Crossing Your Fingers

I think the good Archbishop was crossing his fingers when he said at his enthronement: “We must never forget our forefathers and fathers, patriarchs and prophets, apostles and preachers, saints and martyrs, confessors and ascetics—all those men and women, known and unknown, who have laid the foundations for the church and paved the way for us to belong to the Body of Christ.”  He has forgotten their very teaching.  

From our friends at Ortho Christianity. . .



Palm Beach, Florida, February 21, 2020    

Archbishop Elpidophoros, the primate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, caused a stir yesterday at the opening of the 29th annual Leadership 100 Conference at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Fund Incorporated is a corporation that supports the National Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in advancement of Orthodoxy and Hellenism.

In front of dozens of participants, Abp. Elpidophoros declared that anyone who was married in the Orthodox Church can receive Communion in the Orthodox Church, regardless of whether they are Orthodox or not.

As the Orthodox Church firmly teaches that only baptized and chrismated members of the Church can commune, the Archbishop’s statement upset many people.

He previously addressed the issue of mixed marriages at the Archdiocesan Council meeting in October, hinting at what he openly declared yesterday. After noting that nearly 50% of all Orthodox Christians in America are converts, including 25% in the Greek Archdiocese, the Archbishop stated:

With this in mind, I would make this suggestion: instead of calling marriages with non-Orthodox spouses “mixed marriages,” might we not better refer to them as “miracle marriages?” For these marriages are the main road that ushers converts to the Faith. As the Apostle Paul says: How do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? (I Cor. 7:16).

While speaking above about marriage leading to spouses converting to holy Orthodoxy, Abp. Elpidophoros went on say:

Every faithful marriage is a miracle marriage—a miracle of God’s love and a Mystery to be celebrated with joy and embraced with thanksgiving. Whether or not the spouse joins the Church in a formal way through Chrismation, they are still 100% part of our community, and should be embraced as such. If we are to be a Church that truly serves and embraces our young people who live in a technologically advanced and pluralistic world, we must embrace the strangers in our midst—make them strangers no more, and embrace all the members of our community and our Country.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople previously made waves when it announced that it would allow priests whose wives died or abandoned them to enter into second marriages, thereby contradicting the long-standing canonical Tradition of the Church.

In October, the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Archdiocese in America announced that it was petitioning Constantinople to allow three clergymen to remarry.


  1. Solitary Priest says

    This will drive even more God-fearing Greeks to the Old Calendarists. 

    • Solitary priest. I fear will drive even more God fearing Greeks OUT of any Church. They have had enough.  
      Sadly as with the Chrysovolantou monastery,  the GOC often mixed in enough scandals of their own and they  attract charlatans,  paediphiles of all sorts.  I wonder if we do not stand back enough to see how we look from outside? Not pretty. 
      The only ones I personally feel confident in are the Synod in resistance centred on Fyli monastery near Athens. 
      Very sad state of affairs.  But what I see clearly are NONE OF THEM BELIEVE IN OR FOLLOW CHRIST.  THEY more and more are a charicature of what the communists said all long,  what the Church is.   That is a Giant con- trick 
      God forgive us all. 

      • Niko- The former SiR merged with the GOC-florinites.  They reunited years ago. The Chrysovalantou Monastery scandal occured under the EP. The Chrysovolantou abbots had left the GOC years earlier and even entered into communion with the Jerusalem Patriarchate in the interim. The EP even reordained them and they gave interviews in the Greek papers how beforehand they were simply laymen in cassocks. There is even some evidence the GOC tried to warn the EP and GOA not to take them in. As usual years later thE scandalous behavior of the abbots blew up in the face of the EP as they touted them as heroes of the faith.   

        • Guy thanks for that.  I was always impressed by SIR,  and their openess to evangelism. A Happy memory is attending a  liturgy for Whitsun in a nunnery in Greece nr Athens with black nuns and clergy. And wonderful celebration after.  
          We live in evil days it is clear to see. But just as the Russian church lived through communist times, so we must show the same faith. God bless 

      • Solitary Priest says

        If those Greeks are driven out of the church, then they aren’t God-fearing. The devil uses situations to lure people away. We all like to make excuses for our sins. Fr. Stavros, my spiritual father, left the Greek church for the OCA before entering seminary. Fr. Kallistos left the Greek church for the Serbs. Both later ended up in ROCOR. I guess since both married Slavic women, they may have lost their credentials as pure Greeks. Those two bishops who turned out to be corrupt, were the ones reordained by the EP. 

        • Solitary priest.  Thank you.. Yes I was not condoning,  just saying what Sadly is reality. You are right.   I believe we have got to the point where we who know must act.  
          If the visit of bartholomaios in may to USA  goes as planned , than it’s a sign the Church is sleeping. He needs to be boycotted. In Silence. Avoided.  The faithful need to give neither money nor presence. 

      • The so-called old calendarists do not believe they are old calendarists. They consider themselves Orthodox Christians. Also, they do not have this problem regarding non-Orthodox spouses receiving Holy Communion because  non-Orthodox cannot marry in the Church. The wedding is a Mystery and non-Orthodox may not receive any Mystery except, of course, baptism which brings them into the Church.

    • Thank -God. I wonder how much longer the ignorant masses of Venezelists will continue to think they are NOT the schismatic ones, even though every Greek new calendar laymen, priest, and monks knowingly plays mental gymnastics and are conflicted by it.

  2. All I have to say is: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Where did he say they could take communion?
    I would not necessarily equate the comment of non-Orthodox spouses being embraced as 100% of the community with taking communion.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      In the Orthodox Church, regardless of whether they are Orthodox or not.

    • I didn’t see anything explicitly stating that either. And of course the spouse should be 100% embraced as a part of the Church – they are already sacramentally joined as one flesh to the spouse and therefore the Church.

      • It is being reported by multiple persons that AB Elpi said this in the company of dozens of participants. If he did not say this, he should quickly correct the false reporting. If he did say this, he should quickly admit it. If he stays silent….he trying to figure a way out.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Yes, it was purportedly said during a question and answer session.

          • Whatever he may have said, there is, as Michael and Greg note, nothing in this article that supports the accusation.
            Until two or three witnesses to the question and answer session confirm it and/or it is confirmed as archdiocesan policy, it should be considered a rumor – and quite possibly a malicious one.
            Confirmation would not surprise me (little does these days), but it should be awaited nonetheless.  Our not caring for his views on the CP or other matters doesn’t give us license to speak evil of him unjustly.
            Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”

    • From what I gathered – he made the statement yesterday, therefore confirming what he hinted at in a speech he gave  in October 2019. Yesterday’s comment was reported to OrthoChristian by a number of folk who were at the conference.
      I do wish that OrthoChristian would lay  low  on the excitement when a Greek jurisdiction does something wrong. It undermines their reputation as a media outlet (I don’t believe them to be a propaganda tool either, but they do fail the partiality test).
      If this is true, then Project: Wheat vs Tares is unfolding at a faster pace than we anticipated.

  4. And since Holy Communion is inextricably linked to regular confession, are these non-Orthodox who will be receiving Holy Communion be expected to go to holy confession?  
    The cognitive dissonance that’s required to believe that this insanity makes sense is too much, even for the most die-hard C’ple/GOA supporter. 

    The GOA is really going full blown modern Episcopalian — that is, Orthodox Christians who hold to the truth of the faith in Christ aren’t even welcome anymore, and if they do stick around, they better keep their mouths shut and not make waves.

    Abp Elpi is simply showing that he’s just way more damn “woke” than any of the Church fathers or the saints. He knows best.  A trend-setter, a mover and a shaker.

    What a moron. Why do Orthodox Christians stick with this charlatan?
    Like I wrote yesterday, it’s high time that the GOA just formally becomes Episcopalian or Roman Catholic already.  Please.  Stop pretending to be Orthodox.  You ain’t foolin’ anyone, except those who want to be fooled and who want to live in delusion. 

    • In the greek church, in Greece and elsewhere, Communion and confession are not linked at all.  People mostly go to Communion without Confession. Sometimes say at Christmas, the priest will do a general confession.  

      • Well, Niko, therein lies the problem. 

        Having a discipline of confession and preparation for holy communion makes one’s perception of what holy communion is totally different, when compared with those who just grab holy communion whenever they want to, without any preparation or confession. To the latter group, well then sure, having your Roman Catholic or Methodist spouse receive holy communion is no big deal. 

        It’s pretty clear to me that the Greek practice of no confession ever is *wrong.*
        I do believe that this represents such a significant difference in the approach to Christ and to the faith that this difference in the use of vs. the non-use of confession makes the GOA/Greek churches’ faith quite different from the faith of those churches that maintain a practice of holy confession (which, I believe, is more or less all of the other Orthodox churches).  

        Hence, we see all the problems that we have now — the Greek churches don’t understand us, and we don’t understand them.  It’s no wonder that we’ve drifted apart.

        And with the Greek churches not bothering to protect the body and blood of Christ, it’s no wonder that they’ve effectively become Protestants. 

        • Colorado. YES EXACTLY. As u may know I live in Bulgaria, where confession is a must before Communion unless the priest knows you well. It’s common for the priest to refuse Communion to people, if he does not know them, that is at the Chalice, to refuse.
          Yes you say something important. The Church as we have known it, is dividing into two in the way you say. It has been building for some yrs but now is coming to fruition. We who remain true to the teaching of the Church, will be dirided as reactionary and backward and increasingly margianalised. That is when we can be confident that Christ is with us!!

          • To add yes. Many greek clergy in America have totally protestant mind set. In deed if Catholicism permeated Russian church in 16c  so from 19c protestantism.and puritanism came to Greece. 

        • Antiochene Son says

          Not to defend the bad fruit of this practice, but there are historical reasons for this.
          The Ottomans severely limited seminary access, and the vast majority of parish priests were not allowed to hear confessions due to lack of training. So confession became rare.
          This is actually the reason for Holy Unction being done on Holy Wednesday in the Byzantine tradition. Unction effects the forgiveness of sins so people can receive the mysteries on Holy Thursday and Pascha.
          Meanwhile a stronger staretz tradition developed in Russia leading to a 1:1 connection between confession and communion, which many feel is too strict, leading to people communing only rarely.
          There needs to be a middle ground for the starting point, with the standard bound and loosed depending on the individual’s needs. 

          • The “Ottoman excuse” for bad practices in the Greek churches is really tiresome at this point.  The Ottoman empire ceased to exist 100 years ago.  It can no longer serve as an excuse for terrible Orthodox Christian practices in Greek-style parishes.

            In virtually all Russian-style parishes in America (ROCOR, OCA, MP parishes), there is no longer a 1:1 confession:holy communion ratio that is without question always “required.”  I’ve seen a wide variety over the years, from once a year minimum in some OCA parishes, to at least every 3 months in some Antiochian parishes, to once every 4-6 weeks. 

            The best confession frequency is whatever is decided between the faithful Orthodox Christian and his priest.

            I’ve also seen people get bent out of shape when the priest asks who they are when they approach for Holy Communion “anonymously.”  Shocker here: it’s the priest’s job to inquire who the faithful is and to know how he has prepared for holy communion.

            No confession ever is not consistent with being an Orthodox Christian.

            Making excuses for terrible practices in Greek-style parishes only enables the continuation of bad practices.

            • Antiochene Son says

              I’m not excusing it, I’m trying to charitably explain it. Inertia is a thing.
              Maybe instead of criticizing (which leads to defensiveness and entrenchment) we ought to pray for a spiritual renewal, perhaps led by a future Saint. 
              Of course, that may not do anything. Elder Ephraim led such a movement and half the people call him a cult leader.
              Since people in the West have the ability to vote with their feet, the people who do care will go to different jurisdictions and people who don’t care will stay in the GOA, which will continue the problems indefinitely. 
              Maybe rather than be shunned, the GOA needs to be treated like missionary territory by other Orthodox. Why not take over the GOA instead? 

        • Colorado,
          If I may…
          Not that confession/Communion practices are unimportant, but they miss a major point of our Orthodox practice of closed communion.
          Communion is not a ‘reward,’ nor is it the ‘right’ of those who have united themselves to Christ in His Church, nor can anyone ever be ‘worthy’ in the sense of being deserving of it, whether confessed or not. 
          Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.  Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.  That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”
          Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”
          Communion is direct contact and union with the Living God through the deified Flesh and Blood of His Son.  It is, therefore, a judgement.  For those who are prepared, who have been made ‘worthy’ (which is to say capable) of union with God, direct contact is a life-giving Grace.  For those who have not been prepared, who have not been made ‘worthy’ (capable), direct contact with God is akin to a burning.
          Yes,  the Church is protected by closed Communion.  But let us never forget the other side of the coin.  Our  practice protects those who are not yet prepared, who have not yet been made ‘worthy’ of withstanding the judgement inherent in direct contact with the Living God.

          • Yes the greek practice was because most Parish clergy could not hear confession. But actually people still communed only at Pascha, mostly.  
            Frequent Communion was introduced by the Kolyvades movement of late 19c.  I do not know enough about that to say if they insisted on frequent confession also  but I would imagine so.  
            I think even  in EP many Orthodox who practice, commune not every week.  And the Evhalio of Great Wednesday is a type of confession, or forgiveness of sins. 
            Also in the Russian church there was a  law almost that each person make confession in Lent  to their Parish priest and even would receive a certificate to prove so. it must have made for much mechanical religion.
            The current confusing situation is a scandal in the diaspora.  My feeling is we need to avoid extremes. 
            I am sure in greek parishes, many non Orthodox who know ‘how to look and act’   commune.  I have no proof, but I can imagine.  
            In Romania where i did Charity work, the young priest insisted I go to him for confession each week even though he spoke no greek or english and I never enough Romanian to confess whst ever I could get up to in a village!! 

  5. Par for the course. His mask is coming off. Remember that George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou are both in the GOA and are good buddies with many of these impostor bishops. They run the heretical site “Public Orthodoxy” and have been pushing the same corrupt agenda for years. Both Demacopoulos and Papanikolaou have bragged that they have the ears of several GOA metropolitans and priests!

    Lest we forget:

    Eating Disorders and the Case for Open Communion

    “Bridging Voices” Series on Sexual Diversity

    My Gay Orthodox Friend’s Suicide

    Beyond the Binary: Hymnographic Constructions of Orthodox Gender

    Public Orthodoxy: Promoting Cultural Marxism and LGBT Blasphemy

    Public Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy in Dialogue, The Wheel = Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

    Ashley Purpura: Orthodox Church Needs Women Priests and Bishops

    • Make no mistake, George and Telly are Archons. The Archons carry out the marching orders of Bart. If you listen to what they are saying, you will have a clear picture of the direction that Bart and Elpi are taking. And it is not a Patristic direction.

  6. ArchbiElpi: “If we are to be a Church that truly serves and embraces…we must embrace the strangers in our midst—make them strangers no more…”
    And how do we do that? Baptism and Chrismation…

    • Yeah it’s not rocket science. We invite everyone into the ark and sacramentally welcome those who accept. 
      My koumbaro is Greek. He is sad beyond words and thinks he has to leave the GOA but doesn’t know where to go. He doesn’t believe that the GOC have valid sacraments and he worries that the OCA will go the same path. Pray for him.

      • What in the life of the OCA leads him to assume they will go the same route as the very compromised GOA? Rank rumors? Does he know anyone in the OCA by which to judge their faithfulness to Tradition and Dogma? Has he even given the entire jurisdiction a serious look, or just assume for no particular reason that they are compromised?
        This doubtfulness is exasperating, a baseless suspicion of a relatively traditional Orthodox church that is actually Local and doesn’t depend on the whims of foreign overlords.

    • Brendan,
      “And how do we do that? Baptism and Chrismation…”
      but the first-without- equals says,
      “all religions lead to God”.

      • All religions lead to God?
        Including the Aztecs’ Huizilipochtli?
        Or that of Moloch?
        Or Mammon?
        I’m sure Morgoth Bauglir would endorse such theology!

