Ecclesioclasm Interview with Fr John Whiteford

Fr John Peck and I recently interviewed Fr John Whiteford of St Jonah Orthodox Church (Spring, Texas ROCOR) on the new “Fordhamite” theology that is infiltrating the Orthodox Church.

Fr Whiteford is a well-known voice speaking up in favor of Orthodox traditionalism and hosts a popular podcast entitled From the Amvon.

You can catch this interview (as well as other fascinating ones  conducted by Fr Peck) on his Ecclesioclasm podcast, which he hosts every Monday night at 7pm MST.  You can click on the link above to get to it.



  1. Excuse me for my ignorance, what is “Fordhamite”?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      “ite” at the end of a word is a suffix used to form a noun denoting followers or adherents of a specified person, idea, doctrine, movement, etc.

      • Norman Wood says

        I think that was a pretty snide reply to Mike. I suspect that Mike’s concern had less to do with the structure of the word and more to do with what Fordhamites think or say or do. I think I could use some enlightenment on that score myself. As I recall, there have been some pretty first rate Orthodox connected with Fordham University.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Looks like you already know who they are and have formed an opinion. You might want to visit their site. Why come here to find out about them?

          • Norman Wood says

            Actually I do not know who they are except for one man who’s name I have read here on Monomakhos. I quite agree that his opinions are highly questionable. The one man I was thinking of positively was Fr Thomas Hopko who, if I am remembering correctly, got his doctorate at Fordham. I didn’t know about
            the site, but will take a look.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I did not mean to be dismissive. Forgive me.

              If you’re genuinely interested, here’s a good place to start about what some of our issues are with them. This is sort of an entertaining inside look that we received a while ago that kind of sums it all up:

              Their actual site can be a bit unwieldly so here’s where they write their stuff about Orthodoxy. Not all bad. It’s when they zero in on traditionalists in the Church, especially in the south, that they really jump the track:

            • George Michalopulos says

              At one time, Fordham was a prestigious place of higher learning. So was Harvard. So was most every college and university in America.

              One cannot say that anymore, can they?

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Not only are they no longer prestigious, they’ve gone over to the dark side like John Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. Duke University won’t give a guy a transplant even though as, of last January, he reached the top of the list. Why? He’s not vaccinated. This is happening to a teenager, as well.

                One of my friends who had a freak liver impairment and had a transplant 13 years ago was talked into getting a vaccine because USC wouldn’t treat her.

        • Barnithas Lagofagos says

          Generally, SVOTS has granted doctorates through Fordham since they left Columbia for more bucolic settings.

      • John Sakelaris says

        I believe that when “ite” is added to a noun it is an effort to make it a pejorative term, something bad.

        Can anyone think of an “ite” ending that is meant to be positive?

        • Gail Sheppard says


          • John Sakelaris says

            Great! Still, that is a Greek term.

            Any “ite” endings used solely in the English-speaking world that are positive?

            • George Michalopulos says

              In the case of the scholars at Fordham, it is a pejorative indeed.

              That said, a positive “ite” suffix would be Israelite, Amorite, Canaanite, etc.

              • The ‘ite’ ending is also used in French;
                as in: Israélite, Amorite, etc.
                Canaanite, however, is rendered Cananéen.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Seriously, John, we have nicknames for all kinds of people. People who receive grants and funding through Fordham University are called Fordhamites because that’s who they are. They’re unique with respect to the Orthodox Church. That’s all the name implies.

            • Yes @Gail .. “They” have no respect for Orthodox Theology.

            • George Michalopulos says

              John, I will admit to being the person who made up the term “Fordhamite.” (At least, I can’t find any earlier use of it. Now, it’s all over the place.)

              Now, to be completely honest, it popped into my head almost instantaneously and I immediately connected it to “sodomite.” In the finest Alinskyite fashion, I wanted to “frame the narrative” as to what the scholars at Fordham University were doing.

              I will also say that I’m a little perturbed by Greek Orthodox scholars ensconced at a non-Orthodox institution, spewing their heresies from behind their walls. Not only are they immune from accountability but receive much better remuneration than if they had been professors at an Orthodox seminary.

