About the Orthodox Times

There was kind of an interesting article in the Orthodox Times this week entitled, Crucial meeting to be held between Archbishop of America and Metropolis of Chicago clergy (dated 07/05/23).

I haven’t written about it because I’m not quite sure what to make of it.  But I can’t dismiss it, either.  So I’m just going to share with you my feelings/ideas and maybe one or more of you can fill in the blanks. 

It talks about the Charter saying, “the process for the revision of the Charter of the Archdiocese of America is in full swing . . . “

The Charter has been “in full swing” since it was dropped in 2003.  However, the last time the GOA filed anything with the IRS was 2019.  That’s 4 years ago.  The Pension Protection Act of 2006 added a new law that provides for automatic revocation of an organization’s tax-exempt status if it fails to file a required annual information return for 3 consecutive years.  Presumably that means the GOA has either lost or is in danger of losing their 501(c)3 status. 

 Annual Reporting Obligation to the IRS

(1) While 501(c)(3) public charities are exempt from federal income tax, the Internal Revenue Code requires most of these organizations to report certain information annually.

(2) This reporting requirement, fulfilled by completion of one of the Form 990 series of returns, verifies that the organization continues to qualify for exemption and informs the public about the organization’s programs and operations.

(3) The Pension Protection Act of 2006 added a new law that provides for automatic revocation of an organization’s tax-exempt status if it fails to file a required annual information return for three consecutive years. In June 2011, the IRS enforced this provision for the first time by publishing a list of approximately 275,000 organizations that lost their tax-exempt status for failing to meet their annual filing obligations for three consecutive taxable years.  

OT: “However, the revision process evolves at a time when – in an underhand manner – a strong tedency towards thr Autocephaly of the Archdiocese of America, has been manifested both by clergy but also by metropolitans with basically… financial and in no way religious arguments. No one overlooks the fact that the Archdiocese of America, with the help of the powerful Greek community, finances (in relation to the other dioceses) the (Ecumenical) Patriarchate in order to meet its multifaceted needs. “

Me:  Under hand(ed) means secretive or dishonest.  It looks like the GOA clergy and metropolitans (plural) may have been conspiring with respect to the Charter.  I know one of the obstacles has to do with the Metropolis system which the EP believes is inconsistent with the traditional canonical structure of an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  But I’m sensing there may also be proposed changes with respect to the ongoing support of the EP.  It doesn’t specifically call this out, but it’s mentioned.  I know at one point there was some discussion about the need to support the EP without being under the control of the EP, and I wonder if this is what is being alluded to here.        

OT: “But some have in mind the money, ignoring the national reasons that call for the strengthening of ties with the Phanar. The minimal weakening of ties, as ecclesiastical sources note, would affect the heart of Orthodoxy.”

Me:  This further suggests the GOA might be wanting to get out from under the control of the EP. 

OT: “In this context, those who from the beginning did not positively view the election of Archbishop Elpidophoros to the head of the Archdiocese of America continue their campaign of defamation and slander – with the help of a small number of ambitious expatriates but also of Greek diaspora media that no longer have much influence.”

Me: Defamation and slander are legal terms that don’t honestly apply here as Archbishop Elpidophoros is a public figure and people can say whatever they want about him.  The concerns about his ties to Turkey and the Turkish intelligence agencies, however, continue to surface in some circles, particularly since it became known that he also has ties with our own intelligence communities here in the U.S.    

I have also heard concerns with respect to whether or not formal charges will be brought against the EP over his involvement in Ukraine where purportedly money changed hands in an effort to undermine Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church.  If this turns out to be the case, the GOA would definitely want to separate from the EP, as they could be liable, too.       

OT: “They have been claiming that the Archbishop is “pro-Turkish” and develops relations with Turkish prominent figures in the US in order to serve his ambition to be a strong and powerful candidate for the succession of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. In this way, they overlook that Archbishop Elpidophoros is a genuine child of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, born and raised at the Phanar, and that he strictly adheres to his main course of action.”

Me: These accusations aren’t exactly baseless, as there are specific circumstances where his loyalty was legitimately called into question.  

OT: “He, therefore, seeks to strengthen ties with the Phanar – which was pointed out by the Ecumenical Patriarch himself when he visited the headquarters of the Archdiocese of America and stated that Archbishop Elpidophoros was “the best”. He, moreover, faithfully follows the orders of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and has put some matters higher on his agenda, such as the reopening of the Theological School of Chalki. As its abbot, he himself managed to make the matter known internationally. Another important matter he put on the agenda is the protection of the freedoms of our minority in Constantinople but also the restoration of Hagia Sophia to its previous status.”

