Old Glory and Western Civilization. Pride of America; symbol of hope for the World and the last opportunity -- Ultima Hesperia.

Ultima Hesperia


American Patriotism is grounded in the desire to be Free.
The pursuit of that most precious gift first emerged in the Ancient Greek world, and resurfaced in the form of religious tolerance in 313 A.D. through the Edict of Milan instituted by Constantine the Great.  It has now regenerated Europe and has begun to penetrate the world -- first achieving optimum expression in the United States of America.  It is the ultimate historical continuum vested in all The Americas  or NEW BYZANTIUM.


The role of AMERICA [as NEW BYZANTIUM]  in defense of the Western World against the lawless factions of the Islamic World dates back to 1784 under the  leadership, continuous initiatives, and foresight of Thomas Jefferson.  Not only by diplomatic means but also through the bravery of  the American military and naval action  did the scourge of piracy and extortion at last come under control.  The same as today, not all European countries contributed enthusiastically if at all to the effort and sacrifice needed.  Therefore, the leadership and actual application of decisive force fell on American hands: the same as it does today.  The difference in geographical scale is the only distinguishing element between America-New Byzantium and original Byzantium as protectors.  Otherwise, the task remains identical.

                    For example, an article written by Christopher Hitchens titled To The Shores of Tripoli is posted on the Internet by TIME.
                    The introductory paragraph reads as follows:


     Within days of his  March 1801  inauguration as  the President of the United Sates, Thomas Jefferson ordered  a  naval
     and military expedition  of North Africa,  without the authorization of Congress, to put down regimes involved  in slavery
     and piracy.  The war was the first  in which the U.S. flag was carried and planted overseas;  it saw the baptism by fire of
     the  U.S. Marine Corps — whose anthem boasts of action on 'the  shores  of  Tripoli’— and it prefigured  later struggles
     with terrorism  and jihad.

                                                                                                                     [Ref: http://www.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,994562,00.html]


Byzantium-New Rome or Byzantine Empire today is but an ornament on the genealogical tree of history that cannot
be repeated—as also are the British, Roman, Alexandrian, Athenian, Persian, Mayan, and Aztec  Empires.
Yet, their active influence survives.

History always retrieves those who presume to escape it.

The struggle is against  terrorism  in all its aspects: whether spontaneous, self-organized, or state-sponsored. 
It is not a struggle against any religion, nation, or ethnic entity.

Religious Conviction Abhors Terrorism: It Condones Justice.


Byzantium defended itself for centuries in a similar way that the West must aggressively defend itself today.
The Western error of 1203 A.D., however, must not be repeated.

        It is folly and misleading to reason that the Moslem invasion of Central Europe was the consequence of Moslem penetration of the Iberian Peninsula and of the Balkans.  Both these events were only symptomatic of a much more fundamental occurrence earlier in history: the ill-conceived and treasonous invasion and devastation by the West itself of Constantinople at the opening of the Thirteenth Century.

        It is also unfounded to reason that in some way Islam today holds the higher moral ground over Christianity because the women of the West have achieved a more independent and stronger contributory status in society.  Why then are Moslem women clamoring for even their basic freedom?  The true issue in that quest is not the presence of that freedom but how that freedom is used.

        Since its founding, New Rome, or Constantinople, or Byzantium had always been the guardian and protector of the West.  It was the rupture of that Western integrity that opened the way for the later Moslem onslaught against Europe.

        The Western world committed a grave error once.  Today, the same confrontation exists but on a much larger scale, including the interests of progressive Islamic nations.  In this instance, America has become the defender of Civilization and thus, New Byzantium.  The error must not be repeated.  The unity and firm coalition of Western nations together with that of the progressive nations of the world is paramount for the survival of all Civilization.


    "Former Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America [Greek Orthodox Church] called the terrorist attack a 'demonic act' . . . . He went on to say , .  . . there is organized violence that goes back many centuries since the Persian Wars when the Anatolian people were trying to destroy Christendom and the 'white' race."
(Source: Kalmoukos, Theodore. "Iakovos: Attack Was a Demonic Act." National Herald, September 22-23, 2001, p. 1).


Coat of Arms of the Grand Duke of Hesperia and Count of Ayla: Both Byzantine, vested in the person of Abp. Mark Athanasios C. Karras, M.A.(Econ.), Ph.D., and in unison symbolize his ordained Apostolate.

