Trevino calls me a “fan of Esphigmenou die-hards,” for which he has no proof, and I never said that I was “immunized” from anything.  It was Trevino’s baseless accusation that I had endorsed schismatics that led me to point out just how wrong he was.  Once again: I do not “endorse” the monks at Esphigmenou.  I object to the way they have been treated, as do many of the monks on Mt. Athos.  Since they have been making their protest against Constantinople for four decades, during which time the Patriarchate has not seen fit to expel them, it seems strange that it has suddenly become a burning issue that now must be resolved with coercion and force.  His parting insult against Patriarch Alexei is typical of those die-hards who would rather go into schism than see the Russian Church united.  Were I to follow his rather dreary reasoning, I suppose his remarks would make him a “fan” of the opponents of reconciliation.  That would be absurd, but that is the sort of argument that Trevino has been making.  If insults against hierarchs and slanders against fellow Orthodox represent Trevino’s style of representing Orthodoxy in the public square, I’m not sure how it helps. 

Update: As Trevino must know, the criticism against Patriarch Alexei for his alleged past KGB associations is revived and kept alive by those who would like to keep demonising the Moscow Patriarchate and who sought to prevent the reconciliation that was already long overdue. Insulting a hierarch of the Church is all well and good, provided that it isn’t a hierarch whom he likes.  The monks’  ecclesiological protest at least has some rationale behind it, whether you think them to be in the right or not.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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