Chicago bishop warned against intimidating witness

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, the No. 2-ranking official in the Greek Orthodox faith in the Midwest, denies any improper activity regarding a criminal investigation into a priest accused of stealing from his former church. (Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune)

Source: Chicago Tribune

By Lisa Black

A high-ranking Greek Orthodox bishop in Chicago was warned by a prosecutor against “potential efforts to intimidate witnesses” in a case involving a priest accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a Milwaukee church.

The warning came after another priest in Milwaukee told authorities that Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, the No. 2-ranking official in the Greek Orthodox faith in the Midwest, threatened in emails to remove him from his post if the church did not withdraw a theft complaint against the priest’s predecessor.

“We have received some extremely distressing news regarding potential efforts to intimidate witnesses,” a Milwaukee prosecutor wrote to an attorney for the Chicago church leadership last April, according to court documents. “… I believe that Bishop Demetrios needs to retain independent representation as quickly as practical.”

The emails were exchanged between the bishop and the Rev. Angelo Artemas of Annunciation Church in Milwaukee as prosecutors there were investigating theft claims against a former Annunciation priest, the Rev. James Dokos.

The emails indicated the bishop sought a meeting with Annunciation leaders to talk about the case against Dokos, who has since been charged with improperly spending money from a trust fund intended to benefit the church.

Members of Annunciation had taken their concerns about the trust fund to Milwaukee authorities after officials with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago determined in an internal investigation that Dokos did nothing wrong.


Last March, Artemas wrote to Demetrios to say Annunciation’s parish council had declined to meet with him. “Due to your letter last August indicating Fr Dokos did nothing wrong, they are unanimous not to meet,” Artemas wrote in emails later entered into the court record.

Demetrios responded: “If that is the case, then in (sic) will ask His Eminence to release you from there ASAP and offer your services to the Archdiocese for placement. I’m sorry.”

When Artemas responded that he was not seeking to leave his position, the bishop wrote back that he would check with his superior, Metropolitan Iakovos. “However … no threats or harassment here, he is VERY open to your release from the Parish and Metropolis if this is not brought to closure before Holy Week.”

In a court filing, Milwaukee prosecutors said the emails led Artemas “to believe that he was going to be involuntarily removed from his parish unless he compelled Annunciation to withdraw the complaint.”

A metropolis statement denied any intimidation took place.

“The Metropolis never intimidated, threatened or harassed anyone,” the statement said. “The assignment of Parish Priests (is) an internal matter of the Church.”

Demetrios has not been accused of any criminal wrongdoing, and Artemas remains pastor at Annunciation. But the emails provided another indication of the tensions within the metropolis after Annunciation members took their concerns about Dokos to authorities,

By the time the criminal investigation was underway, Dokos had been transferred to Glenview’s Sts. Peter and Paul Church. When the parish council president there asked the metropolis to place Dokos on leave until the investigation concluded, the president received a sharp rebuke from Iakovos, who instead removed him as parish president.

Iakovos wrote that he was “astonished” by the Glenview parish council’s “inappropriate suspicion and deceitful maneuverings rather than the support of its own pastor in time of need.”

Dokos, 62, of Chicago, was later placed on leave after he was charged with felony theft last July. At a hearing this week, a judge declined to dismiss the charge, rejecting Dokos’ attorney’s argument that the case amounts to state interference in church affairs.

Annunciation’s parish council first raised concerns in 2013 about Dokos’ handling of the $1.2 million trust fund left by parishioner Margaret Franczak.

Dokos, who controlled the fund as Annunciation’s priest, paid the church $1.1 million from the fund after Franczak died in 2008. But prosecutors said he failed to tell church leaders about money left over.

“In all, (Dokos) retained more than $100,000 in trust monies that, contrary to the terms of the trust, he never turned over to the church,” court records state.

Dokos spent $5,000 on jewelry for his wife, gave monetary gifts to family members and paid credit card bills with trust fund money, prosecutors allege.

Metropolis officials have said their “initial conclusion” from their own review was that the trust fund money was spent properly, court records show.

Demetrios told investigators in 2013 that metropolis lawyers and accountants had reviewed the trust, according to court records. The bishop said he personally questioned Dokos about how the money was spent and was satisfied when Dokos told him the Annunciation council had approved the spending, the record states.

“Bishop Demetrios acknowledged that as part of his investigation he never spoke to any member of the Parish Council to confirm this,” the court record states. Annunciation officials have denied that they approved Dokos’ spending, court documents state.

Demetrios himself received at least $6,700 in checks written by Dokos from the fund, according to documents obtained last year by the Tribune.

A metropolis spokesman last year described those payments as gifts, which he said may be used for church or personal expenses and are “duly reported as income.”

Last May, Demetrios wrote a letter to Milwaukee prosecutor David Feiss,complaining that Annunciation leaders “have taken advantage of the ongoing investigation by your office to avoid their own responsibilities in the administration of the Parish.”

The letter, contained in court records, states: “They have wrongfully attacked the integrity of the Metropolis of Chicago or myself personally, knowing that any response is either construed as ‘tampering’ with an investigation or is actually prevented by our own protocols and regulations. In short, there is no doubt that the Parish has gone ‘rogue.'”

About GShep


  1. Engaged Observer says

    The Greek Archdiocese can enjoy rolling in and counting its money. I, for one, am glad that I left the corrupt GOA decades ago and never went back.

    And isn’t it just so heartwarming to read of Holy Week being invoked by a member our episcopate in veiled threats? Just like Christ intended, right? “However … no threats or harassment here, he is VERY open to your release from the Parish and Metropolis if this is not brought to closure before Holy Week.”

    Oh please, “bishop” Demetrios, who ya fooling except yourself? This statement *is* a threat.

