Can This Archdiocese be Saved?

Buckle your seat-belts because there’s more awful news coming out of 79th St.

The Pappas Post revealed today that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has defaulted on the payments to Skanska, the construction company tasked with building the St Nicholas Shrine at Ground Zero. (You can read the story for yourself here:

As of now, Monomakhos doesn’t know how much has been lost on the project or how badly in arrears the GOA is. Nor do we know how much has been pledged for the project or how much was raised. Other questions abound: did the construction costs contribute to the annual shortfall of the GOA’s deficits? Or was the money squirreled away for exorbitant overseas trips? Who knows? It’s doubtful that we’ll ever really know, not with the Phanar firmly in control of the GOA.

In my opinion, this disaster is a sad coda to the derailed legacy of Ligonier. Recriminations will surely follow. That being said, it would be wrong to pin the sad legacy of the last two decades only on the shoulders of the Ecumenical Patriarch. After all, the GOA had real bishops back in 1994 and they took it upon themselves to go to Ligonier and embrace their fellow American bishops from the other jurisdictions.

When they were told that they had to rescind their signatures, they could have stood up and said “No!”. Short of that, the principled thing to do was resign en masse. Instead, they took their lumps and were rewarded later with the empty title of “metropolitan”. And to what end? There is nothing to show for the abrogation of their signatures. Instead we have had a lost generation with droves leaving the Orthodox faith.

If viewed in this light, the stalled, unfinished shell of the erstwhile shrine, can serve as an emblem of the failures that is the GOA ever since Archbishop Iakovos Coucouzis was forcibly removed from the primacy.

One thing can be said for sure: if the Phanar thinks that things will turn around for the better once the present archbishop is removed, then they really don’t have a clue. Especially if they replace him with some phanariote acolyte who believes in the Canon 28 mythology. I’d like to think that there are some Archons or principled priests out there who can stand up to the Phanar and tell them that Byzantine nostalgia simply won’t work any more here in America. After all, it hasn’t worked in Istanbul.

We can always hope.

P.S. I really don’t want to be flippant but maybe the Trump Organization can take over and save the day? They’re pretty good with construction projects I hear.


  1. Gail Sheppard says

    I think it’s “don’t have a clue.” – I still believe the Phanar orchestrated the timing of all this so they could wipe the board clean and set up their own pieces. What I’m not sure they counted on was such strong opposition from laity for anything resembling “business as usual.” Could be a game changer.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, you may be right in that what we are seeing is the “controlled demolition” of the GOA by the Phanar.

      Along these lines, one of my contacts told me that (and this is only speculation), that the blandness of the Shrine in the first place was deliberate. This was so it could be more “ecumenical” and eventually Islamic. Hence the 99 year lease. Under this scenario, which was foreseen by the powers-that-be because they know that the GOA is the gang-that-couldn’t-shoot-straight, it would only be a matter of time before some white knight swooped in and took over the project, that is to save it from dereliction. The white knight in this case is some Saudi consortium.

      Personally, I think this is too clever by half but it does make sense.

      • Hieromonk Mark Kerr says

        LOL! As I read the article, George, I thought how that monstrosity would make a good mosque. I posted this on your previous article about this subject and I’ll post it again here:

        Go online and have a look at pictures of the recently restored Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas, in Kronstadt, Russia, (eg.,;geo=2394587&detail=2618634&ff=283837783&albumViewMode=hero&aggregationId=101&albumid=101&baseMediaId=283837783&thumbnailMinWidth=50&cnt=30&offset=-1&filter=7&autoplay=) and then ask yourself if you really think that the modernist, minimalist and irreverent cartoon parody of an Orthodox temple at the WTC deserves ever to be finished. It is a monument to the compulsive pimping of the Orthodox Faith and Orthodox Tradition that has characterised the GOA since its founding and has been expressed in numerous examples of horrid ‘church’ architecture, particularly dating from the second half of the 20th century, mostly commonly in the GOA, all across America. May God forbid such a travesty ever to be put forward as an Orthodox temple!

        None of our US jurisdictions is perfect, and a lot of problems exist across the board. We must pray for God’s hand to work to correct our path(-s) and infuse us all with His Holy Spirit. The change, the correction, the awaking has to start with me, and you, and all of us together. Complaining and criticising others does not solve the problems. Each one of us must address his own problems and failings, or, at least, be humble and trusting enough to bring them to God’s throne and lay them at His feet, in earnest supplication for mercy, forgiveness, strength for the battle and healing. For all of us and for the whole Church, the answer is found in the prayer at the beginning of the Proskomedia: ‘Make ready, O Bethlehem, for Eden hath been opened for all. Prepare, O Ephratha, for the tree of life hath blossomed forth in the cave from the Virgin, for her womb did appear as a spiritual paradise in which is planted the divine Plant, eating whereof, we shall live and not die as [did] Adam. Christ [is] born, raising the image that fell of old.’ Let us all obey the Lord’s command: ‘With fear of God, faith and love, draw near.’ Our salvation is of the Lord, and the revitalisation of Church life starts with each one of us.

        • George Michalopulos says


          You know, if you’ll permit me to go off on an architectural tangent, it’s just as easy (and probably less expensive) to build a tradition Orthodox temple as it is to build these modernist contraptions. Just sayin’.

  2. Greatly Saddened says

    Could we possibly one day see a sign posted outside of 8 East 79th Street stating: “CLOSED – OUT OF BUSINESS”

  3. Did anyone die as a direct result of the destruction of that church – or perished on church property during the event?

    Is this really just a shrine to a fallen building?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      If it’s a shrine, it is a shrine to the dreams of people who sacrificed to build it. It’s not about a building.

  4. No! If Greeks were really Orthodox they would go to Russia. Elytis and Seferis families fled the bankruptcy caused by the original Olympics by going to Smyrna, not Russia. Now, Greeks go to Australia and France, not Russia. Greeks want to be Western! They don’t care for Orthodox. The Russians imposed Orthodox by sabotaging the Council of Florence. See “Why they leave Orthodox”

  5. Veras Koultroupis says

    The church withstood the main ordeal but fell that night from falling debris. No one was hurt at the church.

    • So no one got hurt on church propery? This is dedicated to the loss of a building – a building – when thousands had died in the neigborhood – and thousands and thousands would die following as the world spun out of control?

      I agree. The monument is great as is – unfinished, bankrupt and a bad idea with no real spiritual goal to begin with – and oblivious to the real sufferings and deaths that surround outside of it. It’s perfectly symbolic of our Orthodox Church reality here in the United States. How poetic even!

      No one was around to watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 fall down either

      Should we build a shine to that dedicated Hellenic secular humanistic piece of trash too?

  6. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Putin met with a number of representatives of the local churches regarding the persecution of Christians and the situation in Syria.

    “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” – Matthew 7:16

  7. Will Harrington says

    Who owns the actual properties of the parishes? If they are owned by the parishes, then the parishes can carry on as long as they have active congregations. If they are owned by the archdiocese or the Phanar then things could indeed get very bad.

  8. I agreed with you until your ?postscript?

    Trump would name it the St Donald Cathedral.

    Or the Trump entry.

    Or Trump’s steps

    But no without Russian ?

  9. Oh, not to worry. I am sure Hank Hanegraaff will be able to bring in the converts by the truck load who will bail them out…oh wait, never mind.

    • Yes Hank converted to the Orthodox Church and therefore no longer believes in the bible.

      Oh – and he no longer loves Jesus.

      When he sees the bumper sticker now, he firmly keeps his hands 10 and 2

      • Billy, I think you miss my point. Hank really isn’t an apologist nor has any real education in that or any other field. He’s a conman that got lucky and abused his way to the top, leaving a rather long paper trail. He isn’t going to be the convert truck that the GOA thinks he is. Rather he is going to use them to support his millionaire lifestyle. That is why they promote his Protestant books to the Orthodox right off the OCN webpage.

        Besides, Hank had no apparent plans to reveal his chrismation. A picture got out and everything after that was damage control.

        • Fr. Deacon John says

          And how does Hank Hanegraaff even enter into this string or have anything to do with it? I find your ripping on him unnecessary and distasteful. Hank is battling cancer right now and I am sure he has bigger fish to fry. I met Hank in June of 2016 when he was part of a group of 12 men, mostly from North Carolina, that went to Greece and spent three days at Vatopadi on the Holy Mountain, Mt. Athos. It was my second time there and being a deacon representing our Metropolitan, I was sort of a tour guide and information source for the group. I found Hank to be a good man who was sincere about his journey to Orthodoxy, and I was delighted to hear of his Chrismation. The GOA is in deep trouble to be sure, and comments like these above against a specific individual, who has no fingerprints on any of this, is uncalled for.