Me: Not sure why he feels the need to sing the Archbishop’s praises unless it is because he has received so much criticism lately for bringing in Bishop Apostolos.  https://www.helleniscope.com/2023/07/06/a-new-low-bishop-apostolos-new-metropolitan-of-nj-his-unofficial-disturbing-biography/   

OT: “With this in mind, the Archbishop of America is expected to meet with clergy of the Metropolis of Chicago, as well as Metropolitan Nathaniel of Chicago, in the context of the meetings and the dialogue on the revision of the Charter. According to the Archdiocese of America, even those who support the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in the USA and attack the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew personally are listening to those who support the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in the USA. Thus, it is possible to be put on the agenda questions about the necessity of Autocephaly of the Archdiocese of America.

Me:  This is what I find of most interesting.  It appears as if the GOA has discussed autocephaly (with whom, I can’t say).  They may have discussed it with the Assembly of Canonical Bishops or with the OCA, which is the autocephalous Church in this country.  Or perhaps they are thinking the GOA can be it’s own autocephalous Church if they can get the EP to grant it.

If this is the case, it would create a schism in this country, rendering unity impossible.  You can only have one autocephalous Church in any region.  No one wants another Ukraine.     

So, these are my thoughts on this somewhat bizarre article in the Orthodox Times made worse by the language barrier.  Will be anxious to hear your thoughts.   https://orthodoxtimes.com/crucial-meeting-to-be-held-between-archbishop-of-america-and-metropolis-of-chicago-clergy/


  1. https://orthochristian.com/154660.html

    Here we go again. Belya Mk. II?

    • These are seriously bad decisions, right?

      • Johann Sebastian says

        Pretty soon Constantinople will be taking out ads on the back pages of the National Enquirer and on matchbook covers—“Become a priest by mail, no questions asked; send a money order for $9995 and self addressed stamped envelope.”

        • 🥸🤣🤣🤣 I needed a good laugh! Thx!

        • Whiskey Six says

          Isn’t that how met Philip did it? I met a deacon once God rest his soul, that said he was the pastor in charge of the AC equipment that when they mass converted was made a deacon. He said he had no business being made a deacon. Years later he went to seminary and transferred to another jurisdiction…

      • Why are they taking in so MANY deposed clerics? It’s like they’re on mission. Sure. In a one or two cases in a decades a synod can be wrong, but it’s like thee GOA is on a mission to create a home for people who have been deposed. These are men that are supposed to be beyond repute.

        I’m wondering if they’re trying to rebuild the GOA with bishops they can completely control. For now, the fugitives from the Church are huddled together under whatever flag they came from (Ukrainian, Albanian, Lithuanian) but is the plan to move them into the slots belonging to bishops who make noise?

        “OK, Chicago. Deposing your bishop because he’s getting in my way. I got this one for you (as he pulls one from the bottom of the deposed barrel).”

        We don’t always have good luck with foreign bishops in this country, but I have never seen a situation where a jurisdiction has gone out and looked for deposed clerics. At this point, it can’t be by accident.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail, I’m at a loss to offer anything different. As Stamatakis writes, Elpidophoros is scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to episcopal candidates. And why not? Compromised men are more easily controlled.

  2. I am wondering who writes the articles for the Orthodox Times? Every article is authored by “Newsroom.” I checked around the web a bit and this is what I think: The Orthodox Times is a site used to sway Orthodox Christians toward destroying Russian Orthodoxy. I clicked on all the categories provided by this new site. Not one article has an author? This news is jaded. It’s controlled by whomever controls the USA.

    *Note: Am I missing something? I found the About Section on the web but cannot find it in the Orthodox Times news site categories. As for Mr. Pyatt…well, do a search on the web and you will find his connections. Not nice.





    • I can answer that. In the beginning, we would get these stories from Romfea. To replace Romfea, our State Department created the Orthodox Times (in English), giving them a sizable grant to get started. It’s was supposed to be “true news” about the Ecumenical Patriarchate. What it turned out to be is watered down fluff pieces from the Patriarchate where you have to read between the lines.