    You gotta hand it to them, at least the GOA bishops don’t even bother trying to pretend to be prayerful monastics living lives of true humility, as real bishops should (like Vladika John of San Francisco or Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas). These guys are businessmen through and through and are somewhat of a mafia gang.

    Yes, they can enjoy rolling in and couting their money, while the rest of us prepare for Great Lent.

    • Stephanie Geinopolos Rauch says

      I am so disappointed and upset in the Greek Orthodox Priesthood and the Bishops as well. I always worshiped the ground they walked on. I thought they could do no wrong. What a joke. What a bunch of money hungry, egotistical bast…… Money makes the Diocese go round. Yes we need money but to take over $100,000.00 for personal use? I think not. That’s it. Enough is enough. Teach these money hungry, egotistical Bishops and Priest a lesson. Jail here they come.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Stephanie, “I always worshiped the ground they walked on.” And there lies the problem. Worship is due God alone. Obedience to the hierarchy is not worship of the men in it or it should not be.

        I am a fortunate man, my local parish has a great priest and a bishop who is widely acknowledged as one of the best in this land–yet I worship neither man and have been known to express my disagreement with both.

        I seek the truth, hopefully in love. I honor the truth when I find it. Even the most sinful of men, has some truth in them.

      • Yes, it is a terrible shock that human beings make mistakes and sin – including clergy – who could have imagined it.

        • Yes, Father; heaven forbid that clergy should be above reproach, as Holy Scripture states.

          Seriously, no-one expects clergy to be perfect, but when they fail to maintain standards that even the unbelieving world maintains, they only bring the church and the Gospel into disrepute. Get them to a monastery for repentance!

      • Stephanie, weren’t you employed in the Annunciation office during this scandal? You must have a good view of the corruption going on there during this time. I remember your name.picture from the Tribune stories.

    • Did the corruption of the GOA affect life enough at your parish to compel you to leave? I could ask this of many commenters on this site, who stridently complain about any number of bishops. For the vast majority of parishes, do “bishops behaving badly” really affect life at the parish level? Storms may churn the surface waters but deep beneath the surface there is calm. The OCA was afflicted with its own share of scandals in recent years but my parish priest is a good pastor and our parish life is healthy.

  2. Bishop Dimitri is so morally compromised on so many levels that he almost did not get ordained to the Episcopate but Met.Iakovos pushed it through.
    None of this should be a surprise.

    • You are right and this is beyond astounding that he would try to keep Fr. Artemas “under wraps” and controlled. It is not a surprise at all. There gs Dimitri’s long-sought aspirations to be Metropolilan, for sure.

    • Now that New York and Constantinople know of this, there is also no chance of Metropolitan for the Bishop, as much as Met Iakovos will push for it. I remember when Priests were humble, hard-working, happy to be with the poor and sharing of their wealth among the improverished. So sad some of them only have $$$$ on their agendas.

      • Heracleides says

        ” I remember when Priests were humble, hard-working, happy to be with the poor and sharing of their wealth among the impoverished.”

        Exactly how many centuries old are you, Timothy???

        • On a more serious note, I must say that the most holy – in every sense of the word – priest I have ever met was the ROCOR priest in Waikiki, Hawaii, Fr. Anatole Lyovin. The little storefront parish had (and likely still does even after the move to Honolulu) several shopping carts lined up outside the entrance each liturgy. The homeless of Waikiki were genuinely welcomed by this priest and the other parishioners’ under his care. They left blessed in the knowledge that they and all the worldly possessions they owned and contained within their shopping carts were truly welcome to return. Why? Because, even in their material poverty, the parish was also their spiritual home as well. How many other North American Orthodox parishes can bear the same witness? My money is on ‘not many’.

          Holy shepherds make for holy flocks. Is it any wonder that the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of Iveron weeps for joy at that parish?

          As an aside: Just this last week the priest at the current parish I attend was blowing his trumpet about the new car one of the parishioners – stand up please – had recently donated to him. The sense of entitlement was palpable.

          P.S. Fr. Anatole has no seminary education – he was nominated by fellow parishioners and ordained on the spot by the bishop on their recommendation. Imagine if that were the norm; Orthodoxy as we currently know it would be quite different and almost certainly the better for it.

        • Unfortunately, “Heracleides,” you have not had the experiences I have had with parishes, apparently.. There are still humble and good and devoted Priests out there…and no,I am not Methuselah (spelling?) when I say this. I think the smaller parishes may experience this more than the large ones which have more financial resources available to them, too. But I can understand you comment; we always hear about the bad ones.

    • You sure seem to know a lot about Bishop Demetri.

  3. We all need accountability.

  4. Michael Kim says

    In the words of Metropolitan Jonah, (on corruption in the Church)
    And, so goes the history of the Church…”

    And, another from a long time ago.
    “I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.”
    St. John Chrysostom, Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12.2

  5. Daniel E Fall says

    It would be best if the Milwaukee prosecutor charged him with all counts. There are more than one because one crime is cover up and the other is cruelty to the witness. This is the same baloney the OCA dealt with… Where administrator misconduct is acceptable if he is high enough on the food chain. The only acceptable consequence should be 90 days in the cooler, but I don’t know the minimums-just a guess.

  6. Johnny Babarakis says

    He should rename himself Bishop Vito of Corleone

    But he’s not a good businessman like Vito was…why would he send Dokos to Glenview when he was giving the bishop money…I mean “tips”, I mean “gifts” from the Milwaukee parish.

  7. Virginia Dean says

    The Greek Orthodox hierarchy is corrupt beyond repair. The few remaining faithful, who have not already voted with their feet, need to organize resistance to the archdiocese and metropolitanates that have given us this mess of a church by stopping all payments to both. Should the response be to remove the priests and conduct monkey-trial “excommunication”, parish councils should gather prayerfully and anoint one among them to read the Liturgy, consecrate the gifts and administer to the faithful. That’s not heresy or apostacy. That’s truth and beauty and love and courage and honesty in approaching God. That will PLEASE God. The corrupt church today SHAMES God and we’re accountable because we tolerate and sustain corruption when we know differently.