  7. This article is garbage.   Orth Christian has really crossed the line this time.   At no point, in his address or after did he state that The Chalice is open to Non-Orthodox.   They are shamelessly twisting his words about trying to incorporate non-Orthodox spouses into the community in a spirit of love and declaring that it is “Open Communion.”
    Are your hearts so hard and full of hate for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, that you will believe any scurrilous nonsense that is posted about it?
    Disagree with what the EP has done in Ukraine, fine.   You don’t like the politics of the GOA?  Ok.   You’re not alone.
    But this?   Come on now.   This is just slanderous propaganda. 

  8. We all have been given the same freedom – the freedom to choose Christ or reject Him.  And all are free to be initiated into Christ, but they must choose it … we don’t choose it for them.   This idea that we are excluding people from the chalice needs to end, people exclude themselves by their choices.   

  9. To truly save and embrace strangers, the first step is to use a language they understand. Without that change everything else is meaningless window dressing. Remember the words of the apostle Paul, I rather you speak 5 words in a known language than 10,000 words in an unknown language.

  10. Well,  can ANYONE produce an audio of exactly what the AB really said??? A lot of speculation here and half trueths…..

  11. Antiochene Son says

    I’d like to see more explicit proof of this, but even if he didn’t mean it like that, I’m sure liberal priests will seize the opportunity to initiate open communion.
    Has Elpy been taking lessons on vague permissiveness from Pope Francis? 

    • George Michalopulos says

      Well, open communion is already par for the course in the Chicago diocese.  Therefore this entire debate is academic.
      And communing homosexually married couples is a done deal as well.

      • Matthew Panchisin says

        I agree George “this entire debate is academic”.
        Do any of your critics on this one know what ever happened to the GOA Priest and the blasphemous ecumenical dog funeral a year or two ago? That sure was hard to believe, so I think they should at least cut you some slack.

      • Michael Bauman says

        I strongly disagree that the debate is academic.  That means there is no reality any more and no importance to truth.  

        • George Michalopulos says

          Michael, in my defence, I meant that “the debate is academic” only in the sense that the horse has already left the barn.  This happened recently in the GOA diocese of Chicago, when open Communion was normalized in praxis if not in text.  

          Actually, it was normalized some three of four years ago when the previous episcopal authorities in Chicago privately told all the priests in that diocese that they were not to refuse “gay-married” couples from the Chalice.

          • Michael Bauman says

            George, I am not asking you to defend anything. I am merely saying that I do not like that phrase because in common parlance it means that it does not matter.

            Even if we loose, as we will likely, it remains of fundamental (nasty word) importance.

            Personally, I have not thought the GOA to be worth much since they got rid of Abp Iakovos and torpedoed the agreements reached at Ligonier. The GOA has never had any intention of actually sharing their gifts with we barbarians. Agamemnon makes that abundantly clear. It just amazes me that they hold so much sway over everyone else.

            “Everybody knows” the Greeks are crazy, just ask any Lebanese.

            The GOA has crossed Rubicon after Rubicon in diminishing and denying the Orthodox faith. The “union” with Rome is the next thing, right?

            The globalists will have their one world religion since Francis is willing to include Muslims, Jews and pagans.

            I am about to the point where I think that no bishop will hold. None. Despite the fact there are some I love and respect deeply. But how many have retained their virility? Obedience is not just to the “ones in charge” after all, as important as that is in the correct context. It is not good to be obedient to sin and error and heresy while living in a whitened sepulcher.

            However, if we can find just one bishop in the US who will hold and be public about it and continue in the truth even if all others do not, that will be enough. Unlike in the time of Arius that may well entail being labeled schismatic. Perhaps the Old Calendarists have been right all along.

            May God raise up such a man and make him known to us.

            At this point, I can only pray that God lead His people out from the evil country that the GOA has become and lead the rest of us away from their influence.

            I say this as a weak, corrupt and sinful man. Only one thing has kept me alive in body and spirit for seventy years, I only want the Truth even though I violate the Truth every day. At this point I know that the GOA does not have the Truth any longer and what they have will be taken away because they refuse to share what they had. We can only say to them, “Get thee behind me Satan”.

            We spend far too much time reacting to them. Timor’s priest and true lovers of God like Timor will have to realize that there is no longer a home for them in the GOA. It is not dissimilar to the wrenching decisions many made to leave the Episcopal congregations years ago. I hope that ROCOR and Antioch and the OCA will be kind and generous in receiving them.

            Lord have mercy.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Dire words indeed, Michael.

              • Michael Bauman says

                I am just extrapolating from current trends. I hope I am wrong because it does not have to be that way. I have no gift of prophecy thank God. Despite of everything, I still have great hope for the Church in this land, because I trust God. I have no trust all that even I will do the right thing, let alone anyone who is bishop exposed to the temptations of power, lack of acceptance and loss combined with the painful reality of having to discipline priests.

                However, the more time we spend taking the GOA and the Greek Pharisees and Globalists (whatever you want to call them) seriously, the more apt the extrapolation will be true.

                You are far more acquainted with the mind of the GOA than I am. I was warned away from them pretty much from the beginning of my life in the Church as nearly all of the Lebanese Orthodox I knew who were serious about the faith simply told me, “The Greeks are crazy” of course they also told me that “Met. Philip will die soon.” as the parish had just recently come from Toledo. That only took another 25 years or so (Memory Eternal).

                Still, the best resolve rarely resides in direct confrontation, until it does. It always begins in one’s own repentance (as that is the only way to remain true to the faith in this world) and the humility to keep saying no, you’re wrong, and not any long explanation. Any explanation will fall on deaf ears or worse (pearls before swine, etc).

