He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Far Cry From Clipping Gold Coins

Royal salaries aren't what they used to be. The published figures are pre-tax, to boot.

Royal niceness is an admirable quality, don't you think?

Chavez Accuses US Of Cancer Donation

No doubt he's so important that he merited targeting. Wink, wink.

Islamic Finance Is Like Behavioral Finance

Both describe deviations from rationality.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nothing Beats A Big Cash Spigot

The Eurozone issue is over, except for the Nervous Nellies' daily skittishness. A sovereign debt put option, written by the European Central Bank, has already paid dividends by stabilizing Italian yields.

One interesting byproduct is that Jon Corzine's monster bet on Eurodebt would have paid off, but he lacked the liquidity to stay the course. Tough luck, bud.

Monetary Freedom Remains Elusive

The US government is now issuing subpoenas to American taxpayers compelling them to furnish offshore banking records. The subpoenas are being challenged as not meeting the required records exception to the 5th Amendment's self-incrimination protection.

What's a little criminal contempt amongst friends?

Gee, Thanks, I Appreciate Your Sincere Effort

Presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov promises to stop partying if he's elected.

The Half-Clothed Rebel Against The Emperor's New Clothes

"Activists of the FEMEN women movement held an unsanctioned action to support Russian opposition in downtown Moscow.

"The action titled God, turn out the king! took place not far from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the movement says in its press release.

"'We are inspired with the actions of Russian non-parliamentary opposition as they don't accept the results of Russian electoral flimflam lottery. We look forward to the birth of New Russia without thieves, tricksters and political convicts,' participants in the action said."

Bandwagons Attract All Kinds

"'It is very important that all accusations of dishonest votes counting, of violations in arranging elections receive a proper answer. They shouldn't stay hanging,' head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said in his program Kommentary Nedeli on Orthodox TV channel Souyz.

"'Today we can't say whether those who voice these accusations are right or wrong. To answer this question we, first of all, need very clear facts, facts that can be proved in the court and in a fair argument,' he further said."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Hates And Loves

What I Hate About Christmas:

1. Silent Night. I know that I should be shot at sunrise for this one, but forcing perfectly good singers to wheeze through this song bothers me.

2. Handbells. The conscientious practitioners of this abominable craft lack the natural charm of skilled cow-milkers.

What I Love About Christmas:

1. Rampant Commercialism. Exhorting us to remember "the reason for the season", such cheerleaders may be astonished to realize that rampant Christmas consumerism is all about outdoing each other at giving gifts.

Christ Is Born!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blessed Fast!

I won't be writing posts or comments until New Calendar Nativity.

1Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.

2And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.

3And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.

Nehemiah 9:1-3 (KJV)

Friday, November 04, 2011

First New Jersey, Now MF Global

Incompetence creates its own momentum. Jon Corzine is a case in point.

The Will To Overcome Geopolitical Inferiority

Russia's superpower ambitions lack sufficient juice for execution.

How do I know? The expert in such matters, Vladimir Putin, says so, when he proposes a Eurasian Union through his Patriarchal mouthpiece, Fr. Vsevolod Chaplin.

Is the proposed Union a trade bloc? Currency bloc? Monetary bloc?

Nothing is apparent, except the vague goal of mutual support and the opportunity to "adequately influence global processes".

Sounds like Russia is whining about its lack of sheer, naked power.

Hipshooting Vice President Joe Biden said it best two years ago, "Russia has to make some very difficult, calculated decisions...they have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they're in a situation where the world is changing before them and they're clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable."

As Crazy As A Fox

I'm not sure whether Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is extremely stupid or extremely smart, but I'm betting on smart.

Emerging from a few volatile days, Papandreou has sealed the bailout deal over previously intense opposition.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Confusion Ain't Good

Moscow, October 24, Interfax - Activists defending the rights of gays, lesbians and transsexuals were detained in Moscow on Saturday when they were holding an unauthorized protest rally near the Health Ministry building.

They were protesting American doctors' plans to enter gender dysphoria on the international list of diseases to be adopted in 2015, a source in law enforcement services told Interfax.

Gender dysphoria is a condition when a person has gender identity problems, which arouses the feeling of discomfort. This condition was not considered a pathology until recently, but the association of American psychiatrists proposed in 2009 that gender dysphoria be entered on the list of psychiatric disorders, which sparked protests throughout the world. Russian gays, lesbians and transsexuals joined them this year.

