The GOA: the Same Old Same Old

As I explain below, this is not a video I wanted to make. Being the goodhearted naif that I am, I always hold out hope for redemption, most probably because I’m in desperate need of it myself.

I however, am just one solitary soul. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese on the other hand, is an ecclesial institution and as such, affects Orthodoxy in America whether we like it or not.

Long story short: “I’m alright, Jack” is the operative phrase out of 79th Street. “Everything’s hunky-dory; move along now, nothing to see here,” etc, etc, etc. Nobody’s buying it but 79th Street doesn’t seem to care. Worse, the Phanar thinks that in getting rid of the Archbishop, this will all be forgotten. It’s called “riding out the storm.” In reality, all they will be doing is reaping the whirlwind.

*Sigh.* Guys, here’s some free advice, that and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee: throwing Jerry Dimitriou (the former Executive Administrator) under the bus ain’t gonna work. For one thing, he ain’t going quietly into that good night. Unless you can pin the diversion of several million dollars to him, you’re whistling past the graveyard. Where did these monies go? That is the question that needs to be answered –and will be–one way or the other.

Anyway, I received a thoughtful email from a concerned GOA parishioner who I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with over the years. If you’ll permit me, I’ll read it to you verbatim. His words are short and to the point. I don’t believe anybody could have said it better.

Comments

  1. Greatly Saddene says:

    George … like you and many others of Greek descent, we have continued to hold out hope for the GOA to come to its senses. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be in the cards, so to speak.

    As difficult as it must be for you to address this subject, I would like to thank you and the person who sent you the e-mail for continuing to bring attention to the serious matters involving the GOA.

    All we can do is hope and pray this will one day come to an end, once and for all! Thank you so much and God bless.

    • Also Greatly Saddened says:

      I’m a Greek American who left the GOA more than 25 years ago. Things seem to have gotten worse since then. Thankfully, I have found warm and spiritually fruitful homes in the non-Greek Orthodox jurisdictions in America. Archbishop Iakovos was always well-loved , but the focus of the church on Hellenism rather than on Christ was apparent to me back then as it is now. I cannot go to any “Greek festival” at any parish without cringing the moment I see the ferris wheels and the carousels — such a ghettoization of the faith.

      With the flagrant spiritual abuse now going on in the GOA — shaming parishioners who are asking for accountability…. it’s nauseating. St John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, St Nektarios, St Cosmas Aitolos, St Paisios of Mt Athos — all of these Greek-heritage saints would be enraged at the spiritual decadence of the modern GOA leadership.

      George wrote it best once before — the EP and the Greek state seem to view the GOA as nothing more than an ethnic-oriented political lobby to lobby for “Greek interests” (whatever that is) in Washington DC.

      I wonder if the Old Calendarist Greek Church in America (the Etna, Calif., folks) are paying attention to these matters? If I wished to worship Christ in a culturally Greek community, that’s where I would go ASAP.

      I feel for the many pious GOA priests and faithful — and I know there are many — who are “stuck” in the GOA and must deal with the current leadership. May God grant them strength and patience.

      • anonymus per Scorilo says:

        If I wished to worship Christ in a culturally Greek community, that’s where I would go ASAP.

        Except that those guys are schismatics who broke away from the Church, so it is not too clear whether by joining them you would be really worshiping Christ …

        • Estonian Szlovak says:

          Aren’t you Romanian? Didn’t your late Archbishop Valerian Trifa receive his episcopal consecration from the uncanonical Ukrainians in 1952 or ’53? When he and his diocese were accepted into the OCA(then the Russian Metropolia) in 1960, wasn’t he re-ordained to every rank at that time? I’m sure Bishop Tikhon will back me up on this statement. I would love to know what then occurred with all the priests and deacons that Bishop Valerian ordained up until the Metropolia received him in 1960.

          • anonymus per Scorilo says:

            – yes
            – yes
            – yes
            – I do not know how many priests and deacons he ordained, there was a large number of priests fleeing communist Romania, so the need was not too great.

            This being said, it is a bit disingenuous to compare the state of schism of the Romanian Episcopate in the 50’s (or the ROCOR, or the Ukrainians that are now under Constantinople, or the Macedonian nowadays) which were caused by communism, with the schisms of the old-calendar true-true-true-holy-holy-holy guys which are more often than not caused by human pride, thirst for becoming a bishop, and desire to mask predatory and abusive behavior from the hierarchy. I am pretty sure Bishop Tikhon can give you plenty of examples of the latter 🙁

            • Estonian Szlovak says:

              First of all, I believe the Metropolia was in schism from ROCOR. But that aside, how many people are aware that in the 50′ s extending for maybe 10 years, the Metropolia had it’s own Old Calendar Greeks? That’s right, there was the Priestmonk Petros Astyfides, who was accepted into the Metropolia and made Administrator of Greek Old Calendar parishes with the rank of Archimandrite. They even gave him the miter, unknown in the Greek church. Later on, he switched to the MP exarchate here, and finally was illicitly consecrated bishop by two ROCOR bishops. I’m sure all the information about Fr. Petro’s being in the Metropolia is on file in Syosett. Unless, of course, they pull a Hillary and destroy the evidence. This proves that the then Metropolia interfered in Greek church affairs even before ROCOR did. I think we can see that the term “uncanonical” can mean whatever the EP or anybody else wants it to mean. When the talk turns to married bishops or the female deaconate, suddenly our modernists turn to the ancient church for precedents. When the talk turns to same-sex couples, suddenly we are told,” the church has yet to explore these uncharted waters”. Also, while I’m no canon lawyer, I’ve said a least five times here, how can we be certain that the Old Calendarists ate outside the church, while the EP seems to believe the Papacy to be inside it? Patriarch Bartholomew is not a pope, and as we know ,not even all the so-called canonical churches accept the Crete council.

  2. God is in control. Pray that His will be done. We cannot fix anything.

    • Also Greatly Saddened says:

      Lina,

      I think that we can be (and must be) responsible stewards of what God has entrusted to us.