(originator of the notion of New Byzantium)


     Much has been written about the Byzantine Empire, the great City of Constantinople, its art, language, culture and customs.  Generally, however, and due to the fall of the City in 1453, any reference to the Empire is made in a historical context, and rarely is there an acknowledgment that it exerts any influence at the present time.

     Contrary to this perception, the reality is that meaningful and substantial remnants of the Byzantine world are with us today.  This is a reasonable consequence of the event marking the fall of the City.  Although a political and social disintegration of that society occurred, its rich cultural substance quickly and steadily shifted to various parts of Europe to form the basis of the Renaissance..

     Three elements comprise the foundation of the Byzantine ideal which more accurately describes the maximum achievement of Western Civilization. These are, Greek culture, the Roman institutional system, and Christianity. In combination, these influences produced a viable social and political system capable of effectively enduring the test of time and tension.  Most eminent proof of this is the existence itself of Byzantium which lasted from 330 A.D. to 1453 -- eleven hundred years, longer than any other social-political system in the history of the world.

     Alone, these elements, although of profound importance, each lack the necessary quality effectively to lead to the governance of a society.  It can be concluded, therefore, that contemporary Western Civilization is the natural sequel of the Byzantine world wherein prevailed the influence of Hellenic culture, the Roman system of laws, and Christianity based on its Hebraic past.  Political interests have persistently obscured this reality which at last is beginning to surface in the minds and consciousness of an informed world.  Byzantium shall no longer be seen as the exclusive historical domain of just one people, one nation, one culture, or one religious denomination.  It is the common possession of the civilized Western world.  It is, in fact, the Western civilized world itself.

     The expansion of the western European Christian peoples of the Latin Church achieved their maximum geographic outreach at the Pacific coast of northern California near San Francisco.  Subsequently, the eastward expansion of the eastern European Christians of the Greek Church by means of Russian monks arrived at the same location.  The meeting point of the move northward along the Pacific coastline by the Spanish and that of the Russians southward on the same coastline, essentially marked the termination of the expansion of Western Christian Civilization. San Francisco with its notable hills is reminiscent of both Rome and Constantinople (or Byzantium, or New Rome).  Behold then, San Francisco, the NEW BYZANTIUM.

     An imaginary line drawn from Constantinople along approximately 30 degrees longitude east to west traversing the North Pole, meets Kodiak, Alaska where the Russian monks founded their first mission on American soil.  Their subsequent southward expansion likewise brought them to their maximum outreach at approximately the 40th parallel.  This was directly across the Earth from Constantinople on firm land -- on the coastline of California in the vicinity of San Francisco.  Once again the Orient meets the West.  Behold, NEW BYZANTIUM
(see also: Hse.ofWrshp.htm Alcatraz Island, San Francisco).

     Unlike politically motivated writers would have us believe, Constantine the Great, founder of the Byzantine Empire, achieved the unity rather than the disunity of the Western world.  Chief evidence of this, as previously stated, was the extraordinary durability of the New Roman or Byzantine state.  By introducing Christianity as the official religion, Constantine reconciled Hellenistic culture with Roman pragmatism on a moral footing to produce the Byzantine ideal.  The practical application of that ideal was realized by the function of the triune presence of the City, the authority of the Emperor, and the inspiration of the shared common Faith. The City served as the repository of physical and cultural wealth and as the guarantor of physical existence; the Emperor personified and acted as the authority of the legal, political and military system of the state; the Church served in her role as the perpetuator of the Faith and as the guardian and interpreter of the moral and spiritual values of the society. It must be noted, however, that the continuity of the state was ensured by making the roles of the Emperor and the religious head interchangeable.  In the absence of one the other would temporarily assume the duties of the former.

     Prior to his death, Constantine delegated to his successors that they should honor and perpetuate his select personal guard of men who had served him faithfully.  The monogram of Christ which had appeared to him in the sky just before the battle and subsequent victory outside of Rome against Maxentius in 312 A.D., became the battle sign of his army.  His personal guards were appointed the protectors of that symbol known as the Labarum. Constantine's request was later honored, and although Constantinople fell in 1453, the institution of his select guard continues in existence today as the protector of the Labarum, and is known as the Order of Saint Constantine the Great.