Sometimes Fear Is Justified By A Track Record

'Unfortunately, the Jerusalem Patriarchate is watchful about the Russian Church as our Church is very big and active,' head of the Mission in Jerusalem Archimandrite Isidor (Minayev) said in his interview with Bogoslov.ru website.

When Ecumenical Relations Fail, Go To Court

Moscow and Constantinople duke it out in France. One side is looking for some pocket money.

According to French paper Nice-Matin, the question is to oblige the Russian Orthodox association of Nice (ACOR) of the Constantinople Patriarchate that uses the church, to give access to representatives of Russia and hand them over a full set of cathedral keys.

In case they refuse to leave the cathedral voluntarily, Russia asks to take a decision to move the association with a fine of 10,000 Euro for each day of delay.


Thanks to: Heavily-Regulated Finance Guy

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nuanced View Of Technology And Church

...the Church is happy to see advances in technology as long as the means and goal are moral and do not impair our communion with God. Even as Christians enjoy the fruits of new technologies, we understand that the real journey of transcendence is not outer, material, or technological but inner, spiritual, grounded in obedience and communion.

Economic Fog From SCOBA

...we acknowledge that our capitalist system is no less [than communism] predicated on purely materialist principles, which also do not engender faith in God. There is no place in the calculus of our economics to account for the “intangibles” of human existence. Reflect on how the simple accounting phrase “the bottom line” has shaped our whole culture. We use it to force the summarization of an analysis devoid of any externals or irrelevancies to the “heart of the matter.” This usually means the monetary outcome.

The Idolatry Of Tyranny

I held my nose long enough to retrieve Old Rome's latest contribution toward a theory of Roman Catholic economic tyranny, TOWARDS REFORMING THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND MONETARY SYSTEMS IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBAL PUBLIC AUTHORITY.

The Vatican is calling for a "public Authority with universal jurisdiction" to regulate global economic affairs. Sound familiar?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

He's Learned How To Replicate 2008

Ben Bernanke is Alan Greenspan's apt pupil. Keeping interest rates too low is what caused our current crisis, and he's creating more of it. Nice lesson.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Patriarch Lavishes Praise On Putin

I'm interested in knowing why the Patriarch thinks that a breakup--thereby relegating Putin to foisting himself on a small backwater--would have been undesirable.

The will to a tyrannical Church/State symphony dies hard. Maybe it doesn't die at all, at least not in the fallen world.

Do Randians Enter The Kingdom?

Capitalism is the most powerful engine for prosperity in the history of humankind. Though imperfect, as are all human constructs, the free market is still the most effective antidote to poverty and, what’s more, it’s the most moral method for allocating scarce resources. As we were reminded by the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, titan of industry and unapologetic capitalist, it’s pretty darn cool, too.

The free market is really nothing more than free people - consenting adults - who, unleashed from coercion, are allowed to voluntarily exchange their ideas, efforts and property when it benefits them to do so, assuming it harms no one else in the process. Each person’s rational self-interest ultimately serves not just the individual, but society as a whole because to achieve sustainable success in the free market - in other words, to satisfy your own wants and needs - you must first satisfy someone else’s. This forms the moral basis of capitalism, and Jobs did this amazingly well.

Imaginary Crimes

Raj Rajaratnam, founder of hedge fund, Galleon Group, was sentenced to 11 years in Federal prison in Butner, NC, fined $11 million, and ordered to disgorge $53.8 million for the imaginary crime of insider trading.

Judge Richard Howell stated: "the government is absolutely correct that insider trading is an assault on the free markets that are a fundamental element of our democratic society." I'd be interested in knowing the judge's definition of free markets, but perhaps the prosecutor didn't feed hizzoner those kinds of details.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trichet Continues To Ride To The Rescue

The Eurozone would have been a much more dangerous place without Trichet.

Slovakia will eventually support the bailout fund.

China's House Of Cards

China has been artificially propping up its economy for years on the backs of savers who aren't getting fair returns from state-owned banks. Now, China feels compelled to prop up its stock market to conceal economic weakness. Golly, does that mean that all of those government stats touting outsized growth were fiction?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Lipsticking The Pig

'It is a genuine example of kindness and integrity in politics, an example that, I believe, would have been a source of envy for our predecessors and people who lived in the Soviet period and, moreover, should be a source of envy for the people of the majority of countries in the world, including those that try to lecture us,' head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told Interfax-Religion.

Fr. Vsevolod's remarks refer to the Medvedev-Putin decision not to run against each other.