      God calls us to be responsible stewards. What the GOA is telling its faithful to do is to be irresponsible stewards (“keep giving, nothing going on here, it’s not your concern, etc.”).

      God does not call us to close our eyes; He wants use to deal with reality. Indeed, God commands us to deal with reality, even if that is emotionally difficult.

      Much of what I have read amounts to spiritual abuse: Questioning the “faith” of the faithful if they demand accountability, telling them it is not their place to ask questions, telling a parishioner that if he only had faith he would not be bothered by these things. This is flagrant spiritual abuse, not to mention outright clericalism.

      It seems that the GOA is counting on an emotionally unhealthy flock who will simply take the spiritual abuse and continue giving but not demand accountability. They are probably looking for a very wealthy person who likes the spiritual abuse to bail them out! Count me out.

      • Greatly saddened. I agree with everything you said. But I have also learned that Jesus said “You don’t have because you don’t ask.” Most of the time we try to reason out situations. We do not rely on the power of God. There comes a time when reasoning doesn’t work. When all else fails, read the instruction manual applies to many situations.

        Maybe, just maybe God is bringing the system down. After all, He likes things decently and in order. And it is His Church. And yes, He seems to be raising up some people who are more interested in the Church being about Him than He is about the Church being the local Greek community center. And Greek festivals.

        Prayer is the greatest weapon we have.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Wise words, Lina.

        • Estonian Szlovak says:

          I don’t know how you can say God is bringing the system down. Nobody can bring the church down, if we accept Our Lord’s promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. We, the human element, are the defective part of His Church. Yet, He calls all men to salvation. The Saints have shown us we can all attain deification.
          That being said, I envy Greek Americans like George who grew up hearing the mother tongue. I realise that New Testament Greek is as divergent from Modern Greek as Church Slavonic is from Russian. If I had the holiness of St. Ephraim the Syrian, perhaps I could find a modern St. Basil who would bless me to speak Greek. I wasn’t fortunate enough to grow up with any mother tongue. I added a few Slavic languages, plus the ability to get by slightly in a few Romance languages. If I wasn’t such a lazy prodigal, I might have actually learned those tongues, plus Greek.

        • Gail Sheppard says:

          Lina, maybe God is bringing the old system down through the works of these good people who are standing up to the higher echelon. Even Christ overthrew the tables of the moneychangers. If His actions weren’t meant to be instructive, I don’t think they would have been included in Scripture.

          We’re not supposed to just go along with the things we know are wrong. Church hierarchy and laity are mutually dependent; one cannot operate without the other. It’s our job to stand up when we have disagreements so they can be resolved. Does it get messy? Always. But it has to be done.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Indeed. If the Lord could use Cyrus the Great to conquer Babylon and thereby send the Jews back to Palestine, he can use anybody He wants in any manner He wants to do His will.

          • Estonian Szolvak says:

            Gail, the way you put it, I agree. Maybe God IS allowing the system’s corruption to be revealed. I respect the bishops, but they are NOT infallible. I remember one priest here posting that a person accepting Orthodoxy should accept WITHOUT QUESTION the instruction of the priest bringing him or her into the church. When you have blind papal obedience, that’s when you’re heading for trouble.

            • Gail Sheppard says:

              I’m not sure the role of the laity is properly understood. Perhaps this will help:

              “The role of the laity in Church governance and in teaching is an active role. . . The sacrament of Chrismation is nothing other than an ordination into the kingdom and the priesthood. All Christians offer the spiritual Sacrifice of the Eucharist. All are “consecrated” members of the people of God. . . the Head [ proistamenos in Greek] is not separated from the people, as a ‘priest’ is from the unconsecrated, but stands as the High Priest among priests. . . It is not the Apostolic succession but their presiding among “priestly” people, which makes them High Priests. . . it is only within the Church itself, and not over her that the ministries of the Spirit are possible: for the bishop to function as High Priest, Teacher and Governor, the people are essential just as he himself is essential for the people of God. The people take part in all three of the bishop’s different ministries by pronouncing “Amen” and their role is identical , essential, and active.”

              “The source of our ecclesiastical maladies, bringing with them a number of misunderstandings, is the loss of the consciousness of the Church as a living society within which the Holy Spirit dwells and acts, defining all ministries and proclaiming God’s will.”

              Understanding our role is essential to fulfilling it. We are not passive bystanders. I believe this is where George was going when he suggested that not all ideas need to come from them. We can be of help to our bishops when we “weigh in” . . . even on the Internet. I do believe they are listening.

              https://www.holy-trinity.org/ecclesiology/hierarchyandlaity.html

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Thank you Gail for these wise words. The Church is the people, laity and episcopate combined. One cannot subsist without the other. We each have our role to play.

                It’s rather serendipitous that you quoted Fr Meyendorff in your response. Lo and behold, Fr Alexander Webster responded today, also quoting Fr John.

                What further proof do we need to know that there are no coincidences in God’s Church, are there?

                • Billy Jack Sunday says:

                  George

                  A question, please?

                  Am I to understand that the laity has some type of authority in regards to church governance? The laity has some type of authority? If true, how so in any real application/situations?

                  I see a bit of an outline, but I might just be confused and I’m not sure how it works/would work practically speaking

                  Most parishioners I know seem more like subjects afraid to speak up in the slightest

                  Thanks

                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    Billy Jack, the best answer I could give would be to direct you to a comment which Gail published the other day. In it she quoted the late Fr John Meyendorff and when I read it, I said to myself, “that’s Orthodox ecclesiology 101”.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says:

                      George

                      Right, but if true, I was looking for examples of various applications

                      I was thinking that the laity should be involved with the selection of bishops for one example

                      I do see that the point made that clergy and laity essentially work together performing the same ministry, just at different levels and different degree of assignment. Is this essentially what is being said?

                      At any rate, what I am about to say some might misconstrue for promoting a form of congregationalism. I do not believe in that

                      I do believe that “Where the bishop is, there is the church.”