      The OT staff often doesn’t know the languages (or the Church, really) where these stories happen so they have no context. To compensate, they will often carry over whole stories from Romfea using Google translation or something. This last piece was like that. They have no idea what “autocephaly” is or why it was such a loaded word in the context of the story.

      As you can see on the blog, Romfea is still out there. It would be a good idea to bookmark the site. https://www.romfea.gr/

      • Romfea is still a really good Orthodox source, thank God. Not sure how Orthodox Times became the English speaking version of Romfea (unless I’m wrong?)

        Romfea is still very much in the camp of Met. Onuphry.

        • It’s hard to get to the page, but Google: romfea state department grant orthochristian.com

          • Johann Sebastian says
            • Well, there you go! All the reason one needs not to take the OT too seriously. Thanks, Johann.

              • Johann Sebastian says

                I’d seen this page back in 2018/9 and wanted to reference it last year and earlier this year with all the anti-canonical UOC propaganda floating around in the media. Nowhere to be found. The OrthoChristian link helped a lot. Need to bookmark and screenshoot this before it ends up in the memory hole.

                The United States readily meddles in religious affairs, despite claiming otherwise.

                That begs another question: who needs a phony bishop when you can have a phony politician or diplomat—one who has barely even heard of the Orthodox Church—calling the shots?

        • This was the OT’s mission when they got started: The grant covered the period of October 1, 2018 to October 31, 2019, and was awarded “TO COUNTER ENTITIES SPREADING FAKE NEWS & MISGUIDING BELIEVERS IN ORTHODOX COMMUNITIES BY MONITORING MEDIA & EXPANDING REACH OF NEWS PORTAL ROMFEA.GR.


          Orthodox Times was initially known as Romfea News, as reflected in Ambassador Pyatt’s tweet.

          The funds were granted by the Department of State to the World Media Orthodox Network Private Company. According to Orthodox Times’ “About Us” page, “The Portal is owned by World Media Orthodox Network.”

          The administrative agency for the grant is the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the State Department, and falls under the category “19.878: EUR-OTHER,” whose “primary goal is to promote democratic and free market transitions in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, enabling them to overcome their past and become reliable, productive members of the Euro-Atlantic community of Western democracies.”

          The U.S. State Department has also been open about its support for Patriarch Bartholomew’s creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” and “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko personally thanked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the U.S.’s support in the creation of the OCU.

          Although the period of the grant ended on October 31, 2019, World Media Orthodox Network Private Company also has an entry on the government “System for Award Management” website showing that the company is registered from 6/14/2019 to 6/12/2020, with its purpose of registration listed as “Federal Assistance Awards Only.”

          As OrthoChristian was recently informed by the Orthodox Times editor, the site no longer has a connection to Romfea.


          Ambassador Pyatt is a well-known anti-Russian agitator. Having previously served as Ambassador to Ukraine, he was instrumental in organizing 2014’s Maidan revolution. As Ambassador to Greece, he has continued such activities, meeting with prominent figures in the Greek Orthodox world, including Patriarch Bartholomew several times, Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos), Abbot Ephraim of Vatopaidi Monastery on Mt. Athos, and Archbishop Ieronymos.

          He has been described as a “Russian hate figure,” and has openly accused the Russian Church of attempting to undermine the role of the Patriarch of Constantinople.


          I can’t get the link to work but this came from Orthochristian.com 12/17/19.

          • Thank you for putting things in order. The OT then, is controlled by State Department politics. The Phanar is controlled. The entire GOA is controlled. The more I read and learn the more I realize how wicked it all is. Thank you.

  3. Archbishop Elpidophoros is meeting with clergy in each of the metropolises to discuss the charter. Theodore Kalmoukos, in the National Herald, had a story about his recent meeting with the clergy of the Boston metropolis. Metropolitan Methodios introduced the archbishop and then signed off to allow the clergy to talk freely. Several priests were quoted and if their comments are generally indicative of the clergy in New England, and going forward in other areas of the US, the archbishop is going to have a very hard time going forward. And that’s not even getting into finances and parishes’ annual assessments.

    • Which is why bringing in deposed clerics worries me. He’ll just replace these bishops.

    • I met recently with a GOA priest I know, I can tell you the priests in the GOA are really struggling with what’s going on.

      Having said that, I think the clergy within the Metropolis of Atlanta, Denver and San Francisco are going to give Elpi a run for his money. He’s just appointed a Nathanial 2.0 to New Jersey so I can’t imagine that going over well with the AOB either.

