User talk:FrJohn/archived discussion 1

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I keep a database of Orthodox web pages, and publish them on my Orthodox Links Page.

Can you give an e-mail addres to add the Orthodox Wiki to the database?

Deacon Stephen

Email sent to you!

I hope you don't mind, Father, but I passed the link to OrthodoxWiki along to some of my seminarian friends and a few others. God willing, there will be a few more contributors soon.

Rdr. Andrew 15:48, 20 Dec 2004 (CST)

That's great news. Thanks again for your contributions! I'm happy also to have someone onboard who has experience with WikiPedia. I hope you don't mind that I've bumped you up to sysop status. FrJohn


Thanks! Now I have to figure out what to do with that.  :)

Rdr. Andrew 21:59, 21 Dec 2004 (CST)

Style Guide

Father, I've started a tentative OrthodoxWiki:Style Guide to govern the writings of articles, especially naming conventions. Perhaps it could somehow eventually be linked to the top of the page when editing is being done.

Rdr. Andrew 10:42, 22 Dec 2004 (CST)


That's great. I noticed you linked to the NPOV page on Wikipedia from your User page there. I think we should also have an explicit statement about this here -- basically I mean that on issues where substantial disagreements exist within or among the Orthodox churches we should adopt a description tone here -- giving reasons for different positions, citing notable figures on different sides, etc. Do you have some idea about how this should be written up?

Also, what do you think would be the most effective content for the front page?

Thanks again for your work! I'm thrilled that things are moving and shaking here :-).

FrJohn 14:42, 22 Dec 2004 (CST)

It's an interesting and somewhat difficult question. On the one hand, we'd probably want to keep things as "neutral" as possible, especially regarding disputes within and involving the Church. However, on the other hand, I think it may be wise to include something of what one might refer to as a "Mainstream Chalcedonian bias" in the project.

That is, especially WRT naming things, I'd prefer if we named an article Church of Alexandria to refer to that patriarchate in communion with your and my bishops, and Church of Alexandria (Coptic) to refer to the Non-Chalcedonian one, rather than Church of Alexandria (Melkite) and Church of Alexandria, respectively. Further, instead of Church of Greece (State Church) (as it might be called by the "True Orthodox"), we'd just use Church of Greece. A lot of these adjectival distinctives are already in use by the groups in question, anyhow (e.g., the Coptic Patriarchate refers to itself as "Coptic Orthodox.")

Additionally, when describing things, while not saying, "So-and-so's church is one of heretics and schismatics," we probably also would not say, "The majority Church of Greece has fallen away from the true faith, which subsists only in the Old Calendarist movement."

Thus, at least as far as naming and some other things are concerned, there would be a certain bias in favor of the mainstream of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. But why?

I think the possibility for confusion is massive if we don't explicitly set the bias in some way. Additionally, without it, I think we run the risk of drawing ourselves deeply into the controversies themselves. That is, there is going to be some bias, no matter what we do. As such, since the site is run by an OCA priest (yourself), and also because in terms of the rest of the world, the mainstream Chalcedonian position is what is most well-known (thus lending support to the bias in what might be called "definitional usage" terms), I think it's probably wisest to put this sort of bias in place.

That being said, making the bias explicit in the Style Guide would be a must, trying to explain it in as neutral terms as possible, mentioning the reasons and that it is in no way meant as a judgment on dissenting groups or persons. That way, perhaps we could attract as contributors some of the more thoughtful participants in these debates while leaving behind their more shrill brethren.

But all this is subject to your approval and revision.

Regarding the front page, I think we should move the list of things in development elsewhere, perhaps just giving links to major categories of topics. Perhaps a photo or two, especially maybe an automatically rotating one (I have no idea how one would do that). I've noticed that websites with continually changing things on the front page tend to have more frequent visitors, and of course more frequent visitors mean more contributors.

One thing I'd like to develop would be at least a bare-bones fixed-feast liturgical calendar, with entries titled things like November 1 having links to the saints and feasts of the day. Then there also might be a calendar page with links to all the dates.

