In The Dark

My Orthodox readers might find the following article interesting:

The Orthodox Church Stays In The Dark Ages

Of course, other readers could (and dare I say, should) find it interesting too. Now, the arcana of Orthodox policies and politics isn’t my primary interest in that article. Instead, it was the focus on The Dark Ages.

You see, there is definitely some darkness going on in that piece. Only, the lack of light is found in the writer’s head. His Western education clearly shows (at least to me), as he is clearly unaware of the actual nature of the Dark Ages. If he was historically literate, or at least had the brains to read Wikipedia, he would have known that the Dark Ages was a period in Western European history. It was the Western Church which went through the “Dark Age” period.

The Eastern Church, on the other hand, had a rather different experience. Why so? Simple- the Eastern Roman Empire lasted for a thousand years longer than in the West. The Light of the East didn’t dim like that of the West when Rome fell. Instead the Eastern Church flourished and prospered. At least, it did until Islam showed up and conquered vast areas of formerly Christian lands.

The writer is letting his contempt for Tradition, and the haughtiness of a liberal mindset,  show here. He has a point to make, and he won’t let facts or history get in the way of it. Arguing the merits of why the Orthodox Churches are standing up for what they believe in is pointless with one such as him. The irony is that so called “Progressives” like him (although he may deny that is what he is) are the new barbarians- they are the ones trying to tear down the pillars of civilization all around them. Sadly, for the most part they succeeded. I hope for the world’s sake that they continue to fail where the Eastern Church is concerned.



Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, Civilization, The Church, Tradition

15 responses to “In The Dark

  1. theshadowedknight

    Oh, another (((progressive leftist))) complaining about the Russian Church. (((He))) gets to beat on Christianity and Russia at the same time. The two greatest enemies of the (((progressive globalists.))) I wonder what (((kind))) of person wrote this. Is there an echo in here?

    The article is an unveiled attack on Russia. At this point, they are not even trying. More people believe in ghosts than believe in the media, and both are equally as dead.

    The Shadowed Knight

  2. A Visitor

    That article was great! I think the Catholic Church could take a point or two from this.

    Finally, this isn’t a slight against the Russian Orthodox Church but given their infiltration by the KGB courtesy of the Soviet Union (and I wouldn’t be surprised if the FSB carries the torch) I’m a bit leary of them.

  3. Scott


    The content and unmasked contempt for the Church in the article is fairly boiler plate “shaming.”

    The procedural “issues” that he decries are a feature, not a bug of Orthodoxy.

  4. Scott

    To expand a bit.

    Concerns about “relevance” and gay “marriage” strike me as odd in light of what Orthidoxy is

    Often, I have social media Orthodox friends who complain about “traditionalist” Orthodox Christians and their resistance to change.

    But to me, resistance to change is baked into the cake. Tradition informs and drives a great deal of what we do.

    Even I am guilty of using the phrase traditionalist Orthodox, but the truth is, it’s a redundant phrase.

  5. Novaseeker

    My guess is that this is a person who is ethnic Russian and not a believer or a believer and a dissenter (they exist). You’re right that he is Western educated — his bio at Bloomberg indicates this. A few notes on the background to what happened may be of interest to people not familiar with the inner workings of the Orthodox world.

    First, the business between Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarchate is a bit more complex than is typically described in Western media, and certainly than is described in that article.

    I honestly don’t think that Moscow would have withdrawn had other churches — in particular the venerable Patriarchate of Antioch, which has a jurisdictional dispute with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and expected (rightly, in my view) for the council to weigh in on this — had already done so, and for reasons totally unrelated to any concerns about a kind of neo-papal drift by the EP.

    Jurisdictionally, the EP has a small flock in Turkey, but he also has jurisdiction over the Greek Church in the diaspora (Western Europe, North America, Canada, etc. — including, say, that Greek Orthodox Church you may have passed in your town while driving around), which is considerable in terms of finances and significant in terms of size. It’s still small compared to other Orthodox jurisdictions, but it’s financially more powerful than it looks due to the wealth of much of the Greek diaspora. The MP is, of course, the largest Orthodox church by far, but, because it became ecclesiastically independent only after the fall of Constantinople, it is not one of the five ancient Patriarchates mentioned in the old conciliar canons (Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem), and so falls beneath them in honor. No-one has seriously suggested upsetting this order, but there have been some tensions about jurisdiction in areas of the former Soviet Union, for example, from time to time.

    In very general terms, much of Orthodoxy is skeptical of the EP trying to exercise a kind of neo-papal authority in Orthodoxy. I don’t think this is what scotched the council, but really what did so was a problem with the process of deliberating the conciliar documents, such that many bishops in many churches were not consulted about the contents of them, and found the wording in many places to be lacking — particularly in the phrasing of some of the passages on marriage and some of the passages on ecumenical relations. This would of course not be a problem if the council had been set up to include a process of extensive deliberation among bishops and had a larger representation of the episcopate present. It was not, however, set up this way. The deliberation at the council was set up to be minimal, if any, and the representation of the churches was strictly limited (the latter was done at the insistence of the EP and some of the other churches, because otherwise the Russian bishops would outnumber everyone else). So it kind of setup a “take it or leave it” situation with respect to the documents, and that led some churches, like the Georgians, to bow out. The Serbs almost did the same, but stayed in at the last minute. I think Moscow would have done that, too, had Antioch been in attendance. In all, not a good show, of course, but the lesson, I think, is that a real council is what is really needed — something with all or almost all bishops in attendance and which has full deliberative breadth and time to decide things. Some of the leadership is scared about that because of concerns that it would be too conservative (it probably would be rather conservative) as compared with what the more modern-thinking leaders would prefer in terms of wording, but really trying to hold a kind of non-council council like this one obviously failed in any case.