      • We hear from them, too, and they truly are struggling. Their whole lives are tied up in the Church. They don’t have second jobs. (They didn’t think they’d need them.) Their wives are terrified because they can have large families to support. They took these roles at a time when they could trust their leadership. They can’t anymore.

      • Can you explain “Nathaniel 2.0?”

      • GOA Priest says

        Apostolos was around and serving as a hierarch long before Nathanael, so the 2.0 appellation is simply wrong. I guess the implication is that they are not both homosexuals. Honestly, what’s the point of speculating.

        None of the clergy of any Metropolis are going to give ELPI a “run for his money.” Get real.

        • So why can’t he get a charter off the ground?

          • GOA Priest says

            The charter is the purview of the EP. Full stop. [Dont mistake that statement for agreement or advocacy]

            Elpi can only do what the EP allows. He knows this. The clergy (and lay people) have no say whatsoever in any theoretical charter. Any apparent democratization is a ruse. Committees, websites, town halls, etc., are no more than a sleight of hand.

            There is a consistent misread of events by contributors who simply don’t have any inside knowledge and apparently a serious lack of creativity of thought.

            OT is a total irrelevancy, how many people on planet earth are reading OT? Do you really believe anyone who has decision making prerogatives cares one way or the other what they write?

            Helleniscope and the rest are also irrelevant. They get information wrong all the time, and mostly have no idea what they are talking about. Just read his recent “article” on Apostolos. Innuendos galor but not a smoking gun in sight. If Stamatakis had the goods, he would produce them. He doesn’t. [Do not read this as an endorsement for Apostolos, because it’s not]. He never has a smoking gun. He writes commentary. He is not an investigative reporter, which is what you need to get to the bottom of corruption. You need proof. Documents. Verifiable sources.
            This kind of reporting is worthless and only makes the reporter irrelevant: “… he was involved in a huge scandal – where he was caught in the act…” in the act of what? Huge to whom and for what reason? Come on. Get real. If he knows something and wants to protect the church from a criminal, why all the wink wink nod nod? Because he has heard gossip about the guy and has nothing more than gossip. Big deal.

            • OK, everything and everybody is irrelevant. Nobody knows anything. Thanks so much, BTW.

              Getting back to the point, you say, “The charter is the purview of the EP. Elpi can only do what the EP allows. The clergy (and lay people) have no say whatsoever in any theoretical charter.”

              If the EP has a charter (which he does) and no one can do anything about it, why isn’t it in place?

            • Fr, thank you for your answer. My instincts tell me that there is a nasty tug-of-war going between LP and Bart.

              As far as Helleniscope‘s insinuations against Apostolos, and as uncomfortable they are, they do reflect the “talk about town” that is au courant among the Greek-American community in the NYC area.

              • When it comes to lending credence to scuttlebutt, there appears to be a difference around here depending on the subject. If it’s about Met. Joseph, it is treated as unsubstantiated rumor. If it is about someone in the GOA, it is taken as the smoke that indicates a genuine fire.
                I am not disagreeing with the end assessments in either case. Just noting that there is a bit of a double standard on the blog.

                • Mr Ross, I see your point, but only up to a point.

                  This blog has been operating for over a decade now, and neither Gail nor I have heard any scuttlebutt against Met Joseph. Seriously. Admittedly we are not in the Antiochian jurisdiction but word inevitably seeps out, one way or the other. In fact, I find it hard to believe that had such shenanigans been going on, he wouldn’t have been elevated to the primacy.

                  That being said, I may be wrong.

                  However, the homosexual smoke that is emanating from certain precincts of Cpole are very hard to ignore. We’re not talking about one lone bishop here but several, and not just in one country, but more than a few.

                  Truth be told, I have been doing my dead-level best to not look too deeply (if at all) into these matters. Mainly because sexual sins are most unpleasant. Embezzlement and DS machinations however are another story. (I did it once a while back and have regretted it; if it’s a personal incident, I won’t do it again.) And yet, even those of us who choose to look the other way continue to be confronted with these scandals whether we like it or not.

                • GOA Priest says

                  M. Ross,

                  I agree there is a double standard. Such is life.

                  George, if you think the Sunflower is having a tug of war with the Sun, you are sadly mistaken.

