This is Part 2 of 2, a continuation of Bombshell Video: Deep State $Millions For Woke 'Scholars' Subverting Orthodox Christianity in US (Part 1)
For an introduction explaining about this film and transcript, please see Part 1. Here is the film the two articles describe and provide a transcript for:
Link to film on YouTube
Here it is on the Orthodox Reflections Rumble channel
8. Carrie Frost - Co-Chair of the IOTA Women in the Orthodox Church Group, Frost is one the leading activists for women deaconesses and eventually women priests. She has written a number of books and has lectured at various conferences across the nation.
IOTA Spokesperson [00:21:41] IOTA is a new community that promotes an international exchange of knowledge about the Orthodox faith and seeks to become a vehicle of pan-Orthodox unity. While IOTA is the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet. In one year, our association has grown into a network of 150 well respected Orthodox scholars from 30 countries.
Besides theologians, IOTA includes philosophers, historians, social scientists, political scientists, and professionals. We welcome the scholars and scholar practitioners from other fields related to the Orthodox Christian Studies. We have also discussed the importance of maintaining balance within the association; balance in the sense of allowing all respectable and well-grounded views on controversial questions to be discussed in an open manner.
Carrie Frost [00:23:54] How can you stand it? How can you stand it? Women's bodies have been set aside as impure, unclean, defiled. We have actually failed to honor the reality and the truth of Jesus Christ's incarnation. We potentially compromise our own transfiguration and deification, not just women's, but the entire communities.
The Orthodox Church does not have a woman problem. Instead, it has a systemic, universal problem which affects all of its members. Unfortunately, the woman's solution, if you will, the process of bringing practices into alignment with theology and the experiences of women entering new roles in the church, which is taking place as I speak, has the dual effect of both bringing real and positive change to women within the church and strengthening the church's incarnation witness to the world at a time when this witness might be needed most.
9. Fr. Cyril Hovorun - A close colleague of Gallaher, Hovorun is a Ukrainian priest, and an active member of IOTA (see point 4 above) and an internationally respected scholar. He is the largest proponent of the idea that the Eucharist can transmit disease, has been involved with numerous ecumenist organizations, and has strong ties with several Jesuit universities.
10. Fr. Nicholas Denysenko - Also a graduate of St. Vladimir’s Seminary and an OCA priest with Ukrainian roots, and a close colleague of Gallaher, Denysenko has a PhD in Liturgical Studies/Sacramental Theology. He has lectured at numerous conferences and has written articles for Public Orthodoxy. He has claimed that the Ukrainian Church under the Moscow Patriarchate was never canonical. He has strongly advocated for the inclusion of homosexuals and women deaconesses. And he has also promoted the idea that the Eucharist can transmit disease.
IOTA Interviewer [00:28:44] Uh, Deacon Nicholas, thank you for taking your time to have this interview. May I ask you what issues were discussed at your session?
Nicholas Denysenko [00:28:54] The content of our session was to discuss the vocation of the Orthodox liturgist in the 21st century with the understanding that most Orthodox liturgical scholarship since Constantinople has been very carefully developing a case for finally correcting the canonical irregularities in the churches in Ukraine.
And among the things that were surprising in the information that they've been publishing online was that people have known for a long time that Constantinople did not officially recognize the autocephalous church and the Patriarchate. But when they mentioned at the recent Synaxis earlier in September, in the course of the speeches that were delivered, that they that the church under Moscow is not canonical. It has a very irregular status, you know, its current status as a church with broad autonomy and self-governing.
This is a made-up status. It was granted in 1990. It went from being an exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate to having this sort of odd canonical status that is somewhere in between an exarchate and an autocephalous church.
Now, in 1918, the Ukrainian church in Kiev voted officially for autonomy, and that vote was accepted by the Moscow council. And so, for some reason, in 1990, they didn't revert to complete autonomy, which is just one step below autocephaly. But instead, they voted for this made up canonical status.
11. Fr. Juvenaly Repass - An archimandrite in the Orthodox Church of America (OCA), Fr. Juvenaly runs a successful Orthodox Facebook group where he has openly advocated for the sexualization and grooming of children, abortion, and female altar servers. He has also openly slandered Abbot Tryphon. And yet, remains an active member in his Diocese.
12. Inga Leonova - As writer, architect, and professor, Leonova has a lot of influence in shaping the opinions of new Orthodox Christians, she is also the founder of The Wheel; an Orthodox publication that in practice seeks to deconstruct Orthodox moral teaching and dogma. Along with writing articles and academic papers on the subject, she has spoken out in conferences against the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) for its traditional values and stance against abortion, comparing the ROC to “white nationalists”, mass shooters, terrorists, and fascists.
Inga Leonova [00:34:31] Perhaps the most significant section of the Russian Orthodox Church on behalf of the Russian regime was its role in bringing back into the fold Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
It was an utterly political project by the Russian government to regain its foothold in the West and to gather the Russian world, and that the church had aided and abetted in its success. One can also recall that the rise of various Orthodox patriotic organizations and especially significant efforts put into the quasi military education of the young boys and men, especially orphans.
I knew a couple of young men who had left those groups because of what they described as their unmistakably fascist bent. Those groups promoted as traditional Orthodox values, machismo, homophobia, practical on the ground misogyny, and unquestioning obedience to their leaders.
13. Katherine Kelaidis - A member of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and the resident scholar at the National Hellenic Museum, Kelaidis is very outspoken on her opinion of the ROC. She has published academic papers comparing them to fanatics, homophobes, and white nationalists. She has written numerous articles shaming women for wearing headscarves, claiming that by doing so they are regressing human society to a time where women were oppressed.