"Orderly Defaults"

Instead, Bernanke worried more about how the default occurs. If it's messy, then Europe could bring down the U.S. with it. But Bernanke asserted that if orderly default occurs, then the U.S. banks should be fine.

Apparently, Bernanke hasn't learned anything from our own "orderly" defaults. During an asset price correction, nothing is orderly. Rather than gilding the lily, Bernanke should make a supreme effort to banish the phrase "orderly default" from his conceptual toolbox.

"U.S. 'Close To Faltering,' Fed Ready To Act: Bernanke"

Stop the hyperbole, already. If Europe collapses, America would be seriously affected. Left to its own devices, however, America's slow growth doesn't portend recession.

The Fed's Operation Twist Will Be A Partial Success

The Fed is single-handed trying to make up for the lack of depth in the credit markets, but will only be partially successful. Its efforts will reach larger companies, but will do little for the small guys who typically perform the heavy lifting in economic recoveries.

I'm A Proud Bank Of America Customer

And I'll stay that way, despite Congress' efforts to kneecap BAC's margins.

The Washington Post article to which I've linked is typical of the moronic views proliferating about banking fees. Folks thought that none of their banking services cost anything. Merchants were paying for all of our debit cards until Congress placed a ceiling on swipe fees.

Go ahead; get it out of your system. If it were up to me, I'd impose a 100% reserve requirement on all commercial banks, after which we'd see the fee-sensitive whining begin in earnest.

ECB Opens Cash Taps To Avoid New Credit Crunch

Trichet is keeping it all together, including kicking the Germans into line.

"A Job Is Becoming A Dim Memory For Many Unemployed"

...at least until extended unemployment benefits run out. In my locale, I'm witnessing jobs that go unfilled until folks are forced by necessity to look for work.

Steven Paul Jobs, Eternal Memory

May God mercifully remember all of our commercial benefactors!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clerical Activism

The Greek priest is trying to stop the rioter from attacking the police.

Thanks to Fr. Maximos Weimar

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Echo Beach, From ITV

I'm talking about the opening song, not the show. Nicely done, with an almost hammered dulcimer effect. Stops too early, though.

The second clip is the Echo Beach original sung by Martha and the Muffins from the early New Wave era. Nice alto sax solo.


What can I say? I'm a Cirque fan.

Mises On The Greek Church

In Socialism, Ludwig von Mises said some pretty awful things about Orthodoxy, and I laugh whenever I read them:

There was the same inertia in the polytheistic religions of antiquity and there still is in the Eastern Church. The Greek Church has been dead for over a thousand years.[1] Only in the second half of the nineteenth century did it once more produce a man in whom faith and hope flared up like fire. But Tolstoy's Christianity, however much it may bear a superficially Eastern and Russian hue, is at bottom founded on Western ideas. It is particularly characteristic of this great Gospeller that, unlike the Italian merchant's son, Francis of Assisi, or the German miner's son, Martin Luther, he did not come from the people but from the nobility which, by upbringing and education, had been completely Westernized. The Russian Church proper has produced at most men like John of Kronstadt or Rasputin. These dead churches lack any special ethics. Harnack says of the Greek Church: [2] "The real sphere of the working life whose morality is to be regulated by the Faith, falls outside its direct observation. This is left to the state and the nation."

What Mises says here can be juxtaposed interestingly with Fr. Stephen's post, Why Morality is Not Christian.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Kosovo's Problems Continue

The desecration of Orthodox shrines continues.

Stepping Up Has Its Challenges

One priest's willingness to adopt babies to keep the mothers from aborting them shows no results.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bulldoze It!

I have an admiration for the directness with which the Russians deal with particular issues.

Thanks to Cyril of Energetic Procession here.


Big surprise. S&P's President is stepping down.

Over at
John's blog a few weeks ago, I commented on the prospect of Moody's downgrading the creditworthiness of US Treasuries:

It'd behoove Moody's to make contingency plans to evacuate to an alternative foreign situs if it were to prematurely downgrade US Treasuries. That's hardball territory.

Now that S&P has crossed that Rubicon, I'd be surprised if its credit ratings' franchise remains intact. The Justice Department has reinvigorated its investigation of S&P's ratings of mortgage bonds.

You know what this means? The Administration can't fault S&P on the merits of its rating of Treasuries, despite the bluster about the US's still being a "triple A country", and will turn over rocks to indict it on the merits of some moron employee's careless remark about mortgage bonds.