    • Should the response be to remove the priests and conduct monkey-trial “excommunication”, parish councils should gather prayerfully and anoint one among them to read the Liturgy, consecrate the gifts and administer to the faithful.

      No, that’s not the appropriate response at all.

      If an Orthodox Christian is excommunicated out of vengeance rather than due cause, he or she has lost nothing. The best thing to do is to remain faithful to the canonical church.

      If a group of laymen attempt to create “clergy” out of nothing, with no laying on of hands by an actual bishop, they have departed from the Orthodox Church. We have had many corrupt and evil hierarchs, but the saints never presumed to do what you suggest in response.

      • Virginia Dean says

        That’s a nice thought and uses fancy words like “canonical”. It’s pie-in-the-sky. 300+ of the so-called 500 GOA churches are financially not viable due to archdiocesan corruption. Membership in GOA is at an all time low. We’ve lost GenX and the millennials. We cannot allow a completely corrupt and homosexualized hierarchy to continue a reign of terror. Unless there’s the threat of a walk-out, nothing changes. You want canonical? Let’s become RCs. I am no problem. They’re apostolic and canonical. Anything but the present death-spiral!

        • Bruce W. Trakas says

          No corruption or homosexual hierarchs in the Roman Catholic Church, huh?

          • Michael Bauman says

            News flash–sin is all around us and in us. There is corruption every where. There has always been corruption in the Church, there always will be until Christ comes again. Spending our time on such distractions is pointless. What does it matter what someone else does? Does that somehow lessen my own need to repent? Does it somehow mean I am not touched by the mind of the world and subject to temptation?

            Indeed it might make it easy to fall prey to the sin of the Pharisee who thanked God he was not like other men might it not?

            Jesus said to him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? follow you me John 21:22

        • Hieromonk Joshua says

          Virginia, your a shill for the RC now? Lady, your all over the board. If you not taking your meds you should be, if you are indeed Virginia Krying-Woulff.

        • Virginia, Donatism is a heresy, and schism is worse than heresy. The best way to deal with corrupt hierarchy is to starve them of money, not to starve yourself of the Orthodox Church.

    • Bruce W. Trakas says

      There is no cause to make such a broad criticism of the all the Greek Orthodox hierarchy in America. There’s no defending Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos who is the Chancellor of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago, not its ruling hierarch. As was noted above, Archbishop Demetrios worked to block his nomination to the episcopacy in the Eparchial (Provincial) Synod, but an investigation could not produce accusers on the record. Then the Most Reverend Metropolitans collaborated, regretfully, so that when time necessitated, they too could secure support within the Synod for an auxiliary bishop.

      “The few remaining faithful [of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America], who have not already voted with their feet,” you claim Virginia Dean, remain the by far largest church among the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the U.S.A. (ACOB) ecclesiastical jurisdictions, with 476,000 according to Alexei Krindatch’s study for ACOB only a few years ago, more than 82% larger than the next largest church, the Orthodox Church in America with 84,600, a figure that includes the OCA’s so called “ethnic” dioceses.

      The behavior of Bishop Demetrios is not attributable to other hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, not to His Eminence the Archbishop, neither to Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh for instance.

      • What record was being explored, Bruce, during this time? What was the Bishop being accused of? I think you owe us some more information on this.

        • Bruce W. Trakas says

          @”timothy,” When Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago proposed to the Eparchial Synod his Chancellor, Fr. Demetrios Katzavelos’ name for election to the episcopacy, Archbishop Demetrios produced a letter from a prominent member of the Archdiocesan Council (I think I know who he was, but do not know for sure) which alleged improprieties by the proposed candidate. The specific allegations were not made public. The Most Reverend members of the Eparchial Synod suggested these improprieties be investigated. I will submit, many of us believed there were problems in Fr. Demetrios’ background. During the progress of the investigation, Metropolitan Iakovos sent letters to the Synod members, criticizing Archbishop Demetrios and aggressively defending his Chancellor. These letters were made public.

          The investigation could not get anyone to go on the record as to the allegations. Keep in mind, Fr. Demetrios was the Chancellor of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago at the time. When the report was presented to the Synod, after review and discussion, Fr. Demetrios’ secured the highest number of votes, and his name was accordingly the first name elected to the “Three Person Ballot” that would be submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for election. The long standing practice is that the first of the three names is the preference of the Eparchial Synod, whom it wishes to be elected (ratified) by the Patriarchate.

          I’m uncomfortable specifing the rumors of the improprieties in a public forum because they seem to have not been proved.

          P.S. @Virginia Dean, You’ve ignore the facts and you’re in error even about the number of GOAA parishes. While there were 500 in 1996, there are more than 535 today.

          “Membership in the GOAA is at an all time low?” The 2012 update of the “Orthodox Observer” mailing list is 40,000 higher than it was it was in 1998, having grown from 125,000 to 165,000.

          What is the “archdiocesan corruption” that has rendered, in your opinion, not mine, 300 parishes non-financially viable? How does a non-financially viable parish continue to exist? And I disagree that “the hierarchy is completely corrupt and homosexual.”

          • The mailing list of the Orthodox Observer is probably not a great measure of the size of the GOA. I have been at an OCA parish for over four years and still receive a copy, at my new home in a new state. I could easily imagine the same being true for inactive, at best nominal members of Greek-American families whose parents or grandparents remain active, or who a local parish would like to maintain contact with or reach out to. 40k more copies being distributed says more about the budget of the Orthodox Observer than anything else.

    • parish councils should gather prayerfully and anoint one among them to read the Liturgy, consecrate the gifts and administer to the faithful


      There are several tens of thousands of Protestant sects that have already done that. Do we really need another one? Surely you can find one that suits you.

