It seems what we are seeing with those like Michael Sisco and his petition to the Assembly of Bishops is an altogether different breed of OrthoBro. In fact, without any intention of being (overly) offensive, I might suggest we consider calling them OrthoKarens. After all, it seems they want to speak to our managers.

Has Sisco not considered that Orthodoxy in Dialogue has already written to the Assembly of Bishops with links to some of its most “scandalous” articles on sexuality and gender, all but begging the bishops to read them, albeit with an open mind and pastoral heart? Does Sisco really think he is informing the Assembly of something they don’t already know about?

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Michael Sisco

On November 28, 2020, Orthodoxy in Dialogue reported on the petition addressed to the Assembly of Bishops by Gab and Parler user, Michael Sisco. In it, he threatens our bishops in the United States with a financial boycott of their jurisdictions, dioceses, and parishes which refuse to bow to his demand to break the law. While many of our readers and supporters registered their dissatisfaction with the inflammatory title of our report—an opinion with which we agree, in hindsight—we stand by our unequivocal praise for the  bishops’ united voice in mandating compliance with federal, state, and local directives to contain Covid-19. Many Christians from other ecclesial and denominational affiliations looked to our Orthodox bishops as a model of prudent, ecclesiastical collaboration with public health officials in safeguarding the well-being of all citizens.

On February 2, 2021, we published Dr. Lydia Bringerud’s cautionary tale, Michael Sisco, White Supremacy, and Loyalty in the Orthodox Church.

On the morning of February 16, 2021, Mr. Sisco sent an email to his mailing list soliciting signatures for his latest petition to the Assembly of Bishops, We Request that Our Bishops Denounce the Website Orthodoxy in Dialogue.

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This brief report appeared earlier today at Orthodox Times with an expanded title. The irony can be lost on no one that far-right Covid deniers who convert to Orthodoxy in the US and make up a portion of our American clergy look to the Russian Church as the pinnacle of “muscular Orthodoxy.” One wonders how they square this news with their extremist positions on Covid-19.
While Orthodoxy in Dialogue has frequently taken issue—and will continue to do so—with the institutional Russian Church’s full complicity in Kremlin geopolitics, and especially in the Kremlin’s violence against Ukrainian statehood and autocephaly, we are happy to share the news when the Moscow Patriarchate does something right.
We recommend Orthodox Times to our readers as an impartial source of Orthodox news from around the world.
Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk
Head of DECR

Despite the fall in COVID-19 patients numbers, the Russian Orthodox Church intends to maintain measures against the spread of the virus in churches, which were imposed last spring, as stated by the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations (DECR), Metropolitan Hilarion.

“I do not think we should rush to reduce the measures taken at the beginning of the pandemic because the pandemic will last, as it seems, a long time, and the probability of infection is still high for many. Many have not yet been vaccinated, they have not become ill and they do not have antibodies in their blood,” he told the Russian channel Россия 24.

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Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection of the Lord (Lagos, Nigeria)

When Orthodoxy in Dialogue published Why Are We Sitting Here? by Metropolitan Alexander (Gianniris) of Nigeria eight months ago, it became overnight—and remains—one of our most popular and most shared guest articles. A well-known British name in Orthodox academic theology exclaimed publicly on social media, “The future of Orthodoxy is in Africa!”

About two weeks ago, a young seeker in Nigeria reached out to us to discuss his interest in Orthodoxy. A significant factor in his search has been Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s content. With both his and Metropolitan Alexander’s consent, we introduced them by 3-way email. They met this past Saturday at His Eminence’s residence. (We have the young man’s permission to use the photo he snapped upon arrival at the cathedral compound.)

When our friend got home, he tweeted the Metropolitan’s essay with this message: “Met him today, and I love him so much!” Such a testimony to a true shepherd of the living Church, and to Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s small role in adding a new sheep to the portion of Christ’s flock entrusted to his care, brings tears of joy and gratitude to our eyes.

A week ago, a second young Nigerian seeker reached out to us. He doesn’t yet feel ready to meet the Metropolitan, but remains in contact with us.

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