In my view, S&P showed remarkable courage in focusing our attention on the seriousness of the debt issue. There's a small window of time (approximately three years) during which Washington can actually do something to keep the debt from spinning out of control.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Will Someone Muzzle This Blowhard?

The rich have already made their stash, and, accordingly, can structure their income to manage their tax liability. The almost-rich, on the other hand, are trying to become rich, and pay tax on their accretions of wealth.

Buffett is simply guarding the interests of his social class in calling for increased taxation, which will disproportionately fall on the upwardly mobile arrivistes. Everything about this blowhard reeks of self-absorption.

Interesting Piece On Why Banks Aren't Lending

GDP is slow, and unemployment is high. Small business, the engine of growth in previous recoveries, faces hurdles, especially in accessing credit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ron Paul's Debt Limit Proposal

John at Ad Orientem posted a link to an article about Ron Paul's debt limit proposal. Sophocles had emailed both of us about it, and I've posted my reply at John's site.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

No Mosques

Herman Cain said he sides with the opponents of the construction of a mosque in Tennessee because he fears the Muslims building the mosque have bad intentions and want to implement Sharia law.

Personal Non Grata

Lo and behold, I've discovered that I'm unwelcome at three papal blogs, Ius Honorarium, Reditus, and Rorate Caeli. The moral of the story: I'm just not cut out for ecumenical work. My "open and frank" conversation style has struck again.

Ius is Gabriel's latest blog, and I was banned for commenting less-than-nicely about the death of the last Habsburg. Oh well. The blog had little information value for me, but was an opportunity to clarify misapprehensions about libertarianism and Austrian economics as well as listen to papalized potshots at Orthodoxy.

Arturo, the host of Reditus, didn't ban me but began censoring my comments a month or two ago. That's a passive-aggressive approach best suited for wanna-be revolutionaries. The second deleted comment confirmed what was happening, and it's been that long since I've visited.

Carlos, the host of Rorate Caeli, wouldn't permit my only comment to be posted. I struck out pretty quickly there.

Feel free to comment at any of the above blogs, and I hope that you have better luck than I did.

Since I'm on the subject, let me clarify this blog's comment policy:

No Comments Shall Be Censored.

I'm an Enlightenment fan, and freewheelin' discussion is desirable.
Anonymity is welcome. Keep your children away, if necessary.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

From Sophocles: Rambo vs. ??

My readers know that I think they're both clowns, but still....Putin makes a more compelling gainsaying case. As for Obama, there's nothing more to be said.

N.B., Sophocles takes up two of my links to the right--"Sinner", his colorfully creative blog, and "Kyklos Greek Cafe", his restaurant in Henderson, NV.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Whoever Thought That This Was An Orthodox View?

On top of misguided government spending, Mr. Coustas says entrepreneurial activity was denigrated for many years and profit was regarded as 'wrong.' 'Anyone who wanted to make an investment here was considered a kind of bloodsucker.'

Thursday, July 07, 2011


This is a little snippet that I posted at another blog in response to Ariston's statement: “When contemplating how Orthodoxy can speak to modernity, I constantly come across in my mind the depressing conclusion that Meyendorff was right, and Byzantine theology died in 1453.”

My reply:

I was thinking the same thing, and it’s equally applicable to Orthodox thinking about secular topics as well. The totality of Orthodox thought has been inescapably shaped by dhimmitude, Old Rome’s triumphalist propaganda, the ubiquity of of the monastic class, and the collapse of the laity’s virtù from conquest.

The laity disappeared as a countervailing force in post-Constantinopolitan Orthodox society, except for brief spurts of murderous sociopathy.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Chaplains Coming To Russian Army

'The president has ordered to introduce the institution of military priests in the army and fleet before the end of 2011.'

I'm Looking Forward To The Fourth Crusade's Archives

The Vatican has just opened part of its archives for public viewing. I'd rather view the archival booty from the Fourth Crusade against Constantinople.

A possibility? I'm betting against it.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Can You Dig It? I Know That You Can.

Moscow, June 21, Interfax - Fr. Nikolay Kokurin, an Orthodox priest from the Nizhny Novgorod Region, appeared at an anti-drug rock concert held in St. Petersburg

He pronounced a sermon, blessed the audience and played an electric guitar, the 5 Canal reports.

Fr. Nikolay writes songs to praise God. He has a home music studio which he calls 'the church of underground "rockodoxy"'. He posts each new song in the Internet.

