Court Issues Verdict for Jerry Dimitriou

Court Issues Verdict for Jerry Dimitriou, Lawyer and GOA Respond

August 4, 2023
BOSTON – The U.S. District Court – Southern District of New York ruled on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, sentencing Jerry Dimitriou to two years of probation, four months of house incarceration, and over one hundred hours of community service for charges related to personal tax evasion while he served as the Executive Director of Administration of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.*

The Greek Edition of The National Herald (Εθνικός Κήρυξ) broke the story the evening of August 2 and the Archdiocese of America issued a News Release the next day on August 3. The full text is seen at the end of this article.

A telephone message left for Mr. Dimitriou remained unanswered at the time this article was completed.

The case dates back to the years 2017-2018. Information received by The National Herald reports that the insurance company of the Archdiocese paid compensation to cover part of the amount that the Archdiocese suffered as damages.

The verdict was issued late in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 2, by Judge Kathleen Faila of the Southern District of New York.

Meanwhile, on the morning of Thursday, August 3, the Archdiocese issued a News Release, confirming the news of the Greek edition of The National Herald and referring to the incidents.

For the record and for accuracy purposes, it is noted that according to the Archdiocesan News Release, the insurance provided compensation to the Archdiocese in excess of one million dollars.

The case started in 2017 and is part of the financial problems that arose in the Archdiocese, eventually leading to virtual bankruptcy, as revealed by The National Herald, to the point that they had to take out a loan of seven million dollars from Alma Bank, using their office buildings in New York as collateral.

From an internal audit conducted at the Archdiocese, initiated by the then Treasurer, entrepreneur Michael Psaros, some peculiar financial transactions and practices were discovered. This led to the hiring of the company Kiwi Associates in December 2017, which, among other things, audited the payroll of the Archdiocese and identified “excesses” also in the use of an American Express credit card.

It is worth mentioning that The National Herald had also pointed out the complete lack of internal procedures and controls, as highlighted in the report by the Grant Thornton company, which was hired to study and suggest a reorganization of the Archdiocese’s operations. The cost of the study was personally covered by Michael Psaros.

Following the findings of Kiwi Associates, the Archdiocese itself referred the matter to the office of the Attorney General of the State of New York, which conducted its own investigation with the full cooperation of the Archdiocese. The prosecution brought criminal charges against two employees of the Archdiocese, Dimitriou, and George Papadakos, Director of Finance, who reported to Dimitriou.

On November 25, 2019, Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ruth M. Mendonça, Assistant Inspector in Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, announced the arrest of Dimitriou. The statement released by the prosecutors detailed the charges.

It is emphasized that both Dimitriou and Papadakos pleaded guilty and were dismissed from the Archdiocese.

It is reminded here that at that time the Archbishop was His Eminence, Geron Demetrios of America, the chancellor was Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, and the Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council was George Tsantikos.

In the News Release of the Archdiocese dated August 3, 2023, a written statement by Archbishop Elpidophoros is quoted in English, in which he states the following: “With Mr. Dimitriou’s guilty plea, a painful chapter in the Archdiocese’s history is now over, and the Archdiocese can set its sights on a future that reflects our shared values of community and faith.”

The full text of the Archdiocesan News Release follows:

“Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Announces Guilty Plea and Sentencing of Former Executive Director Jerry Dimitriou
NEW YORK, NY (August 3, 2023) – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announces the guilty plea and sentencing of Jerome “Jerry” Dimitriou, its former Executive Director of Administration. This concludes a lengthy legal process that was initiated by the Archdiocese in late 2017 when it became aware of financial irregularities and self-reported to governmental authorities in the State of New York.
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service subsequently conducted an investigation with the full cooperation of the Archdiocese and brought criminal charges against two former Archdiocesan employees, Mr. Dimitriou and George Papadakos, the Archdiocese’s former Director of Finance, who reported to Mr. Dimitriou. The investigation culminated in felony guilty pleas from both Mr. Papadakos and Mr. Dimitriou.
The Archdiocese response to the unfathomable betrayal of trust by these two employees was swift and resolute. In addition to cooperating with the authorities on the investigation, the Archdiocese successfully filed an insurance claim under its crime policy to recover more than $1 million of losses associated with Mr. Dimitriou and Mr. Papadakos. The Archdiocese has also taken a number of steps to prevent any similar incidents from ever occurring again.
First, the Archdiocese has implemented strong internal controls over financial transactions that reflect the highest standards of integrity and security. This includes: the creation of three full-time positions (Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and General Counsel), and a Standing Audit Committee. Second, the Archdiocese has established a centralized third-party platform for whistleblowers to file allegations of violations of Archdiocesan policy or law, such as financial misconduct. That platform, located at is nationwide and includes the Archdiocese, its Metropolises and all its parishes. Finally, under His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, there is an ongoing process to revise the Archdiocese’s structure to provide for a stronger, more coordinated form of governance with transparency, compliance, and accountability at its core.
Archbishop Elpidophoros, whose tenure began well after the criminal acts of these employees, expressed gratitude that the legal process was finally over. In addition, His Eminence noted “With Mr. Dimitriou’s guilty plea, a painful chapter in the Archdiocese’s history is now over, and the Archdiocese can set its sights on a future that reflects our shared values of community and faith.”


