Fantasy Island Greek Style


Thanks to Greek News, this just in . . .

Archbishop Elpidophoros is leading American Orthodoxy to prosperity. But not all at the Phanar are pleased with it.

It’s been more than a year since Elpidophoros Lambriniadis was elected the Archbishop of America. As expected, that decision of the Holy Synod turned out to be one of the most effective within decades – it took just several months for the new leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOARCH) to proceed greatly in clearing out the Augean stables after former Archbishop Demetrios and his followers. Elpidophoros came to the GOARCH clearly understanding that his tenure wouldn’t be a walk in the park – the Archdiocese suffered from constant scandals, shortage of funds and personnel crisis, the situation seemed to be desperate. However, the new Archbishop promptly dealt with the main issues: the construction of St. Nicholas Church at Ground Zero was resumed and money for it collected, the Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology was saved from losing its accreditation, conflicts ceased tearing the GOARCH apart, and ways to resolve the financial crisis were found.

However, Archbishop Elpidophoros doesn’t confine himself to his own domain’s issues only. During the pandemic, he raised an extremely important problem – changing the practice of receiving the Holy Communion for the sake of protecting health and saving lives of laity and clergy. The GOARCH Primate proposed using multiple spoons instead of one during the service, which could decrease the risk of infection.

Elpidophoros is a profound theologian who knows the ropes in dogmatics and Canons. There is no doubt that his proposal was based on weighty arguments from the point of view of history, theology, pastorship and ecclesiology. Amid the WHO recommendations, it seemed quite reasonable. It’s no secret that there are many hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate who support changes in the Communion practice including Archbishop Sotirios of Canada, Makarios of Australia and some of metropolitans in Western Europe who proposed such ideas.

It’s said that Patriarch Bartholomew was suggested not to make a final decision on the Communion so that dioceses of the Ecumenical See could decide themselves, according to local circumstances… Unfortunately, the Holy Synod in June ignored those voices thus putting the lives and health of millions of people around the world at stake. Not less regrettable is that the Patriarchate through its Press and Communications Office publicly rebuked the GOARCH and its Archbishop directly forbidding to use multiple spoons.

Rumor has it that many at the Phanar are concerned by Elpidophoros’ growing influence, determination and leadership. The Phanar may also worry about the decreased financial flow from America. The Holy and Great Council on Crete, which is considered by Patriarch Bartholomew to be one of his greatest achievements, was mainly sponsored by US citizens. Of this money, hundreds of dollars are spent on luxurious receptions and events in Istanbul though they could be used for purposes more relevant to the Church and advantageous for society.

Anyway, time will tell who is right – Elpidophoros or the Holy Synod. Now, the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is acting as a man who leads the Church to the future and, to change it for the better, is brave enough to make bold steps. One of these steps was his June participation in the Black Lives Matter march in New York. The Archbishop didn’t sit it out in the rear waiting for the protests to quiet down but made a statement on behalf of the American Orthodox. And, although Elpidophoros is denying this, he expressed the GOARCH’s political position since the protests and fight against racial discrimination was supported by the Democratic Party. It’s no wonder as candidate Joe Biden has a long story of ties with the GOARCH – he is a good acquaintance of Public Office Director Fr. Alex Karloutsos and the Commander of Order of St. Andrew the Apostle Anthony Limberakis. Before the presidential campaign started, Democrats’ supporters in the Archdiocese expressed their endorsement for Biden, and their number is growing now: any Orthodox understands that a photo with the Bible is not a sign of deep piousness and the situation in which our country found itself during Trump’s presidency leaves the faithful no other choice.

Elpidophoros is also actively working on the attractiveness of the Orthodox Church in society. He is struggling to convince the Ecumenical Patriarchate to allow a number of venerable clergymen, discharged because of an obsolete restriction on bigamy in Canon law, to return to service. He also talks about the appearance of the clergy since in the 21st century black robes and beards are seen by many as outdated and funny. But the Archbishop stresses that he is committed not to telling people what they should or shouldn’t wear – it’s up to each person to decide. On the carpet is another thing of the past – inequality and homophobia still unfortunately inherent to the Church, and on the territory of the US too.