A well-known St. Petersburg musician Ilya Chyort (Russian for Devil) included several songs written by Fr. Nikolay in one of his recent albums.

'Rock-n-roll - King David said he would rock and roll and twist before God. Therefore, he may be considered a patriarch of rock-n-roll,' the priest said.

Now he is going to release a new album of his songs. He never sells his discs but prefers to distribute them to believers and grateful listeners.

Rockodoxy? I like that sound of that.

How About Property Rights, Father Vsevolod?

Russian Orthodox Church can give ethical evaluation to everything, including economics

Moscow, June 28, Interfax - Orthodox Christians will continue to call things moral and immoral, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, said at the Russian-Italian conference entitled 'Economy Needs Ethical Regulators' held in Moscow.

'Everything that concerns people, everything that affects their life and daily bread, the wellbeing of their families, and the future of their society, is naturally an area of concern for believers, the Church,' he said.

The priest said he and 'the entire Christian tradition' disagree with the people who say that 'it is not the responsibility of the Church and believers to speak about economics and that economics is an area restricted to economists and those who take an active part in economic processes on the level of the elite.'

He recalled that Pravoye Delo's new leader Mikhail Prokhorov 'said that "the responsibility of the Church is religious or spiritual life and the worldly things should be left to us" - that's about what he said.'

'It's difficult to agree with that because if a businessman has decided to become a politician and is trying to decide for the entire society what is good and what is bad for it, believers - the clergy, monks, and laymen, including those who take part in economic processes - can offer society what they see fit, especially in the sphere of morals, including economic morals,' he said.

Father, under a system of property rights, free people decide about economics, not power-hungry priests.

Greece's Sad Song

Get out my fiddle--a chest fiddle, not a chin fiddle. It's time to sing a sad song for Greece.

Greece will default, but probably not tomorrow. Europe hopes that Greece won't default until Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy recover sufficiently to move out of the Euro zone's weak-sisters category. The latter four countries are working on their problems, and the likelihood is high that their efforts will succeed, given enough time.

The funny aspect of the Greek situation is the attitude of the Communists and other leftists. They like the unrest, and they like to talk about how debt repayment is really a conspiracy by globalized powers to control the Greek economy. In taking this stance, the leftists play on the EU's fear of financial contagion upon a Greek default. They're looking for a sweeter bailout deal. Ah, the tradition of marketplace haggling hasn't died.

Everyone knows that a default wouldn't produce any benefits for Greece. Deep budget cuts would be necessary since Greek debt wouldn't be marketable in normal channels. The banking system would be jeopardized. Drachnas would replace euros.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Is Anyone Surprised At This One?

I am opposed to anonymity in Internet; I think an individual communicating with others should not conceal his or her name, just as we never cover our faces while talking to other people. If an individual wears a mask or a nickname, there are reasons to distrust him or her, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations told Interfax-Religion.

Ryan Dunn, Memory Eternal

I'm a fan of the Jackass series of films, and I'm sorry to hear of Ryan's death.

Patriarch Kirill Warns Against Disregarding Beauty

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia urged Russians to stay beautiful, both internally and externally.

Russian Priests Jump Alongside The Paratroopers

Parachuting can be daunting. Take it from one who knows.

Monday, June 13, 2011

China's Hard Landing

China avoided a hard landing during the global credit crunch but faces a downturn after 2013 as it will struggle to keep increasing fixed investments, Roubini said.

"There is a meaningful probability of a hard landing in China after 2013," he told a financial conference in Singapore.

That's the closest we've been to agreeing about anything.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Monetary Tyrants Are Jealous

Governments want to keep their monopoly on monetary issuance because of its profitability through seigniorage, but their monetary management is terrible.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

More China

Four Wall Street Journal articles cover different aspects of the same decline.

The outgoing head of Hong Kong's securities regulator warned investors against rushing headlong to buy shares in Chinese companies, calling China "the new dot-com" of the investment world.

Hedge-fund titan John Paulson is hardly alone in his wager on a Chinese company whose stock lately has swooned. Several other prominent money managers, including mutual-fund giants that invest individuals' money, made similar bets on stocks now struggling.

After years of housing prices gone wild, China's property bubble is starting to deflate.

When global growth fell off a cliff in 2008, China's huge monetary stimulus was part of the rescue package. But with the recovery now losing some steam around the world, investors shouldn't expect a repeat performance. The inflationary costs of that stimulus still mean China's ability to act is constrained.