When this article was originally published, it stated that the charges were related to Jerry Dimitriou’s financial management at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America while serving as its Executive Director of Administration. A press release issued  by the Archdiocese stressed the same point, at length.

Mr. Dimitriou’s lawyer corrected that via email. The National Herald has since made changes to the article. The full text of the email follows:

We have seen your article reporting on the result of the federal criminal case against our client, Jerry Dimitriou, who was sentenced yesterday by the Honorable Katharine P. Failla to home detention for failing to pay $17,833.32 in personal taxes.

Your article incorrectly reports that Mr. Dimitriou’s sentence was related to his management at the GOA or his supposed embezzlement from that institution. Those allegations were related to the original charges against Mr. Dimitriou, which were dismissed by the court upon motion of the prosecutors. As such, and as was abundantly clear at yesterday’s proceedings, those allegations were deemed wholly irrelevant to the sentence, and the GOA was deemed not to be the victim of Mr. Dimitriou’s offense. Because your article reports otherwise, we ask that you immediately retract those statements and issue a correction.

The National Herald has seen the sentencing document of August 2, 2023 regarding “Nature of Offence – Evasion of Tax Assessment,” which notes “ALL OPEN COUNTS – are dismissed on the motion of the United States.” At this time, however, it is not clear that the “open counts” are the matters referred to in the GOA news release.



  1. Well that’s that. Now what’s next? Here is a trip one can take on way back machine about the Greek church leaders circa 2005. There is so much corruption within the Greek Orthodox leadership that it would take days to list each and every one.

    • It appears the article is gone.

      • It comes up for me.

      • Click and re click few times an the article opens. I had the same issue.

        Here is the first part I copied for you to see.

        “ In the shadow of the Acropolis, Greeks are witnessing a scandal-plagued showdown — involving allegations of drug-dealing bishops, bribe-taking judges and a mysterious fugitive — that could permanently sever the ancient bonds of church and state.

        A series of stunning revelations has uncovered what seems to be a powerful criminal element within the leadership of the Greek Orthodox church. Run by bishops accused of serious crimes, the ring is reported to exert control over Greek politicians and judges, and to have used the church’s almost unlimited powers to build a mafia-like hierarchy of wealth and corruption.”

        This week, the scandal threatened to reach the very top of this secretive church. Archbishop Christodoulos, the 66-year-old leader of the church, has been accused of working with a convicted drug smuggler named Apostolos Vavilis, who is wanted by Interpol and believed to be hiding in Italy. The archbishop said this week that the relationship is innocent, but police want to question Mr. Vavilis about his role in the church, where he allegedly acted as an envoy at the highest levels.

      • Here is the entire article. I just copied it.

        Scandal reaches highest echelon of Greek Orthodox church
        Doug Saunders
        March 18, 2005

        A series of stunning revelations has uncovered what seems to be a powerful criminal element within the leadership of the Greek Orthodox church. Run by bishops accused of serious crimes, the ring is reported to exert control over Greek politicians and judges, and to have used the church’s almost unlimited powers to build a mafia-like hierarchy of wealth and corruption.

        This week, the scandal threatened to reach the very top of this secretive church. Archbishop Christodoulos, the 66-year-old leader of the church, has been accused of working with a convicted drug smuggler named Apostolos Vavilis, who is wanted by Interpol and believed to be hiding in Italy. The archbishop said this week that the relationship is innocent, but police want to question Mr. Vavilis about his role in the church, where he allegedly acted as an envoy at the highest levels.

        The church, which for decades has seemed immune to criticism, has begun to be shaken. During the ceremonial inauguration of a new Greek president on Saturday, half a dozen members of parliament stormed out of the legislature, and dozens more refused to stand, when the archbishop entered the chamber in his ceremonial headdress and carrying his sceptre.

        “These are issues which must be confronted,” MP Fotis Kouvelis, one of the six who walked out, said in an interview in his office earlier this week.

        “We believe the church has delayed in confronting these corruptions — consequently, there is a responsibility in the hierarchy of the church to answer for these events . . . for us, the only answer is a severance of the powers and responsibilities of the church from those of the state.”

        A majority of Greeks now believe that the archbishop should resign, according to a poll this week, but it will not be easy to transform a church that is older, and in many ways mightier and wealthier, than the modern Greek state.

        The Orthodox Church is a state religion, its 10,500 priests and 10,000 theologians paid government salaries similar to those earned by high-school teachers. Its 81 bishops are far more powerful, earning tax-free salaries similar to those of cabinet ministers and at least twice again that much from fees for weddings, baptisms and funerals, from the rental of burial plots and from the construction and renting of apartments on church property (which is legal).

        But for a highly placed group of bishops, it appears that these powers are not enough.

        The scandal began last month, when Bishop Theoklitos of Thessaliotis resigned after being accused of running a trial-fixing ring; four high-court judges and several politicians were allegedly paid large sums of money to clear the bishop and his associates of charges that included drug dealing and homosexuality (which is illegal in the church).

        The scandal quickly spread to the highest levels of the church. Another bishop resigned after he was accused of have secretly laundered $17-million (U.S.), believed to have been earned by selling church property, and banking the money in U.S. accounts. A third resigned over stories of wild sex escapades involving prostitutes. Newspapers ran photos of a 91-year-old bishop naked in bed with a young woman. He has refused to resign.

        A further eight bishops are under investigation for crimes including smuggling, bribery, money laundering, drug dealing, pedophilia, prostitution and sexual harassment.

        This week, the 2001 election of the current patriarch of the Jerusalem branch of the Greek church (which is the second largest landowner in Israel) was illegal because it had been rigged by Mr. Vavilis and other “known criminals” sent to Israel by Archbishop Christodoulos.

        The archbishop was the chosen candidate of the ultra-conservative Chrisopigi Brotherhood, an order whose role is similar to that of Opus Dei in the Roman Catholic church. Previously, Orthodox archbishops had pledged to reform the church, in an effort to distance it from its support of the Greek military dictatorship that ruled from 1967 to 1974, and to account for the church’s vast land holdings.

        After his election by the church’s Holy Synod in 1998, Mr. Christodoulos and his backers pledged to purge the church of modernizers. He has become intensely involved in politics, issuing statements on the Kosovo war and Greece’s membership in the European Union, and successfully lobbying the government to have citizens’ religious affiliations printed on their national ID cards. The church landholdings remain secret and unregulated.

        That has led a growing number of theologians to argue that the church has become a rogue force, beyond the control of government or its own members.

        For his part, Archbishop Christodoulos has argued in sermons and speeches this month that the church is a victim of the forces of globalization, which he says are out to make Greece like other European nations.

        “This is just a tactful way of marginalizing the church,” he said in a statement. “They want to make civil weddings compulsory . . . and legalize same-sex couples. Suddenly, church land is in question, and now all this? Is it a coincidence? . . . If those that are attacking me think I will resign or that I will stop talking, they are deeply misguided.”

        • Thanks, Jane!

          • Jane, I’m honestly confused with your comments because I fail to see the relevance with the original post and what you shared only detracts from the very important issue of the GOA using Jerry Dimitriou as a scapegoat while the guilty walk away free.
            Archbishop Christodoulos was a beloved hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Church and sought to defend Orthodoxy and Greece from the same globalists that we are fighting today. The attacks against him show us all that they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. He stood his ground and stood for us all and is a hero for the Greek people and Orthodox Christians throughout the world.

            • George P,
              It’s important for me to dig into the historical corruption to understand how an employee fell into the hierarchal pot of spaghetti. So let me add another old article that someone posted on Helleniscope today which further shows how the hierarchal leadership is running their coffers for a very long time.


              • Jane, I appreciate your insights of this historical incident; while not germane to the corruption endemic to the GOA at present, it does shed some light on the slipshod way certain elements of the Greek population run things.

                • I think we are blessed to be able to see corruption in all matters nowadays. Many people are still fast asleep. Look at how our own government is run. Our eyes are no I longer shut. There is an awakening taking place. I am very saddened but extremely hopeful.

                • I think we are blessed to be able to see corruption in all matters nowadays. Many people are still fast asleep. Look at how our own government is run. Our eyes are no I longer shut. There is an awakening taking place. I am very saddened but extremely hopeful.

                  As secretary to an Orthodox priest without pay full time for one year I got see the inner workings of a GOA church. The internal auditors consisted of elderly church members who knew nothing about internal audits. I watched them walk into my office dumbfounded and they never took the audit. They just left. I showed them how I organized all the records in that office. The office was an upside down mess when I started working there. It’s not very important but yet it is very important.

                  I used the church credit card for office supplies and gas cards for the poor who always stopped by. What the priest told me to do I did with respect. For myself, this was a very serious responsibility. Every check that came in was posted by me with care. On and on I could talk. I do not understand how anyone could steal from a church whether an employee or a hierarch.

                  So I am putting all this together in my head. There is the geopolitical, hierarchal, and employee Greek Orthodox Church debauchery. Right now it continues unabated. The same thing is going on with my country t’is of thee. I am blown away!

            • First of all, let me apologize for my first response, George. I hope you didn’t see it. I misread your comment. Let me try again.

              A lot of people get the Greek Church here, confused with the Greek Church in Greece, confused with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, which is over the Greek Archdiocese here and wields considerable influence over the Greek Church in Greece.

              I seem to remember Archbishop Christodoulos fighting the good fight, as well. The author of the piece Jane posted had a different perspective.

