A Way Out for the GOA?

Things continue to careen from bad to worse for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA). That being said, is there a way out for this jurisdiction? Curiously, Archbishop Demetrius Trakatellis may have let the cat out of the bag. The cat in question being a call for real American Orthodox unity and (possibly) independence.

Yours Truly was alerted to this by a comment made by Gail Sheppard, one of our more prolific contributors. If you all don’t mind (and I pray that she doesn’t), I’d like to reprint her comments in full (please pay especial attention to the words in boldface):

RE: “Sadly, the present Patriarch of Constantinople has set the example of behavior followed by our Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America.”

But they are now at cross purposes.

First there is what happened in Chicago.

Then the EP summons the Archbishop and immediately following that meeting, all hell breaks loose in the GOA. Stuff that could have come out at any point time (so many stories, so many people) comes out, all at once, after this particular meeting. It’s like someone unleashed a hailstorm. So what is so important to the EP that he is prepared to take down the GOA and probably the rest of us with it? I can think of only one thing. Our unity, on any level, would be his worst nightmare. We, along with ROCOR and Mount Athos, would most certainly block his move toward the RC.

And then there is this:

” . . the purpose of our coming together as members of our Episcopal Assembly of the United States is also our sacred duty as Hierarchs to organize and function according to the canonical norms and tradition that our Church Fathers wisely established throughout the centuries. It is our responsibility to walk according to the canonical prescriptions of our Church because these common ordinances help steer us and the faithful on the path to salvation. . . of course our discussions around this matter have not been easy over the years. We have not always agreed on how we ought to proceed with our internal organization and functioning. There have even been times when we thought that we have made important breakthroughs only to realize that we have far more work ahead of us than we ever could foresee. And while a consensus view of how Orthodoxy should be organized in the United States still evades us, we are most confident that by constantly investing our time and energy in the process, there will one day be enough room in our hearts to allow the Holy Spirit to lead to a spiritual and fruitful outcome. To this end, I offer special thanks to the Lord for the work of His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae, who, together with the members of the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning, continues to study and present to us possible ways to enhance the way we function and organize ourselves as an Orthodox Church.

Dear brothers, if we are not committed to getting our own house in order; if we cannot find more effective ways to preach the Holy Gospel; if we have difficulties being patient with each other, then, what image of Christ and His Church are we sharing with the world? How can we expect the world to take refuge in the Arc of Salvation—the Church—when the image of the Church that is often publicly portrayed is that of disharmony? . .

And all this will hopefully allow us, dear brothers, to ask ourselves whether we are part of the problem and if we are prepared to be part of the solution. Does our conduct help people find Christ when they look at us? Do we truly love one another or are we still allowing grudges and agendas of various forms to stand in our way to connect to each other? How can we help young men and women understand that leadership requires sacrifice and service if we are not prepared to serve and sacrifice for each other?”

If this isn’t a call to action by the Archbishop, I don’t know what is. There is so much dirt to go around. The EP could be planning to target the Antiochians next. He’s on a mission and if we don’t capitulate, he’ll mow us down. He did it to the GOA and he didn’t even flinch.

It’s time we get serious.

The question is why did I miss it?

Two reasons: 1) laziness on my part and 2) cynicism. Truth be told, I tend to skim over official dispatches from most institutions, whether they are secular or spiritual. My ADD kicks in after the first paragraph or two. The GOA especially has never failed to disappoint in this regard; if anything, they’ve perfected the art of anodyne language to a mind-numbing degree. The cynicism comes from the fact that for too long we here in America have been Charlie Brown while the Phanar has been Lucy. In other words, we’ve gone down this road before only to have the football always pulled out from under us just as we were about to kick it, invariably falling flat on our backs.

In retrospect –and with a careful reading–the words that the Archbishop spoke were in fact rather bold. They deserved much more consideration that I was willing to give them. The question however is not what did you or I hear but what the other bishops in attendance hear? Will the men who met in New Jersey last month hear these words in a way that will cause them to stand up and pay attention? If not, then we can only expect more decrepitude for yet another generation.

In fairness to the non-GOA bishops, they are not fools; some may take the tack that it’s better to be barely ruled by a tyrant thousands of miles away in the Old Country than to have to grovel before triumphalist Greek bishops who are in the next city (or worse, the same city). And let’s not be naive, the drumbeat for Demetrius’ resignation for quite some time now has come from The National Herald, which has taken him to task for not being “Hellenic” enough. In fact, I’d lay a hefty wager that most of the scandals related to the GOA have been leaked to the TNH from Phanariote sources.

If this campaign against the Archbishop succeeds, then it will be a pyrrhic victory. Like the Bourbons of France who during their brief restoration “neither learned nothing nor forgotten nothing”, the criterion for success for many of the Greek-American elite (especially on the east and west coasts) is how many photo-ops they can get with Tom Hanks. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is not evangelism by any stretch of the imagination and the well of possible conversions from local food festivals has pretty much run dry. I’d like to think that at least some of the bishops in the GOA have come to that realization as well.

Nor are many thoughtful Greek-America laymen without their concerns. Lest we forget, the Ecumenical Patriarch has already discombobulated the GOA twice now: first with the removal of Archbishop Iakovos Coucouzis in 1996 and again with the removal of his successor, Spyridon Pappas some three years later. In both instances, tumult was the result with stagnation and attrition its wake.

I know this may sound far-fetched. But history is full of examples of countries and institutions being disrupted and newly-formed in fairly rapid order. By way of example consider our own national founding. Few of our Founding Fathers wanted independence from the Mother Country; in December of 1775 Col George Washington gave the customary Christmas toast to the King of England wishing him long life. Within six months the Colonies were declaring independence calling that same king a malefactor of the most horrible sort. At the beginning of 1989, the Warsaw Pact was a mighty empire ruling the vast Eurasian expanse; by the end of the year ordinary Germans were taking sledgehammers to the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain melted within days.

Perhaps the time has come for clergy, hierarchy and laity alike to put aside their concerns and take a leap of faith. Let us pray that this may indeed be the case. Perhaps this time, Charlie Brown may actually get to kick the ball.

P.S. The graphic for this post comes from my recent trip to The Museum of the Ozarks (Ridgeville, Mo). It’s sentiment is poignant and to my mind, Orthodox. Hopefully, the men on the Episcopal Assembly will ponder on these words and take them to heart as well.


  1. Greatly Saddened says


    I couldn’t agree with you more and I would also like to commend Gail for her recent comments.

    Time has come for us here in the US, to stand up as “one” Orthodox Christian faith. Not as members, or stewards, of individual ethnic Orthodox churches.

    The Phanar, should be forward thinking and encourage unity between the individual ethnic Orthodox churches. Please correct me if I am mistaken. Wasn’t it then Metropolitan Spyridon of Italy, who was sent to the GOA’s Clergy-Laity Congress, as a representative of Patriarch Bartholomew? In his speech, I believe he spoke of unity here in the US, of the individual ethnic Orthodox churches. What has changed since then?

    The fact remains, these Metropolitans are even more loyal now to the Patriarch for making them Metropolitans of their own Metropolises. They sold their souls. The bottom line is, since their elevation, they answer to him rather than to the Archbishop. The Patriarch felt threatened by the Legonier meeting and decided to request the resignation of His Eminence of blessed memory, Archbishop Iakovos. Then proceeded to dismantle the then Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. As I have repeatedly stated, a move to divide and conquer. If anyone in their right mind thinks the Patriarch is looking after our well being here in the US, is sadly mistaken. Plain and simple, he needs us to fund his existence and is afraid if we become autonomous, he will lose funding.

    Since the changes to the Charter from I believe 2003, the voice of laity has been greatly diminished. The Patriarch did this for a reason and unfortunately not because of his undying love for us.

    May we wake up, speak out and take action before it is too late. God help us!

  2. George, wishful thinking. AB Demetrios will never lead the Orthodox churches into unity. Though a good scholar he is a feckless leader; he is no Iakovos. Demetrios is the master equivocator.

    Nor do I believe that Pat. Bartholomew will allow for a prophetic, decisive leader that would lead the GOA in the direction it should move. The GOA must move from a maintenance mode into a mission mode. The whole idea of “holding on to our own” does not work and is not God’s will for the Church. The Church was formed for the very purpose to “Go Forth.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      JK, you may be right: the EP will never allow such a charismatic leader to rise and lead us to canonical normality. But history has a way of throwing a wrench into the best laid plans of mice and men.

      Now all, please understand, I’m not holding my breath. But we should be open to God’s grace. I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to listening to certain people on this blog. Gail is one of them. Dr S and Michael Baumann are others. As well as Frs Harry, Alexander and other commentators too numerous to mention.

  3. Wishful thinking at best. However logical Archbishop Demetrios’ rhetoric may be, his words are not likely to be translated into meaningful action. More a conciliator than an activist, he was handpicked by the EP to lead the GOA during an earlier moment of administrative turmoil. His selection may have seemed logical at the time, but 20/20 hindsight suggests otherwise. Don’t bet on him adding fuel to the fire now as his leadership is undergoing scrutiny and the future of the GOA, itself, is pondered.

  4. ξεβράξ όλους, Θεός σκουπά, μεν δεν παραμυθέν:

  5. Gail Sheppard says

    Good job, George!

    Johnkal, you’re forgetting what God can do. If He can make a shepherd a king, or take a murderer and make him a Saint, He can take a “feckless” leader and turn him into someone who could spearhead this effort. The Archbishop may be repurposing himself as we speak.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you Gail. I think I can speak for all when I say hat we all thank you for your insights on this and other matters.

      Regarding this particular insight, you may have given us hope regarding the future of Orthodoxy here in America. In the meantime, if the majority of us reading this blog don’t live to see a truly territorial American Orthodox Church, at least we have each other. Mind you I don’t mean to imply that this blog is a para-church or anything like that but I feel a special kinship with each and every one of you. That helps me to overlook the folly that our bishops often engage in.

      In the meantime, I hope we all have our individual parishes to worship in or short of that, a monastery we can go to.

      Sursam cordam! (Lift up thy hearts!)

  6. Blue_Horseshoe says

    George: be of good cheer. The tide turned for Charlie Brown, and it’s slowly but surely turning for us too.


  7. Jerry Wilson says

    Sursum Corda!

  8. George Michalopulos says

    It’s clear that the “hailstorm” which Gail mentioned (excellent description) and which is directed against Arb Demetrius is orchestrated. No question, she hit the nail right on the head. The question is how is it orchestrated? How deep and how long has this orchestration been going on?

    Keep this figure in mind as you read what follows: $12 million.