     Another institution was founded by Constantine in honor of his mother, Helen, commemorating the discovery of the True Cross at a location revealed to her in a series of dreams.  The early practice was to give to distinguished persons of the feminine gender a small piece of the Cross encased in a locket.  This institution is also preserved to this day at his request, and together with the former are known as The Sovereign Byzantine Order of Saints Constantine the Great and Helen, A.D. 312.  Persons in the Order -- an international institution -- are awarded correspondingly the Cross of Saint Constantine and the Cross of Saint Helen in various ranks. It is the world's first dynastic Christian Order and it is headed by the Imperial Family of the Laskaris Komnenos of Constantinople, heirs to that right as confirmed by Act of the Roman Senate (16-V-1525, Lib. Decr. 1515/1526, f. 142).
[See copy of Senate Document below]

Copyright: Mark Athanasios C. Karras 1990

The above was published in "Revista Cayey" of
the University College of Cayey, University of Puerto Rico.  Volume XXII,
Numbers 66-67, March-June, 1990, Cayey, Puerto Rico.
Certificate of Copyright Registration for 'NEW BYZANTIUM' [issued 10/3/90] to Mark Athanasios C. Karras.


Act of the Roman Senate (16-V-1525, Lib. Decr. 1515/1526, f. 142)
This is a copy of the Document of the ACT OF THE ROMAN SENATE (16-V-1525, Lib. Decr. 1515/1526, f. 142) in the Sixteenth Century, which decided the final Legal Status that The House of LASCARIS COMNENUS is the Legitimate Heir and Holder of the CONSTANTINIAN ORDER and Legacy and of all other Rights appertaining.                   This is a copy of the Document of the ACT OF THE ROMAN SENATE (16-V-1525, Lib. Decr. 1515/1526, f. 142) in the Sixteenth Century, which decided the final Legal Status that The House of LASCARIS COMNENUS is the Legitimate Heir and Holder of the CONSTANTINIAN ORDER and Legacy and of all other Rights appertaining.

Link to:
for Information on origin and vision of New Byzantium
(See also Proposal)



Dr. Theodore IX Lascaris Comnenus, Head of the Imperial House of
Lascaris Comnenus of Constantinople (d.2006); Author of 'Fifth Centenary' (translated from the Spanish,
'Quinto Centenario') and many other works.
The Author:
Dr. Teodoro Lascaris-Comneno

Encuentros y Desencuentros al Medio
Milenio de Hallazgo del Nuevo Mundo

Encounters and Divergencies on the Half
Millennium of Discovery of the New World

Front cover of the book, 'Quinto Centenario' by Dr. Theodore IX Lascaris Comnenus.

Reference: Lascaris-Comneno, Teodoro. (1993). Quinto Centenario: Encuentros y Desencuentros al Medio Milenio de Hallazgo del Nuevo Mundo  [Fifth centenary: Encounters and divergencies on the half millennium of discovery of the New World]. (Pp.136-139). Consejo Nacional de la Cultura (CONAC). Caracas, Venezuela: Colper, Editores. (Original in Spanish).


(Closing Chapter - translation)

            The [said] New Era is rendered by the internal process that is produced in each individual and globally in the whole community.  It is an ample and tolerant form of thinking, whereby man is neither come to suffer nor to pay for a bad deed, but to live in harmony in the midst of all and by way of our means.  When harmony is broken, emotional and physical disturbances arise that range from sadness to grave illnesses.

            Within the New Era, eastern philosophical views and high level psychic manifestations will have preeminence, with absolute respect toward all religious beliefs: all this, in connection with the development of modern electronic equipment and computation and technical resources.

            The center of the New Era is in America, in the New Byzantium, in California near San Francisco where the East met with the West: the Russian Orthodox monks with the Castilian Catholic friars.

            The words Byzantium and Byzantine were used pejoratively, and in particular by the Franks who in the IV Crusade sacked Constantinople.  However, in the past century the investigations in scientific and historical fashion by Germans, English, French, and Russians have fully reappraised Byzantium for its art, literature, customs, and above all for its ecumenical syncretism.  From Byzantium derives the Renaissance and from it the Modern Age.  Its fall in 1453 originated the discovery of the New World.

            Byzantium united the Greek culture, the Latin institutional system of Rome, and monastic Hellenic philosophical Christianity.  This system lasted for eleven centuries (from 330 to 1453), more than any other Republic, Crown, or Empire.

            As Jaspers[*] affirms in his Origin and Goal of History, there have only been three great civilizations: that of India, of China, and of the West, comprised of and integrating high cultures.  The one of the West was born in Asia Minor in the Greek City of Miletus of Ionia with the thinkers and philosophers Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, followed by the pre-Socratic(s), today much revitalized in the new thinking relative to contemporary Philosophy.