                      The first question is, therefore, where is the bishop?

                      If a bishop only has juristiction over his local diocese, where is he outside of It? He may extend outside of his juristiction, but his authority does not. The statement of, “where the bishop is, there is the church” is a matter of authority

                      America does have local bishops, who are recognized by all as bishops, but their true juristictional authority is not recognized by all – a contradiction

                      These are all the arguments I have heard made for years – but after reading some comments here and pondering them together with some other articles/comments Ive also read on this blog as well as other things I’ve learned to be true from other sources – this question came to me:

                      Who has more authority over a given region? The local laity or a foreign bishop?

                      And

                      If a foreign bishop has no authority over a region, but the local laity has some authority, what does this mean?

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Billy Jack, all interesting questions. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: “one city, one bishop; fifty states, fifty bishops”.

            • Gail Sheppard says:

              P.S. I was not directing my comments to Estonian Szolvak, as he clearly understands. I just don’t want the rest of us assuming we need a bishop’s permission to speak up when we know things are wrong. We already have permission, The Church gave it to us.

  3. Constaninos says:

    George,
    Wow! Excellent! You are speaking truth to power.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Constaninos, God already knows the truth. He is the Truth. How is it even possible to do what you claim George did?

      Every time I hear/see that phrase my head explodes.

      • Constaninos says:

        Dear Michael,
        You’re right. Thank you for the correction.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

        Because man does not and it must be preached to him. Otherwise, the great commission, and the truth of the Gospel, and all truth that flows from it will not be known.

        Great job George

        Peter A Papoutsis

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Preach the Gospel! Yes!. That is not speaking the truth to power. It is just speaking the truth with power.

  4. Photius Underwood says:

    The leaders of the GOA only care about transparency and accountability because the faithful knew about the real problems. They only care because we knew. Now with the wink of an eye and a wave of the GOA magic wand everything is ok.

    But are there any published words that apologize? If so where?
    Was anyone held accountable or does everyone keep the spoils of years of mismanagement?

    It was never really about the money it was about the leadership and culture of power at the GOA. The deeper part of the scandal is that GOA leaders want us to focus on the solution to this problem as an accounting issue when it is really a culture and character issue.

    If anything the latest round of press releases tell us nothing has changed. As my second cousin Frank likes to say “There is no right or wrong, not anymore….. there is only being in and being out!”

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Photius, when is the next season coming out? I can hardly wait to see how this all plays out (or goes down)!

      • Michael Bauman says:

        I think that Kevin Spacey is out. Why watch this mess?

        • George Michalopulos says:

          For the same reason people like to watch a train wreck. 🙂

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Shoot if I want to watch a train wreck I can root for the K.C. Royals next year and follow their off season gyrations called a “re-build”

            It does have drama: Will he or won’t he (Eric Hosmer coming back?). Will Scott Boras finally get his comeuppance or will he wring even more millions in overpayments by ball clubs that create contracts that loose value every year for the club. Three of K.C.s stars in the pennant years are his clients and almost all of his high profile free agents remain unsigned.

            Will K.C. fans endure another year .500 or less even if Hosmer comes back–continuing to show up at the “K” and pay $9 for popcorn, $15 a beer, etc., etc., etc. Will I wear my $30 Royals cap my wife bought for me when we attended a game in person last year? (Yea, probably. It is a great color.)

            Is Ned Yost really recovered from his near fatal fall from a deer stand in the off-season in which he broke his pelvis and almost bled to death? Will he be able to make trips to the mound this year at least one batter too late and bring in who? The HDH of the pennant years is long gone. Only one of the H’s is left and he is bereft with out his buddies D&H. Davis now in Denver and Holland still unsigned — yet another Scott Boras client.

            Will he and his new pitching coach be able to field a real pitching staff next year?

            Is Jake Junis a flash in the pan?

            Will Salvador Perez continue getting fat like Mama Cass reducing his capacity to throw out runners, or will he finally take one too many foul balls on his body and simply be a giant bruise? Will he ever see a pitch he does not want to swing at?

            Does Alex Gordon still own a bat?

            Will the team and fans recover from not having Rusty Kuntz as the first base coach, base running coach and out field coach? Probably the most popular person on the team other than Hosmer. Shoot, Rusty could have gotten Rocky Colovito to steal a base.

            The drama and the questions are endless just for one team. There is no obvious depravity, death, dismemberment or death (usually although all KC fans still miss Ace). What really goes on in the club house though? And it involves real people trying to excel at the best sport in the world.

            Two weeks: pitchers and catchers report. The starting bell for the 2018 season can almost be heard, an echo on the night breezes. Surely Spring cannot be far behind.

            • Constaninos says:

              Mr. Bauman,
              Keep your eyes on the Yankees this year.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                Growing up a Dodgers fan, the Yankees are of the devil and one’s eyes should be averted.

                • Constaninos says:

                  Hi Mr. Bauman,
                  That cracks me up. Now I understand the Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax references. For some crazy reason I was rooting for the Dodgers in last year’s World Series. Reggie Jackson’s three home runs in the sixth game of the World Series are pretty hard to beat. Also, Willie Stargell’s performance in the WS for the Pirates was awe inspiring. Personally, I like dynasties. Why don’t you like basketball?My all time favorite basketball player was the one and only Bill Russell -the greatest winner in team sports history. By the way, is there any truth to the rumor that there are no Yankees in heaven?

                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    I loved Bill Russell with out doubt the best pure basketball player ever. He totally changed the way basketball was played. But what they play in the pros these days is not basketball really. It is run down the court, jack up the ball as quickly as you can and hope the other team misses. If you try to go inside it is a legal mugging. Three or four steps is never a travel, etc.

                    Still, the success of Wichita State stand out Fred VanVleet with the Toronto Raptors is a boost. He was deemed too slow, too short, not a good enough finisher or shooter to make it in the NBA. He is generously listed at six feet tall. He made it to the NBA because of his performance in the summer league. I watched one game there in which he was guarding a highly touted player who was about six inches taller than he was, probably quicker and more athletic.

