Another Bad Day at Black Rock (I Mean 79th Street)

In a previous essay which I published several years ago, when the tenure of Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen was still in doubt, Yours Truly made a prediction that if the Syosset apparatchiks succeeded in removing Jonah from the primacy, then there would be very little left to write about regarding Orthodoxy in general. At least of a positive nature.

Some questioned me as to why I didn’t single out the OCA (which was the offending jurisdiction). Honestly, I don’t know why I made my prediction to be so broad in scope. But I did. Sometimes the Muse is upon me and I write instinctively. In the case of Jonah, my instincts told me that his enthronement was another high-water mark in American Orthodoxy –the first one being the reception of the Evangelical Orthodox Church into Antioch, the second being Ligonier. In the case of Ligonier and Jonah however, the institutionalist reaction was severe and unyielding. Any further breakout into the broader American consciousness would have to wait for another time.

In truth, things have to get worse before they get better. And so they’ve been getting progressively worse. Well, the you-know-what is about to hit the fan as far as the GOA is concerned.

According to The National Herald (see link below), Chase Manhattan Bank has stopped offering “banking services” to the archdiocese and the Philoptochos. The reason being, that for several years now the GOA has not had enough money in the bank to back up checks issued on their account. In other words, they’ve been bouncing checks.

This has been going on for several years. In the past, annual budgetary shortfalls were “made good” by generous benefactors such as Michael Jaharis. Unfortunately, he died a few years ago and it seems that nobody has stepped up to the plate to continue his benevolence. According to TNH, the actual deficit now approaches $17 million.

As for the Philoptochos society they appear to be flush; unfortunately, because they have the words “Greek Orthodox” as part of their official title, they have been caught in the financial undertow which is currently gushing at 79th St.

The blame for this mess can be spread around to several quarters. The reason however is because the GOA –from its inception back in 1922–has been erected on sand, the opposite of what Christ demanded for His Church.

What Christ demanded was a Rock.

www.thenationalherald.com/183112/chase-bank-stops-banking-services-archdiocese-philoptochos/

Comments

  1. Tim R. Mortiss says:

    We’re paying our bills here.

  2. Martyr's Guilt says:

    There is time and place for self examination. Monomakhians enjoy it bit too much.

    “There are moments when people love crime,”Alyosha said pensively. “Yes, yes! You’ve spoken my own thought, they love it, they all love it, and love it always, not just at moments. You know, it’s as if at some point they all agreed to lie about it, and have been lying about ever since. They all say they hate what is bad, but secretly they all love it.”-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

    We must accept…

    “If he is honest, he will steal; if he is human, he will murder: if he is faithful, he will deceive.”-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

    We are what we curse.

    • DogeLover says:

      What? It sounds like the GOA has dug itself into a financial hole, and people deserve to know that. This isn’t a complicated moral problem.

      • Martyr's Guilt says:

        We deserve the truth, no doubt, but we also deserve the leaders/clergy that we have as well. If as a rule we were a church that tithed, then would we have so much corruption? Our leaders/clergy for so long have been influenced by our elite rich members, that they know no other way to operate. Prime example; After the death of billionaire, Michael Jaharis, the poop hit the fan, and the fun and games came to a screeching halt, golden goose was gone for the GOA. Imagine the influence one rich man had over the GOA, over The Archbishop, over The Patriarch, and now we will suffer the aftermath, because of our leaders/clergy reliance on the super rich , and not a tithing laity. Now we all point fingers, but we are to blame as well.

        My point, if this forum takes off and gets laity to step up, demand change, then great! BUT, guess what? That takes more than large numbers of laity yapping their jaws, it will require laity dipping deep into their wallets, and making real change a real reality. Until then this forum putting up story after story, of church scandal, every single day, will do nothing more than turn us into cynical rubber neckers gawking at another train wreck, weakening our faith, and turning away those looking in from the outside, wondering, if this really is a true, and good church to join. In the long run, as word continues to spread to more scandals, more, membership will dwindle, and the prophesies of Nevins will be fulfilled. God Forbid, and have mercy on us!

  3. The Greek clerics are overpaying themselves , ala the American Congress, who supplement their incomes by toadying to corporations. The GOA has no such means, hopefully. The economic condition of the ordinary faithful cannot sustain the extravagance of their clerics in our desperate economy. They must order their clerics to tighten their belts by lowering the clerics pay. Perhaps, the Holy God will bless this and help pull them out of un-payable debt. At the present rate of decline, it is only a matter of time before the banks foreclose on Church property. The dishonest clerics, not all, will only seek to walk away with a big chunk of money, if they can. Vincent Rossi, leader of the HOOM, took off to Oxford to study more Christianity, which his brothers and sisters in the Order paid for with 30 years of their wages.Christian sects and cults routinely go down this road to their end. Is this where the GOA is?

  4. Dear Lord, please let some honorable donors find a way to finish St. Nicholas at Ground Zero.

  5. Greatly Saddened says:

    The fact is the archdiocese seems to want to avoid a forensic audit, supposedly because of the cost factor. Can you believe it? After all the alleged misappropriated monies and financial crisis at the GOA and now they show concern over the cost of a forensic audit. To think this is not the first time this is happening too. As the saying goes … first time … shame on you … second time … shame on me!

    Yes, it has been said it is unchristian to hold back monies to the archdiocese. Well if so, what do we do, allow the archdiocese to continue to misappropriate money? How and when will they learn? As I said, this is not the first time and if past practice is any indication, probably not the last either. Both the hierarchy along with the archdiocesan council are to blame, but no one has had the decency to fess up to the mistakes! And I venture to guess nor will anyone be held responsible for this mess. It’s … pay … pray and obey!

    I believe Hellenic College and Holy Cross Seminary are owed money. I also believe the priests pension fund may also be, as well as the supposedly restricted Saint Nicholas Gronud Zero fund. Where and when does this all end? All they seem to do is deflect and appoint people from within the organization to follow up on this shameful and ongoing disaster.

    Laity continues to be disgusted and is leaving at an alarming rate but they refuse to print the results of the findings. In addition, not once have I either heard nor seen anyone from the archdiocese ask for forgiveness or repent for their actions or lack thereof.

    It’s about time laity finally stand up and begin to demand answers from these seemingly irresponsible people, who seem to have no shame, nor seem have a conscience. Perhaps they should practice what they preach. This is not what I would call Christ centered but rather self centered. This is the stewards’ money, not their own to do with whatever they wish. I guess they have lost sight of this. They have a fiduciary responsibility to us as well as to themselves and rightfully so.

    As much as I dislike saying it, we are the ones who pay their salaries. I don’t begrudge them but they also should feel a sense of responsibility to us when it comes to accounting where the money has gone. Position also has responsibility and begins at the top with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios. The buck stops with him. He should be setting the example! May God have mercy on us all!

    • George Michalopulos says:

      GS, if I may?

      You have brought up an excellent point regarding the giving of monies to the church and the sin of “withholding”. You are not the first to do so. This has pricked my conscience.

      However, is it possible that you may be incorrect? Allow me to explain: the “church” is not only the body of Christ but the assembled (ekklesia) who gather together to worship God and partake of the Eucharist. That happens always in a temple (Greek naos, English “nave”.)

      The “church” that people give to should be the place in which they worship, whether it be a cathedral, church, storefront mission or catacomb. The idea that the “church” is some HQ in Manhattan is ludicrous. Yes, there is a cathedral on 79th St. I’m glad of that. Let the people of that parish who go and worship there support it. Likewise all diocesan cathedrals.

      As for the maintenance of dioceses, that should come from within the diocese itself, not the revenue-sharing scheme concocted by the GOA.

      • Greatly Saddened says:

        GM … please do not misunderstand, I am all for supporting the church. Especially at the local parish level. The problem I have is at the archdiocese and the metropolis level. There seems to be and has been a lack of accountability and transparency. These are paramount to good ethical practices. It’s one cover up after another. And when these cover ups are revealed, where is their remorse? To think this is a religious institution! Don’t they have any shame?

        Considering what has been taking place, and once again, not the for the first time either. I feel it is necessary to take a stand in order to stop the alleged continuous corruption which seems to be taking place.

        The names and faces may somewhat change because of appointments by His Eminence to the archdiocesan council, but their ways seem to continue in the rubber stamping of the Holy Eparchial Synod. Where are the checks and balances?

        Let me ask … if it was their personal money do you honestly think they would be spending it the same way they have been spending our hard earned stewardship money? I highly tend to doubt it. Unfortunately the spigot needs to be cut off, in hope they finally realize the harm they have caused and continue to cause for the laity with their continuous antics.

        Are we so naive to continue to stand by and watch this continue to happen and do absolutely nothing? Afraid to speak the truth so as not to offend someone. And as soon as we do, we are called disrespectful. I will tell you who is disrespectful and that is the archdiocese and the metropolises.

        Oh please, Barnum and Bailey may have shut down, but we have our own three ring circus going on and unfortunately for quite some time too!

        Plainly put … they are the ones who are supposedly professing the word of the Lord and acting unchristian. No remorse and not even an apology. I am deeply saddened to see there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between our politicians and our hierarchs at the archdiocese and at the metropolis level. Neither seem to feel a responsibility to the voter or the steward. With one exception, the politicians wear suits and ties, and at the archdiocese and the metropolises, they wear either a black or blue exorasson or outer cassock! They both seem to gladly take our hard earned money and spend it for the most part frivolously.

        God help us and may we continue to ask for God’s blessings, especially during these most difficult times.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          I don’t disagree with you at all. My point was that 100% of all giving by parishioners should be to the parish. Kicking money upstairs to 79th St, calling the Archdiocese a “church” and having a “Clergy-Laity Conference” in which nothing is decided and/or on the off-chance something is decided but then nullified by Istanbul is not ecclesial.

          That being said, the parishes of a diocese should only support that particular diocese, i.e. the bishop, chancery, etc. On this issue, the OCA has it right.

      • Greatly Saddened says:

        GM … FYI … I believe the cathedral is on East 74th Street and not on 79th.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      RE: “The fact is the archdiocese seems to want to avoid a forensic audit, supposedly because of the cost factor. Can you believe it?”

      Yeah, I can believe it. Metropolitan Philip used the same excuse. In our case, however, I wish I could say that the money went to people who just lived too large and not to people like the “sons of the martyrs.” That their “school” outside of Damascus was bombed in 2012 or that it purportedly housed Shabiha militiamen and security services personnel located near the Palestine branch of Military Intelligence does not surprise me. – The “Assad Files” should be interesting. My guess is these documents will change how many people see him.