        • Perry

          I had not heard of any such issues surrounding Hank Hanegraff

          The only thing I heard was that he had some following that felt betrayed by his becoming Orthodox – as if he no longer loves God or believes scripture.

          I only poke at it because I can personally relate to it

          It would seem strange to me if he isolated himself from his target demographic just to push book sales in the GOA

          That would be like leaving Palm Desert, California – and relocating your pool cleaning business to Nome, Alaska

  10. Gail Sheppard says

    Looks like Putin called a “Holy and Great Council” of all those who weren’t at the table in Crete.

    Noticeably absent is the one who claims to speak for the entire Orthodox Church. Can’t imagine he is pleased that Moscow is calling them together or that they went!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, please check the video I just posted. Do you think that the meeting you’re talking about was part of this concelebration?

      Misha, I think you first broke this story. Do you have any information along these lines?

      • Martyr’s Guilt says

        Putin is calling Holy and Great Council? Next the new Tsar will return Aghia Sophia to Orthodoxy. Hail Putin! Russia has a Holy Tsar. America has Gregory Pappas, Theo Kalmoukos, and Monomakhos! Saint Anna pray for us!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I’m guessing it was, George.

        At the same time, the 3rd International Religious Freedom conference, organized and hosted by the Order of St. Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul) was going on:

        While the EP was meeting with the President of the State of Israel, Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, at the Presidential Palace in Jerusalem.


        If you look at the stories listed at the bottom of this one, you will see that a number of high ranking hierarchs of the various local churches have been visiting and making their way around Russia – even Ekaterinburg. Putin met with a host of them at his private residence.

        I think what you will see is action without overt explanation or claims of this or that. It is more important what people do than what they say. These are the actions of a modern day Constantine. But I doubt there is a need for a rival council. That may be the point. Nine councils is enough to hammer out the faith in great detail.

        If you’re looking for dramatic statements about Third Rome and a rival Orthodox group formally at odds with the Phanar, you may be disappointed. Russia can lead without any explicit claim so long as those following it are on the same page.

        This looks to me like a collection of clerics on the same page.

  11. Son of man, can these bones live?

  12. Gail Sheppard says

    George, one caveat to my earlier statement: Putin called to the table some who were NOT part of the concelebration (according to your list), specifically, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of ANTIOCH, His Beatitude Metropolitan Savva of WARSAW, Metropolitan Theodore of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti of the GEORGIAN Orthodox Church, and Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech of the BULGARIAN Orthodox Church.

    What this particular group has in common is that they were missing from the Holy and Great Council in Crete, which means they have their issues with the EP.

    Does it concern anybody else that a political leader is able to call together patriarchs and metropolitans in our Church, excluding the EP? If the true objective was to address religious persecution in the Middle East, don’t you think the EP would have been included?

    I’m not a fan of the EP, but I don’t want a political leader leading the charge against him, either. Putin should be working through ROCOR; however, it appears as if ROCOR and other like minded people may be working through him to marginalize the EP. This is dangerous IMO. To claim Putin puts the interests of the Church above his own is just plain stupid. He is not a God appointed Czar. He doesn’t even kiss the hands of these people but Pope Francis and an Orthodox priest kiss his!

    It’s no secret that the Orthodox Church has become a global source of “soft power” and I wouldn’t want Putin, or any other political leader, leveraging this for his own purposes.

    What am I missing here? Why did these people show up at his meeting and why wasn’t the EP included?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, I hear you. But may I offer another perspective on Putin being a “political leader”? He is. Nothing wrong with that per se. But I think that misses the point, which is this: he’s a layman and he represents a whole lot of laymen. That’s a good thing IMHO.

      Why? Because we laity have to get control back of the Church. To be sure, it’s not ideal that he’s a strong-man leader but what’s to stop us laypeople from banding together and doing the same thing?

      Now I realize that the normative Orthodox ethos is to let the strong-man take care of things but maybe the good things that we are seeing in Russia can embolden us republican-minded Americans to step up to the plate?

      An honest question to one and all.

      As to why the EP wasn’t invited I can only speculate. At this point I’d rather not.

      • Michael Bauman says

        George, lay people take back control of the Church? Really? Where does that come from? That just seems like an ignorant statement.

        Both we lay people and the Bishops have to give back control of the Church to the Holy Spirit or candlesticks will be falling all over the place.

        The key to that is repentance. Not someone else’s repentance, but mine. I can talk soteriology, etc. and sound pretty good but the darkness and the wasteland in my soul is vast and deep so my opinions have little value.

        Sunday, we had a Trisagion for the dead after the Divine Liturgy and Bishop Basil led it. When he intoned the central prayer that the reposed be in a “place of brightness, a place of verdure, a place of repose where all sickness, sorrow and sighing have fled away…” I shook with the authority of God, even though he spoke the words quitely the echos reverberated in my body.

        We have neither the right nor the skill to control the Church. Shame on you!

        • George Michalopulos says

          Michael, I regret that my call to arms seemed Prod-like and congregational. My mistake, it certainly wasn’t my intention. I agree that only a godly people can do such a thing. We are far from godly. However, things have gotten so bad in some corners of the Orthodox world that the Holy Spirit may see that that’s the only recourse left. At least at this point in history.

          I mean, we all know how the opposite can be used for God’s purposes. How the Lord allowed the Assyrians to destroy Israel, the Babylonians to destroy the first Temple and the Romans the second Temple. All for the purification of His people Israel. If God could allow the hated gentiles to do His will then why couldn’t He allow the laity, along with a faithful remnant of bishops (who are true monastics) to set right the Church?

          I realize that sounds impertinent but what other choice does the GOA (in this instance) have? More of the same? A compromised oversees bishop to serve as Primate? The so-called metropolitans of the GOA make six-figure salaries and they retire at full pay. The laity of the GOA will never find out how that money was squandered. Heck, I don’t even think the brainiacs on 79th St have a clue as to what happened to the money. And I’m being charitable.

          Now I realize that increasing lay power in the GOA will augment more of the same decrepit leadership provided by the Archons/Leadership 100. Their secular mindset coupled with Byzantine nostalgia will never cease with these people. But whose fault is that? Does your average GOA priest demand orthopraxis from the elites? No, because he knows that when they complain to the bishops, he’ll be thrown under the bus faster than you can say “Jackie Robinson”.

          Forgive my ramble, I seem to be making indictments and not offering any solutions. Perhaps there aren’t any –at least for this generation. It might very well be the case that more lay control is the least, worst option available for the moment. I’ve tried to look at this six ways from Sunday but I can’t see any way out for the GOA at this point. And since the EAUSA is tethered to the GOA, then that albatross is still around our collective necks as well.

          Regardless, I’m optimistic. The silver lining is that by having things implode so horribly, we’ll look back and when the time comes to pick up the pieces, we’ll know what not to do.

          • About 15 years ago, I was discussing the power structure of the Episcopal style of church government with a Byzantine Catholic gentleman. He was a former Franciscan monk and had an MDiv

            I questioned what happens if/when the whole of the episcopate embraces something that is clearly not Orthodox in faith and tradition

            I remember that he stated something to the effect that the laity would have say in rejecting what was happening because the Holy Spirit indwells the whole church, not just the clergy

            It was something like that, I can’t quite remember. But I did remember the fact that the overall thought was being expressed by someone who at the same time believed in top down papal control. It must be interesting to be Byzantine Catholic

            I don’t think anyone means to take power such as a congregational rule mindset

            What I see is laity demanding that from the clergy which is adherence to the tradition, instead of allowing various excuses of why things are in disorder outside the guidelines of our faith church structure.

            What is it that we are asking for but that the tradition be upheld and things go from being irregular to regular?

            It has to be done with proper and appropriate methods of influence. That’s the power I see.

            It is right to be humble, supportive and submissive. On the other hand, it is wrong to be subjegated so extreme that the church lies dormant, choked by its own leadership

            I also believe that if the church in America was structured properly, the ancient practice of all the people being able to select/elect their bishop should apply (from there, I’d be fine with the idea of the Archbishop/Metropolitan being selected from the province/regional bishops only). I think this would help safeguard against the propensity for the clergy to often become a closed ring of self promoting enablers

            Without such a process, it is no wonder certain abuses tend to exist and eventually become typical and deeply entrenched

            I also believe that it would help the church expand greater over time – allowing better for appropriate and healthly growth

          • Michael Bauman says

            Find a true bishop and follow him.