                    VanVleet actually blocked his shot, grabbed the ball out of the air and tore down the court for an uncontested lay up ’cause the “hot property” was still trying to find his shorts. This year he has matured into a integral part of the rotation for the Raptors and is getting better as the season goes along. Contrary to expectation (go figure) he has become a really good NBA three point shooter and can finish in the trees when he has to. He has actually gotten better at that in the NBA than he was his last year in college. He will never be a starter or a star, but he will always be welcome on any team for which he plays. His back court mate at WSU, Ron Baker got injured this year and is progressing more slowly but will have a job in the NBA somewhere for many of the same reason, intelligent intensity and incredible court awareness. He, too, was considered too slow, too short and not quick enough to make it. Yet after his first year with the Knicks in which he was merely a part time player he signed a contract for 2 years and $8 million. One more year on that contract.

                    Both guys are character guys and make everyone else on the team better players.

                    Nevertheless, NBA basketball is a bit like opera. I admire the incredible skill the players have just as I admire the incredible voices and control of opera singers, but I can only watch a very small amount of either.

                    I like baseball because even the best fail most of the time and it is a real team sport that allows for transcendent individual accomplishments.

                    The best play Reggie Jackson ever made was against the Dodgers in the 1978 World Series. The Dodgers seemed to have the upper hand until one play happened. One out, Jackson on first, Thurman Munson on second. Blooper hit to shortstop that the Dodger shortstop, Bill Russell from Pittsburg, KS, drops in an effort to get an inning ending double play. He forces Jackson at second and throws to first trying to complete the double play. Jackson intentionally sticks his hip into the ball preventing the double play and allowing Munson to score. The whole series turned on that one play. The umpires should have called the batter out for Jackson’s interference and not allow Munson to score. That did not happen in part because Jackson sold the “what happened there” attitude so well and because it was the Yankee’s after all. The Dodgers were never really in it after that.

                    Of course that was also the series that the Dodgers kept blistering the ball down the third base line and Greg Nettles played like a Brooks Robinson clone–stopping every one of them on acrobatic plays. That was an amazing display that was much more important and noteworthy that Jackson’s home runs IMO.

                    I also love the ironic symmetry that occurs often in baseball. Last year an up and coming Tigers outfielder, Mikie Mahtook, bobbled a deep but relatively routine fly ball over the wall in left field in Tiger Stadium making it a home run. A few weeks later, the Royals were in Tiger Stadium and it was a close game. Mikie Mahtook comes up with men on base and two out and hits a ball to the same spot in left field in which he had misplayed the ball. Everybody thinks it is a home run except for Alex Gordon. He gets to the wall, times his jump perfectly and grabs the ball on the home run side of the fence and brings it back for an out. The Royals went on to win handily. Alex makes a habit of doing that.

                    Alex Gordon has several YouTube compilations out there about his defense. If you want to have some fun, look them up. He is so skilled at throwing out runners that even Bryon Buxton (fastest man in baseball) hesitates to run on him. His outfield assists have gone down precipitously the last few years because runners just do not try anymore. If he had ever learned to hit consistently even a little bit he would be sure fire hall of famer.

                    There is a section of the left field fence in Kaufman Stadium that, I am sure, has a permanent imprint of his face in it. He has run into that fence making catches so often. He actually practices hitting that fence so he does not hurt himself. He knows the angles of the way baseballs ricochet off the walls in every park he plays in. He takes routes to the ball that are near perfect every time (98% by Statcast). He gets great jumps on balls and knows how to position himself in every situation. As he dives for balls to catch them he blows bubbles with his bubble gum. He knows how to dive so that he does not jam an arm or and elbow. The only time he has been seriously hurt was when he ran into a fellow teammate going for a tough catch. Alex was gone for a couple of months, his team mate the whole season. Tough dude.

                    Three Yankees are in heaven (at least). Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra and Casey Stengal. The rest are in Monument Park while DiMaggio and Ruth are the Olympian gods the rest aspire to. The Yankees are the most successful sports franchise in sports history (across all sports). No other franchise is even comparable in any way. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. If they do manage to get Machado next year or Bryce Harper and have even a marginally effective pitching staff, it will be no fun watching American League baseball. The folks immortalized in Monument Park may start showing up to watch though.

                    Consider (In deep dulcet tones of great reverence)

                    Ray, people will come, Ray.
                    They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past.
                    “Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,” you’ll say. “It’s only twenty dollars per person.” They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it. For it is money they have and peace they lack.

                    And they’ll walk out to the bleachers, and sit in shirt-sleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game, and it’ll be as if they’d dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick, they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.

                    People will come, Ray.
                    People will come.

                    The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.
                    America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game — it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.

                    Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.

                    Baseball is a rural sport played, almost, outside of time. Football began as a sport of the elite colleges and certainly basketball is purely urban.

                    I do not like the probable introduction of a pitch clock in baseball. If they want to speed up play, they need to curtail the commercials and the players antics with their walkup songs and batting gloves as well as Manager/Coach visits to the mound.

                    • Constaninos says:

                      Beautiful. That must be from Field of Dreams. By the way, Shoeless Joe Jackson should be in the Hall of Fame.
                      You talk about Brooks Robinson, but you must admit Mike Schmidt was the greatest third baseman of all time. What baseball really needs is another .400 hitter. We haven’t had one since Ted Williams in 1941. I started watching a World Series game seven on youtube between the Dodgers and the Twins. Sandy Koufax the World Series MVP in that one. Also, I’ve been watching the home run derby series featuring Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, and Ernie Banks. Very interesting comments by the contestants.

                    • Archpriest Alexander Webster says:

                      Thank you, Michael, for posting the text of my favorite scene of my favorite baseball movie since I was a seven-year-old boy in 1958 and a die-hard New York Yankees fan. (I “converted” to the Boston Red Sox in 1967, about the same time I left the Roman Catholic Church in high school–that is, putting away “childish things.”) James Earl Jones as “Terrence Mann” (American writer, J.D. Salinger, in the novel on which the film was based–Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella) delivers what I am fond of calling a Shakespearean soliloquy that never fails to move me deeply as an American and a devotee of baseball.

                      Here is the actual scene, particularly for those who have no idea what we are talking about:

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SB16il97yw

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      A great movie, Fr. Thanks for the clip.

            • Gail Sheppard says:

              I knew Danny White and Bump Wills and Reggie Jackson asked me out a few times (I said no). Does that count? Maybe I should just sit out this conversation because that’s pretty much all I can contribute! LOL

  5. Photius Underwood says:

    With the leadership 100 meeting going on now you know why they needed that hasty press release. Cousin Frank would have made a great GOA Bishop but I did not see his list on the names of eligible candidates 79th street sent out. After all what is the difference between this stuff and the typical day in the GOA.

  6. Jim of Olym says:

    Our Lord Jesus started His Church with just 12 Apostles, and the one who carried the purse was the one who betrayed Him. Should tell us something regarding the power of the purse.

  7. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find a comment which was posted on Monday, on OCL’s website.

    Under:
    Former Archdiocese Administrator Sends Explosive Letter to Archbishop of America
    BY WEBMASTER ON JANUARY 24, 2018 GOVERNANCE & UNITY NEWS, GOVERNANCE TOP STORIES

    Comment:

    DEAN G. POPPS, ESQ on JANUARY 29, 2018
    7:38 PM

    Fellow Victims:

    The inconvenient truth is: someone is lying. The Manhattan District Attorney needs to convene a grand jury to hear from all the actors under oath in this growing, messy scandal, and return indictments, if needed. The possibility of criminality cannot be overlooked after all of this.

    A larger problem going forward: there is no reserve” bench” from which to choose an authentic, well-trained, accountable, transparent, managerially competent, humble, American (not a slave to Greek foreign policy) hierarch and true servant-leader successor to the present regime.

    Unfortunately, it will be nearly impossible to find a suitable candidate anywhere from the ranks of Bishops and Metropolitans of America, Canada, Europe, Central and South America or Turkey. I don’t know if anyone from Asia or Australia can fill this position, but I have doubts that’s the case.

    The “Greek ‎ World” (Athens, Cyprus, Istanbul, and the worldwide Greek Orthodox hierachy) is now scared silly that we “Amerikanakia” have finally had enough with the abuse of money, authority, and foreign government interference (Greece and Turkey) to declare ourselves a Self-Governing American Church , as are Greece and Cyprus. It is so very overdue for us.

    Istanbul’s response to this mess will be, by the textbook Byzantine model, that is, to have the next very Greek archbishop here stuff everything “Greek”down our throats 24/7 to remind us that OXI Day, bouzoukia, March 25th, Greek Festivals, all Greek government political and economic issues, and 3 hour all Greek Divine Liturgies for ladies over 90 years of age are more important than vibrant, growing, thriving congregations of American Greek Orthodox English-speaking and evangelizing worshippers who are governed by American, not Greek Byzantine, values.

    We need to: Make the American Greek Orthodox Church Great Again! ‎GOGA!

    ————————————

    Two footnotes: First, the archdiocese press release (https://ocl.org/greek-archdiocese-committed-to-total-transparency-and-accountability/) boasts about bringing in “Kiwi Associates”‎ to review the payroll records, as if it’s now all “fixed” and, as if, the archdiocese is to be congratulated for transparency and accountability and hard working solutions. Kiwi is merely an outsource accounting firm, mostly to non-profits. This is no fix, it’s an admission that the enterprise had no internal/organic and legitimate bookeeping and accounting expertise after being in business for 90+ years and it needed emergency room accounting triage. So, this is similar to shutting the barn door well after the horses have escaped.

    Kiwi has now laid out all the red ink in the payroll. Okay, great. So, who in NYC is going to jail? Recall that the archdiocese’s own auditors gave them “management concern” letters at least 3 years in a row. So, which hierarch got fired? Which lay person has been sued for misappropriation of funds? Why hasn’t the archdiocesan council been asked to resign in shame by an enraged laity? Who owns this mess? It’s so like the archdiocesean princes to be taking bows over nothing. Perhaps, the archbishop will be awarded the Athenagoras Humanitarian Award by the Archons for being the real hero here. Tickets on sale now. Good grief!

    Second footnote: Jerry Demetriou’s letter to the archbishop references episodes where (my words to the effect follow) “Fr. Alex and I discussed‎ with you (the archbishop) the changes to St Nicholas and costs, the architect, blah blah blah”.

    Jerry thus seems to contradict an assertion by Fr. Alex in his prior letter to St. Nicholas donors (after the scandal broke) that , again, my approximate recollection of the words, “everyone knows that I (Fr. Alex) work only on the fundraising side not on the expense side”.

    Is Jerry asserting that Fr. Alex knew more about the “expense side” and thus informed the archbishop much earlier on? If that’s true, the archbishop has not been truthful about when he knew things were unraveling.

    To rephrase the late SEN Howard Baker Watergate question, “What did the president know and when did he know it?”

    That’s why we need a grand jury convened Our American Rule of Law and sensibilities, not a Byzantine hall of mirrors, must prevail.

  8. Lacounas Monias says:

    Teachers are worse. Lulurgas buttboys dominate outer borough councils and radio. Childless Greek aunts fondle toddler genitals like Patai’s Arabs. Abused yiayias don’t learn English, driving or computers. Children who see abuse at home, even when they are untouched, are drawn to abuse, gangs, drugs and terror. It’s in the culture.

  9. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from yesterday on OCL’s website.

    Grassroots Responses to the Financial Crisis within the GOA
    BY WEBMASTER ON JANUARY 31, 2018
    GOVERNANCE & UNITY ESSAYS, GOVERNANCE & UNITY NEWS, UNCATEGORIZED

    https://ocl.org/grassroots-responses-to-the-financial-crisis-within-the-goa/

  10. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on The Greek News Network website.

    Archdiocese Raided Funds for Senior Home, Youth Camp and Clergy Scholarships to Fund Operations
    By greeknews on February 1, 2018

    http://greeknewsnetwork.com/2018/02/archdiocese-raided-funds-senior-home-youth-camp-clergy-scholarships-fund-operations/

  11. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find another article from today on The Greek News Network website.

    Sexual Misconduct Swept Under the Rug?
    By greeknews on February 1, 2018

    http://greeknewsnetwork.com/2018/02/sexual-misconduct-swept-rug/

  12. Bam Bam Bigelow says:

    What is wrong with the leaders, not just in the Orthodox Church, but the Roman Catholic Church too? Why are they so inept, corrupt or both? I really don’t understand it.

  13. Greatly Saddened says:

    After reading these two articles from The Greek News Network above, I really don’t know what else to say anymore. These Hierarchs and appointed Archdiocesan Council should resign immediately. You have been negligent, dishonest and an embarrassment for a long time and don’t deserve the respect of the faithful.

    You are hypocrites and a total disgrace and care only about yourselves. Nothing is sacred to you other than the almighty dollar!

    Taking money from Camp Saint Paul, Saint Michael’s Home for the Aged and the Taylor Scholarship fund. How could you? Isn’t anything sacred to you? Crooks and phonies. You don’t deserve another penny. How dare you even associate yourselves with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Shame on all of you. Oh, that’s right, you have no shame!

    The recent comment of a Mr. Dean G. Popps, Esq, on OCL’s website from this past Monday said it best.

    “The inconvenient truth is: someone is lying. The Manhattan District Attorney needs to convene a grand jury to hear from all the actors under oath in this growing, messy scandal, and return indictments, if needed. The possibility of criminality cannot be overlooked after all of this.”

  14. 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.

    The Archdiocese Alleges Payroll Discrepancies Attributed to Jerry Dimitriou 
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos – February 3, 2018

    NEW YORK – A large number of attorneys are dealing with the issue of former Executive Director of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Jerry Dimitriou …

  15. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on The Pappas Post website.

    Former Archdiocese Finance Committee Chair Sends Stinging Letter to Archbishop Demetrios: Ultimately the Archbishop of America is Accountable
    written by Gregory Pappas February 3, 2018

    http://www.pappaspost.com/former-archdiocese-finance-committee-chair-sends-stinging-letter-archbishop-demetrios-ultimately-archbishop-america-accountable/

    • Greatly Saddened says:

      In fairness, after readng the above article and Mr. Vourvoulias’ letter to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, I must agree he brought up some valid points.

      First being, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios is responsible for the on going crisis at the Archdiocese. He may not like the truth, but it is so. You can’t seem to want to pass the buck when bad things happen and take credit only when good things happen. With the title comes the responsibility as well.

      In addition, if what Mr. Vourvoulias states is true, then shame on His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios for being negligent and not coming to Mr. Vourvoulias’ defense, or for that matter, anyone else.

      He goes on to say, “he finds it quite disappointing that baseless allegations of “profiting” from his position have been met only with silence by His Eminence and those leaders of the Church he had served faithfully for so long.”

      Unfortunately, it is times like these where one finds out the truth who their fellow council or committee members in actuality really are. Seems their position is much more important than speaking the truth!

      George Vourvoulias, who served as a volunteer for decades, was attacked in the press when it was revealed that he had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in reimbursements for travel.

      Vourvoulias, a businessman from Wisconsin, revealed in his letter that every single dollar has been accounted for and was approved not only for travel of the members of the committee, but for meetings and conferences that were held for the finance committee over the span of several years.

      He also goes on further to state, “he criticized the Archbishop for allowing rumors about these funds, and his service to the Church, to go undefended by an institution and an Archbishop that he served for decades.”

      It seems His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios prefers to avoid answering any questions. With the tragic crisis at hand, it is his responsibility to clear the name/s of those who may have been falsely accused. Staying silent just makes matters all the worse!

      The true test of an effective leader is how one reacts in times of difficulty. One who is willing to do the right thing, no matter what it takes. Especially during the most difficult of times.

      • Gail Sheppard says:

        GS, I’m sure attorneys are involved at this point and it would be impossible for me to guess where the money is coming from to pay them but is it possible that Archbishop Demetrios has been ordered not to defend George Vourvoulias? Could this account for his silence?

        • Greatly Saddened says:

          Gail … Yes, perhaps because of the advice of the Archdiocese’s attorneys, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios may have been instructed to remain silent.

          • Gail Sheppard says:

            I’m not excusing him, GS, but do you think it’s possible that those who rerouted all that money did so without his knowledge? If he were Metropolitan Philip I would say it wouldn’t be possible for even a penny to go anywhere he didn’t intend it to go, but Archbishop Demetrios is no Metropolitan Philip. If I were in the GOA right now, I would feel a lot better thinking my Archbishop wasn’t culpable. For what it’s worth, my gut tells me he isn’t. – Maybe he should have known. I can’t argue that point. But I don’t think he did.

            • Greatly Saddened says:

              Gail … In my heart, I would like to believe His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios may not have known the actual extent of the financial mess the Archdiocese was in.

              Having said that, he is the CEO and I can’t fathom he could be so naive or even oblivious. Ignorance is no excuse for not knowing what is happening in your own backyard, especially when you are the one in charge. You can’t delegate responsibility. I don’t mean to sound callous or rude. This has been something very difficult for me to deal with. My heart is full of pain and sorrow over the entire situation.

  16. Greatly Saddened says:

    How amazing is this. This supposedly holy and sacred religious Church institution seems to be imploding from within.

    The ship seems to be going down and as it does, they seem to be turning on each other in hope of saving themselves. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. This unfortunately is going to get extremely nasty and after all the dirty laundry is finally hung out to dry, we may finally get to the bottom of this and with that, the truth as well.