      “The devil that you know. . .” is still the devil.

      https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/04/18/bashar-al-assads-war-crimes-exposed

  6. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article on The Pappas Post from Friday, November 24th.

    Archdiocese Creates Committee to Investigate “Potential Mismanagement” of St. Nicholas Shrine Funds, Construction Project

    http://www.pappaspost.com/archdiocese-creates-committee-investigate-potential-mismanagement-st-nicholas-shrine-funds-construction-project/

  7. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article on The Pappas Post from Thursday, November 30th.

    Greek Orthodox Seminary Operating With Multi-Million Dollar Deficits

    http://www.pappaspost.com/greek-orthodox-seminary-operating-multi-million-dollar-deficits/

  8. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from The National Herald which has been posted in its entirety on OCL’s website.

    Confidential Documents of the Archdiocesan Legal Committee Regarding Chicago’s Metropolitan

    http://ocl.org/confidential-documents-archdiocesan-legal-committee-regarding-chicagos-metropolitan/

  9. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find another article from The National Herald which has been posted in its entirety on OCL’s website.

    Patriarch Issues Press Release of Support to Abp. Demetrios

    http://ocl.org/patriarch-issues-press-release-support-abp-demetrios/

    • George Michalopulos says:

      That means Demetrios is on the way out. Word on the street says he’s going to be replaced by Metropolitan Elpidophorous Lambrianides.

      • Greatly Saddened says:

        I was under the impression Metropolitan Elpidophoros Lambrianidis was a possible successor to His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew. Not that he cannot first succeed His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and later become the successor to His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew. Similar to His All Holiness of blessed memory Athenagoras, who was first Archbishop of North and South America before becoming Patriarch.

        And as for His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios’ successor it has been rumored to possibly be Metropolitan Emmanuel of France.

        The byzantine intrigue continues. But then again, anything can happen and only time will tell for sure.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          I know, but I just got wind of Lambrianides yesterday and went public with it. There are no good choices for the GOA or the Phanar in the future.

  10. Martyr's Guilt says:

    “If he is honest, he will steal;if he is human, he will murder;if he is faithful, he will deceive.”(Fyodor Dostoyevsky-The Brothers Karamazov)

    Me thinks many here find too much pleasure in the GOA financial crisis. There are no super human powers on 79th Street. Just men in black, with great responsibilities. No change will come to the GOA from laity, until the GOA hits rock bottom, with no nowhere left to go but laity. Let the GOA leaders work it out, without laity becoming fuel to a bonfire. Then they will have no one to blame, but themselves, and God willing, come to their senses. Parable of the Prodigal Son comes to mind. In fact, I recommend we give even more of our/his money back to our Lord/Church!

    “That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asks, and the judge asks for a bribe; and the great man, he utters his evil desire: so they weave it together.”(Micah 7:3)

    • MG…I don’t think anyone here is taking pleasure from the financial scandal. What we are is very disappointed and shocked that our hard-earned monies from our parishes have not been handled in a professional manner. There has been little or no oversight of funds, which is ultimately the CEO/Archbishop’s responsibility We are not adding “fuel to the fire”, but rather if we don’t voice our concerns, what would prevent the GOA from doing business as usual? The fianancial messl in the Milwajkee Annunciation Church involving Fr. Dokos/Dimitri/Nikitas is just one example of how unchecked finances can go astray..There are many others that require us to voice our concern and demand changes.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        I for one am taking no pleasure in it. Over the past 40 years, my family, relatives and I have given what amounts to princely sums to 79th St and helped raise money for the St Nicholas Fund in the aftermath of 9/11. On that last effort, I look like a chump in retrospect.

        • Martyr's Guilt says:

          George,
          The chumps are those who mismanaged our Lord’s Church. You gave as a faithful servant should, and that is all God can ask from you. The rest falls on our spiritual leaders laps. We have to believe it’s in God’s hands, and it will work out. Be thankful you are not in their shoes, and pray for them. Holding back funds, in a cynical manner, only hurts ourselves.

          I agree taking pleasure was too strong, perhaps more of a pleasure in telling us, “I told you so”. All this scandalous reporting seems like why so many find pleasure, relief, satisfaction, and are thankful, they are not the poor souls that are robbed, killed, or in horrible accidents, while watching local news. Is feeling grateful we are not as bad as those we see in desperate, and humiliating situations a sin?

      • Martyr's Guilt says:

        anthony,

        I am disappointed as well, but not shocked. Surprised our Church does not have checks and balances to not only avoid such “scandals”, but more importantly avoid the appearance of scandals that are only gossip. One thing I know for sure is our local churches, all of our Metropolis, and National Archdiocese, can and will fall into scandalous situations from here to the second coming of our Lord, and savior, no matter what we do.

        Voicing our concerns can seem futile, but that is what we must do. It must be done as a large block of laity. Holding back stewardship, to make a point, get the attention of our leaders, and worse of all to punish our leaders, is a sin. This is how the devil invites us into another’s sin, as we will now join the scandal as well.

        The days of our churches relying on festivals, and rich donors keeping our Archdiocese afloat must end. The only answer is an Orthodox church, that is a tithing church. Until this happens our leaders will always be tempted to scandal by rich donors, and apathy by laity will continue.

  11. Let us not despair, however, brethren. Orthodoxy in America has been double-minded since the end of the Russian Mission and the Bolshevik Revolution. Perhaps it even predates that; however, thorough housecleaning was in order. Perhaps it’s better if we go back to square one and see ourselves as once again new on these shores, strangers in a strange land.

    From that perspective, it ain’t that bad. Many of us who read the tea leaves see God at work in the Trump Administration. How could it be otherwise given his priorities?

    Part of what that means is that the Good Lord must be willing to use the goyim (the heterodox “riff raff” of Pentecostalism, Holy Rollers, Assemblies and the Prosperity Crowd, etc.) as a tool to do His bidding. Not that they have the Holy Spirit, just that He’s a Big Guy with a Big Heart and truly appreciates it when people’s hearts are in approximately the right place despite all the confusion and discord sown by the evil one and our free will.

    The Orthodoxy of 79th Street and Syosset did not suffice, evidently. Let us focus on the Orthodoxy of the Athonite monasteries here, the Church Abroad, the Serbian Church and sympathizers within the other errant New Calendar jurisdictions who have the spirit but lack the power to implement reform.

    We know who we are.

    Because we should not lose sight of what is happening in the world by concentrating too much on our little pond. Eastern Orthodoxy is back in a major way in world politics thanks to the machinations of Almighty God, countless babushki, the New Martyrs and the Church Abroad. Athos is doing what it can and has recognized the situation for what it is.

    We Orthodox are the New Israel. That is to say, we are the new Chosen People, a tribe whose membership is based on fidelity to the Sacred Tradition of the Church of Christ. We have that Tradition which contains the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, theosis. We are leaven in the dough, by nature.

    This cannot change because of political machinations and intrigue. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. That is not an ideal but a promise and guarantee.

    God works in mysterious ways. We just have to be patient and try to work with Him as opposed to against Him. There is a Russian proverb: “Patience and a little effort will overcome everything.”

    Sooner or later Americans are going to ask themselves, “What is Christianity?”. I don’t mean the liberals and secular humanists, at least not until they lose their atheism, I mean people who sincerely believe in God and want to follow Christ.

    When they ask that magic question, they will not get a coherent, intelligible answer from Rome or the Protestant sects. There is only one place to find a solid, reliable answer to that question, and we know where that is.

    Have faith. They just haven’t done the math in all the confusion.

  12. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. It is in its entirety at the time of this posting.

    Patriarchate Rejects Legal Committee’s Recommendations

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/183350/patriarchate-rejects-legal-committees-recommendations/

  13. If the archdiocese no longer exists in reality, it will realize it doesn’t really exist any longer and it will no longer exist for real

    The time to say goodbye was what, back in 2000 or so? Or was it ’94?

    Was the acceptance of the EOC into Antioch a win, or was it more of a failure being rejected by Constantinople?

    I’d say I see 3 loses total. Acceptance by Antioch was a time delay maybe? At any rate, if Constantinople calls the shots in America, didnt the rejection of the EOC just prove the nullification of the North American Mission?

    Antioch is going to pick up the slack? Antioch shouldnt be here. Sorry to the few priests I know in that juristiction – they are great priests. But Antioch shouldnt be here any more than Constantinople

    Russia should not be here either

    Help me OCA Kenobi, you’re my only hope!

    I get that the OCA walks around on tiptoes (although it shouldn’t) but does it have to sachet while doing so? No wonder the North American mission hasn’t a leg to stand on

    BTW

    Can anyone tell me why the EOC started to communicate early on with the OCA, but then the vast majority entered via Antioch?

    I wonder this

    I also wonder if all those missions had entered the OCA – would Metropolitan Joseph still be there to this day?

    Yes, it will hit the fan for this institutuonalized American Orthodox reality. However, the aftermath restructuring will only further cement the overeas institutional power structure here

    I swear, the North American mission has less luck than an epileptic quadriplegic with severe Crohn’s disease and extreme hay fever

    No fan needed

    • In the book “Turning to Tradition” by Fr Oliver Herbel the EOC had many demands which they presented to the Greek Orthodox Church;one of which that they still have married bishops and another that their clergy not be re-ordained. The book is very good and tells the entire story which was left out by Father Peter Gillquist and Met Phillip.

      • Gail Sheppard says:

        I’ll have to read his book. Were they “demands” or “requests”? I know the bishops came in as priests, not bishops. I don’t know that they were “re-ordained.” They weren’t even in the Church yet. – They were Chrismated and then “ordained.”

        I know a lot of these people and their gratitude to the Antiochians is palatable. I have heard more than one of them say our Archdiocese was the ONLY one who would let them in. I can’t imagine that they would make “demands” of the Greeks and then, presumably, walk away if their demands were not met, especially since none of these conditions were fulfilled when they actually did come into the Church.

        I think it’s important to remember these people were not Orthodox until they came into the Church. When they were first made priests, it was hard on them! They had to learn everything. Some of the stories are almost comical. None of them talk with any arrogance about their experience. They are not arrogant people.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Gail, like you, I’ve known many lovely converts who came into the Faith because of the EOC and Antioch’s reception of them. That’s why Antioch is still held in high esteem IMHO, because they bit the bullet and let the chips fall where they may. Their reception may be the high water mark of American Orthodoxy in the 20th century.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Good griet do we have to fight that battle BJS.
      None of us should be here. The American culture rejects everything the Church is. As children of the American culture we have a built in problem.