                  I realize Helleniscope is “reporting” the gossip at large, but he has nothing to back them up. That’s my only point. Lots of people have heard that gossip. It’s been circulating since he was elevated to the episcopacy and anyone care who he was. It’s not news, not by a long shot. News would be, we now have proof the gossip is true or fake after years of speculation.

                  • Fr, I’d like to know what your opinion is about the failure of getting a Charter. This is an honest question, I mean no disrespect.

                    I must however come to Mr Stamatakis’ defense. He actually has evidence of shenanigans but because of the salacious nature of some of it, he has not seen fit to bring it forward. I realize that insinuation is not an ideal way to report the news but (let’s be honest), the mainstream media has peddled outright fabrications for years (e.g. Russian Collusion Hoax). Stamatakis on the other hand has had a better track record.

                    • GOA Priest says


                      First, if Stamatakis had anything to bring forward he would, but he doesn’t. Are you telling me he would withhold information of illegal and corrupt behavior by a hierarch of the Church, and thereby allow the Church, her flock and integrity to directly suffer at said hierarch’s hands? For puritanical sensibilities? George, that is ridiculous and you know it. He has nothing.

                      Second, I don’t understand what you mean, “failure to get a charter”? The current charter is in effect. There has been no change to the governance or structure of the GOA [for better or worse]. So I’m not sure what you are asking. Please clarify.

            • Art Samouris says

              I’ve been saying that the “charter” is not worth the paper on which it is written since it was suddenly revoked without explanation years ago. Elpi can fly around the country and have priests travel hundreds of miles to meet with him to listen to his sales pitch, but it means nothing. Bart controls everything. The laity are of no concern to them, just look at Elpi’s actions in the few years that he has been AB. The GOA keeps losing members to ROCOR, OCA, AOCNA, and others. I do not know how this will all play out. I found a humble parish priest, visit monasteries as often as possible. work on my repentance, pray for forgiveness, and try to ignore the day to day shenanigans of the hierarchs.

  4. Fr. Peter Andronache says

    Interesting to see the propaganda machine workong overtime.

    I was going to be at the meeting today, but a funeral came up. I can’t really say that I mind not being able to go.

  5. Michael Bauman says

    Psalm 46

  6. In the Know says

    This OT article is a ruse. The Archbishop is trying spin that he needs to revise the charter because of the autocephaly boogie man that is hiding in the shadows. That gives him ammunition at the Phanar to push his plans forward. In reality, there is very little talk about autocephaly anymore in the GOA. If he can get in the press that his actions are in the interest of the EP and those working against him are against the EP then he has more leverage.

    Don’t believe what OT writes because they are just a puppet of the Archbishop. Whatever they put out is in his interest.

    • You’re probably right.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I too, believe that “autocephaly” is over-sold in the Greek-American community. Truth be told, save for a few principled individuals (e.g. Helleniscope, OCL), most GOA laymen don’t understand the meaning of the word. If they did, they would realize that the OCA is in fact autocephalous already and as Gail has pointed out, you can’t have two autocephalous churches in one polity.

        My gut tells me that most GOA laymen believe that what is being peddled is autonomy, which they’ll accept if that means no more foreign bishops who are *ahem* compromised.

  7. I am reluctant to delve into a nest of vipers; however, has it occurred to anyone that Elpi may want autocephaly so as to surpass the CP? That may be the actual effect of GOARCH attaining autocephaly since the money is in America. Constantinople/Istanbul, deprived of its overseas possessions and no longer recognized by the largest Orthodox church on earth (the ROC) would be greatly diminished at the same time as Elpi’s power would be greatly enhanced. Would he even want to be CP after that?

    BTW: This is pure gold. Mark Sleboda on the New Atlas.

  8. Wayne Mathew Syvinski says

    George, churches and other religious organizations are exempt from filing Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (“information return”). If such an organization has unrelated business income, it must file Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return (and proxy tax under section 6033(e)).

    How I know: I was a parish treasurer and was responsible for filing the parish’s Form 990-T.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Syvinski, thank you for this clarification.

      If you don’t mind me asking you two questions:
      1. in an abeyance of any legal charter, do these rules still apply? and
      2. are the assets of the GOA in civil jeopardy?

  9. George Michalopulos says

    Well, looks like our friends the Fordhamites are fine with the persecution of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians:


  10. Speaking of fake news, FAUX news has gotten on the Rainbow Marxist bandwagon. Special thanks to Seraphim Hanisch over at the Duran for this incisive analysis: