been a remarkable figure.

Born in obscurity on the island of Sardinia in 1891, Gramsci would not have been considered a prime candidate to impact significantly the 20th century. Gramsci studied philosophy and history at the University of Turin, and soon became a dedicated Marxist, joining the Italian Socialist Party. Immediately after the First World War, he established his own radical newspaper, The New Order, and shortly afterwards helped in the founding of the Italian Communist Party.

Disillusioned Marxist


The fascist "March on Rome" and the appointment of Benito Mussolini to the prime ministry impelled the young Marxist theorist to depart Italy. Casting about for a new home, he chose the most logical place for a Communist, Lenin's newly fashioned USSR. However, Soviet Russia was not what he had expected. His powers of observation wakened immediately to the distance that so often separates theory from reality. A fanatical Marxist insofar as political, economic, and historical theories were concerned, Gramsci was profoundly disturbed that life in Communist Russia exhibited little evidence of any deeply felt love on the part of the workers for the "paradise" that Lenin had constructed for them. Even less was there any deep attachment to such concepts as the "proletarian revolution" or "dictatorship of the proletariat," apart from the obligatory rhetoric.

On the contrary, it was obvious to Gramsci that the "paradise" of the working class maintained its hold over workers and peasants only by sheer terror, by mass murder on a gargantuan scale, and by the ubiquitous, gnawing fear of midnight knocks on the door and of forced-labor camps in the Siberian wilderness. Also crucial to Lenin's state was a continuous drumbeat of propaganda, slogans, and outright lies. It was all very disillusioning for Gramsci. While other men might have reassessed their entire ideological outlook after such experiences, Gramsci's subtle, analytical mind worked on the seeming paradox differently.

The death of Lenin and the seizure of power by Stalin caused Gramsci immediately to reconsider his choice of residence. Building upon Lenin's achievements in terror and tyranny, Stalin began to transform agrarian Russia into an industrial giant that would then turn all of its energies to military conquest. It was Stalin's design to build the greatest military machine in history, crush the "forces of reaction," and impose Communism on Europe and Asia — and later on the whole world — by brute force.

In the meantime, however, to consolidate and assure his power, Stalin systematically commenced the extermination of potential foes within his own camp. That, as it turned out, became an ongoing process, one that lasted until his own demise. In particular, men suspected of even the slightest ideological heresy in relation to Stalin's own interpretation of Marxism-Leninism were sent straight to torture chambers or death camps, or were hurried before firing squads.

Prison "Prophet"

His days obviously numbered in Stalinist Russia, Gramsci decided to return home and take up the struggle against Mussolini. Seen as both a serious threat to the safety of the fascist regime and a likely agent of a hostile foreign power, after a relatively short time Gramsci was arrested and sentenced to a lengthy term of imprisonment, and there, in his prison cell, he devoted the nine years that were left to him to writing. Before his death from tuberculosis in 1937, Gramsci produced nine volumes of observations on history, sociology, Marxist theory, and, most importantly, Marxist strategy. Those volumes, known as the Prison Notebooks, have since been published in many languages and distributed throughout the world. Their significance comes from the fact that they form the foundation for a dramatic new Marxist strategy, one that makes the "spontaneous revolution" of Lenin as obsolete as hoop skirts and high button shoes, one that promises to win the world voluntarily to Marxism, and one based on a realistic appraisal of historical fact and human psychology, rather than on empty wishes and illusions.

As we shall see, Gramsci's shrewd assessment of the true essence of Marxism and of mankind makes his writings among the most powerful in this century. While Gramsci himself would die an ignominious and lonely death in a fascist prison, his thoughts would attain a life of their own and rise up to menace the world. What are these ideas?

Essence of the Red Revolution

Gramsci's signal contribution was to liberate the Marxist project from the prison of economic dogma, thereby dramatically enhancing its ability to subvert Christian society.

If we were to take the ideological pronouncements of Marx and Lenin at face value, we would believe — as have millions of their deluded disciples — that the uprising of the workers was inevitable, and that all that was to be done was to mobilize the underclass through propaganda, thereby sparking universal revolution. Of course, this premise is invalid, yet it remained inflexible doctrine among Communists — at least, for public consumption.

However, the hard core of the Communist movement consisted of ruthless criminals, clear-eyed in their understanding of the intellectual errors of Marxism, who were willing to employ any necessary means to obtain the power they sought. For such hardened, hate-intoxicated conspirators, ideology is a tactic, a means of mobilizing supporters and rationalizing criminal actions.

Those who accept uncritically the idea that "Communism is dead" fail to understand the true nature of the enemy. Communism is not an ideology in which one believes. Rather, it is a criminal conspiracy in which one enlists. Although Lenin professed to revere Marx's scribblings as sacred writ, once his Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia, Lenin freely modified Marxism to suit his needs. The same was true of Stalin. The Bolsheviks did not come to power in Russia by any uprising of the workers and peasants, but by a coup d'etat, orchestrated by a tightly disciplined Marxist cadre and ultimately consolidated by civil war. They also received — lest it be forgotten — critical help from Western political and banking elites.

In similar fashion, Communism did not come to power in Eastern Europe by revolution, but rather through the imposition of that system by a conquering Red Army — and, once again, through the corrupt connivance of conspirators in the West. In China, Communism came to power through civil war, aided by the Soviets and by traitorous elements in the West.

In no single instance has Communism ever achieved power by means of any popular revolutionary upheaval, but always by force or subterfuge. The only popular revolutionary upheavals recorded in the 20th century have been anti-Marxist "counter-revolutions," such as the revolt in Berlin in 1954 and the Hungarian uprising of 1956.

Looking back on the 20th century, it is clear that Marx was wrong in his assumption that most workers and peasants were dissatisfied with their places in, and alienated from, their societies, that they were seething with resentment against the middle and upper classes, or that they in any way were predisposed to revolution. Moreover, wherever Communism achieved power, its use of unprecedented levels of violence, coercion, and repression have generated underground opposition at home and militant opposition abroad, making endless killing and repression endemic to Marxism and essential for Communist survival. All of these undeniable facts, when examined honestly, posed insurmountable difficulties insofar as further extensions of Communist power were concerned, and assured some kind of ultimate crisis for Marxism.

While the foregoing is obvious to perceptive observers now, looking back from the vantage point of our time and after more than eight decades of experience with the reality of Communism in power, we begin to understand something of the insightfulness of Antonio Gramsci when we realize that what is evident now, at the close of the millennium, was evident to him when the Soviet regime was in its infancy and Communism still largely untried conjecture.

Gramsci was a brilliant student of philosophy, history, and languages. This education imparted to him an excellent grasp of the character of his fellow men and of the character of the societies that made up the civilized community of nations in the early decades of this century. As we have already seen, one of the foundational insights given him by this education was that Communist hopes for a spontaneous revolution, brought about by some process of historical inevitability, were illusory. Marxist ideologues were, he asserted, beguiling themselves. In the Gramscian view workers and peasants were not, by and large, revolutionary-minded and they harbored no desire for the destruction of the existing order. Most had loyalties beyond, and far more powerful than, class considerations, even in those instances where their lives were less than ideal. More meaningful to ordinary people than class solidarity and class warfare were such things as faith in God and love of family and country. These were foremost among their overriding allegiances.

Such attractiveness as Communist promises might possess among the working classes was, moreover, diminished by Communist brutalities and by heavy-handed totalitarian methods. Stirring the aristocratic and bourgeois classes to action, these negative attributes were so terrifying and sobering that militant anti-Marxist organizations and movements sprang up everywhere, effectively putting a halt to plans for Communist expansion. With all of this easily apparent to him, and, blessed in a way with the seemingly endless leisure afforded by prison life, Gramsci turned his excellent mind to saving Marxism by analyzing and solving these questions.

Subverting Christian Faith

The civilized world, Gramsci deduced, had been thoroughly saturated with Christianity for 2,000 years and Christianity remains the dominant philosophical and moral system in Europe and North America. Practically speaking, civilization and Christianity were inextricably bound together. Christianity had become so thoroughly integrated into the daily lives of nearly everyone, including non-Christians living in Christian lands, it was so pervasive, that it formed an almost impenetrable barrier to the new, revolutionary civilization Marxists wish to create. Attempting to batter down that barrier proved unproductive, since it only generated powerful counter-revolutionary forces, consolidating them and making them potentially deadly. Therefore, in place of the frontal attack, how much more advantageous and less hazardous it would be to attack the enemy's society subtly, with the aim of transforming the society's collective mind gradually, over a period of a few generations, from its former Christian worldview into one more harmonious to Marxism. And there was more.

Whereas conventional Marxist-Leninists were hostile towards the non-Communist Left, Gramsci argued that alliances with a broad spectrum of leftist groups would prove essential to Communist victory. In Gramsci's time these included, among others, various "anti-fascist" organizations, trade unions, and socialist political groups. In our time, alliances with the Left would include radical feminists, extremist environmentalists, "civil rights" movements, anti-police associations, internationalists, ultra-liberal church groups, and so forth. These organizations, along with open Communists, together create a united front working for the transformation of the old Christian culture.

What Gramsci proposed, in short, was a renovation of Communist methodology and a streamlining and updating of Marx's antiquated strategies. Let there be no doubt that Gramsci's vision of the future was entirely Marxist and that he accepted the validity of Marxism's overall worldview. Where he differed was in the process for achieving the victory of that worldview. Gramsci wrote that "there can and must be a 'political hegemony' even before assuming government power, and in order to exercise political leadership or hegemony one must not count solely on the power and material force that are given by government." What he meant is that it is incumbent upon Marxists to win the hearts and minds of the people, and not to rest hopes for the future solely on force or power.

Furthermore, Communists were enjoined to put aside some of their class prejudice in the struggle for power, seeking to win even elements within the bourgeois classes, a process which Gramsci described as "the absorption of the elites of the enemy classes." Not only would this strengthen Marxism with new blood, but it would deprive the enemy of this lost talent. Winning the bright young sons and daughters of the bourgeoisie to the red banner, wrote Gramsci, "results in [the anti-Marxist forces'] decapitation and renders them impotent." In short, violence and force will not by themselves genuinely transform the world. Rather it is through winning hegemony over the minds of the people and in robbing enemy classes of their most gifted men that Marxism will triumph over all.

Free-will Slaves


Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, a classic study of modern totalitarianism, contains a line that epitomizes the concept that Gramsci tried to convey to his party comrades: "A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude." While it is improbable that Huxley was familiar with Gramsci's theories, the idea he conveys of free persons marching willingly into bondage is nevertheless precisely what Gramsci had in mind.