    Two possibilities:

    1) there is real financial mismanagement which is acute in its chronology. Say around 5 years and which has accelerated for whatever reason. Or,

    2) this shortfall is due to chronic mismanagement. In other words a normal low six-figure shortfall that has accumulated over several years.

    The first is due to true misfeasance, criminal in intent. Things like embezzlement, paying hush-money to bishops’ lovers, etc. The second is due to customary mismanagement, things like normal cost-overruns and is not criminal in intent. The latter is what happens in most Orthodox parishes which have annual year-end appeals.

    Like these local parish appeals, the GOA has always relied on wealthy Archons to pony up five figures here and there to end the annual shortfall.

    Now this is where it gets interesting. Is it possible that the Phanar has been surreptitiously working with several of these Archons for a decade or so, asking them to not come to the aid of 79th St? Or to only give token amounts?

    If so, we’re talking about a controlled demolition of the Archdiocese.

    I know this sounds preposterous but let’s not forget on at least two different occasions, the Phanar actively tried to undermine the GOA: first when it unleashed Lambrianides at Holy Cross and then when it had some titular metropolitan write an open screed against Demetrius. In the first instance, the faculty of Holy Cross took Lambrianides to the woodshed and in the second, the late Michael Jaharis wrote a scathing letter to the Phanar reminding them who butters their bread. thereby saving the Archbishop. (And let’s not forget the original divide-and-conquer strategy when in ca 1998 the EP elevated the GOA bishops to metropolitan rank.)

    If what I’m describing is accurate (and let’s assume for the sake of argument that it is), then the Phanar has been planting the seeds of a forced takeover of the GOA for quite some time now.

    It;s a thought. I could be wrong but it does appear to have some plausibility. What do y’all think?

    • Monk James says

      For what it’s worth, I think five or so things about this:

      1. Follow the money and hold false stewards — financial and otherwise — accountable in civil court if they will not heed the Gospel and repair the damage they have done.

      2. Encourage (and pray for) Abp Demetrios to actuate the thinly veiled agenda for America which he described at the last meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Christian Bishops in America.

      3. Let everyone know that there is no salvation in ethnic clubs which have merely a Christian veneer, but that ethnic-flavored yet Christ-centered parishes can continue to exist and even thrive under the leadership of territorial bishops in a properly constituted territorial church.

      4. Encourage parishes to stop sending money abroad unless and until they are united in a territorial American church and can choose their charities freely. In the meantime, support IOCC.

      5. As parishes or as clergy or as individuals and families, please consider petitioning to be received into the OCA, which already has a running start on being the multi-ethnic church for which we’re all hoping and praying. People are already thinking about strategies for this reorganization, details TBA.

      The era of ‘jurisdictions’ was over twenty-five years ago, as demonstrated at Ligonier. False leaders have done a great deal of damage to us in the meantime, with all the chaos they have created, but they must accept loving correction or be forced to resign. I’m fairly certain that if each American ‘jurisdiction’ were to compile a short list of the bad guys, there would be a lot of overlap; their malfeasance is more widely known than they realize or want to admit.

      ‘Sleepers, awake! Rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you!’ (EPH 5:14)

      Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance!

  9. I think it sounds a little paranoid…. Archbishop Demetrios has never demonstrated administrative competency of any kind. He is a nice professor who, thanks to the catastrophe of Spyridon, was lucky to become Archbishop at the age of 72. Now, nearing 90, he should have the decency to step aside. The Phanar probably just wants a smooth transition to someone who won’t be the spendthrift that Demetrios seems to be. Remember, Demetrios relied on two men to support his lavish ways, and they have now been gone for a few years. His mismanagement should have been enough to have him forcibly removed, but since that’s what the Phanar did to his two predecessors, maybe it is looking for a more peaceful way.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I see your point Anon. Still, things are never as tidy as history later makes them out to be. I hearken back to my analogy about the American Revolution. Few of our Founding Fathers were looking to actually secede from the Mother Country. Their greatest beef was that they were being denied their fundamental rights as Englishmen, that and the fact that England kept on sending their “C” team to rule over us. I mean, one guy who was governor of New York was an actual transvestite.

      Likewise the War Between the States. In the immediate run-up, Lincoln actually proposed a 13th Amendment which would have solidified slavery. And he got no grief as the Abolitionist movement was pretty moribund by that time. (The largest Abolitionist newspaper had a circulation of only 3,000.) As we can see from the journalism on the ground (Horace Greeley, Karl Marx, etc.), the North was petrified about the fact that if the South succeeded in seceding, they would undercut the tariffs which funded the entire Federal government.

      Wilson likewise had no intentions of punishing the Germans with the sanctions that were placed on them by the Treaty of Versailles. If memory serves, he was horrified by them. Churchill for that matter predicted a future German war because of these punishing sanctions.

      Things like that.

      Now I realize that I’m operating on a very macro level here and the Demetrius’ counter insurgency (if that’s what it is) is much more micro, but we can still war-game this out and see that if the Phanar succeeds in replacing him with a compromised non-entity it’s only going to accelerate the GOA’s ongoing collapse. Maybe the EP can’t see it but he’s way over there and we’re actually on the ground and see how bad things are.

      Put yourself in his place: why not throw a Hail Mary pass? What do you have to lose?

      • “Counter insurgency”??? Not even close — do not allow the appearance of piety to fool you. Demetrios has only two agendas: first, to hold on to the archiepiscopacy at all costs (financial and otherwise); and second, to look good in Greece. He could care less about America or Orthodoxy in America. This is not cynicism, but real life experience.

  10. George and to all at Monomakhos,
    A few questions:

    Is all this reporting on National Herald reporting, that George seems to have given Sad Guy(Billy?) to do, and now the big Gail scoop, really that deep, mysterious, and corrupt, with hooks, or have you all become conspiracy theory hobbyist? I’m sure you all remember the coup/revolution, that was about overthrow Trump, before his swearing in, that Gail and friends were all crowing about, NO? Big 2K my friends.

    Second, what great benefits do Archons, rich donors, and the Leadership 100 get from donating millions of dollars to our church?(I really don’t know the answer to this one, unless of course they give it only for THE right reason)

    Third If Orthodoxy is so corrupt at the top levels, as many proclaim, why are we part of such a corrupt religion? Why don’t our leaders represent us as many say they should? Perhaps our Orthodox leaders DO represent us, and we DO NOT recognize our own reflection. Of course not all of us, but a good majority of Orthodox Christians. Again, and again, and again, we get what we deserve. We can blame X, Y, and Z all we want, sitting in our parish bubbles, that have their own issues as well. Nothing will change, until the true majority of Orthodox Christians change, and go Hot instead of Luke warm in their hearts for Christ. Yes, I know, Dino is so sophomoric, and such simple minded questions, but It seems the simplest questions are never asked, nor answered.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Dino, I don’t know where you’ve been, but there HAS been a big “coup/revolt” to subvert Trump! Did you really miss this? All those angry, “nasty” people in the street??? It’s not over yet, either.

      I don’t have a “scoop.” I just read the tea leaves better than some (as in it’s obvious if people really paid attention). George gives me entirely too much credit.

      • George Michalopulos says

        True that. It’s long been known that Antifa/BLM are the major provisional wings of the Dem Party today. And they are funded by Soros. They only exist in those states where they can have an impact (i.e. Oregon, Illinois) and not in states where the Dem party is dead in the water such as Oklahoma and Alabama.

      • Gail, my point was President Trump was sworn in without incident. Two, most here that are of Russian or Greek backgrounds would laugh(except George) if this is what you call a revolution. I not afraid of mostly paid college students and unemployed videogame XBox junkies looking for some fun and spare change as a revolution. Wake me up when bullets are flying back AND forth, or God forbid an assanination. Growing up in San Francisco, I know all about these type of protesters. Most of them mellow out and settle down once they find a good woman and have a couple kids.

        So far as tea leaves and corruption with our spiritual leaders. This is typical human behavior brought upon by power and money. Nothing has really changed for decades. Want to know when American Orthodoxy is ripe for change? Faithful tithing, and true stewardship by the majority of Orthodox Christians is the only true barometer. You see Gail in this world money and how we prioritize it marks our soul, and where we are as a church body, so far a D at best.
        Finally, money is also the reason the protesting cry babies will not overthrow Trump. So long as the Dow Jones continues to rise, so will Trump every morning from the White House. He is well guarded with golden armor by the boys on Wall Steet.God bless Gail, faithful steward of Christ.
        With respect,

    • Peter Ray Millman says

      I think you nailed it in your last paragraph. We need to put Christ first in our lives, especially me- the foremost of sinners. Like Father Eusebius Stephanou, you are a voice crying out in the wilderness. This is not to disparage any posters on this forum whom I greatly admire such as Gail( a true saint), you, and many others.

      By the way, I never had the faintest idea that Greatly Saddened was Billy Jack Sunday. Correct me if I’m wrong, I frequently am. Also, Dino, you are a man with a true heart for Christ. I have been greatly blessed by your posts along with many others such as Gail, George, Michael Bauman and Monk James. Thank you for all your help and guidance. By the way, would you care to be my spiritual father?

      • Peter M,
        I’m humbled, actually floored! I’m hoping that your joking, but just in case, the answer is no. Spiritual Fathers should only be clergy. Trust me Peter, sooner or later I will piss you off, I’m really not that different than you. Either way not qualified to be anyone’s Spiritual Father. Sad Guy Billy is just a hunch.

        I will give you two words of advice as to dealing with anger, and being easily offended. One, ask your priest if there is any ministry you can do with senior citizens. I find that seniors, and children for that matter ground, and humble us. Helping seniors is quite rewarding, on so many levels, and a blessing. Second, next time you feel offended and anger brewing. Pray The Resurrectional Apolytikion.

        “To the Word, coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, born of the Virgin for our salvation, let us, the faithful, give praise and worship. For He willed to be lifted up on the cross in the flesh, to endure death and raise the dead by His glorious resurrection.”

        How offended can we really get Peter, when our Lord willfully put himself upon the cross. Feeling, and suffering no different than we would have, to save us from our sins. Works for me, if I pray it, not just think it, and trust me my temper is no less than yours. Finally, how sad can we be for those whom we have loved that have passed on, when we know they have gone on to be with our savior, awaiting the resurrection.!? God’s mercy is beyond our comprehension Peter.

        • Peter Ray Millman says

          It’s interesting that you should mention the elderly because I practically single handedly cared for my late father when he was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, then I spent a lot of time helping my late uncle George when he was recovering from serious back surgery. Now, I ‘m responsible for the care of my ninety year old mother. I think taking care of my father and helping with my Uncle George really burned me out. Now, that my mother is so elderly I spend every evening at home with her. That leaves me preciously little time for myself or any acts of charity. Although I attend the Divine Liturgy at the local OCA church each and every Sunday, I really don’t have the time to participate in the administration of the church as much as I’d like to. I’m as busy as can; and am lucky to be retired. However, I pray twice daily, read the Bible every day, and read St. Symeon the New Theologian daily.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Peter, don’t be so hard on yourself. What you’re doing for your mother is an act of clarity.

          • All your kind deeds are blessings, and I have no doubt you will be rewarded for them Peter.

    • The attempt to overthrow Trump is still in progress. However, Trump has taken the offensive. Steve Bannon departed so as to enable him to lead a coup d’etat within the Republican Party Congressional establishment. They are targeting RINO incumbents for liquidation in next year’s primaries. If they are successful, there will emerge a more radicalized, rightist Republican Party perhaps able to actually deliver on Trump’s campaign promises.

  11. George, no take over is needed the Phanar is already in control.

  12. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Monday in The Pappas Post.

    “Metropolitan of Mytilini Uses $150,000 in Australian Donations Intended for Victims on Church Building Repairs”


  13. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a “Letter to the Editor” in The National Herald from today.

    “Letter to the Editor: Demetrios, Andonios and Plenty Others at Fault”


  14. When you look to the future, ask these questions:

    * Which parishes are producing priests?

    * Which parishes have streams of converts?

    * Which parishes have families that are having, well, multiple children and raising them in the faith for the next generation?

    Now, do these parishes want unity or do they want to be in ethnically defined niches?

  15. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an excerpt from an address given by Metropolitan Maximos of Aenos, then Presiding Hierarch of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

    The address was given at the 12th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, in Pittsburgh, on July 29, 1999, and can be found on OCA’s website.

    Your Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS, Dear Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Fathers, Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Holy Orthodoxy,

    Glory be to Jesus Christ! Glory be forever!

    There is a city in this land where things are so bad that the Police Department has an unlisted phone number! Thank God, this is not your host city, our beloved and friendly city of Pittsburgh.

    I am delighted to bring to all of you, the members of the All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America who meet in Pittsburgh the greetings of our Archbishop SPYRIDON, who asked me to represent him this evening. As I do so, I wish to remind you of the fine words pronounced by our Archbishop in Chicago, five years ago. It was in the context of the national Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Archdiocese. At that time, Archbishop SPYRIDON was the Metropolitan of Italy. As he brought the greetings of Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW to the congress, the Metropolitan remarked that it was about time for all Orthodox Christians in America to unite. “There is nothing more ridiculous than to allow ethnicity to take priority over our common Orthodox faith,” SPYRIDON said in the presence of Metropolitan THEODOSIUS. Metropolitan THEODOSIUS did not hide his enthusiasm regarding this statement. I personally join both these hierarchs in their assessment of our ecclesiastical situation in the Americas, and I pray for that Orthodox unity beyond ethnic boundaries to become a reality as soon as possible.

  16. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Friday, posted on Eastern Orthodox Christian News website.

    “Ecumenical Patriarch Spoke at the World Policy Conference in Marrakech”


  17. Gail Sheppard says

    And please find the list of attendees. Be sure to click on each name. These are people with considerable power and influence. It’s concerning that the EP was an invited guest among names one sees associated with global puppeteers. https://www.worldpolicyconference.com/2017-invited-guests/

  18. ashley nevins says

    I predicted this over 10 years ago.

    Systemic corruption leads to systemic collapse on a massive scale. A systemically dead religious state is not a systemically alive spiritual state and what is not spiritually alive dies because it is spiritually dead.

    The next round of collapse comes over the next 15 years as the GOA cannot attract and retain enough X’ers and Millennial’s to sustain itself.

    What is only relevant to itself is not relevant to what is outside of it. In other words, the GOA is only relevant to itself and it has no real evangelism relevancy outside of itself. If it has no real outside evangelism relevancy what is taking place with evangelism among its own inside of the church is obvious.

    What claims to be oldest and only true church on the planet is systemically corrupt and in a state of collapse in America. One would think such a church that makes such claims about itself would be the most spiritually mature, alive, dynamic and growing. That it would be relevant to America and not irrelevant collapsing in America.

    What are the lies the Orthodox have believed that have led this church into this state of systemic corruption and collapse? What sin has the lies that destroy brought about that needs to see repentance? Who will lead a system wide repentance to revival?

    In systemic corruption most all play a role in the corruption of the system. Mostly by enabling it.

    Christ’s salvation is relevant. It brings life.

    Orthodoxy in America is really only relevant to itself. It is dying a slow, ugly and painful death here in its self centered isolation. What is not alive does not bring life that is relevant to those without it. What is internally self focused centered is not externally other centered in focus.

  19. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find two posts from Friday on OCL’S Facebook. They were written by Peter S. Makrias, from October 10th, in the Estiator.

    “Time is Prudent for a Successor to Greek Orthodox Archdiocese”


    “Time for Radical Changes for Greek Orthodox Church”


  20. Gail Sheppard says

    And there you have it: “Although things are transpiring in the usual secrecy, all signs point to serious developments in the Church. These events have the characteristics of an underlying crisis that reached a climax with the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s unexpected arbitrary decision not to recognize the “triprosopon” (a three-person list of candidates for election to the episcopate), and as a result, the Archdiocese’s Charter was violated in regards to filling the vacancy in the Metropolis of Chicago; the very same Charter that the Patriarchate imposed upon the Archdiocese of America, abolishing its cohesion and creating individual fiefdoms that are not under the Archbishop’s authority, but rather, the Patriarchate’s.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thanks to you Gail, the picture is coming more into focus. I’m particularly scandalized by those two words (“usual secrecy”) you quote from the transcript. Didn’t Jesus say something about doing things not in secret? Good grief.

      I guess we can look on the bright side: such secret machinations do not cover the Church in glory; thus the Holy Spirit will confound them.

  21. Gail Sheppard says

    So this is what was purportedly discussed at the World Policy Conference: “During the work of this important conference of the Workshop and the Workshops, we discussed issues such as the future of Southeast Europe, investments in Africa, the Middle East, global economy, the Americas and the world in the year after the Trump, energy and climate , China, Russia in twenty-one years, the European Union and the world, the security in Asia, the state of the world . . .” Sounds like they have big plans. So glad to know that “Mr. Emmanuel Macron interposed the Patriarch for the role of religion in the lives of human beings and societies, and especially within today’s international reality.” Good grief. How long are we going to let this go on? https://www.patriarchate.org/-/epestrepsen-ho-patriarches-

    • George Michalopulos says

      I hope not long Gail.

      Hey Phanariotes, here’s a thought: why don’t you just preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ? There’s lots of people in those areas of the world that are starving for the Truth. You know, like all those Evangelicals who wanted to come into the Orthodox Church way back when and you slammed the door in their leaders’ faces? Yeah, like them.

  22. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article by Mr. Steve Johnson from yesterday. It was posted on the We Are Orthodox website.

    “Hierarchical Avarice?”


  23. M. Stankovich says

    I would note to you, Mr. Michalopulos, the fact that Mr. Nevins continues here as testimony to the fact that you personally are responsible for serving up a perpetual banquet cynique of the Orthodox Church in America, and the Greek Orthodox Church in specific. You seem quite motivated to publish “all the scandal that is fit to print” – and first precedence always to financial indiscretion and homosexuality – but the ratio of threads pertaining to matters that are typical of the traditional manner by which Orthodox Christians sustained themselves in times of struggle and moral “challenge” – Orthodox examples of moral courage; works of wonder by prayer and appeal to the Saints; individual counsel of wisdom and piety from the ordained clergy & monastics; unusual kindness and acts of mercy – are nowhere to be found. The mention of events, circumstances, persons, or ideas intended to provoke pride, respect, support, and even joy are lucky to draw a single comment; “Monomakhos Hot Topics” – predominately Trump, liberals, homosexuality, and financial scandal – draw comments in packs of 50, including the ever-predictable anonymous internet creep-heros. So I ask mysef: Is ashley nevins correct? Is it true that, “What claims to be oldest and only true church on the planet systemically corrupt and in a state of collapse in America?” And is he in fact a “prophet” when he asks, “Who will lead a system wide repentance to revival?” He would have taken the words right out of my mouth.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Understood, Dr S. But I’m still committed to free speech. A little criticism every now and then isn’t a bad thing either. Plus, he’s abided by my repeated requests to keep his comments down to 5-6 paragraphs (as opposed to what he used to do). I’m not going to move the goalposts.

      • Nevin’s goalpost?

        Seriously, what is it GM?

        A constant obsession with condemnation of Orthodoxy et al as dead works?

        Stankovich is bewildered by motives; that is his way of expressing it.

        I think Stankovich’s comments are pretty fair.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Anon, we got problems. Fortunately, they’re administrative. Unfortunately, even in this regard, it negates our Christian witness to non-Orthodox. As much as none of us like Mr Nevin’s critiques, we have got to be made aware that our jurisdictional situation means that we don’t love one another. Not really.

        • Peter Ray Millman says

          I think Anon is an alias for Michael Stankovich.

          • No.

            You haven’t had to experience enough AN or fully appreciate the fact that AN’s motives are indeed questionable.

            And furthermore, as a non-Orthodox person; that is you; it seems rather odd that you would participate in defending or not defending the church against a slander campaign.

            Banquet cynique was an error.

            Banquet cynique ad nauseum more like….

    • Happy name day M. Stankovich many years to you and yours. Keep fighting the good fight Brokovich.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Very kind of you, Dino, and I thank you. Greetings to all who bear the name of the Archangels and all the Honorable Bodiless Powers of Heaven! And Memory Eternal!

        • V. Rev. Andrei Alexiev says

          Let me add my belated greetings to you and Michael Baumann also. Here in Black Lick PA, we normally don’t do Feast Days during the week.
          I happened to be traveling yesterday back from Michigan where I had the sad duty of serving the funeral of my daughter in law, Catherine. She reposed on Friday from cancer. She was only 41. She had been recieved into the church Feb 6th and then married to my son, the Reader Mark, on April 30th. I ask readers here to pray for both of them.

          • My prayers go to your family Father. For what it’s worth, Elder Ephraim of Arizona believes cancer patients to be Martyrs. May Catherine’s memory be eternal!

  24. Michael Bauman says

    George I am not sure free speech means what you think it means.

