A Discredit to their Race

OK, time for the gloves to come off.  

In times past, I’ve tried to couch my criticisms of the Phanar.  I’ve overlooked the deficiencies of Alexandria.  I don’t like the inter-ethnic squabbling between Antioch and Jerusalem. 

I also know that things are more upbeat in Russia, Serbia, even Bulgaria but even here things aren’t always hunky-dory.  We don’t get to experience perfection this side of heaven. 

Still, Orthodoxy is the authentic Christian faith.  Don’t take my word for it, just look around you at the wreckage that is Protestantism and the train-wreck that is the papacy of Francis.  (I will say this about the sodomy scandal:  it’s irredeemable; it’s so pervasive and well-entrenched, you can’t know who the good guys are.)  Still, I don’t like to criticize, especially when we’ve dropped the ball everywhere else.

Yes, I know we appear paltry in comparison to our Western brothers.  The Vatican City is the pinnacle of Western architecture and Renaissance art.  On any given Sunday in America, there are more attendees in a dozen megachurches than there are in the three biggest Orthodox jurisdictions combined.  In Joel Osteen’s Jump for Jesus Roadshow in Houston, there are forty thousand people attending his “church” every Sunday.

In spite of all that, we are the Church of Christ.  Despite all our faults, foibles, and fumbles, I’m convinced of that.  

So how come we aren’t growing?  It’s not like we haven’t grown in the past or knew what works.  Even when we didn’t know what worked, the explosion of conversions in the latter decades of the twentieth century was impressive.  They came knocking even when we weren’t sure who was at the door.

So let me submit to you the reasons I think that we’ve hit a wall.  It’s really quite simple:  it’s because of patriarchs saying crazy stuff like this that pulls out the rug from us being evangelical:  https://orthodoxtimes.com/patriarch-of-alexandria-greek-greatness-will-never-be-eclipsed/

I guess Bartholomew doesn’t have the monopoly on slapping non-Greeks down.  Theodore of Alexandria has gone out of his way to give him a run for his money.  

I don’t want to spend any more time on their idiocies, they’ll get their reward in due time.  I want to concentrate instead on how such unfortunate attitudes derail evangelism.  On just a human level alone, how will you or I be able to look at another Christian in the eye, one who is a decent human being, and answer them when they say “I guess I’m not good enough”.  Folks, I’ve been there.  It grieves me to think good and honest people really believe that we think that about them.  

Not me, not ever again.  Not when Orthodox patriarchs pull stunts like this.

Just try to think for a moment how much this question must hurt a sincere inquirer who asks this.  One who knows that when he makes the switch, he risks possible estrangement from friends and family.  Especially when it comes from a person who tithes, who works in a soup kitchen, who prays incessantly or who has donated to the local denominational hospital?  Compare their ministry, what they do for Christ, and their love for Jesus, to ours.  We have food festivals.  That’s about it.  

And that’s just on a personal level.  What about the nuts and bolts when it comes to the Faith?  

We used to be able to tell Protestants that we didn’t have a Pope, that there was no supremacy, only primacy.  And that was why things moved at a glacial pace in our Church.  Because we weren’t the Orthodox Church, we were the Orthodox Churches.  And that despite the fact that we had no central, controlling authority (a la the Vatican) our faith was the same throughout the world.  

As for our theology, it didn’t matter if a church was located was a tiny village in the Balkans or a Siberian settlement in Outer Mongolia.  From Africa to America, from Asia to Europe, the faith was the same.  And get this!  We allowed people to worship in their own language!  What differences existed in the rubrics were miniscule.  In fact, it had been this way for centuries.

If that’s not proof enough that Jesus is the Head of our Church, that the Holy Spirit is the divine Guide which ensures Orthodoxy, then nothing is.  

But now, two of our most venerable patriarchs have thrown sand in the gears of what it means to be Orthodox.  As far as Bartholomew is concerned, his bigotry is now out in the open.  In one instance, he’s dusted off an anachronist canon and reinterpreted it to mean he’s pope of all the “barbarians”.  That’s merely exhibit A.  For exhibit B, he uses words that are racially supremacist when it comes to the Slavs (and yet he condemns “ethnophyletism” when it suits him).  And then there’s exhibit C, when he trampled all over normative ecclesiology and invaded another local Church’s territory.