News Flash: Congress Lied, Not Goldman

Government tries to screw another business.

SoGen's Hayekian/Wicksellian Analysis Regarding China

Mr. Grice is right on the money about that overblown windbag called China. The unfolding of economic causality doesn't occur overnight, but operates with long and variable lags. China has been trying to command itself into becoming a global economic power, but that artifice has been wearing at the fringes for about eighteen months. The trigger for its comeuppance will be the Fed's upcoming change in monetary policy.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

John Gets It Right, Again

I've borrowed this wonderful video from Ad Orientem. We Orthodox love our monastics, and we appreciate their struggle for our salvation.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

My Official Position On Anglican Holy Orders

Bishop Peter Robinson of the United Episcopal Church of North America has written a piece on Anglican orders that's been posted at the Continuum blog. I won't be relying on his piece for this posting.

My position on Anglican orders corresponds with the following statement posted by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Overland Park, Kansas:

1) Six Churches have made declarations which seem to recognize Anglican ordinations as valid: Constantinople (1922), Jerusalem and Sinai (1923), Cyprus (1923), Alexandria (1930), Romania (1936).

2) The Russian Church in Exile, at the Karlovtzy Synod of 1935, declared that Anglican clergy who become Orthodox must be reordained. In 1948, at a large conference held in Moscow, the Moscow Patriarchate promulgated a decree to the same effect, which was also signed by official delegates (present at the conference) from the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, and Albania.

To interpret these statements aright, it would be necessary to discuss in detail the Orthodox view of the validity of sacraments, which is not the same as that usually held by western theologians, and also the Orthodox concept of ‘ecclesiastical economy;’ and these matters are so intricate and obscure that they cannot here be pursued at length. But certain points must be made. First, the Churches which declared in favour of Anglican Orders have not apparently carried this decision into effect. In recent years, when Anglican clergy have approached the Patriarchate of Constantinople with a view to entering the Orthodox Church, it has been made clear to them that they would be received as laymen, not as priests. Secondly, the favourable statements put out by group (1) are in most cases carefully qualified and must be regarded as provisional in character. The Ecumenical Patriarch, for example, when communicating the 1922 decision to the Archbishop of Canterbury, said in his covering note: ‘It is plain that there is as yet no matter here of a decree by the whole Orthodox Church. For it is necessary that the rest of the Orthodox Churches should be found to be of the same opinion as the most holy Church of Constantinople .’ In the third place, Orthodoxy is extremely reluctant to pass judgment upon the status of sacraments performed by non-Orthodox. Most Anglicans understood the statements made by group (1) to constitute a ‘recognition’ of Anglican Orders at the present moment. But in reality the Orthodox were not trying to answer the question ‘Are Anglican Orders valid in themselves, here and now?’ They had in mind the rather different question ‘Supposing the Anglican communion were to reach full agreement in faith with the Orthodox, would it then be necessary to reordain Anglican clergy?’

This helps to explain why Constantinople in 1922 could declare favorably upon Anglican Orders, and yet in practice treat them as invalid: this favorable declaration could not come properly into effect so long as the Anglican Church was not fully Orthodox in the faith. When matters are seen in this light, the Moscow decree of 1948 no longer appears entirely inconsistent with the declarations of the pre-war period. Moscow based its decision on the present discrepancy between Anglican and Orthodox belief: ‘The Orthodox Church cannot agree to recognize the rightness of Anglican teaching on the sacraments in general, and on the sacrament of Holy Order in particular; and so it cannot recognize Anglican ordinations as valid.’ (Note that Orthodox theology declines to treat the question of valid orders in isolation, but considers at the same time the faith of the Church concerned). But, so the Moscow decree continues, if in the future the Anglican Church were to become fully Orthodox in faith, then it might be possible to reconsider the question. While returning a negative answer at the present moment, Moscow extended a hope for the future.

Such is the situation so far as official pronouncements are concerned. Anglican clergy who join the Orthodox Church are reordained; but if Anglicanism and Orthodoxy were to reach full unity in the faith, perhaps such reordination might not be found necessary. It should be added, however, that a number of individual Orthodox theologians hold that under no circumstances would it be possible to recognize the validity of Anglican Orders.

Sleazoid Indicted

I'm no fan of election financing laws, but John Edwards is.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Church and State

John at Ad Orientem posted this item, which I thought was important enough to borrow.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm Beginning To Like This Particular Biker

I haven't been following her views since her "death panels" criticism of Obamacare, but anyone who'll get on the back of a Harley deserves a closer look. Which other politician would risk getting helmet hair?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Right Attitude

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia intends to continue a dialog between the Church and political forces regardless of any election results.