  25. The only way out for any organization is trust in God, obedience., and living His way. Unfortunately we think we know better than God most of the time. As Joshua challenged the Israelites so long ago, “Choose today the God you will serve, the God of Abraham or the gods ofCanaan!

    And as a wise priest once taught us. Learn to discern what God is doing. Sometimes we are trying to hold up that which God wants to destroy. He is in the purifying business.

    • Lina, agreed. To further bolster your point, 2 Chronicles 7:14:

      14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

      It confounds me that there is not a hierarch in the GOA preaching repentance and presenting repentance as the answer to the challenges facing the GOA. A clear path to restoration will only be found through repentance.

  26. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a Letter to the Editor from today’s The National Herald. It is written by Andrew Kartalis.

    “Letter to the Editor: Beyond Money Laity Deserves Answers”


  27. Greatly Saddened says

    As for His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, it is said he would like to hold on until the opening of Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero. Whether there is any truth to this is anyone’s guess.

  28. Greatly Saddened says

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

    “Audit Committee was Appointed at the Archdiocese”


  29. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article posted Wednesday on the Pew Research Center website.

    “Orthodox Christianity in the 21st Century”


  30. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find another article on Wednesday from the Pew Research Center website.

    “Key takeaways about Orthodox Christians”


  31. I am greatly saddened by the article Greatly Saddened. More of the same–the successful Greek Americans will fix everything. Get the most successful business people in positions of leadership and all will function as it should. Better business acumen is not the answer to the challenges facing the GOA. Accountability, which leads to repentance is what is needed. God is needed and the pathway to God is repentance.

    The appointed individuals may be very fine people but rather what is needed is Christ-centered individuals. Secularity is so deeply imbedded in the GOA that it has become accepted as the norm.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Johnkal … I couldn’t agree with you more. God bless!

    • Maybe when the “Audit Committee” is done with this, if ever, they can direct some attention to the alleged diverted funds at Annunciation Church in Milwaukee. I have yet to see a full accounting or even a return of the “gifts” from the Chicago Bishop and Metropolitan Nikitas, who incidentally and supposedly the choice of the EP to become Chicago Metropolitan.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Yes, Anthony … how true and how sad it is for Annunciation in Milwaukee. I also agree the correct thing would have been for these hierarchs to have returned the money. You would think they would have a conscience. But then again, if they did, perhaps they wouldn’t have accepted the money in the first place. I know, I must be living in another world to think this. Please forgive me!

        • Greatly Saddened says

          Please excuse me … perhaps I should have said “gifts” rather than “money!” Mea culpa.

    • Looks like one parish, Ss. Constantine and Helen in Milwaukee, sister church of Annunciation Church which was hit by financial disarray, now has written to the Archdiocese saying they will withhold their assessments and place them in escrow until the “Audit Committee” makes their findings, according to the Pappas Post today. More parishes should follow this example; money talks in situations like this and we need the transparency.

  32. Greatly Saddened says

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

    “Speech of Mr. Michael Psaros Honoree of the Chrysanthemum Ball”


  33. Hi, Greatly Saddened…we need to be subscribers to see this story? Does not let us access it. Thank you for pointing us to this.

  34. Greatly Saddened says

    Anthony … when I accessed the above article yesterday, it was in its entirety. Unfortunately they put a lock on it after my posting. Sorry!

  35. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article on Friday from Cyprus Mail Online. It was posted on Eastern Orthodox Christian News website.

    “First liturgy in sign language to be performed in Nicosia church”


    • Fr. Herman Schick says

      The Russians have been serving Liturgies accompanied with sign language for a while now. Last year Patriarch Kirill himself led such a Liturgy. It seems a reasonable accommodation for the hearing impaired. Glad to hear the Orthodox in Cyprus are catching up with their Russian brothers.

      • Unholy Warriors says

        Yes, and if you look closely you’ll see signing accompanying many of these blessings and liturgies! It’s very moving, and inspirational.

        • Unholy Warriors says

          Only the spiritually filthy and apostate could fail to discern the anti-Christian blasphemy by Russian Orthodox “priests” who perpetrate abominable sacramentals such as those. This is well on the way to Satanism, modern Moloch worship. It’s shameful and terrible to be in knowing and conscious communion with a “church” that brazenly commits such monstrosities in God’s name.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Russian priests have been blessing armies for centuries. Who knows, maybe the Sign of the Cross, anathema as it is to the evil one, may keep the weapons from being used.

            Many in the Gulag blessed their captors and tortureers.

            It is not such a black and white question.

  36. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find the article Anthony was referring to from yesterday on the Pappas Post website.

    “Wisconsin Parish to Withhold Payments to Archdiocese of America”


  37. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article on Thursday from the OCA, which was posted on Eastern Orthodox Christian News website.

    “OCA participates in Tenth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for UN community”


  38. Alex the not so Great says

    Something I haven’t seen addressed in this particular thread is the role of Fr. Alexander Karloutsos. Anybody who has been paying attention can testify that he is a major player in the policy of the Phanar towards the Greek Orthodox Church in the USA.

    Something that I noted on several excursions to his parish in the Hamptons (N.Y.) is what appears to be an almost cult like veneration of Alexander the Great within his parish. This cult like veneration is perpetuated by Fr. Alexander himself…it just seems….I dunno, odd. However when I think of it, perhaps not so odd.

    A big impetus for the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Turks was “the great idea.” The great idea being the re-establishment of the Greek Byzantine Empire in it’s historical lands….think world wide caliphate, only this would be for Greeks. I get the impression that this is something that is very much a priority for Fr. Alexander Karloutsos and his adherents of the “Great Idea”. In the on going struggle for the Phanar to maintain control in the USA it would be foolish to discount Fr. Alexander Karloutsos as a key player in the whole fiasco. I imagine the leaks to the Greek News Sources come from Fr. Alexander or from one of his many spiritual children and great idea enthusiasts.

  39. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from last Monday’s The National Herald, by Theodoros Kalmoukos. It has just been posted in its entirety on OCL’s website.

    “Analysis: The Salaries of the Clergy of the GOA”


  40. George Michalopulos says

    Here’s something interesting re the recent Trump-inspired events in Saudi Arabia. I think that they may impact the Antiochian jurisdiction:


  41. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today’s Pew Research Center by David Masci. It is posted on the Eastern Orthodox Christian News website.

    “Q&A: A closer look at Orthodox Christians”


  42. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find in today’s The National Herald, a Letter to the Editor by Andrew Kartalis.

    “Letter to the Editor: The Archdiocese Funds: What’s Known and Unknown”


    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Kartalis is one of the good guys. Even though I don’t associate with the OCL anymore, it’s not because of any antipathy but because they still operated under the old ethnic paradigm.

  43. Peter Ray Millman says

    Okay, now check this out. Most of the posters to this forum pontificate on subjects that are entirely irrelevant in the great scheme of things. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the monks on Mt. Athos. People who sleep in caves really don’t thrill me, not to mention the fact it is disobedient to the Great Commission. Now, a priest I deeply admire is Father Timothy Cremeens; that godly man has a heart for Christ and lost souls.

    To me, the most important thing is leading souls to Christ and the Orthodox Church. Outside of your own children, I would like to know how many souls the posters have lead to Jesus Christ and the Orthodox Church. There are many cradle Orthodox here, and, yet, I bet the overwhelming majority of you have never led one person to Christ. Our Lord specifically commanded us to go and make disciples out of all nations. Well, how many of the posters to this forum have been doing this. We can start with you George, then go on to Michael, Peter Papoutsis, whackjob Patrick, and “very worried.” By the way, “very worried,” did not Christ tell us not to worry? Everyone on this forum, I would love to hear your testimony of soul winning.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Peter, please forgive me, I am, as usual, a lousy example. I am reminded of the words attributed to St. Seraphim of Sarov: “Acquire a peaceful spirit and then thousands of others around you will be saved.”


      • Peter Ray Millman says

        I’d like to forgive you, but there is no reason for it. You won’t find a lousier example than me.

      • Regarding this attributed quote of St. Seraphim of Sarov

        Ive seen and heard it quoted many times. (However, usually two different ways with a significant difference of meaning/nuance in my opinion)

        Is it most properly translated

        “Aquire a peaceful spirit . . . ”


        “Aquire the Spirit of Peace . . . ”

        Not a small difference in my opinion . . .

        How many sources/translations are out there? Is there any context to help decifer how it is best translated?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          BJS, “Aquire the Spirit of Peace,” and yes, they do mean very different things. The “Spirit” is the Holy Spirit. What a difference acquiring the Holy Spirit made of Peter during Pentecost. 3,000 souls were saved.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Interesting point, Gail. If memory serves, 3,000 former Evangelicals came into the Orthodox Church as well not all that long ago. That may not seem like a big number but think how much Orthodoxy in America has changed for the better because of this infusion of spirit-filled people.

            I for one, probably wouldn’t be anything but a nominal Orthodox (at best) if it wasn’t for the positive changes that Gilchrist, Sparks, et al made because they became Orthodox.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Archimandrite Lazarus Moore of blessed memory uses the phrase “acquire a peaceful spirit” attributed to St Seraphim of Sarov in dialogue with Novice John. This is from his 1994 biography of St. Seraphim, page 126.

          • Joseph

            Thanks for the citation

            I wonder, however, if this has been widely misquoted of St. Seraphim

            “Aquire the Spirit of Peace” and I can understand thousands around being saved, as the Holy Spirit’s presence is the only thing that brings illumination to souls who are hopelessly trapped inside a prision of theirown darkness. Being a carrier of the Light, is like being a person with a flashlight in a dark cavern. We arent the light, but a carrier. How happy to find someone with a flashlight when you are alone in the dark. Especially when your life is dependent on it.

            Have you ever wondered why someone out of nowhere joins a volunteer search and rescue team? Some people have the same passion to save others spiritually. To seek out the lost

            But the people of our culture dont see that they are lost. They sleep in darkness, while our church in America tends to sleep in the light

            People who are lost in their own darkness dont know they are in a perilous state. This is why its magical thinking to say, “Well, we will put an ethnic church over here, and they can come to liturgy and understand, if they bother to come at all.”

            If they ignore the light, its easy to ignore them as well

            If everyone could be awake in the light – this would be good.

            “Aquire a peaceful spirit”

            Now I see that as important fruit of the spirit and needful. Will thousands be saved because one person is at peace? Some would argue yes, but to me it sounds like, “Brush your teeth and thousands around you will have fresh breath”

            I lean towards the other translation but maybe I’m wrong. I’d like a thorough investigation on this quote and Id also appreciate some feedback from various members of the clergy. I think this is a really good issue worth further contemplation and dialog

            Again, thank you for the citation. If you find more, I’d appreciate the heads up

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Billy Jack Sunday,

              My simple observation is that it’s just about impossible for most people to acquire a peaceful spirit when life doesn’t go our way. I certainly fail miserably at this. How else can we acquire a truly peaceful spirit when life doesn’t go our way except by the Spirit of Peace?