  8. Byzantine Historian says

    God bless Bishop Demitrios. May God preserve and protect him through this time of trouble and slander.

  9. Hieromonk Joshua says

    Virginia, get a grip. Virginia, wake-up! What you propose is pure delusion and heresy. What you propose is worse than theft because according to your suggestion you disregard the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church by proposing something more dastardly than alleged clerical theft.

    Our Sacred Triditions are not the problem but sin in the Church is. Theft is not a Tradition but a sin. For the life of me I cannot understand why you would steal and deprive insecure Believers by proposing your deficient opinions as somehow worthy of any immortal soul`s attention.

    Sin is sin and no one escapes true punishment for their sin in this life or the next. A trust has apparently been broken. I suspect the detectives are very competent. Having access to Greek newspapers in English has shown me that Greek Bishops have all the resources they need for almost anything and everything that confronts them – real or imagined’

    • Virginia Dean says

      You’ re part of the problem. An apologist for corruption hiding behind fancy and increasingly meaningless concepts. You are not acting like a steward of souls, but rather like the Pharisees did when also likewise confronted.

  10. We need to return to recruiting bishops from the monasteries.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      We need to return to recruiting bishops from the monasteries.

      I wish the solution were so simple.

    • I suggest we return to recruiting Bishops from among the married clergy. There are many good arguments from the tradition of the church with the most outstanding being that Jesus did not use celibacy as a criteria for his apostles . The faith we love, value and practice was founded upon Christ’s followers who were married men.

      • Throwing out 1000+ years of Church experience is a bad solution for any problem. Whenever someone uses the apostolic era to discount subsequent tradition, I cringe.

        Of course, they need to be good monks, but monks who are cut off from the world and have learned to do without money would be ideal for the episcopacy. In any case, it can’t hurt.

      • Great idea. Radically increase the size of the talent pool with the hardworking priests who have some pastoral sense from their time in the trenches. Most of the GOA priests I’ve known are far more impressive in this important qualification than their bosses ever were.

        • You act as if this is a new problem. St. John Chrysostom said few members of the hierarchy would be saved in his own day.

          For every demon that tortures the soul of a layman, there are 10 that torture a priest and 100 that torture a bishop. That’s not to excuse them for giving in to the demons, but let’s not buy into some utopian fantasy here. Judas was an apostle too.

          • Patrick Henry Reardon says

            St. John Chrysostom said few members of the hierarchy would be saved in his own day.

            The difference from our current situation is this: Chrysostom actually deposed some bishops.

            • Indeed, Father, and I would say one of the biggest problems with our current bishops is a lack of boldness in defending truth and righteousness.

  11. Chris Banescu says

    These hirelings and impostors steal and spend GOD’s Talents on themselves and their own luxurious living. They practice their own version of “Greed is Good”, the Orthodox revised edition, and when called to account, they threaten to punish the messengers who dare challenge these hypocrites’ immorality and corruption. Now that’s a whole other level of hubris, greed, and pride!

    Our Lord’s warnings and admonishments are as true today as they were two millennia ago. These bishops are behaving just like the Pharisees of old.

    13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

    15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

    16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.

    23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

    25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

    27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

    29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’

    31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:13-36)

    “34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34-37)

  12. Michael Bauman says

    I suggest we return to a life of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, worship, repentance and forgiveness then we may find that virtuous bishops are called forth to lead us, celibate or not. Then we will no longer seek to be ‘right’ but seek only the will of God even when expressed and embodied in sinful men.

    We have leaders who are, for the most part, as we are. Even righteous leaders and bishops make grave mistakes and are guilty of sins are they not?

    That does not mean to be willfully blind to gross malfeasance but it does mean that I realize that I am as guilty as Bishop Demetrios even as I recognize his error (if any).

    Pray for your bishop, he needs it. Pray for the communities most directly affected by the actions of the hierarchy to which they feel compelled to respond but do so in a spirit of mercy and reconciliation–not ‘justice’ whatever that may be.

    Certainly, leaving the Church or living with one foot out the door is not the answer. I must do what I can in my own life and in my own community to live with integrity.

  13. Virginia Dean says

    Let’s review the bidding on L’affaire de Chicago:

    1. Some of you never heard of Chicago or that there’s a huge and deeper problem beyond the Dokos business.

    2. Some of you blame sin and want to go on with business as usual. Pray, Pay, and Obey devotees.

    3. Some of you want to debate elegantly about canon law, church tradition, heresy, apostacy, and on and on to show how knowledgeable you are.

    4. Some of you want to use you church titles, as if to put an end to the debate.

    5. One of you actually supports the malfeasors.

    Not a one of you offers any concrete plan to address the corruption, hold the abusers of church power accountable, and right the floundering church of ours—not a one of you. I find it peculiar. I see it as lack of leadership, lack of courage, lack of any sense of indignity. The perpetually silent ones–clueless even.

    I posted some provocative ideas to challenge the group to think about solutions. There’s not an original thought among you, even half-baked, about solving this mess and saving the church in America from extinction.

    I am wasting my time. Grab a life-jacket, the ship is sinking. Hope you can swim.

    Over and out.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Virginia, sin is the problem. All of what you are describing. You are correct that I know nothing about the specifics of the problems or the people involved. So only general approaches can be suggested.

      Pray yes: for yourself, for the parish, the hierarchy and the whole situation. Pray for the sake of prayer and your own communion with God; Pay–not necessarily but continue to give in other ways–perhaps increase your giving; Obey, yes but obey God and the teachings of the Church not the sinful requests of others. With love, humility and mercy. Not in a sprit of justice or even worse–scapegoating. Fear not.