Time To Vomit

More Srebrenica embellishments.

Say, how many of those corpses were Serbian soliders? Why were combatants permitted in a protected zone?

Administration: China Not Currency Manipulator

The administration is wrong. Of course China is manipulating its currency and has been doing so for most of the last decade. Now, the artifice is beginning to unravel with domestic inflation and mild currency revaluation.

So what? Well, the mercantilists in the Obama and Bush administrations were concerned that China was trumping the Bush/Obama beggar-thy-neighbor dollar-depreciation campaigns by keeping its currency low. It's sheer envy for China's ability to escape economic reality for so long.

By the way, since I talk all of the time about inexorable economic laws, how has China been able to seemingly suspend economic law? It's simple: super-saving Chinese citizens aren't paid the going market rate for their savings in state-owned banks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Khodorkovsky Should Be Freed

'In which dusty cellar did they dig up the poisonous Stalinist spider who wrote this drivel?' Mr Khodorkovsky asked just hours before a Russian court rejected his appeal against a politically charged theft and money laundering conviction in December, while reducing his sentence from 14 years to 13. 'What long-term investments can be spoken of with such a justice system? There can be no modernisation at all without a clean-up of these cellars.'

Well said.

Finally, Serious Privatization

Privatization, not default.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Wisdom From Moscow

"When a man acquires an enormous strength through his mind, infiltration into science and technology creation, he must simultaneously increase his great moral responsibility for people around him, for the peace of God and nature."

Patriarch Kirill on Chernobyl

Christ Is Risen!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Great Lent Has Arrived

I won't be posting or commenting until after Pascha.

My knees are weak through fasting,
And my flesh is feeble from lack of fatness.

Колената ми се клатят от пост; И снагата ми губи тлъстината си.

Psalm 109:24

Sunday, February 13, 2011

30% Of Russian Parents BelieveThat Foundations Of Orthodoxy Made Their Children Kinder

Moscow, February 11, Interfax - According to the poll held by the Russian Public Chamber, 30 percent of parents believe that after attending the course of Orthodox culture foundations their children became more tolerant and kind.

Only 1,8 percent of parents pointed out to certain difficulties in relations among children, author of the textbook on Orthodoxy, professor of the Moscow Theological Academy Protodeacon Andrey Kurayev cited the poll results in his interview published on Friday by the Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

'The best of the reached results is negative. It is with a negative particle: our country has NOT bogged down in complaints of offended children and parents,' Father Andrey told about results of the experiment.

According to him, 'concerns that children who go to various cabinets to learn different religious cultures will become hostile to each other, have not turned out to be true.'

'Besides, teachers of all schools-participants in the project jointly say they need more hours for the subject. It's interesting for children and for us,' he said.

I Posted This Because I Like It

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

The parish to which I've belonged for a few years is experiencing financial difficulties. No surprise here, considering the tough economic environment. Unfortunately, though, the difficulties could have been avoided had the Rector heeded my warnings about embarking on an initiative that endangered future parish revenues. The chickens have come home to roost, and, frankly, I'm furious.

It's not my intention for this blog to become autobiographical, so let's just say that the Rector's initiative involved what the Poles colloquially call "pissin' in the soup." The problem that I have with guys who think that theology substitutes for a solid administrative sense is that their strategy relies on a hope that random events will be, on average, serendipitous. Sorta like the job seeker who prays to God for employment, but doesn't get off his duff. Certainly miracles have their mysterious place in this world, but they do not constitute the "ordinary means", as our Latin friends tell us.

Yes, I'm furious at the Rector, but I'm also very aware that he made the best decision of which he was capable as shepherd of the flock. His job isn't about superlative administration. His job is faithfulness.

It's my job to dig deeper into my pockets to make sure that the financial difficulties don't erode his livelihood.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How Did Christ Run His Carpentry Business?

Tradition tells us that Christ wasn't insulated from earthly duties, such as running a carpentry business.

Was he a sole practitioner or was he St. Joseph's employee?
Were he and St. Joseph partners?
Did they hire employees?
What kind of wages were paid?
Did they charge nothing for their services?
Did they charge a below-market rate?
Did they make a profit?
Did they borrow money for expansion?
Did their business ever fail?
Were their estimates accurate?
Any cost overruns?