              • Michael Bauman says

                Joseph there is an important spiritual discipline that has a two fold approach. The first prong was given to me by my Bishop in a time of intense upset in our Archdiocese: Hold on to your peace, do not let others steal it.

                The second is to practice thanking God FOR all things, especially things we do not like.

                Offering everything up to God in Thanksgiving is the essence of the priesthood of all believers. In doing so we are allowing Him to give both order and Providence.

                Practiced, even fitfully, it has born fruit in my life.

              • Joseph

                If you succeed in acquiring a peaceful spirit, how is it that thousands around you will be saved because of it?

                Right now, we are 0.5 percent of the population (let alone the fact that the tiny fraction of a number is overwhelming comprised of cradle Orthodox members) What will the number be if we all find inner peace?

                Even if the quote is accurate from St Seraphim (although I have my serious doubts), is he really saying this to torpedo any acts of outreach/evangelism?

                It seems to me that this serves as a gospel derailment off of some type of spiritual pretense. Thats why this little gem of a quote is frequently whipped out whenever someone begins to talk evangelism done by the Orthodox Church – IMO

                No offense to you. I just feel that we’ve been conditioned to think this way – and I dont think it’s good

                • S Paul ” faith comes by hearing of the word of God.”

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  The quote from Archbishop Demetrios from above seems pertinent:

                  “How can we expect the world to take refuge in the Arc of Salvation—the Church—when the image of the Church that is often publicly portrayed is that of disharmony? . .”

                  If the Church is seen primarily as an entity consumed with secular politics and internal power struggles, then we are the butt-end of an embarrassingly bad joke. If that’s the case, then good luck with evangelism.

                  I remember a saying from the late Fr. John Romanides of blessed memory that the pearl of Orthodoxy is it’s tradition of hesychia, stillness, and noetic prayer, prayer of the heart. It is the Orthodox tradition of noetic prayer that offers to the world the cure of human souls.

                  Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos writes:

                  “According to the Orthodox tradition, if someone’s noetic faculty is not functioning correctly, in the sense that it is not directed towards God, has no experience of God and is identified with the rational faculty and the passions, he is a “psychopath” in the literal meaning of the word: his soul is suffering.”

                  It is the many saints who lived their lives in prayer, saints like Seraphim of Sarov and Herman of Alaska, that show to a psychopathic world the cure of human souls. Because of their lives of prayer, probably millions have been saved.

                  • Joseph

                    Archbishop Demetrios spoke of the division, but what is the cause and solution? The cause is due to the ethnic conclaves we call juristictions in America. They wouldnt exist or at least would vaporize very quickly if the American church wasnt focused on itself, but rather the salvation of all Americans

                    Take the GOA. How do you refute Ashley Nevin’s claim that it is only relevant to itself?

                    So many of you loath him, but no matter, that guy is spot on concerning a lot of things.

                    Peace and hesychism are the only answers in life? Should everyone stop donating to food banks and quit performing CPR? Just leave everything to God, right?

                    Millions? Maybe. Millions in North America this last century? Doubtful – you cant read it by census stats anyway. The church is mostly unknown and invisible to our culture

                    I have lived in and around big cities my whole life. Only on extreme rare occasion (3×?) have I come across a convert (not counting children of converts) to the Orthodox Church. This I mean outside of meeting them at church. On top of everything, the vast majority of converts I’ve met overall approached the church on their own. No one was looking for them

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Billy Jack Sunday,

                      Without a doubt, the many jurisdictions in America are symptomatic of a dire need for repentance, but how can any of us even begin to repent, except with prayer?

                      Despite the many jurisdictions in America creating a problematic ecclesiastical situation in America, it is something to be thankful for. First of all, it keeps all of us quite humble. As you correctly point out, any talk of Orthodox triumphalism in America is really quite ridiculous. Secondly, where else in the world can we find global Orthodoxy represented in such a broad manner. In most major U.S. cities, we can find so many Orthodox churches from around the globe represented. Even though there is ecclesiastical disunity, the many churches represented is a great wealth for American Orthodoxy, and again it keeps us quite humble. Thirdly, it is something to be thankful for that because of jurisdictions our country the U.S.A. supports the persecuted churches that exist around the globe. It is because of jurisdictions that the persecuted Churches in Syria and Turkey are directly supported both in prayer and financially by the U.S. That wouldn’t happen otherwise to the same extent.

                      Now, I’m not saying that this is a sustainable situation at all. Personally, I believe that we are very, very close to a major global shakeup. World War Three is on the horizon. Things will change dramatically. When this happens, the main thing is that we are at peace with God and with each other.

                      If it were not for the prayers and examples of saints like Herman of Alaska and Seraphim of Sarov, I would never have become Orthodox. Personally, I feel very indebted to their prayers. Would American Orthodoxy be the same without Herman of Alaska? Would Russian Orthodoxy be the same without Seraphim of Sarov? Would world-wide Orthodoxy be the same without either?

                • some thoughts says

                  One could posit that, in order to be a successful evangelist, one will need to have a peaceful spirit and to have overcome the passions, or at the very least have them under control.

                  Saint Paisios, for example, had acquired that peaceful spirit, and thousands came to, or returned to, Orthodoxy because of him. Blessed Father Cosmas of Zaire is another one – he brought thousands to Christ through his meek, humble and faithful evangelism. I HIGHLY recommend the book about Father Cosmas “Apostle to Zaire.”

                  I definitely don’t think Saint Seraphim’s worthy wisdom should be seen as counter-evangelical, but that it states that we should only go out to evangelise if we ourselves have achieved a high spiritual state.

                  A negative example would be the very aggressive and sometimes confrontational Protestant street preachers. This is definitely not the Orthodox way to ‘do mission.’ We can even think of half-baked people who just converted a week ago trying to convert everyone around them. There needs to be some kind of spiritual depth – zeal is good, but it also needs knowledge. Someone preaching the Gospel WILL be under attack, whether it’s from the devil and his minions, or pompous atheists that have all the answers. He needs to be able to deal with the spiritual and intellectual struggles that come with the work and, of course, a peaceful spirit is essential in this.

                  An Orthodox missionary should go into the field with humility and fear of God and, with a sound spiritual life built on prayer, fasting, and adherence to the holy tradition of the Church, the results will be tangible.

                  One only needs to look at the success of the Athonite missionaries in Africa, the Russian missionaries in Japan and the Far East in the early 20th century, who were all monastics, Saint Herman in Alaska, Saint Cosmas of Aitolos, and Fr. Daniel in Indonesia, who is a real spiritual warrior, etc. etc.

                  • No doubt every one should aspire to peace and holiness. That’s another point of derailment however

                    No one is advocating Orthodox street preaching any more than Orthodox door to door domestic missions

                    The problem isnt lack of appropriate and helpful methods. The problem is apathy towards others as a whole

                    • some thoughts says

                      The problem is apathy towards others as a whole

                      I’d say that this is probably a problem caused of the mass alienation and selfishness of modern society, as opposed to a specifically Orthodox thing.

    • M. Stankovich says

      I would suggest considering the reasoning of St. Paul in 1Cor. 1:12ff where he hears of individuals identifying themselves – apparently pridefully – from whom they had received baptism: “I am of Paul; and I am of Apollos; and I am of Cephas; or I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?” It seems to me that the wise and humble man or woman would fervently pray that our God would not reveal the good they had done, lest, like the Pharisee, they would imagine they are the source of the “winning of a soul” and not our God “who desires that all should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim. 2:4) And ultimately, such knowledge would lead one to pray, like that Pharisee, “I thank you, Lord, that I am not like that Michalopulos, Michael, Papoutsis, that whackjob Patrick, or “very worried.” And so it goes…

      • Peter Ray Millman says

        Nice dodge by Michael. For a man who never misses an opportunity to praise himself and engage in name dropping, you self righteously quote scripture to serve your own purposes. The apostle Paul also described his labors in the Lord’s vineyard. I take your response as an admission that you, Michael, have never led one soul to Christ. You need to show some genuine humility, instead of showing off. Be about the Lord’s business, instead of your own. I get it; for all your blathering, self righteous pontificating from on high as if you are the Oracle of Delphi, you’ve done nothing to advance the Lord’s kingdom on earth- just as I expected. As they say in Texas, you are all hat and no cattle. George; I would appreciate it if you would post this response to my extremely self righteous, self adoring “friend.
        By the way, it is my belief that Michael is one of the reasons the Orthodox Church is moribund and dead. Michael, it is time to cease the mental masturbation.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Well, Peter, it’s hard to say because you don’t always know. It’s for God to know.

      I think it’s important that when one leads people to the Church, that s/he ascribes to it (all of it), understands it and can articulate it. It is difficult, sometimes, not to put your own spin on things to make it more palatable. I’m not suggesting that you’re doing this, Peter; only that it’s a temptation. Bringing someone into the Church comes with GREAT responsibility. It’s not a matter of numbers or “saving souls,” nor is it something an Orthodox Christian would brag about. It’s all God. He is the One who changes the heart, not us.

      I’m not a “soul winner,” Peter. God is. And I would disagree with you that the most “important thing is leading souls to Christ and the Orthodox Church.” The most important thing is your own path and your own salvation. “Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.”

      • Peter Ray Millman says

        We are all called to make disciples for Christ. We should have a hunger and a thirst for the lost. There is no desire for evangelism in the Orthodox Church. If we are only concerned for our own salvation, then we are nothing but a “bless me club.” Our attitude should be “send me Lord.” As our Lord said, ” the harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few.” Michael Stankovich’s prideful answer shows me that he is a cradle Orthodox, and yet he has not won one soul for Christ. He is one of the reasons the Orthodox Church is dying in America. It is the duty of every Christian to fulfill the Great Commission.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Peter, *I’M* lost! (You are, too, but you don’t know it yet. God willing, you will. It’s part of being Orthodox.)

          Go deeper. Who does the field belong to and what is a “laborer?” The field belongs to God and a laborer is a hired hand.

          No laborer says, “Look at what *I* did! Look at my bountiful harvest!”

          You’re wrong about Michael, BTW.

    • mildly concerned says

      Peter, I’ve changed my name to ease your own theological concerns. So I’m starting off on an irenic foot. I have no ill will towards you, or anyone else, but I need to be blunt.