      But we are here by the grace of God.

      The Antiochians are here because the people came and brought their faith. A faith that has endured since the time of the Apostles.

      You want Apostolic zeal but it is much more likely that endurance will prevail. Keeping the faith as best we can is more important right now than anything else. Simple local authentic welcoming.
      Until we have that there can be no Apostolic zeal.

    • Billy Jack,

      I can answer some of your EOC related questions.

      Can anyone tell me why the EOC started to communicate early on with the OCA, but then the vast majority entered via Antioch?

      The early communication with the OCA was due primarily to SVS Press (in those days among the few who published in English – not that many of the leadership couldn’t read Greek), its connection to SVS and thus the OCA. Fr. Schmemann was among those with whom they had contact (you can read of his impressions of the EOC in his “Journals”). I personally would not be too critical of the OCA. It’s not that the OCA wouldn’t accept them. It’s that the terms on which the leadership of the EOC wanted acceptance would have made it extremely difficult for the OCA to integrate them into Orthodoxy in a healthy way – terms which created some difficulties for the Antiochians later on (think Ben Lomond and some other messy situations).

      Was the acceptance of the EOC into Antioch a win, or was it more of a failure being rejected by Constantinople?

      What Stephen shared is accurate concerning their ‘bishops’ and other clergy. They also wanted to remain essentially intact as their own parishes, with their own clergy, their own unique liturgical practices, etc.

      Before they left for Constantinople, the local bishop in my area said that all the bishops felt that, “If they don’t accept us, they are not Orthodox.” Folks can make of that statement what they will; but, though not even Orthodox at the time, I perceived that there was a bit too much hubris involved. Thus, I cannot really fault Constantinople either. The leaders of the EOC were not ‘bad’ people, and they were well-educated. But they only thought they understood Orthodoxy, Orthopraxis, and the way of life that is the Church – regardless of jurisdiction. I think that, by and large, they would agree today that they still had a great deal yet to experience and fully grasp.

      Was it a win? All in all, I’d say it was – at least for most of those in the EOC. It was certainly a win for Antioch. Most believe it was also a win for Orthodoxy (and evangelism) in America as a whole. But it certainly wasn’t the romanticized version portrayed in the popular books about their conversion.

      Something not widely known (because it receives scant attention) is the fact that about a third of the EOC parishes didn’t convert when Antioch accepted them. Part of the Indianapolis parish (among the largest) wasn’t received until much later (by the OCA). The rest still exist as the EOC with parishes in Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Saskatchewan, Sweden, and even Africa.

    • They entered into communications with Abp DMITRI of Blessed Memory who told them that they needed to take the time, perhaps three years of study (length of time equivalent to going to seminary) to study the Orthodox Faith first.

      Apparently they had not the patience.

      • I was not aware of the Archbishop DMITRI connection. My experience was local to the Midwest, and I didn’t have a great deal of exposure to what was happening nationally.

        As to “they had not the patience.” It was interesting to witness at the time. Being former Evangelicals, they were very concerned with “being saved,” and their study had led them to believe that they could not be “saved” apart from being in the Orthodox Church. Thus the rush, as many of them understood it. What if they died while they were waiting?

        Others understood a bit better and were not motivated by fear. Generally speaking, these are those who chose not to convert at the time of Antioch’s reception. Many of these were not against it, but they felt the motivation for the rush was somewhat misguided.

        I cannot say this was true everywhere though. Again, my own experience was limited to the Midwest.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      ES, that’s not fair. BJS isn’t Greek (at least not to my knowledge).

  14. Joseph Lipper says:

    Billy Jack Sunday,

    Perhaps ideally there would be a great and powerful autocephalous American Orthodox Church that would be a shining light upon a hill to all nations with a wise and noble patriarch who would level the mountains of evil and raise up the valleys of the destitute. OK, maybe that sounds a bit too grandiose, and maybe we really just need a simple reorganization.

    On the one hand, it would seem fitting that a great and powerful nation such as the United States of America should also have a great and powerful autocephalous Orthodox Church. Except that most of our nation’s power and influence in the world probably comes from the fact that our country wasn’t subject to invasion, bombing, or revolution in the previous two world wars. Because of this, our country became a place of refuge for saints like Nikolai Velimirovich and John Maximovitch. Because there is no canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, our country has become a place of refuge for Orthodox churches from all over the world. Because of our nation’s economic strength, those refugee churches in America have in turn directly supported the persecuted Orthodox churches they represent. This is something to be thankful for.

    So many Orthodox Churches are represented here in America like nowhere else on earth. Providing refuge to all these Orthodox is such a great wealth to our country on a spiritual level. Although we may not always see the benefit, there is a blessing we receive as a country from this. We can also attend the Divine Liturgy in English, Greek, Slavonic, and Arabic all within most major US cities. This also keeps us humble as Americans, which is a good thing. It is something to be thankful for.

    When the U.S. ceases to be a great world power, when the U.S ceases to be a place of refuge, and when the U.S. is broke and no longer able to offer financial assistance to Orthodox churches around the globe, THEN all the bishops in America will want to reorganize to preserve Orthodoxy in America.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      I think what happened is that people immigrated to the United States and brought their Church with them.

      With regard to who has the right to North America, we do because we live here. It’s defining who “we” are that is the problem. As they say, “The devil is in the details.”

      It’s going to take a revolution and is going to require sacrifice. Someone needs to figure out how to light this cannon because when they do, people will take sides and the path will be made known.

      Being under ANY single Orthodox Church would be preferable to being fragmented with competing interests abroad. Any bishop who steps down in the interest of uniting us should be heralded as a martyr and we should set aside funds to cover his needs. If he wishes to continue to support the Church in another capacity, that should be encouraged, because it will be the brightest and best who will step down; not the marginal.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Gail, as usual you get right to the point or, more accurately, see the broader point. You’re right. However a historical reading of American Orthodoxy gives pride of place for the American mission to the Russian Orthodox Church. Even Bishop Kallistos Ware in his book The Orthodox Church admits that.

        This of course flies in the face of the Canon 28 mythology peddled by the globalists over at the Phanar.

        Regardless of the past, we are going to have to take the bull by the horns and do it ourselves sooner or later.

        • George

          I agree

          I don’t suppose you would be willing to lead the way?

          I understand if not – you already do enough good with your blog

          Still – there was a time for Eazy-E to give up the drug business and become the godfather of a new movement. You, too, could be Straight Outta Compline

          Maybe no one will step up in our generation. It seems that way

          You’ve certainly stepped up a lot though. More than anybody I know. Again, thanks for the work of your blog

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Thank you for your kind words, Billy.

            I dunno, lemme think about it.

            • For some reason a mental picture of Shia Labeouf entered my mind when he quoted Isaiah:

              Then I said, “Here am I. Send me.”

              I do agree it has to be laity taking the bull by the horns in this situation – and I don’t know of anyone else or any good reason to punt it off on the next generation. There might not be one. What about this generation anyway?

              That being said, of course I can’t say whether you should or shouldn’t

              But if you do, I’m behind you. Thanks for considering it

              • George Michalopulos says:

                I’m more than a little flattered that anybody would consider me. You especially; you sound like a stand-up guy, someone who has been around the block more than a few times.

                In any event, I’m not looking for any honors. I will say this to any and all who agree with you that the time has come: there is a great spiritual cost to doing so. Maybe we should fast and pray. As for myself, I’ve only been half-hearted in my observance of the Advent fast. I’ll take it more seriously from this point forward.

              • Estonian Slovak says:

                Billy, I’m going to try not to be uncharitable or sarcastic, though I’ve been that way in my human weakness. The church is all about saving souls. Whether we have one autocephalous church here or not is secondary.
                Years ago, when I was young and foolish, I took an MP priest to task for not being in the then -new OCA. He put me in my place and rightly so, though of course, I didn’t appreciate it at the time. He said what is important is to lead a Christ like life, not whether you belong to bishop X or bishop Y.
                I do not know you nor your circumstances. I do wonder why you seem to quote Hollywood more than Scripture or the Fathers. Dr. Stankovich does both and in a manner which I should emulate.
                Like I said, I don’t know you, not you as a person, nor your background. But I would suggest that maybe, instead of waiting for George or someone to take the initiative, what have YOU done or what are you prepared to do?
                I DO suggest that whoever quoted St. Seraphim of Sarov as saying.” Aquire a spirit of peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.” Sadly, you answered the Saint’s quote with a silly parody.
                You know, even if overnight every Orthodox parish shifted to the OCA, the devil would still be trying to divide us. He already is. Some would argue for more contemporary English in the services. Others would call for Vespers and Matins before every liturgy without fail which really should be the norm. Why even here,one poster expresses disdain for a long beard on a priest, while another calls for “furry clergy”.
                I guess what I’m trying to say in my own imperfect way is that you, I, and everyone here should strive for salvation first and foremost. I’m sure Michael Bauman can say this much better than I can.. I say it because I believe. I’m a great sinner, but like you, I’m a soul in need of God’s mercy.

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Gail Sheppard,

        I understand your frustration with bishops overseas who play puppet master with their churches in America, but this is protected by our country’s first amendment, the Separation of Church and State. This amendment thankfully protects our religious freedom to be Orthodox, but it also protects the overseas puppet masters. Those bishops know our government won’t interfere. God forbid, if our government collapses, then it will be a different story.

        Going back to at least the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony, our country is a nation of immigrants who have brought their various confessions of faith with them. The Pilgrims fled religious persecution in England. They finally found refuge in America and eventually thrived.

        All of these various Orthodox groups who have come to America and set up shop have done the same as the Pilgrims. Some have come as economic refugees, some have come as political refugees, and some have also fled religious persecution. If they’ve been here long enough to gain citizenship, they’re technically just as American as anybody else.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          JL, if I may quibble: the First Amendment only prohibited the Congress from establishing a national Church. Because the States preceded the Constitution (which was viewed as a national compact between the several States), the various States could (and often did) have official Churches. This was also because the demographic composition of the original thirteen colonies was variegated and as such they had their own peculiar ethnic and/or regionally based religious traditions.

          Regardless, at no point in America pre-1942 was it ever considered that “religion” meant anything other than Christianity in the eyes of the people. You can read this in the writings of the Founding Fathers. The disestablishments of the state churches (which over several decades and happened on a state-by-state basis) were always under the vision that Protestantism would be the default religion of the American people. That’s why Congress has always had chaplains, why the service academies have gigantic churches on them and why the Congress even built a national cathedral in DC. And all supported by the public treasury.