              What I got from Jane’s comment is that there is always a lot of drama and intrigue with the Greeks. Here, there, and everywhere (as The Beatles would say) and in some cases, involving all three.

              In this case, I don’t know that the Archdiocese is using Jerry Dimitriou as a scapegoat. I know there are people, like you, who have come to his defense. But I also know he tried to deflect some of the blame for past accusations onto Archbishop Demetrios, which I don’t support so the jury is still out for me.

              As an aside, an archbishop is not an executive director. An executive director is the financial head of something. An archbishop is a spiritual head of something. If financial malfeasance is involved with respect to the management of a project or anything else, I don’t care what an archbishop knows or may have said, it is incumbent on the executive director to report it through the proper channels or take full responsibility if he doesn’t. That’s just the way I see it. No one makes you break the law by telling you to go ahead and do something and remain silent, if that is indeed what happened. There are ways to report these things anonymously. It may not always be to your advantage, but you can’t later say, “the devil made me do it,” if you get caught. That’s just the way it goes.

              In any case, it wouldn’t have mattered which story Jane pulled or who took center stage. Drama is drama. And in the case of the Greek Church, there is always a lot of it.

          • Your are so welcome!

  2. Looks like they’re throwing Mr Dimitriou under the bus.

  3. It finally came to the surface in me why I have been highly skeptical of the entire “American Orthodox”/united-autocephalous American church enterprise. I think Fr. Schmemann danced around this question in his essay, the Canonical Problem, but his answer was not satisfactory.

    The fundamental problem is that “American” is not an ethnic group or linguistic group and is scarcely anymore a cultural group. It is now almost purely a political and geographic designation. This was not always the case. In more ethnocentric days past, “American” meant English speaking Anglo-Saxons living in America. And one could perhaps most easily create a new unified local church uniting the English-speaking world under one primate and synod – an English Orthodox Church. This might most closely approximate the Byzantine experience, but this would scarcely reflect the self-identity of its constituent clergy, let alone laity.

    The problem with “American Orthodoxy” is that Orthodoxy in America is largely populated by “hyphenated Americans”; i.e., Greek-Americans, Russo-Americans, Arab-Americans, etc., who constitute a small minority of the larger American population. It is not that these people see themselves necessarily as “hyphenated”, it is rather that they are not of the majority stock or historically dominant stock in America. Thus, being an “American” Church is largely a matter of desiring partial assimilation and the designation of truly “American” while retaining ethnic identity. It is playing word games to gain acceptance.

    Thus the whole project strikes one viscerally as strained and artificial. Either “American” is a valid ethnic/cultural designation (tantamount to Anglo-Saxon), in which case “American Orthodoxy” is at present an oxymoron, or “American” is purely a political/geographical construct and “American Orthodoxy” thus bears little resemblance to the other “national (i.e., ethno-cultural) churches”.

    The other problem is ecumenical. The same impetus that makes ethnic Orthodox want to identify as Americans drives them to imitate Catholic and Protestant practices here in America. This is quite unhealthy from a spiritual perspective, but understandable if “American culture” is the standard. But there is no “American culture” in the sense it is imagined, only the dominant contemporary Protestant and Catholic cultures in America. If you wanted the real, old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon culture, our women would be wearing bonnets, scarves or hats to church as was the common practice up until very recent times. Conversely, what “American” usually means is modernist laxity or “heteropraxis”.

    Essentially, the problem I see is that “American Orthodoxy” is really a cross section of the Orthodox in America chasing an illusionary, artificial assimilation. So will it ever be the case that there is a truly American autocephalous Orthodox church? Perhaps, but it will come when the ethnic groups who brought Orthodoxy to the Americas constitute only a small percentage of the laity and clergy of Orthodoxy in America. The mission of ethnic Orthodox in America, if they are really desirous of a truly “American” Orthodox Church, is to evangelize the rest of the American population so that they only constitute a small minority of the Orthodox in America.

    Let me be clear: There is nothing at all wrong with being ethnic Orthodox in America or a “hyphenated” American. Such is the state of affairs and the times. America is an imperial country and our forebearers perhaps saw that more clearly than we do in contemporary times. Thus the use of the term “diaspora” came more easily to them. However, retaining ethnic parishes and creating “American Orthodoxy” are at cross purposes. This is why I am not in favor of “American Orthodoxy”. The Orthodox should not hide who we are but simply be who we are. And the truth will shine through, sooner or later.

    I personally would prefer an organic process whereby the ethnic parishes become gradually less ethnic over decades, perhaps centuries, with a re-emphasis on evangelism and a rejection of ecumenism (which are antithetical). Thus, instead of chasing American Orthodoxy we would simply be ourselves, evangelize and maintain an Orthodox mindset. And “American Orthodoxy” would take care of itself, just like we are told “tomorrow” should do.

    • Very, very well said Misha.

