21 October 2018

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Excommunicated by the Moscow Patriarchate of All Rus' and All the North

From RT:
In the biggest rift in modern Orthodox history, the Russian Orthodox Church has cut all ties with the Constantinople Patriarchate, after it accepted a [schismatic sect claiming to be part of the] Ukrainian Orthodox Church as independent. 
The Holy Synod, the governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church, has ruled that any further clerical relations with Constantinople are impossible, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s External Relations Department, told journalists, de facto announcing the breach of relations between the two churches. 
“A decision about the full break of relations with the Constantinople Patriarchate has been taken at a Synod meeting” that is currently been held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, Hilarion said, as cited by TASS. 
The move comes days after the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate decided to eventually grant the so-called autocephaly to two [vagante] branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, thus legitimizing the two clerical organizations. 
The Moscow Patriarchate also said that it would not abide by any decisions taken by Constantinople and related to the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “All these decisions are unlawful and canonically void,” Hilarion said, adding that “the Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize these decisions and will not follow them.” 
At the same time, the Russian Church expressed its hope that “a common sense will prevail” and Constantinople will change its decision. However, it still accused the Ecumenical Patriarch of initiating the “schism.” 
The move taken by Moscow marks arguably the greatest split in the history of the Orthodox Church since the Great Schism of 1054, which separated [Roman] Catholics [from the] Orthodox Christians, as it involves a break of communion between the biggest existing Orthodox Church – the Moscow Patriarchate – and Constantinople Patriarch, who is widely regarded as a spiritual leader of world’s Orthodox Christians, even though his status is nothing like that of the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church. 
Constantinople’s decision seems to be serving the interests of the Ukrainian [political] leadership rather than the Orthodox Christians living there. While most Orthodox clerics in Ukraine still pledge loyalty to the head of the Russian church, Patriarch Kirill, and consider themselves to be part of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kiev actively supports a schismatic force, which has been unrecognized by any other Churches until now. 
This religious movement led by the former Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, who is now [claiming to be the] "Patriarch Filaret in Ukraine", has sought to gain the status of an independent Orthodox Church, “equal” to the Moscow Patriarchate, since 1990s. Meanwhile, it did not hesitate to seize Moscow Patriarchate’s churches by force. 
In its October decision, the Holy Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate “canonically reinstated” Filaret and his followers “to their hierarchical or priestly rank” and restored their communion with the Church, thus effectively declaring that it does not see them as schismatic. This particular move also provoked angry reaction in the Moscow Patriarchate [and other canonical Orthodox Churches around the world]. 
“A schism remains a schism. And the leaders of a schism remain as such,” Hilarion said, adding that “a Church that recognized schismatic 'priests' and entered into communion with them … excluded itself from the canonical field of the Orthodox Church.” 
He also named restitution of Filaret’s and his followers’ hierarchical or priestly ranks as one of the major reasons behind the Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod’s decision to break all ties with Constantinople. 
According to TASS, 40 churches have been forcefully seized by the Kiev Patriarchate between 2014 and 2016. In the first half of 2018 alone, Ukraine witnessed 10 new [violent] attacks on Russian Orthodox Churches. Now, as Constantinople is launched a procedure of granting independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, such attacks might further intensify, some experts warn.
As such, members of the Russian Orthodox Church, including ROCOR, can no longer attend, commune, marry, confess, or receive any mysteries at any church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Likewise clergy of the MP and ROCOR may no longer concelebrate with priests under the Patriarch of Constantinople. Russian Orthodox Christians may continue to attend and receive the mysteries at any other Patriarchate Church, Canonical Autonomous Orthodox Church, or Canonical Autocephalous Orthodox Church worldwide.

23 September 2018

My DNA: Tracing my ancestory to Noah, Adam, and Eve!

I recently had my DNA tested by 23andMe. If you'd like to check out your DNA, you can save by registering at this link: https://refer.23andme.com/s/ir2tk I guarantee that you will find it fascinating!