            • Find Christ and follow Him. Even the most faithful bishop is a flawed human being. “Trust not in princes and sons of men for in them there is no salvation.”

              • Michael Bauman says

                Like it not, and most in the west do not, we have no Church without a bishop. “Following Christ” easily takes on a narcissitic self-righteousness that is the bane of actual Christianity.

                If we want the Church there will be bishops and priests. If we work to discern those who are following Christ in the Church that is what we can do.

                Taken literally johnkol, your advice
                means that it’s just you and Jesus and the devil take the hind most.

            • You got Metropolitan Joseph’s new contact number? Where do I need to relocate to? Saskatchewan? Does he have a congregation full of reindeer somewhere now?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        George, Putin is a layman who doesn’t feel it’s necessary to show respect to the office of our metropolitans and patriarchs. You sure we need someone like that leading the charge?

        The laity was never meant to have control over the Church, so why would you think we need to “get it back?” The day the laity bans together and strong-arms the Church into changing is the day the gates of hell prevail.

        It’s all very romantic to think the Russian people rebuilt the Church because it was in their collective souls, but the reality is that in 1997 they passed a law that restricted the freedom of religious practice of faiths considered “foreign.” It was that vacuum that allowed Russian Church to reestablish itself. Putin capitalized on it. He was not responsible for it.

        With regard to the GOA, what if it is the laity we need to worry about?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Good points Gail. I wasn’t aware that Putin didn’t kiss the hands of bishops. I’m not sure that that’s always the case. When he was here in 2002, he secretly met with Metropolitan Laurus of ROCOR and I heard he kissed his hand. Anyway, he greased the skids so that ROCOR could reunite with the ROC. And that’s a good thing.

          As for the laity of the GOA, I’m in a quandary. We’re screwed any way you look at it. Please remember that my last sentence (or therabouts) was “the least worst option”. However, I will consider your point re the laity getting control as being the day “the gates of hell prevail”. I hadn’t thought of it that way so I may be wrong.

          Of course a better option would be for the Athonites to go in and clean house but they don’t strike me as doing something like that.

          I dunno.

          • Estonian Slovak says

            I SAW on Russian TV that Putin shook Metropolitan Laurus’s hand and then kissed him three times. It was Russian TV broadcast over American cable. Thus, it was meant to show all of Russia that he felt himself superior to the hierarchy. At least, that’s my take. He would have impressed the heck out of me had he kissed the Metropolitan’s hand. It may be that Tsar Peter the Great behaved this way. He also abolished the Patriarchate in Russia.I’ll take the Tsar Martyr Nicholas II over him any day. The Tsar Nicholas offered himself to the Holy Synod as a candidate for Patriarch. This would have entailed separation from his family and taking monastic vows. God chose another path for him.

            • George Michalopulos says

              ES, thanks for the correction. I may have mistaken it for another picture I saw (I think when he was on Athos) and he kissed some monk-priest’s hand. He may still be on his path towards humility, I know I’m not the same man I was ten years ago; twenty years ago I was quite skeptical of Athonite monasticism here in America. Now I try to go every year. What I’m saying is let’s us all cut other people (and us) some slack.

              Having said all that, the intense gratitude that Orthodox Christian leaders feel towards him cannot be overstated. I’ll say this until my dying day: it was Putin who put the kybosh on the Cretan Robber Council. Had he not been in charge, Moscow, Bulgaria, Georgia and Antioch would have been dragged in chains over to Crete to proclaim the wonderfulness of the EP. He might have even take the chance to proclaim the Unia at that conference.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                George, why would you say it was PUTIN “who put the kybosh on the Cretan Robber Council?” It was reported that Kirill (and even Vladislav Surkov, who claims to be “the author, or one of the authors, of the new Russian system”) visited Mt. Athos immediately before the announcement. I suspect if anyone was behind the withdrawal, it was the monks.

                I knew someone who was very connected to Russia, George. When I met him, he was working with ROCOR to recover some relics belonging to the Tzar’s family. I’ve told you about him in the past. My friend is no longer with us but before he died he told me he had worked with Putin during the years when they were doing cultural exchanges. Putin was still with the KGB at the time. My friend, who was Orthodox, portrayed Putin as a not so bright opportunist. – This guy knew him.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Interesting. Good points you raise as well, Gail. I don’t doubt for a minute that Putin has opportunistic tendencies. He’s a politician after all. To my mind, that’s not a disqualifier.

                  If memory serves however, Putin visited Mt Athos some months before the Cretan Robber Council. He was placed on the bishop’s throne of one of the Greek monasteries (it was either Vatopedi or Simonopetra I believe) and there was a tacit understanding that until the Romanov dynasty is legally restored, he’s the imperial place-holder.

                  In any event, I imagine that both he and Patriarch Kirill were double-teaming the EP during the entire pre-Conciliar process. Putin had his own reasons (i.e. Ukraine) for doing so. Regardless, even if it was Kirill who was leading the anti-CRC charge, I’m glad that Putin went along with him. I just wish that every other Orthodox hierarch did so as well.

                  Still, I’m not disputing you just offering a different perspective.

                • Martyr's Guilt says

                  Gail, Do you see any similarities between Putin, and Assad? Do you believe Putin to be more opportunist, or Orthodox Christian? I do find it hard to believe he is not bright, with all due respect to your friend.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Martyr’s Guilt,

                    Since you asked. . .

                    I see very little difference between Putin and Assad with one exception: I don’t think Putin would kill 500,000 plus of his own population to stay in power, nor do I think his country would allow it. A few thousand here and a few thousand there, maybe, but not 15% to 20% (in Syria’s case) within the span of 6/7 years.

                    I also don’t think Putin would open up Russia to literally hundreds of different terrorist groups. Quite the contrary.

                    (As you may have guessed, I am not an “the end justifies the means” kind of girl. I tend to be very black and white about these things and Assad is no angel.

                    Putin is probably not any more opportunistic than any other political leader. I don’t know how smart he is. I trust my friend who was “off the chart” intelligent. If he says Putin is not particularly bright, I believe him. I remember being surprised by how bored I was when I watched him in the Oliver Stone documentary. Putin didn’t impress me like I thought he was going to. The one thing he knows how to do is not talk too much! I imagine it serves him well.

                    I would argue Putin is not all that “Orthodox.” His father was an atheist and women don’t count for much in Russia so I doubt his mother influenced him to any great degree. She may have baptized him, given him to God and was done with it.

                    A lot of hype surrounded that visit he made to Mt. Athos the month before Crete. It’s important to keep in mind that it was a half day pilgrimage and only his second visit. He hasn’t been back since. Even I have spent more time in a monastery than that! If George has seen him kiss the hand of any man, I’d like to request he find the ink and share it. I’m the “GOOGLE queen” and I can’t find it anywhere. I would also like to see where it says there is a “tacit understanding” that he is the Tsar. Sounds like Russian folklore to me but then I am not as “romantic” as George is about these things. I have seen too much.

                    I suspect Putin’s interest in the Church came later in his life. There are some VERY politically savvy people in the Russian Church who no doubt impressed him (perhaps even helped him). If there were no political advantage to align his interests with theirs, I doubt he would do it. His personal feelings, whatever they may be, are probably secondary.

                    To be fair, there are people all over the world who say they’re Orthodox. They are quite sentimental about it, too. They’ll lie, cheat and steal (or worse), attend 1 or 2 services a year, and tell you how much they love Church. (They give fistfuls of money to the Church to prove it, too!) I don’t know how “Orthodox” this is, though. God knows and I imagine He’ll enlighten them with the rest of us when that time comes.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      . . . In the meantime, did you see where Putin got the lease from Assad for the Humaymim air base and the Tartus naval facility?

                      Hmmm . . . I thought he was only there for the Christians.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I never said that it was only for the Christians. I mentioned the two bases which you (Thank you for doing so) named.

                      I never believed for a minute that he’s an altruist.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      As usual, you’ve given the fine folks here a lot to chew on.

                      I’ll comment more on this as I need to consider your comments but now all I would like to say is that the “tacit understanding” I wrote about was that he wasn’t the czar but “an imperial placeholder” against that time in which the real czar would be revealed.

                    • Martyr's Guilt says

                      Gail, Thank you for your well written response. I was correct to label you a wise sister. I will also add, a wise sister in Christ. Sorry George, I am a big fan of your work, but I hope you can see through this romantic Russian spell with Putin.