      From a historical background it takes hundreds of years to develop an autocephalous Church. Take Cyprus for example, it gained autocephaly from Antioch in 431, that’s after Christianity had already been there for ~400 years. On top of that Cyprus itself was already an ancient culture.

      That is not the case in America. We are not an ancient culture and rather than being pagan/Jewish like Cyprus had been, we are a nation of heterodox Christianity, materialism and just about every religion you can think of. If we are to become an autocephalous Church at some point in the future than I agree it will be along the lines of linguistics being the English language, but, even with that given the amount of mass migration in the U.S and other English-speaking countries, how much longer will that last?

      America also seems to corrupt religion & “Americanize” it. Just look at modern Roman Catholicism in America, it’s barely distinguishable from Lutheranism or other mainstream Protestantism. Orthodoxy being an “other” is IMHO what is saving it. You can see this in Orthodoxy with more Americanizes jurisdictions (GOA).

      • I think you and Misha hit the nail on the head.

      • Petros,

        Thank you. The other question which I omitted is how long the United States in its present form will endure. In 1989 when I was a political science major at university, no one foresaw the dissolution of the Soviet Union, even when the Berlin Wall came down. Two years later, it was history.

        Things can change rapidly.

        A number of people who study political economy and geopolitics have observed that we are in a perfect, hegemon killing storm. We have internal division bordering on civil war. We have two rising world powers aligned and challenging our leadership. We are bankrupt and propped up with monopoly money backed by unicorn farts. And our competitor (Eurasia) is dedollarizing, moving to a gold standard and taking much of the world with it.

        That is not even to mention the war in the Ukraine which is deindustrializing Germany and casting Europe into a depression as well as America into a recession. All in the time leading up to an election year. Governments are being replaced in Europe and the trend is sharply rightward.

        Back in 2017, I predicted the “summer of love” and “largely peaceful” demonstrations; i.e. the commie race riots of 2020. I thought they might occur before the midterms in 2018, but I knew they were coming. I even wrote a long essay I tried to get published in all the wrong publications documenting why.

        It will be worse next year, and possibly in 2025. Trump will be the nominee and he has the momentum to win and, despite the indictments, I don’t see what stops him. Obviously, it’s not a sure thing anymore than 2020 was. However, that is the prospect we’re facing.

        And it will drive the left completely insane and they will take to the streets in record numbers as brown shirts to intimidate the elites into rigging another election. If Trump wins, there will be political instability that we haven’t seen since the Civil War.

        I suppose the cherry on the top is that China has overtaken the US as the largest economy in the world based on PPP and Russia has overtaken Germany as the largest economy in Europe (number 5 in the world) according to the World Bank and IMF.

        The West, and America, are falling apart precipitously, historically speaking. Why identify with a loser? As the writing begins to appear on the wall to an ever-larger number of people, America envy will dissipate.

        • “Trump will be the nominee and he has the momentum to win
          and, despite the indictments, I don’t see what stops him. …
          And it will drive the left completely insane … ”

          The only Democrat who might have a chance
          at beating Trump legitimately is RFK Jnr;
          and he scares the Left as much as Trump does.

        • I respectfully disagree with you on your point that Trump will have the momentum to win. Every hard core former Trump voter I know (myself included, this blog excluded) do not support him and are quite fatigued at the prospect. He may have been the leader of the hour in 2016 and 2020, but he is not for 2024. I respect those who will vote for him in the primaries but completely disagree with their choice of Presidential candidate.

          • Christine, I respect your observations and overall, I can see the rationality of your beliefs. However, the fact remains that the polls show otherwise. There’s also the fact that the Uniparty is doing everything in their power to stop Trump. If he was damaged goods or perhaps damaged enough to take the GOP down to defeat (should he be the nominee), then they wouldn’t be acting this way.

            I sense very real terror on the part of the Uniparty. Otherwise, none of this would make sense.

            It has also hit many of us in an inchoate, intuitive way that there is no other Republican candidate who even has a snow-ball’s chance in hell of winning in 2024. In fact, Trump may very well be the GOP’s last chance for the presidency going forward.

          • Anonymous II says

            Let’s be honest here, elections mean little to those who don’t play by the rules. They follow little or no rules beyond themselves. Hence, they knowingly or unknowingly follow the evil one.

            Honestly, why does anyone have confidence in elections anymore? Do the results, even if momentarily seen as a gain, really have far reaching consequences? You might point to the appointment of the Supreme Court Justices, but, my point remains: from the beginning, democracy was intended to subvert the sovereign rule of kings and the Church. Now, whether we agree that’s the intention or not, the fruit of democracies and republics should be very, very self-evident today.

            So, the fruit? We’re witnessing might be likened to a malformed giant collapsing under his own weight. This collapse is very ugly and painful for anyone underneath and dependent upon it – what to do? Certainly, it’s strange to witness, but it’s happening. Nothing will change the giant from falling. Nothing will change his stubborn rampaging and war against the Church short of a miracle from God and his cooperation with God.