          So what’s the point of this discourse? Only that the Founding Fathers looked dimly upon the governance of any American denomination by overseas potentates. Ground zero for this animus for centuries was of course the Catholic Church. Given the pyramidal top-down structure of Catholicism, that’s not unobjectionable, especially when our own ecclesiology inexorably leads us to the same conclusion.

          The central fault of American Orthodoxy therefore is that we have not been true to our own calling in this sense. Of all the Old World denominations, we should have been the first to acclimate to the American experience once immigration kicked in. Instead, we remained ethno-tribalist. Hence, the impending fall of the GOA as it’s presently constituted.

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            George, I agree that the First Amendment was designed for Protestant churches. The accepted Protestant way of dealing with these sorts of jurisdictional problems we have in America is to break off (technically go into schism), and then create yet another jurisidiction.

            This might be fine if you’re Protestant, and it’s certainly protected by the First Amendment, but it’s not a good solution for Orthodoth ecclesiology. For example, the Greek Old Calendarists have done just that, they’ve created one more jurisdiction in America and are only in communion with themselves. They might say that they’re right to do this, but they haven’t really solved anything. They’re like ostriches with their heads in the ground.

            I believe God will work out these problems, and we just need to be faithful. Even if the GOA and the OCA collapse, God will still provide. Who would have thought 20 years ago that the Church in Russia would be where it is today? That really is miraculous.

      • Will Harrington says:

        Or better yet, bishops willing to step down because there are too many bishops in a given city should be funded as missionary bishops to cities that have no Bishop and maybe no Orthodox presence. That would be a good kickstart for Orthodox evangelism in America!

    • Way too complicating an issue with biased speculation

      The problem isnt figuring it all out. The solutions are right in front of our faces and not hard. Its all the attitudes that are hard- including complacent laity willfully accepting status quo generarion after generation.

      Its worked until now, but Ashley Nevins is right. The Millennials and everyone after will abandon the church for various reasons. The church will have already been weakened and is imminent for implosion faster than you can say: Metropolitan Theophilus Skandalis

      You want to know the sign that a parish that has operated off of this ethnocentric insular model is about to collapse? No one shows up for holiday or festival baking.

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Billy Jack Sunday, do you remember when Greece first joined the EU and was suddenly flush with money? People there stopped going to Church because they were too busy partying Saturday night.

        That has since changed dramatically.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Excellent observation, JL!

          For whatever it’s worth, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when Greece joined the EU.

  15. Several issues here, who “should be here”, who “shouldn’t” and the EOC angle.

    The canonical problem is due to equivocation on the part of both Constantinople and the Church of Russia. It is that tension which has left the American church as it is.

    The Phanar asserts that North America is under the jurisdiction of Constantinople per canon 28 of the IVth Council. It has made this assertion throughout the 20th and now 21st century which is not accepted by any of the non-Greek local churches.

    It was common knowledge that the Church of Russia exercised jurisdiction in North America, though not exclusively, dating from the beginning of the Russian mission in Alaska (1794), though a claim might predate even that if you calculated from the time the Russian Empire (a symphonic organism) exercised sovereignty in Alaska (1741), see http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/russians-settle-alaska

    Whatever the case, Constantinople founded an archdiocese here upon the demise of the Russian Empire. Subsequently, the Russian mission broke up into two parts, in communion from time to time, the Russian Church Abroad and the Metropolia. After its second unification (the first breakage being under Met. Platon) under the Russian Synod, the Metropolia broke away again in 1946 and applied to Moscow for autonomy, which was not granted. From then on, it operated in a sort of anomalous situation until 1970. One can appreciate the niceties involved from a very candid and coherent review by Fr. Alexander Schmemann, On the Canonical Problem: http://www.jacwell.org/Fall_Winter99/Fr_Schmemann_The_canonical_problem.htm

    ROCOR, of course, persevered in anticipation of the collapse of the atheist socialist project. In 1970, the Metropolia sought and obtained a tome of autocephaly from the Moscow Patriarchate. This was a very unusual tome in several respects which have been documented here and elsewhere ad nauseum. Suffice it to say that the MP did not grant jurisdiction over the presences of any other local churches on North American soil. Also, the MP was in communion with the Roman Catholic Church at that time, intercommunion taking place at the Russicum and elsewhere: https://orthodoxwiki.org/ROCOR_and_OCA

    So the situation is quite chaotic at this point with a jurisdictional presence of the Phanar, the “autocephalous OCA”, the Russian Church Abroad, the MP Patriarchal parishes, and a number of other local churches having dioceses or archdioceses here.

    Looking beyond the canonical technicalities to the perseverance of Sacred Tradition and orthopraxis in the bodies in question is probably a more worthy pursuit than trying to sort out who has a right to North America.

    One should not demand what one cannot take.

  16. In my life, I believe I have come across a total of 4 adult Syrians, two of which were Muslim.

    But I’ve met quite a few awkward white Antiochians

    For some reason, I feel like I’m at a “Little House On the Prairie” convention every time I visit one of those churches

    Im not saying the Antiochian church is altogether bad, but it seems poser to me – even if it’s canonical in its own right. A few Antiochian churches have done well with the chants, though

    From a cultural point of view, if you can choke down the constant Greek Zorba funny shoes and mustache business, the Greeks have a lot better positive connection culturally. Then again, the Greeks do not care about anyone but themselves, so no mission there. If you love Orthodoxy and Greek culture, its the place for you – but enjoy it while it lasts. The GOA is now at risk of imploding faster than you can say: Metropolitan Theophilus Skandalis

    OCA seem much more oriented towards missions. I like that. You will always find Russian Santa and Ned Flanders there. I dont know why. Those churches remind me of someone putting on a medieval fair, but not quite pulling it off right.

    Serbian church . . . Yeah I been there. Not sure what to make of it. The priest was nice. The vibe was kinda spooky

    I visited a ROCOR church once or twice. Props to ROCOR for use of the old calendar as well as the seminary in Jordanville. Plus, they seem fairhful to the authentic Orthodox tradition. However, I had no idea what those people were saying. Old Calendar? Yay!! Church Slavonic? Huh??

    Honestly i dont think we should just get by like refugees. The issues arent that hard, the attitudes are

    You gotta start with the right foundational structure to see the right results. Otherwise, you keep building so high, the whole thing will collapse

    So status quo until burn out apparently

    • Michael Bauman says:

      BJS, you are funny.

      • Oh yeah, I forgot

        So I visited Romanian church one time to venerate the hand of our Lord’s grandmother

        People kept huddling under the priests robes like soccer moms sharing a blue tarp on a rainy game day Saturday

        Halfway through vespers, I thought they were going to serve cocoa and orange slices

        At the end of service, I asked my very Greek Nuno how to get out of there. He looked at me blankly. I said, “Seriously, this place confuses me . . . I just want to know the exiting procedures”

        This happened when Obama was in town. That was the big news. Nobody from the city/culture had any clue that such a saint’s relic related to the bloodline of the risen Christ existed, let alone was in town and you could see it and venerate it. The comparison to me was somewhere within unbelievable, extremely comical and extremely sad and troubling

        I walked away from the church shaking my head for so many reasons. Good and bad

        It is said that the Orthodox Church is the best kept secret in America. I totally agree

        The Romanian Church in America also has the Gospel. Americans dont know about it – and I dont think the Romanians are contemplating spilling the beans outside of their 4 walls either

        We need an American Church. We need an American mission

        • Joseph Lipper says:

          I’ve observed that some of the most pious Catholics in America are Latino and Philipino. If the word was put out that the hand of St. Anna was in town, then it wouldn’t have suprised me in the least if you also told me that this Romanian church you visited was full of Latino and Philipino Catholics coming to venerate St. Anna. It’s a shame the word wasn’t put out.

    • Will Harrington says:

      Huh. My experience with Antiochian parishes has been just the opposite of what you described. Though, to be fair, they were well established parishes founded by immigrant communities.

  17. Check out your parish at Property Shark to see how many times it was remortgaged to fund your priest’s resort villas, hatched at Seminary Comedy Club. Priests make a hundred thousand, Protopresbyters 150, archdiocese department directors 200, Sextons 50. And they get “faith based” government grants for child, alcohol, drug and elder programs. Yet they still beg you to remortgage your home to fund them? When Frank Marangos stepped down from comms to run cathedral, he demanded Stepahnopoulos rectory because of the pay cut. As Paul made tents, clergy need day jobs not yiayialand. I’ve been a fly on the wall when priests get together and drunk often enough to know how little they believe. They view it all as an act, learning to tell each yiayia what she wants to hear even if they contradict themselves. After years avoiding slices from dueling finger wagging yiayias they dissociate into abuse.

  18. Martyr's Guilt says:

    Lakis Velotris says, “I’ve been a fly on the wall when priest get together and drunk often enough to know how little they believe.” Hopefully this will not become the new direction of type of people and posts that continuous scandalous stories, posts, and links will attract to Monomakhos. Uplifting stories of our faith will become boring, as sex and scandal attract the largest crowds. Monomakhos risks becoming another bitch and moan site for the many who have an axe to grind with clergy, that did not receive enough smiles agreement, and hugs. Scandal has always infected our clergy, that will never change, but this is the exception, not the norm. Lakis states he has been a fly on the wall, but we all know what flies are most attracted to. I pray Monomakhos will not become the TMZ of Orthodoxy.

  19. Greatly Saddened says:

    I feel the concept of tithing is something which the more immigrant and first generational churches seem have more difficulty understanding and grasping. Meaning membership versus stewardship. The old adage … time, talent and treasure in its true meaning! I do not mean any disrespect by this. I often think even though it isn’t true, they may feel switching from membership to stewardship has a greater downside.

    For stewardship to be successful, it is important for it to be explained properly. It is a mindset which for some may take some getting used to. To give freely from the heart, rather than being told how much to give.

    If one considers membership to a parish, along with all the other fund raising activities throughout the year, it can amount to quite a bit. Add to that the possible cost of church school, language school, scouting, youth events, dance lessons, various parish dances and other activities which are available at the parish level. Now add the annual festival, which in most parishes is their number one fund raising event, and the true cost of membership is much more. To think by giving more to one’s parish, the parish can depend less and less on the annual festival to be the end all … be all fund raiser. As times goes on and as stewardship increases, the need to count on the annual festival as the major contributor to the church’s bottom line decreases. Amazing what giving from the heart can do!

  20. Greatly Saddened says:

    An article appeared last Thursday in The National Herald’s sister Greek publication, “Ethnikos Kyrix” pertaining to the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    In the article, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, was asked numerous questions pertaining to the financial situation of the GOA.

    He was asked how much will the total estimated cost of Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero be. His response was between 47 and 80 million dollars. He was told the 30 or so million difference, is the budget of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for 6 years.

    In addition, he was asked why was the architect Santiago Calatrava hired when there were other architects willing to donate their services.

    The financial review of the archdiocese was supposed to be completed by the end of October. Here it is the end of November and still no report.

    He was also asked about the financial status of Holy Cross Theological Seminary. His response was there is no financial problem at the seminary. He also stated they have an 8 million dollar endowment fund.

    All in all, it seems he had few answers for the Holy Synod. I guess it’s a mystery where all this money has disappeared to and perhaps when the review is complete, the answers will be in the report!

    Once again, may God help us!

    • Yelizaveta says:

      Greek Orthodox Americans should aggressively check on Holy Cross’ endowment fund if it is truly $8 million. Other articles state this fund is supposed to be $20 million.

      • Greatly Saddened says:

        Yelizaveta … I too have read the same, that Holy Cross Theological Seminary’s Endowment Fund, is somewhere around 20 million dollars. I was just stating what His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios told the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarch at last week’s meeting.

  21. Greatly Saddened says:

    In today’s The National Herald’s sister Greek publication, “Ethnikos Kyrix,” there appears an article in reference to a fund raiser which was held this past Saturday, for Father Nicholas Kastanas. Former parish priest for nearly 28 years of Saint Athanasius the Great, in Arlington, Massachusetts.

    Originally, the gathering was to be held at the community center/hall at Saint Savvas Serbian Orthodox Church in Cambridge. The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston heard about it and allegedly called the church to request the hall not be rented out for this purpose. What a shameful act for the Metropolis of Boston to do. How unchristian is this and especially from a so called religious organization. What a terrible example to set for your fellow clergy and flock. No conscience and no shame! This man and priest is a shining example of what a true christian is and should be. Instead of condemning him, perhaps you should begin to emulate him. A reminder, bullying and fear by intimidation doesn’t work in the long run. Respect needs to be earned, not demanded!

    Instead the event was held at the Heritage Hall in Lexington, where 300 people attended. Unfortunately another 100 people who were waiting to get in were not allowed, due to fire code regulations.

    It fills my heart with joy to read the outpouring of love, respect and support this Christ centered person and priest is receiving. Not only from his former parishioners, but along with many others from outside his own parish.

    May God bless Father Kastanas’ former parishioners and supporters. Continue to stand up for what is just and right and show strength, fortitude and determination in all that you do!

  22. Greatly Saddened says:

    It seems priests are feeling the pressure from their parish general assemblies and are afraid by voting to hold back funds, it will be a bad reflection on them by their direct hierarch.

    Please see below excerpt from The National Herald pertaining to Saint Nicholas of Flushing, NY, and their priest, Father Paul Palesty, which is under the direct archdiocesan district.
    ***************
    Meanwhile, the main issue at the general assemblies in many parishes is the revealing articles of The National Herald about the “bankrupt” condition of the Archdiocese. They all seem to have a common proposal to stop sending monthly contributions to the Archdiocese and instead to deposit them in an escrow account until a detail financial report is given by professional independent auditors, preferably the forensic type.

    At the St. Nicholas parish in Flushing, it was decided that a letter should be sent to the Archdiocese requesting a detailed financial report as well as the dismissal of Fr. Baroody from his position as CFO. Also, a proposal was made to withhold to funds to the Archdiocese, but Fr. Paul Palestis stood up and made an appeal to the general assembly not to procced with that proposal, because he said “I would be placed in a very difficult position.” Thus, the members of the assembly, out of respect for Fr. Palestis, did not procced with that proposal, and for now will continue sending the funds to the Archdiocese.

    Also, a lengthy discussion took place on November 16 during the general assembly of the Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Chicago about the Archdiocese’s dire financial situation. They didn’t take any action to withhold the funds because there was no quorum, but they are going to have a special general assembly in the next few weeks.

    Many parish council members and presidents, as well as the many in the Greek-American community at large, are commenting about Archbishop Demetrios’ appointment of Metropolitan Alexios as the Presiding Hierarch for the Audit Committee.

    Also, extensive discussions are taking place in many parishes that the metropolitans and the Metropolises are totally unchecked in their finances and that the financial reports they provide at the local Clergy Laity Congress are really substandard and full of generalities.

  23. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from the Orthodox Stewards For Justice And Reconciliation blogspot, relating to Saturday’s event for Father Nicholas Kastanas.

    Neither Down Nor Out: The ‘Secret’ Glendi

    http://osjrnow.blogspot.com/2017/12/neither-down-nor-out-secret-glendi.html?m=1

  24. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today’s US News.

    An Increasingly Unorthodox World

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-12-06/orthodoxism-is-declining-in-the-overall-christian-population

  25. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today’s The Times of Israel. Along with two other articles from today’s Haaretz and The National Herald by the Associated Press.

    Heads of Jerusalem churches deliver last-minute plea to Trump

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/heads-of-jerusalem-churches-deliver-last-minute-plea-to-trump/

    Jerusalem’s Christian Leaders to Trump: Recognition Will Cause ‘Irreparable Damage’

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.827207?v=057C0FCD9039BBDBC52EF9620EA0DBD8

    Greek Orthodox, Catholic Leaders Decry Expected US Embassy Move

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/184015/greek-orthodox-catholic-leaders-decry-expected-us-embassy-move-jerusalem/

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Yeah, I’m not happy about this.

      • Martyr's Guilt says:

        Why not? Israel has every right to house it capital wherever it likes. To the victor goes the spoils, just ask Greeks, or Orthodox Christians who like to call Istanbul, Constantinople, even after over 500 years. Reality is a hard deal for some.

        America is Israel’s largest support and vice versa, in that hostile region, we should respect the Israeli capital, and where they house their Knesset. It is not in Tel Aviv. Trump made the right decision. Trump might dance with Saudi Princes and kings, swing swords, but he also respects that very tiny, but powerful pea of a nation state, Israel, in a the middle of of a orchard of hostile Muslims surrounding them. Remember, if they could, they would kill or remove all the Jews from the area, and sooner or later Christians. Please no history lessons, how great all religions got along, in Jerusalem, before Israel became a nation. Today’s Middle East, and Muslim is nothing what yesterday’s was. All non-Muslims have targets on our backs, and that is reality.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          The question of Israel’s capital is tertiary at best for me. I just hope it’s not a distraction from the Trumpist agenda.

          I admire Israel but we should not be under any illusions about it reliability as an ally. Google USS liberty

          • Martyr's Guilt says:

            George, USS Liberty was fifty years ago. Can you name a more reliable ally, than Israel, in the Middle East, Today? Tertiary? Then no one should care when Arabs/Muslims get all jihadi mad at us, right? To be clear, Israel is for Israel first, just as America, should be for America first. Too bad our politicians are for their pocket books first, before nation. I would bet you, Israeli politicians are ten times more patriotic than ours. So at the very least we know where their interests lie. With our politicians we never know!

            • George Michalopulos says:

              I’ll write about that atrocity another time. For now I’ll just say that sane nations (such as Israel) look out for their own interests and it’s naive for us to believe otherwise.

            • Joseph Lipper says:

              Martyr’s Guilt,

              The only reason that Arab/Muslims get all jihadi mad at us is because the US is the main source of Israeli power and protection. That’s it.

              Now, I’m not explicity against the state of Israel, but if it didn’t exist, then why would the US need a presence in the Middle East in the first place?

              All the wars that the US has fought in the Middle East have primarily served to protect the state of Israel.

              • Martyr's Guilt says:

                Joseph, Oil is the reason, for the treason. Of course I understand many in Orthodoxy, are more comfortable with Muslims, than Jews. Always found it odd that the people of Orthodoxy, favors the people of Islam, a religion born of Satan, more than the religion that our Christ was born from. If you really want to blame a group, blame the British, their fingerprints are everywhere, and last I checked, the Queens, and Kings, were always Christian. Truth be told, greed, power, wealth and murder is not monopolized by any religious group, we all have blood on our hands, just feels good to blame the “other”.

                • Martyr's Guilt says:

                  Yes all, I know about the Rothschilds, and their role in history, and even today. Today’s world is not yesterdays, it’s a brave new Google world. New bankers, new warlords are coming soon. Move over silver and gold, Bitcoin, and it’s ilk have arrived. Time to stock up, and read up. Soon our “smart phones” will not only be necessary, but mandatory, by law. They be our “papers” just like the old Nazi movies required at the new electronic checkpoints. Good luck all, and Lord have Mercy!

                • Joseph Lipper says:

                  Martyr’s Guilt,

                  It is estimated that the US produces 40% of it’s own crude oil needs, and the rest has primarily come from Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuala, and Nigeria.

                  The US doesn’t really need Middle Eastern oil. If the US really wanted to, they could find oil elsewhere, from other countries like Norway and Russia.

                  So why do we buy oil from Saudi Arabia, a country which has been a hotbed of crazy extreme Wahabi Islam and given us the likes of Osama Bin Laden? It’s called paying someone off. Saudi Arabia is paid off by the US, and it’s all about protecting the state of Israel. If the US didn’t pay them off with buying their oil, who knows what crazy jihadi stuff they would pull off?

                  The wars against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq were primarily benefit to both the state of Israel and also Saudi Arabia. Iraq was an enemy of both countries, and Iraq was only an enemy of the US because of our country’s overt support of the state of Israel. Regrettably, I don’t believe our country benefited in the least from either of these wars. Isn’t it interesting that the state of Israel and Saudi Arabia are now cooperating with each other against their other common enemy of Iran? This is despite the fact that Saudi Arabia, like all Muslim countries, does not support the existence of the state of Israel.

                  So why does the US continually protect and support the state of Israel, even when they continue time and time again to be condemned by UN security councils for gross violations of international law? The only answer that I can come up with is because of Evangelical Christians. They are the main US support base.