What he’s done in the Ukraine is egregious on several different levels.  The best comparison is a violent home invasion.  First, he went into another man’s house.  Then he took over the house and kicked out the homeowner.  Then he had his way with the man’s wife and terrorized his children.  As a consolation, he told the man that he could come back every now and then to see his kids.  That in a nutshell, is what happened in the Ukraine.

As for the Patriarch of Alexandria, you can read his sordid understanding of history for yourself.  I imagine it’s going to inflame the real Africans and it’s only a matter of time before they’re going to be making a beeline for Moscow.  Why not?  They’re not stupid and they know a bigot when they see one.  

There’s no recovery from this folks.  None.  At least for the foreseeable future, evangelism is dead in the water.   (Don’t even get me started on Ligonier!  That was the beginning of the end here in America.)

Now, I realize that what I’ve written is harsh.  I don’t like to be harsh.  Really.  (Ask Gail, she thinks I pull my punches way more often than I should.)  I really don’t want to be in the position of criticizing the bishops of two of our most ancient patriarchates in such a harsh fashion.  Capiche?  Really, I’d rather not have to.

But what other choice do I have?  Especially when we’re gob-smacked right in the face with such deplorable ethnic supremacy ?  I’ve turned the other cheek many times.  So has everybody else.  But there comes a time when even a battered wife can’t take it anymore.  There’s only so many times she’s going to wear sunglasses to hide the black eye or tell people that “she fell down the stairs”.  Eventually, she’s going to go all Martina McBride and act out the words to “Independence Day”.  

There is no way to sugarcoat these most unfortunate words.  None.  

I began this on a sorry note, why I think that these unfortunate comments are deleterious to evangelism.  I still think so.  If the Lord tarries, it’ll be decades before we can put these sorry antics behind us and treat them like the embarrassment that they are.  And if He tarries long enough, there’s no guarantee that any particular local Church will survive the gates of Hell.  Not without repentance.  Jesus’ guarantee wasn’t that every Church would survive but only the Church.  Big difference. 

I will now end on a more personal note.  Since these two patriarchs have brought up ethnic supremacy, I will address the elephant in the room.  I suppose you’re going to ask me:  “George, aren’t you Greek?  Aren’t you proud of your heritage?”

To which I will answer:  “Yes, indeed, I’m very much honored to be a Greek.  Unfortunately, I am ashamed that these people are Greek”.  

There, I’ve said it.  


  1. Antiochene Son says

    When I learned about the background of the “anathema” to ethnophyletism, I came to view it as just another Constantinople power play. It’s hardly the product of an ecumenical council meant to save souls.

    Ethnophyletism is only anathema when Bulgarians want their own independent church. But when the Greek Ethnos is held up as the pinnacle of humanity, it’s all good.

    The Africans and Palestinians need to take back their churches from Greek captivity, the way Antioch did. (The state of things in Jerusalem is sad too, as I understand it, Arabic language is prohibited on every level.)

    • People in some of Palestine spoke Aramaic into the 1970’s. Since Jesus and the apostles and early Judean/Palestinian Christians spoke Aramaic, it seems like it would be a good language for liturgies there. The Lebanese (Maronite Catholics), Assyrian Church of the East (Nestorians), and Syriac Orthodox Church (Monophysites?/Oriental Orthodox) use Aramaic language for their liturgy and IIRC, they belong to the “Syriac Rite”. Meanwhile, the Eastern Orthodox (Antiochians and Jerusalem Patriarchate) use the Byzantine Rite, so perhaps that would explain why they use Greek.

      • William Tighe says

        As an Antiochian Orthodox priest, a native-born son of Damascus, said in my hearing a couple of weeks ago to a group of largely non-Orthodox students visiting his church, “We were Greeks before we were Arabs.”

        • William,
          Syria has a very long history of both Aramaeans, Aramaic, and Hellenism and Greek language.
          To say that they were Greeks would be an oversimplification. I would be highly skeptical about a hypothesis that the Antiochian EO, OO, Maronite, and Nestorian churches in Syria split along strictly ethnic lines, one reason being that they all split at different times and have each quite different doctrines. For example, the Nestorians and OOs are rather opposites in their debates, yet they are both users of Aramaic liturgies.