Perhaps, in the near future, due to the new Archbishop, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America would justifiably become the pearl of the Orthodox Church, its key and driving force. To remain strong, the Church needs changes, and now they can only come from the USA. This is where the healthiest, numerous and active part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s congregation resides.

Some at the Phanar understand that, some don’t. One thing is beyond doubt – with Constantinople’s support or without it, despite all obstacles and pressure of his opponents, the GOARCH leader will get the job done. The question is who will be standing by his side at the moment of triumph.


  1. I just love this paragraph: “Elpidophoros is also actively working on the attractiveness of the Orthodox Church in society. He is struggling to convince the Ecumenical Patriarchate to allow a number of venerable clergymen, discharged because of an obsolete restriction on bigamy in Canon law, to return to service. He also talks about the appearance of the clergy since in the 21st century black robes and beards are seen by many as outdated and funny. But the Archbishop stresses that he is committed not to telling people what they should or shouldn’t wear – it’s up to each person to decide. On the carpet is another thing of the past – inequality and homophobia still unfortunately inherent to the Church, and on the territory of the US too.”

    Oh, there’s just so much here. The ” obsolete restriction on bigamy” — every real Christian knows that Christ was just fine with bigamy. Heck, didn’t St Paul say “have only one wife if you must…” The Mormons and the Muslims have it right!

    The “black robes and beards are seen by many as outdated and funny” — yes, please modernize and be attractive to those who watch “The View” and CNN, because that will win you a lot of parishioners. It worked for the ECUSA, did it not? To paraphrase Biden, come on, man. The CNN and “The View” crowd will say “OK, interesting” and then will happily go back to ignoring you.

    And the “inequality and homophobia still unfortunately inherent to the Church” — I see “ordained” clergy who are “married” to other men coming… all to stand up to the inherent homophobia and “inequality.” I guess Christ was the biggest homophobe of all. After all, ordination is just a great big ecclesiastical game of tag, isn’t it? Maintaining the faith that was once delivered to the apostles doesn’t matter. Can’t wait for them to make next GOA Archbishop of New York a lesbian. Isn’t that progress?

    Hoo boy. This article is Exhibit A for delusional city. But these folks aren’t joking — they simply wrote a fantastical mirror piece that reflects on how they view themselves, but certainly not on Christ, nor on the Orthodox faithful of this country. These folks don’t seem to love Christ nearly as much as they love themselves.

    As if Americans need any more reasons to avoid the GOAA at all costs.

    •  Stunning.   Opposing all of Holy Scripture (any translation) and the words of Christ Himself, not to mention His true followers and priests/monks the Holy Fathers and the martyrs and the true faith Orthodoxy.  
      Sad when the worst part of one’s day is reading the words of so-called  “Orthodox” hierarchs.  
      Father, forgive them, they know not…

  2. Yikes.

  3. The only thing he will accomplish is the dismantling of GOARCH. The EP appears to be a spiritually dying branch on the vine. I pray to God that they do not drag Athos, the Ephraim monasteries and the more “traditional” parishes with them. Barring God’s intervention it is painfully obvious the way this way is headed 

  4. Have you ever read The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis?

  5. The roman catholics are the latest to try to “get with it”.  We can see where that got them.  No Thank You.

  6. At first I thought this was parody. Then after I winced and grimaced and jaw dropped, I stared at the page in disbelief.
    I guess you have to assume there are people who think this way, but to see it in print is still a shock. 
    Kinda like the difference between knowing that a bug has squishy, gross insides and having Tommy step on one and then pick it up and wipe it on your dress.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I thought it was satire as well.  Unfortunately, the GOA, like The New York Times, can no longer be parodied. 

      In reading between the lines, it appears that there may be a conflict between the EP and Elpidophoros.  I for one, don’t think that the GOA primate went out on a limb with his multiple-spoon heresy or his Fordhamite ecumenism, etc.  Unfortunately for him, the EP seems to have received some significant blow-back, hence his new-found “traditionalism”. 

      Long story short:  it looks like he pulled the rug out from under Sunflower. 

