What in Hell Happened?

I’m in the middle of Robert F. Kennedy, jr.’s book entitled The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health. That’s quite a mouthful, as is the content of the book itself. It was released a couple of months ago and it’s already high on the New York Times bestseller’s list. If you haven’t read it you need to get a copy while the information is still fresh. The Real Anthony Fauci is more than just a work of non-fiction. It is a superbly-documented tome that in years to come will likely be considered the bible of the pandemic.

Get it. Read it. You’ll be glad you did.

Robert Kennedy, jr. is no shrinking violet. I remember when his father, Robert Kennedy, sr. was the attorney general of the United States under his brother President John F. Kennedy. As A.G., Bobby went after the mafia when they were a more powerful force in our society. Bobby Kennedy, jr. is a no-nonsense lawyer himself, who has pursued justice against large corporations. He is up to the task. People may know him as an anti-vaccination warrior and that is, I suppose, what brought him to the forefront during these two godawful years. Kennedy has got the goods on Dr. Tony Fauci, Bill Gates, and the corrupt moguls of the large pharmaceutical firms and their compromised lackeys who are supposed to regulate them.

Robert F. Kennedy, jr. & Anthony Fauci

At 450 pages, the book is so thick and so well researched…and I am so uninitiated when it comes to medicine…that it ain’t exactly light reading. But it’s eminently informative. From what I have read so far, and from what I have gleaned elsewhere, it’s becoming clear that this pandemic of the coronavirus, Covid-19 has been orchestrated by ne’er-do-wells who took advantage of the opportunity to suppress the free practice of medicine by our doctors. And who thought nothing of scaring the hell out of women with children, and many men, too.

Tony Fauci…a name that is becoming increasingly difficult for me to say…used his position as chief medical advisor to the president for devilish purposes. He deliberately suppressed the use of cheap and effective generic medicines like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. When taken in the correct dosages soon after infection, those drugs are clearly effective toward early recovery from Covid-19. Fauci, and not only he, but other people in high places, directed the mind of the government to wait for the results of the hasty production of questionable mRNA vaccines, the expected silver bullet against the sickness. And the insufferable fourth estate dutifully acted as a fifth column to disseminated lies and suppress the truth. The vaccines were so hastily marketed without the proper testing protocols that the pharmaceutical company’s made damned sure that they wouldn’t be sued. Smart guys, eh? Now we know from the data that the vaccines are not effective and, in fact, have produced adverse events in thousands of those who have received the inoculations. But, oh the money they’ve made for a few lucky people!


Meanwhile, millions of people around the world have been subject to a universal infliction of lockdowns and cumbersome mandates by power-hungry governments, who themselves didn’t know a damned thing about medicine. Normal people freaked out in the face of a disease that was treatable. It was treatable! The masses quickly discarded their God-given right to think and decide for themselves what to do with themselves and their families. Thinking adults started acting like children, demanding that everybody around them act like children, too. Don’t think for a minute that the powers that be didn’t notice how quickly we panicked and how easily we were manipulated. They’ll do it again next time, so stay on your guard.

Now, this embarrassing period of betrayal and cowardice, sickness and death is almost over. It’s winter for us in the Northern Hemisphere and the Omicron variant is basically a bad cold, if you catch it. Nothing unusual there. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared that there will be no more pandemic restrictions. Our own prevaricating administration has directed that hospitals no longer be required to report their numbers of daily dead from Covid. Or…was it with Covid? If I were a hospital administrator who knew that there was a financial bonanza to the tune of $37,000 to be gained for each victim of Covid, I would be sorely tempted to call any death with Covid a death from Covid. And, if I held the patent to remdesivir, a drug with a big windfall – as useless as it is – I might want hospitals to be required to administrate it to Covid patients. But that’s just me, I suppose. I could go on with the sarcasm.

There is a LOT to talk about here. If you love your country as much as I still do, then you’re going to want the answers to the same questions that I have. Never in my lengthening life have I experienced such a prolonged mass hysteria over a disease from which almost everyone recovers unless he has the usual comorbidities. So, my first question is in the title of this short essay: What in hell happened? And my second question is: Who was responsible? And a third: How can we make sure that it never happens again?