Most of it was unsurprising, such as having Irish ancestry. My paternal grandfather was born in Ireland shortly before immigrating with his mother, Queen Tobin Stanosheck to America. Recently we learned that my maternal grandfather's family had lived in Ireland for some time before immigrating to America. Through my maternal line it appears we are related to Clan McLaren/MacLaren too.

Both my maternal grandmother's and grandfather's families had lived in Germany so having German DNA was not surprising.

Now the last names of my grandfathers are Polish-Russian and Welsh. So having DNA from Poland and Great Britain was not a surprise. But what was a surprise was that although my last name is a blend of Polish and Russian, I have no Russian DNA, but do have Ukrainian DNA. (I've actually had an intuition about this before getting tested).

Surprise #2 is that we were always told that my maternal grandmother was Czech, but according to my DNA, she was actually Slovak, as I have Slovak DNA but no Czech DNA.

Surprise #3 is that my DNA can be traced all the way back to Noah. We are related to Noah via his son, Japheth, his grandson Gomer, and his great-grandson, Ashkenaz.

It looks like someone in my ancient family members moved from Syria to the Slavic lands, and then up to Scandinavia. Where exactly, my DNA doesn't know, but it was in my mother's side of the family.

So many people who get their tests done get surprise African or Asian DNA, but my test showed my DNA to be solely European (as far as it can go back). Here is the exact (to 99.98% accuracy) breakdown:

Here are the histories that my DNA tells:

The stories of all of our paternal lines can be traced back to just one man: the common ancestor who lived in eastern Africa at the time, Adam.

Your paternal-line ancestors gradually moved north, following available prey and resources as a shifting climate made new routes hospitable and sealed off others. Then a small group ventured across the Red Sea and deeper into southwest Asia. Your ancestors were among these men, and the next step in their story is marked by the rise of  your ancestors in the Arabian Peninsula.

Passing through the Middle East, your paternal-line ancestors continued on to the steppes of Central Asia, vast grasslands stretching all the way from central Europe to the eastern edge of Asia.

The next step in your story can be to the common ancestor of a man who likely lived in Central Asia. His descendants roamed the vast steppes of the continent, where they hunted huge mammals like the mammoth.

Your ancestral path forked off again in western Asia, but farther south in the Iranian Plateau your ancestors flourished.

As the people of the Fertile Crescent domesticated plants and animals for the first time. Around 8,000 years ago, the first farmers and herders began to push east into Central Asia and north into the Caucasus Mountains. Some of them eventually reached the steppes above the Black and Caspian Seas. There, they lived as pastoral nomads, herding cattle and sheep across the grasslands, while their neighbors to the south developed yet another crucial technology in human history: bronze smelting. As bronze tools and weaponry spread north, a new steppe culture called the Yamnaya was born.

Perhaps triggered by a cold spell that made it difficult to feed their herds, Yamnaya men spilled east across Siberia and down into Central Asia. To the west, they pushed down into the Balkans and to central Europe, where they sought new pastures for their herds and metal deposits to support burgeoning Bronze Age commerce. Over time, their descendants spread from central Europe to the Atlantic coast, establishing new trade routes and an unprecedented level of cultural contact and exchange in western Europe.

The men from the steppes also outcompeted the local men as they went; their success is demonstrated in the overwhelming dominance of the lineage in Europe, especially Ireland and Wales.

You descend from a long line of women that can be traced back to eastern Africa. If every person living today could trace his or her maternal line back over thousands of generations, all of our lines would meet at a single woman who lived in eastern Africa, Eve. The story of your maternal line begins with her it.

While many of her descendants remained in Africa, one small group ventured east across the Red Sea, likely across the narrow Bab-el-Mandeb into the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Your story continues with one of two branches that arose from southwestern Asia. Researchers have long debated whether they arrived there via the Sinai Peninsula, or made the hop across the Red Sea at the Bab-el-Mandeb. Though their exact routes are disputed, there is no doubt that the women migrated across all of Eurasia, giving rise to people from Portugal to Polynesia.