Gramsci believed that if Communism achieved "mastery of human consciousness," then labor camps and mass murder would be unnecessary. How does an ideology gain such mastery over patterns of thought inculcated by cultures for hundreds of years? Mastery over the consciousness of the great mass of people would be attained, Gramsci contended, if Communists or their sympathizers gained control of the organs of culture — churches, education, newspapers, magazines, the electronic media, serious literature, music, the visual arts, and so on. By winning "cultural hegemony," to use Gramsci's own term, Communism would control the deepest wellsprings of human thought and imagination. One need not even control all of the information itself if one can gain control over the minds that assimilate that information. Under such conditions, serious opposition disappears since men are no longer capable of grasping the arguments of Marxism's opponents. Men will indeed "love their servitude," and will not even realize that it is servitude.

Steps in the Process

The first phase in achieving "cultural hegemony" over a nation is the undermining of all elements of traditional culture. Churches are thus transformed into ideology-driven political clubs, with the stress on "social justice" and egalitarianism, with worship reduced to trivialized entertainment, and with age-old doctrinal and moral teachings "modernized" or diminished to the point of irrelevancy. Genuine education is replaced by "dumbed-down" and "politically correct" curricula, and standards are reduced dramatically. The mass media are fashioned into instruments for mass manipulation and for harassing and discrediting traditional institutions and their spokesmen. Morality, decency, and old virtues are ridiculed without respite. Tradition-minded clergymen are portrayed as hypocrites and virtuous men and women as prudish, stuffy, and unenlightened.

Culture is no longer a buttress supporting the integrity of the national heritage and a vehicle for imparting that heritage to future generations, but becomes a means for "destroying ideals and ... presenting the young not with heroic examples but with deliberately and aggressively degenerate ones," as theologian Harold O.J. Brown writes. We see this in contemporary American life, in which the great historical symbols of our nation's past, including great presidents, soldiers, explorers, and thinkers, are shown to have been unforgivably flawed with "racism" and "sexism" and therefore basically evil. Their place has been taken by pro-Marxist charlatans, pseudo-intellectuals, rock stars, leftist movie celebrities, and the like. At another level, traditional Christian culture is condemned as repressive, "Eurocentric," and "racist" and, thus, unworthy of our continued devotion. In its place, unalloyed primitivism in the guise of "multiculturalism" is held as the new model.

Marriage and family, the very building blocks of our society, are perpetually attacked and subverted. Marriage is portrayed as a plot by men to perpetuate an evil system of domination over women and children. The family is depicted as a dangerous institution epitomized by violence and exploitation. Patriarchally oriented families are, according to the Gramscians, the precursors of fascism, Nazism, and every organized form of racial persecution.

The Frankfurt School

With respect to the subject of the undermining of the American family, and to many other aspects of the Gramscian technique, let us explore briefly the story of the Frankfurt School. This organization of leftist intellectuals, also known as the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, was founded in the 1920s in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. There it flourished amidst the decadence of the Weimar period, both compounding and feeding off the decadence, and extending its influence throughout the country.

With Hitler's acquisition of the chancellorship in 1933, the leftist stalwarts of the Frankfurt School fled Germany for the United States, where they soon established a new institute at Columbia University. As is characteristic of such men, they repaid their debt to the United States for sheltering them from Nazi brutality by turning their attention to what they regarded as the injustices and social deficiencies inherent to our system and society. Immediately they set about devising a program of revolutionary reform for America.

Max Horkheimer, one of the notables of the Frankfurt School, determined that America's profound allegiance to the traditional family was a mark of our national inclination towards the same fascist system from which he had fled. Explaining this connection between fascism and the American family, he declared: "When the child respects in his father's strength a moral relationship and thus learns to love what his reason recognizes to be a fact, he is experiencing his first training for the bourgeois authority relationship."

Commenting critically on Horkheimer's theory, Arthur Herman writes in The Idea of Decline in Western History: "The typical modern family, then, involves 'sado-masochistic resolution of the Oedipus complex,' producing a psychological cripple, the 'authoritarian personality.' The individual's hatred of the father is suspended and remains unresolved, becoming instead an attraction for strong authority figures whom he obeys unquestioningly." The traditional patriarchal family is thus a breeding ground for fascism, according to Horkheimer, and charismatic authority figures — men like Hitler and Mussolini — are the ultimate beneficiaries of the "authoritarian personality" instilled by the traditional family and culture.

Theodor W. Adorno, another notable of the Frankfurt School, underscored Horkheimer's theory with his own study, published in book form as The Authoritarian Personality, which he authored together with Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson, and R. Nevitt Sanford. Upon closer examination, it became apparent to critics that the research on which The Authoritarian Personality was based was pseudo-sociological, flawed in its methodology, and skewed in its conclusions. But, the critics were ignored.

America, Adorno and his research team pronounced, was ripe for its own, home-grown fascist takeover. Not only was the American population hopelessly racist and anti-Semitic, but it had far too acquiescent an attitude towards authority figures such as fathers, policemen, clergy, military leaders, and so forth. It was also far too obsessed with such "fascist" notions as efficiency, cleanliness, and success, for these qualities revealed an inward "pessimistic and contemptuous view of humanity," a view that leads, Adorno held, to fascism.

Through such unmitigated balderdash as one finds in the writings of Horkheimer, Adorno, and the other luminaries of the Frankfurt School, the structures of the traditional family and traditional virtue have been called seriously into question and confidence in them blunted. Elected government officials and bureaucrats have contributed to this problem through government taxation policies, which mulct the traditional family while subsidizing anti-traditional modes of life.

Additionally, these officials are inclined more and more towards the elevation of abominations such as homosexual and illicit heterosexual unions to the same level as marriage. Already, in many localities throughout the country and in numerous private corporations, benefits previously reserved to married couples are now granted to unmarried sexual "partners." Even the word "family" is slowly being superseded by the vague euphemism "household."

A Lawless Land

Americans have long boasted that their nation is a government of law, not of men. American law is derived directly from English common law and from the biblical and Christian principles that are at the root of English common law. One would therefore expect law to constitute one of the chief barriers against the subversion of our society. Instead, in the field of law, revolutionary change has become the order of the day, change so astounding that it could not have been imagined by Americans of 50 years ago. None would have dreamed of the outlawing of prayer and any expression of religious conviction on public property, the legalization of abortion as a constitutionally guaranteed "right," and the legalization of pornography, to mention but three.

Clearly expressed principles embraced by the Founding Fathers and set forth in our Constitution are now routinely reinterpreted and distorted. Those that cannot be reinterpreted and distorted, such as the Tenth Amendment, are simply ignored. Worse yet, the ideological agenda underpinning the radicalization of American law is blithely accepted by millions of Americans, who have themselves been radicalized without ever realizing it.

Crucial to the Gramscians' success is the disappearance of all memory of the old civilization and way of life. The older America of unregulated lives, honest government, clean cities, crime-free streets, morally edifying entertainment, and a family-oriented way of life is no longer vivid in the minds of many Americans. Once it is gone completely, nothing will stand in the way of the new Marxist civilization, which demonstrates as nothing else that through the Gramscian method it is indeed possible to "Marxize the inner man," as Malachi Martin wrote in The Keys of This Blood. Then and only then, writes Fr. Martin, "could you successfully dangle the utopia of the 'Workers' Paradise' before his eyes, to be accepted in a peaceful and humanely agreeable manner, without revolution or violence or bloodshed."

It must be evident to all but the most simple souls that after the passage of a generation or two, such ceaseless social conditioning is bound to alter the consciousness and inner-substance of a society, and it is bound to produce significant structural crises within that society, crises that manifest themselves in numberless ways in virtually every community throughout the country.

The Good Fight

It may seem to some that the situation in our nation is hopeless and that no force or agency can possibly put a halt to the insidious strategies working to destroy us. Despite the grim chronicle of the past 60 or 70 years, however, there is still much that may be done and much reason for hope. Families and individual men and women still possess, to a large extent, the freedom to avoid and escape the mind-altering social conditioning of the Gramscians. They have the power to shield themselves from these influences and especially to shield their young. There are alternatives to public schools, television, trashy movies, and strident "rock" music, and those alternatives must be embraced. The propaganda and cultural strychnine must be excluded from our lives.

Those in charge of young people have an especially weighty responsibility. Despite all of the efforts of the radical left and of their sympathizers in the schools and media to transmute young Americans into savages, they must not be allowed to succeed, because disorganized minds — mental vortices of anarchism and nihilism — have no powers of resistance. Savages soon become slaves. Children and youths should be introduced to such bedrock concepts as honesty, decency, virtue, duty, and love of God and country through the lives of authentic national heroes — men like George Washington, Nathan Hale, John Paul Jones, and Robert E. Lee.

Similarly, they will better be able to retain civilized values and maintain healthy minds if they are encouraged to learn to love their cultural inheritance through great literature, poetry, music, and art. Parents must demand from their children the upholding of the morals, manners, and standards of their ancestors.

In school, the young must be required to adhere to high standards of scholarship. Most importantly, traditional religion must be an integral part of daily living.

We as citizens must also exercise our persuasive powers over our elected representatives. In doing this our mindset must be one of demanding absolute non-compromise from politicians. Likewise, in choosing elected representatives at every level, we must look to men and women who refuse to compromise.

Just as importantly, the honorable, uncompromising men and women we elect to represent us must be made aware of the Gramscian strategy of cultural subversion; they must be able to recognize the tactics and strategies being used to undermine the institutions upon which our liberties depend. Building that understanding will, in turn, require the creation of an educated and principled electorate that will impart this wisdom to our representatives — and hold them accountable once they have been entrusted with elective office.

We should never allow ourselves to be stampeded, herd like, into forming opinions and judgments stimulated and orchestrated by the sensationalism of the press and the other media masters. Instead, we must calmly resist their mind-control techniques. We must strive to be independent thinkers. Realizing that we are not alone, we should turn to tradition-minded churches, schools, and political and educational organizations, and there lend our voices and support to the creation of bastions of resistance to the Gramscian onslaught.

Finally, we must never give up our faith in the future and our hope for a better America and world. God, with His infinite power and boundless love for us, will never forsake us but will answer our prayers and reward our efforts, as long as we do not lose our faith. Marxism — and whatever other flags the total state parades under these days — are not inevitable and are not the wave of the future. As long as we think and act in the indomitable spirit of our forefathers, we cannot fail.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Trey Gowdy/Benghazi WHITEWASH Report



Trey Goudy's Benghazi report is a WHITEWASH, absolving Obama of all responsibility and makes a scapegoat of the U.S. Military.

"Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]"

This is contrary to Obama's own public statements and public statements and SWORN Testimony of Hillary Clinton. It also ignores the event of General Carter Ham's being relieved of duty, when he decided to send forces from AFRICOM against orders.

BTW, I explained when the Benghazi committee was formed that it was a FOR SHOW investigation and that NOTHING would come of it. I was ABSOLUTELY right. It was a prolonged Psychological Operation designed to defuse anger and obscure the apparent truth of the event. 