                  • Martyr's Guilt says:

                    Joseph, Other than sitting on underground oceans of black liquid gold, what great contributions has any modern Muslim controlled country given us. If Israel never existed, would Muslims be kind and gentle to non-Muslims? Would there be peace in The Middle East? Give me a break Joseph. When they were done killing each other,(Sunni/Shia) to control whatever is dear to them. Guess who’s next? Their ultimate goal is not a secret, simply read their Koran. They want us either converted, slaves, or dead. That’s why I would rather support a Jew over a Muslim any day.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      We’ll soon see what the US president has in mind for a Middle East peace agreement. It appears that he is working out an agreement with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the state of Israel. The present crisis regarding his inflammatory remarks about Jerusalem appear to be intentional and a negotiating tactic. He hasn’t laid out all his cards yet.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      That’s the thing that his critics don’t get: negotiation. The Art of the Deal.

              • …and the free flow of relatively cheap oil.

  26. Greatly Saddened says:

    Sadly, more bad news from today’s The National Herald, pertaining to Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero. Unfortunately the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    Construction Work on the Building of St. Nicholas Church WTC Stopped

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/184020/work-building-st-nicholas-church-wtc-stopped/

  27. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article posted today on OCL’s website.

    The Interfaith Marriage Challenge is Alive and Well by Rev. Fr. Charles Joanides

    http://ocl.org/interfaith-marriage-challenge-alive-well/

  28. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Wednesday, posted on OCL’s website.

    THE GOLDEN AGE OF LIGONIER AND OTHER MYTHS OF ORTHODOX UNITY IN AMERICA

    Source: Public Orthodoxy
    by Mark Arey

    http://ocl.org/golden-age-ligonier-myths-orthodox-unity-america/

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Of course Mark Arey would cherry pick Ligonier apart. Perhaps I’ll take it upon myself to deconstruct his self-serving Phanariote arguments against Ligonier, the OCA as well as his adherence to Canon 28 mythology. If anything, all such Greekist propagandists should display some humility given the current situation.

      In the meantime, y’all can do so as well.

    • The article deserves some credit and a sincere response:

      Source: Public Orthodoxy

      by Mark Arey

      As the last General Secretary of SCOBA (the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas) and the first Secretary (albeit for less than an hour) of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, I have always marveled at the ‘Golden Age’ syndrome around “Ligonier” of many Orthodox Christians when it comes to Orthodox unity in the Western Hemisphere.

      There is quite a bit of mythology being perpetuated in North American Orthodox circles which a number of us including the host of this blog and some of its occasional contributors have sought to dispel. But a large part of it is the canon 28 mythology of the Phanar.

      There are still many who believe that the Ligonier gathering in 1994 of most of the Orthodox Bishops in America (represented by SCOBA primates) was an inflection point for Orthodoxy in the New World, subsequently squashed by Mother Churches overseas. Let’s consider for a moment. SCOBA, founded by and presided over by the late Archbishop Iakovos, was never a complete representation of canonical Orthodox presence in America. In fact, it was never a formal component of the the international movement to prepare a Great and Holy Council which could regularize the canonical arrangements of the Diaspora communities. However, SCOBA did work in concert with the international process, guided by the local primates in North America (all of whom were located in the United States).

      That is certainly true; however, the only obstacle to Orthodox unity in North America of which most of us are aware is the reluctance of the Mother Churches to release their daughter jurisdictions in North America to take up the pcoject of forming a synod. The MP, even with all its faults and despite its enslavement to totalitarian atheists, nonetheless freed its “daughter” church, the Metropolia, to this end almost five decades ago. So it is most certainly not the Slavs who have been holding things up.

      However, as soon as the Metropolia was transformed into the OCA and there was no universal Orthodox acceptance of this action of the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), things became complicated.Besides Russia, all of the Churches that recognized the ‘autocephaly’ of the OCA were behind the Iron Curtain in 1970: Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Poland, and the Czech Lands and Slovakia (only recognized as autocephalous by Moscow until 1998). (The Serbian Orthodox Church does not recognize the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America, but does, however, recognize their canonical validity and their status as autonomous.) Additionally, neither the Georgian (as of the present day), Bulgarian, Serbian, or Russian Churches gave up their jurisdictional presence in North America. The MP did give up its seat on SCOBA by an internal arrangement with the OCA. However, when the MP formally asked to rejoin SCOBA officially in 2004, it was not until 2008 that this request was honored, because it was blocked by some of the members.

      I am not an official spokesman for ROCOR, and certainly not for the Moscow Patriarchate; however, Moscow has distanced itself from the drama of the Church in North America since its purported grant of autocephaly to the Metropolia. Essentially, it sought to wash its hands of the whole matter, though it may have made overtures to SCOBA in the last decade.

      What is often overlooked is that the MP is not exactly the same entity it was before the collapse of the Soviet Union. During that period, it was little more than a department of the Soviet government, staffed by its agents and collaborators, who did the bidding of the atheistic communist government. With the repudiation of atheistic communism by the Russian government and people, the Church was once again free to regain its stature and re-assume its responsibilities, which it has been gradually doing, especially since the reunification with the Russian Church Abroad which oversaw the Church of Russia during the communist enslavement.

      Though the ROCOR never agreed to recognize the autocephaly of the Metropolia, it accepts the situation as it is, maintaining communion with the OCA. Part of ROCOR’s agreement of reunification with the MP is that the MP has no authority to reorder ROCOR’s diocesan boundaries, so ROCOR remains detached and somewhat aloof from the shenanigans of American Orthodox maneuvering over the last few years.

      ROCOR did not join SCOBA at its commencement because the MP was a founding member. When it was reunited with the MP in May of 2007, at a SCOBA meeting it was announced that ‘ROCOR was now canonical.’ My first utterance ever at a SCOBA meeting was to remind all present that ROCOR had always been canonical, even if it had not been not in communion with most Orthodox Churches represented by SCOBA. The MP was represented on SCOBA by a Vicar Bishop of the Patriarch of Moscow who also represented ROCOR, even though the Carpatho-Russian, Ukrainian, and Albanian (two parishes!) jurisdictions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate were afforded their own seats. Nor did the OCA’s Bulgarian, Albanian, or Romanian Dioceses find a seat on SCOBA. The presence of the Jerusalem Patriarchate in the Western Hemisphere and its Palestinian communities throughout the decades was simply ignored. Moreover, the Antiochian Archdiocese claimed all Arabic-speaking Orthodox in the New World as its own, a position reified in the meetings of the SCOBA Study and Planning Commission, the very body that designed Ligonier.

      Yes, ROCOR was always canonical. That was never in question. The situation in North America, regrettably is uncanonical. But there is no immediate remedy apparent to this situation short of the Mother Churches releasing their dioceses to form a new American Synod. It is not rocket science. It will not happen because the Mother Churches do not wish it to happen due to both ethnocentric and financial considerations.

      Ligonier had 29 Bishops whose determinations were not revolutionary. In fact, they were in line with the Pre-Conciliar work being accomplished worldwide in preparation for the Great and Holy Council that finally occurred in Crete in 2016. The transformation from SCOBA (with only heads of select jurisdictions) to the Assembly of Bishops (with all active Bishops in the region and which further formed into distinct regions) was logical and in line with the worldwide movement to establish such Assemblies where no single autocephalous Church had sole territorial jurisdiction.

      SCOBA was never a synod, nor was the Assembly. These were just tools of the Phanar used to attempt managing American Orthodoxy. Whether that attempt has been a success or failure we can leave up to the Phanar to assess. Other local churches have more important pressing business to address. North America is not the center of the world.

      The current Assembly of Bishops has yet to develop a comprehensive plan for Orthodox jurisdictional unity in the United States, as was its mandate when it was created in 2009 (see hereand here). Its leadership has failed to corral individualistic agendas. For example, at one point, the Antiochians refused to participate due to an overseas jurisdictional dispute with Patriarchate of Jerusalem over Qatar. But what has Qatar to do with Chicago?

      Again, the one single solitary thing necessary for a local church to develop in North America is for the Mother Churches to release their bishops to sit and vote in an America synod. Until they do that, or until a sufficient number of North American bishops simply bolt and defect in favor of an American Church, the status quo will prevail. But the blame, if there is blame, lies solely with those Mother Churches who retain their jurisdictional claims here.

      The popular canard for years has been that it was the Greeks who opposed unity on the basis of their own ethnic fidelity. In truth, and I witnessed it myself, it was the Slavic patriarchal jurisdictions who voiced the greatest objections, whether from concern over newly emigrated populations, or over what is seen as the “liberal ecumenical” positions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Thanks be to God that the Assembly of Bishops does not include retired Bishops, for that would expose even worse difficulties! There are a host of canonically suspect actions, sanctioned by local synods of bishops, that are the very kind of thing the Assembly is meant to curb, by examining norms of governance and encouraging adherence to canonical discipline.

      An autonomous local church under Constantinople has been found unacceptable to many Orthodox in America because of the cosmopolitan anti-Traditional attitude evinced by the Phanar historically in the twentieth century and particularly at the Robber Council at Crete where they sought to include heterodox confessions under category of “church”, as in “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church”. This was unconscionable heterodoxy and an indication of what we might expect from a local autonomous church under the Phanar.

      The work of Orthodox Unity is not easy work, and it is made more difficult by false nostalgia and false narratives. Having a serious discussion on what it means to be the Orthodox Church in a pluralistic society like the United States means that the Hierarchs of the Church must put the pastoral needs of the flocks entrusted to them first, and find methods and means to work together for the common good of all in accordance with the tradition of the Church.

      Yes, by all means, let us hold to Sacred Tradition.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        What nonsense! The work of the church is easy! “My yoke is easy…”

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        The U.S. is currently a source of money, power, and influence in this world. That’s just the way it is. As long as there is something to be gained by being represented in the U.S., the Mother Churches have no reason to give this up.

        This is our cross to bear. If we are willing to accept that, then the yoke is easy and the burden is light. It is something to be thankful for that our country is helping Orthodox Churches around the globe.

  29. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article posted on the Public Orthodoxy website.

    IS IT TIME TO RELINQUISH LITURGICAL GREEK?
    by George Demacopoulos

    https://publicorthodoxy.org/2016/12/12/relinquishing-liturgical-greek/

  30. I completely agree with George D and add the following:

    1 Corinthians 14:9 Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.

    The need for change to a language people understand in the GOA is known and understood by all but because of feckless leadership it has not happened. Iakovos tried to make the change in the 70s but recanted. Without prophetic leadership, that is willing to make the change, the GOA will continue in a state of terminal decline. Furthermore , use of an unintelligible language continues to marginalize worship. Why go to church, or if I am going to go I will go late, is the thinking of many–I cant understand the service anyway.

    The language issue leads to a more fundamental question; Is the GOA the “Greek Community” or the “Body of Christ.” Motivations and goals of the 2 are radically different and cannot coexist. Is the function of the Church to live and promote the Gospel or to preserve Hellenism. Jesus put it this way, “You can not serve 2 masters because you will love one and hate other.”