One of those branches traces back to a woman who likely lived in the Middle East or the Caucasus Mountains. Her descendants appear to have migrated into northern Europe, and then through southwestern Asia as far as Pakistan with the expansion of agriculture about 8,000 years ago.

Women carrying this haplogroup likely migrated into and across Europe during this stretch of milder climate.

Today, they are mostly spread across southeastern Europe and into the Middle East, including in the North Caucasus and northern Iran. Some can also be found in the northern and western reaches of Europe, including in Britain, Finland, and even western Siberia.

25 February 2018

DESMOS: International Link of Orthodox Christian Scouts

The International Link of Orthodox Christian Scouts (DESMOS, from Greek "Δεσμός", bond) is an autonomous, international body committed to promoting and supporting Orthodox Scout associations and to be a link between the Scout movement and Orthodox churches.

DESMOS was founded in 1994 with the mandate of the World Scout Bureau, in consultation with the Deputy Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and with the blessing of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.

It enjoys consultative status with the World Scout Committee and forms the World Scout Inter-Religious Forum together with the Council of Protestants in Guiding and Scouting, International Catholic Conference of Scouting, International Union of Muslim Scouts, International Forum of Jewish Scouts, Won-Buddhism Scout and World Buddhist Scout Brotherhood.

The object of the Link is as follows:
  1. To develop and promote the spirit of brotherhood and understanding among Scouts of the Orthodox Christian Faith.
  2. To promote warm relations and co-operation between Scouting and the official local Orthodox Churches.
  3. To develop an educational curriculum that should enhance the spiritual dimension in the personalities of young Orthodox in accordance with the purpose, principles and method of the Scout Movement.
  4. To introduce Scouting in such states or areas where Orthodox Church is established.
  5. To co-ordinate the activities of "DESMOS" with non-Scout Organisations having the same objectives.
  6. To motivate co-operation among "DESMOS" members.
  7. To motivate and promote Scouting to Orthodox boys and girls on global basis.
Member organizations include:
  • Armenia: Hayastani Azgayin Skautakan Sharjum Kazmakerputiun
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Savez izviđača Bosne i Hercegovine
  • Bulgaria: Organizatsia na Bulgarskite Skauty
  • Cyprus: Cyprus Scouts Association
  • Finland: Suomen Partiolaiset
  • Greece: Scouts of Greece
  • Israel: Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation: Christian Orthodox Scout Association
  • Jordan: Jordanian Association for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides
  • Lebanon: Lebanese Scouting Federation: National Orthodox Scout Association - Scout National Orthodoxe
  • Macedonia: Sojuz na Izvidnici na Makedonija
  • Moldova: Organizaţia Naţională a Scouţilor din Moldova
  • Palestinian Authority: Palestinian Scout Association: Palestinian Orthodox Scouts Association
  • Poland: Polish Scouting and Guiding Association
  • Romania: Cercetaşii României
  • Russia: Russian Association of Scouts/Navigators
  • Serbia: Savez Izviđača Srbije
  • Uganda: The Uganda Scouts Association: Uganda Orthodox Scouts
  • Ukraine: National Organization of Scouts of Ukraine
  • United States: Boy Scouts of America: Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting

11 October 2017

CONTROVERSIAL OPINION: Why I Surprisingly Support Girls in the BSA (but not in the Boy Scouts)!

DISCLAIMER: This is my personal opinion and does not represent the official position of my Den, Pack, District, Council, Region, the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), or the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM). I'm posting my personal opinion so that I can point others to it, instead of making the same arguments over and over on social media and in emails.

Some people might be surprised. Mostly I think they are confused about what is really happening. Please read below and see what is REALLY happening. Don't trust the buzz and spin of those with agendas.

First off, Packs get to decide if they wish to remain segregated starting in Autumn 2018 , and so there can be all-boy and all-girl Packs. It is all up to the Adult Volunteers and the Chartering Organizations. (Packs and Troops are chartered by a local organizations such as churches, PTAs, charitable organizations, etc.)

If a Pack decides to become integrated, the Dens are still segregated. There are all boy dens and all girl dens. So boys still get to be boys around boys, and girls still get to be girls around girls!

