Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Alphabet Crowd's Very Own Saint and Martyr

Matthew Shepard, who was killed in what most likely was a drug deal that went bad, is to be re-interred with suitable ceremony in Washington's National Cathedral. Of the politically correct version of events surrounding his death, perhaps the best that can be said is never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Ultimately though, none of this really means much when weighed against the incontrovertible facts. A young man was savagely murdered. His family was devastated and his killers will probably die in prison.

Lord have mercy.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Help Needed

Wikipedia is currently trying to get a handle on what is happening in Ukraine and the new schism. Unfortunately Orthodoxy is a bit of a mystery there and there are far too few knowledgeable editors for the various articles we do have on Orthodoxy. A new article has been created currently titled Schism of 2018. I suspect the name will be changed at some point in the near future. We are in urgent need of volunteers willing to help with this and related articles. You don't have to even sign up to edit (although there are advantages to having an account). You can just show up and start editing from your browser page.

That said, and for those unfamiliar with how Wikipedia operates, there are a few community rules...
  • All claims of fact that are not obviously uncontroversial need to be cited to a reliable source. Secondary sources are preferred but not obligatory. Sources that are obviously biased or otherwise unreliable should not be used. Personal knowledge also called Original Research is inadmissible. 
  • Do not edit to promote your side of the dispute. Stick to verifiable facts and present them as blandly as possible. If (like me) you have an opinion on the matter I suggest trying to play devil's advocate when adding material and asking yourself if this can in any way be criticized as being unfair or unbalanced in the coverage.
  • Don't edit war. If someone challenges an edit or reverts it, go to the article talk page and discuss the matter. If you can't reach agreement then open the discussion to other editors and try to seek consensus. 
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am an experienced editor there and if there are questions I can be reached on my user talk page.

My thoughts on L'Affair Khashoggi

This whole thing looks less like an orchestrated murder than a planned snatch op (kidnapping) gone bad. If they wanted him dead it could have been done anywhere under circumstances that would have given the Kingdom plausible deniability. Any competent intelligence service knows how to make problems go away in a manner that can be passed off as a robbery gone bad, a suicide or even death by natural causes. The Russians are very good at this sort of thing. I'd ask Vlad for some confirmation but I don't want to spend the rest of my life checking my food and drinks with a geiger counter.

Back to Mr. Khashoggi. Assassinating someone in their consulate would have been bone crushingly stupid. No government or intelligence service with more than two brain cells in operation would do that. I think they planned to grab him, probably drug him, and smuggle him back to Saudi Arabia where they could put him on ice for a while until he agreed to play nice and/or they decided what to do with him long term.

Clearly something went wrong. A purely educated guess is he put up a fight and the subsequent interrogation got ugly. Maybe he had a heart attack. Maybe he had a bad reaction to a drug. Maybe he said somethings that ticked off people in the snatch team and somebody overreacted. We will probably never know.

But my gut says this did not start out as a planned hit.


Various news agencies including RT and Reuters are reporting that the Russian Orthodox Church has broken all remaining ties with the Ecumenical patriarchate. Presumably this means severing Eucharistic communion. I did not see this announcement up on the ROC's English language website yet. But it appears this is just breaking. While incredibly sad this can hardly be a surprise given the EP's assertion that they are "reclaiming" jurisdiction over Ukraine with the intent of granting autocephaly to an as yet to be formed unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church composed of groups hitherto universally condemned as schistmatic.

Lord have mercy.

Update: The Washington Post specifically states that eucharistic communion has been severed. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Large cross on Greek island destroyed because it could be ‘offensive to Muslim migrants’

The ancient mythical Greek island of Lesbos is today better known as anchorage ground for human traffickers and the problems and conflicts that have arisen in connection with the boat traffic.

It is now reported that a large cross monument on the Greek Orthodox Christian island has been levelled to the ground. This after a group claiming to promote intercultural coexistence argued that the cross could be perceived as offensive to the predominantly Muslim boat migrants.

The cross monument was built on the cliffs of Apellia, beneath the castle of Mytilene, in memory of people who have died in the sea. According to the local coexistence group, however, the cross was offensive because many who have drowned, and many migrants on the island are not Christians.