      Those are fighting words, Peter ‘The StingRay’ Millman. This is almost as good as when Cyprian compared himself to the Lord Jesus Christ before challenging M Stankovich and Estonian Slovak to fisticuffs. Your muted threats of violence in the other thread have not gone unnoticed and are completely disproportionate. All I did was take umbrage at your denigration of Saint Paisios. Insult me all you like, but I will not tolerate someone speaking about our Church’s saints and holy men in such a way.

      I just need to point out that, in this thread alone, you have derided monasticism, an institution that has been the spiritual backbone of our Church for almost its entire existence, producing more saints than any path other than martyrdom, lauded the work of Eusebios Stephanou, a man who promoted the charismatic revival, something that no serious Orthodox Christian thinks is of God, with the more serious ones thinking its is of ‘the other guy,’ lauded Timothy Creemens, who continues pushing Stephanou’s nonsense, as well as the OCL, a ridiculous organisation that chronically attacks traditional monasteries, and sanctimoniously challenged half the board to a piety contest.

      In the other thread, you threw insults at myself and Patrick, who has shown himself to be a very thoughtful and intelligent poster, denigrated Saint Paisios, the most beloved saint of our own times, defended the Pharisees, those enemies of Christ, defended Freemasonry, even though it has been outright condemned by the Church, and acted the tough guy.

      Oh, and you also asked some random guy on the internet (Dino) to be your spiritual father.

      Brother, you evidently have about as much discernment as Donald Trump’s golf ball. Please, for your own sake and ours, quit the sanctimonious histrionics and go and read some books. I suggest ‘Athonite Fathers and Athonite Matters’ by Saint Paisios and ‘Art of Salvation’ by Elder Ephraim of Arizona. Maybe afterwards you will appreciate these righteous men and the near 2,000-year old monastic tradition that made them.

      • Peter Ray Millman says

        It’s amazing the way a cowardly internet troll feels no compunction about acting brave when he is hiding behind the cloak of anonymity. Peter “Stingray” Millman? Be a man, and tell me your real name. You make the most ridiculous, silly statements, but what does one expect from a cowardly anonymous keyboard warrior hiding in his mother’s basement? Son, you are afraid, and with excellent reason. I dare you to reveal your real name to me. I would love to meet you in person. How about it? Come on out Little Red Riding Hood.

        • not concerned at all at this point says

          Pray tell me what I said that was ridiculous or stupid. All I did was point out everything irrational that you had been doing, and are continuing to do.

          You evidently have a very low threshold for humor comprehension. The Stingray thing was a play on the nicknames of boxers, i.e. the whole fighting talk part. Get a hold of yourself, man. I’m trying to be lighthearted here.

          I’m not even trying to bait or troll you. We disagreed on something, hence why I challenged you. You got angry, threw some names around, made some challenges, acted tough, and then try and blame me. I already pointed out that I have no malice towards you, but it’s necessary to point out some egregious errors.

          You called me a disgrace to Orthodoxy. What have I said that’s contrary to the Church’s tradition? Please point out where I’ve gone wrong.

          I’m not the one that denigrated monasticism and monastic saints. No serious Orthodox person would do that. You defended Freemasonry, which has been EXPLICITLY condemned by the Church. You tried to argue that some patriarch or other had been a Mason. Who cares? If that’s our logic, then let’s start defending simony, corruption, and sodomy, because I’ve heard of a few bishops that are into that.

          Stop reacting violently to serious and sober points of view. Stop throwing around insults. Do a bit of self-reflection and consider your position. What’s it based on? A diluted Orthodoxy, at best.

          I adjure you to actually read something by the Athonite saints and elders. There’s more wisdom in there than any of us can ever dream of mustering. You’ll be challenged, for sure, but we’re not Orthodox Christians to sit on our backsides and stagnate. Time to step up to the next level.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Michalopulos,

          I strongly object to this entire tact of intimidation Mr. Millman continuously introduces into the forum discussion. Is this the “Fight Club” now? When ever has a contributor to this site publicly stated they had to disguise their identity out of fear of another contributor? Is this your idea of “free speech,” Mr. Michalopulos? Secondly, I spend my long work days among men – murderers, gang members, drug dealers, thieves, and so on – who have lived their lives intimidating others they perceive as “weak,” for no other reason than to “enjoy” the individual’s suffering: “Were your hands trembling before you posted the message to me?” Mr. Millman asks one contributor; “There would be urine on the floor and your diaper would be soaked,” he tells another, clearly enjoying the fantasy that someone is terrified of him; and by way of offering his “protection” to someone on this site, he gives the example of how, when someone was disrespected, they came to him, “and I took care of it, and it never happened again.” He is a man to be “reckoned with,” and only once. Seriously, Mr. Michalopulos? I listen to this gangsta’ bullshit from old men long past their prime all day, every day, and I certainly don’t appreciate it on a supposedly Orthodox Christian discussion site. No one, and I repeat, no one deserves to be subjected to demeaning, angry, uncontrolled, vicious, and unchristian insults and projections of his own self-loathing. And most of the time it is because of nothing more than simply disagreeing with him. He is praising you one day, and absolutely & shamelessly demeaning & vilifying you the next. This man cannot control himself, Mr. Michalopulos, and you need to step in and put a stop to this.

          Mr. Millman, I will say this emphatically to you: you wish to stalk my every post and refer to me as stupid, as a heretic, blah, blah, blah, be my guest and knock yourself out. Who are you to me? You look out of control. Your attempts to intimidate me – referring to me as “son” – as if to say that either by age, education, or intuition – you have some qualification to instruct me, are at face, ludicrous, and you waste your time; more importantly, I am surrounded by bad men whom I should fear, by rights, but I trust God to protect me as I stand by my integrity. Your silly posturing does not threaten me, and I write nothing I would not say to you directly. You once wrote on this site about “tracking someone down,” and I am very clear here – as I suggest to everyone on site – if you make a credible threat over the internet, I will not hesitate in contacting your local police immediately. Don’t confuse the playground of Monomakhos with real life.

          • M. Stankovich, your objections are not without merit, but this is George’s site, and we should respect his judgment. He may know certain things we don’t and might want to see how they play out. Then again perhaps he doesn’t have a clue but trusts our Lord, to let it play out. Lessons, miracles, works, salvation, repentance, and forgiveness come in the least likely manner and circumstance. We all have something to offer and receive from each other even if the other has nothing in common with us. Some find your comments and attitude unappealing, but what you offer at times gives you a pass. Peter’s ridiculous comments offered all of us something but we were too busy being offended, full of pride or ourselves to see a brother in pain, and not knowing how to control it. I hold George in high regard for his Christ like patience, trust, and love. Forgive me M Stankovich if I offend you, I know you are ten times the humanitarian and devout learned Christian I am, but that’s just how I feel about the matter.

            • Peter Ray Millman says

              I feel compelled to make one last response to my brother Dino before I exit this site for good. Dino, I don’t know about “ridiculous” comments. I’m not a brother in pain; and I don’t have trouble controlling my emotions. I know that if you and I met in person, we would both like each other. By the way, the spiritual father thing was not serious; I meant to say that I found a lot of your wise counsel very helpful to me personally. I think you have an extremely kind heart. I also believe that if George, Gail, Peter Papoutsis, Monk James, Tim Mortiss, Joseph Lipper, Michael Bauman, and others would all like each other very much if we met in person. When it comes to Michael, I think I would find him insufferable, and obnoxious. Basically, I think Michael is not someone I would like at all in person. I thought his post was totally without merit, and was ridiculous.

              I’ve calling people son for over thirty years; I picked it up in Texas along with the wearing western boots. I’m actually extremely well liked, treasured, and beloved in person.

              Anyway, I’m sorry for offending good people like George, Gail(whom I adore and respect), Peter, Michael Bauman, and many other good people. Thanks for your kindness and understanding. There will be no apologies to Michael now or ever. Glad I don’t have to read his jabberwocky any more.
              When I was on facebook, I had five thousand facebook friends, and eight hundred four followers. That is the way it is in person as well. In real life, I am deeply respected, and, yes, very feared because I defend the weak. People either respect me or fear me in real life because I am a very serious man who is to be taken very seriously.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Peter, you’ve never offended me. I know that I would take an instant liking to you if I ever met you. Please reconsider leaving the blog. Maybe just a little time off would be OK.

                • Peter Ray Millman says

                  I appreciate it George, but I really need to concentrate on becoming a better person and a much better Orthodox Christian. I’m much too thin skinned for internet conversation. My goal is to reflect the love of Jesus Christ and to advance His kingdom; it can’t be done when I make a mockery of Him through bad behavior. The most important thing is Christ; I plan to really delve into the writings of various Orthodox saints, and, hopefully, apply their wisdom. That requires a serious commitment on my part, deep repentance, and I ask for your prayers in this important endeavor.

                  Just for the record, I have never hit any of my three children in their lives or even yelled at them, neither have I ever hit a woman or would ever consider doing such a heinous thing, never had a restraining order taken out against me, never been arrested, have extremely good relations with my local police department, never sexually harassed anyone in my entire life, or engaged in any criminal behavior whatsoever.

                  It’s a crazy thing, but interactions in real life are nothing like they are on the internet. I will say I am not a brother who is hurting, nor do I have impulse control problems. I’m just a great sinner who is in dire need to surrender every area of my life to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
                  Believe it or not, I’m not a bully in real life at all, but I do demand respect and am greatly feared. I have always subscribed to The Prince in that it is more important to be feared than loved. Someone who works at my sister’s school( she’s the head of the Math department) was telling her the terrifying reputation I have, and her response was, “my brother is very protective of me.” I told her, “Melanie, I’m trying to get away from that.”
                  I vehemently disagree with Michael’s characterizations of me; I think they are totally ridiculous, and ludicrous, but I’m not the kind of person who is made for internet conversation. By the way, I thank you for all your loving kindness and Christ like compassion- virtues I hope to attain for myself.

                  Again, I’m not a bully, but I use my power to defend my family, myself, and my many, many friends. Oh, and I’m extremely gentle and kind to women and animals, but I have utter contempt and zero respect for Michael Stankovich. I’ll have to pray that God will bless him despite his multitudinous deficiencies, and deep character flaws. I’m no better than him; in fact, I’m the foremost sinner. Michael talks about “his integrity,” which I am reminded that the greatest thief I have ever known, said. “she’s a very honest person.” Such is life.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I hear ya. You’re definitely a better man than me. I try to view myself as being likewise irenic but in going over the particulars which you laid out I’ve failed in some of them. I’ve had at least two interactions with the police and they weren’t fun.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I like being adored! Don’t leave, Peter. 😉

                • Peter Ray Millman says

                  Thank you Gail. I appreciate it, but don’t forget you have a plethora of fans and admirers including me. May God abundantly bless you in all your endeavors.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    I don’t know about that, but I think I may be right behind you. . . I’m thinking of leaving this site, too. It’s become a political platform and I get enough of that on FB. . . too much of it, honestly. I don’t want to read or fight about these things here.