We see the same dynamic at work with the Gowdy Benghazi WHITEWASH report that we saw with Justice Robert's ObamaCare Vote and Majority Opinion. I immediately told the truth about it, calling Roberts a Traitor, and destroyer of any hit of Constitutional Principle, in fact establishing unlimited Federal Government taxing powers. We are taxed for merely breathing. If we have breath we are coerced to buy the inflated insurance policies or be taxed for not doing so.

However, Conservative Pundits were CROWING about Roberts being a GENIUS. They claimed his ruling proved that the bill was illegal since it established a tax, without proper congressional authority. They were too stupid to understand that in a lawless regime, such details are meaningless. Now today, all the Conservative Pundits and websites are touting the Gowdy report, parroting Gowdy's own words, "that it exposes everything." They are IDIOTS, and miss the major lying claims.

So please indulge me while I state again: The Benghazi hearings were nothing but Theatre, a slow motion psychological operation designed to defuse the massive anger the event caused, and confuse the public with multiples stories while making sure that no one was held liable in a criminal or civil sense. Congratulations to each "actor," you played your parts well.


http://lettersfromthegulag.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-benghazi-kidnapping-plot-obamamorsi.html


http://lettersfromthegulag.blogspot.com/2013/08/did-barenakedislamcom-fall-for-muslim.html

http://lettersfromthegulag.blogspot.com/2013/07/benghazi-and-dr-muhammed-morsi.html


http://fathersymeon.blogspot.com/2013/12/muslim-brotherhood-project.html


 http://fathersymeon.blogspot.com/2012/03/laughing-muslim-mob-destroying.html

 ++++++


benghazi.house.gov

Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report

Video of Rep. Roskam Unveils the Select Committee's #BenghaziReport

Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report

81 New Witnesses, 75,000 New Pages of Documents Reveal Significant New Information,
Fundamentally Changes the Public’s Understanding of the 2012 Terrorist Attacks that Killed Four Americans

Washington, D.C. – Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released the following statement after the committee’s Majority released a mark of its investigative report:
“Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were heroes who gave their lives in service to our country. Their bravery and the courageous actions of so many others on the ground that night should be honored.
“When the Select Committee was formed, I promised to conduct this investigation in a manner worthy of the American people’s respect, and worthy of the memory of those who died. That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done.
“Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.”
The committee’s proposed report is just over 800 pages long and is comprised of five primary sections and 12 appendices. It details relevant events in 2011 and 2012.
The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part I:
  • Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]
  • With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a roughly two-hour meeting at 7:30 PM, which resulted in action items focused on a YouTube video, and others containing the phrases “[i]f any deployment is made,” and “Libya must agree to any deployment,” and “[w]ill not deploy until order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi.” [pg. 115]
  • The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff typically would have participated in the White House meeting, but did not attend because he went home to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries. [pg. 107]
  • A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times. [pg. 154]
  • None of the relevant military forces met their required deployment timelines. [pg. 150]
  • The Libyan forces that evacuated Americans from the CIA Annex to the Benghazi airport was not affiliated with any of the militias the CIA or State Department had developed a relationship with during the prior 18 months. Instead, it was comprised of former Qadhafi loyalists who the U.S. had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution. [pg. 144]
Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“We expect our government to make every effort to save the lives of Americans who serve in harm’s way. That did not happen in Benghazi. Politics were put ahead of the lives of Americans, and while the administration had made excuses and blamed the challenges posed by time and distance, the truth is that they did not try.”
Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“Our committee’s insistence on additional information about the military’s response to the Benghazi attacks was met with strong opposition from the Defense Department, and now we know why. Instead of attempting to hide deficiencies in our posture and performance, it’s my hope our report will help ensure we fix what went wrong so that a tragedy like this never happens again.” 
The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part II:
  • Five of the 10 action items from the 7:30 PM White House meeting referenced the video, but no direct link or solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and the video at the time the meeting took place. The State Department senior officials at the meeting had access to eyewitness accounts to the attack in real time. The Diplomatic Security Command Center was in direct contact with the Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground in Benghazi and sent out multiple updates about the situation, including a “Terrorism Event Notification.” The State Department Watch Center had also notified Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills that it had set up a direct telephone line to Tripoli. There was no mention of the video from the agents on the ground. Greg Hicks—one of the last people to talk to Chris Stevens before he died—said there was virtually no discussion about the video in Libya leading up to the attacks. [pg. 28]
  • The morning after the attacks, the National Security Council’s Deputy Spokesperson sent an email to nearly two dozen people from the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and intelligence community, stating: “Both the President and Secretary Clinton released statements this morning. … Please refer to those for any comments for the time being. To ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day, Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG communicators on this chain at 9:15 ET today.” [pg. 39]
  • Minutes before the President delivered his speech in the Rose Garden, Jake Sullivan wrote in an email to Ben Rhodes and others: “There was not really much violence in Egypt. And we are not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ‘over inflammatory videos.’” [pg. 44]
  • According to Susan Rice, both Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe prepared her for her appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows following the attacks. Nobody from the FBI, Department of Defense, or CIA participated in her prep call. While Rhodes testified Plouffe would “normally” appear on the Sunday show prep calls, Rice testified she did not recall Plouffe being on prior calls and did not understand why he was on the call in this instance. [pg.98]
  • On the Sunday shows, Susan Rice stated the FBI had “already begun looking at all sorts of evidence” and “FBI has a lead in this investigation.” But on Monday, the Deputy Director, Office of Maghreb Affairs sent an email stating: “McDonough apparently told the SVTS [Secure Video Teleconference] group today that everyone was required to ‘shut their pieholes’ about the Benghazi attack in light of the FBI investigation, due to start tomorrow.” [pg. 135]
  • After Susan Rice’s Sunday show appearances, Jake Sullivan assured the Secretary of the State that Rice “wasn’t asked about whether we had any intel. But she did make clear our view that this started spontaneously and then evolved.” [pg. 128]
  • Susan Rice’s comments on the Sunday talk shows were met with shock and disbelief by State Department employees in Washington. The Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, wrote: “I think Rice was off the reservation on this one.” The Deputy Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: “Off the reservation on five networks!” The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, Bureau of Near East Affairs, State Department, wrote: “WH [White House] very worried about the politics. This was all their doing.” [pg. 132]
  • The CIA’s September 13, 2012, intelligence assessment was rife with errors. On the first page, there is a single mention of “the early stages of the protest” buried in one of the bullet points. The article cited to support the mention of a protest in this instance was actually from September 4. In other words, the analysts used an article from a full week before the attacks to support the premise that a protest had occurred just prior to the attack on September 11. [pg. 47]
  • A headline on the following page of the CIA’s September 13 intelligence assessment stated “Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi Protests,” but nothing in the actual text box supports that title. As it turns out, the title of the text box was supposed to be “Extremists Capitalized on Cairo Protests.” That small but vital difference—from Cairo to Benghazi—had major implications in how people in the administration were able to message the attacks. [pg. 52]
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“Obama Administration officials, including the Secretary of State, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.”
Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-06) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“In the days and weeks after the attacks, the White House worked to pin all of the blame for their misleading and incorrect statements on officials within the intelligence community, but in reality, political operatives like Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe were spinning the false narrative and prepping Susan Rice for her interviews.”
The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part III:
  • During deliberations within the State Department about whether and how to intervene in Libya in March 2011, Jake Sullivan listed the first goal as “avoid[ing] a failed state, particularly one in which al-Qaeda and other extremists might take safe haven.” [pg. 9]
  • The administration’s policy of no boots on the ground shaped the type of military assistance provided to State Department personnel in Libya. The Executive Secretariats for both the Defense Department and State Department exchanged communications outlining the diplomatic capacity in which the Defense Department SST security team members would serve, which included wearing civilian clothes so as not to offend the Libyans. [pg. 60]
  • When the State Department’s presence in Benghazi was extended in December 2012, senior officials from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security were excluded from the discussion. [pg. 74]
  • In February 2012, the lead Diplomatic Security Agent at Embassy Tripoli informed his counterpart in Benghazi that more DS agents would not be provided by decision makers, because “substantive reporting” was not Benghazi’s purpose. [pg. 77]
  • Emails indicate senior State Department officials, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin were preparing for a trip by the Secretary of State to Libya in October 2012. According to testimony, Chris Stevens wanted to have a “deliverable” for the Secretary for her trip to Libya, and that “deliverable” would be making the Mission in Benghazi a permanent Consulate. [pg. 96]
  • In August 2012—roughly a month before the Benghazi attacks—security on the ground worsened significantly. Ambassador Stevens initially planned to travel to Benghazi in early August, but cancelled the trip “primarily for Ramadan/security reasons.” [pg. 99]
  • Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta bluntly told the committee “an intelligence failure” occurred with respect to Benghazi. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell also acknowledged multiple times an intelligence failure did in fact occur prior to the Benghazi attacks. [pg. 129]
Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“President Obama has said his worst mistake was ‘failing to plan for the day after … intervening in Libya.’ As a result of this ‘lead from behind’ foreign policy, the Libyan people were forced to make the dismal trade of the tyranny of Qadhafi for the terror of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and others. Although the State Department considered Libya a grave risk to American diplomats in 2011 and 2012, our people remained in a largely unprotected, unofficial facility that one diplomatic security agent the committee interviewed characterized as ‘a suicide mission.’”
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“One of the most concerning parts of the State Department’s policy in Libya was its reliance upon the militias of an unstable nation to protect our men and women in Benghazi. These were by no means forces that could adequately protect Americans on the ground, and the State Department knew it. But the appearance of no boots on the ground was more important to the administration.”
Part IV of the report reveals new information about the Select Committee’s requests and subpoenas seeking documents and witnesses regarding Benghazi and Libya, and details what the Obama administration provided to Congress, what it is still withholding, and how its serial delays hindered the committee’s efforts to uncover the truth.
Part V proposes 25 recommendations for the Pentagon, State Department, Intelligence Community and Congress aimed at strengthening security for American personnel serving abroad and doing everything possible to ensure something like Benghazi never happens again, and if it does, that we are better prepared to respond, the majority make a series of recommendations.
The Select Committee intends to convene a bipartisan markup to discuss and vote on the proposed report on July 8, 2016. All members of the committee will have the opportunity to offer changes in a manner consistent with the rules of the House.
Letter from Chairman Trey Gowdy to Speaker Paul Ryan
The Benghazi Committee's Investigation - By the Numbers
Below is the full report with links to PDF files of each section.

Report of the Select Committee on
the Events Surrounding the 2012
Terrorist Attack in Benghazi

Illustrations

Monday, June 27, 2016

Another Communique From the "Great" Orthodox Council.


holycouncil.org

Message of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church - Official Documents - The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church

MESSAGE
OF THE HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL
OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
To the Orthodox people
and to all people of good will
To God, "the Father of mercies and all comfort," we address a hymn of thanksgiving and praise for having enabled us to gather during the week of Pentecost (18-26 June 2016) on Crete, where the Apostle Paul and his disciple Titus preached the Gospel in the early years of the life of the Church. We give thanks to the Triune God who was well pleased that in one accord we should bring to a conclusion the work of the Holy and Great Council that was convoked by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch. Bartholomew by the common will of their Beatitudes the Primates of the local Orthodox Autocephalous Churches.
Faithfully following the example of the Apostles and our god-bearing Fathers we have once again studied the Gospel of freedom "for which Christ has set us free" (Gal. 5: 1). The foundation of our theological discussions was the certainty that the Church does not live for herself. She transmits the witness of the Gospel of grace and truth and offers to the whole world the gifts of God: love, peace, justice, reconciliation, the power of the Cross and of the Resurrection and the expectation of eternal life.
1) The key priority of the Council was to proclaim the unity of the Orthodox Church. Founded on the Eucharist and the Apostolic Succession of her Bishops, the existing unity needs to be strengthened and to bear new fruits. The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is a divine-human communion, a foretaste and experience of the eschaton within the Holy Eucharist. As a continuous Pentecost, she is a prophetic voice that cannot be silenced, the presence of and witness to the Kingdom of the God of love. The Orthodox Church, faithful to the unanimous Apostolic Tradition and her sacramental experience, is the authentic continuation of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as confessed in the Creed and confirmed by the teaching of the Church Fathers. Our Church lives out the mystery of the Divine Economy in her sacramental life, with the Holy Eucharist at its center.
The Orthodox Church expresses her unity and catholicity "in Council". Conciliarity pervades her organization, the way decisions are taken and determines her path. The Orthodox Autocephalous Churches do not constitute a federation of Churches, but the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Each local Church as she offers the holy Eucharist is the local presence and manifestation of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In regard to the Orthodox Diaspora in various countries of the world, it was decided to continue with the institution of Episcopal Assemblies until such time as canonical rigor can be implemented. These assemblies are composed of the canonical bishops appointed by each Autocephalous Church and these bishops continue to remain subject to their respective Churches. The due function of these Episcopal Assemblies guarantees respect for the Orthodox principle of conciliarity.
During the deliberations of the Holy and Great Council the importance of the Synaxes of the Primates which had taken place was emphasized and the proposal was made for the Holy and Great Council to become a regular Institution to be convened every seven or ten years.
2) Participating in the Holy Eucharist and praying for the whole world, we must continue the 'liturgy after the Divine Liturgy' and give the witness of faith to those near and those far off, in accordance with the Lord's clear command before His ascension, "And you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth (Ac. 1: 8). The re-evangelization of God's people in modern, secularized societies and the evangelization of those who have still not come to know Christ remain an unceasing obligation for the Church.
3) In response to her obligation to witness to the truth and her apostolic faith, our Church attaches great importance to dialogue, primarily with non Orthodox Christians. In this way the remainder of the Christian world comes to know more precisely the authenticity of the Orthodox Tradition, the value of patristic teaching and the liturgical life and faith of the Orthodox. The dialogues conducted by the Orthodox Church never imply a compromise in matters of faith.
4) The explosions of fundamentalism observed within various religions represent an expression of morbid religiosity. Sober inter-religious dialogue helps significantly to promote mutual trust, peace and reconciliation. The oil of religious experience must be used to heal wounds and not to rekindle the fire of military conflicts. The Orthodox Church unequivocally condemns the extension of military violence, persecutions, the expulsion and murder of members of religious minorities, forced conversions, the trafficking of refugees, the abductions, torture and abhorrent executions. She denounces the destruction of churches, religious symbols and cultural monuments. Very particularly, she expresses her deep concern about the situation of Christians and of all the persecuted minorities in the Middle East. She calls on the governments in the region to protect the indigenous Orthodox and other Christians and all the populations who have an inalienable right to remain in their countries as citizens with equal rights. Our Council appeals to all parties involved to make systematic efforts without delay to bring to an end the military conflicts in the Middle East and wherever armed hostilities persist and to enable all those displaced to return to their homes.
We address our appeal particularly to those in positions of power to act so that peace and justice may prevail in the countries of origin of the refugees. We urge the civil authorities, the citizens and the Orthodox Christians in the countries in which the persecuted are taking refuge to continue to offer help to the limit or even beyond the limit of their abilities.
5) Modern secularisation seeks the autonomy of man (anthropos) from Christ and from the spiritual influence of the Church, which it arbitrarily identifies with conservatism. Western civilization, however, bears the indelible mark of the diachronic contribution of Christianity. The Church, moreover, highlights the saving significance of Christ, the God-man, and of His Body, as the place and mode of life in freedom.
6) In contrast to the contemporary approach to marriage, the Orthodox Church regards the indissoluble loving relationship of man and woman as "a great mystery... of Christ and the Church". Similarly, she calls the family which springs from this and which constitutes the only guarantee for the upbringing of children a "little church".
The Church has always emphasised the value of self-restraint. Christian asceticism, however, differs radically from every dualistic asceticism which severs man from life and from his fellow man. On the contrary, she connects this with the sacramental life of the Church. Self-restraint does not concern only the monastic life. The ascetic ethos is a characteristic of Christian life in all its manifestations.
**
Apart from the specific topics about which it decided, the Holy and Great Council notes in brief the following important contemporary issues:
7) In regard to the matter of the relations between Christian faith and the natural sciences, the Orthodox Church avoids placing scientific investigation under tutelage and does not adopt a position on every scientific question. She thanks God who gives to scientists the gift of uncovering unknown dimensions of divine creation. The modern development of the natural sciences and of technology is bringing radical changes to our life. It brings significant benefits, such as the facilitation of everyday life, the treatment of serious diseases, easier communications and space exploration, and so on. In spite of this, however, there are many negative consequences such as the manipulation of freedom, the gradual loss of precious traditions, the destruction of the natural environment and the questioning of moral values. Scientific knowledge, however swiftly it may be advancing, does not motivate man's will, nor does it give answers to serious moral and existential issues and to the search for the meaning of life and of the world. These matters demand a spiritual approach, which the Orthodox Church attempts to provide through a bioethics which is founded on Christian ethics and Patristic teaching. Along with her respect for the freedom of scientific investigation, the Orthodox Church at the same time points out the dangers concealed in certain scientific achievements and emphasises man's dignity and his divine destiny.
8) It is clear that the present-day ecological crisis is due to spiritual and moral causes. Its roots are connected with greed, avarice and egoism, which lead to the thoughtless use of natural resources, the filling of the atmosphere with damaging pollutants, and to climate change. The Christian response to the problem demands repentance for the abuses, an ascetic frame of mind as an antidote to overconsumption, and at the same time a cultivation of the consciousness that man is a "steward " and not a possessor of creation. The Church never ceases to emphasise that future generations also have a right to the the natural resources that the Creator has given us. For this reason, the Orthodox Church takes an active part in the various international ecological initiatives and has ordained the 1st September as a day of prayer for the protection of the natural environment.
9) Against the levelling and impersonal standardization that is promoted in so many ways, Orthodoxy proposes respect for the particular characteristics of individuals peoples. It is also opposed the making of the economy into something autonomous from basic human needs and turning it into an end in itself. The progress of mankind is not connected only with an increase in living standards or with economic development at the expense of spiritual values.
10) The Orthodox Church does not involve herself in politics. Her voice remains distinct, but also prophetic, as a beneficial intervention for the sake of man. Human rights today are at the center of politics as a response to the social and political crises and upheavals, and seek to protect the citizen from the arbitrary power of the state. Our Church also adds to this the obligations and responsibilities of the citizens and the need for constant self-criticism on the part of both politicians and citizens for the improvement of society. And above all she emphasises that the Orthodox ideal in respect of man transcends the horizon of established human rights and that " greatest of all is love", as Christ revealed and as all the faithful who follow him have experienced.  She insists also that a fundamental human right is the protection of religious freedom--namely, freedom of conscience, belief, and religion, including, alone and in community, in private and in public, the right to freedom of worship and practice, the right to manifest one's religion, as well as the right of religious communities to religious education and to the full function and exercise of their religious duties, without any form of direct or indirect interference by the state.
11) The Orthodox Church addresses herself to young people who seek for a plenitude of life replete with freedom, justice, creativity and also love. She invites them to join themselves consciously with the Church of Him who is Truth and Life. To come, offering to the ecclesial body their vitality, their anxieties, their concerns and their expectations. Young people are not only the future, but also the dynamic and creative present of the Church, both on a local and on a world-wide level.
12) The Holy and Great Council has opened our horizon towards the contemporary diverse and multifarious world. It has emphasised our responsibility in place and in time, ever with the perspective of eternity. The Orthodox Church, preserving intact her Sacramental and Soteriological character, is sensitive to the pain, the distress and the cry for justice and peace of the peoples of the world. She "proclaims day after day the good tidings of His salvation, announcing His glory among the nations and His wonders among all peoples" (Psalm 95).
Let us pray that "the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory in Christ, will, after we have suffered a little, Himself restore, establish, and strengthen and settle us. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 5.10-11).
† Bartholomew of Constantinople, Chairman
† Theodoros of Alexandria
† Theophilos of Jerusalem
† Irinej of Serbia
†Daniel of Romania
† Chrysostomos of Cyprus
† Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece
† Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland
† Anastasios of Tirana, Durres and All Albania
† Rastislav of Presov, the Czech Lands and Slovakia
Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
† Leo of Karelia and All Finland
† Stephanos of Tallinn and All Estonia
† Elder Metropolitan John of Pergamon
† Elder Archbishop Demetrios of America
† Augustinos of Germany
† Irenaios of Crete
† Isaiah of Denver
† Alexios of Atlanta
† Iakovos of the Princes’ Islands
† Joseph of Proikonnisos
† Meliton of Philadelphia
† Emmanuel of France
† Nikitas of the Dardanelles
† Nicholas of Detroit
† Gerasimos of San Francisco
† Amphilochios of Kisamos and Selinos
† Amvrosios of Korea
† Maximos of Selyvria
† Amphilochios of Adrianopolis
† Kallistos of Diokleia
† Antony of Hierapolis, Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox in the USA
† Job of Telmessos
† Jean of Charioupolis, Head of the Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of the Russian Tradition in Western Europe
† Gregory of Nyssa, Head of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox in the USA
Delegation of the Patriarchate of Alexandria
† Gabriel of Leontopolis
† Makarios of Nairobi
† Jonah of Kampala
† Seraphim of Zimbabwe and Angola
† Alexandros of Nigeria
† Theophylaktos of Tripoli
† Sergios of Good Hope
† Athanasios of Cyrene
† Alexios of Carthage
† Ieronymos of Mwanza
† George of Guinea
† Nicholas of Hermopolis
† Dimitrios of Irinopolis
† Damaskinos of Johannesburg and Pretoria
† Narkissos of Accra
† Emmanouel of Ptolemaidos
† Gregorios of Cameroon
† Nicodemos of Memphis
† Meletios of Katanga
† Panteleimon of Brazzaville and Gabon
† Innokentios of Burudi and Rwanda
† Crysostomos of Mozambique
† Neofytos of Nyeri and Mount Kenya
Delegation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem
† Benedict of Philadelphia
† Aristarchos of Constantine
† Theophylaktos of Jordan
† Nektarios of Anthidon
† Philoumenos of Pella
Delegation of the Church of Serbia
† Jovan of Ohrid and Skopje
† Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral
† Porfirije of Zagreb and Ljubljana
† Vasilije of Sirmium
† Lukijan of Budim
† Longin of Nova Gracanica
† Irinej of Backa
† Hrizostom of Zvornik and Tuzla
† Justin of Zica
† Pahomije of Vranje
† Jovan of Sumadija
† Ignatije of Branicevo
† Fotije of Dalmatia
† Athanasios of Bihac and Petrovac
† Joanikije of Niksic and Budimlje
† Grigorije of Zahumlje and Hercegovina
† Milutin of Valjevo
† Maksim in Western America
† Irinej in Australia and New Zealand
† David of Krusevac
† Jovan of Slavonija
† Andrej in Austria and Switzerland
† Sergije of Frankfurt and in Germany
† Ilarion of Timok
Delegation of the Church of Romania
† Teofan of Iasi, Moldova and Bucovina
† Laurentiu of Sibiu and Transylvania
† Andrei of Vad, Feleac, Cluj, Alba, Crisana and Maramures
† Irineu of Craiova and Oltenia
† Ioan of Timisoara and Banat
† Iosif in Western and Southern Europe
† Serafim in Germany and Central Europe
† Nifon of Targoviste
† Irineu of Alba Iulia
† Ioachim of Roman and Bacau
† Casian of Lower Danube
† Timotei of Arad
† Nicolae in America
† Sofronie of Oradea
† Nicodim of Strehaia and Severin
† Visarion of Tulcea
† Petroniu of Salaj
† Siluan in Hungary
† Siluan in Italy
† Timotei in Spain and Portugal
† Macarie in Northern Europe
† Varlaam Ploiesteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch
† Emilian Lovisteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Ramnic
† Ioan Casian of Vicina, Assistant Bishop to the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americas
Delegation of the Church of Cyprus
† Georgios of Paphos
† Chrysostomos of Kition
† Chrysostomos of Kyrenia
† Athanasios of Limassol
† Neophytos of Morphou
† Vasileios of Constantia and Ammochostos
† Nikiphoros of Kykkos and Tillyria
† Isaias of Tamassos and Oreini
† Barnabas of Tremithousa and Lefkara
† Christophoros of Karpasion
† Nektarios of Arsinoe
† Nikolaos of Amathus
† Epiphanios of Ledra
† Leontios of Chytron
† Porphyrios of Neapolis
† Gregory of Mesaoria
Delegation of the Church of Greece
† Prokopios of Philippi, Neapolis and Thassos
† Chrysostomos of Peristerion
† Germanos of Eleia
† Alexandros of Mantineia and Kynouria
† Ignatios of Arta
† Damaskinos of Didymoteixon, Orestias and Soufli
† Alexios of Nikaia
† Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Aghios Vlasios
† Eusebios of Samos and Ikaria
† Seraphim of Kastoria
† Ignatios of Demetrias and Almyros
† Nicodemos of Kassandreia
† Ephraim of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina
† Theologos of Serres and Nigrita
† Makarios of Sidirokastron
† Anthimos of Alexandroupolis
† Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis
† Chrysostomos of Messenia
† Athenagoras of Ilion, Acharnon and Petroupoli
† Ioannis of Lagkada, Litis and Rentinis
† Gabriel of New Ionia and Philadelphia
† Chrysostomos of Nikopolis and Preveza
† Theoklitos of Ierissos, Mount Athos and Ardameri
Delegation of the Church of Poland
† Simon of Lodz and Poznan
† Abel of Lublin and Chelm
† Jacob of Bialystok and Gdansk
† George of Siemiatycze
† Paisios of Gorlice
Delegation of the Church of Albania
† Joan of Koritsa
† Demetrios of Argyrokastron
† Nikolla of Apollonia and Fier
† Andon of Elbasan
† Nathaniel of Amantia
† Asti of Bylis
Delegation of the Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia
† Michal of Prague
† Isaiah of Sumperk
† Jeremy of Switzerland, Chief of the Panorthodox Secretariat of the Holy and Great Council

Battle Line Is Drawn, Time To Choose.


A Special Prayer that Holy Angels attend every human person of good will, may the Holy Spirit enlighten their minds, strengthen their character, embolden their resolve for the good. - Amen

Battle lines are being draw, the possibility of remaining neutral is no more.

You are for the status quo of Perpetual War, Big Pharma Poisoning, Genocide, Financing Jihadis, Slaughtering Christians, Luciferian New World Order Conquest, Loss of National Sovereignty, and One World Government with its demonic and immoral Secularist Pagan Ecumenist Religion,

OR,

You are on the side of Christ, and seek HIS will and HIS will above all others. The protection of the Innocent, and the conquest of Satan's domain is our DUTY. Vowing to battle all enemies not just foreign and domestic, but on a personal basis, enemies without and within, conquering every wrong thought and passion, greed, lust and pride that blocks us from His perfect will. Christ be with me, Christ be within me . . .

Archpriest John Whiteford's Observations on Pan Orthodox Encyclical



Amen, amen and amen. From my old friend Archpriest John Whiteford.

A few observations on the encyclical of the Rump Council of Crete.

There is something seriously out of balance when the text mentions "Fundamentalism" 4 times, and condemns it, without defining what it is, but says not a word about homosexuality, in a day when the definition of marriage and even what it means to be a male or female is under assault around the globe. If also found no time to mention the abortion holocaust that threatens the very survival of many Orthodox nations, whose populations have been in serious decline. It also doesn't condemn modernism, secularism, liberalism, or even atheism, but it does find time to condemn conservatism... cast in the ridiculous caricature of being "incompatible with the advancement of civilization..." I am unaware of any serious form of conservatism that opposes the advancement of civilization.


It is unfortunate that something that might have promoted Orthodox unity will be a dud at best, and quite possibly a source of division going forward.

Archpriest John Whiteford
St. Jonah Orthodox Church
Parish Home Page: http://www.saintjonah.org/

My response:
Fr John, I had just written a paragraph with identical observation. This document is pseudo-orthodox, not just out of balance, it is a Cultural Marxist document, created upon the very foundations of the materialism, against which it makes pretense to caution.

Our Heavenly Father Let us not be caught in the fear of servile religion; keeping Tradition out of ignorance and offering our "correctness" as sign of righteous enlightenment. Let us not be caught in the tyranny of our rational minds, which creates "innovations" upon the faith, which leads us to hold prideful "theologies" that diminish God to the level of our understanding, or worse, which deny Him altogether. Let us not be caught by the tyranny of our emotions, mistaking our soul's phantasy producing powers for the working of the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life. Let us not be caught in the mere form of the visible church, but in the LIFE of it, who is Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, present to all that truly seek Him. Let our keeping of Tradition spring from the warmth of your Love, from a heart that seeks continual repentance, from a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart you will not despise. Amen. 

Modern Personal Isolation


The recent statement from the Pan-Orthodox council addresses the growing isolation of individuals in this modern techno-culture removed from consciousness of God.  Here is an example of that isolation and the answer to it.

Archpriest Symeon Elias
June 27, 2014
A young friend I'll name "Tom," expressed sympathy for my recent loss (my friend DRJ, who will be laid to rest in Georgia tomorrow, Saturday June 28th.) Tom said to me, "I'm certainly sorry to hear about your friend, the grief you're suffering from it. That stuff tears me up, so in part I'm glad to not know as many people as you do." 


That was an honest statement coming from Tom, but it yanked my heart sideways as I realize how it represents the growing isolation of people in our culture, exacerbated by social media, most usually acquainted with hundreds or thousands of people and close to none, or maybe a very few. That "truncation" of life in personal isolation is more pronounced in young people as their relationships have become more and more artificial, physically based on hedonistic lies, where "friends are for fun" where no one is truly close and truly trusted, where in fact those with depth of heart worthy of trust are fewer and fewer.
 

I answered Tom saying:
"Thank you for you kind words Tom. Don will be laid to rest in Georgia on Saturday. I would have loved to be there for the Georgia gathering of friends and family, but health does not allow.

"It is interesting that you say, "in part I'm glad to not know as many people as you do." Tom, you are saying, "I would rather be isolated than stand the risk of suffering grief of loss." That symbolizes the destructive self-love that I mentioned in my last entry, what you presently cannot understand. That selfish self-love cuts you off from too much of real life. For instance the loss of my friend Don, is not a tragedy. It was a series of many lessons as he faced adversity with such faith and calm. That suffering was balanced with the 54 years of friendship, all the stories, adventures and life we were able to share. If one does not open ones heart, for fear of loss, that is living in a selfish and sick self-love.

What is the lesson of Jesus, Tom? He is the opposite of that kind of selfish-love, open to anyone who will open to him. When we operate in the Holy Spirit of Christ, how does that manifest except to make us open to any person who opens to us - the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly - and with love without discrimination. Understanding this is what allows us to focus outside of our own suffering, to open to life and people. Saint Paul said, "15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Romans 12:15-18 (King James Version)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Final Official Statement of the Pan Orthodox Council



holycouncil.org
Encyclical of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church - Official Documents - The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church





ENCYCLICAL
OF THE HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL
OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
Crete 2016

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

With a hymn of thanksgiving, we praise and worship God in Trinity, who has enabled us to gather together during the days of the feast of Pentecost here on the island of Crete, which has been sanctified by St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, and his disciple Titus, his “true son in the common faith” (Tit 1.4), and, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to conclude the sessions of this Holy and Great Council of our Orthodox Church – convened by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, by the common will of Their Beatitudes the Primates of the most holy Orthodox Churches – for the glory of His most holy Name and for the great blessing of His people and of the whole world, confessing with the divine Paul: “Let people then regard us thus: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor 4.1).