                      Gail, Putin may not be bright, in intellectual terms, but he must be a managerial and administrative mastermind, and his leadership skills are impressive, though I will say most Russians are easily impressed. That said I find him to be a second class monster, like his friend Assad. First class will always belong to his predecessor Stalin, and his predecessor Lenin. Putin has and will use The Church to his advantage. His predecessor Stalin also used The Church during WW2, desperation. Last I checked, Stalin didn’t care much for neither God nor humanity, but he sure liked what the Orthodox Church had to offer him….survival!

                      Now what rubs me the wrong way with Orthodoxy, be it Greek or Russian, is it’s bad reputation of late in who they partner up with. The GOA had Michael Jaharis, and his money pit, and Orthodoxy in Russia of course have Putin and his government’s never ending money pit. Bad luck for the Greeks, Jaharis died. Now Putin is much younger, but even he can not last forever, as a Faux Tsar. Both churches went all in on both men. The GOA may be saved financially, as America has deep pockets. What happens when Putin is gone, and the next leader is not so fond of Orthodoxy’s new found power, or what it might have to offer him and his country?

                      I am not a end’s justify the means type of person, as well, but many in Orthodox leadership are, and look the other way, to their murderous leader’s actions. Are not all souls precious, or are our spiritual leaders just bean counters and sorters? Some live some die, oh well. Then they have the gall to point fingers at each other, EP versus MP, BS, petty infighting, and political back stabbing is not only tolerated, but expected! This is how a True Church operates? Do they not fear Christ, or most importantly love Christ? Do they believe they, and their deep pocketed friends will live forever? This is a stain on our religion. Some days it drives mad, and I debate whether I should guide my family to seek other ways to participate in, The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Gail, how do you see through this madness, and still come to church every Sunday? Sorry for the ramble, but right or wrong it’s simply how I feel.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      MG, I am grateful to have another “wise sister in Christ” on this blog. (I did read that right: you are a woman?) The more the merrier.

                      Your’s and Gail’s responses deserve a thoughtful consideration on my part. I hope this suffices:

                      1. While it is clear that Assad has murdered several hundred thousands of his own people, we cannot forget that Saddam Hussein was worse –infinitely worse. Are you (or anybody else wishing to comment) glad that we went into Iraq and toppled his regime? Is the aftermath worth it, for all sides?

                      2. We forget our own history here in America: the ethnic cleansing of the Indians from the South, the atrocity that was Sherman’s March to the Sea and the forcible internment of Japanese American citizens in concentration camps during WWII. If the War Between the States was fought today, the death toll would be upwards of 4,000,000 based on the population of the US and the US now.

                      3. We keep on hearing about how Putin is only slightly “less” of a monster than Assad because –he simply is. There are no numbers to back it up other than the Chechen wars. Which he, like Lincoln, views as a civil war. As for the body count of journalists which is constantly laid at his feet, well, it pales in comparison to the dozens of victims of Arkancide.

                      4. As for his piety –God knows. I will say this: I’ve known many Russians and Eastern Europeans in my life and I saw how they struggled to come to Orthodoxy and the deep compromises they or their parents had to make to get to this point. Not only intellectual compromises but orthopractic ones. When I was younger people in my GOA parish used to snicker at little old ladies making full prostrations before icons. Before you knew it, nobody was doing them. Until now, and mainly at the Athonite monasteries. And yes, I look ridiculous because my generation fell out of the practice. What’s my point? Don’t judge another person’s struggle at piety. It may be all a sham but you or I can’t know that.

                      5. Like Gail and yourself, I’m not an “ends justifies the means person” either. At the same time, I look at the fruits of a person, not his heart (which I can’t). My philosophy on leadership is the same as Martin Luther’s: “it’s better to be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian”. Give me a wise Turk (or former KGB officer or real estate developer) over any Establishmentarian who’ll sell out his country at the drop of a hat any day. For years we were fooled by the noblesse oblige of Bush 41 and his patrician manners. Now we know that –unlike Trump–he actually does grab women’s privates.

                      6. As for the late Mr Jaharis, I never met him. From what I know about his speeches, he seemed pretty evangelical to me. As for his giving, God bless him.

                      Time constraints do not allow me to continue. Perhaps later. Thank you for your considered criticisms.

                    • Martyr's Guilt says

                      George you are a Ponyruuli, if my suspicions are right. Left myself open for that one, didn’t I? Sorry to let you down, but not female. Just adding another complement to Gail. Now I was raised by saintly, but tough as nails Greek woman, calling me one is no insult to me. In fact my YiaYias could probably kick both of our butts at the same time, or at least stare the sin right out of us. Don’t know if Gail is Greek, but she seems both tough as nails, and quite intelligent as well. You are very lucky to have her here. If she ever leaves Monomakhos, you should close up shop.

                      As far as your first five points, mostly agree, except that my point was not about Government A, B, or C is less guilty of murder than another. My point is that one would think our Orthodox Church, would/should set itself apart from the stench our Governments have to offer Orthodoxy, and it’s leaders. They are setting themselves up for a big fall, and taking the laity down into the pit with them. It is so sinful on so many levels, but so many want to hang with the big boys, and their big guns, impressing who? Your blog is first to point out GOA leaders hob nobbing, and giving awards to leftist, pro-abortionist politicians, and rightly so, but look the other way, when Russian Orthodoxy kisses the hand of Putin, and his murdering thugs. Perhaps Orthodoxy is guilty of Vatican envy, hey now with Putin behind them, they got something, The Pope never had. The Bomb!

                      By the way, I do not know heart of Mr. Jaharis, what I know from one speech, is he was not a fan of Monasteries, if fact quite suspicious of them. Since his passing, it seems the GOA has gone into default, so I pray his influence was evangelical, and not a power trip.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      She’s a gem

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      MG, I’m against all “hobnobbing” by Church leaders with politicians. But here in the USofA, it seems that the GOA in particular goes all out for hobnobbing with the most extreme pro-abortionist politicians out there. As a Greek-American (also raise by a tough-as-nails Greek-American woman), it grates on me. I would be more than happy for a moratorium on all political hobnobbing taking place –across the board.

                      Yeah, Jaharis, like most of the Archons/Leadership 100 crowd were definitely not fans of the monasteries. But I still admire his evangelical spirit and his generosity. To my mind, that means a lot. Being a billionaire/CEO of a Fortune 400 company, he could have imbibed the secular culture; instead he poured his energies into the Church. The fact that the GOA has hindered the Gospel lo these many years is not an indictment of Mr Jaharis.

                • Alitheia1875 says

                  As a Russian priest once told me about Putin: no such thing as ex-KGB. Once KGB, always KGB.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    True, but you forget that the KGB, like the Soviet Union, is no more. It’s now the FSB and Russia. Only a deluded, Russophobic Neocon would believe that they are one and the same.

                    Consider how the Russians (and others) view us: at one time, America was a force for good, liberating people from tyranny. Now we are demanding that women have untrammeled access to abortion even up to the moment of birth and our biggest export is pornography. We also have this curious habit of only invading countries that don’t have a central bank. Libya is now a crap-hole thanks to our intervention. There are open-air slave markets in which Africans are being bought and sold like cattle. This is a good thing?

                    Is the America of The Gipper or JFK? Of Ike or FDR? I rather doubt it.

              • George,

                That is the thing that so many people miss about the council at Crete. The Phanar pushed the documents through the process of being approved by the patriarchs under the impression that they could be cleaned up or revised at the council, then Pat. Bartholomew turned the tables and stated that the only changes to the drafts that would be permitted would be by unanimous consensus.

                Essentially, he treated the purported great council like a bureaucratic function in his contempt for the process and thus excluded the Holy Spirit who most certainly cannot be gamed. The local churches which did not attend realized this to varying degrees.

                There was an obvious and flagrant attempt to bless other Christian confessions with the term “church” which in Orthodoxy is reserved for the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church – that being the Eastern Orthodox Church, coterminous and exclusive of all other groups. Constantinople had some combination of the Anglican Branch Theory and Protestant baptismal theology in mind, apparently, as the right medicine to “bring the Orthodox into the 21st century”, so to speak.

                It is all so shallow and superficial. Like a bad B-movie. If they want to lie on par with Rome they really need to take some classes.

                In any case, in the aftermath the Phanar is discredited without being publicly, explicitly shamed as such. Everyone with a brain who paid attention knows exactly what transpired. Thus there is a leadership vacuum . . . or was . . .