What about the Boy Scouts (11-17 year old Scouts)? The press release says nothing about letting girls join Boy Scout Troops. It says it will create a new program for girls so they can earn the same ranks as Boy Scouts do. My guess is it will be called Girl Guides, the original name for female Scouts. A name still in use around the world where Scouts are segregated based on sex.

What kind of interest is out there? The survey results are overwhelming and echo the flood of requests the BSA has received from families wanting a BSA program for girls.

At a glance, from Scouting Magazine:

  • 90 percent of parents not involved with the BSA expressed interest in getting their daughter involved in programs like Cub Scouts.
  • 87 percent of parents not involved with the BSA expressed interest in getting their daughter involved in programs like Boy Scouts.

Why the interest? Well many Girl Scouts don't like the current GSUSA program. They say they want to camp, learn knots, and learn to be leaders. The GSUSA Council have been selling off camps at an alarming rate lately, and this ties in to the lack of camping. The BSA has heard this over and over again, and decided to help these girls out, when the GSUSA has chose not to.

Back to Packs, Cub Scouts is a family organization. We have sisters coming to events, doing the same thing as their brothers, enjoying the events just as much, but not being able to earn awards. Why not let them join and earn ranks and Adventure Loops, Awards, and other Badges?

What many don't even know, is that the BSA already has integrated programs with young men and women aged 15-21 in Sea Scout Ships, Venturing Crews, S.T.E.M. Scout Labs, and Exploring Clubs & Posts. Youth Protection programs including 2-deep leadership help keep them safe from predators and inappropriate behaviour.

So in the end, if you want your boy segregated from girls in Scouting, you can choose that. If you want your girl segregated from boys in Scouting, you can choose that. If you want an integrated Scouting experience for your family, you can choose that at certain ages too.

I understand that some parents with only boys in their family, may not understand this move, but take it from a parent of 1 girl and 2 boys, this is really a good move.

Please consider buying some delicious popcorn this month to help support my son's Scouting adventures this year at http://www.popcornordering.com/Popcornordering/Store/Entry?

11 September 2017

Buy Delicious Scout Popcorn!

My oldest son is selling Popcorn to help pay his way for camping and other educational activities. Please consider supporting Scouting by purchasing some at https://www.trails-end.com/store/scout/ZXPHQBKI Everyone who bought last year said that they loved the popcorn and that it was some of the best popcorn that they have ever had. There is an option to donate popcorn to military members if you don't like this extra delicious popcorn.

03 September 2017

Encyclical of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the Indiction and Day of Protection of the Environment

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Prot. No. 702

By God’s Mercy Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plentitude of the Church: Grace, peace and mercy
From the Creator of All, our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ
(September 1, 2017/7526)


Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

With God’s grace, today we enter the new ecclesiastical year, even as we continue to provide witness “through him who loved us” (Romans 8.38) and “give an account for the hope that lies in us” (1 Peter 3.15), living in the Church, in Christ and according to Christ, who promised to be with us “all the days of our life, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.20)

Twenty-eight years have passed since the synodal decree of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to establish the Feast of the Indiction as the “Day of Protection for the Environment,” when we offer prayers and supplications at the sacred Center of Orthodoxy “for all creation.” The relevant patriarchal encyclical (September 1, 1989) invited all Orthodox and other Christian faithful on this day to lift up prayers of thanksgiving to the Creator of all for “the great gift of Creation” along with petitions for its preservation.

We express our joy and satisfaction for the broad reception and fruitful influence of this initiative by the Church of Constantinople. We demonstrated the spiritual roots of the ecological crisis as well as the need to repent and prioritize the values of contemporary humankind. We affirmed that the exploitation and destruction of creation constitute a perversion and distortion of the Christian ethos, rather than the inevitable consequence of the biblical command to “increase and multiply” (Genesis 1.22), but also that our anti-ecological conduct is an offense to the Creator and a transgression of his commandments, ultimately working against the authentic destiny of the human person. There cannot be any sustainable development at the expense of spiritual values and the natural environment.