The Holy and Great Council of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church constitutes an authentic witness to faith in Christ, the God-man, the Only-begotten Son and Word of God who, through His Incarnation, through all His work on earth, through His Sacrifice on the Cross and through His Resurrection, revealed the Triune God as infinite love. Therefore, with one voice and one heart we address this message of “the hope that is in us” (cf. 1 Pet 3.15) not only to the sons and daughters of our most holy Church, but also to every human being, “whether near or far off” (Eph 2.17). “Our hope” (cf. 1 Tim 1.1), the Savior of the world, was revealed as “God with us” (cf. Matt 1.23) and as God “for our sake” (Rom 8.32), who “desires that all people may be saved and come to the knowledge of truth” (1 Tim 2.4). Proclaiming His mercy and not concealing His great blessings, in remembrance of the Lord’s words that “heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt 24.35) and “filled with joy” (1 John 1.4), we announce the Gospel of faith, hope and love, looking forward to that “day without evening, without succession and without end” (Basil the Great, On the Hexaemeron II, PG 29.54). The fact that we have “our citizenship in heaven” (Phil 3.20) in no way negates, but rather strengthens our witness in the world.

In this we follow the tradition of the Apostles and of the Fathers of our Church who proclaimed Christ and the saving experience through Him of the Church’s faith, and who spoke of God in the “manner of fishermen casting a net,” that is to say in an apostolic manner, to the people of every age in order to transmit to them the Gospel of freedom “for which Christ has set us free” (cf. Gal 5.1). The Church lives not for herself. She offers herself for the whole of humanity in order to raise up and renew the world into new heavens and a new earth (cf. Rev 21.1). Hence, she gives Gospel witness and distributes the gifts of God in the world: His love, peace, justice, reconciliation, the power of the Resurrection and the expectation of eternal life.

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I. The Church: Body of Christ, image of the Holy Trinity

1. The one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church is a divine-human communion in the image of the Holy Trinity, a foretaste and experience of the eschaton in the holy Eucharist and a revelation of the glory of the things to come, and, as a continuing Pentecost, she is a prophetic voice in this world that cannot be silenced, the presence and witness of God’s Kingdom “that has come with power” (cf. Mark 9.1). The Church, as the body of Christ, “gathers” the world (Matt 23.37) to Him, transfigures it and irrigates it with “the water welling up to eternal life” (John 4.14).

2. The tradition of the Apostles and Fathers – following the words of the Lord,the founder of the Church, who at the Last Supper with his disciples, instituted the sacrament of the holy Eucharist - highlighted the Church’s characteristic as the “body of Christ” (Matt 25, 26; Mark 14.22; Luke 22.19; 1 Cor 10.16-17; 11.23-29), and always connected this with the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son and Word of God from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. In this spirit, emphasis was always placed on the indissoluble relation both between the entire mystery of the divine Economy in Christ and the mystery of the Church, and also between the mystery of the Church and the mystery of the holy Eucharist, which is continually confirmed in the sacramental life of the Church through the operation of the Holy Spirit.

The Orthodox Church, faithful to this unanimous apostolic tradition and sacramental experience, constitutes the authentic continuation of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, as this is confessed in the Symbol of faith and is confirmed in the teaching of the Fathers of the Church. Thus, she is conscious of her greater responsibility not only to ensure the authentic expression of this experience in the ecclesial body, but also to offer a trustworthy witness to the truth to all humankind.

3. The Orthodox Church, in her unity and catholicity, is the Church of Councils, from the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15.5-29) to the present day. The Church in herself is a Council, established by Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, in accord with the apostolic words: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15.28). Through the Ecumenical and Local councils, the Church has proclaimed and continues to proclaim the mystery of the Holy Trinity, revealed through the incarnation of the Son and Word of God. The Conciliar work continues uninterrupted in history through the later councils of universal authority, such as, for example, the Great Council (879-880) convened at the time of St. Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople, and also the Great Councils convened at the time of St. Gregory Palamas (1341, 1351, 1368), through which the same truth of faith was confirmed, most especially as concerns the procession of the Holy Spirit and as concerns the participation of human beings in the uncreated divine energies, and furthermore through the Holy and Great Councils convened in Constantinople, in 1484 to refute the unionist Council of Florence (1438-1439), in 1638, 1642, 1672 and 1691 to refute Protestant beliefs, and in 1872 to condemn ethno-phyletism as an ecclesiological heresy.

4. The holiness of man (anthropos) cannot be conceived apart from the Body of Christ, “which is the Church” (cf. Eph 1.23). Holiness proceeds from the One who alone is Holy. It is participation of mankind in the holiness of God, in “the communion of the Saints,” as is proclaimed by the words of the priest during the Divine Liturgy: “The Holy Gifts for the holy,” and through the response of the faithful: “One is Holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.” In this spirit, Saint Cyril of Alexandria underscores that Christ, “Being holy by nature as God (...) is sanctified on our behalf in the Holy Spirit (...) and (Christ) performed this on our behalf, not on his own behalf, so that from him and in him, who first received this sanctification, the grace of being sanctified may thus pass to all humanity ...” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, 11, PG 74, 548).

According to St. Cyril, Christ is our "common person" through the recapitulation in his own humanity of the entire human race, "for we were all in Christ, and the common person of humanity comes to life again in him" (Commentary on the Gospel of John, XI, PG 73. 157-161), and hence also he is the sole source of man's sanctification in the Holy Spirit. In this spirit, holiness is man’s participation both in the sacrament of the Church and also in her sacred mysteries, with the holy Eucharist at the center, which is “a living sacrifice, holy, and pleasing to God” (cf. Rom 12.1). “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But rather, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom 8.35-37). The saints embody the eschatological identity of the Church as an eternal doxology before the earthly and heavenly Throne of the King of Glory (Ps 23.7), providing an image of the Kingdom of God.

5. The Orthodox Catholic Church comprises fourteen local Autocephalous Churches, recognized at a pan-Orthodox level. The principle of autocephaly cannot be allowed to operate at the expense of the principle of the catholicity and the unity of the Church. We therefore consider that the creation of the Episcopal Assemblies in the Orthodox Diaspora, comprising all the recognized canonical bishops, who in each area are appointed to their respective assembly, and who remain under their canonical jurisdictions, represents a positive step towards their canonical organization, and the smooth functioning of these assemblies guarantees respect for the ecclesiological principle of conciliarity.

II. The mission of the Church in the world

6. The apostolic work and the proclamation of the Gospel, also known as mission, belong at the core of the Church’s identity, as the keeping and observation of Christ’s commandment: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28.19). This is the “breath of life” that the Church breathes into human society and makes the world into Church through the newly-established local Churches everywhere. In this spirit, the Orthodox faithful are and ought to be Christ’s apostles in the world. This mission must be fulfilled, not aggressively, but freely, with love and respect towards the cultural identity of individuals and peoples. All Orthodox Churches ought to participate in this endeavor with due respect for canonical order.

Participation in the holy Eucharist is a source of missionary zeal for the evangelization of the world. By participating in the holy Eucharist and praying in the Sacred Synaxis for the whole world (oikoumene), we are called to continue the “liturgy after the Liturgy” and to offer witness concerning the truth of our faith before God and mankind, sharing God’s gifts with all mankind, in obedience to the explicit commandment of our Lord before His Ascension: “And you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1.8). The words of the Divine Liturgy prior to Communion, “Dismembered and distributed is the Lamb of God, who is dismembered and not divided, ever eaten, yet never consumed,” indicate that Christ as the “Lamb of God” (John 1.29) and the “Bread of Life” (John 6.48) is offered to us as eternal Love, uniting us to God and to one another. It teaches us to distribute God’s gifts and to offer ourselves to everyone in a Christ-like way.

The life of Christians is a truthful witness to the renewal in Christ of all things – “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5.17) – and an invitation addressed to all people for personal and free participation in eternal life, in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the love of God the Father, in order to experience the communion of the Holy Spirit in the Church. “For the mystery of salvation is for those who desire it, not for those who are being coerced” (Maximus Confessor PG 90.880). The re-evangelization of God’s people in contemporary secularized societies, as well as the evangelization of those who have not yet come to know Christ, is the unceasing duty of the Church.

III. The Family: Image of Christ’s love towards the Church

7. The Orthodox Church regards the indissoluble loving union of man and woman as a “great mystery” … of Christ and the Church (Eph 5.32) and she regards the family that springs from this, which constitutes the only guarantee for the birth and upbringing of children in accord with the plan of divine Economy, as a “little Church” (John Chrysostom, Commentary of the Letter to the Ephesians, 20, PG 62.143), giving to it the appropriate pastoral support.

The contemporary crisis in marriage and the family is a consequence of the crisis of freedom as responsibility, its decline into a self-centered self-realization, its identification with individual self-gratification, self-sufficiency and autonomy, and the loss of the sacramental character of the union between man and woman, resulting from forgetfulness of the sacrificial ethos of love. Contemporary society approaches marriage in a secular way with purely sociological and realistic criteria, regarding it as a simple form of relationship – one among many others – all of which are entitled to equal institutional validity.

Marriage is a Church-nurtured workshop of life in love and an unsurpassed gift of God’s grace. The “high hand” of the “conjoining” God is “invisibly present, harmonizing those being joined together” with Christ and with one another. The crowns that are placed on the heads of the bride and groom during the sacramental rite refer to the dimension of sacrifice and complete devotion to God and one another. They also point to the life of the Kingdom of God, revealing the eschatological reference in the mystery of love.

8. The Holy and Great Council addresses itself with particular love and care to children and to all young people. Amid the medley of mutually contradictory definitions of childhood, our most holy Church presents the words of our Lord: “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18.3) and “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it (Luke 18.17), as well as what our Savior says about those who “prevent” (Luke 18.16) children from approaching Him and about those who “scandalize” them (Matt 18.6).

To young people the Church offers not simply “help” but “truth,” the truth of the new divine-human life in Christ. Orthodox youthshould become aware that they are bearers of the centuries-old and blessed tradition of the Orthodox Church and also the continuers of this tradition who will courageously preserve and will cultivate in a dynamic way the eternal values of Orthodoxy in order to give life-giving Christian witness. From among them will come the future ministers of the Church of Christ. The young people thus are not simply the “future” of the Church, but also the active expression of her God-loving and human-loving life in the present.

IV. Education in Christ

9. In our time, new tendencies can be observed in the realm of upbringing and education in regard to the content and aims of education as well as in the way childhood, the role of both teacher and student and the role of the contemporary school are viewed. Since education relates not only to what man is, but also to what man should be and to the content of his responsibility, it is self-evident that the image we have of the human person and the meaning of existence determine our view of his education. The dominant secularized individualistic educational system that troubles young people today is of deep concern to the Orthodox Church.

At the center of the Church’s pastoral concern is an education that looks not only to the cultivation of the intellect, but also to the edification and development of the whole person as a psycho-somatic and spiritual being in accordance with the triptych, God, man and world. In her catechetical discourse, the Orthodox Church caringly calls on the people of God, especially the young people, to a conscious and active participation in the life of the Church, cultivating in them the “excellent desire” for life in Christ. Thus, the fullness of the Christian people finds an existential support in the divine-human communion of the Church and experiences in this the resurrectional perspective of theosis by grace.