            The Greek and Hellenistic cultures form the basis of the culture of Rome, succeeded by II Rome or Byzantium that in turn was attempted to be continued by the two III Romes, the Germanic Roman Empire and that of the Czars of all Russias.  Byzantium in the New Era is foretold in the American continent as New Byzantium, not only in California but including the city of Valencia, Venezuela, in view of the secret and magical name of Byzantium or Constantinople, which was: VALENTIA.

            An imaginary line drawn from Constantinople traversing the North Pole to Kodiak, Alaska, where the Russian monks founded their first mission on American soil, arriving by their expansion to the fortieth parallel, goes directly from Byzantium to the vicinity of San Francisco, California.

            And, precisely, the Labarum of Constantine glows in our time in both distinguished cities in the North and the South of the Continent.

            The highest mission of New Byzantium is that all the Americas: English, Portuguese, Frankish, and especially Spanish need to cooperate with full mutual deference and respect, consistent with the spirit of the New Era, comprehension, understanding, and fraternal communication, according to the prophetic divine inspiration of the Supreme prelate of the Order of Constantine the Great, Dr. Mark Athanasios C. Karras.  Thus, the Americas of the New World, following the guiding example of Byzantium, the mythical and exemplary city of Greece and Rome, of the Latin and Greek languages, in the ensuing XXI Century, will come to know each other and above all MEET IN DUE FORm.

            This is so, because from the point of view of civilization, their provenance is Western and that was GRECO-LATIN.

            Spain is the daughter of Greece and Rome, and Spanish America is heir and legatee to a millennial philosophical and scientific civilization in which the Hispanic Latin American modality is a guide to excelling creativity in all aspects, especially racial and social, in the search of human communities more ample and tolerant in each instance . . . .
                                                By: Teodoro Lascaris Comneno (1993)   [Head of the House of Lascaris Comnenus of Constantinople (d. Sep. 20, 2006)]

[*Jaspers, Karl. The Origin and Goal of History. Michael Bullock (Trans.). New Haven: Yale University Press, and London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1976.]


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The following book is indispensable reading,
and in particular for anyone engaged in the search for

the continuum and the sense of history.

Ruth G. Durlacher-Wolper

is a convincing study that reveals
Christopher  Columbus a Byzantine  Prince

the study further confirms the inexorable consequence that

Publication on Christopher Columbus revealed as a Byzantine Prince from the Island of Chios. Authored by Ruth G. Durlacher-Wolper.


                                                            From the rare redlands of gum mastic in Chios (Terra Rubra)
                                                                       to the rare redlands of gum mastic in the . . . Bahamas!

                                                            (Christophoros Columbus: no doubt, a  spiritual person of destiny.)
                                                                                                     — Read the book —

To obtain book from Publisher (English or Greek):

John  Perikos
Kallimassia - Chioos 82 100 GREECE

Tel.: 0271-23516  /  51216  /  32618 /  20797
[courtesy announcement]


¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

the .  . .

5th Century Byzantine Church in Connecticut!
1,000 years before 1492!
    "In the stillness of Cockaponset State Forest, southern Connecticut, near the town of Guilford, masterfully carved from solid rock, stands North America’s oldest Christian church.  Recent epigraphic evidence found here suggests that it is 1500 years old, and linked to a voyage of Christian Byzantine monks who fled from North Africa during the 5th Century, in the wake of the Vandal invasions.  Greek and North African inscriptions, Greek cupule patterns in the form of Chrismons (monograms of Christ), baptismal fonts, a cathedra or throne, candelabras and an altar have been found at the site."

(Source: Hatrack River Forum)

[Ed.  It is logical to support the position that further investigation is necessary.  All possible historical references and in particular a serious archeological study must be brought to bear: insofar as the subject has a universal relevance in the context of world history.  Most remarkable is mention of the linguistic inscriptions hewn in the rocks.  Such carvings provide indisputable evidence of yet an earlier settlement in America by people of more advanced standing at the time—as long, of course, as the finding is confirmed by honest and proven scientific dating.  On the other hand, and using a rather speculative approach, it is not difficult to consider that Christopher Columbus (he usually signed in Greek as, Χριστόφορος) acted in keeping with his culture as a Byzantine prince (see previous article).  It is likely he kept close relations with the Byzantine Church and the monastic community, which would have given him intimate knowledge of their chronicles.  Therefore, armed with this significant information, he presented himself to the Spanish Court and pressed hard for the realization of his projectalbeit thinking that it was India he would reach.]


¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

A historic name first used in Constantinople
and now in San Francisco

The following historical account was tendered by the  California Highway & Transportation District  in a former Internet reference:

    "Actually, the term Golden Gate refers to the Golden Gate Strait which is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.  The strait is approximately three miles-long by one-mile wide with currents ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 knots.  It is generally accepted that the strait was named Chrysopylae or Golden Gate by Army Captain John C. Fremont, circa 1846.  It is said it reminded him of a harbor in Istanbul or Constantinople named Chrysoceras or Golden Horn."  (See: www.goldengate.org/).

              [NOTE: Despite the general belief worldwide that the word, Istanbul, is Turkish, the reader would be well informed to know that in fact the word is Greek  Similar to the custom of residents of San Francisco and of New York who refer to their large urban areas as "the City," the Byzantines did exactly the same.  Not only do San Franciscans call it "the City," they also constantly call South San Francisco [their southern industrial neighbor], simply, "South City."  City-bound  suburbanite  New Yorkers or San Franciscans,  when asked where are they going,  more likely will respond: "to the City."   These are the exact same words a Byzantine would utter in Greek when responding to the same question.  Namely, "ees-teen Pohleen" or "to the Polis" (that is, to Constantinople).  The refined elegance and euphony of the Greek enunciation deteriorated under the brusqueness of the language of the substitute occupants of Constantinople and became what we hear today, the grotesque "is-tan-bool."]

    It appears much more than casual that Captain John C. Fremont might have named the entrance to San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate.  The chief entrance to the City at the great Walls of Constantinople was in fact named the "Golden Gate."
(For a pictorial view  see: John Julius Norwich, Byzantium, The early Centuries, New York , 1992, photographic section between pp. 124-125.)


Of  further interest to our readers may be the following observations:

Rome, located on "Seven Hills" [Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, Viminal] east of the Tiber, was followed by Constantinople which was also  built on seven hills (330 A.D.).

Constantinople is situated at the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the waters of the Bosporus and its harbor, the Golden Horn.  San Francisco too is located at the tip of a peninsula and is surrounded by water three ways  -  on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by the San Francisco Bay, and on  the north by the Golden Gate.  The interesting detail is that the United States Geological Survey, 1973a, 1973b describes San Francisco by approximately a seven mile by seven mile square.  The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) tells us that this is a city of 49 square miles [7 by 7] situated upon 44 hills.   Given the famous hilly topography of the city, one might wonder if there are not five more underestimated elevations that have been disregarded.  This, certainly would round  things off to an entertaining total of 49 (. . . reminiscent of the "1849 Gold Rush" and its highly popular "San Francisco 49ers"). (See: http://www.sfsu.edu/~puboff/tour/seven.htm.)

The Church of Byzantium or Constantinople  is by tradition the Church of the Apostle Andrew or Andreas in the Greek language.  A major geological feature that marks the San Francisco Bay Area is the famous San Andreas Fault.   In addition to the subject of names, however, the earthquake faults mentioned in the next section reveal an even more dramatic physical linkage between Constantinople and San Francisco (Apostolic Universal Center, Christ Unto Byzantium (Miami: CSA Press for the publishers, 1971), p. 12).


Earthquake  Faults

(The following excerpts are quoted from the AOL News article written by Patrick Quinn of The Associated Press on Friday August 27, 1999.)

"Quake Provides Lessons About Fault

". . . Scientists say they have learned key lessons from the deadly earthquake in Turkey that could save lives along the country's North Anatolian fault and its California twin, the San Andreas.

". . . It jumped over lakes and ignited other faults, which has some seismologists worried the same could happen along the San Andreas.

". . . Turkey's quake and the 500-mile fault are important to seismologists who study the San Andreas, which is nearly identical in length and type. Both also run along two tectonic plates grinding against each other."


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At the
Jenner, California

 (about a ninety  mile drive north of San Francisco on Coast Highway 1)

Ultimate  meeting  site of the
Greek (Eastern) Church*
and the
Latin (Western) Church*

The Fort Ross Chapel at the historic park in Jenner, California.