                I, for one, do not want to get ahead of Moscow . . . especially since they are still getting their sea legs and there could be turbulence on the horizon. But it seems as if that is where we are headed.

                The MP is still getting used to its role as a protector of Tradition (to put it politely). They have had a tin ear coming out of the Soviet period. I will be the first to testify to that. But they have gotten rid of most of the collaborators by this point and are once again finding their true voice. It is a work in progress. They really should work more closely with the Church Abroad in this respect, even vetting major decisions through the ROCOR synod if need be. No self respecting theologically competent person in ROCOR would have, for example, approved the Joint Statement between the Pope and Patriarch that was issued. ROCOR was the receptacle of the supreme governing authority in the Church of Russia up until the reunification. The MP never lacked grace, just gravitas. Now it is getting its mojo back.

                PS: As to the kissing thing, let’s grow up. I’m not sure what the deal is but I can say for certain it has nothing to do with withholding proper respect from Orthodox hierarchs. It is possible that it is in light of his status as head of state of the Russian Federation. Did Byzantine emperors kiss that hands of bishops or did they kiss each other as equals? I know that the emperor was allowed at the altar to take communion. I’m sure there is a practice that the Russian emperors inherited. Putin has not been anointed czar but nonetheless probably prefers to protect the dignity of his office as head of the Russian State. We recall Obama bowing left and right to anyone around.


                Byzantine Court Culture –

                • Estonian Slovak says

                  That does it, George! I put up with narcissists like Michael Warren(Rostislav Michailovich Z) and Millman. But I refuse to be lectured by a man who publicly called for wife beating here on this blog. I wish you and everyone here a Blessed Nativity. I will not be posting here again.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    ES, as long as Misha plays by the rules and says nothing heretical or outrageous or actionable, he can comment.

                  • Constaninos says

                    Millman was narcissist? He was very funny, unpredictable, and entertaining. Monomakhos has become very boring without him.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Estonian Slovak,

              Did Putin not kiss Metropolitan Laurus’ hand before the reunion with the Moscow Patriarchate or was it after?

              If it was before the reunion, then it would make sense, just like you wouldn’t kiss the hand of priest who is outside of the Church. I know that Putin met with Metropolitan Laurus before the reunion.

              • Estonian Slovak says

                I am not aware that either you or Mr. Putin is qualified to determine who is or isn’t in the church. I am not aware of a single case in which the MP reordained any cleric ordained by ROCOR or even had some prayers read over them. On the other hand, either Metropolitan Hilarion or Metropolitan Jonah serving with him, did reordain a priest coming from the uncanonical Macedonians.
                Furthermore, the Serbs served with ROCOR long before the union and neither the MP nor the EP nor anyone else broke communion with them over it. Try again.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Estonian Slovak, the issue at hand was only communion. Before the reunion, would it have been customary for somebody from ROCOR to have gone up to a priest of the Moscow Patriarchate and asked for his blessing and kissed his hand? Perhaps, but if I recall, it was more customary for them to avoid each other and walk on opposite sides of the street if they could. Thank God there was a reunion, but healing is not easy and takes time.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Interesting replies JL. They are correct IMO. We forget about the lack of communion between ROCOR and ROC.

          • Martyr’s Guilt says

            This sister knows what’s she talking about George. In other words she knows, that she and we don’t know, even if we think we do.. The political machinery of World Orthodoxy today, is like an expensive Swiss watch, purrs like a kitten, until one wheel gets too much GREASE. Very few people know how to fix an expensive watch, but those that do, keep their dying trade within their circles. So When the other gears and wheels get gummed up from the one over greased wheel, the watch quits working, until all the wheels and gears are properly cleaned and equally oiled. With a expensive and valuable watch this requires removing all parts and cleaning them of all gummy grease and shaved precious metal. Once properly cleansed, all parts are returned to the watch, minus a couple insignificant minor parts, and loose screws, easily replaced. All puns intenteded!

            • George Michalopulos says

              The Sister does indeed know what she’s talking about.

              Regardless, I haven’t worn a watch in years.

              • George Michalopulos says

                BTW, I really loved the analogy MG. Maybe what we are seeing is the “watch being taken apart” and “useless pieces being left behind” while “it is being put back together.”

                Let’s not forget that seven churches were addressed by John in the Book of Revelation. Not all were up to snuff and one –Laodicea–was going to be “vomited out” by the Lord.

            • Alitheia1875 says

              What in the world is World Orthodoxy> There is no such thing. Never has been and hopefully never really will be.

          • George

            What I see as possible action on the part of the laity and what is being stated as strong arm control is two different things

            The day the gates of hell will prevail? I don’t know about that

            What do you call what has happened to the American Church (as well as the Orthodox Church worldwide) since Meletius IV Metaxakis? If the gates of hell can’t prevail against us, they can sure dunk on us nonstop

            Who is responsible for and who failed to act regarding Metaxakis? How could have things turned out differently and what would have been the catalyst?

        • Greatly Saddened says

          Gail … thank you for posting the above article from World Religion News. I found it quite interesting, to say the least.

  13. Joseph Lipper says

    Gail Sheppard,

    I’m pretty sure this was just a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the Russian Patriarchy. That was the official reason why Patriarch John of Antioch was there. I’m not sure if the EP was invited, but it may not have interested them anyways.

    As to why Putin met with all the gathered foreign hierarchs, that’s just what he customarily does. He makes a diplomatic effort.

    Right before this concelebration, there was a separate council of the Moscow Patriarchate from November 29th to December 2nd:

  14. Gail Sheppard says

    I hope you’re right, Joseph.

  15. Joseph Lipper says

    Estonian Slovak,

    Today, I have a lot of respect for the Greek Old Calendarists, but my bishop is not in communion with their bishop, so I currently wouldn’t kiss the hand of a Greek Old Calendarist priest. If I met one, I would be cordial and shake his hand.

  16. Michael Woerl says

    ” … people may be working through him to marginalize the EP.” No “people” have to do that, or “work through” anyone to do so. The EP has marginalized itself with its incessant novelties, modernism, minimalism, and ecumenical excess, beginning around 1920. It is, basically, irrelevant. Totally. Turkish citizens in a Turkish city named “Istanbul” pretending something else altogether. Crete was the start of the last nails in the coffin. Unity with the Vatican will finish it off! But no Western Armies to enforce it this time!

  17. Greatly Saddened says

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

    Hellenic College and Holy Cross in Serious Enrollment and Financial Crisis

  18. Greatly Saddened says

    In a recent article, it had been stated that due to the most recent financial crisis, The Archdiocese, may have to sell one of its two buildings on East 79th Street. Only time will tell for sure. At this point, all we can do is pray and hope for the best.

    • George Michalopulos says

      That may be the best case scenario. We’ll know things are really bad when they start taking offers for HC/HC and its 20 acres (?) of prime real estate in Brookline.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        GM … So sad, yet so true!

      • The GOA and the whole Church of Constantinople will be sold off to Disney and J.J. Abrams will be elected Ecumenical Patriarch

        Given where we are at now and how we got here, that’s the logical next step – and the only way I can imagine things possibly getting worse for our legacy than they already are now

        • Martyr’s Guilt says

          Billy, you seem a nice person, but there is really nothing funny about the sell off of GOA, or jokes about our EP. No matter how bad things get, we must remember the hand of God is upon both, and should not be mocked, nor laugh at their downfall. Merry Christmas.

          • MG

            I understand that there are some people who appreciate less joking and satire, etc.

            Do you know why there aren’t many jokes about the Reverend Jim Jones?

            The punchline’s too long

            • George Michalopulos says

              BJS, LOL! And I thought I had a mordant wit! I’m gonna remember that one. Probably tell it at work today.

              BTW, do you know the joke that precedes this punchline: “I doan know where ye been Lad, but I’m glad ye came in firs’ place!”? (Spoken with a Scottish burr.)

            • Martyr's Guilt says

              BJS and GM,
              So am I too assume if a joke works perfect, and satire too funny, then there is no line to draw at all. GM I am sure jokes about Russia’s Royal Martyrs, or Russian sheep lead to the slaughter, by the Bolsheviks, and Communists, would be where your funny bone line is drawn. BJS, would you draw the line at ones mother, just wondering.