Multiculturalism Gains Meaning With Orthodox Values

Russian missionary believes arriving foreigners can become new Cyrils and Methodiuses

'I think that Angela Merkel will be happy to visit an Orthodox parish in downtown Moscow, where services are celebrated for Orthodox Christians who are ethnic Germans, and saints-protectors of Germany venerated by all Christians are specially venerated,' he said commenting German chancellor's statement on crisis of multiculturalism in Europe.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Church's Interference In Secular Issues Justified - Patriarch Kirill

Moscow, February 1, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has said that the Church's interference in secular matters is justified.

Patriarch Kirill was enthroned as the 16th leader of the Russian Orthodox Church exactly two years ago.

The Patriarch conducted a liturgy at the Christ the Savior Cathedral on Tuesday morning.

The present period differs from the past by "the presence of some apocalyptic tension because the power of the force of sin over mankind is stronger today than ever," Patriarch Kirill said.

The Russian Orthodox Church could "not stay indifferent to this multiplication of evil," he said.

"Some politicians are asking us with puzzlement why the church is interfering in spheres that do not fall under its jurisdiction. This is the response to the Church's work to help reduce divorce and abortion rates, to teach people to dress decently," he said.

However, this criticism will not force the church to change its policies, Patriarch Kirill said.

"We will be scolded in the future. We are ready for it. The Church has no words other than: 'Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand,'" he said.

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Rule Of Thieves"

About 500 people called for Vladimir Putin's ouster and an end to his "rule of thieves." Some have characterized Putin's government as a criminal syndicate.

What is the role of the Moscow Patriarchate in this situation?

Banks To Be Run According To Orthodox Ethics

Leading Russian banks spoke for church arbitration in banking

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Orthodox Coinage

This Byzantine coin is from the the reign of Emperor Romanus III (1028-1034) showing the Hodegetria Theotokos. The inscription says, "He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does."

This Serbian coin is from the the reign of King Stefan (1243-1276) showing Christ Pantocrator on the front and King Stefan and St. Stephen on the back.

This Byzantine coin is from the reign of Michael III (842-867). Christ Pantocrator is on the front.

Byzantine coins were prized in trade for their fineness and utility. They were the reserve currency of their time. What a wonderful reminder of the important role that honest money plays in the progress of human civilization.

"Lie Back And Think Of England"

I usually don't post vulgar items on this blog, but I couldn't resist this one. If anyone's offended, just blink and move on to the next post.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Which Economics Treats Man As An Object?

The Ochlophobist has rendered us a great service by introducing us to an Orthodox doctoral student in economics at Purdue University, Jeffrey Michler. I've never been to Purdue, but one of my professors earned his economics doctorate there. Although my professor didn't subscribe to the Austrian School of Economics, I remain grateful for his respect and encouragement as I pursued my work on an important Hayekian.

Jeffrey is a Marxist and not an Austrian, but if my professor is any indication, Jeffrey will find Purdue to be a receptive and treasured home.

In particular, I am interested in something that Jeffrey wrote:

The value an individual ascribes to a good is personal/subjective in that they get to decide what they think that good is worth (this has never been doubted by any economist I have read/met). However, if we want a theory of value that has any content, it must be generalizable and comparative. To compare individuals and their personally assigned values, we need to develop some universal good as a benchmark. Thus, in economics, we usually normalize one good to be either unitary (a single unit of that good) or let one of the goods be money.

An object's value is measured by what an acting individual gives up to get it, not by a universal benchmark. If I value a pen and give up a pencil to get it, a pen "costs" a pencil (in an accounting sense), but the pen is not valued equally with a pencil. Likewise, if I pay $10 for a pen, I valued the pen more than I valued $10.

A valuing individual never knows what precise value he places on anything, but he knows what he'll give up to get it. There is no cardinal measure of value. Valuing is a process of ranking, not measuring.

There is no "comparison," no "generalization". Man is sui generis and cannot be deconstructed into any "universally recognizable" valuing component or faculty.

Just as the labor theory of value seeks to deconstruct the mechanism for man's recognizing and achieving his goals and purposes into a universally recognizable benchmark, the subjective theory of value regards man's desires as given and as the starting point of value theory and of economic theory generally.

Which theory accords man more dignity?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who's Surprised?

The Vatican's letter forbidding Irish bishops to report clerical sexual abuse to secular officials shouldn't surprise anyone who's studied religious history for longer than, say, thirty seconds.

I'm sure that Old Rome was convinced that it was following a higher moral law.