As TEC Goes, So Goes GOA

In response to a recent article at Monomachos, a woman named Lina writes, “So, what I don’t get, as an ex-Episcopalian who has watched her cradle church go down the drain over the last several years after espousing the homosexual agenda, is that the GOA (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese) is dead set to follow the same path.” I don’t get it either. That perplexed sentiment resonates with this sad ex-Episcopalian. My own frame of reference with the Episcopal Church started with baptism as an infant in 1954. I was confirmed in 1967, when national membership peaked at 3.6 million members, and then observed the decline over the years that ensued.

Here are some of the more noteworthy of the last half century’s hits (i.e., assaults) on TEC, perhaps best spelled out as Today’s Episcopal Clique. The moral relativism that made it possible was expressed in the widely-read book Situation Ethics (1966) written by ex-priest Joseph Fletcher. There was the suicidal apostasy in 1969 of the prolific author Bp. James Pike. The infiltration of the homosexual indoctrination at General Theological Seminary was made possible by Prof. Norman Pittenger in the same godforsaken decade. These were just some of the men who planted the seeds of Satan into Episcopal Church soil at the apogee of its growth and influence.

Three of the “Philadelphia Eleven”

The contra-canonical ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven women in 1974 portended more radical actions to come. The newfangled Book of Common Prayer in 1979, the newer Hymnal of 1980 became the basis for a smorgasbord view of sacramental rites. Then came the shocking consecration of suffragan bishop Barbara Harris (an unqualified divorcèe) in 1989 and the earth-shaking consecration of diocesan bishop Vicky Imogen Robinson (a gay man) in 2003.

Bp. Vicky Imogene Robinson

Membership in the Episcopal Church has fallen by more than half since its peak in 1967 to a meager 1.6 million today. Of the two million lost over that era, 314,000 were lost in the “twenty teens” (2010 – 2019). Chalk up half of that loss to the general vacating of church pews nationwide. Chalk up the other half to TEC’s revisionist abandonment of Scripture and Tradition while maintaining the outward trappings of religiosity. “Having the appearance of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (II Tim. 3:5). This may be termed the “revolution within the form”. Distrust by the laity of the ever-innovating leadership doomed them. It is my sad observation that the “new and improved” Episcopal Church has squandered its rich Anglican patrimony over the period of my lifetime.

Now, to Lina’s assertion about the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Having watched the TEC “go down the drain”, the GOA is “dead set to follow the same path.” She is puzzled by that. Why are the GOA leadership headed in the same direction? That is the $64,000 question. I doubt whether the GOA has done any serious research into the demographic decline of TEC. Even if they have, they will probably scoff at the precipitous drop in TEC’s numbers. If they look for reasons they may cite the general decline in church attendance across the nation. They may blame the phenomenon on the ignorance of the unsophisticated masses. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if the decline of the TEC hasn’t even registered on the GOA radar. If they had recognized that association with the TEC is a losing bet, why would Elpidophoros have made nice with that heretic Dean Wolfe at St. Bart’s in Manhattan? The celebration of the Divine Liturgy at that parish and the return visit to “talk story” with Bp. Wolfe are indications that Elpi. feels a need to get cozy with the heterodox. Or maybe he was just impressed with the Byzantine architecture and the smell of success at a parish with a reputation for the “queering of Manhattan”.

Pride Month at St. Bart’s Episcopal Church, Manhattan

Here are some rounded figures from the OrthodoxReality.org study entitled “The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) from 2010 to 2020: Changes in Parishes, Membership, and Worship Attendance”. Across the archdiocese, membership has declined from 482,000 to 376, 000 – a loss of 22%. More telling is the reduced number of regular participants over that decade, from 107,000 to 86,000. Again, a decline of about 22% from 2010 to 2020. One can surmise that the decline in GOA has only accelerated during the pandemic by the leadership’s demand for strict adherence to government health mandates. These have gotten parishioners used to the idea of staying home and watching church in their pajamas from the comfort of their living room couches.