      • It must be bad if Patriarch Bartholomew is pivoting more traditional. I wonder who he was getting blowback from? Other GOAA Metropolitans/priests, other patriarchs? 
        Maybe he realized he has overplayed his hand with everything and he’s doing a complete 180 (God Willing). Maybe that’s why he is not willing to grant the Macedonians autocephaly…plus that would be the equivalent of social suicide amongst his Greek flock I would imagine

        What does Met. Elpidophoros think is going to happen if he takes this route? The other Orthodox jurisdictions will have nothing to do with him (except maybe some of the more liberal OCA parishes).
        Also, where are the GOA parishes that actually buy into this crap? I have yet to come across one and I’m certain it’s not the monasteries 

  7. I thought I was reading a satire piece!

  8. Cyprian of the West says

    Inherent: Existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute. If something has inherent undesirable attributes, you cannot change it, you must destroy it. Interesting choice of words.

  9. Chris Banescu says

    I also thought this was satire. I believed it was another hilarious Monomakhos production that exposes the lunacy, corruption, and disconnect from reality that are decimating the GOAA. Then I reached the bottom of the post, saw the link to the original article, and realized it was not satire after all.

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Lord have mercy, I thought on first read this piece was satiracal. It is a shock to see the author is serious!☦️☦️☦️

  11. Is this satire? I genuinely can’t tell.

  12. Michael Bauman says

    Can someone enlighten me?  What is the reference to bigamy?  Are these priests who got divorced?

    • I think he is referring to 1 Tim 3:12:
      Διάκονοι ἔστωσαν μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρες
      “Let deacons be the husband of one wife”.
      I think he is extending it to priests and (I have little doubt),
      in the fulness of time, to bishops.

    • The author probably means digamy, i.e. second marriages.

  13. r j klancko says

    Ok everyone here is the real skinny,,,,I had lunch with a graduate of liberty univ and was enlightened about it. I then looked it up on the net. It began in 1971 as a baptist seminary, now some 50 years later it is a major university with circa 15,000 students and, now pay attention, they have a 1.5 billion dollar endowment, so this begs the question when did holy cross seminary begin? When was it transformed into hellenic college? And how does it compare with liberty university?  Who dropped the ball here? Instead of a 120 million dollar albatross in lower Manhattan, how about using the money for the benefit of humanity, or creating a real school, or real hospital. Now if I see the archbishop championing such causes I would have more confidence in the Goa.  

    • I believe it started in 1936 in Pomfret, CT or at least close to that year

      • Holy Cross was founded in 1937 and initially located in Pomfret CT. The school moved to Brookline 10 years later. Hellenic College was organized as an undergraduate school in 1961, not as a replacement of Holy Cross.
        HCHC has always had an abysmally small endowment, even more so considering the Greek American community is one of the more upwardly mobile, economically successful groups in the US. There are several probable reasons for this. One is that the school has always been a place that harbors folks who prefer to be big fish in a small pond. Another is that the school has never been run, with one exception, by people experienced in higher education administration. The one exception was Dr. Thomas Lelon and he was fought every step of the way by faculty and clergy. He grew the college but the powers that be did not like it and he was eventually sacked by Archbishop Iakovos. As for the meager endowment, which has probably never been more that 50 million or so, there are two reasons. The first is that the school is not really an independent academic institution, but is closely run and controlled by the Archdiocese and not trusted by the Greek American community. The second has to do with Greek Americans. They much prefer to give countless millions to other academic institutions because of a sense of self importance, recognition, pride, etc.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Protestants are great at collecting money and giving. We are not.  
      Makes me wonder how the Bible Answer Man is doing since he was received by the GOA. He lost his big radio gig because Bot Radio Network canceled his gig.

  14. Sounds like a press release from Baghdad Bob!! I was wondering whatever happened to him!

    Seriously, the letter reminds me of conversations between the minions of the evil one.  The sooner the rest of the Church excommunicates the Phanar and its various minions (the MP and ROCOR already have), the better.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Misha, does that mean any ordinary member of the GOA cannot receive communion in an MP or ROCOR parish?

      • Michael,

        That is my understanding. I have visited my old Greek parish since then but did not commune or even accept a blessing. I wanted to see the finished interior. I put quite a few billable hours into that church and it’s a shame it may well end up with Rome.