                If they know, they do not need to be told. If they are in denial, anything more than a “No, you are wrong” is superfluous.

      • Solitary Priest says

        Aren’t both these things something the Autonomous Church of Finland(an EP dependency) has been practicing for a while? Didn’t you report it here?

  12. American Priorities says

    Bart sees his empire here and abroad shrinking in numbers–people and money. This is an interim way to fill churches with those with some affiliation. He’s offering a carrot to the Catholic and Protestant spouses as a start. “The Art of the Deal” , right?  The L100 money guys and NYC oligarchy don’t like it because more non-Greek involvement lessens their ethnic control of the island of Manhattan and the Greek colony on it. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      Then the EP/GOA is caught on the horns of a dilemma, isn’t it?

    • Priorities,
      Again you read the tea leaves well. Abp. Elpidophoros began his tenure here with a ‘conference call’ to GOA clergy, among whom several trustees were assigned the role of posing certain scripted questions as it were to address issues and challenges facing the Archdiocese. The Abp. was very frank describing the demographic collapse facing the GOA and how its clergy had to take an active role inviting newcomers and that the era of acting superior to others – of Greek chauvinism– is definitively over.
      It’s clear they need to broaden their base of support among Americans and drop the hellenocentrism, and Elpi is up front about it – sort of. As the ‘sunflower of the Phanar’ he is astute to celebrate and aggrandize the Ecumenical Throne’s prerogatives even as far as coining the new (pseudotheological) term primus sine paribus. Heavy emphasis on phanariotism comes at the cost of Christocentrism so it comes as no surprise that our charming Archbishop is quick to make compromises in doctrine and discipline while instructing us all in Phanar loyalty. 
      The result is a ‘renewed and hopeful’ GOA that is even more zealous for the Ecumenical Throne while engaging the nonOrthodox with a nice (in the original sense of the word) rendition of Orthodoxy that accomplishes the one thing needful: stemming the exodus from the churches ruled by the Phanar. For every Greek American buried, we need an Anglo spouse, no confession of Orthodoxy needed, just come and be sure to contribute to all the Archdiocesan projects liberally.

  13. The pope of the East has spoken! Damn the theology and the dogma! The church of nice will compensate for the lack of faith, thus we shall be the witness of exactly what? We shall make the Holy Scriptures conform to what we say rather than what the the faith which we possess instructs us to strive for. How cheap, some don’t even need 30 pieces of silver to sell Christ…just a warm bed! 

  14. I see nothing wrong here as long as non Orthodox spouse is willing to convert first.
    Doesn’t this help unify a couple?
    why doesn’t he stress that?

    • Antiochene Son says

      I’m not sure why a non-Orthodox spouse who doesn’t want to convert would want to receive communion.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Sage-girl, you are missing the point here.  He wasn’t stipulating conversion first. 

  15. Logan Sowers says

    I know we’re not perfect and we should remain on guard for this type of behavior by Bishops but at least the Orthodox Church in America hasnt gone down this road.

  16. Michael Bauman says

    It is all crazy. What is the antidote for crazy?

  17. V. Rev. A. James Bernstein says

    COMMUNION A FAMILY AFFAIR: Why the Orthodox Church Practices Closed Communion.

    Here is the Ancient Faith link to my booklet:

    When I wrote this booklet I thought to myself – this is really stating the obvious! It is a no brainer! Yet through the years I have discovered that it has become among some a really volatile issue! Intermarriage of Orthodox and non-Orthodox is increasing and in some places as in the West (unfortunately also in the Middle East) is common. Evidently it is now being called by some MIRACLE Marriages! 
    Truly the One Holy Catholic Orthodox Church is under great attack BOTH from within and without. But we should not lose heart. We know and can be comforted that through it all our Lord Jesus promised, ” I will build MY Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18. If everyone on earth but one should fall away, if in the end there is but a single person on earth who remains faithful to the Lord and the Church (such as St. Athanasius the Great at times appeared to be “Athanasius Contra Mundum/ Athanasius vs the World) the Church on earth will have withstood the gates of hell.
    Our Lord referring to His second coming said “… when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8.) Ultimately the Church is His and not ours. On earth the Church that we see is but the tip of the iceberg hidden from our sight. Massive, immense, vast beyond measure, existing in eternity and encompasses creatures, dimensions and worlds beyond our present understanding. For this – we glorify God and receive comfort that ultimately the victory is His and not ours. 
    George, I want to heartedly thank you again for the most encouraging review that you recently gave to my book Surprised by Christ on this website. I was truly humbled. Glory to God!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Thank you for the encouragement, Father.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Thank you Father. Everyone should mail a copy of your booklet to the GOA hierarchy. 

    • It is always nice to  hear from you, Fr. James.
      I loved your book.
      Congratulations on your new Conciliar Press (as I remember) booklet on the Old Testament prophecies. I tried writing a booklet like that for Conciliar Press a few years ago, but the writing was so tough that I got burn out.
      Shalom- peace 
      As always.

  18. The Greek Orthodox Church under Pat. Bart is becoming irrelevant and for all intense and purposes toast, a small schismatic Euro cult.