              • Peter, You yourself, asked forgiveness for making people feel unsafe, and that was the right thing to do. I find it ridiculous to threaten people just because we might disagree on certain topics, especially over the internet. You were man enough to apologize and ask forgiveness, and that is enough. If those posters don’t accept your apology that”s on them. Godspeed Peter

            • M. Stankovich says

              If I am not mistaken, Dino, I read three individuals – including myself – ask the same question: “What did I do to deserve being trashed, vilified, and demeaned?” Apparently your answer is that this vilification actually had some “value,” but I was too caught up in my own “offense” and pride to appreciate it; in effect, I brought about my own “consequence,” such as it was. Let me say this in no uncertain terms Dino: no one did anything to invite being threatened and humiliated, and you should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting that vilification and intimidation are nothing more that “ridiculous comments,” when they are specifically intended to frighten, manipulate, and control.

              Some who find my comments and attitude unappealing can exercise their God-given judgement to not read a damn thing I write – give me a pass? WTF? – but they will never, ever, as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west have to fear that I will track them down and harm them. Your choice here to scold me – attempting to push it off on Mr. Michalopulos, not once but twice – then painting me with passive-aggressive enabling is very disappointing. And in respect of the other posters who were likewise vilified and demeaned, I ask again, what did we do to deserve it, Dino? And I repeat: NOTHING.

              • M. Stankovich, If that’s all you got out of my comment to you, then I am disappointed in myself as well. I obviously do not express my thoughts well enough to be understood, so what’s the point, in continuing. I will make like Peter Millman and leave Monomakhos permantly as well. Its time to make better use of my time and efforts. Father George Washburn once long ago tried to explain that to me here, but I wasn’t listening, I was too self absorbed. I get it now. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for! God bless you all!

                • M. Stankovich says

                  So, Mr. Michalopulos, apparently your resolution – at least as I read it – to individuals (in the long line of notables from Mr. Warren to Mr. Millman) who come on to your site and purposely unload their pathologie en trois actes is to do nothing. Some free observations regarding the unmistakable characteristics of the new “unbridlesd joy”: markedly more angry, vicious, and intolerant. Wat?

                  I again ask the question: where did all the posters who were the mainstay and basically the founders of this site go, and why? And that question is even more fundamental, where are the clergy – priests, deacons, and bishops – who were prominent & fixtures on this site, who made it so interesting and thoughtful, who kept the discussion interesting, thoughtful, honest, and respectful? Where are the beautiful icons that headed each thread, which are rarely, if even seen? Too many questions, too many unanswered.

                  • For what its worth, George, I agree with Michael inasmuch as he writes:

                    I again ask the question: where did all the posters who were the mainstay and basically the founders of this site go, and why? And that question is even more fundamental, where are the clergy – priests, deacons, and bishops – who were prominent & fixtures on this site, who made it so interesting and thoughtful, who kept the discussion interesting, thoughtful, honest, and respectful? Where are the beautiful icons that headed each thread, which are rarely, if even seen?

                    Over the last year or so, there has been increasingly more and more about purely worldly matters and politics – often sickeningly so – and less and less of what one would normally consider the content of an “Orthodox” blog. Perhaps a bit of balance is in order?

                    Just a suggestion. It’s your site, and I thank you for welcoming me.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Point taken. In my latest piece, I explained how culture and politics is hopelessly intertwined right now.

                      As for your broader point, I predicted several years ago that if Syosset succeeded in their unjust coup against Metropolitan Jonah the OCA would wither and that nobody would really care about the GOA. That’s pretty much been borne out hasn’t it?

                      Trust me, I’ve searched high and low for info about Orthodoxy, whether good, bad or indifferent. And I’ve published quite a bit but there’s been no major battle like the one between the Syosset liberals and Jonah. Perhaps it’s God’s will. I for one don’t know if I could withstand another one like that.

                      Since we’re walking down memory lane: I very much remember the controversy surrounding Metropolitan Jonah and the full-bloodedness that it engendered on this and other sites. (On both sides for that matter.) For what it’s worth, at the onset of Santa Fe, one friend told me that other Orthodox blogs weren’t going to touch the entire controversy, even though the sites in general were pro-Jonah/pro-Traditionalist. I made a snap prediction: if so, they’d wither on the vine. They did. And this site exploded. (I’ll provide the stats soon.)

                      And please, I don’t want anybody to think that I don’t think about pulling the plug on Monomakhos. Especially after my recent trip to the Ozarks as the forests enchanted me and the idea of going off the grid has some appeal to me. It’s certainly possible that I’ve overstayed my welcome and I’m in the process of reassessing a lot of things. Especially now that the opioid crisis is gaining attention and the rules and regulations that are going to be in place by February of next year are not going to to be pretty. (Truth be told, the ones that they’ve enacted have made my professional life miserable. Mainly because I see the misery in many patients.)

                      Regardless of my decision, I’m in the process of writing a big thought-piece on Big Pharma and the opioid crisis.

                    • I, for one, would miss my little visits here if you pulled the plug. I just hope you can find a way to make things a bit less.. shall we say… speculative and attract some of your previous contributors in the comments. Even those with whom I disagree add a lot to my understanding. I am always willing to read other points of view if the discourse is respectful.

                      As one who is intimately acquainted with the drug distribution industry, I look forward to your next article.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I know the voice of “mildly concerned” and my dear friend, Peter, I hope you will listen to him.

        • Peter Ray Millman says

          I apologize for my reprehensible behavior on this forum. I ask forgiveness of everyone I have made to feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or disgusted. There is no excuse for it. It is unequivocally wrong by every standard of decency. Henceforth, I will refrain from posting on this forum, which has been my intention for some time. I am one hundred percent wrong- and those who have criticized me are right. Again, I sincerely apologize, am very sorry and embarrassed- as I should be. I feel very disgusted, silly and foolish. I need to concentrate on becoming a sincere follower of our Savior- and not a complete jerk as I have been

    • Michael Bauman says

      Peter, that is a throughly Protestant attitude.

    • It would not be very Orthodox.

      However and just for fun, whenever the Jehovah Witness come to my door I try to convert them.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Me too. It’s a hoot.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Father Peter Gilchrist of blessed memory used to tell such folks, “I will listen to you if you listen to me.”

        Conversion is an act of God. We are only required to give a testimony of our hope.

    • Michael Bauman says

      True monastic life is an embodiment of the Great Commission. The may seem isolated but in fact, the true monastic is far less isolated than I am. He is connected through Jesus Christ to you, me and all for whom he prays. His prayer is anything but a mental exercise but a going forth to do battle with and for all of us sanctifying by God’s grace in the name of the Holy Trinity.

      It is only our insufferable pride and stupid linear mindset that keeps us from knowing what they are doing.

      There are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy Peter. It would not surprise me in the least if Seraphim Rose of blessed memory prays for you frequently.

      • Well said, Michael.

        Peter may also be surprised to learn that monastics don’t typically live in caves. The accommodations at most monasteries, including Athos, are quite comfortable. And although they live under an obedience that might appear to be outwardly intolerable to the average person, most would tell you that they find it liberating to be free of having to make all the ‘choices’ with which we who are in the world are faced every day. Their choice by contrast is easy: to do what they are told. In spite of living what may seem to be a difficult life, they are the first to tell anyone who asks that their own life is far easier than that of those who must face the relentless struggles of living in the world.

        Although they may seem to be secluded, they are by far the most hospitable of Christian communities, welcoming visitors so those who come to them can refresh their souls. Like any godly Christian, no monk lives unto himself. He lives for the salvation of the world. And, in doing so, he saves himself in the process.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Brian, for what it’s worth, I never fill more like a civilized human being than when I sojourn at a monastery. The order, regimen and the ability to actually sit down and eat a meal are beyond liberating. (As a pharmacist, I don’t get the luxury of an uninterrupted sandwich. Once, I almost choked to death.)

      • Michael, your thinking is beyond a stretch. The apostles sure didn’t view “Go Forth” as you do.

        • Michael Bauman says

          johnkal, no they did not. However, without the support and foundation of monastic struggle we tend to dissolve into the seductive darkness of the world when we go forth.

          Outreach is not about programs it is about living an Orthodox Christian life without apology. Being ready to give a reason for our hope anywhere anytime.

          • Michael B

            What you are stating is actually daily witness of individuals, not outreach/evangelism as a church – and for that matter as The Church – the one and true, the one and only

            We are talking about the active communication of the gospel by the church to the outside world. That is a different matter. It is the church community engaging the outside community – from neighborhood to the entire globe. It is done by prayer and planning. It is not just a spontaneous random act of individuals dependent upon chance circumstance. It is purposeful

            The Orthodox church no longer does this work to our detriment and to the world’s

            It is frustrating to see Orthodox members dismiss this subject so quickly and treating other members who have an evangelsitic heart like a telemarketer calling at dinner time

            Prayer does not negate this action. It is an essential component of it

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I don’t think any of us were “dismissing” anyone, BJS; we’re all just a little uncomfortable tallying scores, as it is not something we take lightly.

              It occurred to me that you might not be aware of all that we do to engage the outside world. I’ve prepared a list for you. It’s not an exhaustive list, to be sure. Just 10 examples off the top of my head.

              1. Orthodox Study Bible https://tinyurl.com/yacp7tkw (Great Bible study tool; wonderful people spent years putting this together.)
              2. Ancient Faith Radio http://www.ancientfaith.com/ (Helped to produce some of the earlier podcasts for Kevin Allen. Was so excited when we had over 11,000 downloads one week; a record I’m sure Kevin has surpassed multiple times since.)
              3. Death to the World http://deathtotheworld.com/ (Love these guys. They do outreach to punk rockers, believe it or not. Many of them came from my former parish.)
              4. SVS Press https://www.svspress.com/
              5. Holy Cross Bookstore https://holycrossbookstore.com/
              6. Chrysostom Press https://www.chrysostompress.org (Be sure to order “The Explanation of the New Testament by Blessed Theophylact.” I used this as a source in my own evangelical Bible study classes.)
              7. Becoming Truly Human https://www.becomingtrulyhuman.com/ (This is a new movie that was produced by the Antiochian Archdiocese.)
              8. Orthodox Christian Network http://myocn.net/orthodox-christian-video-programs/adult-study-classes/
              9. Internet Sites https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxbridge/resources/
              10. Sola Scriptura http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/tca_solascriptura.aspx

              This is kind of a funny story. A year or so ago, on George’s blog, a kid (every one is a kid to me) said, “Gail, do you remember me? I’m Ryan Hunter. You sent me those Byzantine Chant tapes when I couldn’t sleep years ago.” Of course I remembered him. He was a former staff writer at Institute on Religion & Democracy, as I recall. He’s a prolific writer on FB and a true advocate for the Church.