Katherine Kelaidis [00:37:42] I got called like a Mary worshiper on the playground. So, it's super weird to me that then like Franklin Graham goes and becomes friends with the Russian church. I think that, I think what attracted Orthodox people to the relationship, particularly in America, is immigrant assimilationism. Right. Like you have arrived if like American evangelical Protestants accept you; who are sort of American Christians par excellence.
And I think the evangelical movement has been very strategic in this. Right. So, the way they've built that conservative coalition, that is by bringing in conservative Catholics, conservative Orthodox Christians, conservative Jews, these are Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Jews. These are all people who, when their ancestors came here even 50 years ago, were on the sort of periphery of American culture.
And they get brought in by being part of this alliance that really does prioritize the political demands of white, southern evangelical Christians; who tend to be rural and people from immigrant communities tend to be urban. So, there is this added voice in American political life. And for the Russian church in Russia, it's a seat at the table of American power. It gets you having relationships with American evangelicals gets you very close to the seat of American power. Hank Hanegraff "The Bible Answer Man" became Orthodox and then like didn't change his show.
He just like grew a beard. I mean, none of this is theological, right? Like all of this is about political opportunism. And we should be; if nothing else, we should be calling that out.
14. Sarah Riccardi-Swartz - Another member of the OCA, Riccardi-Swartz is a member of the Fordham Fellowship and a journalist who joined a rural Russian Orthodox community to gather data for her project on why people were converting to the ROC. She then left the community to write an NPR hit piece, where she portrayed the ROC as unpatriotic, white nationalists, and dangerous extremists.
Sarah Riccardi-Swartz [00:41:30] Thank you so much to the organizers of this excellent event. I'm going to share my screen. The question of what might make someone convert to Russian Orthodoxy as it is broadly constituted and seemingly shift their political alliance to a foreign power is part of my larger project. A composite rendering of a likely convert often paints them as a single or married male between the ages of 20 and 60, typically with a college degree and more often than not an advanced degree from a seminary or graduate training in theology, philosophy, or history.
On the whole, their political leanings are conservative at least, and sometimes far more radical, including but not limited to far and Alt-Right affiliations and monarchist leanings. Monarchisms Appeal for converts I have worked with is the very idea that a God ordained king might bridge the gap between church and state, providing them with a salvific hierarchical form of governance that democracy lacks. This desire for divine leadership is intensified by their zeal surrounding issues of purity, which are tied to longstanding American notions of whiteness and tradition that seem to be complicated in their idealized adoption of Russian conservatism, both politically and religiously.
The relationship between moral panic, moral purity, and apocalyptic politics among converts to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was made all the more evident to me when members spoke of the Revolutionary Day, when Vladimir Putin would invade the United States and restore moral order in order to avoid God's wrath. War between Russia and the United States was often on the mind of lay converts, especially males, many of whom owned guns or arsenals of weapons and cases, and talked about their potential positionality in the coming war. They were definitely fighting for Russia.
Turning to the Russian Orthodox tradition, it seems to be, in their understanding, bound up with church and state, with the surveillance of the body, with the erasure of gender diversity, with the remaking of the world into something it never was.
I suggest in my larger project that the phenomenon I encountered in Appalachia can be best understood through the lens of reactionary nationalism, one that is most assuredly Christian, but by no means American. It is, from my vantage point, this reactionary nationalism that pushes converts to find spiritual and moral allies abroad in order to alleviate their ideological anxieties and fulfill their theopolitical hopes of white Christian domination and dominion. Now, at first blush, it might be easy to dismiss the the political imaginaries of rural communities, of converts to ROCOR.
After all, we in the Academy have long dismissed the voices of rural Appalachians and Southern Americans. Yet the stories that emerge out of this community, including Reynolds, are not outliers.
15. Fr. John Chryssavgis - Fr. John is a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, has a PhD in Patristics from Oxford University, and is considered a prominent Orthodox scholar. He has written articles claiming that the idea of the traditional family is unbiblical and that the Orthodox Church is undemocratic, anti-freedom, and “on the wrong side of history”. He also strongly supported the baptism of the children born to a surrogate mother for a homosexual “couple”.
John Chryssavgis [00:45:05] We are in the midst of the COVID 19 crisis, and we're facing another crisis, one related to racism and injustice. But crisis signifies more than just calamity. The word crisis primarily means judgment. We will be judged by our response or our silence to what's happening around us.
We know the names. We're encouraged to say them out loud. Eric Garner, New York. Breonna Taylor, Louisville. Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. And it's now almost two weeks of protest marches since the May 25th death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
16. Bishop Elpidophoros - As head of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, Elpidophoros has tremendous influence and authority in the Orthodox society in America. He has used his position to promote BLM, support defrocked and suspended Russian clergy, encourage ecumenical conversations, confuse the faithful on the matter of abortion, and baptize the children of a “homosexual couple”. We wish he was an outlier, a rogue data point, in Orthodoxy Christianity in America. Unfortunately, he is merely the culmination of an ever-growing movement with Orthodoxy in America towards liberalism, immorality, and ultimately heresy.
Bishop Elpidophoros [00:47:48] This magnificent church dedicated to Saint Bartholomew is truly a precious architectural gem. I would like to express my deepest thanks and my gratitude to Bishop Andrew Dietsche, the Episcopal Diocese of New York, and especially to the right, Reverend Dean Wolf, rector of this extraordinary parish.
Event Announcer [00:48:27] It is TheBritaFilter. And she is the queen of New York. Yes. Stand up. Stand up.
Bishop Elpidophoros [00:49:01] We affirm the gift and the sanctity of life. All life. Born and unborn. At the same time, we also affirm our respect for the autonomy of women. It is they who bring forth life into the world. By His incarnation, our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ assumed human nature through his conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Virgin Mary freely choose to bring him into the world and God respected her freedom.
End of part 2 of 2. For part 1 of this article, click here.