  19. Monk James Silver says

    The third paragraph of this article says:  ‘In front of dozens of participants, Abp. Elpidophoros declared that anyone who was married in the Orthodox Church can receive Communion in the Orthodox Church, regardless of whether they are Orthodox or not.’
    But the article quotes nothing said by Archbishop Elpidophoros to support this statement  made by the editors of
    As a result, and in spite of Abp E’s excessive rhetoric, I suspect that he has not said anything suggesting that the non-Orthodox spouses of Orthodox Christians be admitted to Holy Communion, and that this is all a false alarm.
    Still, it remains a painful and unresolved issue among us that our priests marry Orthodox Christians to heterodox Christians, conferring on them one of the Christian Mysteries but excluding them from all the others.  This is, at least, inconsistent —  not that consistency is the highest consideration at work here, but it is a consideration.
    Recently, a bishop told me that all Orthodox jurisdictions in America had agreed to perform such marriages, the aim being to keep the Orthodox spouse in The Church, and ease the way for the heterodox spouse to convert.  The line is drawn at heterodoxy:    Potential spouses who are Muslims, Jews, Mormons, etc. are (theoretically) not included in this practice.  Yet even so, the underlying assumption is that these heterodox Christians are actually baptized.
    Orthodox Christianity has always acknowledged that any of us, even the laity, male and female, may confer Baptism if a priest is unavailable.  But this possibility is predicated on the legitimate ecclesial status of those who would perform the rite:   They must be fully members of The Church (immersed, anointed, communed) and mentally and physically and spiritually up to the task.
    Yet not all heterodox Christians are baptized even by their own standards, let alone ours.  But, assuming that we accepted their baptisms (which we don’t always), we would insist that such emergency baptizers have been baptized themselves in their own ways.  This falls apart rather quickly, though, once we realize that the Roman Catholics do not require that people who would confer Baptism must have been baptized themselves.  This principle, alien to Orthodox Christianity,  is stated clearly in paragraph 1256 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
    As a result, we Orthodox Christians cannot be certain of who is baptized and who is not, even among the Roman Catholics, and it is not our responsibility to make certain of this, since an ineffective baptism at any point in the line of baptisms leading to the potential spouse in question would invalidate that person’s baptism.
    So, if we accepted the effectiveness of heterodox baptisms, and if we would marry only a baptized heterodox Christian to an Orthodox Christian, there would be virtually no heterodox Christians eligible for consideration.  
    That’s the ‘elephant in the living room’ which nobody wants to acknowledge.  I suspect that it is this gaping wound in interchristian ecumenical relations which causes us to exclude heterodox spouses from Holy Communion and all the other Christian Mysteries.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I think I’ve only seen one or two cases where Ortho Christianity pulled a story they later discovered not to be true and this is over the many, many years I’ve been reading them. Like George, they have some impeccable sources and are extremely careful. That’s not to say they can’t be duped. We all can but I am confident if they later find out that what they reported is not true, they will retract the story. Until they do, I think we can assume they have it on good authority that what they reported, happened.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Indeed, Gail.  If they are wrong they must retract the story.  We shall do so as well.
        For what it’s worth, orthochristian runs a very tight ship.

        • George, hypothetically what would it take for a GOAA parish to switch jurisdictions? If it were possible my vote would be for Greek parishes who wish to leave GOAA to go under the Antiochians. 
          My father-confessor is in GOARCH (I should ask him this as well), and as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am lucky to know, or have known, many solidly Orthodox GOAA priests and monks (Holy Archangels). Not everyone in GOARCH is happy about what is going on. 
          I also have to note that of the Greek parishes I am familiar with, they are either half Greek/half convert, or, a solid majority of converts. Converts tend to lean more conservative and many came to Orthodoxy to flee the sinking ships of Protestantism & Roman Catholicism. This, to me at least, does not bode well for Epb. Elpi’s plans for the Archdiocese. 
          From my observation it seems that the main problem with GOARCH isn’t the priests (at least of not all of them), but, is with the bishops 
          What are your thoughts? 

    • Dear Monk James. If he said this in front of dozens of witnesses who reported it to, what makes you so sure it is false? Were you there? Nevertheless, if it is fake news, AB Elpi needs to make a statement…quickly.

      • Monk James Silver says

        It would be good if you read the posts here more carefully, ‘Mikhail’.  I wrote nothing to suggest that Abp Elpidophoros did not say what reported.  
        Please allow me to repeat my earlier words:  ‘But the article quotes nothing said by Archbishop Elpidophoros to support this statement  made by the editors of

        • I read very carefully Monk Silver. Perhaps you should re-read your own words? Here they are:
          “I suspect that he has not said anything suggesting that the non-Orthodox spouses of Orthodox Christians be admitted to Holy Communion, and that this is all a false alarm.”
          It’s okay if you don’t want to answer my question. But there is no need to get snarky.

          • Monk James Silver says

            I was not being ‘snarky’, ‘Mikhail’.  You accused me of being ‘sure (the report) is false’.  My words, which you quote here, don’t indicate any greater certainty on my part than did the words in my earlier post, but you continue misreading them.  How does ‘I suspect’ equal a statement of certainty?
            It would be better for all of us to read more carefully what others write here before we respond.
            BTW:  Not for my own sake, but just so that the protocol is better known, addressing me as ‘Monk Silver’ is very wrong.  Like any tonsured monk, I should be addressed as ‘Father James’ and referenced that way in the third person, or as ‘Monk James’ with or without my surname.  The same is true of nuns, who are addressed as ‘Mother N’, etc.  Novice monks are ‘brother’, and novice nuns ‘sister’.

            • I see you are back tracking. You suspecting that something is false, is the same as saying that you believe it is false. I suspect you are playing word games now.
              PS…where is your monastery?
              PSS…you don’t have to place my name in quotation marks. It is my real name.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Monk James Silver, I don’t get your point.  Why do the editors have to make a comment to support their report?  They reported several things.  If we don’t believe one thing, then why would we believe any of the others? Would it make you feel better if some Greeks reported it instead of some Russians? (That is already the case.)