            Like others have shared, nobody saw the end of the Soviet Union, nor the Tsar before it, until it suddenly broke. My question is, and it’s really impossible to answer, what will America look like in ten years? Europe? I know, maybe we’ll see. It’s anyone’s guess. But the fact we’re all looking down the train tunnel is telling. What are the options?

        • It’s called ‘controlled demolition.’ But the Lord has better plans.

      • Jeff Moss says

        Something that I’d already been observing as a Calvinist seminarian came into focus in 2006, when I was at the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Seattle and fell into a long conversation about Eucharistic theology with a Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) pastor that I happened to meet there. What we both described in that conversation has only been confirmed by my experiences since then.

        We agreed that there seems to be an across-the-board shift in views of the Eucharist among American churches. Speaking very broadly, Reformed laypeople and many clergy in America actually tend toward a more Baptist view of the Sacraments and the Eucharist particularly (it’s a mere memorial, not a real presence); Lutherans tend toward a Reformed sacramentology (spiritual presence, rather than Luther’s starkly physical “in, with, and under”); and Roman Catholics here trend more Lutheran, often becoming squeamish about the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation. In other words, each group’s Eucharistic theology, in practice, tends to downgrade toward the official theology of the next group along the spectrum.

        Of course, it’s very likely that this observation holds true for Western Europe and throughout much of the Western world, not just America. Anyone else care to comment about what they’ve observed along these lines?

    • Misha,

      Why can’t “American Orthodoxy” be as diverse as “Russian Orthodoxy”?

      In Russian Orthodoxy, you have the basic core which is the European of Rus’ heritage and his Orthodox faith… But then you have many, many other ethnic groups within that jurisdiction, from central and east Asia to worldwide. I have heard before that on any given Sunday in the Russian Orthodox church, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated in about 120 different languages. Clearly, it’s very diverse.

      Why cannot American Orthodoxy be similar? You have the basic core, which is the Slavic/Eastern European immigrant church (I’m omitting the GOA, since by their own admission, they want to be considered separate and special)…. which has since morphed into a dominant white/European background Church and heavily European-American former Protestant convert church, with lots of different ethnic groups in between (like the native Alaskan Orthodox, the smaller French language Orthodox groups in Quebec, the Spanish speaking Orthodox groups in the American South, in Mexico, and in Latin America, the African-American/black convert groups here and there, etc.).

      I agree that Orthodox Rus’ obviously has a much deeper, longer history, but just as Russian Orthodoxy is not monolithic at all, can’t “American Orthodoxy” also be non-monolithic?

      Just askin’.

      • FTS,

        Certainly. But there is an ethnic Russian core to the “Russian” Orthodox Church. Now, such a core has developed in the OCA and to a lesser extent the AOCNA, no doubt. But GOARCH is the largest Orthodox jurisdiction in America, probably twice as large as any other. This has always amazed me since the theoretical autocephalous Orthodox Church in America may represent only a quarter of American Orthodox. By my informal guesstimate (based on my former Greek parish) GOARCH is at least 50% Greek most everywhere with a number of other ethnic Orthodox parishioners from Romania, Arab lands and other Orthodox countries as well as some converts, many spouses of Greeks, etc. Now, there are probably some convert parishes as well, but that is the exception.

        Again, if you really want an American Orthodox Church, you need converts (or their descendants) to vastly outnumber “ethnics” much as Russians in the ROC vastly outnumber everyone else. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being “ethnic” Orthodox. That is not at all what I am saying. What I am saying is that the character of Orthodoxy in America is not even remotely a demographically accurate reflection of the American population, which true “American” Orthodoxy would be.

        And, of course, this takes time and may well eventually transpire.

        The deeper issue is that much of the Church in America does not want an “American” church. I’m neither praising that nor condemning it. To each his own. America is an imperial country where people from all around the world come to settle and make money. That is the nature of empire. Its true uniqueness vis a vis Orthodoxy lies in that fact rather than “American Exceptionalism”. Greeks, Russians, Serbs, etc. in America are no less American citizens than anyone else in America by my lights.

        But bear in mind, even the OCA did not adopt the name “American Orthodox Church”.

        • even the OCA did not adopt the name “American Orthodox Church”

          I love to read about American Orthodox history…. I’ve read that in the 1960s, when Autocephaly was coming to the Russian Metropolia, what to call it after autocephaly was a sticking point.

          The pre-1970 official name of the early OCA (the Metropolia, as it was then often called) was “the “Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America” — a cumbersome mouthful, but this name does honor the Russian Orthodox heritage as well as honors the tens/hundreds of thousands of former Greek Catholics (aka Eastern rite Catholics, Byzantine Catholics) who came into the Metropolia through the efforts of many, including St Alexis Toth and St Tikhon.

          But after autocephaly, continuing to refer to the Church as “Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic” could obviously be a big turn-off to Americans of all flavors who are seeking a deeper life in Christ.