V. The Church in the face of contemporary challenges

10. The Church of Christ today finds herself confronted by extreme or even provocative expressions of the ideology of secularization, inherent in political, cultural and social developments. A basic element of the ideology of secularization has ever been and continues to be the full autonomy of man from Christ and from the spiritual influence of the Church, by the arbitrary identification of the Church with conservatism and by the historically unjustified characterization of the Church as an alleged impediment to all progress and development. In contemporary secularized societies, man, cut off from God, identifies his freedom and the meaning of his life with absolute autonomy and with release from his eternal destiny, resulting in a series of misunderstandings and deliberate misinterpretations of the Christian tradition. The bestowal on man from above of freedom in Christ and his advancement “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4.13) is thus seen to go against man’s tendencies for self-salvation. Christ’s sacrificial love is regarded as incompatible with individualism while the ascetic character of the Christian ethos is judged as an unbearable challenge to the happiness of the individual.

The identification of the Church with conservatism, incompatible with the advancement of civilization, is arbitrary and improper, since the consciousness of the identity of the Christian peoples bears the indelible imprint of the diachronic contribution of the Church, not only in their cultural heritage, but also in the healthy development of secular civilization more generally, since God placed man as steward of the divine creation and as a co-worker with Him in the world. The Orthodox Church sets against the “man-god’ of the contemporary world the ‘God-man’ as the ultimate measure of all things. “We do not speak of a man who has been deified, but of God who has become man” (John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith iii, 2 PG 94.988). The Church reveals the saving truth of the God-man and His body, the Church, as the locus and mode of life in freedom, “speaking the truth in love” (cf. Eph 4.15), and as participation even now on earth in the life of the resurrected Christ. The divine-human character [“not of the world” (John 18.36)] of the Church, which nourishes and guides her presence and witness “in the world,” is incompatible with any kind of conformation of the Church to the world (cf. Rom 12.2).

11. Through the contemporary development of science and technology, our life is changing radically. And what brings about a change in the life of man demands discernment on his part, since, apart from significant benefits, such as the facilitation of everyday life, the successful treatment of serious diseases and space exploration, we are also confronted with the negative consequences of scientific progress. The dangers are the manipulation of human freedom, the use of man as a simple means, the gradual loss of precious traditions, and threats to, or even the destruction of, the natural environment.

Unfortunately, science, by its very nature, does not possess the necessary means to prevent or address many of the problems it creates directly or indirectly. Scientific knowledge does not motivate man’s moral will, and even though aware of the dangers, he continues to act as if unaware of them. The answer to man’s serious existential and moral problems and to the eternal meaning of his life and of the world cannot be given without a spiritual approach.

12. In our age, there is a very prevalent enthusiasm for the impressive developments in the fields of Biology, Genetics and Neurophysiology. These represent scientific advances, the wide-ranging applications of which will, in all likelihood, create serious anthropological and moral dilemmas. The uncontrolled use of biotechnology at the beginning, during, and at the end of life, endangers its authentic fullness. Man is experimenting ever more intensively with his own very nature in an extreme and dangerous way. He is in danger of being turned into a biological machine, into an impersonal social unit or into a mechanical device of controlled thought.

The Orthodox Church cannot remain on the sidelines of discussions about such momentous anthropological, ethical and existential matters. She rests firmly on divinely taught criteria and reveals the relevance of Orthodox anthropology in the face of the contemporary overturning of values. Our Church can and must express in the world her prophetic consciousness in Christ Jesus, who with His Incarnation assumed the whole man and is the ultimate prototype for the renewal of the human race. She projects the sacredness of life and man’s character as a person from the very moment of conception. The right to be born is the first of human rights. The Church as a divine-human society, in which each human constitutes a unique being destined for personal communion with God, and she resists every attempt to objectify man, to turn him into a measurable quantity. No scientific achievement is permitted to compromise man’s dignity and his divine destination. Man is not defined only by his genes.

Bioethics from an Orthodox point of view is founded on this basis. At a time of conflicting images of man, Orthodox bioethics, in opposition to secular autonomous and reductionist anthropological views, insists on man’s creation in God’s image and likeness and his eternal destiny. The Church thus contributes to the enrichment of the philosophical and scientific discussion of bioethical questions through her scriptural anthropology and the spiritual experience of Orthodoxy.

13. In a global society, oriented towards ‘having’ and individualism, the Orthodox Catholic Church presents the truth of life in and according to Christ, the truth freely made incarnate in the everyday life of each man through his works “till evening” (Ps 103), through which he is made co-worker of the eternal Father [“We are co-workers with God” (1 Cor 3.9)] and of His Son [“My Father is working still, and I am working” (John 5.17)]. The grace of God sanctifies in the Holy Spirit the works of the hands of the man who works together with God, revealing the affirmation in them of life and of human society. Christian asceticism is to be placed within this framework; this differs radically from all dualistic asceticism that severs man from life and from his fellow man. Christian asceticism and the exercise of self-restraint, which connect man with the sacramental life of the Church, do not concern only the monastic life, but are characteristic of ecclesial life in all its manifestations, as a tangible witness to the presence of the eschatological spirit in the blessed life of the faithful.

14. The roots of the ecological crisis are spiritual and ethical, inhering within the heart of each man. This crisis has become more acute in recent centuries on account of the various divisions provoked by human passions – such as greed, avarice, egotism and the insatiable desire for more – and by their consequences for the planet, as with climate change, which now threatens to a large extent the natural environment, our common “home”. The rupture in the relationship between man and creation is a perversion of the authentic use of God’s creation. The approach to the ecological problem on the basis of the principles of the Christian tradition demands not only repentance for the sin of the exploitation of the natural resources of the planet, namely, a radical change in mentality and behavior, but also asceticism as an antidote to consumerism, the deification of needs and the acquisitive attitude. It also presupposes our greatest responsibility to hand down a viable natural environment to future generations and to use it according to divine will and blessing. In the sacraments of the Church, creation is affirmed and man is encouraged to act as a steward, protector and “priest” of creation, offering it by way of doxology to the Creator – “Your own of your own we offer to You in all and for all” – and cultivating a Eucharistic relationship with creation. This Orthodox, Gospel and Patristic approach also turns our attention to the social dimensions and the tragic consequences of the destruction of the natural environment.

VI. The Church in the face of globalization, the phenomenon of extreme violence and migration

15. The contemporary ideology of globalization, which is being imposed imperceptibly and expanding rapidly, is already provoking powerful shocks to the economy and to society on a world-wide scale. Its imposition has created new forms of systematic exploitation and social injustice; it has planned the gradual neutralization of the impediments from opposing national, religious, ideological and other traditions and has already led to the weakening or complete reversal of social acquisitions on the pretext of the allegedly necessary readjustment of the global economy, widening thus the gap between rich and poor, undermining the social cohesion of peoples and fanning new fires of global tensions.

In opposition to the levelling and impersonal standardization promoted by globalization, and also to the extremes of nationalism, the Orthodox Church proposes the protection of the identities of peoples and the strengthening of local identity. As an alternative example for the unity of mankind, she proposes the articulated organization of the Church on the basis of the equality of the local Churches. The Church is opposed to the provocative threat to contemporary man and the cultural traditions of peoples that globalization involves and the principle of the “autonomy of the economy” or “economism,” that is, the autonomization of the economy from man’s essential needs and its transformation into an end in itself. She therefore proposes a viable economy founded on the principles of the Gospel. Thus, guided by the words of the Lord, “man shall not live by bread alone” (Luke 4.4), the Church does not connect the progress of mankind only with an increase in living standards or with economic development at the expense of spiritual values.

16. The Church does not involve herself with politics in the narrow sense of the term. Her witness, however, is essentially political insofar as it expresses concern for man and his spiritual freedom. The voice of the Church was always distinct and will ever remain a beneficial intervention for the sake of humanity. The local Orthodox Churches are today called to promote a new constructive synergy with the secular state and its rule of law within the new framework of international relations, in accordance with the biblical saying: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (cf. Matt 22.21). This synergy must, however, preserve the specific identity of both Church and state and ensure their earnest cooperation in order to preserve man's unique dignity and the human rights which flow therefrom, and in order to assure social justice.

Human rights are today at the center of political debate as a response to contemporary social and political crises and upheavals and in order to protect the freedom of the individual. The approach to human rights on the part of the Orthodox Church centers on the danger of individual rights falling into individualism and a culture of “rights”. A perversion of this kind functions at the expense of the social content of freedom and leads to the arbitrary transformation of rights into claims for happiness, as well as the elevation of the precarious identification of freedom with individual license into a “universal value” that undermines the foundations of social values, of the family, of religion, of the nation and threatens fundamental moral values.

Accordingly, the Orthodox understanding of man is opposed both to the arrogant apotheosis of the individual and his rights, and to the humiliating debasement of the human person within the vast contemporary structures of economy, society, politics and communication. The tradition of Orthodoxy is an inexhaustible source of vital truths for mankind. No one has honored man and cared for him as much as the God-man Christ and his Church. A fundamental human right is the protection of the principle of religious freedom in all its aspects--namely, the freedom of conscience, belief, and religion, including, alone and in community, in private and in public, the right to freedom of worship and practice, the right to manifest one's religion, as well as the right of religious communities to religious education and to the full function and exercise of their religious duties, without any form of direct or indirect interference by the state.

17. We are experiencing today an increase of violence in the name of God. The explosions of fundamentalism within religious communities threaten to create the view that fundamentalism belongs to the essence of the phenomenon of religion. The truth, however, is that fundamentalism, as “zeal not based on knowledge” (Rom 10.2), constitutes an expression of morbid religiosity. A true Christian, following the example of the crucified Lord, sacrifices himself and does not sacrifice others, and for this reason is the most stringent critic of fundamentalism of whatever provenance. Honest interfaith dialogue contributes to the development of mutual trust and to the promotion of peace and reconciliation. The Church strives to make “the peace from on high” more tangibly felt on earth. True peace is not achieved by force of arms, but only through love that “does not seek its own” (1 Cor 13.5). The oil of faith must be used to soothe and heal the wounds of others, not to rekindle new fires of hatred.

18. The Orthodox Church follows with much pain and prayer and takes note of the great contemporary humanitarian crisis: the proliferation of violence and military conflicts; the persecution, exile and murder of members of religious minorities; the violent displacement of families from their homelands; the tragedy of human trafficking; the violation of the dignity and fundamental rights of individuals and peoples, and forced conversions. She condemns unconditionally the abductions, tortures, and abhorrent executions. She denounces the destruction of places of worship, religious symbols and cultural monuments.