Run from decline

Maybe Abp. Elpidophoros doesn’t worry about the drop in the number of derrières in pews as long as the archdiocese can keep the cash rolling in. And as long as Pat. Bartholomew’s quota is redirected to Istanbul. My experience on a GOA parish council the last two years of the pandemic confirmed the suspicion that our metropolis was mostly concerned that parish assessments would still get paid despite the crisis. Our assessments for this year roughly equal the total amount of our stewardship contributions from last year. Without another source of income from real estate, our parish budget would not end up in the black.

Cash for Constantinople

Speaking of money, what happened to the $100,000,000 that got poured into St. Nicholas’ black hole at the World Trade Center? It’s been more than twenty years since 9/11, but construction on the little church isn’t even finished yet. Oy vey.

Abp. Elpidophoros is a gracious and approachable hierarch, so during a small gathering here two years ago, I felt free to challenge him on some of the salient issues. Whether it was the contention of Constantinople’s supremacy among Orthodox hierarchs or the intervention in Ukraine’s ecclesial organization, his retorts indicated to me that he will not change his mind. Outright endorsement of the queer sexual revolution may still be out of reach for them, but certainly Bartholomew and Elpidophoros seem to be dead set to continue their promotion of other so-called progressive concerns such as ecumenism, environmentalism, and Covidism. Just like the proud Episcopalians, they will not …and that auxiliary verb must be read with emphasis… i.e. they willfully will not revise their trendy agenda despite how disastrous it will likely turn out for them. They will not cease and desist their grasping at global ecclesiastical power to promote it, so help them God.

Patriarch Bartholomew & Archbishop Elpidophoros

Maybe Elpidophoros and Bartholomew just cannot change their minds. And, maybe the rest of us are simply fools to pray that they will be able to change. If that is true, it doesn’t make me happy to say that the continued decline in GOA’s membership is likely to be unavoidable.

Japan on New Year’s Eve

It’s New Years Eve. I’m sitting here alone at my computer doing a little research into the canons of the ecumenical councils. Yes, of course, canon research is what everybody does on New Year’s Eve (!) Anyhow, I am starting to sense the sobriety of the ancient bishops who met in council and the rigor which they applied to church discipline. That has set me in a somber mood.

It’s a sobering mood that takes me back to my young adulthood when I used to live in Japan. Japan certainly is not an Orthodox country, as we know. It’s nominally Buddhist, but very few observe Buddhist praxis. The Japanese tend to be suspicious of all religions. Many are not aware that their family belongs to a certain temple until a relative dies and the monk from the local temple is called to perform the requisite prayers. But, Buddhism has a long history in Japan and there are countless Buddhist temples. Even for those who do not adhere to Buddhist teachings, the temples are perfectly-constructed, commanding edifices and the temple grounds are spacious and well kept. They offer a welcome respite from the endless industry which is the bustling Japanese city.

Buddhist monk strikes temple bell.

My mind drifts back to New Year’s Eves past. Many years ago, my family and I lived in a small city in the Japan Alps, where we would sit on the matted floor in a small room warming ourselves near the kerosene stove, mindful of the chilly outer darkness. We could hear the deep resonance of the tolling of the temple bell off in the distance. Temple bells are massive things made of bronze and when they are struck head on with a wooden beam they make a thundering sound that can be heard from afar. You seldom hear the sound of the bell except on New Year’s Eve, when the monks strike it slowly and resolutely. 108 times.

One hundred and eight strikes enumerate the number of passions, in Orthodox parlance, by which flesh is encumbered. Each dong of the bell is meant to drive out one passion from the soul, purifying the listener. The last strike is struck just past midnight.