    Prophetic, Christ-centered leadership is needed in the GOA if not the GOA will continue in its state of terminal decline. I understand there will be fallout over the change but in the long run the church will benefit. Some may migrate to Old Calendar Greek churches while others will attach to the Ephraim monasteries. Probably some parishes, for example Astoria, should remain Greek but 90% of the parishes should use an understandable language–exclusively.

  31. Greatly Saddened says:

    Johnkal … I couldn’t agree with you more … spot on!

  32. Greatly Saddened says:

    Time has finally come for the GOA to begin acting as a Christ centered religious institution that it is supposed to be, rather than a Hellenistic and public relations arm of Greece.

    Its primary responsibility should always be to live, preach and spread the word of Christ … the Gospel.

    Let’s look at the way Christ lived and how our hierarchs live. Are they following in His footsteps? He wore a tunic and sandals. No glitz and no glitter. No ornate vestments, no ornate miters, no ornate staffs, and no thrones. He was humble and lived as a common man. Unlike our hierarchs.

    To our hierarchs I say this, come down from your high and mighty pedestals and try living amongst the common folk. Perhaps by doing so, you may have a better understanding of and for your so called flock. Because at this point in time, you are really out of touch with us and have been for quite some time. Perhaps before making a specific decision or taking a specific action, it would be best to ask yourselves this one important question … “What would Christ do?” Try talking to us, rather than down at us. We are not your servants, nor are we subservient to you. We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord!

    Oh yes, and please remember this, fear by intimidation is short lived. Respect is something which is earned, not demanded. Bullying never has, nor will it ever be a leadership quality.

    • Greatly Saddened says:

      Please forgive me for omitting this from my above post. The same also applies to the treatment of your fellow clergy. Let us not forget, it is they who interact with laity on a daily basis and deserve hierarchy’s love and respect as well. They are the ones who make all the difference!

    • So true! I remember going to many church festivals where the picnic tables were adorned with silk tablecloths, fine china, several sets of shiny utensils–all for the visiting Metropolitan and his entourage to dine at. The rest of us saw it for what it was–a picnic where you eat a gyro with your hands, a napkin in the other! Plenty of glitz and glamour. and too little humility among the hierachs.

      • Were the elaborate settings a requirement of the hierarch or a respectful offering of the laity honoring the bishop?

  33. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today’s The National Herald. Unfortunately the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    Nothing seems to amaze me any longer. I’m sorry but when does this three ring circus end?

    Jerry Dimitriou to Receive $300,000 in Severance Pay
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos December 7, 2017

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/184215/jerry-dimitriou-receive-300000-severance-pay/

  34. Greatly Saddened says:

    I hope before reading this you are sitting down. In yesterday’s The National Herald, there appeared an article pertaining to Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and his wife Dian donating 250 million dollars to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

    Unfortunately both articles are locked and do not appear in their entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the articles in their entirety and if found, I will post.

    Dr. P. Roy Vagelos Talks to TNH about Columbia University Donation
    By Eleni Sakellis December 6, 2017

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/183905/dr-p-roy-vagelos-talks-tnh-columbia-university-donation/

    In today’s The National Herald, there appears an article by the below title.

    “Why Not Give to Our Community?”
    By TNH Staff December 7, 2017

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/184177/not-give-community/

    I hope they didn’t think Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and his wife should have donated some of that to the GOA, so as to help bail the GOA out of another financial mess!

  35. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today’s The Pappas Post.

    Opinion: Leakers or Whistleblowers of Archdiocese Financial Problems?
    written by Gregory Pappas
    December 8, 2017

    Please be sure to click on the red link in the body of the article to see the memo sent by the GOA’s Finance Committee Vice- Chairman, Mr. Lazaros Kircos, to several dozen members of the committee, warning them to keep their mouths shut on matters pertaining to the ongoing financial crisis at the archdiocese.

    http://www.pappaspost.com/opinion-leakers-whistleblowers-archdiocese-financial-problems/

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says:

      A cautionary note to you, “Greatly Saddened,” and others who read this blog:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/06/12/i-was-denied-communion-because-i-am-gay/?utm_term=.9d39df110bd3

      The homosexual Mr. Pappas’ disgraceful and vile public criticism of his parish priest, who was acting properly and in accordance with the canonical and moral tradition of Holy Orthodoxy, as well as Mr. Pappas’ admiration for and friendship with Arianna Huffington and his writings on the Huffington Post, raise questions, in my mind at least, as to his motives and purpose in highlighting the financial controversies in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

      • Estonian Slovak says:

        I THOUGHT that might be the same Pappas. He may just be out for blood with guns loaded. I’m not in love with the EP or the GOC. But that being said, let’s not be too quick to rejoice at anybody’s downfall. I remember years ago in a letter, a wise old bishop said that in times of schism, even the best parishioners are tempted.

      • Martyr's Guilt says:

        Father Alexander,
        I was beginning to believe I was the only one recognizing the hypocrisy. “The enemy, of my enemy, is my friend”, does not work in Orthodoxy. We must not ignore the source, of these peddlers of “Truth, and Virtue”. They are neither, and only promote humanism, and bait with scandal. We must correct, and forgive our leaders, not destroy them, and ourselves in the long run. Looking to these rags as our truth, because our leaders will not come forward quick enough for us is not the answer.

        Mr. Pappas, of The Pappas Post is no friend to Orthodox Christianity. That is well documented by his own articles, like the one you linked. The National Herald is notorious in their love to crucify clergy. Hellenism is their first love. How sad, and ironic that these two publications have become the judge and jury of Orthodoxy. Should we put our hope in Gregory Pappas, and Theodoros Kalmoukos as beacons of truth, meanwhile we look down upon our Bishops more and more? Is there NOT something wrong with this picture? Caution needed indeed, Father Alexander! This situation we find ourselves in, is a classic trick by the evil one to bring us all down.

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster,

        I hate to say it, but given all the competing jurisdictions we have in America, one has to wonder about the motives of many who report on the financial controversies of the Greek Archdiocese.

      • fair, but what is really going on at GOA; we still have no answers

  36. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find a statement which was issued today by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

    Report on Status of Archdiocesan Financial Situation

    https://www.goarch.org/-/report-on-status-of-archdiocesan-financial-situation

  37. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today’s The Pappas Post.

    Cleveland Parish Sends Defiant Letter to Archbishop Demetrios Regarding Archdiocese Finances
    written by Gregory Pappas
    December 8, 2017

    http://www.pappaspost.com/cleveland-parish-sends-defiant-letter-archbishop-demetrios-regarding-archdiocese-finances/

    • Martyr's Guilt says:

      Well here we go, the beginning of the end, if this fire spreads. We Greek Orthodox will do the devils work for him. A splintered church might survive but will not thrive, and this would overjoy the evil one. Nothing more ugly than the revenge of swindled Greeks, especially in a mob! Prepare for anarchy, false accusations, yet even tighter belts, and the curses of A. Nevins to come to fruition, if Christ like behavior does not occur, by both sides. The old Greek Andarte are smiling indeed!

      The Archbishop should have a televised video feed to all parishes, with Parish Presidents, and Priests, live in attendance, to ask questions, in a transparent meeting. We must forgive the trespasses of our leaders,fix past issues, and move on. Otherwise lawsuits, and stewards running out the door, never to return, will continue.

      Greatly Saddened, and George, carefully examine your need to help news feeds like The National Herald, and Pappas Post. Their intentions are not so virtuous, in the least. Mr. Pappas would no doubt, love to see gay marriage enter our church, and the boys at The National Herald would love to see Istanbul EP in complete control of our American Orthodox churches.

  38. Greatly Saddened says:

    In all due respect to Archpriest Webster and Martyr’s Guilt … Perhaps these two sites may very well have ulterior motives for posting these articles. Then again, I am pretty sure every news reporting site does to some extent. On the other hand, how else would we be finding out what has been happening? We certainly can’t depend, nor trust on hearing it from the GOA.

    I am one who expects the truth. Yes, none of us are perfect. Nor am I naive. Sooner or later, like it or not, the truth is bound to come out. Being the religious institution it professes to be, it should be all the more reason for it to be up front and honest. The over all trust of this institution has been extremely damaged, if not lost. God only knows when or even if it will ever be gained back again.

    Is it too much for laity to expect more from this supposedly so called Christ following institution? All we seem to hear are of all the cover ups, scandals, mismanagement, lack of accountability, transparency and so much more. To this point, I see nothing that seems to exemplify the followings or teachings of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Sorry, but this how I personally feel. They have in the past and continue to take the laity for fools. Not to mention, God forbid priests being able to express their honest feelings in fear of retribution from their immediate hierarch. Fear by intimidation is alive and well, along with bullying tactics. Talk about lack of leadership. I guess they seem to forget where they once were.

    Time is past due for the GOA to begin to be the religious institution it is supposed to be. Trust just like respect is earned. They need to learn to set the example for us the laity to follow. Talk the talk but also walk the walk. Not, do as I say but not as I do. They have and continue to be an embarrassment. To think, not even an apology. Where is the humility? We seem to have a religious institution which is filled with pompous, high and mighty egocentric people. Who don’t seem to feel we matter in the least. Sooner or later they should come to the realization, they should try practicing what they preach!

  39. Greatly Saddened says:

    Furthermore, speaking of ethics and morality. What is one to think when the GOA honors politicians who are pro abortion? Can you please explain to me what type of message that sends? Are we to just let that go by and forget about it? Talk about being inconsistent. The Archdiocese seems to sell their soul for whatever serves their purpose.

    In regard to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Let us not fool ourselves. There never was any doubt in the past, in the present, nor in the future, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has and will continue to have control over the GOA. Unless, the laity decides they have had enough and takes a stand. We certainly cannot count on our Hierarchs, the Archdiocesan Council, Leadership 100 and certainly not the Archons of Saint Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to do so. These clerics and lay people have a strict allegiance to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. So business as usual. The byzantine intrigue continues.

  40. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find a statement which was issued today by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

    Archdiocese Remains Committed to Rebuilding of Saint Nicholas and Continues the Fundraising Efforts

    https://www.goarch.org/-/archdiocese-remains-committed-to-rebuilding-of-saint-nicholas-and-continues-the-fundraising-efforts

  41. Greatly Saddened says:

    Notice, it seems we only hear from the GOA, after some other news source has already reported on the problem or situation. Rather than being proactive, they end up being reactive. That is certainly not dealing from a position of strength. Perhaps they should rethink their way of doing things.