The Orthodox Church is particularly concerned about the situation facing Christians, and other persecuted ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East. In particular, she addresses an appeal to governments in that region to protect the Christian populations – Orthodox, Ancient Eastern and other Christians – who have survived in the cradle of Christianity. The indigenous Christian and other populations enjoy the inalienable right to remain in their countries as citizens with equal rights.

We therefore urge all parties involved, irrespective of religious convictions, to work for reconciliation and respect for human rights, first of all through the protection of the divine gift of life. The war and bloodshed must be brought to an end and justice must prevail so that peace can be restored and so that it becomes possible for those who have been exiled to return to their ancestral lands. We pray for peace and justice in the suffering countries of Africa and in the troubled country of Ukraine. We reiterate most emphatically in conciliar unity our appeal to those responsible to free the two bishops who have been abducted in Syria, Paul Yazigi and John ─░brahim. We pray also for the release of all our brothers and sisters being held hostage or in captivity.

19. The contemporary and ever intensifying refugee and migrant crisis, due to political, economic and environmental causes, is at the center of the world’s attention. The Orthodox Church has always treated and continues to treat those who are persecuted, in danger and in need on the basis of the Lord’s words: “I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, and was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to me”, and “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these my brethren, you did for me” (Matt 25.40). Throughout its history, the Church was always on the side of the “weary and heavy laden” (cf. Matt 11.28). At no time was the Church’s philanthropic work limited merely to circumstantial good deeds toward the needy and suffering, but rather it sought to eradicate the causes which create social problems. The Church’s “work of service” (Eph 4.12) is recognized by everyone.

We appeal therefore first of all to those able to remove the causes for the creation of the refugee crisis to take the necessary positive decisions. We call on the civil authorities, the Orthodox faithful and the other citizens of the countries in which they have sought refuge and continue to seek refuge to accord them every possible assistance, even from out of their own insufficiency.

VII. Church: witness in dialogue

20. The Church manifests sensitivity towards those who have severed themselves from communion with her and is concerned for those who do not understand her voice. Conscious that she constitutes the living presence of Christ in the world, the Church translates the divine economy into concrete actions using all means at her disposal to give a trustworthy witness to the truth, in the precision of the apostolic faith. In this spirit of recognition of the need for witness and offering, the Orthodox Church has always attached great importance to dialogue, and especially to that with non-Orthodox Christians. Through this dialogue, the rest of the Christian world is now more familiar with Orthodoxy and the authenticity of its tradition. It also knows that the Orthodox Church has never accepted theological minimalism or permitted its dogmatic tradition and evangelical ethos to be called into question. Inter-Christian dialogues have provided Orthodoxy with the opportunity to display her respect for the teaching of the Fathers and to bear a trustworthy witness to the genuine tradition of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. The multilateral dialogues undertaken by the Orthodox Church have never signified, and do not signify, nor will they ever signify, any compromise in matters of faith. These dialogues are a witness to Orthodoxy, grounded on the Gospel message “come and see” (John 1.46), see, namely, that "God is love" (1 John 4.8).

***

In this spirit, the Orthodox Church throughout the world, being the revelation of the Kingdom of God in Christ, experiences the entire mystery of the divine Economy in her sacramental life, with the holy Eucharist at its center, in which she offers to us not nourishment that is perishable and corruptible, but the very life-streaming Body of the Lord, the “heavenly Bread” which “is a medicine of immortality, an antidote for not dying but living in God through Jesus Christ, and a purgative expelling evil” (Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians, 20, PG 5.756). The holy Eucharist constitutes the innermost core also of the conciliar functioning of the ecclesial body, as well as the authentic confirmation of the Orthodoxy of the faith of the Church, as Saint Irenaeus of Lyon proclaims: “Our teaching is in accord with the Eucharist and the Eucharist confirms our teaching” (Against Heresies, 4. 18, PG 7.1028).

Proclaiming the Gospel to all the world in accord with the Lord’s command and “preaching in His name repentance and remission of sins to all the nations” (Luke 22.47), we have the obligation to commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God and to love one another, confessing with one mind: “Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Trinity consubstantial and undivided.” Addressing these things in Council to the children throughout the world of our most holy Orthodox Church, as well as to the entire world, following the holy Fathers and the Conciliar decrees so as to preserve the faith received from our fathers and to “uphold good ways” in our daily life in the hope of the common resurrection, we glorify God in three hypostases with divine songs:

“O Father almighty, and Word and Spirit, one nature united in three persons, God beyond being and beyond divinity, in You we have been baptized, and You we bless to the ages of ages.” (Paschal Canon, Ode 8.)

† Bartholomew of Constantinople, Chairman

† Theodoros of Alexandria

† Theophilos of Jerusalem

† Irinej of Serbia

†Daniel of Romania

† Chrysostomos of Cyprus

† Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece

† Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland

† Anastasios of Tirana, Durres and All Albania

† Rastislav of Presov, the Czech Lands and Slovakia

Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

† Leo of Karelia and All Finland

† Stephanos of Tallinn and All Estonia

† Elder Metropolitan John of Pergamon

† Elder Archbishop Demetrios of America

† Augustinos of Germany

† Irenaios of Crete

† Isaiah of Denver

† Alexios of Atlanta

† Iakovos of the Princes’ Islands

† Joseph of Proikonnisos

† Meliton of Philadelphia

† Emmanuel of France

† Nikitas of the Dardanelles

† Nicholas of Detroit

† Gerasimos of San Francisco

† Amphilochios of Kisamos and Selinos

† Amvrosios of Korea

† Maximos of Selyvria

† Amphilochios of Adrianopolis

† Kallistos of Diokleia

† Antony of Hierapolis, Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox in the USA

† Job of Telmessos

† Jean of Charioupolis, Head of the Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of the Russian Tradition in Western Europe

† Gregory of Nyssa, Head of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox in the USA

Delegation of the Patriarchate of Alexandria

† Gabriel of Leontopolis

† Makarios of Nairobi

† Jonah of Kampala

† Seraphim of Zimbabwe and Angola

† Alexandros of Nigeria

† Theophylaktos of Tripoli

† Sergios of Good Hope

† Athanasios of Cyrene

† Alexios of Carthage

† Ieronymos of Mwanza

† George of Guinea

† Nicholas of Hermopolis

† Dimitrios of Irinopolis

† Damaskinos of Johannesburg and Pretoria

† Narkissos of Accra

† Emmanouel of Ptolemaidos

† Gregorios of Cameroon

† Nicodemos of Memphis

† Meletios of Katanga

† Panteleimon of Brazzaville and Gabon

† Innokentios of Burudi and Rwanda

† Crysostomos of Mozambique

† Neofytos of Nyeri and Mount Kenya

Delegation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem

† Benedict of Philadelphia

† Aristarchos of Constantine

† Theophylaktos of Jordan

† Nektarios of Anthidon

† Philoumenos of Pella

Delegation of the Church of Serbia

† Jovan of Ohrid and Skopje

† Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral

† Porfirije of Zagreb and Ljubljana

† Vasilije of Sirmium

† Lukijan of Budim

† Longin of Nova Gracanica

† Irinej of Backa

† Hrizostom of Zvornik and Tuzla

† Justin of Zica

† Pahomije of Vranje

† Jovan of Sumadija

† Ignatije of Branicevo

† Fotije of Dalmatia

† Athanasios of Bihac and Petrovac

† Joanikije of Niksic and Budimlje

† Grigorije of Zahumlje and Hercegovina

† Milutin of Valjevo

† Maksim in Western America

† Irinej in Australia and New Zealand

† David of Krusevac

† Jovan of Slavonija

† Andrej in Austria and Switzerland

† Sergije of Frankfurt and in Germany

† Ilarion of Timok

Delegation of the Church of Romania

† Teofan of Iasi, Moldova and Bucovina

† Laurentiu of Sibiu and Transylvania

† Andrei of Vad, Feleac, Cluj, Alba, Crisana and Maramures

† Irineu of Craiova and Oltenia

† Ioan of Timisoara and Banat

† Iosif in Western and Southern Europe

† Serafim in Germany and Central Europe

† Nifon of Targoviste

† Irineu of Alba Iulia

† Ioachim of Roman and Bacau

† Casian of Lower Danube

† Timotei of Arad

† Nicolae in America

† Sofronie of Oradea

† Nicodim of Strehaia and Severin

† Visarion of Tulcea

† Petroniu of Salaj

† Siluan in Hungary

† Siluan in Italy

† Timotei in Spain and Portugal

† Macarie in Northern Europe

† Varlaam Ploiesteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch

† Emilian Lovisteanul, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Ramnic

† Ioan Casian of Vicina, Assistant Bishop to the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Americas

Delegation of the Church of Cyprus

† Georgios of Paphos

† Chrysostomos of Kition

† Chrysostomos of Kyrenia

† Athanasios of Limassol

† Neophytos of Morphou

† Vasileios of Constantia and Ammochostos

† Nikiphoros of Kykkos and Tillyria

† Isaias of Tamassos and Oreini

† Barnabas of Tremithousa and Lefkara

† Christophoros of Karpasion

† Nektarios of Arsinoe

† Nikolaos of Amathus

† Epiphanios of Ledra

† Leontios of Chytron

† Porphyrios of Neapolis

† Gregory of Mesaoria

Delegation of the Church of Greece

† Prokopios of Philippi, Neapolis and Thassos

† Chrysostomos of Peristerion

† Germanos of Eleia

† Alexandros of Mantineia and Kynouria

† Ignatios of Arta

† Damaskinos of Didymoteixon, Orestias and Soufli

† Alexios of Nikaia

† Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Aghios Vlasios

† Eusebios of Samos and Ikaria

† Seraphim of Kastoria

† Ignatios of Demetrias and Almyros

† Nicodemos of Kassandreia

† Ephraim of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina

† Theologos of Serres and Nigrita

† Makarios of Sidirokastron

† Anthimos of Alexandroupolis

† Barnabas of Neapolis and Stavroupolis

† Chrysostomos of Messenia

† Athenagoras of Ilion, Acharnon and Petroupoli

† Ioannis of Lagkada, Litis and Rentinis

† Gabriel of New Ionia and Philadelphia

† Chrysostomos of Nikopolis and Preveza

† Theoklitos of Ierissos, Mount Athos and Ardameri

Delegation of the Church of Poland

† Simon of Lodz and Poznan

† Abel of Lublin and Chelm

† Jacob of Bialystok and Gdansk

† George of Siemiatycze

† Paisios of Gorlice

Delegation of the Church of Albania

† Joan of Koritsa

† Demetrios of Argyrokastron

† Nikolla of Apollonia and Fier

† Andon of Elbasan

† Nathaniel of Amantia

† Asti of Bylis

Delegation of the Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia

† Michal of Prague

† Isaiah of Sumperk

† Jeremy of Switzerland, Chief of the Panorthodox Secretariat of the Holy and Great Council