      Know that it will never be “fixed”. The Ark of the Church is always taking on water because it is full of sinners. Me especially. Part of the work of the laity, IMO, is to both bear the burden of bad leaders and while doing that be a part of their salvation as they are part of ours. Salvation is messy. It is battlefield surgery while under fire.

      Sometimes obedience means not taking what they are handing out, challenging them in public, refusing to pay money to support them. Sometimes the private, personal approach is more appropriate. Sometimes it means bearing with them. Even in the same situation different people will respond differently or walk out. I have no way of knowing the path most appropriate to you.

      Ultimately, however, the healing is with God.

      The first step is not allowing them to steal your peace. Don’t give it to them. If you have, take it back (prayer a necessity). Speaking from experience, it is amazing what happens when one does that.

      Sometimes a physical change is necessary, but that does not mean leave the Church. There are a multitude of other bishops and parishes in Chicago, not necessarily Greek. I am pretty sure not all of them are in bad shape. If you are not comfortable with your own priest it may be necessary to find a confessor elsewhere or someone who can guide you.

      Often however, if such change is too inconvenient people don’t make that change because they would rather complain or simply want their will to replace the will of the offenders.

      Often even if a change is made the same attitudes follow because the work has not been done to guard one’s heart and retain one’s peace.

      I have seen that, I have done that. In no case is it just about the other people. The evil one wants you to despair and/or to leave. Don’t give him the satisfaction.

      There are consequences to confronting, even in love and humility, a priest or a bishop especially when they are seriously wrong. You have to be willing and able to bear such consequences for yourself and for the healing you desire.

      Now, you may think my words are pious bunk, but I have lived them albeit in seemingly less extreme situations than yours.

      May God comfort you, strengthen you and guide you.

  14. I’m not excusing the crimes and sins of our bishops, but sometimes I wonder if we don’t get the types of bishops we deserve, just as the whoremongering nation of Israel got the type of kings they deserved. The hierarchy does not become corrupt in a vacuum.

    Perhaps we should use this approaching time of Lent to repent and ask the Lord to make us worthy of better bishops, and that He will raise up men worthy of the flock.

    And for those who are already bishops, they need our prayers more than ever.

  15. Johnny Babarakis says

    Speaking towards the Chicago situation only…these folks are the leaders of our parishes. We should be able to learn from them by their actions, their words and their examples. In fact, the definition of a leader is someone who others want to follow. We should want to follow them and aspire towards their example…think Pope Francis.

    Instead we have leadership who is accused of stealing, covering up a potentially criminal act, sending intimidating emails, accepting ill gotten money as a “tip”. We have leaders late to services, then demanding special coffee and separate meals than their brethren when they visit a parish. How do you follow someone like that? Why would you want to follow someone like that? If any of these leaders were running a company they would have been bounced long ago.

    What would be a big step towards healing and rebuilding trust would be for one or more of these “leaders” to admit they messed up. Let us see that they are human and although difficult I’m sure, try to find it in our hearts to forgive them. Talk about an example! If we want change it has to start from the top.

    • Michael Bauman says

      There is a more radical way to change: eschew battle and be obedient to Christ in the person of the Bishop and/or the priest. Not because they are ‘good’ or ‘effective’ or anything like that but simply because they are priests and bishops. Pull God through them.

      Ask yourself. What would be your response to a bishop or priest who did what you ask? Self-righteous thinking “Its about time you old reprobate.” or something similar. Or would you prostate yourself in humility asking for forgiveness?

      Now before going all ballistic: is this not what Jesus told the people of His time concerning the Pharisees? Do what they tell you, but do not do what they do? Be more righteous? Is forgiveness something that must be earned or is it something given from the heart with out condition more to our enemies than our friends?

      Just think about it.

      • Walk a Mile says


        You must be a better person than I am. The theft allegations aside, as one of Fr. Dokos’ parishioners I could not see Christ in a priest who held himself up as a paragon of virtue, an example for us to follow, yet frequently publicly rebuked and belittled parishioners for no reason, even during the Liturgy! How could anyone be obedient to such a perversion of our faith?

        • Michael Bauman says

          I am no better man, just further removed. Remember though: You are not being obedient to him. Your obedience is to Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church. Such behavior as you should describe should be rebuked, in private first but with humility and love. Bad priests do damage. No question. They drive folks away from the Church and inflict deep scars that can be tough to heal. Still, there will be consequences. The worst consequence is to store anger and resentment in your heart as that just adds to the damage.

          My family had to leave my first parish because the priest was so defective. It took me years away from him before I could come to terms with the damage he had done. Some of it still lingers in my son 20 years later and in me as well. After he had left the Orthodox Church and become a Byzantine Catholic I saw him at my old parish at the funeral of a wonderful woman of the Church. I greeted him warmly. He refused to look me in the eye barely shook my hand mumbled something and quickly turned away. He was a man in great turmoil and pain. Only by praying for him was I able to get past the anger.

          What I suggested above is quite radical and not suitable for everyone or even every situation but it is, it seems to me, the course that best fits the teachings of the Church.

        • And an even sadder thing is, that I bet his rudeness to the attention of the other priests there and the Bishop and I am sure they did not nothing. They all protect themselves while sharing in “tips” and other “gifts” from their parishioners.

    • Pope Francis is not the kind of bishop we want in our Church—liberal tyrants who pretend to be humble simpletons.

      Let’s look to the likes of Saint John Maximovitch for the kinds of bishops we need.

      • Ages, cant agree with your assessment of Pope Francis. If you read his letter to the Curia, he makes bold assertions sounding much like an OT prophet ; I pray for a prophetic voice among us. A call to institutional and personal repentance is the answer to the challenges facing Orthodoxy. Many of the seeming controversial things Pope Francis says are taken out of context and used by the media to promote their agenda.

        • Tell that to the people who are trying to restore the ancient Mass and any semblance of liturgical tradition.