              To me, it reeks of dilettantism or having the best of both worlds without any of the responsibilities. Anyway, that’s the way I see it.

              There is also very real danger that the Orthodox Studies program at Fordham is a safe haven for those who want to undermine the Orthodox Church. To be blunt, I think that this is exactly what is going on.

              • To be fair, plenty of Orthodox priests that I know from St. Vladimir’s…I guess you’d call it course sharing(?) with Fordham – I’m not sure of the proper term…seem to have come through it more or less unscathed.

                Some, however, clearly dld not.

                My sense of it is that those who put their trust in God and His commandments take the whole ‘academic’ thing for what it’s worth and discard the rest. Those that don’t seem to take delight in a heady (I would call it prelest filled) atmosphere where everything that has not been specifically dogmatized is open for consideration and debate.

                • Speaking of St. Vladimir’s… I would truly like to study Met. Tikhon’s latest written statement on the current situation in Ukraine, but it costs $60 to do so. If anyone has read his latest essay on the matter and can summarize it here, please do so for all our edification.

                  Here is the summary of his piece from the OCA website:

                  “The latest issue of the Saint Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly (66.1–2/2022) is published at a moment when the largest portion of the worldwide Orthodox Church finds itself in a deeply scandalous and sinful state of internal war which constitutes the gravest intra-Orthodox crisis in many centuries. It is only natural, therefore, that the editorial and several essays—one of them penned by His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon – are reflecting on the ecclesiological, moral, and pastoral aspects of this crisis.”.

        • Israelite, Ephraimite, Athonite come immediately to mind.

          It can refer either to nations (Israelites, Edomites) or to an ethos or way of life (Athonites, Fordhamites) or in some cases both at once.

        • John, I love a good language question. How about this? “Ite” words in the vein of Fordhamite: parasite, sodomite, cosmopolite, hypocrite, gobsh!te. Positive “ite” word: Muscovite. 🙂

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview and plan on listening to it again.

  3. Court of Session Gender Recognition ruling could impact new law

    ‘ Lady Haldane disagreed.
    Her judgement, issued on Tuesday, stated that sex was “not limited
    to biological or birth sex, but includes those in possession of a GRC
    [Gender Recognition Certificate] obtained in accordance with the 2004
    [Gender Recognition] Act stating their acquired gender, and thus their sex.” … ‘

    As the Wizard almost said:
    “I can’t give you a womb, but
    I can give you a Certificate.”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Why do people think we even want to know “genders” as they are really just sexual preferences. Maybe it’s my generation, but I don’t want to know what people like, do, have done, like to try, etc. Why would anyone think that would be interesting for someone else to know?

  4. Michael Bauman says

    Their is a vast difference between The Orthodox Church, the Body of Christ organized to worship the Incarnate, Crucified and Risen Christ repenting our sins that we too may come into His Kingdom; and the institutional church organized to protect the leaders sins and promote their power. Fordamite’s are the latter.

    Lord have mercy on me a sinner for all sins and forgive my arrogance.

    • Michael,
      The Fordamite’s sound like the Orthodox version of Glavlit!

    • the institutional church organized to protect the leaders sins and promote their power

      Sounding pretty neo-gnostic again, Michael.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Basil, God Bless you. But the “identity” people are the Gnostics don’t you think.

        The way of the world is always about power and control. The real Church is a body, the Body of Christ. It also contains by God’s Grace those who worship institutions over our savior. Partaking of the Sacraments, esp. the complete Body and Blood of Jesus Christ overflowing with Grace and Mercy, brings us closer to Him and each other than is often comfortable, but to enter the Kingdom at hand, repentance is required. Even there he is still the door. There is nothing gnostic in my experience although raised in modernity my imprecise language may give that impression.

        I am blessed, I had a local Bishop who is a good and Holy man who puts Jesus before himself. He has suffered from the power folk institutionally above him but has never departed.