The Chapel at Fort Ross

Despite recurring incidents of destruction and reconstruction, the building today stands in very close resemblance to the original structure of sawed redwood.  It is one of the most visited historical sites in the State of California.  The devout Russian Orthodox congregation  of San Francisco honors the sanctity of the Chapel by holding liturgical services on occasions of sacred significance.


    It is difficult to find a substitute for the dramatic ride on California's Coast Highway 1.  The grandeur of the Pacific Ocean coupled with the varied ruggedness of the coastal terrain and the briskness of the weather--good or bad--renders one with awe and with a sense of joy for having experienced it.

    Some ninety miles north of San Francisco, between the water's edge and right next to the highway, one brushes by the Chapel of Fort Ross where the Russian Orthodox monks had ministered to the faithful.  The Chapel was destroyed and rebuilt to its present state.  A small number of Russians with the help of a larger group of native Alaskans built the Fort on a land that for centuries was occupied by California Kashaya natives.  The Russian colony was dedicated formally on August 13, 1812 and the Fort was abandoned by the Russians in 1841.  In their article, The Chapel at Fort Ross: Its History and Reconstruction (in California History: The Magazine of the California Historical Society, LXI:2, 1, Spring 1982), the authors, Diane Spencer-Hancock and William E. Pritchard,  inform the reader that: At Fort Ross, we know a special religious service was held upon completion of the stockade in 1812--suggesting the general importance of religion in the everyday lives of the citizens of Ross.

    Fort Ross was a settlement of a Russian-American Company.  The quest for trade and material wealth was the same for the Russians as it was for the more southern colonizers of the New World.  Religious fervor to expand, however, was not amiss as a factor in reaching out for greater things:  The Russian monks had long before established missionary activity in Sitka and Kodiak, Alaska, which they continued to bring southward to Fort Ross.  The latter, however,  was not achieved through a religious structural discipline as was notable in the Latin sector: typical of Orthodox Christianity whose authority of conscience overrides organizational discipline and defines the Faith and thus the Church. The depth of religious conviction that was inculcated  in the members of the colony  by the Russian clergy far outweighed the lack of a systematic and permanent presence of the clergy at Ross, although it was much needed. Authors Spencer-Hancock and Pritchard explain that: On a spiritual level, there are numerous indications that religion in general played an accepted, integral role in the lives of the colonists of Fort Ross.  Indeed, one accepted fact of Russian colonization in North America was the concurrent construction of churches with the trading establishments of the Russian American Company.

    For the Greek and the Latin Churches, the delineation had at last been established as to their maximum outreach in the New World .  A reference to this is found in an informative brochure on Fort Ross published by the State of California: In 1812 San Francisco Bay marked the northern limit of Spanish settlement . . .  . It was several months before the civil and military leaders of Spanish California were even aware of the Russian settlement.  Again referring to Spencer-Hancock and Pritchard, they state: Fort Ross was the ultimate expression of Russian eastward expansion across Siberia toward the Aleutian Islands and the Alaskan mainland--a movement not unlike America's own westward progress, although preceding it by a century.

   Evidence of a living interest in Fort Ross with emotional overtones of love and nostalgia still exist in Russia.  Officials at the California State Historic Park will tell the visitor that an important event occurred when the great-great grandson of a historic Russian cleric visited Fort Ross.  Here is part of what John McKenzie writes in an article of the Coast Observer of Gualala, California (v. 21, no.15, sec. 2, July 14, 1989) under the title, Great-Great Grandson Visits Fort Ross: Russian Monk Follows Ancestor's Footsteps:

    On June 17 [1989], a Russian Orthodox monk from the Soviet Union made a very emotional visit to the Chapel at Fort Ross State Historic Park.  Father Innocent Veniaminov said a prayer in the very place his great-great grandfather, Ioann Veniaminov, had prayed and preached in 1839.

    Father Innocent Veniaminov was on a personal pilgrimage to retrace the steps of his ancestor, who preached to the Aleuts and Indians of Alaska and was canonized in 1977 as St. Innocent of the Orthodox faith . . . .

    His home is in Leningrad, originally St. Petersburg, and his stay in the [sic] California included a trip to Mission San Jose, which his predecessor had visited more than 150 years before.

    As for the great-great grandfather, McKenzie writes:

    St. Innocent was born Ivan Popov in the village of Aginskoe in Irkutsk Province, on the northern coast of Siberia, on August 26, 1797.  His name was changed to Ioann Veniaminov in the seminary . . . . In 1836 , Veniaminov sent there [to Fort Ross] for a six-week stay, after which he visited several Catholic [Roman] missions, speaking Latin with the priests in San Rafael, San Jose and Santa Clara . . . .