The Holy and Great Church of Christ has championed and continues to champion the eco-friendly dynamic of our Orthodox faith, emphasizing the Eucharistic purpose of creation, the response of the faithful as “priest” of creation in an effort to offer it unceasingly to the Creator of all, as well as the principle of asceticism as the response to the modern sense of gratification. Indeed, respect for creation belongs to the very core of our orthodox tradition.

We are especially disturbed by the fact that, while it is clear that the ecological crisis is constantly escalating, in the name of financial growth and technological development, humanity has become oblivious to the global appeals for radical change in our attitude toward creation. It is obvious that the resulting deformation and devastation of the natural environment is a direct consequence of a specific model of economic progress, which is nevertheless indifferent to its ecological repercussions. The short-term benefits dictated by the rise of living standards in some parts of the world simply camouflage the irrationality of abuse and conquest of creation. Corporate business that does not respect the planet as our common home cannot be sanctioned as business at all. The contemporary unrestrained commerce of globalization goes hand-in-hand with the spectacular development of science and technology, which despite manifold advantages is also accompanied by an arrogance over and abuse of nature. Modern man knows this very well, but acts as if he is entirely unaware. We know that nature is not restored and renewed endlessly; yet we ignore the negative implications of “trading” in the environment. This explosive combination of unrestrained commerce and science – that is to say, the limitless confidence in the power of science and technology – merely increases the risks threatening the integrity of creation and humankind.

The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church spelled out with wisdom and clarity the dangers of “autonomizing economy” or separating economy from the vital needs of humanity that are only served within a sustainable environment. Instead, it proposed an economy “founded on the principles of the Gospel”1 in order to address the modern ecological challenge “on the basis of the principles of the Christian tradition.”2 In response to the threats of our age, the tradition of the Church demands “a radical change of attitude and conduct”; in response to the ecological crisis, it proposes a spirit of asceticism, “frugality and abstinence”3; in response to our ”greed,”4 it calls for “the deification of our needs and attitude of acquisition.”5 The Holy and Great Council also emphatically referred to the “social dimensions and tragic consequences of destroying the natural environment.”6

Therefore, echoing the decisions of this Council, we too underline through this encyclical the close connection between ecological and social issues, as well as their common roots that lie in the “imprudent heart” that is fallen and sinful as well as in the inappropriate use of our God-given values,” by spiritual and ethical damage. When material possessions dominate our heart and mind, then our attitude toward our fellow human beings and toward creation inevitably becomes possessive and abusive. In biblical terms, the “bad tree” always “produces evil fruit.” (Matthew 7.17) Furthermore, by extension, we would underline that respecting creation and other people share the same spiritual source and origin, namely our renewal in Christ and spiritual freedom. Just as environmental destruction is related to social injustice, so too an eco-friendly attitude is inseparable from social solidarity.

What also becomes apparent is that the solution to the multi-faceted contemporary human crisis – namely, the crisis facing human culture and the natural environment – demands a multi-dimensional mobilization and joint effort. Much as every other vital problem, the underlying and interconnected ecological and social crisis cannot possibly be addressed without inter-Christian and inter-religious collaboration. Therefore, dialogue becomes the fertile ground for promoting existing ecofriendly and social traditions in order to stimulate environmental and communal discussion, while at the same time initiating a constructive criticism of progress understood exclusively in technological and economic terms at the expense of creation and civilization.

In closing, we once again reiterate the inseparable nature of respecting creation and humanity, and we call upon all people of good will to undertake the good struggle for the protection of the natural environment and the establishment of solidarity. May the Lord and giver of all good things, through the intercessions of the all-blessed Mother of God, grant all of you “a burning within your hearts for all creation”7 and “a stirring of love and good works.” (Hebrews 10.24)

+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
Your fervent supplicant before God
1 Encyclical of the Holy and Great Council, paragraph 15.
2 Encyclical, paragraph 10.
3 “The Mission of the Orthodox Church in the Contemporary World,” paragraph 10.
4 “The Mission,” paragraph 10.
5 Encyclical, paragraph 14.
6 Encyclical, paragraph 14.
7 Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Treatises, Homily 81.