    The downfall continues to spiral out of control with little, if any, hope in sight. I think the Archdiocese’s motto should be: “Show Me The Money” The question they should be asking is: “What would Christ do?”

  42. Greatly Saddened says:

    May I respectfully ask, what from these two news sources which report on the fiscal mismanagement of the GOA, along with many other events, are false?

    The alleged financial mismanagement of the supposedly restricted Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero fund?

    The alleged overall financial deficit of the GOA?

    The alleged financial mismanagement of the priests’ pension fund?

    The alleged $900,000 dollars, which has been
    reportedly paid to Mr. George Vouvourlias, over a ten year period to supposedly cover his travel expenses?

    The Archdiocese being informed by Parish Council members from Saint Spyridon of Washington Heights, pertaining to possible financial irregularities, while Father George Passias, was the parish priest there?

    The Father James Dokos fiasco, which was allegedly covered up by the Metropolis of Chicago?

    The alleged financial deficit at Holy Cross Theological Seminary?

    Mr. Jerry Dimitriou alleged hiring of a limousine for his visits to and from the Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero site?

    The possible payment of a reported $300,000 dollars in severance pay to Mr. Jerry Dimitriou?

    The large cost of running the Clergy-Laity Congresses at high end hotels every two years?

    The large cost of running the Archdiocesan meetings at a high end hotel, such as The Marriott Marquis?

    The lack of accountability and transparency from the Archdiocese and the Metropolises?

    These are just a few I have listed above which come to mind. I am sure if given some more time, I could come up with many others.

    The bottom line is, enough is enough. If the Archdiocese and the Metropolises were up front and honest, there would be no need for either The National Herald, nor The Pappas Post, to report on these unfortunate and extremely damaging events. Sadly, when it comes to the Archdiocese and the Metropolises, where there is smoke, unfortunately, there is sure to be fire as well! They and only they are to blame. No one else! If they did their job properly, in an honest, up front and professional manner, there would be no need to report these events by either of these news sources.

    • Martyr's Guilt says:

      With respect GS,This long list, is what it is. Mark my word, next year, the list will be just as long. The only difference, different names, churches, jurisdictions, and countries. You see brother, no matter how high the crown or forgive me, how low the class, there will always be scandals within all of Orthodoxy, just as we see in all other religions. Russia is not immune, just well hidden as well. Imagine in Russia they take time to photo shop pictures of MP wearing a $50,000 watch. Now imagine what lengths they might go to, to cover up real scandals. With Putin image is everything, and he will never let HIS Church every embarrass him or his country.

      Now until Mr. Pappas repents of his personal stories of mistreatment, and his wish to infect our church with homosexual acceptance, and until the boys at The National Herald write a scandalous story about the Archons, Leadership 100, or Pro-Hellenistic Parish Council members that destroy their parish priest’s reputations, then I will respect the reports from these vipers. The stories might have a great amount of truth, but it’s the details, and circumstances that are difficult to fully understand. How many of us have been falsely accused, or witness someone we know well falsely accused? Consider the differences, on the exact same story reported by CNN and Fox News. Polar opposite “truths” are routinely reported. Now I am not naive as well, many sinful mistakes were made, and must be corrected. Destroying reputations, and splintering our church is not the answer.

      Thank God we belong to a church that believes in repentance, and forgiveness. Many times we must correct our brothers and sisters. Quite often I hope they will correct us as well. Sometimes GS, we must repent, but most importantly we must also forgive. This cycle will never end my friend, until we breath, our last breathe. This is what being an Orthodox Christian is all about.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Interesting perspective MG. Your words regarding the agendas of the two journalists in question is not without merit. More so is your trenchant criticism of lay-inspired scandals against priests here in America.

        The point remains –or, more accurately–is revealed that what has obtained within the GOA over these years is corruption mainly because (in my view) the GOA itself was not built on a firm foundation. Nothing will eradicate this because we are talking about a spiritual rot, one that extends all the way back to the 1920s, when Meletius IV Metaxakis was elected Patriarch of Constantinople and created the GOA out of whole cloth.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        A lot of wisdom here MG. However, let’s lay off of the non-GOA churches for the moment, especially if they’re doing the Lord’s work. You and I may criticize Patriarch Kirill’s choice in watches but if that’s the worst thing that has happened in the ROC, then I’d say it’s pretty much smooth sailing.

        All I can say is I went to Russia (and plan to go again this summer) and –yes, it’s not perfect–but the piety I saw there and the ecclesial creativity that I saw is nothing less than astonishing.

        If we had 1/10th of that here among the Orthodox jurisdictions, America would be well on its way to becoming a predominantly Orthodox nation.

        • Martyr’s Guilt says:

          George I have nothing but respect for the Russian Orthodox laity in Russia. I have no doubt they are much more pious than the Greek Orthodox. The Russians appreciate what they now have, after nearly seventy years without. Personally I don’t care about the watch, it’s the cover up, that was odd. Our concern should be that Putin does not screw things up for the Russian Orthodox Church.

    • GS,

      I do not disagree with you, but Father Alexander’s caution still stands. Don’t be surprised if/when Pappas doesn’t stop at legitimate improprieties. For many of us he is like a character in the remake of an old movie.

  43. Greatly Saddened says:

    We can only hope and pray for the GOA to come clean and turn a new page in restoring honor, truth and trust back to this ill plagued religious institution. And this long term corruption comes to an end, once and for all. May God continue to bless us during these most difficult times. Lord have mercy.

  44. Greatly Saddened says:

    GS … on a more personal note, I would like to thank you so much for the Monomakhos blog. It affords us the chance to voice our personal thoughts and feelings with others on so many different topics. Please know, I for one am extremely greatful for the time and effort you put in to Monomakhos. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless you, my brother in Christ. Eis polla eti adelphe mou!

  45. Martyr's Guilt says:

    George,”…a spiritual rot, one that extends all the way back to the 1920s..” My friend this is OUR spiritual rot, but not all is so rotten. Even Judas, literally in the midst of Christ, couldn’t get it right. AHH George, wouldn’t it be nice, if we could turn back time? Adam? Eve? In fact, let’s go back in time, our own. Please indulge me, if you will.

    If we are not too old to remember, let’s go back to our childhood. Let’s say between 2 to 12 years old. We would look up to our parents as Gods. They would feed us, clothe us, love us,discipline us, and had all the answers to all our questions, and they were always right, at least, as far as we knew. Heck they even convinced us that if we left our tooth, under a pillow, a fairy god mother would come and leave us money. If we were really good, a fat, jolly old man dressed in red and white, riding a snow sled, would round the entire planet, and come down our chimney, even if we didn’t have one, and give presents to all the good little boys and girls.

    Well those two great lies we would forgive our parents, as we grew older, and as the world exposed us to the fact Santa, and fairy god mothers do not exist. We still saw our parents as giants, who could do no wrong, and always had our best interests at heart. No matter what, we knew they loved us, and would always had our backs, and forgive us no matter what we did.

    As we grew into young adults, we began to notice Mom and Dad were not perfect, and had many imperfections. In fact sometimes they were downright wrong, and quite sinful. In some cases they even divorced, but we did all we could to keep all sides respectful of each other, regardless how hurtful the situation was.
    Still if we were not completely ruined by their bad parenting, bad examples or in the case of many Greek children, not spoil little brats, that never grow up, most of us always loved, and forgave our parents, regardless of their many faults.

    Personally growing up as a child, when I entered into a church, I was always awestruck by the beauty, and majesty of the building. Always impressed by the royal looking robes of the priests, and thought the bishops some types of kings with their crowns, and the respect all in church had for them. They even had their own throne reserved only for them, when they would visit. They were holy men in our eyes, who could do no wrong.

    Now as jaded, and cynical adults, that we grow into, we see that these men, we had so much respect for growing up, are just that, men, with the same sinful nature as us. They are ordained by the sacrament of Holy Orders, our Bishops successors of the original Apostles. We hold them to a higher standard, as they should of themselves, as well. They are in a system, they did not create, but it is all they know. Fear of the unknown, to any change, freezes them from positive progress. Whether true or not, they are always open, and accused of everything under the moon by gossiping little grannies, and men who want to refract their own sins, by showcasing the sins of clergy. This cynical circle never ends, It’s our sinful nature, but as faithful Orthodox Christians we must attempt to at least try to respect, love, and forgive our clergy, and each other of for that matter. Unless we just want to remain perpetual spoiled little spiritual children.

  46. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today’s Hurriyet Daily News.

    Turkish ultranationalist group recites call to prayer, prays inside Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-ultranationalist-group-recites-call-to-prayer-prays-inside-istanbuls-hagia-sophia-123976

  47. Well, pray for all of them, Patriarch Bartholomew most especially!

    As the years pass, though I know that this one or that one is up to no good, yet I still appreciate on some level that they know not what they do. They are just too foolish to be trusted with such influence, yet that is where we are.

    And next to God, we are all fools.

    If Constantinople could not pull off its little project, the “Great and Holy Council of Crete”, let Putin and the MP try to herd the cats toward some holy purpose if they are able. One need not be opposed to the other. I’m not sure that there was actually one spoiler behind what happened at Crete. It seems as though it fell apart in progress with emanations from Antioch, Georgia and Russia coming out in spurts in reaction to the way the council was prepared. Antioch was in the process of looking at its own process for receiving converts, if you recall. Russia had just had a mutiny regarding the Joint Statement of Patriarch Kirill and the Pope. Somebody had to explain to the Georgians, in Georgian, what was afoot and evidently that didn’t go well since they bolted.

    Really, I see it as more like the Holy Spirit taking a look down, seeing a hot mess and withholding His involvement.

  48. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today’s The Toronto Sun.

    MANDEL: Greek Community of Toronto lawsuit claims unholy pilfering by Greek Orthodox church

    http://torontosun.com/news/local-news/mandel-greek-community-of-toronto-lawsuit-claims-unholy-pilfering-by-greek-orthodox-church

  49. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Thursday’s, The National Herald. Unfortunately the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety, and if found, I will post.

    Fr. Alexander Karloutsos is “Counting the Cost” of St. Nicholas Church

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/184680/fr-alexander-karloutsos-counting-cost-st-nicholas-church/

  50. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find another article from Thursday’s, The National Herald, in its entirety.

    AHEPA Expresses Disappointment about Saint Nicholas at World Trade Center

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/184749/ahepa-expresses-disappointment-saint-nicholas-world-trade-center/

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