        • William,
          Syria has a very long history of both Aramaeans, Aramaic, and Hellenism and Greek language.
          To say that they were Greeks would be an oversimplification. I would be highly skeptical about a hypothesis that the Antiochian EO, OO, Maronite, and Nestorian churches in Syria split along strictly ethnic lines, one reason being that they all split at different times and have each quite different doctrines. For example, the Nestorians and OOs are rather opposites in their debates, yet they are both users of Aramaic liturgies.
          (Note to the editor: just use my submission that doesn’t have my email for my website)

          • Antiochians have exactly zero connection to Antioch, that ended 800 years ago. Greek, Arab, whatever. Damascus is Arab but it makes American converts all googoo to use the older name. Patriarchates are orthodox pyramids.

            • I think Damascus is an older name than Antioch…

              • George Michalopulos says

                Damascus is the oldest continuously existing city on the planet.

                • If the Patriarchate of Antioch can move to Damascus, why can’t the Patriarchate of Constantinople not move to Greece?

                  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a good explanation for this.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    The second they pull the Ecumenical Patriarchy out of Istanbul and move it somewhere else, it ceases to exist. anywhere, including Greece, they lose the (ecumenical) throne. There would be no more EP. No more insanity about who he is because of what was but will never be again.

                    • I wonder if it’s possible that Istanbul might become part of Greece someday. I’ve heard other people talk about this.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Because they’d lose their patriarchal status, I don’t think they would.

                    • What perplexes me is how can such a little, tiny enclave like the Phanar ‘control’ world Orthodoxy? Heck, my home parish has more people attending Sunday liturgies than they do. Seriously!

                      But we all know the answer to that one, the U.S. and (what’s left of) NATO are the real powers behind Bartholomew.

                    • Maybe that would be for the best ?

                      Even as an RC, and even still as an Orthodox, I always figured Jerusalem should be the Mother Church.

                    • This is it precisely. Location, location, location. Incredibly silly, but true.

                      Yet if the Turks ever evict him we can be certain that we will quickly subjected to a different tune.

                    • The real function of the Ecumenical Patriarch is lost, long ago:
                      According to Canon 28 (4th Ecum.Council) his function (because of residing in the capital of the Ecumene) was to assist the visiting remote bishops who wanted ask help from the Head of State.
                      Now, where is the Capital of the current “Ecumene” ie “Housed World” of the Orthodox Christians. Certainly not in Turkey, let alone the non-capital Istanbul.
                      He was a mere coordinator among equal bishops. No Pope!

                    • Sounds like a great idea, then.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Then we’d start hearing “Russia, Russia, Russia” again.

                  • Could it be because Antioch is a pile of rubble ? Constantinople is still a viable city .

          • The major cities were Greek. Damascus was originally one of 10 Greek colonies mentioned as the Decapolis in the New Testament. Arabic eclipsed the Greek. But during the centuries of war many times the Empire recaptured areas under Muslim control. Many Antiochan Orthodox are actually those who converted back to Orthodoxy after initially converting to Islam and adopting Arabic. When they had to be re-evangelized obviously it was the Byzantine rite they converted to. Cyprus was the only place that successfully resisted arabization.

    • The council condemning ethnophyletism is just the first in a series of robber synods. The second being that 1922 congress and third being Crete council.

  2. We’re not growing?

    There’s been an explosion of converts in the past couple of years – especially during COVID – something confirmed by my own parish and the experience of many friends of mine in parishes across these United States. New missions are springing up all over the place – mostly the work of ROCOR and the OCA.

    All of that, despite these people.

    • This has been the experience of our community, too. We’ve had parishioners of GOA churches come to us as a temporary respite, in addition to seven or so families moving to be close to our parish due to the climate outside of the Church. We’ve also had a handful of local converts. Glory to God for these things!

      • We’re going through a re-alignment, I think. Many people are switching from the decaying GOA, or from dying mainline pseudo-Christianity, or from unfulfilling irreligion, and finding true spiritual solace and refuge in traditional Orthodoxy. . .