        If I were gnostic oriented I would eschew the over 1 hour round trip to my parish for Confession and Vespers and to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with my brothers and sisters in Christ despite my chronic pain and increasing bodily instability making it a challenge to step up on the dias in front of the altar and receive the Body and Blood without desecrating the serving by falling into the priest. Even my infirm body has to be there–sometimes inspite of itself. Jesus has always shown Himself to me in body of some sort never isolated from others.

        There are those who are more interested in showing and proving they are in control by telling folks and lying to themselves that any one can be fully part of the Body without the need for facing one’s passions and repenting and physically receiving. They have walled themselves off as long as they do that.

        I saw my late wife repent in a coma on her death bed and be received again into the Body she had largely rejected. Real bodies. Genuine mercy in them beyond anything I can begin to describe. Not some “spiritual” experience.

        So, Basil, please come to St. George in Wichita some Sunday so we can rejoice together at the physical proof of Christ with us. Together with all the saints, especially St. Raphael of Brooklyn. I will pray more sincerely now for those caught in the identity delusions of the evil one. It is a hard place to be. Lonely, deep in shame with no way out.

        I have been through Gnostic temptations for sure. I suspect that most folks these days have been. But I worship Christ Incarnate AND by that condescension He becomes the inner door to my own physical heart who must open to me if I am received and know who I am. He makes me worthy. I cannot do it without the prayers of my fellow Orthodox who struggle with sin and repentance and do not excuse the sin but long for His mercy. Without your prayers Basil, I suffer.

        Thank you Basil for listening.

        Forgive me, a sinner.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Michael, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. (It’s good to see you again.)

          • Michael Bauman says

            George, any beauty is not of my doing. I describe what I have been shown very badly.

            Brian, indeed. But I am learning, a bit, to give thanks to Jesus, our Lord even for the pain involved as the outward deteriorates. Not as a masochist, but simply because the pain cuts down on my options for ignoring the mercy of Jesus and actually learning to repent.

            I find repentance only goes so far unless I also include the sins of others as my own because I participate in them as well sometimes just by living in the world. I say that as a complete novice with a hard heart still.

            As Hamlet said: “If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it is not to come, it will now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.”

            May each of us be ready and be not afraid, He has overcome the world through the Cross. We should expect no less.

            Christ is Born!

        • Michael,

          Always so good to hear from you on this forum and to know how you are doing.

          Therefore we do not lose heart, for though the outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day.

          God bless you, and God bless Bp. Basil.

    • “There is a vast difference between The Orthodox Church, the Body of Christ organized to worship the Incarnate, Crucified and Risen Christ repenting our sins that we too may come into His Kingdom; and the institutional church organized to protect the leaders sins and promote their power.”

      As Fr Alexander Schmemann used to say — and blessed memory to him, the anniversary of his repose was yesterday, Dec. 13 — the Church is a sacrament with institutions, not an institution with sacraments.

      The Fordhamites seem to have not learned this lesson and delusionally think that their job is to make the “institution” of the Church to be what they want her to be. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way in our Eastern Orthodox faith. The Sacrament of the Church will always push back against those who try to misuse her. Always.

      There’s a special place in my heart for Fr Alexander…. I’ve learned over the years that some find him controversial, though I never have. His writings have always drawn me more toward Christ and His Church.

      It was his book “For the Life of the World” that kept me in the faith that I was born into all those decades ago…. if not for that book, I very well may have made a grave error and become a protestant in the early 1990s. Protestantism is so empty (for lack of a better word) when compared with the richness that God has given us in His Church and in the saints over the centuries.

      Plus, Fr Alexander did so much to bring Orthodox Christianity to North America in the English language…. It’s worth recalling that prior to the 1970s, hardly anything was written about Orthodox faith in the English language, aside from Bishop Kallistos Ware’s book that had been published in the early 1960s. For those of us who consider ourselves both fully Orthodox Christian and fully American, the impact of his life’s labor and those who labored with him cannot be underestimated. Memory eternal!

  5. Deacon John says

    I hope I get to serve with Father John one day.