19 August 2017

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America's Response to the Racist & Extremist Violence in Charlottesville

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America stands with all people of goodwill in condemning the hateful violence and lamenting the loss of life that resulted from the shameful efforts to promote racial bigotry and white supremacist ideology in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Orthodox Church emphatically declares that it does not promote, protect or sanction participation in such reprehensible acts of hatred, racism, and discrimination, and proclaims that such beliefs and behaviors have no place in any community based in respect for the law and faith in a loving God.
The essence of the Christian Gospel and the spirit of the Orthodox Tradition are entirely and self-evidently incompatible with ideologies that declare the superiority of any race over another. Our God shows no partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17, Romans 2:11). Our Lord Jesus Christ broke down the dividing wall of hostility that had separated God from humans and humans from each other (Ephesians 2:14). In Christ Jesus, the Church proclaims, there can be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or femalebut all are one (Galatians 3:28). Furthermore, we call on one another to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to expose them (Ephesians 5:11). And what is darkness if not hatred? The one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness (1 John 2:11)!
Furthermore, in 1872, Hierarchs from around the world assembled in Constantinople and denounced all forms of xenophobia and phyletism. They agreed that the promotion of racial or national supremacy and ethnic bias or dissension in the Church of Christ is to be censured as contrary to the sacred teachings of the Christian Gospel and the holy canons of the Church. It is formally condemned as heresy, the strongest category of false teaching.
Finally, such actions as we have witnessed in recent days, by self-proclaimed white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and various racists and fascists, betray the core human values of love and solidarity. In this, we pray wholeheartedly for the families of those who lost their lives or suffered in these tragic events. In like manner, we cannot condone any form of revenge or retaliation by any group or individual. Therefore, we fervently appeal to every person of good will, and especially the leaders of our great nation, to consider and adopt ways of reconciling differences in order to rise above any and all discrimination in our history, our present, and our future.

The bishops of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America includes:

  • Geron Archbishop Demetrios of America
  • Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta
  • Metropolitan Antony of the East
  • Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico
  • Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey
  • Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco
  • Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York
  • Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver
  • Metropolitan Joseph of North America
  • Metropolitan Joseph of the USA, Canada, and Australia
  • Metropolitan Methodios of Boston
  • Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit
  • Metropolitan Nikitas of Berkeley
  • Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh
  • Metropolitan Tikhon of America
  • Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco
  • Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America
  • Archbishop Mark of Philadelphia
  • Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh
  • Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey
  • Archbishop Nathaniel of America
  • Archbishop Nicolae of the Americas
  • Archbishop Nikon of New England
  • Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America
  • Bishop Alexander of Dallas and the South
  • Bishop Alexander of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York
  • Bishop Anthony of Toledo and the Midwest
  • Bishop Antoun of Miami and the Southeast
  • Bishop Basil of Wichita and Mid-America
  • Bishop Daniel of the West
  • Bishop David of Alaska
  • Bishop Demetrios of Chicago
  • Bishop Irinej of Eastern America
  • Bishop John of Caracas and South Americaa
  • Bishop John of Worcester and New England
  • Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwestern America
  • Bishop Maxim of Western America
  • Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn
  • Bishop Pankratij of Mexico
  • Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest
  • Bishop Saba of North America
  • Bishop Thomas of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic

Here are some of the Bible verses in context from the Assembly's statement (Old Testament quotes are from The Orthodox Study Bible and New Testament quotes are from The Orthodox New Testament, Volume Two):
Deuteronomy 10:17-19: For the Lord your God is the God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the resident aliens, for you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt. 
Galatians 3:26-29: For all are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as were baptized into Christ, ye put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male and female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. 
Ephesians 5:11-12: And cease having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 
1 John 2:9-11: The one who saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in the darkness until now. The one loving his brother abideth in the light, and there is not an occasion of stumbling in him. But the one hating his brother is in darkness, and walketh in the darkness, and knoweth not where he goeth, because the darkness blinded his eyes.
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