              You see, we’re always doing outreach. When someone expresses an openness, I would venture to guess that just about all of us say, “How can I help?”

              • George Michalopulos says

                Gail, I didn’t know that you were on the production side of AFR. For what it’s worth, Kevin Allen’s opus is the standout Orthodox Christian broadcasting effort out there. (And that’s saying a lot if you ask me.) With people like you behind the scenes I’m not so surprised anymore.

                • George

                  I dont buy it

                  The Orthodox Church located in the United States does not evangelize as a church whole

                  If you look at the list provided, it is almost all oriented towards those who are already Orthodox, or those who happen to be studious and want to study up on the church and then end up seeking the church out

                  This is why the extremely few converts we have come to us almost exclusively by 2 routes

                  1. Marrying an Orthodox member (almost an undue requirement for the sake of human love, often not for any conviction of true conversion

                  2. The historical bookworm

                  Convert number 1 typically is along for the ride. This adds to our institutionalized nominalism. Had Ee-on Me-lur not met and fell in love with Tsula, his Anglo self would never have thought to have sought out the Orthodox Church. What does he say after baptism? “Im Orthodox now?” No. He said he was made Greek

                  Convert number 2 is usually a brainiac who mixes Christian ferver with Orthodox exclusivity.
                  If we arent exclusive by ethnicity, then we are exclusive scholastically while espouting mystical quotes of various saints

                  Both converts approach the church. The church does not approach them. Again, the church does not evangelize in America

                  The Orthodox Church has strayed from its missional heart as far or farther than the Roman Catholic church has strayed from any real monastic traditional roots

                  But ask a Roman Catholic and most will point out brothers, sisters, monesteries, nunneries and various orders that still exist. But are they a monastic oriented church? None of us would agree to that view. Likewise, we want to think we are missional to the outside world. Everyone but us knows that we arent, if they know we exist at all!

                  Funny how we are uncomfortable with numbers – like we cant sacrifice quality over quantity. Thats not up to us

                  Most other contexts numbers aren’t dismissed so quickly.

                  H.R. Block agent: “You owe $100.00 back taxes,” or “You owe $100,000.00 back taxes.” All of a sudden, numbers arent just numbers, eh?

                  How valuable is a human being?

                  The fire department shows up at a five bedroom house fire – fully engulfed . “How many people are inside?” Fire Chief: “It doesnt matter. Someone got out, at least we think so . . . ” Would any fire chief of any department anywhere respond that way?

                  We do exactly that, metaphorically speaking

                  How serious is the fire that lasts forever?

                  IMO – on our part – It is a lack of true understanding/contemplation of the human condition and/or lack of realized human empathy and compassion mixed with either nominalism or scholatic elitism that keeps us asleep

                  Where’s our heart? It’s not an either or issue.

          • Mike, monasticism did exist in the apostolic era which is arguably the period of time in which the church experienced the most rapid growth. Monasticism, an institution with in the Church, does not save only Christ does.

  44. The section of Scripture below is relevant. Followers of Christ must be willing to share the Good News! We are called “Go Forth” and preach the gospel both individually and corporately as the Church.

    It is not “all God.” We believe in synergy in the Orthodox Church.

    Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
    26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south[a] to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
    “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
        and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
        so he opens not his mouth.
    In his humiliation justice was denied him.
        Who can describe his generation?
    For his life is taken away from the earth.”
    34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”[b] 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

    • I would never try to minimize the fact that the life of every Orthodox Christian is evangelical, but it is easy to forget two things.

      1. That command to “Go forth and make disciples” was given first and primarily to the Apostles. It one of the things, among others, that makes them apostles (look up the word, and you will see what I mean).
      2. God has not given everyone the specific gift of being an evangelist.

      “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

      ‘When He ascended on high,
      He led captivity captive,
      And gave gifts to men.’

      …And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…”

      “ Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way…”

      The exercise of our unique gift(s) is always, whether directly or indirectly, evangelical in nature

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Johnkal, synergy means the cooperation between divine grace and human freedom and I would agree this exists within the Orthodox Church. God uses our cooperation to make it possible for us to introduce people to the Church, but He is doing all the work. You cannot compel someone to become Orthodox. It’s got to be in their heart.

      The last time I was “credited” for bringing someone into the Church was when my father died. At the urging of the man who was responsible for bringing ME into the Church, I called the local priest, whom I did not know very well, and left this message on his cell phone: “Father, the man who raised me as his own, my adoptive father, is dying. Several years ago, he showed an interest in the Orthodox Church and said he wanted to attend services at your parish. He was raised a Lutheran and the Church made sense to him, but I did nothing. I did not follow up with you. I did not arrange for someone to pick him up for services, although you told me at the time this would be possible. I did nothing to help him and now it’s too late. If I had done what I told him I would do, he would be Orthodox. He’s here in hospice and he’s dying.”

      The priest called me back five minutes later and said he was on his way. That priest chrismated my father literally moments before he passed. . . my father, the newly illumined Andrew, died as a member of the Orthodox Church.

      When I later asked the priest why he did what he did, he said, “Because God told me to.”

      It’s all God.

  45. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today’s The National Herald, by Theodoros Kalmoukos. The article is in its entirety at the time of this posting.

    “TNH’s Coverage of the Church”


  46. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Friday, November 10th, on the Life News website.

    Religious Leaders Bless Staff and Patients at Local Abortion Clinic, Sing “Hallelujah”


  47. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Thursday, by the Associated Press, which has been posted on The National Herald website.

    “Christian Arabs Protest Greek Patriarch on Israel Land Deals”


  48. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find video presentations given at OCL’s 30th Annual Conference held recently in Chicago. They have been posted today on OCL’s website.

    Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos – FINDING OUR VOICE: Orthodox Leadership for the 21st Century




  49. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find Father Dr. Frank Marangos’ power point presentation, “Finding Our Voice: Orthodox Leadership in the 21st Century,” from Saturday, October 28th, at OCL’s 30th Annual Conference in Chicago, from their website.

    Orthodox Christianity in America – Where are We Going?: The Future of the American Orthodox Church in the American Cultural Setting


  50. Greatly Saddened says

    We are coming up on the four month anniversary since Father Nicholas Kastanas, was removed or released. The actual term is fired, from his pastoral position at Saint Athanasius the Great, in Arlington, Massachusetts.

    Both he and his family have been thrown out on to the street, by no other than a handful of questionable parish council members and His Eminence Methodios. It’s amazing His Eminence can sleep at night knowing he is responsible for this unchristian act. He should be ashamed of himself. But then again, he probably has no conscience. He was more concerned with his vacation to Greece, rather than being there to help resolve the situation between his fellow cleric and the 4 or 5 questionable parish council members. One who is supposed to be both a shepherd to his flock and a representative of Christ!

    I guess I am so naive to believe something like this could be happening to such a Christ centered person and priest. One who has the love and respect of his parishioners.

    I continue to pray Father Nicholas will be vindicated and returned to his pastoral position at Saint Athanasius the Great.

    Lord have mercy

    • Estonian Slovak says

      The Apostles and many of the saints suffered persecution. Even in Holy Russia there were unjust hierarchs…..

  51. Greatly Saddened says

    I would like to wish my brothers and sisters in Christ and your families, a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for in this great country of ours. God bless you all.

  52. Greatly Saddened says

    I was deeply saddened to read the below article from today’s The National Herald. The article is in its entirety at the time of this posting. There is also a message on the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston website. May God help us!

    Metropolis of Boston Alleges “Financial Improprieties” by Fr. Nicholas Kastanas


    A Message from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston Concerning St. Athanasius the Great of Arlington, MA


  53. Joseph Lipper says

    Anyone have any ideas on what is happening in the Middle East right now? I bring this up because I believe it affects the Ecumenical Patriarch and also world-wide Orthodoxy. The current “Arab Spring” in Saudi Arabia appears to be changing the country from Wahabism to Sunni. This is a big deal, and people are rejoicing at the prospective death of Wahabism, but really I have to wonder if “Arab Springs” are ever really a good thing.

    The Grand Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is Sunni, is consolidating power to himself, and changing the country dramatically. Saudi Arabia is now joining forces with the nation-state of Israel in preparation to assert itself and battle against Iran, Syria and Shia led Lebanon. Meanwhile Iran, with Russia’s backing, is threatening to destroy the nation-state of Israel. Turkey, however, seems to be playing both sides. Turkey is also threatening to leave NATO, a move that Russia would encourage, but a move that would be terrifying for the EU and it’s prospects. Something’s afoot, and it’s probably not going to be good news for the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul in the coming months.

    • George Michalopulos says

      JL, I think you’re onto something. The new king seems to be a reformer on steroids. Regardless, the EP’s status will be dicey for the foreseeable future.

  54. Objective signs, indicators and symptoms that point to the cause of a problem are important, you think???

    Google: Signs of a dying church and Signs of a dead church. There are many such helps for the humble willing to be honest, admit, learn and change.

    George, here is an interesting resource: https://www.crossroadschristian.org/blogs/blog/the-twelve-mistakes-dead-churches-make

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Nevins, institutional, jurisdictional Orthodoxy may be dying (surely the GOA and OCA are moribund) but Orthodox Christianity can never die. That comes from the lips of our Savior Himself.

      • Guaranteed to always exist? Yes

        Guaranteed to exist or remain in any geographical location? No

        Guaranteed survival in America? No

        Our Church – if it isn’t in stasis or decline, its in full on retreat

        “When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled . . . Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin!!”

        Not the Russians in Russia though. Politics aside, you gotta hand it to those guys. What a comeback!

  55. Orthodox Christianity, is by it’s very nature, both jurisdictional and institutional. You can not separate the institution form the faith.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Agreed, JK. But there’s “jurisdictional” and then there’s “jurisdictional”. What we have here in America is caterwampus.

      OK, snark off: what we have can’t really be called jurisdictional because it isn’t “territorial”. That (in my opinion) is the missing element.