      • I can’t speak to fleeing Greeks but the others ring true for my parish. We are a suburban parish near a big city and it feels like an island of refuge

  3. anonsayswhat says

    “Because her brave lads, because the hearts of the Greeks know how to protect the Nation that our fathers handed down to us”, stressed the Alexandrian Primate…

    Didn’t he refuse to bless the waters, out of fear of the catching the rona? What intense bravery!

    I’m all for the celebrating of this day. It’s great for morale, but what is he doing? What Greece is he celebrating? The Greece that is literally conquered by globalists? Blah blah blah, Greece is great, blah blah – oops… it’s… it’s contagious…

    But seriously, his heart is not Greek. If it was, he would have been truly Orthodox first. He wouldn’t have supported the schism. He wouldn’t have bent the knee to Caesar. If you want to contrast with a bishop that loves his Greek/Cypriot heritage, the Greek language which he adores, yet places Orthodoxy first in his heart above all else, it would be Metropolitan Neofytos of Morphou, Cyprus.

  4. Quotes/lyrics that popped into my head:

    “Sunny came home with a vengeance.”

    “If you are Scotsmen, I’m ashamed to call myself one.”

  5. Happy Ohi Day, George! It slipped my mind.

  6. This was a bit of a Black Pill, but, I don’t think you are wrong unfortunately.

    – A glimmer of hope, here in America and abroad, is that ROCOR seems to be doing well, and probably individual parishes within certain jurisdictions are doing good as well.
    -The GOA continues to collapse and I highly doubt that will stop.

    As for Patriarchs Bartholomew and Theodor, they oversee extremely minute Greek flocks in their respective countries (don’t forget the majority of Eastern Orthodox in Turkey are in Hatay Province and under Antioch), and in Alexandria the majority (easily well over 95% of the laity is black African). All it takes is someone calling their bluff and that’s it. Their authority is what the rest of the Church and the canons says it is. I can say I’m the King of England all I want, it doesn’t make it so.

    If the Alexandrian Patriarch is trying to keep his native African flock under him, he is doing a piss poor job and things like this will just send the laity running into the arms of the Moscow Patriarchate. Bartholomew, Theodor, Ieronimos, with their attitudes and actions, I believe we are seeing in real time what it looks like to lose sacramental Grace and to let pride destroy you and everything around you. This is just my opinion though.

    Not all is lost or dark, but, if we’re to showcase that we’re the True Church, we are failing miserably, and the covid response hasn’t even been mentioned.

  7. Non-Orthodox but interested says

    There is another thing that Orthodox in America can do to evangelize. Talk about the many positive things that are really happening in Orthodox countries, like Greece, Romania, Georgia, Serbia, and most especially Russia and Ukraine.

    I am on social media. I quietly read American Orthodox people and bloggers. Much of the time all I see are complaints about how bad the Russian Orthodox Church is or how much it sucks. I see this particularly from Orthodox from OCA let alone the Greek Americans. Usually, Byzantine Catholics are only too happy to egg the bitchfests along. I see very little interest among American Orthodox in trying to understand why the Russians / Ukrainians of the Moscow Patriarchate do the things they do. They are not irrational devils, you know.

    To see the Russian side of things I have to use Google Translate to read websites like pravoslavie.ru, spzh.news, patriarchia.ru, monasterium.ru, news.church.ua and others. Reading these has been revelatory. So much that is beautiful and good is taking place in Russia and with the UOC-MP. Very little about it gets published in English. I have not seen a single article about the many monastic congresses that took place in Russia and Ukraine in recent years, testifying to the vitality of monasticism there. There is so little about living saints like Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev. Some Russian Orthodox websites have English-language versions but they are not able to translate everything.

    • I was baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church, moved to another city, visited a number of Orthodox Churches of various jurisdictions, and began attending an OCA parish. But after seeing the growing compromises with state sponsored fear narratives, I am now happily a member of ROCOR. As much as I liked the all English services and majority of American born converts at the OCA, I’ve found the ROCOR parishes providing more of a conservative traditional environment.

      For good updates from a Russian Orthodox perspective in English, I highly recommend https://russian-faith.com/ and https://orthochristian.com/

  8. “The very word ‘ecumenical’ means we are all together, all children of God. And He reminds us of that. He is their Pope Francis, you know it. And I love him.”
    Archbishop of New York Timothy Cardinal Dolan, at the door opening service of St. Nicholas in New York on Nov. 2nd.