The local newspaper on the island reports that the group has also received support from some aid organisations that expressed similar negative opinions about the cross-shaped memorial monument.

A letter was sent to the Island’s port minister and mayor, in which the coexistence group claimed that the cross was placed there to prevent migrants from swimming.

The letter stated that the initiators of the monument were “aspiring crusaders” with racist and intolerant motives who abused the Christian cross, which should be a symbol of love and sacrifice. And they therefore called for the monument to be demolished.

And that was what happened. Just a few days later, at night, the whole monument was levelled to the ground. The demolished remains of the cross remain as rubble on the site

The attack by the coexistence group on the monument and the demolition of it has aroused strong reactions in large parts of the local population who believe that the deed goes against the Christian religious beliefs shared by a majority of the inhabitants of the Island.


The Ecumenical Patriarch Grants Formal Recognition to Ukrainian Schismatics


The EP has just moved the minute hand on the Orthodox Doomsday clock to 1 minute before midnight.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A New Blog on the Ecclesial Crisis In Ukraine

There is a new blog that has been created to provide ongoing updates and discussion regarding the serious crisis in Ukraine and the threat of schism. Additionally there are a large number of documents and background information. I have added the link to the blogroll in the sidebar.

Orthodox Synaxis

HT: Byzantine Texas

Openly saying what a lot of Catholics have been secretly thinking

The Second Vatican Council was an unmitigated disaster and it is becoming increasingly difficult to pretend that the modern Catholic Church is the same in faith, praxis and spirit to that which existed before 1965.

From here.

P.S. Pope Francis has been invited by Kim Jong Un to visit North Korea. I doubt even Francis is that far gone. But the mere fact of the invitation speaks volumes. 

Monday, October 08, 2018

Some food for thought

It appears that some snowflake has taken their disappointment over the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to a potentially perilous level, allegedly posting... "So Who's Gonna Take One for the Team and Kill Kavanaugh?" on Twitter.

This woke champion of all that's right may be about to discover that freedom of expression and the right to protest has limits. Threatening a Federal Judge, and inciting or soliciting others to harm one is a Federal crime covered under Title 18 Chapter 115 of the US Code. If convicted of said offense there is a real possibility that she could end up doing time in a Federal prison. The Justice Department and US prosecutors do not generally have a sense of humor when it comes to this sort of thing. But as vile as this alleged offense is, she should take some comfort.

Because even if formally arrested and indicted, she has rights.
  •  The right to legal councel.
  •  The right to be tried in an open court before an impartial jury of her peers.
  • The right to confront witnesses and evidence against her and to cross examine or otherwise impeach said witnesses and evidence.
  • An absolute presumption of innocence, until such time as the jury concludes that the evidence has proven her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is one of those things things that defines us as a country and marks us out as Americans.

Unless your last name is Kavanaugh.

A little off the top and a straight razor shave please

Meet Anthony Mancinelli, a man who enjoys his work so much that retirement does not appear to be in his plans. He is a barber who started cutting hair when Warren Harding was president. In fairness, he was a boy at the time. Mr. Manicinelli, now 107, has all of his own teeth, takes no medication and is still cutting hair full time, a job that requires him to be on his feet pretty much all day. Somewhere along the line he got his name in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest working barber. 

From here.

Many (more) years!

Friday, October 05, 2018

The end of an era in Switzerland

ZURICH (Reuters) - The era of mystery-cloaked numbered Swiss bank accounts has officially come to a close as Switzerland, the world’s biggest center for managing offshore wealth, began automatically sharing client data with tax authorities in dozens of other countries.

The Federal Tax Administration (FTA) said on Friday it had for the first time exchanged financial account data at the end of September under global standards that aim to crack down on tax cheats. 

Bank secrecy still exists in some areas — Swiss authorities cannot automatically see what citizens have in their domestic bank accounts, for example — but gone are the days when well-paid European professionals could stash wealth across the border and beyond the prying eyes of their tax man.

Read the rest here.