  16. Wayne M Syvinski says

    At first, I missed “Thanks to Greek News, this just in . . .”.

    George, I was about to ask what you had smoked for breakfast.

  17. How about some beauty instead says

    As an antidote to this absurd farce written about the Greek Church in America and its ersatz archbishop, here’s a wonderful poem on the beauty of carrying our Crosses with Our Lord.  Courtesy of the ROCOR cathedral in Washington DC, from the recent feast of the Cross (Sep. 14/27). 

    Help Me to Carry My Cross, My Lord!

    And He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke, 9:23)

    My cross is what I need, my Lord!
    Let me carry it ‘til the end, ‘til the day I close my eyes,
    Let me carry it, my Lord, until I die!
    Don’t let me drop it in despair, o help me, help me to bring it home, my Lord,
    O let it bloom in Your gardens, o let it bloom there,
    For my inner nostalgia for Eden and our past glory ache like a dull pain
    Of knowledge, impossible immensities laid in my soul that I can’t reach
    Without You, my Lord, for it is You who hold the keys of peace,
    O give me Your strength, my Lord, my Savior, pour your manna, the Son of God,
    And bless me with your grace, because I know how hard you tried,
    How many sleepless night you spent standing in cold, in front of my heart,
    Knocking and knocking in vain, like a light summer rain,
    Warm and forgiving, refreshing, enveloping
    The aching soul of mine, trying to make it easy for me,
    While I neglected you, closing my doors, leaving you empty-handed,
    Or that rain, o Christ, my Lord, I know those cascading rainfalls are your tears,
    Weeping for me, flowing in me like rivers of my lost innocence,
    O these are your precious, priceless, pure, sinless, incessant tears of love
    That your tired yet deep caring eyes have cried for me all these years,
    O you worked so hard with Your hands pierced by my sins,
    O Holy Carpenter of my soul,
    You poured all your love into carving my very own cross,
    Blowing away the sawdust of my sins, making my cross so light
    And perfectly fit for my shoulders,
    How you wanted me to accept it and never look back to the fields
    Of my elusive earthly dreams, for You said that heavens await us
    If we follow Your path, but how hard it is, my Christ,
    How hard it is to abandon those sand castles that I built
    On the shores of this stormy ocean of life,
    And you know that even I am aware that they will be smashed,
    Erased and swallowed by the constant sea of change
    And yet I keep adding those transient hopes
    Stacking them day by day until the hourglass drops
    Its final granule of time, and still, like a blind man, I follow my pride,
    O Lord, let me straighten my cross on my shoulders,
    As at times it gets heavy only because I fail to follow your words –
    They say – if you focus on the end goal, you forget about your journey,
    Better still, have your friend with you, who will share the burden with you
    Listening to his stories, as you walk your long path to knowing,
    And we all have You, following us, speaking in our hearts,
    On the path to our own Emmaus, where You would break the bread
    Of Your pulsating heart, sharing it fully with us until the moment we know
    That the chalice of Your being fills our souls with the azure wine of eternity,
    And then we know that You were in us, asking:
    “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road?”
    O help me, my Lord, to open my heart,
    Finding my Kingdom of Heaven deep within,
    Help me follow Your path, my Lord,
    Help me walk my road to You,
    O help me carry my cross, my Lord,
    Help me carry it, day and night,
    Help me praise You, for your love and devotion to your last lost sheep,
    Help me ease Your pain for us, my Lord,
    O help me to carry my cross, my Christ!

    Andrey Gidaspov
    September 27, 2020

  18. From   A Pilgimage to Dzhvari:  page 302.   A cross isn’t usually light but you won’t be saved without one. 

  19. Patriarch Bartholomew has removed the Metropolitan of NJ and has suspended the Metropolitan Methodios of Boston

  20. George/Gail, any idea what all this is about? 
    One Metropolitan removed, one suspended and the charter for GOARCH has been suspended:

  21. BREAKING NEWS: The Holy Patriarchal Synod of Constantinople has suspended Metropolitan Methodios of Boston until Christmas. It also has transferred Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey to serve in some titular position in Asia Minor, city of Sardes. I wonder if they are being punished for speaking  out on the clergy pension issue? Does anyone have any background information?