A.D. 2021 has been an awful year when compared to some former years. Not 2020, of course. We need to pause and consider why our sovereign Lord has allowed evil to happen in our nation. Since the Orthodox Fathers teach us that we are all one and interrelated, we should ponder how much we ourselves have been partly to blame for what has befallen us. “Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.” That line in John Donne’s poem, “No Man is an Island” takes on a deeper meaning when we consider the ramifications of our connection to each other. I look forward to a 2022, not with a blithe hope, but with a sense of penitence and anticipation of spiritual blessings to come. If we draw nigh to God, he will draw nigh to us. (James 4:8)

It’s Not Funny Anymore

I’m going to pass along to you this blog posting written by Abbot Tryphon, and then I am going to comment on it. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t find the good abbot’s words so disturbing. But, what is more disturbing than his words is the fact that Facebook removed them after the abbot posted them on his page. Here it is:

“I have chosen not to bless my monks, nor my spiritual children, to take the vaccine. I do not think any vaccine will prevent anyone from getting Covid, and I have read with increased horror as the evidence has become increasingly clear within the scientific community that this vaccine is in reality causing the spread of this virus within the human community, while preventing natural immunity.

The evidence is clear that those doctors and scientists who see the vaccines as unproven, and even dangerous long term, are being silenced by their colleagues within the scientific community. For those who understand science, we know that science is not like history, for it is ever changing as more is discovered. Yet we have certain individuals within the scientific community suppressing dissidence, crushing anyone who would disagree with their take on the pandemic.

We Orthodox know that God sometimes visits upon us wars and plagues as a way of calling us out of our darkness and sin. We know that God arranges such things as a way of waking us up to that which is of eternal value.

It seems clear to me that this world-wide pandemic comes from the Evil One. Nothing in my lifetime has caused such fear among the masses of people, world wide. This season that normally leads to gatherings of family and friends around the table in celebration of the Nativity of Our Salvation, has instead seen the closure of churches, and families banning their unvaccinated members from joining them in celebration. It has seen clergy closing their churches out of fear, not remembering that it is the gathering within our churches that has alway brought about the healing that is so needed during times of trial.

Saint Luke the Surgeon, Archbishop of Simferopol, a bishop that the Soviets chose not to execute because he was considered one of the finest surgeons in Russia, and was therefore needed by the Soviet State, recommended Holy Water as the cure for what ails us.

“Drink Holy Water, the more often, the better. It is the best and most effective medicine. I’m not saying this as a priest, I’m saying it as a doctor, from my medical experience.”

At seventy-six years of age, I am no spring chicken, as they say. Yet I have chosen to trust God to keep me safe during this pandemic. I therefore add holy water to every glass of water I drink during the day, and I anoint myself with the miraculous myrrh of the holy icon of the Theotokos of Hawaii, every day.

Additionally, I consume the Holy Body and Blood of my Saviour during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, with the full knowledge that in doing so I am receiving healing of body and soul. If I should die from a virus that was intentionally introduced by the godless leaders of China, with the intention of conquering the West, and creating a one world government, so be it.

In my weakness, I pray on a daily basis that the Lord will never let me deny Him, even unto my last breath. I put my trust in God, and not in the “scientific and medical” authorities who are hell bent on controlling everyone, including church leaders. I trust only in the mercy of my Lord.

We monks are grateful that we have an opportunity to serve the Divine Liturgy and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, yet we also realize that many others are not so fortunate. Many churches have closed their doors to the faithful, fearful that the Corona virus will infect their people if they should gather before the Throne of God, in worship. In truth, we should only fear God.

I would conclude by pointing out that the mandatory and dictatorial push for the vaccine by governments and companies around the world is clear evidence that this vaccine is of the devil. Let us stand strong in our resistance to the goddess authorities, and let us renew our commitment to Jesus Christ, and to the eternal truth that resides within the Life of the Church.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon”

Abbot Tryphon

I dare say that few people can read what the abbot has written and blithely go about their business. Those who have a robust faith in the miraculous potions of Orthodoxy will agree with the abbot. I worship in the very temple where the myrrh-streaming icon of the Holy Theotokos of Iveron is kept, and I have heard the testimonies of many people who have been healed by its effectuality.