          Francis’ humility is a ruse. Just his flaunting of ancient Latin tradition and his destruction of Benedict’s work on that front alone show he is a self-obsessed special snowflake.

          As for the supposed false reports in the media, I don’t buy it. Or at best, the man is completely inept. The Vatican press office has to reinterpret his offhand remarks on a daily basis. He would do better to never speak in public and only release written statements.

          I have a couple of very devout Latin friends, and while they do stand by him, they confess his papacy has been bizarre and disheartening. For all his supposed outreach, attendance is down and vocations are down. He’s trying too hard for the approval of the world and the unfaithful members of his flock, while he leaves the most committed hurt and bewildered.

          Francis never should have been made a bishop, much less Pope. For the latter, he said as much when the left wing of the Curia elected him. Was that humility or was it a warning? Well, look no further than his first appearance, when he refused to wear the proper vestments for the sole reason that he didn’t want to.

        • Michael Bauman says

          While the Pope is certainly not the man the media thinks he is, neither is it likely he is the man johnkal thinks he is. In any case, he is not my bishop. It is dangerous to but too many halos on any bishop let alone one who is not Orthodox.

          Remember the official solution of the Catholic Church to the Schism which Pope Benedict restated early in his papacy is for we Orthodox to submit to the Pope. Then everything will be fine. Nothing much has changed since A.D. 1054 except the Roman Church has gotten further from us.

          Mostly nice people, do a lot of good things so do the Shriners doesn’t mean I want anything to do with either of them theologically nor do I look to them for spiritual direction.

      • Abbouna Michel says

        Ages is right: Pope Francis certainly is a bad hat, no doubt about it! Sheesh!

      • Ages:

        Pope Francis is not the kind of bishop we want in our Church—liberal tyrants who pretend to be humble simpletons.

        What kind do WE want? Liberal tyrants who DON’T PRETEND?

        • Good shepherds who rightly divide the word of truth.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says


            As an example of what NOT to do, check this out:

            The great rebellion is upon us. More clergy encountering LGBT people and “Changing” their views instead of encountering Christ and being born from above and made a New Creation in Christ.

            II Thess. 2 being fulfilled right before our eyes.


            • Huffington Post:

              “I’ve been on a journey,” Phillips said in the video. “I once believed that fully welcoming and including the LGBT community into our churches could not be reconciled with Christian teaching. These beliefs began to change, however, once I encountered good faithful Jesus followers who happened to be gay.”

              He wants gays in the church. CRUCIFY HIM!

              • Michael Bauman says

                So tediously obtuse.

              • Michael Bauman says

                OOM, this is a portion of an actual statement by a person I read on another blog. Although he gave his name, I am not including it because I don’t have his permission. He identified as transgender.

                … I had come into the Church assuming my sin would be viewed with the same damning hate that many “conservative Christians” exhibit, and yet was met with nothing other than Christ loving me enough to want what’s actually best for me. Like one of the earlier comments on your post mentioned, there is such a change now from identifying as someone who was queer and transgender and proud of it, to being able to come as a sinner before Christ.

                The activists who want to force the modern acceptance of “gays as they are” including the sinfulness of homosexual sex and so-called marriage are just as full of damning hate as the “conservative Christians” the gentleman mentions.

                The good news is that so-called ‘gays’ are already in the Church and there are many who are working out their salvation in accord with Church teachings. I know several in my own parish.

                Any one who does not want to change and be transformed by the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ will not do well in the Church. Anyone who is looking for the truth (especially about themselves) and the experience of the living God: “Y’all come!”

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                No, excommunication will do.

              • I want Christians in the Church, who are sinners but repent.

  16. Johnny Babarakis says

    Bat hat? Really? Last I heard Pope Francis doesn’t collect “tips”, try to cover up pirating church money, demand special treatment or use 4th grade scare tactics with those under him.

  17. By the way, there were married bishops when Chrysostom was AB of Constantinople and St John supported the idea.

    • So, we are to dig through the history of the Church and pick out what we like, and discard what we don’t like?

      We already have that; it’s called Protestantism. Or taken to it’s logical end, Mormonism.

      • Ages, if you are correct, Chrysostom was a Protestant.

      • Yes Ages, we as Orthodox value the past and look to the past to find answers to today’s challenges. If your thinking is correct then Chrysostom is a protestant. I feel like I am in good company.

  18. Gregory Manning says

    A fellow blogger of John over at Ad-Orientem blogspot made this comment about the current pope:

    “The man is a good-hearted moron, and I mean that in a completely non-malicious way. He is a sentimental, gushing, huggy bear and would make a great parish priest but is in well over his head as Patriarch of an autocephalous church.”

    • Ad Orientem blogger:

      “The man is a good-hearted moron, and I mean that in a completely non-malicious way. He is a sentimental, gushing, huggy bear and would make a great parish priest but is in well over his head as Patriarch of an autocephalous church.”

      What type of person do the Orthodox need as “Patriarch of an autocephalous church”? LIDIA LEONOVA’S HUSBAND aka CODENAME “MIKHAILOV” aka THE MARLBORO PATRIARCH ?????

      • You are not a particularly talented troll, dear sir. I do enjoy a good, stylishly executed troll post as much as the next guy, but you don’t even make it out of Little League.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Edward, possibly “trollette or “trollkin” would be more accurate?

          • I agree. I amended my assessment in another post to reflect that OOM is probably a woman (or a man trying to act like one). Trollkin opens yet another world of possibilities.

        • Mike Myers says

          On the contrary, I’ve often had occasion to admire OOM’s gift for saying a great deal in very few words, Twitter-style. Edward may recall the Englishman who instructed us that “Brevity is the soul of wit”? OOM takes this to heart.