      It’s weird. Don’t people understand what reporting is? Something happens. People report what happened, or at least their experience. That gets reported in a news piece. Sometimes — often — there aren’t direct quotes because the journalist is only reporting what was reported to him or her.

      Do you require and insist that every news piece you read or watch has direct quotes?

      No. You don’t.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Thanks for your thoughts about my post, Mrs Wintheiser.   I regret that you didn’t get my point, so please allow me to expand on it.
        Since I am not trained in journalism, merely in language,  and then almost accidentally in theology and ecclesiology, I cannot speak to questions of style in reporting.  You appear to know more about this area than I.
        Still, I —  like everyone else —  noticed that the article which we are discussing bore the headline ‘GREEK ARCHBISHOP OF AMERICA DECLARES OPEN COMMUNION FOR NON-ORTHODOX SPOUSES’.
        This has not yet been shown to be true.
        Most of the time, readers of such articles expect something, ideally a direct quotation, to support the statement made in the headline, but no such support appeared.
        That is the sum total of my observations about the structure of the article, and I trust that you are now able to get my point.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Orthodox Christianity reported “multiple participants in the conference, who wish to remain anonymous, are reporting, in front of dozens of participants, Abp. Elpidophoros declared that anyone who was married in the Orthodox Church can receive Communion in the Orthodox Church, regardless of whether they are Orthodox or not.” It’s kind of hard to get a direct quote when the speaker chooses to deviate from his official speech during a question and answer period. But that he said what was reported is pretty well documented at this point.

  20. Paul Azkoul says

    The author of this article did not do a very good job. He makes the claim that the Archbishop “said” he wants open communion for NO spouses but gives us no quote from the Archbishop himself.

  21. Confirmed now from multiple sources.

    “Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, declared in a public forum that Christians who have been married in the Orthodox Church but are not Greek Orthodox themselves, may receive Holy Communion.

    His statement came in a question and answer session during the annual conference of Leadership 100, an organization of Greek Orthodox Church donors, which was holding its annual event in Palm Beach, Florida.

    Specifically, the Archbishop was responding to a question by a member of the audience who asked why the Orthodox Church wouldn’t administer Holy Communion to non-Orthodox spouses.

    The Archbishop answered the question pointedly suggesting that since a non-Orthodox spouse has already participated in a sacrament of the Orthodox Church (marriage), why wouldn’t he or she be allowed to participate in the sacrament of Holy Communion.”

    • Monk James Silver says

      Again, there is no quotation from Abp Elpidophpros to support the interpretation of his words offered by the article, which eventually notes that there has not yet been any sort of clarification of his words by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
      Absent any supportive direct quotations, we would do well to wait for such a clarification before we react to what some articles think the archbishop meant by his words.

    • I pray to Almighty God that the bishops of the other jurisdictions rebuke the Greek Archbishop. This causes so much scandal not only to the faithful in the Greek Archdiocese but in the other jurisdictions as well 

      • Reminds me of the Pope and Communion for rc divorced.  He says but does not say.  Very jesuitical!  
        I was once asked by a teacher to give the answer on maths homework.  I could not. He asked me if i had done the work. “Yes”,  I said!!  So he said to give my answers.  I could not as only had copied out the questions!!   as  the teacher saw.   U see one eventually has to state the truth. 

    • Antiochene Son says

      Still no quotes. “100% part of our community” applies to some spouse’s of Orthodox in my parish–not least of which applies to tithing, which is a joint spousal venture. But this does not necessarily equal “a member of the Orthodox Church and entitled to communion.” That requires a logical leap which is not supported thus far.
      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If it’s true as being presented, I want to know, but I can’t go off the articles we have seen. 

      • Antiochene Son says

        I should clarify: my parish has a few mixed marriages in which the non-Orthodox spouse attends basically all social events, occasionally services (especially feast days), tithes to our parish, and participates in other things when they match their interests. Some of these spouses are more active in the parish life than some actual members. Our priest welcomes them and they know they are loved and appreciated. 
        So I would say these people are being treated as “100% part of the community.” Yet that does not entitle them to communion, and everyone knows it.
        There is a way for them to do so, called becoming a catechumen. For whatever reason they don’t want to take that step, and it means they are not hungry for the Eucharist and shouldn’t receive it.

        The whole basis of the article, insofar as quotes are concerned, is that this phrase, “100% part of our community” means they can receive communion. Yet I could describe these people in my parish this way, and they don’t receive communion, and they know they can’t. So I can’t make this leap in my mind against Elpy without more evidence, though admittedly it may be true. I just want more proof. 

        • Ronda Wintheiser says

          NO, no, no, Antiochene Son.
          Did you even bother to read the article from OrthoChristian?  Or now the one from PappasPost?

          The comment the hierarch made about non-Orthodox spouses being “100 % part of the community” is NOT what is objectionable.   

          This is what the articles report he said during a question and answer session (go read it again!) that is creating the scandal:

          “As multiple participants in the conference, who wish to remain anonymous, are reporting, in front of dozens of participants, Abp. Elpidophoros declared that anyone who was married in the Orthodox Church can receive Communion in the Orthodox Church, regardless of whether they are Orthodox or not. His statement came during the question and answer portion of his talk. As the Orthodox Church firmly teaches that only baptized and chrismated members of the Church can commune, the Archbishop’s statement upset many people.”