Others who have faith in Christ, but pride themselves on their rationality may admit that God can heal the sick, or prevent sickness, but they wouldn’t consider the refusal of vaccines to be a normal course of action. They wouldn’t recommend the daily regimen that Abbot Tryphon speaks of when he talks about mixing holy water and anointing himself with myrrh.

Of course, the great masses who make up the rest of mankind will consider the abbot to be some sort of nut to refuse to take the vaccine and to substitute holy potions in its place. They will think him thoroughly irresponsible to refuse permission for his close followers to do the same. I have to scoff at that. I spent several days late this summer with Abbot Tryphon and his four monks. Trust me when I say that he and they are all very down-to-earth men. The abbot is elderly and a bit frail, but his mental faculties are still very sharp. He wouldn’t be withholding his blessing if he didn’t have a good reason to do so.

I’m a bit younger than the abbot, but it resonates with me when he says, “It seems clear to me that this world-wide pandemic comes from the Evil One. Nothing in my lifetime has caused such fear among the masses of people, world wide.” He can say that again. I’m sure that he and I are not alone when we say that nothing has caused so many people to cower in such fear as this pandemic has. What is the cause of that fear? I dare say that a disease from which almost everyone recovers, unless he is old or chronically ill, could not possibly cause the panic that we have seen in the last two years if it weren’t for the propaganda to which we have been subjected.

Those who have positions of public trust, like our sorry excuse for a president, like his medical bureaucrats, like the pharmaceutical executives who have profited so handsomely, and others who have made a fortune and use that influence to manipulate the flow of information – they are the ones who have caused the panic, the like of which neither Abbot Tryphon nor I have ever witnessed before in our long lives.

Yes, a lot of people have died from contracting the virus, but a lot of other people have died for need of medical treatment refused them for unrelated conditions because of the hospitals’ reaction to the pandemic. What about those who have cancer or diabetes but were not able to get an appointment? Have we considered the curse of mental disease caused by the irrational fear of this sickness and the inability to fraternize? How many children have suffered from depression and even committed suicide partly because the teachers’ unions refused to allow them into class? How many thousands of mom-and-pop business owners have suffered the devastating loss of their livelihoods because the government would not allow customers to enter their shops? How many Orthodox Christians have learned to stay home from church on Sundays and disregard the need of their souls for the healing powers of the holy mysteries?

Forgive me when I say that I have had a knot in my stomach over this irrational groupthink. And, I’ve had it for nigh on two years. Grown men have been emasculated; women are nervous wrecks. Over what? The pandemic is mostly over. Omicron isn’t much worse than a cold. But don’t tell that to the replacement governor of New York. And, don’t tell Facebook; otherwise they may shut you down the way that they have done to Abbot Tryphon. The manipulation and censorship aren’t funny anymore.

This is what we have lost during this pandemic: our trust in a government that constricts our freedom to do and say whatever we used to be able to say or do; our trust in large institutions outside of government, like the media, that act as though they were the fourth branch of government; our trust even in some of our hierarchs who so gullibly complied with the agenda and restricted our access to the institution which was more essential than anything else during this godawful time.

“I would conclude by pointing out that the mandatory and dictatorial push for the vaccine by governments and companies around the world is clear evidence that this vaccine is of the devil.” So says the abbot.

The pandemic may, for all intents and purposes be over, even if these institutions disagree. But now that they know that it doesn’t take much to strike fear into the hearts of Americans, even Orthodox Christians, then they will continue to cajole us, and if possible, force us to take the inoculation. And the booster. The more they do that, the less inclined we should be to comply, regardless of the purported benefit of the vaccine. We should avoid them as much as we can simply because they have done everything that they can do to force it on us. From such an ugly despotism, all Christians of good conscience should flee. Once this is over, don’t think for a moment that they won’t grasp the next opportunity to steal our sanity and our faith again, if they are able.

But, let’s not give up hope. God is with us now more than ever and we can expect him to bestow extraordinary blessings on those who are faithful throughout this time. In the end, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And the despots shall have their comeuppance.