Rdr. Andrew 09:26, 23 Dec 2004 (CST)

In Reply

Greetings again! I think those are good ideas. I agree about the "mainstream Chalcedonian bias" made (gently) explicit. It would be great if you could just revise what you said, add some general stuff about NPOV and stick it in an appropriately titled style page.

About images, I think that's a good idea too -- easy to implement, providing we find some appropriate ones.

The liturgical calendar shouldn't be impossible. At and other places, there already exists php code to integrate a site in with the calendar on The challenge would be rightly fitting it into the MediaWiki template (I don't think you can put PHP code right into an edited page, right?). I don't have much PHP experience, but I don't think it would be too hard for someone who does. Also, Huw Raphael ( sent me the code he uses for this purpose.

Thanks!! FrJohn 12:24, 23 Dec 2004 (CST)

One more

Father, I've further expanded the OrthodoxWiki:Style Manual if you'd care to take a look. --Rdr. Andrew


Fr. John, I tried to upload an image and use it in an article. All worked just fine until I tried to use the "thumb" tag in the link. At that point, the image failed to show, and there was difficult to make out error information near the top of the page. --Rdr. Andrew

Hi Rdr. Andrew,

Thanks again for your contributions -- Great work! About the image, I have a few ideas about what could be screwy on the server-side. Let me check into them and get back to you. Also, what was the image called? I can see if it's been uploaded successfully. Wishing you a blessed New Year, FrJohn

P.S. Hey, actually, I see you've uploaded lots of images that have worked fine. Is it just one you're having a problem with?

Uploading images is no problem. My difficulty is with using the "thumb" option when incorporating the image into an article. For instance, the following does not work:
[[Image:Theodora.jpg|right|thumb|The Empress St. Theodora, Wife of [[Justinian the Great]]; Mosaic, 6th c., Cathedral of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy]]
...whereas this works fine:
[[Image:Theodora.jpg|right|frame|The Empress St. Theodora, Wife of [[Justinian the Great]]; Mosaic, 6th c., Cathedral of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy]]

I've noticed the same behavior with other images, too.
--Rdr. Andrew

Hi again,

Sorry for the delay. I found out the problem -- When I moved the site to a new server I neglected to install ImageMagick, so the thumbnail function just plain wouldn't function. Anyway, it should be fine now, but let me know if I need to tweak it anymore. Once again I'll say it -- thanks for your work!

FrJohn 23:16, 2 Jan 2005 (CST)

It seems to work just fine now -- thanks! --Rdr. Andrew

News page?

Father, what would you think about having an OrthodoxWiki:News page (protected so that only sysops may add to it)? We could use it to make announcements about major updates and changes, with the newest news at the top, perhaps including a permanent link to Special:Newpages. --Rdr. Andrew

Sounds like a great idea! What do you think we should do with the Community Portal Current Events pages in the sidebar? We also need to do something about the "help" page in the sidebar. User:FrJohn 15:42, 5 Jan 2005 (CST)

I've been dreading that you'd ask me about that.  :) Current events and OrthodoxWiki:News would theoretically serve the same purpose. It might be a bit confusing in terms of organizational namespace, however, for Current events to be thus named -- perhaps OrthodoxWiki:Current events or OrthodoxWiki:News would better indicate that it's about OrthodoxWiki and not about current events in the Church...? Whatever you'd prefer to do would be fine with me. (Can you change what's in that navigational sidebar?)
What you've got on OrthodoxWiki:Community Portal makes sense, that is, it would probably serve well as something of a big meta-to-do list (To Do for OrthodoxWiki specific stuff).
As far as Help:Content is concerned, I'd be willing to put something bare-bones together and perhaps prod it from time to time with a bit more. Is there perhaps something from Wikipedia we could adopt? I've never been deeply entertained by writing user manuals, as you may imagine.  :) (Having done it professionally here and there.)
--Rdr. Andrew

Addendum: I mucked about a bit with the MediaWiki namespace and was able to adjust MediaWiki:Currentevents to go to OrthodoxWiki:News, but I couldn't figure out how to get it to produce something like this: OrthodoxWiki News. In any event, you can tell I really don't know much about how MediaWiki really works.  :/ I'm not much of an administrator per se, but I'm willing to give it a try if it's needed. I'm much more comfortable, though, with administering content itself. --Rdr. Andrew

"Having done it professionally here and there." - That's why you're so good at it! Thanks for mucking with the namespaces. When I get a chance, I'll try to bone up on some of the administrative stuff so that I can back up your content creation engine server-side! About "Current Events" - I think it would be great to use this page for current events in the Orthodox world, conferences and so on. It would take a much larger base than we have now though to keep up decently. Maybe we should ask some bloggers to write about our site, or otherwise advertise it...