          • Antiochene Son says

            Yes, I read both articles. The only quotations are those about “100%”. I want to see his actual words.

            And even if he did say it, which is plausible, the words of some bishop at some conference carries zero legal force in the church. Any priest put in this situation ought to ask for the directive in writing.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Yes, Antiochian Son, it carries zero legal force in the Chruch, but it tells you about the man who said it and his vision for the Church. If you wait until something happens, you can’t stop it.

              Interestingly, I think they cut off the question and answer session at the end of this. After he finishes his speech, you hear him say (as the volume decreases) “and now. . .” and it cuts off.

              • That is typical of many  Q & A’s so that the speaker may speak off the cuff and “more freely” knowing he or she will not have to answer for the comments in the same way.  In that light, Gail, do you happen to know if Fr Nicholas knew he was being recorded in the recent memorable video about the GOA?  Please forgive if this answer has been posted elsewhere.  I’m a slow reader and supposed to be doing other things.  And thank you for your info on another post about Abp Elpi’s whereabouts on the March for Life date.  Peace and prayers, Nicole

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Nicole, I presume Metropolitan Nicholas did know he was being recorded because he was using a microphone. There weren’t that many people where a microphone would be required. He was also being videotaped.

              • Yes, and the GOA website now has the text of his speech, also without the Q and A

              • George Michalopulos says

                Gail, AS, etc. Yes, it carries “zero legal force” –until it does.  Then it’s too late.

                • I am not saying with any certainty that this is the case here, but when the act of a heirarch is understood in terms of its “legal force” you can be sure that all authority in the Christian sense of the word is lost.
                  “Legal force” is the language of the devil.  Only the one who does “the will of Him who sent me” shares in the authority of Christ.  His sheep know the voice of their Shepherd and follow Him.  “They will not follow a stranger.”

                  • Bravo.

                  • Antiochene Son says

                    I hesitated to use that phrase. I meant it in the sense that a bishop wishing aloud to implement something is not in itself a directive.
                    Pope Francis stupidly does this all the time. He plays out scenarios in speeches, but when it comes down to making official pronouncements, he backs off.
                    It is immensely confusing to the faithful, it’s bad and shouldn’t be done. Hierarchs in general should speak much less than they do. I’m in no way supportive of this project.
                    My only point is that the headlines are misconstruing the situation and giving a false impression. Elpy saying something “should” happen in a speech (if indeed he did say this) does not now mean the GOA has open communion. 
                    I realize, as I’ve said, priests who want this will implement his unofficial wishes and its bad even if it’s not true. But that is on those priests who ought to be exposed when found out. 

                    • The headline doesn’t say he promulgated an official GOARCH policy, and the body of the article says nothing like that. It says he declared – he publicly stated in front of a group of people. The article and headline claim nothing more, nothing less. 

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      The definition of the word “declaration” is an official announcement or proclamation. It is an authoritative statement of something being the case. So yes, the headline and article are misleading, as they state explicitly that GOA has open communion, not that Elpidophoros merely expressed his desire for it.

                      Like I said, bishops—especially those with much authority—should speak much less. If he hadn’t given the speech, none of this would have happened. Either issue a directive in writing or shut it.

  22. In Jockspeak: “Gemme’s a bogie!”
    In the Queen’s English: “The game is over. It’s not finished, but it’s over…
    and all bets are off!”

  23. The silence is deafening. There are no corrections forthcoming from the AB or the Archdiocese. The Archons are quiet. The primary Fordhamites, George and Telly, are silent. It seems like the report is accurate.

    • Why does not a member of the faithful directly approach Elpidophoros and ask him what his teaching is on this in words of one sylbable.  He cannot refuse.  It  is his duty as a bishop to ‘Rightly divine the word of  The Truth’.  

      • Michael Bauman says

        Is around any faithful? 

      • Seriously.
        And ask him whether GOA Met. of Chicago has really opened up the chalice to all-comers.
        It is almost unbelievable how quickly these changes are purportedly happening, the dismantling of Greek Orthodoxy in America.
        The Council of Nicaea 2025 is fast approaching also, so a lot more changes should be on the way so that the BartElpi plan can come together by then.

  24. I’m no fan of this bishop, but did he say what he is accused of??  There is plenty to make him worth ignoring without making it up.  Also, lets not give him any ideas!

  25. I have two comments.  First, I agree with those who point out that the quotations set forth in the Ortho Christianity article do not compel the conclusion that “Abp. Elpidophoros declared that anyone who was married in the Orthodox Church can receive Communion in the Orthodox Church, regardless of whether they are Orthodox or not.”  The quoted statements in the article are consistent with such a conclusion but they do not necessarily compel the conclusion.  The PappasPost article gets a little closer, perhaps, but still does not provide actual words from the Archbishop stating the matter unequivocally. 
    Second comment: I am surprised at the level of bickering and animosity displayed by various people on this blog, including with regard to the article. 

    • Dear blimbax,
      Sigh. I suppose it must be explained yet again.
      AB Elpi’s written words were from an October 2019 Archdiocesan Council Meeting. No one is saying that he made his comment there. It is being reported that multiple witnesses  heard him make the blasphemous statement during a question and answer session at the Leadership 100 Conference last week.

  26. To think marrying a heterodox in the Church is on par with having both spouses be Orthodox, is one of the problems. The allowance contrary to the canons is for leniency so the Orthodox member does not leave the Church and will raise the offspring as Orthodox. It does not help the heterodox spouse except as legal recognition in the temporal realm.