    And hopefully when the truth finally does come out, I hope the party or parties responsible are held liable to the fullest extent of the law.

    After all these lies, who knows what to believe anymore.

  17. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Friday on OCL’s website.

    St. Catherine’s Vision Survey for Orthodox Christian Faithful
    BY WEBMASTER ON FEBRUARY 2, 2018 ORTHODOX NEWS, ORTHODOX NEWS TOP STORIES

    https://ocl.org/st-catherines-vision-survey-for-orthodox-christian-faithful/

  18. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find a Letter to the Editor by Thomas Bletsas of Brooklyn, N.Y, which appears in today’s The National Herald.

    Letter to the Editor: America’s Archdiocese Can Take Lessons from Albania’s
    By TNH Staff February 4, 2018

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/189505/letter-editor-americas-archdiocese-can-take-lessons-albanias/

    • I doubt Mr Bletsas is very familiar with BP Elpidophoros. What criteria does he use to evaluate ELP’s ministry. Personally, I have not heard much him but that which I have heard is neutral. I guarantee you the primary criteria for the appointment of a new AB will be fidelity to the Patriarch. Bart wants a yes man. The GOA is in need of a Christ centered, humble servant that values evangelization and outreach. These are the qualities that make Anastasios successful in Albania. He refused to create, as he called them, Greek colonies within the Church. The GOA needs a prophetic leader not one who will try to re-Hellenize the Church as I believe Elpidophoros would, taking direction from the Patriarch. It is well known that Bart sent Demetrios to the seminary to speak about the need of keeping the Church Hellenic. However I do believe that Demetrios should reign. Yet, I don’t know a worthy and effective candidate is available. The GOA is in a state of terminal decline and prophetic leadership is needed.

  19. Greatly Saddened says:

    Just a reminder the Holy Eparchial Synod will be convening tomorrow, Monday, February 5th, in order to select the triprosopon for the election of the next metropolitan of Chicago.

    Let us hope and pray a well suited candidate is selected who is foremost, “Christ” centered, has the management and leadership skills, plus the humility needed to take on this extremely important position within the Archdiocese.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      GS, I hate to say this but “give it up”. The fix is in. The EP will get his corruptocrat and all will be as before. Except that the ship will continue to sink.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says:

        George

        You are right

        The EP will get his choice. Sad for you to say “Give it up” to ES. I know what you mean by it, but how about the people of the GOA stand up and refuse the appointment?

        Foreign bishops have no right to trump the needs and wishes of the local laity

        But as long as our American bishops keep bending over and the laity keep rolling over, we will continue to be slaves in a spiritual colonial plantation.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          BJ, I agree: things are never going to “get better” for the GOA until the laity stand up and say “OXI!” (NO!)

          GS, I’m sorry to poor cold water over your head because clearly you’re a good guy. Let’s see what L100 decided. Did they open up their pocket books one more time? Are they like the battered wife who takes in drunken, abusive husband for the eightieth time, because this time, he “means it”?

          Forgive me for the harshness of this critique –it’s not directed at you.

        • Estonian Szlovak says:

          I believe George was addressing GS. I’M ES. But since I have your attention, we have an American Orthodox Church. It’s called the OCA and George and I represent its more traditional wing.
          But I have some questions for you. Why are you always harping about ethnic foods like gyros or Slavic dishes? Are you in the church to save your soul or for culinary reasons? And what’s this bellyaching about traditional attire in church? Do you go to church to pray or to check out the ladies? I don’t want to see a woman’s butt busting out of her jeans when she bends to venerate an icon. Modest clothes for everyone would seem the rule. I like good looking women, but the church isn’t the place for them to show off their beauty. Also, the priest’s function is to serve God, not to appear handsome, do why the blubbering about beards, etc? Either the priest is married and therefore need not look for a wife, or he is a monk or celibate, in which case the same rule applies. But then, what do I know?

          • Billy Jack Sunday says:

            ES

            You are right, that was a typo. Sorry, I was clearly referencing GS

            I’ve stated emphatically and exclusively that the clothing issue was over fashion/style (as it appears a bit misplaced and could be perceived as quasi-cultic to many) in a gender neutral way and that it is NOT a modesty issue. Ive made it clear that modesty must be upheld at all times by all people. At no time did I make any sort of reference that you are accusing me of

            Although I may apply some wit, I always make it clear why I feel the way I do about certain issues. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read my comments

            I expect an apology. Consider that thoroughly as I have shown I’m pretty hard to offend and have never demanded for an apology on-line before

            • Estonian Szlovak says:

              Nor do you have to read what I post. No apologies will be given.

              • Billy Jack Sunday says:

                ES

                You obviously got some issues

                I suggest you attack me based on what I say, not what I never said or applied, and in fact, said to the contrary

                • Estonian Szlovak says:

                  Really? You have mocked people’s ethnicity, appearance, cuisine, you’ve taken up blog space with infantile postings. You along with another chronic poster, accused Fr. Seraphim Rose of heresy, but neither you nor he offered any evidence to back up your assertions. At least the other man admitted he had been a jerk and quit posting, or(as I suspect), is posting under another name, but has modified his approach.
                  If in fact, you have been falsely accused, you are in good company. Our Lord Himself and the saints were falsely accused. I suggest you are one of those who can dish it out, but not take it. I apologize not to you, but to George for taking up so much time on his blog. I’ve made mistakes in the past. I’ve paid a price for them. In fact, I continue to pay a price. I guess my spiritual father is right, I should stay away from sites such as this one.

                  • Billy Jack Sunday says:

                    E’S

                    I have no problem dealing with people’s various criticisms

                    I dont have a problem with people be insulting to me or having a real objection to what I say

                    The only thing I have a problem with is anyone who puts words in my mouth or takes the things I say and put them out of context. Dino had a habit of doing that. I had no problem with him being critical of me, insulting towards me or objecting to what I said. Only when he would take what I said out of context, misapply, or say that I said things that I had not – only then did I take issue

                    I suggest you stop trying to supervise my comments. There is only one editor of this blog and I can guarentee he already highly filters my comments

                    Now go back to your ping pong and disco dancing

                    • Estonian Szlovak says:

                      Don’t take the high ground with me, boy. You accused Fr. Seraphim Rose of heresy. Show evidence or shut up.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says:

                      E.S.