          Do thou likewise, Edward. Too often you say very little indeed, at great length — though in excellent prose, to be fair. Corrupted no doubt by our illustrious host George, who regularly rivets one with his astounding talent for saying little to nothing truthful, ad nauseam. In Vanity Pundit mode. If only he were nothing more than a harmless and howl-inducing hack. Unfortunately, not the case. He is more and more actively (actionably?) disinforming. A word to the wise.

          Now, with respect to the latest false accusation re: OOM and his alleged trollkinhood — Fie, you say. I myself had publicly denounced these hyper-sinister “Church”/”State” frauds years ago as a dangerous and demented crew of sepulchral apostates, loathsome criminals and unspeakably vile thugs. Now I see that the monks of Mt. Athos have got round to doing their job, finally. Kudos for that, gentlemen, if a bit late in this deadly serious game . . . Let us all pray fervently that it’s not too late.

          • If you believe that OOM’s post to which I responded above is an example of brevity being “the soul of wit,” then I’m afraid that your back-handed “compliment” about the excellence of my prose isn’t worth much. I may be more wordy than desirable, but I doubt that anyone often misunderstands what I have to say. I wish I could say the same for your final, impenetrable, paragraph.

            • Mike Myers says

              In general, I find OOM’s posts both brief and to the point. It appears you disagree, to the extent of libeling him (IMO) as a troll. His Grace has done the same thing. Therefore, I think it’s fair to ask you (both) to specify your objections to the post at issue. And to any other. I presume to appoint myself his Defender.

              A few discovery questions for you in the meantime: Do you know who Lidia Leonova is? Do you know what codename “Mikhailov” refers to? Do you object to the admitted shorthand, “Marlboro Patriarch?” (Does that strike you as unfair or inappropriate? Or what?)

              I take OOM’s implicit point to be: many of y’all seem to quite enjoy damning HH Francis with faint praise. Further, George as moderator allows posts that amount to little more than petty mockery and citations — with the citer’s apparent approval — of petty mockery and grave disrespect posted elsewhere.

              But can we be real for a moment, less ludicrous and absurd? Far too many Orthodox hierarchs present a terrifyingly corrupt and grotesque face to the world: for example, the patriarch of its largest ‘autocephalous’ church is a man who kowtows to and flatters a warmongering, murderous thief and low thug tyrant. He’s annointed Putin’s era “a miracle of God” (sic). IMHO, any clear-sighted comparison between the Bishop of the ancient See of Rome and this figure does not commend world Orthodoxy. I take this to be his point, if I read him correctly. And I’d wholeheartedly agree.

              I’ll speak for myself alone, now: this whole mise-en-scene, in the emergent Eurasian Soviet Union of National Socialist “Republics,” looks like a mockery of Christ, His Holiness and the Holiness of His Church. Not to mention of the Kingdom of God. I’ve expressed myself in some detail here on the topic, and I don’t care to rehearse it again in this sorry joint.

              Please indicate your problems with my impenetrable final paragraph. Please be specific. I’m happy to provide an exegesis. (If you’re sure you want to venture trying to stomach what I have to say. You may want to give that question some careful thought, first.)

              • George Michalopulos says

                You know, I think I’ve figgered out the MO of Putin’s critics: the more success he has in foiling the war-mongering EU/NATO Military Complex, the more unhinged they become.

                • Right on target, George.

                  • Mike Myers says

                    Which of Russia’s European neighbors wants anything to do with Russia? Name just one. The glib crap above borders on the insane. (A neat analogy.)

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Czech republic. Hungary to name two.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Czech republic. Hungary to name two.


                      Members of NATO for 15+ years. What’s your glitch?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      So now you’re moving the goalposts? You asked for neighboring countries, I gave you two. I’ll give you some more: China’s a biggie. Then there’s India, Germany, France (I’ll admit they’re not bordering but they’re nearby. Then there’s Greece and Serbia (admittedly not biggies). Brazil seems to like Russia a lot. I think Egypt’s getting ready to ink a whopper of an armaments deal. Israel seems to be inching closer to Russia for some strange reason, at least according to its trade and agricultural minister. Then of course there’s the whole eastern half of the Ukraine that’s going gangbusters for Mother Russia. (By the way, aren’t Syria and Iran real close to Russia, perhaps you can help me.)

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Mike, George may consider Russia’s neighbors to be Hungary pr Cuba or even Moravia!!!! So maybe you should have referred to countries BORDERING on Russia, rather than “neighbors,” which is nebulous, even in Scriptures!

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Why,George. Please, I missed the part where Mr. Putin “foiled” the EU/NATO Military complex. By the way didn’t you nean, rather, to refer to the U.S.A.? Do you include any Russians or Chechens or Tatars or Georgians amongst Putin’s apparentlr scurrilous critics?

              • Mike:

                I’ll speak for myself alone, now: this whole mise-en-scene, in the emergent Eurasian Soviet Union of National Socialist “Republics,” looks like a mockery of Christ, His Holiness and the Holiness of His Church. Not to mention of the Kingdom of God.

                Imagine how it must feel for people like Edward and the rest of the ROCOR crowd to hear that shyster-Patriarch Kyrill commemorated week after week! Mike, THEY GET IT, but wish to DIVERT ATTENTION. In post after tedious condescending post, they KILL THE MESSENGER, even, – or especially – when the MESSENGER is (in their estimation) that MOST CONTEMPTIBLE CREATURE the ANONYMOUS TROLL.

          • Mike:

            Do thou likewise, Edward. Too often you say very little indeed, at great length…

            Yes, Edward, PLEASE GET OVER YOURSELF.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Edward should “get over” himself? Is that like taking a pseudonym to show he’s ashamed of what he writes here… “OOM?” I wonder if cowering behind a pseudonym has any benefits or is a sign of virtue or piety. Of course this way no one can tell on you to your parents or peers!

              • Vladyka:

                Is that like taking a pseudonym to show he’s ashamed of what he writes here… “OOM?”