    On April 26, 1990 a letter written by the Department of History of the USSR, Academy of Sciences and the Association of researchers of history of Russian-American relations expresses appreciation for the noble work by the California State Department of Parks and Recreation . . . showing the old ties between the people of America and Russia.

The Byzantine Two-Headed Eagle at the Fort Ross Russian-American settlement, Jenner, California.

The Russian Orhtodox Chapel and grounds at Fort Ross.

The flag of the Russian-American Company still flies high on the grounds inside Fort Ross.  The red, white, and blue colors are enhanced by the Byzantine Imperial symbol of the Bicephalous [Two-Headed] Eagle whose high use was a grant to Russia by Constantinople on account of a marriage arrangement. 

*NOTE: Based on the original principal language used, the Eastern  Orthodox Catholic Church is known  as the Greek Church and the Western  Roman Catholic Church is known as the Latin Church.

(Source. Part of above information from: Fort Ross State Historic Park, CALIFORNIA  STATE  PARKS, P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento, CA 94296-0001, 800-777-0369, www.parks.ca.gov)


Meeting of the 

Arms of the Cross

The 'Arms of the Cross' sign of the Santa Rosa, California Mission is a fitting symbolism for NEW BYZANTIUM.

Arms of the Cross
prayer and study center
communicates the cause of its founding
and the projection of its mission
by means of the above symbol

        There is in California at Santa Rosa a Christian retreat founded for the purpose of nurturing relations between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.  The activity at the retreat includes every day liturgical services at the lovely Chapel, and prayers along with study are a constant.  Those who have Priesthood and all the Sacraments, including the Holy Eucharist, are welcome to join on location the ministry to which the retreat is committed.  This will enrich and advance the work of Christian understanding and peace.

        Founder and head of the mission is the Reverend John  P. O'Brien, a Roman Catholic Priest, who is owner-editor of the publication, Arms of the Cross.  He is assisted in all his work by the dedicated, able, and energetic co-worker, Brother Mark Van Doren, who also is in charge of the production and mailing of the publication.

        The following words issued by the retreat summarize the vision, goals, and background of the mission, and also explain the symbolism of the above circular design:           

          When on Mount Calvary Christ was on his cross, he stretched his arms to the East and West, as it were, embracing the whole world, symbolizing that his death was for the salvation of all men, of whatever race or country.  Forty days later on another mount, he instructed his Apostles, "Go forth into the whole world, teaching them all I have taught you, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit."  This the Apostles and successors, bishops, missionaries did with courage and zeal.

        From Jerusalem some went west to Rome and Spain, crossed the Atlantic to Mexico and up the Pacific coast, establishing the 21 California missions, the last and most northern of which was at Sonoma.  Meanwhile others went east and to Greece, Kiev, Moscow, across Siberia and the North Pacific to Alaska and down the coast to Fort Ross.  When Christians from these two outposts met, the Arms of the Cross had finally encircled the world.  But alas they belonged to different churches, Catholic [Roman, ed. op.] and Orthodox, and it had taken 1800 years.

        We bought property half way between these two missions, and on an Indian trail where these pioneer Christians  met, built with our own hands an East-West monastic-like study center, naming it, The Meeting of the Arms of the Cross.  Here we study and pray for unity, and go out to visit Orthodox, showing them love and respect.  Ours is not to effect unity -- that is for popes and patriarchs, councils and synods -- we only promote peace and understanding.

Arms of the Cross Retreat, Santa Rosa, California
Arms of the Cross Retreat
Santa Rosa, California


Father O'Brien writes:

February 13, 2004

Dear Bishop Karras,

Thank you for your continued support.  With his visit to Greece, the Pope has broken the ice, and recent reciprocal visits give hope that progress will continue.  We appreciate that the Archbishop of Athens and the Patriarch of Constantinople keep after the European Union to include the Christian contribution to Europe in proposed Constitution.

Orthodox do not look kindly on the Holy Roman or the later Austrian Hungarian Empire who were successful, however, in keeping out the Mohammedans.  Now, they flood into Europe and even America, and "human rights" demand both that they be given equal treatment and that the Christian development to Europe (and America) not be remembered.