    I’d add that it isn’t particularly edifying for the surrogates of the EP, like Fr. John Chryssavgis, to be suggesting that the conciliar documents which the partial synod votes on will be binding on the entirety of Orthodoxy regardless of who attends and votes. That isn’t going to happen, and really just creates more tension and recrimination about neo-papalism at the EP.

    No doubt the author of the linked article knows some of this, but my guess is only glibly. It’s easier to take a smug approach, particularly because he, as are most of our dissidents, is well aware that the prospects for the kind of change he wants — like an Orthodox Pope Francis — are between slim and none, and slim is on his deathbed. This is why our dissenters most typically leave, unlike, say, forming a faction as the Catholic reformers/lefties have done. We have a very small handful of those among us, but for the most part the dissenters simply leave for other Christian churches that have doctrine and praxis that is more amenable to their modernist ideological loyalties, because they are well aware that it is extremely hard for the kinds of changes they want (female ordination, married bishops, gay marriage being blessed, homosexuality and extra-marital sex being blessed, etc.) to come about in the Orthodox Church, for structural reasons alone. Sometimes after they leave they get frustrated and write articles like the linked one (sometimes even those who have not formally left write such articles, too), but there’s always that tone of condescending finger-wagging at the “backwardness” of Orthodoxy — something which really doesn’t have much purchase inside the Orthodox world, but has lots of people nodding their heads outside of it.

  6. anonymous_ng

    Nova, thanks for a really informative post. I’m in agreement with Scott, it’s a feature, not a bug.

  7. Scott

    I generally defer my knowledge of those ins and outs to Novaseeker. I have only been practicing Orthodox for about a year.

    On a related note, however– at last count, I have been instrumental in either converting or causing to start seeking no less than 21 folks to Orthodoxy.

    They usually write to me through my website and I get them pointed in the right direction. Some have written me back telling me they have been chrismated.

    So even though I am new, it seems I make a pretty good apologist for it.

    That number, of course includes my wife and kids.

  8. happyhen11

    I found this article transcribed from a lecture given by Fr. Peter Alban Heers instructive concerning this present “council.”

    Fr. Heers has 2 posts on the myths preceding this “council” as well.

    I read with interest the Russian, Georgian, and Antiochian churches’ concerns and agreed with them. The heretical nonsense coming from some of the bishops attending this council has sadly confirmed our worst fears. I pray more spiritual heads, listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, prevail.

  9. Michael Kozaki


    …the prospects for the kind of change he wants — like an Orthodox Pope Francis — are between slim and none

    What “change” are you talking about, and how would he get it at this council anyway? E.g., Francis has changed no doctrine, nor even practice for any bishop. He lacks the authority without a certain formality (say, council or similar).

    But how would an Orthodox council (even if it could happen) change anything anyway? What would force stragglers to comply? The whole idea of an Orthodox council makes zero sense without a temporary pope or 100% agreement in which case why have a council?

    Happy, heretical nonsense from some bishops attending

    Do you think certain EO bishops are truly heretics, or are just teaching heresy, or is your comment just rhetoric?

  10. happyhen11


    I only wish it was simply rhetoric but as is referenced here many Orthodox are very disappointed in this kind of talk. I do not think this is indicative of the thinking of more than a scant few clergy thankfully and has raised some important eyebrows already.

  11. Novaseeker

    Michael —

    I’m not going to answer your questions, because I don’t want to have that kind of sectarian discussion here (or elsewhere, really — done with that, since years ago really). My post was merely to explain the details of the situation, particularly to non-Orthodox.

    It’s interesting that many comments of yours generally end up attacking, directly or indirectly, other kinds of Christians. Disappointing as well, given that pretty much everyone else avoids that here.

  12. Michael Kozaki

    Happy, thanks, I’ll read up on it today, it’s been under my radar. I’ve had similar discussion with a few Old Orthodox but it always seemed more of the eye-rolling variety, making me curious about mainstream EO opinion.

    Nova, you didn’t explain it well, which is why I asked my question. Sorry if it offends; you have no obligation to reply, and I take no offense if you don’t.

    On your second point: how/where am I indirectly attacking other Christians? Looking over this thread, the only indirect ‘attack’ I can possibly see is yours on Francis (I don’t think it is). Regarding an EO council not making much sense, that’s not anti-EO, as the EO I know preach it loudly and proudly as a shield against modernity (e.g. VII).

  13. @Nova

    Disappointing as well, given that pretty much everyone else avoids that here.


    Though it has come to my mind, more and more, that I cannot just put off people like Kozaki. He is a type of entryist who takes advantage of the climate of mutual respect to attack the unsuspecting.

    Either that or he is just socially retarded.

  14. happyhen11

    Good read Nick. Thank you for the link.

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