                      I just saw your last response. It had been buried

                      Once again you accuse me of something I did not say

                      I never accused Fr. Seraphim Rose of heresy. I only refuted the contemporary toll house theory, considering modern beliefs about it to be heretical. I expressed my opinion regarding it – that it is to be taken metaphorically concerning our spiritual struggle in this life, being strongest right up to the point of death. I say this for clarification, not to open up that discussion again

                      I had not referenced Fr. Seraphim in any of the points I made (Disco Party article of Aug 30, 2017). Michael Bauman and a few others were debating the value of the writings of Fr. Seraphim Rose with Cyprian. Why Michael Bauman began addressing me about Fr.Seraphim I have no idea. I said nothing of the man prior to that. In response, I merely stated to MB, “What’s your point? We all gotta dig Seraphim Rose? Cyprian is hardly alone in his objections to Rose’s books. Even Rose’s wiki page admits he’s a controversial figure.”

                      That was a fair statement which is pretty much neutral. I said no more about Fr Seraphim Rose, even though some others continued to mention him

                      I suggest you follow the threads more closely…

                  • Estonian,
                    You angry bro? Ask yourself why? Why go after Billy, when you know I am the one who began the dress and grooming debate? Why does your spiritual father tell you stay away from “sites,such as this one.” Just curious.

                    BTW Billy what’s wrong with ping pong and disco dancing, especially done at the same time? Guaranteed, to take the grumpy right out you!

  20. 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.

    Archbishop Demetrios Leaves Leadership 100 Conference 
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos – February 5, 2018

    MIAMI, FL – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Geron of America unexpectedly left the Leadership 100 conference in Miami, FL at 3pm on Friday, February 2 and returned to New York. …

  21. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article which has just been posted on The National Herald website. 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.

    Holy Eparchial Synod Selects Three-Person Ballot
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos February 5, 2018

    The Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese has selected the three-person ballot as follows: V. Rev. Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides, V. Rev. Archimandrite Timothy Bakakos, and V. Rev. Archimandrite Constantine Moralis.

  22. Greatly Saddened says:

    Rather interesting that the EP’s choice, Metropolitan Nikitas, doesn’t seem to have received any votes. Hard to believe, especially when it was Metropolitan Gerasimos who voted for him the last time. Perhaps Metropolitan Nikitas is being considered as a possible replacement for His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios.

    These three names seem to have come out of the blue. Perhaps this was meant to be an intentional embarrassment to the EP, since he nullified the last election. Who knows. I guess we may find out in due time. Welcome to the show that never seems to end!

  23. Greatly Saddened says:

    This has just been posted on The Pappas Post website.

    Fr. Nathanael Symeonides Tops List for Chicago Metropolis Vacancy
    written by Gregory Pappas February 5, 2018

    http://www.pappaspost.com/fr-nathanael-symeonides-tops-list-chicago-metropolis-vacancy/

  24. Greatly Saddened says:

    Unless there is a surprise from Istanbul, the top candidate who receives the most votes in the triprosopon here in the U.S., is usually ratified by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Again, quite obviously this wasn’t the case in the last election for the office of Metropolitan of Chicago. As it stands now, the newly elected Metropolitan of Chicago will be the Very Reverend Nathanael Symeonides. Prior to becoming Director of the Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, he was Pastor of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan, NY, and prior to that he was a Deacon to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios.

  25. Greatly Saddened says:

    I unfortunately made a mistake. Please accept my apology. The Very Reverend Nathanael Symeonides did not receive the most votes. It was in fact the Very Reverend Timothy Bakakos, pastor at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago who received the most votes, followed by the Very Reverend Nathanael Symeonides and the Very Reverend Constantine Moralis of Baltimore.

    As the article goes on to state:

    Although the Very Rev. Nathaniel Symeonides is the second name on the list, called a “triproposon” by the Church, or “list of three names,” it is widely believed that he will be the most likely choice, according to a source at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    “It is widely known in the Phanar that His All Holiness (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew) wants Fr. Nathaniel for this position,” according to an anonymous cleric in Istanbul who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Once again, please accept my apology for the error.

  26. Also Greatly Saddened says:

    George,

    I was in a fair amount of emotional pain last night and this morning. Christ is always there to strengthen me. His visage, his icon, the beauty of our faith brings such peace.

    I came across this quote from Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), the essence of which captures why I love our church so much:

    “Orthodoxy is the religion of beauty and freedom, the religion of love and light. Orthodoxy opens an enormous scope for spiritual creativity, for internal self-education, and most importantly for meeting with God. In Orthodoxy, no one should be stuffy, cramped, or uncomfortable. There must be a place for the scientist and the poet, for the artist, for the rich, for the poor, for the gifted, and for the lack of great talents, for the educated, and for the illiterate.”

    I offer this quote this morning for the spiritual enrichment of anyone who wants it. The world desperately needs Christ, the One whom anyone can deeply encounter through his Bride, our Church.

    Even with all the (good and bad) drama that is regularly posted here, thank you for maintaining this blog!

  27. Greatly Saddened says:

    Athanasios … believe me, I wish I could find uplifting things to post when it comes to the GOA. If and when there is, you can be sure I will post. Nothing would make me happier! God bless.

  28. Michael Bauman says:

    GS: God does not leave us bereft or without hope in any of our struggles. The Scriptures are filled with words and stories to constantly remind us of just the opposite.

    Just a couple: John 12:24; Romans 8:28;

    Our struggles are a part of the ongoing revelation of our Baptism–Romans 6:3.

    And your nom de guerre reminds me of one of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”

    I know my struggles drive me to repentance. May it be also for us all.

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