  6. I enjoyed the video but would have liked to hear more from Fr. Whiteford. He made a good point about enhancing your personal library with hard-copy books and not being solely connected electronically.

    I wish I could listen to Fr. Peck without having to pay for subscription. But that’s okay. There may be another way.

    Thanks as always George and Gail.

  7. “Fr. Whiteford…made a good point about enhancing
    your personal library with hard-copy books and not
    being solely connected electronically.”

    Not everyone can hold hard-copy (dead-tree) books.
    Some need the text-size variations that computers offer.
    Those that do need to make back-up copies of their ebooks.
    Don’t leave them solely on the hard-drive, or in the cloud,
    to be erased whenever the New Bookburners feel it is time.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Brendan, I agree with your recommendation.

      It seems we are on the same page in that I think we are at that point in time in which it would behoove all of us to get as many “dead-tree” books as possible and squirrel them away in our personal libraries and/or fire-resistant bunkers. I say this because I can easily foresee a day in which with one click of a button, entire electronic texts can be wiped out completely or (worse) “emended” to leave out an offending word or two.

      If we are not in the last days, then we are in a dystopian period which will get progressively worse and then when civilization completely crumbles, we’ll have to shake the dust off our clothes and try to recreate civilization. A book in hard copy will make that job much easier.

      At least that’s my opinion.

      • “I can easily foresee a day in which with one click
        of a button, entire electronic texts can be wiped out completely”

        We’re already there, George…

        Amazon wipes customer’s Kindle and deletes account with no explanation

        ‘ An Amazon Kindle user has had her account wiped and all her paid-for books deleted by Amazon without warning or explanation.

        The Norwegian woman, identified only as Linn on media commentator Martin Bekkelund’s blog, approached Amazon when she realised her Kindle had been wiped.

        She was informed by a customer relations executive that her account had been closed, all open orders had been cancelled and all her content had been removed, but has been unable to find out why. … ‘

        I have an Amazon Kindle device, but I do not
        connect it through wifi to the internet.
        I download purchases to my PC through a wired connection
        and transfer them to my Kindle through a usb cable.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      Brendan, I concur with your sage advice.

      As a professor and scholar, I usually need actual books and shorter publications in hand that I can annotate with my trusty pen as research for teaching or writing my own books, articles, and homilies. I also encourage my students to print paper copies from the internet as a rule, unless they can annotate the texts online and have them readily available for class discussions and lectures. Hard copies also provide a “plan B” in the event of lost access to the internet or one’s so-called smart devices even if only temporarily.

      There is also a last resort “plan C” that Ray Bradbury proposed in his novel Farenheit 451., which he published during the so-called Red Scare in 1953. Alas, at my age my memory does not serve me as well as it did earlier in my life. But I am hopeful that multiple thousands (even millions?) of freedom-loving folks could be recruited for such a noble task on behalf of human civilizations.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Agreed. I’m concerned that “cancel culture” will eventually erase the Great Books (or at least threaten the possibility of doing so should it be deemed politically necessary).

      • George Michalopulos says

        We’ve already seen this in real time. Several years ago, the wokesters eradicated any video presentation of The Dukes of Hazzard. I condemned this action (even while acknowledging that it was an inane show with no redeeming qualities whatsoever). I did this because if they could do it to The Dukes, then they will go on doing more damage.

        This brings us to the other day, when it was announced that all presentations of the comedy sketch “It’s Pat” are being digitally erased from all episodes of Saturday Night Live on which they aired. If memory serves, that was from the early 90s.

        The reason of course is because Pat, a recurring character played by Norma Sweeney, was somehow offensive to transsexuals.

  8. It has been done before and the monks in Ireland hand copied them . Read “How the Irish Saved Civilization” by Thomas Cahill

  9. Looks like the Antiochian Archdiocese has released the names & biographies of the candidates for the upcoming Metropolitan Archbishop elections:

  10. Michael Bauman says

    My vote would be with Archmandrite Jeremy Davis. A fine, sensible and stable man. He was here at St. George for many years. He is worthy!