          The “Orthodox Church of America” was thought to be inaccurate, since North America is not a historically Orthodox Christian land, and the overwhelmingly protestant mindset in North America is often at odds with and has a very different understanding of who God and Christ are and of what the Christian life is and looks like, when compared with the Orthodox Christian worldview.

          The “Orthodox Church in America” is most accurate, as a local Orthodox Christian body embedded within a non-Orthodox Christian land — where God has sent us!

          The “Orthodox Church of Greece” or the “Orthodox Church of Russia” or “of Romania” are very appropriate names – as these are overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian lands with culturally Orthodox worldviews on life. But for us, the “Orthodox Church in America” is appropriate.

          I guess the bottom line is that prepositions matter!!! haha

  4. The amount of corruption in the GOA is very unfortunate. But, it really does almost always seem to be in the Northeast. Yankees, am I right.

    This past Sunday I went to liturgy at the local GOA parish, it was packed to the rafters with people of all ages, I’d say ~300+ people. The priest gave a great Orthodox homily, from what I am told he always does. A yiayia came up to me and asked if I was visiting, when I said yes she gave me a huge hug.
    They have an active young adults group (that I plan on joining) and have various ministries.

    Why am I saying all of this? Because In my experience of the GOA parishes I have either visited or belonged to, the above has always been the case. The unfortunate thing about the GOA is that the amazing parishes, priests & lay people is constantly overshadowed by their bishops and of course the EP, as well as what I will call “Northeast Orthodoxy.”

    Here in the Deep South the GOA is alive and well and seems very disconnected from Northeast Orthodoxy, just look at St. Nicholas in Tarpon Springs or St. Nektarios in Charlotte.

    • That is a fantastic observation, Petro.

      I have been thinking about this for awhile, the religious divide that we see between the EP/GOA and everybody else is more nuanced than it appears to be. The further northeast you go, you will see GOA parishes being more “woke”. But the same can be said for OCA parishes. I imagine that the Serb, Albanian and Bulgarian parishes experience this same dichotomy (although I cannot say for sure). And of course I imagine that ROCOR is largely immune from this nonsense.

      If anybody knows any differently, please bring it to our attention.

      At any rate, I believe that Elpi’s program is to “right” the GOA’s sinking ship, to preserve it from going further native/conservative, in other words, from following the lead of the Athonite monasteries. I believe that the Archons/L100 are by and large on his side, being as they are also more concentrated in the Northeast.

      • Anonymous II says

        Does the proximity to Fordham and DC have a role in this trend of northeast wokism?

        By the way, am I the only one who dislikes the term ‘woke?’ It just doesn’t carry the weight or historical context as other synonyms for evil.

      • I think unfortunately the same is true “the further west you go” for the OCA and GOA. Especially in CA… though there are some exceptions.

        Although not woke, but speaking to the general lack of fidelity to Holy Tradition, I had the great sadness of seeing an icon of the “21 martyrs of Libya” (Coptic) hanging directly left of an iconostasis in a GOA parish in Northern CA.

        • It probably depends on where on the west coast you are and which parish. I’ve been to GOA parishes in Oregon, Alaska and Arizona and they were all very solid.

      • At any rate, I believe that Elpi’s program is to “right” the GOA’s sinking ship, to preserve it from going further native/conservative, in other words, from following the lead of the Athonite monasteries.

        “Tell God your plans and he will laugh.” That’s what I think of when it comes to Elpi. Everything he has tried has failed miserably.

        You and Gail are much more well informed than I am and hear from more GOA clergy, but, I just don’t see the GOA totally moving that way. Mostly because there is too much vocal opposition: Monomakhos, Helleniscope, etc.
        When they try to introduce anything whack there is a big push-back and they retreat. Just look at the massive pushback from the Metropolis of Chicago in Elpi’s recent charter meeting. A few weeks ago I spoke to a GOA priest I know pretty well, we were talking about the current issues and my main take away in regards to the mentality of GOA priests is “We really just ignore the bishops.”

        If the monasteries were not part of the GOA then I think they would have gone headlong already. But, the monasteries not only wield a great amount of power in the GOA, they are also famous all over the world and Elder Ephraim is regarded by many to be a Saint.
        IMHO that’s why if/when the monasteries ever leave the GOA then that’s the official lights out for GOARCH. The rest of the Orthodox world will see that the GOA is so un-Orthodox that the monasteries had to move to another jurisdiction.

        I’m very curious to see who the next president of HCHC will be. From what I understand the seminary has been moving in a decidedly more Orthodox direction. Orthodox Theology is heavily emphasized, Byzantine Chant is heavily emphasized. I’ve heard from “based” friends who have gone there that it’s gotten much better. If a new president is installed that fosters this, then there’s no reason to think it wont flourish. But, keep an eye on who they appoint because that’s going to tell us how things are going to go.