Staying and Standing

A certain commenter on another blogsite has recently said, “Stand up for what you believe in peacefully and with conviction INSIDE YOUR CHURCH!!!” It’s a familiar plea, and one not without merit.

Alright, let’s make sure we know what she is talking about here. The word “church” is one of the vaguest of all terms in the English language. It simply must be defined properly. Since the commenter uses all capital letters, it’s impossible to know whether she means “church” or “Church”. The word “church”, beginning with a small “c”, normally means the building belonging to the local congregation of a parish (The parish originally referred to a district or a county, as it does in Louisiana.). It may mean the community of believers that meet in that building. Is that what she means? On the other hand, “Church” with a capital “C” refers rather to the legal denomination or, more theologically, to the mystically body of Christ, the family of God, or the bride of Christ. In other words, the Church, both seen and unseen, militant, expectant and triumphant.

I’m going to venture a guess and suppose she means “church” with immediate reference to one’s own parish. It’s where one goes on Sundays. Since she mentions in her comment the monks of Mt. Athos and the Ephraimite monasteries, let’s take a leap and make the assumption that she is talking about a parish of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

GOARCH is led by two heresiarchs, schismatics, ecumenists, and globalists. I think you know their names. Now, many people know that these men are a big problem for GOARCH, a ‘yuge problem, as they say in the Big Apple. However, parishioners blithely think that they can compartmentalize. They say to themselves that those men are in New York and Istanbul, and I am here, so I can keep my distance from them.

That is only partially true. And there’s the rub. The parishioner who vehemently disagrees with, for example the patriarch’s ultra vires meddling in Ukraine, or the archbishop’s worldly reaction to the pandemic, and yet, while disagreeing, continues to receive the Holy Gifts in his/her Greek parish and make stewardship contributions and volunteer to help, is tacitly supporting the radical hierarchy and confirming GOARCH’s now-shaky canonicity.

Such a willing parishioner is unwittingly acting as a part of the problem, not as a part of the solution to the problem. If one has the most elemental understanding of Catholic/Orthodox ecclesiology, one will know that the bishop is the sine qua non of the Church (capital “C”). Without the bishop, there is no Church, for it is he who is the successor to the apostles sent out by Christ himself to build his Church. (N.B. patriarchs, archbishops, metropolitans, diocesans, auxiliaries and suffragans are all just bishops, in essence.) The parishioner who is so conjoined to a Greek parish, who listens to the teachings there and who receives its sacraments, is in bed with these bishops. That is because the priest who serves in that parish serves as the bishop’s vicar. The mysteries that he serves he serves in the bishop’s stead, since the bishop cannot be at every parish in his diocese on any given Sunday morning. This is an unavoidable truth, whether or not the parishioner agrees with the priest or others in the parish on the current issues. By his/her mere presence and participation in parish worship he is telegraphing his support.

Do we think we can maintain our independence by simply staying and praying. Or, do we think that we can change things by speaking and acting in a disruptive manner? Can we get the bishop to repent? Or to resign? Or to be deposed? Can we get the priest or the parish council on board with us in opposition? Well, maybe, but probably not. It will do little more than ruffle clerical and “archonical” feathers. We may run afoul of the parish council.

I’ve tried all of those things recently and have little to show for it, except for the hope that the statements about where I stand got some of them to think and search their hearts. God alone can change the hearts of those who have been deceived. He alone can rearrange their erroneous thinking. Best to make your argument known publicly and dispassionately, and then to depart and work out your own salvation in a more orthodox branch of the Church, in peace and repentance if you can. Unless you are in possession of a particular type of personality, the cognitive dissonance or staying in and yet wishing things were different will lead to a disruption of the hesychastic spirit for which all Orthodox strive.

The commenter says, “We may go to another Orthodox jurisdiction but we must stay within the Church!” With that, of course, I fully agree. Not everyone will be able to make the necessary switch in parishes, but those who can make it should make it. Almost any other canonical Orthodox denomination is to be preferred over GOARCH at this point in time. But, God help us if the other jurisdictions succumb to the heretical sirens of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, so proud is it of its supposèd supremacy and numerical plurality.