I think the best thing would be to have both "Current Events" and "OrthodoxWiki News" in the sidebar. (Right now, I think your change was successful - I only see OrthodoxWiki:News in the sidebar). How'd you do that?

FrJohn 08:43, 6 Jan 2005 (CST)

I changed the sidebar by editing MediaWiki:Currentevents. From what I was able to glean from the MediaWiki website, I think more substantial kinds of changes have to be done in the "developer" end of things (which I am thoroughly not qualified to do).
I do think you're right regarding having two different sets of news -- one for the Church and one for OrthodoxWiki itself. I'm not sure how you'd have both in the sidebar, though. For now, I'll change MediaWiki:Currentevents back to what it was.
Regarding the user manual writing -- I worked as a technical writer for a couple short stints but loathed every minute of it. Poets are just not meant for that sort of work.  :) But I'll see what I can steal from Wikipedia and perhaps adapt it for here.
--Rdr. Andrew

Sounds great! Thanks! Given your energy level, may I assume you're still on Winter break? :-). FrJohn

Yes, for the moment.  :) We start classes again on Monday. --Rdr. Andrew

Sidebar edit

I'm afraid it was a hack, too. I just edited the contents of MediaWiki:Currentevents (after having scrolled through Special:Allmessages). I have no idea how to add new lines to the sidebar. --Rdr. Andrew 20:17, 28 Jan 2005 (CST)


The conceptual hierarchical relationship between ethics and bioethics is obvious. However, the difficulty is that, based on a hierarchical order as you suggest, there are potentially multiple category trees that a given entry might have, and not all of them would necessarily be linear. So, since the listing of categories in the wiki is linear, figuring out the order based on a hierarchical sorting system for a given entry might be difficult. For instance, let's say an article is about someone who is a bishop, saint, church father, hymnographer, missionary, and an American saint. Which goes first? Not all bishops are saints, so bishop couldn't be a sub-category for saint. Not all missionaries are bishops or saints. Not all church fathers are bishops, and so on.

The hierarchy is already preserved in the category system itself (i.e., when you click on the category name and see sub-categories), so it's already being represented in the most useful sorting way. Since I think we'd all prefer some uniform kind of sorting for categories in the articles, alphabetical seems to me at least to be the easiest and most non-problematic to implement. If you'd prefer something else, though, we can rewrite the OrthodoxWiki:Style Manual to reflect otherwise (at this point, it reads in terms of alphabetization). We'd also need to go through nearly every existing article to rearrange the category listings. Let me know what you think. --Rdr. Andrew 10:26, 29 Jan 2005 (CST)

OK, OK :-). Maybe I should read the Style Guide more thoroughly! Fr. John

Thanks for the Welcome

Father John! You may not remember me, but I believe we met at St. Vladimir's Seminary at Pascha Vigil 2002. My wife, Erin, and I were visiting with Bishop Seraphim and the Talleys. It's interesting to see that we connect again here!