              For what it’s worth. Maria Katsaris, and Leo Ryan were two of the victims of the Jonestown massacre. Maria’s father was Father Steven Katsaris, a Greek Orthodox Priest. He married my parents, and baptized me as a infant. His daughter was only 25 years old when she either committed suicide, or was murdered. Leo Ryan, before being a Congressman, was a also my mother’s High School teacher, who took a liken to her, and her cute Greek accent. Congressman Ryan back when politicians took their oath of office a bit more personal, and with a sense of service, to the people they served, went to Jonestown to bring back Maria, and any others who wanted to come home. He was turned away, and later murdered near his plane. A bit too personal for my mother, and I, to find any “LOL!…mordant wit” or humor, in any of this, or really any massacre, for that matter. This is how a Orthodox Christian represents himself to his co-workers, George?

              Of the other 900 victims, nearly one third were infants and children. Not really funny boys. I pray none of us will have to ever grieve, a young son or daughters death. George I thought you quit being a jerk when you left The Greek Orthodox Church? May Saint Basil The Great pray for us, and may we all have a blessed New Year.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Well put. But at the same time, for some reasons that lie within the human character and circumstances, humor and jokes often revolve around pain and tragedy. Perhaps to mitigate its horror? I don’t know.

                • Martyr’s Guilt says

                  Tim, true except that the two jokers are not in any way affected by said horror, nor care, hence no need to mitigate the horror for the jokers at hand. Dare I say because of the race of the majority of victims. History has shown we show more concern for white races, than all others. I do not accuse the two jokers of racism, just making a general statement. But again I am sure there are topics the jokers would never cross.

          • MG

            Merry Christmas

            It is true . . . Merry Christmas is making a comeback

      • Alitheia1875 says

        52 1/2 acres, to be exact.

      • Alitheia1875 says

        Actually, 3/4 of the HCHC campus is in the city of Boston overlooking Jamaica Pond. It is an extraordinarily valuable piece of property, probably worth at least 2 million per acre. The Brookline side of the campus faces multimillion dollar homes and estates up to 20 acres in size.

  19. The answer to the financial crisis at the GOA starts with repentance, which means those involved acknowledging their responibilty and seeking forgiveness both personally and publicly. Practically, the property in NYC should be sold and the archdiocese moved to St Basils. Then, if needed, Brookline should be sold and the seminary moved to St Basils. A lot of humble pie for proud Greeks but a real resolution.

  20. Greatly Saddened says

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

    St. Nicholas Fundraiser Fr. Alex Karloutsos: Let There Be No Doubt, Funds Taken Will Be Returned

    written by Gregory Pappas
    December 15, 2017

  21. Greatly Saddened says

    It has been reported in an article from today’s “Ethnikos Kyrix” with the title: “The President of the Theological School is Not Ready to Speak About Anything”

    The article suggests Mr. James C. Skedros, Dean and Professor of Byzantine Studies and Professor of Early Christianity, may have resigned. Not sure whether from his position as Dean or as Dean and Professor as well.

    I am sure we will hear more, as things continue to unravel.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      As a follow up to the above article which was in the “Ethnikos Kyrix.” Below please find an excerpt from an article in today’s The National Herald. Unfortunately the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

      HCHC President Metropulos is Not Ready to Talk about Anything
      By Theodoros Kalmoukos December 21, 2017

      BOSTON, MA – Rev. Christopher Metropulos, President of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC) refuted the news that had been widely circulated around the campus, in the Greek-American community, and also in Greece, that Theological School Dean Dr. James Skedros has resigned.

      Dr. Skedros did not respond to The National Herald’s request for comment. Skedros was appointed to School’s deanship in May, 2014. TNH has learned that Skedros mentioned his intent to resign during a faculty …

  22. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today’s The National Herald.

    Archbishop Demetrios Blames the Messenger

    • GS,
      I’m afraid that going forward you’ll need to copy and paste (if that is allowed) or summarize, as most of us are not subscribers.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Brian … please accept my apology. The article was in its entirety at the time of my posting. Unfortunately since then, they decided to put a lock on the article. I try not to post anything that isn’t in its entirety.

        • No apology necessary, GS. Just thought you should know.

          They are probably seeing the current crisis in the GOA as an opportunity for subscriptions because so many more folks hear about their reports and want to read them. And this is not a criticism. They have bills of their own to pay, I’m sure.

  23. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Ekathimerini’s website.

    Hellenism in America at a crossroads

    • Greece has lost it says


      Thanks for linking this article. I found it, all at the same time, tragic, insulting, amusing, and depressing.

      It’s clear that the Kathimerini authors care nothing about the Christ or the Church but all about Greek power and influence. They see the GOA not as a minister of Christ’s truth to those in America, but as a means by which Greece can gain power and exert her influence.

      “And who can disregard the profound implications that would result from the loss of Constantinople’s primacy in the Orthodox world?”
      —That ship sailed long ago. That the authors aren’t aware of this shows how out of touch they are. If any Orthodox leader has primacy of influence in the Orthodox world, it’s Patriarch Kyrill.

      “Greece has never won its major battles without its diaspora taking center stage. Therefore, for this reason, filling the leadership vacuum in the Greek Orthodox Church of America and rallying the Greek-American lobby must be a top national priority.”
      —Wow. Sad. So the Church is only a means by which to rally the lobby, eh? I thought I heard it was the French who believe in the truth of materialism too much to also believe in God? Apparently the Greek elite are right there with them.

      The Greek people need to throw the editors of Kathimerini in the same trash can where we throw the NY Times.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Clearly, they view the GOA in much the same way that Israelis view AIPAC. As just another ethnic lobby.

        The damage that accrues from using the Body of Christ as a political lobby is incalculable. As was told to me several years ago, the reason that then-Metropolitan Bartholomew Archandonis showed the delegation from the EOC the door back in the early 90s (when Bishop Maximus Aghiorghoussis took them to Istanbul to meet then-Patriarch Demetrius) was because agents from the Greek gov’t told him to not take in all these American converts into the GOA.

    • Interesting. Though what the EP is doing of late is highly disturbing, I am not one who has any particular ax to grind against the primacy, in the truly Orthodox sense, of Constantinople; but it does make one wonder what higher purposes for the Church might be served through all this. I refuse to speculate, but it will be interesting to see the work of God unfold.

  24. Greatly Saddened says

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

    Archiepiscopal Encyclical Announcing the 44th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress

  25. Greatly Saddened says

    Perhaps the theme of the next Clergy-Laity Congress to be held next July in Boston should be: “Let’s Get Our Act Together – We Can Do It” or “We’ve Lost Your Trust – How Do We Earn It Back?” or “And You Thought Our Primary Responsibility Was To Be Christ Centered – Do We Have You Fooled”

    To be sure it will be another dog and pony show with smoke and mirrors, probably held at a high end hotel which will be a waste of time, energy and most if all, money. Which the Archdiocese certainly doesn’t seem to have. Basically for the most part, so the phanariotes and the sycophants can get together to tell each other how great things are.

    I wonder when Patriarch Bartholomew will grace a Clergy-Laity Congress with his presence. After all. if my recollection serves me well, I do not recall him ever attending one to date. I could be mistaken. Plus, this may very well be His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios’ last one. Again, that is if there is any truth that he would like to hold on until the opening of Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero before retiring. Yes, the Byzantine intrigue continues. God help us all!

  26. Greatly Saddened says

    As a follow up, below please find an excerpt of an article from Tuesday’s The National Herald. Unfortunately the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    Finances, Low Enrollment Endanger HCHC
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos December 19, 2017

    BOSTON, MA – Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC) are in a dire situation in terms of enrollment and finances, according to a letter sent by Enrolment Committee Chair Demetri Papakostas.

    He revealed that “thus far we have accepted 41 applicants (for year 2018), eight of which have said they will come to HCHC.” The School is in danger of losing its accreditation.

    Papakostas wrote about the lean admissions numbers of admissions which also affect the finances. …

  27. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article which posted about an hour ago on the Fox News website.

    The Latest: Halt to church construction ‘only viable option’
    Associated Press

  28. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today’s The New York Times.

    Work Stops on St. Nicholas Shrine at World Trade Center Site
    By Sharon Otterman

  29. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today’s Fox News website.

    Construction of Greek Orthodox church destroyed in Sept. 11 attacks halted
    By Amy Lieu | Fox News

  30. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Tuesday on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website.

    Local Greek Orthodox await answers on archdiocese’s financial woes

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  31. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Christian Times website.

    Construction work stops at an Orthodox church destroyed during Sept. 11 attacks
    Jardine Malado 28 DECEMBER, 2017

  32. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the New York Daily News website.