        Admittingly my main problem is the thought of how can I attend a parish, take communion and go to confession in a jurisdiction under the EP who is in communion with schismatics and persecuting the UOC. But, I was told by my spiritual father in ROCOR that I am more than welcome to continue doing so and the current schism only applies to the clergy.

    • Petros, I’m in the Western US and it’s the same here, all the different jurisdictions get along well and as a convert I’ve felt welcome everywhere. During Lent they do Pan-Orthodox vespers at a different parish/jurisdiction every Sunday evening and all Orthodox in the area are invited. It’s wonderful.

      Also attending a GOA parish with a marvelous pastor, best most Orthodox parish I’ve been in so far and my first GOA parish. Makes me want to boot Elpi out!!!

    • Agree…. the further away you get from the cultural need to be liked by the northeastern universities/establishment and their thought leaders, the better.

      I’ve often thought this is a core of the problem… those stuck in the Northeast often have this inferiority complex and a need to be liked by the classic thought leaders/movers and shakers in Northeastern universities and establishment… anymore, most of these pseudo thought-leaders lead straight to hell and misery (except in the hard sciences/engineering, more or less).

      It’s a massive problem in the GOA leadership — they just reek of the need to be liked and approved of by the establishment. Why do they need their approval ?!?!?

      In the South/Midwest/Western USA, it’s much easier to say “get lost…. we don’t need you” to the northeastern establishment. It’s far harder to do that in Massachusetts or New York…. it’s much more entrenched in the culture there.

      • In the South/Midwest/Western USA, it’s much easier to say “get lost…. we don’t need you” to the northeastern establishment. It’s far harder to do that in Massachusetts or New York…. it’s much more entrenched in the culture there.

        I’m starting to think that this is the reason why so many are against the charter revision. As it stands now, each Metropolis essentially functions in autonomy from the Archbishop and is free to do as it chooses. If the charter is changed to move all control under the archbishop then that autonomy is lost and then all the Metropolises get turned into Elpi 2.0.

        Metropolitans Gerasimos, Alexsios and Isaiah all seem to pay lip service to the EP/Elpi but I’ve been told by someone “in the know” that they are not on board with anything.

        All that seems to be apparent with what we know about Elpi’s charter tour he’s doing to the various Metropolises.

        • Yeah, maybe – I don’t know, nor do I really care, to be fully honest……

          Even though my Orthodox Christian baptismal certificate from the 1970s as an infant is from the Greek Archdiocese, I’ve pretty much ignored their machinations for the past 30 years. My sacramental Orthodox Christian life for the past few decades has been in the OCA and ROCOR, where it will stay, God-willing.

  5. Off topic, but, Metropolitan Anthimou of Thessaloniki has submitted his resignation. I’m guessing bc of age? He’s almost 90. Thessaloniki is one of the weird “New Lands” thing under the EP but it’s controlled by the Church of Greece. Given how important of a see Thessaloniki is it will be interesting to see who the Church of Greece places there.

  6. Looks like Elpi is going to be consecrating Belya as a bishop after all:

    He’s quite literally saying “I’ve heard your concerns, and I don’t care.”

    Belya not only threatened bishop on the AOB with legal action, he’s STILL going to be suing ROCOR. Yet somehow he has the qualifications of a bishop?

    I very sincerely hope the AOB puts its money where its mouth is and disbands the Assembly.

    Gail/George, have you heard anything from the “inside?”

    • Yes, we have. We’re hoping to fly to Los Angeles and talk to some people face to face to find out what’s going on.

    • Antiochene Son says

      This will be a big test for Met. Saba. I have heard he is saintly and also quite street-smart, so we will see.

      Antioch has been all about “Mother Church” talk since his ascent, so perhaps the winds are blowing against the Assembly and the need for it.

      • This will be a big test for Met. Saba

        Agreed. Lets hope he is up to the task.

        Antioch has been all about “Mother Church” talk since his ascent

        I wonder if this is just because Antioch is the Mother Church of the Antiochian Archdiocese, or, if there was more too it.

        • Antiochene Son says

          Antioch is the mother church, but I’ve never heard such accolades under Mets. Philip or Joseph. The whole “self ruled” thing is null in all but name.

    • The AOB is a train wreck. The good bishops left with common sense will just walk away and form a new, and much saner body. Let us all pray that this happens!

      And, when they do inform Elpidophoros about what they’re doing, they ALL need to sign the document. (In other words, don’t be a ‘Dr. Smith’ and push Will Robinson alone into a dangerous situation as fodder. That’s what happened to poor Met. Joseph, remember?!)

    • ” Hoping to alleviate the bishops’ concerns, Abp. Elpidophoros proposes that despite Assembly bylaws, which dictate that active and canonical bishops are automatically members, Belya will not become a member of the Canonical Assembly and will not participate in any Assembly events.
      The same is dictated by the rules of operation adopted at the Fourth Pre-conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held in Chambésy in June 2009, which established the various Canonical Assemblies throughout the diaspora. ”

      “Rules? Rules…?
      Rules is for thee,
      but not for We!”