Good to meet again! I think I do remember, although its a bit fuzzy. What's your name though? You didn't sign the message and you weren't signed in when you left it? Welcome again! Fr. John

(Methinks he is a not-signed-in Joffridus. --Rdr. Andrew)

Yes, it's me, Joffridus. My name is Geoff Mackey. My wife and I had just met Bishop Seraphim that evening through mutual friends Dana & Sue Talley and the three of them invited us to attend Vigil there. What a wonderful experience it was! It wasn't my first experience of Orthodoxy, but it was an important event along the way. I am now studying for Chrismation at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Kingston, NY.
That's great Geoff, may God bless you on your journey! Fr. John


I'll be sure to try to keep the natives in good order whilst the chief is away.  ;) --Rdr. Andrew 06:34, 17 Feb 2005 (CST)

Welcome back, Father! Sorry to have scuffed the floor up a bit while you were away.  :) --Rdr. Andrew 18:14, 21 Feb 2005 (CST)
No, you did a great job, Thanks. I was at one of Elder Ephrem's monasteries in Texas for a conference/retreat. It was a nice break. Fr. John


Rdr. Andrew and Fr. John -- can we add a category of "Monastics" to the "People" heading on the main page? I've added a (brief) article on Hieromonk Matthew (Blastares) and created a category of "Monastics" for him (I hope that is okay). He has not been glorified. I imagine there may be other monastics, not glorified, that might warrant an article or two. --DcnDavid 14:15, 26 Feb 2005 (CST)

Sounds fine with me, Dn. David. Thanks for your work! Fr. John


Wow. Thanks! I hope I don't screw anything up. ;-) --DcnDavid 06:01, 28 Feb 2005 (CST)

Ditto for me. I'll still be the type who needs looking after on important things like "facts." --magda 14:55, 28 Feb 2005 (CST)

Journeys to Orthodoxy

I added to more to this, but they are books, not online stories. Should these be moved to a new sub-section, or left as is? Geoff

Hi Geoff, I think a new subsection would be helpful for people, but I like the idea of including books. Thanks! Fr. John

Icons category

Father, bless!

I hope you don't mind—we already had an "Icons" category, which I think would be good for everything you might include in "Wonderworking Icons." My first thought was that there were some famous icons which might not be wonderworking which could bear discussion, as well, and so making the category broader seemed the best thing. --Rdr. Andrew 14:43, 12 Mar 2005 (CST)

Sounds good Rdr. Andrew. I guess I just overlooked that! Thanks, Fr. John

Book Sources

Is there a way to link to the Book Sources page directly (i.e. other than inserting an ISBN). On the Domestic Church article, under the sub-heading of "Education in the Domestic Church" I would like to link there instead of the marketplace. -- Joffridus

Hi Joffridus, I can't figure out a way to do this without an ISBN - it's a special kind of page that's coded to create the links based on an ISBN. If you're interested, we could create another "Special" page that has a generic list of Orthodox Booksellers -- actually, maybe that would be a good subpage for the Marketplace category. What do you think?
Thanks, Fr. John 10:32, 23 Mar 2005 (CST)


I'll try to work up a list sometime tonight. I tried a number of experiments with the search function to see if I could get the wiki to list all the templates at one go, but nothing seemed to work. --Rdr. Andrew 14:48, 26 Mar 2005 (CST)


I just had to show off my silly waste of time, that is, my new sig: —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 14:23, 25 Apr 2005 (CDT)

Link buttons

Father, is this the sort of thing you had in mind for link buttons?--magda 13:54, 11 May 2005 (CDT)

It looks like this would work for the smaller buttons: 88 by 32 is the size of one of Huw Raphael's buttons. It's difficult to get it any smaller, and I don't know what other images are ours to work with. Hmm. I had assumed that we have permission to use this image for orthodoxwiki purposes, but there's no provenance on the image description. --magda 10:00, 12 May 2005 (CDT)

Recent articles

Thanks for your kind words, Father. I do hope that I can get the ROCOR and OCA article up to Featureable status soon. The one thing I'd particularly like to see developed more is the list of parish transfers, and User:Rublevpupil has agreed to do some research to expand that section. —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 12:30, 2 Jun 2005 (CDT)

Patron Saint

I was thinking about banners for the OrthodoxWiki and got a vision of an icon with a Saint in the midst of writing. I thought, "Is there an Orthodox Saint who was known for being a historian or writer (I'm sure there are a number of them)?"