    Construction of Greek Orthodox church destroyed on 9/11 on hold

    Updated: Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 12:33 PM

  33. Greatly Saddened says

    In today’s Ethnikos Kyrix, there appears an article. In the article it states, as of this morning, up to 50 news sources have reported on the stopping of construction of Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero, due to a lack of funds. This includes print, television and electronic media. The Macau Times even incuded tbe topic in their news coverage.

  34. Greatly Saddened says

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

    Demetrios Sends List of Candidates to Patriarchate

  35. Greatly Saddened says

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

    2017 Year End: Ramblings of the OCL Executive Director


    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      I stopped reading once they criticized Archbishop Demetrios for failing to stop the rise of Orthodox Fundamentalism.

      I’m just done responding and dealing with this nonsense.
      I never liked these “Protestants in Orthodox clothing”, and may God forgive me, I never will.

      May God have mercy on us all for squandering the greatest gift we mere mortals were ever given by Almighty God…His Son and His Holy Gospel. May God save us in His great mercy.

      Peter A Papoutsis

      • George Michalopulos says

        I see your point. The word “fundamenalist” has lost all meaning, or as Fr Hans Jacobse once wrote, “has a surplus of meaning”. It’s just scare-word that leftists and/or progs and/or libs throw out to shut down debate because they haven’t thought the thing through or are have no argument.

  36. Greatly Saddened says

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

    TNH’s Person of the Year: Archbishop Demetrios
    By TNH Staff December 29, 2017

    “Bankruptcy Archdiocese Layoffs, Budget Cuts.”

    This was the lead story front-page headline of our September 9 edition.

    The news dropped like a bomb. Was it possible?

    From that moment on, the life of our Greek-American community changed rapidly and irreversibly.

    It shed its normal mode and crisis became the daily theme.

    The initial shock morphed into the thousand-and-one questions, the most prevalent of which are: how could this happen to the Church of America, which is the richest province of the Ecumenical …

  37. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a posting from yesterday on the Byzantine, Texas website.

    Thursday, December 28, 2017
    St. Nicholas Shrine work stoppage hits secular news

  38. Greatly Saddened says

    An article in today’s Ethnikos Kyrix, states His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, has requested/asked for 10 million dollars from Leadership 100. The money will be used to commence with the construction of Saint Nicholas at Ground Zero, which was stopped due to lack of funds.

    • fr Chris Moody says

      Your moniker, “greatly saddened” is appropriate, and expresses what we all are unfortunately feeling. May this new year be filled with transparency.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Father Chris … we can only hope and pray that with God’s help, things will get better … much better. Lord have mercy on us all!

    • Greatly Saddened says

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

      Demetrios Wants $10 Million from Leadership 100 for St. Nicholas Shrine
      By Theodoros Kalmoukos December 30, 2017

      NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Geron of America has been seeking to use money from Leadership 100 to resume construction of the St. Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center. TNH has learned that he has asked for a first installment of $10 million.

      As TNH exclusively revealed on December 7, the construction company Skanska USA stopped the work because the Archdiocese did not pay its bills. TNH learned that Skanska tried on numerous occasions to collect $6 …

  39. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a Letter to the Editor by Nicholas Karakas, of St. Louis, MO, from The National Herald.

    Letter to the Editor: Keep on Fighting the Good Fight
    By TNH Staff December 30, 2017

  40. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on The Orthodox Church/Orthodoxy Cognate Page website.

    Attack on Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt Kills Eleven: Christians Panic

  41. Greatly Saddened says

    If my memory serves me correctly, during His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon’s term, there was thought that perhaps the clergy should be paid through the Archdiocese.

    Looking back now, it was a good thing that did not come to fruition. Perhaps if it did and with the present financial crisis at the Archdiocese, the funds may have been misappropriated as well.

    • George Michalopulos says

      GS, if I were a priest in the GOA, I’d still be concerned about the pension plan.

      Just sayin’.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        GM … I agree and have mentioned so in previous posts. It has been reported that perhaps the priests pension fund may have also been misappropriated. Curious to see whether there is any truth to that.

        • George Michalopulos says

          For their sakes, I hope there isn’t any truth to that. But as far as I’m concerned, all bets are off.

          I’m re-reading Gail’s comment above. It’s possible that ecclesiastical Orthodoxy is at a crucial inflection point right now, not only here in North America but everywhere. My first essay after the New Year will reflect that and it’ll all be based on some news reports that were just sent to me yesterday and which I’m still trying to digest.

          • Greatly Saddened says

            As always, looking forward to your future essays. Once again, wishing you and yours, along with my brothers and sisters in Christ and their families, a Blessed, Healthy and Happy New Year. God Bless you all!

  42. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the World Religion News website.


  43. Greatly Saddened says

    We can only hope that with the financial crisis the Archdiocese is presently experiencing, Saint Basil’s Academy, will be free and safe from possible misappropriation of funds.

    I believe it is still under the ownership of the National Ladies Philoptochos Society and not of the Archdiocese. God help us!

  44. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a Letter to the Editor from today in The National Herald. It is written by Fr. Basil Papanikolaou, of Davenport, IA. It is in its entirety at the time of my posting.

    Letter to the Editor: A Different Kind of Abuse
    By TNH Staff January 2, 2018

    • Michael Bauman says

      Really? Wow! A priest for 48 years and he doesn’t know? Surely (Fr.) Basil knew what would happen. Surely! …Contracted a marriage? Really? One does not “contract a marriage” in the Orthodox Church. That raises the question whether or not he went outside the Church to be married. That alone would subject him to a potentially life-long exclusion from Holy Communion in the Greek Church, let alone laicization. To compound all of that by going public in a secular newspaper–especially with the line about the Church unable to respond appropriately to matters of sexuality due to a 4th century heresy that took over the Church! Which heresy? He has a responsibility to be specific. Shame on him. His complaining is nonsense. He built his tower and is now unwilling to pay the price to live in it. He is disobedient and defiant for nothing other than his own feelings. How can he be a priest?

      Marriage is not a right in the Orthodox Church even to lay people. I married a woman outside the Church. She had been married three times before. My bishop excluded me from the Cup. I willingly and knowingly accepted the possibility, in obedience, that I might not be returned to the Cup, ever.

      Grace was granted though because my God loving wife was not Orthodox prior to our marriage. I was returned to the Cup on the day she was Chrismated. The grace of her Chrismation covering my willfulness. But that was pure grace. It was an act that still required repentance on my part. God’s love covered my sin.

      I possibly could have gone bishop shopping and found a bishop to marry us, but I refused to do that. I find such an act wrong on many levels. I am sure that opportunity is open to this man and his new, contracted wife as well.

      Lord have mercy!

      • George Michalopulos says

        Yeah, I caught too: “contracted a marriage”? That’s something you do at a middle-eastern bazaar with a dancing girl.

      • Constaninos says

        Dear Michael Bauman,
        He’s been complaining about this for years. I don’t mean to be sarcastic. Is he the only priest to lose his wife? Is he the only priest to suffer loneliness? He wants special treatment.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Was the Sabbath made for man, or man for the Sabbath?

          • Constaninos says

            Dear Father Washburn,
            I’m not exactly certain of what your quote means in this context. I do feel sorrow and compassion for this brother who suffered the loss of his wife due to cancer. The Native American proverb is true: I shouldn’t criticize anyone until I’ve walked two miles in their moccasins.

          • Constaninos says

            Dear Father Washburn,
            I am respectfully confused by your quote as it seems to lack context. As you already know, at the time of Jesus, the Pharisees were the dominant religious party in Palestine. The Pharisees were primarily of two schools- the stricter school of Shammai and the more liberal school of Hillel. The Shammai school taught that healing on the Sabbath was work, and was, therefore, prohibited. Hillel’s school taught that healing was a good deed and was, thus, permitted. Obviously, Jesus sided with Hillel’s teaching in this regard.
            When it came to divorce, the Hillel school was extremely liberal. A man could divorce his wife for something as small as burning a meal while Shammai’s school was much stricter. In the teaching on divorce, our Lord sided with the school of Shammai. When Jesus had bitter contestations with the Pharisees, they were the Shammaiites or ex- Shammaiites. In his friendly relations with some of the Pharisees, they were followers of Hillel- such as Nicodemus. Does an ancient dispute about the Sabbath have anything to do with the aforementioned subject? Sorry, I don’t see it.