    • “…He is their Pope Francis, you know it. And I love him.”

      It’s somewhat (I say that loosely bc Roman Catholic theology takes a backseat these days), that a Cardinal in Roman Catholicism clearly has no clue about Orthodox ecclesiology. Bartholomew carries no weight, probably zero at this point, outside of his patriarchate

    • Antiochene Son says

      He is their Pope Francis

      God preserve us!

  9. No flags and no national anthems in churches.

  10. The ultimate goal of ecumenists is to mix-up the faithful


    • Read “The Sorrowful Epistles” of Metropolitan St. Philaret the New Confessor of New York.

  11. In response to this national-socialist pride, I’d like to quote Luke 2:29-32 “Lord now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou has prepared, before the face of all people, a lighten the gentiles, and the glory, of Thy people Israel.” ISRAEL, THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IS ISRAEL, it is not merely a hellenic religion, or a religion that developed out of hellenism. It is the full Revelation of Christ given to the Prophets and Apostles of Israel. The Church Father’s were able to convert a multitude of nations in a matter of centuries because they understood themselves as Israelites over any other national or political identity. This allowed them to take Matthew 28:19 and make disciples of ALL NATIONS (within the known world at the time), not just jews or greeks, as the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:28-29. To put the ethnic culture of one Orthodox nation over any other is a denial of the full Catholicity of the Church of Christ, mocking the Charismatic inner quality of the religion of the Apostles. Frankly, whole grandstanding about the greatness of hellenism seems like a projection to cope over what happened in 1453. Byzantium is no more, Greek imperialism is dead, Phanar’s archons can larp as imperial patricians, GOARCH’s Bishops can larp as imperial governors. Theodore and Bartholomew can larp as Ceasar and Augustus. But the bottom line is the Greek Cultural and Military hedgmony that dominated the near east for so long is no more. And that same Hedgmony that’s dominated the Orthodox Church since the 11th century has been steadily fading since 1453. Our dear Patriarchs need to wake up and look around, 90% of the Orthodox Church today is non-Greeks. And no there isn’t gonna be a new (un)holy crusade issued by francis to overthrow Bartholomew’s turkish overlords, nor is there gonna be a new cold war declared by Washington to cripple his Russian rival. Because pope francis is no pope urban II, and Biden is no Harry Truman or Ronald Reagan. To summarize, Bartholomew can brag about being the imperator of the Queen of cities all he wants, but it’s only a matter of time before someone blurts out the emperor has no clothes.

  12. Orthodoxy has been shrinking since the 12th century. Yesterday there were more Orthodox than today. You cannot overcome demographics and a shrinking population. Likewise Christianity is shrinking and you cannot evangelize America because no one buys what the church is selling. Human secularism has taken control and compared to the newly arrived religions by Asian immigrants Christianity seems stale. Most of your grandkids will not be Christians, they even hate you, for adopting it. Christianity is nothing more than a neutered domesticated arm of modern secular western culture. Should of, Could of, would of , don’t torture yourselves over it. We are the last of the mohicans.

  13. Great video from Fr. Peter Heers:

    The People: Protectors of the Faith

    Very relevant for our times

  14. God bless you Mr. Michalopoylos. You have said perfectly beautifully. The “Pope” of the East, the Latest HERETIC of Constantinople has done the biggest harm to the Church(The Orthodox Church) since it was established by our Lord Jesus Christ. I call them the Antichrist because only antichrist could have done it. Unfortunately, the clowns the head now the Orthodox Churches of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Greece, are all traitors of our Faith, and follow the Clown of Constantinople blindfolded. May God help us all.

  15. Monomakhos got a shoutout over at the Orthodox Reflections blog:


    • Gail Sheppard says


    • Petros “https://orthodoxreflections.com/its-time-to-go/”

      I will have to check this site. I do not belong here because of my political views, perhaps Orthodox Reflections is less partisan.


  16. According to an Oxford University study, Greece, New Zealand, and Burma are the most restrictive places on COVID as of late November. There is a world chart map and you can check the restrictiveness over various periods.

  17. Greece is banning unvaccinated people from different public places even with a negative COVID test, but allowing them in churches with a negative test:
    Greece is the most restrictive places on COVID in the world.