So, in a bigger picture, is there a saint, common to all Orthodox Christans who we could pick as a patron saint? For those so inclined, requests for intercession from this Saint could be made for God's help in our endeavors. Your thoughts? -[[User:Joe Rodgers|Joe ( talk » inspect » chat )]] 02:30, 30 Jun 2005 (EDT) images

Was permission needed for each image? I guess I must be misremembering, then, because I thought we'd been granted permission to use some (but not all) of their images so long as credit was given. If that's not the case, I'll certainly send an email to ask. —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 14:01, 1 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Yep, please see for details. Thanks! Fr. John
I've added that information to the templates page, with a link, in the hopes that that might be useful. —magda 14:17, 1 Jul 2005 (EDT)
A'ight. Email sent. —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 14:51, 1 Jul 2005 (EDT)
Addendum: Permission received. All is right with the world. There was much rejoicing. —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 08:25, 2 Jul 2005 (EDT)
Yep, Fr. John M. is very good about that. He is making it easy for us to ask permission. We need to do it for every image (or a number of images at a time) because some images on are copyrighted by third parties and they aren't at liberty to share. Fr. John


Father (and sysop team),

I am very humbled by your offer to make me a fellow sysop. I mean, woah! I can't help but feel honored. I will gladly take up the duty. I will humbly do my part, as the Lord wills and I have time. You have made me feel quite at home.

Your servant, --[[User:Joe Rodgers|Joe ( talk » inspect » chat )]] 00:17, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT)

IRC Channel - part two


Oops! Thanks for jumping on the ball about announcing the orthodoxwiki channel, but....I posted that as a placeholder for a new article once the channel gets started. I am sorry. It has not been created yet. I spoke of it in the present because I had intended on pasting that over to an official page when the process was complete. I will make a post about it on the Yahoo! Sysop group. --[[User:Joe Rodgers|Joe ( talk » inspect » chat )]] 16:59, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT)


Chimeras when you have time, please. *nudge, nudge* Inquiring mind wants to know. I'll try to bother you only once every five months. —magda 16:31, 21 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Alexa ranking

When did we break the million-mark? [1]magda 15:56, 26 Jul 2005 (EDT)


Not sure why was "unroutable" for you. I can certainly get to it from here. (The servers which host it are in NC, while I am in PA.) It's possible that there is some sort of net-hiccup somewhere between you and (Or did you perhaps mistype it?) —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 10:40, 2 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Hmm... didn't mistype it, but maybe a network hiccup - oh well! Thanks for responding and for all your work, Fr. John


Sorry Father John, I haven't gotten around to sending a e-mail to them yet. I found the blockage interesting in that at work I'd not been able to get the Orthodoxwiki site but the rejection didn't say why. The Panera Bread attempt gave me the answer and I wanted to let you all know!! I'll get a note off the the site I referenced in my note to Reader Andrew.

By the way, I glad you all have started the OrthodoxWiki site, it's among the things we need to do to 'advertize' Orthodoxy. Now we need to get the word out to our people. I attend St Nicholas in Washington and have mentioned the site to a number of 'outward looking' people, but I need to do more. Bill Kosar Wsk 15:17, 19 Aug 2005 (EDT)


Thank you, Father. Please do whatever you find good in your eyes. I trust your judgement. Also, please accept the following two entries for OrthodoxWiki's Collection of Texts:

1: The Collection Of Safey The Son Of The Honey Maker Church and Civil Laws Based on Coptic Orthodox Norms and Traditions (13th Century: 1245 AD)

2: The Lamp that Lights the Darkness - In Clarifying the Service By Ibn-Kabar, Coptic Priest of the Hanging Church (14th Century: 1296-1332 AD)

Regarding modern heresies, sects and deviations from Orthodox faith, I think these are important entries in an encyclopedia of this kind (cf. Catholic Encyclopedia's coverage of these topics, e.g., , , , etc.). They are also important topics in the world we are living in, and represent important "challenges" facing the Church, e.g.,

P.S. I noticed that the domains and have been registered.

God Bless.

bishops without bios

Father, bless; fair enough, will do so. however, it may interest you to know that i don't remember seeing a bio-less bishop on the random page clicks i've done - perhaps 'random page' doesn't go to stubs, perhaps it's just flukey, i dunno. KYRH, Pistevo 01:10, 6 Sep 2005 (EDT)