                Vladyka, If you knew me as “Muhammad,” “Iris,” or ” Bobby” instead of OOM, would that be any LESS PSEUDONYMOUS THAN “EDWARD” ????

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  I”ll bite, “OOM”! Why don’t you You tell us the answer to your question? I believe that if your name were Mohammad and you used it here that would be a LOT LESS PSEUDONYMOUS than “OOM”. Don’t you agree?!

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Perhaps “OOM” is short for: OOM MANI PADME OOM? (SP?) that’s another fun thing to do with pseudonyms and pen- (or jail-) names! In other words, a Buddha troll.Or is that Sanskrit/Hindu? And then there’s that old standby: “Trolling, trolling: over the Bounding Main!”

          • Mike Myers says

            Your Grace, a troll is someone whose posts are without substance. OOM’s posts are not without substance. Therefore, not a troll. In my opinion you dishonor him, no doubt unintentionally.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Please, Mike, what has being a troll have to do with having substance or lacking it? Trolls MAY be with or without substance—thus “a substantial troll by the well-known troll, OOM’, or “another insubstantial troll by the troll, OOM.”
              m sure you perceive the connection between trolling (trawling) and baiting. Or?

              • Precisely. Trolling wouldn’t work if there weren’t a distorted kernel of truth or substance to a troll-post. My own objection to OOM’s troll-posts is more the lack of style that her/his attempts at trolling exhibit. As I have said before, a stylishly conceived and executed troll-post is akin to a work of art, provoking howls from respondents with itchy trigger-fingers and touchy sensibilities — leaving said respondents clueless to the fact that they have been played. I’ve never tried to develop the talent of trolling, but am nonetheless able to recognize when someone is a practitioner who is skilled in the art.

                Troll-posts are brief (and unlike OOM’s contain some soulful wit), a little opaque (the better to allow readers and respondents to read their worst fears into them), and are designed to provoke emotional response. Those who are trying to troll rarely stick around to dialogue and clarify, but rather disappear, only to drop in elsewhere in the thread or on the site to lob another stink-bomb. Sound familiar?

                • Edward:

                  Trolling wouldn’t work if there weren’t a distorted kernel of truth or substance to a troll-post.

                  Edward CAN’T REFUTE the TRUTH, so he resorts to INSULT.

                • Mike Myers says

                  Edward, I can’t discern whether you’d like to stuff me into your conveniently categorical little box, “trolls,” but if so it would be my pleasure to demolish your thesis with respect to any relevance you (or anyone else) might imagine it had to me — along with your little box, too.

                  In previous versions of this passing strange site’s search functionalities, reviewing a poster’s past correspondence at a glance was a very easy thing to do. Sadly, it’s now a real pain in the Tass.

                  I’ve prepared a handy adjunct, however, to assist any serious (and competent) person who’d venture to tangle with me, impugn my opinions — or, God forbid, simply engage me in a genuine public dialogue, for our mutual benefit and maybe that of others as well. Let me know if you’re interested.

                  • My my. based on the heat of your reaction, I think that without intending to, I just trolled and caught you, Mr Myers. Or to EXPRESS MYSELF more in the style of what you would feel to be brevity and the soul of wit, I JUST TROLLED YOU MR. MYERS. ISN’T THIS WITTY??????

                    • Mike Myers says

                      “Wit” and “witty” are two different things. Wit = among other things the capacity to recognize and deplore the catastrophe unfolding in Putin’s Russia — not just in its potential geopolitical consequences, but in the life of the Church. IMHO.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      An example of the kind of vapid and highly personalized exchanges into which the internet tempts us.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      I’m guessing that’s a No to my dialogue offer. Probably prudent.

              • Mike Myers says

                Your Grace, what one man reads as “baiting,” another might view more generously as a poster’s providing food for thought, a challenge to think, a perspective light years removed from tired & delusional groupthink, a pithy pointer to terribly important facts and realities. The essence of trolling is to be fundamentally off-topic, irrelevant, mischievous for the sake of mischief, and above all, deceptive, dissembling, pretending to think and believe something one doesn’t think and believe — motivated merely by a desire to cause trouble, and for no other reason.

                Do you think any of this is remotely related to what OOM is up to here? I don’t.

                I’m not a troll, either. And anyone who imagines that I’m not just about as serious as it’s possible to get needs a clue transplant.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Mike Myers, you wrote this “Your Grace, a troll is someone whose posts are without substance.”

                  That is untrue and ridiculous; in fact YOUR DECLARATION is a troll, in that it is astatement containing errors intended to provoke a response.Please refer to an established lexicographical authority befor uttering such bad definitions. The Oxford American Dictionary is a good one. It also refers to informal computer usage in the troll entry. Something else about that dictionary is that it lists “theotokos” as a word in the English language now.
                  While I don’t agree with Father George Washburn on everything, I am totally in accord with his expressed distaste for pseudonyms here.

                  • Mike Myers says

                    Your Grace, I elaborated upon my understanding of the word as it’s used by more serious sorts. This term’s not a topic I’d care to grimly debate, although as always I appreciate your balanced sense of concern for precision in matters great and small.

                    As you know, I share your and Fr. Washburn’s (and many others’) strong distaste for pseudonyms. I object to this mostly in the context of discussions among informed adults. On or, to name two perfectly respectable, and thoughtfully moderated, forums, I think it’s arguable that anonymity is a bigger issue — though it looks as if noms du guerre or whatever are even more common than here. But given that the level of discourse on Monomakhos is such a sick joke**, too often, who really cares? More than anything, this joint needs an iron rod. I can’t be bothered these days.

                    **with notable exceptions

            • Or, unfortunately, intentionally, which would be par for the course for this Bishop.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Our Father among the Saints, “timothy,” Discerner of Intentions!!!!!