Herbert Hoover in Cincinnati Ohio October 22, 1929

Rare film footage with original sound taken in Cincinnati Ohio during a formal visit by President Herbert Hoover two days before the beginning of the stock market crash.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Hugh Hewitt: The volcano rumbles but the left can’t hear it

An hour’s brisk walk can take you from the Dunker Church, across “the cornfield” and down Bloody Lane all the way to Burnside Bridge — the key locations on the battlefield at Antietam, a little more than an hour’s drive from the U.S. Capitol and scene of the bloodiest single day for the American military in our history.

Some 23,000 in blue or gray were killed or wounded, or went missing during the grueling 12 hours of close combat at Sharpsburg, Md., on Sept. 17, 1862.

When pundits talk of a “cold civil war” in the country, they mark themselves as ignorant of the real thing. Far from real war, the civil tension in the country isn’t even close to 1960s levels of violence, much less the sort of actual war that once convulsed the country in the 1860s. Screaming demonstrators at hearings jar. But they aren’t the Weathermen terrorizing the 1960s, not the Oklahoma City bombing, not the Fort Hood massacre.


But some seem to welcome a slide in that direction. “Tell me again why we shouldn’t confront Republicans where they eat, where they sleep, and where they work until they stop being complicit in the destruction of our democracy,” tweeted Ian Millhiser, justice editor at ThinkProgress.

“Because it is both wrong & supremely dangerous,” replied Georgetown Law professor Randy Barnett. “When one side denies the legitimacy of good faith disagreement over policy — as well as over constitutional principle — the other side will eventually reciprocate. Neither a constitutional republic nor a democracy can survive that.”

Princeton’s much-admired political theorist Robert P. George said of the exchange: “Randy Barnett drops a major truth bomb in response to an especially foolish and irresponsible tweet. We’re already in the orange zone of bitterness and hatred of citizens toward fellow citizens. We’re about to enter the red zone. This is how faction destroys democratic republics.”

The daily ratcheting-up of rhetoric is driving people away from ordinary political conversation. It is too freighted with potential for disproportionate responses to talk candidly about such things as one’s views of the Kavanaugh hearings. The intentional release of senators’ home addresses by someone there is reason to believe is a Capitol Hill staffer — “doxing” — is an ominous step in the Millhiser direction. It is a step back toward the tragedy that unfolded only last year when a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter tried to gun down the GOP caucus at baseball practice.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

In view of recent events this may be of passing interest

It is represented to us that the universal suffrage, as now existing through the Union, is abused; that fraud and corruption prevent a fair and proper expression of the public voice; that open violation of the laws are constantly occurring, caused by mobs, parties, factions and undue influence of political sects; that the citizen has not that protection of person and property which he is entitled to by paying his pro rata of the expense of Government--in consequence of which, WE do hereby abolish Congress, and it is therefore abolished; and WE order and desire the representatives of all parties interested to appear at the Musical Hall of this city on the first of February next, and then and there take the most effective steps to remedy the evil complained of.

Given under our hand and seal in the City of San Francisco this Nineteenth day of October in the Year of Our Savior 1859

Norton I
Emperor of these United States
& Protector of Mexico

Saturday, September 29, 2018


Sometimes a one word answer is what really is called for. This is probably one of those moments.

Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and Metropolitan of Kiev celebrate Divine Liturgy

His Holiness Orthodox Pope of Alexandria and all Africa Theodore II and His Beatitude Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onuphry celebrated Divine Liturgy in Svyato-Uspensky monastery near Odessa, Ukraine. Pat. Theodore has been outspoken in his defense of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Patriarch Theodoros II Declares Support for the Canonical Ukrainian Church

Following his 5-day visit to the Church of Poland, His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa began a fraternal visit to Ukraine, expressing his support for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.

The Alexandrian primate was greeted at the Odessa airport with bread and flowers today by His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk, His Eminence Mitrophan of Gorlovka, His Grace Bishop Diodore of Yuzhnensk, and His Grace Bishop Viktor of Artsiz, reports the site of the Odessa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Pat. Theodoros then visited the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Odessa, where he was joyfully greeted by thousands of Orthodox faithful, many of whom remember him from the days of his pastoral ministry in Odessa as a representative of the Alexandrian patriarchal throne from 1985 to 1990. There he served a moleben for the unity of the Church of Christ, for the cessation of schisms, and for peace in the long-suffering Ukrainian land, being joined by several hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church and clergy of the Odessa Diocese.

Read the rest here.