          • Clearly the Sabbath was made for man, and so also were the canons of the Church made for our salvation. Dispensations (again, for the sake of our salvation) may be granted by bishops, but we are fools to ignore them as antiquated thinking or as being “legalistic” laws, neither of which is true.

            I have never – ever – seen a case where we moderns are wiser in our understanding of reality and human nature than our fathers were. And yet we continue to insist otherwise, even as we complain of the bitter fruits of our own ‘wisdom.’

            • George Michalopulos says

              Indeed! One of the best explanations for oikonomia that I’ve heard is that it is given if adhering to the canon in a specific instance causes more or greater sin.

              In other words, it does not adhere to Kant’s Categorical Imperative.

        • Michael Bauman says

          This is the first I have seen his lament. Church practice aside, it is a disjointed, rambling nonsensical piece full of nothing but self pity. The only reason a competent editor would print it is the “sexuality” angle and agenda.

          Just goes to show the need for proper and rigorous teaching on marriage, marriage in the Church and the male-female synergy ordained by God.

          Too many people do think marriage in the Church is an individual “right” not a community based sacramental rite.

      • The Advocate says

        Again all, this is why Orthodoxy in America, will never be more than ethnic club for foreigners, progeny of foreigners, progressive journey for intellectual, conservative protestants, Catholics, and those married into the faith. Allow me to take it a step further, think what an improvement it would be to have married bishops? A bigger pool to draw from, will amount to better bishops. Many of our current bishops fall into the Catholic priest’s trappings, and you all know what I mean. Might work in Russia, thats how its always been, they know no other way. Not in America. We ask questions, and are not afraid to ask why. So why not start a conversation, as Father Basil did, instead we look to berate him, for expressing his opinion, and feelings. We all follow the parade, and really don’t know why.
        Start with a cage containing 5 monkeys
        Inside the cage, hang a banana above a staircase. Before long one monkey will climb the stairs to reach the banana. As soon as he climbs the stairs, the other monkeys get sprayed with cold water.

        After a while another monkey tries to climb the stairs with the same result. All the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water again, and again. Pretty soon when another monkey tries for the stairs, the other monkeys try to prevent him from climbing.

        Now put away the water. Replace one monkey with a new monkey. When the new monkey tries for the banana, the other monkeys, to his horror, attack him. After another attempt, and attack, the new monkey, knows if he climbs the stairs, he will be assaulted.

        Next, remove another one of the original monkeys, and replace with a new one. The newcomer goes to stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the attack with even more enthusiasm, than the original monkeys. Likewise replace the third, fourth, and fifth monkey with new ones, same results.

        The five new monkeys that are now beating the new monkey have no idea why they are not allowed up the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating, of the new monkey. After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have been sprayed with cold water. Never the less, none of the monkeys ever climb the stairs for the banana again. Why? Because as far as they know, THAT’S HOW IT ALWAYS BEEN DONE HERE BEFORE!

        Sure many of you have heard this before, but just a share for my strict Canon friends of Orthodoxy! Today you pick apart The Holy and Great Cretan Council of 2016, and rightly so, but Canon laws passed over a thousand years ago, not so much.

        • Estonian Szlovak says

          Ah, Mr. Klancko. Why not just admit you are a Protestant? That would be the honest thing to do.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          “Again all, this is why Orthodoxy in America, will never be more than ethnic club for foreigners, progeny of foreigners, progressive journey for intellectual, conservative protestants, Catholics, and those married into the faith.”

          So who’s left? Who is just…Orthodox, in America? If you aren’t an immigrant, born into it, or converted into it, what would you be? Descended from heaven?

  45. Tim R. Mortiss says

    I would have thought that he would have learned of this rule long ago…..

    • Constaninos says

      Dear Tim Mortiss,
      He knew the rule a long time ago as you say. Perhaps, his love for another woman was stronger than his love for Christ and His church. Self pity and blaming the Church is very unmanly – to say the least. Our Lord asked, “When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?” Perhaps, He should also have asked, ” When the Son of Man returns, will He find any men on the earth?”

    • V. Rev. Andrei Alexiev says

      He probably did know it, When my wife died almost 12 years ago, I thought about remarriage. I never expected that I could remarry and remain in the priesthood. That never was an option. Even if I had found a bishop who would have looked the other way, I couldn’t have done it.
      I know of one priest who remarried and continued to attend the parish where he had served, In his case, his wife hadn’t died, but had left him. All the same, it must have been awkward for his former flock to see him in that state. I never wanted to put my children or my flock through that.
      Now my son just lost his wife at age 41. But he is a Tonsured Reader, not ordained. I suspect he declined ordination, anticipating the unfortunate event. But, not being ordained, he is free to remarry. He may or may not. In his case, I would not condemn him if he did. He and his wife were married only six months, and no children involved,

      • Constaninos says

        Dear Father Alexiev,
        I’m sorry for your loss- and your family’s loss. I’m also very sorry for your son’s loss. May their Memories Be Eternal!

  46. Greatly Saddened says

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

    The Crisis Facing Greek Orthodoxy in America
    By Dan Georgakas January 1, 2018

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Very strange conclusion to the Gorgakas article, otherwise an interesting piece:

      “The dominant pattern throughout the history of Greeks in
      America isthat wherever a Greek community forms, it builds an Orthodox church. The relationship is symbiotic. The community sustains the church while the church provides a historical identity and memory. If that relationship continues to deteriorate, the very existence of a coherent Greek America is at risk.”

      I’m a member of the Greek Orthodox congregation, though I’m totally non-Greek. But it’s the local Orthodox Church. That “the very existence of a coherent Greek America is at risk” is, to me, a totally meaningless concept.

      The continued existence of a coherent Orthodox Church in this country, though, is a paramount concern.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Tim, and there is the rub. Always has been. Those who value Greekness, Arabness, or Slavicness more than the Church often seem to block up the doors.

        The Church will endure, but the current configuration will not. There will be an Orthodox Church in the Americas, but it will be a lot smaller than it is now in all likelihood.

    • I worshiped at a Greek Orthodox church for the better part of 8 years. My first exposure to Orthodoxy was OCA, then Antiochian and ROCOR, then GOA. There is no mystery as to why I settled in the Greek parish, it was the closest to where I lived at the time and it seemed as though if it were convenient to get to church, I’d probably be there more often (this proved to be true).

      There is one dramatic difference between the Greeks and the Russians that I have noticed. Both Greeks and Russians are proud of their heritage, culture, languages, etc. However, in my experience, Greeks are not particularly aware that there is an Orthodoxy outside of “Greek Orthodoxy”, nor are they interested in acknowledging it or interacting with it. Russians, on the other hand, possibly due to their more recent experience at overseeing an empire, generally tend to be quite mindful that Russian Orthodoxy, though the largest, is but one flavor of Orthodoxy – there being a lot of cross pollination with the Ukies, Serbs, Bulgarians, etc.

      My former priest at the GOA parish was somewhat of an exception to this tendency, else I never would have remained as long as I did.

      I assume that what accounts for the Greek attitude is dhimmitude, the experience of shared trauma as Greek Christians under the Ottoman yoke. No doubt that gave them a circle the wagons type mentality. Also, however – – and to a really shocking extent for those who have endured more recent persecution at the hands of militant atheists – – the Greeks seem to have lost a sense of the Truth of their religion, as opposed to its ethnic character. I heard it several times, “Why do the converts come here, they have their own churches, why do they want ours?”

      Put another way, the ultimately important circle to many of them is based on Greek-ness, not shared doctrine. I want to say that again emphatically – Greek-ness, not doctrine.

      There is a tragedy to this. But it most certainly explains why the Phanar would side with Secular Humanists against the Orthodox.

      Their real faith is neither Secular Humanism nor Orthodoxy, but Greek-ness. But that blends in seamlessly with identity politics so it works for them.

      Now, there are a great many pious Greeks who are in fact believing Orthodox, don’t get me wrong. Some in GOARCH, many in the Old Calendarist churches.

      But that has been my impression.

  47. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday in the Daily Sabah.

    Decade of restoration for churches, synagogues in Turkey
    Published22 hours

  48. Greatly Saddened says

    Sorry, but I didn’t know where else to post this. Below please find an article from yesterday on the Christian Today website.

    Israel raises threshold to cede parts of Jerusalem in any future peace deal
    Reuters Tue 2 Jan 2018 8:44 GMT

  49. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from this past Saturday on the Byzantine, Texas website.

    Saturday, December 30, 2017
    Future head of Greek Metropolis of Chicago still unknown