The Greeks of Asia Minor (Turkey), Crete, Thessaly, etc., and even Greece itself know what they are talking about.  The suffering they've endured, and loss of souls from the Cross to the Crescent, has been considerable.  Moslem numbers are on the increase in the U.S.; and, while many of them are good people, there is a radical arm among them that has been effective in the past and will be again, in snatching Christian souls for Mohammed.

A divided Christianity is a weak one, and it is time for us to think about our survival.  If Catholics and Orthodox do not get together in obedience to our Lord to love one another, we will be forced together to assure that our great-grand-children will be Christian, if not for world survival of Christianity.  Not Greece nor Rome but Africa is now leading Christian nation, and they are being martyred right and left by Moslems! A black pope is not too far distant! Christian greetings,

(signed) Father O'Brien   

The publication, Arms of the Cross (ISSN 0744-0410).  Publication office, records at 4401 N. Gravenstein, Santa Rosa, CA.  Contact address: P. O. Box 1808, Santa Rosa, CA 95402-1808 U.S.A.   



of Greek provenance are not alone in asserting their American identity:
It is both privilege and duty for all Americans.

(The letter below is to the Editor of the
National Herald
Long Island City, NY, February 2-3, 2002)



To the Editor,

As an American of Greek descent, I continue to read the columns and letters which are written in the many publications that address the subject of "Hellenism" and the discourse which ensues over its future and those in whose hands its vitality depends.

The perspectives about which the various authors select to discuss are varied, the positions sometimes extreme, but never does one ever finish reading a piece without being reminded that the opinion expressed is true, righteous, and authoritative.  Greeks may have lost their kingdoms, but never their conceit.

Yet over the years, the readings leave me perplexed because often the concept of Hellenism is interpreted by different people in different ways so what results is that points of view don't really differ, they just happen to be talking about different things with the same name.  It's very confusing.

I always thought the origins of Hellenism were rooted in the pre-Christian era, where the concepts of freedom, democracy and paganism walked hand-in-hand enriching the lives of its members and justifying the conquests of imperialistic appetites. Then the Romans came to town, changed the names of the streets, but still sent their kids to those schools which taught the wisdom of the Greeks.  Soon enough, Romans left Rome itself, and decided to build in the suburbs when Constantine took his new Christian way of life to a place that would not be polluted by the cynicism of the downtown club.  So now the literati spoke less of the mind and more of the spirit, and the cross became the interior design rage.

But this Christian era spread throughout the Mediterranean world and beyond, so the parables of Christ were then taught in French, Russian, and even in Arabic dialects.  In the meantime, the Constantinople that was Roman then Greek became a vassal of the moors.  So the Eastern culture went underground and prayed for redemption which finally came a half a millennium later when the world decided that it was okay for Greece to exist again.  So now there is a country which everyday makes its daily crawl out of an existence that not too long ago could be considered third world.

            So now, what is Hellenism? What we hear is that when we go to church, the liturgy must be spoken in Greek as if otherwise it's less holy, that we who are Americans of Greek descent are no more than step-children to those who are native to Greece, and that we must take direction from the denizens of Attica and the Phanar in matters of culture and religion.

I'm a second generation Greek, and I lack fluency in Greek, especially the medieval kind.  Yeah, it may all sound melodic in Church, but then it only makes sense since it was fashioned to conform to the sounds of the language.  The Greek-only argument is not about what is sacred or pure, it is about power.

There is a new center of power, and we not only serve halvah, but lasagna, corned beef and sushi.  The US represents the new dynamic of learning and culture to which others conform, including our music, our culture and yes, our language.  The Church has two choices: either participate in change, or be rendered obsolete.

We are the new Byzantium. It's time we started calling the shots.

 Dean J. Trantalis, Esq.
             Ft. Lauderdale, Florida



Saint George of Cappadocia 


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Expansion of Western Civilization: from Constantine the Great to Constantinople and Byzantium and onward to America

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Constantine the Great began his eventful climb in York, England and reached the apex of his achievement in Constantinople, the City that he founded and named after himself (Constantine+Polis [city]=Constantinople).  By means of these pages, our readers travel through time, touching upon the early periods, including that of Constantine, of historical Constantinople, and of Hagia Sophia—the nexus of the Christian world—to arrive at places and events of our present day.  Our readers reach the outermost limit to which both Eastern and Western Christian groups expanded, bringing forth the flower of Western Civilization.  That limit is the Western Hemisphere as a whole, and in particular the coast of California near San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge where the two groups converged  as they approached from the North and from the South.